(For some California local definition of 'morning'!)
About 30 minutes ago one of our databases (sb-db03) locked up and stopped serving traffic. This was an active database, so the site quickly stopped when it could no longer serve requests. Alas.
I have failed us over to a backup database and now everything should be working again.
I'm not sure yet what happened to db03, but am currently investigating and will update this post if I come up with a root cause for the problem. Edit: It's back up and doesn't have any visible problems. Disks are fine, data's intact, etc. The graphs and logs show nothing. We'll have to keep an eye on it and see if it manifests further issues.
Sorry for the trouble, please let me know if you still see any problems!
Each week, I highlight ten things each week that inspired me to greater financial, personal, and professional success. Hopefully, they will inspire you as well.
1. Keith Ferrazzi on poverty
“Poverty, I realized, wasn’t only a lack of financial resources; it was isolation from the kind of people that could help you make more of yourself.” – Keith Ferrazzi
This is one of society’s greatest challenges. It takes someone really exceptional to escape an impoverished childhood.
2. Maria Bezaitis on the surprising need for strangeness
It isn’t the ordinary and mundane that shapes our lives. It’s the unusual.
3. Cornelia Funke on fear
“Fear kills everything. Your mind, your heart, your imagination.” – Cornelia Funke
It is a true individual triumph to overcome something you’re afraid of and see it for what it truly is.
4. Sir Ken Robinson on changing educational paradigms
Education today was designed for an industrial economy. Today, we have an information economy. How do we cross that bridge?
5. Thomas Carlyle on idleness
“In idleness there is a perpetual despair.” – Thomas Carlyle
One of the few things I fear is sitting still.
6. Beth Fantaskey on fear
“Fear is the worst kind of grave, because it buries one alive.” – Beth Fantaskey
The problem with fear is that it bends so many of the choices you make in life. When you’re afraid of something, it bends all choices you make related to that fear, altering your life profoundly.
7. John Perkins on economic hitmen
It’s an economic model that keeps the rich rich and keeps the poor poor.
8. Thomas Harms on answers
“Saying ‘I don’t know’ doesn’t mean you stop searching for an answer. A lot of people misunderstand that bit. Accepting your own bounds without shame or guilt allows you to see more clearly when your first urge may be to deny your ignorance to yourself or others, and instead admit your limitations and seek the solution from someone or somewhere.” – Thomas Harms
We are all limited. Saying that you don’t know something isn’t a sign of weakness. It is a sign of being a human.
9. Tony Robbins on why we do what we do
He really is the master of motivational speaking, and this is a prime example.
10. Aldo Leopold on the land around us
“We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” – Aldo Leopold
What right do I have to say I truly own the land that I hold a deed for? It was here long before humans appeared on this planet.
( Spoilers )
Hahaha, did you think I was kidding about the 4,000 words? OMFG I can't believe I wrote all that?! But like, this show! Holy crap. I remember watching the first episode a billion months ago and having so much hope, and yet I never expected it could be THIS GOOD. I am seriously tearful with how wonderful this show has been for me! Right now I can't even be sad that the season has ended, I am just so satisfied with this finale!!!
I see EVERYONE has made a post about these two episodes, and I will definitely check them out, but right now I'm going outside to get some sun.
for it to happen
(my life that is)
I don't want it
bought us things
we didn't want
And my brother
joined the army
to get away from the government
I don't want it
that I packed my bags
left them at a friend's
on the D train
for a month
until I lived
under my friend's bed
I don't want it
that I slept
on a floor
in my office
before I moved
and slept next to
that lay across
where my spirit
should have been
I don't want it
that I was running
from the mafia
chasing off the ghosts
and hiding from
I don't want it said
but I'm telling you
because if it must be told
the D train
really fucked up
my lower back
and if it must be told
make sure the
Library of Congress
This has been
a brief moment
in Black History
from ALOUD: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Café. Miguel Algarìn and Bob Holman, eds. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1994.
