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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Random Skateboard Memories: Sparks

Sparks


Skateboards are pretty magical. To this day, I still have no idea how slappy crooked grinds work. As a little kid, you
would play the video games and you would see sparks shoot out from your skateboard everytime you grind a rail.
In real life, that just doesn’t happen. However, it is possible to see sparks fly out when you are skateboarding, its
just pretty rare.


It is pretty rare unless you use a device that you stick to your tail to make sparks while you skid but let’s pretend
that product just doesn’t exist.


I’ve seen sparks shoot out while I’ve been skating. To see this occurrence, you want to be skating at night. It
doesn’t make the sparks happen easier but skating at night makes the sparks easier to see.


Start out by doing a flip trick and just mess up. If you get lucky, the bolt of your truck locking your wheel to the axle
will hit the asphalt at just the right speed and angle. It will shave off either a tiny bit of metal or tiny bit of rock and
it will spark because of the force of impact.

Once, in Florida, I was skating with my friend Adam and he was trying to do a kickflip over a pyramid. He bailed
half way and was just trying to dodge his board so he wouldn’t trip over it. His board slid primo over the concrete
and shot out about 10 to 20 sparks, quite rare indeed.  

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Random Skateboard Memories: Sparks

Sparks


Skateboards are pretty magical. To this day, I still have no idea how slappy crooked grinds work. As a little kid, you
would play the video games and you would see sparks shoot out from your skateboard everytime you grind a rail.
In real life, that just doesn’t happen. However, it is possible to see sparks fly out when you are skateboarding, its
just pretty rare.


It is pretty rare unless you use a device that you stick to your tail to make sparks while you skid but let’s pretend
that product just doesn’t exist.


I’ve seen sparks shoot out while I’ve been skating. To see this occurrence, you want to be skating at night. It
doesn’t make the sparks happen easier but skating at night makes the sparks easier to see.


Start out by doing a flip trick and just mess up. If you get lucky, the bolt of your truck locking your wheel to the
axle will hit the asphalt at just the right speed and angle. It will shave off either a tiny bit of metal or tiny bit of rock
and it will spark because of the force of impact.

Once, in Florida, I was skating with my friend Adam and he was trying to do a kickflip over a pyramid. He bailed
half way and was just trying to dodge his board so he wouldn’t trip over it. His board slid primo over the concrete
and shot out about 10 to 20 sparks, quite rare indeed.  

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Random Skateboard Memories: Massive Backside Grab

My first couple of times at a skatepark, I couldn’t do that much. I could barely ollie and couldn’t do any flip tricks,
grind, or launch any airs. The only thing I could do was drop in on some transition and roll up and down some
ramps. Of course, there were some ramps I would never think of dropping in on.


Towards the back of the park, there was a 12 foot vert ramp. This thing was a beast. At the time, it was the only
ramp I ever saw that had a flight of stairs to walk up just to get to the top of the ramp. Just out of curiosity, I
walked up to the top of the ramp and looked down. And all I saw was complete death. It could have been my
eyes playing tricks on me but it looked like the top of the ramp caved in on itself. The top didn’t look vertical.
It looked like you would drop 2 or 3 feet before catching transition. This vert ramp was either the biggest ramp
in the park or tied for it. There was one ramp that was probably bigger.


At the very back of the park was a massive quarterpipe that covered the entire back wall. There was a section
cut out making a channel gap because exit doors to the skate park were located there. This quarterpipe was at
least 12 feet tall.


I don’t think it was ever intended for anyone to hit the coping or do a halfpipe air on it because the top couple of
feet were covered with various stickers. Just slapping a sticker as high as you could was an achievement.

When I was young, I was standing in the back area of the park and I saw this one guy barel down
some ramps heading towards the giant quarter pipe. He launched himself up and I saw this guy get about
2 to 3 feet above the coping. He grabbed the board backside so he was doing a melon grab 2 to 3 feet out. He
couldn’t go too much higher otherwise he’d hit the ceiling. After floating there for a moment his wheels touched
down a few feet below transition and he rolled away perfect. He was the only man I saw that ever did that.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Random Skateboard Memories: Back Smith

I’d go to the park often to skate. Mainly, I’d be in the parking lot just practicing flip tricks. There wasn’t that much
to skate there other than mid sized stair sets. There was a 7 stair and a 9 stair but nothing smaller. If you wanted
to grind something, you had curbs and parking blocks.


There was this one parking block that I waxed up almost daily during the summer. My go to trick was to ollie over
the top to a 50-50 on it. I’d do that all the time. I could slappy boardslide it but that didn’t feel like a real trick. If you
don’t ollie onto it, it's not a real trick.


I never really figured out how to noseslide or tailslide it. On a few occasions, I got lucky enough to ollie over the
top to a 5-0 on it.


When I was young, there were some tricks that just seemed impossible. Like there was no way I could figure out
how to do them outside the video game. Bluntslides, smith grinds, and crooked grinds I could only dream of doing.


