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Playing the stock market

I don’t remember exactly why I opened a Sharebuilder account, but I know it involved free money. I think they offered to give me $50 if I opened an account, so I did. I’d never played the stock market before, unless you count opening an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), but that money is invested in an index fund so I’m not actively doing anything other than depositing money into it every month.

I learned about the stock market and bonds and IRAs and other financial voodoo like that in my early twenties after I graduated college with some credit card debt. And then my transmission broke. And then I had gallbladder surgery. So I was in debt for many, many years, signing up for new credit cards just so I could get nine months of no interest with my balance transfer, and slowly paying my debt down. That slow, suffocating horror made me decide I would like very much never to be in debt again. I did some reading and felt educated enough to handle my […]

My family didn’t exchange gifts this Christmas and it was awesome

When my mother suggested that our family not give each other gifts this Christmas, I was somewhat aghast. I know the true spirit of the season is supposed to have something to do with goodwill towards men and blah, blah, blah, but the presents are the part that have always seemed the most important. You can take the candy canes and the reindeer, but please leave the presents. However, after letting the idea sit for about 10 seconds, I realized my holiday season would be a lot easier if I didn’t have to fret over what to buy my family members or brave the hoards of shoppers to obtain those things or spend money on the stuff in the first place. So I told her, “Well, it’s ok with me if it’s ok with everyone else,” though I really wished she’d floated the idea before I bought a book for my older brother off his Amazon wish list. My mom proposed the idea to my brothers and everyone was on board, which means there were […]

First class experience

I don’t have an official bucket list, but if I did “flying first class” would definitely be in the top ten entries. So when I was checking into my flight to Chicago for Thanksgiving and the computer screen asked me if I’d like to upgrade to first class for $90 I thought about it for three whole seconds before I decided, yes, I would love to upgrade to first class for $90! Congratulations, American Airlines, you targeted that up-sell screen to exactly the right person at exactly the right price.

It will surprise no one that first class was awesome, but I was surprised that it was even more awesome than I expected it to be. Basically, they get rid of all the unpleasant parts of flying that they can and then they distract you from the parts they can’t get rid of with food and drinks and movies. The best part for all five feet and nine inches of me was that I had so much leg room that I was able to cross […]

If you use PayPal you should probably opt out of their forced arbitration clause by December 1

Photo by Kevin Dooley / by CC BY 2.0

I got one of those boring policy updates from PayPal this week which I usually never bother to read, but this section was in bold and underlined, which drew my attention:

You will, with limited exception, be required to submit claims you have against PayPal to binding and final arbitration, unless you opt out of the Agreement to Arbitrate (Section 14.3) by December 1, 2012. Unless you opt out: (1) you will only be permitted to pursue claims against PayPal on an individual basis, not as a plaintiff or class member in any class or representative action or proceeding and (2) you will only be permitted to seek relief (including monetary, injunctive, and declaratory relief) on an individual basis.

This article at Citizen Vox explains what PayPal is doing in plain English. If you don’t opt out:

You can’t sue PayPal in court before a judge and/or jury. You have to go to binding arbitration where they will have the advantage.

You can’t join a class action suit. You have to […]

Thanks for the royalties

Twice a year my publisher sends me a royalty check. It’s always exciting, like getting a scratch-off lottery ticket that’s guaranteed to win. You just don’t know how much is waiting for you. It can vary by thousands of dollars from statement to statement, so I have no idea how much I’m going to get each time. I’m just glad I’ve been able to eek out a bit of a living from my writing and I never cease to be amazed by it. As a freelancer, I consider these checks to be like my Christmas bonus.

I am really grateful that my book Half-Assed: A Weight-Loss Memoir continues to sell even four and a half years after its initial publication. I watch what I spend my money on rather carefully, so it’s humbling to know someone (or multiple someones) decided my writing was worth their cash. If you’ve ever bought a copy of the book, thank you! I truly appreciate it. It does directly affect me and my ability to do things like fly home for […]

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Chocolate & Vicodin: My Quest for Relief from the Headache that Wouldn't Go Away Half-Assed: A Weight-Loss Memoir

Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, chronic headache sufferer, (former?) weight-loss inspiration, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She was formerly known as PastaQueen. You can contact her if you promise to be nice.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

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The Oregon Trail Generation: Life Before and After Mainstream Tech - Social Media Week
Sums up what it's like to be in between Gen X and the Millenials.

Charged in the death of Eric Harris, Deputy Bob Bates gets permission to go to the Bahamas
I was hoping this was an Onion article, but unfortunately it appears to be real.

Google Now Lets You Download Your Entire Search History - NBC News.com
Sort of disturbed to know they've been saving my search queries at all.

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