Popular Trends

There are so many websites out there, and it seems like many of them try to follow the same basic ideas as the well-known ones.  This is usually the way things go, Read more

Some Things I Need To Do

Maybe I should start cleaning my place a bit more often.  That’s actually what I was thinking about.  I have a tendency to not really clean or pick stuff up because I Read more

Annoying Websites

You could say I’m a big internet nerd.  As many of my friends will tell you, I do a lot of stuff online.  They will show me things online and I have Read more

Exercise And Fitness

I am talking to one of my friends about his workouts. He’s the kind of guy who works out with all these different things like kettlebells and barbells and he does some Read more

Concerts And Shows

My girlfriend says she wants us to be more “cultured” and wants us to go out more and do things. She wants to go see Wicked which I am actually ok with Read more

 

Popular Trends

computerchip

There are so many websites out there, and it seems like many of them try to follow the same basic ideas as the well-known ones.  This is usually the way things go, anyway, but it’s pleasing to think that things are generally following a certain course of development.  Ok, let me elaborate.

Analyze a website like this one and what do you see?  Everything is pretty well laid out, and you can find what you are looking for without much work, right?  That’s because this site is based on the successful design of other sites that are similar.  When I wanted to start a blog, rather than doing everything myself, I just took a design that was already known to work and used it for myself.

What I think is pretty sweet is that there are some pages that are much more involved.  I don’t just mean basic blogs like this one, but you’ve got sites that can let you do more, like upload files, or post your own thoughts, or even remember the last things you viewed which is something you see on shopping stores.  The design and collaboration involved in doing that seems amazing.  And then there are the sites that run their own little things on the side.  I think there are web application development groups that will do that so you can have something to offer that makes your page unique.

But as for the overall design of things, there are a lot of other options out there for people who want to have a website that is easy to use and doesn’t require too much knowledge of html and other things because it is all there by the design you have.

As far as design goes, I think it’s probably easier to use something that will do what you want it to do if you can find it rather than having to do everything from scratch.  The problem with doing that is that it might not be the best choice for someone who just needs to get a basic site up there and doesn’t necessarily need anything above what is available from many of the companies out there,k although it might be nice to have something that completely differentiates from everyone else, it’s not always going to be the best choice in every event, or even in more situations for most people.  If you absolutely need something unique, though, you can find it.

Some Things I Need To Do

outdoors

Maybe I should start cleaning my place a bit more often.  That’s actually what I was thinking about.  I have a tendency to not really clean or pick stuff up because I usually know where the things I need are, and I know that if I’m just going to use something again I might as well leave it where it is rather than put it away.  But in spite of being kind of messy, I don’t wear my shoes in my home.  I don’t like it when people do that, and I always tell my friends they need to take their shoes off before they come inside if they are visiting.  Shoes leave dirt and stuff which means I have to clean eve n more often.  And it’s just more comfortable to wear slippers or whatever around the house, so I think I will just do that.

carpet-3-1314192-m

Carpet!

On the subject of cleaning up dirt, I should probably be shopping for a new vacuum.  My carpet is pretty awesome but it’s also a bit different from normal carpet and tends to be harder to vacuum.  It’s not that it’s longer, it’s just that it’s, I don’t know, the texture is different.  I have hardwood floors throughout most of my home but I have a large rug in the living room that I need to keep free from dirt and it needs a special kind of vacuum.  I am looking at a few by Hoover and then you always see those commercials from Dyson on TV but their vacuums are a bit more than I probably need since I don’t have that much to clean and I’m not sure if they are really that much better than the other ones.  Some of the Hoover Power Scrub reviews I’ve read make it sound like that one might work pretty well, although it seems pretty advanced and has some other features like heated scrubbing and it looks like it would be alright to use, although it seems kind of weird but that might just be the way it’s designed so I’ll have to see it in person before I decide.

The other thing I need to do is get some new pots and pans for my stove.  I have this stove that isn’t supposed to use the normal kind but they need to be made out of a certain design or something.  There was a note about it in the literature that it came with so I’ll need to make sure I get the right kind.

Annoying Websites

typing

You could say I’m a big internet nerd.  As many of my friends will tell you, I do a lot of stuff online.  They will show me things online and I have already seen them.  When I have an issue with something I usually try to find the solution online.  I am active in many internet communities including forums, discussion boards, and the blogging community.  I have some social media applications that I use, too, although I must say that I’m not really as into social media as I am the other stuff.  I usually just go on there if I need to tell somebody something and I don’t feel like emailing them.

I’ve been noticing recently that poor judgement has been affecting some of the sites I visit.  It seems like a lot of places now will show you part of an article and then there will be a break in the page and it will say something like this: “like this page on Facebook to read the rest of this article.”