Had a dream last night. Trying to get over the moors, where we all met, on a bike. Kept getting stuck in the bogs. Just...you know when you think 'why's it so important to stay with the bike'? I mean, once I woke up. But in the dream I had to stay with it, and...ran out of time...yeah, not much fun.
The bloke who hit me is almost certainly going to lose his licence - he was already chocka with points, he said so when he ran around to me, where I was busy lying in a puddle and checking I still had all my limbs.
He did the classic - "I didn't see you, mate, you come out of nowhere!". His face pretty much fell through the floor when I pulled my warrant card out.
A few brave souls tried to do first aid on me, which was kind of them. And, it being a busy road junction, lots of people offered to be a witness for me that he was on his phone just before pulling out.
Anyway, Mrs Holmes seems to have whipped the insurance company into shape, and they've already said the bike's a write-off, so...well, I can start choosing a new one, knowing that I won't be getting the old one back.
Read more »
I get notes pretty regularly from readers who express concern that earning more won’t actually gain them anything. “Why should I earn more than I’m making if Uncle Sam is just going to take it all?”
That perception is a complete myth. Yes, you will be paying more in taxes if you make more and, yes, you’ll likely be paying a higher percentage of your income in taxes. However, your income will go up far faster than your tax bill will.
In order to keep the picture as clear as possible, I’m going to stick with federal income tax in this example. I’m going to use this calculator to run through a few scenarios.
Let’s say that you’re married filing jointly and your gross income is $40,000 per year. You have no investment income, no IRA contributions, two personal exemptions, no dependent children, and you’re taking the standard deduction – in other words, a pretty typical situation for a newly married couple living in an apartment without children.
In that situation, the estimated federal income tax liability will be approximately $2,108. Your average tax rate is 5.3% and your marginal tax rate is 15.0%. You’ll have $37,892 left over.
Now, what happens if you double that income? We can imagine that one person in the family had a job making $40,000 a year, but then the other person gets a $40,000 a year job. What happens then.
Now, you’re married filing jointly and your gross income is $80,000 per year. You have no investment income, no IRA contributions, two personal exemptions, no dependent children, and you’re taking the standard deduction – in other words, the same situation as before, just with more income.
In this situation, the estimated federal income tax liability will be approximately $8,108. Your average tax rate is 10.1% and your marginal tax rate is 15.0%. You’ll have $71,892 left over. That $40,000 bump in income only increases your federal taxes by $6,000.
Of course, I’m leaving out other expenses, such as FICA taxes and state taxes, but the story remains the same – more income means more money for you.
What happens if both people in the marriage find better jobs and double their income? They’ve got to be paying a lot more in taxes now, right?
Now, you’re married filing jointly and your gross income is $160,000 per year. You have no investment income, no IRA contributions, two personal exemptions, no dependent children, and you’re taking the standard deduction – in other words, the same situation as before, just with even more income.
In this situation, the estimated federal income tax liability will be approximately $26,858. Your average tax rate is 16.8% and your marginal tax rate is 25.0%. You’ll have $133,142 left over. That $80,000 bump in income only increases your federal taxes by $18,750.
What if we double it yet again? Surely, the rich must be getting eaten alive by this!
If you’re making $320,000 a year in the scenario described above, your estimated federal income tax liability will be approximately $75,725. Your average tax rate is 23.7% and your marginal tax rate is 33.0%. You’ll have $244,275 left over. That $160,000 bump in income only increases your federal taxes by $48,867.
Here’s the truth: the idea that making more money is pointless because Uncle Sam will take it all is absolutely false. It’s a fantasy that people use as a crutch to excuse themselves from working hard to earn more money.
The post The Fear of Taxes Shouldn’t Keep You from Earning More appeared first on The Simple Dollar.
One of my favorite posts last year was about a model of a guillotine made out of animals bones by a Napoleonic prisoner of war in England. Britain had a surfeit of prisoners from France and other countries who fought on Napoleon’s side during the late 18th, early 19th century. An estimated 100,000 Napoleonic prisoners were in British hands between 1793 and 1815 because of French Revolutionary and Napoleonic policies against the ransom or exchange of prisoners. Prison hulks had nothing like that capacity, so a number of prisoner of war camps were built in England, the first permanent POW camps of their kind.
