Sunday, December 27, 2015

How much did you really pay for medicare, social security, foreign wars, and welfare?

One of the reasons Americans have voted in so many policies and benefits is that they never considered the costs of the benefits or how much they would pay for it. Anything that is provided by the government is funded by the US tax payer either now or in the future.

Whenever taxes are withheld from your paycheck, everyone knows they are paying for roads, social programs, education, and police. But how much do you individually pay for these things?

If you are curious, you can pull up your last year's tax return and allocate the amount of tax owed by the expenses of the federal government.

In 2015, the United States federal spending was $3.7 trillion. Of this amount, the six largest budget items make up about 88% of total spending. The six largest budget items are as follows.

Medicare/Medicaid                                                       $1008 billion
Social Security                                                              $889 billion
Defense/War                                                                 $583 billion
Income Security (government assistance programs)    $303 billion
Federal Pensions                                                           $257 billion
Interest on the United States debt                                 $228 billion

As a percentage of total federal spending, the break down is listed below.

Medicare/Medicaid                          27%                      
Social Security                                 24%                                                            
Defense/War                                    16%                                                              
Income Security                                8%
Federal Pensions                               7%                                                
Interest on the United States debt     6%    

For example, lets say Bill paid the federal government $3900 in taxes for 2015. This how much he would have paid for the six largest federal budget items.

Medicare/Medicaid                           $1053                      
Social Security                                  $936                                                        
Defense/War                                     $592                                                          
Income Security                                $312
Federal Pensions                               $273                                          
Interest on the United States debt     $234


Friday, December 25, 2015

What is the optimal amount of government?

One of the questions I've wondered about for a while is if there is an optimum amount of government. Depending on a person's values, everyone will give a different response. Some on the left believe that government is directly responsible for prosperity so they want a government as big as possible. Conservatives want a smaller government, libertarians want government to get out of the way, and anarchists want no government. With these different view points, no one can agree on what the optimal level is.

Most people would not even know how to numerically measure how much government we have. Thankfully, Aaron Clarey gave a good way to measure the size of government. At least, I heard it from Aaron Clarey, someone else might have come up with it. The measurement is government spending as a percentage of GDP. Today in America, government spending equals about 40% of GDP. This is why America's economy is described as a mixed economy. Shockingly, Cuba is also described as a mixed economy.

The next factor to look at would be the economic indicator that best measures prosperity. So, it is important to consider either GDP or GDP per capital.  The higher the GDP or GDP per capital is in a country, the higher the standards of living will be. Other factors to consider would be purchasing power parity but to keep things simple, I believe the optimal level of government would be the spending to GDP percentage that yields the greatest GDP.

Being on the right side of the political spectrum, I hear a lot of opinions about how much waste and inefficiency is caused by the federal government. I do think that most of the right can agree that 40% government spending to GDP is way too much government. With welfare, WIC, SNAP, section 8, and other government programs, there is about 45 million Americans completely dependent on government programs for survival. In order to take care of these people, the federal government has to tax the hard working productive workers. Unfortunately, having this kind of welfare state encourages the poor to keep having children in order to collect more benefits. At the same time, the poor are deterred from earning more money because higher incomes will make them lose their benefits. If these programs were to be phased out of existence, the poor would not be deterred from trying to advance in careers. At the same time, they would not have so many children and they would have to scrape and claw their way for survival. Either that or perish. Which ever outcome that happens, we would have less of the poor.

With people off of welfare, there is less need to tax the productive citizens which gives them greater incentive to work. At the same time, those people formally on welfare are contributing more to GDP.

One of the biggest issues I have with government programs is that they are all a deferral of personal responsibility. Unemployment income is there to protect workers in the case they lose their jobs. Social security is there to protect workers from not saving enough for retirement. Medicare is there in case a man gets stricken with an illness. Unfortunately, these programs enable bad behavior. People today live paycheck to paycheck because there is some sort of safety net in place. But are there somethings that should be deferred to a bigger entity?

Often, one of the biggest criticisms I hear is directed at libertarians.

"What about the roads?"

Roads, infrastructure, and defense are too big of expenses for the average citizen to pay for. This is the biggest argument for having a government. Roads, infrastructure, and defense allows the average citizen to produce GDP at a high rate. Without roads or computer infrastructure, economies would be all on the local level. Physical movement becomes a real limitation. Roads and infrastructure would only be created by people if they perceive they could make a profit from it. Defense would also be needed to protect the country from foreign invaders. It is these things which I believe government does have its usefulness.

So then, what is the optimal level of government? Forty percent government spending to GDP seems way too high and zero percent seems completely unreasonable. Until I can find a better answer to this question, I'll simply go with Bernard Chapin's suggestion of the 10% state.

On a side note, while searching for the 10% state, I found that Cappy looked into this back in March of 2015. The essential government functions could be cut to a small as the 6.5% state.

Either way, it would be useful for any political active conservative to shoot for cutting government spending. The current 40% government spending to GDP is way too much.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Coffee, gas, and impulse spending

The other day, I was only my way to the Shell to fill up on gas. As I was filling up, I noticed an advertisement on the pump. Get a free coffee with a fill up (minimum $20). With gas being $1.80 per gallon where I live, I wouldn't exceed $20 per fill up. I would however exceed $20 if I filled up with premium fuel which costed $2.60 per gallon.

Oh, I see what they are trying to do.

I filled up with regular unleaded and the total amount came out to be $16.35. One cup of coffee would only cost about $2. I looked to the pump across from me and saw that the last customer paid exactly $20 for a fill up.

Impulse spending can be large ticket items. Impulse spending can also be several small transactions as well.

One free coffee would be all the motivation a man would need to go inside the food market and pick up the free coffee along with a pastry and some other item.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Genetic Failure

It is part of every mans biology that compels him to want to pass on his genes. He wants to pass on his legacy because he knows that his life will end one day. And if he can't pass on his genes, he might feel ... inferior.

This is was Liquid was feeling. Being a clone of the greatest soldier in history, his life was not really his. He was created to be a pure back up to the Big Boss. Liquid, Solid, and Solidus were all cloned and the ability to reproduce was engineered out so that no new copies could be created without the will of the patriots. Not only could they not breed, they were given significantly shorter lifespans. By the time Solid was in his 40's, he had the body of a man well in his 70's or 80's. After Liquid Ocelot's insurrection, Solid only had a few months to a year left to live.

We are all on the verge of death on the genetic level.

In order to break the curse of his heritage, Liquid wanted to create Outer Heaven. A military nation where war was perpetuated and soldiers would always have a place.

Solidus, knowing that his time was limited, wanted to destroy the patriots plan of censorship and go down in history as the man that freed America from tyranny of the patriots. He would be an exon in history. That would be his legacy.

Before the Shadow Moses incident, all Solid wanted to do was raise huskies and compete in dog sledding races. But afterwards, he dedicated his life to destroying nuclear bipedal tanks.

Every man has the urge to want to pass on his genes. If not that, he wants to do something to leave his mark on the world. But I have to think about it more logically. Not passing on genes might make a man feel inferior, but what about the man that does pass on his genes?

His offspring will be there to continue on his name, genes, and bloodline. However, when he dies, his genes will be gone. Once he is dead, his offspring and legacy can do no good for him.

It is for this reason I don't see the need to personally have children. It is for this reason that I want to try to use up as much of my wealth and money before my genes fade away. I'll take this life and enjoy it the way I want to live it.

Friday, December 18, 2015

The "Starter Marriage" Strategy

This happened a few years back when I was talking to an old friend. At the time, she was in her mid twenties. Towards the age of thirty was probably when she would want to find a husband and get married. It was then she told me her strategy of having a starter marriage.

She said she would find a man to marry but intentionally not have children with him in the very likely situation of having a divorce. The rationale was that she would use her first marriage to test the waters and see all the challenges of being married. And then experience all the mistakes that would lead to a divorce. By the time of her second marriage, she would have experienced what works and what doesn't work in a marriage and then she would feel safe enough of have children with her second husband. It this way, it was her second marriage that would be the successful marriage.

I don't think it was her intention to divorce rape the first husband for resources however I can't rule out that option. She wanted to have a husband and children to take care of her and provide for her.

Writing about this anecdote makes me sad on two levels. The first being was that my old friend had been through some rough patches getting out of a long term relationship and she had other personal problems she had dealt with growing up. I remember when I brought this up with her, she started shaking out of nervousness.

The second level is that this is probably what is common in today's dating market. Men and women today are just so broken that pair bonding is harder and harder to achieve.

With all that being said, try to never get involved with a woman that thinks starter marriages are a good idea.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The warnings we got in high school

Throughout high school, there were a lot of lies they told us about our futures and what we should expect. In my case, I was lucky to grow up in a conservative state. I never heard the advice "do what your heart tells you and the money will follow".

A lot of the real world knowledge came from my sociology teach oddly enough. She was the best teacher I had in high school because she didn't lie to us. She told us like it is. Being that she taught sociology, she didn't bother to follow the book or teaching materials for a good 70% of the semester. She boiled down sociology to the following statement.

