Frat Boy Math

At my alma matter, Eastern Michigan University, this weekend is Homecoming. Being Greek I’ve been paying attention to the new regulations that have been passed down by the University concerning tailgating for Greeks. My brothers are up in arms over the new regulation that states you can only bring a “six pack” of canned beer to the festivities. A six pack should be enough right? Well, most of my brothers are livers larger than Rhode Island and as such wish to consume more than six beers in a six hour period.

Luckily one of my brothers has found a loop hole. I’m calling it “Schenkel’s Law of Efficiency” and it works as follows.

1.) 6 x 22 oz of Steel Reserve = 132 oz of Beer
2.) 132 oz * 11% = 14.52 oz of total alcohol

In comparison to ...

1.) 12 x 24 oz of Bud Light = 288 oz of Beer
2.) 288 * 4.2% = 12.1 oz of total alcohol

By a.) buying 22 oz. cans of beer and b.) buying a beer with a very high alcohol content you easily usurp the “six pack” stipulation. Of course, if you’re used to drinking a 12 pack or an entire case you might want to pay close attention to the rate at which you consume the beer.

So there you have it, frat boys do pay attention to the classes that help them.

New Job … sort of.

I’ve been freelancing for the better part of 2 years now and I’ve become quite fond of my working conditions. I get up when I want (read: no alarm clock), I work on the projects that interest me the most and I make an honest wage. No complaints really, except the lack of stability. It’s a simple fact in the contracting business that some months are better than others.

During the last month, with the move and the upcomding wedding, I’ve started to put my resume out there a little bit. I think I submitted maybe three resumes to area job postings in the last month. I was very careful to only submit my resumes to jobs that were not posted by head hunters and fit my skillset perfectly.

Last week I was called at noon and asked to be at an interview by 2 p.m. Luckily, I had clean clothes to wear (read: I work in a tshirt and jeans normally). So I threw on some clothes and went down to the interview. All went well and they said they would be interviewing for the next week and calling people sometime towards the beginning of this week.

Well, they called the next day and offered me a one month contract-to-hire position. Basically, if they like me at the end of the month they make an offer. I figure it this way; it’s a solid month of work at a decent hourly rate.

The company is BlueFrogMobile.com and they sell ringtones for cell phones. They sell other “mobile content” as well, such as ring tones, backgrounds, etc.

On a side note, what’s up with my record of working with companies with frogs in their logo?

Badnarik on Third Parties

I’ve had a few talks with friends and family lately about the fact that I’m going to be voting for a third party. Libertarian, to be specific. Their candidate this year is a man named Michael Badnarik. He recently did an interview at Slashdot.org. The friends and family I’ve talked to have all, without hesitation, asked me why I’m “throwing my vote away”. Badnarik put it best.

If the “wasted vote” argument ever held any water, it doesn’t any more. The two major parties have moved toward a weird, non-existent “center” for the last 50 years, to the point where it’s difficult to tell them apart.

We could argue all day about whether Bush or Kerry is the “lesser evil.” The fact is that they both support the war in Iraq. They both oppose gun rights. They both supported the PATRIOT Act. They both support the war on drugs. They both support confiscatory taxation. They both support ruinously high levels of spending, huge deficits and increasing debt.

It’s hard to tell them apart on the real issues. They spend their time scrapping over “swing votes” in the gray area of the “center” — which means, in practice, “how do I not make too many people too angry to vote for me?” That’s no way to do politics. Politics, in my view, should be as unimportant as possible — but where it’s important, it has to value freedom, remain rooted in principle and be forward-looking.

All I can tell the “lesser of two evils” folks is that if they keep voting for evil, they’ll keep getting evil. If you don’t like the way things are, how do you change it by voting for more of the same?

In all of the conversations with families they all agree that they’re voting for “the lesser of two evils”. If that’s the case then you’re going to keep getting evil. Both parties have crap candidates, vote for the person you believe in the most.

I feel good knowing that my vote is niether “lesser” or “evil”.

Buying Your First House HOWTO

As you all have been reading Lauren and I purchased a new condo in Seattle, WA. Before buying the condo, my biggest purchase was a $8,000 car so this was a new one for both of us. I did most of the foot work and I have a few things I’d like to pass on to everyone out there.

