Friday, June 29, 2007

Net Worth / Lifetime Earnings x 100

The formula for your "wealth score," that is. Basically a measure of "what has my money accomplished for me?" Despite my recent stagnation, we're really not doing that bad for ourselves. I keep track of our "wealth score" in an excel spreadsheet and update it every two weeks or so. I just updated it tonight (since I paid bills and moved money around and such), and our wealth score is 20.08. The "ideal" wealth score for people in the 20-35 age bracket is 0-25. Rawk on.

I suggest you give it a whirl - it's really a good measure of your financial health. You just add up everything major you own: home value, car values, checking and savings accounts, 401K plans, etc. That's your assets. Then you add up your debt: mortgage, loans, etc. That's your liabilities. Subtract your liabilities from your assets, and you get your net worth. Then divide that by your lifetime earnings (available from your social security statement that you get once a year, or your tax returns if you have them) and multiply by 100 to get a percent. If it's positive, you're in decent shape! If it's over 50, give me a call because I have some things I'd like you to buy me.

I use Zillow for home value estimates, Kelley Blue Book for car value estimates, and HSH's amortization calculator to keep a running tally of our current mortgage balance. Everything else comes from our account statements.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

La la, why don't you get a job

Talking about future employment options, should I ever happen to graduate:

Me: Well, I'm sure I have *plenty* of time to think about all this
Matt: Hopefully less than a year
Me: Ha
Matt: It could happen
Me: Yeah, maybe if the data fairy visits next month
Matt: She could

GIS for "data fairy":


Looks a little scrawny if you ask me.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Monster post

Feel the burn, baby. And why, for a moment, did I just forget how to spell "monster?"

Work: Meh, don't ask. Although the one bright spot is that we are trying to get a corporate sponsor for a table at the American Skin Association's black tie fundraising gala in October...in the Rainbow Room of Rockefeller Center. I already have my eye on a dress, just in case. Yeah, it's in a kooky catalog. But the dress...mmmmm. Oh, and the lab is going to the Orioles game tomorrow night. I really only work for the perks, it's true.

Telemarketers: I guess it's not really fair to call them telemarketers, because telemarketers aren't allowed to call us. More like, telesolicitors? Anyway. We've been getting a lot of calls from the ACLJ lately. Not to be confused with the ACLU, oh no no no. We usually ignore calls from solicitors and numbers we don't recognize (although if we hear your voice on the answering machine, we'll pick up, we promise!) But the ACLJ has been calling 3-4 times a week for weeks on end, sometimes before 9AM (the FCC only permits calls between 9AM and 9PM). Now, it hasn't been egregious calling (i.e. 7AM or something). But coupled with the volume of the calls, I had had just about enough when the phone rang at 8:45 this morning. I answered, waited for the computer dialing system to alert the caller that someone had actually picked up, and when I asked who it was she didn't give me her name or organization. I told her "You're in violation of FCC regulations for calling before 9AM and we'd really appreciate it if you took us off your calling list, thank you" and hung up. If they call again, they're toast. As an aside, it totally tickles me that my online spell check says that ACLJ is misspelled and offers ACLU in the possible spellings list.

MRI: No, I'm fine. I did, however, get screened and selected for a research study on functional MRI scanning. I'm getting paid $70 for a couple hours of my afternoon on July 26th. The study is about distraction - I'll be continuously scanned in the MRI while watching a silent film, and various distractions (puffs of air, sounds in the headphones, etc) will come in randomly. I'm in the 20-30 age group, and the MRI scans will be compared to scans of people in the 60-70 age group to look for differences. I think it sounds fun :-)

Anniversary: Man, I think Morton's might be my new favorite restaurant. We went to the one in Bethesda on Friday, and it was AWESOME. And freaking expensive - we set a new record for most expensive dinner ever. We had bacon-wrapped scallops for an appetizer, and then got steaks (ribeye for Matt and filet mignon for me, as usual) with garlic green beans and crispy shredded potatoes on the side. Okay, it's a hash brown. But a CLASSY hash brown. I tried a pinot noir, and it was okay, but the quest for a red wine I really like is still on. Matt got me Godiva chocolates and a pair of earrings with my birthstones and tiny diamonds; I got him a "stack o' fun" consisting of various things from amazon.com - books, CDs and DVDs.

Weekend: Last weekend, we didn't do anything. It was great. The only times we left the house was to go to church Sunday morning, and to go swimming Sunday evening. Matt was playing poker Sunday afternoon, so I watched movies from On Demand. I saw The Birdcage, which I had seen before and is definitely funny; Noises Off, which is a film adaptation of a play I saw several years ago (and the play was funnier than the movie, although the movie was decent); and finally, Xanadu. The only words to describe Xanadu are Olivia Newton-John, Gene Kelly, roller skates, the Electric Light Orchestra, and trippy animated effects. It was...strange. Next weekend, however, will be much busier. I have two parties to go to on Saturday - a bridal shower for a girl at work at noon, and a engagement/housewarming/birthday barbeque that a guy from work is having at 4.

