November 2006

In looking for ways to save money I’ve been scrutinizing my budget. Instead of needing to cut out lattes and splurges on new clothes I realized the thing that needs to be deleted from my monthly spending is my car. You know, the POS that doesn’t have a working radio and breaks down every couple months? Yeah, that’s the one.

I pay more for my stupid car than I do for rent! Now, that’s a revelation. I could save $600 a month if I got rid of my car. No repairs, no gas, no insurance needed. I would be able to work a part-time retail job downtown and still afford all of my bills if I didn’t have a car. I’ve already gotten used to living without constant shopping sprees and extras like coffee and bagels every day. Sofia’s been living without her car since we crashed it last year and she says it was a godsend to be rid of it.

Now, if I could only find a way to crash my car without hurting myself in the process…


I know people say all the time that car insurance is a scam because you pay into it and then as soon as you actually use it they hike up your rate. But this rant is not dedicated to car insurance.

I have medical, vision and dental insurance. I’ve had them for three months and haven’t used one. Not only do I not have the time to find a doctor in these three areas, but with a full time job how am I supposed to actually go to an appointment without taking time off work? What’s the point of having insurance if I can’t even use it? I desperately need a new pair of glasses and it’s time for my six-month checkup at the dentist, but I can’t afford to take time off work and doctor’s aren’t open after hours.

I feel like I should just cancel my insurance plans. I’m paying some crazy amount (like $60 a month) for something I can’t even use. That money could go toward paying off my debt or something. Am I the only one with this dilemma?

I did my first 10K on Thanksgiving and I managed to do the whole thing without walking. My jogging is about as fast as walking though. I had an average 12.5 minute mile, but I was so proud of myself for making it through. I only wish Steph could have been there again to laugh with me when I got passed up by some 80-year-old man who was speed walking. Tony, Sof, my sister Jess and I ran it all. I was the last of the crowd, but only came in 10 minutes after the first of us (Tony). Final time 1:18:32. Only one minute faster than double my 5K time. Heck yes!

I also went rock climbing yesterday with Tony and Jess. Now my legs and back are SO sore. I’m definitely a weekend warrior when it comes to working out. There’s just so much extra time to plan adventures on the weekends. I should really try to workout more often though so I don’t get as sore.

Luckily it’s a long weekend though so we have time to recoup and Tony showed me how to play some video games. Ahem, he even got kicked off for about four hours today while me and my sister had a bit of sibling rivalry going on. I can totally see how these things are addictive.

I hope everyone had a great turkey day! Now it’s onward to Christmas. Make sure to spend, spend, spend.

It’s been nearly two months since Tony moved in, but this week we have a newcomer to the equation: The XBox 360. Will the relationship limits be tested? I think yes.

I hate to be the cliche girlfriend and get pissed about video games, but Tony bought it Sunday and we’ve already gotten in an argument about it. I know the girls will feel me on this one and the boys will probably think I’m being typical. But the things is I’m not your mom and the XBox makes me feel like I am.

Asking if it’s okay for you to play video games while your friend is online already waiting for you puts me in a bad position. It’s like when I used to bring my friend home with me from school AND THEN ask my mom if it was okay. Hello?!?!!? What is she supposed to say?

Men, if you don’t want the video games to be a problem then don’t treat us like your mom and don’t marginalize us for a damn machine. If you make plan with us and you blow them off to get to the next level OF COURSE we’re going to be pissed. Don’t expect any different and we’ll be fine.

At least they aren’t afraid of women with leadership skills. Last night Mme Segolene Royal took the primaries for her party by 60 percent! Oh, and I love that a former prime minister only took like 15 percent (I don’t remember the exact number) of the votes. Go Segolene! She may not win, but this is sure to be a closely watched election.

Read the full story here.

One of the questions that should really be asked as we continue on with the Iraq war is how we are portraying the people we are trying to “help.” I just read a very disturbing article about a group of soldiers who gang raped a little girl and killed her family simply because they were bored on traffic duty.

“One of four U.S. soldiers accused of raping a 14-year-old Iraqi girl last spring and killing her and her family pleaded guilty at Ft. Campbell and agreed to testify against the others.

The military judge presiding over the case, Lt. Col. Richard Anderson, asked Barker why he participated in the attack in Mahmoudiya, a village about 20 miles south of Baghdad.

‘I hated Iraqis, your honor,” Barker answered. “They can smile at you, then shoot you in your face without even thinking about it.'”

A second marine entered a guilty plea in a separate case yesterday for killing a civilian man. I’m really concerned that our continued involvement in this war is going to cause more strikes against America, especially as news of these horrible human rights violations surface. I know people hate when we left-leaners compare this war to Vietnam, but I can’t help but think the morale in Iraq is lowering to the point that we could one day have another My Lai Massacre.

There are a lot of corporate giants out there that people love to hate — Wal-Mart, McDonald’s, Starbucks — and it’s for good reason. These big chains flood the market with their product and make it nearly impossible for small retailers to compete.

But recently I’ve decided Starbucks really isn’t that bad. See, the thing about Starbucks is that even though they’ve taken over the coffee market just about everywhere, they at least try to be responsible about the environmental consequences of that. Unlike McDonald’s, which had to face a great deal of protesting before getting rid of styrofoam (which they still use outside of the U.S.), Starbucks uses recycled cups and encourages their customers to be earth-friendly. The other day when I was in there I saw a new FREE product of theirs: “grounds for your garden.” They were giving away their used coffee grounds for people to use in composting or as soil, rather than just dumping them in the garbage out back.

I realize this is probably because they have more environmentally conscious customers than some of the other corporate giants. Perhaps environmentalists are just finally getting through to people. Maybe I’m just making excuses for my chai latte habit because I hear Wal-Mart is going to start carrying green products too. And they have provided bag recycling for some time but I don’t plan to start shopping there anytime soon…

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