Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Short Term Future

(Originally posted on MySpace on Sunday, August 24, 2008)

As I said last week, I've been extremely busy lately, making it hard to write my blog the way I would like to on a regular basis. Money is tight and Skip and my vacation season is coming up, so we need as much cash as we can get our hands on to do the things we want when we get to these places. Plus, we still need to make payments on our house, which is getting harder to do while still living life the way we like to. With the economy the way it is, usual money-making places like EBay are tanking out and I've been giving them a break, hoping things will turn around soon. I think I'm hoping in vain, and sooner or later, I'm going to have to sell my stuff on EBay and just accept that I'm not going to get the money I would like to at this point in time. It's better to have some money than no money at all.

Fortunately, Amazon's used sales have been strong lately, obviously fueled by people looking for a deal on the CDs they want to buy. That's been a good thing, keeping me afloat this summer. The other forum I sell through, Gemm, is another CD and LP collectable venue, like EBay, although it's set-price sales and not an auction forum. It also hasn't been doing very well, more-than-likely due to the fact that people just don't have the cash for collectables that they used to.

The big problem I'm having right now is that I'm selling for too many other people and I don't have the time to sell my own stuff. Skip gave me a limited-edition Joy Division Zune as a wedding present and this week I finally figured out how to use it. (I'm not the most technically savvy person, although when I set my mind to it, I can learn anything.) Now I just have to find the time to download all my CDs into it and then throw them on Amazon to sell, which should rake in lots of cash at a time I really need it. I also have a bunch of DVDs I want to burn and sell. So I guess I'm going to have to drop most of the clients I'm selling for that I don't make that much money from. That should clear up a good amount of time for me to do my own thing.

I'm very excited about the three vacations we're taking and want to make sure we can do them to the limit, as they're probably the last vacations we're going to get for quite awhile. The first one is next month, when we go to Philadelphia and New Jersey to ride roller coasters at Six Flags Great America. We'll finally get to ride Kingda Ka, the world's tallest and fastest roller coaster, and we're very excited about that. We'll also get to visit Iron Chef Morimoto's restaurant in Philly, one of the few (USA version) Iron Chef's whose food I've never tasted.

In October, we're spending a week in Buenos Aires, Argentina. We were hoping to go to Mendoza, the wine region in Argentina, but found out that it's a full day away and flights there are rather expensive. So that will probably be out unless I can find a cheap flight once we're in the country. But I have found a wine bar in the city that supposedly has all the wines we would want to try, so I'm sure we'll be spending a lot of time there. We also plan to take the ferry across the bay and spend a day in Uruguay. And, of course, we'll eat lots of meat. Due to economic woes from years past, Argentina is one of the few countries that are still relatively cheap for Americans. I have a great hotel right in the middle of town for $65 a night. It's supposedly cheaper than South Africa, but their economy is getting stronger every day, so we'll see what it's like when we get there. We spent ten days in Cape Town a year and a half ago and spent less than $3000 for the whole thing, eating and sleeping like kings. If we can do Argentina for less than that, I will be one happy camper.

Then, next March, we're spending ten days in Rome, Italy. This is the one I'm really worried about as Europe is a very expensive place for Americans these days. We have free flights and a free place to stay, a villa about half an hour outside the city, thanks to my friend, Daniela, who used to book Thin White Rope in Italy. But food and wine is still going to cost a lot. We want to take the train down to Naples and Pompeii, and we hope to take the train up to Tuscany to spend a day each in Pisa and Siena. But we'll see if we can pull it off. It all depends on how much I can sell over the next couple of months.

And in between, we still have a trip up to San Francisco in November to go to the yearly Pinot Fest, and hopefully take a side trip to Lodi, one of California's most under rated wine regions, as well as try to get out to Arizona to spend Thanksgiving with my family, who I haven't seen in quite a while. The cost of gas these days makes both these trips hard to afford.

There are so many other places in Europe I'd like to get Skip to that I've already visited, but he hasn't. Spain and the Scandinavian trio of cities (Copenhagen, Oslo and Helsinki) are the tops on my list. But these places are way too expensive right now, especially without a place to stay for free. Thailand is the next place on our list if we can make it. I still haven't really been to Asia, so that's the place I need to go. Plus, I'd love to see my pal Camille again after all these years. He's a Dutch man who used to book Thin White Rope in Europe, but now lives and works in Thailand, teaching tourists how to scuba dive.

Anyways, you'll have to excuse me over the next few months if these blogs become erratic or very short. You may just get a few that are nothing but capsule reviews. But they'll keep coming for as long as I'm able to write. I still have a lot of tales to tell and things to bitch about.

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