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September 21, 2009

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Story Time

The third quarter of the year is winding down.  With it comes the deadline for finishing up the work for volume 2 of “The Fiction of Kosmo”.  Consolidating the short stories into the document isn’t difficult – but writing the longer, capstone story is quite a bit of work.  I strive for a story of at least 10,000 words for this story.  The capstone story for volume one (Key Relationships) took more than a week of work (in various small pieces of spare time) to complete.  Hopefully I can finish the new story in a similar amount of time.  Currently, I have fewer than a thousand words written (just the ending), so I need to buckle down and finish the story.  This might result in me skipping a few article in the course of the next two weeks.  I’ll try to make the story worth the wait.

Rockies Update

Friday night, the Rockies had their wild card lead cut just 2 1/2 games.  With wins on Saturday and Sunday, couple with Dodgers wins over the Giants, the Rockies now stand 4 1/2 games clear of their nearest pursuers.  With just 12 games remaining in the season, this is a solid lead, but not insurmountable, especially with series left against the first place Cardinals and Dodgers.  It feels weird to be a fan of the team that is being chased.  In 2007, the Rockies were behind until the tail end of the season.  The other times my teams have made the playoffs (1984 and 1989 Cubs, 1995 Rockies) are too far in the distant past to remember the race with any clarity.

Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki deserves some MVP consideration.  After a dreadful start to the season, Tulo turned around his season at nearly exactly the same time that the Rockies turned around the season.  It is doubtful that this is a coincidence.  Tulo now stands just one homer short of reaching 30 for the season.

Annie Le

The authorities seem to be keeping a pretty good lid on the information in this case, but theories are being bandied about.  Apparently, suspect Raymond Clark had warned Annie Le that the cages that housed her mice were too dirty.  While I agree that cleanliness is a good thing, is it really possible that Annie Le was killed because there were too much mouse poop in the cages?

The Lost Symbol

The Lost Symbol, the latest book by Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown, hit the shelves on Thursday.  My daughter loves the book.  She wanted me to read from the book.  I complied, and read the dust jacket and a few other short snippets.

Why didn’t I read more of the book to her?  Well, she’s only two, and the material might be a bit too mature for her.  Honestly, I think she likes the cover.

Lazy Man vs MonaVie

Lazy Man of Lazy Man and Money is a friend of The Soap Boxers.  A benefactor, actually, as he is providing free hosting and invaluable technical support and advice.  Lazy has been critical of the MonaVie corporation, questioning whether or not the product actually provides the benefits that the company and MonaVie distributors claim.

Lazy has been sent not one, but two, cease and desist letters.  When The Consumerist questioned MonaVie, they agreed that the first letter was incorrect.  They subsequently sent a second cease and desist later.  The complaint?  That Lazy Man and Money was using the trademarked term (MonaVie) in the meta keywords for Lazy’s article on the company.  Considering how meta keywords are using by search engines (to create the blurb you see listed in the search results, but typically not used to determine the page’s ranking) it seems perfectly natural to use the company name in the meta keywords.  In fact, it would be a bit strange to NOT use it.

Lazy has written about MonaVie on several occasions (see the complete list here).  The original article has attracted a pretty incredible 3300+ comments in the course of the last 18 months (note the comment at the bottom about archived comments).  By comparison, The Soap Boxers sometimes gets 5 comments on an article …

Spam Comments

Lots of porno-spam in the comments lately (all of which have been caught by my spam filter).  I guess I should be proud of the fact that the blog is successful enough to attract spammers?

Interview with Lazy Man

June 25, 2009

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Today, we interview Lazy Man from the personal finance blog Lazy Man and Money.

Kosmo: Lazy, come on in and take a seat. Hey, hey, take those shoes off. I apologize for the condition of the furniture. We’re on a tight budget and got most of this stuff at yard sales. Can I get you something to drink? We haven’t been able to afford a refrigerator yet, so we can’t offer you anything cold.

Lazy Man: It’s good to see I’m not the only one saving money at yard sales. A glass of tap water would be fine, save your drink money for a fridge.

Kosmo: You definitely have an interesting nickname. How did you acquire it? Were you a Lazy Boy when you were younger? Do you spend countless hours in your hammock in the summer? Have you found yourself watching hours of C-Span because you’re too Lazy to change the channel? Are there piles of dirty laundry in the middle of your bedroom? Spill the beans – America wants to know!

Lazy Man: So many questions in one question, here goes… As a child I certainly was Lazy. However, I wouldn’t call myself a Lazy Boy as that’s a registered trademark of another corporation. I actually don’t have a hammock. I’ve been in negotiations with the wife to get one for about 4 years now. She’s worse than Scott Boras! I go out of my way to avoid C-Span at all costs just to stay clear of that issue. I tend to put the pile of dirty laundry to the side. I have also have a pile of clean clothes.

