Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Forever Stamps

Yesterday, the Postal Service announced that they were going to be raising the price of stamps once again. No big surprise really. They seem to do it every year now. The interesting thing they said is that they will unveil what will be called "Forever Stamps." These Forever Stamps will be able to be purchased at whatever the prevailing rate is for stamps. When stamps rise to 41 cents, you can buy Forever Stamps for 41 cents. The interesting thing comes when they raise stamps again next year. Rather than having to purchase a one or two cent stamp to combine with your leftover stamps, you can continue to use whatever Forever Stamps you have until they run out without having to use extra postage. In other words, you shouldn't have to buy the one or two cent stamps anymore as long as you buy Forever Stamps. After you are out of those, you can buy more Forever Stamps at the new rate.

At first I thought this was pretty cool. I said to myself that I would just go out and buy hundreds of Forever Stamps that way I can save money when the next raise comes. But how much would I really save? Let's say the average house uses 200 stamps a year. If, when the stamps rise to 41 cents, I wanted to buy 200 stamps for every year for five years, it would cost me $410. A lot of money to spend at once. What if, instead, I don't buy them at once and stamps rise 2 cents every year for 5 years. How much would I spend over 5 years on stamps? $450. But buying 1000 stamps all at once, I would only save myself 40 bucks over 5 years. Not really enough of a savings to justify spending $410 all at once on stamps.

How about over ten years? It would cost me $820 to buy them all at once, but $1000 to buy 200 stamps every year for 10 years; assuming they go up 2 cents each year. An average savings of 18 bucks a year is not enough to make me buy $820 worth of stamps in May. But people might not see this long run prognosis. Is the postal service doing this to make some quick money and hope that people will buy more stamps than usual? Are they hoping for a quick profit? We'll never know. But it is something to think about. I wouldn't put it past them. But those are the statistics if you are interested.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Fat Free Friday #3

Yeah, it's Saturday, but I got too busy to post yesterday. I lost another half pound this week. Yeah, it wasn't a large number, but I had a bad weekend and I never got a chance to go to the gym all week. So despite that, I think I did fairly well. The rest of the week after the weekend, I cracked down on what I ate. So yes, I have only lost 1 pound in three weeks, but I always try to look on the positive side. I am one pound lighter and that is always better than one pound heavier. Baby steps.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Tattoo Stories

I got my first tattoo about a year after I graduated high school – it was probably 1997 and I was 19 years old. The story behind it? I wanted a tattoo, but I wanted something original. I didn’t want a butterfly or a flower or any other stereotypical girly-type tattoo (no offense meant toward anyone who has a tattoo like that – it’s just not me.) I was at the tattoo place one night, flipping through the thousands of suggestions they have and I saw it - completely original and completely me - eggs and bacon in a happy face. I love to smile and be happy, I love food – it was a perfect combination of the two, and I probably safe to assume nobody else had it. So I had it done on the outside of my right ankle, and there it still sits. Sometimes it even surprises me when I see it because I forget it’s there, but it makes me smile each time I see it.

I have the urge to get another one, this time on the top of my left foot. I don’t want anything that takes up the entire top of my foot; probably no more than 2 inches square, right above my pinkie toe area. This time my dilemma is different though. I have 3 ideas but cannot decide which one to get. This is where you guys come in – please help me decide which should be my next tattoo.

Choice #1 – Chinese/Japanese symbol for “laughter”
Pros: I like this because laughter is very important to me. I like to do it and try to do it often. I really believe it is good for your health.
Cons: It seems lots of people are doing Chinese/Japanese symbols lately. I don’t want to do it because it’s a “fad” or it’s “popular.” Also, with it being on my foot, do I orient it so that I see it the correct way, or so that someone looking at me sees it the right way?

Choice #2 – Zodiac sign (Pisces)
Pros: I like this because not only do I think the symbol looks cool, but it’s what I am – a Pisces. My sign will never change. Plus, it's the same either way you turn it.
Cons: It seems lots of people have these as tattoos.

Choice #3 – Dog paw print
Pros: I am very much a dog person. I have loved each dog I have owned with all of my heart. I don’t see this changing – I plan to always own a dog and to always love it.
Cons: We have a friend who has this exact tattoo on her foot – it’s how I got the idea. We don’t see her often, so it’s unlikely she would see it and know that I stole it from her.

There are my options. Please let me know what you think. Thank you in advance for your input - let the voting commence!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Any day where Manchester United wins.....

...and Arsenal loses is a good day!!!

