2012 in review: Better Than I Thought It Would Be!

This is a nice way to kick off 2013!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 10,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 17 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Review: Kiva.org

Hey everybody:

So I was making a new loan tonight, and realized I haven’t said anything about Kiva.org on my blog yet! That is a heinous oversight that has to be remedied immediately.

I’ve been partnering with Kiva loans since 2009, when I first put in some money for a loan to a woman in Cambodia who runs a grocery store. Just the idea was so amazing that I was hooked instantly. It was almost beyond my imagination that $25 would go far enough where she lived to help put extra stock on her store shelves, and get the door on her house fixed. All that needed to happen on my end was to ease up on buying used books for a month, and maybe go without a couple other things.

The coolest part is that once I made about three or four loans the money started to recirculate itself. See, you CAN lend more, but the average amount is $25. So, as each business owner made payments, some of the funds came back to me. They sat in my Kiva portfolio as credit, waiting to go back out. Every time my inbox level reached $30 (to cover the $3 lending fee), I would send it back out to someone else. At this point, it’s like microenterprise owners around the world are lending to each other, using me and Kiva as a go-between!

Here are some screenshots from my Kiva accounts page. First, a quick overlook at my loan status:

Next, a look at how my loans break down by the gender of people I’m lending to:

Now the loans are broken down by what type of business people are in:

And lastly, a look at loans by country:

I would strongly encourage people who may not have thought about this concept to check out www.kiva.org and give serious thought to making a loan part of your giving experience.

As you can see, I’ve mostly been loaning to women. A good part of that reasoning came from studies about microenterprise I’ve read. They have found that when the lives and resources of women in different countries are strengthened, their whole communities benefit. Lately I’ve also been thinking about targeting loans to the Middle East. I mean, we’ve gone in and really bombed that area to bits. Don’t I have an obligation as an American to help rebuild it by empowering the people who live there?

If I had one wish with Kiva, it would be the ability to further target loans. I would like to be able to loan to other transgender people. Now, there are some countries where it’s just not possible to be out. But there have to be some places where having access to microenterprise could really improve the lives of transgender people.

But regardless, I am going to keep partnering with Kiva, because good work gets done there, and I’ve never seen $25 do so much! Do look into it folks.

Another Sleepless Night

Hey all:

So it’s 2:30 am, and I’m wide awake again. This happens a lot toward the end of my medication supply. The timing just never seems to work out.  No matter how well I count the pills. It takes it so long to come in from out of the country. So I’m taking one a day, sometimes going without any for a day or two when I’m supposed to take one in the morning and one at night. Doing that keeps me locked up here in the apartment for the most part, because the pain and exhaustion is too much to handle. Going out becomes like rolling a boulder up a mountain.

Btw, did I ever tell you all I have fibromyalgia? That’s why I’m waiting on these meds. And because I’m too messed up to sleep, but too brain dead to write an actual post, here’s a little video fun:

I Found A Bank That Will Take Me!!

Edit: I thought Umpqua only had two branches. That is beyond not true. My new bank has WAY more than two branches. They’re all over Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and Northern California. Check it out for yourself: http://www.umpquabank.com/locator/new/ Ok, carry on with the post. 🙂

I am now a member at Umpqua Bank, “the greatest bank in the world”. And I have to say, they’re pretty cool. Here’s how it happened:

The regular readers here know I’ve been on a quest since September of 2011 to find a new place to move my banking. At first it was about our “too big to fail” banks and their attitudes around customer service, fee rollouts, etc. I decided to move out of Wells Fargo. It was a difficult choice in a way, because my family banked at Wells for years when I was a kid, and they have branches everywhere I have people.

But I have been learning that where you have your money matters ethically, even if you don’t have much.

I started by looking to join a credit union. Boy did that backfire on me. None of the credit unions wanted me. Once because my credit score wasn’t high enough (looking at you Salal, with your minimum 600 score requirement). Another time Chexsystems blocked me out.

So, after feeling like the school nerd trying in vain to get a date with the prom queen, I sucked it up again and started looking at local banks.

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My Review: Virgin Mobile Service Is Excellent!

Hey everyone:

So I’ve been with Virgin Mobile for around 6 months now. I jumped ship for fear that T-Mobile was going to get eaten by the Death Star. And there was no way I was going to be an AT&T customer ever again.

Man, I should have jumped AGES ago. I love being with Virgin Mobile!

I’m sure some of you remember this ad:

I have to tell you, it is a cool party. Here’s what’s gone on so far:

1) I’ve had my battery replaced for free (including shipping both ways) when I had a phone problem. No haggling, no assumption that I did something wrong to my phone first.

2) As long as it’s not too close to my pay by date, I can shift my plan up or down whenever I feel like it.

3) I can email or call them directly, but I also have the option of help in person at Best Buy.

The biggest issue I know people have is paying for the fee to dump their plan and the price of the new phone right off the bat. I was lucky in that I had gotten a lump sum disability check, so I was able to pay all that upfront without too much hurt.

All I can say is even if you have to save up for a few months, it’s worth it in the long run. I pay $35/month right now, plus tax which brings the total up to $38.33. For that I get unlimited data, web, and text plus 300 minutes a month. $49 will get me 1200 minutes, and $62-65ish will bring unlimited everything. I’ll never go back to a contract phone again.

Mrs. Linc is jealous…she stayed on T Mobile and pays between $90-100/month for 700 minutes and unlimited everything else. If we could afford it right now, she would jump ship too.

And did I mention I can get calls and texts in a couple of places I couldn’t before? Yep…

 

Local Bank Websites: Who To Visit?

So, in my last post, I let you know that, once again, I was denied an account at BECU. I’ve given up on getting an account there, and am moving on to try local banks. The first step, of course, is looking at their websites to decide which banks will be the best to visit, considering my financial situation. I’ll share the information with you after the page break.

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