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Michael considered fate at 04:54   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
Nighttime axiom #357


Michael considered fate at 18:34   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment

quite elucidating. i feel as if all issues i've held about love, dating, and sex are successfully quantified. who needs when harry met sally, we have a graph!

i'm a girl, what are you? 

hahahaah I was just about to post who my lovely friend is since she has been writing so well and I have to say I like the graph as well. Quite applicable, I think. 

Since when did comments need approval? 
Not mine, but I'll post it anyway


Michael considered fate at 14:13   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment

how did you even type that out without vomming all over the keyboard.

you go up a notch on the ol' respect-o-meter. 
On bonds and interest rates.

I've noticed more and more of my friends getting interested and excited about investing. This is definitely a Good Thing (tm). Nevertheless, sometimes things can get a little overboard.. especially when you're first starting out. When you're saving $1000 in a money market, for example, it is less important whether you are getting 4% or 5% then the fact that you are actually saving money.

A friend recently asked me some questions regarding APY, APR, and bonds versus money market accounts. I figured I might as well share with my other friends who might wander by.


The differnece between APR (annual percentage rate) and APY (annual percentage yield) is that APR is the percentage you are being given but APY is the percentage you realize.

Basically, if you get 1% interest per month you could state this as 12% per year.. the APR would be 12% but the APY (which takes into account compounding interest) would be 12.68%.

This is because after the first month you have 101% of your original investment (100% + 1%), the second month you have 102.01% - slightly more than 102% - because you are also getting 1% interest on the previous-months 1% interest as well as the principal.. after 12 months, that ends up being an extra .68%.

Lesson learned: the more periodic the compounding interest, the better (but really not much). 12% compounded daily (365 times in a year) has an APY of 12.75% compared to 12.68% compounded monthly..

Your money market may have given you a rate when you opened it but it is not fixed - it can fluctuate day to day, following the market.

You might consider: when interest rates go up (as they have been over the last year or two .. I used to get 3.4% in my money market and now I'm in the 4.5% range) bond value goes down - this is because the bond has a FIXED rate (say, 4%).. when you bought it the bond was fixed at that rate relative to the interest rate AT THAT TIME (say it was also 4%). If the interest rate is NOW higher (say, 5%), then the 4% fixed rate doesn't justify someone buying your bond from you at it's face value - you need to make it worth their while to purchase the (low) future profits by letting it go for cheaper.

Of course the inverse is true.. bond values go up as interest rates fall.

So the real questions are: do you forsee rising interest rates over the term of your bonds (and if so, how long is the term - is it long enough to justify selling at a low value now to take advantage of the potentially much higher interest rates in the future)... or do you think interest rates will taper off.

The real bottom line here, of course, is if you're talking about one to five years and $1000, the total difference is basically nothing.. even over 5 years you probably won't see a $100 difference between choosing the worst option and choosing the best option (if you could see the future).

The good thing is to a) save and invest and b) let your money make money for you. Don't worry too much about getting the absolute best rate - it's not worth your time and effort, leave that to Warren Buffer. You could move your money to a new money market every other day, as different banks' rates changed.. but for what? Your time is worth money too.

Work an hour of overtime and forget you ever worried about it.

Michael considered fate at 11:22   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
Nifty backyard image of the International Space Station and the Shuttle Atlantis passing in front of the sun? Yes (follow link for amazing full-size).


Michael considered fate at 18:40   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
Apple's new movie download store hit $1 million in about a week - over 125,000 downloads. Of course, that was with only 75 titles available, all of which were Disney releases. Will Steve Jobs be able to sucker the other movie houses into his little world? If he can, will people really want to watch their movies this way?

Sadly, the movies available are in a low-resolution format and the quality is, well, sub-par. What's worse is they're asking $14.99 a pop and this for:
a movie that is lower in quality than the DVD, lacks the special features, takes about an hour to download, and is basically unplayable on [a] television.
While I haven't downloaded a movie myself, anecdotal evidence suggests that the file size is in the range of two gigabytes.

Meanwhile, any mildly savvy computer user can get distributed bittorrent downloads of almost any recent movie in a format that is both decent quality and small enough to fit on CD. Are they stealing? Yes. Does this somehow feel "dirtier" or more "wrong" than stealing music? Certainly.

Historically, cassette tapes were cheap and easy to copy. When they first appeared on the market a revolution in music sharing was born. The equipment needed to copy a casette or record was fairly cheap as well, or at least something you would normally have in your household: a stereo.