These camps weren’t the extreme hellholes that prison hulks were, but they were still overcrowded, wet and subject to epidemics like Typhus. British authorities allowed the prisoners to make crafts and sell them to supplement their miserable existence. Since many of the prisoners were conscripts rather than professional soldiers, they had work skills from their civilian lives and were able to create rather exceptional pieces. The working model of a guillotine carved from discarded bones is one of them. Beautifully appointed model ships were also popular.
Two of those ships are coming up for sale at Bonham’s Fine Maritime Paintings and Decorative Arts auction on June 5th in New York. One is a model of a 76-gun French ship-of-the-line made out of bone. The other is a boxwood model of a British 76-gun ship-of-the-line. Both were carved around 1800 and are amazingly elaborate. The boxwood model is valued at least $2,000 higher than the bone one because of how crazy fancy it is:
in a diorama format with the hull built up from the waterline, a painted green bottom, the topsides painted in alternating bands of black, pink and white, and black topsides fitted with a figure head of a Roman warrior, at the stern the quarter galleries and transom are modeled with windows, cut and pierced and decorated with a geometric pattern. The decks are of veneer with the planking lines drawn in and detailed with: anchor, cannons on carriages, pin and fife rails, capstan, railings, ladders, belfry, hatches, deck eyes. At anchor, one anchor rode is run out into the sea as if the ship were anchored. Rigged with three masts, bowsprit, standing and running rigging, turning blocks, cross spars, tops and trees, and dead-eyes and other rigging details. Displayed on a carved and painted sea, framed by an ornately decorated and drawn acanthus base, within a mahogany and glass case with carved front columns and a foliate frieze over the top.
The bone ship is slightly less fancy, but no less amazing:
possibly Le Maroc [name on transom barely legible], the hull built up from the solid and planked in bone, between the gun decks are raised bone strakes which were painted black, brass guns fitted to the topsides and decks, chain plates and dead-eyes, polychromed figurehead of a warrior, carved and pierced stern and quarter galleries with verdigris copper details, head rails, pin and fife rails, scored planking for the decks, open well deck, guns on carriages, taff rail, and other details. Rigged with masts, yards, standing and running rigging, spars, stun’sail booms, and other details [rigging in need of attention]. Set into a bone and wood base with a painted sea [distressed] giving the impression of a waterline model.
I’m partial to the bone one both because I’m just a fan of bone art in general and because you can really see that it was made out of bits of carved bone. On the other hand, it does not have a Roman legionary figurehead so the boxwood model clearly wins on that score.
Over the past several months, the art of reading has really clicked with our oldest child. A year ago, he would parse a simple sentence in a book with great nervousness, sounding out each individual word very carefully and moving at such a slow pace that there was almost no narrative or educational value to what he was reading.
Now, he has a vocabulary of several thousand sight words, enabling him to read simple chapter books with scarcely a pause. He can read them aloud, of course, but he also is a practitioner of sustained silent reading.
The effort he has put into mastering reading has earned several compliments from both Sarah and myself. We are proud of the effort he has taken in learning to read – the results are just the fruits of that effort. So, we make sure to focus our compliments on the effort he’s taken: the time spent working on sheets full of sight words and the time spent practicing his reading by reading aloud whether anyone’s listening or not.
Our general rule is that parental compliments and encouragement focus on effort and energy invested in preparing, not on the results. The good feelings that come from results are internal – they’ll feel good anyway. We’d far rather acknowledge and reinforce the path of hard work and effort that it takes to get to that point.
It’s not just for parents, either.
Compliments are like a stack of money that never runs out.
It doesn’t cost you anything to give a compliment to someone else. Almost always, when you give them a compliment, you’ve just made that person’s day better at no cost to yourself.
Also, you’ve usually made them perceive you in a better light, too, as people are attracted to those who seem to like them. It would take a pretty unusual situation for someone to think less of a person issuing them a brief compliment.
