Archive for Money

Orchids

Posted in Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 18, 2014 by urbannight
Blue Mystique Orchids at a nursery.

Blue Mystique Orchids at a nursery.

Most of my views this morning have been of my Blue Mystique post.  It is funny because I was just looking at orchids this morning.

I have to admit that I am still kicking myself for not buying one of those orchids.  I believe they were something like 36.99$ at the time.  I didn’t think it was a good use of the money.  I really wish I had gotten one because I’ve never really stopped thinking about them.

I was at the store today, before work, and stopped to look at the orchids on my way out.  They had 4 different types of purple and purple/white ones.  Solid Purple.  Mostly White.  White with Purple Stripes.  White in the center fading out to pale purple at the outside edges.  I liked the White with Purple Stripes.  They were 17.99$.  I wasn’t sure I liked them enough for that price.

But if they get the Blue Mystique ones in again I will be buying one, if I have the money.  I really do regret not getting any at the time.

Strange Brew – Carrots?

Posted in Entertainment with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 19, 2012 by urbannight

What does three bundles of carrots mean? What do they MEAN?????

Dreams are a strange concoction of events, movies, books, and random input in your life being sorted and processed by the subconscious.  I do think that dreams can have meaning and messages.  But these need to be interpreted in the context of your life, not from some kind of dream dictionary.  But sometimes a dream is just a dream.  Here was my weird one from last night.

I’m working late at work, to get some more sections done on a project.  We can work up to 2 hours over time a week in reality.  In my dream, this was not a limit.  I get the impression I was making up for some time off I took. (in reality, I’m out of sick days and I took an unpaid sick day last week.  I was also supposed to go in and work 2 hours OT Saturday and I was too sick to go.)

I wasn’t feeling well so I decided to take a bath.  Our cubicles were bigger and for some reason, instead of a desk section behind me, I had a bathtub and t.v.  I then fell asleep in the bathtub. (this weekend, I kept wanting to take a bath but took showers instead.  Sunday, I went to take a bath and decided a nap sounded better.  I slept about 5 hours.  It was a LONG nap.)

The cubicles have an extra wall section that is hinged and works as a sort of door.  I hear the cleaning crew come in so I get up and get dressed.  One of the cleaners asks me to call his pastor because they need some money for gas and baby food.  I call and leave a message.

It is very late yet there were a lot of people working.  There was an entire accounting department (that doesn’t exist) that worked overnight shifts. (I suspect this is from me watching way to many episodes of Supernatural, back to back, on Netflix almost every day.) 

I finish my tasks and turn around to find something on the floor inside my door.  It’s a mystery note from the mysterious pastor saying these people are not who they say they are and they are trying to extort money from him.  He had notified authorities but he was giving me a reward.  Pinned to it was 50$.  This seemed really strange. 

I tuck it in my wallet with the rest of my money (for some reason, all my money is in my wallet and not my bank) and put my wallet in my purse.  I’ve had a bad feeling about this from the moment they showed up. 

The rest of the cleaning crew is leaving and the man and his wife come up to my cube and she is not Hispanic.  (Okay, everywhere I’ve worked in the last 6 years has had Hispanic cleaning crews.  I’m not trying to stereotype.  This is just an element from my life experience in this city.)  She was also not part of the cleaning crew.  I’m feeling gratified that there are a lot of accountants around right now so I’m not alone with them.

She demands her money.  I don’t have ‘her’ money, but I do have a note the pastor left for them.  (Why he snuck in and out I don’t know.) It is just a folded bit of paper and I’m trying to find it in all my receipts and cash and stuff.  She keeps trying to peek around me and into my purse.  She can’t so she finally tells me to hive her my purse. 

“No. I am not giving you my purse.  You do not need to look in my purse.” (the only direct line I can remember from the dream.  She then gets all huffy and tries to act all official and like she is going to try to put me under citizen’s arrest or something.  (I watched The Watch, it was rather boring.)  I know she plans to rob me.  I just cock my head at her and tell her she isn’t touching me or my purse and that I am going to call the police. 

An accountant, hearing the argument, stops and hangs out near us.  She doesn’t believe I will call the police.  I pick up the phone and dial 911.  As I’m doing this, I notice there are several bunches of carrots on the floor.  I have no idea why they are there.  I’m pondering this as the 911 operator answers the phone and I wake up.