Movies were saved from this early fate due to the simple fact that copying was not inexpensive enough. Multiple VCRs were required, there was always going to be some amount of quality lost, and the tapes themselves cost more.

The fact of the matter is now movies exist in the same world as music: small, cheap, easily portable. Nevermind the internet. If every VCR in 1985 had two decks to it, people would have been stealing movies then as well. Indeed they were, just not in the sort of numbers that people were stealing music.

The bottom line is that you gotta role with the times and the solution is certainly not to offer lesser-quality, more costly, and more difficult to acquire versions of your product. At $14.99, I can probably find almost anything on in it's actual DVD form and, for the time it takes to download two gigs over my cable line (which is less than actual advertised speed, of course) I can get it shipped to my door.

Consumers are still human. Or perhaps I should say humans are still consumers. We still enjoy the feeling of a new product in our hands. We still like the packaging and the buying experience. To move us to a new model there has to be low barrier to entry (which I'd say they generally have - everyone has a computer and a credit card) but they also need to develop the proper expectations of quality and experience. It is not the consumer who has brought on these "new-improved" formats - High Definition TV and next-gen DVDs - it is the corporations in a bid to maintain their cyclic market of product replacement. Build newer formats, formats which are easily subject to damage, and continue to replace them over time, forcing the consumer to upgrade their collections of media. Yet when it comes time to offer online downloads they can't even offer old-world DVD quality? Again, they need to develop the proper experience and frankly, at $14.99, they just aren't doing that.

I'll be wildly surprised if the iTunes movie store is anywhere near as successful as it's music store in it's current form.


Michael considered fate at 17:21   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
And here we go again.. Last year, at about this time, we heard tell of the first iPod vending machine (gizmodo). Around the same time we here in Montreal were getting a new form of parking meter (montreal metblog). Interestingly, while the new meters in Montreal are taking advantage of the consumer:
Unlike the old meters where the following patron could benefit from my overpayment, they are required to start from scratch.
The decidedly more sci-fi payment system recently unveiled in Vancouver (vancouver sun) is taking an opposite tack:
you can pay parking meters from your cellphone, get a text message warning the meter is about to expire and even top up the meter without going outside...

...Motorists can call a city phone number, provide the number of the meter and order exactly as much time as they need, up to the normal limit of the meter. That means no more plugging a dollar or two into the meter when you intend to stay only 15 minutes but you're short of exact change...

...If people use less time than they ordered, they can call to have the excess time deducted.
Nevertheless, Japan has been selling almost everything out of vending machines since before time, including beer, porn, 'used' schoolgirl panties, batteries, and more. Pictures follow.


Michael considered fate at 19:36   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment


Michael considered fate at 14:12   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment

everyone's a monkey...i knew it. 

does britcoal not have any space set aside for such things as beer, grass, and the Last Waltz? 

Michael considered fate at 05:20   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
Conjecture: You only have one chance at a great love.

Posit: this thing happens, love, in so much as we can identify feelings and emotions which make us feel a certain way.

Is red the colour red because it is or because you've decided it is. Does flowing water gurgle or is that just your way of thinking about it?

If in the feeling there is some measurable truth, some fuzzy logic about the whole thing, then nothing about it is climatic - it's more today, less tomorrow. Is the more, the maximum, the highest or purest of that feeling in your life the great love?.. If you're far from death then you're far from that fuzzy truth: how do you know that it isn't less today and more tomorrow?

And when it's your turn to experience this "Great Love" won't it be both the best and worst possible thing that could happen to you? You've summitted the greatest peak in the entire range. There is no higher high. You've got no more records to set except to find that lowest low and crawl way down deep inside it.

And from there on out, climbing down from that peak, your heartbeat feels like tiny blips on a radar. Far away and distant, cold, and monochromatic. The juicy center of a normal distribution, the long tails streaming out to either side into small thin lines of nothingness. Just a slow rythmic beat. Nothing siesmic, no building temors, nothing.


blip... blip... blip... blip


Alex considered fate at 03:10   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment


Here's what inspired me.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


H o t sotck ale rt.
This one is still climbling the stcok char ts a lert
Breaking markket news report - TQ WW. P K

Lookup: TQ WW. P K

Companny Name: Tayolr Aquaponcis Wroldwide, Inc.

