Thursday, November 26, 2009

analytics shows me as having a reader.

I just got off of Google Analytics and they show me as having a reader from the United Kingdom.  Site Meter didn't show anything.  I guess that shows that Site Meter may be set up wrong or it just doesn't work. 
I haven't made a post for a couple of weeks, now.  I've been getting discouraged by not having anyone read my posts.  Now, I know that Site Meter is giving me erroneous readings. 
Well I may be going back to school.  If I can get a Pell Grant and work study hours, I'll be taking courses on computer applications.  I have no illusions about getting a job, but at least I can make some money by taking classes, now. 
Kurt at Vocational Rehab told me that he didn't think I could get a Pell Grant since I didn't pay back my student loans.  They were discharged due to my disability.
I don't see any harm in trying.  My psychologist wants me to keep busy with school or work.  He feels that I may be setting myself up for failure by not being busy.  I talk to him about my gambling problem.
I've been going to Iowa City every Monday to talk with my psychologist.  On the way back I stop at Cedar Rapids for a Gambler's Anonymous meeting.  There are only 2 of us, there, but it is a good meeting, anyway. 
I'm concerned about my car holding up.  I had a heating problem with it, last week.  I had the thermostat and hoses replaced.  It's running a lot cooler, now.  In fact it's running a bit too cool.  It's getting hard to keep the interior warm. 
I also had a problem with the lights, one night.  They flickered on and off, in the middle of the night.  I think water got into the electrical contacts.  I'll have to try to fix that, even though it only happened one night. 
Well, my computer is getting unstable.  I'll have to post what I have and try again, later.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I loaded the code for the Google Analytics program.  I hope that it works better than Site Meter, which never showed me as having a reader.  I'm wondering if I should continue with the blog, since apparently, nobody reads it.  I talked with a few of my friends who say that they read it, so maybe the Site Meter program isn't working.
I'm using one of my older laptops at Java Johns and I'm having troubles with the pictures.  I can't preview them before uploading them.  I think it's the Linux program that is the trouble.  Since I can't preview them I don't know which picture I would want to upload.
I also changed the word processor.  The new one seems to work a bit better.  At least the cursor hasn't been bouncing around and it hasn't erased the text that I'm working on.  I'm a bit disappointed that I may no longer be able to load video.  That icon is missing in the tool bar.  I didn't upload many videos, but it's nice to know that I can.
Well, the big move is over and now I have to unload the boxes.  I've cleaned up most of the living room and I made headway in the kitchen.  I just have to keep plugging and get it done.
I wasn't able to sell my house.  I don't know if I mentioned that a law has been changed, making my lot too small to build on.  I applied for a variance but that won't be decided until December.  Until then, I'm broke.  I'll have to sell the computers that I normally give away.  I'll also have to borrow money from friends.  I already did for $250.  I'll need to come up with another $250 to $500 to pay for the move. 
Right now my phone doesn't work.  I added minutes to it on Friday night.  They said that I would have to wait 24 hours for it to take.  I waited the 24 hours and went back to the store, but they were closed.  Now I have to wait until tomorrow.
I'm just glad that the move went well.  It could have been worse.  The only thing left in the old house is the washer and dryer.  I may try to get them out before the house moves.  I'll have a month to get it done.
Tomorrow, I go to Iowa City to talk with my psychologist.  He's helping me with my gambling. 

Friday, October 30, 2009

Setting up Google Analytics

I'm trying to load Google's Analytics to my blog. I wasn't getting any hits on Site Meter so I was wondering if Google will find my readers. I know that some people are going to my blog because they tell me so. They aren't showing up on Site Meter, however. According to Site Meter, I've never had a reader at all.
I loaded a picture of some of the flowers that the "Flower lady" leaves at the Co-op. These will probably be the last for the season.
Blogger, once again, lost my writings. I have to use a word proccessor and transfer it to Blogger. I keep using the word proccesser that comes with Blogger and it loses what I'm working on.
Before the interuption, I was talking about getting a computer back from Darla. She gave me back her Gateway 9300. I'll check it out and sell it to someone. I'm too strapped financially, from the move, to just give them away. I now have 4 computers that I hope to get $50 each for.
The sale of my house fell through. A law had been passed making my place too small to build on. I'm hoping to get a variance in December.
But for now I'm strapped, financially. I'm moved into the apartment, so I have an extra $410 expense each month. I'm going to stick with the apartment in spite of the expense.
Well I've got to make a couple of phone calls and the minutes are out in my phone.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Made the move

Well, I made the move from Decorah to Calmar. I have everything in boxes so I haven't been able to find my camera cable, yet. Sorry about that.
I didn't sell the house yet. There is a problem about the size of my lot. A recent law change makes my lot too small to build on. That would mess me up to sell to anyone except for one of my neighbours. He wants to build a garage. I think a person could simply replace the old mobile home with a new one as well.
I was in such a panic during the move. I thought that I had to be out by yesterday. I was counting on Gary to help me move stuff with his pick up. I couldn't find him.
Nick helped me get the seats out by using a jack. That and Jim's two wheel cart made all of the difference. I had almost everything hauled by the van before I got a hold of Gary. We only loaded the sofa into his pick up. The move went well.
Now I have to worry about getting the money together for the security deposit and the rent. I'll also have to pay the satellite television company, as well. It'll work out. I have a little extra income from traveling to Iowa City for my counseling with the psychologist. I may have to borrow some money for the move.
I have no hope of getting the house sold until December.
I have to get into the habit of staying at Calmar for my computing needs. I checked out the school for Internet access and they are just fine. I can compute, there, between 7 A.M. and 8 P.M. I've got to stop coming to Decorah so much. It costs too much. But I'll miss all of my friends at Java Johns and Bookends and Beans.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Using Windows 2000

I'm using Windows 2000 on a Gateway 9300 that I just got from Ebay. I had a wi fi card that I can't get Linux to see. It doesn't have a driver that is uncompressed on it's setup CD. I can only use it with Windows. This machine came with a working Windows 2000 loaded on it. I'm really disappointed with it. I couldn't get the pictures to work with it and it's just too slow. I may load Linux on it as well. I can get Mint Linux to work as a dual boot system. I'll probably do that tonight.
I did well with my gold option. I sold at a $50 gain. I figured that I had to sell because I need more money for my move than I expected.
I don't know if I mentioned it but I sold my house and now I'm moving into an apartment in Calmar. Everything is falling into place. It turned out that I can get an apartment that is three times the size of my home for $410/month. After I'm there for a while I can apply for assistance with the rent that would bring the price down
I'm looking forward to moving since I've been crowded into my house for the last 10 years.
I fixed another of my Gateway 9500's. It had a bad monitor cable and I got one from Ebay, today. It also shuts down when booting up. I tried replacing the AC adapter and that seemed to fix that problem. Only time will tell if that is the fix for the booting problem since it is an intermittent problem. Well, I'll probably go home and load a picture with another machine.
The Gateway still has a problem with booting up. I have to boot three times before it takes, but at least the monitor problem is fixed.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Bought gold options

Well, I'm back to gambling. I bought an option on a gold ETF. It's letters are GLD. It tracks the price of gold. Gold went up for three days straight but the minute I bought the option, it went down. I'm still doing alright, however. It didn't move very much, yet. It has 2 1/2 months to make it's move so I'm not worried yet.
I also had offers on the house. It's at $18,000, now. I countered with $22,000. I hope it moves. I'll have to find a place to stay until a vacancy opens up in the apartment on Washington Street. I might just get an apartment, downtown. I don't like being very far from the action.
Darla is going to give me back the laptop I gave her. She isn't getting any use out of it and I might be able to find someone who really needs it. I might give it to Janelle. She might not need it but we'll see.
I paid for 3 more Gateway 9500's. Two are parts machines and one is already working with Windows on it. With the parts that I have at home I should be able to get 3 good machines out of these. I'm afraid, though, that they all might have troubles with the monitor cables. It looks like they were a design failure. If that is the case, they all might have troubles with that cable. Only time will tell.
I had my furnace worked on, yesterday. It turned out that it was just a loose wire. Today the gas people changed out the meter and messed up the pilot light. I'll have to try to get it lit when I go home. I think the problem is just air in the gas line.
I just sold my house. I got $20,000. The buyer will let me stay at the house until I get an apartment, uptown. I just hope that I don't loose it all trading options or bonds. I need to find something safe, to keep it in.
Well, later.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Calling for the Democrats

