Friday, December 3, 2010

Net Neuter Reality

Geeks everywhere clamor for "Net Neutrality".  Don't tread on me... or my data.  And if the FCC has their way that'll be exactly what happens.  My guess: it isn't going to make the geeks happy.  It's a nice slogan to rally behind... but the reality is quite different.

The geeky idea here is that the evil ISPs are stepping all over their packets and making life miserable for them all for the idea that some premium corporate service gets better tubes than you do.  Or that evil ISPs will block their competition just upstream of YOUR HOUSE.  And, in a way, they're right.  There are little bits of truth here.  Very little. 

Truth is a modern ISP probably has multiple services going on: web, email, DNS, ftp, voice, video and a whole host of unimaginable data services... maybe even burglar alarms, traffic lights, surveillance cameras...  And while you may think your traffic is more important than mine, it turns out the importance isn't so much a perspective of whose data it is, but what kind.

If you are sitting around in your underwear surfing the web, you are dealing with very interactive data.  Click... ebay.  Click... amazon.  Click... porn.  Click... order a pizza.  While it's cool that the time between "click" and "porn" is small... it isn't critical to the operation.  If it takes half a second or three-quarters of a second... it doesn't really matter.

Voice and video are different.  If you have an  stream of Grey's Anatomy that is redrawing your screen (which is possibly 1,920×1,080 little dottie bits) 24 times a second...  and you miss a half a second.... that's very different.  You'll get little sparkley bits of frozen crap on the screen. 

The same is true of your phone call.  If little parts get delayed or dropped out... I'll start stuttering and -ou wi-- -ear --ly -arts of --e --nversat--n.

Now, enter government.  They'll fix it.  They fix everything.  They argue that since they're regulating telephone and television... it just makes sense.  Of course, telephone was built as a government mandated monopoly back in the days of Ma Bell.  The regulation was in trade for a guaranteed sack of cash.  Television operated on radio waves the government stepped in and decided they owned...  ISPs, on the other hand, built their own networks with their own money... and it is not something that is cheap to build. 

ISPs hauling huge mounds of data (video, telephones, etc) from place to place and they're renting you the part they have left over.  In short, Disney is subsidizing your internet access cost in exchange for the ability for you to watch the latest sitcom on ABC.  Net neutrality wants to make all data equal... and the only way it can do that is to make the pipes bigger or the data smaller.

Do you want fewer TV channels?  Do you want more fast busy signals?  Lower resolution TV shows?  Do you want higher cost access fees to subsidize bigger pipes?  Stuttery voice conversations?  Frozen TV shows?  These are the trade offs that will come, in some combination, with true protocol agnostic networks.

Think back.  What has been the most growth intensive thing in your lifetime?  What has changed the landscape more than anything?  For me, it's clearly the internet.  Was it built on the bones of a government network?  Sure.  But that network grew at a snail's pace until it fell in the unregulated hands of the private sector.  And it has made more money for more people than could have ever been imagined.  Why, in your wildest dreams, would anyone think pulling it under federal controls would help?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

the Parable

I have decided the parable has become a lost literary art. I would like to revive it.

There was once a geeky guy named Zeke. Yes, he was Zeke the Geek. He tended to sometimes be a little shy and sometimes had difficulty talking to and meeting girls. Yet, he was an intelligent, successful guy in his own way. He wasn't overly wealthy, but he did alright.

One day he was sitting at home alone, petting his dog Muskrat. He thought to himself "Zeke," (because he often addressed himself by his first name when he talked to himself), "you need to get out more. You should go to a nice bar and have a drink amongst the company of humans."

And so, Zeke did. He picked a very nice quiet bar with lots of mohagany and walnut. Zeke walked right up and sat on a prominant stool and ordered himself a Gin and Tonic. Yes, this was nice. This was living.

It wasn't long until a very attractive dark haired beauty walked into the bar. There were barstools everywhere... and yet, to his surprise, she sat right by him. She ordered herself a wine fizzleflop and slowly sipped on the straw.

There were glances. Smiles. She eventually spoke to him.

"My name is Allison."

"Hi, I am Zeke."

They started talking. Oddly enough they had things in common.

Allison, like Zeke was sort of an oddball geek. She was into computers. She liked dogs. She was a little shy.

At one point, the conversation turned to cars. Zeke loved cars. He giggled and said "My favorite all time car ever is an Aston-Martin. I'd do anything to get a chance to drive a DB-9. It would make me feel just like James Bond."

"No way. I have a DB-9."

