Sunday, August 5, 2018

Beware of XJBikes.com Forum - They give bad advice.

Two great running XJ650 Maxim's.  According to the experts
on XJBikes.com the one on the left can't run because it
has pods, an imaginary intake leak and the wrong size
battery.  According to them the one on the right can't run
because the carbs have never been cleaned, it has pods,
it has the wrong size jets, it has the wrong size battery,
and the starter has to be rebuilt.

Luckily neither of these bikes reads XJBikes.com because
they both start, idle, run, drive and stop wonderfully.
If I listened to the experts at XJBikes.com each bike would
be in pieces and cost thousands of dollars to "repair."
I own TWO well running 1981 Yamaha XJ650 motorcycles.  The reason they are well running is because I ignored the horrible advice given to me on XJBikes.com. 

About 6 months ago I bought a 1981 Yamaha XJ650 motorcycle. It's 35 years old and I'm no mechanic so I went to XJBikes.com forums to ask questions and get answers on issues with the bike.  What I found when I got there was a small group of very strident people who insist that you follow their plan on what to do to your bike.

All advice starts with:

1.  You MUST, unequivocally, tear the 4 carburetors  down to the bone, clean them and rebuild them.  Whether the bike is running or not.  It's called "taking them to the Church of Clean."

I told them that I have no experience doing this, I don't feel comfortable doing it, and I feel like if I try that the bike (which was running) will never run again. No matter what I said they would not relent.  Any question I tried to ask was responded with "Have you taken your carbs to church yet?"

2.  They HATE Pod air filters.  These are the individual single air filters for each carb.  Since I had pod filters on my bike ANY problem with how the bike was running was blamed on the pods.  So any supposed solution that they gave me for an issue that didn't work... they blamed the pods.

3.  I found that the advice they gave was CONSISTENTLY OVERLY COMPLICATED AND WRONG.

I decided to test this theory.  I said, "My bike stopped running.  I was driving it down the street and it lost power.  I don't know why.  It didn't want to start.  I put it on the kickstand and checked everything but didn't see anything wrong.  Then when I tried starting it, it started but ran poorly the mile to took to get home."

They gave me literally page after page of things to do to FIX THIS.  Starting with the carbs, moving through rebuilding the petcock and the gas cap, checking the coil voltages and redoing the valve spacing.  Plus they blamed the pods.  They were not happy when I responded that the answer I was looking for was "out of gasoline."  Because that's what happened.

Their response wasn't "Ok, funny." or "It's always the simple things."  Their response was, "How many miles had you driven.  The bike should get better gas mileage than that.  You need to tear your carbs apart, take them to church and get rid of the pods."

This advice was for a running motorcycle.

When I told my old-school biker brother that my bike stopped running on the side of the road the first thing he said was, "You ran out of gas didn't you?"

4. The advice was worse than useless.  It was dead wrong in really bad ways. Not being able to give any advice would be useless, but their advice was worse than useless because it would actually make a bike never run again.

I have a 2nd 1981 XJ650 motorcycle that I bought with a carb set that didn't work right.  The previous owner had followed all the forum's advice and after months of failure sold the bike to me for a bargain.  I brought the bike to my shade tree mechanic friend who fixed the carbs with no problem.  But the carbs would hang on a high idle.  They would start idling OK and after riding the bike wouldn't idle down.  It would hang at 3500 rpms.

This is actually a common problem after carb work on these 4-carb bikes.  I read every thread on the forum related to this.  They consistently insisted that it was an air leak.  I read thread after thread where people followed all of their advice, took their carbs apart repeatedly and got nowhere. In the end every thread was abandoned without a solution.  One guy sold his bike for parts.

The answer is: RE-ADJUST YOUR IDLE.  That's literally the answer.  The carbs have 3 individual idle screws and a master idle knob. I turned them all down to zero and started from scratch.  It immediately fixed the high idle issue. It's possible to get the screws in such a configuration that one of the "slave" carbs takes over and causes this issue.  But in looking at years and years of posts, the experts on the forum never changed their response to this issue.  Even though their response never fixed the problem and was wrong, they didn't change.

