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About MickinMD

  • Birthday 10/01/1950

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Baltimore, Maryland
  • Interests
    chess, cycling, science, politics, history

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  • Bike(s)
    cheap mountain bike

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  1. MickinMD

    credit card limits

    I've been there. With credit card interest rates ridiculously high today, do everything you can to limit your spending so it will take less time to pay it all off when your household income is back to normal. I called the credit card companies and asked for lower rates when I had to carry a balance on my cards and all but one gave me at least a six-month period with low interest, but that was back when the lowest ratess were lower than now. Still, it's worth a shot.
  2. MickinMD

    How Often Do You Bake?

    Diabetes has mostly eliminated my baking. On occasion, I'm good for a good, dense bread to go with homemade soup or a banana bread with walnuts and chocolate chips, but that's about it.
  3. MickinMD

    Mars Is A Lot Like Montana

    My brother-in-law is from Northern Maine where they have two seasons each year, July and Winter. When he moved to Maryland he didn't understand why almost no one owned a snow blower or why people use stakes or cages for tomato plants. When told they can grow over 6 feet high he thought that was a joke!
  4. MickinMD

    Pay Toilets

    There was a joke about the bum crying outside a pay toilet because: Here I sit, Broken-hearted. Paid a nickel to shit. And only farted!
  5. MickinMD

    A couple of pics from my deck

    I read that Minneapolis-St. Paul has a record February with 31.5" of snow and a week to go, breaking the previous Feb. record of 26.5" I expected the record would be much more, though with the Great Lakes far enough to the east, I guess there's a limit to moisture in the air. I was a college student in Chicago when we got whacked with the "April Fools Blizzard" of 1975 - which occurred the day after everyone took steel-studded snow tires off their cars by law. I was doing an all-night research experiment at IIT with a few other grad students and it began snowing around 6:30 am. By noon, we couldn't open the doors -which opened out- on one side of Wishnick Hall, the Chemistry building, and were using cardboard boxes to sweep enough snow away on the other side so we could open the doors there. In 2010, in Baltimore we had a 6" snow and another 19.5" the next day and then a 25" snow a couple weeks later, all in February. Everyone doing any measuring said that official numbers - measured at a spot on the grounds of the BWI Airport (which is actually several miles outside of the city!) - were was too low. The low spots in my yard were over 30" in each case.
  6. MickinMD

    I think I would lose any fight I got in now

    I was never a ruffian but, living in a rough neighborhood, I learned an important lesson from my ex-Darby's Ranger father that if you defend yourself by attacking your attacker, you get a reputation and you don't get picked on. Otherwise you gain a reputation as an easy mark and can expect a lot of bullying. That is an important lesson if you're skinny and not physically imposing! I got beat up by a kid named Ralph when I was about 12 years-old and came home crying to my father. He asked, "Did you fight back?" I answered, "No," and he added, "If you get beaten up again and don't fight back, I'll hit you, too!" The next time Ralph picked on me I planted a fist into his face as hard as I could throw it. He still got the better of me. I went home and soon there was a knock on the door. It was Ralph, holding an ice pack over his eye. He said his mother told him he had to apologize to me! Ralph never bothered me again and we became friends. I learned that if the bad asses know they can beat you but they'll suffer for doing it they won't bother you. When I got to high school, I had a few fights that I mostly lost - and Thank God fights weren't as vicious as they are now, and soon no one bothered me: I didn't scare them but I was too much of a bother to bother! There were times I was terrified, like when I intervened when a girl's ex-boyfriend wanted to beat up my cousin for dating her, but every time I did so, the guy glared at me and backed down. By the time I had my football and track letters and was in the Varsity Club, most of the bad asses had my back and I was never in a fight again. I didn't have any kids to pass that philosophy down to and it wasn't necessary with my nephews, both of whom are bigger and stronger than most of their age group so we're lucky they are not bullies themselves.
  7. MickinMD

    What a Difference a Day Makes!

    My Car, Noon Yesterday: My Car, Noon Today: My Street Corner Noon Today: The last time I had to shovel snow: My Street Corner, Jan 23, 2016. I'd take a walk with Jake the Goldendoodle in the park today, but I'll give the lower areas a day to melt and dry out. I hope this forecast holds up:
  8. MickinMD

    How many miles do you drive per year?

