Saturday, May 30, 2009

Star Trek movie

I saw Star Trek last night at Bayers Lake. It was awesome, totally enjoyed it!

I've been a Trekkie for like forever. This was really well done focusing on the early original crew when they first joined the Enterprise. Spock was prominent and really well done. The young Spock actor did a great job and really "got" Spock's character without ruining it with emotion.

It was a bit hard for Spock to not steal the whole movie but the young Kirk actor was pretty good too. And that's what Star Trek really is. The story of Kirk. The story of Spock. The story of Kirk and Spock.

I remember years ago me and some friends were big TNG fans. We used to have end of season parties for the final episode cliffhangers. My attendance at the various original and TNG movies has been kinda spotty. I really should have seen Generations in the theatre as I heard that was good. This Star Trek movie was really well done. I hope they can pull off more good ones like this one.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Baseball cards

Another update on baseball cards.

I went down to the local cards dealer to look for some 1978 o pee chee baseball. He had a good number in the first half of the set. I'm going to go back to look at the second half of that set. It looks like I'll be around 20 cards to go. That's a good start if I can knock off most of that set. I enjoyed putting them into the album with my son.

While I was there I had a list of older cards 1967-1976 that a guy had posted on the Yahoo o pee chee group. The dealer had at least some cards from every year on his list. Although I was only able to make one match. It was a good match though. It was the Buddy Bell card from the 1976 o pee chee. That was the last card on his list for the 1976 set. The collector was in Washington State USA. So that worked out well. It is a diverse group of vintage opc baseball collectors on the Internet.

Then I guess I got some good karma. A couple of weeks later the Washington State guy e-mailed me and said he'd located the Lou Brock card I need from the 1979 set. That was great news. It arrived in the mail and now I just need two more cards to finish that set. 322 Dave McKay and 325 Jerry Remy.

Monday, May 25, 2009

ATV open house

Over the weekend I went to the ATV open house. It was pretty good. There was a good crowd there. The major stars were outside and they had long lineups for pictures and autographs.

Me and my kids wanted to see the inside of the studio. So we lined up for the guided tour. It was about a 20 minute lineup to get in but it was worth the wait. One thing that was interesting was that the mayor was at the head of the line greeting people as they were about to get to the staging area for the groups for the tours. I hadn't met him in person before.

Inside the studio was really cool. Our guides were Rick Grant and a friendly woman who was in advertising production. We saw the set for BT and live at 5. The control room was cool too and we were allowed to be in there while they directed a 1 minute segment outside where Steve Murphy spoke with some MPs.

The news room where they shoot live at 5 and the 6 o clock news was pretty good. We got to stand in front of the weather screen and point to Cape Breton on screen. That was fun. At the weather station Tina Simpkin spoke about how they get the forecast ready. She is a good looking woman.

It was a good time. I'm glad I went to it. As for the reason for the open house. They are struggling in this economic and advertising downturn. I can see how they would want to levy a fee on the cable and satellite companies who carry their signal. Although the medium is the message and we've been given a very one sided view of things from CTV.

But make no mistake. There's no way the cable/sat operators will just absorb such a fee for CTV. Any levy will just be tacked onto everyone's bill. Still is BT, live at 5, news at 6, 11, weekend news, etalk, CTV Canadian content worth an extra $2-$5 per month added to your cable bill?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

New old drill

I picked up a used cordless drill this week. I had a couple of small projects around my place that needed one. I had a drill that I got last year at a yard sale but it was no go this year and the battery wouldn't charge. Now I'll have to figure out what to do with that old battery but it was just a cheap old beat up drill I'd got at a yard sale.

Since my drill use is very light I just wanted something very basic. I went on kijiji and luckily found a well used Job Mate drill. It was $20. The seller lived downtown and said he didn't have any use for it. He even threw in a companion set of drill bits and a bunch of other accessories. So that was an unexpected surprise.

We tested it when I got it to see it was working. When I got it home it works well and I finished up the small projects. Hopefully the drill will still work when I need it again, maybe in a few months.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

new monitor

I did a little bit of spending with my tax return.

I picked up a new monitor for my computer. I was going to order a 22 inch from Dell but I decided to check out some local dealers first.

I checked a few places and I noticed the 24 inch seem more popular now. So I was leaning toward that. I noticed a Samsung 24 inch I liked in Bayers Lake that I was leaning toward. I decided to go to Dartmouth Crossing and check out BestBuy and Future Shop there.

In Dartmouth Crossing both BestBuy and Future Shop had the same deal on a Samsung 25 1/2 inch monitor. It was $550 marked down to $399. For no real good reason I took a little chance and got it at Future Shop. The sales guy there was friendly and he carried it right out to my car.

