Technology Solutions for Everyday Folks

Tagged with 'personal'

Pandemic Projects Aplenty

Tim Allen from Home Improvement showing off sledgehammer

It is no surprise to me that retail outlets catering to home improvement projects have been doing well during the pandemic and various iterations of stay-at-home orders. The sudden 'found' time of folks who might normally spend time on other endeavors is suddenly focused into projects around the house. To some degree this is the same here...

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Shaking The GnuCash Account Tree

Man shaking tree of money

Over the years I've developed a habit where a short part (~30 minutes on average) of most weekends are dedicated to entering the week's receipts, reconciling (or balancing) accounts, updating investment fund values, and so forth. Once familiar with GnuCash, this process is pretty straightforward and easy to do. Then, roughly quarterly, I go through and double-check any accounts that have fallen behind this cycle for various reasons (sometimes an account wasn't used during that time, other times I just forgot to reconcile it, and so forth).

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GnuCash For The Win

Parks and Rec "They call me the Swiss Army accountant" gif

As I wrote about a couple months back, GnuCash is my accounting software of choice since ~2010. I wasn't exactly "sold" on it from the start, but it was a free and open-source solution that seemed robust enough to handle pretty much anything I could throw at it, from managing business finances and whatnot to a whole mess of personal accounts. Did I mention: free and open-source?

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Energy Use Analysis

Animation of a chart from The Simpsons

A little over a decade ago we had a ground-source heat pump installed for our home heating and cooling. Commonly called a 'geothermal' system, the basic function is that it uses the earth's relative/stable temperature (well below the frost line) to act as a heatsink for air conditioning and heating. In the winter (or heating season), heat is transferred from the ground and (through the process of compression) 'superheated' where it's released across a typical air conditioning coil in our normal furnace.

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Well, It's Been A Ride These Last Weeks

News anchors flail about

So I wound up putting a bit of a pause on posting this last month or so. Certainly not for a lack of things to say...but certainly for lack of time to nuance them. I've had to schedule and reschedule the various posts I had in progress (but not fully finished) a couple of times now. Hopefully I can get to the point of starting to regularly crank out new stuff on the normal schedule.

But first, this bit of a reset.

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The Financial Automation Account

Mechanical slide coin sorting machine

A couple weeks ago, I made brief mention of my financial automation account and how I've come to consider it my "free money" account. I wanted to dig into that topic just a bit more, since it's become a key component of my own regular financial well-being.

Why an Automation Account?

Simple: it's thoughtless, once set up.

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Financial Literacy Matters

Machine counting $20 bills

As we enter the thick of tax season (I just filed ours this past week), I thought I'd write a short bit about my own take on financial literacy. This idea was originally sparked when I read an article last year about Why Financial Literacy Matters from a more education-based perspective. I suggest giving it a quick read.

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Quality Educational Theatre

Man shaking hands following a project's completion.

This past Saturday ended a most marvelous run of the One-Act Play production in which my 7th grader was cast. I'm deliberately not going into any details regarding the production, because it doesn't matter what production was in scope, but how the production went.

It. Was. Fantastic.

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Letting It Go

Viking funeral ship on fire

Last summer we had a pretty gnarly hailstorm, which has ultimately resulted in the need to replace shingles and siding on the house (among several other things). As a result, this has become a launching point for getting some insulation work and window replacement on the project list. Because if we're gonna do the siding, we might as well get those other things done, too.

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Cleaning Up and Updating

Suspense while waiting (to update).

I've been a bit remiss in the posting cadence lately (well, since Thanksgiving). Much has been happening in all realms of life (as they are want to be during the "holiday season"). That being said, I don't return to work, proper, until January 6. And so it's time to do some cleaning up and other updates. With any luck, I'll have some material queued up to help buffer the situations when I'm out of time (or random ideas).

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High Quality Local Talent

That was an amazing performance

Haven't had a more personal post for a while (hope to rectify that in the next few weeks as I've got some stuff queued up), but it seemed fitting to give a short tribute/shout out to some of our regional performance art talent.

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I Took a Break

Pause

As I've noted a few times in the last few months, things have been remarkably crazy and busy. As it always does, this culminates in a late-August/early-September influx of "survival mode" where most everything centers around keeping the fires to a minimum.

So I've found myself at a point where I didn't have enough material queued up (or at the ready to write about), especially on the technical side, so I decided to take a short break while the normal dust settles. Which it has/did, for the most part.

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A Brief Respite

My Summer 2018 Outdoor Office Companion, Macho

Ahh, August: that "season" of all things chaotic, crazy, busy, and otherwise rushed. See also: back-to-school season.

A time when the rush of all the things that haven't yet been accomplished through the summer converge and, like it or not, must be completed before the new school year(s) begin.

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Knit Your Best Life

Subaru car 'quilted' with material and the brand 'fiberartsfest.com'

On Saturday, we made the short trip to [West] Fargo, ND for the Fiber Arts Festival, something we'd not previously visited before. For a small-sized gathering, at first sight I certainly didn't expect to spend half the day at the venue. But it's a good little fest, and we well might go again in the future. Saw lots of folks spinning fiber into yarns, working with said product, and using some neat little machines to do it all.

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To The Moon!

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin during the Apollo 11 extravehicular activity (EVA) on the moon

We spent the weekend away from home taking in a production of Guys and Dolls at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, along with a visit to the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul.

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That's A Wrap, and Happy Summer

As I wrote about two weeks ago (while in mid-run), we just had our early summer theatre production. It was, in my opinion, a very successful run...though bittersweet to see it end after two weekends (and six shows). We had a great and consistent audience, which speaks well to the attempt at doing a show over two weekends in June. Our next board meeting will reveal the "final" financial result of our activities.

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It's A Half-Wrap!

Tortilla Wrap Sandwich

If we've ever met in person, you'll likely know that I'm a theatre (yes, theatre) nerd, and I have been for a long time. I should write about my theatre history at some point in time.

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With Summertime Comes Summer...Projects

Yard work with dog mowing lawn

This was going to be a real post, with some real substance (or at least something).

But then it happened:

Yard Work and Summer Projects

We had a reasonably nice weekend to do some outdoor work. While it's never complete, and always seems to be some sort of re-envisioning, the need to get some stuff done around the house has consumed my time these past few days.

It'll all be good, though. It's often cathartic in its own way, and the beer tastes ever so slightly better afterward (or in between, depending on the activities).

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Running On Empty

Running on Empty GIF

I have known this for many years, but I reaffirmed my assessment this past week.

I am a creative. I seriously enjoy making things.

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What's In Your Lunch Bag?

Winnie the Pooh prepares to eat

Many of those I work and associate closely with know that I'm pretty often a routine machine. I'll be writing more about the various things I've turned into simple routines, automatic processes, and so forth.

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Thoughts? I've had [more than] a few

Herding Cats

I survived!

Yup, three (very different) presentations in as many months. All a resounding success!

But I'm tired. Really tired. And as I'd noted some time ago, the struggles and projects live on. The list is marginally smaller now vs. then, but there's still a good mix of all sorts of random bits. At least it's a variety!

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Hocus Focus

Focus Cartoon

It's been a long last few weeks. Actually, make that the last month. At times it's felt impossible to focus. On anything. And there are many things:

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