Zeke just laughed. "Oh, yeah, like you have one parked right outside."

Allison was a little defensive. "I do, in fact."

"You have a $180,000 car parked outside?"

"Sure. I've done really well writing computer games. And I inherited a ton of money from my uncle. I'd even let you drive it if you really want."

"You're serious?"

"Yes," she said, drawing the keys out of her purse. The winged Aston Martin insignia could be seen on a prominent key. Smiling, Allison handed him the key ring and said, "Drive it around for about 30 minutes. Have fun."

Zeke was smiling like a child. He was giddy.... almost woozy. He started to giggle, not believing this was happening to HIM. This was the best day ever!

"So I can just take it? And drive it around? Really?"


He stood up. His shaking hand reached out and gingerly took the key. He stood up straight and tall, full of pride and waltzed out the front door of the bar.

A few moments passed.... and then Zeke walked back in and handed the keys back to Allison.

"Is there a problem?" she asked.

"It's blue. I like red."

And with that, Zeke happily turned down a chance to drive something he had always wanted to drive and could never own. He was happy with his decision. He walked out the front door and went home to his faithful dog Muskrat.

The End

Oh, and on a totally unrelated note. I was told that in the modern dating scene men have no interest in dating women with pubic hair.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A little housekeeping

This is just a little bit of an update for those that actually know me. [ I've found the vast majority of my "fans" are drive-bys that are presumably at work, bored to tears and are just clicking "next blog, next blog, next blog, next blog" in an effort to make it to 5 o'clock. ] At the first of the year, in between the spittle-spewing rants, I actually mentioned my goal for the year was to move out of my Unabomber tool shed and into a real honest-to-goodness house -- like one with real walls and a roof and a real central HVAC system. And, to add to that goal: to do it all on a cash flow basis.

Well, I'm pretty sure that it's not going to happen this year, but we are at least getting close -- well, close to starting anyway. We do now have finalized plans. Let the builder bidding begin.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Mark Zuckerberg stole my ideas

Mark Zuckerberg stole my ideas. He owes me $171 million. Sure, I pulled that number out of my ass, but it'd keep my belly full of pork products for the rest of my days -- so it seems about right.

As you'll learn over the next few weeks (after the release of Facebook: The Movie) that Mr. Zuckarski has a reputation for stealing of ideas. And he's surely stolen mine.

Think about it. What do you think of when you think of something on teh intarwebs that is:
  • useless
  • about nothing
  • a time waster
  • a senseless self promotion
Facebook? Or SporkInTheEye? Or both? Coincidence? I think not!

Oh sure, you may point out that the origins of Facebook were in 2004 and the beginnings of the holy Spork were in 2006, but I don't think that's enough evidence. You're forgetting that this guy has a net worth of about $7 billion dollars... I'm relatively sure this is enough to purchase a time machine in order to steal my business plan. If only I had figured out a way to make money with my implementation. If only.

First, Zuckerello tries to win on traffic flow alone. As of July, 2010 the estimated users on facebook was about 500 million. Now I don't have access to his logs to compare that with my own traffic, but if I do a little estimation, I think he may be getting more hits than me. I cannot say for sure... but I think he is.

And if that wasn't enough, he now is trying to trump me on uselessness. First he introduced a new method of data mining where people VOLUNTEERED their most personal information to applications written by absolute strangers he wasn't paying... And today he is going to announce he is giving $100 million to the Newark public school system. Damn, Zuckophaleese... you pulled ahead of me. You are now King Useless. I bow before you.

Let's put this in perspective, shall we? The Newark Public School system is terrible -- with a 51% graduation rate. Their mission statement must be "We be better than Cleveland." The whole system was seized and taken over by the state in 1995 for its supreme waste and mismanagement. Clearly, this is a money problem, right? Zuckonnel to the rescue!

Well, maybe not. The nationwide cost per student runs about $8,000. Hell, the smell-my-bootie private school here in town runs $10,000 per year. Newark about doubles that at $19,000. Nationwide teacher salaries average around $40k. But the poor educators in Newark are forced to live on a measly average pay of $63k. (And DON'T you bitch at me about poor underpaid teachers. Remember that this is a 9 month contract, not a year. If you adjust this to the 12 month year most of us work, it works out to an equivalent $88k.)

Zuckeroo falls into the same stupid hole that so many consumers (and 99.9% of politicians) fall into: If something isn't working, throw money at it. At least he's not borrowing to do it. But jeez: for $100M you could build a moat of private schools around all those failing public schools -- and let all the kids attend for free. My crystal ball says: In 1-5 years you'll see a fine new batch of controversy, cronyism and embezzelment surrounding this.

