Thursday, January 24, 2008

Welcome back coach

I was glad to see that Tony Dungy has decided to return to coach the Colts for one more season. That guy is a real class act. Plus it was so satisfying last season when he beat the evil Patriots in the playoffs. Like most Jets fans I despise the Patriots and the Dolphins.

I'm cheering for the Giants in the big game. I don't really think they'll win. But nobody expected them to lose in the last week of the season by just 3 points to the Patriots so I'm hoping for at least an entertaining game. Who would have thought after week two this season that the Manning quarterbacking his team in the Super Bowl would be Eli.

I'm not into any type of Super Bowl party scene. Most years I just watch the game at my parents house and I'll probably do that this year. The thing about Super Bowl parties is that usually a lot of the people there don't care about football and it detracts from enjoying the game.

Friday, January 18, 2008

NFL divisionals

I caught most of the Cowboys - Giants game over the weekend. It wasn't a bad game I guess. I haven't watched very much football this year. Some years I watch a fair bit of football and some I don't watch very much. When I was young I watched a lot of football. I should try to watch some or most of the two games this weekend.

The divisional round is always my favorite weekend of the season. More than the conference championships this weekend or the Super Bowl. There have been some memorable games and plays during the divisionals. Maybe it's the big games on Saturday.

I went 3-0 in the divisionals on a Facebook play money sports betting site picking the Chargers, Giants and Patriots to win. Not too bad. I don't have any picks for the conference championship games. Now I feel like going onto Bodog and opening a real money account for sports betting. That will probably have to wait a bit though.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Plus and minus at work

There's been some ups and downs in the first week back at work this year.

We started the year with an announcement from the CFO that the high speed Internet benefit is now canceled. Welcome to 2008 with the equivalent of about a $1,000 a year pay cut.

We did a downsizing at the end of December. Now in January most everyone left is together in a big square room full of cubicles. My new space is about the same size as I had before but no more window, and more noise including phones ringing, doorbell ringing, dogs barking (yes it's true), and more talking with more people in a smaller space. I don't mind people doing their jobs but it is different than it was before.

With fewer people there and everyone in one place we've closed off quite a bit of the office for some accounting purposes or something. As a result there's been some equipment surplussed. On the plus side I'm writing this from a Dell late model CRT monitor I got which is a good bit larger display area than my old Philips CRT. I also got a Pentium III plus some RAM as a backup to this computer which makes strange noises and gives weird error messages sometimes. I make regular backups so if this system gives out then I should be able to get back in business with a usable system.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Visa limit increase

I got a bit of a surprise from my TD Visa bill in the mail. They have increased my credit limit by $1000. They also cut the interest rate to 12.9%.

I was a bit surprised by this. All I've done is make slightly over the minimum payment the last few months with no new charges. The card was essentially maxed out before this increase. I don't know what criteria they use to hand out automatic increases. I think with credit card companies it's generally pretty lax. I've seen TD be loose with credit in the past.

In the past around 10 years ago I hitched a ride to work with a fellow who worked for Scotiabank in Dartmouth as a personal banker. He said one time a young guy around age 20 came in. The customer had finished trade school earlier that year and was working as an apprentice making around $11 an hour. He applied for a credit card. The computer system processed his application and approved him for $2500. When it came up on his screen Wayne from Scotiabank said to himself "I don't think so" and changed it to give the customer $1000 credit limit starting out. He did the young tradesman a favor when the bank software would have been happy to put him into a bad spot early in his life.

Still I can't complain. The rate cut gives me a bit of a break and the extra credit is there if I need it. I don't plan to use it. My plan is to eventually pay off this card and then cancel it. I don't see any reason to pay TD a $25 annual fee for a card number which is a commodity. I can get a no fee card which works exactly the same. In general I don't plan to use credit cards going forward but they are useful for stuff like Internet shopping, making reservations, renting a vehicle, unexpected emergencies.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Bad remixes 90s crap

I was at the Copper Penny with an old friend from high school a few nights ago. They have a pretty standard setup. There was a band which played rock. During the breaks they played dance and hip hop.

I do not like dance music. I would never turn it on the radio on my own. At the bars you just have to accept it and it's not too hard to ignore. I generally don't dance anyway.

The hip hop musicians of course have used sampling of much better music from the past to make their own music less bad. There's a hit song where they sample heavily from the Soft Cell song Tainted Love. That's an excellent original song. Although it is parasitic, the use of sampling creates a positive association from the past good song to the sampled song. I can't make out a word they are saying in the sampled Soft Cell song but I do find it catchy and I can tolerate listening to it in a bar.

So we're at the Copper Penny during the band break and some dance song comes on. This song was horrible. I don't know what it's about but the sampling was awful. They sampled some horrible song from the early 90s. Say what? If you lack the talent to create original music and must sample, then at least sample good music. That's why sampling works, because they rip off good music from the past.

This song was trying to sample some 90s crap tune. The period from around 1989-1992 was just awful for popular music. The scene was dominated by the likes of Vanilla Ice, MC Hammer, Snap, C & C music factory, Roxette, and Technotronic.

The trick to sampling is to sample good music. The music from this period is not good. It's bad, really bad. I can't understand why any contemporary artist would sample it.

This horrible music from the early 90s needs to remain in the trash heap of music history. I do not want to hear it sampled today. It sucked at the time when it came out and it still sucks today.