Wednesday, May 30, 2012


I've never been a big apple eater.  The time in my past when I ate them the most was when Nick was living with me.  He'd get a bunch and not always be able to eat them all, so I'd help on occasion.

Something changed recently and I've been buying more apples.  I've realized that they're pretty convenient to take to school and snack on.  When I'm done, I put them in my empty sandwich bag ('cuz I ate my sandwich) and bring the core home to compost.  I was wondering what brought on the sudden change and I can only think of one thing:  I started eating more apples after I decided that I want to be a teacher.  Maybe that's not what really happened, but who knows...maybe on some subconscious level...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Miser May Week 3 Update

A bit late on this update, but here's the status as of 5-23:

Total expenditure so far this month:  $1,185.  Average daily expenditure is up to $51.52 (last week it was $40.42) due in large part to paying tuition at FSU. I've added a couple more days of zero expenditure.  I've not been doing so great this month and I think I'm going to give in tonight and buy something at Food Truck Thursday.  I'm going with my roommate b/c his friend's band is playing.  I am not as into this Miser May thing as I was in Frugal February.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Monday, May 14, 2012

Miser May Week 2 Update

Oh boy, this is not going as planned.  I've spent almost $1,000 and the month's not even half over.  Only about $300 of it was not related to maintenance on my house or tuition or teaching.  That's still an average of about $20/day.  Although that average includes food, it's still pretty high.  Excluding food gives expenditure around $60.00 if you don't count Netflix.  That number looks a little better.  I wish it was my total.

I'm hoping that Stingy September will allow me to do another really good month like February where I really save a lot (that means putting money into a savings account).  I'm still going to have to spend at least another $150 to get the bathtub leak under control.  The problem is in a confined space that I don't have the tools to work in so I had to hire someone.  The tight space would undoubtedly try my patience as well.

I still have utilities to look forward to near the 23rd.  If I eat cheaply for the rest of the month and don't have any other big repairs to do, then I can hopefully drop my average a good deal.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Jacked July?

I just had an idea for another month long self-improvement project called Jacked July.  The premise is that I'll do more strength training (and get jacked).  The goal is to have a nice ripply 6-pack at the end of the month and to finally get back in the gym lifting.  I'd like to see a strength gain by the end of the month.  Maybe get up above 20 dips again (not sure how many I can do right now).  A goal of 15 pull ups at once sounds reasonable.  Perhaps a weight gain of 5-10 pounds.  Maybe that's asking a bit much on the weight.  DOING STRENGTH TRAINING DOES NOT REQUIRE ME TO GO TO THE GYM AND "LIFT WEIGHTS."  A day spent moving furniture or rock climbing would count.

I need help coming up with rules, so please help me out.  I think that first and foremost is the emphasis on strength training.  I think that 4-5 days of lifting or lift-substitute per week would be good.  I can also crank up the intensity on my running.  I won't change my bicycle commute, but will do some intense bike training rides.  I can also get in some good swims going for speed instead of distance.  I will allow myself one off-day per week.

I'm thinking that if I really want to get jacked, then I need to also eat a better diet.  I may want to cut way back on ice cream and soda, eliminate fast food (like on Saturdays at the bike shop) and junk like: chips, hot dogs, mac & cheese, etc. while increasing intake of fruits & veggies and quality protein.

I may also abstain from alcohol, but maybe not...might switch from beer to hard liquor (not mixed with soda).  This month isn't about being "healthy" but rather getting jacked.  My legs don't need much work, so I'll probably only focus on them during one weight lifting session during the week.  I'll have a back/biceps day and a chest/triceps day and I'll alternate them.  I won't do the same machines every b/b day or every c/t day.

Once again, please help me out with guidelines.  I'd also appreciate ideas on what metrics to track (spending is pretty straightforward).

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Miser May 1st Week Update

If you haven't seen the spreadsheet yet, here it is.  I've not done as well as I did in Frugal February up to this point.  In fact, I have managed to buy at least one thing every day which brings my total for the first 7 days to $432.42 (an average of $61.77/day).  Part of this problem stems from things that need fixin' at my house and stuff I bought for teaching in the summer (~$227 between these 2 categories).  I also accidentally bought the SPD cleats on Saturday when I forgot it was Miser May.  I have also been drinking more beer than I had in FF, but it's in my fridge and I didn't put it there so that I'd have it for MM (some of it was left by guests who had brought some over and not finished it all).  The most recent Publix purchase was fairly large because I was induced to buy some stuff while it was on sale (check out the savings ratio).

