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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

You may have been watching the news recently and noticed with interest (hee hee!) that interest rates have dropped to an almost unheard of 2.5%, dropping 25 basis points.  This means that the interest rates of today, in 2013, are actually the lowest recorded interest rates since 1959.

So, what does that have to do with me, you might ask.  Well, there's this thing called the "Australian Dream", the dream of owning one's own home.  The advantages are numerous, including the ability to renovate at will, not having to keep shifting stuff from one place to another, and best of all, no inspections!!

But I digress.

What I actually mean is that this might just be a good time to get your first home loan and lock in a low interest rate with a building society with low interest rates like Newcastle Permanent.  Customer service reviews show that they actually answer the phone when you call so you don't have to speak to a robot every time you call up.  I appreciate that kind of attention to detail, it makes all the difference when you really want to get some information quickly.

At this point in time, you can get a fixed rate mortgage for your first home with a set period for the fixed rate of between 1 and 10 years.  Or you can go for the variable option, depending on your requirements, it's a very personal thing so it's really up to you which way you go.

For first home buyers, you need around 5-10% deposit of the total purchase price, which is a sensible amount, and first home buyers may also be eligible for the first home buyers grant scheme.  This grant provides a boost for anyone wishing to purchase their first home.

The site has a bunch of useful tools including a loan calculator and graph facility, to let you know what your rate and repayments would be over a chosen time period.  You can choose from 10-50 year terms, although a lot of people tend to fall somewhere in the middle of these numbers, for example 25 years or so.  It all depends on how quickly you want to pay off your home and how you can arrange your budget to do so.

For example, I tried out a hypothetical loan, $320,000 (which is a reasonable amount for a humble blogger such as myself), 10 year fixed rate home loan and a payment period of 25 years.  The results are below:

I think I could manage that quite nicely. And I suppose if I can do it, there's a high likelihood that you probably can too.

It's quite fun playing around with the options on the calculator. I estimated repayments on a 2,000,000 loan over 50 years, and then over 10 years. That's just how I roll.

You could try it yourself with figures that apply to your situation and see what the results are.

All in all, judging by the current interest rate situation, it is pretty clear that at this very moment in time, harking back to other golden era's in interest rates, now is probably one of the best time to set up your first home loan. After all, you only get two 1959s in a lifetime!

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

The theme today is "SPACE!"  What kind of space, you say?  Surface space?  Room space?  Yard space?

No, I'm talking about space itself.  You know, the great unknown, the heavens, universes, mutiverses, string theory, brane (M-Theory), quantum physics and did you know that we're not really here but exist in many dimensions at once and we're all made of material that fits on something smaller than the head of a matchstick.

...sorry, got a bit carried away there.  Back to the pretty stuff:

When I was a kid, I created a "Starlight Zone" display on my ceiling, replicating the solar system in orbit.

Can we possibly improve on this?  Um,... yes.

Japan Trend Shop and friends have come up with the R2D2 star projector.  Over 60,000 stars, X-Wings, Tie Fighters, Star Wars characters and hours of fun.  And it runs on AA batteries, just like the real R2D2 (?!?!?) tee hee!!

R2D2 Planetarium Projector

The lovely people at Vintage Confections / The Original Planet Lollipops have out-nerded the lolly gods and created a brilliant set of solar system lollipops.

The Original Planet LollipopsTM Solar System

And just when you thought the awesomeness had finished...

Some folks believe the earth is flat.  Still.  Well, they don't believe in climate change, anyway.  Some believe dinosaurs didn't exist, despite fossils and stuff.

Despite human stupidity, science has provided us with a few tips.  The earth isn't the centre of the universe, orbits are ellipses, not perfect circles, and a big-assed meteorite probably wiped out the dinosaurs.  Don't believe me?  Here's proof that stuff from outer space ends up hitting the earth at some point or other...


Apparently, some meteorites being sold online are not genuine meteorites.  I know, shocking, right?  So how do you check if your meteorite is the real deal?

According the the knowledgeable people at Aerolite, these are the things to look out for:

1 - If it sticks to a magnet, it could very well be a meteorite.  It's not a guarantee but it helps!
2 - If it has holes in it (or 'vesicles') or is porous/grainy it's probably not a meteorite.
3 - If is H-E-A-V-Y, much heavier than normal rocks of a similar size, it probably is a meteorite.

Otherwise, you might just have a normal rock that's been spray painted silver or a piece of hematite.  Which, although pretty, kind of defeats the purpose of having an extra-terrestrial rock in the first place!

What space stuff would be complete without the answer to one of the most important questions in the universe... "Are we alone?"

Yeah right, we live on a planet the size of a speck of specky specky stuff in a big specky ball of universe-y stuff and we think we're the only ones?

It's funny how the skeptics tend to lean towards us being alone in the universe/multiverse/multi-multi-megaverses when the law of averages says its more likely we're not alone.

Oooh, spooky.  No, not really, just logic.

Anyway, the truth is out there in the form of.... Alien soap!!!

The folks at Bubblegenius have come up with a rather amusing gift basket in the form of... Alien abduction!!!

Alien Abduction Soap Gift Basket

Please note that no cows were harmed in the making of this gift basket.  Literally.  It's vegan.  And they glow in the dark!  The cow doesn't glow because it hasn't been irradiated by the aliens yet.

I can't say that it's going to be a particularly vegan experience for the real alien abduction cows though... Did I just say that?  Uh oh...

Nothing to see here...

Thingy Whatsitcalled


What was I talking about?