So, one day, I’m pushing up to the parking block and I’m just going for a 50-50. I pop the ollie and I can’t remember
what happened to my front truck or what it did or how it got there but immediately I’m doing a backside smith grind
on the parking block.


I looked at my board and I am completely locked in. The front end of the board is dipped down. The wheels aren’t
touching the ground and the right edge of my board is sliding against the concrete parking block. My back foot is
solid on the tail and I’m just sliding. I slid for a few feet and I was so stunned that I got into a back smith that my
body froze up and I just grinded off the parking block and rolled away.

This was the first and only time I’ve ever done a back smith.

Monday, September 10, 2018

No return

Growing up, one of my favorite games was the original Pokemon. I played red version for hundreds of hours.

There is a section of the game where you have to board the SS Anne, fight a bunch of trainers, collect the cut HM, and fight your rival. After you collect CUT and leave the ship, the ship sails away. And it never returns.

This is the only section of the game where you can never go back (without glitches).

I think about my time coming up. The things I've lost. But more importantly, the people I've lost. People who I've enjoyed their company and shared fond memories of. And unfortunately, the same people I would come to hate.

My hatred of them makes me feel regret.

If I had just been a little different back then, knew how to start a conversation, or just have had some extra charisma, or was willing to take more of a risk... maybe I wouldn't have come to hate these people.

Maybe the relationships with these people could have been sustained and become ... good.

But just like the sailor in Vermilion City says "The ship has set sail."

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Revolver Method (part 2)

In order to account for inflation, there are a few methods. You could go with government figures but I believe those figures are vastly under estimated. After all, inflation will affect everyone differently. The most meticulous way to get an accurate measure of the inflation you experience would be to buy the same stuff over extended periods of time and calculate how the price changes however this is too meticulous for even myself.

This is why I really like to collect my own personal data. After several years of data are collected, you can track how your annual expenses increased or decreased over time. This is a better way of accounting for inflation.

The downside to this is that you most likely won't buy the same stuff consistently over time. You don't buy a car every year so to get a valuable data set, you need to collect data for a long period of time. The other weakness is that significant lifestyle changes will happen over a long enough timeline. Marriages, children, divorce, relocation, healthcare costs, tuition, etc will have a big impact on personal spending.

But again, forecasting is just done to get an estimate. A goal to shoot for. As significant lifestyle changes happen, forecasts should be updated to reflect such changes.

After as many factors are accounted for, you can finally get a good idea of how much money you need for the rest of your lifespan.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Revolver method

In an ideal world with perfect information, a man could know the exact dollar amount he would need to retire, work to save up said amount, then retire after he accumulated that amount. Unfortunately, we don't live in "shouldland" and we have to work the best with the information we have.

This is where the skill of forecasting/projecting comes into place. However, another term for it is just "long term planning". When it comes to retiring, you need to accumulate a certain amount of stuff/wealth large enough in order to stop working.

So to begin forecasting, we start off with estimating how long you will live. Herein is step one and we notice the fundamental flaw/challenge. No one can say for certain how long you will live. The best we can do is make an estimate.

But that is okay. When we forecast, we are not trying to get an accurate number. As well, no one man would make/rely on only one forecast. To do so would be like trying to hit a bulls eye from 1000 yards away. When we get better information or a shorter timeline, we have a better chance at getting closer to the target. It is important and useful to keep updating forecasts and plans.

When estimating your lifespan, you can compare yourself to the national average and try to gauge if you are in better or worse health than the average American but an even better predictor of how long you will live is how long your parents or grandparents lived.

In my case, I project my lifespan to last another 58 years so that is my starting point.

So, a very quick way to get a retirement figure is to take the average American living expenses and multiply it by how many years you expect to live.

If the average American living expenses seems way out of line with what you spend per year, then you would need some better data. While it can be very meticulous, you can pull all of your data and get an accurate figure of how much you spend per year. The more data you get, the better. Take your average living expenses per year and multiply it by your expected remaining life span and you get a great figure for how much money you need to shoot for.

Simply by doing these exercises, you put more thought and planning into your future/retirement than probably 90% of Americans.

However, this figure we arrive at still is not for certain. The estimated variables include remaining lifespan as well as average living expenses. So many factors will affect average living expenses.

First factor that comes to mind is inflation. Old men at my church tell me that hamburgers could be purchased for nickels, dimes, or quarters back when they were young. Today, the cheapest burger I could buy costs at least 1 dollar. 

..... To be continued tommorrow

Sunday, June 10, 2018

The real smart one

I love telling this story.

Back in high school, I was in my senior year and had no idea what to do with myself. I knew I should have been applying to college but I did none of that until my last semester. Reluctantly, I put out one application to My State University. I didn't even know if I would get accepted or not until I got my letter a few weeks after graduation. I got accepted and started on a 4 year degree for a BBA in Accounting.

After completing the degree, I was 22 and had to start looking for work. After weeks of job searching, I couldn't find any work as an accountant because the job listings just weren't there. I wasn't able to find any work in general because I had no experience. I began starting to apply for jobs at Kroger and Subway just to get any sort of income. Luckily, through a connection with my dad, I got started working as an analyst making less than $30,000 per year.