Um, no.

Why is everyone trying to get so many likes?  How about you don’t be a jerk and just let me see the article that I came here to read?  When I see that kind of thing I click back and never go to that page again.  If your page is cool I might like it, but if you try to force me into liking it you are a dbag and a giant moron and I’ll go get the info somewhere else.  It seems like you can just be a douchebag online now, too.  Don’t those people know you can buy Facebook likes online, anyway?  Here is a buy Facebook likes review if you’ve never heard of that.  It’s silly.  Why force readers to like their pages?  How stupid is that, anyway?  What do they even get if they get enough likes?  They can tell their friends how many people clicked on their page?  Who even wants to do that?  I hope that no one does it but it seems like those guys always have 1000s of like so I don’t know.  It just seems like they’re not being fair, and they’re not.

You never see that kind of thing on legit sites, though.  It’s always the ones that are kind of slimy and are probably trying to get you to sign up for something, too.  I hate that both in real life and online.  I prefer to visit sites that don’t hold back information and try to get you to give them a vote of confidence just to give you the information that they originally said they were going to give you.  Cuz if you do that kind of them, then i don’t like you, and I won’t like your page.  So it kind of seems ironic.

Exercise And Fitness

runners

I am talking to one of my friends about his workouts. He’s the kind of guy who works out with all these different things like kettlebells and barbells and he does some pushups and these other kinds of things that involve dumbbells and he will do this other thing where he balances on this weird thing while he does something with a weight or barbell and it all seems crazy to me.

I want to learn how to do all that! I would like to get in shape and get to the gym and start doing some serious lifting. I want to get the best weights that I can and be able to squat twice my body weight and bench press 1.5 times my body weight and maybe even deadlift more than three times my body weight. Of course if you consider that I am just a beginner right now it probably becomes obvious that I have a long way to go. I think I went to the gym once and I was able to squat like 60 pounds which I think was the bar with a few weight plates on each side. I am going to go a gain and see if I can start increasing the routine that I do.

There are a few supplements I might want to look at as well. I heard that there are some that can help you lose weight. Some of those I’m sure work better than others but I don’t even know anything about that although I was reading about garcinia cambogia extract and wondered if it was legit. I think that there are a lot of other supplements people take that are good for things like making sure you get enough fuel for your workouts and seeing if you have all of the stuff that you see in the ads. I don’t know if I am going to need any of those but I think I should at least read about them so I know what people are talking about. There are some people at most who are about my size and who are really strong so I want to see if I can get as strong as them.

Concerts And Shows

performance

My girlfriend says she wants us to be more “cultured” and wants us to go out more and do things. She wants to go see Wicked which I am actually ok with because I’ve heard a lot of the songs from that play and I think some of them are really cool. I’m into metal and I heard a metal cover of one of the songs from the play and it was awesome. Speaking of metal, my gf has gone with me to see a lot of metal concerts so I think it’s only fair that I go see some shows with her. Of course, she enjoyed the metal concerts so it’s not like she didn’t have fun. If she didn’t like them I wouldn’t have invited her. It’s not fun when you don’t enjoy something and I don’t want someone else coming with me to something that they don’t enjoy. Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever gone with a friend to see something and didn’t have a good time? It sucks for you and it sucks for them, too, because they feel bad that you’re not having fun. I don’t want anyone to feel like that.

So anyway, I’m looking forward to seeing some plays and doing some other stuff. I think we are going to go to the museum, too, which is awesome. There are some good museums around here and I like going to them. Now, if she wants to go to a poetry reading or something I don’t know what I would think about that. I would go at least once, though, because I have no idea what it’s like and it might be cool.

Tomorrow we are going to look for Wicked tickets NYC and see if we can find them. I might surprise her by giving her a copy of the soundtrack so she can get familiar with the songs before we go. I don’t think people in the audience actually sing along but I’m sure being familiar with the songs helps. It’s like being at a concert where you don’t know any of the songs the band is playing.

Anyway, it should all be fun. She said she wants to take a cooking class together, too, which could be incredible since neither of us really knows how to cook. We could learn to make something more complicated that spaghetti. I have a few cookbooks right now but I haven’t really made anything from them.

Breakfast For Lunch

breakfast

I don’t get sick very often–okay, really never–but sometimes you just wanna stay home from work, you know? I hate staying home for no reason, I don’t believe in that mental health day stuff that the women I work with talk about, so if I happen to wake up with a headache then I jump on it as a chance to stay home. Hey, why not right?