Tomorrow, Civil War #7, the conclusion to the series hits the newsstands. There is a good chance I will be at my local comic store the minute it opens tomorrow. I can't wait!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Best Picture Reviews

Ok, we just got done seeing the last of all the the Best Picture nominees, so here are our reviews. I'll (Manuel) go first, ranking them from my favorite to my least favorite. I will try to keep spoilers to the absolute minimum in case you plan on seeing some of these films.

#1 - The Departed - This was the only movie that I saw prior to the nominations coming out and I loved it. After seeing all the movies, this is my favorite. I had a really hard time deciding between this movie and the next movie, but this one came out on top because I enjoyed it more. It really is our kind of movie. Great acting, great story, lots of drama, and a good amount of comedic moments thrown in. It was a gangster/mafia/crime drama at its finest. Every actor did an exceptional job and it keeps you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.

#2 - Letters From Iwo Jima - I had a hard time deciding if this would be my #1 movie or not. Truth be told, this was an even better movie than The Departed. This movie is outstanding. But, I enjoyed The Departed a little more. There is really nothing about this movie that is bad except for the fact that it is not uplifting in the least. This movie deserves the award more than The Departed. It is spectacular. I just don't think I could watch it over and over. If it wins, I won't be disappointed at all.

#3 - Little Miss Sunshine - This movie is a riot. I don't enjoy comedies this much that often. The family all does a spectacular acting job and it has some really great feel good moments. I wouldn't really consider this an Oscar type movie, but sometimes comedies get their due and get nominated - like The Full Monty or Sideways. Does this deserve to win over The Departed or Iwo Jima? No. But if it ended up winning, I wouldn't be disappointed.

#4 - Babel - This movie was decent. It had a good story and some of the acting was extraordinary. However, I felt that some parts could be cut out and were unnecessary to the story. It wasn't bad by any means. I just don't think I got as emotionally attached as I was supposed to. It is worth at least one viewing. I appreciate the hard work that had to go into making a movie of this caliber, but despite all of that, I didn't think a lot of it was extraordinary. Regardless of my feelings, this is the movie that I think is going to end up winning. It's an Oscar type movie, just not for me.

#5 - The Queen - This is ranked last, but I actually liked this movie. In fact, I saw it with three females and liked it the best out of all of us. I thought Helen Mirren did an excellent job, the story was very intriguing, and I was never bored. But it was just a movie. I don't think it was Oscar caliber. I would still recommend this movie to people as a decent little flick, but if it wins, it would be a travesty.

Now for Jessica's comments:

#1 - The Departed - This was our kind of movie - action, plot twists and turns, suspense, foul language, comedic relief. It was a great story with great acting. In fact, we own it, so that says something.

#2 - Little Miss Sunshine - The definition of a dysfunctional family - and I loved every second of it! The story was good, the acting was good, I laughed very hard in some parts, I cared about the characters. It was a feel good movie. Not a typical Oscar Best Picture nomination, but enjoyable nonetheless.

#3 - Letters From Iwo Jima - Of all of the nominees, this is the best movie. Why is it #3 then? I can recognize a well made film but like lesser films better, if that makes sense. The story was good but it was very depressing. Very good, but very emotionally taxing.

#4 - Babel - I can appreciate the undertaking it must have taken to make this movie. I liked the story of the housekeeper and the children the best. I agree there was one storyline that was completely unnecessary. I'm just a little tired of seeing the bad things people do to each other. It was good, but too similar to Crash, which won Best Picture last year.

#5 - The Queen - I liked this movie, it was entertaining, but it gets 5th place because I just didn't care. When Princess Diana died, I didn't care much about it then, and I still don't care now. I thought it was interesting, but who knows how much of it was true?

I think Babel will win, but I would be pleasantly surprised if The Departed or Little Miss Sunshine won. I would not be disappointed if Letters From Iwo Jima won, because it is an extremely well made film. I would be disappointed if The Queen won. We'll see what happens on the 25th!

Death of a Legend

It has been a few days now, but we lost a very important person last week. Last week, Robert Adler passed away at the age of 93. Who is Robert Adler? What did he do? Well, he made things easy for almost all of us. You could also say though that he has contributed to a few extra pounds on each of us.

Rest in peace Robert Adler - inventor of the TV remote control. What would I have done without you.

Have a good week everybody.

