Dear Epson, I Hate You

I suppose I shouldn’t complain too much about what currently angers me, given that I got the product in question, but I’m still going to complain anyways.

A few years ago, my dad got a couple of printers included with a computer or two that he ordered.  I think it was just as cheap to include the printer as it was to not, so he figured, get the printers.

When the printer I had been using stopped working, he offered up one of the printers that had been sitting around, and I gladly accepted.

It was a nice enough printer with probably a lot more capability than I really need, which could be part of the ‘issue’.  It is designed to be able to print photos.

Which is great, but I pretty much just need it for a regular old printer.

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Why I’m Glad I Have Someone Do Our Taxes

I’ve been lucky enough to have someone do my taxes for as long as I’ve ever had to file them.  How did I get so lucky? Because my dad has been lifelong friends with the guy that does them, and he’s always treated our family very well.

I’ve never questioned his ability, but whenever I see something I don’t understand on a tax return, I ask about it, for the simple sake that I want to understand things.

We re-financed our mortgage last year, so when I was estimating our tax return, I entered the closing costs, but when our tax return came back, this wasn’t on here.  Only a small portion was.

I knew he was correct.  He always is.  So, I didn’t sweat it and in fact I waited until after tax season was done before I dropped him an e-mail asking why the closing costs were nowhere to be found.

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Asia’s 5 Best Cities for Culture

There are hundreds of cities to consider for a trip to Asia. However, there are a few that stand out among the rest as excellent places to get a full dose of culture.

Shanghai

Shanghai is a huge metropolis that has everything China has to offer and more. If your time is limited, but you want to get the best experience of Chinese culture, then Shanghai is surely the way to do it. Book into a Shanghai hostel to save money as there is plenty to do and see.  Perhaps you’re after the hustle and bustle of everyday life, then get down to the markets, where the smell of deep-fried soy is unmistakable. As for architecture, you’ll find old buildings like the Jing’an Temple nestled among shining modern towers, and Western-style buildings speak to its eclectic influences. The city is old, and it has held its cultural and political importance since the 1930s. It is the place to get to know China.

Image: Jing’an Temple. Credit:  by kanegen

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If You (Or Someone In Your House) Isn’t On Pinterest, You Should Be

I first laughed when I heard chatter about Pinterest.  For those who don’t know, it’s a social media outlet where you share images rather than statuses.  It’s really caught on with women, as many women have found things like recipes, fashion tips, and other things that (not to be sexist) generally aren’t as interesting to men as they are to women. I thought ‘Oh, just another passing fad’.

Soon, I started seeing my wife sitting in front of the computer for long stretches at a time, failing to answer roughly two-thirds of questions directed her way.  When I probed to find out what was the new source of interest, it turns out she had come across Pinterest.

Now, I have only seen Pinterest in passing, but I have to say, having one person in our household has been a good thing.

Read moreIf You (Or Someone In Your House) Isn’t On Pinterest, You Should Be

Don’t Let Personal Injury Bankrupt You

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident or an accident at someone’s home or business, one of the first things you must do is find an injury attorney. Medical bills are a predominant reason behind many personal bankruptcy filings. Don’t let this happen to you. If you find an injury attorney, he will work to make sure you get the medical treatment and financial compensation you deserve.

Medical bills, car repairs and lost work time are just a few ways personal injury can bankrupt you if you do not have legal assistance. Lost work time lowers your income which can make it difficult if not impossible to pay credit card bills, student loans, utilities, food and rent. Some people file Chapter 7 bankruptcy to get relief from all of these obligations. However, do not file bankruptcy lightly because this decision will follow you around for the rest of your life and negatively affect your credit rating for 10 years.