When I posted that I had fixed my issue by doing this they continued to insist that I hadn't fixed the problem.  They said I had only masked it and that unless I followed their advice my motorcycle was doomed.  Literally, that's what they said.  After driving hundreds and hundreds of miles.  They never relented.

The first bike I bought never really seemed to have as much top end power as the 2nd one I bought.  They insisted it was dirty carbs and the fact that I was using pods.  I would have to go back to the original air box and strip my carbs down to the core, clean and rebuild to factory specifications.  I didn't do that.  I looked on other (non xj650) forums and found the answer.  "If you lose power when your throttle is open all the way it's because you main jets are too small, put in larger ones." I did that.  It took 20 minutes and cost $20.  The problem was immediately fixed.

WHEN SOMETHING IS BROKE, FIX WHAT'S BROKE... that is a logical thing to do.  But for some reason the people on this forum insist... and I mean they INSIST ... that everyone who comes there rip their bike down to the core and rebuild it from scratch.  They don't care how much it might cost and they don't care if the person has the mechanical experience necessary to do it properly.  They didn't care when I said over and over "I don't feel comfortable doing that." They insisted.  Then when people follow their advice and end up with a non-operational motorcycle, they blame the person.  "You must have done it wrong."

THESE BIKES AREN'T THAT COMPLICATED.... If you end up going on that forum, feel free to search for specs or general information.  It's good for that.  But their direct advice when it comes to running issues with your motorcycle is ill-informed, and will probably serve you poorly.  Try finding your answers on other forums where people understand how to fix the particular issue you might have.

It's hard to say something bad about seemingly well intentioned people who do come across as experts.  But it has to be said.  The problem is THAT THEY COME ACROSS AS CONFIDENT EXPERTS.  But any amount of research on previous threads on the forum consistently show that their advice is ill-informed, wrong, and generally useless.  What's worse is that it takes a motorcycle that is 99% right with one small issue and turns it into a basket case with a frustrated owner.  That's why I'm writing this post.  Have they never helped anyone?  No.  I'm sure they have.

My point is BEWARE.  Think for yourself.  These guys aren't the geniuses they proclaim to be.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Encaustic Pear #1 and Encaustic Pear #2

These are very important pears.  These are my first representational pieces in encaustic.  Some pieces render better online than they do in person.  These two pieces have a much better presence in person.  They are the first of many similar pieces.  They represent my current phase of small still lifes in encaustic.

Encaustic Pear #2, 8x8" on cradle board

Encaustic Pear #1, 9x12 on watercolor paper


Previous important pears:

Pair of Pears, Acrylic on canvas, 12x36"

Colored Pencil Pear, Watercolor Paper, 6x8"


Monday, July 30, 2018

Purposeless Non-Accomplishment

The center of the Milky Way Galaxy
I doubt anyone will agree with the following thoughts. That's all the better.

I have really enjoyed Jim Carrey's transformation from movie clown to Buddhist's-like artist. The idea of separating ones self from the preconceptions and programming that we are all indoctrinated with is a big part of being a prepper or a homesteader - I think.

The hardest thing to release, maybe impossible, is the idea of "having a purpose" or THAT accomplishing ANYTHING has any more value than accomplishing NOTHING.

The image on this post is a the most detailed image ever taken of the center of the Milky Way Galaxy.  Billions and billions of Earths could be fit within the space of this image.  It was taken with a large array of radio telescopes that were invented and refined over decades by hundreds, if not thousands, of scientists and engineers making advances both large and small in dozens of fields of endeavor.  The result... this image.

The day before this image was released it did not exist in the world.  The moment after- it did.  Here's the question.  What difference did it make?  You can fit billions and billions of Earth's inside that image.  The center of the Milky Way has existed for billion of years. The Earth has housed billions of people, trillions of life forms. So what difference does it make?

