Rosa’s Day

Rosa has been doing pretty well since she moved in. She likes the backyard, made friends with the dog next door, loves going for walks, and had her first vet appointment last week. She even got to meet Jeb and Kathy yesterday. One thing about her is that she will take food wherever she can get it, so you can’t take your eye off your own food and I have had to move the garbage can to the utility room so she can’t get to it.

Today I got home from work at the usual time and Austin was glad to see me. But no Eric, and no Rosa. I figured they might be on the back patio, so I let Austin out and we went over to see Eric. No Rosa. I said “Where’s Rosa?” and Eric said he had texted me as soon as he got home at 1:00 asking if she was at the vet or something (I never got the text). So he had been home for 5 hours and hadn’t seen her. I don’t see how she could have gotten out of the house, but she is microchipped and I just got her a new collar with a collar tag with my name and phone number on it which she has been wearing for a couple of days. I looked in my room, the living room, the kitchen, and then I remembered I had some fried chicken yesterday and threw the bones in the garbage. I bet she was in the utility room somehow. I opened the door of the utility room and there she was. The utility room is pretty small, so she had pushed her way in (door may not have latched or I just forgot to close it), but when she knocked the garbage can over, it shut the door on her. I’m sure she enjoyed the chicken bones and whatever else was in that garbage can. I guess Austin had the house to himself today.

Silver, Part 2

I wrote about investing in silver a few weeks ago. At the time I purchased a few silver coins, not much, but a good sampling of US, Canadian, and Austrian coins. A total of ten coins for a little over $20 each, with the hope that if silver goes up in value I could get all of my money back and then some by selling them. I took pictures of them for the blog, and took measures to keep them from tarnishing that I hope work.

There are other coins as well though. JM Bullion, where I bought my coins, doesn’t have a huge selection, sticking mostly to true bullion coins as well as “rounds” which are made by private mints and generally cost less for the same amount of metal. Another company, APMEX, has a lot more selection, but they are typically a little higher than JMB, plus APMEX charges for shipping on orders less than $5000 . . . Until this week, when they decided to give away free shipping. This seemed like a pretty good opportunity, but a lot of the fancier coins that APMEX sells are priced too far over the market price of silver to make me think they are a decent investment. For instance, Australia makes a silver coin with a kookaburra on one side (Queen of England on the other) and every year since they first started making them, they use a different design for the kookaburra (the queen gets revised every now and then as she ages). They also limit production. The result is you pay more for a kookaburra, but it also goes up in value over time even if silver stays the same price. A lot of silver collectors really like the Kookaburra, nicknaming them “Kooks,” which is probably appropriate for people who horde silver. The Kookaburra coin was so successful that Australia made a Koala coin (kangaroos are on their gold coin while their platinum coin features a platypus). Well, koalas are pretty cute. The United Kingdom mints a coin that features Britannia, a deity that represents Britain, sort of equivalent to lady Liberty appearing on US coins. The Britannia design changes every year as well (sort of, they are saying now that the bullion coin won’t change, but the proof coin will), and the coins tend to be pricey (Chinese coins are the most expensive, featuring panda bears).

Silver Kookaburra

Australia Silver Kookaburra

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Wikipedia Article

I feel like I have a lot of experience with wikis and Wikipedia, having run my Flashlight Wiki for several years now, plus editing a few Wikipedia articles, sometimes pretty extensively. Wikipedia is more challenging than my own wiki because there are a lot of rules there requiring you to cite sources, use proper formatting, proper grammar, proper commas, etc. I always feel like someone on Wikipedia will flag something I write as being bad, though I don’t think it has ever happened. With all of that oversight and rules, it is interesting that Wikipedia tells people to “Be bold” when editing.

Lately I’ve been dabbling in precious metals investing, starting out with the purchase of a gold coin, then a silver exchange traded fund, and then some individual silver coins. The coins are fun because they are tangible whereas stocks, mutual funds, and exchange traded funds are really just numbers. Those numbers represent real money, but it is kind of abstract. The coins are little pieces of artwork, with some national culture thrown in. And they are the most basic form of money. You can’t really do anything with them, and it will probably be a pain to sell them, but it’s like having a small supply of buried treasure.

My gold and silver coin purchases have included Vienna Philharmonic coins minted by Austria. These are popular due to the their low cost over the market price of silver, and the design, featuring musical instruments, is attractive (more attractive than Queen Elizabeth who appears on all of the coins minted by Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand). The Philharmonics aren’t often the best-selling bullion coin in the world, but they are in the top 5 for sure (lately Canada sells the most gold coins and the United States sells the most silver coins). There are Wikipedia articles about a lot of the different bullion coins, but the Philharmonics were tucked into a very long article about all of the different coins minted in Austria, which include a number of commemorative coins printed every year. Some of them are very pretty, but they are for coin collectors, not investors (maybe). People who are just interested in bullion coins would probably rather see a separate article, but there wasn’t an article about the Philharmonics. Sort of. There was an article that I found later on about the silver Philharmonics, and there was an article in the German language Wikipedia about both the gold and silver Philharmonics, which makes sense because they feature the exact same artwork. I had Google translate the German article so I could read it, and there was a lot of good information there. I thought it would be good to start a new article on the Philharmonics in English.
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Austin has been pretty lonely during the day since Katie died. He doesn’t really do much, so Katie’s constant barking at the postman or whoever else is walking by was a big source of activity for him. Plus I like the idea of having two dogs anyway. Since Eric had worked at the animal shelter nearby, I figured he would be a good resource to pick out a new friend for Austin. He gave me a list of names and I took it over there yesterday. They had the head dog guy talk to me and I said I probably was leaning away from a puppy since Austin is 10 years old and doesn’t want to play that much. I showed him my list, but instead he brought me Rosa, an older female mutt with a tan coat (they said she is a labrador retriever mix, but she’s probably more pit bull terrier than anything), a little smaller than Austin. I didn’t bring Austin on this trip, but brought him by a little later and the two of them seemed to do pretty well on a walk. Rosa was used to being around another male, having arrived at the shelter with her son, then paired up later with another male. Rosa herself had been at the shelter for almost five years and is now about 10 years old. She and her son were given up when their owners’ house was foreclosed on in 2009. Her medical records say she had heartworms then too. They said she is very scared of thunder, and she has a chipped tooth and some damage to one of her ears. She won’t win any beauty contests, but she is still pretty cute. The shelter brought her by yesterday so they could also do a home inspection, which I think is good.

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