"Life sucks and then you die." She really didn't sugar coat it at all. When you go or your friends go to college, they may have different experiences and become different people. During one class session, she was trying to convince one of the students not to major in journalism. The journalism industry is pretty flooded and good paying jobs are highly competitive. The student that was resisting eventually went on to participate in the OWS protests. It was from my sociology professor that I heard about the reality of the college system. She stated that college degrees are no where near as useful as they were in the past because college degrees have become more and more common in the last few decades. As a result, the job market became more and more competitive. Not only that, but tuition was constantly increasing in price. I only wish she could have more insight about what a worthwhile and worthless major was.

I had an economics teacher that was a conservative. During one of our class sessions, he mentioned that raising the minimum wage does nothing to help the poor. As the cost of labor increases, business have more incentive to fire excess staff and move towards automation.

I had a teacher that taught personal finance. She told the class a story about how her son was completely set on going to a traditional college to get a four year degree. She was trying to persuade her son to consider all of his options. She mentioned that trade schools only take two years to complete, are much cheaper than traditional colleges, and provide a man with good work percipience before entering the labor market. This was the closest I ever came to a teacher specifically recommending becoming an automotive mechanic, welder, or carpenter.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Trying Amazon Affiliate Again

A year or so ago, I tried making some money off the Amazon Affiliate program. I tried making some test orders to see if it worked but I never made any commission off of it. Also I wasn't sure if the program would net me money in the state I lived in.

I'm trying the program again to see if it works now. If anyone is about to buy something from amazon, please click the amazon banner in the top right of my blog. I just want to make sure if it will work this time for me.

I'd appreciate it greatly. Thank you.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

60 years worth of consumables

After celebrating another birthday, I always like to keep track of where I am and where I'm going. I'd estimate that I'd have another 60 years left to live and I wondered how much 60 years of consumables would look like.

I like to look at these figures to get a general idea of how much money I still need to earn.

60 years is roughly 21915 days.

I'd estimate a man would need 3 cans of food a day. 60 years of food would be 65745 cans of food.
One roll of toilet paper lasts about a week. 60 years of toilet paper would be 3120 rolls.
A tube of tooth paste should last about a month. I'd need 720 tubes left.
A large container of shower gel lasts about 4 months. I'd need another 180 containers.
One bottle of shampoo lasts me 6 months. I'd need another 120 bottles.
I'd spend a little extra on clothing and buy 3 sets of clothing a year. That totals of 180 sets of clothes.

It isn't a total list of consumables but its a start. It doesn't include major items like lodging and health care but if a man can afford all of this, he is in a pretty good position in life.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Would Nuclear Disarmament Put the World at Risk?

Over the last few months, I've heard news reports of people getting killed in mass shootings. It seems like a new one pops up every month or so. When it comes to guns, I believe that more guns make the world a safer place. After all, if everyone was armed and carrying, there would be less situations where one man could take out 20 people in a movie theater, school, or shopping mall. If everyone is armed and everyone knows everyone is armed, a deranged maniac would be shot to death if he tried something stupid. However, this is a just a theory. It is also likely that in the chaos and confusion, every armed man would think every other armed man was the deranged maniac and then there would be 200 dead men instead of 20.

I will admit that I have a strong bias to the first position. If everyone knows everyone is armed, then there is a deterrence to actually using a weapon. Commonly, these mass shootings have been happening in gun free zones. Deranged maniacs just want to shoot as many people as possible without getting shot at in the process. This is why police stations and military bases are usually not targeted by deranged maniacs.

I then started to wonder about a larger scale. Nuclear weapons are pretty much just really big guns. Today, there are about 17,000 nuclear weapons around the world in different countries. Throughout all of history, the atomic bomb was only used twice. The bomb that destroyed Hiroshima wiped out 90,000 to 150,000 people while the bomb that destroyed Nagasaki wiped out 40,000 to 80,000 people. The amount of nuclear weapons in the world could easily wipe out 700 million people on the low end.

Over the last several years, nations have been working towards disarming the nuclear weapons however it seems like total disarmament would be impossible. As countries continue to disarm their weapons, the countries that still have their weapons would be in more of a position to threaten other countries. The theory of nuclear deterrence falls to pieces.

By making the attempt to get rid of nuclear weapons, we might be increasing the risk of a deranged maniac actually using one. And even if total disarmament happened, the knowledge of how to develop the weapons still exists. Pandora's box was opened when that knowledge was discovered.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Dreams of Neo America

When the leaders in charge of the country mismanage the country and the future looks like it is going down the toilet, it is very easy for a man to feel depressed. Management of the nation is completely out of your hands, you have no control over major decisions.

To fix this mess, it seems completely futile to protest the government for positive changes. Any changes for the better will have to be made on the individual level. This is what you do have control over.

Sometimes a man would want to leave the nation behind in order to find a better home, a better nation where he could thrive. However, I've heard the opinion that just about every other country is in worse condition than my home.

Well, what if a man could form his own nation? A single man couldn't form a nation all by himself, well not a legitimate one anyway. For the last few years, my dream has been retiring as early as an age as possible. To do this, a man has to subject himself to the cheapest possible standard of living and find an adequate paying job in order to save up a war chest. With a good enough strategy, plan, and execution, a man could possibly have all the money and resources needed for the rest of his life by the age of 30, 35, or 40. What would a man do at that point?

In a few years, I'll be living in a steel shipping container somewhere in the south while I'm growing vegetables. I've had the idea of living alone for decades, but what if there were other people that wanted to live this sort of life? We wouldn't be subject to having normal jobs as we have already accumulated all the resources we needed. We would just be enjoying life doing things like farming vegetables, building furniture, or modifying houses.

The people attracted to this sort of lifestyle would be a high quality stock. People that knew what was important of life. Not people addicted to reality TV, popular culture, social justice warrioring, or consumerism. These people would be chasing the American dream of our founding fathers and that dream was freedom.

Neo America would not be a legitimate nation. It would be completely contained inside America. It would have no currency, no organized government, and it probably won't have a self sustaining economy.

Neo America would just be an idea. It would be a group of people that decided to pursue freedom to the best of their capabilities.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Staying ahead of the curve with micro homes

For most men, the biggest purchase of a lifetime will be a house. Depending on where you live, a house will cost a few hundred thousand dollars. The traditional American plan would be to save up the money for the down payment then lock into a 15 to 30 year mortgage.

As the economy put pressure on the average citizen, this has become a harder and harder thing to do. Increased housing prices, stagnant wages, rising cost of livings, and poor financial decisions make it tough for a man to get established today.

A few months ago, I read an article on ZeroHedge stating that people were paying rent in San Francisco just to live in shipping containers. $1500 a month to just live in a metal container. With that kind of price, a man could almost buy the entire container.

It is here where a single man without the desire to have a wife and children has the best option to have an easy life. Without having to provide for other people, a man wouldn't need all of the space of a single family house. He could rent, live with roommates, tour around in an RV, or build his own house.

When you decide to build your own house, you have the advantage of building only as much house as you need. After buying some land, you could build a house as large or as small as you want. It is also possible to buy prefabricated houses. Instead of committing to a debt of $200,000 a man could save up a fraction of the cost to build a micro home for one.

In building a tiny house, a man can potentially avoid a mortgage and avoid all the costs that come with a mortgage in particular interest. In having a tiny house, property taxes should be much lower than a more expensive structure.

With the economy still facing pressure, I think that people will start dispersing away from large cities and moving towards rural areas. Economics may force a lot of men into this option. Micro homes will become more and more common in the next few decades.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

How did Steve Jobs die so young?

A few years after Steve Jobs' death, his legacy still lives on through his company, products, and reputation. Steve Jobs died in 2011 and his death affected millions of people. After all, a good amount of people from my generation purchased MacBooks, Ipods, and Iphones. Even though, I never purchased any apple products, I knew how much of an impact he had on the world.

Years after his death, movies are being made about his life. The other day, my coworker was talking about successful men dying of cancer in the United States. Back then, I didn't question why Steve died to cancer. He was a rich man, he could have afforded good amounts of treatment. Sometimes cancer is just a total death sentence.

But then I wondered, what kind of cancer did Steve have? If Steve Jobs died at the age of 56, he must have had something terrible like brain cancer. Nope. He had pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer seems like it can be dealt with.

However, instead of using practical treatments, Steve turned to acupuncture, fruit juices, spiritualists, and other methods he found on the internet to treat his cancer.

Definitely not the best decision he could have made.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The reason I don't tell girls that I skate.

It was a few years ago when I was with a girl that had an interest in skateboarding. At the time, I thought this would be a good opportunity to show her how to skate.

We met at the skatepark and I let her ride one of my spare boards. I told her to push with the back foot and put the back foot back on when she was done pushing. After a few pushes, she gained some momentum and was rolling forward. But then she started leaning to the right. I thought she would correct her balance but she just kind of fell over like a fallen tree. She also didn't know how to catch herself with her arms, so she just kind of fell to her right side and smacked her head on the ground.

It was at that point when I was feeling a little nervous. I just thought to myself, "Maybe that won't happen again."

She looked kind of hurt and said her head was starting to swell up but she got back up and wanted to try to ride again. I couldn't say no to that enthusiasm so I gave her simple directions. I told her to push to one side of the skatepark and come back. She did pretty well but she wanted to know how to turn. I told her just to lean on her toe or heel edge to turn frontside or backside.