Recently tradingg for: 0.40

6 Week Target: 1.25

6 Month Target: 4.97

Rating: Immediate b uy

Expected: Steadily climb for the top

Our featured ccompany TQW W is a “Big Fish” in what so far has been a little pond. But all of that is going to change when Wall Street sees the growth they’re experiencing.

Whether you love fish, or vegetables, or don’t care for either one, TQW W needs to be on your plate! SSuccess has already happened for Tailor Made Fish Farms, the original compaany behind TQW W, as you can see by the stories on this page. Do your research, and find out why we think TQ WW could increase as much as 400% or more in the next few weeks.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

This (and more) to my gmail inbox. Here's the thing; I'm intrigued. Sure, I'll buy it. Give me 10 dollars worth. Sure, there were 7 others that got caught by the spam filter. But this one didn't! There must be a reason! If it's going to increase 12X in 6 months, my ten spot is worth 120. If not, in the immortal words of my uncle Michael, I shit $10 dollars for breakfast. Sure, I'm below the poverty line, but lets be realistic about my finances. I don't spend them. I haven't even taken your father's advice (or yours, for that matter) and invested in a 401K. Compound interest is not working for me. I need drastic measures.

Anyway, it reminds me of eXistenZ. Have you seen this movie? The whole concept of spam seems to fit somehow.

This weekend a guy walking down state street (downtown SB) gave me a piece of cake. I'm talking good cake. 7 dollars a slice cake that he bought out. He took the fucker and walked down State Street and handed out cake. For no bad reason. He was modeling to his cousin (or something) that had recently moved here how one can meet people if one must. And he met me, and he spewed some Tibetan Buddhism on me, and because it made his girl so uncomfortable (the masochist in me shining through) I asked him more. He talked to me for at least 20 minutes about diamond mountain university, where he was going soon. About the different interpretations of Buddha. He reminded me of myself a long time ago.

And tonight I went to the Chabad Jews. Why not? And they talked of singing. And it made sense. Of some guy that was tired of being reincarnated. And I listened, and I sang. And I left.

And I came here, to lab, and found this in my inbox, and somehow it seems to fit. I'm of the mindset that worldviews that are useful are justifiable, and those that aren't, well, aren't. And the worldview that my experience rests on my shoulders, inasmuch as it's interpreted be me, is useful. That way, if I'm feeling shitty, I feel like I have some control. But, this spam doesn't really conform to that. It brings up world views that purport that everything happens for a reason. And that implies that it's up to me that I must find a reason for why this is in my inbox. You are the first person I think that could explain to me why some emails are getting through, and it makes me think that there's got to be some money HERE. Writing algorithms that facilitate spam defeating filters. And it makes me think of a scene in eXistenZ where the game designer is psyching out a game character, and she says, you can't really trust the crazies to pay up. And in this context, it makes me think of Nigerian spammers, and when the majority of our interactions are virtual ones, what cues will we use to decide who (and what) to trust.

That all, for now. I feel like last night, I may have left most of who I was before I went to sleep in the previous life.

And I want God. I can feel it. I want a reason.


Michael considered fate at 20:46   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
And it was like this all the time, the sounds, the noises in the night, the dark heavy air just laying there as if it owned everything. All of it, one giant multi-tentacled beast, wanting to touch everything, be on top of everything. Smothering, acrid with the stink of garbage, alcohol, cigarette smoke, and stale food.

This is summer in the city.

Paper flyers, parking tickets, and plastic bags floating around at knee-level, circling the sidewalks like flocks of vultures. Exhaust fumes wandering in clumps of black air, searching for surfaces to spread out onto. High pitched metal-against-metal screeching, the slamming of doors, loud honking sounds, and the squeal of tires spinning on pavement.

This is summer in the city.

The warmth, over-bearing in it's expansiveness, it's ubiquitousness, it's omnipresence in everything, everywhere, making even the air conditioned offices feel not right - uncomfortable like ice cubes on the neck in a hottub. Odd and illicit, cornering you on all sides touching you in places your parents said were private, heat boiled up from out of thin air.

This is summer in the city.

And eventually, everything has come to accept it. The fall of a great kingdom of ice, finally at it's last end giving everything up; save yourselves! - the end is nigh. Only time, now, slow in it's steadyness, will upturn the knocked-over tables and wipe up the spilled milk, sweep the dust out the door and quietly, without expectation, bring the hot down to it's knees, choking it out with nothing but mind-over-matter, no physical fight, no chest-to-chest stare downs.

This is summer in the city.