What an awful place to wake up.  I want to know what happened next.  I’m really confused by the carrots.  I really just want to know about those carrots.  Who care about what would have happened next.  I was ready to thow down with that woman.

The Value of Time vs The Value of Money

Posted in Economics, Economy, Food, Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 18, 2012 by urbannight

Now one of these would save time and money when it comes to grocery shopping. It never seems to need refueling of any sort and you can pop into the past when things cost a lot less. But not too far because your money wouldn’t look right anymore.

There is a MoneyTalks news article comparing the prices of Walgreen, CVS, Wal-Mart, and an online drug store owned by Walgreen. 

She is surprised that the drug stores were more expensive that Wal-Mart.  She expected, that since it was a ‘drug’ store, with the word ‘drug’ in the name, that OTC medications would be cheaper there.

They are a type of convenience store and convenience stores are always more expensive. You get stuff there when saving time is more important than saving money.

You then have to factor in the value of your time (usually based on your wages) to determine if the cost of your time would make the cheaper items cost more since driving to a Wal-Mart, going through a bigger parking lot, walking though a bigger store, and then getting back on the road again would all take longer.

There is always a Walgreen or CVS right on the drive, the more expense item suddenly becomes cheaper under those circumstances.

It is a balancing act between the value of your time and the value of the dollar in hand. 

There was a finance person that used to recommend a person write out all their normal groceries in a notebook and go to all the local grocery stores to compare all the prices.  Then make a list of which items to buy at which stores.  Then when you needed groceries, you would go to ALL those  stores and buy the items that are cheapest at each store.

This has always seemed ludicrous to me.  Think of all the extra gas used to go to all those different locations.  You also have to factor an addition 10 minutes at each store just for parking and walking into the store.  The time to exit depends on the lines.  So you are looking at a minimum of 10 15 minutes to as much as 30 minutes per store.  Since you have to walk around each store to get the items, your total walk time is much higher.  The end result is that a 1 hour grocery shopping trip might take 4 hours going to 4 different stores.

If you know your gas mileage, figure out how many miles you are driving for all these extra stops.  Figure out the cost of gas based on the current gas price.  If it takes 4 hours you have taken 3 more hours that it could have had you gone to one store.  Say you make 10 dollars an hour.  Your groceries have just cost you an addition 30 dollars.  Then add the gas cost.  Add that to your total receipts from the 4 stores and you have your REAL cost.

I know that some items are cheaper at Wal-Mart.  So I wait to get them when I’m in there, usually once a week whether I want to be or not.  I carpool with my roommate and sometimes he make a stop there. 

If I need to go to the grocery, I focus on the stuff I know is better priced there. 

I recently discovered that Target’s ready to eat soups are cheaper than both Wal-Mart and the Grocery.  I don’t make a special trip and use extra time and gas.  But it I’m going there for something I need and I know is only available at Target, I will also hit the grocery section for those items Target has cheaper.

By working it in with needed trips, I’m not wasting time and gas driving all over town on one day to get groceries. 

The other option is to do that notebook thing, tally the numbers at the bottom, and use whichever store has the over all lowest costs as the primary grocery store, thus saving the 30+ extra dollars in time and gas.

An American’s take on Greece, Austerity, and World Economics.

Posted in Economics, Economy, Life, Politics, Uncategorized, Work, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , on June 13, 2012 by urbannight

Austerity measures have slashed services, wages, and jobs. So many people are out of work or making half the income they did before for more work done. They don’t have the money for goods and services so businesses are now unable to pay their taxes.

People are fleeing the cities and returning to the towns and villages they or their parents originally came from. They are seeking out relatives in these small places while they find a new place. They are taking up smaller jobs and spend much of their time tending gardens which is a major reason for this rural exodus.

If you have tiny home with a garden plot you at least can grow your own food. You may also have space for some goats or chickens. This way you can have dairy and protein.

Austerity measures don’t work and made the problem worse. They needed a better solution and it may be too late now for anything to really do any good. Going rural will be a solution to the food problem. But I think countries on an Austerity Plan may end up slipping backwards into a type of third world status.

This kind of fits in with my Tipping Point blog. While it is mainly about ecology and resources, a part of the issue is the basis of the world economy. The economic engine is based on spending which is why businesses and companies have so much political power. And they seem to be the reason that consensus on environmental issues seems to be a total failure.