    I generally drive around 9000, though it's been much less the last few years because of my shoulder/ankle/hip problems that are, hopefully, all healed. I keep detailed records as a volunteer for fuelly.com and fueleconomy.gov. My 2013 Honda Fit's rated mileage is 35 hwy/28 city/31 combined, but in reality for me it's about 37 hwy/24 city/30 combined - depending on the %age of local driving. The fewer miles I drive means a higher-percentage of local, stop-and-go driving since my shopping, visiting friends, etc. are relatively constant. Year: miles, mileage (measured by odometer/gallons pumped, not by car computer) 2013:: 7705, 30.34 2014: 9770, 30.90 2015: 9082, 30.75 2016: 5750, 30.01 2017: 6053, 29.20 2018: 4839, 28.26 2019: I'm guessing this will be 6000-9000 miles plus several thousand more if I do a cross-country vacation - which would push the avg. mpg closer to 33-34 mpg.
  9. MickinMD

    credit card limits

    My credit cards - six no-annual-fee ones to max. my cash-back - don't automatically raise my credit limit but sometimes I get a letter or a window pops-up when I go to my online page telling me I'm eligible to raise my limit. I always decline and generally keep each one low, in the $2500 - $7500 range. When I did a cruise in 2017 and wanted to charge it to a 2% cash-back card, I had no trouble instantly raising my limit, so I figure I might as well keep them low to avoid anything serious in terms of fraudulent use. My cards: 1) Citi Double Cash Mastercard: 2% cash-back on everything. This is my most-used and fall-back card when others don't offer more. 2) Chase Freedom Visa: 5% cash-back on quarterly rotating categories (gasoline and drugstores, Jan-Mar.), 1% otherwise. 3) Discover it Card: 5% cash-back in quarterly rotating categories (supermarkets Jan-Mar, gasoline Apr-Jun, restaurants Jul-Sep), 1% otherwise. 4) Citi Costco Visa: 4% cash-back at Costco and standalone (Exxon. etc.) gas stations, 3% at restaurants or bar & restaurants, 2% for Costco merchandise. 5) American Express Blue Cash Everyday Card: 3% cash-back at supermarkets, 1% otherwise 6) Amazon Store Card: 5% cash-back for Amazon Purchases - I don't actually carry this card in my wallet since I only use it at Amazon online. I save $600-$900/yr by maxing my cash-back rewards, using the right one at the right time and place. I carry a cheat-sheet folded-up in my wallet that my Credit Union's manager photocopied to show to her coworkers. It partially looks like this where some of the old quarterly rewards are retained since some of the cards don't announce quarterly or new rewards until they're ready to begin and I want to keep them in mind: It pays more to take your cash-back as statement credits, NOT to make purchases. For example, if you use your Discover cash-back to purchase stuff on Amazon, you don't get any cash-back for that part of the purchase. So, if you had $40 in cash-back rewards from Discover and bought $40 worth of Amazon stuff with it, you'd pay $0 out-of-pocket. But, if you bought $40 with the Amazon Store card you'd pay $38 (5% cash-back) and then you'd reduce you next Discover statement by $40 with the cash back, which would give you back a net $2. You can set it up so the Discover and Amazon Store Cards automatically subtract your cash-back rewards from your next statement. The other cards generally require a $20 to $25 minimum to claim cash-back and then you can apply it to your statement.
  10. MickinMD

    Home exercise equipment

    Whether it's my old Soloflex or Resistance Bands or an Aerobics Video I like the convenience of working out at home. I don't go often, but it's a great change of pace to do our county's public Indoor Swimming Pools aka "Aquatic Centers" ($6 entrance fee, $4 for seniors, active military and disabled with discounts for 15-use, quarterly, to $330 annual for seniors, $475 otherwise) which are very popular since almost everyone in Maryland can swim. You can "drop-in" without reservations and take water-based fitness classes (an extra $1 for seniors, $2 otherwise). I'm also considering doing Tai Chi classes offered by one of the local hospitals which are usually $50 for 10 sessions. I did it every morning at 7 am on deck - often seeing large groups in local towns we passed doing similar stuff - during a Yangtze River Cruise and went from there to breakfast feeling SO relaxed afterward.
  11. The Orioles had the 3rd worst season in modern major league baseball history last year and the Ravens lost their playoff game, but we won something! The local Baltimore TV News is telling everyone to stay off the snow/ice covered roads, especially since we have won the title of the worst drivers in America by Allstate Insurance based on years between claims: "The average Baltimore driver reports filing a claim once every 3.8 years and is 163 percent more likely to do so than the national average. The national average for filing a claim is once a decade, according to Allstate." (https://patch.com/maryland/baltimore/baltimore-home-worst-drivers-america-allstate-says) I wonder how much of it is due to Baltimore having the most congested roads and the fact most people don't know how to drive in the snow. I bought my new car in 2013, and was slightly whacked in the back by a State Police Truck (state trooper's fault, my insurance didn't have to pay) and had a crack in my windshield apparently from a pebble thrown by another vehicle's tire in, I think, 2016 - my State Farm insurance paid. So I did my part to win the title! Here are the 10 cities with the worst drivers: Baltimore, Maryland Boston, Massachusetts Washington, D.C. Worcester, Massachusetts Glendale, California Springfield, Massachusetts Los Angeles, California Providence, Rhode Island Alexandria, Virginia Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  12. MickinMD