Uselessness of Spork: 0; Zuckminster Abby: 1

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Spastic Surgery

Women: I'm looking at you. Sure, some of my super human wisdom below applies to some men... but you are clearly the target here.

I don't hate plastic surgery per se. I hate what it's become. If my nose were to get ripped clean off in a freak bird watching incident, I'd want it reattached. And I'd pretty much want it to look like it does now. Not that I am Brad Pitt, I have just become accustomed to my appearance. Picking bogies out of George Clooney's nose just seems wrong.

In general, I'm opposed to any voluntary surgery. Surgery has significant risks. It's necessary sometimes. But if you even have to think about whether you need it or not, you probably don't.

There's not a heterosexual man on the planet that cares about the shape of your lips or the height of your cheekbones. Well, okay, there's probably a few, but they have some weird ass high-cheekbone, curly fish lip fetish that borders on creepy and they really are not the sort of guys you want to attract. If you're having plastic surgery -- and I mean any non-medical plastic surgery -- you're doing it not for men and probably not even for yourself. You're doing it for some idiotic Madison Avenue advertising executive that is running a campaign to tell you that you are ugly. Is this really the guy you want to impress? If Darren Stevens were to walk in the room and proclaim in front of his boss Larry that you have wrinkles at the corner of your eyes that make you look hideous, wouldn't you rather punch him in the mouth than spend $10 grand making him happy? I mean: he's such a prick to Samantha anyway.

If you don't believe that this is all some advertising plot, take a wide eyed look at The Doctors TV show, where "America's medical dream team" lives. (This week they're talking about women and heart disease with renown expert Barbara Striesand.) And what is this "dream team"? An ER specialist, an OB/Gyn, a pediatrician, and a plastic surgeon. Really? Is that really the 4 most important medical specialties you can come up with? If you say yes, you're already in need of a psychiatrist.

Facial wrinkles are a character map and express all sorts of emotive response. Trying to pull them tight or cover them up makes you look foolish. You're not fooling anyone and if you doubt me take a look at Joan Rivers or Bruce Jenner or Burt Reynolds or Micheal Jackson or ... well, I could go on ad infinitum. If your think your limited funds will buy a better job than these megastars, I've got a bridge in Jersey for sale.

I have distinct memories of my two grandmothers: one with sour, sagging wrinkles and the other with deep lines on her face that would make you think she had been laughing every minute of the previous 70 years. I can't remember the former ever being happy. The latter still has a place in my head as an attractive elderly woman -- but not in some creepy grand-Oedipus sort of way. To me this suggests that if you want to look pretty, then you need to be happy. Period.

The contrast is the ever unhappy, ever unsatisfied chick whose face is never young enough, breasts are never big enough and hair is never light enough. Madison Avenue will forever have you buying goo, hiring surgeons and attending your colorist. And all of these changes come with maintenance. You can't just fix it and forget it. You'll have to tweak and spackle and lighten until the day they do it one last time and close the casket door. And don't think for a moment you're doing it to attract a man (or please a man you already have). Men don't care. Big boobs, little boobs, medium boobs -- they're all boobs. We all like them. All of them. Think we all like blonds? We do. We also all like redheads and brunettes and everything in between. We don't care what your shoes cost and could care less who designed your dress. We'd almost all prefer to see you in blue jeans or nothing at all. Sorry, but that's the truth.

And if you, for some odd reason, have latched on the guy that cares about this trivia, then you have latched on the guy that has a pretty damn superficial view of you. He will always want you to be that 24 year old perky blond with big tits and a tight little butt. And when you turn 35 and are still trying to look 24 you won't fool him or anyone else. But it won't matter because while he smiles and says that "tummy tuck looks great honey" he's busy "working late" boinking the office slut -- who I might add is really still 24 and perky. A real man falls in love with the 24 year old and sees that same perky 24 year old when you're 73 and your teeth are floating in a fizzy concoction of Efferdent.

So, girls: don't buy it. Don't buy the $50 Armani mascara. Don't turn your hair a color that doesn't match your skin tone as that will just bring on a host of other changes. Embrace the boobs that fit your body type. We like them. Don't mess with your face. It's perfect the way it is. Don't go down the road of Jennifer Grey -- who made her place in Hollywood with one face and lost it with another.

I mean it.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Don't you just love Mexican feud?

