Sunday, May 31, 2015

Song of Freedom

Today, I really can't think of to many examples of popular media where freedom is emphasised. Then again, I really don't consume a lot of pop culture. Most of the media I do consume comes from the things I look up on youtube. In the past, I was exposed to listening to Pandora in my office before everyone started listening to their own music with earbuds in place.

I do recall hearing DT's (from the Black Brigade), most hated song.

"Say something I'm giving up on you"

Other songs on today's hits aren't much better. There is a song that is about marrying a woman despite all of her flaws.

"Marry that girl. I'll marry her anyway."

There was one song about Bruno Mars feeling bad after a breakup. I think the song was named Locked out of Heaven.

The last song I can remember was a love song that almost sounded like a worship song.

"All of me loves all of you. All your curves and imperfections. When I lose I'm winning."

I'm really glad we don't use the Ipod very much in the office.

Maybe only 20% of the time, I would hear a song that was okay. Finally, I heard one song called Counting Stars by One Republic.

I'm not a fan of One Republic and I don't know any other song by One Republic but the song Counting Stars sounds like a song that emphasises freedom. I've heard that the song itself is about the band deciding to take risks and be more experimental with their music instead of just pumping out the same prepackaged staple that will be more likely to earn money.

There is the lyric that gets repeated that says the following.

"Instead of counting money we'll be counting stars."

Each time I hear this, I am reminded of what we are doing here. Our day jobs most likely isn't what we want to do with our lives. Our jobs are just a tool used to gain resources to pay our bills. Once we have enough money saved up, we can put these tools down and pursue the things that we really want out of life. It feels like we load ourselves into a cannon and blast ourselves out into space.

The only way to stop counting money is to accumulate enough of it. Once we have all the money we need, we don't need to accumulate anymore. We will be free.

And with freedom comes greatness. Our different passions will be there. And we can spend as much time as we want pursuing those things.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Could Bill Gates turn himself into a robot?

From reading both Bachelor Pad Economics and Enjoy the Decline, Aaron Clarey makes the point that the amount of wealth you accumulate will not affect your lifespan very much up to a certain point. If you make $40,000 to $50,000 a year, you are likely to live just as long as Bill Gates who has a net worth of $76 billion. This then got me to thinking. Bill Gates is probabbly going to live to the age of 90 with today's current technology. What if Bill Gates took a portion of his wealth and devoted it to research and development in order to extend his life span?

I use Bill Gates as an example simply becuase he is the man that has the highest net worth in the world (last time I checked). Here in America, the most common leading cause of death past the age of 50, 60, and 70 is going to be heart disease, cancer, and stroke. The human body would inevitabily deteoriate and die. What if a man could replace dying body parts with cybernetic parts like in the game Deus Ex?

Today, if a man loses a limb, he can get an artificial limb for $5,000 to $50,000. I'll assume that the more expensive the limb is, the more mobility and functionality you will have. An artificial limb will last 3 to 5 years. So a complete set of artificial limbs (top end) will cost $200,000. Over the course of 100 years, the cost of 20 sets of limbs would cost $4 million.

But how much could a man fully robotocise himself? As far as I know, a man just needs to keep his brain alive. The way I think this would work, the brain would have to be kept connected to every organ necessary to power it. This would include the lungs, heart, gastrointestinal system, kidneys, and every vital organ. In this way, a man could only replace the parts of a body which are not directly related to keeping itself alive. The limbs could all be replaced with robotic limbs. And the bones of the body might be able to be replaced by a metal frame and an exoskeleton could be added for extra stability. However, I don't know that much about biology and I'm not sure if it really could work. If a man replaced most of his bones with metal, the natural body might reject it. The metal would probabbly have to be replaced every few years as well.

But if artificial limbs can be bought for $50,000 each, maybe a human endoskeleton or exoskeleton could be constructed for a few million dollars to one billion dollars.

These are some of the things I think about when I am reconciling bank accounts.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Monday Night Motivation #16

Here is another one from DragonBall Z. Tonight's motivation centers around Android 16.

During the fight with Cell, Android 16 is doing a good job keeping Cell from absorbing the last androids to become perfect. Unfortunately Cell absorbs one of the Androids and gets a major power increase. Using a massive energy blast, Cell destroys 16's main body leaving only the head intact.

After a long chain of events, you see Gohan fighting perfect Cell. Even though Gohan should have the strength to hold his own in the fight, Cell is just using Gohan as a punching bag. With the situation as dire as it is, Android 16 takes a few moments to talk to Gohan.

The scene is shown here.

