Sunday, March 30, 2008, posted by Q6 at 10:20 PM
It's not often people ask me what I want for my birthday. I think it's because over the years I haven't been very good at answering the question. (I mean, let's face it: I'm just not the kind of guy to ask people to give me stuff on the anniversary of an event I had very little to do with. I just showed up and complained a lot.) Nonetheless, I'm being asked the question again--my birthday is in May--and being a person uncomfortable about having a fuss made over me I'm once again having problems answering. I've thought about it a bit, and all I really want is stuff people couldn't give me anyway, like "time" or "the ability to" or other such wishes. I figure if I have to come up with a list, I need to come up with things that I would use for my own enjoyment, and that I might be able to build the selfishness to purchase for myself. So I came up with a few things. Here goes:
  1. The Canon Powershot SD1000 Digital Camera. I LOVE my Canon SLR digital camera, make no mistake. And I love taking pictures. A lot. My problem, however, is that my SLR is a little big to be carrying around all the time. We all have those moments when we say, "Man, I wish I had my camera." I have those moments all the time, especially since I have two blogs, two webpages, and two kids. This camera does everything I need it to, would complement (not replace) my SLR, and is compact enough to carry with me everywhere (allegedly, it's only slightly larger than a pack of Trident gum).
  2. Things to help me write my book. I'm experimenting with a few methods--writing some things in longhand, typing others at the computer, . . . I toyed with the idea of reciting it into a digital voice recorder and transcribing later, since some of my best ideas come out of my mouth while I'm driving and stuff . . . so this is on my list. Nice looking, leather-bound journals (I saw nice ones at Barnes & Noble the other day) would help me write. Lemonade helps me write, too, for some reason, so consider that to be on the list as well.
  3. iTunes Gift Cards. I've been dying to load my iPod with more 80s music, and I've got my eye on quite a bit. I'll get to it eventually, but if people are looking for gift ideas, why not? (Gift cards might seem to some like a cheesy cop-out as far as gifts are concerned, but I've never heard anyone complain about a gift that allows you to shop for yourself.) What's more, you can't ever get enough of these.

  4. The Old Standbys. Hey, people who know me are aware of what I do in my spare time (or, more accurately, what I'd like to do with it).

Like I said, I'm really not very good at this "What do you want for your birthday?" thing. Me, I'm usually pretty good with where I'm at. I've got a great family, wonderful friends, and I'm in a comfortable place in life right now. Just having a 39th birthday, . . . well, that's a big gift in and of itself.

Saturday, March 29, 2008, posted by Q6 at 6:39 PM
I'm not one of those people who falls over himself trying to be patriotic, but when the opportunity presents itself I'm all for doing what I can for my country. To that end, I've been trying these last several weeks to do something that's good for our country's economy--heaven knows we need to do something. The problem, however, is that I'm trying to save money at the government level, not my own . . . and no one else seems to want to do that. Let me show you:

The dollar coin--whether we're talking about the new presidential series, the Sacagawea coin, or the Susan B. Anthony dollar--has, quite simply, no downside. Here are the three reasons why I encourage everyone to use the dollar coins:
  1. The cost to produce a dollar bill is 3.8 cents, and each bill lasts about a year and a half; production cost for the dollar coin is about 8 cents, and it lasts about 30 years. You can do the math any way you want, but we're looking at a cost savings of $120 to $180 million annually.

  2. Coins are harder to counterfeit than paper bills. When you think of all the time, materials, and manpower that goes into investigating counterfeit currency--not to mention all that goes into checking for counterfeit cash at the retail level--then the coin creates even more cost savings.

  3. Instead of complaining (as some seem to be doing) that the coins are "inconvenient" at the $1 level, people might realize that this is a prime opportunity for the marketing firms in this country. By making the dollar coin mainstream we open up a whole new market in coin purses and holders and belt clips and whatever else we may need to MAKE these coins easier to use. They can sell us all kinds of things to make the dollar coin easy to use. Yay, economy.

So you see, I'm trying to do my part. At this point, it means going to the bank every week or so and turning in my dollar bills for coins, and using them. More people need to do this. It's simple, and it'll work.

* From Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. See? Dollar coins have worked before . . .

Thursday, March 06, 2008, posted by Q6 at 10:59 PM
Different things have different meaning to people, so there are rare occasions when someone gets rid of something and has NO IDEA just how meaningful it is to the person who ends up with it. That happened in my office this morning and, fortunately for me, I was on the receiving end.

My fiancee walked into my office and gave me an opened box of candy. "I don't need these," she said, "so you take them." People do this all the time, get rid of something that they don't want joining them on a scale at some point. No big deal. The world keeps spinning.

For me, though, it stopped for about three minutes while I once again got my nostalgia fix. She could have handed me a box of any one of dozens of candies--but she gave me Jujubes. These were my father's favorite candy. These little multicolored lumps will be forever burned into my memory in a small, 1/2 cup sized Tupperware container on the endtable next to my father's reading chair. He was the only person I ever knew who ate them regularly (hey, they're fat free), and I've only ever really associated them with him. If I asked nicely, I even got a few.
. . . like gems in a treasure chest of long ago.

Now I have a whole box--well, half a box. I ate some.