Tynan http://tynan.com Life Outside the Box en-us Sat, 26 Jul 2014 04:06:38 +0000 http://sett.com Sett RSS Generator Free audiobooks galore http://tynan.com/community/455977 I wrote up a quick diddy about getting free audiobooks with the new Kindle Unlimited. Could be useful to fellow tynanians:


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Sun, 20 Jul 2014 16:25:13 +0000 http://tynan.com/community/455977
Rolexes: Why They're Awesome and How to Get Them Dirty Cheap http://tynan.com/community/buyrolex

SHORT VERSION: Here is a link to my saved search on eBay that shows cheap Rolexes that are probably worth buying. Read on to see why.

A month ago or so I wrote a post called, No One Cares if you Buy a Rolex. If you didn't read it and don't feel like doing any link-clicking, the gist of it was that when I was younger I bought a Rolex, assuming that people would be really impressed, but in the end no one noticed or cared. You can't buy your way into being interesting.

Ironically, in writing that post, I remembered how much I loved my Rolex, despite the fact that no one else cared about it. At the same time, I had stopped really using the advanced features of the Suunto GPS watch that I had, and was thinking about getting some different watch.

Maybe I ought to get a Rolex, I thought...

Getting something as a status symbol is really lame. Although Rolexes are seen as status symbols (again... that's mostly in theory because no one ever notices them), they're also really excellent watches. I don't think most people understand just how good a Rolex really is.

A Rolex (with the exception of a now discontinued line called the Oysterquartz) is a mechanical watch. That means that it doesn't have batteries and doesn't have a quartz crystal. It has a spring that is wound up either by twisting the crown, or by harnessing the energy generated through wrist movement using a rotor. The spring powers one hundred and fifty moving parts to deliver really accurate time (gaining or losing only a few seconds a day).

To be clear, a $9 quartz watch is probably more accurate than a Rolex. But then again, a photograph is more accurate than a Monet. There's something to the art of it-- the fact that these one hundred and fifty moving parts continue to work for years on end, powered only by flicks of the wrist, through conditions as varied as scuba diving hundreds of feet deep in the ocean to climbing mount Everest.

Rolex isn't the only mechanical watch to be able to do this (Omega and Tag Heuer are similar, and I'm sure there are others I don't know about), but they are real pioneers in the field and, in terms of balancing accuracy and reliability, there is no better.

The point of all this is that a Rolex isn't a jewelry watch like a Gucci watch would be. A gucci watch would most likely be a quartz watched stamped with a bunch of logos. If they do have a mechanical watch, it would have been developed by someone else, made in China, and then stamped with logos.

I personally love the idea of a manual watch. To me it's a triumph of humanity that these things exist. I love the idea that such a rugged and precise machine can be built, and that it can fit in my watch, hidden in a tiny case.

The next most interesting thing about a Rolex is that although the price tag is quite high, it could be argued that the cost of owning one is negative. That's because Rolexes tend to appreciate over time, mainly because the style hasn't changed drastically since inception, making a 40 year old watch look roughly new.

I bought my first Rolex in 2001 for $1400. Today it would sell for $1900 if I hadn't lost it. That's not an incredible return, but it's very low risk (insure the watch from theft/loss for $30/year if you want to really make it low risk), and you get to have a cool watch for many years.

Even more interesting is that right now there are insane deals to be had on Rolexes. I actually have three of them right now because I didn't realize how plentiful good deals are, and I kept jumping on deals I thought were 'once-in-a-lifetime' deals. Some examples:

1. I bought a 1991 Air-King for $1250. I thought I was going to keep it, but one week and two Rolexes later, it's going up on eBay. I estimate that it's worth around $1700-2000.

2. I bought a 1980 DateJust for $1700. I should be able to sell this one for $1900-2000, maybe more.

3. I bought and will keep a 1999 DateJust with a diamond dial for $2100. If I wanted to sell it today, I could get around $3000.

If you combine a really good deal with years of modest appreciation, you're looking at buying a really excellent watch and earning 5-10% per year average on the "investment". On the other hand, any cheap watch you buy will tend to lose value over time. I loved my Suunto and got some really good use out of it, but I sold it for about half what I paid for it after a couple years.

