Considering That Which Is Important

Some of us were talking about things we love in relationships. It changed into a conversation about the things that people think they want but don’t really want. It’s weird because lots More »

New Repair

I think that I should probably take my car in to have it spotted. It’s been acting a little funny recently when I try to turn on the wipers. I mean, I More »

My Occupation

The town in which I live is pretty wonderful. There are a lot of things to do here and I have some local skewing I’m sure which makes me like it more. More »

Becoming A Hobbyist

When it comes to photography, I know almost nothing.  Many of my friends are really into it and have these fancy hi tech cameras, but not me.  The only camera I have More »

Nice Place

There are a few places I want to visit and I think I’m going to do my decision process out lout here in this post.  There are also a people I want More »

Out With The Old

Work has been very crazy lately. We are moving from a tiny, cramped shop into a large building with a massive parts and service area. Part of the process of moving is getting our department organized. For lack of a better phrase, our store has been chaos for the past few years. It’s not necessarily that we are that disorganized…but it’s the fact that we’ve so outgrown our current facility that we’re out of space. You can’t organize when your parts room is literally overflowing with parts.

This is problem that we’ve known we needed to address, but are just now in a position to finally do something about it. First on our agenda after the new building is built: we are going to get an entire new shelving system and we are going to be organizing our workspace with new plastic bins and storage containers. The ones we have now are cardboard and they’re pretty much all old and falling apart. The new, improved storage system will help us sort our parts department the way that we’ve wanted to sort it, but simply haven’t had the opportunity.

We have actually came up with a color-coded system using the new bins and it should be pretty easy to follow. We’re keeping normally stocked parts in small blue bins, organized by make and model. We’re building a shelf for customer special orders, where we’ll have bins with dry erase tags. Lastly, we’ll have a big shelf of yellow bins that have parts that our mechanics have ordered. I’m sure that system will change once we go to implement it, but it sounds so much better than what we’re currently working with…which is a messy mass of white cardboard bins with ten year old tags written in permanent marker.

I have seen the difference that organization makes first-hand through other jobs in my past, and think this will do wonders to help our productivity. Organization saves money, it saves time, and it can even keep employees in better moods if they are able to find what they’re looking for without wasting ten minutes every time they wander into the parts room. I know it’s going to be quite a challenge to get everyone to adapt to the new system. A lot of people have a tendency to get ‘stuck’ using the old system, unwilling to change, but I think once people see how much more efficient this is, they’ll be eager to switch.

On To Bigger And Better

My shop’s expanded recently and I’ve started taking on bigger projects. I don’t mean bigger as in long-term, I mean bigger as in massive pieces of equipment. We’ve been in the construction repair industry for thirty years but never anything too crazy. About the biggest things we worked on were scissor lifts and small steel-tracked dozers. Apparently, word has gotten out about our shop, though, and we’re getting pretty popular. In fact, we’re really popular now. Our business has grown around 30% in the past two years.

Most of our new business happens to consist of new equipment, too. People are bringing in monster aerial platform lifts and bigger dozers and trucks in for repair and we really don’t have the tools or the space to repair this stuff. Seeing that this was going to be a problem, I started putting some money back for new supplies about six months ago. I can’t expect any of our individual mechanics to buy some of the things on my list so I’m investing in a community toolbox with the larger tools that will be rarely used.

For example, I’ve decided that the manual torque wrenches we own no longer cut it. Some of these boom lifts that we’re working on go 120+ feet in the air and the turntables are installed using gigantic bolts that need torqued way tighter than anything we’ve had in the shop before. If I get some hydraulic torque wrenches like these, one of my mechanics can simply put the wrench on a bolt and hit a button, instead of almost killing himself trying to torque a bolt with a huge wrench with a giant extension on it.

Of course, like I said. There are two problems… first, we don’t have the equipment to work on the bigger pieces of equipment we’re getting in…second, we don’t have the space. That’s why I plan on putting all of our profits back for the next year or so and building a new addition. I’ll need at least two new mechanics and I need to build a huge new service bay. Of course, that day is still a long way away. In fact, I haven’t even had a meeting with the architects yet but I do know that I should have around half of the capital to do what I want as of right now. All I know is that business is booming and I don’t see an end in sight.