    We just might live!

    Our streets have been plowed and are slushy but mostly clear down to the asphalt, so it's nice to know I could drive somewhere if it was an emergency. Fortunately, I don't need to go anywhere for a week if I don't want to. I've to plenty of eggs and other breakfast choices. Lunch has been mostly soup lately, but I think tomorrow it will be a salmon burger with lite mayo, tomato, and lettuce on an onion roll. Today I'm finishing up the other half of the overstuffed Italian Cheesesteak Sub and Fries I picked up from my favorite sub shop before the snow yesterday and will bake a chipotle seasoned pork tenderloin tomorrow, which will be good for a few suppers, accompanied by Bush's Baked Beans and Stewed Tomatoes.
  13. I'm amazed they don't appreciate the big group. When I coached high school indoor track, we competed at a National Guard center on the North side of Baltimore - our school was south of the city - during winter and we often didn't finish competing until after 8 pm - the kids did homework between events. We arranged with a local Pizza Hut to stay open for us after their normal 9 pm weekday close and told the parents to give their kids enough to buy a sub, pizza, etc. We had about 30 kids on the team the manager of the Pizza Hut made it clear he didn't want to lose our business. Whenever we traveled to a track or cross country meet a few hours from home, we called ahead and arranged with some place like Cracker Barrel Old Country Store or a cheap Ma-Pa place recommended to us and let them know approximately when we'd be coming in with 30-50 kids. NONE of them ever turned us away even though we'd sometimes give them a 3 hour range as to when we'd arrive after a meet.
  14. MickinMD

    As the Brain Turns

    I remember reading a story about logical thinking demonstrating that what you do not know can be as important as what you do know in order to solve a problem. Today, I walked outside and took a few snow pictures with my Galaxy S7 phone. I always cover the display with the cover-half of its hard shell case when not using it. So I returned inside, downloaded the phone pics to my laptop, and then noticed the cover wasn't handy. Where did I put it? I looked the pockets of my coat - where I remember putting it while taking the pictures - and my other clothes. It wasn't there. Conclusion 1: I either dropped the cover from my pocket or put it somewhere and forgot. I quickly went back outside where I didn't walk far, everything was covered in white snow, and it wasn't there. Conclusion 2: I don;'t know where it is, but I didn't drop it outside. So I know it's somewhere in the house. I then retraced my steps in the house and it wasn't anywhere I'd normally put it. Conclusion 3: I most likely dropped it. My case is light blue. Look for a blue object on the floor. So I looked all over the floor for a blue plastic box 5+" x 3+". I didn't find it. Conclusion 4: I have no clue where it went, so if it's cheap enough, I'll order a replacement now from Amazon. I looked on Amazon and the "BUDDIBOX" case I have was available in every color except blue. I looked closer at the picture (see below) and realized the cover (the part on the bottom) is entirely Black. Conclusion 5: I can order any color because only the soft interior is non-Black - I can order red, etc. in case I ever need the soft part. ANYONE WHO GOT THIS FAR NOTICE THE FLAW? It suddenly hit me: only the soft part covering the sides and back of the phone is blue! Conclusion 6: Conclusion 3 is WRONG. Look for a BLACK object on the floor. 60 seconds later, I found it! Lucky I didn't step on it! Conclusion 7: I need to pay more attention to details!
  15. MickinMD

    Maryland Snow - could have been worse

    The Maryland Department of Transportation has a new app that tracks where the State's snow plows are - supposedly helpful if you have to drive since you can see what's been most recently plowed. I think each plow is represented by at least a few dots. Anyway, I live where the arrow sticks out on the left side of the "Winter Storm Warning" window and no plows are nearby - there's a state road 1 block from my house. The County has been slow to get to my streets but I have no need to drive anywhere.