Even better, a well-placed compliment reinforces behavior that you consider to be a positive thing. If you give someone a compliment about something they’re doing, they’re more likely to keep along that path because they now know that others see it and value it. It helps them to reinforce a routine, one that’s likely a positive one.
A compliment is something that rewards positive behavior, brings about a distinct positive result, and can be done over and over again. It really is like a bottomless stack of money, one you can use whenever you’re out in public to brighten the lives of everyone.
Compliment the things you want to see in the world.
If your compliments help to reinforce a routine in others, then it makes perfect sense to use your compliments wisely and dole them out when you see things in the world that you’d like to see more of.
If you see someone being kind to someone else, give them a compliment. When you see someone making a smart frugal choice, give them a compliment. When you see someone being a good parent, give them a compliment. When you see someone putting forth an effort to achieve something in their lives, give them a compliment.
The more you compliment the things you want to see in the world, the more those behaviors are reinforced in the lives of people around you, whether it’s a family member or a friend or just someone you happen to bump into in the community.
Save the acid for another day.
Many people seem to enjoy handing out acidic criticisms, but they act in almost the opposite way. They tend to send the other person’s behavior in completely unpredictable directions, plus they cause the person you levy that acidic criticism towards to dislike you.
Virtually nothing is gained by handing out unwanted criticism other than feeding your own internal negativity.
If you feel negative toward someone else’s behavior, shouting out criticism might cause a response, but it’s often not going to be a response you’re pleased with. Avoid it, and save your energy for compliments.
The end result is a better world at no cost to you.
The most amazing thing about a compliment is that it doesn’t cost you a dime, but it brings about real change in the world. One compliment might not change anything, nor a dozen, but a steady stream of well-applied compliments does bring about positive results in the people around you. They feel better about themselves. They work harder in positive directions. They value you more.
If you want a better world to live in, the easiest and least expensive way to start is to compliment the good behaviors you want to see out there – frugal living, kindness to others, hard work – and keep your negative comments to yourself, because negativity often moves in unexpected and usually undesired directions. It costs you nothing other than a moment of your time, but the ramifications often go far beyond what you see in that moment.
The post The Value of Compliments and Positive Reinforcement appeared first on The Simple Dollar.
In a recent post, staff writer Lisa Aberle provided an excellent outline of the kind of financial information and preparation you should provide for your loved ones in the event of your incapacitation or death. It’s no fun to prepare this information, which may be why so many people avoid it. But as we’ve discussed, it’s necessary to have a plan to help people navigate your finances during what is sure to be a highly emotional time. But what about highly emotional times that aren’t actually bad?
It’s not very likely that you’ll get hit by a bus or fall into a coma tomorrow, but you know that you need measures in place, just in case. Well, it’s also not very likely that your office pool will win Powerball or that you’ll receive a large, unexpected inheritance, so why would the fact that it’s not likely stop you from being prepared to handle a windfall should one come your way? Do you have a plan in place in the event of a windfall?
Many people are not prepared for the various ways that money could come into their life, whether through the wildly improbable lottery or gambling winnings or slightly-more-practical payouts such as an insurance settlement or profits from selling a home or business. The news is rife with unfortunate stories of lottery winners whose winnings didn’t last very long. In fact, according to the National Endowment for Financial Education, about 70 percent of people who suddenly receive large amounts of money will lose it within a few years.
There is a lot of information out there on what to do with your windfall once you have it, but not too much on how to prepare for a sudden financial gain. Make an outline of information that you can reference in the event of a windfall; a touchstone to reality in the midst of all the emotion and excitement could be a financial lifesaver. Granted, the amount of money that comes to you will probably dictate how far down this list you can go. So, think about making a couple different versions of this list, perhaps “10-50K,” “50-250K,” and “Greater than 250K.”
Window shop for a lawyer and a financial adviser. This step may or may not be necessary if the amount is on the smaller side. If you don’t already have/need one, narrow your choices down to a top three and record their information on a spreadsheet. You may want to go so far as to have a free consultation.