Let Me Talk Nerdy To You

As a person who’s been a techie / a dork / a nerd / whatever you want to call me since the beginning of the internet age, I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been just a little bit more caution than most when it comes to sharing information on the internet. Of course, by sharing information, I don’t mean posting a status on a social media site or talking about something on a forum. When I say “sharing information” I mean “leaving my internet connection visible and accessible to pretty much anyone.”

Back in the days of low-speed dial-up internet, most connections were safe. Most people had one computer that could only connect to the internet when a person wanted to tie up their phone line. Wireless networking didn’t exist, and most people couldn’t even tell you what a Cat5 cable was. People that stole information back then had to write programs and viruses that could attack a person’s computer and steal information, but it was so much harder to do and it usually involved tricking a user into downloading a program with an embedded virus.

Now, most computers are connected through high-speed internet, wireless networks, and even cellular connections. People can now use their computers in restaurants, coffee shops, schools, at home, or even at work using wired and wireless networks. Accessing the internet is easier than ever before, but doing shady stuff with people’s personal information is easier than ever before as well. Now, someone can simply be on the same network as another user and snoop around, stealing personal information and putting his or her nose where it doesn’t belong. A person can steal information such as credit card numbers, logins, passwords, and even keep track of what websites you’re going to and what you’re doing online by simply monitoring your internet connection. That’s a little creepy if you ask me, but there are ways to prevent that from happening.

Personally, I like preventative maintenance a lot more than trying to fix things after they’re already broken. That means that I like to fix problems before they even become problems. One of the things I’ve been doing for a long time is connecting to the internet through a VPN. What is a VPN? A VPN is a ‘Virtual Private Network.’ Instead of connecting directly to the internet, I connect to the internet through a VPN, which adds a middle man and makes it much harder for someone to steal my information. Connecting to that VPN requires a username and password, and all of the data sent to and from the internet via the VPN is encrypted so that no one can see what you’re doing online.

That Investing Thing

About a year ago, my grandfather passed away and left me a modest inheritance. I’ve been hanging on it, trying to figure out what to do with it. Personally, I think it’s enough money that I want to learn how to invest it instead of just blowing it on something dumb with it. I guess I should say that it’s enough money that I feel I can have a decent return, but since it’s money I didn’t expect, I have a little room to play with it and to learn from it. I’m pretty young and have a lifetime of opportunity to stash some cash, but if I can learn how the markets work now, then I can use that to my advantage all throughout the rest of my life.

While I have a lot to learn, I’ve taken an interest in Forex trading, specifically binary options after reading about them on this site. Binary options interest me because there is a bit of skill and a bit of risk involved, but the payouts are much higher. Basically, instead of directly investing in a specific currency, you watch the market and learn patterns / trends. You watch the market and if you believe that at a specific date and time, a certain currency will follow a specific trend, and then you invest. For example, if I believe that EUR will be worth a certain amount at the end of the day today, then I buy a $100 option that the EUR will be worth xxx at 5:00PM EST. If it hits, I will get a preset amount of money back (sometimes as much as 10x higher). If it doesn’t hit that benchmark, then I lose my entire investment.

As I said, trading with Binary options carries a certain level of risk but for a person who watches the markets closely, more money can be made in a shorter period of time. Sometimes a person can invest thousands of dollars over the course of years to see a return that barely keeps up with inflation if he invests in the traditional Forex market. A person who tries the binary option can see a 100%-1000% rate of return in as little as a day, but on the same token, a guy can lose that much in a day as well. Forex trading using binary options is interesting to me solely because of the possibility to win big, which is why I’m definitely interested in learning more about it.

It’s That Time

I have had my current car for over 6 years and am ready to trade it in. I know I won’t get much for it but it needs to go. I’m afraid that it is going to leave me stranded on the side of the highway in the near future with how it has been acting. I am no mechanic nor do I really care to take it to one but I think the transmission is going out on it. It has almost 150,000 miles on it so it is getting up there.  That’s pretty good.  I’m not one of those people who buys a new car every few years.  Of course, that’s because I couldn’t really afford to do that, but still!

My main concern with getting a new car is I’m not sure if I’m going to qualify for any decent financing. I took a look at my credit report last night and it isn’t pretty. I got into some credit card debt a few years back that got me into trouble with some collection agencies. I guess I’ll just go and see what happens because it isn’t like I can afford to pay in cash.