Anyway, I'm not trying to convince you to buy a Rolex. I'm just trying to explain what makes them worth having, and will share some tricks to getting them really cheap. My guide to buying a Rolex will focus on the DateJust, which is the classic dress watch (that can still be worn scuba-diving), but most of the tips will work for any model.

The key dates to know for a DateJust are as follows. In 1978 Rolex introduced a "quickset" feature, which makes it much faster to switch the date at the end of a 28-30 day month. My first Rolex was a 1974 and not having quickset wasn't that big of a deal, but it's a nice feature and 1978 is a good starting point.

In the late 80s, Rolex switched the crystal from acrylic to sapphire crystal. Opinion is divided on this, with most collectors and enthusiasts favoring the acrylic crystal. Acrylic definitely looks better and doesn't hold fingerprints as much, but it is easier to scratch. Buffing out scratches with a polishing cloth is pretty easy. Sapphire, on the other hand, is pretty much impossible to scratch. I prefer Sapphire because I tend to do things that risk scratching the watch, but it's a personal choice.

In the mid nineties, the case was switched to a holeless case. This is a very minor difference-- the pins that hold the bracelet onto the watch are hidden. Since then there have been no notable improvements. The quickset movement is called a 3035 and the next evolution, introduced in 199x is called the 3135. Both of them have their strong points and their supporters-- the point is that very little has changed over the years, so you can buy an old Rolex and it's essentially the same as a new Rolex. The 1980 DateJust and the 1999 DateJust I currently have are the exact same color schemes and both keep time with the same level of accuracy. Other than the different crystal, the holeless case of the newer one, and the less worn band of the newer one, they are indistinguishable.

Because you're working with around 20 years of available Rolexes (I've never seen great deals on the newest ones), you will have a LOT of watches to choose from. This means that you can take the approach of lowballing everybody until someone accepts your deal. Given the current economy, pretty much everyone takes your offer. I've really been amazed at how cheaply people are willing to let go of these watches.

The two major places to look are Craigslist and eBay. On Craigslist, just search for Rolex with an upper price of $2500. I wouldn't ever pay more than that. A late 70s watch should go for closer to $1600. Whenever you see a watch, offer a really low price that's $100 more than most people will offer. In other words, offer $2100 instead of $2000, $1600 instead of $1500. I almost got a watch for $1300 just because everyone else was offering $1200, but someone paid his full asking price at the last minute.

Don't get attached to any given watch. in this economy a lot of people are selling their Rolexes, so another one will come up. If you overpay, or fail to get a really good deal, you're largely negating the good-deal benefit of buying a Rolex.

On Craigslist the biggest advantage you can have over other sellers is to be really easy to deal with. Most people on Craigslist are not. My initial email might look something like this:

"Hey, I'm interested in the Rolex you're selling on Craigslist. I don't mean to insult you, but I think the watch is worth about $1600. I know you're asking for more, but if you're interested in that price, I can meet you at your convenience with cash in hand."

The last watch I bought was from a really nice guy who I sent a similar email to. When I bought the watch he thanked me for being so easy to work with and kept saying how glad he was to be done with selling it. Selling on Craigslist is annoying. We both know he could have gotten a bit more money if he held out, but he would have had to meet with a bunch of unreliable people who wouldn't show up with cash, or would try to renegotiate after agreeing on a price. Convenience is worth something.

If you're buying on eBay, you again want to email offers in. Most buy it now prices aren't that great, and auctioned Rolexes, by definiton, go for market price. The ideal watch to offer on is one that's been on eBay for a few days with no bids. At that point the seller might start to wonder if it's going to get bid up or just get sold for his opening price. The Air-King I bought had a starting price of $1000 and no bids. I offered $1250 and he took it. My guess is that if he left it on eBay it would have sold for $1700 or more.

Many sellers will also list buy it now prices that are unrealistic. Email them and offer them much less. I haven't actually bought one this way but I've gotten some really solid counter-offers back.

With eBay sellers you don't really need to worry about fakes. Just look for good feedback, and if it does turn out to be fake, eBay buyer protection will cover you. In person if you don't know what to look for, you might be better off meeting at a watch store, where they can verify that it's real. It's pretty easy if you know what to look for, so they probably won't charge you for the service. If they do, it would be $10-20.

