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Whatcha Bockin’ ’bout?

27. February 2006 | Category Personal

*** Update *** Seems that my super,sweet Supersweet stocking hat has propelled me to local stardom

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Also available from Schell’s .Brewery

Ah, the enchantment that is New Ulm. This past weekend I partook in a Southern Minnesota Tradition~ drinking. But drink in a warm, smoke laced bar? No. That, meine fruend, is for amatuers.

I decided to join a bunch of other local idiots and go drinking at that fine New Ulm brewery: Schells. Seems that every year they host a little shin-ding where locals get together and commune with nature. Oh, and drink mass quantities of beer.

All in all it was interesting endeavor. I mean where else can you see guys with deer antlers glued to old snowmobile helmets? Or posers where “Supersweet Feed” stocking hats? Or stumble aimlessly through a state park with a beer sloshing about in you hand while trying to decipher gibberish that is supposedly leading you to a ‘BOCK’? Or waiting 25 minutes in line for a Landjaeger?

For some reason or another, I can’t get Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” outta my noggin either. I actually heard it on the radio today, laughed a bit, because it was like getting transported back in time to the weekend. Odd, maybe I was hypnotized.

I’m thinking given the rapid spread of global warming (think no snow and 40s in February) and the proximity of this annual festival to the Lenten season, that we Germans in Minnesota may soon show up those uppity Mardi Gras revelers.

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Some Prep with $

27. February 2006 | Category Rant

I laughed this morning upon seeing the local news headlines overnight. Seems a crabby basketball player that ONLY makes $11 million a year after foregoing college because he couldn’t possibly pass it, got into trouble for throwing/tossing a basketball into the stands and hitting a fan.

It was even more impressive to see the great bit of drama acted out by said fan, all the way from his seat to the ambulance gurney for ‘head trama’. I wonder when, not if, he will reprise his role in a lawsuit towards said NBA player. Should be happening shortly.

And already pundits are saying the player was under the duress of a piss-poor season with a dismal team that he has poured his heart and soul into. Give me a break, for that much money anyone would show up and attempt to make nice as well.

Said player was already under suspicion when upon his grand entrance into the league in his rookie season in a game at the Target Center, he ungratefully avoided his young fans as he sauntered to the court he would inhabit for at least the next decade. That’s true ignorance of the hand that feeds him.

So without great reservation, I think he deserves what he is due. Payback is a bitch.

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Be your own Banker

15. February 2006 | Category Interests, Money

Having enjoyed the many ventures I’ve set out on with online banking, I’ve always been interested in the next new direction internet based banking has been going.

It seems that now personal, bankless loans are starting to become all the rage. After hearing about Zopa, a leading British-only online lending site, I heard that someone else has begun business here in the U.S. under the guise of Prosper.

Basically, both sites get people together that want to borrow money and those willing to lend it to them. Sounds easy enough. Pretty much just like borrowing someone a buck for a pop or candy, although a tad bigger scale. It might be of note that you don’t personally know these people, unlike your local bankers might. The only problem seems to be when those borrowing default partially or totatlly on the loan. Seems that Zopa counters this by spreading lenders money between numerous accounts and verification by a ‘risk managers’.
With Prosper one could borrow directly to a sole person or spread the ‘risk’ among numerous people. Also poor reports to the credit agencies and debt collectors will enter the fray upon defaults of loans. Both sites don’t guarantee your won’t lose money, but banks work the same way I guess.

And if you are borrowing money and aren’t happy with the rates the banks are forcing you to swallow, this may be a suitable backup plan.

Seems like an interesting field on finance to be invovled in, as well as keeping an eye on. It seems Zopa itself is entering the US market in late 2006 which should keep Prosper and others like it on their collective toes.

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Paypal Beware!

8. February 2006 | Category Interests, Money

Not that I’m a big Paypal user, but I found an alarming problem in their structure that could make for some unpleasantries. About this time last year, I signed up for a hosting plan for a small website. It cost a few bucks, which was okay, but little did I know that it would be considered a reoccurring annual transaction or subscription.

So while reconciling my checking account, I notice an odd amount deducted that I can’t verify other than coming from Paypal. Seems that hosting company charged me this year too, again not a large amount, but they did charge me without my implicit approval.

Problem is that Paypal insists on using a checking account to link to. This causes problems if said checking account balance is less than charge which you are unaware that is going to be made to that account. Seems to me that a subscription should warn you a few days/weeks in advance the pending charge and then you can accept or deny it.

Otherwise, one could overdraft on an account for this silly reason and I’m sure given the trouble numerous people have reaching Paypal support, it would fall on deaf ears.

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