I will be looking at used cars of course and in the 10k range.  I need to make sure I can get some cheap car insurance in Lakeland, too, because I don’t want to spend any more than I have to.  I would like to be able to afford something a little more expensive but that’s not going to happen. I think I can still find some decent vehicles for that much. I was looking around online this morning and the best one I saw was a 2007 VW Jetta. It is black which I like and has a sunroof which I’ve never had before. It is a stick shift which I’m not too crazy about but it only has 41,000 miles on it and they are only asking $10,500 for it.  I think between my trade in and bargaining with them I could get that down closer to 9k.  I’m going to call up my friend Adam to see if he wants to go with me to look at it tomorrow morning.  It’s a good idea to bring a friend with you when you look at cars because you can get a second opinion.  Plus, Adam knows a bit about cars so he’ll be informed.  He can also keep from being talked into something I may not want.

Choosing a Ring

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, a lot of guys are going to be looking at rings for their girlfriends.  It can be intimidating to try and pick out a ring for the woman in your life, though.

I think you should have some knowledge of her tastes beforehand with regard to the ring. Be it asking her friends or sisters if applicable, then so be it…or browsing her Pinterest if she’s got one. OR if you’re not too concerned with a complete surprise, doing some window shopping with her to learn her likes/dislikes. I’d personally prefer my SO to do the research without my knowledge (asking friends, looking at my pinterest etc) because I’d like the element of surprise better then something you KNOW is coming at some future time.

I think the asking the parents permission deal is one of those things that’s case by case. If she’s close to her family and has a very traditional view of marriage and family then perhaps that would be are really nice touch to ask her parents beforehand. I would also venture that you should also have some kind of relationship with the family prior to this route too. I mean if you’ve never met her father and have very limited experience with her family in general, I might avoid this idea because its about that relationship and the “respect” of asking her hand and the family knowing and hopefully loving you and making a to-do about you asking them first.

Don’t be cliche about it either. Make it meaningful but not super by the book. Christmas and Valentine’s and Birthdays should be avoided as dates to ask. Perhaps the date you became an official couple, your year anniversary? Or if the date isn’t significant, then perhaps the location would be? Maybe the place you had your first date? Or had some really special memory or vacation together or some where that’s just special for whatever reason.

I like the idea of having others in on the surprise. Even if its restaurant staff, a hired photographer, a sporting event billboard operator, group of friends etc, to help make the moment memorable.

It all depends on your tastes.

Quarter Life Crisis

… anybody feel like they can relate? I’m looking for practical solutions here.

Some background: I think at some point in life -besides focusing on the wrong priorities- I made a bad career choice and am now stuck in a field I have no passion for and which doesn’t interest me at all.

The problem is I always felt pressured by friends, (especially) family and probably myself as well to excel in my “professional life”. Long story short this lead to me now being stuck in a pretty competitive field working crazy hours without any free time while being miserable (to put it mildly) every minute of it…. contrary to what I originally thought the money does not make it worthwhile, I don’t care about it or anything else for that matter anymore. This has resulted in me indulging in addictive and abusive behavior which has become rather worrying… I’ll spare you the details and customary self-pity.

The problem is that changing fields/ starting over would certainly mean a step back career wise. I worked too hard and suffered too much to get where I am now and I honestly don’t think I could live with giving any of it up. Quite the dilemma, innit?

Anybody feel the same or is this just some typical quarterlife-crisis-bs which will pass eventually?

 

Don’t do that. Don’t minimize your feelings about this situation any longer. That’s one of the reasons you’ve ended up in this situation….because you’re constantly trying to minimize it, rationalize it, ridicule it (or yourself), and all the while you’re dying inside.

Stop denying your feelings. Stop denying your inner voice that is trying to help you. Stop ridiculing and trying to make light of the situation.

I’m not going to tell you what to do…..I will however share my experience and my path out of a very similar sounding situation.

So I hated my job and literally had to force myself to go to work every single day. I put the alarm clock across the room because I would constantly oversleep. Ok…so I could go on and on describing that but just know that I was at a level of stress and frustration that makes one consider radical solutions….even suicide crossed my mind from time to time.