Android 16 tells Gohan to just let it go. Put everything into it and don't worry about the outcome. If Gohan lost, everyone would be killed by Cell anyway. This was the only thing Android 16 could do. With no arms or legs left to fight, the last thing he could do was convince Gohan to stop holding back and stop doubting himself. Gohan was afraid of failing. And the stakes of failing this challenge would be the death of everyone. And Gohan would be responsible for all of it.

Cell then walks over to Android 16 and stomps on him crushing his CPU and killing him. To make things even worse, Cell taunts Gohan saying that the death of Android 16 was Gohan's fault. It was another life Gohan could have saved if he wasn't such a coward.

Unlike most of the DragonBall characters, Android 16 doesn't come back. I don't think he is ever mentioned again. Sometimes, you don't get that second chance.

Make every decision and action count.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Does anything have any meaning?

Every so often, each man will take a few moments and wonder if anything in life has any meaning at all. Things that bring a man happiness will fade over time and a man must continuously achieve more and more things to continue to experience some sense of achievement. But in the end, we are all just going to die. What is the point of doing anything?

If you create some new product or service, you can bring some joy or convenience to several people. But eventually, they will just die anyway. You can fight your way out of poverty for decades and eventually retire from a career only to find out you have nothing to do with your free time. If you want to achieve greatness as an athlete or musician, you can develop great skills only to get bored with your hobby and view it as a chore. What ever advancements you do get will not bring lasting happiness. In a sense, we are all just waiting to die, and we take our lives to amuse ourselves the best that we can.

It is a very somber point of view but for some reason, I don't find it depressing. It just is. Even if life has no meaning, I'm still going to wake up, go to work, make money, and try to plan a future for myself. I still want to achieve several things before I expire. In that sense, my life is just hedonistic and I see nothing really wrong with it.

To cope with this reality, maybe some men turn to religion. I can't remember what book or verses it was but there was a passage about a very wealthy man. He had everything. He experienced the taste of the most expensive wine, he enjoyed the finest food, he had great material wealth, and he had all the women he could want. However, people can adapt to situations very quickly and he soon became bored of all of it and saw no meaning of it. I think this was the reason that he started worshiping God. Nothing else of the world provided any sort of meaning but submitting to a higher being might.

Unfortunately, I've been a Christian for several years and have failed miserably in carrying out God's will, doing his work, or being devout. I've forsaken my God several times. I couldn't find meaning in God and I failed as a Christian. I don't want to discourage any Christians reading this. Your experience will most likely vary from mine.

In the end, I come to the conclusion that the only meaning to life is to just amuse yourself. The best reason to stay alive is that it is better than the alternative. This is why I decided not to jump in front of the train several years ago. With life, a man will experience pain and frustration but he will also experience the joy of it too. As trivial as it may be, I really do look forward to the sausage and cheese biscuit with my cup of coffee at 7 am in my office.

Compare that to death or nonexistence. It is pretty hard. I can't remember anything that happened before I was born and I won't perceive anything after my death. It will just be nothing. Given that perspective, maybe 12 hours in an office space is worth that sausage biscuit and coffee in the morning.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Stardusk Minimalist Video

I do really enjoy Stardusk's content. On his channel, he has covered several unique topics such as conflict minerals, eating insects, and male mother need. He has very interesting thoughts and ideas.

One aspect I really admire about his is his practice of minimalism. Minimalism has been spoken about before. Aaron Clarey dedicates a chapter to it in Enjoy the Decline. However, it is good to hear the same concepts validated by multiple people. Stardusk's recent video goes into good detail about minimalism.

Instead of working long and hard for material wealth, a minimalist values time and freedom more than the material wealth. More than anything else, I value my freedom. More than money, fame, sex, or power, I just want my freedom.

When I see celebrities or top business executives in the media, I am envious. But I am not envious of their mansions, cars, or material things. I envy them because I know they could just drop everything they are working on and live out the rest of their lives doing whatever they please (provided they don't may really bad decisions).

I do take comfort in the fact that a man does not need to become a millionaire in order to be free. He just has to make sure not to waste money on bad decisions.

In Stardusk's video, he states that he works only a few hours a week. He doesn't need or want to drive. He lives in a single flat and has been wearing the same clothes for over 8 years. His only real costs are rent, food, and health insurance. While the average person would not envy this sort of lifestyle, I can see the benefits to this life style.

Stardusk has so much time do do what he enjoys such as reading, studying, playing video games, exercise, and other things. It is no vacation in Dubai but it beats out working 60 hours a week. As the old saying goes, "the worst day of fishing is better than the best day of work".

