Blogging?

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Pants in a CanI’ve never been a fan of how some bloggers come on and blab about themselves with all kinds of self-importance, or whatever, as if their readers really care about where they went or what they’re up to but here I go…

Regarding the complete lack of posts this past week… I’ve just been really busy.

It’s that simple.

And my finances have been rather flat over the past week too but, no worries, I should be back to moaning about them before week’s end.

So if you’re one of those out there that’s eagerly anticipating every one of my typed words, yes, all five of you… hang tight.

I kid… No, really, I truly appreciate every reader. I do.

But ya wanna know what’s really peculiar? (and a bit discouraging, actually…)

My traffic has actually increased over this past week…

Go figure?

Maybe I shouldn’t post…

2 1999

Bazooka JoeI’m not usually one to dole out advice on Pants in a Can.

I mean, I’m not certain that any advice that I’d give could be considered sound. I just talk about what I’m doing, what I’ve done, why I’m doing it, and why I’ve done it.

For the most part, it’s worked out pretty well for me.

If you want to mimic the way I successfully got myself out of debt, you know, follow my lead, by all means, go right ahead!

Of course, I write this post a mere three days after offering some real estate advice… Go figure?

Anyway, the Bazooka Joe comic pictured is one that I’ve carried in my wallet since, hmmmm, probably 1999. A kid I used to sit with at hockey games (and was always chewing gum) gave me a piece of gum one night and this was the comic enclosed:

Bazooka Joe Fortune

The comic itself is pretty stupid, as expected, but the fortune at the bottom still makes me smile to this day.

Happy is one who eats not the yellow snow.

Now that’s sound advice.

Maybe it’s that hint of Yoda-ness that strikes me, I dunno, but I wish fortune cookies would have such funny messages.

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I usually don’t do this stuff, mostly because I feel like I’m usually the last to be tagged but also because I don’t like to brag about myself.

I kid.

New blogger MoneyMate Kate tagged me this morning for the latest, um, “chain post” and, at first, I dismissed it but after further thought (in the shower), I changed my mind.   I’m going to bite.

And now for the rules as detailed as far back as I was willing to follow the chain:

1. To link the tagger and provide the rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their blogs.

I’m skipping rules three and four. It’s not that I’m “Captain No-Fun”, I just have a feeling that everyone I’d tag has already done this.

So, here goes…

Seven things about Brainy:

  1. I’ll be supporting Barack Obama on Tuesday.

    Not really a surprise, I mentioned that once already. But I’m not voting for him. I can’t.

    I mentioned that too, but what is new is that I can’t vote for anybody anywhere. I can’t vote in the United States because I’m not an American citizen. And, I can’t vote in Canada, where I am a citizen, because I haven’t lived there in the past five years. What a rip off.

    And you’d have to think, if ACORN were as guilty of specializing in voter fraud as they’ve been made out to be, why haven’t I been contacted? I’m exactly what they’re apparently looking for…

  2. I wear argyle socks. Almost exclusively. (and Mom, I’d like a few pairs for Christmas.)
  3. I haven’t had a real haircut in over 18 months. And only once or twice have I been the obvious victim of a home haircut gone wrong.
  4. Jennifer Love Hewitt and Entertainment Tonight attended my high school graduation. Both witnessed the head of the Board of Education mispronounce my name though she lived just two houses away and had known me since the age of 7. Sometimes I still wonder about that.
  5. I graduated from high school twice. Someday I’ll explain that further. No, sadly, it wasn’t a do-over to pronounce my name correctly. It’s… complicated.
  6. The first job I had out of school only paid $6 per hour. I still hold the same position.
  7. I got married in Las Vegas. For real. To a woman I’d just met. Okay, that second part is an exaggeration…

How was that?

Oh, and Happy Halloween!

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United States House of RepresentativesSo I was looking at my Google Analytics reports early this morning and noticed a new network location listed under the “Visitors” tab.

It’s labeled “Information Systems – U.S. House of Representatives”.

Interesting.

Now I’m sure some out there think I’m going to say something about how I’m horrified that some government employee is wasting our tax dollars surfing websites like Pants in a Can on the clock, you know, using government time and equipment for, well, less than official things but I’m not going there…

Government waste, oddly enough, doesn’t bother me too much.

Looking into it further, their landing page on the site was my post from July 15 titled, “FTC Bait? My Own Mortgage Crisis…

That had me thinking, hey, cool, maybe the whole PMI/Countrywide dilemma I find myself in is getting a little attention in Washington! Sweet! This could be a good thing…

But then I went another step further and looked up the search terms they used to stumble across my site…

definition of mortgage insurance, ftc

Ouch.

I dunno, maybe it’s just me, but you think they’d have access internally to, um, more official sources of reference…

But I can’t say that I’m not flattered that they clicked through to my site.

And I also feel the need to say that I’m thrilled that someone in Washington DC is looking this type of thing up.

Though the media would have you think otherwise of late, mortgage company disputes don’t begin and end with foreclosures…

I’m not looking for a bailout; I just don’t want to be ripped off (any more)…

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Box of PizzaBack when I stared writing on this thing that I call “Pants in a Can”, I didn’t so much think that I’d make it exclusively a personal finance blog. Main reason was that I didn’t think I’d have enough to write about.

And, let’s be honest, it’d be boring.

