Monthly Archives: December 2008

Another fine mess…

What really has surprised me has been the speed at which this downturn has taken hold. I was not surprised by the housing market bust because the ever increasing prices to salaries was unsustainable. The rate at which this has brought everything else down though, is quite amazing – in a scary kind of way!

I guess now it is all a confidence game. If I don’t think you can pay me back the loan, then I won’t lend to you. Isn’t that a novel thought! Maybe if the bankers et all had kept their heads and used this same rule of thumb to start with we wouldn’t be in such a mess.

A few years ago I was amazed at how blase people were with money. The 20 something working in McDonald’s making $10 an hour and he buys a BMW.  Maybe I am just a child of the eighties, but it seemed every time I was about to graduate from one course or another, that the UK was in a recession. I paid attention. I saw what happened, what people did and what happened to people and I tried to learn the lessons. I didn’t ever want to land myself in the situation of owing more on my mortgage than the house was worth and then not being able to sell it and therefore not being able to move to where the jobs were.

This whole credit house of cards has just been waiting to fall. At the same time though, the economy does need credit made available. Course, now all the banks who risked the money on sub prime and bad debtors are facing the music and don’t want to lend any of their precious cash. So the companies can’t get credit, the customers don’t buy, the companies have layoffs and there are no customers left.

And where does the media play a role in all this? As usual they hype everything and make everyone get really scared. “The Great Depression is back”, etc. Well, if you weren’t scaring all the consumers they might still be buying stuff which would keep your manufacturing industry going and there might be a bit of credit around. Even I  haven’t been spending as much as usual and I have no reason to have really changed my habits, just hearing everyone bleating on about tightening their belt has changed my habits too. I have money I can spend, but I am not. I don’t have any credit card debt because I was always responsible. I never took an equity loan on my house.

My mother taught me well and of course, I’m a Scot and we are frugal creatures! No point flinging out the 32″ TV so I can get a flat panel HD 1080p LCD when the 32″ is working fine. That is a waste. Wait until the 32″ goes phitz and then research and purchase the best deal at the time. Prefereably on a 0% credit card so my savings can keep earing interest while I pay of the card. Simple!

Pay yourself first, then your bills and then you see what is left over – that is your spending money. Companies need to do the same – paying yourself first though is called inward investement. Like the bailout plan using it to create jobs via infrastructure building. You are not just spending money, you are investing it for the future too.  A better high speed internet connection for every home in America not only creates jobs in laying the lines, but enables other jobs for those that can then use the high speed connection to do better business.

Wow, Monday morning sugar rush from the donut I just had I guess. Oh yeah, when did it go from being a doughnut to a donut or a tyre to a tire? I figured these were maybe just American spellings, but when I was back in the UK a few weeks again I saw a sign in a shop that said Bakery and Donuts. Aahhh. Admittedly it was in an ASDA which is owned by Walmart, so maybe that was why.

So I guess we will get through this mess somehow eventually. Och, now I am depressing myself! So anyway, my Mum arrives over from Scotland on Christmas Day for a few weeks. She doesn’t know I have a new puppy yet, so hopefully it will be a pleasant surprise for her! I think for her Xmas present I will book a session for us with a photograher and get our potrait done. There – that will keep some area of the economy rohbust for a week or so!

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas!!

My new puppy Bailey, went to see Santa

My new puppy Bailey, went to see Santa

No power!

Pah, I haven’t had power at my house since the stupid ice storm on Thursday night. We don’t know what ice storms are in Scotland because it never gets that cold. I have had to send my Mum pictures so she knows what I am talking about.

I have been staying at a friends house since Friday, but I miss my usual routine. Even the TV shows I normally watch. When you have had 250 channels and DVR’s entertaining you for so long you realize how crap basic cable is and how annoying commercials are. Does anyone actually buy anything because of a commercial? Who was the genius that managed to con the perfume makers into advertising on TV?

To be honest, I think I would NOT buy a Toyota now because their stupid advert about the Toyotathon drives me crazy. Oh, that and the ‘saved by zero’ one. Grrrr! I’ll stick with my Mazda cause at least they are somewhat cool with the zoom-zoom series.

PSNH has started using Twitter though for storm outage updates which I thought was pretty forward thinking of them. I even finally joined Twitter just so I could follow them. Course, what I really want is an online street map that hightlights where power is out and is updated when it is restored. Now that would be real progress! Currently I have to spend my time calling the house to see if the answer machine will kick in.

My Mum is arriving on Christmas Day for a few weeks visit. This means two things – (1) my freezer was almost empty anyway since I finished eating all her frozen meals from the summer and (2) now there is lots of room for her to fill it up again! Roll on Mum!!! Hopefully power will have been restored by then or we will be camping out in Boston!!!

Update Dec 19th

So I went back to my house yesterday afternoon – to boil some more pots of water to try and raise the internal temperature. Well there is snow on my driveway, so I figure I should remove it before the next storm dumps today. I go to start my snow blower and I  yank the stupid cord and I yank it some more, and then I spray WD40 all over and top up with fresh gas and yank some more… nothing! Nothing!!! So then I got my exercise in from having to manually shovel the driveway. Anyone know how to jump start a snow blower from your car? Where is the electric when you need the electric starter????

Well, since we are due another 8″ – 12″ today, I am not going to go home until the darn power is restored. I did speak t a very nice lady at PSNH last night and she said that it should be back by tonight. They have to replace a pole somewhere and get us poor 22 homes back online!

Update Dec 21st

Got power back on Saturday morning – hurray! Went back home and was finally able to get the snow blower started with the electric start option. Took a while though and eventually a good old fashioned kick seemed to fix whatever was blocking it! Got rid of the foot of snow on the driveway and now we are getting another estimated 10″ today. What joy, but at least it is looking Christmassy. Oh, and so I did get in the mood and put up my Christmas tree yesterday too. Not quite up to my usual Martha standards, but not bad on a short trip home.

Netgear Powerline Networking

So I used to have a traditional wireless network in my home – Linksys modem and router – but I always got dead spots – especially in my computer room!

Well, I gave Netgear’s Powerline product a shot and I have to say I think it is great!
http://www.netgear.com/Products/PowerlineNetworking.aspx?for=Home+Networking

You need 2 plugs – one to plug the modem into the power line and one to plug the computer into the powerline. By some magic it manages to send the Internet signals over your power lines, so no need for running new cables.

I have been using this for over 3 years now with no problems what so ever. I did try the wireless extender plug, but I have to say I found that a bit sketchy – stick with the Ethernet plugs. It is fast and reliable and was really easy to set up.

Can’t quite understand why this product isn’t the rave everywhere. What I a waiting for is the option to stream your TV signal over the power lines – then you could watch your DVR recording anywhere in the house.

Oh well, I guess this brilliant little product will remain my little secret… oops!