I don't know much about Samsung monitors but I hope it turns out to be a good buy. So far it is working well. It's worth spending a bit more for a big monitor for how much you use it. One thing I like about the Samsung is they have 1920x1200 resolution. That works for me because I often have multiple windows open, browser, spreadsheet, etc. So I can have a number of windows open on the screen easily. And apropos of nothing the 1200 vertical res is great because you can have two 800x600 size windows stacked with no overlap; and 4 800x600 windows on the screen with no overlap and still a bit of open space left over.

I also picked up some clothes. I bought some pants at Sears. I was looking for some Levi's Dockers. They were kind of hard to find. After some looking I did find them at Sears in the Land's End section. Unfortunately they didn't have my size so that was a bit disappointing.

Still I got some Haggar wrinkle free in the same colour so that should be good. I also picked up some Columbia pants and some socks. It was a good shopping day because it happened there was a sale. The Haggar were 35% off. The Columbia were 30% off. The socks were $12 marked down to $7. Plus at the cash register they threw in an extra $10 off because I spent more than $50. So I got 2 pairs of pants and socks for less than $90 taxes in. At full prices without the specials it would have been around $150 taxes in. So that was a good bargain.

And that's about it for the tax refund shopping. The priority remains to get the remaining debt paid off and then I can really move forward. There's still some stuff I would like to get including a digital camera and a respectable tv and a bunch of other stuff.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

The laws of our fathers - Scott Turow

I finished up reading another book. It was The laws of our fathers by Scott Turow.

As usual it was set in the fictional Kindle County in the midwest in 1995. It's the story of a female judge who has a case involving a number of people she knew well in 1970 in San Francisco. By a series of events all of the principals from 1970 end up back in the courtroom in the 1995 murder case.

One part which was OK is that the enigmatic Tommy Molto gets some more screen time as the prosecutor. Of course with all of the shenanigans among the principals it's an uphill battle for him. Like all of the Kindle County books there's a very active romantic scene for all of the main lawyers and judges. I wonder if it's like that in real life for the legal professionals.

Other than that it was not a great book. It was hard to follow as it kept flashing back to 1970 and the radical scene in San Francisco, trying to tie it to the 1995 court case. I found the 1970 sections more interesting as the 1995 parts just kind of dragged out. The main characters, the judge Sonny and the successful syndicated columnist Seth, just aren't very likable. They are too hung up on themselves, with constant annoying self analysis. In the other books the characters just live with their circumstances and their shortcomings and they move forward.

Most of the Turow stuff I've read so far has been pretty good. This one was a disappointment. The Turow fans wouldn't miss much by skipping this effort. That will be it for the fiction reading for a little bit. I've got some nonfiction to read next.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

taxes are done

My taxes are done for another year. It went pretty smoothly this year for once. After last year's taxes I resolved that it would be better this year, and it was. It's great to have it done and out of the way.

I went to H&R block again this year like in years past. They have a new office in Wedgewood so that was pretty convenient. I stopped by on the way home from work and they could take me right away. I didn't have my papers so we set an appointment for an hour later. My papers were already ready and it didn't take long to do. It turns out my taxes are simpler this year than in previous years so I may try doing my own tax next year. Still H&R block is very good and good value for the money.

It was a good tax year. Partly because I switched jobs during the year that meant I was over on CPP and UI so that was a bonus. Making some RRSP contributions for the first time since the 1990s was also a positive.

One good thing about using a service for the taxes is they have efile. So I got my refund very quickly, it only took a little over a week. The priority remains to eliminate the debt but I did allow a bit of spending for some stuff that I want.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

TD credit card is paid off

Some updates on the credit cards. In my latest TD visa statement the card is now paid off. That's good news to finally have that done. It took a while and it was hard but now it's done.

So that's the end of the "plastic" part of the credit cards. Unfortunately there's still some consumer debt still to be eliminated. There's about $5500 left on a TD loan which was transferred over from credit card. So that's credit card under a different label. I don't have a timetable for it to go away. The payment is $210 a month so it will be good for that to be done with. I can use the payments I was making on the plastic cards to help pay it off faster. Debt is slavery.

Still the elimination of the plastic card balances is an important milestone. I have a little treat in mind to mark the occasion. More on that when it happens.

With the TD emerald card paid off I have made a change. I've canceled the TD emerald card. I've replaced it with the GM Visa card. They gave me $1500 to start out. With the TD emerald card canceled they may increase the limit in the coming months, or whatever. By switching to the no fee GM card I skip the $25 annual fee on the other card. So it's a good move. I don't care about the 20% interest rate since I have no balance and no plans to carry a balance. I had a GM card long ago in the past so this is again a way to break from the old ways financially and move forward in a new positive direction. I'm still with TD though as they've always been good to work with over the years.

So I should be set for now with credit cards. Depending what happens to GM I guess. With the National Bank Mastercard and the TD GM card I don't expect to be adding or deleting any credit card accounts in the next while.