Friday, March 30, 2007

Male Attractiveness

A fascinating research group (I assume it is a group) that is studying faces and peoples responses to them. I just finished taking one of their tests, titled "Male Attractiveness". (If you want to take the test, you will probably need to register.)

I assume that my test responses were added into the aggregate, but here is the feedback I received from my test:
On average, people preferred the more masculine images 60% of the time when the faces were more masculine than average and 39% of the time when the faces were more feminine than average. You preferred the more masculine images 90% of the time when the faces were more masculine than average and 90% of the time when the faces were more feminine than average
So according to the test, I am almost uniformly attracted to men with masculine features. I could have told you that without taking the test! The test was fun, especially when being shown what was essentially the same face with slight differences.

I've take a few other tests, but the Male Attractiveness one is by far the best. Try it out for yourself! For those of you who are more attracted to the female half of our race, there are tests there for you, too!


Today for lunch I joined several co-workers and went to lunch at a bowling alley. It has been several years since I last bowled and it was blast.

You would think that after having purchased the Nintendo Wii I would be an ace bowler by now. That would be the assumption, right? Especially when I score such great games. Amazingly, that is not the case. Once again, just like when the Wii guessed my age me a good 10 years older than I really am, the box got it wrong again! I'm beginning to think it is defective in matters related to the real world!

The game was fun, but it took a bit for me to remember some things. You know, minor things such as there are 2 bowls per frame, except when someone knocks all of the pins down the first time. When you do that, as punishment you aren't allowed to bowl a 2nd time! So I made sure that I didn't go on any strikes, 'cause I wanted to bowl every time.

It started out real bad. At the end of the second frame I had a whopping 3 points! And those 3 came on the 2nd ball of the 2nd frame. So you can just guess what the first 3 balls ended up doing!

But a little past the 5th frame I started to warm up to the game, especially at aiming the ball correctly. A couple of times there it was a balance between sending it down the alley correctly, and not throwing out my back, which I could feel I was getting ready to do. I cured that by getting my feet into proper form, especially the offsetting leg thrown back as counter-balance, pictured.

In the end I didn't even break 100, but who cares? It was fun and something new to do. These guys go out on Fridays each week to bowl, so I can see myself joining for a game in the future. Hopefully next time it won't take until the middle of the game before I wake up and start actually hitting a few pins!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Quandry - Where to Use the Money

I've put myself into a quandry about where to stash extra money in my paycheck. To be honest, it's a nice dilemma, and I'm not complaining. I guess I am more asking for peoples advice or suggestions on what to do.

Background: Last month I received my annual bonus at work. I wanted to sock most or all of it away in my 401(k) account, so I finagled my contribution to 50% that month and it all went in, when combined with regular pay. But because such a large amount when in all at once, I needed to put in a lot less each month, otherwise I would hit the $15,000 limit for contributions this year, probably maxing out in August and thereby losing the matching contributions.

So I adjusted the monthly contributions, and this months paycheck shows that I hit it just right. I will max out the contributions in December, and receive the matching contributions. That worked out perfect.

So now I am bringing home an additional $250 a month in pay. Which kinda sucks in that the 401(k) contribution was reduced by $370, meaning I am paying $120 more in taxes each month, or another $1200 a year! Can't help that though (I think!).

So it comes down to two questions: 1) Do I have $250 or $370 a month extra to put somewhere? and 2) Where should it go?

Question one probably sounds strange to you, in that actual take home is only $250. But by my convoluted way of thinking, I used to be putting $370 aside for later, so I should maintain that level. Of course to do this, it means I would need to squeeze that $120 out of other areas (which is managable, barely). The amount also depends on the answer to question 2.

Two, where should it be go? Spend, save, or pay down debt? Most financial advisers would recommend paying down debt, but the only debt I have is a mortgage and it's already gettting many hundreds extra each month. Based on estimates from numbers I plug into this amortization calculator I use, each additional $100/month would end the mortgage approximately 4 months early.

Save is always a good choice, and I could use it to fund the Roth IRA for next year. Spend? I like the idea, especially since I don't do nearly enough shopping to be a "proper" gay man! If I do spend it, then question 1 is easily answered, it is only $250. After all, the extra $120 would come out of this category to begin with.

