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A month or so ago, I happened upon a perfectly good piano at a local yard sale. We’d been planning to get a piano for the family, and as yard sales only last a day, this opportunity pressed the issue. The family selling it was moving and needed it gone fast, so we picked it up for a deal.
There was just one problem: it was completely out of tune. So bad, in fact, that we couldn’t play it at all in the middle.
My original plan was to get everyone good old fashioned piano lessons once it was tuned, but my kids don’t think that way. Instead, the day I brought it home, X went onto YouTube and started learning how to play songs that interested him. The Super Mario theme song, Tetris theme song, Happy Birthday. This inspired the girls to look up favorite pop songs on YouTube and they began to play as well. Everything was either in a very low, or very high octave, but music had broken into our house, and there was no stopping it.
From the minute we got it, our house felt more like a home. As if CONTINUE READING
The news has been inundated with coverage of riots in impoverished communities. Years ago, it was L.A. with the Rodney King incident. This year we have had incidents in Ferguson, Mo, Florida, NY City, and now Baltimore. These low income areas are comprised of mostly minority citizens. The communities are known for extremely poor public schools, crime, drugs, single moms raising kids without dads in the support picture, and unemployment.
I read a study that stated the Dads are somewhere in the picture. They do some activities with their children it stated. And, some of those activities involved the children visiting Dad in prison.
I don't think I have to list all the challenges that these communities face because most everyone can imagine what those challenges are. If a person doesn't have a degree in a particular subject matter or had a poor education, it may exclude them from doing a lot of positions in the workforce. Although, it doesn't mean they don't have a strong work ethic.
I will cut to the chase here. Entrepreneurship is one answer to allowing people to help themselves "pull themselves up by the boot straps". There needs to be startup funding and business mentors/training in these areas. This is happening, albeit on a unnoticed scale in my opinion.
My city, Richmond, Virginia, has more than its share of poverty and communities that are in these conditions. Luckily, we have numerous non-profit groups that are working very hard to make changes. One of these groups is named www.unboundrva.org This group assists people in poverty to begin a new career in entrepreneurship. So far the results have been great. I have offered my assistance to a couple of the people who may want a website and marketing help.
My wife and I lived out of our 1996 Winnebago Rialta last year quite a bit. We put solar panels, a charge controller, some decent AGM batteries, etc. in it. The transmission died, however, and we just don't have the cash on-hand to get it fixed.
It's stuck in a driveway in the Bay Area in California.
For $3k, you can have it, as long as you come and haul it off, or cover expenses to do so. The title is clean.
Full disclosure: we haven't officially determined that the problem is the transmission, though that's what people in the know have told us. The engine starts, but the car won't move forward or backwards.
I live in the South. The city I live in was once the Capital of the Confederacy during the American Civil War. My city has dozens of monuments for Confederate Generals, as well as many schools named for them and streets. The years after the Civil War these men were revered for their courage and bravery. They were defending their homes and land against a government that wanted to dictate to them. They were viewed by many as heroes because they fought and died for "The Cause".
The views of these men is decidedly different these days. One side still sees these men as heroes that was the biggest battle fought against the government by its citizens. While others view the war as a way to continue slavery.
Who are today's heroes?
I can list the professions that I think have lost touch of their purpose and goals for being heroes.
1. Police Officer: This is supposed to be a "Peace Officer". The news has seen a lot of abuses by Police on innocent victims. The rest of the Police have to root out the behavior, but it will be a tough row to hoe because many of the top leaders in the police are unwilling to change.
Suddenly, there it is. An in-page editor that says 'start writing your post here'. Well, why not? But still, it's a strange thing. Am I writing a post on somebody elses website now? How can that be? Did this Tynan, of whom I had never heard before just a few minutes ago, mess up the permissions for his CMS?
Well, whatever it is, I'm attending a meditation group at eight, and before that there's some other stuff I need to take care of, including fueling my body with some delicious food. So however strange this opportunity may be, I'll sign off now. Maybe another day.
Take care, whoever you are. And if there's one message I want to give you, one message I think every human being needs to hear, it's this:
You are beautiful! :)
I'm going to write a post about my ongoing campaign to learn all major languages every time I finish another one. As I've written before, my goal is to complete the Pimsleur courses for every language I'm interested in, which is approximately 25 of them. Each course is thirty to ninety days long.
I just finished Arabic last night. It was easily the toughest language I've tackled on Pimsleur. There were some lessons where I felt totally lost, but then I'd always catch up within a lesson or two. Most other languages I'd feel caught up pretty much all the time.
Arabic was so difficult that I'm not really sure how much I got out of the thirty days. After thirty days of Romanian I could actually function at a minimal level in Romania. I'm not sure I could say the same about Arabic.
On the other hand, I watched Benny Lewis' 45 day Arabic progress video and I could understand almost the entire conversation. He had a bigger vocabulary, maybe by 50-100%, but our grammatical understanding seemed roughly equivalent, and I think my pronunciation is significantly better. That's a pretty strong testimonial for Pimsleur considering how much work Benny puts into language learning.
