Catching You Up

Hello, all. I hope this post finds you all doing well. Obviously, it has been awhile since I have written anything and probably longer since I wrote anything worth reading. I hope to start reversing that trend soon but make no guarantees. I did think it would be a good time to catch everyone up on what has been happening or what will be happening in my life.

The biggest bit of news is that I have cut my cable package. I have not become a full fledged chord cutter because I still have some limited cable channels, approximately 31. Mostly the networks: ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, PBS and a few more. My bill dropped by just over $100 a month by making the switch.
I made the switch for a couple of reasons. The first is that with a service like Sling TV, I can watch all of the channels that I used to watch on cable but at a much lower price. I can also more easily add and remove packages fro my monthly plan. Maybe I only subscribe to the Sling package that gets me ESPN for a few months out of the year when I am more apt to watch the channel and so on.
I had them alter my subscription on Nov. 21. On Nov. 24 which was Thanksgiving, FXX started a 600 episode marathon of ‘The Simpsons’. I have not and will not watch a single minute of this marathon. That’s not something I expected I would be saying when the marathon was announced earlier this year.
I haven’t started my Sling TV subscription yet. I did a free trial to make sure it would work for me before calling my cable company but am going to wait until 2017 before paying full price for it. I can manage with Netflix and a few other services for a month. In fact, it might not even be until March that I sign up for Sling so I can watch March Madness but we’ll see. The nice thing is just having the choice.

Last month, I sat down and took a look at the way I spend money and decided to make some changes in 2017. I mentioned cutting cable already as one of those changes. But there are a few others. Mostly, I looked at all of the entertainment items that I pay for and would like to pay for in the future. I came up with a plan to pay for things on an annual basis when I can. In every instance, I would save money by switching from month to month payments to yearly with the savings not necessarily being much per service but adding up. I have approximately 10 services I plan to do this with including: Amazon Prime, Audible, MLB TV, NBA League Pass, NHL Game Center, SiriusXM, Pro Wrestling Torch, Wrestling Observer, UFC Fight Pass and FloSlam. FloSlam offers the best insentive to pay annually. It costs $20 a month ($240 a year) or you can get a annual subscription for $150 which saves $90 and get you access to all of the FloSports channels not just the pro wrestling one.
After making those changes, the only things I would pay for month to month would be Netflix, Hulu, and the WWE Network. The working plan is to pick one of those services each month next year and switch from monthly to yearly. That means I will have each service on a yearly cycle by October which means I will have more money available in November and December for Holiday shopping.
Another change I made along those same lines was cutting my subscription to SiriusXM down to just the music channels. I did this at the same time I cut my cable. I figured that if I was going to pay for things like MLB TV in 2017 I didn’t really need to pay for the sports channels on SiriusXM. Cutting down to just the music channels will save me about $100 over the span of 12 months but actually quite a bit more when I switch from the monthly to yearly plan.

On election day, I went and saw the movie ‘Trolls’. It wasn’t the best movie I saw all year but I did like it a lot and I’m glad I saw it when I did. It put me in a better mood for the rest of that evening and trust me when I say that I needed to be in a better mood that night.

Something else happened on election night. I was asked to be interviewed for a news audiobook related podcast. The podcast is called Talking Audiobooks and as of earlier this week, the plan was for me to be interviewed next week at some point. I will obviously plug it a lot harder when I know the interview will be posted. I’m looking forward to doing this and hope it might lead to more things like this in the future.

I’ve built up my collection of WWE Action Figures quite a bit over the last few months. I’ve gotten some great deals using things like rewards points, coupons and other methods to get some great deals. One thing I did was tell a friend of mine that I could get him a set of figures he wanted for around $30. So he agreed to give me $30 and I bought him the set. Well, when I did that I got $15 back in rewards points which I then combined with some points I had already accumulated to get a set of figures I wanted for also about $30 and that purchase also accumulated me a lot of rewards points. I’ve spent more on the website in the last two months than I spent in my local KMart store the last 5 years it was open I think.