Am I missing anything? What would you do?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Dilbert is 54 Years Old

Okay, so nobody probably pays any attention to Dilberts age. I've always assumed he was youngish. But as it turns out, there is a good probability that he is 54 years old. As evidence, here is the todays comic:

By coincidence, a front page article in WSJ today reports on research ($) that shows that people reach their peak financial expertise when they are 53 years old, plus a couple of months:

The [researchers] found that middle-aged adults tend to borrow at lower interest rates and pay fewer fees than younger and older adults. The age at which consumers are least likely to make financial mistakes: a few months past their 53rd birthday, despite all the pressures that accompany middle age.

The researchers evaluated the loans made at a large financial institution, unnamed but assumed to be in the north east, and found that repeatedly the interest rates on loans were lower for that age group. Plus there appeared to be a greater ability to spot those "gotcha's" that banks use to charge higher fees and rates, such as applying payments to lower interest rate balances first. This chart from the article makes for a pretty clear picture.

I've noticed in myself the last few years that I am becoming much more financially savvy, even if I ma still many years away from the "prime" age in finances. I always assumed it was because I starting working for a bank, but that may not be the case.

The research is not yet published, nor peer reviewed, so take the information with a grain of salt. I just found it very interesting, and with the timing of todays Dilbert, it was also illuminating.

I see from my categories that this is my first finance related article. I guess I need to get busy in that sector, such as explaining why there is exactly $1.00 difference in your checking account when it lists "available" and "current" balances.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

My Code Word Is Cinnamon

Yesterday as I was exercising I caught up with Mondays Daily Show. This "segment" was aired and it is funny as hell! Having watched the clip again, I looked up the "expert" in the show, and it turns out he is a real person, however unlicensed he may be (I always wonder how people can do this to themselves).

Watch the clip here and soon, as Viacom will undoubtedly take it down soon. Oh, and count the number of times cinnamon is said!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Thrilling Wonder Of It All

I recently came across a web site called Thrilling Wonder that I think is awesome. The collections of pictures they post are always of great quality and uniquely mind stretching.

Todays post is a Humour Digest Part 1. If past collections are any indication, the next parts are also going to be fun. I love this picture, captioned "Darn kids! some of them are contemplating unmentionable, daring feats." I'll say! I'm getting queasy just looking at it.

There are quite a few fascinating collections of photos. I highly recommend visiting and feel yourself becoming engrossed!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Cruising The Deputy

Today at lunch, I had a little bit of fun with a deputy sheriff. While at Subway eating my sandwich and reading the paper, a couple of county sheriffs walked in. They ordered their sandwiches and sat down to enjoy them.

From almost the moment they walked in, I was attracted to the younger one. He looked like he was only 25-30, and cute with a fun smile. He reminded me of Jensen Ackles of Supernatural (see him at BentBlog) . While they were standing in line I looked him over a couple of times, and by the time they had their food and sat down, he knew he was being cruised.

Like all good law enforcement officers, the very idea that they might be thought to be gay just crushes their machismo. And that seems to be how this darling was taking it. The more I innocently cruised, the more butch he became. I could practically smell the testosterone over the airborne yeast!

His forehead and brow furrowed into a not-quite-a-frown, and I swear the crew cut got bristlier. His back straightened up as he sat, and I am sure that if I could have heard his voice it would have gone several octaves lower. His chest had puffed up so much that by the time they walked out it was impossible for him to lower his arms to his sides!

I know that someday I'll pay for the fun that I had with him. Some day or another I will have a run-in with him on business and he'll remember today. I just hope when it happens that he is more of a peacock than a puff fish!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Finally - A Game Console

I finally managed to chase down a Wii game console. It was at the local Circuit City store a week ago Sunday. I, along with about 15-20 other people arrived well before they opened to get our box.

It took no time at all to hook up to the home theater system, and I popped in the included sports games. I played a game of bowling, then took the "age test" which put me at 7 years older than my actual age! I am quite physically fit thank you very much, so I think there is a flaw in that "test"!

I bought The Legend Of Zelda at the same time I picked up the Wii. I have played that game for hours, and I am completely hooked!

This may come as a surprise to some folks, but this is the first game console I've ever owned. I've had a computer for years, so it isn't that I didn't play games. Just never a machine that was dedicated to playing games. Combined with the 118" screen, a body can get completely immersed in playing.

So far I've clocked up over 40 hours on the thing. Luckily I've managed to find the time without it interrupting the "must do" things on my schedule. But I'm pretty sure I'm addicted!

Thursday, March 01, 2007