Returning to the image.  What difference would it make if the image was never taken?  One moment it didn't exist in the world, the next moment it did.  What changed?  If you had never seen it would it make a difference?  If the millions of man hours put into accomplishing all the technological advances over decades - both large and small - never occurred would it matter?  The answer seems to be "yes" it would.  Look at what all of that technology accomplished?  Space exploration, satellites, communications, electronics, computers, knowledge of the very existence of things and people.  That's HUGE!

Yet, it's not.  100,000 years ago a human came up with the idea FOR THE FIRST TIME of grinding a hole in a small seashell and passing a piece of leather through it to hang around her neck.  (That's literally true.)  It took 10,000 years for that idea to spread to all Homosapien Sapiens who existed on Earth to emulate.

Here's the thing... that image of the center of the galaxy is 100,000 years old.  It is 100,000 light years to the center of the Milky Way galaxy, meaning the energy recorded is from 100,000 years ago.  The picture is of the center of the galaxy when homosapien sapiens were just "inventing" the technology of a hole in a seashell. Did it matter to that human (and they were 100% as human as you are) what the center of the galaxy looked like?  Did it matter to the center of the galaxy whether a minor ape species on a speck a planet a billionth of a billionth of it's size did or didn't see it?

5,000 generations from now (100,000 years) the center of the galaxy will be literally no different than it was 5,000 generations ago but humans will probably not exist as a species.  Why? Because each "technological" advance DECREASES the functional lifespan of humanity.
Model of Homoerectus

Here's how it works.... prior to homosapien sapiens (modern humans) there were homos (humans) along side near homos (apes).  There were australopithicus (not homo). About 3.9 million ago.  They survived for millions of years.  The nature of their species was that it COULD survive for millions of years.  It was little different from most other apes, other than it walked upright.

Homoerectus (Upright Man) existed from about 1.5 million years ago to about 300,000 years ago.  Again... it existed for over a million years - so it COULD exist for over a million years.

There's no reason to believe that homosapiens sapiens (Wise Man, ie. Us) could not exist for that long when we first evolved.  We actually lived as smart as we are today for hundreds of thousands of years ... but we started killing off everything around us fairly early in our existence.

Geologically everywhere that homosapiens settled en masse we killed off all the major animals over 400 lbs in size, and many over 100 lbs.  This is particularly true in areas where the animals did not co-evolve with homos.  In Africa the major land animals evolved to fear and keep their distance from homos.  In other areas such as the Americas, Australia and elsewhere they did not evolve to fear humans.  As a result the major land mammals were hunted to extinction within a few thousand years of humans arrival.

This still did not necessarily shorten the potential existence of humans.  We appear to have reached an equilibrium.

Then 10,000 years ago humans began to exceed nature's ability to naturally support the growing population of humans.  Agriculture was the natural outcome of this pressure ON HUMANS to support a larger population.  It can be argued that agriculture created more humans or that more humans REQUIRED agriculture... but regardless that transformation doomed humans to a much shorter existence as a species.

Agriculture shortened the existence of humanity by hundreds of thousands of years.  The desertification of agricultural areas occurred within a few hundred to a few thousand years of humanity creating agriculture.  The reason is not because the land can't grow crops. The reason is that humans can grow offspring FASTER when they use agriculture.  In every area humans eventually grew offspring faster than the land could grow crops.  The result was spread and migration.

(As a comparison we have only been seriously growing crops in Kansas for less than 100 years.  Inside 1000 it will be desertified for certain.  It might already be if it weren't for the Ogallala Aquifer.  Large scale agriculture removes all barriers to desertification, only irrigation delays the inevitable.)

Today we look back at the last 10,000 years of human history and say look at what we have done!  Cities, civilization, technology, energy, science, etc.  But what we do not see is the exponential growth of human beings and the exponential growth of resource use. (This is not a 'humans are bad' tree hugger article.)

The result is that we have created an unsustainable population (from an evolutionary standpoint) - particularly since the advent of agriculture, and certainly since the industrial revolution.  It's important to replace the phrase "industrial revolution" with "energy use revolution." Humans were always industrious, what changed was our energy use patterns.  Moving from manpower to animal power to coal power and finally to petroleum power.

