Thursday, April 21, 2005

v3.6 - Some Assembly Required

Morning Folks,

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It is a nice morning this morning. The sun isn''t up yet, but the temperature is sitting around +9 Celcius. I''m super tired this morning, not sure what happened as I went to bed fairly early last night and woke up late today :)

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I want to talk a little bit about Credit Cards and how evil they can be :) I''m sure we all have Credit Cards. If not, I''m sure we know someone who does or we did at one time. Yes, they can be evil and wrong but they can also do some good.

First, lets talk about how these little pieces of plastic with way more cash than we can afford work. Does everyone know how banks make money? Of course you do :) They take your hard earned cash and reinvest it. So when you put cash into your account, you get a stupid interest rate on that cash that would net you maybe $0.01 a month if you''re lucky. Keep in mind, we''re not talking about Savings here, we''re talking about your regular day-to-day bank accounts. Ok, lets say you make $3,000 a month or something like that. That money is then put into your bank account so you can pay your bills, pay your mortguage/rent and all your other living expenses you need to cover. That money goes into your account at a low low low interest rate. The bank will take that money and reinvest it into mortguages, credit cards, lines of credit and every other rip off service they offer at a MUCH higher interest rate.

Following me?

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So now you''re making $0.01 a month on your money while someone is paying the back 18% on a credit card balance. Folks, that is YOUR money out there that people are using to buy houses and those big screen TVs. Ok, of course banks can''t take all the money and reinvest it as they need to cover the costs of people spending. This is partly why mortguages (one of the biggest purchases a person can make) are usually all interest and little principle for the first 5 years. The banks are obviously out to make money and they do a really good job at it. The same principle applies to all forms of Credit you get from a financial institution including a credit card :)

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So why the hell do we bother with banks? Well, mostly because they have money :) and are sometimes willing to lend us some of that money to buy things. Money is a very huge piece of today''s society and people NEED it to live. There is also a little thing called Inflation that we need to worry about as well. Let''s take Joe and Frank for an example here. Joe hates banks and avoids them like the plague. He takes all his paycheques to a cheque cashing store and loses a piece of his hard earned dollar in the process so they''ll cash it for him. Fine, he is still avoiding the banks and now he has his money. Joe takes his cash home and stuffs $100 in a sock and hides it in his sock drawer; this is his Savings Account :)

Then we look at Frank. Frank is the kind of average person who probably has 2 bank accounts (chequing and savings) and a credit card that is most likely always holding a balance. Frank gets his paycheque directly deposited into his account. From there, Joe can transfer funds to his Savings account which will gain him more cash over a period of time. Let''s say for example Frank transfers over $100 from each paycheque and throws it into a high interest savings account that is giving him 5% interest.

See the problem? At the end of a year, Joe will have approx $2400 (if paid bi-weekly) in his little sock tucked away in his sock drawer. Frank, on the other hand, will have a bit more than Joe. We all know how inflation works and how our parents/grandparents used to talk about buying a pop and a bag of chips for a nickle back in the old days. Well, you''d be lucky to get a pop and bag of chips for $2 these days. Inflations affects us all and will continue to change. Even though Joe is saving his cash, he isn''t letting that cash grow. At the end of it all, he will only have what he put into it where Frank will have made money which will compound over time. Frank could then go and reinvest that money and turn an even bigger profit over the long run. You see, most of us in the world work our tails off for the now. Very few of us are planning for the future. Hopefully we all live to grow old and see our children grow up and see our grandchildren and maybe even great gr! andchildren. I know I''m hoping to see my kids grow up, be successful and have kids of their own. I do NOT want to be a burden to my family. I have already taken the proper first steps to ensure my family will be taken care of in the event of my untimely demise, however, I''ve also begun the steps to better preparing for our future. I don''t know about you, but I don''t want to work forever :) I want to be able to retire when I''m still able to get out and do things in this world. Realistically, I see retirement happening around the age of 60 for me unless I can get my act together and stop spending my money :)

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Having to be old and being taken care of is not a place I ever want to be. I would rather die old in my own house that I worked to buy than to die in some home where I have people taking care of me. I''m a very stubborn person (for those who don''t know me well) and the thought of needing "assistance" when I''m old just makes me ill. Granted I''m still young (pre 30) and those feelings may change as I start to wither and decay. You can bet I won''t give up without a fight :)

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Enough about growing old an being poor. Lets talk about something fun and exciting!!

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I was playing WoW last night and made my way to a cool looking zone called "Un''Goro Crater". This place was so awesome looking I just had to take screenshots of all the different things. You will find them up on my Screenshot Gallery sometime today (http://ralic.fiendz.net/gallery2).

What an awesome site to behold. Blizzard did a wonderful job on this game and their attention to detail has been second to none. I make my way to this zone and I''m fighting prehistoric creatures all over the place. I even stumble apon a HUGE T-Rex in the middle of the zone. He was so massive (bigger than any mob I''ve seen to date) and made my screen shake when he walked. Awesome detail and animation. There were bubbling tar pits, glowing crystal caves and all sorts of amazing sites to see. I was exploring this zone last night and I found another path way out of the crater to a new zone I haven''t been to. The zone was called Silithus and although I didn''t make it far into that zone, I was able to unlock a flight path to go back there. The place was... strange, like something out of a very strange movie. There were these MASSIVE bee hives swarming with bees. There were these worm type mobs that would charge after you and when they hit you, would throw you a good 20f! t through the air. I haven''t experienced anything like that yet. The zone was fairly high level (mid 50s) so I didn''t stay long and made my way back to the crater. I saw a lot of cool things in the crater and when possible I took screenshots. Feel free to drop by my gallery and check them out. I try to seperate all my screenshots for WoW by zone, so if you don''t see the Un''Goro Crater section created, it means I may not have uploaded them yet :)

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Well gang, it is almost 7am and I need to get some work done this morning. There are a lot of URGENT requests that need to be fulfilled and calmed down, so I''ll most likely be spending the most of my morning soothing the beasts within.

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Have a great day gang and remember...

Shit, I forgot what I was going to say. Oh well, remember!

Cheers,

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Al