I admire his monk like sort of lifestyle. Hopefully, I'll find more people that will promote minimalism in the future.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Dealing with rejection: Using a crutch

Rejection is pretty lousy to deal with. It is easy to take it personally and feel like a lesser person because of it. As men, we have no choice but to confront rejection. We can't get through life without facing rejection. Be it a woman, a job interview, a sale, or a contest, facing rejection can be difficult.

In order to deal with rejection, the most common advice is to just get used to it. Go out there, make approaches, get shot to pieces, and harden up. Become callous to it and keep grinding through lousy numbers in order to get success. This is the most common advice to deal with rejection. There is one other technique I can think of though.

In the case of a very reasonable, likely, or almost guaranteed rejection, stop and take a moment before making the approach. Think about something that you have done or accomplished. Think about something that you are proud of. Go ahead and keep that in the back of your mind.

Go ahead and make the approach now. If you do get rejected, don't worry. Its cool.

Got shot down by a girl? Who cares? You have a fat bank account.

Got rejected for a job position? No big deal. You can lift 300 pounds.

You failed to make a sale? It is okay. You know how to change your own oil and fix your car.

Came in second place in a contest? That is just fine. You can shoot a target from 100 yards away.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The First Red Pill Video I Ever Saw

It was late 2012. I was up and I just couldn't bring myself to sleep. I remember just being online and scanning youtube for any sort of interesting video. During that time, I was unemployed. I had a lot of free time and a good chance to relax for a little bit. It was the second time I was laid off due to work contracts ending.

Employment termination would be stressful to a married man with children. Fortunately, I was no married man with children. This is one of those things that people don't really tell you when you grow up. Not getting married and not having children means a much cheaper existence (cost of living). By staying a single man, 100% of your after tax money goes to you. For this reason, I plan to never marry or have children. Needless to say, my parents were shocked an appalled by this. They were at first but I had to constantly berate them about this.

I'd rather sacrifice intimate relationships in order to have more of my leisure time.

This is something I grew up knowing throughout middle school, high school, and college. Never once did I hear anyone give the advice to sacrifice marriage or children in order to work less.

It was late and I was just looking at different videos. I decided to type the search term "do not have children" into youtube and I saw The No Children Manifesto by Aaron Clarey.

For the first time, I heard someone make some sense. I also heard about the red pill at that point. I wasn't crazy. And I wasn't alone.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Monday Morning Motivation

Today's motivation actually comes from The Simpsons of all places. It revolves around Ned Flanders. Several years ago, there was the episode where his wife Maude dies when she got knocked off of a bleacher with several shirts. It was a very unexpected death. Maude was a frequent reoccurring character.

I don't remember the episode that well but I'm sure that Ned had a difficult time coping with the loss of Maude.

Time (episodes) pass and eventually Ned meets a woman that he has some sort of chemistry with. He had a chance to recapture some of the happiness that he lost. Unfortunately, Maude's death still sticks with Ned. This is shown in the scene where you see Ned's mattress. There is a negative space that outlines Maude's body on half of the bed.

Throughout the episode, Ned is spending time with this new woman. He faces the struggle of becoming intimate with this new woman as well. Unfortunately, his feelings about the death of Maude keep holding him back.

By the end of the episode, you see Ned and this woman together in Ned's room. They are both ready to do it. While the audience is expecting for the two to become intimate, instead the two pull on the sheets of the bed to remove Maude's body cavity from the mattress.

At that point, Ned is finally able to let go of the death of Maude.

Put the past behind you where it belongs. You can only make decisions that will impact your future.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Predicting the last thing you might see

I've written before about one of the disadvantages of long term planning. If you are the kind of man to project your financial position until your death, you will think about your death. The easiest projection you can make is how long you will live. Estimate your current life span and subtract your age. You can estimate the year that you may perish.

While predicting the year of your death can be depressing, there is one thing that quells that feeling. What will the world look like decades into the future?

My father is a baby boomer. He was born in 1955. He grew up watching new technology was forming. He told me stories about when color tv first hit the markets. He witnessed the first manned moon landing in 1969. At that time, he was 14 or 15. He lived to see the draft for the Vietnam War. He lived through the Cold War and the panic of the world destroying itself with nuclear weapons.

Even in my lifetime, I've seen technology advance. As a little kid, I remember the top of the line technology was VCR's and cassette players. After the introduction of the Iphone, the whole world has become apps.

I used to frequent Wikipedia a lot just looking for trivial information. In Wikipedia, you can just type in a year and you will come to a page that lists all the notable events for the year. The fun thing to do is type in a future date.

