I like the movie, but
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John
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Hi. I just wanted to write a quick blog to say hi and let you know I am doing OK. I think I will skip this month’s Costco shopping. I will go next month to pick up a turkey. Below is my chit chat. I will keep in touch. Be safe.

Ladies in Lavender (2004)

I don’t have Amazon Prime. I refuse to pay for Prime membership. I am currently on 30 day trial membership, so I checked out their movie library. I enjoyed Ladies in Lavender (2004). I like this kind of movies. Judi Dench and Maggie Smith are two of my favorite actors. You can’t go wrong with any movie with them.

The movie was based on a 1908 short story by William J. Locke. The online book is available from gutenberg.org for free. I guess the copyright had expired.

EBook – Ladies in Lavender – 1908 William J. Locke

Anyway, in the movie, the sisters appeared to be old – in their 70’s. I mean, they looked like they were at death’s door. I was smelling Bengay with my eyes. But, in the book, two sisters were 45 and 48 (who had grown grey with waiting for the prince who never came). So, instead of Judi Dench and Maggie Smith, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Nicole Kidman should have taken the part. The sisters were supposed to be juicy… you know… they were supposed to be MILFs.

I like the movie, but…

Extreme Saving – Paying myself first
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John
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Many of you know that I was poor all my life. I desperately needed to save for retirement, but I had absolutely nothing saved. Fortunately, my new job offered retirement plan. I started late, so saving for retirement is important to me, especially because I am alone.

2020 has been a scary and unstable year. I was hit hard financially (long story skipped). Things are now starting to look semi-normal. So, I assessed my financial situation and made needed adjustments for 2020. My new plan is extreme. But I am going for it.

It’s September now. For next 4 months (rest of the year) I will receive 8 paychecks. For that 8 paychecks, I am investing 50% to 401K. This will put me back on my retirement track. After investing 50%, I will take home 33% of my paychecks. This is extreme. It looks like this.

I am paying less amount of tax, because 50% was taken out before tax.

This is somewhat unrealistic reduction of take home pay. But, I had to try this. I will make a game out of it. I will make it a personal challenge. It doesn’t matter how I do it. I will survive next 4 months with less cash. This is for my retirement. I am imagining myself 30-40 years older, possibly immobile, and living alone. I am giving him my money. Hence, paying myself first.

I am lucky that I’m healthy and have a steady income. There are millions of us without income and/or cannot pay rent. I know how it is to be poor. But, this pandemic is different. It’s scary to imagine what’s happening to them.

For now, I will survive next 4 months. I shall take it day by day. I will cut down on everything. There will be no more Sunday coffee and no more online shopping. My Costco shopping will look sad for next 4 months.

Today is September 10, 2020. So, 10 days down – 113 more days to go.

Please take care. I will talk to you soon.

I Cancelled Cable TV
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John
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Related Blog: Cable Price is Insulting (Jan 22, 2019)

I have hated cable companies my entire life. They slowly jack up the price little by little. And, before we know it, we’re paying $120/m for cable TV. Cable companies should lower the price as we stay royal to them. But no, they screw you again and again.

Millions of us, including myself, gave up our retirement and pay $70 – $150/mo on cable TV. In America, poor people receiving food stamps have cable TV. If we were to invest $100/mo all our adult lives instead of paying for cable TV, we could have almost one million Dollars, possibly more, when we retire. Think about it. I am sick to my stomach.

Anyway, they raised my cable price yet again, to $150.40. $150 was my personal limit. I promised to myself that I will not pay more than $150 for cable/phone/internet. So, I called Spectrum and said I will not pay over $150.00. I would take minimum of 40 Cents discount or else.

Instead of giving me 40 Cents discount, they stood firm and granted my request to terminated my cable service. They seemed eager to let me go.

Good.

One hour later, they sent me a bill for internet & phone services for $104/mo. So, I called them again and got rid of stuff I don’t need. Now my monthly bill for internet and phone was down to $79.98/m. I think that’s still too much.

Now, if I find a TV provider for under $70, I will be back under $150/mo.

I joined Hulu and signed up for live TV & enhanced DVR for $64.98/mo. Hulu is just like any other cable TV provider. I get most local channels and picture quality is just as good. I purchased Fire Stick 4K for it ($40). Now my monthly bill for Cable/Phone/Internet is $144.96.

I will never pay more than $70/mo for television service. $70/mo still seems too expensive to me.

As I make more money I feel more bitter towards to cable TV. It’s not just the money. But, by watching too much TV, I am eating away my opportunity to become a better person. Television is just as harmful as drugs and fatty foods. I just sit alone at home and watch TV aimlessly, instead of looking for love or pursuing my dying dreams. I enjoy TV instead of enjoying life. That’s pathetic and sad. Now I understand why a lot of intelligent people don’t have TV. They were not snotty, but they were truly better than me. I must do something about it.

