A ship may be safe in the harbor, but that's not what ships are for.
Ethnicity. that of my father and his father before him
Location Paris, France
» More info.
The Link To Zanzibar's Past
This is my page in the beloved art community that my sister got me into:
Extra points for people who know what Samarinda is.
The Phases of the Moon Module
The Tree and the Telephone Pole
I Do Not Know Their Names
Today I am Young
A Night Poem
Siren of the Sea
If I Were a Dragon
To the Dreamers Leave the Sky
The Honor of the Oyster
Return From San Diego
A Late Summer's Night
Of Dragons and Men
The Edge of the World
The Snake's Terror
Metaphysics and the Middaymoon
Of Adventures in Foreign Lands
The Rogue Wave: The Unedited Version
Adventures in the PRC
Voyage of Discovery
Drinking the Blood of Goats
Ticket for a Phantom Bus
Os peixes nadam o mar
Three Villages Far Away
The River Weser
Children I Should Have Kidnapped, Part I
Let's Get You Out of Those Clothes
If Underwear Could Speak
Croc Hunter/Combat Wombat
Only My Favorite Baseball Player EVER
Aw, Larry Walker, how I loved thee.
M: Science and Exploration
T: Cook a nice dinner
Th: Parties, movies, dinners
F: Picnics, the Louvre
S: Read books, go for walks, PARKOUR
Su: Philosophy, Religion
The Reading List
This list starts Summer 2006
A Crocodile on the Sandbank
Tales of the Alhambra (in progress)
Dark Lord of Derkholm
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
The Lost Years of Merlin
Harry Potter a l'ecole des sorciers (in progress)
Atlas Shrugged (in progress)
A Long Way Gone (story of a boy soldier in Sierra Leone- met the author! w00t!)
The Eye of the World: Book One of the Wheel of Time
From Magma to Tephra (in progress)
Lady Chatterley's Lover
Harry Potter 7
The No. 1 Lady's Detective Agency
Introduction to Planetary Volcanism
A Child Called "It"
Is Multi-Culturalism Bad for Women?
Americans in Southeast Asia: Roots of Commitment (in progress)
What's So Great About Christianity?
Aeolian Dust and Dust Deposits
The City of Ember
The People of Sparks
When I was in Cuba, I was a German Shepard
The Golden Compass
Clan of the Cave Bear
The 9/11 Commission Report (2nd time through, graphic novel format this time, ip)
The Incredible Shrinking Man
The Elves of Cintra
The Gypsy Morph
Animorphs #23: The Pretender
Animorphs #25: The Extreme
Animorphs #26: The Attack
A Journey to the Center of the Earth
A Great and Terrible Beauty
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
To Sir, With Love
Alice in Wonderland
Through the Looking Glass
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
The Hunger Games
Shadows and Strongholds
The Jungle Book
Beatrice and Virgil
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
No One Ever Told Us We Were Defeated
The Name of the Wind
Tao Te Ching
What Paul Meant
Lao Tzu and Taoism
Sand and Sandstones
Lost Christianites: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew
The Science of God
Great Contemporaries, by Winston Churchill
City of Bones
Around the World in 80 Days, by Jules Verne
want to read: Last Hunger Games Book, Honeybee Democracy, The Bell Jar
an entry that is not finished yet
Friday. 2.12.10 7:56 am
Thursday. 2.11.10 8:40 pm
Zanzibar's Guide to Financial Solvency
Sunday. 2.7.10 4:35 pm
Inspired by my colleague's empty bank account and mounting credit card debt (despite our equal paychecks). Mostly passed down from my dad, who knows a lot more about this stuff than I do.
1. Begin with your rent. Your rent should be about 1/3 of your monthly paycheck (after taxes). This should include utilities! If your rent is more than 1/3 of your monthly paycheck, you should probably move or get another roommate.
2. Examine your monthly expenses. Monthly expenses are a great way to quickly drain your bank account without even knowing it. Pare down your monthly expenses to the absolute minimum needed to survive and get to work. (You probably don't need cable, but you might need car insurance.)
3. Examine your daily expenses. A daily $3 cup of coffee could add up to $1095 over a year... a lot of money you could be spending on other things! If you bring your lunch to work everyday instead of buying it, you could also save a huge amount of money (probably at least another $1000).