Depending one when you search Wikipedia will show different things. After 2050, there aren't any real concrete predictions. Mostly, you will just see records of what planets will do. This is to be expected. Making an accurate prediction several decades in the future will be like trying to hit a target from 1000 yards away. I typed in the year 2075 and saw nothing noteworthy.

However, by the year 2050, the Great Green Wall of China is estimated to be completed. This is a project to plant trees in order to prevent the spread of the Gobi Desert. In the same year, it is estimated that the completion of a space elevator will occur.

These predictions and estimates are always subject to change but it is nice to have a small idea of what might happen in our lifetime.

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Tinkerbell Effect

The Tinkerbell effect is the phenomena where simply believing in something makes it true. It is difficult to come up with several examples of how it exists in reality but there is one very relevant example. That example is fiat currency.

Pull a dollar out of your wallet and hold it in your hands. You are holding some cotton woven with linen and is dyed green. What gives that dollar value? The dollar has value because you believe that you can trade that dollar for a bag of chips or a soda or a pack of gum.

In the past, dollars were redeemable for either gold or silver. Today, every bill is merely backed by the full faith of the US government. Every dollar is backed up by debt.

That dollar you are holding in your hand is just cotton and linen. If it wasn't dyed green and had a picture of George Washington on it, you would not have the expectation that you could trade it for a bag of chips. In this sense, our money only has value because everyone in America believes that is has value.

This goes further than paper dollars. After all, most of the money that an Average man makes will not be touches. It will not be printed. Most people have jobs that will pay employees by direct deposit. Instead of carrying cash, a man will usually carry a plastic card in order to conduct transactions. This is a way that people are further separated from the concept of money.

I will admit that my life and this environment feels very strange. I've spent five years working as hard as I can to accumulate wealth. More than 99% of the liquid money I have is nothing more than some numbers on a digital screen that I see when I log into my account. In essence, that money is there and and that same time it isn't. That amount on the screen is the amount that the bank owes me. It isn't until I withdraw the money or spend it on some good or service that I can see the exchange of my time for some good or service. And all of this is possible because we believe that a dollar bill will buy a thing.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Alternate Living Conditions: Shipping Containers

When it comes to housing, most people would want to make the decision to choose between a house or apartment. The big decision a man makes in his life is between renting and buying. Buying anything involves a very long term commitment and a lot of capital while renting means that you don't contribute anything towards owning an asset.

As a minimalist with no wife or children, I always think about the cheapest form of housing available. For a lot of my generation, that would mean renting a room. A single room would only cost a few hundred dollars a year. To really extreme ends, a man could go wander around America like a vagrant and carry a tent around at all times. I've also heard that there are communities of people that will live in cars or vans.

Lately, I've had the crazy idea of buying a small plot of land and plopping down a shipping container on it. This is an option I've not heard about or considered since the last year or so.

America has a population of over 320 million people but there is a lot of space in America. Lots of spaces in Texas, California, Arizona, and New Mexico are undeveloped. People do not live there because there are no houses, jobs, Wal-Marts, or McDonald's. To get an idea of how cheap this land can be, a quick google search of cheap land brought me to a website named landcentury. Here, it looks like you can get an acre of land in some remote area for as cheap as $1000. Add in the cost of some paper work and the land itself would cost about $1500.

Surprisingly, the land costs the same amount as a steel shipping container. A shipping container will cost around $1500. The cost of delivery will most likely cost a few hundred bucks as well. With the container and land costing about $3000 to $5000, I'm sure that another $5000 could be spent on renovating the container to make it more comfortable. Buy building a house this way, I'm confident that a steel container house could be as cheap as $10,000.

As the economy keeps going down the tubes, I am convinced that steel container homes will become more common and more population will move towards the midwest. In the future, the demand for these containers would increase while would drive up prices.

 I've added some links below to articles about steel container houses.

Article from buzzfeed

Popular Mechanics


Sustainable Personal Finance

This living situation would be ideal for single men that have saved up a few thousand dollars and would enjoy a life of leisure.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Monday Morning Motivation: Rock Lee's Perseverance

Today's motivation comes from Naruto. Personally, I never really liked Naruto that much. As far as I'm concerned, Naruto was just Dragon Ball Z for kids who were just too young to grow up watching DBZ. Naruto did take some influence from DBZ. Just look at Naruto. That yellow hair and that orange suit makes him look similar to Goku.