Everything relates to the wisdom of Rush...1

They say there are strangers who threaten us,
In our immigrants and infidels.
They say there is strangeness too dangerous
In our theaters and bookstore shelves.
Those who know what's best for us
Must rise and save us from ourselves.

Quick to judge,
Quick to anger,
Slow to understand
Ignorance and prejudice
And fear walk hand in hand...
There is a disturbing trend building on the right. It's not new, but it's gaining momentum: Illegal immigrants are going to be the end of us. And let's translate that to TDE:2 "I hate Mexicans." And this is really no different than the wave of hating other immigrants before Mexicans: Jews, Blacks, Scots, Irish. The list goes on.

The sad part here is that, on many levels, the Right actually somewhat understands individual rights and somewhat understands what this country is philosophically based on. Sadder still is that the things they complain about have nothing to do with immigration. The problems they have are a misdirection. There is not a problem of Mexicans, there is a problem of creeping growth of invasive government that has nothing to do with immigration -- legal or otherwise.

First off, let's face it. This country is built on immigration. We are all a bunch of mutts. And unless your last name is Eaglefeather, you're one of them or a descendant of one of them. This country was built with the idea that anyone, given freedom, can make something of themselves. And it's been my experience that it is often the newest immigrants that have the fullest understanding of the vast amount of opportunity that this country can offer. It's the guy busting his ass doing a crap job working 60 hour a week at night that really understands: he can pretty much do what he wants if he tries hard enough. And it's the guy with a good paying job, 2 cars, an Iphone and a 3000 square foot house that doesn't get it.

What I have seen of the Mexican culture is really not the lazy bum on welfare or the drug crazed gang member.3 What I generally see is the guy that is sitting at the day labor pick up point at 5 am. He works his ass off all day long for sometimes less than minimum wage -- and is damn happy about it. Sure he doesn't pay taxes... but he doesn't really have a choice there, does he? In our current FICA-ruled collapsing economy, he can't just walk into the nearest Social Security office and ask for a new SSN, now can he?

You see, what you are mad about isn't that there is a huge influx of inexpensive labor willing to work and do jobs you really don't want to do. What you are mad about is the vast pipeline of endowment programs that illegal immigrants may or may not partake in.... public education, Medicaid, welfare, food stamps, etc. But seriously, are you really mad about who in particular is using your tax dollars against your will... or that anyone does? Does it somehow bother you more that Mexicans get food stamps than it does Caucasians? Or Blacks? Or Irish-Chinese Hindus? It's the damn giveaway you're mad at! Not the recipient. They receive the giveaway because they qualify... much like I qualify for various housing/marriage promoting income tax deductions -- and, dammit, I take every deduction I qualify for!

The truth is: if you were to take away all those stupid benefits... there would still be a huge desire for our southern neighbors to immigrate -- because there is a huge opportunity here to be more and make more than they could ever make at home. They want to be here for the same reasons you do: because it's a fine damn place to be.

I've also heard endless arguments on crime related to illegal immigrants. And I'll admit that there's a gaggle of them guilty of income tax evasion (because they have no real choice there). But for the most part the crimes they are involved in are the crimes created by government prohibition: drug crimes. Get rid of the nanny state war on drugs and suddenly the whole drug cartel evaporates like the alcohol cartel from the prohibition before it. Prohibition created Al Capone. Ending it created Jack Daniels... and the same goes for illegal drugs.

The saddest accusation from the Right is new to them. It's a leftist argument: "They're stealing our jobs." This ugly protectionism is nothing different from the union bosses they despise. It's the idea that you have a right to some job that your employer is bound by government muscle to give it to you. Well, friend, I sort of like the gentleman's agreement I have with my employer. The day I have "a right" to my job is most likely also the day I "have no rights" to oodles of other jobs. No thanks.

  1. Don't be an idiot. Rush the band, not Rush the pill popping windbag. This is a snippet from Witch Hunt
  2. Truck Driver's English
  3. I'm sure those do exist. I'm not saying they don't.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A prediction of future paleontolgy

There will be a day, somewhere in the future, where future archaeologists dig up the remnants of our society and try very hard to understand us. I suspect the most confusing thing they will find is the battery operated paper towel dispenser. The following is an excerpt from Future Earth paleontologists:

...and much in the same fashion that 20th century humans failed to understand that spending $300 in fossil fuels to drive a recycling truck in order to pick up $8 worth of raw recycled materials isn't really "conservation", they totally went off the deep end when it came to conserving paper. When archaeologists first unearthed what is now commonly referred to as the "hands free towel dispenser" they were absolutely and totally confused. Many, many theories arose as to the purpose and origins of this apparatus:

