The Mortgage (Death Pledge) Getting out of it

I’ve mentioned earlier about Dave Ramsey and Clark Howard and several other sources of inspiration for Success (both Financial and other).

One of the key ideas is being “Debt Free”.  (On YouTube look up “Dave Ramsey” or “Debt Snowball” , etc).

I was Debt Free for a few years.  Though about 2 years ago. I did take on a Mortgage and moved back into Debt.  (At the time my “30% Ruling” (Dutch Specific) was expiring and so my take home pay would go down significantly and I had doubts about my ability to continue to afford the apartment I was living in at the time.  Buying a House would allow me to significantly reduce my Monthly House expenses (approx. €500 (35% reduction)).

The other thing I knew I wanted to do from the start was to Pay Off the Mortgage As Soon As Possible.  Early on I spoke to one of the Mortgage agents about this, some companies only allow people to do a Maximum 0f 20% per year. (This restriction may not apply in the US or to all Mortgage providers)

Improving the Death Pledge

The Mortgage in The Netherlands has 2 main differences from a US Mortgage.

  • Payments can Drop
  • Interest Rates Can Drop

These need to be taken into account when optimizing the payments and getting the best deal.

Making your Payment Smaller

If a typical Mortgage looks like this:

In the US, when an Extra Payment is made, the Time on the Mortgage is reduced:

In the Netherlands, the time stays the same but the payments are reduced:

(Not to scale).

This means that paying an extra €100, might reduce your payment next Month by €0.39.  Or in 1 year €4.68.  (Or you get a 4.68% saving on what you put in*).  Nicer required payments are good, but the catch is, if you want to Reduce Term of Mortgage, you need to make up the difference. (By reducing the required payment, the bank keeps you on the hook for the full term of the loan). (See the example at the end)

So, over time I’ve put in a lot extra on my Mortgage and gotten my Mandatory payments down significantly at the same time  I’ve also increased the amount of the extra payment.  (I have a scheduled an autopayment and the last few months, I’ve tweaked it up by the amount of the decrease).

Also on payday a significant amount of my residual balance goes to the mortgage and another large part to savings.

I still pay a consistent amount (it is always more than Minimum), but getting a note from the bank and seeing my reduced required payment gives me a nice psychological boost that I AM MAKING A DIFFERENCE.

This and the ability to reduce the interest rate, have allowed me to hit a milestone.

Reducing your Interest Rate

In the US the term is Loan-to-Value.  Many Dutch Mortgage companies will allow a lower interest rate, if the Loan falls below a certain Percentage of the Value.  (In the US if the % falls bellow a certain Level, the Mortgagee (Death Pledger) can arrange to drop the PMI (Personal Mortgage Insurance) and save a few Dollars).

Our original Mortgage was 94% of the Value.  So far we have paid down principle to about 84% of the ORIGINAL Value.

We noticed that the prices of houses in our Neighborhood have been going up. (Like €100,000 more than our house, in addition these are not houses which a “Like” our house, but they are “Clones” of our House). So we got a new appraisal on our house (in Dutch this called a “Taxatie”).  Based on the new appraisal are Interest rate has now dropped to 1.9%, from 2.08%.  (This is the 2nd time we’ve done this, the 1st time it dropped the rate from the ORIGINAL 2.38% to 2.08%)

By taking advantage of these to one can reduce the MANDATORY Payment.

Our Mortgage Now (a.k.a “Drumroll”)

So after almost 2 years of Extra payments, getting new appraisals to take advantage of our Houses’s increasing Value, we finally passed a Personal Milestone and reduced the Monthly Payment €100 ! (actually the payment next Month will be €115, less than our initial payment (or a 12.5% (1/8th) Discount from the Original Monthly Payment).

2 years into our Mortgage and so far we are about 2.5 years ahead on our principle payment.

Based on the latest figures and making some assumption. (Continuing to increase my monthly “Extra” to offset the reduction, applying my 13th Month to the Mortgage, etc)…..  It looks like I can see the light at the end of the tunnel ……. far down the tunnel….. in about 12 years.  (vs the 28 years the bank is expecting).

<If at month 165, I were to skip my ‘extra’ payment and just leave it alone, my mortgage payment to the bank would then be €2.53, for the next 16 years. Imagine telling someone “Yeah my mortgage payment is 2 and half euros” >

* Just an example.