Travel: I'll be in Colorado in 19 days...it's coming so fast! And Carly sent out the vacation details e-mail today, which made me really excited for that as well. I was totally stoked to find out about her parents' seafood feast...crabs, shrimp, and clams are some of my favorites! I told Carly this today and she asked me "Where have you BEEN all my life???" Hehehe, right here, love, right here.

Bad Jokes: Our lab technician, Nick, is from England. And he likes to tell bad jokes. Really, really, really bad jokes. I offer you two of his latest masterpieces. Say them out loud for the best effect. 1. What do you call a sleepwalking nun? A roamin' Catholic. 2. What did the bra say to the hat? "You go on a head, I'm going to give the girls a lift."

Alright, I think that's about it for now...the tortellini is almost ready. Chow (hahaha I'm funny too)!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Ain't love the sweetest thing

Happy fourth anniversary, Matt :-)

Through all your tomorrows, oh
Feel free to count on me
-Kathy Troccoli

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Cross-cross-posted from Matt's blog

I didn't feel like retelling what Matt already said about our "adventure" last night, so you can go to his blog post and read it. I'm still seething. That's a good word.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Title changed because me no speak English good

I went to Let's Dish today (Matt came too). It was my 30th session. When we came in, one of the girls came over for the standard "Hello, welcome to Let's Dish, have you been here before?" spiel. I always chuckle when this happens, and tell them that yes, I've been here before. Today, this guy comes over to the greeter and says to her in kind of a hushed voice "No, that's The Thirty..." and she gets this awed look on her face and says "Ohhh, this is your 30th visit, we have a special surprise for you!" I got a free dessert and a $25 gift certificate. Matt thought the whole thing was hilarious and called me The Thirty for the rest of the visit. As in "The Thirty requires more hamburgers" or "Move aside, The Thirty would like to use this station now" or "The Thirty is ready to check out." I lol'd. But seriously, I love that place. The Thirty says go to Let's Dish!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Five cents a gallon saves me a dollar a week

It kind of makes me sad that this conversation ran through my head this morning. I was on Rt. 40 heading into the city and about to drive past my ghetto gas station (I wouldn't go there at night, but it's okay at 10am). So I'm sitting at the light before I go past the station and trying to read the gas prices, and I think Is that an eight? I think it's an eight...it IS an eight! Yesssssssssss! Yep, I now get excited about gas being $2.89.

And sometimes I think that I'm not any good at all
And sometimes I wonder why, why I'm even here at all
But then you assure me I'm a little more than useless
And when I think that I can't do this
You promise me that I'll get through this
And do something right, do something right for once
-Relient K

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

If I get social security, I'll buy a soda or something

There was a forum on Fark today for an article about how baby boomers "can't" afford to retire. The topic drifted to social security, and quite a few people share my and Matt's mentality that we expect to not get anything from social security and are planning accordingly. One person won the thread though:

"Relying on the government to safeguard your retirement money is like asking a stoner to hold on to your bag of snacks."

Best quote EVAR.

Friday, June 08, 2007

LOLcats say...


Camera battery dies. Both of them actually. I figured I'd order one online for store pickup and get it today on my way to the graduation. A) The battery was like the only one that didn't offer store pickup and it wasn't available anywhere else B) Apparently batteries don't come charged (WTF?) so it wouldn't matter if I could find it in a store, since I don't have the charger with me C) My order wouldn't go through in Firefox so I had to use Internet Sucksplorer.

Add this to (all together now) "It didn't work" in lab, and the morons who are doing the repave on 270 not leaving a place to exit onto 370 on the way home yesterday. And an accident on 70 this morning so I had to get off onto 40 and go through all the stoplights. Yeah, I'm in a sthuper mood, thanks life, I really appreciate it.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Mo' cats!

I don't know how people come up with these things, but some guy in Germany modded a camera that he then attached to his cat's collar so it would take pictures at intervals throughout the day: Mr. Lee's CatCam. Very cool.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Matt's going to hate me for this

Max and Roxie are on Catster. Now they're totally hip.

Max's Page
Roxie's Page

No, you're doing it wrong!

Matt and I are planning on going to see Mr. Brooks tomorrow after church, as we have some movie gift certificates. They're only good at Consolidated Theaters, and the closest one is in Silver Spring. As MoCo recently eliminated free parking on weekends (or will be shortly, we're not sure) we thought "No problem, we'll just take the metro!" There's a metro stop across the street from our church, and the theater is about half a mile from the Silver Spring metro stop (the next stop on the red line).

In comes the math. The minimum fare on metro is $1.35 (!). So we can pay $5.40 to go one stop on the metro, round-trip, or we can pay $0.60 per hour to park in the garage. No question there.

But my issue is that they're not really encouraging people to use public transportation at those rates. I mean, how many cars take 3-5 mile short trips every day because it's cheaper to park for a couple hours than pay to take the metro a stop or two? Over a year that probably adds up to a lot of pollution, traffic, etc. It's just silly. We'd have to spend the entire day (9+ hours) there for it to cost more than metro fares.