Thursday, April 30, 2015

Minimalism Curbs Envy

There is a concept that I was thinking about the other day that I don't really know if there is a word for. This occurs when the price of something makes it very unappealing. I guess the best term I can think of is just seeing a really bad deal or a complete waste of money.

You might be really into guitars and can get a good one for a few hundred dollars. It is functional, it plays well, and it will last a long time. However, it is possible to spend a few thousand dollars on a really high end brand. For a real enthusiast, maybe a few thousand dollars for a 1954 Gibson Les Paul Custom Limited Edition. It is a really nice guitar, but spending more money than you have to won't make you a better guitar player.

The example that I keep coming back to is expensive luxury cars. I have no envy to the people that drive those cars. Even though I could have one myself, I just think about all the time and effort that I had to spend to earn that money for a Mercedes Benz. Sure, the car might be fun to drive but the price tag just makes it look like a Nissan Cube to me.

That is the great thing about minimalism. Some of the funnest hobbies are really cheap. A few hundred dollars can get you a bench press set and an Olympic bar with plates. That equipment lasts decades. Even though something like lifting weights seems really boring and repetitive, that action becomes exciting when you figure out how good you can get at it. Just how much weight can you lift? You would be surprised. And progress brings its own reward. Making progress makes you hungry for more. Really get out there and test yourself and see what you are capable of.

The action is so engaging, I've never felt the need to listen to music while lifting. Unfortunately, I think I'm one of the few people can do that.

I'm convinced that if a man isn't distracted by too many material things, he has the urge to go out and try new things and become competent in new skills or hobbies.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Thoughts about Into the Wild by Jon Krakuer

In a recent podcast by Davis Aurini and Matt Forney, I heard Davis mention that the male is the more romantic of the two sexes while the female is the more practical. He mentioned that a man wants to go live off the land with his gun and his dog while a woman dreams of getting that nice house in the suburbs next to a good school district.

I don't know how to measure levels of romantic-ness, however I can admit I've had dreams of just blasting myself into space without any real concerns of coming back. Ok, I wouldn't really do that, but I've had the interest of just wandering around America and hitch hike to different campsites all over the place. I think Matt Forney wrote a book about doing that sort of thing.

I thought about the book Into the Wild by Jon Krakuer. I had only read it once back in college and it is kind of a sad read. It is based off of a true story where Christopher McCandless adventured all over America, made it to Alaska, and died by eating poisonous potato plants. While the end of his story was tragic, I admire the spirit he had and his desire to experience life.

Christopher was a very successful kid. He got good grades and he graduated from Emory University. I guess he got sick of it all and didn't want to live his life by the expectations that others set for him. Get married, have 2 children, buy an expensive house, and have to slave away 40 plus years in some boring office job while taking a 2 week vacation each year.

Instead of doing any of that, he gives away all his money, abandons his car, and cuts off all ties with everyone he knew from his previous life. In this sense, I guess he was a purist of living off of the land. He was a survivalist. Had I been in his shoes, I wouldn't have gone that route (at least not that far). I'd keep the cash in case things went horribly wrong. Maybe Chris had something to prove. Maybe he destroyed the last of his cash so he knew that all of his results were by his own hand. He even went as far as rejecting donations and gifts from the people he met along his journey.

His death in Alaska makes the point that taking your life into your own hands means that you accept all the responsibility and risks that come with it. If you choose to take the risk of enjoying your life to the fullest capability, these things can happen if you put yourself in crazy situations be it trying to survive in Alaska in a tent or trying to jump over the Great Wall of China on a motorcycle. I think about a quote from Samurai Champloo.

There are two kinds of dogs in the world. There is the lap dog that is held on a short leash and gets one meal a day. Then there is the stray dog that roams about freely never knowing where his next meal is coming from.

Live a life of security and boredom or live a life of danger and excitement. Of course, there are all sorts of degrees in between. I kind of wonder if this is the reason that more and more men have just been dropping out of the labor force since 2000. I'll probably bump into a few of them as I make my way out to Nevada in a few years.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Monday Morning Motivation: Ezio's Support

A man needs agency. A man needs a goal. A man needs something grand to work towards.

It will be different for each man. It might be to retire at an early age. It might be to create some new technology that will benefit mankind. It might be to create and raise a loving family.

One thing that each man will have in common is that this goal will be difficult. Everyone will suffer to achieve this goal. And it will hurt. There will be times when you will feel completely alone and out of options. But are you really alone?

Today's motivation comes from Assassin's Creed 2. The most moving part of this game is when Ezio is going to take vengeance for his family's death. Before having to fight numerous armed guards, he unexpectedly sees his allies fight along side him. Unfortunately, Borgia escapes before Ezio delivers the finishing sword strike. His first instinct is to chase Borgia down but then his allies convince him otherwise.

Everyone was waiting for the prophet to arrive, except for Ezio. Ezio just wanted to kill the Spaniard. He didn't care about a prophet and besides, the prophet never showed up. And then the most moving line is spoken.

"No....? But you did."

The people that took Ezio in, cared for him, housed him, and trained him to become an assassin were all there. Over the course of several years, they were always there to help Ezio. And he was the prophet they were waiting for.

Whatever your goals may be, realize that there might be other people assisting you and helping you to move forward. You might not be as alone as you think you are. Give these people a call if needed.

Opportunity Cost of a Wedding

I did a quick search to find the average cost of a wedding in the United States today. Not to my surprise, the average cost of a wedding today is $25,200. The value $25,200 is just a figure. I think it makes a better mental picture by converting $25,200 into stuff.

Instead of spending $25,200 on a wedding, a man can just save that money and throw it towards living expenses or future retirement plans. This is the responsible thing to do. Responsibility isn't very fun so lets see what $25,200 looks like in terms of fun junk.

70 inch tv $1,500
Harley 1200 custom $12,000
PlayStation 4 $450
AK 47 $700
Ipad Air $450
Kit to send stuff close to space $750
Coolster ATV $2,500
Ms Pac Man arcade game cabinet $3,500
Ounce of gold $1200

Total cost for fun junk: $23,050. This amount has taxes sort of figured into it. For the same cost of an average wedding in the United States, a man could drive ATVs and motocycles, shoot AK 47s, then go home, get drunk, and play some Assassin's Creed on a PlayStation 4.

