I Love the City

Living in the city is an experience unlike anything else. The sites, the action, the energy, there is nothing that can replace it. I never really considered myself a city person until I actually lived downtown for awhile...

The Business World

Do you remember a time before the internet when people had to get their news from newspapers, and if you wanted to buy some stock you had to call your stockbroker on the phone? And possibly worst of all, there was no GPS, not even MapQuest; how did we ever get anywhere?

Cars keep changing

New cars today might be cool-looking, but you do not have any real choice if you want to swap out the head unit on the radio. Ten years ago all cars had pretty much same shaped rectangular head unit and it was easy to replace it with an aftermarket unit. That is not so easy today with all these custom styles...

I miss being a kid

Being a kid is this magical experience and you do not realize how awesome it is until you are an adult. Everything is creative and fun, everything is an adventure, and then you go to sleep and wake up the next day and do it all again...

Bonding

It is kind of amazing how you can know so many people, yet so few are worthy of being called your -friends-. I am not sure if that is related to the monkeysphere or if most people are just crazy and probably not people who would make good friends, anyway...

The Smell

skunk

My friend suggested that I see if I can get an air freshener for my apartment.  I don’t know if he was saying that my place needs to be free off allergens or what but he was over here the other day and he mentioned it so I figure I might as well look into it.  My place is really just a one bedroom and I’ve got a kitchen and a living room of course but it’s still a pretty nice place and I want to see if I can do everything I can to make it feel awesome.  I’ve got some nice stuff in it but the one thing I haven’t even thought of was getting an air freshener.  I don’t think he was talking about the kinds that make your place scented like plants or whatever, but I mean an air purifier to get rid of some of the dust or whatever in the air.  I was looking around to try and find one that would work and wouldn’t be too big or whatever and I was reading about the hot ones and the different brands and stuff and I read a review of the Whispure 510 which seems like it might work.  I would probably want to read some more about it before I  decide, and there are a few other ones that I want to look at by companies like Kenmore or whatever but it’s  a pretty cool idea actually I think and it might be something that I would like to look into getting.

If it can keep me from getting allergens in the air then it would definitely be a good investment.  I don’t think I really have anything like that that makes me have a runny nose but you never now, and it’s something that would be helpful to have, I think.  So I’m gonna do a little bit more searching online and see what I can find and then if I decide I want one I might go ahead and get one as long as I can find one that I think will work.  I just need to make sure that there isn’t anything strange that I need to know before I get one, and I am pretty sure that you can replace the filter or whatever if it ever gets dirty.  I know that the ventilation system in here has a filter on it, but I think these purifiers work a bit differently in the air and need their own kind of filter to keep from getting dirty after a while.  So I’m going to look and see what I can find and then if I decide to get one I’ll have to mention it to my friend since it was his idea in the conversation we were having the other day that got me interested.

Landscape Renovation

grass

My backyard is pretty great, I must admit, but I have been thinking about adding to it.  Right now it is just a grassy area surrounded by a fence and there’s a little deck on the back of my house but it isn’t really big enough to do much on other than fit a small grill up there.  I am thinking about putting a garden on one side and replacing my deck with one that is a bit larger so I’ll have more room out there.  I also was thinking about adding a box to play horseshoes since my friends and I all like that game, but I think that that might not go with the overall feel that I am looking for.  So really, what I want is a place that is a bit more active so that when people come over we’ll have a place to stand on the deck while we make some food, and I also want a garden so that I can grow some flowers and have it look nice.  Another part of the reason seeing my backyard looking a bit different might help is I’m thinking about selling my house soon and I want something that looks all proper for the potential buyers.  I mean it’s just a regular yard right now without anything in it.

If people see it and think that they could see themselves and their friends hanging out there, that would make them more likely to be interested in the house.  So rather than just this small little patio I have now, if I had a garden and some metal garden furniture and stuff out there that would create a space that would look more like the kind of thing people could imagine themselves in.  Of course, even if I don’t sell it, that would still make it more of a space to entertain people when they come over, and the one thing I like to do is have people over and eat outside!  So that’s really the only thing I have been thinking about doing to my home.  The rest of everything is pretty up to date, the kitchen is new, and the living room and everything has all new floors in it so it looks pretty brilliant.  The only issue I’m having with the things I want to do is that I’m not much of a designer.  When I see something that looks nice I know it, but I can’t really come up with the ideas myself, so I might have to give someone a call and see what they recommend.  There isn’t really anything else I’ve thought of but I might be surprised when they tell me what they think I should do, so I’m going to have to see if I agree or not with them.

