better, sorta.

Took my time this morning: got some gas, got the oil topped off in the car (it burned 2 quarts in just over 1000 miles), got some coffee, stumbled in to work, found out the annual team review is postponed until next week, had lots of time to try and finish the stuff I was working on when I left.

I'm watching The Dead Zone in its second season, and it's remarkably good, especially considering it's based on a Stephen King novel. It's sustained a terrific intensity, with both humor and creepiness. Anthony Michael Hall is better than he ever was in his Brat Pack days, having grown up into, for lack of a better word, a hunk, in a very natural and approachable way.

We had a little bit of a power outage while I was in western New York State; you might have heard about it on the news. There are some nice NOAA satellite shots (and a clearer presentation here).

I've been reading The Millionaire Next Door, which is interesting, if a bit repetitive. The authors interviewed hundreds of millionaires and non-millionaires to find the differences between their habits of spending, living, consuming, and planning. The millionaires generally have a net worth of between one and five million dollars, often enough on not-outrageous (for California) incomes, in the $70,000-90,000 range. These millionaires also tend to be over 50: these aren't the ultra-rich, but the "will happily retire in style" rich. The book is repetitive because a very few themes emerged from the interviews:

  1. Make economically conservative choices about consumption: consume less, and make your purchases cost-efficient (reasonably-priced cars and houses, for example, and little to no gratuitous luxury spending). Spend within your means.
  2. Save your money and make well-thought-out, long-term investments.
  3. Budget: constrain your spending, and know where all your money goes.
Good advice, but repeated over and over and over again it makes me a bit paranoid to look at my credit card debt and the amount of money I spend. So I'd like things like a wood block for my nice knives ($100) and a newer desktop computer for home ($200), but reading this book sort of fuels my fears about having to eat cat food when I try to retire. So I've set up Yahoo Finance, although something like GnuCash may be a better choice.

I went to aikido last night, for the first time in something like ten days. It was refreshing, although I got dizzy at several points and had to step off the mat: aikido is a lot less fun when it's hot.