When compiling this list, I was thinking about including the installation for a home bowling alley. Unfortunately the cheapest cost I could find to install a home bowling alley was $75,000. A home bowling alley is the cost of almost 3 average American weddings.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

2% tech trick

One of the easiest things to do to save a little bit of money is to use the most cost effective method of purchase. For most day to day transactions at retail vendors, the most effective method of purchase is to use a credit card that gives you discounts. Obvious things being obvious, don't use credit cards if you can't use them responsibly. Pay off the balance in entirety each month to avoid interest payments and don't buy anything you wouldn't buy other wise.

That being said, make sure to have a credit card that gives you discounts on everything you buy (if you are the kind of guy that doesn't care to travel). I have a credit card that gives me a 3% discount on gas, 2% on groceries, and 1% on everything else. Simply by using this credit card to pay for my normal expenses, I save roughly $100 a year just by using this spending habit. $100 a year is a very small amount, but this is a technique that is similar to saving up coins in a jar. Using several different techniques to save money will add up in the long run in the same way that saving all your coins in a jar will grow to a few hundred dollars.

These are all just simple spending habits/changes that compound your savings in the long run.

When you make purchases with a rewards credit card, you get a discount but you don't get the discount immediately. You still pay the same price for your stuff but you build a rewards balance that you can redeem later. I did notice an interesting thing about how the rewards are calculated.

One would think that the rewards are calculated by an item by item basis. If you go to Walmart to buy tomatoes you would get a 2% discount. If you go to Walmart and buy the complete box set of Cowboy Bebop, you will get a 1% discount. This isn't how it works though. The kind of database in order to keep track of every individual item would be insane. Instead, the discount rate is based off of the vendor.

I checked my rewards statement and noticed that Walmart is considered a grocery store. Every purchase there gets a 2% discount including my Cowboy Bebop dvds. This provides an extra incentive to make purchases at Walmart given that the same item costs the same in Walmart and a different vendor.

The card that I use gives me 2% on groceries and 3% on gas. I've seen a card that gives 2% on gas and 3% on groceries. I'm sure that there are men out there that juggle multiple credit cards and use the particular credit card to get the optimal savings out of every purchase.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Knowing when it is time to worry

Right out of college, I didn't really worry too much about the whole economic system falling apart. At the time, I only had a few thousand dollars to my name so I really didn't have that much to lose. I think this might happen to some men out there. The more wealth a man accumulates, the more fear builds up of losing it. If a man is responsible and takes some precautions, he can minimize the amount of risk of losing it. It can minimize the risk, not eliminate it. Make sure you have health insurance, don't party too hard, and try not to get sued. If you make sure not to be dumb, this leaves external risks to worry about.

The biggest fears would be if America experienced hyperinflation or if the government started confiscating private bank accounts. To this, there are some precautions you can take. Buy some precious metals, buy some land, maybe some stocks. Before doing that, it is really important to get out of debt. Many people I've talked to say that American won't fall because every other country is managed worse than ours.

Here, it may be useful to take a look at the news. And by news, I don't mean the mainstream media. Take a look at what is happening in other countries. I saw some really disturbing news in 2013 when the country of Cyprus was having financial troubles. If I recall correctly, 10 percent of most bank accounts was confiscated just to keep the country afloat.

Just recently, Greece has been having the same problem but to a worse extent. I'm still following ZeroHedge to see what will happen to bank accounts there.

I watch out for stories about other countries falling into economic chaos because I've come to the conclusion that America is one of the last places it will happen to because we hold the reserve currency. Just because I don't want to have things sneak up on me by surprise, I've set a place to decide when it is time to start really preparing for a disaster. This point is arbitrary and is picked out just for my own gauge of things.

If economic disaster comes to Canada, Australia, Japan, United Kingdom, or Germany, then it might be time to start changing up strategies. I pick these countries just because I monitor their currencies on a daily basis. By economic disaster, I'll be looking for things like hyperinflation or the confiscation of private accounts. As long as these countries stay okay, I'll feel good sleeping at night.


The ability to disappear, or ghosting, is one thing I admire about men who went Galt. Having the ability to ghost implies that the man has absolutely nothing tying him down. Ideally, a man that can ghost can fit everything inside his back pack and go. Below are two videos about ghosting I've watched in the last couple of months. The first is by Ravishing Rick Rude and the second one is by Sandman.

By having the ability to move without being seen, you are a man that has as little dependence on the outside world as possible. Doing this isn't easy though. Since the day we were born, most likely we were tagged with a social security number. But, like anything else in life, ghosting can be done to different degrees.

The first thing that most people can do is eliminate their online presence. If you don't make money online, you can deactivate or eliminate your facebook, twitter, youtube, or any other social media website. To an extent, you may be tagged in other peoples photos. That can't really be avoided. If you have the ability, make sure that you use only one main email account and try to make sure that email isn't gmail. It is useful to have one gmail in order to keep in touch with your bank accounts.

Deleting your social media accounts has one really nice benefit. You don't have to deal with people that you don't want to think about. I'm sure everyone has added people on facebook for the reason of not looking like a jerk by refusing the friend request. Everyone knows the person I'm talking about. You don't hate him or her, but every time you see them upload a picture or change a status update, you just wish they didn't exist. You might hate the person or just find him annoying.

The other thing I hated about facebook was having 20 people wish me a happy birthday on my birthday. 18 of the 20 people were facebook friends that wished me a happy birthday for the reason that they got an alert and would feel like a jerk if they didn't wish me a happy birthday. It just felt so fake.

Doing a light amount of ghosting is like cleaning out all the clutter on your desktop. Maybe this is just because I'm a misanthrope.

To take things one step further in order to avoid people, it is really useful to have a throwaway prepaid phone. Over the course of a few years, you might have a falling out with some people you have stored in your phone. If too many relationships go sour, they still have your phone number and could hit you up at any time. That is until you throw away your prepaid phone, buy another prepaid phone, and gain a new phone number.