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Happy Birthday, Mrs. Beagle (And 30 Reasons I Love You)

Today is my wife’s birthday and it’s a big one, so I though I have a million, I thought I’d put thirty reasons I absolutely love my wife:

  1. She loves ice cream almost as much as I do.
  2. She taught me to enjoy eating meals out on the deck.
  3. She puts her children and family first.
  4. She makes me laugh every day.
  5. I love when she laughs.
  6. She regularly laughs at my jokes.
  7. She loves taking walks with me and the kids.
  8. She introduced me to camping, which I know love doing.
  9. When she gets mad at me, she never holds her anger for long.
  10. She’s the most amazing mother I could ever hope for to my kids.
  11. I love falling asleep next to her.
  12. And waking up next to her.
  13. The way we met mirrored the way two characters met in my favorite movie (Swingers)
  14. She gives wonderful hugs.
  15. And even better kisses.
  16. The way she looks when she doesn’t know I’m looking at her.
  17. She loves to celebrate holidays and seasons.  All of them.
  18. She gives me a much needed sense of fashion (which I don’t have)
  19. She keeps me feeling young.
  20. She keeps our family eating healthy without being a health nut.
  21. She makes our house a real home.
  22. She makes me want to be a better person.
  23. She always accepts my apology after I do something dumb.
  24. She loves taking pictures to capture our memories.
  25. She is an awesome coupon cutter!
  26. She saw me through two job losses and stuck with me and believed in me.
  27. She strives to make the best chocolate chip cookies ever!
  28. She doesn’t love cats but she loves mine because they’re mine.
  29. Everything is more fun with her.
  30. She takes my breath away.

Happy Birthday, Mrs. Beagle!  I love you lots!

Slow Economic Growth Doesn’t Surprise Me, Nor Does It Concern Me

The economy has been recovering from the lows in 2008 and 2009.  Few would argue this.

Unemployment rates were well over 10% at the time.

Housing prices were continuing to fall.  Mortgage foreclosures were on the rise and getting worse by the month.  Salaries were flat or falling.

For awhile, the stock market was in a free fall.

It’s gotten better.  Unemployment is around 8%, a modest improvement.

Housing prices in most metropolitan areas have started to rise, or at the very worse, have flattened.  Companies, for the first time in a few years, reported that they were planning on increases wages.

Read moreSlow Economic Growth Doesn’t Surprise Me, Nor Does It Concern Me

It’s Not Just Big Things That Can Lead To Financial Problems

Many people associate the onset of financial problems with a big event.

A job loss.  A major health issue.  A catastrophe.

These are all major events and could very well lead to financial troubles.  However, it’s not just the major things you have to watch out for and prevent against.

In fact, it’s quite the opposite.  I’m guessing that a majority of people in financial trouble got that way without having any major things.  Instead, it was just a culmination of little things that added up without them knowing.

My Work Computer

Let me use my work laptop as an example.

I started here in 2006 and was granted a brand new laptop.  As with all computers, it worked great but within a few years was showing it’s age.  It had gone through a couple of batteries, it was getting slower, had a cracked edge around the outside of the case, and just other general problems that come about from a device that’s used all the time.

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Why Wall Street Secretly Loves The European Crisis

One of my predictions for 2012 was that Wall Street and the financial markets would begin to ignore the European financial crisis, where Greece and possibly others essentially are having a hard time paying all the money that they’ve borrowed throughout the years.  Last year the market would get hammered on days where anybody expressed a smidgen of fear of something bad happening.

I thought that the dust would settle and that Wall Street would move on.

I was wrong.

For a while in the beginning part of the year, the news about Europe was pretty quiet.  Wall Street did actually shrug off a lot of news, but would still have the occasional freak out about Europe.  In the last couple of weeks, the news is suddenly back out and Wall Street has been freaking out in earnest once again.

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The Old Desktop Computer May Have Bit The Dust

I’ve always been a pretty savvy tech guy.  My career has been IT.  One thing I learned, though, is that no technology, especially in the PC world, ever stays current.  Thus, I pretty much have gotten in the pattern of keeping computers until they die or are basically unusable.

Around 2004 was the last time I purchased a desktop computer.  At the time, it was a pretty state of the art machine.  It was a Dell Precision 370 workstation,  and it had a really cool graphics card, additional memory, and SATA hard drives, which were pretty fast back then.

It was a great computer and very fast, but as computers do, it started to slow down over time.  I think that happens because the computer does actually slow down as you use it and install more stuff on it, as well as appearing slower simply because the new computers coming out are faster.

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