I spent a couple of hours last night making phone calls to promote a meeting, next Saturday, that the county Democrats are having to promote the Health Care Reform bill. I'll finish it up, tonight.
I don't know how I get roped into these things. John also wants me to be the web master for the Democrat site. I'll have to learn a lot about setting up web sites but I could make a business out of it. Troy at the Co-op wants me to set up a site for him, as well.
I guess I have a small business going. I think I'll do it. Tomorrow I'll run by Vocational Rehab and see if I can get a small business grant. I think I'll have to make myself a business. Things, kind of, open up when you put yourself out there. Everyone thinks I'm a computer whiz just because I fix up old laptops and hang out at Internet Cafes.
On another topic, I called the investment contact at Delphi, today. He said that the most that I can hope to get from the bonds is $.32 on the dollar invested. That still is a major profit for me since I bought most of the bonds for $.01 on the dollar. I don't know how soon I'll see the money. They have to pay off their "bridge" lenders first. Those are the people who loaned them $7 billion to come out of bankruptcy. The bonds are still cheap so I guess nothing will happen very soon.
I'm running out of excuses. I'll have to mow the lawn. It's sunny now and tomorrow it's supposed to rain, again.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Delphi is coming out of bankruptcy

I uploaded a picture of one of the flower arrangements that you can find at the Co-op. A lady, who I call the "Flower Lady", leaves flower arrangements at all the tables. I appreciate them. They add a lot to the ambiance.
Well, there was an article in Yahoo about Delphi coming out of bankruptcy, today. Apparently, it will happen in the next 2 days. I hope that they decide to start paying the coupon on their bonds. Good things can happen.
Gold went up, today. If that had happened 2 weeks ago, I would have doubled my money. Oh well, you live and learn.
I asked Troy about working at the Co-op as the IT man. I don't know enough about spreadsheets to run their Point of Sales software. He told me that they are looking for someone to set up their web page. I think I could do it. I would just enroll on all the cheap or free services and use their simplest things. I'll ask Jason Trout if he thinks an ordinary person could set up a Web site.
The Democrats want me to set up a web site as well. Maybe I could teach myself to do that. It could be another source of income.
Talking about sources of income, I don't know if I mentioned that a psychologist in Iowa City wants me to go to weekly meetings for my gambling addiction. Since the VA would pay for my mileage, I would pick up an extra $500/month.
That leads me to talking about a way to make money while you are on disability. Going to meetings and having food and board and mileage paid. I have a friend who goes to a lot of meetings where she represents disabled people. She gets paid for mileage and food and board. The trouble is that your expenses will go up at the same time. She found that it wasn't worth it. The wear and tear on the car and the expense of eating out all the time diminished the profit from traveling all over the place.
The reason that I think I'll do well with the VA is that they pay $.41/mile. That is considerably more than other outfits. I'll try to get rides with other people, whose cars are nicer than mine. That should help my car last longer.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sorry, no picture

I lost my memory stick, the other day. I loaded another form of Linux on this machine so I don't have any pictures to load, today.
Well, I lost most of the money that I put into the Newmont options. I waited too long to sell and I shouldn't have been in that in the first place.
I went to the VA last Monday. I talked with the shrink about going to a program for gamblers at a hospital in Brecksville, Ohio. He couldn't find anything about it, but he did know about a group being started at the VA hospital in Iowa, City. It turned out that I can get paid, mileage, to attend a weekly meeting. The VA pays $.41/mile. That comes to around $120 a week. It would be a welcome increase in my income.
The only problem is that my car may cost me more in repairs than I can hope to make in mileage.
Well, today was the day that Delphi is supposed to come out of bankruptcy. There has been no mention of it on the news. I was watching CNBC for several hours, today. It seems like a non-event.
The next important day for Delphi is the 15th of this month. I have 127 bonds that come due that day. If they pay their coupon I will make more than $5000, that day.
The next big day is November the 15th. I have over 400 bonds that come due then. It's also the first time that they can "call" those bonds. That means they could pay back $1000 for each bond that I hold. Good things could happen.
I'm not sure that they will because their prices haven't gone up yet. Normally the indication that good things are going to happen is that the price goes up. That hasn't happened yet, so nobody else thinks these good things are going to happen.
I've got 2 new, old laptops. They both have intermittant problem. One has a bad monitor or cable to the monitor. The other has a problem of turning itself off when booting. I think its a weak AC adapter.
I bought an AC adapter on Ebay and I'm looking for a video cable for the other one.
I gave Nate my good 9100. He has a friend who needs a laptop until he gets a new desktop. Apparently he is a student at Luther. This will get him by for a while.
Janelle will have to wait until I get a good 9500 working. She will be better off with a nicer computer, anyway.
I talked with Jason, yesterday. He looked at my blog and bookmarked it. I hope that he gets back to me with suggestions for improving it. We'll see.
I'm running out of excuses. I'll have to go home and mow the damned lawn.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I'm at Java John's, today. I'm waiting for Nate to finish his laundry and return for his Ipod, which he left here.
I've been watching gold all day. Last night it went up in Asia and Europe. It opened higher in New York as well. I wish that I sold in the first 30 minutes of trading. Newmont has been going down since then. I'm going to try to sell, again, tomorrow. It's tempting to hold until Friday, which is options expiration day. It will be very volatile, then.
That leads me to the topic of trading options. You are probably better off not doing it. The time factor works against you too much. Gold went through the roof, today, but I still didn't make any money. I made 2 mistakes when I got into the option contracts on Newmont Mining. The first was to buy a miner instead of the actual metal which I thought would go up. I could have bought an option on the GLD ETF. That's an ETF which tracks the price of gold by actually holding gold.
My second mistake was in buying options that are so close to expiration. They were priced considerably over the underlying value. That means that I paid a high premium for the options. The closer to expiration that they come the lower the premium becomes. That's why even though gold went up over $10 an ounce today, my option stayed at the same price. I had about 15 minutes when I could have sold at a decent price. The rest of the day it just slowly went down.
Well I'll have to leave, now. I've got to check Ebay and see if I bought a laptop. I might do that at home. I'm busy talking with Nate and Brian so my attention is getting divided.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Watching gold

I've been watching the price of gold, today. It started off in the negative. I was down about $300 on my options. It came back at is now in the positive. I'm up about $200 from where I was yesterday. I'm really ashamed of myself for trading options. I should have known better. It seems that only 1 out of 3 or 4 trades on options work. The big thing is that the time value works against you so much. It's tempting to only write options. The trouble with that is that when you write an option there is no limit to how badly it can go against you.
I'm also bidding on a couple of Gateway 9550s. I don't think I'll get either one. The bidding goes on till tomorrow. Most of the time, the bidding doesn't heat up until the last 10 minutes. I do hope that I'll get one of them, however.
I'm at Java Johns. The wifi is working fine, here. I'm using my good machine with a "B" model wifi card. Sometimes I have troubles with the "B"s because they don't like to pick up weak signals. Today, I'm having no troubles. The co-op is the place with the weakest signals. Sometimes, my "B"s don't see any signal, there, at all.
I talked with Brian, today. He was having troubles with the Internet at Bookends and Beans. I saw that he had a "B" model wifi card. They don't work with a WPA password scheme. I told him that he would have to buy a "G" or "N" model wifi card. He told me that he was thinking about getting a new computer. That would make sense, too.
That, kind of, brings me to my disability topic of computing on a budget. If you are on disability, or you are waiting for it to start, you are probably having troubles with your Internet habit. Don't despair. It is possible to continue your computing on a limited budget.
It might even make sense to have Internet at your home. You can probably get Internet for around $30/month. The cable tv system will probably have introductory offers at that range that will last up to a year. The cable modem is the fastest that I've seen, I'm really happy with it. It enables me to track my investment, minute to minute, at home. I was always stuck at a Cafe while I was downloading updates on old laptops. For me, it makes sense to have Internet at home.
For you, however, it might not make sense. It's a monthly commitment that may be out of your price range. Another consideration is that you might be in the Internet Cafes already. If you spend a lot of time at restaurants, anyway, it might make sense to get a cheap laptop and feed your Internet addiction, there. The trouble is that you'll end up spending more on coffee and treats than you would spend on the Internet at home. The restaurant Internet option didn't work for me because I like to trade stocks, bonds, and options. I also like to fix up old laptops and I would find myself spending hours downloading things for them all of the time.
If you decide to get an old laptop, you can get one online. I like Ebay, but I used to buy a lot of things on Ubid. I don't know about Ubid any more, but if you buy on Ebay, figure on using Paypal. It's about the only way that people take payments, any more. You'll have to have a credit card to set up Paypal, but it is convenient.
Other places to look for old laptops include: GoodWill, second-hand stores, auctions at the local schools. I've even seen some listed on bulletin boards. Keep your eyes open and something will show up. You can always get a wifi card on Ebay for between $10 and $15. Look for a "G" or better, since there is the password problem and the "B"s don't have the signal strength that the newer ones have.
Hang in there, and happy computing.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Loading Linux on Jim's machine

