Shaving Grace

I got a great gift for Christmas. It was from a place called “Shaving Grace” in Exton, PA. I got a manicure, a straight razor shave and a haircut. Quite an enjoyable experience. It’s now midnight and my face still tingles a bit. Not sure about the haircut yet, will have to check it out tomorrow after a shower. But, it was a great gift idea for me and it was a nice, relaxing way to spend the day. Shame it is all the way in Exton, as I would probably make it a more regular visits if it were.

Art Lovers Beware

So I bought my first piece of art for the house. Total impulse buy. I was browsing eBay at work, goofing off after everyone left for the day and saw these listings. I just really liked the look and feel of the stuff from the artist and placed a bid. I really need a big something for above the fireplace, so I think this might do well. We’ll see, worse case is it’s a $200 throwaway, not the end of the world. I don’t know. Whatever.

Large Appliances

I went to Sears and bought a washer, dryer and refrigerator. That was a real joy. Not. I decided I liked the Maytag Wide-by-Side design the best. It has an innovative design of the doors and internal layout to maximize the space. Seemed like a great idea and only Maytag made it, so I was stuck with buying that brand. It’s a bit more expensive then a normal side-by-side unit, but I got some pretty good discounts from Sears, so I’m happy. I also decided on getting a front-load Kenmore. I ended up with the #43042 Kenmore Front Load Washer and the #73030 Kenmore Front Load Gas Dryer. They are not as large as the Maytag Neptune units, but also not as expensive. They were on sale and they also gave me 10% off. So, I was pretty happy about that. Nothing like dropping $2000+ on appliances and walking away with a couple of pieces of paper. Argh. Delivery will take place after I settle, in late January.

Thanksgiving – 2003

It’s Thanksgiving. The one true “Tobin” holiday. I’ll be heading over to my parents place for dinner. It’ll be the usual sparkling good time, I’m sure. I give it 2 hours before someone yells at someone else. This does not take into account the yelling at the dinner table. Not anger yelling, mind you, just yelling to be the top voice at the table. Well, my mom can cook one mean turkey and she typically goes overboard with food, so I’ll enjoy it. Food – the way to a man’s heart. House purchase is moving ahead nicely. Got approved for the primary mortgage on Monday then got approval on the 2nd mortgage on Tuesday. I’m doing a 80/10/10 mortgage also called a piggyback mortgage. It allows you to put less cash down but continue to not pay PMI. PMI bad.

House Inspection

I have my house inspection tomorrow morning at 9:00 AM. I’ll bring the camera to take lots of pictures. Look for them to be uploaded soon enough. I’ll probably also print some out as well, as I would like to bring actual prints with me to Thanksgiving dinner to show off. Should be fun. I got a call from my realtor today and they moved my settlement day up by about two months…AGH! Have got to start scraping some cash together. I have enough for settlement plus a bit more, but I was hoping to have several thousand more available for some necessities – like furniture. Oh well, that is what credit cards are for. This on top of two weddings in about two months make for some exciting times, one of which I’m taking part. So, that means some added stress and expense associated with a tuxedo, bachelor party, the whole nine. Arrgh. Can’t wait until this is over and my life settles down a bit

House Poor!

Well, I’ve finally done it! After what has felt like an eternity searching, I have house that I am ready to buy. I’m sure there will be alot more information about the house in the near future, but for now I can say that it is located in Conshohocken, PA. It’s three bedroom, two and a half bathrooms, finished basement, two car garage, deck, pool and a bunch more. Only two years old so I do not have to put alot of sweat into fixing things, at least for the time being. We’ll see. That’s what the theory was on my dad’s boat and that pretty much back fired. In any case, pictures and tons of more information will be forthcoming as things progress. I’m just pretty psyched right now that I can finally move out of this apartment and into a home that is mine. An exciting time…

SPAM, SPAM, SPAM

Turns out, I’m not as popular as I thought. I have been reading up on these new SPAM filters called Bayesian filters. Essentially, Bayesian filters calculate the probability of a message being SPAM on its contents. The filter learns as you receive SPAM (and inform the filter that it is SPAM) as well as when you receive good mail. Results are immediate and obvious. I used to come home to my Yahoo email (retrieved via YahooPOPs!, a must have ) to about 20 emails, of which 18 were SPAM. With my new Outlook based Bayesian filter called SpamBayes I have successfully cut my SPAM to ZERO today and real email to 3. Yep, it works, but now I realize that I get very little real mail. I’m going to continue to test for another week or so before installing SpamBayes onto my laptop and have it begin filtering my Mindspring account.