People are just kind of complicated. It is like adding more parts to an already complicated machine.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Raging Golden Eagle's Big Question

I had to link this video to Raging Golden Eagle because it is that good. Do you live life for the moment or do you plan for a future? Each one has risks and rewards and each method is uncertain. While we can estimate how long we may live, we could all die in a car crash tomorrow. It is important to enjoy yourself a little bit while you try to earn your freedom.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Monday Morning Motivation: Destroying Previous Limits

Any fans of DBZ out here? I'm sure there are a couple.

Today's motivation, I had to make a choice between Goku's "I am" speech and the moment when Goku first goes Super Saiyan.

To me, Goku's transformation was just too good to pass up.

Frieza was made out to be such a good villian as he killed an entire race and killed Goku's friends. Krillin's death was the event that pushed Goku over the edge and triggered his transformation. If there was one thing DragonBall Z did very well, it was build suspense. Fans of DBZ were waiting forever for the moment where Goku transformed and started laying the beat down on Frieza.

But that is not what motivates me from this scene.

For me, what is more important is the transformation itself. After the transformation, Goku reaches a level of strength he never saw before. I think his strength multiplied by 10 times (I can't verify this, power levels are an inaccurate form of measurement). It is here that Goku destroyed all of his previous limitations.

In real life, multiplying your strength because of emotion is ridiculous. However there is one parallel to Goku's destroying of his limitations. It comes in the form of making a decision. A decision to become something different, something better. After making that decision, you can start the path to multiplying your strength, wealth, or health. And eventually, you will transform into something different.

How the Federal Government Unintentionally Caused Straight Men to Enter into Same Sex Marriages

The other day, I was thinking about the stories I've heard about women marrying themselves or pets. When the term marriage was used, it is not a legal marriage. And when I say legal marriage, I mean that the couple cannot use the Married Filing Joint status on their tax return. It is such a shame though, I would love to legally marry myself or a stray cat in order to get the tax benefit of using the Married Filing Joint status. Maybe in the next 20 years, that will become an option but it is doubtful that the IRS would allow the union of a man to a pet rock to qualify for using the Married Filing Joint status. That would lead to a significant loss of tax revenue.

Whenever the rules of any sort of system change, there are usually unintended consequences. For example, if corporations are forced to increase the minimum wage, there will be a number of employees that either get fired, get their hours cut, or are forced to work harder. In the case of same sex marriages, it is quite recent that same sex marriages gained all of the benefits from traditional marriage. As of August 29th, 2013, the IRS and the US Department of Treasury ruled that same sex marriages will be treated the same as traditional marriages when it comes to "all federal tax provisions where marriage is a factor, including filing status, claiming personal and dependency exemptions, taking the standard deduction, employee benefits, contributing to an IRA and claiming the earned income tax credit or child tax credit." 

The loophole here is that you don't actually have to be a homosexual in order to enter into a same sex marriage. And even if being a homosexual was a requirement, how would the government go about in testing or proving sexual orientation?

Since this ruling is less than two years old, there is not much information readily available on google about straight men marrying other straight men in order to get tax benefits. Using the search term, as of 4/19/2015, straight men marrying other straight men for tax benefits, brings up Ask Meta Filter, reddit, and a LGBT blog.

After doing a quick scan of Ask Meta Filter, one issue of Marriage Fraud came up. This was illustrated in foreigners marrying Americans with the sole intent of bypassing the immigration process in order to gain citizenship. According to, being accused of marriage fraud can carry the penalty of 5 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. The link goes into great detail about the green card marriage but it doesn't go into any details about same sex marriages. This is to be expected as this is a very recent phenomenon. This sort of law seems like a big cop out though. The government is trying to make purpose/intent illegal. In this case, the government is trying to make illegal a natural response/reaction to the rules the government set forth in the first place. But that is the kind of legal system we have.

The third article I found stated that a heterosexual couple in New Zealand got married as part of a radio contest stunt in order to win free rugby tickets to the Rugby World Cup in England. This was met with backlash in that it offended LGBT protesters that fought hard for the right. But this does make the point that the institution of marriage means so little that two BFFs would tie the knot in order to get free rugby tickets. If anything, this article illustrates two friends that would do almost anything for each other and a free pair of rugby tickets. That is how you know for sure you have a true friend.

Now, because people are asking questions about hetero same sex marriages, I am confident that this is already happening. It is just a very small portion of the population that is doing this, but I am pretty sure that as the economy gets tougher with the mismanagement of this country, this crazy trend of hetero same sex marriages will increase in the future. Eventually, this will get media coverage and the federal government will eventually step in and try to crack down on this phenomenon.

The reason for this is that people just can't keep their mouths shut. In practice a heterosexual couple could just apply for a marriage license, pay a small fee for the paperwork, and then they would be legally married. They don't need a wedding, a ring, or the need to tell anyone about it. Both men can still date women. They are not required to be intimate with each other, they don't need to adopt children, and they don't even need to live together. They just need to get the license and proceed with life as if nothing had ever happened. The only thing the couple has to do is collaborate with each other when they file their taxes. Needless to say, it is implied that these men have no ambition or aspirations to get married to women in the future and this is quite reasonable. Married people are slowly disappearing. In the 20 - 34 age demographic, 70% of men are not married. A portion of these men will get married in the future, but given that married couples make up less than 50% of American households, it is likely that married couples will continue to decline in the future.

However, if a heterosexual couple went through with this idea, they would feel a good sense of pride in using a cheap method to save a few hundred to a few thousand dollars a year. They would then start telling other people about the crazy idea and inevitably more people would start engaging in same sex marriages for the pure reason of tax benefits. This would then draw media attention and public backlash. I guess this is a good as time as any to say that I do not encourage or condone engaging in a same sex marriage in order to get tax benefits. This idea could be considered marriage fraud even though it is not explicitly stated.

Obviously, there are several reasons why this is a very small phenomenon today. First off, a lot of men do want to find a nice wife one day and get married. If he is already engaged in a same sex marriage, he will have to get a divorce in order to legally marry a wife. Speaking of divorce, a same sex marriage is still subject to the same divorce laws as traditional marriages. One partner could decide to rob the other partner if there is a large disparity in the net worth of both individuals. The second reason is social stigma. Both individuals could try to keep the marriage a secret but it is inevitable that one of the two would tell a few people then the whole community thinks that the two individuals are LGBT.

