i writeth, you readeth

And then???

Holy autocracy, Batman!

25. September 2008 | Category Internet, Observations

Having been a seasoned eBayer from my early excursions on the newly minted inter-net to present, it’s starting to sadden my auction browsing experience.

Since eBay ditched it’s latest CEO for a new, fresh CEO, the company has taken some fairly drastic steps to change it’s business model while cutting away the almost utter devotion most avid users had for the service/community it created.

It has been slowly evolving. First they raise prices for things, which justified or not almost always happens with any floundering and/or greedy business.

Next they decided to take away the voice of reason that many a trustful and honest eBayer relied on, the positive/negative feedback tool. Now a seller cannot complain about a deadbeat buyer, but the buyer can continue to blast you as a seller without real visible recourse.

The latest indiscretion is what really makes you wonder what will come next. Now eBay is insisting that you ship products out for a set price, no mind whether the time/energy to ship at that price is even relevant.

I’ve read that eBay is trying to cater to the larger sellers on eBay with it’s fees and Buy-it-now auctions, but with all the changes and the utter disregard for the small time buyer/seller, eBay is cutting it’s core audience to the bone.

They are slowly morphing into a online storefront. Gone will be the entertainment and candor of possibly the first internet e-tailer that really had a compelling reason for people to get on the internet and buy/sell almost whatever you could dream up on a site originally dealing with Pez dispensers.

It annoys me and I can see myself shying away from the site due to this continued behavior.


Boy O’ Boy

3. September 2008 | Category Observations

The politico season is upon us. This year we may actually have a choice on a few candidates and not just at the local level. I just can’t wait for the mud to start flying! Bring it on.


Meeting people and running for office 101

2. September 2008 | Category Observations

You’d think if you’re running for a political office, you’d first want to be a people person. If you weren’t real great at that, next you may try to actually to meet and greet people as painful as that may be. It is how you get elected, getting enough people to A) know who you are, B) know what you are about, and C) believing in A) & B) enough to vote for you.

We had a local politician come by the other day and all I can say it is was amusing. Seems there’s a commissioner race heating up for the district basically surrounding Gaylord and Sibley Township. Currently there are 4 filed candidates. With a primary looming, the list shall be whittled down to 2 for the fall election. One of the candidates decided to pay a visit to our place on Labor Day. Fitting enough and given the right circumstances a good move as he was the one and so far only candidate to visit our place.

Given this start things looked promising. But then went south real quick. Candidate drives up as I am working on car and promptly asks “Is your mom home?”. Make no mistake, I am a voting age citizen and for the life of me only know this candidate for his dubious elected position history and family. So after blowing off me as a vote, he proceeds to the house. At the house, my mother meets this candidate as well. After coming to the door, she is effectively thrown a brochure for this candidate, with no mention of his name, why he is at her door or what she should do with said piece of paper. All that come’s out of candidate’s mouth is “…. um the primary is next Tuesday, um….” and with not much more than that proceeds to leave. What a riot! No discussion, no introduction, nothing.

Later, candidate is seen leaving neighbor’s drive moments after arriving. Which makes this even funnier is that driveway is some 1/2 mile long and candidate is seen backing out. Either he didn’t make it up the driveway or backed up the whole 1/2 after his flier was presumably thrown in neighbor’s general direction. Given the previous firsthand account, both would not be a stretch of the imagination.

What a moron. Why are you running for office if you are afraid of people? Was he put up to this as some kind of prank? How can this be campaigning? You may need to talk to people if they are to actually give a care about what it is you intend to do. This guy doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of doing anything with campaigning like this.

And he somehow got elected to the school board? How?


Zopa fever!

6. August 2008 | Category Internet, Money, Technology

By now you should know I like delving into interesting financial concepts, especially those online. Having a community based lending option has been intriguing as Prosper has shown.

Well Zopa has finally come into it’s own in the U.S. An import of the U.K. that has now also expanded into Italy and Japan. They were almost 2 years late in the coming to America. Oh, well, at least they made it and could give Prosper a run for it’s (lending) money.