But then she fell over again, cut her elbows and hit her head again. After that spill, I realized I had a helmet in my car and I let her wear it but then I felt bad that I hadn't thought about giving her the helmet before hand.

After watching me for a bit she wanted to know how to ollie. I told her to stand on the skateboard and jump on one foot (the foot sitting on the tail). To her credit, she got the board up off the ground but she didn't level out her feet. So she landed on her back foot and slipped backwards and landed on her arm and shoulder but at least she was wearing a helmet this time. It was at that moment that I was thinking "Maybe this wasn't such a good idea."

By the time we had finished, she had scrapped elbows, a headache, and a scrape somewhere on her forehead. She took pictures of her wounds and posted them on facebook. All her friends were shocked and asked what happened to her. "Oh, I was just skateboarding with Loki."

And this is why I don't tell girls that I skate.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

This is why everyone in the office hates me.

When I first started working my my office space a few years ago, my boss recommended that we get an Ipod and play music in the back ground. I wasn't to fond of the idea because I just really don't like today's music and the other staff likes to put the station on today's hits.

So, I remember listening to Lordz, Macklemore, and that say something I'm giving up on you song. There was also the locked out of heaven song by Bruno Mars and the marry that girl anyway song. And that is the thing about today's music, it just isn't manly at all.

So my boss would put me in charge of Pandora and for fun I would just type in the name of different countries. Because if we can listen to all the music, why just relegate ourselves to songs in the English language. So in the office, it was common to hear Icelandic folk songs inbetween European techno music and Buddhist monk chanting. In addition to that, I would add Miley Cyrus and Britney Spears to the mix just to annoy customer service.

Throughout the cycle, the song Ponponpon popped up and my coworkers were staring daggers at me while Japanese pop was playing. I also got the Dutch version of Barbie Girl in the cycle. I love the Dutch version because the male vocals sounds like Hitler and everyone mistakes the language for German.

As a side effect, I started developing a taste for horrible music. A smile comes to my face whenever I hear the song Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus or Just Dance by Lady Gaga.

Today, we don't really use the Ipod very much anymore. Everyone just kind of sticks in a pair of earbuds and listen to whatever on their laptops.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Dark Knight went ghosting

Over the last few months, I was following Dark Knight's channel. Recently, he shut down his channel and I was kind of bummed about it. He had some really good motivational videos. His earlier videos were full of red pill rage but later on he started to focus on self improvement. In the true going his own way fashion, he shut down his channel and is out there becoming a better scientist.

Luckily there is a record of some of his best videos on Niko Choski's channel. The content I heard from Dark Knight was his interview with Niko about moving forward. Maybe it is just temporary. Maybe Dark Knight will open his channel back up and make content again. But if not, at least the list interview is still up for enjoyment. Maybe someone can convince him to come back.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Recruiters from Linkedin

Over the last couple of years, I had noticed that people were contacting me via linkedin for job opportunities. The first thing that came to my mind was where were these guys when I was unemployed for 7 months? The would have been real helpful during that time period.

I was starting to think I was ranking up and becoming a more valuable employee. Unfortunately, after interacting with a few of them, I came to realize that they were just salesmen and were using the spray and pray technique to fulfill their quotas. I have no ill will towards them, this is just the way our world works and everyone has to make a dollar.

So I asked a recruiter how the process works and the staffing agencies pay linkedin good money for advertising and or leads. Nowadays, when I see a message from a recruiter, I don't really pay that much attention however I remember one instance where the recruiter wasn't even trying to go for a match.

The position was for an accounting controller. For anyone who doesn't know, the position of controller is the highest position if an accountant doesn't become a CPA and start his own firm. Controllers make six figure salaries and require in excess of 8 to 10 years of experience.

I received the blurb for the opportunity and I saw the tagline at the bottom. If you or anyone you know is interest in this position, please email me. This is also another technique used by salesmen to get leads.

In the field of accountancy, I'm pretty much a low level grunt and was nowhere near qualified for the position. If I had even tried to apply for the job, I'm pretty sure the HR manager would just hang up. However I decided to have a little bit of fun with this guy.

This position paid a salary of $120,000 a year. So I sent the recruiter the following email.

$120,000 seems kind of low. Over my last 8 years of experience in the field, I have managed to crash six successful companies into complete bankruptcy. Upon my dismissal, my golden parachute was always in excess of $50,000. I think a salary of $150,000 would be a fair price for me to extend my services to your client.


I'd like to say I never heard from the guy again however he did reply to my email saying that the salary of $120,000 was nonnegotiable. Even though he won't admit it in the email, I'd like to think I made him laugh.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Worst States to get Married in: Part 2 (states with community property)

After lifetime alimony, the second most financially devastating part of a divorce would be losing half of your stuff. This is a result of community property. In community property, most of the property acquired in a marriage becomes the property of both individuals. After a divorce, the property would be divided between both individuals.

I actually was wrong about community property in the fact that I believed that the entire estate of both parties would be split up 50/50. As it turns out, property owned before a marriage is typically not subject to being divided. Community property becomes more and more dangerous the longer a marriage goes on for as more and more wealth is (supposed to be) acquired. It is very risky for men who tend to have a higher earning potential than their wives. If both the man and woman work, have the same earning potential, and same spending habits, the risk isn't anywhere near as great.

I would have thought that community property was the norm for most of the Untied States however there are only nine states that have community property. The states are as follows.

New Mexico

Each of these states gets a point.

The total standing is as follows.

Washington 2

Arizona 1
California 1
Idaho 1
Louisiana 1
Michigan 1
Nevada 1
New Hampshire 1
New Jersey 1
New Mexico 1
Oregon 1
Texas 1
Virginia 1
Wisconsin 1

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Worst States to get Married in: Part 1 (states with lifetime alimony)

Before writing topics like this, I do a quick google search to see if this topic already exists. Funny thing is that I can't find a list of the worst states to get married in. All the search results bring up the title "best and worst states to get a divorce in."

Since this list doesn't yet exist, I'll try my hand at making it. This won't be a formal study based on any surveys. This will be a tally of which states have the most amount of unfavorable conditions for a man to risk getting married. Off the top of my head, there are a few topics that stand out.

lifetime alimony
common law marriages
communal property
child support laws
average costs of divorces
average costs of weddings

This is not an all inclusive list.

So the first topic is lifetime alimony.

A quick google search brought me to the link sharpiroberezins. Six states where lifetime alimony is likely are as follows.

New Hampshire
New Jersey

We will now add one point to each state for this factor.

Michigan 1
New Hampshire 1
Oregon 1
Virginia 1
Washington 1
New Jersey 1

This score will be updated with every factor that gets reviewed. For now, these six states start out as contenders for the worst state to get married in.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Motivations for lifting weights

The other day, I was kind of wondering how many men lift weights just to get a better looking body. I'm sure a good amount of men do so, but that was never my motivation for lifting weight. Now that I think about it, there are probably 3 main motivations for lifting weight.

Other than getting larger arms, bigger pectorals, toned legs, and bulky shoulders another common reason might be health. Although, most people I knew who went to the gym never really had any set goals than to "get healthy". Without a set of defined goals or a way to track progress, most people would just work out casually and skip the whole thing all together until guilt sets in around the first week of January.

Getting larger muscles and a better looking body is a simple motivation for lifting but it might be a terrible way to gain results. Muscles will take time to develop and a man needs to be patient and consistent to get gains.

For me, my biggest motivation for lifting weights was just to challenge myself. I wanted to test myself and see what I was capable of. How much iron could I press? I wanted to try to gain strength, power, and excellence. These were my motivations for lifting weight. Of course, when I was younger, I watched a lot of DragonBall Z. I wanted to be those guys. Not by flying, turning my hair yellow, or shooting lasers from my hands but have the ability to punch through mountains. I wanted to be something.

I started lifting weights during middle school and it is something I've stuck with for more than 14 years. At this point, it is the longest thing I have stuck with right behind skateboarding. With every gain, every new lift, every new personal best, it was like exploring something new or finding a new area.

As silly as it sounds, it was just like playing a video game. A very simple game. Just lift heavy metal. Do a whole bunch of repetitive tasks and eventually get rewarded for your efforts. Of course, there are always parts of the game where you feel like you get stuck and can't advance but you just keep on grinding until you finally beat it. Achieving a new personal best or a heavier wait was a reward in itself.

And overtime, the effort put in is reflected in the appearance of your body. The biceps were the first areas to gain mass as I always started every workout with arm curls. As I got older and focused more on the bench, my friends were asking me how I got my chest so big. A couple of girls would touch my biceps when I was in college and so on.

As silly as it sounds, doing a deadlift of 250 pounds was the main game and having large pectorals is the trophy. Trophies are nice but the game play itself is what keeps you coming back. This is my motivation for lifting weight.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

How you stack up as an American worker

This link comes from my favorite new source ZeroHedge. It is actually quite shocking but this article pulls data from the Social Security Administration.