For now, I am glad I cut the cable. No more cable bills that creep up. Cable companies can kiss my ass.

I shall regroup and try to lower my bills further.

Related Blog: Cable Price is Insulting (Jan 22, 2019)

Ever-increasing cable bills.

No urban legend
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John
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Some of you may have heard of this story and not sure if you should believe it or not. A lot of people categorized this story as an urban legend. But, I tell you… I vouch to you that it really happened to me about 25 years ago.

I was still living with my parents at that time. It was a lazy Sunny mid-day afternoon. I went to the bathroom, bent down and raised the toilet cover. To my horror, there was a huge rat inside the toilet bowl. It was vigorously thrusting its body, trying to get out from the toilet. The sight of it, along with the sound of water splashing, was absolutely terrifying. In a split second I was driven into extreme terror and stress. I can see why some people die from a shock at this scale. I slammed the toilet cover immediately and gave it a flush. With that, the evil rat was gone.

I couldn’t find a photo of rat I can use

The entire nightmare lasted 10 seconds or so. But, I still carry a scar from that trauma.

On January of 1994, I woke up in the mid-air when the historic earthquake hit Southern California. That was a terrifying event. But millions of other people shared that terror with me. The entire world sympathized us. Even president Bill Clinton visited, and my mother got to shake his hand. That earthquake was one of the top traumatic events of my entire life. But, I don’t really think about earthquake anymore.

A rat in the toilet is an entirely different game. It was a pure horror with nobody around to make the ordeal less stressful. I cannot explain why, but I never told this story to anyone, but I kept that feeling of terror to myself. If I tell this story, then I’ll have to “touch” that subject. And I was not going to touch it. Since then, I never use toilet in complete darkness. Every time I open the toilet cover I am mentally prepared for a rat or a snake. It’s not likely to see a rat again, but if I do, I will not jump, because I am absolutely ready for it – for last 25 years.

Yesterday I finally did something I dreaded. I looked up online for “rat in toilet” and found many web articles about how rats can swim up toilets. After that, I called my friend and told her about the experience and the fact that I am terrified every time I use the toilet. She cracked a joke about Mickey Mouse looking for friends because Disneyland is closed due to Coronavirus. We laughed. With that laughter, a small part of me was set free.

I keep the toilet covers down now, always – to keep me away from the worst nightmare that can happen at random.

The only thing that’s worse than finding a rat in the toilet would be finding two rats in the toilet. F me….

Just remembered this song after 34 years
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John
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I am healthy and still working.

I work from home due to stay home order (Coronavirus Pandemic 2020). As I work, my mind wonders about everything from fixing my house to end of my life.

I reminisced about my good old days, the time I had absolutely no worries… the time I thought I would never die. Then I remembered this song. I completely forgot about this song for 30+ years. I went online and found the video.

I love this song. The video is fun. This was my time. Good times. I hope the new generation is enjoying their time as much (Twerking and daggering… But, there isn’t actual penetration. So, I guess that’s being “innocent” by today’s definition. Anyway, it’s their time now).

The Blow Monkeys – Digging Your Scene

The Blow Monkeys – It Doesn’t Have To Be That Way • TopPop

Personal Update – April 6, 2020
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John
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I am healthy and I still have a job

Water damage trauma

  • I am terrified about future water damage in the house. I learned that water leak is common. You are likely to have water damage in your house before your house gets robbed.
  • For immediate peace of mind, I installed water detecting alarm system with 10 sensors. (adding 5-10 more sensors soon)
  • I plan to re-route water pipes. That means I will install entirely new water pipes running over the ceiling. That will cost $5K or more.
  • I now turn off main water valve every night, or every time I’m away from home.
  • I will install a remote switch for the main water valve. So, I can turn on and off water with a smart phone.
  • I shall replace my water heater that’s getting old.
  • With that, I hope I don’t go through this traumatizing event ever again.
  • Coronavirus pandemic is multiplying the level of anxiety and stress.

Recovery and repair

  • Phase 1 was emergency recovery work – to stop water leak and dry interior of the house.
  • Phase 2 was repair – replace damaged carpet with new flooring.
  • It took 4 days to dry my house. That 4 days was miserable with noise and heat. I slept over at my friend’s house for 4 nights.
  • They found asbestos in the bathroom and the laundry room. My insurance company sent people for quick clean up. But they were slow on communication. We wasted 8 days waiting for them. “We’ll get back to you” they said.
  • If everything goes as planned, my house will be done around Easter.