I'll wrap things up with an idea of how much money a hetero same sex marriage could save. I will state that the savings increase as the salary of the individuals increase. There is very little benefit using the Married Filing Joint status if both men are close to broke. Since I cannot analyze every situation, I've included the 2014 IRS tax table here. I will analyze a very basic example and look at only one factor, the tax rate of the Married Filing Jointly status versus the Single status. Obviously, there are more benefits but this is just to provide a very simple example.

For example, Adam and Bill both work as engineers and both have the same salary. After accounting for the personal exemption and standard deduction, each man has a taxable income of $40,000. Both men owe $5,863 each. However, if Adam and Bill file using the Married Filing Joint status, both men would owe only $5,096 each. This filing status would save almost $767 each man. Over the period of 10 years, each man would save $7,670, minus the cost of the marriage license, by simply getting into a same sex marriage.

The savings become more drastic the more money that is made. If Adam and Bill were very well off and had a taxable income of $60,000, the tax savings in using the Married Filing Jointly status would be $2,767 each man versus the single status. Over a 10 year period, each man would have saved $27,670, minus the cost of the marriage license, by entering into a same sex marriage.

Once again, straight men marrying other straight men is a very small phenomena today, but people respond to incentives. By giving same sex marriages the same benefits as traditional marriages in 2013, the government created the unintended consequence of straight men marrying each other for tax benefits. I haven't yet heard any news stories about this happening in America, but it is only a matter of time before this story pops up on the news.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Elementary School is just Daycare

Every so often, I'll hear a report from some news source stating a very basic fact that most American's probably don't know. The most recent example is that most American's can't name the 3 branches of government. To test this claim, I'll go around asking people I know if they can answer this question. A lot of them can't respond with executive, judicial, and legislative.

To take this a step further, I'll think of other really basic common knowledge questions and see if my friends can answer it. Unfortunately, I run into people who do not know how large of a number a million, billion, and trillion are. Most of my friends can't correctly name the first five United States presidents (to be fair, I couldn't remember past the first three). Recently, I was amazed that I ran into people who could not name all eight planets of the solar system.

The last question hit me hard. The only confusion regarding that question could reasonable come from the fact that Pluto is no longer considered a planet since 2006. The planets of the solar system is something that every kid learns by the age of nine. It is such common knowledge, it baffles me that people would forget Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.

The fact that a great amount of Americans don't know these basic bits of knowledge would imply that the average American is really stupid but that is much too easy of a conclusion to jump to. Instead, it is more reasonable to come to the conclusion that American's forget these facts because they aren't at all relevant to the average American's life. Knowing that Pluto is no longer considered a planet won't help the average American make or save any money. Being able to list the first 10 presidents most likely won't improve your marriage or love life. Being able to list the three branches of government won't help a woman lose 10 pounds.

The average American knows things like the price of a gallon of gas, where to go to get a tire changed, how to interact with other people etc.

It kind of makes me wonder why elementary schools teach kinds all this information that they will eventually forget or never need to learn. I've come up with two conclusions.

The first being that government schools are just a form of subsidized childcare which will allow Americans to go out and work more hours without having to worry about taking care of their children. Kids get force fed education just so that parents think they are getting a good value from their tax dollars.

The second conclusion is that the education system knows that only a small percentage of students will become productive and eventually end up supporting all the unproductive citizens of society. 30% to 50% of kids in the system will major in STEM or enter the trades to help build society while the rest of the kids get stuck in low paying jobs or live off of welfare.

Just like a multi level marketing company, it is close to impossible to figure out which recruits will be the superstar sellers. In order to find that superstar, you have to recruit as many people as possible, make them jump through countless hoops, and see which ones come out a success. Since the federal government forces all children to go through the education system, the government has the greatest chance of mining for the high potential workers.

It is for this reason that kids get exposed to a wide variety of topics and more than 90% of it will be a complete waste of time. The kid who eventually becomes a chemical engineer probably doesn't know what he will become at the age of 12. He will have to be subjected to topics such as history or journalism along his way.

Since elementary schools don't do a very good job inspiring children to become great, and that these kids will eventually just forget 90% of what they learn anyway, why not just turn these elementary schools into summer camps and let real school start when the kids go to middle school.

Also in middle school and high school, I guess they should teach more practical things like how to change a tire, how to prepare basic income taxes, how to use excel spreadsheets, or how to do proper customer service. I'd figure these skills would be more applicable to the average man's life then writing a 5 page essay about the book Great Expectations.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Book Review: Tomcat in Love by Tim O'Brien

I was never really a fan of reading or writing fiction until I stumbled upon the author Tim O'Brien in college. The first book I read was The Things They Carried, I read it for my English 1102 class. I enjoyed the book so much that I decided to buy and read the rest of the books by Tim O'Brien.

Tim O'Brien has a common theme connecting every one of his novels. Every novel he wrote is connected to the Vietnam War. The Things They Carried, Going after Cacciato, and If I Die in a Combat Zone are all directly related to the war while his other novels use the war as a back story.

Tomcat in Love, The Nuclear Age, July July, Northern Lights, and In the Lake of the Woods focus more on the characters that fought in the war rather than the war itself. You get a lot of character development out of his stories.

Tomcat in Love is a story about a guy whose thirstiness for love and affection gets him into a worse and worse situation as the novel progresses. It is quite painful as it is like watching a freight train head straight towards a cliff. And then the train flies off the cliff and crashes into the jagged rocks below into a twisted mess of blood, fire, and steel.

The novel starts off with Thomas's wife Lorena leaving him. The two had a strained marriage as Lorena was very cold to Thomas. Desperate for affection, Thomas kept a ledger of all the attention that he received from any woman through out the day. If he received a smile, or a wink, or a hug, he would record it in this ledger. Upon discovery of the ledger, Lorena leaves Thomas for some rich tycoon.

Feeling devastated about the end of a marriage, Thomas tries to cope the best he can but eventually decides to plot to try to destroy Lorena's new marriage to this tycoon. After a few chapters, Thomas meets a new love interest named Mrs. Robert Kooshof. Thomas and Mrs. Robert Kooshof hook up a few times but Thomas is still determined to destroy the marriage of Lorena. Mrs. Robert Kooshof experiences frustration that Thomas can't put his past behind him.

