I spent the weekend trying to pry myself from the TV. Last week, I decided to not turn on the TV when I got home from work, since I’ve been feeling like I need to spend more time doing other things. Well, Thursday night was not TV night and it worked great. I had eaten dinner, done the dishes, and de-cluttered part of dining room table and still had time to read before going to bed. This leads me to believe that my television is like a leech that is sucking away my life.
I tried this weekend to go without it, but I wasn’t totally successful. Saturday was quite good, but today sucked. I found myself staring at the box like a zombie and no realize, a few minutes before bed time, that there are a number of things that I still need to do, like pay bills. I think I will take a few moments and make a to do list and paste it over the TV. I can’t watch TV as long as the list is taped to the front.
I’ve been using a program called ThinkingRock at work to help organize my to-do list. ThinkingRock is a free java program based on “Getting Things Done” (GTD) theory of action management by David Allen. I’ve read his books and can say that at work, his knowledge has come in handy at work. Since its free, I will install it here at home and track my to-dos at home. After all, between my aging brain and that evil leech, I am not as productive as I used to be.
Today, I spent a quite a bit of time reevaluating my relationship with money. I’ve been reading “Your Money or Your Life” by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin, that was featured on The Simple Dollar blog. Up until I picked up this book I thought I had a pretty firm grasp on money, money management and making it work for me. As it turns out, I had only begun to understand it and my ego was prematurely inflated. The key is to understanding yourself and determining when you have reached a comfortable point. It is much more than boosting the savings account, investing and putting it to work for you. The relationship is more about understanding yourself and reaching a point where you are comfortable without frivolous spending. It supports something a friend of mine who is quite frugal but wealthy, told me. When you decide to buy something, give yourself five reasons why you need it, practical reasons. If you can’t come up with anything beyond “I want it” or “it’ll make me cooler”, you DON’T NEED IT. I am thinking about making “buying” a hobby. After all, tons of research can save you a lot of money in the long-term. I want to get the best value for my hard earned dollar.
Today, I calculated my life earnings: ~ $217,000.00. It is not much, but at least I know how much money has passed through my hands in the hundreds of years I have been alive. Too bad there is nothing in the bank! This is the first milestone in my new, healthy relationship with money.
I enjoyed putting together the model ferry so much that I decided to find some more paper models to put together. For some reason, modern ships seem to excite me, so I surfed the net and found a few asian sites that offer free ship models. Over the weekend, I started putting a paper model of the “Sikinami“. I have no idea if the ship exists in reality, since the site I found it on only appears in question marks. Not to mention that this kit did not come with instructions. I surfed the net looking for references to “Sikinami” and couldn’t any good pictures. I decided not to let that stop me.
Here is a picture of the hull and deck, about to be put together.
I started putting together the super-structure of the vessel, but it didn’t go together as easily as I hoped. I printed a second copy and experimented with the fit. I ultimately made a modification to the second level deck, which shouldn’t be too noticeable once the bridge is assembled and attached. Here’s a picture of the super-structure with modification:
And finally, a picture of the super-structure, minus bridge, on the deck. I photographed it on the watercolor diorama background I made for the ferry. It is starting to come together.
If anyone has any information about this vessel, please post a comment. I think it is an Asian research vessel, but I would love to know more about the real-life counterpart.
I was out at the airport this morning and snapped a few pics of American Eagle flight 40 leaving for Los Angeles. (Click on the pics for the larger image.)
I’ve edited the pictures above with Photoshop. I love how the heat shimmer distorts the aircraft. Using Photoshop’s filters, I made a watercolor out of the first pic:
Hope you enjoyed them!
These are three paper model characters that I put together awhile back. Paper modeling is a great, inexpensive hobby for those of us on a tight budget… I think I found these guys linked from the Papercraft Paradise blog.
This is a watercolor that I did awhile back of a photo I took at the home of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s parents.
I thought it would be fun to have a watercolor and photograph of LBJ’s outhouse!
For the past few months, I have been hearing a lot about how great ethanol is and how it can save the world. However, the more I research it, the more I worry that we aren’t creating more problems than we are fixing. A recent post over at The Browser provides a link to a recent article (requires PDF) that studied the affects of ethanol in greater detail. Initial indications are that the ozone health risk for E85 is worse than gasoline, potentially making populated areas more polluted. However, with emission regulation, E85 could better than gasoline. We can only hope that E85 emission regulations are introduced soon.