Here’s something you might find weird. I’ve had an account since the year 2000 but never really had an active Amazon wishlist until this weekend. I’ve created wishlists before but never kept them current and they were largely for private use and most were forgotten. But after looking at a friend’s list a few times I decided to make one for myself.
I’m not asking anyone for anything off of it but if you want to check it out, you can do so by clicking here. Right now, the list consists mostly of WWE figures I want and storage devices for my computer and tablet. I will add other things as time passes although probably not clothes as I rarely buy clothes online.

I also have a Wishlist at Ringside Collectibles. Although the figure I want the most is this Network Spotlight Figure of Bayley at Toys R Us. The figure can be found elsewhere but Toys R Us is actually the cheapest, my friend Art paid more than $20 to get his let me tell you.

I’ve been having trouble with my reading lately. I tried to listen to ‘Catalyst’ which is a prequel novel to this month’s ‘Rogue One’ movie but I just hit a wall at about chapter 16. I only read a few books last month, most of them were by David Baldacci who is pretty much established as my favorite author right now.
Near the end of the year I will put up a post recapping my reading achievements for 2016 including some stats. I am not going to read nearly as many as the 150 books I read last year. Putting a TV in my bedroom has really impacted my reading in a negative way but it has been worth it for other reasons.

Later this month it will be one year since Ginny died. This started off a chain of events that has seen quite a bit of death and illness in my family. My grandmother died a couple of days later. My dad passed away in April. A family cat died not too long after dad. My brother’s girlfriend suffered a stroke in early September. Then a few days before Thanksgiving, my mom’s dog was suffering from kidney failure and was put to sleep. And I have a friend who is still battling against liver cancer. So yeah, 2016 will not be remembered fondly by me. Oh for the simpler days when I thought 2014 was a bad year because nothing really happened besides breaking up with my girlfriend.

My thanksgiving was nice and quiet. We had a family gathering on the Wednesday night and I spent all of Thanksgiving watching football and ‘Friends’ mostly by myself but I had a friend over for a little while that evening.
I took advantage of some Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals mostly on audiobooks. I bought nine books from the Audible sale, mostly books that are in series that I read and I added one from the sale that ran through Dec. 1.

Least you think all of the money I have spent lately has been on me, I am happy to report that most of my Christmas shopping has been done. I was feeling generous this year and I think I did a good job getting people things that they would like. I still have a couple of things to get but I have at least decided on what those things are going to be. A couple of people are going to get their Christmas gifts in early January but that will be to their advantage. I have a birthday present to get yet but that will be done on Dec. 14 and yes, there is a reason it will be done on that specific day but I won’t say why since the recipient of said gift reads this blog.

In a little over a month I will turn 36. It isn’t a milestone birthday like 40 but it does get me thinking about how that’s not far off. I can’t say I have any specific plans to celebrate next month because I don’t. I just pray it isn’t as bad as last January when I spent all of my 35th birthday in tears. All of that is detailed in this site’s archives.

I don’t typically make ew year’s resolutions. However, I do sometimes come up with a few things that I would like to do over the next year. They aren’t earth shattering goals and that is intentional but they are things that aren’t too difficult to pull off. I will post those when it is more appropriate.

I have been enjoying football a lot this year, even though I am in dead last when it comes to picking NFL games in my Yahoo group. The Raiders are, have been and always will be my favorite team. So this 9-2 start to their season has been a lot of fun and at times quite stressful. I think the fact that they are doing so well has also impacted my reading. I haven’t turned off any games in disgust this year which is something I did a lot in the last few years because life is too short to spend it listening to some of those games since 2003.

I think I have caught you all up enough. I don’t know when my next post will be although I can say that it will definitely be before the end of the year. As I said to start all of this, I hope all of you out there reading this are doing well. I guess I am hoping that the people not reading this are also doing well but then again, if they’re not reading this, how could they know that? I will probably watch the WWE TLC show tonight with friends, it will be the last WWE Network show I watch this month as I am putting my subscription on hold until next month. I can use the $10.64 on something else and won’t miss the network too much. I’ll have it back in time for Royal Rumble and that is what matters in that respect.