As the novel progresses, Thomas continuously gets screwed over by the women that he meets and gets attracted to. Thomas is a linguistics professor and ends up getting blackmailed to ghost write for one of his students. This incident ends up causing Thomas to lose his job. Towards the end of the book, he also gets blackmailed by a four year old daughter to pretend to be a space captain on some local children television show.

All this could have been avoided if he just decided to drop the revenge and stay with Mrs. Robert Kooshof. Eventually, Thomas suffers a mental breakdown before getting his closure. The book does end happily with Thomas and Mrs. Robert Kooshof moving to an island together.

Before I ever heard about the red pill, I knew that getting to addicted to someone's love and affection could lead to some disastrous results. Tomcat in Love is a comical representation of that happening. It also serves as a warning to not become the kind of thirsty man that is desperate for love and affection from another. Love and affection is nice, but getting dependent on it can lead to nasty results.

A final takeaway can be found it how difficult it can be for someone to let go of the past. While reading the novel, I kept on thinking that Thomas could be happy if he just decided to let the old woman go and enjoy the company of Mrs. Robert Kooshof.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Everything is Subject to Change

It is really easy for the mind to drift off into crazy places while working 12 hours each day. Just the other day, I was thinking about buying big helium balloons in order to start sending my stuff into space. Speaking of space, there is a very simple question that the average American will probably get wrong.

How many planets are there in our solar system? There are nine, wait a minute, something is wrong. There are only 8. In 2006, Pluto was reclassified as a dwarf planet. I think this got media coverage for a week or maybe a month but I guess most people forgot this fact.

Still, the number of planets was one of those most basic things that a kid learns in first grade science. This was a basic and unchanging fact until 2006. Pluto was demoted to a dwarf planet for the reason that Pluto's orbit cuts through Neptune's orbit for a portion of Pluto's year.

It is possible that we will discover more planets in our solar system in the future as well.

It makes me think that things are just the way they are because we deem them to be.

Even our global map has changed over time and is continuing to change to this day. In the past, Russia used to be part of the Soviet Union. America started out as only a few colonies until our history unfolded.

To take things in a more silly route, there are articles that state there are more than 60 different genders.

Remember this when the status quo changes in the future.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Tuesday Night Terror: How Something Bad Might Happen in 2018

Since January 1st 2000, there were 2 events that shook the American population. The first event being the September 11th terrorism attacks and the second event being the financial meltdown of 2008. Neither event had a real impact on me directly, however these events had a massive emotional toll on the American population.

Before the terrorism attack, America never had such a large domestic terrorism attack. We all felt vulnerable. Were their going to be more attacks?

After the financial meltdown of 2008, several American's lost a significant amount of their retirement savings which set them back from retirement several years.

I was lucky to be mostly unaffected. I didn't live in New York and lost no family or loved ones in the attack. When the meltdown happened, I didn't have anything invested in the markets so I didn't lose any money. I just experienced difficulty finding work after graduating college. However, based on these two events, it has been ingrained into my mind that the whole world is falling to pieces and one day, something catastrophic will happen. I guess it is for this reason that I look for news for signs that danger is close by.

While listening through Davis Aurini's videos, I stumbled upon one video where he predicts World War III to occur sometime during 2018. I'm linking the video to archive it in my blog so that I can check back 3 years from now if I remember.

Just 15 minutes ago, I was checking Terrence Popp's channel for a new video. His video Zombie Apocalypse 2: The Next 9/11 presents how a catastrophic attack could happen. According to his research, there are several Jihad training camps located really close to nuclear power plants. That is really all I have to say about that, just go watch the video for his details.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Monday morning already? I guess it is that time again.

Today's motivation comes from the game Catherine. I've never played this game before, but I know of it because I'm a fan of the Completionist. Catherine is a puzzle game where you move blocks around to make it to the top of a pyramid.

The story of the game is that Vincent is in a relationship with Katherine and she is pressuring him to marry him. Vincent gets seduced by a different woman named Catherine and accidentally cheats with her. At least Vincent thinks he cheats on Katherine. Later in the game, you learn that Catherine is just an illusion.

He then goes through a series of nightmares where he has to move blocks around and climb to the top of a pyramid. Eventually, both girls leave him.

Depending on how you play the game, you will get different endings. You get a happy ending no matter what happens but you could either get back together with Katherine and live happily married or get back together with Catherine and become a super demon king (anime is weird).

Or, you could get the ending where Vincent decides not to pursue either one. Deciding that either Katherine or Catherine would be more trouble than they were worth, Vincent decides to take his life in a new direction. He makes a bet for a unknown future. A future that might provide more happiness in the long run. Vincent makes the choice to tour space.

"Why live a life without doing what you want? That's just a recipe for a life of misery..."

Escape Velocity and Personal Finance

Escape velocity refers to the speed a ballistic projectile needs in order to escape a gravity well. When hearing the term, most people will think about a rocket escaping the atmosphere of the Earth. As a concept, escape velocity can be applied to different aspects of life.

The way I see it, a good way to describe escape velocity is breaking through the obstacles that are keeping you tied down. As soon as those obstacles are broken, the following progress is astounding. It is like looking at an exponential curve. The reason for this is that, given the amount of effort being expended is the same, effort that was previously being spent dealing with obstacles is now being spent working toward a goal.

Most of us have seen it on a short scale playing video games. I've included a link to a game called The Last Stand. The Last Stand is a simple flash based game where you have to survive 20 days fighting off zombies. All you have is a barricade, some weapons, and some companions in order to make it through the night. If the zombies break your barricade, you have a few moments before they kill you.

You start the game with only yourself and a handgun. As the nights progress, you have three options to choose from. You have to decide how much time you spend repairing your barricade, searching for survivors, and looking for new weapons. To beat the game easily, you want to make sure to get as many other survivors as soon as possible for one very key reason. The more survivors you have, the more effective you can repair the barricade. Time is your limited resource.

Just by yourself, you can repair 5% of the barricade per hour, however every extra survivor will allow you to repair an extra 5% per hour. If you have 7 survivors, you can repair 35% of the barricade per hour. The other survivors also fight along side with you and make it less likely to get overwhelmed by enemies which break down the barricade.

