7.31.2011

hunting and gathering

I thought that everything I needed was all picked out, but I was wrong, Looks like I'm going to spend a little bit more money in order to save it. Food and gas are creeping back up again so I started thinking about a long term solution to reduce the costs of both.

Ruger 10/22

Something I've been meaning to do is to hunt for meat. I lucked out in that many of my coworkers are long time hunters and their experience saved me a lot of time. With their help I narrowed down my choices to the rifle above; a scope will be added to take advantage of its range. I picked jackrabbits as my prey of choice because of their high availability and are always in season. They're a great red meat substitute for beef recipes. Males weigh about 9-11 pounds with the females at 11-13 pounds.  The cost of the rifle and scope totals under $300 with the ammo at $14 for 50 rounds. The best thing is I can hunt other similar sized animals with this rifle to vary the menu. In case some of you find this disagreeable. I don't enjoy killing. I have no illusions about what I'm choosing to do and only do so for self sustenance on a limited income. Which leads me to my other money saving goal.

Honda CT110
With some of the meat covered I needed a cost saving way of gathering veggies (until I learn which desert plants are safe to eat) without having to drive my gas guzzling truck to the store. I have Brian of Many Wheels to thank for this one. I saw a picture of one on his blog and knew instantly that it was what I've been looking for all along. Before this I was torn between getting a scooter or a bicycle, but decided against the bike in the end. The exercise aspect of a bike is great but doesn't work if the nearest store is too far to get there and back in a reasonable amount of time. I'll rely on hiking and rock climbing for my exercise since I'll have more time later. I was originally looking at getting a Ruckus (Honda) or Zuma (Yamaha) but they cost too much (3k). The discovery of the CT is perfect for my needs and well within my price range. They're not made any more and only available used (around 1k average). I really love the semi vintage look and hope to find one that's slightly beat up so it'll be overlooked by any would be thieves. In the event anyone has designs of liberating my CT from me I've already got a security system in mind.

I think I'll name her Madeleine

It's been too long since my last one and I sorely miss having a german shepherd. I've wanted to expand my family for a while now but circumstances never allowed for it. The time will be right next year! What about "the beagle"??? The dogs will compliment each other well since they're both working dogs and I'll have plenty of work for them. I'm still researching this one and haven't made a final decision yet. I'm only undecided because of unknown challenges of raising a pup on the road. Still, I'm leaning very heavily towards doing it. I've got a year so we'll see how things develop.

7.23.2011

blogger comment issues

I've changed commenting from an embedded to a popup window. I don't know if this will fix the problem or not but lets hope it does. If that doesn't work you can use the "Anonymous" option (Thanks Bob for testing and showing that it works), and don't forget to sign it so I know who you are.


Steve

7.17.2011

washy washy clean?


This was probably one of the longest weeks I've had in a while. I was in a windows sysinternals training class learning more than I can possibly ever remember. I'm positive parts of my brain are liquified now. Concentrating in class was hard because there were so many things on my mind. The main one was how the class exacerbated the mistake of remaining in this career longer than I should have. I knew I wanted to change careers well before I left CA; I just hadn't figured out to what yet. My debt and later unemployment held me here longer than I'd wanted, but it did lead me to learn about full timing. I'm not complaining because it's provided me with everything I've ever wanted in life. I am saying that my priorities have shifted leaving me wanting different things now.


One year more is all I have to endure. The original plan was to leave when they ended my contract and tough it out on the road. I was expecting them to cut me loose around March, but instead they hired me. When that happened I decided to stick it out for at least 6 months to a year to pay off a few bills. The debt review (last month) made it clear that I should leave in September 2012 since most of it would be paid off by then. However that increased my time here to a year and a half. The upside to that is the bonuses my company pays out will cover the cost of a few extra luxury full timing items; with the rest going to the next egg. Sounds great, right? It is except that I'm going absolutely stir crazy now! This is where I have to thank someone who's become not only a good friend but is helping me get through this rough patch. 