Insurance Process

  • My insurance company sent an adjuster to my house, and gave me the Dollar figure on how much it would take to repair my house. I told them that I would use my own people for repair, so they would write me a check. Now, it is up to me to use that money wisely.
  • I claimed 7 items for property damage with detailed pictures. The insurance agent was surprised. Most people claim a lot more items, she explained. “I am trying to be fair and honest” I replied. All my solid wood furniture looked good after they were dried.

Rainy Day Fund

  • I have a rainy day fund. It takes one full day to move money to my checking account. This emergency fund is allowing me to keep calm and take care of everything that’s going on.
  • First few days, I wrote a few checks in the amount of over $12,000.00. Then the insurance check arrived afterward. I could have used my credit card. I could have asked my guys to hold my checks for a few days. But, it was easier to write checks and say “The check is good”. My mind was at ease.
  • Things are moving smooth because I was able to pay my people quickly.
  • We are living in a scary time. A lot of people lost job at my work. If I didn’t have a rainy day fund, I would have a mountain of stress and worries right now. I live alone, so money is my strength. I am so glad I saved during my good time.
  • From this point, I will save for not just one, but two possible disasters taking place at the same time. For example, I can lose my job and need a new roof at the same time.

Please take care. God bless everyone.

My closet room
I Stand Corrected – Toilet Paper
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John
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(I am healthy and I still have a job)

At first, I listened to initial news and media reaction about toilet paper. A few weeks has passed since then. Now I see more in-depth reports.

There are two kinds of toilet papers, ones we use at home and ones we use in public locations such as work. Since people are staying home, there is much more demand for residential toilet paper.

This report (below link) makes sense. I stand corrected about toilet paper.

Hoarding not the only reason for toilet paper shortage

###

Disaster Proper Watch
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John
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My life had turned upside down with water damage at my house. My glorious closet room was gutted, so was my nap room. It’s tough dealing with this alone. I felt like crying at times, but there was nobody to cry to… so I just sit quietly in my broken house. This sucks.

It was Wednesday, the day four. I was trying to do whatever I can while I work full time online. I am tired and sleepy all the time. But, I am slowly gaining my mental strength. I am finally getting used to my new reality. This morning, I had to move everything in the garage so the cleaning guys will hose down the mud.

It was around 7AM. The cleaning guys were supposed to arrive at 8AM. It was hectic. I needed a wrist watch so I can tell time quick. But my jewelry chest was in the bedroom, in the pile of mess. So, I maneuvered myself to the middle of the pile, I opened up the jewelry case, and I froze…

I couldn’t decide. Which is the most disaster proper watch? I don’t want to look too flashy. I don’t want to look too delicate. I don’t want to wear an expensive watch. Disaster watch should not be too big nor too heavy. Casio LCD watch is depressing. I can’t wear Nautica watch… for water disaster? Please…

I stood there for awhile, trying different watches. At this point, I must tell you that I am a very indecisive person.

Finally, I picked my disaster watch (picture below). It’s affordable yet has a hint of class, smaller in size, easy to read, and it says “I am ready to work”

I am ready to work.

Jewelry chest in the middle of the picture
First Pair of Italian Shoes – 2020
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John
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** I was writing this blog when the main water line broke at my house (Saturday March 21, 2020 – around 1:30 PM). I was going to my closet room for another quick picture. Instead, I walked into a pool of water. I am happy to announce that all my shoes are saved from water damage. I couldn’t save my house though. They are still drying my house (March 24. 2020). 🙁

###

One of my new year’s resolutions is to buy no more than three pairs of Italian shoes this year (2020). People spend money on model trains, antique guns, art works, and other expensive stuff. Shoes have been my hobby for last three years. I just want ten more pairs of Italian shoes to complete my wall of shoes. And, I will never buy another pair of dress shoes again. I don’t think it’s a complete waste of money, because I enjoy wearing my shoes every single moment. Also, they feel amazing good. They don’t have “break-in” period. Even the boots feel good (enjoyable) from day one.

This is my first pair of Italian shoes in 2020. I love this beautiful tan suede derby. I’ll need a matching belt to rock these shoes. Shoes without matching belt would be an amateur night. My pants should be white or almost white. Socks should give it a nice contrast, etc, etc….

I daydream about going out on a bright Summer day in these derbies. In my daydream, I don’t work, and I never get sick. And I am holding either a cup of soda or an ice cream cone. Hehe… I am finally at this stage of my life, but why do I have to get old? Hm…

Shoes are not a waste of money if they bring you great deal of joy. Now, I have two more pairs to buy this year.

Bad News
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First of all, I am physically and financially OK. I am thankful for that.

Here’s the bad news. Main water line inside my house broke Saturday evening. I suffered significant water damage in 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, laundry room, and hallway. All bedrooms and hallway were carpeted. Despite the fact that it was Saturday evening, both plumber and water damage people came to my house within an hour. I did call my insurance company (Wawanesa). I hope insurance will come through for me.