  • It was theorized that primitive 20th century man did not have fully working elbows, which did not allow him to raise his arms more than 8 inches above his waist. Later skeletal discoveries have proven this theory unlikely.
  • It has also been theorized that this primitive man had a very flawed idea on germ theory. It was believed that they were so terribly afraid of touching surfaces after washing up that they required automatic dispensers so as not to touch the towel dispenser as we do today. The very sad irony of this is that the combination of touch free dispensers and increased use of hand sanitizer left their immune system ripe for destruction during the age of the Purellic Plague.
  • Another popular theory is that primitive man was just so absolutely lazy that he could not be bothered to turn on faucets or dispense paper towels. Archaeologists have searched for an automatic poo extraction device where these machines are found, under the theory that anyone too lazy to dispense paper towels is also too lazy to actually defecate.
  • The most popular theory is that primitive man did not understand basic mathematical principles. The device was designed to "save paper" by only dispensing a worthless 6 inches of towel. Also required for this theory to be viable is that primitive man had extreme short term memory. It was assumed that if he could get a 6 inch towel to dispense that he would forget the mechanism he used to dispense it and walk away... rather than actuating the dispensing mechanism a second or third time.
  • It is also generally understood that primitive man had regressed by the time they were using this odd machine. Archaeological digs show that the walls contained some sort of copper electronic wiring that would generally allow powering of lighting and machines. Yet man in this age was unable to understand that mechanism and defaulted to powering this worthless gizmo using 12 caustic acid-filled battery devices. It is estimated that the power to run this machine cost roughly 300 times more in power generation, natural resources and environmental damage than the paper it saved....

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Thinking about my recent sleep study is giving me insomnia

I've known I had mild sleep apnea for a long time. It really doesn't take a high tech lab experiment. All it requires is a wife.

I was paying my own high quality, high deductible insurance for several years and put kept putting off getting it checked. As I recently acquired employer paid insurance, I headed off to the Doc like a fat boy waddling towards my fourth plate of food in an all-you-can-eat Ryan's buffet. And when the cashier overcharged me, I just pointed at the insurance company and said "Daddy's going to pay."

It was at this point I really realized who was at fault in our "health care dilemma." It isn't our doctors. It isn't those evil money grubbing insurance companies.

It's me.

And it's you. And since anecdotal evidence is nothing but a worthless way to drum up emotional support, let me give you a little...

I am no stranger to how apnea is managed. My dad has been using a CPAP for about as long as they've been around. And I did my research before I started. Sleep studies, while not cheap, seemed to be going for about $2000-$4000. (I even found a site that let you search by your zip code and narrow it down to a particular clinic.) The CPAP itself again isn't cheap, but it's easy enough to look online and see that they're about $1000 for a CPAP with all the bells and whistles. So we're talking this is a $5000 endeavor and I owe 20%. A grand. I can manage. No problem.

My initial consult with the Doc was pleasant. I felt assured when he told me after the initial exam "You aboslutely have apnea. But the silly insurance companies won't pay for the CPAP machine unless we do a sleep study." Remember this quote. I'll refer to it later.

Imagine my total and complete surprise when my insurance company was billed for almost $14,000 for the 2 night sleepover in the arctic sleep lab. (For that price, I'd think they could fix the thermostat! Had I been a tropical fish, I would have floated to the top of the tank.) Sure, Aetna was able to "bargain" the price down to a "more reasonable" $10,000 -- but even with insurance paying the customary 80%, my portion of the payments was about what the entire study would have cost in other sleep labs.

The medical equipment companies then enter, supply me with the wrong sized and miserable and almost unwearable mask... and a CPAP -- all billed to the insurance company piecemeal -- much like going to the parts counter and buying an entire car from Mr. Goodwrench one part at a time.

I am a unapologetic supporter of Capitalism and a long defender of the medical profession. I have spent countless hours arguing over the evils of government intervention and socialized medicine. This will not change. But let me assure you that if we want a government controlled monopoly over medicine, we are headed down exactly the right path. And it is our fault.

I live in a culture that will spend 3 months shopping every electronics store in a 4 county area to find exactly the right deal on a television. I live in a society that is always 20 minutes late for work in the morning, but will get up at 4 am to attend a black Friday sale the day after Thanksgiving. I live in a culture that shops at Sams and Costco, buying crate loads of toilet paper at rock bottom prices. I live in a culture that loves double coupons and Wal-Mart. And I live in a culture that accepts everything a doctor ever says without ever blinking to ask the price. I live in a culture that, when it comes to one's own health, will allow their employer to buy lowest-bidder, bottom-of-the barrel insurance to become their sole arbiter.