Surf Classes

surf guy

I absolutely like trying new things, and one of the things I would like to try is surfing.  That brings me to the first concert of questions, though:  How does one learn?  Most of the other new activities I’ve tried I had someone show me how to do it.  When I learned to ride a bike (meaning a motorcycle), when I first went rollerskating (yes, skating), and when I learned how to climb a rock wall, I had people show me how to do it.  So it seems like surfing is probably no different and it would be a good idea to get someone to teach you.  The only problem is I don’t exactly live near a beach.  Well, at least not one that I would be able to surf at where I would like.  So I think I’m going to have to find a place that can teach me.  I know those exist because I actually have seen them before.

There is a Costa Rica surf camp that I have been checking out on the net and it seems like a really exciting camp.  They give you lodging and everything and they teach you how to do all things related with surfing during the day and then you can hang out and do whatever you want in the evening.  I’ve never been there and it seems like a pretty nice place, at least based on what I’ve seen, so it would be pretty coolbeans to go there.  And the part that I like is that it’s a multi day thing so it’s not like you just get one lesson and then that’s it.  And that’s probably really correct, too, because I don’t think you could master surfing after only one lesson.  I really can’t master anything after one lesson.  So it seems like I’m going to be getting more information about this place and seeing if it really looks like something that I want to do.  I’m going to see if I can get some more information about things I need to know to surf in general, too.  I really haven’t got any idea about what to expect other than I know that you’re riding a board on the water.  I think that paddling out to the waves is probably not that hard (watch me be incorrect about that) but it seems like standing up on a wave is the hardest part based on the little that I’ve always seen with people.  I’m ready to surf.

Running And Posture

run

I have been going running with one of my friends for a while and things are actually really cool.  I’m not one of those people who enjoys running really, but there is something about doing it with a friend that makes it better.  We usually just run around the neighborhood but on occasion we will take another route or go somewhere else just for a change of pace.  I have found that if I get a good pair of running shorts I am much more comfortable.  It’s actually like I don’t even mind jogging now.  When I started I didn’t like it and I would get tired after only a few minutes, but I can now go a few kilometers and I still have energy!  My friend on the other hand is much more experienced than I am and she usually goes for a few more kilometers than I do.  We will finish up and I’ll head home but she will keep going.

She was telling me about some of the injuries and stuff she has had from running.  One of them that I know all about are shin splints.  She said she also had some problem with her arm because she wasn’t running with good posture, and another time her hip was hurting and she was worried that she had hip osteoarthritis but it ended up being something else that she was able to cure with some rehab.  I think that as your ability to run distances increases the more proper form becomes necessary.  So I am trying to make sure that I have good posture and everything now before I get any bad habits.

I am also trying to make some progress in my field hockey.  Although I haven’t been practicing a lot it is something that I think is getting better because of the increased endurance that I have from my cardio training.  I am going to start doing that again so I don’t lose any of the moves that I had.  It would also be pretty entertaining if I could get my friend into field hockey with me so that I’d have someone to practice with.   I don’t think she is really going to start playing but I can always see if she likes it.  I don’t even think she knows much about it.  But for now I am just going to stick with running and see if I can become as great as my friend.

My Exercising

workouts

I have been spending some time reading about different kinds of workouts recently.  I would like to get a workout that involves a lot of weight lifting since that is something that I am interested in.  I think that I would like to get stronger and see if I can get to the point where I can bench press more than I can now.  When I go to the gym I don’t really lift weights that much although I do on occasion just to see what it is like and how I am doing but most of my workouts consist of doing some jogging and also some weight stuff that just uses my body.  I am going to be pretty good at doing things like climbing a rope and also doing backward pushups which is basically when you do pushups the other way.

I’m looking at some of the supplements that I have seen advertised for people who are trying to meet their fitness goals and a few that I have been reading about include protein, which pretty much is the main one, creatine, which people use to help put on muscle and I think it is supposed to give your muscles more ATP or something like that, and then I saw one that was supposed to make you get more energy except it wasn’t caffeine, it was something else.  I can’t remember what it was called.  There probably are others but I don’t remember.  Many of the supplements are available from different companies and I’m wondering how people are supposed to know which is best.  A website I was reading was talking about garcinia cambogia and it is a pill that is supposed to help people get in shape but I didn’t really read too much of it since I don’t think that I would need that kind of product.

Oh, the best thing I have found to do at the gym is go when it is not too busy because then you don’t have to wait to use any of the stuff.  It’s kind of something I like because even though I don’t mind when there are other people at the gym it tends to let you get more focused when you aren’t having to wait for anything.  I can just go do my thing and get in the right area and then finish up and have a shower.  The place next to where I work out has some good items for sale and I will go there when I need to get something that I realize I need.