Hopefully the last 3 weeks will have lower spending or else I'm screwed.  I still am going to have to hire a plumber to come fix a broken drain.  Yeah...last night I found that the PVC drain from the guest bathroom shower is broken in half.  Part of the top piece overlaps part of the bottom piece, but lots of water is just leaking.  Luckily, most of it is absorbing into the ground.  Unfortunately I will not be able to do the repair myself due to the tight quarters inside the wall.  I'm going to have to pay a plumber.  Furthermore, all my utilities come to me near the 23rd of the month.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Score One for the Good Guys

This morning, I called the lady whose purse I found yesterday.  I found her work phone number which was good.  The pharmacy apparently had her cell phone # and the cell had been stolen.  She tells me that the purse was stolen on Saturday, so it hadn't been gone long.  I'm glad she got it back fairly soon.  When we spoke, she was so thankful.  She told me that she really needed her medications.  She was thrilled at the presence of her eye glasses when she came to pick it up.

It feels good to help people when they really appreciate it.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Ditch Runs!

I went for some ditch runs today.  A ditch run is where you go running in a ditch.  Not a dinky front-yard ditch, but rather a big one that's a larger part of the local drainage system.  It's cool to run through retention ponds, but they don't go so far.  Some of these ditches just keep going.  Some are pretty deep.  One that I was in today had walls about 25-30 feet above my head.  The terrain is fairly varied, but there are a few main types.  There's hard rock with holes.  These are neat because you can see how they make sanctuaries for aquatic animals when they're full of water.  There's sandy area with loosely packed sand.  You also encounter broken bits of concrete.  Sometimes the pieces are stable and other times they're not.  Unfortunately, the ditches are not completely dry; you encounter patches of water.

Running today was good timing because they might not be so dry tomorrow or later this week.  For the first one, I snuck in through a hole in a fence.  After running about a half mile, I came across a purse.  I stopped and looked inside.  There were prescription medications, keys, eye glasses, personal letters, debit cards, and more.  Luckily, I found a name and address in there, so I decided to take it with me back to the house.  Running through the ditch with the purse was difficult at times and at one point I rammed my right leg into a protruding tree root.  Just a little bit of blood.  I had to throw the purse up out of the ditch before I was able to climb out.  Upon climbing out, I had to jump a fence to get to the road.  I couldn't find a number for this lady when I got home, so I called the pharmacy to ask if they could get in touch with her and give her my contact info.  I haven't heard from her.  I'm beginning to fear that her phone got stolen.  I found out where she works and left a message on her work phone.  I wonder how long the purse has been missing.  Since I'd only been running about 16 minutes when I got back home, I headed out for some more.

In the second ditch, I encountered 3 big snakes.  I think they were each about 6 feet long.  All black as far as I could tell.  The first one surprised me and I got pretty close to stepping on it.  I jumped up to avoid it then watched it squirm beneath me.  I was afraid that it would zig when I wanted it to zag and that I would land on it.  Fortunately, I missed crashing down on it and it got away.  The other snakes saw me coming and hauled ass.  Getting down into the second ditch was tough.  I almost slipped and slid down into it but was able to grab some plants (and get a splinter in my right index finger) to slow my descent.  I had to get up out of the second ditch after some impassible water.

On the way to the third (tall) ditch, I passed some people riding their bikes.  I asked the oldest if he knew of an entry point.  I followed the ditch around for a while and climbed down at a convenient point.  I think I should bring someone else along on these adventures because it would be very easy to twist an ankle something.  It was pretty fun.  At some points along this ditch I was almost at ground-level and at others I was about 30 feet down.  Parts of the ditch were very wide (a lower part about 4 feet wide and an upper area that's still part of the ditch another 3 feet on each side).  Other parts were only about twice as wide as I am.  I turned around and began back tracking and passed the point where I had entered the ditch.  I ran through the deepest part and it was nice.  I had a semi hard time getting out of this ditch.  I had to use my leftover rock-climbing skills (not as easy in running shoes) to get across a big pool of water then I had to climb out partially assisted by tree roots.  It would have been way easier to get up on the wrong side of the ditch.  After I climbed out, I had to climb a fence that had barbed wire wrapped around the top.  Why would they do that?  I managed to get away unscathed.

Hopefully I can find some more ditches in the future.  These were the best ditches I've ever run.  I'll try to go back next time we have a drought.  Want to come with me?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Pick #292

Hands - "Warm Night Home"

Admittedly, I picked the song more for this amazing video than for the music.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Miser May Day 1

I may not make quite daily updates like I did during Frugal February.  Today I spent $72.96 at Wal-Mart.  $33.24 was for stuff I got to teach class.


Economists know that information can help you make better decisions.  They also know that information is costly to acquire.  This PSA from Campus Talk magazine captures both properties of information.