I'm at Cafe Magpie, today. I just finished loading Mint Linux on Jim's machine. He now has no excuse for not going to my blog. I bookmarked this blog.
I think he went to Linux because his wife, Sherry, blocked some of the web sites that he likes. I doubt that she'll be able to block anything on Linux. Maybe I could make some money by doing it for her and charging her.
Anyway, they gave me a bunch of tomatoes for my effort. It took a while and I got a bit tired of Windows Vista in the process. I had trouble getting their machine to boot to the CD player. It turned out that they have something which selects what drive you boot to on their machine. When it's starting up you press f12 to get a menu of drives to boot to. It turned out that their new machine is slower than the one that they gave me. It was 2.2 Gighertz. The one that I've got is 3.3 Gighertz.
I also got a new, old laptop to work on, today. It's dead as a doornail. A red light comes on that shows that the battery is dead, but it won't do anything else. I tried reseating the processor. It wasn't too hard to disassemble, but it's still dead. I'll have to get another, bad, 9550 to swap parts with it.
It has a lot of good parts. It had a hard drive caddy, a memory chip, and a dvd drive. I forgot, it had a good ac adapter.
I noticed that it didn't have any heat sink compound on the processor. That might have killed the processor in the first place. I couldn't find any around the house, but I know that I've got some, somewhere. When I get off here, I'll go to Ebay and see about buying another 9550.
About getting by on disability: You really have to keep your expenses down when you are on disability. Never eat out. It's just too expensive. Even if you find a place that gives good value for the money, you'll have to leave a tip. The only exceptions are the places like McDonalds and Wendy's where you can get a burger for a dollar. You can hardly make one at home for less, and you don't have to leave a tip.
I used to eat at Subway's, occasionally. The $5 footlong is a bargain. The trouble is that I would eat the whole thing when I was thinking about taking half of it home. Then I would both, overeat and over spend. I simply quit going to Subway's. If they get a real bargain for their 6 inch sandwiches, I'll reconsider.
Gold went down today, so I'm losing money on my Newmont options. Maybe it'll bounce back, tomorrow.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Garage Sale

I got up early, this morning, to help out at the Democrat garage sale. I set my alarm for 6:00 to get there by 7:00. I was thinking that I would have to set everything up, but Phyliss and Donna already had it done by the time I got there. I just took in money and moved things around a bit. We did well. We shut down at 3:00 PM. We took in over $240, so it was worth doing. I bought a few CDs and a bag for a laptop. I sold one of the desktops that I loaded Linux on. It was a good sale.
Today was also my birthday. Alice remembered and gave me a Cappuccino and a monkey doll. I'm now 62. I don't know how that affects my Social Security. I think I still have to be afraid that they will decide that I'm not disabled. I forgot about looking for a job. It might be a bad idea.
On the down side: I registered for a service called site meter. It counts the number of readers that this site gets. So far, nobody has come to my site. I'm getting a bit discouraged. I need to get more friends to come here. I'm surprised that Alice doesn't seem to be showing up on site meter. Maybe it isn't as accurate as they make out. I'll have to give it a week or so.
Another factor is that my site may not be as interesting as others. I don't have much going on so it's more of a diary than anything else. I try to have something for disabled people, but maybe they don't have computers. Since I'm on a limited income I haven't done much to the basic site. I might spiff it up a bit. One thing I could do is to take more pictures. My $20 camera does just fine. It's a bit of a hassle, in that I have to download pictures on my Windows machine, first.
I hate Windows, but I have to use it with the camera. Once it's in the Windows machine I can transfer it to any of the Linux machines with a memory stick.
Well, Java Johns is about to close so I better finish up.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I'm at Java John's today.
Not much has been going right, lately. I had to replace the battery for the car. That set me back $78.
Then I sold my GM bonds to pay off one of my creditors. It turned out that I didn't have as much as I thought. Some of the bonds must have been bought on margin.
I decided to double my money by buying options on Newmont Mining. Gold started going down, as did my options. I now have to forget about paying off the credit card company.
I'm going to hold the options for a week since I think gold will go up again. I think someone could make a ton of money by doing the opposite of what I do with investments.
On the computer front: The new power supply didn't fix the problem with the desktop that Dave gave me. I took the memory out and installed it in the good desktop. I now have 1.5 gig. of memory in that machine.
I loaded Linux, (Ubuntu 9.04) on the other machine that Dave gave me. I'll probably give it away at the garage sale for the Democrats. I may give away the other, old, and slow machine as well.
I have to get with Gary to haul my extra stuff to the garage sale. I talked with him yesterday. It sounded like he'll be busy. I may have to contact Jim Dale or John Franzen to see about hauling my stuff to the garage sale. That's tomorrow's project.
I was happy to see that a cat I thought had been run over was alive and well, this morning. A three legged cat, I call Tripod, was at Bookends and Beans, this morning. I saw another black and white cat's body on Montgomery about a month ago. I thought that Tripod had bitten the dust. He was lounging by the back door at Bookends, this morning. He was too feral to come to me, but it was good to see him.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

I'm at the co-op, today. For some reason I like to do my blog at coffee shops rather than at home.
It's been an eventful day. I got up early to go to church, with Alice. After church, we went to Barnes and Noble. I leafed through a book on moving to Costa Rica. Alice had magazines on knitting.
When we left, the car wouldn't start. I contacted the security guy for a boost of the battery. He told me that my battery was good. So we called a tow truck.
While waiting for the tow truck I found someone who lives in Decorah to give us a ride home. Fortunately, the tow truck driver was able to get me running by charging the battery. He felt that I have a corroded battery cable. When I got home I cleaned the cable but I doubt that it is the only trouble. I may have a bad battery or maybe the cable should be replaced. Tuesday I'll take it to a repair shop and see what they say. It will be good to live somewhere that I don't need a car.
On the computer front. My last good Gateway 9300 died. It refuses to see even an new hard drive. I'm giving up on it. I gave away 2 9300's Saturday. I ran into Todd and he said that he knew someone who needed one. While I was talking with him, a woman asked me if she could have one. So I went from not knowing what to do with them, to having a shortage. I think there are plenty of people who need a good laptop. And they'll settle for an old and slow one.
Cade, a barista at Java John's told me that Luther has classes in investments. Maybe I'll be able to audit one. I do think that my interests are in investments rather than real estate. I consider real estate more of a consumer thing, than anything else.
I'm a bit fearful of being taken off of the Social Security roles if I get a job. One of the books I was leafing through, today, gave me the feeling that I'm lucky to be getting Social Security, at all. Apparently, if you can work at all they tend to not consider you disabled.
I'll have to see if my VA pension will pick up again if I get dropped from Social Security.
Social Security does some sort of a reconsideration every 3 years so that could happen to me.
Of course, the best solution to this problem is to work at something that pays much more than I could make on Social Security. At least a person can collect Social Security while trying a job. I'll look into it.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I'm at Java John's today. I'm waiting for my Social Security check. I thought that it would have been here yesterday. That's one of the troubles with Social Security. You never know when the check will arrive. It'll probably be here in tomorrow's mail. I would rather have it wired to the bank, but I'm afraid that a creditor could get it, there.
I got to thinking about getting a job. I've been researching what would happen to my Social Security, if I do.
It looks like I could make as much as I feel like for the first 9 months. Then I would be limited to $980/month from then on.
Most of the books I've read on increasing your income say that you should work on a commission, if you don't have your own business.
I was thinking about what I could sell. I don't know much about real estate, although I would totally discount it. I don't know much about cars, but I'll have to ask around. Insurance seems like a scam, to me. I wouldn't feel good about selling it. Investments seems to be where my interests lie.
I know that I would have to have a license. And that means some schooling. When I get some gas, I'll run down to NICC and see what classes they have.
It might be the right time to get into real estate or investments, since they are doing so badly.
Maybe I can get Vocational Rehab to help me with finances.
Another thing I might do is to try to get into a Human Services job. After all, I do have a Junior College degree in the field.
I, pretty much, decided to quit working on old laptops. I'm having troubles keeping the costs down, and I don't have any one to give them to. I could also use the money that I'm spending on those to pay off credit cards.
If I had a job, I could make quick work of getting out of debt.
I think the solution is to work while collecting disability. Of course, I'm a bit afraid that the Social Security people will decide that I'm not disabled.
Maybe I'll get back to the idea of metal detecting for gold. I was thinking about that for a while. This winter, I could go to Arizona. We'll see.

