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.