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Who Moved My Cheese

Something reminded me of the book “Who Moved My Cheese”.  So dug it up and re-read it.  Its really short in a was able to finish it in < 1 hour.


What You Read Part 2

I have a variety of friends on Facebook.  One always posts stories from Huffington Post, an other always post from Fox news (or Commentary).  (I used to hear from one (who was from Russia and had a PHD in Marxist Economy and would always post articles from Rusian Propaganda sites).

The problem is that for many of these people that was their exclusive window into National News, this meant they came out with a jaded view.  They were living in an echo chamber and when someone didn’t fit the view from that echo chamber they discounted it.

Granted most news sources are accurate, they can still shade their story and direct the perception of the reader.  The challenge is to expand your horizon and look at the other perspectives. You may come out with the exact same position/attitude/belief, but the next time the topic comes up, you will be more at home and better able to stand by your own arguments.

If you want to be educated and have a better understanding of what is going on, open yourself to what the other side thinks.

I enjoy reading Real Clear Politics and I’d recommend others look into that as well. The other day there was an article “The Out of Touch Party“, when I looked at it I honestly had no idea where they talking about the Republican or the Democrats.  (IMHO, both would quality).    Frequently I will see stories with competing headlines… the equivalent of “The President, is completely wrong“, immediately followed by one which is titled “The President is in the Right“.

Oh, a sublime observation, I can actually say….

I was listening to a Podcast the other day, they where interviewing Tim Ferris (author of “The Four Hour Body”).  Interestingly he was speaking about attending a Vipassana Meditation Retreat.

Several years ago I picked up The Four Hour Body and thought it was excellent book.  I was able to follow many of the Ideas and techniques found in the book.  In the end I was able to drop approximately 20 lbs.  (To this day I am still aware of Carbs and their affect of my biochemistry* (the book also provides a lot of explanation, which is one of the things which I found so interesting and made it pleasurable to read).

Anyway back to the story, so appearently both Tim and I (at separate times/places/ and location) attended Vipassana meditation retreats. Although I found it challenging, apparently Tim had much more difficulty than I did.

I know it is a little wrong, but part of me thought:

“Wow, I was actually able to handle the retreat, with less difficulty than Tim Ferris”

His book focuses a lot on Success, and a knee jerk reaction is to put him (or other successful people) on a Pedestal, being able to compare how he perceived it as more challenging (and succeeded ) vs. my experience (challenges) going through it……  makes getting up to that Pedestal seem easier.

I would heartily recommend The Four Body, I’ve actually given copies to people who where interested in making improvements in their Health and Lifestyle.  I’ve recently started eating healthier again, and I was thinking of getting The Four Hour Chef  (To help with creating Slow Card meals).


Note: The Vipassana Medition Retreat (Last 10 days and) involves going for about 8-9 days without Talking/Reading/Internet/Sex/etc. (If you leave you will not be able to return (for that session)).  Yes, it is difficult , I also found it helpful for me. Anyone can attend for free.

Hmm, another way of stating that point

So watching this YouTube Video about Dave’s 2018 recommendations, at about 5:30, Dave reiterates someone along the lines one of my main points from my previous posts (about watching a healthy variety of things):

On Success, What radio program do you listen to?

Many years ago, when I still lived in the US, I started listening to Clark Howard‘s show on WSB.  (For those of you aren’t familiar with him, he’s a Nationally Syndicated Radio Host who Specializing in Financial Advice).  I recently came across some similar YouTube Videos/Channels and they reminded me how much of a beneficial impact the program had for me.

The advice was really good, but I think the best benefit was from the Empowerment and Explanation. Clark actually talked about changes that anyone can make, to save money and plan for the future.  I took some of those steps and started some of the good habits he advised.  (Even today I still practice some of the ideas (Right now I’m about 2 years ahead of schedule on my Mortgage, etc)). The show let me start taking steps for improve my finances and by extension my life.

The explanation allowed me to feel a certain degrees of confidence about how things worked and be realistic about how I could actually work in the system. In addition it helped to appreciate what was happening in the News and the Economy.  Even when I dealing one on one with a Financial Advisor or Sales Person, I feel more empowered and in control that I understand what is going on.