Monday, August 31, 2009

I'm at Bookends and Beans. This is a picture of the bar there.
Not much is happening, here. Jim and I solved the world's problems, this morning. We get together for coffee at Bookends on Mondays. While doing that we discuss world events. I don't really think anything ever gets resolved, though.
I got a new wifi card, this morning. I couldn't get it to work with Linux. I was really disappointed, since it's a Belkin card and I've always been able to get them to work with Linux. It had a Windows setup. I tried to access the inf. files with ndiswrapper, but I failed. I'll have to find someone with a Windows machine who could use it.
I was reading the Des Moines Register, yesterday. It had an article on how hard it is to get disability. This article related to Social Security. It talked about a guy who was living in a storage space.
I had it better but it still took over three years to get the benefits. So how do you live while you are waiting for Social Security?
Going to school was one of the things that I did. School doesn't count as work since you are paying to go there. A person can live on the student loans.
The downside is that they might not consider you disabled if you do well at school.
On the other hand if you get through school, you might be able to get a good job, and forget about disability.
After school I went on a disability pension from the VA. I realize that most people might not be eligible for this. It's what put me over until I was able to collect Social Security. There is a pension for disabled veterans who served during a war. If you are a veteran you probably served during a war, since the U.S. always seems to be in a war. Check with your Veterans Affairs person, usually at the courthouse, for information about this pension. If you are eligible, it will get you through the wait for Social Security. I think it pays about $950/month.
Well I'm going home to try to get that wifi card working with Linux again. I've got another idea.

Friday, August 28, 2009

I'm at Java John's, waiting for Jennell. I'm finally going to give her a laptop. I had troubles with the one that I fixed up from the parts that I got a week or so ago. I'm going to give her one that works just fine. To make sure that it's working good, I'm using it for my blog.
I'm sorry that I haven't been posting much, lately. Last night I was up with a sick desktop computer. Dave, from WRAP, had a sick desktop. He thought that it had a bad CD player. It turned out that the power supply was dying. I don't have one to replace it with, so he'll have to spend over $100 to repair it. Maybe, I can get some parts off of it. It has a 40 gig. hard drive and 1 gig. of memory. Maybe I could get a power supply for it.
It was predicted to rain today, and it's finally getting cloudy. I rolled the windows down, yesterday, so I hope that it stays cool. It's a hassle to roll those windows up or down. They barely work at all. They use a crank system that is simply worn out.
On the disability front. If you are waiting for Social Security to decide to give you your payments, try not to get too discouraged. They'll fight you tooth and nail. They don't want to pay you. You have to fight for it. It takes about six months to get denied your last appeal.
I used to get emotional during the denial process. I would find myself getting suicidal for about a week. After all, they denied me an income and I didn't know where my sustenance was to come from.
One time I was so suicidal that I couldn't get the idea of committing suicide out of my head. I turned myself into a psych ward for the weekend.
That turned out for the best since it looked good at the hearing that they finally held.
It takes about 3 years to get to the hearing process. That is where the tables will turn and you'll finally get your disability. Age will work in your favor as well as your diagnosis. The one witness that I had at my hearing was from the Workforce Development Department. He consistently stated that I couldn't be expected to find work in the various jobs that were brought up.
I felt that I wasted my money on the lawyer, but things might not have gone smoothly and he might have had to fight for me.
Anyway, be patient and don't expect to get your disability quickly. You'll have to fight for it.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I uploaded a picture of the Upper Iowa River. I need to take some more pictures. I think I'm repeating some, that I showed, before.
Well, I got another old laptop, today. It was a lot sicker than what the seller let on. I couldn't get power to it. The dc plug had been damaged. It had a good hard drive and processor, and DVD drive. I took the processor out and put it into another laptop. The battery was dead but I'm going to try to charge it up overnight. I couldn't get the DVD drive to work in that computer, so I loaded SUSE Linux. It took hours to get it to see the hard drive. I'm doing the updates, now. I'll need an ac adapter and a wifi card for it. When you consider that I spent $40 for the shell, I got ripped off. I'll have to spend anothe $10 for the ac adapter and another $10 for the wifi card. Oh well, you live and learn. At least I got another laptop to work with the parts that I had.
Now I have to find a home for it. Maybe Joan can help with that.
I don't really have much to say, tonight.

Friday, August 21, 2009

I uploaded a picture of a flower from the garden at the hospital. Alice said that David Cavennarro and Asiline planted and maintained that garden. David is an expert gardener and photographer. His pictures have been in magazines like "Mother Earth News". Asiline is a barista at Bookends and Beans. They did a great job with the garden.
I'm sorry that I haven't been posting many blogs, lately. I've been busy with sick computers. I now have 4 that are ready to be given away. I'll go see Joan Nelson at the Community Action center, Monday. She wasn't there today. I think she'll know poor, deserving, people I can give my laptops to. I only know of a couple of people who need a laptop. Jenelle and Blackie are the only ones I can think of. Jenelle might be able to simply buy one. I saw her drive a new pickup. Blackie might have troubles with transportation. He drives a motorcycle. He lives about 30 miles away so it might be a problem. I was surprised to be able to get so many working.
I'm spending too much on that hobby. I figure that I'm spending between $100 and $200 a month on old laptops. I could be investing that money in bonds. I might take up reading magazines online to use up my time, rather than messing around with old laptops. At least, I could cut back my laptop repair to one or two machines a month.
I went to the Democrat fund-raiser, last night. For an off-year, and heavy rains, it was well attended. I had to wear a jacket because of the cold. For this time of year, that is surprising.
On the disability topic, I think I'll discuss poverty and disability. They go hand-in-hand. Social Security and any other type of disability isn't intended to provide for you in a comfortable fashion. It's meant to keep you poor. Get used to it. It's not bad once you accept that you'll always be poor. You get used to not spending much money. Eating out is out. You'll find yourself watching where every cent goes. If you are poor enough, you'll be eligible for a lot of financial assistance. There are things such as heating assistance, food stamps, rental assistance, and food pantries. They make a big difference.
One thing you'll find, is that, as you get more money, your assistance programs will diminish. It's almost at though someone wants to keep you poor. The more you make the more will come out of your pocket. The only thing to do is to take charge of your finances by reducing your spending. Cook your own food. Forget movies. Curtail your coffee drinking at coffee shops. Try to move to a place where you won't have to drive. You might get rid of the car and just walk or ride the bicycle. My car is my biggest expense. I figure that I'm spending over $100 a month for just the gasoline. Insurance is another $25, and I don't even know what I'm likely to spend in repairs and maintenance.
I'm trying to get an apartment in the downtown area. That's my last big expense.
Well, I have to leave now. The conversation at Java John's is getting involving.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I uploaded another picture of the garden at the hospital.
Well, I'm still struggling with getting the laptop that Nick gave me to work. I added more memory and then it wouldn't load anything. I ran a memory test that came up with a bunch of errors. After considerable messing around, I found that the memory sticks had to be installed in a certain way. After getting that straightened out, I found that most of the programs loaded.
The problem was that they didn't see the sound card and most of them didn't set up the video card right.
I found a program that does everything right in the "live" mode. That means that it runs the system from the cd player. The idea is that if everything runs in the "live" mode, you click on install and load the system. I tried it and it didn't mount the program on the hard drive. If I can get it to load on the drive, I'm all set. Maybe a latter version will be the answer.
I bought another Gateway 9300 on Ebay today. I paid $40 with the shipping included. I figured that I could use some parts off of the scrapped 9300 to get one going.
I probably blew it. I've been trying to get away from such old and slow machines.
I also bought another 22 Delphi bonds. Somehow there was $50 in my Etrade account so I bought some more Delphi. They are supposed to come out of bankruptcy in September. Good things could happen to their bonds if they do.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I uploaded a picture of the garden at the hospital.
I'm sorry that I didn't publish a blog, yesterday. I just wasn't inspired to.
Today I want to write some more on disability. I've been running out of things to say, so I'll revisit some of the topics I've already covered.
Today I want to go over disability for veterans. There are two kinds of disability that a veteran may be eligible for.
The first and most common is for service-related disability. That means it is for something that happened while you were serving.
It is awarded on aI sliding scale. I think it goes from 10% to 100%. The pay for 10% is rather low. I don't think it would go over $100/month. For 100%, the last I heard it was at $2200/month. Of course, you would have to be laid up rather severely to rate 100%. You would probably have to be blind or missing limbs.
The advantage to this disability is that you can go to college for free if you are on it. 100% of the tuition would be paid for 4 years. You also get a stipend whilst going to school.
I've known people who were in pretty good shape, who had their college paid for by this disability.
The other disability, one that is usually forgotten, is the war pension. This is a disability pension that is paid if the person served during time of war.
Your disability doesn't have to be service-connected. You can become disabled after you left the service. I'll try to remember the requirements for this.
1. An honorable discharge.
2. Serve during a war
3. Be 100% disabled, but they are rather liberal on this
4. Have a low income
5. Have 6 months of active duty
6. I always forget the sixth requirement, I might be able to look it up, later.
It's rather low paying and there is only one amount that you can get. I think it's around $950/month.
If you get another job, you have to deduct that income from this pay. It discourages a person form working.
There is no college benefit.
If you are thinking about either of these disabilities you'll have to go through the VA hospital. That's a good thing because you can get free health care if your income is low enough. It's better than nothing. I get a physical once a year and I go to the psychologist 3 or 4 times a year. I get my medications from the VA and that is probably saving me thousands. It's a good thing.