I caught a few episodes when it was still on Toonami in my college years. Naruto did a good job developing some of the characters. The most memorable back story I remembered was Rock Lee's story. As a little kid, he went to ninja academy and was either one of the worst performing pupils or the worst. In the anime, I guess that ninjas have three different types of skills. There is nin-jutsu, gen-jutsu, and tai-jutsu. Nin-jutsu and gen-jutsu is probably magic for ninjas. In the anime, different ninjas can create clones, breath fire, manipulate bugs, control sand, or summon giant toads from the sky. Rock Lee has no Nin-jutsu or Gen-jutsu so he can do none of this cool stuff. Tai-jutsu is all martial arts and this is Rock Lee's only option. As a young kid, Rock Lee wasn't really good at martial arts either.

Needless to say, Rock Lee was coming up with a severe handicap. It is hard to think of a good analogy to explain his situation. It is like trying to play tennis when your opponent has a racket and you don't. That was Rock Lee's situation. Despite all of this, Rock Lee still wanted to become a great ninja. So he trained. And he trained a lot.

He spent all the time he could pounding away at tree trunks to develop his strength. Eventually, he becomes capable or doing insane physical things. His Tai-jutsu surpassed most of his peers.

I remember something Razorbladekandy said in one of his videos. When you are a man, you have to take all of your available resources and opportunities and work like MacGyver in order to make something happen. It is either that or starve to death and perish. The world won't show you a lot of sympathy.

During Rock Lee's training, he has his doubts about himself and his ability. His mentor helps him work through those doubts. Even though Rock has his short comings and is outclassed by his peers, Rock has one thing still going for him. Rock has the determination to keep working towards his goals.

He has the determination and the will to become great even if it means working every day. Even when it hurts and the fist bleeds. Even when severe injuries may happen, Rock has to endure it all.

In the last scene of the fight against Gara, it looks like the fight was won with Gara taking the win. Rock was able to get up and continue fighting even though he was bleeding from the arm and sides. His mentor was surprised that Rock was able to get up, but then he discovered that Rock Lee was still unconscious. Rock was knocked out but his body had enough muscle memory to get up and keep fighting.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Discovering the Race Narrative

Growing up, I never really paid much attention to politics or the media. The greatest extent of my knowledge was that FOX was conservative and MSNBC was liberal. In the last few years, I've heard the opinion that the liberal news sources will try to promote the narrative that racism is a really big problem in America. This can be seen with the shooting of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. The media blew up these stories, misrepresented facts, and outright lied to promote the narrative that white cops are racist and just want to shoot black people.

Do white cops shoot black people? Absolutely.

Do black cops shoot white people? Yes. Yes they do. But when was the last time you heard a story about a white man being shot by a black cop on television? I don't remember ever hearing such a story. In order to find the story, I had to do a google search for black cop shoots white man.

There I found the story of Dillon Taylor. The first story I pulled up came from the Mr Conservative blog. In August of 2014, Dillon Taylor was shot in a convenience store for refusing to stop when police arrived. Dillon was unarmed and had headphones on. Police were responding to reports of someone waving a gun around. I don't know all the details, but it looked like Dillon may have looked like he was reaching for a gun while pulling up his pants.

After looking at multiple news sources, I found no evidence or Dillon getting aggressive with the cops. Dillon didn't try to fight the cops or steal the cop's gun to start shooting them.

I never heard about this story until doing a google search for it. I don't know if it made it on televised news. Maybe it was televised only in a local area. A quick google search of Dillon Taylor will bring up the Huffington Post. The article does not mention the race of the cop that shot and killed Dillon.

As far as I know, there were no riots that were caused by Dillon's death. Protests did not happen on a nation wide basis. No one burned down any buildings or smashed squad cars. And I am glad that none of this happened. Stealing Doritios and toilet paper won't fix things.

I'm not saying that Dillon's death was justified. I don't think a cop's job is easy. In this post, I am not aiming to criticize the police, the victims, or the protesters. I am only criticizing the media's narrative and the public reaction to the narrative.

In the next several years, this narrative will continue. There will be more stories of black men getting shot by white cops. There will be more riots. More cities will burn themselves down. More people will protest. I'll catch glimpses of the headlines, and realize that it is all just statistics.

Life Lessons from South Park

There was an episode of South Park a few years back where Cartman decided to freeze himself in snow because he couldn't bear to wait for the release of the Nintendo Wii. Unfortunately, he woke up to a future after thousands of years. In this future, there were 3 factions fighting a war despite all 3 factions being atheists. If I remember correctly, there was the UAL (universal atheist league), UAA (universal atheist alliance), and the AAA (allied atheist alliance). These three factions where fighting a war with each other because each faction had a different answer to the great question. Each faction knew they had the correct answer and the opposing sides were being illogical and crazy.

What was this great question then?

