Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Playing ball hockey

I've found a sport to play this winter. I'm playing in the Halifax Floor Hockey League. Actually they kind of found me. The league organizer messaged me and two others we all know on Facebook checking if we were interested in coming out for the 2nd half of the season.

The other guys were too busy and one guy has a bad back, but I decided to go out. I don't really have any other scheduled activities away from work and it's just an hour a week Monday evenings. The cost is quite reasonable. The gym is nice and convenient to where I live so that's great. In the past in like 2001 and 2004 I played some ball hockey but it was too costly, too inconvenient and far to get there, or I didn't know anyone there, so I didn't enjoy it and didn't stick with it. With this league I know the organizer and some others there from the local tech scene who I worked with in the past so this looks positive.

I went to a preseason pick up game. I went in for the draft where I was a late round pick I'm sure. We had our first game last Monday but we lost 10-6. I'm not in good hockey shape yet and I was often out of position on defense. So lots to work on but I don't think I was embarrassed out there. I tried to keep my shifts short since I'm not in shape yet for hockey, which requires more of bursts of speed and activity. Hopefully I'll shake some of the rust off in the next few weeks.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Baseball cards update

I made it back to Strictly Singles to work on the 200-374 section of 1979 O Pee Chee baseball. It was a good trip. I got a good stack of cards there for a reasonable price.

I'm pretty close now to completing the set. I just need 7 more cards to finish it. I've got everything that Strictly Singles had that I needed for this set. So I need to look into some other sources to complete the set.

There's a Yahoo group called OPC Central that has some OPC baseball collectors there. I posted my want list in the database they have there. I'll give that a few days and see if anything comes of it. After that I'll try Sportlots. That looks like a pretty good site and all of the cards I need to finish the set were listed there. It's hard to believe I may actually finish that set soon after all these years.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Cutting Edge Hockey

Last weekend I was at the Cutting Edge Hockey in Dartmouth. It was in Burnside on Ilsley. My son's hockey team had booked some time there. It was a pretty good facility they had there. I wasn't sure what it was about or what gear we needed. I ended up having a scramble a bit but it worked out OK so that was good.

They have a good setup there. There was a synthetic ice surface they used for skating acceleration. They had other areas set up for shooting, passing, stickhandling, balance. And there was a section with free weights. The instructors there seemed knowledgeable and enthusiastic about hockey. They kept the kids very busy with the drills during the session.

If you or your team wants to try something to improve your hockey I would say to check out the cutting edge hockey.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Scott Turow - Reversible Errors

I finished up reading another Scott Turow book. This one was Reversible Errors. It was a pretty good book. It was set in the usual fictional midwest Kindle County and as usual interleaves some familiar characters from the other Kindle County books. Which is a nice touch how they kind of tie together.

The Kindle County books are all pretty good. This one was about middle of the road I'd say. Maybe just a touch syruppy in parts. Better than Limitations and not quite as good as Presumed Innocent. I think there's a couple of other Kindle County titles I haven't read yet and I expect eventually I will.

I got this book at the library. It's a good library near where I live. I probably won't be going back to the library in the near future. I've got a couple of books at home lined up to read so that should fill up my reading plans for the next while.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

switched to Eastlink

I now have a new Internet provider. I've left Aliant and joined Eastlink.

I had wanted to get cable tv for a while now. I was stuck in a stupid Aliant cell phone plan until last December. After that misery was finally over with it freed up some money. I already have cell coverage anyway from Rogers. So based on what I was paying Aliant anyway for internet and an unused cell phone; for only about $10 a month more than I was paying anyway I now have internet, a cell phone number and cable tv with Eastlink. I got the regular cable plus the Super Pak so I get the sports entertainment I like plus the kids channels the kids like.

The Eastlink service was pretty good. When I ordered it the person was knowledgeable and got the order down quickly and properly. They said they would be by between 8-10 AM and the tech did arrive at 9 AM. The technician was good. He had it all set up properly in half an hour. He was pretty friendly. So far everything is working fine with the tv and the internet. A good start so far.

I should get a better tv though; maybe this year I'll get some basic HD tv. The tv I have is a very small giveaway. It's about 20 years old. But it works well enough for my purposes. I'm really not much of a tv watcher. Most of tv is so painfully boring. And the stuff I'm interested in like some sports, football, the economy, etc. the tv [and newspapers] always just skim over and never get into good in depth discussions like it is on the internet.

As for Aliant. When I verified the Eastlink was working properly I called to cancel my Aliant high speed. They said I need to take the old DSL modem back to the dealer I got it from in Bayers Lake. I don't know why they would want that Siemens modem that the power switch doesn't stay down on back but they can have it.

Plus of course there was an Aliant billing scam. The rep informed me that the internet service would be cancelled the next day. However they will continue to bill my account for an additional 30 days of service because I didn't give them "notice" that I was cancelling. If they wanted to round it up to the end of January that's one thing. But I don't see why they need an extra 30 days of pay when it took zero time and effort on their part to cancel my service. Typical of Aliant gouging their customers. I guess they get to loot one more $56 payment out of me. Enjoy the $56 you stole Aliant. It may well be the last money you ever take off me.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

40th birthday party

The last year or so has been the season for 40th birthday parties. Last week I was at another one. I've been to about four 40th parties in the last year or so. They have always been a good time.

Last weeks 40 party was at Big Leagues in Dartmouth. It was a good time. There were some people there I knew. That is a pretty good place Big Leagues. I don't think I'd been in there before. It was wing night and I had an order of hot with the beer. They were pretty hot and tasty too.

They have a pretty good lineup of Saturday night music acts at Big Leagues. Can't you see I'd sure like to catch Matt Minglewood some time. But it's a bit of a trip from where I live to there so I probably won't become a regular there.