Friday, August 14, 2009

More computer troubles

I took some pictures and a video of some deer across the street from my home. It was 6:30 in the morning and the fog hadn't burned off yet. It was a bit dark so I'm sorry that they don't show up very well. When I move I'll miss the deer.
Well, I bumped into Brian at Java John's this morning. His computer was down. The ac adapter is bad. It has an intermittent problem. When I tap on it, it comes on and off. I confirmed the problem by trying it with Alice's computer. The problem went with the ac adapter.
Alice's computer had problems as well. The keyboard quit working. It turned out that Windows 2000 was bad. I reloaded it and it works.
Now I have to see Brian about buying another ac adapter. We'll probably get one on Ebay.
Anyway, it's hot and I'm staying at Bookends to keep out of the heat. I'll probably have to mow the damned lawn tonight.
I was just attacked by a swarm of yellow jackets. I was mowing the lawn and I went over their hive, which is in an old railroad tie, that's used for landscaping. I was bit 4 or 5 times. They pursued me right into the house. Oh, the joys of homeownership. I can't wait to get my apartment.
I poured gasoline into their nest. Nick told me that there is something at Wal-Mart to spray into their nest. I'll try that tomorrow. I just hope that I'll be able to sleep, tonight. I'll take a couple of aspirin for the pain, tonight.
I'll keep you posted, tomorrow.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

More computer troubles

I called Faye, today. She told me that I can get a hold of her through Face book. I tried and found a lot of Fayes. She didn't have her picture posted. I had to register with Facebook in order to do a good search. I never did find her. I'll have to tell her to put up her picture so that people will know where to go. I don't think I prefer Facebook to a blog, anyway.
Alice's computer is messed up. The hard drive is running and running for no reason. It might have something to do with her CMOS memory battery. I'm going to change that, tomorrow. It might have something to do with the virus attack that happened today. Wall Street was pretty much shut down for a while. Maybe I should load Linux on her machine. We'll see.
My desktop had the hard drive running a lot for no discernible reason for a while. I had it in Windows mode because I was downloading pictures from my camera. I haven't been able to get my camera to work with Linux. Maybe it had something to do with updates. Maybe it was a virus attack. I don't know.
Dave W. was having troubles with his Thinkpad at to co-op. I told him to use Linksys as his server here. The co-op's server is too limiting. I can't even get email using it. Linksys has no problems.
I'm using a computer that has no pictures on it. I might load one, later.
I'm getting another old Gateway from Nick, tomorrow. He said that it's a 9100. I looked up that number on Ebay, last night. The only thing that I could have used off of it was the ac adapter and I bought one, yesterday. I was interested to find out that it runs at 600 megherz. That is as fast as my 9300s. If it is a 9100, it will be a good machine to give to somebody.
I loaded a picture of some flowers at the hospital. They have a nice garden, there. They had both vegetables, and flowers.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

This is a picture of Brian, getting his new, old laptop at the Co-op.
I gave him an old Thinkpad a couple of days ago. That was my last Thinkpad. I think I'll quit working on them because I couldn't get the sound working right with Linux. Microsoft quit supporting it's older operating systems, so you can't update anything older than XP. This makes it hard to work on them. Linux is the normal answer. I think I'll just get some newer Thinkpads. Maybe model a31s and newer. They'll be fast enough for the video and sound to work right.
I've been working on old Gateway 9300's lately. I had to scrap out 2 of them. One had a dead processor and the other wouldn't see it's cd drive. Now I don't have to get as many parts for the computers that I have working.
I might try to sell one tomorrow. I could use the money to build newer computers.
I checked on the price that the local trailer park charges for camper. Out in California, I lived for a number of years in an RV. It turns out that here the price is prohibitive. They don't rent for more than 2 weeks and then they want $17/day. That comes to more than $500/month. I think living in your trailer is out, here. That's just another reason to move back to California.
I rather liked trailer living. Inside the trailer was a bit crowded, so you stayed outside most of the time. It forced you to keep your possessions limited. And, of course, moving was easy. I'm going to look into it some more. Maybe I could get an RV and park it on my land, whilst I tear down my old moblehome. I might be able to stay in it while I build another home, here. I'll have to examine my options.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

At Barnes and Noble

Alice and I are at Barnes and Noble, in La Crosse, today. She decided to shop for books and I'm just along for the ride. I never miss a chance to come here. I enjoy the food as well as leafing through all the books.
I'm looking for something on digital photography. I'm thinking about getting a Cannon Powershot camera. I need something that is small enough to fit into the pocket and yet is stabilized. I also want something that has a zoom lens.
I gave away another computer, last night. I saw Brian, who is a chimney builder, at the co-op. I know that he uses computers a lot, so I gave him my last Thinkpad. I never did get the sound working right. I last saw him at Magpies, using that laptop. I think he's happy with it.
I now have two working computers to give away, and 2 that will need parts. When I'm done blogging I'll go to Ebay and bid on parts. I need a couple of hard drive caddies and a hard drive. I'll also need ac adapters and a cd drive and a floppy drive. I feel a bit cheated to buy a floppy drive since I couldn't imagine using one. I'll need it to hold the hard drive in. That's the way these old Gateways are designed.
Well I think I'll get on Ebay now. Later

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Bookends password fails again

I'm at Bookends and Beans, staying out of the heat, and Caroline is today's barista.
I tried using my good computer with the best wi-fi card, but I couldn't get past the password.
I went to the car and brought out an old laptop with a marginal wi-fi card, and it works fine.
Strange things are happening to my post. I'm getting larger letters than usual and the picture of Caroline comes and goes.
I do have to learn how to write these posts with a word processor and then transfer it to Blogspot.
Anyway, I got the bad laptop to work. It turned out that it needs a good battery to turn on properly. If I leave a battery out, it will work as well. If I have a bad battery in it, it just hangs up.
Now I'll have to buy all sorts of stuff to get the three laptops in working order.
I'll have money in Paypal next Monday so I'll start bidding then.
I was thinking about my buying Delphi bonds. I think I'll curtail it for a while. I would be better off buying junk bonds in the JNK etf. I'll save enough money that way, over time, to pay off the credit cards. I would like to be out of debt. If the house sells, I'll both pay off the credit cards and buy more Delphi. I could also buy a new car with the cash for clunkers program.
I'll see.
Well, I've got a bunch of updates to load on this machine.
I got thrown out of Bookends, as it was 4:00 and that's when they close on Saturdays.
I'm finishing loading the updates on my old machine at home. From there I went to Java John's. My good machine works just fine here. I think the problem I was having at Bookends had to do with their password, not my machine or wi-fi card.
I have a lot of problems with their password protection.
I was thinking about what I could tell disabled people today.
I found that you can delay paying credit card debt, practically indefinitely. My bankruptcy lawyer had me quit paying back in 2001. I got a lot of phone calls but I simply disconnected my phone. Some of them put a judgement against my bank account. I simply closed that account.
Since then, I had another lawyer contact my creditors to pay 40% of what I owed them. I payed some of them, but I ran out of money before they were all payed. I'm now trying to save up the money to pay the rest of them. There doesn't really seem to be much that they can do. Of course, I have bad credit and won't be able to buy, large ticket, items. But that is really not a big problem. I just don't buy things. Life goes on.
I will be happier when I get them paid off, however.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