There are two color schemes for the DateJust, stainless steel and 18k gold / stainless two-tone. They are the same price right now because the stainless steel is more in style. However, because the two tone one has a real gold crown and bezel, and also real gold center links in the bracelet, it probably has a higher intrinsic value. If you like that look, I bet it will appreciate more than the stainless one over time. I prefer the stainless look, though, so I've bought only stainless ones other than my first one many years ago.

There are also two ways to make the watch significantly cheaper after buying it. If you're lucky enough to get one that comes with the Rolex boxes, you can sell those for $100-200 on eBay. Resale value isn't really impacted by not having the box (DO keep the certificate if it comes with it, though), so you may as well sell them and take the cash. I got boxes with my 1999 watch, and they're on ebay right now.

You could also consider selling the bracelet of the watch and buying an aftermarket one. An aftermarket bracelet costs $25-75 and is probably better than the one that came with the watch, since the one with the watch will be stretched out a bit from use. The original bracelets go for $300 or so on eBay, which is sort of crazy. The resale value of your watch WILL decrease if it comes with an aftermarket one, but probably not by as much as you gain by selling it.

Using all these tricks, you can easily get a nice Rolex for $1000-1500 that will sell for almost twice as much. There are so many good deals out there that if I wasn't so busy, I would probably start a side business reselling them. Here's an ebay link with the search I use to find Rolexes.

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Wed, 25 Jul 2012 23:03:06 +0000 http://tynan.com/community/buyrolex
Any there deals on wool clothing going on currently? http://tynan.com/community/157111 Summer's coming up and it will be time to travel again. After experiencing one day at the beach where I packed everything I needed into a waterproof container (so I could go into the water and out whenever I wanted) I was hooked.

I'm thinking of extending this travel philosophy into my packing. Are there any good deals on wool clothing currently? I've never had a piece of pure 'real' wool clothing before (rayon and the synthetics are probably the closest equivalents) but I've heard so many magical things about wool that I think it's worth looking into for this summer. I saw a bunch of wool deals pop up every so often here so if anyone keeping track could post when they find one would be much appreciated.

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Wed, 23 Apr 2014 17:18:29 +0000 http://tynan.com/community/157111
What do Rialta's go for these days? http://tynan.com/community/444368 This seems kind of hard to nail down to get to a fair price for a used Rialta. Are these in the Bluebook? I tried finding comparable sales on RV websites or ebay completed/sold listings, but it's kind of hit or miss depending on milage, model, and year. I'm in the market and just wanted to make sure I'm not way overpaying. I've seen the 2000's and up models around 20k-35k with mostly the 2004 or 2005's fetching that upperward value...

Does anyone know what kind of price range would a 2002 FD (fullbed or even the twin bed model) go for with ~30k miles?

Any insight is appreciated...Thanks!

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Mon, 30 Jun 2014 20:22:32 +0000 http://tynan.com/community/444368
How do you guys spend your time on the plane? http://tynan.com/community/356784 Any tips on how to make the plane riding experience more enjoyable?

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Thu, 19 Jun 2014 23:21:35 +0000 http://tynan.com/community/356784
SETT Bugs! http://tynan.com/community/sett-bugs Hey guys, if you find a bug in SETT, reply to this with the info. You can embed screenshots if necessary or paste error messages. If you've experienced a bug that someone else has already reported, you can vote it up so that we know it's more important.

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Fri, 06 Apr 2012 19:08:38 +0000 http://tynan.com/community/sett-bugs
Choosing medium-term life goals http://tynan.com/community/443815 [This is an edited version of a post I put up a while ago on NerdFitness.com and would be appropriate also for some readers of this site].

Some people - myself included - have a list of goals that they'd like to achieve some day. A "bucket list" perhaps, or maybe just a bunch of things you're working towards in work, hobbies and life.

  • Learn to do X
  • Travel to Y
  • Become a Z
  • Achieve a certain standard in activity A

I've had something like this for a few years, but what I've learnt is that in retrospect, some goals are much more useful than others in terms of improving your life. Looking back at the goals that I've set and achieved over the last couple of years, it's clear that some have caused lots of spin-off benefits and really added good stuff to my life. Other things have hardly been worth the effort.

Here are some of the goals I've set/achieved since 2012 together with an explanation of what made them worthwhile or not. It's helped me understand what will be worth working on in the future, and might give some readers some ideas.

