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Ways to Make Your Vacation a Little Cheaper

caribbean-family-vacation.jpgRecently I have been trying to plan my second trip to Japan and i am finding it incredibly hard. We had even considered just going to Europe to save a little bit of money, you know, by not traveling all around the globe. Usually I plan everything and do everything myself, but this year I wanted to do something “all inclusive” so I could actually enjoy and relax on my vacation instead of stressing out over whether everything was going as planned. You know, so I could have fun on my vacation?

So, anyway, I decided to go to a travel agent. My husband and I were thinking about a trip to Europe, with a few places we might want to travel in mind but no where set in stone (see, we wanted to see what the deals were), maybe a cruise or something tour bus-y. So, having never gone to a travel agent before, I set aside my pride and walked into the office. I told the woman what I have told you here, and she laughed in my face. Well, I also told her how much I wanted to spend. I think that is what made her laugh. It was only a thousand dollars less that what we spent to go to Japan before but she laughed in my face and told me that the cheapest two people could do all inclusive in Europe was $7000.00 before plane fare.

Somehow I don’t believe this. She wouldn’t tell me if they had any specials going on, she told me I had to know where I wanted to go. That was not the point, I said. We were flexible, we wanted to go somewhere that was running a special. Travel Agent 007 told me that that is not how it works. I was left in wonder how all these people got great deals to go abroad and how it doesn’t work for me. I guess the bottom line is don’t get a 007 Agent to tell you where to go on your vacation. Oh, and use the internet. I just was trying the small business support and stuff, and of course as with most human interactions, it backfired in my face. Don’t mind me if I sound a little jaded, I was just hoping she would have been nicer, since the internet is taking her job away.

Anyway, you don’t care about that, you are reading to find out cheaper ways to travel. Now, mind you these are not all going to be luxury five star hotels, but if you can afford that, why are you reading this? (more…)

A Horrible, but Amazing, Abuse of HTML

This goes out to all y’all web developers out there.  You know who you are.  In 1999 while others partied like it was…  1999, you slaved away trying to get your table-based layout working on Netscape and IE.  Thank goodness it’s now 2007, and you can just grab CSS-based layouts from A List Apart.

But off all the possible abuses of old-skool HTML, I bet you never thought of this one:  using table cells and bgcolor to build an image, one pixel at a time!
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Link to video for those of you on RSS.

Brought to you by Japan and cutesy anime chicks.

Things Every Nursing Student Should Have…Even Through Grad School: Part I

I have stewed over this topic for several months as I am finishing up my second to last semester of my Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) program. I do not consider myself an expert on this issue; however, there were several things that got me through nursing school that I could not survive without. The following stuff is mainly for an undergrad nursing student. Part II (coming soon) will be more for a nursing student in grad school.


Teaching Science and Math with Real World Examples

I ran across a great post at Technocrat titled If We Taught English the Way We Teach Mathematics.

“Suppose that those classes, from elementary school right through to high school, amounted to nothing more than reading dictionaries, getting drilled in spelling and formal grammatical construction, and memorizing vast vocabulary lists — you never read a novel, nor a poem; never had contact with anything beyond the pedantic complexity of English spelling and formal grammar, and precise definitions for an endless array of words. You would probably hate the subject.”

This is a great point, and the post goes on to talk about why it’s not just a lack of “real world” examples that makes math and science such boring, intimidating subjects.  Here’s the perfect example of how a real world example definitely did not help one student with physics:

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So if memorizing facts and formulas is no use, and contrived, often bizarre examples are no help, how should we teach math and science?


Adventures in Home Buying

Apparently what needs two six-hour classes on the first two Saturdays of spring can be summed up within a couple paragraphs (at least in a couple installments) on a slightly successful somewhat humor associated blog. I am, of course, referring to the first time home buyer class my lender has required me to attend in order to obtain a state subsidized mortgage. I’m not knocking the program as it is meant for first time home buyers. But the elementary view and information this class provides these hopeful and somewhat naive homebuyers is almost worthless. At first I assumed the audience was somewhat knowledgeable in regards to personal finance. I mean, this is a class for people ready to make the biggest purchase of their lives. However, I was seriously surprised when more than a few hands raised to notify the teacher that they didn’t know what a “Credit Score� was.

As I sat in the freezing room filled with plastic folding chairs listening to a real estate professional, a home inspector, and a real estate lawyer try to drum up business for themselves instead of educate home buyers, I decided to put down on paper the important lessons and intricacies that may be useful to a somewhat more educated, or simply alive, first time home buyer that I’ve discovered not only during the home buying process but also through my experience as a former loan officer and what I’ve learned while preparing to sit for the Real Estate Licensing exam in Ohio.

Today’s topic – Preparing your financials for a Mortgage