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I'm a geek working as a distance learning specialist for a large corporation.

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As I mentioned in my last post, I've recently reconnected with a lot of friends from my high school youth group through the wonders of Facebook. It's been a lotFacebook points to the past, and I consider the future

Well, here we are with more sci-fi news. This time it'll be a mix of things old and new. Strap on your propeller hat and hang on, 'cause here weSci-fi rumors and news catch up

While I'm spending time in the BSG universe, here's a clip from the prequel series, Caprica. The series debuts next year. Apparently it will not take place in space much, ifCaprica clip

I knew a few phrases from maybe 3 or 4 Johnny Cash songs before I saw this movie. I knew he had gone to prison (though I wasn't sure why),Review: Walk the Line

FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH | Bryce Zabel: Superman Returns (2006) vs Superman: The Movie (1978) Here's a great review of Superman Returns in comparison with the original Superman movie (I loveBryce Zabel's Superman Smackdown

This wasn't nearly as bad as the box office, and critics, led me to believe. Was it as good as "The Mask of Zorro"? No. Not really. But it was aReview: The Legend of Zorro

Two incredible shows are currently on the edge of cancellation, if reports are to be believed, and NBC seems to be saying that they won't even air episodes that wereNBC is sharpening its axe

How many major "cons" are there in a year (that's "conference" for the un-geeked)? New footage is spilling out like water from WonderCon, held recently, and Green Lantern is pouringSeeing Green... Lanterns

Wizard Entertainment The "New York Jedi" are making a stop at the "Wizard World" convention in Philadelphia this coming weekend. They'll even train people on sword choreography! Sounds like a funJedi training in Philly

When I returned from my vacation yesterday, my computer would not recover from hibernation mode (i.e., it wouldn't turn on). I went into a local computer store today to askA child's view of computer repair

Obviously the European fascists are being hurt by the global economic problems. In an effort save money, they've apparently let their entire marketing department go. While I applaud their frugality,Slow economy affects European fascist marketing

(I'm pretty much stealing this post from Walt. I didn't ask him. Is that a breach of civility?) So the Today show is doing a series called "Is Civility Dead?" BelowDeath of Civility

Okay, after my last post I got sucked into the world of lightsabers on YouTube and ran across these two series: Three in the Afternoon (and the upcoming sequel, Six inMore Jedi Fighting

A while back my daughter got a look at a minute or so of a Godzilla movie. Here is her description of the film (with some interjections from her sister): SorryTuesday TubeWatch: Godzilla... You gotta see that movie!

The Dark Knight is coming out on July 18th. Everyone has heard of that. And I can't wait. But did you know about Batman Gotham Knight, the animated DVD (also downloadable)Batman Gotham Knight

Saving money thru the power of cluelessness

Earlier this year I had the windows in my house replaced. This cost more money than I had on hand, so I took the loan offered through the company who sold me the windows. Aside from an 11% interest rate, there were terms that would give me time to get a better loan at a lower rate, at which point I was going to pay off the original loan.

So, life happened and time went on. I was delayed in getting the new loan slightly, but managed to get it within a short time of the original loan beginning to accrue interest.

I called this morning to get the payoff amount for the original loan. They quoted an amount including $370 of interest. I said thank you, and hung up, ready to write a check.

Then I thought about it for a minute and realized that was way more interest than I expected, so I did some math. I computed it assuming either daily or monthly compounding, but no matter how I did it, I only came up with $160 of interest due.

$210 is a bit large of a discrepancy for me to swallow. I accept that I’m not a financial wizard, but that’s a rather big difference.

So I called back. I told them how I computed the interest and the difference I found, and asked them to explain what I was doing wrong. I knew it had to be something I was doing wrong, but I wanted to know what it was. She told me that the contract I signed was for an actuarial loan vs. a simple loan. I said, “ok. What does that mean?”

After being put on hold, the woman came back and said she’d have a loan officer call me to discuss. I said, “Great. I just want to know how the quoted payoff was calculated. Thanks.”

A few minutes later, the phone rang. It wasn’t the loan officer, it was the same lady again. This time she sounded tired… a little defeated. She reiterated that the contract I signed was for an Actuarial loan, but the loan officer decided to treat it as a simple loan, so my payoff would include just $160 of interest!

I was actually speechless for a second. A bank just ate $200 in revenue simply because I didn’t understand how an Actuarial loan worked, and they didn’t want to explain it to me. I’m positive that in reality they made no mistake in their calculations. They were legitimately owed the full $370. But simply because I asked how they got that number, I saved $210. That’s just awesome!

The lesson for today: if you don’t understand something, ask a question. Worst case scenario is that you’ll learn something. Or maybe you’ll save some dough!

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