Almost 40% of American workers earn less than $20,000 a year.
If you make more than $50,000 a year, you are in the top 30% of American workers.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised. I remember hearing the median income was $45,000 to $50,000 a year. The median income is skewed by the top earners.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

No one ever asked me out, but this one broad asked to marry me.

There was this one time I was sitting at my desk getting my work done. At the other side of the room, one of the girls was trying to figure out if it was worth her time to open up a savings account. I would guess that she only had a checking account. She asked if there were any tax consequences for having a savings account and I told her no. Putting money into a savings account doesn't make it subject to extra taxes.

She wanted to figure out if having a savings account would be worth her time so she asked me how much money I save each month. So I tell her "a figure". She looks at me for a moment and then says the following.

"No. How much money do you save in a month."

I then tell her the same figure I did in the first place.

She then pauses for a second and looks at me and then says the following.

"Will you marry me? I don't spend a lot of money. I promise."

I politely declined. Of course, she was just joking, I knew she wasn't serious. And she was a good looking girl, don't get me wrong. Marriage and children just sound like a lot of work and I get more than enough work at my job. I'd rather just go fishing or play some texas hold'em.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Small signs of the decline: Who steals toilet paper?

I have this feeling in the back of my mind that as the economy continues to get worse, you will continue to see things just get progressively worse and worse. After listening to Aaron Clarey, DT and the Man, and Peter Schiff, I see the decline everytime I experience a traffic gridlock. Our country spends $300 billion a year on income security (welfare programs) and only spends $70 billion on infrastructure. Each time I hit pothole I say it is because of food stamps.

Service at McDonald's is kind of slow. I just think it is because the places are understaffed or the managers are off their game because staff had to be cut due to increasing costs of labor and supplies.

Internet or different websites crashed? It was because too many kids are majoring in sociology and not IT.

These are just the normal signs that I see. However I saw a more obscure sign last week.

When I go to the restroom at work, I would see the toilet paper to the right of me. It was on a simple fixture where you could just unspring the rod, pull out the roll, and replace the roll. Changing the roll would take less than 20 seconds. Over the last few weeks or months, I was hearing reports from my colleagues that there was some sort of mystery woman that was going to the ladies bathroom to steal toilet paper. The office space staff would ask my colleagues if they saw anyone stealing toilet paper.

Just two weeks ago, I went to the restroom and saw this mass of plastic surrounding the toilet paper and there was a small lock and key on the fixture. Later I came to the conclusion that these new fixtures were installed to prevent theft of toilet paper. And I think to myself....

Who steals toilet paper?

The stuff is really cheap. I went and bought 40 rolls just for $12. Each roll only cost about 30 cents. I can't imagine someone was stealing toilet paper just to sell it to random people. I don't really see the profit there. I could only guess that the thief was taking the rolls for personal use. Was the thief just really on the edge of financial collapse or was she just a cheapskate?

Even more bewildering was the fact that my office building is pretty nice. It has a lot of glass and marble and it is close to a large mall with a hundred different businesses surrounding it. This is the kind of area where you could walk to the mall to a Barnes and Noble, a California Pizza Kitchen, and a Bed Bath and Beyond in 30 minutes. This wasn't like Detroit or Compton where wild dogs are just roaming the street and little kids are playing with assault rifles.

I'll know things are getting really bad when fast food restaurants put the plastic forks, ketchup, soda fountains, and the napkins behind the counter instead of next to the tables.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Cost of a nuclear stress test. $1300

A nuclear stress test is a way to look at the circulation around the heart. From the research I've done, you get injected with a dye and a machine will scan your body to see the circulation. Of course, the doctor will attach electrodes to your chest and hook up the EKG machine to you. You will then run on a treadmill for about 10 minutes.

Anyone reading this, make sure to get a physical every year or at least every other year. Make sure to ask for an EKG test. If you don't have any insurance, it is still worth it. They told me it would cost around $160 without insurance. Even if you are in your twenties, this is a good idea if a history of heart problems run in your family.

Should the results come up "drastically abnormal" they will recommend a nuclear stress test. The financial office told me the price of the test was going to be close to $1300. This would be money coming out of my pocket since my deductible is $1500.

$1300 isn't that much money. I can easily afford it, but it is just kind of a bummer when these things happen. The doctors said they really won't know anything until the test is done. She told me I could either be just fine or about to suffer from coronary heart disease. That is just like the weather man saying that it will be somewhere between 20 and 80 degrees outside tomorrow afternoon.

Keep yourselves healthy. Eat a bowl of oatmeal each day. Run a mile each day. Give up the cigarettes. Cut back on the fast food. Drink lots of water. Get enough sleep. Try to cut back on the stress if possible.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Dear God. Three Campus Shootings in One Day.

On a daily basis, I like to check out ZeroHedge as my first news source. I like to see how dire the situation is out there. It seems like on Friday, there were school shootings in Arizona, Kentucky, and Texas, and this is only one week after that crazy person started shooting students in Oregon.

I kind of feel lucky getting though school in one piece. Okay, now that is just an exaggeration but it seems like these school shootings are increasing in frequency. As a young kid, the first real incident I remember was the Columbine School shooting. I think Columbine occurred in 1999. The next real incident I remember was when I was in college. I heard about the Virginia Tech shooter in 2007. So that was an eight year spread.

I remember in 2012, the Sandy Hook incident happened. Sandy Hook was an odd case because that was an elementary school. Sandy Hook was an odd case because it was an elementary school and the shooter wasn't a student. He was in his twenties. 2007 to 2012 is a five year spread.

Just a few weeks ago, that crazy guy killed 8 people in Oregon Community College. 2012 to 2015 is just a 3 year spread. Then a few days later, there are 3 school shootings all in the same day.

Being that I checked ZeroHedge just today, I haven't seen this story yet on the news. However, I'm expecting to see in on mainstream news (television news) tomorrow morning when I'm ordering my breakfast.

At these rates, I get the feeling that these campus shootings will become more and more common. When the economy goes down the drain, kids are raised in broken homes, and when kids are doped up with medication there will be people just snapping and going crazy.

Personally, I never experienced this sort of violence first hand. When I was in middle school, some unhinged man hit a girl in the head with a hammer but I don't recall anyone getting shot. Although when I was in college, I heard reports of students getting mugged or stabbed.

Colleges may just be getting more and more dangerous. Since most of them ban guns, they become easy targets for deranged maniacs. Students still attending classes on campus should probably practice some more situation awareness.

Every room you are in, make sure you know where the exits are and stick close to them. Try to limit the time spent on campus and see if you can take more classes online. Try to map out in your mind where cover is. It might seem a little silly but I think that if the world keeps getting crazier, you might start to see people wear bullet proof vests, swat helmets, and riot shields.

Be safe out there.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Thursday Night Motivation: Six Million Pounds

I've played though as much of The Phantom Pain as I want to now. Its excellent. I might write a review of that later.

The last few weeks have been kind of difficult for other reasons but I saw some motivation earlier today. It looks like someone just paid off their mortgage. That's excellent. Visit Richard at The London Money.

There is nothing I love more than seeing people become free. I want to see more of it.

Monday, October 5, 2015

How Motorized Shopping Carts Contribute to the Decline of American Culture

I keep seeing signs of the decline of American culture. Signs of it are everywhere. Television runs programs such as Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. People admire celebrities such as Kim Kardashian or Miley Cyrus who are famous for being tramps. Our corporations install toilets that flush themselves with lasers and always flush when you don't want them to.

The signs are everywhere but I saw the epitome of the decline at Wal-Mart over the last few months. Lately, I've been seeing more and more people use motorized shopping carts however there was nothing wrong with these people. These were just average looking shoppers. They weren't obese, they didn't have any casts, they didn't look mentally handicapped, and they were not old.

Oh, I saw a couple of appropriate shoppers use the motorized carts but I also saw teenagers doing donuts in reverse in the shoe isle. I saw middle aged slobs just picking up peas in the frozen food isle. I saw a young woman in the motorized carts just because her heels were too high.

Anyway, I use Wal Mart as a barometer to test the quality of the average person. What I'm seeing now is that people are starting to get too lazy to just get a regular cart to push around and haul groceries. I'm also seeing people becoming less shameful. I would have thought that if the average man was tired, he would not use a motorized cart in fear of looking like a handicapped person. I guess that is slowly changing. Mmm, the coffee is good. The coffee is good.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Personal Spending Report: January 2011

Currently listening to The Black Brigade Debrief #82.

2010 was finally over. Glad to see that year over. Based off of the months of November and December 2010, I took the average of those two months and set it as a benchmark for how much I would spend on a monthly basis. I set my target goal at $550 a month or less.

With this goal in mind, I would check back on my records to make sure I was staying on track. At the end of the month, I spent at total of $550.86.

I spent $222.75 on car insurance. This was the highest premium I ever paid for full coverage.
I spent $101 on gas. I filled up on fuel four times this month and at this time, I was still using only premium gas. Had I filled up with regular, I would have saved a few dollars.
I spent $81.20 on fast food.
I spent $31.49 on groceries.
I spent $47.38 on weights. I think I either bought a 20 pound weighted vest. I intended to use it while running but the vest was kind of loose and kept bouncing against my chest while running. What I used it mainly for was to add resistance while doing pull ups.
I spent $33 going to a bar/grill with my friends from college/church.