What this did was to expand the number of humans on Earth from less than 5 million during the agricultural revolution and the early formation of "civilization" to nearly 7 billion today.  For the first 1000 years of the A.D. period human population did not appreciably increase.  The entire Earth went from about 170 million to about 340 million - essential doubling in 1,000 years.  This is a number that is orders above what a pre-agricultural humanity could have sustained... but it was a pace that would keep humans alive for tens of thousands of more years, if not hundreds of thousands.

At each limit of human population we have found new energy sources to exploit.  The last blast came with fossil fuels.  Coal and oil.  I'm not saying that coal and fossil fuels will "destroy the Earth." Far from it.  The Earth is indestructible and life on Earth will exist until the sun turns into a red giant and burns off all the remaining atmosphere about 3 billion years from now.  No human will see it, that's mathematically certain.  No large species has ever survived more than 100 million years, and humans aren't likely to make it another 10,000.

No, the Earth will be fine.  Humanity, however, and homosapiens as a species has found the limit of our existence.  Unquestionable, the idea that homosapiens will exist in 100,000 years (just 5,000 more generations) is absurd.  It would be reasonable to think we can survive for another 500 generations at SOME LEVEL of population - probably numbering closer to the 300 to 500 million.  But even that number is unsustainable from an agricultural standpoint once the fossil fuels are gone in another 100-200 years.

WHAT'S THE POINT?

The point is exactly that.  What is the point?  In the time it takes light currently being created at the center of our galaxy to reach us humanity will not be in a technological place to see it... even if there are any homosapiens left on the planet.

In that way, this image of the center of the Milky Way galaxy represents the turning point of humanity.  The light in that image that we have just now observed as technological masters and the dominant species was created when a homosapien was drilling a hole in a seashell by the side of the river.  The light NOW BEING GENERATED by the center of the galaxy will arrive on Earth to a homospien species that if not extinct will be so scarce as to be the same as the seashell drilling human.

It's a fascinating thought.  So what's the point?  Enjoy life.

Purposefulness is an Illusion

Returning to the original idea... stripping away our cultural programming (Western Affluent Capitalist Deist) we return to the idea of what are we doing?  Technically, in reality we are only doing one thing - creating little carbon copies of ourselves and then raising them until they can do the same.  Past that we have no purpose as either individuals or as a society.

If you ask someone with children "Why do you work?" The answer is "to support my family."  Past that if you ask "why do you work?" The answer gets more complex.  "For Retirement" "To have a better life" "To create a legacy" whatever that is.

There is no such thing as a legacy.  No wealth lasts past 5 generations.  No legacy lasts past any major upheaval - war, political turn-over, basic reworking of the economic system.  The "Washingtons" don't rule America, neither do the "Hamiltons." Andrew Carnegie was perhaps the wealthiest man on Earth only 100 years ago.  His 5th generation offspring carry the name, but not the riches.  And that was in a society that stayed essentially the same - Still America as a geopolitical entity, still Democratic as a political structure, still Capitalist as an economic structure, still Christian as a religious structure.  Imagine how "legacy" changes when one of those basic underlying elements change.  The children of Augustus (Rome) have absolutely no impact on Germany or even Italy today.

So, what is legacy if not just a minor extension on the idea of "supporting my family?" So what is one's purpose after your children are established as independent households.  For most people it is so they can "retire." There are other achievements, of course.  Promotion!  Creating "something!" Making more money.  But they are accomplishments without purpose other than perhaps stockpiling resources for the day one stops accomplishing monetarily... i.e. retirement.

Here's a question.  What is retirement?  "I get to not work anymore."  Here's a secret. You can do that now.  At least 100 million Americans do not work.  Most of them are children.  The next largest cohort are unemployable (inner city, don't want to work, drug addicts, lazy).  I do not include criminals in this category because technically they work.  Some of them work very hard, particularly drug dealers.

What are you trying to accomplish?  The real answer "I don't want to work but I want to maintain the same - or better - lifestyle."