I don’t get headaches much at all but I admit that I’m not used to them, so they can turn me into a sissy sometimes. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I tend to wake up with them if I’m gonna get them–my wife says it’s probably because I slept on my neck or shoulders funny, or was grinding my teeth. Maybe so, but personally I’ve noticed that I am more likely to get them if I stay up super late then get up early, like for work. My wife and I actually work for the same company so we only have one car–there’s never been a need for a second one. I know some people will sometimes go to work then leave early if they don’t feel well but I don’t have that option so if my wife or I wake up sick or with a headache, then we stay home, period.

Anyway, that’s what happened this morning. I stayed up until 3:30am last night browsing the internet and was supposed to get up at 6am for work but I just could not do it. So I overslept and my wife, who gets up at 5:30am most days, shook me awake at 6:45am saying that I had to hurry up and get out of bed. But right away I felt the hard squeeze of a headache around my skull and told her I couldn’t do it, and she should go on without me.  I think it was allergies or something.  I don’t know.  I wanted to take some Migralex sinus headache relief and grabbed an ice pack and laid down on the couch, sipping cold coffee while I held that ice pack to my head.

I felt almost normal by 10am and by noon, after eating a lunch of greasy scrambled eggs and bacon, I felt normal and my headache was gone. But hey, we only have one car and there’s no way for me to get work without one so I just spent the rest of the day playing video games. Good day all around, I would say!

Man Cave

man cave

I have quite a collection of things in my “man cave” aka basement with a garage door. My wife gave me one area to call my own, where her decorating expertise and even presence are forbidden. As many of you know, that’s usually called a man cave. Mine is half garage half living room. We have a decent sized garage where I have my project car and quite a few toys, and the other side of the room has a couch, a big TV, a huge stereo, and a bunch of sports stuff I’ve collected over the years. I actually have so much stuff that I can’t even display it all. I have boxes of autographed stuff as well as cool novelties / trinkets / etc that I’ve gotten from ball games. In fact, I have about 30 bobble-heads that I’ve gotten for free by going to certain baseball / basketball games.

I need to take a lesson from work, though. My man cave is so unorganized it’s starting to bug me. At work when things started to get bad, we invested in a pretty comprehensive system for reorganizing everything. We ended up getting tons of wire shelving and organizing everything by a category. In fact, it looks pretty much amazing now. Customers walk in and instead of shuffling through bins looking for what they need they are able to be pointed right to where they need to go. Considering I was one of the people that helped organize the store, you’d think I’d be able to organize my house in the same way.

This summer, I have a couple of weeks off (been hoarding vacation for a while) so I think I’ll use a few days to reorganize my garage / man cave. We actually have quite a bit of wire shelving left over from the remodel at our store and I can get it cheap. I may grab a few sections for each half of my man cave. I’ll use it for displaying my memorabilia over in my man cave section, but I could use it to make the other side much more organized than it currently is. I have my toolbox which has all my small tools in it, but definitely need a way to organize all of my power tools. It’d be nice to have shelves for my woodworking tools, shelves for my car detailing stuff, and shelves for me general construction tools to name a few. I think I spend as much time looking for stuff as I do using it and reorganizing may be a way to fix that.

Going Somewhere New

Mount Batur Indonesia

This year my wife and I are getting a little adventurous with our annual vacation. We’ve only been able to afford to take tiny local trips in the past few years, mostly due to the effects of the recession that hit us pretty hard in 2008. Fast forward to this year, though, and we’re back and stronger than ever. Both of us have recovered from the down-turned economy and actually make a bit more as a couple now than we did then. Since we haven’t had an awesome vacation in a while, we each have three weeks of time we can use, and we want to go crazy, we have decided to go further away from home than we’ve ever been in our lives.

Where are we going? Well, we’ve mutually decided that we want to go to Indonesia. Why Indonesia? Well, it looks beautiful and there are things for both of us to do. For those of you that don’t know, Indonesia is a large island country (in fact, it’s a gigantic assortment of thousands of islands). It hosts a tropical climate, typical of islands near the equator, and it really just looks like a lot of fun.

We plan on hopping around from island to island while we’re there. Initially, we were going to spend most of our time at a resort but we’ve decided we’d rather experience the culture. Because of the distances, taking a boat isn’t really feasible so we’re going to grab a few flights using a regional airline that we found online, Lion Air. They have very reasonable rates and they specialize is short, island-to-island flights. In fact, we have four flights scheduled right now and the price is very, very reasonable. I’ve never been island-hopping (of course, I’ve never been halfway around the world, either) and I’m actually really excited.

