July 24, 2008
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Today I mailed in mortgage payment #5, with an extra $50 to pay down the principal. After making my first two payments, I have included an extra $50, 100 & 50 with my monthly payments, and I just calculated (using this handy tool) that I have already knocked one month off my 30-year mortgage as the extra $200 I’ve chipped in so far has saved me $818.33 in interest. I know that most people would advise me against paying extra, since I got such a good rate (5.5%) and that money would be better off invested (though look at what the stock market has done this year), but when I sit down and calculate it all and come out with results like I see above, where an extra $1 now saves me more than $4 in the future, it’s hard to resist as long as I’m able to continue to do it. Not to mention that it moves me slowly closer to ridding myself of that one big monthly bill. I’d love to move up that party from it’s current scheduled date of February 2038.
July 20, 2008
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I managed to finish today’s run without passing out, which is a feat that I’m quite proud of. It was in the low 80s, though the difficulty had much more to do with the insane humidity than the heat. Less than a mile into my 10 mile run, I was just covered in sweat that seemed to go nowhere but in my eyes. I am normally a sweat hog, but today was over the top. My shirt was soaked immediately too, so it was no help in wiping the sweat away. But I managed to overcome the humidity, a rare but very necessary bathroom break in one of the park’s lovely outhouses, and a quick depletion of liquids from my CamelBak to actually finish my run at a 8:18 minute per mile pace, surprisingly besting my training plan’s goal of 8:25.
Speaking of training plans, I don’t think I’ve actually told many people yet that I am training to run this year’s Akron Marathon…though the half-marathon, not the full. I had not planned to do anything this fall since I’m getting married at the end of August and then going on a lengthy honeymoon. But, my fiancee Kristy decided a few months ago that she wanted to train for her first half-marathon, so she managed to talk me into doing it too. No, we will not be running it together. My pace is quite a bit brisker than hers at this point, though I’m sure she’ll catch up to me someday. It’s a little weird training to run only a half, but I do like looking at my training plan and not seeing any of those dreaded 18 and 20 mile long runs.
July 16, 2008
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Over the weekend, a senseless act of violence hit very close to home. On the other side of town Saturday night, a police officer was shot and killed during a routine traffic stop. While this happened on the opposite side of town from where I live now, it’s in the same quiet suburban city that I live in. And it’s literally a 5 minute walk from where I used to live, a place I used to run by. It’s one of those things that always happens “somewhere else”, so when it’s that close to where you live, it’s a shock. I’ve always been against the death penalty, but it is an incident like this one that inevitably makes me question my position.
July 12, 2008
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Thursday night, Kristy & I headed downtown hoping to see the Cleveland Indians snap their 10-game losing streak, their longest in 29 years. It didn’t look good when Aaron Laffey gave up an early 2-run homer, but the Indians battled back and ended up spanking the 1st-place Devil Rays, 13-2. The weather was perfect, and the crowd, though sparse, was surprisingly enthusiastic given the Tribe’s current last place standing, which I was glad to see. We have tickets to the game tonight, but currently the weather forecast isn’t looking so great. Which sucks because tonight is supposed to be their big Rock n’ Blast fireworks show, which I am particularly looking forward to since I missed seeing any fireworks last weekend.
Speaking of baseball, I’ve seen this video of a minor league manager video going nuts way too much over the past few days. It reminded me of my favorite manager meltdown of all-time, Phil Wellman of the Mississippi Braves AA team.
July 4, 2008
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Despite being a pretty loyal Democrat for the last few elections, I missed the boat on Barack Obama, failing to see in him what has captivated millions of otherwise apathetic citizens across the country. Initially, I think it was the lack of details behind his ambitious speeches and message of “change”. I wasn’t thrilled with Hillary, but she got my vote in the Ohio primary. Now that Obama is the Democrat’s guy, I’ve been trying to get behind him, but he keeps making it harder and harder.
First, there was the news yesterday that he was going to “refine” his pledge to withdraw troops from Iraq within 16 months, which it appears now that he is quickly trying to back away from. Then today, I was reading an editorial in the NY Times (which Secret Storms, a big Obama supporter, kindly shared with me) entitled ‘The New and Not Improved Barack Obama‘ which shows him doing an about face on a number of issues that are important to me. I was shocked to read that he is actually talking about expanding(!) Bush’s seemingly un-Constitutional policy of funneling taxpayer money to religious-based organizations, in a move to attract evangelical Christians to vote for him. In addition, it appears that he is supporting the use of warantless wiretapping, a complete 180 on his previous position. Also, two issues that are big to me, gun control and the death penalty, he is moving to an almost conservative position.
Make no mistake, I’m not going to go out and vote McCain anytime soon. But at this point, Obama is looking no different to me than the John Kerry or Al Gore that the Democrats have trotted out the past two times. I just hate how the Democratic primaries are almost a battle to see who can be more liberal, and then as soon as they become the nominee, they quickly move back to the center to try to win the general election. I realize that this is might be what needs to be done to win a general election, but I’d like a candidate that can stick to their positions and not fold in the face of popular opinion. I’d like to think that Americans would have more respect for someone who has strong opinions and stands behind them than someone who will flip at the drop of hat to attract more voters. It already sounds like his apparent waffling on the Iraq issues is getting him some big criticism, and deservedly so. Hopefully he learns his lesson from that and sticks to the other promises he made during the primaries.