This month was not very eventful. Looking back on my records from years ago, I notice how many blank days I have. There were several days where I didn't buy anything. Back then, I didn't have a habit of going to Krystal's for my lunch break at work. I spent more than $80 on fast food, but I typically kept that to the weekends and usually bought combos. I didn't really purchase from he dollar menu.

This month, I don't remember work being that stressful. Since Christmas passed, the customer weren't as pressed or frustrated about getting their money for Christmas presents.

I noticed that I had the habit of buying things for the sake of buying things. On January 23rd, 2011, I bought some mints. They were Tic Tacs. Typically, I would keep these in my cars and eat them at red lights.

On New Year's Day, I took my mom to a public park when it rained and we went to eat lunch at Moe's Southwest Grill afterwards.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

First World Problems: Cracked Screens

The two most common first world problems I can think of is heavy traffic and slow internet connections. Both of which cause consternation but it is not the same as starving to death and dying from ebola. Should I add a third item to this list, it is cracked phone screens.

Every Iphone my boss has a cracked screen. My coworker LEASED a Iphone 6 and cracked the screen within two weeks. My dad cracked his screen and had to spend $200 to replace it.

Traffic and crappy internet are things I deal with frequently. Thankfully, a cracked phone screen is one problem I'm happy to not deal with. Nowadays, these devises are so expensive that you can get insurance plans to deal with this situation.

I often make the joke that by the time I buy a smart phone, everyone else will have artificial intelligent phones.

My only reason for believing in a God

Christianity is a topic that most men may struggle with while growing up. Over the last 14 years, I've tried this religion. And I've failed miserably at it. I will admit, it was very easy to believe in God, Jesus, and the Bible as a little kid. Believe in God or else you will go to Hell. Easy.

God was real and I knew it... because my parents told me so. And my parents knew everything. At least they knew so much more than I did at the time. As a little kid, I had the perception that every believed in God. And if everyone believes in it, than it must be true. As a little kid, I never heard of or met any atheists or had any ill will towards the Lord.

But as I grew older, things started to break down. As it turned out, the world has a lot of atheists and people that absolutely hate the idea of a God. Slowly, I absorbed several arguments against the validity of Christianity. Genesis sounds like just a fairy tale, Revelations is just insane, it would have been impossible for a flood to cover the whole Earth, the Earth is more than 2000 years old, there are severe inconsistencies about Jesus's life and the list goes on.

This combined with other events I've experienced caused me to do several sinful things. I tore up my Bibles, I rejected the Lord, I abandoned my church, I prayed to Satan just to spite God, I prayed to God just to curse at him, and I went as far as rejecting his existence all together. After doing all these things, nothing changed. Everything was the same.

It some time to get past the hatred of the Lord. I needed to save up a lot of money to to get past it.

After calming down a bit, I gathered my thoughts together. I couldn't trust the Bible. It isn't all false and it isn't all true. Did Jesus exist? Was Jesus God? Did he come back from the dead? I don't know. I don't intend on finding out. With any text that was passed down over multiple generations and translated hundreds of times, who can really know what is true?

But does God exist? I don't know for sure but I think it is more likely that God does exist. When I say God, I am not necessary referring to the God that is portrayed in the Bible. The Bible does a lot to personify God. The God of the Bible has emotions, talks to people, and manipulates the world.

The God that I am thinking about is much different than that. Growing up, I've noticed that nothing ever gets where it is without outside involvement. In other words, everything was created by something else. Houses are constructed by contractors, mountains happen when tectonic plates collide, and stars form when hot gasses undergo fusion. Everything is created by something else.

Well almost everything. The first thing that ever existed could not have been created by something else. This would imply that there has to be something that always was. What ever that thing is, I believe that thing is God. It might by possible that our entire plane of existence is God.

I could be wrong though so don't take my word for it. After all, I'm no priest. I'm just an accountant.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Phantom Pain Update

I haven't written anything in a while. I need to post something.

Over the last few days, I've been playing Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Oh dear God, I've been playing this game too much. It was the only game I've ever purchased on release date costing more than $50. But it has been completely worth it. I've been waiting for this game to come out ever since I saw the trailers for Ground Zeroes come out in 2012.

The gameplay is mostly the same from Ground Zeroes but the biggest addition is growing your Mother Base. And I've been stealing everything in the game with the fulton balloons. Soldiers, jeeps, gun turrets, hyenas, you name it. But the gameplay isn't the thing that is captivating me. Sneaking past enemy soldiers to rescue prisoners or destroy tanks is great and all but I'm just waiting to see what happens next in the story.

With this being Hideo Kojima's last game with Konami, this story takes place after Peace Walker and before the original Metal Gear. Up to this point, Big Boss has always been protecting the countries from nuclear war. However, in the original Metal Gear, Big Boss was a warlord that perpetuated war in order to always keep soldiers fighting. He committed countless atrocities including recruiting child soldiers and making them fight in his army.

I want to see Big Boss turn evil. After 30 missions, it looks like Big Boss is still trying to play the role of the protector. I haven't beat the game yet but it would be a big let down if this doesn't happen.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Valentine's Day

I thought about writing this for a while now, at least on and off for the last few months. Its not really that important of a topic. I can never really remember any Valentine's Day in specific detail. I've never had a long term relationship and I've never had a relationship around February.

Valentine's Day is just a normal day. Nothing really special about it. As a little kid, you just think of that day in elementary school where all the students exchange cards and give each other candy. When you become an adult, it is one of those days where couples get romantic and hook up. If you are alone and have no one to hook up with, you are supposed to feel bitter and miserable.

Supposed to feel bitter and miserable? I've never seen the reason to do that. I can only vaguely remember Valentine's Day of 2012. I remember I had a job interview that day for some lousy sales position at some company. After that, I think I was skating the park with my friends. Around that time, I was excited that Metal Gear Rising: Revengence came out. I had been waiting for that game to release for 2 years. Of course, I didn't buy it. I just watching the game on youtube. And that is all I remember about that Valentine's Day. I wasn't down because of some woman. I remember being stressed out because of unemployment.

I think it was earlier this year that a few people wanted to make February 14th international MGTOW day. Personally, I think a better day for it would have been the independence day of the respective country. Celebrate freedom, that's what I say. Even though I'm indifferent to Valentine's Day, I just didn't like the idea of pooping all over it. I wouldn't like to be the Grinch and ruin something that other people were enjoying. Its for that reason I won't hate on Valentine's Day.

On February 14th 2011, I spent $32 on gas and $1.23 on a container of Tic Tacs. That is the only information I have about that particular day. And that is just because I keep a record of all of my purchases.

But there are some people that get absolutely miserable about being alone on Valentine's Day. I guess this is a common television trope. The first time I remember it was from the cartoon Alvin and the Chipmunks. Man, I must have been only 6 or 7 when I saw it. Alvin was completely torn up about a former girlfriend. I don't remember the rest of the episode though. I think Alvin dressed up in some kind of Zoro costume though.

I guess when you are younger, it is easier to believe in romance. But as you get older and more cynical, any sort of relationship just looks like the exchange of attention and resources for physical intimacy and affection.

This experience ruined a few things for me. One of which is the Goo Goo Dolls. I will admit that I liked a lot of there songs as a little kid. Slide and Iris were the two best. But when I hear them today.... Ok I still like those songs. It is a little bit of a guilty pleasure. However, I know that the songs are just complete nonsense. I like those songs for the nostalgia.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The best advice no one ever told me: Always have an exit strategy

I have to say, one of the worst feelings in the world is being trapped in something. And then slowly watching the jaws of doom bite out your kidneys. Getting trapped in a situation tends to be more common in long term commitments. Be it a business partnership that goes sour, a marriage that goes sour, a career path that goes sour, all of this can be miserable. For this reason, I remember a quote from some movie that I don't remember.

I never agree to anything that I can't walk away from at the drop of a hat (or maybe it was in 5 minutes). This is why I've never wanted a wife or kids. This is why I reconsidered buying a traditional house. This is why I never dropped a ton of money or took out a ton of debt to finance a business. This is why I haven't invested a ton of money in the stock market or bought 30 year government bonds. But I have taken on a job in a miserable career path.

There are some long term commitments that are a necessary evil. With my current career path, I've had days where I've wanted to shoot myself in the head and days where I've wanted to drive into on coming traffic and I've experienced everything in between.

But whether it is a marriage, job, investment, or any other long term obligation, you will do yourself a favor if you try to keep your options open and have a way to get out of there. Made some dumb financial decisions? There is bankruptcy. Got stuck in a lousy career path? Save up several thousand dollars and find another opportunity. Got trapped in a terrible marriage? Consult a lawyer.

The other important part to this advice is deciding when to execute your exit strategy. A lot of fret and worry is caused by not knowing when to follow through. Make sure to draw that line in the sand ahead of time and execute your leave once that line is crossed.

Hopefully this will prevent you from doing the Smith and Wesson retirement plan.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Personal Spending Report: December 2010

For the month of December 2010, I spent a total of $595.79.

