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Credit Card Traps, Coincidences and Toastmasters

I have noticed that Credit card companies are charging all kinds of fees these days, unless you are paying attention to the details and fine print, these fees can add up. For example, the convenience of using credit cards when you are traveling abroad now comes with a cost. Yes, most card companies are charging a "Foreign Currency" finance charge and it could be in dollars, not cents, depending on your transaction. I was surprised to see them on my statements after my recent trip to India. My strategy has been to accrue miles this year, and I have been charging everything ans anything on credit cards these days. But I should not have followed that approach while I was in India and Amsterdam. Oh well, lesson learned.
watch out for those credit cards man. Of course, this is petty cash compared to late fees, interest and finance charges that many in America pay, but those of us who believe in paying full amounts each month, and on time, you could be in for a surprise if you don't watch out.

Now, why did I say that there are so many coincidences in my life? well, just after I had witnessed my Amex statement this morning, with this stupid finance charge on it, NPR played this story talking about that same (well almost) issue. And if you had read my blog from a few days ago, you read about my CYCOLOGY coincidence. Well, the list will go on.

Just got back from Dot Net Users Group meeting and now its time for some relaxing...but not for long. I must get ready for a Roast speech I am giving tomorrow evening at the East Brainerd Toastmasters Club. This is in honor of Jan Daigle, my mentor in Toastmasters, who is finishing up one year of service as Division C Governor in District 63. Its an honor for me and a speech credit in a manual that will also help me, my club and my fellow toastmasters achieve awards and recognition, all at once. After finishing this speech, I will receive, Advanced Communicator Bronze, my club will receive Distinguished Club status and my friend Bart Burns will receive Club Coach Award along with me. All this while I roast Jan in front of my fellow toastmasters, who will also give me positive feedback. Now what more could one want? This is probably a great example of positive insanity Mark Therrien was talking about...

Pretending To Be Your Guide

Recently Sanjay and I went on a small hike and once there, as the camera rolled, I pretended to be a tourist guide. This is all impromptu, with some really funny moments. Enjoy!

http://youtube.com/watch?v=ZdPZKP_soNk

Insanity and Cycology

Was up late Tuesday night arranging the library at home. Found some great books on tape. Started listening to "Power of Positive Insanity" by Mark Therrien today. I was laughing out loud on the way to work. I plan to ditch NPR, which I forgot to include as my favorite news-letters (pun intended) in my last post, for next few days while I finish his tapes:-)

Last evening, I resurrected my bicycle from the garage. Enjoyed a tough ride in the neighborhood and went to Kashyap residence about 10 minutes away for dinner. When I came back up the hill, I was exhausted, but in a good way. It felt good with the exercise I have missed for months. Coincidentally, Frazier Crane had a show on Fox's local channel, that was devoted to his cycling embarrssments. The last part of the episode was aptly named "CYCOLOGY" which I though was funny.

Still enjoying the Positive Insanity tapes. If nothing, someday it may help me in my insanity defense:-)

My newsletters

Just thought I would post this. These are the newsletters I subscribe to and a little excerpt from each one. Of course, there are more that I will have to dig out, but this is a sampler...

  • Zig Ziglar (subscribe here)
    The Art of Being, Doing and Having
    By Zig Ziglar

    One of my favorite phrases is, "You've got to be before you can do and do before you can have." In short, you have to be a person of character and do the right things, and then you can have the things you really want. To make the "be, do have" theory valid, look at some examples in your own life..... (I have the complete email if you are interested)

  • The Exchange (Subscribe here)
    This month's topic -- Telephone and Electronic Etiquette
    1. Email Guidelines for Organizations
    2. What Our Clients Are Saying
    3. Phone Tips for Dummies (and Really Smart People Too)
    4. In The News
    5. Mum's The Word
    6. Dear TLC
    7. Some Very Funny Web Name Bloopers
    8. Happy Birthday!
    9. Featured Service
    10. CEO Corner
  • Word of the Day (subscribe here)
    incipient \in-SIP-ee-uhnt\, adjective:
    Beginning to exist or appear.
    for example..."Shiv gradually became aware that he was onto something big, bigger than anything he had ever done before. He was nudged by an incipient awareness that perhaps it was even too big for him."

  • TIPS from Toastmasters (subscribe here)
    Member Numbers Reach Seven Digits
    Recently, Toastmasters International issued member number 1,000,000 to Michael Wilson of
    Moorabbin Saints Toastmasters Club, club number 6760 in Moorabbin, Australia. While this
    does not mean that we have reached the million-member milestone – member numbers are
    assigned to clubs, districts and other entities as well as individual members – it is cause for
    reflection on the magnitude and success of the organization....
  • My newsletters

    Just thought I would post this. These are the newsletter I subscribe to and a little excerpt from each one. Of course, there are more that I will have to dig out, but this is a sampler...