I think life has a way of bringing the right people together when needed the most. About two months ago I met Robin of Tumbleweeds and Lemonade. The first message she posted screamed NOOB! I sent her a private message offering a helpful suggestion and it took off from there. It was a good thing because there was a lot that she didn't know about; my two plus years of research really benefited her. When she told me her real timetable I thought she was freaking nuts! In a good way though. Still, I'm impressed with her ability to digest all that info and pull it all together in such a short amount of time. Doubly so because of her story leading up to this. It's a good one and up to her if she ever chooses to tell it. I'm real happy (and jealous) for her because she hits the road in the following week. Way to go Robi! She wasn't the only one who benefited from this. I learned so much more in being able to geek out with her about RVs. It hasn't me hurt none to hear her say I'm doing the right thing by sticking around long enough to get the bills paid off. 


So what does the title and pictures have to do with this post? Absolutely nothing! It's something I grew up hearing my dad say after getting out of the shower. My rig was dirty so I spent a couple of hours in the hot sun washing it yesterday. Doing stuff like that always helps me zen out enough to make sense of things and sometimes brain dump it here. It made sense to call it that since this has been kind of a mental washing too.

7.13.2011

tech support

It's come to my attention that some of you are unable to post comments. I've been wondering why comments have been a little on the light side. If you're one of those who can't post please send me an email about it (from my blogger profile) and I'll do what I can to help you.

Steve

7.11.2011

area 51

No, not the secret Air Force base in Nevada that everyone knows about. This is the model name of the computer I bought 6+ years ago. The motherboard died towards the end of April, leaving me without my workhorse. I have a laptop but it's horribly under-powered for what I do. I do have plans to get an ├╝ber laptop but there's no sense in it since I won't be leaving until next year. The same goes double for my defunct PC. The next best thing was to replace the motherboard since I only need it for another year. Easy! Well, that's what I thought at the time and never expected what was to come next.

After shopping around I managed to find the exact same motherboard for $40 (including shipping) on an Amazon storefront. I ordered it on the 5-8 day shipping cycle and it arrived with a day to spare. I cracked it open only to be sorely disappointed because it clearly was used. I emailed him requesting that it be replaced with a new one or I wanted a refund. I even included my phone number so he could call me to work it out. The reply he sent was a poorly worded manic bluster where he threatened to sue me for libel and slander. This was hysterical to say the least. I contacted Amazon about it and they instructed me to open a case and also report him to their fraud department. I did both. Over the following week I received a barrage of more blustering emails from him. The thng that worked in my favor was that all emails are routed through Amazon. You get to avoid the he said/she said bullshit because neither party shares email address' directly with each other and they have a copy of every communication. In the end Amazon sided with and granted me a full refund. I had plans to ship it back (at my own cost) until a good samaritan phoned and informed me of what he did next. The clown had setup a blog raging about how both I, Amazon, and some other customer he pissed off had swindled him. Normally I wouldn't care but this jack ass posted my home address and phone number in it and all but asked people to either pay me a visit or mail me something. I contacted Amazon via phone and quickly got this escalated to their legal department to deal with. I also contacted the blog provider and got them to remove his blog for a TOS violation. Both parties dealt with him swiftly and got all my personal info removed from the public eye. Oddly enough, like Area 51 itself the (tin foil hat wearing) seller is based in Nevada as well. 

Skip ahead a month, I finally got over my gun shyness and bought another motherboard. It costed me about $60 with shipping but was worth it after what I just went through. A coworker swapped the motherboards for me on Friday. I got it home around 7pm and after a few setbacks had it in full running order. I didn't realize how much time had passed until I looked at the time and realized it was 5am. Needless to say the following morning was a late one for me. I pretty much geeked out the entire weekend on it but not before finishing the last Stargate SG1 episode that night. 

Nobody puts baby in a corner!

It feels damned good to put all of this behind me!

7.06.2011

debt redux

I recently did a mid year review of my debt status. As always there's good and bad news. The good news is that I'm down to 24K owed, and will get to keep more of the money from the sale of my land to myself. The bad news is my piece of land has not yet sold, and I'll have to keep working a while longer. That isn't really so bad since it reduces the work I'll have to do when I finally hit the road. The consolidation loan I took out in Jan will be paid off this Nov. This means that money will go to pay off the next credit card and so on until they're all gone. Worst case scenario is I keep working until my land finally sells, and given the way things have been going it doesn't look like it'll happen until next year. At least I can keep tossing bonus checks and next years tax return into my savings.

In other news I've almost finished my Stargate SG1 marathon. Just in time because a lot of my summer shows are starting up now. I've also been using this time to shop for the best prices on all the remaining RV upgrade parts I wanted. My apartment is starting to look like an RV parts shop or an episode for the next Hoarders.