4. Don't be cheap on important things. Here are some cases where saving a buck now might be much more costly later:
a) Paying fines and bills. Pay them on time to avoid late fees. If you don't have enough money to pay them now, call the people to whom you must pay the fine or bill and explain the situation. In almost every case they will be grateful that you called them instead of hiding from them and you will be able to work out a deal. Even if they won't let you work out a deal, they know that you aren't paying because you can't, not because you're a jerk, and that wins you a lot of points in later dealings. It puts you and your creditor on the same team instead of making you enemies. Remember: prioritize the expenses that will incur the worst late fees.
b) Buying insurance. Most insurance is cheaper than you think, and if you get caught without it it can wipe out your entire savings. Health insurance is expensive, but being sick or injured without insurance can bankrupt you. Most states have special programs available for young, healthy people where your insurance is discounted. There are also discounted rates available for people with very low incomes (even if you make too much to be on a government program).
c) Fixing things. If you patch your tire, it might cost you $10. If you blow your tire on the highway, you could total your car, which could cost you thousands (even assuming you're not injured). Fixing a cavity could cost you $100-$150 without insurance. Having a root canal can cost you $900. Always think of everything in terms of current costs and future costs.
5. Try to avoid borrowing money. Almost all the money you borrow has an interest rate. This means that you are paying for the luxury of having the money now instead of later. This means you are paying more for the money than it's actually worth! Think about it. If you find you have to borrow money, it is time to re-evaluate your expenses and cut back or get another/a better job.
a) Pay off your credit card every month. When you get your credit card bill, it seems great, because even though you have a huge balance, the little box says you only have to pay this small amount this month. However, if you don't pay the whole amount, they charge you 15% in interest, meaning that they make you pay 15% extra just for the luxury of not paying it all now. That is a TERRIBLE interest rate. Compare that to the interest rate for student loans, which might be around 6-7%. If you pay off your credit card every month, you will only have to pay for exactly what you bought, and you can spend the extra you save on something important (like food!) Plus, you will build good credit, which can be very important later on when you are trying to buy a house, a car, or starting a business.
b) Don't buy things on your credit card that you couldn't put on your debit card. That is another way of saying, "Don't buy things that you don't currently have the money for in your bank account." Many people spend ahead of themselves, meaning that they've already spent their next month's paycheck before it even arrives because they've put everything on their credit card. Sometimes your paycheck is late, it is incorrect because of a clerical error, or you get FIRED. In any of these cases you have to panic because you can't pay your credit card bill. If the money isn't physically in your bank account, in your hands, or under your mattress, you have to treat it like it doesn't exist. After all, nothing is ever certain. If you can't pay off your credit card bill completely every month, stop using your credit card until you can.
c) Don't spend loaned money on luxuries. You might have student loans, which are great as we saw above because of their relatively low interest rates. However, if you have $50,000 in student loans, that's still ~$3500 per year, and it might be compounded every six months or every year. The less you owe the better. So when the student loan money comes rolling in, constantly remind yourself that none of that money is yours. Use it to pay for tuition and books, if you must you can use it to pay a portion of your rent... but you might want to get a side job to pay for your food, your clothes, and anything else you might need. The less you borrow, the less you'll be paying overall, and the sooner you'll be out of debt. When you take out loans you are gambling that your degree will give you opportunities for higher-paying jobs that you can use to pay off the loans in the future. But nothing is certain, so it's a good idea to keep the margin of debt as low as possible so that you can pay it off if you get a mediocre job as well.
6. Expect the unexpected. Life is uncertain. Life is also unfair. Bad things are going to happen. You can never know for certain what bad things are going to happen or when, but you can know for certain that something bad is going to happen, and when it does, it is going to cost MONEY to fix it. You might get a flat tire. You might break your leg. Maybe your car gets hit by an uninsured driver. Maybe your apartment burns down. Maybe your cat gets sick. Maybe you spill coffee all over your computer. Whenever something like this happens, you say to yourself, "I am so unlucky! Every time I think I'm going to get ahead, something like this happens and plunges me back into financial insecurity! Why does this always happen to me?" The truth is, stuff like that happens to all of us. So while you can't anticipate the bad thing that is going to happen, you can anticipate that SOME bad thing is going to happen, and put money away to cover this KNOWN expense. So if you find yourself magically with some extra money at the end of the money, you shouldn't actually go crazy and blow it all on cocaine, even though it might be tempting. This element of surprise is the reason that living paycheck to paycheck is dangerous. So now you can't say that you haven't been warned. This year, in the next six months, something BAD will happen. It will be less bad if you've been taking the precautions mentioned above and doing regular preventative maintenance on yourself and your vehicle and your pets. But it will still happen. You'll need $500-1000 for that at the VERY least. Think of it like your rent or your car insurance. You have to pay a set amount for rent each year and a set amount for car insurance. You have to pay a set amount for DISASTERS, too. Don't let that surprise you when it happens.