  • Zig Ziglar (subscribe here)
    The Art of Being, Doing and Having
    By Zig Ziglar

    One of my favorite phrases is, "You've got to be before you can do and do before you can have." In short, you have to be a person of character and do the right things, and then you can have the things you really want. To make the "be, do have" theory valid, look at some examples in your own life..... (I have the complete email if you are interested)

  • The Exchange (Subscribe here)
    This month's topic -- Telephone and Electronic Etiquette
    1. Email Guidelines for Organizations
    2. What Our Clients Are Saying
    3. Phone Tips for Dummies (and Really Smart People Too)
    4. In The News
    5. Mum's The Word
    6. Dear TLC
    7. Some Very Funny Web Name Bloopers
    8. Happy Birthday!
    9. Featured Service
    10. CEO Corner
  • Word of the Day (subscribe here)
    incipient \in-SIP-ee-uhnt\, adjective:
    Beginning to exist or appear.
    for example..."Shiv gradually became aware that he was onto something big, bigger than anything he had ever done before. He was nudged by an incipient awareness that perhaps it was even too big for him."

  • TIPS from Toastmasters (subscribe here)
    Member Numbers Reach Seven Digits
    Recently, Toastmasters International issued member number 1,000,000 to Michael Wilson of
    Moorabbin Saints Toastmasters Club, club number 6760 in Moorabbin, Australia. While this
    does not mean that we have reached the million-member milestone – member numbers are
    assigned to clubs, districts and other entities as well as individual members – it is cause for
    reflection on the magnitude and success of the organization....
  • This and That

    Memorial Day weekend is here. My friend Sanjay and I are planning to start playing Golf seriously. He actually went ahead and bought a set of clubs. Last Friday, we practiced our swings at the Moccasin Bend Golf Course's driving range. The lessons I had taken in year 2001 didn't quite help, but surely I was better than just a first timer. But need to focus on the lessons. Hoepfully, I will have time to take more lessons soon. Meanwhile, practice will continue again this weekend.

    Memorial Weekend is also our first meeting anniversary. in 2001, I had met Manjiri for the first time in Nashville and that was the Memorial Weekend. I am missing her right now since she is still in India:-(

    My parent's cruise experience was fantastic. They enjoyed the food and 10 story ship very much, it seems. The visit to Lakshdweep island was only a nominal one, nothing much to write home about. They took some pictures using my old digital camera (Nikon Coolpix 3100), so I am eager to see those pictures now. My mom is fascinating in these technology things and I am proud of her for taking on these adventures. Baabaa got a bit dizzy when the ship was rocking a bit, but he slept well in the cabins at night. Now they are back on land and happy about their trip experience. More soon.

    Code Orange in Chattanooga

    Air Pollution Board of Chattanooga announces Code Orange for today. Read more about it here. And I am already beginning to show signs of allergy suffering since I came back from India. I have been sneezing, coughing and mildly irritated with allergens since March, and on days like this I can feel it. Last week, out of desperation, I even went to an Allergy Clinic (Allergy Care of Chattanooga) and got myself tested for all kinds of allergens. The tests were painful and irritating but revealed that I have mild allergies to cats and some major allergies to dust mites as well as certain pollens and dust mites. So living with cats is not dengerous, but when effects of cats' dander is combined with outside allergens like pollen etc, my symptoms get worse. So Pooja and Raja no longer get to stay in our bedroom anymore. Its one place off limits for them from now on. Poor pooja...

    But I am not taking any medication suggested by the allergy specialist yet. I am still in denial that I can be a victim of allergies. I am just going to clean up my environment as much as I can and try to avoid dosing myself. Immune system can be enhanced in many ways, I suppose...

    Today, I brought my lunch from home because I don't want to go out and face the code orange. How many of you have a similar problem? Write me your stories by email (I have removed the comments feature here due to spam) but you already know my email address. I am curious.

    Star Cruise in India

    My parents are embarking upon a unique experience today. They are going on a cruise with Star Cruises' Libra on the way to Lakshadweep. I am eager to hear of their experiences. Check out the website.

    More Pictures on PicasaWeb

    Manjiri and Shridhar are currently in India enjoying the company of extended family and when they come back in June, family life is going to have a whole new meaning!! I am so looking forward to it!!

    Oh by the way, I emailed some of my pictures for my India trip to many of you, but now I have uploaded a ton of them (1000 plus) on PicasaWeb. Check them out at your convenience. Click Here...

    Area Governor Of The Year

    Toastmasters District 63 announced their awards for the 2006-2007 year and they thought I did a good enough job as Area Governor to receive "Area Governor Of The Year" award. I feel honored. All I did was follow the manual (there is one for Area Governor as well:-) ) and clubs in my area did everything they can to help me. I certainly learned a lot of lessons along the way. It has been a great Toastmasters year for me. I finished my High Performance Leadership Project, my first CL Manual was finished, all my clubs will be distinguished by end of June and I will also have achieved my AC-Bronze after I give a speech next week. In July, after successful completion of Area Governor term, I will also become eligible for AL-Silver award. provided I receive the Club Coach award as well for helping Wordspinners.And now this award. All in all, a lot of achievement, right before I take some time off from heavy Toastmasters activity to spend some quality time with our son, Shridhar.