I think one of the problems today is people who are not getting this background information, so when they see (or worse just hear) about dire financial consequences, they over react and fail to’t make the right decisions.  Long ago I was with a friend who was a “Community Activist” she would ALWAYS listen to NPR, in particular she would listen to program where the narrator simply talked about events in an imaginary small town. She and her friends never listened to things like “Clark Howard.”  She may have known about the injustices associated with the “Baby Formula industry in the Thrd World*”, but her knowledge of Personal Finance was a bit lack. (In hind sight, this explains why I was frequently giving her advice on those sort of things)).

Its OK, to listen to NPR, but one must expand your horizon.  Listen to shows (or read web sites from people) like “Clark Howard“, or “Dave Ramsey” (He’s the one I just stumbled on on YouTube).  Their advice can help to empower you. and give you more understanding.

Related YouTube Channels:


(* Something like this is bad, but it is not something someone has direct control over and it contributes to a feeling of helplessness and has a cumulative negative effect. If your main source of info is just talking out things like this, you will get into the habit of thinking like that)

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Last Jedi and what it means for the next film

I think many Star Wars fans, went to see all of the new films because they wanted the Magic which they got from Luke, Leia, and Han.

The Powers that be, seemed to think that by putting forward new characters the fans what automatically make that connection.  Just because they had the “Star Wars” title with it. It feels forced.

(Its kinda like in “Force Awakens” when Han and Chewy return to the Falcon and say “Where back”, it feels like the expect us to swoon just because they put the pieces together).

And for some reason they felt that in order to make us like the new crew they had to Kill the old ones and their world.

Unfortunately I don’t think the attachment to the new trio has grown enough to replace the affection fans have for the original Trio.  This was one of, if not the, biggest draws for STW fans.

Future films may get people in the seats because it is a Big Budget Sci Fi film, but not so much b/c of the “Star Wars” Label:

  • The Producers have killed / destroyed the old characters and world which the fans loved
  • They’ve replace it with a version* which most don’t like.
  • By changing Director/writers between each film that version is not even consistent.
  • They are depending too much on the Brand Names and more expecting Fans to like what they tell them.
  • The films seem to formulaic (in the Theater I kept seeing this over and over)

Right now I don’t have much expectation for Episode 9 and will probably just catch is online once it is available then.  And I think many other Fans will feel the same way.  The next film may be a hit, but not as big as the previous movies.


Last Jedi (Details/Spoilers Part 2)

…. continued….

(in the last article, I stopped where Finn explained the tracking problem to Rose and the problems with that)…

She figures out a solution, and now one else did.

The way she figures out the solution and the ‘technobable’ was just awful.

  1. I’m having difficulty remembering ever heaving technobablel in  any Start Wars movie. (If it was there is was so smooth you didn’t notice it going doing).
  2. It was more appropriate to “Star Trek”.  One of the things key to successful SciFI, is consistency dragging something in which is out of place is very annoying to fans (of any show).
  3. It really didn’t make sense

At this point I had  automatic reaction about of “uuuh”.

Fin/Rose/Poe Conspire

The Trio gets together and all discuss how to fix the problem.  Instead of going to their Commanding Officer. (For Poe it would be Holdo, for Rose it would probably be the Head Engineer, Fin ….. uh… I guess Holdo too) they make a Long Distance calls to someone Fin met ONCE a few days ago.

It felt like we where getting Maz stuff down our throats. (Again and instinctive reaction).

As a side note Maz says she is dealign with some Union Activaty.  Wasn’t she the OWNER of the bar?  Does this mean she is trying to put down her employees???



(Some people have complained how she seemed to have a Camera Man keeping her in frame during the whole exchgne, during the entire exchange,, not like any other StWr Holo-communication. (That consistency thing))

Then here message find a guy wearing this at this place…. made no sense.

Canto Bight

Fin and Rose’s departure also makes no sense.  If they are able to Launch a ship (apparently undecteced) and make a Field Trip to a “5th Element” / “Harry Potter”/”The Top 1%” cross-over world.  Why don’t they start evacuating key people? 