Friday, February 16, 2007


This is just an update to my Babel story from Wednesday. We were pissed because we had to pay the high prices for it because it was gone from theaters as of yesterday. We had to see it before the Oscars on the 25th! So we saw it. Our review will come later. But guess what, I just realized that it comes out on DVD Tuesday. We could have just rented it! FUCK!!!!!

Weight loss post below.....

Fat Free Friday #2

Oh, it was not a good week. In my weekly battle with blubber, the fat won out this week. I'm pissed, but this is why I started this weight thing on the blog, so I can own up to it after the fact. I gained a pound and a half this week bringing my weight loss total after two weeks to only half a pound. What went wrong? It's fairly simple. I am not going to make excuses, I will just show you the facts:

Friday night: We went to a concert so that means we went out to dinner first and I had a big hamburger.

Saturday night : Once a month, Jessica's family has a gathering of around 15 people for a big dinner. Steak, mashed potatoes and rolls. Uh oh.

Sunday night: Can't remember

Monday night: Jess decided to try a new recipe - Chicken and rice casserole. Had tons of cheese and wasn't the healthiest thing on the menu. VERY yummy. Very fattening.

Tuesday night: Jess and I were shopping all evening. Of course that means eating out because we get hungry. Burrito at Chipotle.

Wednesday night: Valentine's dinner. Taquitos and chicken nuggets. Don't ask. It's a long story.

Last night: I made tacos. I only had a couple though as I knew the rest of the week was bad. I could have eaten more, and I did go to bed a little hungry, but I figured I had screwed up enough.

Plus, there were tons of leftovers of that caserrole that I finished for lunch over the week. Well, obviously, we see what that all adds up to. I did make it to the gym three times this week, but it didn't really matter when you eat that much. I mean, what are you going to do? I'm not going to eat something I barely like when I go out to eat just because it is better for me. I can't jusify spending money on something I won't enjoy at a restaurant just to save some calories. I just have to suffer the consequences. Oh well. Technically, I am still down in weight so I guess I can look on the bright(okay, slightly illuminated) side of things.

I am scared though because I think this week will be just as hard. Tonight, we are making home made pizza at Jessica's Dad and stepmom's house. Then, Jessica's mom and stepdad are coming for the weekend which I KNOW will include lots of unhealthy food. It always does with them. Okay, so I can be REALLY good Sunday night through Thursday afternoon. Why not Thursday night, right before my weigh in the next morning? Well, it's Jessica's birthday on Thursday. Who knows what the calorie monsters will bring then. Maybe if I can break even this next week, it won't be a total loss. Wish me luck.

Totals: 2 weeks down, 1/2 pound loss

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Makes no sense!!!

Today I decided to go on Fandango to see what times Babel would playing on Monday. Being a holiday, Jess and I, along with her stepmom(who also sees every Best Picture nominee with us) were going to see it during the day. Much to my chagrin, I found out that tomorrow is the last day it will be in theaters. WHAT?!?! How can they take a movie out of theaters, a movie that is the favorite to win Best Picture, a week before Oscars? Don't they think people will want to see it the week before. Now granted, it is not being take out of every theater.....just every theater withing 100 miles of Sacramento! What the hell? So, unexpectedly, we have to go see Babel tonight at 8:00 PM. I mean, I want to see it, but when you suddenly HAVE to see it at this one time, it makes it a little less convenient. It better be good! I hate going to the movie at night. I don't like to pay the non-matinee prices and we avoid it usually at all cost. Oh well, at least we have a plan now for when we will see each movie. Friday night, we are going to her dad and stepmom's to make pizzas and then watch Little Miss Sunshine. Monday during the day, we will see Letters From Iwo Jima. Expect a review of each movie by Monday night.

Happy Valentine's Day to you all!!!

OHHHHHH...in other news. I forgot to mention last post but this blog has now hit the 400 post mark with that last post! Thanks to Rich and Jess for helping me reach this number!

Monday, February 12, 2007

The tax man cometh....

...and I taketh away! I tell ya, is there anything more nerve wracking than doing taxes? We had the tax guy come this evening and even though we were pretty sure we would get money back because I didn't make much $$ in Real Estate last year and we pay so much interest on our house still, it still makes us nervous. No worries though as we did quite well this year. I am not going to say how much we are getting back, but it could probably be enough to buy a KIA with cash. Not that we want a KIA; just trying to give you a point of reference. We won't go crazy with our return, but we will probably make one sizable purchase - a new mattress. Yes, we will finally ditch our mattress that is no joke, over 30 years old. We bought it at an estate sale when we first moved in together and couldn't afford much. Hell, we got a whole bedroom set AND two sofas for around $150. It's been comfortable for the most part, but it is now starting to give us pain every morning. It' pretty much a necessary thing. So hopefully, soon, we will be getting the new matress we have been waiting for.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Fat Free Friday #1

So, how did you all do? I know many of you said you were in for the challenge, so here we go with week one. I was a little worried at the beginning of the week because, well, I pigged out at the Super Bowl party. Who doesn't pig out at a Super Bowl party?!?!?! Regardless, this week I worked my ass off at the gym, ate a little less than usual(kind of), and stepped on the scale this morning.