Dennis Miller, Krispy Kreme and NYC

I’m writing this from a NJ Transit Train heading from Hamilton, NJ to Manhattan, NY. A real miracle of modern technology, the USB based phone charger and data cable for the Sanyo 5300 mobile phone. I get great speeds (115 Kbps) and adequate connection reliability. (it has dropped twice so far, 30 minutes on the train) I’m heading to Manhattan again to aid in a Checkpoint Firewall-1 NG re-install for Cerberus Capital.

Had a great time last night. Went to see Dennis Miller live at The Borgata Casino in Atlantic City. I went with Alyssa Cherkin. She balked at some of his more conservative jokes (the Bill Clinton dings didn’t sit well) but all in all, we both laughed for most of the show. I played some craps at the casino for about an hour and won about $75.00. Not my best showing, but my continued winning record at the tables dating back from September, 2002 remains in tact.

Alright, now I’m just really annoyed. What has to be the fattest human being ever just sat next to me on the train. I mean, come on people…I don’t mind a little extra poundage, but this guy has just consumed 75 percent of the seat. Why is it that I need to squeeze because he can’t keep his fat fingers off the Krispy Kremes for a bit. Now, if I was as fat as him, he would not have even attempted to sit with me. Sigh. I need to plump up, maybe then folks would leave me alone People annoy me.

Well, we just passed the Newark Station and we will be entering the tunnel into NYC soon. Let’s hope I didn’t lose my connection again and lose this post.

Queens, NY – Ugh

I need to start always having a change of clothes with me. I had a small job in Queen’s, NY on Tuesday. I decided to drive up since I’m not very familiar with the subway system to Queens. Wow. What a nightmare. I awoke at 5:30 AM in order to arrive in NY at 10:00 AM. I was making great time until the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, where I waiting on the Staten Island Expressway for over an hour. I did not arrive in Long Island City until after 10:00. I was already tired and I had not even started working. Luckily, it was a pretty easy job and I was finished by about 2:00 PM. As I arrived back at my car (with a $25 ticket attached, thank you very much, NYPD) I got a call from one of my placement firms about my availability for Wednesday. They needed some Checkpoint assistance in Manhattan, NY on Wednesday. Arrggh. No clothes, no shampoo, no nothing. So, I drove all the way home, took a quick nap, made some dinner, watched some TV and then fell asleep around midnight.

I was back on the road again by 6:00 AM, on my way to the Hamilton Train Station for my train ride back into the city. Of course, I got off at the wrong subway stop once there. (I always do) Then took a wrong turn and ended up walking 4 blocks out of my way. Ugh, this city hates me.

Well, the good news is the client is happy and everything I was brought up here to do was completed. They have a boat-load of other problems but there is not much I can do about that. MCI and Verizon are in a pissing match over who will fix some of their dead T1s. I will help out where I can, I’m up here I should get paid for it. I’m meeting my bud Mark Clancy for dinner tonight, which should be good.

Frugality and Me – Perfect Together

Lately, I have found myself browsing these internet ‘deal’ sites. I got my first taste from Anandtech’s Hot Deals web site. I was intrigued by the creativity these people had in order to squeeze as much merchandise from a retailer for the least amount of money, all legal and playing by the rules. Sometimes, the retailer would cancel the order because it was a mistake, but most times things went right through. Many of the Hot Dealers spoke of another site called FatWallet. I ventured over to it one day and found a much more robust community that found deals on everything from DVDs to Computers. They really knew how to get the most bang for your buck. I would buy things that I needed or wanted, but mostly I bought things because it was too good of a deal to pass up. A $25 Targus Laptop Bag? That’s a no brainer. Could I pass up a 18″ Dell LCD Screen with DVI? For $400? Not on your life.

I then found out about Spoofee. This site is very similar, but they post the top 3 or 4 deals of the day. I was able to purchase a Lexmark E210 for about $50; a deal I got from Spoofee.

Lastly, I wanted to mention the Amazon.com: Amazon.com Outlet / Friday Sale. Every Friday, Amazon puts some pretty good deals up at this location. It’s worth a look see.