Rose’s hate of Canto Bight was a bit strange….. apparently every single person there is an Arms Dealer and hence evil.  Had she spoken about how Canto B had invaded / oppressed other worlds and that is how it got its money…. maybe that would be more palatable.

As I mentioned above the scenes seemed to be from the 5th Element or Harry Potter.

At the end I had to ask why did they add this?

Back at the Island

Luke thinks the Jedi failed, he never quite explains what the Jedi’s shortcomings where.  I mean he’s been in Isolation for Decades, and all he can come up with is “They failed”.  (i.e. “The Jedi started to behaive this way, instead of this way”).

He also talks about the force belonging to everyone, but he doesn’t seem to be taking any action to encourage that. Instead he’s just mopping around in failure.

Luke in this film was not the real “Luke Skywalker”, instead it was one written by someone who had little understanding of the character , the previous films, a disappointment.

There were a few funny moments.  Luke with the twig and “That’s the force!”, the Caretakers and Ray. (It might be amusing in the next film, if she tries to return and they oppose her 🙂 )



Yoda’s vist (update)

The scene with Yoda to me, just seemed completely out place. For most of the time I was wondering, “Is that Snope, doing some sort of trick”  (Literally it was so out of character, that I though it was the head bad guy masquerading as Yoda)

Poe and the Admiral Part 2

Poe travells to the bridge and tells the Admiral about his plans.  There are some many problems with this and how it doesn’t make sense:

Why didn’t he discuss it with her first?

As mentioned before the Resistance has technicians, maybe even hackers, who could figure out a plan and made arrangements to get it done successful. (Right right people, paint BB-8 black, maybe more people (some to do distractions, etc)).

The admirals reaction makes no sense

As I watched the scene, I had another WTF reaction.  The Admiral’s response and entire argument is  that the Rose/Fin missions “puts everyone at risk”.   OK… based on what was happening at that time my first thought was “How?” .   If Fin/Rose are captured then the Resistance has lost there PR Front Man and that Pipe Girl we had watching the Escape Pods. (Was she afraid no one was watching the escape pods).  If they talked, they (again at this point in time) don’t know anything.

The Admiral the this “puts everyone at risk” card makes her seem like she’s over reacting and a control freak. Also it seemed like really really sloppy/lazy writing. (Overused/incorrect trope)

The Bad Communication

If only Poe had asked “How?” or challenged the “Puts everyone at risk” there would have been a conversation:

Admiral: This puts everyone at risk
Poe: How so admiral?
Admiral: They might leak sensitive information to the First order about our secret escape plan
Poe: They don’t know anything about our escape plan (and neither do I)
Admiral: You’re right, they don’t
Admiral: If the empire detects what we’re doing, we’re screwed.
Poe: OK. I’ll keep them in the dark.

(Instead the next chance he gets, Poe blabs to Fin/Rose/BB8 and someone they just met details of the secret plans and causes the almost complete destruction of the resistance).

Rey’s Thrown Room Visit

OK, technically Rey’s prophecy vision is correct, but not in the way she expected. (Prophecies have a way of being like that).

The reveal that Snoke connected Ray and Kilo, again makes no sense.  (Maybe if they had a scene at the start where Snoke was doing some force manipulation of Kilo while asking him to remember Rey….. )

It was interesting seeing Rey actually not succeeding, after 1.5 films of “Mary Sue”

Kilo’s breayal / murder of Snoke (for me) was believable though a little for shadowed.

Rey getting her lightsaber back…. eeeh.

FIght scene OK.

Haldo’s Suicide

I thought it was an interesting idea, but why didn’t they use it before?

Before there were 2-3 smaller ships and the Medical Frigate (25%–33% of the mass of the Main ship).  Before they ran out of fuel, some of these ships (at least the medical frigate) where evacuated.  Couldn’t they have done the evacuation of those ships sooner (supposedly they had been in this chase for about 16-18 hours) and done the ramming sooner.

Other options with these others ships:

  • Have them jump away in different directions.
  • Have them split up in normal space
  • etc

“No we’ll just let them run out of fuel and be picked off by the FO Guns”

Rose/Fin’s Mission

It flowed OK, until they got to the point where BB8 hijacked the walker….. and the Cockpit (head) just fell apart around him???   If the thing falls apart so easily and that is the quality of the construction, couldn’t they have brought a couple of Ewoks.  The reveal of BB8 at the control and them riding the open air cockpit back to their ship seemed so silly.