7. Make a budget. Sit down and write on a piece of paper how much money you have coming in (after taxes). Write down all your automatic monthly expenses. Write down all other expenses. Add in the money that you'll be spending for DISASTERS. See how much money you have left. [It's a common rule to put 10% of your income directly into savings (your disaster fund and your investment into your future). Sometimes you can arrange with your employer that 10% of your income goes directly into a savings account without ever passing through your hands. This is a good way to keep from being tempted to spend it and it's actually very easy to do.] Even if you've never made a budget before, even if you don't know anything about math, even if you already know that your finances aren't in a great spot... make a budget. It will help just to have it all written down in front of you. It will empower you to take control of your finances. You will probably realize a lot of things about the way you spend money that you can change to make yourself richer and more secure. Decide on a set amount of money that you can spend on whatever you want, after all the necessities are subtracted. This way you don't have to feel guilty about buying something nice for yourself because it's calculated into your budget and it isn't sabotaging your long-term happiness and stability.
8. Remember that nobody deserves anything. Ads will tell you that you deserve a new car or a new pair of boots or a manicure. You don't, actually. Nobody deserves any material thing. You have to earn everything. Everything. And if, after earning it, you actually get it, you can be supremely grateful, because nothing is ever guaranteed in this crazy world.
9. Only rich people can afford to break these rules.
Busy Busy Busy
Thursday. 2.4.10 2:01 pm
I've been incredibly busy lately.
"Oh, I see, does that mean you've been writing your thesis and doing your homework and applying for your fellowships and making posters for the upcoming meeting and writing abstracts and papers?"
Uh... no. My advisor has been in India, you see.
I'm planning a party, you see. It's an "Around the World" party where each room of my apartment is a different country. Planning a party takes time, as I have to clean, and decorate, and buy food and drink, and plan the playlists for each room. I have to spend a bunch of time Googling "Moroccan Cocktails" and surfing the Oriental Trading Company website for cheap plastic crap. Yesssss.... it takes some time. Plus I have to go out to eat all the time, that's also important... going out to eat, yes, bad for my wallet and my figure but excellent for my social life and my taste-buds. I have to make up for the fact that I spent several months in Antarctica eating food that was at least five years out of date! And then I also have to go to the gym all the time to counteract all the eating out.....
And then I'm joining a church, yes, that too... I had to go to some informational meetings and faith expression meetings and logistics meetings and then on Sunday I shall be accepted as a member of the church so I have to attend the ceremony and then the potluck that the church is having in our honor. More food, delicious.
I had to go shopping to buy more food, too. I'm still not quite back to being used to all of the delicious things I have at my fingertips. MmmmmMmm... cookies.
Ice cream. Meatloaf. Bananas.
So it has been hard to concentrate in math class because I've been thinking about cake. CAKES. With ICING. All over them. Just cakes, just slathered in buttercream frosting.... I had a cupcake from the cupcake store in Boston, it had icing four inches high....... oh wow. Can't a girl just have fun all the time and not do any work? I mean, that's what girls want to do, isn't it? Have fun?
I think I have senioritis. Senioritis as a 4th year grad student. Hmmm, a bit early (or waaaay too late?)
Time for class.
As water drips down the gingerbread rooftop
Friday. 1.29.10 8:50 am
As the water drips down the gingerbread rooftop
It pools at every imperfection
Flashing like diamonds in the winter sun
Turning the smudged and crying shingles
Into something beautiful.
We're Getting the Band Back Together
Sunday. 1.24.10 12:04 am
Ok, so actually we're starting a band.
It's a girl band, so far we have one acoustic/electric bass, a banjo, and a mandolin. I've been put on drums, but we haven't got any drums yet. I was already planning to buy a bodhran, but I'm not sure how that will mesh with the other instruments. We also don't know how to play any of these instruments, but we're almost ready for the most important part of making a band, which is BAND PHOTOS. And a most triumphant video!
We do have several harmonicas, three standard flutes, several recorders, a fife, a bagpipe canter, three tin whistles in different keys, two wooden flutes, and a small acoustic guitar, which we can probably collectively play better than any of our band instruments.
I think we need Van Halen.
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