$223 was spent on full coverage car insurance
$108 was spent on gas
I spent $100 on a new skateboard
$44 was spent on fast food. I hadn't yet made it a bad habit.
I spent $30 on beer (can't remember if it was at a bar or a case of beer for a party)
$20 was spent on a haircut
$20 was spent on prepaid minutes for my phone (total of 120 minutes)
The rest of money was spent on miscellaneous items.

The most notable change on this month was that my employer at the time brought me on as a full time employee. My time as an independent contractor was over. This did have some pros and cons. The major cons was that withholding from my paycheck started. Had I just worked 40 hours at $12 an hour, I would have made $480. After getting on salary, I started out making $500 a week. After taxes and fica, my take home pay was $400 a week. The pro was the fact that I was expected only to work 8 hours a day and had a set schedule. I was also not required to show up on Saturdays. At this rate, my annual salary was $26000 annually and my take home pay was $21100 (I rounded off the numbers).

This month, I took home $1600. After expenses were deducted, I saved my goal of $1000.

This was one of the worst months of work I can remember. My job duties was to send payments out for child care benefits. While not just processing invoices, I also handled customer service which meant I would get constantly interrupted to talk to the clients.

With it being December, these families depended on getting reimbursed on time to pay for Christmas related expenses. This resulted in some really hostile and nasty phone calls. Constantly I was tempted to tell those jerks that they shouldn't have had kids they couldn't afford but it wouldn't be until a few years later that I realized that those kids were being used as a source of income to gain benefits via the federal government. I think it was December 23rd or 24th that my coworkers were going to go out for lunch after work but I was so pissed off from work that I just left and went home. It was only going to get worse for the next few months.

I used a tracfone for all my phone calls. I had a phone that gave me double minutes for life. It was the same phone I had been using for my last year of college. $20 gave me 120 minutes.

This was also back when I used to go to a barber to cut my have. The hair cut cost $15 each time and I always gave a $5 tip.

This month, I felt kind of secure. I decided to buy a new skateboard as I had been putting it for for some time. I also remember getting some pizza and beer with some friends. Out of the three of us, they both looked at me like I was the successful one of the trio. I was the only one who graduated college at the time and found a white collar job.

I looked up my birthday and saw that I spent no money. I remember my coworkers bought me lunch from Steak and Shake. That evening, my parents took me to Dave and Busters. I remember having one or two 22 ounce Blue Moons. There was some guy playing an acoustic guitar. He was paying a cover of the song "Secret Agent Man".

2010 had been just an absolute miserable year. I was glad to see it go.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Dragonball Z linked to Body Building Confirmed

I started lifting weights when I was 14 just because of all the DBZ I watched as a little kid. Although, at the time, I thought it was because I was just some kind of nerdy otaku.

I just came across this video where George Leeman was deadlifting 800 lbs multiple times. Apparently he was a big DBZ fan when he was younger too. He says this around 7 minutes and 30 seconds into the video. I know it is just an anecdote but hearing him say that is just too priceless. And man, this guy is jacked.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Personal Spending Report November 2010

One of the things that kids don't really learn about is how much stuff costs. If a kid wanted to make estimates about cost of living, it will be kind of tricky because of a lack of real world experience. Since everyone is different, everyone will spend different amounts of money on different items. For this reason, there is no real book a man can read to find out what the cost of living is. It is here where I would like to lend some assistance.

Ever since October of 2010, I've recorded all the stuff I've purchased into logs in order to know how and where I spend my money. I've created detailed reports for myself and put my life down on spreadsheets. In this chain of posts, I'll report real data of all the stuff I've bought over the last few years and how much it cost. All this is done to provide information for how much stuff costs in the real world for kids that haven't entered the working world yet. The other reason for this is for me to remember my journey for the last few years.

Here is where I was in November of 2010.

In November of 2010, I was working my first job fresh out of college. At the time, I was being paid $12 an hour as an independent contractor and I didn't have a cap on the amount of hours I worked. Because of this, I was happy to work more than 40 hours each week. With the timing of the paychecks, I earned a little more than $2700 that month.

At this time, I was still living with my parents as it was my intention to save up enough money to buy a house with 100% cash in order to avoid taking out a mortgage. As soon as I started working, I made the decision to never get married or have kids. I did still want a house. My parents encouraged me to live with them in order to not waste money on rent. I was glad to do so.

I had no girlfriend and made no real effort to date. The furthest extent to finding a woman was to reach out to maybe one or two girls I remembered in college.

My work site was the closest I ever had. It was more than 11 miles away but less than 20 miles. I had no reason to take the highways.

Lastly, in my free time, I would play videogames, skateboard, and lift weights.

The car that I was driving was given to me by my father. I had no car note. Speaking of loans, I had none. I came out of college with no debts. I had merit based scholarship that paid for my tuition.

I was in a very good position for where I was. Even though I would eventually be working for a salary of less than $30,000 a year, I was still able to save $1000 each month because of how little I spent.

For November 2010, I spent a total of $478.20.

The biggest expense I had was my car insurance. I spent $222.75. My premium was expenses but I did have full coverage.

My gas expense was only $61 for this month. Normally, gas would have cost me over $100 however my dad filled up my tank because we took a trip to South Carolina to visit relatives.

I spent $51.79 on fast food. I got fast food 7 times this month which would average about $7 per visit. In later months, I would spend way to much money at Krystal because it was the closest restaurant to my work site.

I gave my dad $40 for some reason. I can't really remember why though.

I went out to two restaurants with some friends. I spent $40 at the Vortex with two friends from church. On a different occasion, I spent $8.50 getting pizza and beer with my two bros.

This month, I spent a total of $35.53 on CD's and DVD's. I think I bought the second season of Metalocalypse because I saw it at a Walmart. I also picked up the Demon Days album by Gorillaz at some music shop.

In November 2010, I spent less than $500 and it would be a long time before I subbed $500 again. The first few months after graduating college were incredibly bad. I had the nervous compulsion about spending as little money as possible. In later months, I felt like I could relax a little and spend a little more money.

I also get the feeling that recording all my transactions made me spend less month than I otherwise would have.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Will Rob Fedders Return?

With a vast amount of information available at the fingertips, the average Joe can find information about almost any topic. Need to find out the actors in some obscure black and white file from the 50's? Just Google it an you will know the answer in a second. Curious if there is a good Chinese place in 20 miles? You can find that too. It seems like most of the wonder and whim has been removed with this amount of information available. However, there are still some mysteries out there.

There is a movement out there where men have decided to reject the traditional "American Dream" in order to pursue their own goals and interests without considering what society thinks. Of course, there have always been men doing this however this movement didn't really have a name until about 2001. The name was simply "men going their own way". What does it mean? It depends on who you ask.

Today, the most prominent figures are Stardusk and Barbarossa and a lot of people would believe they came up with the label however these two have only been around making content since about 2009 or 2010. There channels are currently up and you can see their earliest videos. You can hear their voice and in rare instances you can see their face. Both can be reached by email or easily reached on some sort of social media. You can probably interact with them. However, they didn't create the label. I wanted to know where the label came from.

There is a video on youtube where Rocking Mr E interviews two of the founders, Ragnar and Solaris. In this skype conversation, you can hear their voice and their story. However, after listening to podcasts from Davis Aurini and Matt Forney, I heard one name that kept being repeated. His name was Rob Fedders.

Rob Fedders wrote the No Ma'am blog. I don't think he ever released any videos or podcasts so I have never seen or heard this guy before. All that remains is his writing. That is all that remains as Rob Fedders died in 2013. The death was tragic but at least the guy had a good run.

According to this report, Rob Fedders was being chased by about 30 middle aged women wearing bridal dresses who were infected with baby rabies. Their eyes locked on to Rob Fedders and they demanded that Rob Fedders would marry each one of them, produce each one a kid, and subject himself to a life of servitude so that all these women could sit in McMansions while drinking flirtinis and watching reruns of Sex in the City and Roundhouse Kicking Chick Cop Show on the weekend.

As the 30 bridezillas chased Rob Fedders, Rob Fedders was chased into a corner. Almost captured, he ran up the brick wall and did like 3 backflips and landed on the opposite side of the gold diggers. He ran with all his fury towards a cliff and started shimmying down a vine as the gaggle of women stopped at the top of the cliff.

He thought he was in the clear but he was mistaken. Below him, there was a priest and a lawyer cutting off his escape. Both demanded and threatened that Rob Fedders marry all 30 women as it was his duty to create more people to perpetuate the welfare state be a productive member of society.

"Rob Fedders, your days are numbered. Stop running like a coward and submit your life to those with the correct genitalia."

With the blood thirsty resource sucking vampires above him and the traitorous white knights below him, he did the only logical thing any freedom loving individual would. He pulled out his emergency ham and cheese on rye sandwich and ate it. And it was delicious.

With that job taken care of, Rob Fedders flung himself off the cliff and exploded in a giant fireball of fury and freedom. Oh yea, and did I mention that he strapped a whole bunch of C4 to his body? That part is kind of important otherwise that fireball of freedom and fury wouldn't make much sense.