This is a picture of the girl who gives me free coffee at the co-op.
If you go there after 7:15 in the evening, they will give you coffee for free. They do that rather than throw it out. They close at 8:30 and hardly anyone drinks coffee that late. I'm their only regular for the free coffee. Even I don't drink it every night.
Its a nice place to surf the net and read as well. I keep a book in my car for reading at coffee shops. I don't spend very much there. I normally nurse a cup of coffee for an hour. I used to eat muffins as well, but I'm trying to lose weight and save money.
Well, one of my new Gateways is trying to die. It refuses to get out of the setup mode. I can't get it to boot. I'm afraid that I'll have to scrap it out. The good thing about that is that I won't have to buy a bunch of things to complete another old laptop. I'm talking about things like hard drives, and their caddies, or AC adapters. I would even need a cd player for it. If I scrap it I'll save much money. I think I'll scrap it.
I haven't talked much about the (Cash for Clunkers) program, lately. I tried to sign up for it but I would have had to spend an extra $10,000 for the Chrysler that I looked at. I then went to a Ford dealer and he told me that my car didn't qualify. It had too good of gas mileage. With the over drive transmission, my car is rated at 19 mile/gal. The cutoff was 18 miles/gal. I would have just sold the car at a profit, anyhow. I can't justify having a new car. But I'm not one to refuse free money.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I uploaded a picture of the Upper Iowa River.
Big things are happening here. I got my home internet hooked up. It's a cable connection. It works really well.
I found that my Linux on my desktop didn't have enough hard drive space for the updates. It's sharing the drive with Windows. Windows had too much room, so I loaded Mint Linux, and mapped out plenty of space for it.
I really like Mint Linux. It just looks better and seems to run good.
Dave at WRAP had troubles with his laptop. It turned out that the ports for the USB and PCMCIA weren't working. I swapped with a good Gateway. I then reloaded SUSE Linux and it's happy. I'll have to watch that hard drive and see if the problem comes back.
I got my Gateways that I've been waiting for, today. I got all three working with the parts off of the bad Gateway. One had a bad CPU and monitor. The others were only missing things and had bad CMOS batteries. One of the CMOS batteries seems to work. The others are bad. I'll see about getting those from Radio Shack.
I loaded Mint Linux on one of the new Gateways. It seems to be working well. The other two are missing hard drives.
On the disability front. Now that you are getting your Social Security, have you given any thought towards leaving the country?
I've given it some thought. It would be a way to hold down expenses. You can collect your Social Security checks anywhere, so why not go somewhere that the cost of living is low and you have nice weather?
A good book on the topic is (Getting Out) Your guide to leaving America, by Mark Ehrman.
I was thinking about Belize, because they speak English and I have a problem with Spanish. Panama and Costa Rica look attractive. I like their health care. Basically it's socialized medicine.
I may not get around to it if I find an inexpensive, rent-assisted apartment. It depends on how much I can shave off of my expenses, here. The weather, here, bothers me, however. I'll keep looking into it.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I'm at Bookends and Beans, today. I'm having troubles getting the Gateway laptop to hook up to the internet. I gave up on the Great Quality. I had to reboot 3 times for the Gateway to work. Maybe I should have kept rebooting for the other computer.
I'm still waiting for the 3 Gateway laptops to arrive in the mail. They should have been here by now. Maybe it takes longer for large packages to ship in the mail.
I got the Thinkpad to work with the Lucent wifi card. I won't be able to use it at Bookends, with their password. At least it's working good enough to give the computer to somebody.
I talked with Dan Micals about the rent-assisted apartments. It turns out that the electricity isn't free. Since the heating and stoves are electric that means I won't save much on that. That will cost me an additional $100/month. I would cancel my name from those lists, except that once I sell the house I'll have $20 to 30 thousand to invest. Of course, my investment leave a lot to be desired.
The GM bonds are doing good. I made about $700 in the last week on them. I haven't sold yet. I want enough money to pay off the credit cards. I've got another $4000 to go.
I was thinking about disability and savings. As hard as it is, I believe that a person on disability should still save. Paying off the credit cards is a worthy goal, but a person should still set aside some money for emergencies. One never knows when the car will give out or you have dental problems. It never hurts to be prepared for that kind of emergency.
I'm now saving more than I was when I had a job. It's simply a matter of living cheaply. Eat at home and hold your expenses down. You can do it.

Monday, August 3, 2009

I'm at Java Johns, today. This is the only place that the internet is working well. I had pass word problems at Bookends and Beans. The co-op didn't work very well. I couldn't even get hooked up to Linksys, there. I didn't try Magpies. So I don't know if its working there.
Anyway, I took out my good computer and tried it at Java John's. Its working just fine.
Now I have to wonder if I have problems with my computers, or is it the wifi at the various places that I try to go online. I don't know. I do know that Alice was having troubles at Bookends. I think she was having problems with the password, just like I had. She runs a Windows machine so I'm not sure that it was failing in the same way as my Linux machine.
I decided to get cable internet for my home. I added up the costs that I am incurring by going to town every time I try something new with the internet. I could also save many trips by downloading my Emails at home. I also check the news and my Etrade account. I could reduce my trips to town by at least 50%. I could also buy my bananas at Quick Trip and save about 50% on those. I'll miss the socializing, however. I'll probably just cut out the trips that have to do with the internet. That will save me over the $50/month that the internet will cost.
I bought another 14 Delphi bonds. They are going down in value. I got these for only $7.20 per bond. Maybe somebody knows something that I don't. But I feel that, when they come out of bankruptcy, they will be worth a lot.
I missed Jim at Bookends and Beans, this morning. He probably called me to cancel today's meeting. I wasn't at home to take his call. I've been in town, trying to get my computers to work with the internet.
It's almost 7 now and I'm at the co-op, linked to linksys. I don't know why some of my computers don't work at some times of the day. I don't have any idea about why that is. This morning most of my machines didn't work. Now they do.
About disability. Some people will disparage you for applying for disability. Much of the time it is on religious grounds. After all, can't you just turn your problems over to Jesus? Weren't you created in the image of god? How could you possibly be disabled? Others will look at you and think that you are just as able as they are so why could you get disability?
All I can say is that your disability is between you and your doctor. You have to decide whether you are disabled enough for disability. Then you have to fight for it.
My disability mentor, a guy named Benike, always said that you have to fight for your disability. The Social Security people make it as hard as they can for you to get on disability. Most of the lawyers will turn you away. All that I can say is that if something is worth having, it's worth fighting for.
Don't get discouraged when Social Security rejects your appeals. They always do.
Lawyers will tell you that your aren't disabled enough for Social Security. Keep looking until you find one who'll fight for you.
Keep your chin up and hang in there. It's worth it.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

I uploaded a picture of some flowers,next to the Upper Iowa River.
It's another lazy Sunday. I need to mow the damned lawn. You can tell that home ownership and I don't mix well. I'm looking forward to moving to an apartment.
I have to talk to Dan Micals about how high I am on the list.
I'm having troubles with my wifi cards. I got one working, this morning, at Java John's. Now the same combination doesn't work at the co-op. I'm using my good computer with the newest Belkin. A pattern hasn't emerged yet. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. I need to get ndiskwrapper to work on my SUSE Linux machines. I've downloaded it but I haven't been able to get it to work, yet. Maybe I have to run it from the command line. I think I"ve already tried that.
I was calculating how much I'm spending on coffee and banana trips. It adds up. I'm spending more on gasoline than I am on coffee, but the combination comes to over $300/month. It's my biggest expense. I could ride the bicycle to town for most of the trips. I could combine things that I do, so as to reduce the number of trips. I was even thinking about getting cable internet at home so I don't have to bring my laptop to town. That would make it easier on my laptops. I don't like to bounce them around on the bicycle. That would give me more money for investing on bonds.
Tomorrow, I should be getting more old laptops to work on. I hope that I can get both of the old laptops to work at Bookends. If I can I'll download ndiskwrapper and try to get it working.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