1) Spend a week without eating any sugary food:

For years I ate a diet of cake, sweet cereal in huge bowls, soda, sauces, ice cream, etc., but eventually realised that it was probably doing bad things to my body. I was underweight and active the whole time, but tired often and spent too much time procrasto-snacking. So in 2012 I decided to try going for a week without anything sugary. No sweet cereal, no desserts, not even any Pink Lady apples, which are pretty much just balls of sugar masquerading as fruit.

It would've been an impractically large diet change had I done it immediately, but over the course of the year I cleaned up my diet and saw the benefits: less tiredness; better skin quality; less joint clicking; and an appreciation for tastes other than syrup in food.

By December, I was ready to try a week without any sugary food. It worked out okay, but there was a mild drop in mental energy from lack of sugars - so overall I concluded that what works best for me is to keep sugar intake low, but not crazy low, so I keep all of the benefits described above with minimal downside. Was the experiment/goal worthwhile? Yep, and I've been eating healthily since! 10/10

2) Learn Katakana:

The Japanese writing system is complicated, with three sets of characters. However one of them - Katakana - is used for foreign words and names, so with that you can read Japanese signs and important parts of Japanese websites. Great! Excited by this, I taught myself Katakana, and sure enough I could read some words on Japanese signs and websites.

Problem is, I seldom actually encounter Japanese text that I want to read, so there was very little benefit in doing this... and as a result I've now forgotten most of the Katakana anyway. This might be a useful goal for anyone who often needs to understand Japanese text, but that doesn't really include me. 3/10

3) Record one of my compositions:

I've been composing piano music for years, but never got a recording of any of them - and didn't really know how! The best tools at my disposal were a rather unconvincing electric keyboard, and a laptop webcam...

Fast forward until the end of the year, I'd treated myself to a much better electric piano (which is a joy to play on), learned to use Audacity software for recording, became more motivated for composing, and taught myself to be a more skilled pianist. Now, creating music is even more fun than before! 9/10

[And what happened to the recording? It's available here along with some more advanced ones I've done since].

4) 40 push-ups in a set:

Back in 2007 in the gym of a Turkish hotel, a friend engaged me in a push-up competition. I probably lost (can't remember) but I hit 40 in a single set. When 2013 rolled around, suddenly even 15 push-ups in a set was a massive effort... so I set out to reclaim my lost muscle endurance.

A few months later, I hit 40 again without much difficulty. But since the sports I play mainly require pure strength rather than endurance, this had only minor benefit. 4/10

5) Use a barbell:

Despite being generally very physically active, and hearing them regularly recommended, somehow I'd never actually learnt to use one! So August 27th 2013, I went with a friend to a local gym to try them out. This wasn't a particularly hard goal to achieve, and there weren't any useful side-effects as with some of the other goals. However, it was certainly worthwhile, as now the weights gym is a regular part of my physical training and I've seen good strength benefits as a result that I probably wouldn't have seen otherwise. 8/10

So what kinds of goal do I consider are the best to work towards?

  • where your life will be significantly improved upon having achieved the goal (such as when I cleaned up my diet)
  • where you're likely to encounter lots of possibilities for learning/experiencing cool stuff on your way to achieving the goal (such as when I recorded my compositions)
  • experiments where you may have a lot to gain, but don't have much to lose (such as trying out barbells)
  • where there's a high benefit:effort ratio (i.e., not working on irrelevant goals like my 40 push-ups)
  • where you learn something that you're likely to remember long afterwards (i.e., not learning to read Katakana if you rarely see any Japanese)
  • those that are fun to work towards :)

What things are you working towards? Which ones were chosen for their likely benefit to you, and which were chosen on a whim? What kinds of potential random extra benefits might you encounter on the way to your goals?

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Sun, 29 Jun 2014 19:31:44 +0000 http://tynan.com/community/443815
Rialta renovations 2.0 http://tynan.com/community/348515 I learned a lot on my first renovation and after living in the RV for a year I got a lot of scheming done.

I've started painting over that painful brown color using a light coffee palette. I'm putting a layer or two of satan water based polyurethane on top of the latex paint to give it better water/stain/scratch resistance.

I've pulled down the ceiling again (photo 1). I discovered that not all the bolts I used to hold my solar panels on were stainless and the high humidity/winter time condensation caused a lot of rust on them (photo 2).