Getting Stuff Done

sunrise

I am up bright and early today which feels weird because I usually sleep in like a hibernating bear on my days off of work. I just have a lot going on today so I decided to get up to get a head start on everything. I am still sipping on my extra strong black coffee so I decided to go ahead and write this as it is on my list to get done. I actually have been meaning to write this for a while but it is one of those things that I never get around to doing. What usually happens is I say I’m going to do it after work but then when that time rolls around I’m so tired that I say I’ll do it the next night and then the same thing happens. I’ll probably be online for a bit longer as when I am done this I have to do a couple other things like paying bills and replying to some emails. I am also bad at that as I have some emails that are over a week old that I haven’t gotten around to replying to. Thankfully all my friends and family know about my procrastinating ways so they won’t be upset.

My main goal today will be organizing my new workspace area. I cleared out some space downstairs for it and am looking excited to working there. I needed more room than my little office which is where I was doing everything before. I bought some nice wire shelves that are going to be very helpful in getting things organized. I plan on spending a couple hours at least down there with a break or two in-between to check my email and get a snack.

My secondary goal today is to figure out what I am going to do about my car. I’m at the point now in my ownership with it that I either need to trade it in or keep it for the long haul. It needs some work and work costs money of course. I really like driving it so I’m leaning towards keeping it. I might take it to a couple dealerships to see what they offer for it and go from there. I know that I am going to stick with the same make and model (Toyota Camry) if I do get something newer. I have had two of them and they are about as reliable as they come.

A Friendly Competition

chess pieces

My husband and I decided to get a little adventurous with our finances this year. Both of us moved into new positions at our jobs at the last three years or so and we’ve been able to put around a quarter of our total income in the bank. Now, with almost an entire year’s salary in the bank, we’re looking into investing. Richard wants to go with a more traditional approach, investing in certain companies and letting our money sit, but I’ve been looking into binary options as a way to invest. We’ve been going back and forth about how we should invest so we’re thinking about making it interesting.

Rick and I are thinking about making a friendly wager, giving ourselves each a decent sum of money to invest in each of our own ways. He’s going to invest in some traditional stocks and after reading about them at Financial Trading School, I’m going go with binary options and the winner gets to pick where we go next year on vacation. The wager will last for one year from the day we start. I’m hoping I’m right, because I could really use a trip to a tropical island this year. If Rick wins, I’m sure we’ll go out west or to the mountains again. Both of those are fun, but I’d really rather relax on a beach.

Why do I think I can win? Well, from what I’ve been seeing, binary options offer a chance for a person to take a little more risk but walk away with significantly more money than a standard investment. It’s actually a pretty interesting idea. Instead of buying a stock, you put money out there and you say “I think this stock will be at a certain level by the close of the trading day.” So, instead of letting money sit for weeks or month to earn a few percent, you invest a certain amount, say $100, and if that stock hits a certain mark by the designated time, your return is a much higher percentage. It’s almost like betting the spread in sports betting, which adds a level of excitement and challenge to investing.

All I know is that I think I can destroy Rick in our little wager and I can’t wait to be sitting in a bamboo chair listening to the sound of the ocean, getting some rays. Drinking a pina colada and living it up sounds like my idea of a perfect vacation, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to make it happen.

Traveling For Work

1415736_sunrise_at_pulau_tidung

Thanks to a very fortunate series of events, I have the opportunity to travel for work this summer. I’ve wanted to leave the country and experience another culture for a long time, but things keep happening. Either someone else gets picked to go or something happens to project funding and I’m stuck out here in the good ol’ midwestern US of A like I have been for the past twenty nine years.

Well, somehow I managed to luck out and I’m off to Indonesia for three months this summer. I’ve been there for twelve weeks, but I’ll really only be working for about three. We are opening a new regional office in Bali and I just have to be there to oversee a few things. I basically have to work when no one else is working, which means I work weekends but throughout the week I am completely free.

I plan on using this time to travel to as many different places as I can. Indonesia has hundreds (if not thousands, I’m not really sure) of islands, most of which all have unique things to do such as resorts, nightclubs, restaurants, golf clubs, etc. How can I afford this? Well, my company pays for room & board + food and that works out to around $100 a day. I’ll have to pay for travel expenses but for the most part, everything should be covered.

Speaking of travel expenses, I didn’t realize that the islands are far enough I’ll really need to fly from island to island. I guess the fact that Indonesia stretches across more than 3,000 miles of ocean didn’t really register. I talked to my boss, who was over there for a month while the building was under construction, and he told me about an airline there called Citilink that he used to travel. I checked it out, and it actually looks like a pretty good deal.