I am tired and emotionally drained. I hope the shock will wear out so I can deal with the situation rationally. I thought coronavirus was too much to deal with. This is heavy.

I am sure I will laugh about this 1 year from now. In fact, I will write a blog 1 year from now to talk about the outcome. But, for now, this is difficult.

Anyway, please take care and be extra careful at times like this. I will handle my situation and get better. I will be better than before. I promise you. All I’m asking from you is to think about me. When you go to sleep… just think “Hm.. I wish that Costco guys is doing OK.” That’s all I’m asking.

I must go.. I have a lot of things to do. Insurance adjuster is on his way.

Welcome to life. God bless everyone.

Closet room full of water – some dry spots (but there is water underneath).

Daylight Savings Time 2020
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John
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Spring forward, fall back.

Happy Sunday. Don’t forget to change your clocks & watches 1 hour forward. I can count about 20 clocks/watches I need to change; 3 in the kitchen, 2 in the cars, 1 in the bathroom, 3 in the bedrooms, 1 in my camera, and then these (below)…

Except for one (Tissot), most of my watches are cheap, free, and from a garage sale.

Costco Shopping – February 19, 2020
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12th Costco Shopping in 2020 – $2.18 today / $665.57 this year

After working 11+ hours at work, I had to hurry home and work remotely for a few more hours. It’s all good. Busy is good. But, I was SOOO hungry. So, I went to Costco on my way home around 8pm for a slice of pizza with water. No soda for me.

Pizza was enjoyable and comforting.

It turned out, employers favor people like me – single grown man without family. Guys like me tend to be flexible and reliable at work, just like what I’m doing right now. Currently, my team is one man short for next 7 days. And we suddenly got super busy. But, it’s no problem for my team. While rest of the team members go home to enjoy their families, I stay and work for a few more hours… and I would go home and work some more. And they thank me and pay me big bucks. No problem here. Except, I cry myself to sleep every night.. 🙁 Hahaha. Sad, dude.. sad.

Talk about coffee mug warmer
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John
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“I heard you bring a coffee mug warmer to meetings,” a female colleague of mine said with a goofy smile.

But how? how does she know about my coffee mug warmer? and why is that even a topic? How did that topic come about? Is there a group of people at work making fun on me all the time?

My team likes to make fun on people. As a king of nick-names, I came up with classic nick-names such as Mr. Failure, Shirley Temple, dirty hands, penguin, Allergic to Money, etc… Karma was finally catching up on me, I thought.

I go to daily stand-up (meeting) every morning to report my work progress and to hear from other departments on their progresses and forecasts. There are more than ten people in the meeting. Some of us bring coffee, tea, and water. I bring coffee, but I also bring a coffee mug warmer. It’s a beautiful vintage cast iron coffee mug warmer, that I paid one Dollar at a garage sale. The meeting is 30 minutes long. To me, It only makes sense to keep my coffee hot. It would be stupid not to bring a coffee mug warmer to a meeting. You are with me on this, yes?… yes??…

Well, I will not drink lukewarm coffee like a savage.

Conference room – meeting in session.

Anyway, nobody said anything about my coffee mug warmer at the meeting. They didn’t seem to care. Then a female colleague, who doesn’t belong to daily stand-up, pointed out that I bring a coffee mug warmer to meetings. How crazy is that?

“Who told you?,” I freaked out.
“R told me right after he came back from the meeting,” she explained.
“Was he making fun on me?,” I asked.
“No, he thought it was cool,” she replied.
“Mm… OK,” I rolled eyes.

I don’t care what people say about me. I am my own person. I know I am little different and it entertain people around me. I enjoy being that person. It’s just… I thought it was fascinating to be reminded that people watch and people talk. Also, there is no topic too small. After seeing my coffee mug warmer, R couldn’t wait to tell it to his office mate. My coffee mug warmer made an impression on him. Who knew?

I don’t know why, but, a few days later, I still think about that boring episode. So much so that I had to write about it. Hence, here’s another boring story. Hahaha.

Have a nice day. Keep in touch.

Upgrade your Windows 7 – Free
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John
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If you didn’t know – Microsoft stopped supporting Windows 7. So, Windows 7 is finished and not safe.

If you still use Windows 7, Microsoft is currently providing free upgrade to Windows 10. Visit this link at Microsoft and follow the instruction. If you need further information, search articles online.

I just upgraded my computer last night, the whole process went very smooth. I was pleasantly surprised. I did make complete hard drive backup before AND after the upgrade as a routine procedure.

Anyway, free upgrade is going on right now. I don’t know when they will stop providing free upgrade. I have one more computer to upgrade.