Playing the game only on your own with just the handgun, it is easy for several rushing zombies to cause severe damage to the barrier. If the barricade gets knocked down to 50%, you have to spend 10 hours repairing it leaving only 2 hours to look for better guns or allies.

Enough about games.

When it comes to personal finance, there are three places I can think of where you want to achieve escape velocity.

The first place is making sure you spend less money than you make. If you are spending more money than you make, this means that you are borrowing money and borrowing money isn't free. Usually, borrowing money isn't even cheap. The worst place to see this happen is consumer debt. It is credit card debt. Credit card debt usually carries an interest rate of 12 to 20 percent. To put this into perspective, 20% off of $10,000 credit card balance for a year is $2,000 of interest. This $2,000 is being paid in order to allow a man to carry $10,000 of credit card debt. When a man starts spending less money than he makes, he has the option to use extra money to pay off debts to reduce the amount of interest being paid.

The second place of seeing escape velocity is when all debts are paid off. For example, say a man has been paying $1,000 each month on a mortgage and the mortgage is his only debt. After his house is paid off, he is still working his corporate job but no longer has to pay $1,000 a month on his house. The man has the option to take that $1,000 and throw it into saving or investments. If the man was only saving $200 a month while he had the mortgage, his is now saving $1,200 after the mortgage.

The third place of seeing escape velocity is when passive income or investment income becomes greater than your living expenses. If a man is consistently making $16,000 a year on passive or investment income and his total living expenses are only $15,000, he does not need a job in the corporate world in order to sustain his standard of living. He has the option to be free and pursue whatever it is his heart desires.

In order to achieve escape velocity, it is very helpful to prefer minimalism. The cheaper it is that you live, the less money you need to make in order to sustain your standard of living. More on that later though.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Confusing questions about race that Starbucks probably didn't expect

Two weeks ago, I walked into Starbucks with some coworkers to get a tall coffee. As the guy handed me my drink, I asked if there were any cups left that said Race Together on them. He just kind of mumbled a bit and mentioned Starbucks was only doing that for a week.

I felt bad that I missed my chance to ask these questions. I wasn't the kind of guy that would take the coffee, pour it on the cash register, yell at the guy, demand a second cup of coffee, pour that second cup out, yell at the guy some more, demand a third cup of coffee, and pour that one out too. I just wanted to have awkward conversations with the staff and ask the dumbest questions.

It is possible to have a gender change operation? Is it possible to have a race change operation done? Is that even possible? Has anyone had a race change operation before? Yes, I would have taken the conversation into this sort of direction.

But after thinking about dumb questions to ask, I actually thought about some questions that I was really curious about.

First off, how many races are there? According to the US census, there are 5 or 6 unique races. The races are Black, White, Asian, Native American, Pacific Islander, and there is probably one more. There is also the option for multi-racial and other.

I guess that the Black and White race are named because of the color of a person's skin but why is the Asian race called Asian. It is a derogatory term to call the Asian race yellow, but why is it racist to name a certain race after a color and not hold the White or Black race to the same standard?

When it comes to Asians, how come Indians and Russians aren't generally considered Asian? In the past, I would have designated someone's race as Indian but that is incorrect. India is a country so being Indian is a nationality. So what race are Indians? Well, they are Asian. But when the average guy thinks about Asian, the Asian that comes to mind is Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or Vietnamese.

Indians are designated the color brown. Well, how come they don't have their own race? Come to think of it, I have never met anyone from India that identified as Asian.

Speaking of identifying races by color, Native Americans are considered to be red. I guess the reason for that is being sunburned? But I've never see a portrayal of a Native American that was red.

Now a few years back, I wondered how come Mexican wasn't a race to choose on the Census. Well first off, Mexican is a nationality so the race would be Hispanic. However, when I looked at the census, I noticed that Hispanic was broken down by every single race. I had no idea why. It seemed kind of racist to me. Why just omit a race and break it down by every other race? Actually, I found the answer to this one by listening to one of Cappy's podcasts. Hispanic isn't a race, it is an ethnicity.

Well if Hispanic is an ethnicity, why is that the only ethnicity that is broken down by every race on the census? Does the US not care about any ethnicity other than Hispanic? I don't even know what any other ethnicity are. I guess I should look up a list or something. I guess if more than one ethnicity was included on the Census, it would turn the Census table into a spreadsheet.

Are there only 5 or 6 races recognized in America? Is it different around the world? Is Indian a race in India? Are there races I've never even heard of before? Is it like gender where there are more than 30 types of gender? Could there be a break down and we will have 30 races in the future?

I've heard that the race together campaign lasted only one week in Starbucks and was shut down after public backlash. I kind of wonder if it was shut down because someone was holding up the lines asking these crazy questions above.

To anyone reading this. If you want to have some fun, print out this article and hand it to the staff at Starbucks and see if they can answer these questions.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

According to Google, the next president of the United States will be...

With the advancement of Google in the last several years, it has been getting kind of eerie how much information is available on the internet and how well the internet can try to predict your thoughts and actions. I started noticing this when Google first came out with auto complete in their search bar.

With the amount of information available, it really kind of does feel like the scene in The Matrix where Trinity downloads the skills to learn how to fly a helicopter in a few seconds. A few years ago, I had to scan a document but didn't know how to use the scanner on my printer. Without a user manual, I just typed the model number of my printer into Google and found a youtube video on how to scan my document and convert it to a pdf file on my desktop using windows viewer.

With all this information available, I like to type in ridiculous questions to Google to see if I can find the answer.

How much can Justin Bieber bench press?
How old is SpongeBob Square pants?
How many ex boyfriends did Taylor Swift have?
What is the population of Antarctica?
What is the birth rate of Japan?

I found the answer to all of these with a quick Google search.

For fun, I'll also type in questions that no one could reasonably know and see what comes up. So, earlier today, I was wondering what would come up if I typed in, Who will be the next president?

Personally, I am making the prediction that it will be Hilary Clinton because I have faith that the US population is continuing to degrade and will choose the worst possible option. I recall the Bechtloff stated that, since Ronald Regan, every successive president has gotten worse and worse. Since I believe that America is still declining, I would not be surprised if Hilary Clinton became the next president of the United States. Of course, when I say all of this, I am half joking and half serious.