Bank accounts and taxes. Your financial adviser will be able to help you decide where to park your funds and how to plan for your tax obligations.
Debts and obligations. Create a list of all outstanding debts. Remember to update this list every few years as your obligations change.
Splurge. Giving yourself permission to splurge – just a little bit – will feel like a treat without going nuts. What percentage would you splurge? Two to 10 percent seems to be a common suggestion. Set a limit for your future self to have some fun.
Financial goals. Write down your financial goals. Pay off credit cards? Pay off student loans? Pay off mortgage? Fund retirement account? Fund Junior’s college account?
Charity. This includes gifts to friends and family. Who would you help if you could? Making these choices before you come into any extra money could help you identify your priorities. Pay for niece’s college? Pay off parents’ car? Become a donor for a local charity?
Personal goals. Your financial obligations have been met; now, it’s time to use money as a tool to help reach some of your personal goals. What personal goals would this money help you achieve? Would you start that business? Go back to school?
We’ll all pass away one day, but none of us are guaranteed to hit a jackpot with a seven-figure payout. Do you think planning for an unlikely event is worth your time and effort? What additional information would you have ready in order to be prepared for a financial windfall?
Although the final sign up day was technically the 15th, that doesn't mean you still can't claim a day if you want! As always, just drop a note at the sign up post with your info and choose your day and we'll be happy to make it happen.
2. Open Days:
Since we didn't fill all the days this year, we've decided to create Open Days (similar, but not the same as July 31st's Open Posting Day). Instead of asking you to post anything and everything yourself in separate entries (like we still hope you'll do July 31st), we've themed each day. Us (your mods) will put up the main entry for that day, and we'll party together in the comments. So, even if you didn't sign up for a specific day, maybe you'll have the impulse to help out on these days and make them fun!
Open Day schedule:
- June 10th: Giles Haiku Day (immortalize your Giles in haiku. Here's a handy app that will even help count syllables: http://writeahaiku.com/ )
- June 17th: Giles Fic Rec Day (any story, any pairing, any time, including podfic! - please give us links and tell us why you love the fic so!)
- July 3rd: Giles Drabble Day (100 words of awesome - try using "first words generator" here: http://feath.com/idea/firstwords.htm or find either noun, verb or adjectives ... or random words, here: http://www.wordgenerator.net )
- July 4th: Giles Vid & Graphics Rec Day (tell us all your favorite Giles-y videos and art)
- July 7th: Giles Picspam Day (Any and all photos, screencaps, picspams, gifs, of Giles or Anthony Stewart Head)
Finally, since LJ has been having lots of problems lately (or at least it's seemed like it when I've tried to go in and edit our sign up post and the like), don't forget we have a mirror community at Dreamwidth: Summer of Giles that you can post to if you like/can't access! Since crossposting doesn't work for comms, I'd still love it if you would drop a link into the LJ community, but I will also catch anything that isn't linked in the Friday round ups.
And I have cleaned out my library!
Any books listed in the Great Giveaway Collection on my Librarything is being gotten rid of. Many of them are review copies I was given, and I'd like to pass them on to you guys, if you want them!
So check out the listing, and comment here if there are any you want, first come first serve.
If you want a few, I know you and you're in the US I'll send them to you USPS book rate (if you want to pay me back for postage in DW points, that would be great, but you don't need to). If I don't know you and/or you're not in the US and/or you want more than a dozen or so, comment anyway - in that case, I'll probably want help with postage - but I mostly just want them going to a good home.
They're mostly graphic novels and Star Trek novels but there are also a few other random things scattered in here and there.
Also there's an additional list of things that got cleared out that never made it into LT:
( List of Books To Give Away )
This offer is open until the morning of Saturday, June 8, at which point any unclaimed volumes will either be donated to charity or put back on my shelves, depending how strong my willpower is that day...
(I may pull out some more between now and then; if so, I'll add 'em to the end of the list under the cut.)