I'm planning on replacing the ceiling with thin vinyl sheets painted using the above technique, glued directly to the insulation. I'm also considering using fiberglass reinforced sheet of some sorts, http://www.homedepot.com/b/Lumber-Composites-Paneling-Fiberglass-Panels/N-5yc1vZbqk5

It's as expensive as the solid oak sheets I had used, but has the perk of being synthetic, so prolonged moisture during the brutally humid winters wont be an issue.

Does anyone know if there is insulation that's more effective, or what the "R value" of the Rialta's insulation is? Or anything about getting double paned windows into here?

Originally my solar panels were mounted using fender washers that shown on the inside ceiling and bolts. Because the new ceiling wont be so strong, I'll need to have them underneath. This makes my old method unusable because if you only have access to the outside, you can't hold the other side still and it'll spin in place instead of come undone.

I plan to go by a welding shop and see what they can come up with. I assume a 2x2x.25 or so piece of metal with the bold welded to it, that I cut a slot for in the insulation and silkaflex into place will be good enough. I hope I remember to ask for stainless steel.

Future plans include relocating the fridge, redoing the kitchen top with new range/sink, and a bunch of new kitchen cabinets.

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Thu, 19 Jun 2014 02:41:08 +0000 http://tynan.com/community/348515
Only great people die http://tynan.com/community/297923 I have been to my share of funerals. I am always amazed at how the person is described once they are no longer with us. I had a friend say, "Don't you know?, only great people die". The point is that the person rarely gets portrayed as they really were in life.

If the person had a terrible temper and was difficult to get along with, they get described as "intense" or a "perfectionist". Or "they had an ability to see things that no one else could see".

I recently went to a funeral for a former co-worker. I worked with the person for over 10 years. The person was usually irritated, rushed and rarely had a smile. They were like working with human sandpaper. I couldn't help but laugh when I heard how they described the person as a wonderfully sweet and happy person at the funeral.

The deceased person is always showered with beautiful adjectives. I can understand that it is being respectful, but I do wish there was a bit more honesty. There is a good side and bad side to everybody.

One time I was looking forward to going to a funeral for a famous family member. I really was enthralled by this person and all their accomplishments. I was excited that I may hear more interesting stories that I hadn't heard before. Nope, it didn't happen that way and I was sad. The Pastor did all the talking, and he barely knew my relative. He got most of the stories mixed up and I knew that the Pastor was just winging his way through the ceremony. I thought to myself, why couldn't they have let a few of his friend's get up and tell a few good stories about this great man. Here was a great man, and he got the same bologna ceremony that the toxic person gets.

If I could plan my funeral, it wouldn't have any type of BS. I will be gone, so whatever is said about me doesn't matter. In fact, I don't even want a funeral. If you choose to spend a few moments remembering me, then do it on your own. Perhaps take a day off and do something you enjoy. I try to live a life where I don't cause people any trouble or interruptions, so I want that to continue once I'm dead.

Yeah, there are some people that think I'm a jerk. I don't want them to have to sit through a ceremony and play like they care.

If you could plan your funeral, what would you want done or said?

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Tue, 10 Jun 2014 17:05:33 +0000 http://tynan.com/community/297923
The unbelievable upsets http://tynan.com/community/324068 It is so surreal when I am watching history happen (as in Instant Classic). Life is so unpredictable, yet some things seem like such a sure thing. Like this week in a local Congressional District election. Eric Cantor (Republican and House Majority Leader) got upset by a complete unknown with hardly any money, staff or experience. It hit all the news networks nationwide.

I have helped a lot of friends that have run for political office, and some were dreaming that somehow, someway that a miracle would occur on election day and they would win. I have seen some minor upsets, like a candidate that was just a few percentage points down get a surprise win.

I have never seen something like this election. The pollsters at one time had Eric Cantor at 68% vs. Dave Brat 23%. Eric Cantor was a 7 term congressman, super powerful, and rich. Dave Brat had never run political office. Cantor spent over $5 million to Dave Brat spent $112,000. Cantor had a full time staff of 23 people, Brat had 2 people with one of the guys living on his sofa in his living room.

When the results came out, Brat won by more than 10%. Brat commented that it was a miracle from God. I can't disagree with him.

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Sun, 15 Jun 2014 19:02:54 +0000 http://tynan.com/community/324068