Monday, January 30, 2006


Fun party at Dan Smith's house this weekend.

Its funny how after living with some guys for so long you know too much about them. For example, we all know how each other dances.
There's Vyn with the travelling violations.

Eric with the awkward hands above the head.

Rob hiking up his pants.

And me with the shoulder shrugs.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Sweet Home Entertainment

A couple months ago Eric Smith stretched his budget to buy a nice TV. He had a 30 day trial period and decided over that time that he couldn't justify the cost. But he had gotten used to the nice TV so he set out to find a way to get a nice TV without paying so much. His solution was to take a chance on one of those internet offers you see so often that blinks at you and says "congratulations, you've just won a free [fill in the blank]." Long story short, 2 months later he had a 42 inch Plasma TV for the small cost of about $200.

After hearing his story I wanted to get in on the action. As I'm sure you've guessed, those "congratulations you win" sites don't really mean you've won anything, they are just another form of advertisement. The way it works is they will give you a free TV {or other electronics) but you have to work for it. In order to receive the free gift, you have to complete a whole bunch of online offers. For the TV this is how it went:
1) First I had to fill out and get approved for 3 offers from a list of about 50 ranging from credit reports to AOL. Many of these had free trial offers and it was easy to find 3 to complete.
2) Second I had to fill out and get approved for 6 offers from a list of about 25. This page had some of the same offers as page 1 but also some others that were more expensive like diet pills or online movie rentals (netflix or blockbuster). It wasn't too hard to complete these 6 but I had to spend $5-$10 on each of them.
3) Third I had to fill out a get approved for 9 offers from a list of about 15. About half of these were credit cards (free but you can only get so many) and the other half were more expensive offers like a dental plan or Earthlink DSL. I had to be careful which ones to do here so that it didn't cost me too much.

The website giving the TV away got paid by the 18 advertisers I had to do business with. The trick is to do the offers that cost the least and to make sure you cancel all the free trial periods in time. It is definitely a bit of work and a lot of annoying 1800 phone calls to customer supports in order to cancel the trial offers but boy was it worth it. On Friday afternoon, after 2 months of working the system I had a 42" Plasma TV delivered to my front door. It is awesome. I spent just over $220 but $120 was for a dental plan which replaced my plan through work that cost the same, and I also got $50 worth of gift cards in the process so my net cost was well below $100. If anyone is interested in doing the same thing, check it out at this site.


Monday, January 23, 2006

Life Lesson

7 years ago I was talked into buying an electric bass by a high school friend that played the guitar and wanted to "jam." Basically he liked instruments and wanted to go to the store to watch me buy something because that made him happy. I thought it would be a good idea since I already played the string bass and transitioning to the electric bass would be easy. Without shopping around at all we went to a store and I was offered a "good deal" on a used electric bass, amp, case, and chord...everything someone getting started would need. I had rounded up every expendable cent I had and paid $300 for the set and borrowed the $18 in tax from my buddy. Long story short, I've played that instrument an average of once a year for the last 7 years and 0 times total in the last 6 years. It goes down as my poorest purchase ever, but I was hoping to get something back for it this weekend. I went to a music store that bought electric basses. They took a look at it and found that one of the nobs on the bass was broken and something (although he didn't say) was bad about the amp. I asked how much I could get if the bass was in proper working condition and after consulting his book he said he didn't have the brand listed and that it must be an "off-brand" so he couldn't buy it at all. BLAST! I guess I'll just have to write it off as tuition for the school of life. Don't get talked into buying expensive things that you don't really want.

In other weekend happenings Jason, Evan, and I were demoralized in a 3 on 3 basketball tournament. Jason and I have a very poor track record in these tournaments but both of us felt pretty good about our chances this time. Unfortunately we went 0-4, losing 2 very close games and 2 not-so-close games. Poor shooting and lack of team practices were the primary culprits but it was an all around poor showing.

Here are some cool pictures of my back yard from the very wet snowstorm we got Friday night.

Monday, January 16, 2006


We are over the hump. This weekend Josh and his partner Luke ripped out our old floor and put most of the hardwood floor in. And it looks goooooooood (I'm trying to say it like JD from Scrubs). As you can see below we lived in a hazardous zone for the weekend but it was worth it. Here are a bunch of pictures showing the progress of the remodeling from painting the bathroom to replacing the floors.

We did the painting over the last 2 weekends and then prepared for the floors...

This is what our family room looked like over the weekend...

And here is the progress of the floors.


Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Instead of travelling around every weekend like the last 4 months, Erin and I are staying home every weekend this month. The main reason is we are doing a lot of remodeling to our house. We bought hardwood and are waiting to have it installed but in the meantime its sitting on the ground by the kitchen table and taking up a lot of space. We repainted the downstairs bathroom and the trim is still off (because it will need to come off for the hardwood installation anyway), the old light fixture is still in the sink, and the toilet is in 2 pieces. Plus, we're half cleaned up from Christmas so needless to say our downstairs is a disaster. From my years of experience, mainly college and especially the Fulton house, this doesn't bother me much, but it eats away at Erin. Fortunately, the main reason its so messy is that she is getting her hardwood floors, which makes everything OK.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

New Year's

New year's eve was a fun party at Jenny's with the likes of Mike, Duby, Jenny, Josh, and many others. We played the game Wizard a lot and had a few wrestling matches.

On new year's day Erin and I met her family in Pokagon State Park in northern Indiana. Its a nice family park with a cool hotel, hiking, and a sweet toboggan run. The toboggan run is about 1/4 mile long and basically you take a sled with plastic runners and fly down an ice track. Top speed was probably 25-30 mph. The only problem was that you had to carry the sled all the way back to the start of the track after every run.

At night we had a great family game of around-the-world ping pong. Here are some sweet action shots. I won 2 of the 4 games we played.

Unfortunately, on Monday I had to work but the rest of the Veldhofs went on a hike through the woods.