So ends his story. Or does it? Rob Fedders is dead but he was just a figment of the imagination of the man who ran the No Ma'am blog. Either the imagination or alter ego. It is for this reason that he is so mysterious. I don't know who Rob Fedders really was. Maybe it was Ragnar or Solaris. I don't even know how to go about identifying who Rob Fedders is. I don't think Matt Forney even knows.

Most of the founders abandoned their blogs however No Ma'am is still up. I subscribed to it and noticed that the last update was years ago. However I saw some new activity in the last few weeks. It makes me wonder if Rob Fedders really died in 2013. Maybe he found some kind of submarine as he hit the rocky waters below the cliff. Maybe he will come back.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Short list of No Go Zones

The No Go Zone is a concept created by DT and The Man at The Black Brigade. Essentially, a no go zone is a place that is so deplorable or mismanaged that is is encouraged to completely black mark the area and avoid it completely. Don't live there, don't visit or vacation there, don't support the area, and try not to buy anything produced in that area.

I've thought about putting a short list of places to remind myself to never go to for various reasons.

California - the "yes means yes" law
New York City - arresting men for taking up too much space in seats on subways
Detroit, Michigan
Portland, Oregon
Baltimore, Maryland
Ferguson, Missouri

That last one was sticking in my mind for a little while but then I saw the news headlines as I was buying coffee this morning. Apparently, it was one year since some guy got shot by a cop after robbing a gas station for a box of cigars. Now, I remember the riots being covered on the news. I remember seeing coverage of cop cars being set on fire and looters were stealing toilet paper and Doritos from CVS. What I wasn't expecting that protests and riots would happen on the one year anniversary. But since this is a thing, I guess this will become an annual event and I'll see the same thing on the news in 2016. Since this is happening, I am going to guess that the same thing will also happen in Baltimore, Maryland in April of 2016.

These two cities aren't safe. Avoid at all costs and try to get out of there if you live there already.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Considering Male Values in Career Paths

I get the feeling that most men are dissatisfied with their jobs because their jobs don't reflect or reward their personal values. I'm a staff accountant and I will admit that it is not a very manly job. I've only ever had 3 jobs and they were all desk jobs in some office. Phone calls, paperwork, meetings, and emails all just kind of swirl together in endless drudgery. Being an accountant is a good job and it pays my bills but I kind of hit an epiphany that something was wrong when I had a meeting with my boss and he asked me how I was doing.

I told him that I felt like sacking a village, burning it to the ground, impregnating all the women, and stealing all the treasure just like great men (Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan) had done in the past. My boss really didn't know how to respond to my statement.

Earlier that day, I had been listening to the song Alexander the Great by Iron Maiden. And it made me feel like I should shoot for higher goals in life then just getting my freedom and living in the desert. Maybe when men became free, they decided to set up campaigns to conquer lands far and wide. I could just picture Alex getting a band of men, getting super drunk, and going on rampages smashing peasant villages to the ground just for the lulz. Should I want to start my own campaign, I'd have to travel to places without government jurisdiction and those places on Earth are very rare.

It got me to thinking that masculine values aren't really considered when choosing a career path. Even though salaries are a bigger factor for consideration, picking a career that is in line with your values would lead to higher levels of job satisfaction. A man will be the happiest when he can be a man. Since these sort of values aren't taught in the public school system or passed down from most parents, I thought this post would be a short guide or spring board to matching a set of values to a career path. 

Like the snakes of MGS, there are men that have the warrior spirit and have the desire of finding glory in combat. Those men that are willing to risk life and limb would be best suited to join the military and try to achieve high ranks or become elite fighters in the SEALs. While all men may have that desire to fight, destroy, and conquer, only a select few are willing to risk life for it. These men will make the best fighters. 

If this is too risky, men can still fulfill the values of being an enforcer and protector by becoming police or SWAT. Military and police all go through weapons training and endure physical training.

For those that want to rescue lives, firefighters, paramedics, and doctors would be good options. Of these three choices, being a firefighter would be the most dangerous and probably a good choice for adrenaline hits. Every job involving a fire means that there is always a time limit especially if there are people in danger inside the building. These men have to use a variety of equipment to protect from smoke inhalation, breach doors and walls, or extract people from windows.

For men that like to build or create, I can't think of a better choice than construction work. Building houses requires pouring concrete foundations, building frames, laying bricks, putting up drywall, and a hundred other steps. On the other hand, men may enjoy destroying things and there are jobs involved in tearing buildings down via wrecking balls, bulldozers, and explosives. If building or destroying isn't appealing, maybe repairs or maintenance is a good line of work. This would include professions such as mechanics, plumbers, and technicians. 

For those that want to hunt and seek, they have to become salesmen or entrepreneurs. Essentially, they are both the same but these jobs are most directly tied to your efforts. Because of this reason, your salary is only limited to how well you can perform. These are the only options for men to earn six figure salaries with only a high school education or less. Become a sales man or entrepreneur. 

A further note to consider is that career options will be limited by the job market. It may be necessary to find a job and build up capital before finding a job that you may enjoy and reward your certain set of values. Also note that a man's values can change over a period of time. Maybe a construction worker gets sick of it after 10 years and would prefer a job handling customer service in an air conditioned office. Maybe a plumber would rather become a day trader after saving up a few hundred thousand dollars. Remember that you career path doesn't have to be fixed for your whole life. It can be changed but doing so will require some effort.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Cost of Movement

A few years ago, I really enjoyed the games Advance Wars and Advance Wars 2. Both games are turn based strategy games where you build and direct units to smash the opponents units. One integral part of the gameplay was considering the movement of your units. Different units can travel different terrain and the terrain will affect how far a unit can go. Vehicles can't cross mountains, forests cut movement in half, and tires can't travel well off road compared to treads.

I think about how this is a great reflection in real life. Just moving a thing over a distance will take time, effort, energy, and money. In a sense, it is all about money. This is why shipping is more expensive the further is has to go. Moving an object will mean it has to be loaded on a truck, ship, or plane which burns up fuel to move. And one status symbol of the rich is how easy or fast they can move around.

The more money a man has, the easier it is for him to traverse the world. Simply by walking, a man can cover more than 26 miles in a day. By traveling on foot, the limitations faced is the human body. Walking will cause fatigue over time. Muscles will ache and a man will need some shelter if traveling multiple days on foot. Of course, he could always hitchhike but that method is dependent on someone else having a vehicle.

By traveling in a car, 26 miles can be covered in 26 minutes on the freeway. Of course, a man will need to spend the money on a car and spend money on gas. The car also need maintenance over long periods of time. If a man spend 12 hours driving on the highway, he could cover more than 700 miles. Of course, cars have their limitations. They travel the best on roads but not so well on water. A car will take you wherever the roads will take you in the Americas, but it is not an option if you wanted to go to Europe.

For the average man, the only way to get to Europe would to be to take a plane. Planes can cost millions of dollars so most men will never own one. So commercial airlines will take people wherever airports are. The cost over the ocean will cost a few hundred to a thousand dollars. The cost of the plane ticket will go towards jet fuel, maintenance, overhead, and the salaries of the airline workers.

In this sense, the average American can travel around the entire Earth in a day. It isn't a really big status symbol if you can fly. The status symbol comes in if you have your own aircraft like a private jet. The limitations of airlines is that flights are set on certain schedules, airline security can be a pain, and take off takes a long time because hundreds of people have to be coordinated and serviced all at the same time. In having a private jet, a rich man can take of whenever he is ready and can travel wherever an airport will allow him. The cost of having this freedom of movement is a few million dollars.

When men become very rich, their movement options become vastly expanded. He could get a yacht and spend time hundreds of miles away from the coast of California. If he wanted to, he could buy a submarine in order to see how far he could explore under the ocean.

The furthest place men have gone was into space and on the moon. This required the money from the tax payers of the entire country of America. Doing this required a large rocket, the infrastructure to launch the rocket, and a mission control team to oversee operations. The Apollo 11 program costed $355 million in 1969. Adjusted for inflation, the cost would be roughly $2.18 billion as of 2011. There are several billionaires that could potentially go to the moon if they wished.

To go further than space, I could only think that technology would have to be developed to travel between dimensions or time. I couldn't imagine how much money that would cost.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

When TV started becoming obsolete.

One thing I encourage people to do is stop paying for television service. If you have a reliable internet connection, there is a plethora of media available whenever you want in. As far as I know, the only reason to pay for television service is if you want to watch live sports however I think you can just stream that on ESPN now.

It didn't happen overnight, but television was slowly starting to become obsolete when services like Netflix and Hulu started popping up. If you are really cheap, almost any topic can be watched on youtube for free. For me, the point when television started becoming obsolete was when I first watched the Angry Video Game Nerd on Screwattack.

A few notable episodes that I can think of off the top of my head is Ninja Baseball Batman, Super Mario Bros 3, Big Rigs, and Hong Kong 97. These are all gut busting episodes and I remember being a fan of AVGN ever since 2008. AVGN was the first internet personality I ever knew about. Shortly after, I found Nostalgia Critic and then Team Four Star. Around 2010, youtube personalities were all over the place. In 2008, I was subscribing to as much content and I would get excited just to see a new video a week. Today, my inbox gets flooded with content. With all this content, it seems silly to pay for television.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Living conditions for millennials: Update from Zero Hedge

While checking the only news source I trust, I came across two articles regarding the reality that my generation faces.