How the hell is it that we are such a consumer culture when it comes to iGizmos and widgets and fat-free yogurt and McAnything, but when it means something we just abdicate our consumer responsibility to the very people that are selling the service?

Now... just for melodrama: recall that quote from above... that the insurance company requires ten thousand dollars worth of tests... for a $1000 apparatus. And had I been a more thoughtful consumer, I would have realized that even the super expensive auto-adjusting CPAP machines cost less than my 20% out-of-pocket amount. It would have made more financial sense to stop at the initial consult and issue a machine with me shouldering 100% of the cost. As for me, I now will be asking upfront for the price -- when negotiation is still possible.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

FSBO: Senator with low mileage

There seem to be an awful lot of people with a real bug up their ass over the latest Supreme Court decision to ban spending caps on campaign spending by corporations. And, while they have a real right to be angry, it is no surprise that they are mad for entirely the wrong reasons. Please notice the implication: It's okay that our government officials are for sale, the problem is just the price. This is akin to your wife telling you that it's okay to seek your jollies with a crack whore, but she's going to go ballistic on you if you visit a classy call girl. Personally, I think the problem isn't the price paid, it's the whole idea that government officials are for sale in the first place.

And, of course, the anger is directed towards those wicked, awful, evil corporations that have put a leash on our politicians... all the while forgetting that corporations don't quite have a monopoly on buying politics. Organized labor, environmentalists and a whole host of other traditional "lefties" all have made plenty of bids on And remember, even the most "earth friendly" environmental lobby has someone behind it trying to pocket millions off their political investment. Al Gore and T. Boone Pickens are sure to profit if they can craft the laws in a way to give themselves the upper hand over any possible competitor.

And isn't it funny... In general, the people that are really, really angry over this issue... are historically the same group of people that have very loose interpretations of "general welfare" and "necessary and proper." But now that "general welfare" seems a little dangerous to them -- now the concept of a corporate influenced electorate seems like a really bad idea. Well, maybe, just maybe, a wild, wild west interpretation of "do whatever you seem fit" is a bad idea no matter what.

While bailouts of AIG were pushed by the idiots on the right as payback for political pull, the bailouts of GM were pushed by the idiots from the left for the same reasons. And, while I am certainly no fan of having my senator having NASCAR-esque stickers all over his expensive Italian suit, there is some room to play devil's advocate for those wicked corporations. Those corporations are treated by our government as a person: they are taxed and they can be sued. Yet, unlike a person, they don't get a vote. Is it no wonder, as governmental control over them morphs and grows, that they might want a say in what next year's political climate might look like?

I have an exceedingly odd way to solve this issue... and it doesn't involve putting a cap on spending at all. Instead, and stick with me here because this is just way out there weird... Instead why don't we draw up some document that limits exactly what those elected officials can do. We'll be very explicit and only give a few enumerated bullet items and then say everything else is off limits. Let's call it a Constitution. Let Goldman Sachs shell out $40 billion dollars to sway an election. If they can influence where some new post roads are built or maybe push a Senator to start an anti-pirate campaign... well, let them.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Resolutions per Minute

Ah, the new year. A time for reflection. A time for planning. A time for resolutions. I have never been much of a resolution kind of guy -- resolutions are not easy when you are perfect in every way. But this year is different. This year gets one: I resolve to spend next new year's eve with Ellie May in our very own kitchen.

There is a whole lot implied in that statement and if you follow this blog at all you can just skip ahead.

The implication, of course, is that after 3 and a half years, it is about time to move out of my unabomber tool shed and into a real honest-to-goodness house. And it's not that I begrudge a day in the shed. I am more than confident that I will look back to the pretired days in the tool shed as some of the best times. It's just that Ellie deserves her kitchen.

Again, if you have followed along, you mostly know how I got here. And in the spirit of how I got here it will also be how I plan to move forward: without debt.

That's right, the plan is to build a house in a Dave Ramsey/Thomas Stanley-esque sort of way -- cash flowing most (if not all) of it as I go. I mean to do this both to prove to myself it can be done... and also in a way as a means to prove a point: With modest income and a low consumption lifestyle, you can retire rich. And it's more about the choices you make along the way than it is anything else. If you're under 30 -- hell, if you're under 40 -- it is totally doable starting right damn now. I dare you.