Monday, December 12, 2011

Lights out, Guerrila Radio

Cancelled cable about a week ago, joining what's supposedly a growing trend and one that I may as well have been a part of for over a year. When I originally moved, I wasn't planning on getting cable, but the cost of internet turned out to be cheaper if I purchased cable along with it.

Why do it? Cost wasn't the major issue, though I'll save about $15 a month. I just don't see how it makes sense to pay for a service I rarely use, since most cable shows I would watch are on at 10pm later, when I'm usually working or sleeping. Sure, there's DVR, but that would add on another $10 a month and having had a DVR in the past, I know it'd be mostly filled up with reruns and movies. If USA Network or FX loosened up on rebroadcasting the few shows worth watching, I'd even consider sticking around, but instead I would have to search it out on Hulu or Netflix, and it wasn't long before I was relying on that. The fact that Hulu+ exists but those networks won't sign on is bad for them, because as much as I'd rather pay them money to keep producing good shows, they really don't leave much of a choice.

And I always have the good ol' antenna, which is pretty much all you need for most decent shows after 7pm anyway. The one tricky area was always sports, which the PS3 cured by bringing Sunday Ticket (fun fact, you only need login information for ST-to go to take advantage, find a good friend and pay them the $50), and if you're lucky enough to live in the area of your team, you're gonna get the game anyway.

I don't currently have Hulu+ or Netflix, but throw in one of those with the antenna and you've got about 90% of what's worth watching. For whatever's left, there's always DVDs, Amazon, or Google Play. I just kind of came to the decision to cut the cord on paying $15 for something that's offered for free anyway.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Maybe this year will be better than the last

I was talking to a good friend of mine and the discussion of New Year's resolutions and fitting as much awesome into one year as humanly possible. And it got me thinking about resolutions, and how I always seem to mess them up, especially in regards to the never ending "quit smoking" one. While I've had some degree of success in the past with this (I think I made it a total of two months without smoking this year), the fact of the matter is that I still smoke. Nevertheless...once more for the road...

#1 - Quit smoking.

Also, for about 5 years or so I've wanted to run a marathon. I don't know why, it just seems like a really cool thing to have on one's life resume. I've made strides towards that this year, running a 5k and then a 10k in respectable times for someone who played on the chess team in high school. I'm fairly confident I can knock out a half marathon by March, and shoot for a full one by the end of next year. And so...

#2 - Run a marathon!

I've been reading a lot of personal finance blogs and books lately, mostly because I was working nights and it turns out there's a finite supply of Mad Men and How I Met Your Mother episodes. Now I've been fairly opportunistic as far as investing my money thus far, but last year I made my largest purchase ever, a 2009 Dodge Challenger. Don't get me wrong, I love that car, but with a monthly payment near $500 over five years I've had the occasional moment of doubt when I wonder (when bill time comes) if it would have been wiser to hold off a bit.

Granted, this was part of a plan to buy nice quality things that will last me 5-10 years or the end of my bachelorhood (in which case most of my furniture will still be usable). Anyway, to make a long story short, since the beginning of the year I've hacked down some of the payments, while also maintaining my stock portfolio and taking several graduate courses. My net worth without selling my belongings comes up a little short, and I'd like to have that evened out.

#3 - Exit 2012 with a positive net worth.

I've done a fair amount of traveling, but a lot of it was on my way to somewhere else. When I enlisted in the Navy I was hoping I'd get to do more traveling, and that hasn't exactly been the case. I do plan on making the most of it anyway and enjoying more of what's around me now. Despite the fact that I plan on being more aware of my spending habits, I don't think it will be a stretch to get out and enjoy the time off I do have. And to that end, I plan on spending my holiday weekends in some of the larger cities and outdoorsy areas around me.

#4 - Travel more!

I used to write a lot, beginning with horrible Star Wars fan fiction when I was 12, moving to song lyrics that would give "emo" a good name when I was 14, and continued on to writing poetry, lyrics, a few stories, and mostly a ton of papers in college. That's been lacking since I graduated, and I plan on doing more of that this year. I think the blog will help a lot towards that end, and I'll be making a more conscious effort to expand next year. I have no idea what form that will take, but any little bit will help.

#5 - Write more!

That's about all I've got for now, and even though I plan on doing SOMETHING every day that's new, these are the overarching goals throughout 2012.