What shall we call ourselves? Clearly the otters had the most logical answer. Allied Atheist Alliance had three A's in the name. However, despite this trivial disagreement, these three factions thought it appropriate to go to war with one another and kill each other over the issue.

Throughout history, this is a common thing that happens. A movement becomes popular and gains lots of momentum. Inevitably, there will be some prominent figures in the movement and they will have criticisms and disagreements with other prominent figures of the movement. Afterwards, infighting ensues and then chaos breaks out.

Protestantism branched out from the catholic church. Feminists infiltrated the atheist movement and created atheism plus. MGTOW split off from the MRA movement. Different members of the LGBT movement will have arguments with each other to determine who is more oppressed than the other person. Hideo Kojima is having a falling out with Konami. North Korea and South Korea don't recognize each other as independent countries. Democrats and Republicans are convinced that the other side is responsible for destroying the country. The list can go on to infinity.

Whenever any group or movement starts becoming large or gains momentum, infighting will happen because of the vast number of opinions present. I heard a quote that if you get 3 guys together on the internet, you can't agree on what color the sky is.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

One Extra Way to Prevent Future Weight Gain

With obesity being incredibly common in America, it should be every man's best interest to stay in good shape and prevent excessive weight gain. One startling epiphany I had is that most of the overweight men that you see today were not always overweight. Most likely, everyone of us knows a good man that is very overweight but was very trim back in his college days. Some men may claim that obesity just kind of happened.

There are several contributing factors that lead to obesity. Fast food is all over the place so it is easy for a man to slam down a triple whopper with a 32 ounce Coke. Several office jobs require a man to sit still for 8 hours or longer each day. Sitting still while doing drudgery work will tire a man to the point where he just wants to watch tv when he gets home. This contributes to a lack of physical activity outside of work. Lastly, excessive drinking at bars or clubs on the weekend do no favors for a man's body.

Several years of this can transform a 150 pound cross country runner into a 245 pound Pillsbury Doughboy. In order to prevent this slow transformation, a man has to eat healthier meals, lift weights, get some cardio, and try to cut back on the drinking. There is one extra way to prevent future weight gain. Make sure to always buy the same sized pants.

One of the best lessons I learned in Microeconomics was that people make decisions on the margin. In other words, people don't worry about an issue becoming a problem. People worry about a resulting disaster after it is too later. My professor gave us the example of drinking beer. You drink the first few because you know you won't vomit. After 10 or so beers, you aren't quite sure if you can hold down another beer. That 11th beer could go down just fine or it could cause a mess in your house and a hangover the next morning.

When it comes to gaining weight, a man might feel completely comfortable at 150 pounds. After a few years of work, his weight increases to 170. He doesn't look too bad but not as good as he did back in college. Another few years pass and he is up to 200 pounds. This may be when he starts to notice a problem. Another few years when he reaches 240 pounds, he looks at himself in the mirror and thinks "Dear God what happened?"

A simple change in behavior might be able to prevent this situation. As a man gains body fat, he will eventually need to buy new clothes. In particular, he needs new pants as the waistline has become too tight and uncomfortable. A 30 waist becomes 32 which then becomes 34 and eventually 38. Each time the pants increase in size, some relief and comfort is regained.

In order to notice a problem and react accordingly, it is important to suffer some amount of pain. By simply buying the same waist size of pants each time, you introduce that pain and suffering to your life. If you pants don't fit well, that is tough. That is something you have to deal with now. Each morning when you get dressed and feel that initial discomfort, the problem will be on your mind. The discomfort will make you feel like more of a fat slob.

With the issue on your mind, it may provide you a little more motivation or incentive to not over eat, get water instead of soda, and go run a few miles when you get home from work. On a conscious or subconscious level, you will take the actions to at least maintain your current weight level. In maintaining your current weight level, you will prevent future weight gain. Just make sure not to buy larger sized pants.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Artificial Relationships Part 2: 7 Cups of Tea

The single life can get quite lonely sometimes. Often, you might find yourself sitting at the computer knowing that you really should get some sleep. However, you just can't help to stay up. There is something just keeping you awake. You would like to call someone, but it is that late of an hour where everyone you know is probably already asleep. Or if you do call them, no one picks up the phone.

A man is left to himself with his own thoughts. Sometimes, they are quite disturbing thoughts. And sometimes a man wishes he had someone to talk to. Almost anyone would do.

I found myself in that situation a few weeks ago. I just wrote a motivation for Monday morning but I was still kind of coming down because of work the next day. I had a crazy thought. With all the crazy things that are available online, maybe there is someone that will just talk to you at your request. I typed in "someone to talk to" into Google and came to the website 7 cups of tea. It is a website where people can go to talk to "active listeners" to just talk about their problems.

