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Atlanta Protests

Holy crap! There were protests here in Atlanta last night. At first, they were peaceful, as they should be, but then it turned bad. People started smashing police car windows and then set a police car on fire. Starting with the CNN building, protesters vandalized store fronts, smashed windows and looted businesses as the mob travelled along the streets. They lit more cars on fire and even a building along the way. The protesters even made it as far as Lenox Mall, which is quite the walk from the CNN building, where they proceeded to continue the same smash and grab activities.

Mayor Bottoms went full angry mom mode and pleaded for folks to go home because she couldn’t keep people safe. They even had T.I. and Killer Mike get on TV to speak. Like the mayor, they were both angry and heartbroken, but they made really good points. Killer Mike especially, was raw and held nothing back. He agreed that there should be civil unrest but that it needed to be channeled the right way and organized. He said looting and vandalism isn’t the way, that those activities don’t honor the death of anyone and only makes things worse. They were hurting their own community and that they needed to stop.

I can only hope people hear his words and listen to them. If they want change, it must be done by voting, organizing, and speaking out. Sadly, the people of today have embraced the more radical forms of protest because they feel the non-violent resistance that Martin Luther King Jr pushed for doesn’t change anything. That feeling of hopelessness leads to anger and causes people to strike out. Before 2016, I thought we had mostly gotten past the racism of yesteryears. I knew there were sporadic pockets of out there that still held those ill feelings toward peoples of color but as a whole I thought we had snuffed it out. But during the last 4 years, it’s become clear my perception was wrong. It had been there the whole time, simmering beneath the surface. How do we as a nation fix things? Right now, things only seem to be getting worse.

Mood: An achy green star. Shocked

Music: Def Leppard – “Love Bites”

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Post Purchase Regret?

Now that I’ve been putting in serious effort to pay off all my debts, I look back at some of my purchases over the years and feel a little post purchase regret.

When the car I had for 16 years finally gave up the ghost, I financed a used car rather than buying one of lesser value with cash. Then a couple of years later, I ended up trading it in and financing a brand-new car. Why did I do that? While I do like the car I have now, I should have just bought a used car with cash. A little bit after that, I had to get my wife a car because hers died too. I tell you; we drove our cars into the ground! We financed hers as well, but it was a used car for a good price. I’m trying to have hers paid off by year end. Maybe, if the stars align, I can pay off mine by this time next year.

In the computer department, I’ve had a hell of a time. In the last decade, I’ve gone through a ton of cheap computers. They didn’t last but in hindsight, you get what you pay for. Last year, my previous laptop was on its way out. It couldn’t go more than a couple of hours without hardware errors. I’d reinstalled the OS several times and the hardware was no longer supported by the manufacturer. I had to get a new one. But instead of buying another cheap computer, I told myself I should get a nice one because it’ll last. Talk about sticker shock! Next month I’ll pay it off, but I still wonder if it was the right thing to do. At the very least, shouldn’t I have gone for something in the mid-price range?

Looking at our debt and doing budgets has really changed the way I look at things and how I spend money. Let me tell you, living paycheck to paycheck is no way to live. But after starting this journey, I went from just surviving day to day to really thinking about the future. The changes we make today can have a real impact on tomorrow, especially around spending habits.

The idea that we could potentially become debt free in a few years is amazing.

Mood: A pensive green star. Pensive

Music: Evanescence – “What You Want”

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I committed an egregious crime yesterday. I put a pot of tea on to steep and then got caught on a conference call that lasted 30 minutes. 30 minutes! When I finally got back to my tea, it was so dark that it looked black. I’m pretty certain that black tea isn’t supposed to be, well, black. Since I did the crime, it was only right that I should do the time. That meant drink it. Since it was cold by that point, I made sweet tea of it and gave it a try. To my amazement, it wasn’t bitter! I honestly have no idea how it wasn’t. In fact, I’d dare say it turned out rather good. Whew! I got off easy this time. I’ll do my best not to repeat such atrocities in the future.

I saw they scrubbed the NASA launch due to the weather. I remember tearing up when they retired the space shuttle. It might have been old, but it didn’t deserve to be retired. I was glad to see they didn’t give up though. I’m not sure I like the idea we outsourced space travel to commercial companies but it’s better than us having to always bum a ride from another country just to get into space. I wonder what the next 25 years will look like for space travel.

I almost don’t want to look at the news anymore. There’s talk about George Floyd essentially being murdered by cops in Minneapolis. There are people rioting in the streets and looting as a result. There are people protesting the coronavirus lockdowns across the nation, even though we’ve lost 100,000 lives so far. President Trump wants to get revenge on Twitter for fact checking him by issuing an executive order that could essentially lead to regulations and punishments for those companies. That’s just the tip of the iceberg and it’s scary. No wonder the world hates the United States right now.

Mood: An embarrassed green star. Embarrassed

Music: Professor Elemental – “Cup of Brown Joy”

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