bentangle

money

At a Loss

by on Jun.06, 2009, under money, technology

I’ve lost it.  All of it.  Well … most of it … and hopefully only temporarily.  Specifically what I lost was data – lots of it:  hundreds of digital photos, thousands of MP3s, countless documents, spreadsheets, graphic design projects, videos, etc.  All gone without so much as a hiccup of noise to announce their departure.  You see, they were all saved on an external USB hard drive – a 1Tb drive that I treated myself to last fall – that suddenly decided to cease to function.

The loss is inexplicable and immeasurable.  The drive had been working fine no more than a couple days ago.  But when my wife attempted to fire it up today to access it, it seemed disinclined to come to life.  The power light would come one and blink a bit.  Her laptop would attempt to connect to it.  But in the end, the drive didn’t seem to want to perform.  I, being the manly man of technology that I am, attempted to use my own laptop and a number of different USB cables to troubleshoot the issue, but to no avail.  It is kaput.

The good news:  (a) it seems the device is still under warranty and (b) there are services available who may be able to recover the lost data.  So hopefully at some point in the near future I will have a shiny new external hard drive that works and all of my files conveniently found and restored (unfortunately not without incurring some costs, but little in life comes for free).  And beyond that I hope that I can manage to get to a point where such a loss is less likely (e.g., having my files in more than one place to avoid such catastrophic results).  But in the meantime, I’m floating in the limbo of not knowing if, when, or at what cost I will have my data recovered (or whether one of the costs of recovery is a void to the warranty).  And such a lack of knowledge leaves me at a loss for comfort, security, or resolve.

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Date Night

by on May.23, 2009, under family, health, money

They are too few and too far between, but this evening I took my wife out to dinner.  We considered extending the evening by going to see a movie, but after paying the bill for our fancy dinner, we decided to call it a night.  But it was at least nice to eat a meal together where we could eat and converse without outbursts, interruptions, or the frustrations of getting our children to sit still and eat something.

The reasons that we don’t do such things more often are many, but here is the short list:  lack of time, lack of money, and lack of available sitters.  On the issue of time, there simply doesn’t seem to be enough of it lately.  I often don’t get home from work until 7PM, occasionally have to do more work in the evenings and weekends once I’m home, and the free time that we have together is always busy doing things as a family.  We are lucky to manage to sit and eat three meals in a day at all none the less together and with significant planning.  As for money, a single income only stretches so far.  My wife is very sensible and frugal and stretches every dollar she has an opportunity to spend.  But with a mortgage and 2 car payments, our entertainment fund is nearly non-existent.  Finally, sitters – we have yet to actually procure paid sitter services.  I know that there are sites where you can find and contact local and reputable sitters, but neither of us have the time to vet one properly and that would also have to come out of the entertainment fund.  We do have access to some free sitter services, but schedules rarely align properly.

But tonight, things seemed to align – we had a willing (and free) sitter available, the kids were in good spirits, it was a nice day … and we had a coupon.  So we got dressed up (ish) and headed out to a nice little Italian place (the kind with a fairly short menu and very few pasta dishes on it).  We had a pleasant conversation along with good food from appetizers to dessert.  And now that we have done so, my wife can feel less guilty next weekend when she leaves me with the kids to go camping with her girlfriends … on our anniversary (our 12th – what is that, silk?  I can’t think of any camping items that should be made of silk).  I kid – no guilt necessary.  It is just a day after all.  We celebrate the marriage every day.  And the milestone will be no less important apart.

Hopefully we will make the time to go out more often in the future.  Only time will tell.  But expect to see more entries this week relating to my significant other and related topic.  In retrospect, as important a part of my life as she is, I probably should be writing more along those lines all the time.  The sentiments are there, just the expression seems too few and too far between.  I’ll have to work on that.

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Item Request – Missed Shirt from Shirt.Woot

by on Mar.16, 2009, under Internet, money

Pterodactyl with a Machine Gun

Pterodactyl with a Machine Gun

(continue reading…)

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Watch the Watchmen (On Second Thought, Maybe Some of You Shouldn’t)

by on Mar.16, 2009, under money, movies

I recently went to see Watchmen at the theater (which I mentioned previously).  In short, I really enjoyed it and would gladly go watch it again and will likely rent it (or even shell out the cash to buy it) when it comes out on DVD.  I’ve since read a few articles about the opening of this movie that have left me shaking my head.  It seems that a good number of people who had opted to go see this movie ended up walking out of it before the end.  Confused and curious, I felt compelled to read on only to find that the cause was what I should have expected – poorly informed consumers. (continue reading…)

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Point, Set, Match

by on Mar.14, 2009, under money, politics, TV

I’ve been a proud fan of Jon Stewart and the Daily Show for some time now.  Across the spectrum of the poignant political commentary and the ridiculously humiliating antics carried out by his crew, Jon Stewart and the show he hosts acts as the court jester of America.  While everyone should know that the jester’s main goal and duty is entertainment, much of this entertainment comes naturally in the form of poking fun at the status quo and exposing the truths that many prefer not to bring to light.  In this task, Stewart is often up to the task and does his due.  This week – and most pointedly Thursday night – he has taken his game to a new level. (continue reading…)

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