I mean, how exciting is it to read about how I just paid my VISA bill this morning or how the DJIA just reached some essentially meaningless number?

It’s not.

It’d kinda be like reading the Wall Street Journal.

Sure, there’s probably some decent info in there, but would it kill them to add a few more pictures or fluff pieces? I’m not saying they’d have to go all “USA Today” or anything, but find a happy medium.

At the start, I ranted and raved about annoying school buses, drivers from Virginia, and those PC vs. Mac commercials that drive me up a wall more than I complained of various finance charges and terrible customer service at Countrywide.

And you know what?

Going back and reading about my personal issues with those school buses and Virgina drivers, and that Mac guy, well, some of my posts used to be kinda funny. Mean-spirited, but funny. It’s a shame few read them. (hint, hint)

So, while I’ve tried to broaden the theme and shake things up a bit with my recent “Photo of the Week” posts (yeah, I know, they’re pretty dull), I thought I’d go back to occasionally ranting and raving about the stuff that I see all the time that annoys me to no end.

Like the latest PC vs. Mac commercial.

Yes, I’d opt for the free pizza.

The Mac guy could deliver it for me.

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Life of BrianLast month, Sean from Financial Ramblings ranked the busiest, the longest lasting, and the most popular PF-Blogs in his reader.

While that might not be a real credible sampling, it’s still a pretty impressive list that must’ve taken a long time to put together — but for dorks like me that love charts and numbers, it held my interest a lot longer than most entries about blogging do. This entry included.

On his chart of the busiest PF-Blogs, PIAC came in 26th place out of 150 with 36 posts for the month. That was pleasantly surprising.

Of course, quantity doesn’t necessary relate to quality.

One popular blog on there has multiple posts per day… everyday. I used to read it, but then I began to realize that it was a repetitive, I dunno, “how many job interviews can I go to without actually ever getting a job” fest.

If it wasn’t a about a half-hearted job search, it was just talk about a new crush, what she’s having for dinner, or what overpriced outfit she planned on wearing Friday night or something. Yawn.

On the other hand, there are some sites that post maybe once or twice a week that are just great reads every single time. They ranked really low on the busy chart. Often times, quality outweighs quantity.

The next chart Sean put together was a longevity chart. PIAC started back in April 2007 which ranked 69th. Not old, but not new either.

But it was this chart, combined with the popularity chart that really tweaked my interest.

On the popularity listing, my Feedburner count wasn’t even listed. Not sure why, but it doesn’t really matter — I would have fallen at the back of the list. Way at the back.

Post frequency aside, among other sites that are the about the same age, my number of readers is very, very low — usually between 50 and 60 readers. It’s been stagnant for, well, pretty much all of 2008 while my traffic has continued to grow and grow with each passing month…

Why is that?

Well, one thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of blogs out there have big graphics in their side bar begging people to sign up for their feed. Many even make entries stating just that: Click here to subscribe to my feed! No other content, just sign up please.

I haven’t done that before… until NOW!

So, if you wouldn’t mind, and you semi-regularly read this site, please consider signing up for my RSS Feed, you know, if only to boost my ego. ;0)

No worries, I won’t bother with telling you what I’m having for dinner, what I’m wearing on Friday, or what kind of soap I used this morning.

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Camera Equipment — Before it was catching dust…I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it in the past before on PIAC, but since I quit my photographer position last November, I’ve had around $30k worth of camera equipment essentially collecting dust in the corner of my, ahem, jersey room.

While the lenses and the lighting equipment hold their value, the actual camera bodies certainly do not — and they make up for at least half of that $30k total. Definitely a depreciating asset…

So, having noticed a blog that my wife frequents regularly has a “daily photo” section and that I’ve got tons and tons of expensive camera equipment doing a whole lot of nothing, well, I thought I’d start doing “picture of the day” posts here too!

It probably won’t be popular.

It probably won’t be nice to look at.

And it probably won’t generate any comments either but I can’t fathom selling the equipment off and it hurts to watch it go un-used.

Maybe I’ll even use January 2007’s “Dumbest Purchase”.

Not sure when I’ll start…or even if I’ll start.

It’s just an idea at this point.

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Net Worth UpdateBeginning this Friday, I’ve decided to simplify my monthly net worth chart.

Who really cares about the numbers at the start of the year? And are all the percentages really necessary?

I don’t think so.

So starting August 1, the chart will only display the past month’s progress. Really, that’s all that matters anyway.

Maybe at the end of the year, I’ll do a full year recap with a big confusing chart where I’m the only person who can make sense of it, but maybe not.

The past few months, a number of PF bloggers have stopped reporting their net worth all together. Most recently, Lazy Man comes to mind.

The greats, like JD from Get Rich Slowly or Trent from The Simple Dollar have never really done monthly updates at all — and they’re still great!

But there’s something to be said for sites like Consumerism Commentary where Flexo has illustrated how he’s taken his net worth from as low as $13k in December of 2003 all the up to nearly $156k just last month — month-by-month.

It gives his words, stories, and advice, I don’t know, some credibility, I guess.

It gives you that, “Hey look what this person did… I can do that too!” feeling.

Some might find the monthly updates to be boring posts, but for me, the real numbers people use on their own sites are most inspiring in a “keeping up with the Joneses” sort of way…

Maybe it’s just me…

Can You Dig It?

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