Drum roll.....

After one week, I am down 2 pounds! One pound ahead of my goal! Woohoo! Now let's keep it up next week. How about you guys?

Tonight Jess and I get to go see the Blue Man Group. We LOVE them. If you have never seen them before, they are an amazing act. This will be the third time we have seen them after seeing them off Broadway in New York and when they cam for a tour here a few years ago. They put on an amazing show and we can't wait for tonight! Have a good weekend everyone.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Wednesday night is alright for fighting

Sorry for no post yesterday. I had gone over a week without missing a post, but yesterday, I both had nothing to talk about and was busy. We saw The Queen last night, one of the nominees, but I will save our review for the end when we have seen all of them.

Wednesday is fast becoming my favorite night of the week. Why? It's clan night!!! Now, before you think I have gone psycho, let me explain. As you know, I play my PS3 online in a game called Resistance: Fall of Man. Basically, you kill everyone around you. Here is a view of what I see in the game(This isn't me, just some random video I found on YouTube. It's a little blurry and more hectic than most games, but you will get the idea):

It's a fun game, but there are a lot of annoying kids who do nothing but swear and talk trash the whole game. It's just random, "You're so gay,", "You suck," etc, on the headset. Wanting to play with a more mature group, I joined a group, or clan, to play with people who are just there to have fun. Many of my "teammates" are very good, but don't have that stupid cockiness. Anyways, my clan, OTD or Older Than Dirt, meet on Wednesday nights to play together. It's fun because we can create rooms where we just play against ourselves and don't have to worry about annoying kids. In fact, I am tied for the youngest in the group along with another girl. After we have played a while, we compete against other groups just for fun. I don't know how long they play every Wednesday because I usually only play an hour or close to two before I have to eat dinner. But it's fun and it is nice to play with a group of people who share the same outlook on gaming. Here is the banner for the message board we have.

Yes, nerdy, but you know I couldn't care less....

Monday, February 05, 2007

More useless laws

I read this weekend about a new law that is being proposed into state legislation this week here in California. As you might recall, a few weeks ago, I wrote about California considering putting a ban on spanking. Now, a law is being proposed that would require all high school seniors who are 18 at the time of graduation to be forced to register to vote in order to get to graduate. I think this is ludicrous. Do I think more people should vote? Of course. However, I think that making them register is just a waste of time. There are tons of people who are registered who don't vote. I don't think it will cause some dramatic rise in the number of people who will be voting. Voting is a very important right and I think everyone who qualifies should do it. I just don't think this is the way to accomplish it.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Drunk friends are crazy

Just got back from a great Super Bowl party with my friends. As with pretty much any time you get my friends together, there was a good amount of drinking. I don't really drink much, but I am still able to enjoy myself because they are all fun when they drink. After a few or more beers, the crazy gamblibg began. Did we bet on the game? A little. However, it got really crazy when we started doing one dollar bets with each other. Here is a small sample of what my friends and I were betting each other on:

-rocks, paper, scissors
-odd or even dice roll
-high card out of a deck
-will the next card out of a deck be red or black
-if we drop a card from really high, what side will it land on

You get the point. But truthfully, when a bunch of drunk guys get really excited and scream when a playing card lands face up, how can you not have fun?!?!?