I think it's just about done the 40th parties though. I can think of one more friend coming up hopefully his wife will organize something. It's nice seeing old friends from the past who you don't meet up with too often.

Monday, January 05, 2009

TD Visa limit increase

There was some news in my most recent statement from TD Visa. They have lowered the rate on the card. Also they have increased my credit limit by $1000 to $4500 now.

It's been around a year since they increased it to $3500. I never used the additional balance above $2500 they granted. I don't use the TD visa or any credit card very much. I mostly just use cash and sometimes debit card. There's something highly satisfying and powerful about paying cash.

Mostly with TD visa I just pay a bit more than the minimum each month. I've been using a win-hold strategy between the TD visa and MBNA mastercard. I've been pretty much minpay the visa while putting more payments onto the MBNA. That makes sense when the MBNA interest is over 20% and the TD interest is around 12%.

Still it's nice to get recognized for the ongoing progress with the debt situation. I don't really plan to use this newly available balance but it's there I guess for some unexpected thing.

I know some people are interested in getting a credit limit increase. Here are some tips for how to TD visa credit limit increase.

Don't call the bank, they'll call you. They have a big mainframe computer which runs a big batch job once a month to determine who gets credit limit increases. They'll know about you soon enough when they decide you're ready for a higher limit.

Be a customer. If your only product with the TD bank is the credit card then you're not really a first class customer. They don't really care much about you [except they care that you stay always current on the card] and will be not inclined to do anything for you. For myself I have a small savings account with TD and a personal loan. I've been with the bank in one way or another all my life. If you have some accounts, investments, a TD green card, etc. and set foot in a branch once in a while then they will look at you more holistically as a customer when determining to grant additional credit card limit.

An importanct concept to the bank is capacity. They want people who have the capacity to service higher debt or make higher payments. So you need to demonstrate capacity to the bank. These are some ways to help the banks computer recognize you have the capacity for an increased credit card limit.

  • greater than minimum payment. If you only make the mininum payment then you're telling the bank you are stretched to your limits financially. The bank will be risk averse and will not grant you new credit. You are barely able to service your existing loans, borderline delinquent. Even if you just take the minimum payment and round it up to the next multiple of $10 then you are showing the bank you have additional money to spare and you can service a higher limit
  • steadily decreasing balance. If your outstanding balance declines six months in a row this is an important thing the bank's computer will notice. It's OK to have a balance and make new purchases on the card. However your overall balance owed must decline each month. By doing that you are showing you have the capacity to service your balance and things are well in hand. Thus you are low risk for an increased limit.

    Conversely if your balance is rising month over month then that is a red flag to the bank. You are demonstrating you probably spend more than you make and are higher risk for eventual default. The bank will be much less likely to risk putting a higher credit limit at risk.

    Of course if you want to go south this winter and use credit card to pay for the trip [although you should either pay cash or stay home]; then pay it down smartly over the next 6 months then that's OK with the bank. A balance increase due to a big spike purchase is one thing. The bad type of balance increase is when the purchases are for gas, groceries, gifts, entertainment, etc. They know what you're buying and pay attention to why your balance may be increasing.
  • unused capacity. This is a bit of a paradox in that the bank tends to give credit card limit increases to those who don't seem to "need" it because their available unused balance is already pretty high. But that's the thing. By keeping unused balance you are demonstrating the capacity to properly manage that amount of available credit. You are a good candidate to be trusted to manage more available credit; even if the bank expects you likely won't use it.

    On the other hand if you are at or near your credit limit then you are demonstrating poor credit management skills. Although you would very likely spend the newly granted credit on your card, the bank has to be concerned if you have the capacity [either income stream or personal financial skills] to service an increased credit limit and actually repay it. A wise bank would be very cautious about letting these people extend themselves any further until they can demonstrate some capacity to service their existing debt load.

Friday, January 02, 2009

new DVD player

I picked up a new DVD player. The old one was making loud noises and often not able to play the titles. The old one was a cheap grocery store $30 Magnavox that I'd got for free.

I wanted a nicer one this time that will hopefully last a bit longer. I ended up getting a Philips DVD player. I picked it up at BestBuy in Dartmouth crossing. It was $80 marked down to $50 for boxing day. I hadn't been to Dartmouth crossing before. It was very busy that day but it is well designed there for all of the traffic. Although going through a 4 way stop with 3 entering lanes in each direction was a white knuckle driving experience.

The BestBuy was pretty nice. I hadn't been there before. It was well laid out there, easy to get around and find stuff. I arrived in the middle of the day but they had a good supply of the Philips DVD on sale that had been in their flyer. My monitor is Philips and it has a nice clear picture. And my DVD-cable converter for my old style tv is also Philips so the stuff I've got from Philips has all been pretty good.

The DVD is working pretty well. It says it has HD output but I still have an old style tv. It works fine but the HD tv will have to wait a bit longer. Maybe later this year. Maybe another Philips would be a good pick, and the Sharp tv are pretty good quality in my experience.

Now I need to find out about the electronics disposal to get rid of the old DVD and the P3 computer I got from my old work as surplus that I won't be needing any more.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Schoolhouse rock

If you watched Saturday cartoons on ABC in the 70s you should remember Schoolhouse rock. There's actually a Schoolhouse rock DVD out now showing all of the original educational cartoons. I just watched it straight through again recently and it was great. If you remember it and you are a somebody who gets schoolhouse rock then you should get the DVD and watch it straight through. It's a great treat.

There's an additional schoolhouse rock clip that was done by the simpsons. This was so funny, one of my favorites. Possibly the simpsons finest moment. I remember the first time I saw it, it was so funny. Thanks to youtube I was able to enjoy it again.

The other greatest simpsons moment was at the end of this clip. I remember this was so funny at the time.