First thing I had to do was get real with myself. I had to stop minimizing my feelings and just accept them. This was hard to do and I felt strange but it was part of my process. It was like my mind was at war with itself….one part would say, “I want to do X” the other part would say, “Oh don’t be a wuss, just stop bitching and get to work.” Every time the ridiculing voice spoke up, I had to start telling it to shut up…..I know….sounds weird but it was something I really didn’t realize I was doing.

Next I had to answer the question, “if not this then what?” meaning if not this job, if not this company, if not this city, if not this house, if not this car, girlfriend, suit, whatever…..then what. I was trying to separate normal stress in my job from a deep sense of dissatisfaction with my life and job. I was also trying to start generating ideas about a future career/job…..because we all gotta eat.

Does The Media Feed Us Negativity?

If you think about it, news reporters grab all the negative things that this world has to offer, its converged into a news studio, compressed, and then all that compressed negativity is thrust thru your t.v screen. And I am like “am I the only one questioning whether this stuff is not good for your health or not?” , the negativity is extreme, you could just follow the off-topic forum for one day to see that the people are full of negativity.

So going back to the fundamental question: Are we raised/educated/media influenced to be negative. I would say yes. Hell I even know that as when I was a small kid my dad already said I would never amount to anything, I was raised by him saying constantly that I couldn’t achieve anything, which in the end made me believe that stuff what he said and that it was wasteful to do any positive effort to do anything, because I couldn’t achieve anything according to him anyway. Moreover he was always negative. Screaming, yelling and hating everyone.

In hindsight, it might have been his own emptiness of not being able to achieve anything that was being projected on me.

Anyway it might not be a good comparison but when I went to Japan for the first time, I saw that the Japanese don’t have this negative attitude at all. The gigantic buildings in Tokyo may have not meant anything to anyone who walked around there at that time, but for me it was the proof that positive achievements are possible. The many thousands of animations and electrical equipments that are produced , make me feel like a unproductive person. And I am like “where does all this negativity come from?”, why are we raised to curse, be angry and hating our fellow human beings?

I feel that America and Europe isn’t productive or positively raised. I mean what do we still produce? In Japan they still have this attitude of “we can achieve this!” This whole negative couch potato attitude culture we have here in the west in the end doesn’t amount to anything.

So my question to you is. Do you feel like you were raised negatively. What do you produce in life? And how do you feel the Media is influencing your life? And how has all of this influenced your outlook on life?

Try not to watch the news, especially local stations. In my city the news is nothing but negativity and it gets old. For some reason the media in this country thinks all we want to hear about is negativity. I believe for the vast majority of people in the USA we would rather hear positive things but there isn’t one news media source to my knowledge who presents this to us on a regular basis.

Our country would be much better off finding solutions to problems than dwelling on the negativity.

Like I said, our particular local news is 100x worse! It’s nothing but a daily mix of who shot who, what house or business got robbed, etc. Who cares! Yes, we know it goes on but we don’t have to hear about it three times a day on the news. Not once after these reports do they talk about “solutions” to why these things happen.

 

Hello, Texas

My wife and I are moving to Texas in the near future thanks to my job. I work in sales and am used to moving around where we live now but this will be the first time we have had to move out of state. It was too good of an opportunity to pass up so there was no real debate over it between us. She can find a job anywhere in her line of work so that wasn’t an issue either.

I did make sure that this would be a fairly permanent position before I decided to take it. I didn’t want to move down there and 5 years later be relocated somewhere else. I say that because we have been talking about starting a family and I wouldn’t want to move if we have kids. I know how that feels because I went to four different schools myself growing up. It was like I would be at one place and finally be settled in then it was time to go somewhere else and start everything all over again. I would never want to subject my kids to that.

We have been checking out homes in Texas.   The one thing I’m looking forward to is living in Texas being a Cowboys fan. I grew up rooting for them and have never stopped. One of the first things I did was look to see how far away their stadium was to the area we are moving to and it isn’t bad. As you probably know Texas is a huge state but we are only going to be like 2 hours away. I told my wife that we will be going to as many games as possible and she said ok. She isn’t really into football but will go and root them on for me. I am hoping that I can get some tickets from my job but haven’t inquired about that yet. It would be nice if they had a box or season tickets that employees could use. I would imagine those would be a hot commodity though.

Speaking of hot that is one thing that will take some getting used to. I know how hot it can and will be there and my body isn’t used to that kind of heat. My wife wants our house to have a pool and I agreed. That will definitely help having one of those.