Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Get $25 from my online investing broker

It has been quite some time since I last posted here, but I wanted to share this new offer with you.

I really like investing with ShareBuilder because they make it easy and affordable for everybody. There is no account minimum and no inactivity fees. Plus you get $25 when you start investing. Visit ShareBuilder by clicking HERE.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Spring Has Sprung...

...and with it, several projects around the house have begun. We have started to re-plant the garden, for one.

We have a small area behind our condo that we have been trying to cultivate for several years to varying degrees of success. Given our relative lack of green space - OK, the almost complete lack - we don't have too many options open to us for garden choices. As well, the soil is not great for anything other than ornamental plants. One thing that I have been wanting to do is to start composting. This would help in several ways...
  1. It would improve the quality of the soil so that we might actually be able to successfully grow some vegetables. For some reason, the only fruits/vegetables that we have been able to grow have been tomatoes. Each year, we get a fairly healthy crop of them. We have tried a few other thing such as strawberries, but we really haven't had any luck. By using compost, we can raise the soil quality and hopefully get better results.
  2. It would reduce our trash waste. Instead of simply throwing away biodegradable food waste, we can put it into the compost. In the short time that I have been adding to the compost pile, I am amazed by the amount of things we throw away - apple cores, banana peals, wilted lettuce, tea bags, and other things that are easily composted but would normally just be thrown away. Sure, we're not going to reduce the landfills significantly, but why not return these things to the Earth in a positive, productive manner rather than simply discarding of it?
  3. The resulting vegetables - even if we are still only successful in producing tomatoes - will be that much more nutritious. By returning the nutrients to the soil via compost, the food grown in this enriched soil will absorb more of them. This means more nutritious, better tasting food for us!
  4. Potential money savings. Now, instead of purchasing potting/seed-starter soil, we can make our own! You know, it's funny but it seems that we never seem to have enough dirt. I mean, sure, we are surrounded by it. The grass grows in it and the garden is filled with it - as are the flower beds. When it comes time to start some seeds, though, there just doesn't seem to be any dirt to plant them in. The problem being that the dirt present in the garden is just that - dirt. It is a dull, dried out, almost gravely brown dirt. It is not the rich, dark, nutrient-laden soil that plants thrive on. As such, we find ourselves buying bags of potting soil. Early on in the compost project, this will still be necessary until we are able to produce enough decomposed material to replace it.
  5. It is a great learning experience for the family!
It is pretty cool how one simple thing can improve the lives of several people. While our little compost project may not touch the lives of too many people outside of our immediate family, every little bit helps.

The other day, after an overnight rainstorm, I found several earthworms on my driveway. Had I left them there, they would have dried out and died with the coming sun or they would have been crushed by feet or tires. So, thinking of the benefits worms have on compost, I picked several of them up and added them to my compost pile. OK, so I am not on a 'Save The Earthworms' campaign, but when opportunity is staring you in the face, you might as well say hello! Such is the case with this compost project. We produce compost-able waste everyday. Why not put it to good use?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Load Off My Mind

Well, it is done. Today I completed my tax return. Wow, what a relief! This year was a lot different for me in that I had a different income source than I was used to having. Given the change, I was a little hesitant to complete the tax return on my own. However, I am not one to pay for something that I can do on my own for free - stubborn, I know.

After gathering together all of the documents that I needed to complete my return, I set to work. As I start to fill in the 1040 form in my booklet, out comes a trial Turbo Tax disc. This trial would allow me to complete both my federal and state tax return at no cost. If I liked the product, I could opt to buy it and file my tax returns via e-file or print the documents and mail them in. Well, I figured that I would at least get a good estimate of my tax refund by using the program and then decide if it was worth it to purchase it or turn around and complete the returns manually.

After about an hour, I found that my refund was going to be about $1,000.00 more than I would have gotten had I done it myself. That sold me on Turbo Tax!

Gone was my anxiety over making a mistake on my tax return. Gone was the looming specter of an unfinished project. I had not only completed my tax return but I had e-filed both the state and the federal returns with the option to have the refunds direct-deposited into my checking account. It will be really nice to get that refund sooner than I would otherwise have gotten.