I uploaded a picture of the Upper Iowa River, near Kelly Real Estate.
Nothing is happening today. The mail is late so I'm still waiting for the laptops in the mail. I do like to keep busy with fixing up old laptops. They take a ton of time, but it helps me to keep busy. I don't like to have idle time because I tend to eat when I'm just sitting around. I'm trying to lose weight. I've already lost 20 lb. but I have another 40 to go to reach what is considered normal. I'm still 7 lbs. over being obese.
I think people really have to take responsibility for their own health. Your weight is something that you can do something about. I've found that if I simply starve myself, I can lose something like 5 lbs. a week. I take vitamin pills to replace any missing nutrients that happen because I curtailed my eating. I figure that I have another 2 or 3 months to go before I'm down to 200 lbs.
Then I'll get back to eating normally again. I may have to curtail my eating, even then.
I sent $100 to Etrade, this morning. It won't be credited to my account until Wednesday. I'm hoping to buy some more Delphi bonds. They are still in the toilet. I should be able to get them for $82.50 per $1000 bond. I'm hoping that Delphi comes out of bankruptcy soon and they start paying their coupon.
My GM bonds went up yesterday. I made about $200. I'm hoping that they go up enough for me to pay off some credit card debt. Maybe they'll start paying on their coupon. We'll see.
Well, I ate my banana. I think I'll go home and see if the Gateway laptops arrived in the mail. I'm looking forward to working on them. When they are up with SUSE Linux everything on them works just great. I'm giving up on old Thinkpads for now because I never could get the sound to work right with Linux.

Friday, July 31, 2009

I uploaded a picture of some berries on the trail next to the Upper Iowa River, next to the Kelly real estate office. I took a few pictures while I was hiking to town, last Wednesday. I walked to Bookends and Beans and then got a ride back to Freeport with Jim and Sherry.
I took my car to a dealer to see about the (Cash for Clunkers) program. He said that my car has too good of gas mileage to qualify for that program. I left him my name and phone number in case they change the rules.
Not much is happening here. It turned out that 2 of my Belkin wifi cards won't work at Bookends and Beans. I can't get past the password. The problem went with the cards. That's surprising because one of the bad cards is newer than the good card. I'll just give those cards away with the laptops that I give to poor people.
I don't have much to say tonight. I'm waiting for parts to come in to fix up old laptops. I'm waiting for my pension check to invest some more in Delphi bonds. I'm keeping my expenses down. Nothing has changed. I'm just sitting at the window of the co-op, blogging away.
That's all for now.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I'm at the co-op. I uploaded a picture of the front of the co-op. That has the picture windows, which are such a problem for the glare on laptops.
I gave Dave his laptop, today. Just before I turned it over to him I started downloading updates. It was going fast but there were just too many of them. It took an hour and they were only half done. Then it locked up when I tried to run Banshee, (the music player on Linux). Anyway, its working pretty well.
The Democrats are already meeting but the first hour is spent talking about school funding. That doesn't concern me, much. I'll go after I've blogged.
I got a new wifi card, today. It seems to be working well, after I loaded the driver with ndiskwrapper. I only have that on my good machine so I hope I won't need to put it on another one. I need to try this card from Alice's place. Maybe it has the range between there and Bookends. That could save her from spending money on coffee to download her email.
I wanted to talk about goals and disability, tonight.
Even people who are on disability need goals. If your pay is low enough, you might need the goal of saving money by picking up beer cans for redemption. When I was waiting for my VA pension that was how I paid for my coffee. I would bring in extra income by selling beer cans. That also supplemented my income when I was on the VA pension. I had the goal of accumulating silver coins for a safety net.
Now that I'm on a better pension I accumulate money to invest in bonds. So far, I've been concentrating on Delphi bonds. When I have 200 of them I'll branch out into others. The main thing is to set a reachable goal to work towards. I find that saving money helps me to curtail my eating as well. I'm saving money on food that I use to invest in bonds.
Having goals helps you to set priorities. My priority is to have a nice nest egg rather than spend money on eating out.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I uploaded a picture of Java John's serving area. They have reliable internet service but it's usually rather slow. I tried, this morning, to buy something on Ebay, and it took me an hour to just fail to make the purchase. When I went to Bookends and Beans, I was done in fifteen minutes.
I've been going around town, this morning, trying to get good internet connection. Usually Bookends is good but not today. Then I went to the co-op and I couldn't get on there. I even tried hooking up to a router named linksys, but it was down. Then I went to Java John's. I got hooked up but even my fast machine moved at a snail's pace. I finally brought my good machine to Bookends and it's working quite well.
That got me thinking about actually paying for home internet. The cable company wants $40 to $50 a month. I might be able to find a satellite company for less. The trouble with satellite is that they will want a year commitment. I might be moving out of the house in a few months, so the cable is the only option. I can't see getting a phone for internet and that is too slow to be worth anything, anyhow.
That brings me to the discussion of poverty and disability. How can you save money on recurring expenses?
I've found that I can do without a normal, (land line) phone. I've gotten a Trac phone. You renew your minutes when you run out. I just don't use it very often so 90 minutes can last me a couple of months or more. That normally costs $30 for every time I renew. I can also take it with me when I'm expecting a call.
I eliminated the cable tv and had satellite tv installed. I get more channels for $30/month. I also eliminated the phone on cable and the internet. I'm having doubts about eliminating the internet. Even though I use the WiFi at coffee shops, that may be more expensive than having the internet at home. I find that I go to several coffee shops to do simple things that I could have done at home. I think I'll look into getting the cable internet restarted. It might be cheaper and I know that it will be handier.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Alice entering Barnes and Noble

I uploaded a picture of Alice entering the Barnes and Noble, in La Crosse. It's our favorite hangout, but I feel guilty when I spend too much,there. Not only do they have an almost limitless supply of books but their food is good, too. I especially like the cheesecake. Key lime is my favorite. You can spend hours there just leafing through books and drinking coffee. It doesn't take much to get me to go to La Crosse. Rochester has two Barnes and Nobles. I like them all.
I went to a movie, this afternoon. It was (Paul Blart Mall Cop). I enjoyed it. The guy playing Paul Blart was in surprisingly good condition for someone with a weight problem. All the running around that he did would have wrecked me. I've been kind of avoiding this movie because I felt it would make fun of overweight people. It did to a degree. I think the most objectionable part was the drunk scene. It was where Paul got drunk and made a complete fool of himself. Of course, it could be argued that there are people with that kind of drinking problem. Anyway, it was a fun movie and I'm glad tha I went.
I bought 3 more old Gateway laptops. I had enough parts for most of one, so I figured that I could fix up a few more. I like the Thinkpads better but I have troubles with the sound on them. This will be the last time I bother with laptops so old and slow. I need to get something over 1.3 GigaHerz. for the sound and video. I'm not sure about that being fast enough.
Jim and Sherry just walked in. I'm at the co-op and they'll be stopping here after they've done their shopping.
That's it for now.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I uploaded a picture of Jim and Sherry at Bookends and Beans. Jim and I get together for coffee and conversation every Monday. Sherry is Jim's wife.
Today we talked about starting a book club with Alice and Lula as well. We'll be reading (The Left Hand of God). It has to do with how the religious Right has taken over politics and how Liberals shouldn't feel that they have to be left out.
Well all of my computers that can run, are running. I only had one Gateway to scrap out and I think all it really needs is a keyboard.
I bought 3 more Gateways. That will give me something to do, next month. I do like to keep busy with the laptops. Now, however, I've gotten into the groove and I might not need to spend as much time getting them fixed.
Maybe it's time to get serious about the garden. I've been neglecting it. The grass is overgrowing the onions. And volunteer lettuce is starting to grow.
I took my car to a Chrysler dealer, this morning. Even with the (Cash for Clunkers) program, and their rebate, I would have to come up with $10,000. If the house sell, I'll do it. I'll just turn the car around for a profit. But it's free money. I don't see how I can refuse it.
Talking about money, which is one of my favorite topics, here are some ways to reduce your outlays.
1. See about subsidized housing. There are programs that help put poor people and the disabled into nice apartments. It never hurts to look into this.
2. Don't forget food stamps. If you are poor enough, this will pay for your monthly food. If your disability is too high, you might not qualify.
3. Walk or ride a bicycle. You would be surprised at how much money goes to gasoline and car repairs.
4. Quit drinking. Boose is just too expensive. This is especially true if you go to bars. Coffee is bad enough. I combine surfing the net with coffee drinking. I found that if I cut out the cinnamon roll, first thing in the morning, I can save close to $100/month. I may still have to curtail my coffee drinking.
5. Like I mentioned yesterday, eat at home. I covered that yesterday
6. Buy at thrift shops. Charity thrift shops, like Goodwill, will save you a fortune.
7. I would avoid auctions. You have to wait for hours for your item to come up. Then someone else is likely to bid it up, anyway. It's too tempting to start bidding on things you don't really need.
8. That brings up, don't buy things you don't really have to have. We live in a consumer society. We have to fight the programing that we all have to buy and buy. Just get by with what you have.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I uploaded a picture of a band, doing it's thing at Nordic Fest.
I went to La Crosse that day. Alice and I went to Barnes and Noble and leafed through some books.
Today I've been fixing old laptops. I finally got the Gateway to work to my satisfaction. It had an intermittent monitor. and the nine key quit working. It turned out that my replacement parts were worse than the originals. The keyboard and monitor problems were both caused by my not getting them plugged in right. I also had port problems on the PCMCIA ports and the USB ports. That was caused by software. I loaded a live form of SUSE and it worked so I reloaded the operating system. Now I have a laptop that I feel I could give away. It's even got a good battery. I'm using that, now. I'm in front of the co-op, blogging away on battery power.
About poverty and disability. Unless you have another source of income like another pension or investments, you cannot afford to dine out. So stop now. Eating out can cost hundreds of dollars a month and a person on Social Security has to face the fact that he's too poor to spend money like that. Eating at home is the only way to go. I've cut back my eating out to having a banana at the co-op. That only costs 40 cents or so, and I also get to use their internet. I do have a lot of coffee at places I use for internet. A person has to spend a little money for them to justify having free internet available. But other than that forget eating out.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

