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Monday, April 24, 2006

Have you ever been in love?

Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life... You give them a piece of you. They didn't ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn't your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so simple a phrase like 'maybe we should be just friends' turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It's a soul-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. I hate love.

--Neil Gaiman

The very first time I ever read that, I felt as if someone had been spying on my innermost thoughts & feelings and was exposing all the darkest places of my soul, for all the world to read.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Dreams can and do come true

I officially became a 'professional' programmer! A professional gets paid for what they do...doesn't matter if they know what they are doing, or if they can do it well, or how much they get paid...they are still technically a professional if they get paid for it.

Over on donationcoder.com there is a coding snacks forum where people submit requests for small utility applications that would take an hour or less to create. I spotted one that would be a quick request to fill...all I would have to do is add a few lines of code to an existing application I had already written. It was for a stopwatch that would either stay always on top, or min to tray, that could be controlled with a global hotkey. I had already made one that stayed on top and could be minimized to the tray...just needed to add the hotkey to it and the request would be filled.

I didn't do it for money...didn't expect to get any either. But when I announced that the request was filled and posted a download link, about 5 minutes later I got an email from mouser, the guy that runs the site. He put $0.50 in my micropayments account in appreciation of my work! The next day, someone else I don't even know added another $0.10!

I know this isn't much...and most people would laugh at an amount so small, but it meant a lot to me. Another $0.40 and I will have made my first dollar as a programmer. And this wasn't because people HAD to pay me...it was because they WANTED to. I think that makes it even more special to me.

I will frame that first $1 when I get it and treasure it forever...it means that much to me. It's a personal goal accomplished...a dream fulfilled.

Follow up: April 27, 2006:

I recieved another 100 credits today, so now I have gone past the $1 mark :-D

Follow up: Friday, June 2, 2006:

When I originally made this post, and the previous follow up, I thought the scale for donation credits was same as US currency and that 100 credits was $1...turns out I was very wong. 10 credits = $1...so it wasn't $0.50 that mouser gave me, but $5.00! And that $0.10 I thought I got the next day was really $1...and the additional 100 credits was $10! WOW!

Follow up: Saturday, September 9, 2006:

I have recieved my first dollar, signed by mouser. It is now in a frame, hanging above my desk. :-D

Friday, April 14, 2006

Damn! Coffee is expensive!

Are You Flushing One Million Dollars Down the Toilet?

According to this article, giving up a coffee habit can make you a millionaire. I know it may be hard to believe, but it's true.

I once read book a called More Wealth Without Risk that said if you started investing a dollar a day when you got your first job around age 15-16, that by the time you were old enough to retire you would be a millionaire. Even at minimum wage, that's an affordable investment. Only $7 a week.

A little bit can go a long way when you add it all up.

This same book also suggested that parents, instead of starting a college fund for their children when they are born, start a retirement fund for them. It will make them wealthy when they are older. Much more wealthy than the college education will.

And instead of killing yourself to pay for college for all of your kids, make it a goal to have enough money in your retirement that you won't need them to take care of you financially. Don't be a burden to your children and help them not to be a burden to theirs.

Kids will grow up and somehow make it on their own, eventually. Even if it's a struggle for them, they will make it. Having that retirement fund that you started when they were born will make sure that struggle won't be in vain.

Now don't you wish your parents had started a retirement fund for you the day you were born?