Citilink is an airline that operates within Indonesia and specializes in island to island flights. He told me that their planes are pretty nice, and that the prices were very reasonable. I did a little research and it looks like they have terminals at fifteen different airports throughout Indonesia and very soon they’ll actually have three more destinations on their flight paths. They have flights going to most of the major tourist islands in Indonesia, and from what I’ve read and heard from my boss, it will be my best bet for travel in Indonesia.

Why I Pay My Car Insurance 6 Months At A Time

calculator

It’s the time again.  I pay my my cheap car insurance in Clearwater in 6 month chunks.  I prefer doing it this way because then I don’t have to think about it again for another 6 months.  Sure, technically you can save a little money if you pay it monthly, but since savings accounts are barely paying anything right now, it’s not really going to make a difference.

Wait, let me expand on that.  I’ve been told that some companies charge you a little extra if you pay monthly.  Assuming that isn’t the case (meaning your 6 month bill is the same as 6 times your monthly bill), then it’s not really going to make a difference.  Sure, if you pay monthly then you can keep the extra money in your checking account and earn a little interest on it, but like I said, savings accounts aren’t even paying 1% right now, so you’re really not saving much money doing it that way.  Look at it like this:

Say your monthly premium is $50.  So you can pay 6 months at a time and that’s $300, or you can pay $50 a month and for the first month you will have an additional $250 in your savings account.  Now let’s say you’re lucky and your bank is paying a full 1% interest on your savings account, so you’ve got that $250 which is making 1/12 of 1% (cuz remember, your bank is paying you 1% per year, not per month).  One twelfth of 1% of $250 is just under $0.20.  So that first month you’ll have saved 20 cents by not paying it monthly.  The second month, after you make your second payment, you now have $200 left over (the balance of what you would’ve spent had you paid all 6 months up front).  One twelfth of 1% of $200 is less than $0.17.  So after two months you’ll have saved less than $0.37 doing it this way.  Finishing up the months and you’ll have made $0.61 in interest over the 6 months.

And that’s if your bank even pays 1% interest.  Most banks aren’t even paying that right now.

Look, I know every dollar counts, but I’d rather just pay it 6 months at a time up front and not have to worry about writing a check (or paying online) every month.  Maybe if we were talking $10 difference or something then it would be worth paying it monthly, but as it stands now there’s really no benefit to doing so.  And if your company charges you more to pay monthly then you should definitely pay it in 6 month segments if you can afford to do so.

The Nice Guy and the Nice Girl

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The “nice guy:”

Nice guys are nice because they think it’s the best strategy. They want to be respectful and all that stuff and think they’re better than the a-holes who screw them and ditch them. Unfortunately most women don’t see it that way.

I actually think the “nice guy” might be a remnant of the past when dudes had to behave differently because you had to win over a woman and her family with manners and grace and show that you were a good provider. You know, because women couldn’t have jobs or leave the house without a chaperone. I’m sure that game was different. Those ladies were probably still most attracted to the highest value men, though. I doubt some super beta guy would do well in that situation, either.

It’s like “nice guys” are applying traits that only work for dudes who are already alpha.

If you’re a super wussy dude and cry a lot and write poetry, is that going to get you many chicks? Not really.

But if you’re a manly dude who happens to write poetry and occasionally cries at a sad movie, it will make chicks want you even more (the key point being that they wanted you already).

“Nice guys” get it wrong. Chicks want their outlaw boyfriend with forearm tattoos to listen to them and have emotional talks with them, but when their friendzoned guy friend listens to them and has emotional talks with them, it’s not going to make them attracted to him. There’s no attraction there in the first place.

 

The “nice girl:”

Not too tough or aggressive, but maybe too tomboyish. Initially, until they figure it out.

Maybe the real equivalent would be… type A girls who have introversion without introspection. The kind of people who have a 10-year schedule by the age of 18 involving 8 years of study in a particular field, and not because it’s a field they actually care about (though they may tell themselves they do), but because society happens to consider it respectable and it appears to offer the most financial security (in the very long term).

I mean a person who will in theory “be open to” romance, adventure, and opportunities off the beaten path; in practice they will watch an endless number of romantic comedies, study like a beaver, develop an eating disorder or three, and either implode somewhere along the beaten path, or manage to traverse the whole thing out of sheer inertia. The penultimate result is a very small amount of sexual experience by the age of 30, and eventually a guy who is not Mr. Right, but definitely Mr. Responsible, and also Mr. Available At The Time. The ultimate result is a person who thinks they have virtues like “realism” and “responsibility,” because that’s what you tell yourself as you drift through middle age to the grave never having had the self-awareness to take advantage of being alive.