I chose “Lazy” after a principle in Software Engineering, my career at the time. It’s generally considered smart programming to delay computation until a result is required. When I preach the “Lazy Way” of doing things, it’s more about the efficiency. I always say that if necessity is the mother of invention, laziness is the father of efficiency.

Kosmo: What made you take the plunge to become a personal finance blogger? Do you also disperse personal finance advice to your family and friends, or are your blog readers the sole privileged recipients of your vast knowledge?

Lazy Man: I was at the dentist and read a Business Week article about how anonymous bloggers are sharing their networth on the web. One person in particular caught my eye, Boston Gal’s Open Wallet. Having lived in Boston all my life at that point, I gravitated towards anything Boston-related. After reading her site for a couple of months, I figured that I should document my quest to acquire all the world’s wealth.I pretty much reserve my financial advice to readers. It turns out that people don’t often like to receive advice on how they should handle their money from me.

Kosmo: You have been blogging for 4 years now. You have a fairly large audience and are able to earn a decent amount of cash from blog related activities. Did you have a particular moment or event when you knew that you had crossed the threshold from novice blogger to successful blogger?

Lazy Man: Whoa, don’t make me old, I’m only at 3. You presume that I’ve crossed the threshold to successful blogger.  Success can be measured in a number of ways. I presume you mean financially successful. I think when I had my first $1000 month from blogging, I realized I was on to something.

Kosmo: What sort of advice do you have for bloggers who are just starting out? What are some pitfalls they can avoid or obstacles they will encounter along the way? What steps can they take to increase their likelihood of success?

Lazy Man: I have about 20 posts of blogging advice already written. I’m just afraid to publish it because I’m not sure I can maintain another blog. For now, I invite everyone to contact me about any specific questions they might have. I hope a lot of people do because it will kick my ass in gear to formalize and publish what I already have written. I aggregated some other bloggers blogging tips at Advice for New Personal Finance Bloggers.

Kosmo: Much of the subject matter in the personal finance blogosphere seems to center around good financial advice. On the other side of that coin, people should also make an effort to avoid really bad decisions. What are some of the worst personal finance decisions a person can make?

Lazy Man: I’ll give you a couple of bad ones:

  • Reach into your wallet or purse. Pull out all money you have in there. Set it on fire.
  • Buy as many depreciating investments as you can… especially expensive ones like boats and cars.
  • Subscribe to as many services as you can. Never use them.
  • Start smoking. Do I get bonus points for the bad health advice

Kosmo: OK, now that we’ve covered the serious stuff, let’s get the scoop on the man behind the blog. What’s on your iPod right now?

Lazy Man: It’s been about 3 months since I’ve seen my iPod. However, my Palm Pre has The Beatles, Portishead, The White Stripes, Radiohead, and System of a Down.

Kosmo: How do you unwind after a long day of blogging. What are your hobbies?

Lazy Man: There’s time to do stuff besides blogging? Here are a couple of hobbies

  • I spend an hour or two each night acting as my dog’s chew toy.
  • I’m big into wine tasting. My tastebuds are pretty poor and I have almost no sense of smell. That makes me really bad at wine tasting. I also break all the rules and have white wine with red meat and red wine with white meats.
  • I have the world’s largest collection of sea shells. I keep it scattered on beaches all over the world. Maybe you’ve seen some of it…
  • I like steal Steven Wright jokes and pretend they are my own.

Kosmo: If you were an animal, what animal would you be?

Lazy Man: I would be a cheetah. I’ve always thought they were cool.

Kosmo: Is there any truth to the rumor about Scarlett Johansson?

Lazy Man: You know, everyone always gives the no comment when situations like that arise. I’m not that kind of guy. I’m just going to say it straight out: It’s true.

Kosmo: You make no secret of the fact that you are a Boston Red Sox fan. Do you consider the Red Sox to be the true 2007 champions, considering that a bevy of bad calls handed them a tainted World Series victory?

Lazy Man: Look, the tuck rule was in the rule book the whole season. In fact it’s still in the rule book today. I don’t know why people can’t understand the basic rules of the game.  Oh wait, you said 2007 Boston Red Sox…

Kosmo: You are an anonymous blogger. You guard the secret of your identity so closely that not even your dog knows about your alter ego. It must be stressful living with such a big secret. It would be a big weight off your shoulders to reveal your identity today, on The Soap Boxers, in front of a crowd of readers …

Lazy Man: I’ve thought about not being anonymous any more. All the biggest personal finance bloggers are not anonymous. I also don’t go into my net worth any more like I used to.You are right it would be a big weight off my shoulders to reveal my identity on The Soap Boxers today.

Kosmo: Thank you for your time, Lazy Man. Reader: if you haven’t had a chance to visit Lazy Man and Money, hop on over – www.lazymanandmoney.com. Lazy Man blends insightful personal finance advice with some interesting stories from his personal life. Lazy Man and Money is definitely one of my favorite blogs.

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