Both of us are looking forward to the trip, and we have a pretty cool trip planned so far. We plan on spending around 50% of our time in major metro areas in Indonesia, but also spending half of our trip in remote areas, exploring jungles, beaches, and natural formations. It should be a perfect mix of culture and geography over the course of three weeks, and we’re both thinking this could be our best vacation to date. Of course, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m also taking my golf clubs so I can play at least one or two rounds during our three week getaway.

Being Smart With Your Money

banking

Making money is just as important as knowing how to manage it.  People often think that the secret to being rich is to make a lot of money but what they are overlooking is that being rich means having a lot of money.  Who is richer, someone who has made $40,000 per year for their entire life but lived frugally and invested wisely and now has a net worth of $2,000,000, or someone who makes $150,000 a year but spends all of it and has thousands in debt and $2,000 in the bank.  This example should serve to demonstrate that making a lot of money does not make one rich.

One problem is that a lot of people want to appear rich.  They will buy expensive clothing, lease expensive cars, and go to trendy places just so others can see them.  These people are not rich, however.  They often spend their entire paycheck on their car payments, their rent, and their clothes.

Ironically, rich people often don’t care about that kind of thing.  Imagine you are worth $1,000,000.  Would you care what other people thought about what car you drive?  Of course not; you have $1,000,000 so you probably wouldn’t feel the need to impress other people.

The other reason rich people don’t care is because they are often frugal and have developed good habits with money.  Just because you can go out and pay cash for a new luxury car doesn’t mean you should stop driving your 5 year old economy sedan (that you purchased used!).

Managing your money is perhaps the best skill you can learn if you want to be rich.  This means learning to be frugal, learning to invest whether in stocks, mutual funds, or bonds, and not trying to keep up with the Joneses.

It can be difficult to start down this path, but there are a few good resources out there.  Read the book “The Millionaire Next Door” to learn about the financial habits of millionaires and see just how frugal they really are.  You’ll be surprised.  Learn to invest.  If you have a little extra money and want to be daring, learn to trade.  Read Financial Trading School to learn about binary options.  Stop buying stuff you don’t need, like a $4 coffee every morning.  Get off of caffeine anyway, lazybones.  Or at least drink tea instead.  Pay yourself first.  Contribute to your 401(k) at least as much as your employer will match, as that is essentially free money.  Eventually you will develop these as habits and will start to realize that hey, it feels pretty good to save that $4 every morning that you used to spend on coffee; that’s $20 a week, and that’s $1,000 a year (assuming you take 2 weeks off for vacation).  And how many years have you been doing that for?

These rules apply no matter how much you make, btw.  Surely you’ve seen the stories about ex-athletes who were making millions who are now broke.  They didn’t manage their money well and spent all of it instead.  But it’s not their fault; they never learned how to be smart with their money.  But now you’re on the right path.

Think I Can Do This Myself?

big living room

I try to develop a bit of skill at things that I am interested in or that are important to me, and it tends to have mixed results.  For example, I enjoy eating, and while I go out to eat fairly often, I decided that I wanted to learn how to cook some fancy things for myself, too, so I took a cooking class (which was a lot of fun, btw, but that will have to wait for another post).  I ended up making some pretty good things in that class, and a few times a week or month I’ll make myself a nice dinner at home.  It helped me get a feel for how the different ingredients work together which helped me better understand what I do and don’t like, and now I can even come up with some new dishes which are pretty good sometimes.

I also like art.  I’ve got some sculptures and paintings in my home, so I figured it might be fun to take a painting class.  We all had painting class in elementary school and it was fun, right?  So an a painting class now as an adult should also be fun.  Well, I think I will stick to buying my art, because I am not very good at painting.  It’s a good thing we didn’t get a grade in this class that goes on our transcript or anything because I would’ve gotten a D.  The first assignment was to blend paint colors to make the color you want.  Apparently some artists don’t buy green paint, but if they need green they will just mix blue and yellow to make green.  So we had to do it like that to make all the colors we wanted and I just couldn’t get the paints to mix well.  Each time they were a different shade, and the end result didn’t look very good.

Another thing I like is home design.  I like my place to look cool because it makes me enjoy coming home.  I can tell the difference between a place that is arranged well and one that needs some work, but I don’t seem to be able to make it look nice myself.  I’ve read a bunch of books on it but I still don’t know what I’m doing.  I’ve decided that I will always need to hire an interior designer to make my place look nice.  In fact, the first time I ever did this was when I was living in Shanghai where I was sent on a business trip.  My apartment was kind of small and I just couldn’t get it to look nice no matter how I tried to arrange everything, so I finally gave in and called a designer and let them do their magic.  I don’t know what it is they do, but it looks nice.  I took pictures of it in case I ever need to use it as reference in the future if I’m living somewhere else.