I was recently reading “Your Money or Your Life” that I saw on The Simple Dollar and one part really stood out to me. Now I am not a conspiracy theorist and I believe that government works toward the good of the American people (well, maybe this doesn’t apply to the current administration). The book discusses how the American right to consume (whether you’ve got the money or not!) has become more important than any other of our rights. Yes, the right to buy that gas guzzler has become more entrenched than our right to free speech. This struck a nerve with me as it seems preposterous. How can buying a flat screen HDTV or an SUV be more valuable than our right to protest? After thinking about it for a few hours, it started making sense. We have a president that has done more damage to this country than any other president and yet we don’t force him out of office. We are all too busy paying for our cars and iPods to deal with the very fabric of our country.
This country has been trying to grow our economy as fast as possible and make America a richer and richer nation. While the economy has been growing ever since we became an independent nation, it seemed to accelerate in the early 1920′s and then launched to rapid acceleration after WWII. Following the end of the Cold War, America had won the world. There was not a nation that could compete with our economic growth and power. However, we now face environmental barriers, a growing scarcity of resources and competition from other countries that have embraced the concept of consumerism (i.e. China, United Arab Emirates, etc). Now, I am not saying the end of America is coming, but I think it is time for us to reflect on where we’ve come from and where we, as a country and model for the world, need to go.
Efficiency is one important concept that we all must think more about. How efficient can that tank of gas in your gas guzzler really be by driving slower? How can I lessen my impact on the world? How can I spend my money to promote efficiency of resources, money, and longevity? I think if we looked hard enough, we will see that economies can be sustainable without grow, waste and consumerism. Its food for thought.
Enter Natural Capitalism. Coming soon….
It’s been a few days since my last post. I have been busy at work and mentally challenge when I get home. It is amazing how much energy Excel can take out of you. I spent the day trying to understand the dynamics behind a change in how some data is collected. Are we adding more or just reallocating the same amount? How is business really doing? The numbers look good in one way, but looking at them by quarter, they start to suck. Anyway, a full of running reports and staring at charts can really fry a man’s brain.
I would like to point out two blogs that I frequent that have made a very positive impact in my life. Lifehacker is a site that seems to have a little bit of everything. From useful software to changing the oil in your car, to making your own toothpaste, it is amazing to see what they post next. The other one is The Simple Dollar, which is devoted to financial tips and hints. It has made me change the way I look at money and how I spend. Check out their book section for fantastic reviews of some helpful books.
I’ve discovered that I have an allergy to flax seed oil. A local paper had a recipe to an ideal breakfast shake with berries, rice, eggs, vitamin powder, and flax seed oil. Ever since I had some of it the other day, I’ve had a headache and been dizzy. I think I will try to substitute some coconut or fish oil in my future shakes.
That’s what is going on with my life at the moment. I am hoping to post something about Natural Capitalism in honor of Earth Week. We’ll see how my mind is tomorrow.
One of the things that I enjoy doing in my reality, is flying in my flight simulator. As an aspiring pilot that is still saving up some cash to pay for my license, this gives me an opportunity to fly on a much lower budget. Over the past seven years, I have spent about 2000 hours in various planes in different parts of the world.
There are many different companies that make a flight simulator. The one that I primarily use is Microsoft’s Flight Simulator. I’ve used it since 2000 when I first purchased Flight Simulator 2000, upgrading with every new release. The latest version Flight Simulator X, which is very system resource intensive, so it doesn’t run well on my current system. The best is Flight Simulator 2004, A Century of Flight (sometimes referred to as FS9).
If you don’t want to use a Microsoft product, X-Plane might be for you. Developed by Austin Meyer, X-Plane is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. In addition, the latest version is certified by the FAA (see website for more details). I have used X-Plane and can say that it is pretty good and the aircraft seem quite real. I personally prefer FS9 due to the larger add-on selection and graphics. However, I would encourage each user to try both and make your own judgement.
As for FS9 add-ons, there are countless sites out there that provide both freeware and payware downloads. The biggest and the one that I visit everyday is Avsim. They have forums, a pilot store, and a huge library that is updated every few hours. I also maintain a list of freeware developers that design all types of aircraft, called the FS2004 Aircraft Directory. Here is a list of a few others:
Simviation, FlightSim, Hovercontrol, and Sim-Outhouse.
This is an example screenshot that I took earlier today when I was making low passes at SEA-TAC (KSEA) in a newly released model of the A-26 Intruder. This model is designed by Milton Shupe and available from Sim-Outhouse.