By the way, I ended up even for the night. Not bad. No wait, I did end up ahead for the night. Up 37 cents to be exact when I made a bet for a friend's last 37 cents. So overall, a profitable night! Have a good week everyone.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Walking Dead

Recently, I started reading a series of comics called The Walking Dead. The series, done in black and white except for the covers, is brilliant. To an outsider, it looks like a basic zombie story: something happens to turn most of the population into zombies and the rest of the people have to struggle to survive. I started reading it because I love zombies. However, as I got farther and farther into each comic, I realized just how good the story really is. Yes, there are zombies in the story, but the core of the story is the human interactions between all the suvivors. The zombie infestation is solely the backstory. The main story is how a small group of suvivors band together to not only fight zombies, but create a new society. The results are not always pleasant. Not only is this easily one of the best comic series I have ever read, this is one of the best stories I have read/seen/heard. Ever. So far there have been 34 issues released and I could not stop reading them. Comic after comic had to be finished. Not that I am caught up, it is absolute torture waiting for the next issue to come out. Think of your favorite show ending with a cliffhanger every episode and then having to wait for a month for the next show every time. This series comes highly recommended. You can get collections of the comic in trade paperbacks, collecting 6 issues at a time. Also, the first 24 issues were recently released in a nice hardcover edition. Maybe you can even check it out from your local library. I couldn't recommend this series any more highly.

Today when I was at the gym, there was a couple in front of me using the bicycles. Normal, except for the fact that they were pedaling slowly..........and drinking there huge cups of Starbucks coffee. Nice...

Friday, February 02, 2007

Fat Free Friday #0

Did you all weigh yourselves this morning? Today is the official start of the Fat Free Friday challenge. I couldn't really call it #1 because it isn't the end of the first week. I went with #0 because that is what they do in comics sometimes. A series starts with #1, but if they have a backstory to tell so that you understand everything else, they sometimes call that issue #0. A little comic lesson for you all. You are all that much nerdier now!

So, if you didn't do it already, remember to weigh yourself today. We have a good number of people participating which is wonderful. Good luck to everyone!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

How many of you?

Sonja talked about this on her website a while back and Kelly also brought it to my attention somewhat recently. This website shows how many other people in the country have the same name as you. It also lists how popular your first and last names compared with all other names.

Here is some info on my first name:

There are 271,472 people in the U.S. with the first name Manuel.
Statistically the 231st most popular first name. (tied with 2 other first names)
More than 99.9 percent of people with the first name Manuel are male.
Names similar to Manuel:

And my last name:
There are 20,998 people in the U.S. with the last name Valle.
Statistically the 1664th most popular last name. (tied with 279 other last names)

And when you combine my two names(with link just for you):

LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Pretty fun huh? Give it a try and let me know!

Did you know: The large majority of the time, I respond to your comments. Be sure to go back after you comment to see what I wrote back to you....


It comes in many forms. More than likely it is of the audio/visual variety.


As usual I have to relate it to myself in order to attempt to relate it to other folks. Finding ways to entertain my self has led to many things in my life. And I was intending to list them all and show the many ways I entertain myself. I have been sidetracked though and find a deeper meaning through all this jumble in my head. A reason as to why I watch TV or go to the movies. A motivation for my late night trips to a basketball court or a visit to the world wide web. A purpose behind checking for my latest friend approval on MySpace.com or seeing if I got an email from someone real and not just an advertiser.

I don't want to think about it.

The "IT" has changed over the years, but my methods of getting away from it haven't. I just never considered the way I handled it to be that big of a deal. I assumed that other ways to mask memories were more severely harmful to myself and others around me. I believe at the moment I am wrong. While drugs, alcohol, and sex are the more widely spread versions of what I am talking about, it appears that I just invented my own way to accomplish the same thing. In the process I made myself feel better about what I did cause it wasn't as bad as those other vices. I have entertained my life away. I am full of useless knowledge and I can apply at any given moment. I.....................oh blah blah blah. I can feel myself slipping into a melodramatic event already. Ya know after a full energy drinks, too much sugar and an entire night spent entertaining myself thanks to the magic of a DVR I am just not going to bore the rest of you. There is no real poignant moment here. I just finally get it now and sometimes it helps to clarify. I find clarity through an empty house and a TV. And a blank computer screen that needs filling. Perhaps this is a chance to have a positive spin on what was always a negative for me. All that time spent entertaining myself was not a waste of time if it becomes useful. If I can apply it somehow in my everyday life and make it valuable. Then that would be turning a frown upside down.

Point being we all hide in a way. We all find a way to deal or cope or move on. Guess it's time to find a new hobby. Perhaps base jumping.

OH yeah! Almost forgot. Cassie, you already know where I live. You didn't need to have me give your brother my address. You will feel better once you stop hiding and live honestly and openly with everyone. I know a while back I told you about the Pride Fighting company cause of your being a UFC fan. Well two of it's well-known products will be on display Saturday Night. I am going to make you a promise. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Mirko "Cro Cop" are going to knockout the two men they are facing this weekend. Guaranteed. Rabble Rock!