Coded green.

Freeday 7 July 2000

Me & comics

Pic of the day: Today was American super comics day. Even the relationship comic Strangers in Paradise had a superhero theme this month, albeit a parody. Quote of the day: "Of course there's a cartoonist! How do you think we got here, tankball, evolution of an ink spot!?"

A fool and his money

It's weekend again! Yay! How fabulous to have two whole days off from work! Two days to sleep and play and eat and generally forget all about pretending to do something useful. I mean, the workplace isn't all that useful in itself, in my humble opinion. But at least I get paid, so it is good for something! :)

I discovered today that there's only 5 days left till payday. Wow! And the money bag is not empty. No need to "forget" bills until they are overdue. No need to borrow money or use one of my two credit cards. On the contrary, there is enough that I could probably have prepaid a couple more bills. But just in case the Shop of Angels get that RAM and actually call me, I guess I can have the money ready.

It would be nice to have some more memory for the portable, especially when playing The Sims, which really has my hard disk running. I have made a habit to stop playing after a while and let the computer cool down. (It can get mighty hot if I play too long.) Anyway, I'm not sure playing even more of that game in each sitting is going to make me a better person. Perhaps. It certainly has given me some new perspectives on things. Especially on money.


Today I visited my two Net banks. In the Norwegian bank, I just ordered a transfer of money to take place on payday, shuttling nearly all of the monthly salary over to SkandiaBanken. Because they let me pay my bills for free, as well as use my VISA card for free, whereas the Norwegian bank does not. They sure make the choice simple for their customers. And then, I grabbed next month's bills and queued them up in Skandiabanken. This is the first month I use them to pay my bills, so I'll comment briefly on that.

I found the bill paying screen at SkandiaBanken less simple and intuitive than I was used to from the Norwegian bank. For instance, I discovered that I had to go to a separate page to register those accounts I wanted to pay to regularly. In the Norwegian bank, I would start by typing their bank account number, and the program would fill in name and address if this was a company. I still had to type in name and address if it was a private account, but the software would then store it automatically for next time. (This comes in handy with the rent.) In the Swedish bank, I had to create an entry for each person or company, and then go to the payment screen and select them from a list. For one-time creditors, I could type in the data directly and they would not be saved for later use. Or so it seemed to me.

Once I saw the different logic, though, paying the bills was simple and intuitive. I did not have to look for help texts or ponder by myself. The software stacked the bills by due date in a simple, tabular form.

I feel that I have got a lot more control of my economy after I moved to Net banking. Really. Of course, paying bills is not the greatest of complexities in the world. The real test will be to go shopping with SuperWoman, if I am allowed to do that. But she isn't back till August. That's quite a while, but I wasn't talking about that now.


I may need some money later in the year, so there is no need to get uppity. I have barely used any of my vacation, which here in Norway is 4 weeks and 1 day. Usually I will take a couple of days to be with the Super Friends every few months, when SuperWoman is home. Not all that expensive. But I do consider (just fluffy dreams at present) a week off early in the autumn to visit the farm where I was born. I haven't been there for quite a while, five years or more I think. It really does not feel natural to go there now that my brother and his family have taken over the house. But we are still friends, as far as I know, and I'm sure they would allow me to stay a couple days.

You see, I could bring the digicam. If it's not raining, that would mean some absolutely gorgeous pictures. The place is wild. The steep mountains, the long hills, the green valleys, the blue fjords ... it's like tourist bait all around. I could fill a month of diary with the pictures. I'm not sure I will do it or even try, but I hold the possibility open. This year or sometime. Of course, things don't last long in my brain so I probably have another good idea next week. I am the master of fad.

For instance, a few days ago I was toying with the idea of upgrading my education too. That won't be free either. No wonder people are usually squeezed for money. I mean, normal people take a long vacation every year, or two long vacations, to some remote country. They also have a car or two to pay on, and replace their furniture frequently. I'm not surprised that they have to work overtime, while I prefer to work undertime. Next salary will be reduced for 13 hours I've taken off (though that's for two or three months). That's OK by me. Right now I have what I need and then some. If I have more money, I just find new ways to use it. There is no end to that spiral.

I do have a small, vague fear: That if I actually manage to control my economy, I will be tempted to try to get rich. Look at the type of games I love to play. Basically they are two types: Strategy games with focus on building empires, and role playing games with focus on building characters. And a quick look around in my apartment shows that I am very careful about throwing away anything. I am not a collector, really, it's just that I tend to keep things once I have them. Ahem. I've seen what happens to people who do this with money. It's like they eventually get possessed. They need to see the money grow and grow. Even when they are old, and frankly may have trouble using it all, they just grow worse. They live on scraps and shiver in the cold so they can save a few more coins. They despair over taxes and certainly would not give away anything to the poor and needy: Who could be more poor and needy than themselves? They hold on to the money until it is pried from their cold, dead fingers.

I don't want to be like that. But in all honesty, that's a pretty long way to go from here. In the meantime, my interest may have moved entirely to my bowels. :)

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