  1. Do NOT sign anything with a realtor. If you do and you find something on your own you have to write up the agreement through them.
  2. I went out with three agents to look at houses. This was a great idea, I think. Unless a good friend of yours is an agent and you truly trust this person, then I’d recommend doing the same.
  3. If you don’t plan on keeping the house for very long (less than 5 years) then I’d recommend what they call an ARM loan. This basically means you only pay the interest on the loan (which is usually a few hundred less than a normal loan). With this type of loan you are assuming the value of the property will appreciate, also known as positive equity.
  4. You’ll need at least 5% down if you are a first time buyer. Most places offer “No Documenation” loans. All you need to qualify for a loan like this is the down payment and a good credit score.
  5. Do NOT get an out-of-state lender. We did and we almost lost the condo because of it. It’s always better to have someone in the area.
  6. We bought through ZipRealty.com. We had a real agent, who went above and beyond, and they gave us 20% of their commission back as a rebate (about $1,000).
  7. You always hear “No Poinst at Closing!” But, what does that actually mean? That’s what you pay up front for your loan. We paid points for the “No Doc” loan, the property being a condo, etc. This is figured by adding up the “points” (ie. 1.0 + .25 + .10, etc.) and taking the resulting percentage and adding it to the loan amount (ie. $100,000 * .0135 = $1,350 in closing costs). You’ll need to figure your points into what you pay down. If you put 5% down on the above example you’d actually need to come to closing with $1,350 plus the $5,000 down payment.

Hope this helps someone out there. It was a true learning experience for sure. The positive side of buying our condo is that an offer was made after we bought it for about $6,000 more than we paid for it. This means we have an instant positive equity of $6,000 + down payment on the condo.

Owning property rules.

First Attempt at Carpentry

My dad is a world class carpenter. He ran his own contracting business, building houses and such, for years. Since taking a job up north he’s “retired” to building beautfiul hand crafted furniture for friends and family. For him, working with wood is therapeutic. For me, not so much.

That’s why when I set out to build a roll-out closet organizer he was the first person I called. I mean, let’s be serious, he does fractional math (ie. 1 and 3/4 minus 3/8 equals 1 and 3/8) in his friggin head! We talked it over, I measured it up, purchased the materials at Home Depot (which, by the way cuts the stuff for you if you have the measurements all figured out), etc.

Last night I laid awake knowing that today I would have to build the thing and that I had neglected to take into account that the height of the door was shorter than the ceiling inside the closet and the sides of the organizer were too long to fit in the door. Today I spent most of the day working on building the thing and then, finally, figuring out that there was no way I was getting it into the closet without cutting off the top shelf.

After cutting off the top shelf with a hand saw I put some wheels on the bottom of it and rolled it into the closet. I’m happy to announce that it fit perfectly.

I’ll be calling my dad tomorrow about the scratches in the wood floor I made while creating the closet organizer.

Moving in

Let me start this entry by first saying that the last few weeks have been one of the most trying times of my life. The week has included, in chronological order:

  1. Consolidating my entire life into two small cars.
  2. A cross country trip crossing over multiple mountain ranges in heavy rain.
  3. Learning the day before closing that the mortgage company wouldn’t fund our loan because the condo didn’t meet their square footage requirment.
  4. Filing an exception and, eventually, having it approved and missing our closing date.
  5. Signing everything at escrow and wiring our down payment, only to have the seller go missing in action.
  6. Contacting a lawyer in case we had to force the sale. With the seller missing (and not returning phone calls) we might have had to take her to court.
  7. Waiting and worrying for hours until the seller finally came back on the radar. All the time worrying about the furniture, TV and bank cards/checks that were en route to the new address.
  8. Learning that the seller had, conveniently, signed too late for us to get into the condo the same day. Meaning we would have to wait another day to get into our new place.

Needless to say it’s been a nightmare. The good news is that all is finally well. All of our furniture will be coming tomorrow. This means we’ll finally have a couch and chair, TV, dresser, etc. I’d really like to thank Brad for letting us and Crash stay with him for twice as long as we originally thought.

I’ll be posting pics of the place when we get things more in order.