I got up early, today. Java John's opens at 6:30 so I went there to upgrade a computer. I uploaded a picture of Java John's front door. It's one of my favorite coffee shops. I like to go there when I wake up early and everything else is closed. They also open up at 7:30 on Sundays. I'm not a deep sleeper so, when the birds start chirping, I wake up. Nordic Fest is in full swing. The streets are crowded and 3 or 4 bands are competing with each other in making noise.
Alice and I went to La Crosse, today. She lives on the main street, here and she likes to get away from all the noise. We went to Barnes and Noble. Neither of us bought anything. I also went shopping for a nicer camera. I want one that would link up to a usb memory card. Unfortunately, they don't seem to make any. They have a lot that would hook up to a computer. I think I would have to have Windows loaded to run them. I'll keep after it. I would like one with a zoom lense as well.
I took a few pictures of Nordic Fest and Barnes and Noble but I have to put them on my Windows desktop to transfer them to a memory stick, and then to my laptop. I forgot to do that, just now.
I overate at Barnes and Noble. I had one of their turkey and cheese sandwiches. It was almost twice as much as I usually eat. So much for my diet.
I've been neglecting talking about disability lately. I've been running out of topics. Today the topic is poverty and disability. The two go hand in hand. Politicians seem to feel that it would be just terrible for disabled people to live comfortably. Therefore the system is geared towards keeping you at a low level of income.
If a person is poor enough, there are all sorts of programs to help him. If you Social Security check is low enough you might get SSI (State Supplemental Income). You can also get food stamps, heating assistance, Medicaid. If you get a decent Social Security check, you lose all of those things. That has a tendency to keep you at the same poverty level that the poorer person is in. Another thing that might happen is that you might lose you rental assistance if you get a job to supplement Social Security. It's a trap. If you can you might want to get a decent job and get out of the disability trap. For many of us there is no way out so I'll discuss things a person might do if he is in that situation later.

Friday, July 24, 2009

A rainy day in Decorah

I uploaded a picture of Magpie Coffee shop. It's been a Decorah institution for years. The internet,there, goes to a cable modem,
so most of the time it's really fast. Occasionally, I've had problems getting on line there. They are opened between 10 and 4 on Sundays. When the co-op is too slow or doesn't work, this is where I go on Sundays. Too bad, I couldn't get a picture without a car in front.
I got the last Thinkpad to working. The strange memory problem turned out to be related to a bad CMOS battery. I don't know how that can be. The problem went with the battery. Now I think I'll load SUSE on it, since I can better fix the sound card problem with SUSE.
I got the computer that I sold to Dave from WRAP, back. It had a bad hard drive. I put in another drive, and got it to work. I downloaded the updates, this morning. It's working really well. I saved the hard drive by putting it in the Thinkpad and loading Mint Linux. That partitioner worked better. It still sacrificed half of the hard drive but the other half seems to work.
It's raining on the Nordic Fest festivities. Nordic Fest is in full bloom. The downtown area is blocked off and food stands and music stations are set up there. The parade is tomorrow. Alice and I are going to LaCrosse to avoid it. I don't get many chances to get to LaCrosse, so I jump at any chance.
Tonight I'm helping to set up the float for the Democrats. It'll only take an hour or so.
I'm bidding on 3 Gateway 9300's. If I get them I should be able to get one or two good laptops out of the batch. I've got a lot of left over parts from the last batch. If one of them runs right off the bat, I'll have the ac adapter and hard drive for it. Maybe I can get a good battery out of them.
That's it for now. I gave up on the lottery.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Yesterday was bad for old laptops

I'm sorry that I didn't post a blog yesterday. I was busy with old laptops.
Dave W. returned his. It was all locked up. The menu icon was missing. I think he fouled it up by shutting it down wrong. He also didn't know how to access the internet.
The internet in town has been rather spotty. I've had troubles everywhere except Bookends and Beans. I don't know if he had troubles with the machine or with somebodies internet service.
I also had a Gateway that quit accessing the hard drive. Today, I took the processor out of one of the Gateways and put it into the other. Now, I seem to have one good machine. It has troubles with the lights not working on the leds. I also left off some decorative trim on the telephone and network ports. I'll see about fixing that latter. I'm just happy that I got one out of two to work.
I'm having troubles with the ram drives as well. Maybe I just need to boot up with one of them in the slot. The screen flickered a bit as well. Maybe I wasn't as successful as I thought with the transplant.
I uploaded a picture of the flowers, in front of the hospital, on Montgomery Street. I think I already uploaded a picture of a bee from that day.
About the disability section. A lot of people who are disabled don't like to be defined by their disability. By that I mean a blind person wants to be seen as a person first and blind, secondarily. Of course, I'm grateful for my Social Security check, but there is more to me than just a schizophrenic person. I'm also an investor, a homeowner, and a repairer of old laptops. There are other things about me that I feel are important. Some of these include, being a Democrat, a spiritually developing person, and a major consumer of coffee. Something that is also important to me lately is loosing weight. I'm missing the WRAP meeting. Later

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Gateway is toast

I got a CMOS battery for the Gateway with intermittent problems. It didn't fix it. I'll have to scrap it out. I'll probably get another shell from Ebay and put the drives and batteries into that. The trouble with that is that it will cost more for shipping and handling than it will be worth. I like the Gateways, however. They are almost fast enough for streaming video. They work pretty well with audio. And, of course, they are just fine for surfing the net and word processing. I may have to do the same thing with the bad Thinkpad.
I went to a free movie, today. It was a promotion that the local banks put on. I think it was mainly for kids. The name of the movie was "Hotel for Dogs". It was silly. Totally impossible, but fun.
Afterwards, I went to Jim and Sherry's for lunch. I overate. I'm trying to lose weight but I ate 2 turkey and cheese sandwiches. For me, that is overdoing it. I'm trying to keep my dinner light, by only eating a bowl of soup.
I updated a couple of computers, today. I was surprised at how long it took. I must have spent two and a half hours updating the good Thinkpad. The good Gateway only took two hours. That is just too much time. I updated them last week so that was 1 weeks worth of updating. I was under the impression that Linux wouldn't do all the updating that Windows does. That was one of the advantages of the operating system. SUSE Linux seems to update more than Windows. I could select the things I want to update but I'm not certain that I know enough to make informed decisions. So I update everything. When you have 5 computers, that means that much of your time is spent updating things.
Alice picked out a picture of the reading room at Java Johns for the blog,today.