Finding random people to talk to online is no recent thing. I remember decades ago that chat rooms were available on America Online. You could walk into any random room and join a discussion with up to 20 other people. Much more recent that that was chat roulette. You had the ability to talk to and see a random person but this website had the reputation of men going there to do obscene things on camera.

7 cups of tea was the first time I heard of a format where you just check in and talk to someone who is waiting for you. It kind of felt like an adult phone service only it was free and not dirty. As soon as I signed on, the listener was asking me how I was doing and what my problem was. I had no real problems, I just needed someone to talk to.

After talking to her for a few moments, she seemed kind of artificial and fake. Her responses were very robotic and I suspected I was talking to a good computer AI. To test her, I had to ask her very unexpected questions like what her favorite color was, what she thought of Lady Gaga, and what is the correct order of the planets in this solar system. After getting some silly responses, I was convinced that she was real and not a computer AI.

Talking to a complete stranger online is oddly very comfortable. Since they don't know you, you feel no sense of judgement and have no inhibitions about telling them anything. Active listeners are also willing to role play. You can carry on a conversation with him or her pretending to be someone else.

For anyone in a similar situation, 7 cups of tea might be fun to try out. It costs no money and it is easy to access. I would try to warn against using it too much because it could be habit forming in the same way a kid might play World of Warcraft for hours.

Now, I was surprised that the site exists. In today's world where people are growing more and more isolated from each other, a website like 7 cups of tea serves a purpose. When people don't want to deal with other people and would rather look at their smart phones all day, social isolation is bound to happen. And with a self therapy website, human interaction is becoming a commodity that can be requested on demand. The world is getting stranger and stranger. Pretty soon, there will be parlors where you can pay just to cuddle with a woman. Oh wait... never mind. Those already exist.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Monday Morning Motivation: A Promise Between Men

Today's motivation comes from Yu Yu Hakusho. I loved watching the anime during its run on Toonami during my high school days. It was unfortunate that it never finished its run on Cartoon Network and I never got to complete watching it.

In episode three, Kuwabara and his friends get into a fight with a gang from a different school. The next day, the teacher starts laying into the gang. With plans to try to expel Kuwabara from the school, the teacher threatens to revoke Okubo's permission to work a part time job.

Okubo has a sick mother who is unable to work. He also has two younger siblings. Without the source of income, Okubo's family may risk starvation. But Kuwabara is unwilling to let this happen. He is able to bargain with the teacher for a deal. Okubo would be able to keep working his job as long as Kuwabara and the rest of the gang could go one week without getting into any fights.

Normally, I would like the scene here but you really just need to watch the whole episode. I'm not linking it because I'm sure the episode would just get taken down eventually. Instead, I've linked the abridged version of the episode here.

As Kuwabara is walking home, he runs into gangs from rival schools. As part of his promise to Okubo, he does not engage the rivals. However, Kuwabara is no coward and won't run from any fights. He has too much honor for that. Because of this predicament, he tells the gang that he won't run or fight back but he will stand there and take the beat down.

Because of this, Kuwabara gets punched in the face, kicked in the ribs, punched in the kidneys, and kicked in his face when he is on the ground. This happens a few times throughout the week. But this isn't the end of the ordeal.

In order to make it harder for Kuwabara, the teacher modifies the deal. In order for Okubo to keep his job, all four students have to score 50 points or higher on the next natural science test. For the other 3, it isn't a big deal but it is a problem for Kuwabara as he scored a 7 on the previous test. To keep his promise, Kuwabara studies as much as possible into the late hours of the night.

Kuwabara passes the exam to the surprise of his teacher. Unfortunately the teacher purposely miss graded the exam to make Kuwabara fail. At this point Kuwabara almost assaults the teacher but decides to let it go. Luckily, the principal knew of the teachers misdeed and threatens the teacher to correct the exam.

Of the 50 or so episodes of Yu Yu Hakusho I watched, this episode was one of the most memorable. You would go to great lengths to help your brothers. You would sacrifice a lot for your friends.

Chicken Versus Beef

I typically eat at Wendy's two our three times a week mainly because it is the closest restaurant to my office. Because I'm a minimalist, I try not to spend more than four dollars with each visit. This usually gets me two or three sandwiches from the dollar menu. Recently, I've been getting a better value by ordering a large chili and a chicken sandwich.