The first article linked here shows how many people still live with their parents. Apparently, in the age 18 to 34 demographic, 31% of this demographic is currently living with their parents. This is a figure I want to track in the future as it might be an indication of two things. This is most likely the result of kids racking up too much student debt and not getting a good paying job that will allow the kid to live on his own. A much smaller percent of this demographic might be kids living with parents in order to save up money to buy a house or other property without having to take out a mortgage.

The second article shows how tight millennials might be pressed and how far kids need to strip away in order to live independently. There are more in California paying rent to live in shipping containers. The rent for a shipping container in San Francisco is $1000 a month. And that just sounds insane because shipping containers only cost about $2500.  One year worth of rent could buy a shipping container and some land in Texas.

I predict that in the next few decades, populations will start dispersing from heavy populated cities into more rural areas just because of the high cost of living in cities.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Kids need to play Final Fantasy

After playing several games from the Final Fantasy series, I started to wonder if games like Final Fantasy do a better job teaching critical thinking skills than public schools. To be fair, courses such as calculus, chemistry, and physics are far more rigorous than playing a video game but the bulk of classes I endured in school were liberal arts and humanities. Throughout high school and parts of college, I had several classes where you simply just memorize a set of facts and spit them back out on a multiple choice test. I usually did very well in these courses but I felt like I wasn't really learning or smart. All I was doing was memorizing facts for a test.

Of course, I did have challenging courses. There were exams that made you think about every choice to the question. For those exams, you couldn't just jump straight to the correct answer because you could have made a mistake in a series of calculations and get the answer wrong. You had to find the correct answer and figure out why every other option was incorrect. Even then, the hardest questions always had the option "none of the above" which would always leave you with a seed of doubt.

As challenging as these courses and exams were, there was something regarding the critical thinking skill that they could never do. However, games like Final Fantasy did it all the time. In games like Final Fantasy, you fight several bosses and you have several different options how to defeat these bosses. In other words, you are given a long series of tasks and you are given a toolbox filled with stuff that will help you complete those tasks but you have to figure out how to complete the tasks yourself.

For example, the standard logic of most RPGs is that you get stronger the more you fight. If you come to an enemy that is too strong, you can typically grind up levels to become stronger and destroy your enemy. However, if you find out that the boss has a weakness to ice, you can try using some ice magic on the beast to kill it faster and advance in the game. Maybe you don't have any ice magic available. If that is the case, you might be able to collect healing items from other enemies and save them for a boss fight. If this isn't an option, you might have magic that will speed up your party or slow down your enemy which will allow you to deal more damage or take less damage.

Two notable bosses from Final Fantasy 7 are Jenova Life and Carry Armor. Jenova Life will fight by only casting water attacks like Aqualung. What makes this fight so memorable is that a water ring can be found shortly before the boss fight. The water ring lets a party member absorb water attacks. If you give one of your party members a water ring, you already won the fight. Jenova can't hurt you. If that ring isn't picked up or equipped, the boss fight can actually be challenging as Aqualung does a lot of damage and hits everyone in the party. In this situation, the water ring is pretty much a free pass.

In this way, the game encourages experimentation and exploration to figure out what is the best way to manage your resources and get the most amount of plunder/money/experience out of every random battle.

The second notable boss, Carry Armor, is memorable because of how difficult this boss can be. This boss is unique in that is has two arms that can capture two of your party members and hold them hostage. If your third party member is dead and both the other members get captured, you lose and the game is over. Carry Armor is one of the few bosses that does this and this boss makes solo character runs really tough. The two arms of Carry Armor can be destroyed which will disable the boss from holding your party hostage. This boss in particular reminds you that You cannot always rely on the same strategy all the time. With this boss, it is useful to use a spell like Trine which targets all opponents and destroy the arms first.

Final Fantasy 5 and Final Fantasy Tactics are the games where strategy is experienced to the fullest. In Final Fantasy 5, almost every boss fight requires a different strategy. In Final Fantasy Tactics, each battle will have a different amount of enemies and some fights have different victory conditions. What makes these games unique is the amount of randomness and uncertainty. Often times, I've been destroyed by a boss or battle up to 20 times and I was forced to either optimize a particular strategy or create a new strategy.

In my opinion, games like this are good preparation for facing the real world. I'm not saying that getting good at Final Fantasy Tactics will turn a man into a successful day trader or beat out the stock market, but these games may encourage kids to ask the following questions.

What is my goal/objective?
What resources do I have available now?
What resources can I acquire in the future?
What are the obstacles that are in my way?
Do I have a back up plan in case things go to pot?
How long will it take me to reach my objective?
What is possible?
Can I achieve this?

When facing the real world, a man might have the goals of buying a house, starting a family, creating a business, or earning a certain amount of money. These goals may conflict with each other so he has to prioritize the goals that he deems most important.

Each goal will require a certain amount of resources, mostly money. At that point, a man needs to figure out how much resources he needs and how to achieve them. At that point, he needs to know what financial position he is in currently and figure out how he can accumulate more resources.

He will know what his current job is, how much money he spends in a month, and how long it will take to save up a certain amount of money. Now there are always unknown factors that aren't that reliable. He may find a better job that pays more money or he might get fired for a petty reason. It is always good to have a back up opportunity. If a man is a customer service representative, he could take classes to eventually become a computer net-worker. He will have to spend time and money to dedicate to these studies. Will the possible increase to earnings be worth it? If so, how long will it take to pay off?

All these kinds of questions and considerations are things I've experienced in some fashion while playing games like Final Fantasy, Sim City, or Advance Wars. It is for these reasons I think these video games teach kids better critical thinking skills than 50% of public schools.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Fake morality. The population is controlled by the media.

I've been mentioning Metal Gear too much, but lately I've been thinking about how crazy the population has been getting and how it relates to the end of Metal Gear Solid 2.

At the end of the game, you get contacted by the AI. The AI talks about how ridiculous and immoral the general population is.

Billions of dollars are spent on new methods to humanly kill humans. Rights criminals are more valued that the privacy of the victims. Money is spent on preserving endangered animals when people are starving in the streets.

The world goes crazy because a dentist kills a lion. The man is getting death threats from high level figures. A business owner is fined $130,000 because the owner would not bake a cake for a lesbian couple. A man gets fired from his job because he makes a donation to a certain politically incorrect charity. A famous golfer gets into hot water for practicing infidelity.

I'm convinced that selfish jerks to more good for the world than people who "care". In most of the instances I listed above, I'm sure most of the outrage is coming from people who think they are supposed to be outraged. Either than or the outrage is coming from people that need to launch a crusade.

The Black Brigade did a really good podcast about this craziness. It is debrief number 74.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

All for the sake of achievements

While playing different video games, every so often I'll get a trophy without expecting it at all. The trophies and achievements are a great concept but I think they are done terribly. Most trophies available in a game will be obtained simply by playing the game. In Metal Gear Solid 2, I got a trophy just for stuffing a body into a locker.

Some achievements are unique. In Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, there is a trophy for doing 6 consecutive cqc slams (I never got it). Unfortunately, that is the most unique achievement I've received. I think the best achievements are those that ask you to do something outside the course of normal game play. In Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, I was usually horrible at the police missions so I usually waited until I got the tank or helicopter to get an easy solution. However, after several years, I kind of wondered if I could pass level 12 of the police missions without the tank or helicopter. After that, I wanted to see if I could beat the police missions at the start of a new game. It is a real challenge in the beginning because you have limited access to resources so you have to remember where all the police cars spawn and where weapon pickups and armor are.

Setting this arbitrary challenge for myself gave me a good 4 weeks of replay value while I was trying my best.

A good achievement makes me wonder if I could do it. And inspiration comes in very odd unexpected places. After watching the movie "Run Fat Boy Run" I was inspired to go do some running. The premise of the movie was a man was training to run a marathon in a vain attempt to win his former love back. A marathon is 26.22 miles. Prior to watching the movie, the longest distance I ever ran was 1 mile. I didn't expect to run a marathon, but I was kind of curious about how far I could run. So, for fun, I started making my own achievements. The furthest I actually got to run was 5 miles before I lost interest in running any further. 5 miles is a long shot away from a marathon however it is 5 times more than the furthest distance I ran before watching the movie.

A few weeks back, I heard about something called the 1000 pound club. I didn't know what it was at first so I looked it up. It is 1000 pounds between your max bench press, dead lift, and squat. Before hearing about the goal, I never really did dead lifts or squat. But now that I know that the 1000 pound club is a thing, I really want to shoot for it. I know I still haven't reached my goal of the 300 pound bench press but I'll hit it along the way to this goal.

And that is the funny thing about achievements. Some of them, you want to try just because you are curious if you can. Those are the best kind of goals. It is kind of like exploring new places.

If anyone would like to give some input, is it easier to lift more weight with the dead lift or squat compared to the bench press? I ask because I've been doing the bench press for at least 9 years and deadlifts for only about a month. Max on bench is 280 and max on deadlift is 235. I can't test my max squat because I don't have a squat rack yet. I know I have to get each excercise to 333.34 pounds to hit this achievement.