As long as the economy is based on spending and people have less and less because big business is tying up most of the world’s money, austerity measures will not repair a broken economy but actually make it worse. People are going rural to save money but they will probably keep the smart phones and computers in order to stay connected and try to find ways to do distance work, create work, or simply job hunt.

Lower quality of living and health with high-tech toys. Although, the rural people who have home plots and an animal or two that can produce a renewable food source may end up having a higher quality of live as those in urban settings get worse and worse.

Why the GOP is Dragging the Country Backwards.

Posted in Economics, Life, Politics, Technology with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2012 by urbannight

The US Navy has come up with a stealth submarine that is so expensive that it would cripple the military to build them. It is described as, “A super-stealthy warship that could underpin the U.S. navy’s China strategy will be able to sneak up on coastlines virtually undetected and pound targets with electromagnetic “railguns” right out of a sci-fi movie. (Eric Talmadge, AP)”

Everything seems to be getting to expensive for the government to do anymore. Advancements in military technology and the space program just to name two. Personally, I blame uncontrolled, Free Market, capitalism. By not putting any type of controls on it, Capitalism has been allowed to rape the populous in order to keep increasing the profit margins. Prices keep getting pushed up to get the most out of ever person. Everything is more expensive and most of the money gets tied up in those big businesses and people have less and less to spend.

We also have a situation that seems very odd. We have a large portion of out of work people. More technology tends to use fewer people. Some fields have nearly disappeared. We are also told we have a shrinking work force as more Baby Boomers are retiring and we don’t have enough workers to keep up the tax base to fund their social security benefits.

The real answer is that we need fewer people. The technology of the future uses fewer people so we need to produce fewer people. That means we have to figure out a better way to fund the government retirement programs. This wouldn’t be as bad a problem is we stopped the out of control cost increase as businesses try to milk the population of every penny they have. But once the population starts to die off and if we make a point not to over procreate then there will be more money for the rest of us. There will be more money for science and technology that will take us into the future.

At this rate, it is clear that we are not going to progress. We can no longer afford it. We are not even going to sit here and stagnate. We are already slipping backwards and regressing. The very science fiction that gave people the ideas to strive for is also becoming darker, more dismal, more depressed. So much so that one writer challenged other writers to start writing more hopeful futures with new ideas. The current science fiction seems to have stopped creating new technological ideas that might exist in the future. But even should they get those creative, inventive juices flowing, the finite money supply will be so tied up in corporate business that it just won’t be there to fund the projects.

So, if the government and military really want to continue advancements in modern weaponry, then the government needs to look at profit caps for businesses, limits on how much prices can increase each year, greater control on medical costs (inflation on medical care increase at a rate of between 2 and 4 times greater than the cost of living inflation each year), and encourage the use of birth control rather than limiting it. Then the reduced population will have more money and be happier. Science fiction writers can help create the ideas for the scientists to develop and we can start moving forward again. But it requires doing everything that sends the GOP screaming onto their soap boxes and into their pulpits.

Lucid Dreaming

Posted in Life, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2012 by urbannight

The realization you are asleep and dreaming and you take control of your dream. This woke me up at 5:00 am this morning.

I don’t remember where the dream started.  But at some point I decided to go to a zoo.  But there was no one at the ticket counter.  So I feed my money into a machine and take ticket.

I find myself in a hallway with a bunch of doors.  But no displays.  So I peek into a door wondering if you have to deposit coins to see the animals.  Inside are small rooms the size of linen closets with a couple of plastic storage tubs.  It looks like there might be something in the back corner, moving around.  But there are no lights.  I check another door and it is the same.

I go back up to the front.  After all, it is now well past opening and there are no displays.  A manager yells at me for opening doors.  He saw it on a video feed.  I tell him that I was there after opening, no one was manning the ticket counter, and there were no exhibits out. I had to get my entrance ticket from a coin operated machine so I thought maybe I had to put coins in another machine to view the exhibits.  He yelled at an employee for not manning the ticket counter and then yelled at me some more.

I left after that.  Clearly this was not a normal zoo and was, perhaps, a ripoff.  Something was not right.  I leave and am now facing a road.  I cross the road and to my left is a train track.  I start jogging along it and notice the foot path to the right and I go over that way.  After all, it isn’t safe to jog or walk so close to a train track.  The path looks very familiar to me.