Without thinking it at all, the noises will seem more distant, the fingers of warmth more pale and sickly. Leaves will replace the flyers and grocery bags mingling about in the alleys and back streets, spinning about in little whirlwinds of abstract dance. You will stop - door open, hand against the screen with your fingers touching the tiny metal criss-cross-criss-cross - and for two seconds it will seem reasonable, almost silly to even worry about.. but then your senses will sink in and take root; you'll turn back for a sweater, long pants maybe, or a light jacket. Only then, when things die, do we truly appreciate things.

This is summer in the city.

We'll sit there, together, drinking coffee in paper cups, legs up on the seat with arms curled around ourselves. Not sure if the cold is physical or there inside our heads like the despair of ineffectualness. It will be vague but inside, near the back, the thoughts will form as they do sitting at the bedside of a dying grandparent; conflicting thoughts, questions, justifications - Everything must die? All things, good and bad, come to an end. This is okay, it is renewal.

This is summer in the city.


Michael considered fate at 15:56   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment

Please update soon so i don't have to look at Hilton titties every time I load your page!! 

I can look at her for a tad longer 

Anonymous: They're not really Hilton titties at all. So feel free to look. 

If you're not familiar with Banksy, he's a grafitti and "subversive" artist. He's been known to sneek his own sketches and paintings into art museums and put them up between million dollar paintings, just to see how long it takes for the staff to notice. His latest stunt: replacing Paris Hilton's latest CD with his own in HMV and Virgin stores.. The reason I post is because the stores seem to have a rather refreshing take on it:
"It's not the type of behaviour you'd want to see happening very often," [a HMV spokesman] said.

"I guess you can give an individual such as Banksy a little bit of leeway for his own particular brand of artistic engagement.

"Often people might have a view on something but feel they can't always express it, but it's down to the likes of Banksy to say often what people think about things.

"And it might be that there will be some people who agree with his views on the Paris Hilton album."

A spokesman for Virgin Megastores said staff were searching for affected CDs but it was proving hard to find them all.

"I have to take my hat off - it's a very good stunt," he added.


Michael considered fate at 18:02   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment

THis half-wit looks forward to your return, you big nincompoop. 
My friend just busted out with a "Deadwood is venomously funny" comment so now I know he's a shill. That's fine, because I can't say I've ever saved anyone's life either. In some odd way, that seems like a bit of a failure. Not that people are often trying to die around me but, gosh, the least I could say for twenty-eight years worth of this nonsense is "well, I saved a guy once."

I don't think it counts that I've been able to keep my own self out from under the dark side of the bus all this time - that's not really something to brag about in this day and age, is it?

I do some pretty stupid things, sure.. but logic mostly pulls me out of any stupors I stumble myself into. It's those long-term, drawn-out, hard to see things that take real thinking. Seeing ahead of time that you're heading in the wrong direction. Unlosing yourself before you're really lost.

So far I can say a number of things like "I accomplished this" or "I failed that". It's all inconsequence though. As far as actual, physically measurable impact I'm just a dumpster full of empty mac & cheese boxes. My footprint on society is ecological to the point that I may as well be braindead - heck, that might even be easier in the long run. Ain't no philosophy here.

In the end, when I finish the pages of crap I'm writing they'll have a foreign worker come by to collect the recycling box. They'll be a lot of paper in there, 150 sheets of which will be mine. He might throw his back out that day, and he'll be bed-ridden for awhile. The paper will end up in the trash cause that's what recycling really means to half the people out there anyway, and it'll burn with such acrid and black smoke you'd think the devil himself was the bleaching agent they used to render such pearly white stationary.

I thought for a bit that I - living for myself, now - would end up unhappy with my impending return to the states, surrounding myself once again with a bunch of rubes and half-wits, but I'm not so sure. These last few weeks, well maybe I've just had a bad run of it, but it's been truly awful. The truth is a rube's a rube and you're bound to run into them anywhere you go and there isn't anything you can do about it, really.

Except maybe punch them in the face.

Michael considered fate at 17:44   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment

Michael considered fate at 17:25   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment

The facial expressions when the baby is popping out are priceless. 

Michael considered fate at 02:02   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment

sigh...crap-o-graphs...good times. check out

i also strongly suggest you read the entire diary from start to finish. one of the funniest things i have encountered on the ol' internector. i used to cry with laughter at the lab, and made the bone listen to me read the best parts. sigh...those were the salad days. 

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