So I entered "Who will be the next president" into Google (as of 4/8/2015) and this article was the first thing that came up.

I'm not a fan of Glen Beck and I didn't bother to even read this article, this was just the first thing that came up. This isn't to state that Google is some sort of oracle with a crystal ball (even though I like to pretend that it is). This is just what got the most traffic for this search term as of this date.

I write this post for posterity. Now it is time to play the waiting game and wait until November 2016 to see how accurate Google is.

Should Hilary become the next president of the United States, I can make the following predictions.

The United States debt to GDP ratio will increase to 115% according to
Government spending to total debt ratio will continue to increase towards 50%.
Yes means Yes law will spread to at least 3 or 4 states.

However, I make these same predictions even if Hilary doesn't not get elected so that part is just kind of meaningless.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Breaking through some writer's block

When a man wants to write and develop a blog, one of the biggest problems a man might face is creating the content. Enter writers block. You know what it feels like. You have to write something but nothing is coming to you. It is easy to sit at a blank sheet or monitor for 30 minutes or more.

This is one form of writer's block, having no idea what to write about. However, this isn't the only form of writers block. It is quite possible to have the opposite problem. Sometimes, you might be inundated by a whole mess of ideas and you aren't sure what to write about. You go about your day and every so often, you juggle between thinking about writing about at least 5 different topics.

For some reason, this can create a bottleneck effect. It will feel like a traffic jam or trying to shove a square peg through a round hole. Each one of these topics will feel interesting to write about but something will prevent you from actually writing it.

Maybe you want to write about Transformers 3, but you realize you don't have any real point to make. Maybe you want to write about repairing car engines but you realize you have no idea how to actually do that. You might know only one thing but nothing else. Maybe you want to write a book review but you realize you don't have enough patience in order to write the whole review. Maybe you have a really good idea or topic but you forget it within a few hours. Or maybe you have a great idea but you realize it is really dumb half an hour later.

I learned one of the most useful techniques to help break writers block from Roosh V. One of his earliest videos was from way back in 2008 called How to Become an Expert Blogger Like Me. He starts out with the video with a simple word document listing a whole list of topics to write about.

This was a great technique to remember all the good ideas you had throughout the day or even as far back as a few weeks or months ago. Seeing all the topics also gives you the strategic advantage of picking the topic which will be the easiest to write an article about and complete.

Using a simple document can help a writer write content regularly. Roosh also emphasized the very important technique of putting pictures of ceiling cat into your posts.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Monday Morning Motivation: Bob Burnquist 2001 Vert Run X games

Today's Monday Motivation comes from real life. It was 14 years ago, I was watching the summer X games and the skateboard vert competition was my favorite event. Bucky Lasek was just killing it out there and he got a score somewhere in the mid 90s. Almost an unbeatable score. The only skater left that could knock him out was Bob Burnquist.

Bob starts out his run and after a few tricks, he goes for a kickflip indy to fakie and starts going his run in switch. Bob goes for a switch flip indy and doesn't complete the full flip. Normally, any person would just throw the flip away. Bob is anything but normal. He grabs the board on the graphic side flips it a half flip and lands on the vert wall with his front foot on the nose and back foot in the middle of the board (nollie position). This is the first time the announcers freak out. Bob was supposed to slam on this trick and bruise some ribs but he barely held it together. Tony Hawk continues to shout out the tricks Bob is doing.

Switch frontside ollie
Switch backside ollie
Switch rock and roll

As the audience is freaking out, Bob starts doing blunt tricks. These are common on mini ramps but not as much on full size vert ramps. Bob did a blunt to fakie and a half cab frontside blunt but then he just kills the competition.

Bob Burnquist did a blunt kickflip to fakie on a vert ramp. I had never seen one of those on a vert ramp before. That trick is (theoretically) regulated to mini ramps. If that trick goes wrong, a man can very likely slam on the flat bottom. This trick caused everyone to freak out.

That was the trick that and the buzzer wins a competition. Yet, just for the lolz, Bob goes and does a switch backside lipside revert to finish his run. He didn't have to do it because the blunt kickflip to fakie already won the contest for him. But he did it anyway.

This contest run scored him a 98 to win and is one of the greatest vert runs in history.

Nothing worth fighting for. Nothing worth living for. Nothing worth dying for.

I've heard reports from prominent bloggers about achieving really big goals at a relatively young age. One of the biggest problems about achieving these goals is what to do next? I've heard a lot of people get depressed because they have no sense of agency anymore. I'm a year away from reaching my goal of saving a certain amount of money. Yet for some reason, I'm feeling a sense of depression before even reaching this goal.

For the longest time, I was thinking that I want to achieve this goal and I want it now. The 390 days left until May 1st 2016 just feels agonizing. I count each day that goes by. But when I finally get there, I won't even be 30 yet. I want to have the freedom to spend 16 hours a day doing whatever I like. But maybe, I'll get sick of having all that freedom and want to go back to the corporate grind.

I've never asked this question to anyone before. I kind of wonder if some men get married and have children just for the sake of having something to do or work for. Do they need some sense of agency? Personally, I could never get married for the sake that I am very adverse to risk. And getting married today might be like trying to clear a minefield according to Davis Aurini.

The other reason I'm opposed to getting married is that I perceive the probability of getting into a happy life long marriage is about 1% or less. According to Aaron Clarey, he dated about 300 women over the course of 22 years. Out of all those women, he made the claim that only 3 were marriage material. Only 1% of women would lead to a happy marriage.

I'm really glad he did the field research. I don't have the time or patience to go through that nonsense. I'll take his word for it.

Maybe I should just try to accumulate a larger amount of money. But there is only one amount of money that I want. I want the amount of money that will last me the rest of my lifetime. After taking care of all my financial concerns, all I could really think of doing is skateboarding.

But even then, the only goal I could think of doing is trying to become professional. And I really don't have the ambition to want to do that. Maybe I could shoot for trying to get a shop sponsor or try to win some sort of contest.

I've heard that men need to have a sense of agency or else they will fall into depression. There must be something to it. Or maybe I'm just bummed out because Sunday night is more depressing than Monday morning.

