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March 25th, 2008

If you own a cat, have ever owned a cat, or are just a cat lover, you'll probably appreciate this 1 minute, 26 second video called, "How the Cat Wakes You Up in the Morning":




I worked from home today, starting off with a 45-minute conference call with Jason (programmer) and Mary (writer), both in Austin and Paul (writer) in Norway. It was an opportunity for them to ask me questions about my recent edit of their User Guide.

I blew off an hour-long "professional vitality" session, which was on a topic that I'm not interested in, nor is it pertinent to me, right now.

I connected in to the first five minutes of the ITIM Information Development team meeting, which started at noon today.



I got an e-mail today from the professor who's the head of the Master of Science in Technical Communication program, from which I graduated in December saying:

[Person's name] is a prospective student who lives in [person's city of residence]. He has narrowed his search for masters programs to [another university] and NCSU. He is flying up to [the other university] next week, but is not sure that he will be able to come to Raleigh for a visit. He asked if 2-3 students would be willing to exchange e-mails with him about our program.

Also, can anyone think of any innovative ideas about how to characterize the program to him? How about an MS program podcast or video of some kind? Is anyone working on podcasts in a class? Any other ideas?

I responded to him a little later with this:

If you'd like to make an alum's perspective available to [person's name], please feel free to give him my e-mail address.

Spurred on by your request for "innovative ideas about how to characterize the program" for [person's name] (and other future potential students), I clipped the segments from my blog entries of every night of ENG 515 class Fall '07 semester, and pulled them into one (newly created) blog.  It's the only thing I'm going to put in this blog. (Future students who might read it, though, would certainly be able to post comments to it.)

This is a URL we could make available to anyone who might be wondering how it actually feels to be in a semester-long class in the program—at least from one student's experience. I even included links to my presentations and papers. We might consider adding a link to the syllabus of the class, a copy of which I no longer have. But, if Susan still has the HTML for it and sends it to me, I could store it on my home page hosting system, where all of the other non-Internet files are stored that are linked to in the blog. I would probably add the link to the syllabus somewhere in the introductory section of the blog.

Here is the blog URL: http://ncsueng515.livejournal.com/

Let me know what you think.  Just because I did all the work, I'm copying Susan, who taught the class that semester, and all of my fellow students from that class. So, even if you don't end up using it, it'll be a nice memory for those of us who lived it.

I received some very positive feedback on this, and Dr. Dicks in fact sent it on to the prospective student who read it and then e-mailed me about it, saying it was "very enlightening and entertaining." Cool!



My upper body is sore today, which in a twisted way feels good. At the gym today, it was a cardio-only day, and I listened to several Money Girl podcasts while doing the elliptical machine.

Compound InterestIn today’s episode, I want to tell you about the magic of compound interest.
Retire AbroadRetiring overseas in a well-chosen location can help you make the most of your nest egg.
Marriage and TaxesIn California, whenever you use valet parking, on the back of your parking slip there is a notice that the valet company is not responsible for any damage to your car. If the valet scratches or damages the car while parking it, how can they not be held responsible?
What Investment Expenses Can You Deduct?Could you explain what "Jury Nullification" is, and why judges never mention it when giving instructions to jurors?
Good Debt Versus Bad DebtMany people think that all debt is bad and is something to be avoided and paid down as quickly as possible. But, there are really two types of debt: good debt and bad debt.
How Long Should You Keep Tax and Financial Records?When it comes to your tax and financial records, what do you need to hang on to and for how long?
Get Organized for Tax TimeIf you’re like most people, the thought of preparing your tax return is stressful! One of the best ways to make taxes far less taxing is to get organized.
Gold and Silver ETFsI was listening to your archives and in Episode 46, you mentioned that gains on gold ETF shares held for more than a year would be taxed at the higher collectibles rate of 28% rather than the long-term capital gains rate of 15%

What would happen if I sold all my gold ETF shares in my traditional IRA after holding for 11 months, used the proceeds to buy another stock, then sold that and rotated back into ETFs? Would I be taxed at a lower rate?
More on How to Sell Your House Tax FreeIs the $250,000 capital gains exclusion a lifetime deal? That is, can I get five, $50,000 tax-free capital gains (spaced at least two years apart) in my lifetime or is the $250,000 exclusion for each transaction?
Protect Your Money from LawsuitsI wish it weren’t so, but we live in a world where a person can sue and win for tripping over a crack in the sidewalk, falling off a roof, burning themselves with hot coffee, and countless other things. Given this reality, it’s wise to take precautions to protect your money from lawsuits. One easy-to-overlook but relatively inexpensive precaution is umbrella insurance.

Today's workout statistics:
Exercise Type
Minute
Duration
Calories Burned

Cardio
(Elliptical)

45

849




I volunteered at ENC again tonight making phone calls to members to verify their on-file contact information and to ask them if they'd be willing to give us their e-mail address that we might be able to let them know when we need their help—in terms of contacting their representatives—when bills came up in the legislature, such as the anti-bullying and anti-harassment of LGBT kids in school coming up soon.

It's always interesting to see what kinds of response you get from people. I made calls between 6:00 and 7:30, and these were two of my favorite responses:

  1. [Interrupting me in the middle of a sentence, right at 7:00:] "Wait! Wait! Hold on. I have trouble hearing—and that damn clock is chiming."

  2. [Cutting me off right at the beginning of the call:] "I'm 82 years old, and I'm trying to get ready for bed. I have to be up at 2AM. Goodbye." [Click.]


I went over to Joe's house, where we drank Bloody Marys, ate crackers and cheese, and watched the first three or four episodes of the first season of The Golden Girls, which he owns on DVD.

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