I definitely feel like I can rest a whole lot easier now that the taxes are done - even though I am waiting for the refund.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Realizing Dreams

Have you ever realized a long-held dream for your life? We all dream. We all hope to achieve many things in our lives. For some people, the dream is to perform on a Broadway stage or in a Hollywood movie. Others want to make it big as the next great rock star of our age. Still others want to write the next New York Times Bestseller. For some people, the dream is to simply wake up another day and to be able to get the most out of their life.

Or perhaps, like me, you want all of that and more!

Recently, I was given an opportunity to realize one of my childhood dreams - though not in a way that I ever expected.

When I was a kid, a couple of my friends and I wanted to launch our own radio station. There was even an abandoned building not too far from home that would have been perfect (at least in our high schoolers' minds) to hold our radio station.

Fast forward to one week ago today...

I went live over the internet with my radio show! My show is hosted on Ravenz Radio, an internet radio station. I have no idea if I will ever earn a dime from the show, but it is fun to do it. Plus, I can always send people to my affiliate store so that they can purchase the music that I am playing. Besides, you never know what it might lead to!

"Sleeping without dreaming is peaceful. Living without dreaming is dreary."

Monday, March 2, 2009

Do You Know How to Put on the Full Armor of God?

Several years ago, I conducted a Bible study focusing on Ephesians 6:10-20. This is the passage that describes the armor of God. I have always been fascinated by armor and medieval life, so this passage has always had a strong attraction for me. Most of us in this day and age do not wear armor in the sense that it is talked about in Ephesians. Sure, our soldiers put on a lot of protective gear when going into a war zone, but this is not something the average person is familiar with. As a result, I decided that I would try and learn exactly what it meant to wear God's armor. While I still have a lot to learn, the study that I conducted was quite eye-opening. While doing the study, I quickly began to realize that others could benefit from what I was learning. I decided to convert the study into a play and, eventually, a book though at the time I really didn't know if a publisher would be interested in the project. Well, after writing and producing the play, the book plans fell to the wayside.

Recently, that changed. I was introduced to a self-publishing website - This website allows you to take an idea from concept to finished product without any investment on your part. While it is also true that will provide editing and other optional services for a fee, there is no requirement that you utilize these services to publish your book. Ultimately, the only cost involved is the required purchase of a 'proof' copy of your book to verify formatting and content. Wouldn't you want to own a copy of your own book anyway? even sets up an online storefront for you as part of their service so you can market your completed project(s).

Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

There is Much Afoot in Middletown

It has been a while since my last post, but that is due to several reasons. The first reason is that my wife has recently announced her intention to run for the office of mayor of Middletown, CT! The last week has been dominated by campaign preparation and fielding a lot of questions and emails. As her unofficial (and unpaid!) campaign manager, I have been busy helping her to get things done. Recently, she was interviewed by the Middletown Press and the article spurred a lot of positive comments and emails. You can read the article HERE.

In other developments, I have been given the chance to host my own internet radio show! A couple of weeks ago, I replied to an advertisement looking for internet DJ's. Shortly after applying to be a DJ, I received a favorable response. However, several steps needed to be taken before I could go live over the internet air. Well, this past Tuesday night, I had my test show. This was to make sure that my computer could communicate with the servers and such via the broadcast software. After a successful test, I was approved for a DJ position! At this time, my show has yet to be officially scheduled but it appears that I will be on air each week on Tuesday at 10 PM Eastern Time.

Ravenz Radio

I hope to feature some bands that have not been signed by a major record label during my show. One of my featured artists will be the Steve Dunn Band. I will be posting the an update as soon as I have confirmation of the schedule.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A New Beginning

It is with some misgivings that I am beginning to post my blog here, but nonetheless here I am. See, it was not too long ago that I began to put some serious thought into blogging. As a result of an earlier decision, I started to post my blog entries using a different service. While I am not dissatisfied with the service provided, I am encountering some limitations.

As with my previous effort, my goal here is to provide information to help others achieve wellness - not just physical well-being but financial and spiritual as well. You can take my advice and do with it as you please. I am not going to try to convert anyone's way of thinking, but rather to enlighten people about things that they may be otherwise unaware. I will provide information on things that have benefited me so that you too might glean some benefit as well.