Sunday, February 06, 2005

Scoping out Scopes &The 6 Months List Fund

We visited Austin Astronomy yesterday to look at telescopes and check out prices. The owner was very helpful and didn't seem in any great hurry to sell us something we couldn't use. He seemed pretty bummed out about the clouldy weather we have had lately, but was fully of good suggestions, inlcuding going to Mansfield Dam on Friday nights to try out other people's scopes first to see how the view really was.

We checked the Dobsonian mounted Orion brand scopes and they were much larger than in the web catalog. It looks like the 8 inch diameter one should be about the right size as the 10 incher looked too big to carry around and the 12 incher almost needs its own planetarium as it is too big to move around easily.

Cost? About $550 after taxes.

The 6 Months List Fund
Assuming we keep to the 6 months timeframe for the list of toys we've put together, how do we go about funding this endeavour?
Enter the 6 Months List Fund. This is a zero overhead way to gather the funds to go toward the goodies on the list. How does it work?
  • Get an envelope, regular size will do.
  • Label it '6 Months List Fund'
  • Every week, withdraw $X from the bank and put it in the envelope.
  • Keep the envelope where it won't be a temptation to empty on something not on the List.
In the older, pre-Internet days this program went by the name of 'Piggy Bank', but these days we need something more complicated to call it or else we can't charge $25 at the bookstore for a book on the topic. Let's call it the '6MoLi Fund' and copyright that while we're at it.

If we are going to strictly adhere to the 6 months proposition, here is how much dough we would have saved up after 6 months at varying X per week:
  • $10: total $260
  • $20: total $520
  • $30: total $780
  • $40: total $1040
  • $50: total $1300
So, even though some of these things on the list are expensive, putting back a little money every week lets us buy them without going into debt, and also allows time to contemplate whether or not to part with the bundle of green building in the evelope.

Let's do it!

Sunday, January 30, 2005

The 6 months List

From time to time I get interested in new hobbies/interests and these tend to spawn some sort of big purchase. To keep everything in perspective I've adopted the use of a 6 month 'cooling off' period before making major purchases.

For example, two months ago I thought I was going to be the next Bonzo, and looked into getting a set of electronic drums so I could practice without waking up the whole neighborhood. I put it on the '6 months list' and here two months later I couldn't care less about investing 2 grand in a drumset.

So here in no particular order is the current wishlist:

- Telescope. A nice 6 to 8 inch Dobsonian reflector so that my son and I can explore the heavens from our backyard.

- Ipod. I recently went ahead and got an Ipod shuffle, and it is great. This would be a great way to take our music and audio books on the road with us on long trips.

- A Good Electric Guitar. Probably a Fender Strat or a Gibson SG. I've had a couple of low end beginnner electrics and played some of the higher end guitars. The higher end guitars are put together better and play alot smoother.

- Guitar Lessons. I've pretty much hit a plateau on what I can teach myself and get off the net. Professional intervention is needed.

- New video setup for the bedroom. 14 year old TV, 'nuff said.

- Apple Powerbook. In younger days we always had an apple computer in the house, beginning with an Apple II+. We had a mixed experience with a pre-Steve Jobs era low end Mac about 8 years ago, maybe it is time to give them another chance.

That's it. In a couple of months we'll revisit this and see what is still important and what was just a passing fancy.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

School time

Alisa started her Spanish and math classes at ACC this week. She is a bit stressed out with the added workload, but is slogging through it.

Not much gaming this week, although we did get some plays of Bucket King in last weekend...Reilly won it all the games we played.

Not much else going on...winter is too long...

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Game night at church

We had a game night with the Pioneer Club kids tonight at PCC (Pflugerville Community Church) Alisa and I played 'Ark of the Covenant' with Don, Alisa won of course. Reilly played Twister for a couple of hours.

Next over to Cory and Kara's for a visit with the kids and Olivia. Alisa's new quilt for Sawyer (due in April) is looking to match well with the colors Kara has chosen for his room. It is a patchwork quilt of mainly fall type colors.

Joel is back to work tomorrow, Reilly is back to school on Tuesday.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Happy New Year

Here is the first post of 2005. It looks like the Aggies lost again today to an orange-jerseyed team. :-(

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

A Review of 2004

This past year was very busy for the Bonham household. Here are the highlights:

  • Jennifer continued attending ACC in pursuit of her degree, as well as working at her restraunt job. She plans to attend Texas State University in the spring.
  • Reilly completed 2nd grade and started 3rd. He was selected as the "Math Wiz" in his 2nd grade class. He had his tonsils out in September and has not been sick since. His favorite pastimes are playing video games and playing with his pomeranian, Taz.
  • Alisa started school also at ACC this fall, taking her first math class and getting an 'A' in it. She plans to continue taking a couple of classes this Spring. She reinjured her foot in June and underwent arthroscopic surgery in December to clean out scar tissue from a previous ankle sprain. She continued her piano playing for the church worship team and is leading the 3rd-4th grade Pioneer Club group at Pflugerville Community church this year.
  • Joel continued working at Cirrus this year, and continues to collect oddball European designed boardgames (and can even get Alisa to play once in awhile). He worked with the 1st-2nd grade kids in Pioneer Club the first half of the year. He took off 4 weeks in June for R&R. Thankfully he did not have to travel overseas for work this past year.
  • The family went to Myrtle Beach, SC this year for vacation. We also toured the harbor in Charleston and went to to the aircraft carrier 'Yorktown'. We spent a week with the Hammars in Kansas and then spent the next two weeks watching it rain buckets in Austin.
Overall, we were very blessed this past year. Everyone was reasonably healthy and were able to keep their jobs. We look forward to 2005 and the new challenges and blessings it will bring.