Zopa is a somewhat different beast, but interesting none the least. It also lends out $ but these loans are based at local credit unions. They are associated with Affinity Plus, a credit union from the Cities that I had been acquainted with from my schooling at MSU, Mankato. But the loans are cool. If you get someone else to invest in a CD with Zopa, they can actually help you out. For every CD you purchase through Zopa (CDs are FDIC insured through the credit unions) you help someone out by reducing the rate they pay for their loan thru Zopa. Yes, you can even get your rate down to 0% (i.e. no loan payment) if you get enough help from other Zopa members. That is very cool.

Every CD you purchase is much like a CD at a local bank/credit union. Their current rates continually beat the pants off of local CD rates. These CDs are currently only for 1 yr terms, pretty common for most CD holders out there. With the purchase of a CD you get to apply what ever percent of your return on your money you want to your friend/family member through the site. Say the site offers 3.75% on your money, if you were real generous you could knock down your rate to say 3%, thus giving 0.75% as help to the person of your choosing or even stay at 3.75% and still help someone out a bit more minimally. You get a great rate on a CD and your money goes to help an actual person with their loan rate. Pretty cool.

So ready to help a man out. Check out the link to the left if you are so far interested. Otherwise, contact me and I’ll answer any questions you may have. Wouldn’t it be nice of you to help me pay less on the loan I’m taking out to help with wedding finances? I intend to pay this loan back shortly after festivities, it’s more of a cushion for me.



Country living ….. part d’oh!

29. July 2008 | Category Observations, Rant

Browse back a few posts and you’ll see a breath-taking image of our fine township roads this spring. It’s taken the last few months to get over that seemingly endless ‘rut’ of a spring.

But wait, there’s more to this saga.

Seeing as leaving a frost-heaved road to it’s own devices is not sound township governing policy, the local intelligencia has come up with a few marvelous solutions.

Alfsborg Township to the immediate west of us has tried a few different tacts. First wise idea was to put rather large (think knuckle sized) rocks down, to ‘fill in’ the frost heaves and then put new gravel over that. While this has seemed to work, it scares the hell out of you when you’re driving and it sounds as though one of those rocks is coming up through the floorboards at you after you kick up one of these rocks. A tad disheartening. Not sure what to make out of it if one of those rocks were to fly/hit anything with so much as a pulse.

Alfsborg has also been ripping up the middle of some real troublesome spots that were pretty much pure dirt/mud and replacing that with pure gravel. Interesting take, haven’t had a problem with these yet, although a good dousing of rain could hamper things (maybe not this year though).

But the blockbuster, cake winner, hands down idiot award goes to the local township buffoons in good ol’ Sibley Township. Seems that in a effort not to be outdone by the upstarts to the west, Sibley Township came up with it’s own harebrained scheme to rid the township of previously mentioned frost-heaved roads. It started out peculiarly one morning with a fellow, presumed to be in the employ of the township, seen discing up the roadside slope of 481st Avenue. While this seemed like a ill advised attempt to dissuade neighbors from haying their ditch easements, it got wilder. A two mile stretch of this roadway was eventually worked up and left fallow.

In discussions with local governing officials, it seems the plan was to work up the ditches unto the road because they contained so much gravel and redo the road from these slopes.


How the hell is putting black dirt on a gravel based, gravel covered road supposed to help? This is the rationale though, because someone somewhere heard that this may have happened somewhere else and worked? Whatever.

So today, these bozos went through with their little plan to screwup the road even worse. As I was coming home my normal route, I notice a completely black dirt covered road with two graders grading gravel on top of this. This effectively shut down this road, with no warning or heads up from the township other than to relay their plan when asked about it.

But they didn’t do all of the road, no. They still have roughly 1.5 mile stretch to go, once again on the main route I take to almost everything in Gaylord on a daily basis. I cannot imagine how this fiasco will end up. No doubt it will rain and create a soup hole the likes no one alive could imagine a township government would pay for. I can only imagine they hoarded all this money away from the last few comparatively mild to blow on the craziest frost-heave suppression scheme ever proffered.

Good riddance!