Friday, June 23, 2006


Tuesday I made it home early from work. Shortly after I arrived at home a mild, afternoon thunderstorm rumbled into town.

We went out onto our covered front porch to watch the rain fall. The sun was shining from somewhere, so I told the kids to look for a rainbow. The thunder wasn't too loud, so it was quite nice to be outside.

Off in the distance we saw a pitchfork-shaped bolt of lightning stab down towards earth. A few seconds later we heard the thunder. I briefly explained to the kids how you can tell how close the lightning is by the time. This bolt was probably about five miles away.

The rain was really coming down now, the kids reached out trying to catch raindrops.

Then another cloud-to-ground... this one about a mile away. Hmm, that one was a little louder. Whoo hoo, that was fun! Keep looking for that rainbow!!

Then the world went white. It wasn't so much a Flash-Boom as it was a Fla-BOOM. I don't know where the lightning struck, but it was close, it was loud, and it caught the kids off guard. Ironically, neither the blinding flash of lightning nor the deafening thunder seemed to scare them. What scared them were the two neighboring car alarms that were sounding sirens, beeps and buzzes as a result of the thunderclap.

We decided at that point to go indoors.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Anne and I have been determined to eliminate our debt and increase our savings.

Last month, we decided to pay off the remaining balance on a car loan we had. Some people thought we were crazy, since the interest rate was pretty low. They suggested we invest the money instead where it could earn a higher rate of return than the interest rate on the car, yadda yadda yadda.

The fact of the matter is, we'd rather have the car paid off. So, we wrote the check and mailed it off. We talked about the blessings that can come from getting out of debt.

Then yesterday a letter arrived from the bank. "We received your check, your loan is closed." Yay! "Enclosed your vehicle's title certificate. Take this to DMV to have the lien removed from your vehicle's title."

Whoa, whoah... DMV? We follow the counsel of our church leaders, and as a result, I have to go to DMV?!? That's punishment, not a blessing!

Maybe the investment wouldn't have been such a bad idea after all.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

If only I could have his car...

... and the number to his tailor, I'd be set.

You scored as James Bond, Agent 007. James Bond is MI6's best agent, a suave, sophisticated super spy with charm, cunning, and a license's to kill. He doesn't care about rules or regulations and somewhat amoral. He does care about saving humanity though, as well as the beautiful women who fill his world. Bond has expensive tastes, a wide knowledge of many subjects, and his usually armed with a clever gadget and an appropriate one-liner.

James Bond, Agent 007


Neo, the "One"




Indiana Jones


Captain Jack Sparrow


The Amazing Spider-Man


Batman, the Dark Knight


The Terminator


William Wallace


Lara Croft


El Zorro


Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
created with

Thursday, June 01, 2006


I don't know about you guys, but I've been watching the Fed raise short-term interest rates, and have been waiting for the interest rate paid by my bank to creep up. After all, it crept down every time the Fed dropped rates.

But nothing has changed. 0.5%. .5%? That means that due to inflation, the money in our savings account is worth less than it was a year ago. Granted, it's not a ton of money to begin with.

Back to the interest. In order to attract savings customers, some banks started offering "online" savings and money market accounts. ING, Vanguard, Emigrant, Citibank, and many others, to name a few. These accounts have been paying around 4.5% and above. The trick is that you don't get a statement in the mail, you can't talk to a teller, so you do everything online or by mail or ATM.

You can find a number of these banks over at, they list the interest rates and current "deals". Some of these banks will even give you referral fees if you refer a friend ($20/each). This guy has some more info on referrals.

Our bank happens to be located over 2,000 miles away to begin with, so I don't exactly talk to a teller on a regular basis. I was about to yank all [most] of our savings out of our current bank, and sock it into one of these online accounts. Then I stopped, and thought maybe.. just maybe.. our bank has jumped on the "online high-yield" bandwagon.

Whaddya know, they have. It's a fairly new offering, it wasn't even listed on all of their account comparison pages. So we just opened a new savings account, at the same bank, which earns 4.6%. They limit the withdrawals you can make to 3 per month--which is good, since it's a savings account. The nice thing is all of our accounts are at the same bank and linked together for easy transfers.

To illustrate, here is a comparison of the return on "one large" over the course of a year, compounded daily:

Anemic SavingsTM, 0.51% APY: $6.02

Internet Money Market, 4.71% APY: $48.22

Well worth the 15 minutes it took to complete the online application.