My first job lasted 15 months and I was unemployed again. I went though two and a half months of job searching and got a 7 month contract earning $17 per hour. After 7 months I was unemployed again.

After 7 months of being unemployed and 16 job interviews, I finally got a job as an accountant. I started out making less than $40,000 per year. After 5 years working as a staff accountant, I am still working towards making $50,000 per year.

Back in 2008, one of my best friends was still at the high school I went to. He was two years under me so he was in his senior year in 2008. He was in his senior year and then he did something that shocked us all. He dropped out of high school in his last semester.

We had no idea why he did this. We were also slightly concerned about him. What would his future look like?

For about 4 or 5 years, he worked as a pizza delivery guy making anywhere from $8 to $10 per hour. After he got sick of doing that, he decided to work for an automotive dealership and I think he started out making about $40,000 a year.

After 2 to 4 years working at the dealership, he developed his skills as a mechanic and now he makes around $60,000 per year.

I love telling this story because I get a chance to brag about one of my best friends. Dude dropped out of high school and is making over $60,000 per year while completely bypassing the 4 years of college.

He has told me that if he could have done things over again, he would have dropped out of high school sooner and started working towards being a mechanic as soon as possible. That's what I should have done. 

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Future Event Timeline 060918

Newly updated to include insolvency dates for Medicare and Social Security

12-31-60 United States population projected to hit 404 million

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

It's okay to be a jerk

It has surprised me how big of an obstacle standing in the way of a particular goal is the wrong kind of people.

You know the kind of people. The kind of people the procrastinate, that say they will do it later, that want you to do everything. The kind of people that do nothing but impede.

The best way to deal with these people.

Either avoid them entirely or find a way to apply pressure to them.

Give them no second chances. Just tell them what will happen and watch them hurt if they don't comply.

Best lesson I learned in life is that if you assume the worst of people, you will be correct 90% of the time.

People don't show up, they try to short change you, they try to screw you over. The only way they get the point is if pressure is applied to them.

And when you be tough, be direct, and try to get a job done you look like a jerk. Well sometimes its necessary to be a jerk.

Now, I want to tell you about the worst kind of person that should be avoided at all costs. This person will drain your life force because he or she is a blood sucking energy vampire.

This is the kind of person that looks like they want your help. When you give them the solution, they either don't want to do it or drag his/her feet on it. And when you offer to fix the problem for him or her, he or she will actively resist you from fixing the problem.

To paint a better picture of this, imagine a homeless bum walks up to you begging you for food. At your gracious generosity, you take him to a steak house and put a fine porterhouse right in front of him.

He looks at you and then looks at the streak. He then demands you to cut up the steak and feed him yourself because he can't be bothered to lift a finger.

At that point, I would just sit there and watch him starve to death.

And it hit me. For whatever reason, some people just want to hurt and suffer and complain.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Most Socialist Countries

One question I've thought about before is which countries are the most socialist. A great economist stated that the best measure of determining if a country is socialist is the spending to GDP ratio. After all, socialism is described as when the government controls the means of production.

That being said, when the term "socialist country" is said, certain countries come to mind. Cuba, North Korea, and Venezuela are the first nations I think of.

Surprising enough, when using spending to GDP as a metric, the most socialist countries are European.

The data from Trading Economics shows France, Finland, Belgium, Denmark, and Norway as the most socialist with government spending accounting for over half of GDP.

For comparison, Cuba's highest spending to GDP ratio only hit 40% during 2008.

Proponents of socialism point to France, Finland, Belgium, Denmark, and Norway as countries which socialism works but why is this?

Did these countries always have such a high spending to GDP ratio or are these countries living off of prior success/production?

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Haunted Pizzas

A few days back, I headed back to the townhouse to help my dad clean up some junk. While he was looking through his old friend's junk for stuff to keep or give away, I made my way to the refrigerator. I pulled out a pizza, hamburger patties, and a chicken pot pie.

After an afternoon of cleaning up trash and collecting rent, I made it back to my house and headed off to my friend's house to hang out for the night.

Day's later, I was sitting in my house and getting hungry. I opened up the freezer and saw that pizza sitting there.

Then it hit me.

My dad's friend died in the town house and he must have been there for a day or two before someone found his body and got him out of there. What if his stuff was haunted? What if the pizza I was going to eat was possessed?

I had no idea what to do. The best reference I could remember was that episode of South Park where Kenny dies and Cartman takes Kenny's ashes and mixes the ashes into his milk. After drinking that milk, Cartman was possessed by Kenny's spirit.

I was having second thoughts about cooking that pizza. I really shouldn't have taken it with me. But I was still hungry.

I set the oven to preheat until 450 degrees and I put that pizza in. 13 minutes later, I pulled it out.

It didn't taste haunted.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Future Event Timeline 051918

1-1-33 Social Security only able to pay out 75% of promised benefits