You can't.  Old age creates a worse lifestyle.  Youth has a better lifestyle with less money than middle age does.  Massive amounts of high calorie food are not "lifestyle." It is pre-death.  Giant living quarters aren't "lifestyle" either... it's just more space.  "What about travel?"  What about it?  Perhaps a week or two per year (2-4% of your time) you get to see something ever so slightly different than your normal existence.... "Look it's water touching land next to a palm tree!  We can now die happy." Generalized travel is rarely sustainable, and the fact is that most people don't really want that.  Some bring their house with them in the form of a giant Recreational Vehicle.  But their lifestyle remains identical, only the scenery outside the window changes.

So, again... what's the purpose?  There is none.

There is no purpose which means there is no difference between being purposeful and purposeless.  Purposelessness doesn't have to be the goal any more than purposefullness has to be the goal.

Accomplishment or non-accomplishment... there is no difference.  Happy life or miserably depressed... there is no functional difference.

What is my point?  I have none.  It's just information because I'm passing the day with a laptop.  See you around.




Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Trump's Cult of Personality

by Anthony Okrongly


"I got the interview!" Susan said.
"What!" her partner proclaimed "The one with Trump? Donald Trump! The king of Evil! How on Earth did you get the Interview? He knows who you are right?"
Susan was technically an independent reporter, but her resume read like a who's who of inside the beltway journalism. She did her junior reporting work at The New York Times before moving on to work as a features editor at CNN. She quit CNN the day her partner Nancy gave birth to their baby girl. Nothing was going to keep Susan from raising her daughter right. However, a week ago she had gotten a call from her former assistant at CNN who now had her old job. There was a rumor that Trump wanted Susan to interview him.
"I don't know." Susan responded. "He called himself. President Trump told me I get to interview him tomorrow in the Oval Office. But there are conditions. No recording devices and no physical notes. He said all I can take into or out of his Oval Office was 'my pretty butt.' But I have to do it, don't I? The State of the Union is next week and no one has any idea what he's going to say. Everything coming out of the White House is contradictory. Some are saying that he's even writing the speech himself!"
Nancy said, "You have to do it Susan. There's no way you can pass this up."
"I agree" Susan responded "The interview is tomorrow at 9 a.m. I only have 16 hours to prepare."
------ 17 hours later -----
The door to the oval office opened with a dull click and swung inward. Susan's hand gripped the handle weakly as she slowly opened the thick door revealing the President's desk with him sitting stone faced behind it. She didn't turn back to look as she left. She couldn't. Trump watched her go with his lower lip puffed out and the corners of his mouth down-turned in a stony, dour expression.
Susan didn't remember walking away from his office, or returning her security badge. She didn't hear the words of staff members or security as she moved back out into the bright light of day. When her brain came out of its fog she was sitting in her car, her fingers on the ignition key. The blood rushed back into her head, her ears buzzed like electric transformers, she sucked in a deep breath, clawed the door open and vomited violently onto the white parking lot stripe beside her car.
As she shut the door and turned the key she thought, “I have to get to the Washington Post right now!”
The political editor across the desk was saying, “Susan, you’re saying one thing and asking for something entirely different. We need to run what you’re telling me he said, not this other thing.”
Susan’s face was animated, “Listen Paul, I just talked to the man. I looked into his eyes. You have to listen to me.”
Listen to what, Susan?” Paul replied “You’re telling us to stop writing negative articles about the President. Why would we do that? From what you’re telling me he said, we need to nail his ass to the wall.”
Because you’re playing right into his hands, Paul!” Susan was yelling now. “I’m not saying he’s right. What I’m saying is It Doesn’t Matter who's right. We have given him all the ammunition he needs to start carpet bombing America, and it’s going to happen at the State of The Union on Tuesday.”
Do you want us to run what you just told me or not?” was his frank reply.
No!”
Susan’s next phone call was to her former boss at CNN. She got the same response from him, plus a word of advice.
