Thursday, April 26, 2007

where oh where have i been? well, i'm sure it wasn't half as exciting as mony's trip to austin (she hasn't resurfaced yet)...but i did take a little break with two work pals. we jaunted up to a very rustic little retreat/spa for a two day break on sunday and monday. it twas up on the way to z's i believe...we were not that far from home, about 3.5 hours up near state college, pa. (no, we didn't have time to visit the dairy bar --- too bad. I'm not a big ice cream eater (call me un-american), but even i can appreciate the good stuff. when i taught at U of MD, friends would ask me to tote home pints on a regular basis.)

yesterday was spent getting ready for merlefest, the last of my annual spring travels. I'm sharing a room with Ann this time, as her company is making the best of the festival available for live music fans all over the globe. check out her stuff if you haven't, just go here!

I'll be hitting the road in just a bit, but had to share this bit of news. Al Gore has done the impossible. He's convinced one of the greatest rock bands EVER to reunite for his summertime Live Earth concert.
Can you guess who's reuniting to save the planet? No. Nope. Think bigger. I said BIGGER. Like up to 11.

Oh, come on. Even you can get this one.
You want a hint? I just gave you a big one.

that's right, it's spinal tap. As the Times puts it, "Christopher Guest, the actor who portrays Tap’s lovably clueless guitar hero Nigel Tufnel, evidently feels that he can do more to sway the global debate with a Wembley Stadium gig and a 15 minute film short than he ever could by taking up his rightful place in the House of Lords as Baron Haden-Guest." Click here for more, including some classic clips.

Now, don't you feel better?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Have you heard of The Zimmers? They're the oldest rock band in the world. Do yourself a favor and read the complete description of this video, which comes from an upcoming BBC documentary.

(they probably get their name from "zimmer frame," which is british english for "a walker."*)

*the kind of walker used to make you more mobile. Not the kind who escorts old ladies to lunch.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

under 30 bucks. That's how little I'd have to spend to erase my carbon footprint. Or become carbon neutral when it comes to yearly driving.

Driving Green makes it very easy for you to figure it out.

Terra Pass is another site doing similar stuff.

Friday, April 13, 2007

you know how much I enjoy planning trips....after giving it some thought, I think it's probably more cost effective to fly.

Check my directions,and tell me what you think. (those with short attention spans are allowed to read the first couple, and then skip down to number 18)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Before I owned my first volvo, I drove all different kinds of cars. The last before I joined the "volvo saved my life club" was the taurus my mother owned. I never liked it. But I inherited it because the car I was driving at the time was only OK. And her favorite nursing aide needed a car, so I "sold" it to her when I got the taurus. I'm putting "sold" in quotes because even though we agreed on 1200 dollars (for a 5 year old lebaron), I only saw 600 of it. And, on top of that, it had some cooling failure on the way to Florida, and I had to pay to fix that in order to finish the drive. If I remember correctly, that was a 350 dollar charge, which was to be reimbursed to me.

Anyway, bottom line was I never liked the Taurus. I used to joke that it always cost me about 700 dollars when i took it in for service.

When I switched to Volvo, my friends tried to convince me that I was going to be paying even more for service. Hah! Not true. Actually, I think I'm paying less in car repairs ever year.

Of course, I'm not driving that much these days, so I'm not getting service as often. I do change the oil every 3500 miles or so, but haven't really put much money into it in the past 18 months. (except for the 1k deductible when the crazy person hit me last year)

Well, in keeping with my former average, I wasn't shocked when they called to say it'll cost me about 1100 bucks today. Most of the expense is for a rear brake job,including rotors. I think that was about 500 bucks.

Then it's about 205 to replace the large plastic air intake thing that sits behind the bumper. I've got a low front end, and whammed it when i was backing out of a dippy driveway a month or so ago. Saw it hanging low last week, and figured it needed to be checked out. I'm told they often get whacked out of place, and can sometimes just be reattached, but I did a number on this one and it's a goner. (and since it's not something that is super common, they've got to airlift one in from somewhere, which means I'll be driving the loner until tomorrow afternoon)

OK, we're up to about 700 and change. The upper engine mount is cracked and should be replaced, i can't remember if you need to remove the engine to fix that, but it's about 200. Of course it is covered under my warranty (which was extended to 6 years when i purchased a pre-owned volvo), so it'll cost just the deductible - - - either 50 or 100 bucks. so, we're up to 850 now. The other 250? Regular maintenance is 165, and I can't remember what else is getting done.
Called my garage, and they said i wasn't going to save much by having them do the work. And since I also had a recall item to take care of, I might as well have volvo do it.

So, april 2007 will go down in history as the month of big checks.

Oh, and I'm figuring that 1100 bucks, without a major auto expense since december 2005 means that I'm still under my usual payment when I drove the taurus.

And, i don't think there is such a thing as "the taurus saved my life club."

Monday, April 09, 2007

I am a whore for miles, part 1.

I don't usually have a large tax bill. I pride myself on usually being within 250 dollars one way or another of my witholdings. after all, why should the feds be getting interest on my dollars all year?

but not this year. The sale of the florida house means large dollars flowing out of my accounts in the next few days. So, tempted by a double mile offer, I decided to pay my fed bill with my UAL visa. Yes, I do pay a 2.9% fee for the honor, but I figure the 300 or so dollar fee is worth the almost 26000 miles I'll receive. (wish AA had such an offer, but no such luck). Anyway, I happily clicked away...and only then decided to check how much credit i actually had on the card. Oops...

Yes, my greed sent me over my credit line! I've never done that before, but I knew a hefty fee was in the offing. What to do? My first thought was to goonline and pay the entire amount upfront to the card company, figuring with a huge balance, there's no way I'd get dinged for spending an extra couple thousand. But no----that's impossible. You can only pay the balance due...which was 187 dollars.

So I looked at the other card acounts I have with this bank, and realized I had enough to pay the bill twice over, but spread out over 3 cards. Perhaps I could move a few thousand bucks in unused credit from one card to another.
so I got on the horn, only to find out i had to call back this morning when the credit line adjusting people were back at their desks. I just rang back, and the problem was solved in about 30 seconds.

Now...time for the state payment. Hmmm....that's worth about another 11000 miles....

Thursday, April 05, 2007

you know that video I posted yesterday? Two other people sent it to me today. Both in the music business - - -one in the position of signing contracts, the other someone who has written a few.
everyone loves it!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Remember the Turtles? Here are Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman with some words of wisdom for anyone even considering entering into a deal with an agent.