  The Final Space Escape

So everyone is now escaping the FO Lead ship is in ruins, it seems like the end of the film.

As ships are flying away. I suddenly realize ‘Oh there’s more film” and the intonation of that though is not positive.



When they explain the attack on the battering ram, my first reaction was… “Now, They’re just making stuff up as an excuse for more FX Porn”

Ships seemed really stupid… again Why [are they designed that way]?

The authors tried to make a joke in the scene and it just fell flat. “They really hate that ship”

Fin’s sacrifice as it was about to happen seemed like a really satisfying end to that characters ark…. Until Rose ruined it. (Her profession of live just seemed weird, fake and cheesy)

Luke’s Finale

I was into it. I think Luke’s everything you just said is wrong speech, was the Hight Point of the movie, especially with he cuts of them escapeing.  Rey using her powers (as he’s saying “not the last Jedi”), was supposed to be a counter point, but tt didn’t seem like she was “coming into” her role as a Jedi or “accomplishing” anything,

Luke death, just seemed to be something that the “Writers”/”Producers” needed not something the story needed.

It buys time for the few(“thanks Poe”)  survivors to escape in the Millennium Falcon.

Last Jedi (Details/Spoilers Part 1)

[Because this is getting so long (and hence taking  a long time to write), I’m going  to split it up]

This article will cover different issues I had with the film. So it will have lots of spoilers.

I recently saw a youtube video about how editing save “A New Hope”, after I saw it I wished the people behind “The Last Jedi” had watched that same video.

  • How Star Wars was saved in the edit


As the movie opens, the New Order has effectively seized control of the entire new Republic. Apparently loosing something the size of Star Killer base, did not phase them???? (Maybe RJ didn’t see how big that thing was and how many troops where on it?)

The first battle begins (Poe heckles General “Hugs”)

has several problems with it. What happens:

  • Hux is saying we will not accept surrender and give no quarter.
  • As Poe’s Xwing speeds to the FO Formation, he then calls up and asks for General “Hugs”. (We had subtitles in our showing and Poe’s calling for General “Hugs” and Hux is responding with “Hux”)
  • After breaking off communications Poe attacks.
  • During this time he communicates with Leia and she seems OK with his plan.

This scene just left me thinking ‘waaa???’

  • If he is giving “No Quarter” and “Not accepting surrenders”, why does he even bother to respond with anything beyond Weapons fire?  (Even care if “Can he hear me?” etc).
  • Poe uses expression which seem way out of context “I’ll hold”
  • I’m sure that practically everyone missed that Poe was calling him General Hugs and this part of the joke failed. (I think many of the jokes simply where not heard)

Apparently Poe was trying to get within a certain range and then begin his attack, maybe if they had cut to some sort of display showing a dotted line, which he was trying to get up to.

Poe ignores Leia’s order to stop the attack

The battle begins Leia orders Poe to break off his attack, he then turns off his radio and ignores her. At this point, who is commanding the bombers and why can Leia simply order them back directly?

Bombers suffer massive casualties

They’re made of extra unstable Explodium? And all but one of them are destroyed….. by sparks (?)

(The scene with Rose’s sister was kinda interesting, but “Who is this woman?” “Why should I care about her?”  … “Oh she blew up”.  When she was kicking the pole I didn’t see any vibration on the other end, that made it a little unbelievable)


Flin wakes up

He’s on some sort of life support, wouldn’t an alarm have gone off and he been attended to by the medical staff? Instead he wanders around in an(other) attempt at humor.


In a rehash f the ending scen from TFA, Ray hand’s Luke the cherished Lightsaber, which he chucks over his shoulder with a shrug.

At first I thought, is he making some sort of example of Non-attachment to physical things?  No, turns out he just doesn’t care. (Major let down)

Then follows many scenes of Luke avoiding/refusing to train her… you’ve seen those patterns in a few martial arts films (and  “Fight Club”).

During there interactions, Luke asks the question to Mary Sue Ray “who are  you?” (repeatedly).  All Ray is able to respond is “nobody”.  I mean, they could have at least tried to explain why Leia picked her for the mission. (i.e. “The General believes I am connected to the force and think I was the best person to find you”).