Speaking of which....

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Worthless College Courses Part 3: Tutorial to College

When I first went to State University, I went to the orientation that was held before classes begin. Towards the end, they give you the option of joining a freshman learning community. This was a concept that would help transition high school students into college life. How this worked was that you would be grouped into a section of 30 students that would have at least 3 classes together each week. Studies showed that joining this community would give you a better chance at performing better in your first semester in college. Little did I know, it was encouraged just to squeeze more money out of incoming students.

The reason for this is that every freshman learning community included a class called Introduction to State University. This class was the most useless class I took in my college career for one major reason. This class could not be dropped and the credits did not count to any major however this class did impact your GPA so you had to show up in order to maintain your scholarship. This was a trap just to catch students that were too lazy to figure out how to create their own schedule for college classes. Unfortunately, that was me.

This class wasn't just a tutorial to adjusting to college. It was a tutorial to living your life. We covered the following topics.

Getting enough sleep
Eating healthy
Taking public transportation
Spending enough time studying
Balancing college life between leisure activities and course work
Gonorrhea ... No
Managing your money and making a budget

It was an introduction to life. And given that this is a college course, it really made me think about how the American education system is degrading. In order to get a grade in this class, we wrote 3 or 5 essays. Lastly, this class I took had all the desks arranged into a circle so that all the students could see each other while having conversations.

For anyone either going to college or knows someone going to college, make sure to avoid this tutorial. It isn't worth the money.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Several reasons why FPS games do a horrible job at turning kids into bloodthirsty psychopaths

Every so often, I've heard stories in the news stating that games like Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto is encouraging kids to commit acts of terrorism. The claim seems absolutely ridiculous, but I just brush it off as complete nonsense. There was one claim by I forget who (maybe it was Glen Beck) saying that these games teach kids how to effectively become trained killers. These games might as well be military training programs.

Those claims bother me because of all the reasons I can think of why using video games would be a horrible way to train our armed forces. Obviously these claims come from people who most likely don't shoot guns or play first person shooters.

We all know that games like Call of Duty try to simulate realistic combat (actually they try to simulate Michael Bay movies), but they can not accurately portray real combat. I make the following observations not as a man who actually shoots real guns. I make the following observations as a man that has played a lot of first person shooters and noticed several things that just break my suspension of disbelief.

The most obvious thing is that you only get one life. If you get killed, you don't get to respawn at the closest checkpoint. None of my following observations even matter when explaining why kids don't go on shooting sprees after playing Grand Theft Auto.

When it comes to actually firing weapons, a video game doesn't teach you how to fire a gun. In the game, you are just sitting on your couch while moving some thumb sticks and pressing some buttons to shoot. You look at the tv screen and usually you have a nice cross hair to use to know exactly where your shots go. When using a real gun, you have to load the gun, turn off the safety, line up the sights, keep your hands steady, and squeeze the trigger without throwing off your aim. Video games make everything so easy in the fact that you never have to worry about imperfect use or aiming of your weapon and you don't worry about malfunctions. In a video game, you just have to worry about reloading.

Speaking of reloading, in the game you just have to push a button. Reloading takes just a few seconds. In real life, reloading can take just a few seconds but it is much harder than just pushing a button. You have to remove the empty magazine, find your full magazine, load it into your gun, and ready the weapon. It the video game, the magazine is always available and within reach. In real life, you have to make sure the magazine is easy to reach and you have to make sure to be careful not to drop it while reloading. You could slip or insert it improperly. Becoming skilled in reloading takes time. A beginner most likely would not be able to reload a handgun in 2 seconds.

Another game mechanic that breaks my suspension of belief is hammer space. In a lot of games, you can hold dozens of guns and press a button to cycle through your weapons. Your character is only holding the weapon that he is currently using. In real life, it would be absurd for a man to carry a handgun, a sub machine gun, an assault rifle, a sniper rifle, a shotgun, several grenades, a rocket launcher, a general purpose machine gun, and the ammo for all of this all at the same time. Some modern games have fixed this issue by limiting the amount of weapons the character can carry to about 4.

Even the movement and abilities of the characters in FPS games breaks reality. A lot of shooters give the player the ability to run. Most of the games don't have a way to account for stamina. In the game, you can keep dashing for as long as you hold the button down. In real life, it would be difficult to sprint for more than a few minutes while carrying weapons and equipment.

In videogames, the character usually has regenerating health and can take several bullets before dying. In reality, taking just one bullet can be devastating even if you don't get shot in the head or center of mass. Even when wearing body armor, a soldier can get injured by the impact of multiple bullet shots to the chest.

Related to how bullet wounds affect the human body, video games doesn't portray it realistically. In most FPS games, your character performs the exact same at 100% health and one inch away from death. In real life, getting shot in the arms would make it very difficult to fire a gun. Getting shot it the legs would make it very difficult to move. In Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes, enemy soldiers do get disabled if you shot them in the arms or legs. However Snake doesn't get disabled if he is shot in the arms or legs.

The last unrealistic thing I can think of when it comes to the character is using cover. Since shooters came out on the PlayStation 3, ducking behind cover and shooting enemies has become standard. There is just one thing that bothers me every time I see this game play mechanic. If you are completely behind cover, you won't be able to see your enemies. You would have expose your head from cover and take a look around.

The last big thing that breaks my suspension of disbelief is the AI of enemies. In a lot of FPS games, enemy guards just kind of stay in the same place and duck behind cover every now and then. In order to make the game difficult, you usually have about 20 of these guys to take out. Only in a few games, the enemies will move around and try to flank you.

There are more things that are unrealistic but I think these are the biggest things. Most FPS games are not a good depiction of reality and it is silly to think that games turn kids into violent killers.

I have heard that there are some games that try to focus on realism. As far as I know, the first three Tom Clancy Rainbow Six games are the most accurate FPS games. People die in only a few shots. Deaths are permanent. Movement is slow. The games focus more on planning and tactics than intense firefights. If anyone in the media was claiming that games like Rainbow Six was teaching kids how to carry out operations, I could see some plausibility. However I really don't think that is the case. I'm pretty sure people are referring to GTA and COD.