The marginal benefit of going from zero knowledge to some knowledge is pretty impressive. I've spoken a tiny bit of Arabic with the owner of my local grocery store as well as a clerk at a drug store. They were both really excited that I spoke any at all.
Two years ago I finally jumped off the Thinkpad wagon to buy a Sony Z12. I have my loyalties and preferences, but at the end of the day I know that the one feature that actually directly impacts my productivity is screen resolution. The higher the resolution, the more stuff that can fit on the screen at once. The more I can fit on the screen, the less swapping between windows I have to do, and thus the less I have to interrupt my workflow. At the same time, I travel a lot, so I need a small computer. My criteria will always be the smallest usable computer with the highest resolution.
For a long time, the Sony was that computer. New computers came out over the past two years, but none of them stacked up well against the Sony. Even the Z12's successor, the Z21, wasn't much to write home about.
Then one day I read an announcement saying that Asus was releasing two new ultrabooks (you know, the Windows laptops that look like Macbook Airs), an 11.6" and a 13", and both would have full 1920x1080 screens. They'd be about half the thickness of my existing laptop, and the smaller of the two would be half a pound lighter. I was sold.
I bought the 11.6" version, the Asus UX21A Zenbook Prime.
I have usually been a long term kind of guy. I went for a job/career that required that you work there long term and the benefits would be a life of retirement payments. As well as good benefits while I worked there. I also choose to buy a house rather than rent. The thinking that the real estate is a good safe bet as long as I bought in a good school district and kept the house in good condition.
I ended the job 2/3 into it due to health reasons. I was pretty upset at myself because it seemed like I had lost. Then I began to realize that there is a reason they set those type of years of service into the system. It's probably a low percentage of people that complete the requirements to get to that retirement package. I've seen a lot of people quit during my years. And, the people that did make it to the retirement didn't seem any happier in life when they got there.
I was talking with a friend that was wondering what choice to make about his Social Security retirement. He told me his options were to take a low retirement amount at age 62, or wait until he was 66 and get a larger monthly amount. And then another option was to wait until he was 69 and get a lot larger monthly amount. He was saying that it was hard to believe that 7 years wait would result in such a bigger monthly amount, but evidently SSI has figured out that a low percentage of people make it through those 7 years during that age. Or they wouldn't have offered that type of deal.
I'm in my mid 40's, and I've now witnessed that so many things are unpredictable and out of my control. There will be good weather days and bad weather days. I've reached the point that I can't see getting involved in any long term investments. Anything that has a payout past age 65 in too much of a gamble. I hope I'm healthy into my 80's, but statistics say otherwise.
I always had the opinion that people that just kick the can down the road to survive were rather foolish. Now I'm rethinking that theory. Why not take short term risks and enjoy the challenges. I'm not talking about buying lottery tickets or gambling. I'm talking about trying new things in life to enjoy the moment. Why not go on a fishing trip instead of working feverishly all day hoping to add a few dollars to my savings account. The money saved doesn't seem to make a big difference in the end. Especially when you end up spending it on Doctor bills and prescriptions due to the stress.
We have endured a pretty cold Winter here on the East Coast. I think everyone is ready for the warm weather. There are a few things that I really love about my area in the Summer.
The first thing is juicy, delicious tomatoes. My area, like many, takes a lot of pride in our tomatoes. We like to think ours are the best in the world. They are especially nice after eating the tomatoes we get in the stores during the Winter that have NO flavor at all.
I am planting the seeds for my garden inside. I can't wait until everyday I can walk outside and pick my fresh vegetables for a healthy salad. For those of you that like to live frugal, this is the way to go.
I have one section of my garden that is simply a free garden and compost area. It is a variety of tomatoes and cherry tomato plants that come up all on there own each year. It looks that a jungle by July, but I trim out some plants and build a fence to let the plants climb. I always squeeze out a number of tomatoes to let more seeds go back into the ground.
A friend of mine takes potato peelings and plants them. Sure enough, he gets pounds of potatoes each year.
PM me for more pics and a video.
It works great and doesn't seem to affect the Rialta negatively. I haven't weighed it in over a year, but I'd guess it's at ~7500 now with water and excluding 550lb bike, which has it's weight split with the carrier's wheel & RV when loaded. I have a leaky suspension airbag, but even flat, the rear doesn't bottom out or drag in dips. I've looked at the Pit Bull trailer restraint and the Tyre Down as options of better securing it without pulling down on suspension. Since that video, I've added self-retracting ratchet straps permanently attached to the carrier that grab a strap set up like the Tyre Down atop of my rear tire (see pictures in album) and plan to build a collapsible front chock soon. I had to take off the front fender of my bike to restrain it like I have been, but think I can make attachment for hooking on the outsides of the installed fender. Also added on the Rialta is a company logo on the doors and fleet numbers on the corners to appear more "utility van".
I'd be happy to help anyone out with dimensions or more details on the design; I built it in my Dad's shop at home, so can't easily reproduce one right now. If it's feasible to build the carrier frame with aluminum, that would help with weight, but you'll probably have to reinforce it in more places.Tynan, sorry for this post's delay; I didn't realize that uploading a video on mobile broadband was completely hopeless. Bonus pic of the Austin Clique attached.