This is the first of the “Mystery Boxes” which Rian was passed, and instead of opening them up or resolving them in some meaningful way. I’m not a fan of “Mystery Boxes” and think they were way over used (and dread their return when JJ returns to the helm), but now that they are there, they need to be addressed, not tossed over the cliff with Luke’s Lightsaber.


I found the scene interesting, but came away from it feeling like Snoke had broken the 4th wall and read all of the internet criticism for the Force Awakens, I half expected him to call Ray a Mary Sue.

I also got a distinct feeling that the two directors where NOT on the same page (or even where working against each other), not good when it is a SEQUEL.

At least he didn’t ask any questions and leave them hanging. (See “Who are you?” above).

Rian said that he was terrified about destroying Kylo’s mask, too bad he didn’t feel the same way about destroying Luke

Poe Demoted

After the Dreadnought is destroyed,  Leia watches with sadness as she see’s how many fighters/bombers she has lost.  On Poes return she slaps him for not ending the attack when order to do so and demotes him.

Again, the only radio Poe turned off, was his own, she could have still ordered the bombers to break off the attack.

Maybe if they had added some dialog where she tried that but Poe had persuaded the other pilots to follow through with the attack. It would make more sense, without it Poe’s actions are essentially following through with the plan (which was apparently green-lighted by Leia before the opening crawl).

(Also seems bad planning, Poe was succeeding in his part of the operation and THEN the General gets cold feet, without having a “SCRAM” plan).

Leia gets blown… into space

I though this scene was very poetic, at the back of my head I was thinking… “Hmm, guess they solved the Carrie Fischer problem”.

As Princess Leia floats out in space, her eyes open, she reaches out and…… begins to fly back towards the ship.  At first I was thinking, is she now a force ghost, and the I realized all of the other characters are seeing this too. (WTF?? Can’t you let the poor woman rest in peace?)

When she arrives at a sealed door, they simply open it and let her in…… without trigger catastrophic explosive decompression.

New Leadership

The hand-off to V Admiral Holdo seems really weird, more like a coronation/selection than a succession of command. (Based on rank).

In episodes 4,5,6, all of the Politicians are dressed in very fancy clothing (this includes Leia).  In 7 Leia is now a “General” and it wearing (most of the time) a Uniform.  Why is Holdo wearing an evening gown?  (Everyone is referring to her by a Military rank, which she seems to have had for a while (based on Poe’s comments about her previous victories).

The is almost immediately tension between her and Poe, her labeling Poe as a hot head , figher jock…. (or something to the effect).  How many times have you heard that meme (with the subect growing into a true leader).  It felt so fake.

This all while Poe is simply trying to find out what the plan is.  (This is a military organization, so technically he doesn’t’ “Need” to know, but still it does seem unreasonable to keep it from him.

She has people jumping ship and literally crying below desks, she needs to give people some “Hope”, not attitude. Otherwise they may do stupid things (foreshadowing)

A couple of ideas to handle (or justify) their mutual distrust:

  • Have Holdo start out as a politician and convert them to a politician. (“Per the Emergency orders, in this situation the leader of the Council is now assigned to the role of Admiral”
  • (or) Have her start out 1 rank above Poe’s previous rank.
  • Have her connected with the failed mission somehow.


I though Fin had gone through his growth spurt/development during the first (seventh) film, instead the 3rd thing he does in this film is F!#%ing run away.

Again it seems the old film (Fin’s growth) is thrown out.

Fin claims that it is to protect Rey when she returns….. I call BS on that excuse.

Fin/Rose (2)

Fin wakes up and explains what is happening to them.  (

We again see how well Admiral Holdo is keeping crew confidence up. Rose was the one crying earlier and has spent her day stunning and taking deserters to the brig…. (Fin isn’t her first one) and this is the first time she hears the specifics about what the probem is.

She is the Pipe Person and she figures out a plan to solve it, imagine if they actually let the rest of the tech crew know about the problem. They might not have made a call to the Personal or IT Department and explained how to solve it….. these are the guys how figured out how to blow up the feaking Death Star twice!!!

to be continued……

Fixed problem with email

I found a missing configuration that was keeping email from going out. It should be OK now.