I’m going my merry way and see a woman nearby.  Instantly, I am aware of the dream.  Oh no.  It’s that crazy lady dream.  She is speaking into a small recorder about her former Navy Hero, now Doctor Boyfriend.  I decide to take a proactive approach and I suddenly have a giant mallet which I swing at her and she is knocked into a major crevasse near the trail.

She pops back up like it was nothing and tries to get me with her spray bottle of horrible caustic solution explaining that she has improved it from last time.

You see, I’ve encountered her in other dreams. Two that I can remember. She is a crazy lady who created an imaginary relationship with someone and she perceived me as being in the way.  Mostly because I managed to save the person she was stalking by being in the right place at the right time and stopping her.  I had never met or seen the person before.  So I am traveling on a path and she tries to kill me.

The second time I dream of her, she has invented a new and better ‘boyfriend’ that she believes is real.  She has invented a strange solution and put it into a bulb shaped, squeeze bottle-thing that is used to clean babies ears out.  The first guy she stalked in the first dream actually existed.  This new guy is a creation of her mind but she is stalking a real person she perceives to be him.  Again, I’m in the right place to stop her.  I get a face full of this solution and it is like some sort of pepper spray.  While it bothers me, it isn’t bad enough to stop me and I’m able to disable her and she gets arrested.  I testify against her in court and she gets locked up.

So now I’m up to tonight’s dream and there she is again, on the same path she normally attacks me on and I’m aware that I’m dreaming.  This time the new imaginary boyfriend is nowhere around.  But rather than wait for her to attack me, I decide to strike first.  As I mentioned, she acts like I never hit her.  After she tries to hit me with her new solution, I try to hit her in the face with the giant mallet (think croquet mallet). This time I get prayed in the face with the new and improved caustic solution.  Only I ‘t notice that it doesn’t bother me at all.

I decide it is time to wake up.  I really don’t feel like dreaming about this crazy lady again.  And after the weird zoo part of the dream, I can tell it is going to go no place good.

Welfare for the Wealthy

Posted in Economics, Economy, Politics, Work, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 10, 2012 by urbannight

I work for a business that likes the throw the word ‘shareholds’ around all the time.  This drives me absolutely batty.  To me, shareholders are the biggest leach on a company’s resources and it is just a form of welfare for the wealthy.  And I’ll explain why I see it this way.

Once upon a time, before Wall Street existed, a ‘shareholder’ purchased shares in a venture.  Usually a ship.  Often for a particular voyage.  The money went to help outfit the ship for the journey and to purchasing cargo.  The ship returned and sold the cargo for a profit and the money went to the shareholders.  It was a one time shot sort of thing.  If you were happy with the results you had the opportunity to invest in the next trip. 

Later on, if a private business needed an influx of money, the owner could break it up into shares, keeping a majority to keep control, and selling the rest.  People could then buy into the company, producing the cash flow needed at that time, and the company would pay returns out.  Kind of like repaying a loan. Only for longer.

Now days, you buy shares of stock and you are putting a small amount of money into a company.  It seems to have very little to do with needing a quick influx of money.  You then get your ‘share’ which kind of makes you a mini-owner in the company.  Now you sit back and get returns on your shares.  So the company has to keep paying the shareholders back.  Eventually, far in excess of the money they put into the company.  The shareholders want profit course.  As they want more and more money, the company has to focus more on paying people who do nothing for the company and just sit around with hands held out saying, “Give me, Give me, Give me.”  This is money that doesn’t really ever go back into the company unless a shareholder decides to buy another share.  And they only do that so they can get higher returns.

I don’t see any real difference between share holders and people on welfare other than share holders start out with the money to buy the shares in the first place.  Then they want to get lots more money back without having to do anything. 

This is why I like to call it welfare for the wealthy.  This is why our economic model is starting to fail.  There is only so much money in the world and it keeps getting tied up at the highest levels.  Trickle down economics doesn’t exist because not enough trickles down.  As more money gets tied up in share holders’ banks or in other ‘investments’, there is less money to put back into businesses.  Therefore, cost of living wage increases do not match the actual early inflation levels so most people are getting poorer and poorer. 

I know this is a bit of an oversimplification of the flaws of our economic system.  But I still think it is a valid viewpoint and I still think ‘shareholders’ are the biggest leach on our economy and they are just people looking for a return for doing nothing.