While eating at Wendy's so frequently, I've noticed that the crispy chicken sandwich is a slightly better value than the junior cheeseburger. Both sandwiches cost only one dollar, but I've noticed that the cut of chicken is much larger than the cut of beef in the burger. It looks like the patty itself is twice as large as the beef patty. To make sure it wasn't just my imagination, I looked up the calorie information for both sandwiches. The junior cheeseburger has 290 calories and the crispy chicken sandwich has 350 calories. It isn't just my imagination.

Since both sandwiches cost the same, I was led to believe that chicken is much cheaper than beef. A quick google search shows one pound of chicken costing $1.50 as of July 2014. A quick google search shows one pound of beef costing $4.10 as of October 2014.

As far as I know, there is no real advantage to eating beef versus chicken. In economics, this is the concept of substitute goods.

If you want to save some cash, you can adjust your spending/eating habits to eat mor chikin. Chicken will most likely be cheaper than beef at the grocery store.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Scared of Intimacy?

Being single is something that people might fret over. It might make some people depressed. It is easy to understand. Everyone wants someone to love and to be loved by someone. In order to quell this misery, a man will climb mountains and jump through hoops just to find someone to be with. A man will do all of that even if the woman he finds isn't that great. It is a sad state to be in.

When it comes to personal relationships, you have the choice to forsake intimate relationships. You have the choice to work long and hard to find a lasting and meaningful relationship. You also have the choice to do anything in between. Every man is different and every man needs different things. Also, every choice will have pros and cons.

If you are single and don't want to pursue any relationships, that is fine. The disadvantages of this is that it is easy for a man to get lonely or experience some depression. A man can also feel several urges go unfulfilled.

The benefits are often overlooked however. By not getting involved in relationships, you have less moving parts in your life. Without another person to consider, you do what you want when you want without having to think about another person. You don't have to worry about getting a girlfriend gifts, taking her out, remembering her birthday, or caring for her if she gets sick. You also don't have to worry about problems should she get upset with anything you decide to do. In this sense, it is like comparing a revolver with a regular gun. With less moving parts, a revolver is much less likely to jam or malfunction.

When it is you and just you, your emotional well being is not dependent or influenced by another person. I have to say that this is the biggest benefit to going your own way. When you invite other people into your life, they always have the potential to hurt you or screw you over. A girlfriend, wife, or children have this ability. This is because you care for them and are emotionally invested in them.

Sometimes, your potential loved ones would cause you pain and misery unintentionally. This would be the case if your son, daughter, or wife was injured, died, or caught a devastating disease. There is an old saying that states that it is better to love and lost then to have never experienced love but I don't really buy that. I'd rather have a steady mood then experience volatile highs and lows in life.

When it is just you, you don't worry about breakups, fights, a divorce etc. Your emotional well being is entirely up to you.

Proper Use of Spotters and Proper Spotting

When doing the bench press, it is really important to use a spotter. The obvious reason for this is personal safety. When lifting weight close to your one rep max, it is possible to get to the point where you can't push the bar to the top of the rack in the middle of a rep. In this situation, you can get pinned to the bench under the bar. This can cause damage to your head, neck, or chest. It could be a potentially fatal injury.

For this reason, I encourage everyone to use a spotter whenever doing the bench press. At the very least, make sure there are other people around to rescue you if such a situation happens.

The best part of finding a spotter is that anyone can do it. Even if you are lifting 250 pounds of weight, a 17 year old girl can easily spot for you. When you press weight upwards, you are pressing up with more force than the weight of the bar. For example, if you are benching 200 pounds, the bar will go up if you press up with either 220 pounds of force or 203 pounds of force. You will push with the most force in your first few reps but each successive rep will push with less force. Eventually, you may stall out in the middle of a rep. This is the point when you push up with 200 pounds of force and the bar weights 200 pounds. The bar stops moving. At this point, your spotter needs to pull up with just one or two pounds of force and the bar will move up. This is the proper use of a spotter.

There is a mistake I've seen before in the gym.

I've seen men in the gym stall out. When the spotter comes in for assist, the man on the bench press just gives up pressing. This is a complete disaster. Even if the weight is light such as 150 pounds, if the presser stops pushing up, the spotter has to pull up with more than 150 pounds of force to bring the bar back up. Make sure this doesn't happen to you. If you are pressing, you cannot give up until the bar is safely locked back into the rack. Your spotter may not be able to pull up 150 pounds of force from the spotting position.

Using a spotter has the secondary benefit of getting making your workout more effective. You get to press to your absolute limit without the fear of getting injured by failing to lift. If you lift alone, you have to worry about not completing heavy lifts. This will lead to more conservative sets for your own personal safety. When spotting for someone else, you want to make sure to only give enough assist for the presser to lift the bar back up. This is unless the presser is in danger. In that case pull up with everything you have.