Susan, America likes our honest reporting about what a terrible thing Donald Trump is doing to America. He is breaking every institution, ruining every trade deal, even his supposed peace in North Korea is a sham that is certain to fall apart by the Summer. There’s no way we are going to do a 180 on our coverage. You’ve seen the ratings. We haven’t had this many viewers since The Gulf War.”
Susan knew all about the avalanche of viewers watching CNN since Trump entered the political scene. She had seen the maps when she worked there. “I’ve seen the ratings maps too, Steve, including ‘The Black Hole.’”
The Black Hole’ was the negative ratings in the South from Texas, around the Gulf of Mexico and up to North Carolina – 13 states in all. According to the numbers every time a CNN personality said something negative about the 45th President, another viewer turned off CNN forever. The ratings had fallen through the floor in those states.
Advertisers don’t care about ‘The Black Hole.’ They are buying every slot we have. You know as well as I do that we won’t change our coverage just because Trump spooked you in an interview.”
You didn’t see his face, Steve. I’ve never seen that look. He was calm. Do you understand what I’m saying? Dead calm, dead sure, dead determined. No bluster. It was like he found his calling. He looked me dead in the eyes and said, “Every President since Washington has had these powers, but none of them knew how to use them. I’m going to start using them on Tuesday night.”
Steve interrupted, “Yes, I heard you say that, and we will report it. We will have panelists discuss what he might mean. You really need to fly down. We can have you on from 7 to 10 Eastern. It’ll be great.”
You don’t understand” was all she could muster. “You’ll see what I’m talking about on Tuesday.”
As Susan hung up her thoughts returned to her daughter and wife still in Atlanta in the house she bought while working at CNN. Her next call was to Nancy. “Pack the baby and whatever you can fit in the SUV, and drive up to DC. By the time you get here tomorrow I’ll have an apartment for us in Virginia. I love you.” She hung up. She had no intention of risking herself or her family getting caught in ‘The Black Hole’ after Tuesday night.
--- Tuesday, 9:00 p.m. Eastern –
Commentator: “No, The White House hasn’t released a copy of the President’s speech to anyone. Not to us, not to the Speaker of The House, not to anyone…. Hold on… The Sergent at Arms just entered… ‘Mr. Speaker, The President of the United States.’” A few minutes later Trump was behind the podium with the Presidential seal on the front.
My Fellow Americans” the President began “it would be my great pleasure to report to you tonight that the state of the union is good. But I cannot do that. The state of the union is terrible, the most terrible I think it’s ever been, and it’s getting more terrible every day. We still don’t have a wall, because Congress is blocking it. Our women and children still have no protection from rapists flooding across the border and hiding in sanctuary cities. I still can’t get key members of my cabinet confirmed by Congress. They are blocking the money and the votes with help from the fake media… You (he said pointing at the camera) CNN, MSNBC, Washington Post, New York Times. You and the group of people calling themselves “The Resistance” and “Rise up” are a national terrorist conspiracy trying to undermine the office of the Presidency of the United States. Watch this.”
At this point the official State of the Union feed switched from the President to a recorded campaign style commercial.
The seal of the office of The President of the United States came onto the screen only to be replaced by a large banner with the words “Liars and Fools.” The video clips started with CNN from 2015 laughing out loud at Donald Trump’s Presidential bid announcement while openly calling it a joke that wouldn’t last past the first primary. The graphic over the video showed Trumps poll numbers. The next seven minutes were the entire campaign, every proclamation by prominent newscasters that Trump had “no chance” as the poll numbers then vote tally rose until he won the election.
The next segment repeated the idea with the economy and stock market. Pundits and professions matter of factly claiming that Trump’s Presidency would tank the stock market, while graphics showed the stock market rising. Next how tariffs would kill jobs, while the graphic showed unemployment steadily dropping. Issue by issue through Obamacare, immigration and finally North Korea. The final graphic showed the words “End of The Korean War and Denuclearization.”
After 30 full minutes the screen abruptly switched back to President Trump standing in front of Congress looking smug and determined. He was obviously proud of both the video and the message. He raised his hands. “I did all of that in three years. Me! With most of the people in this building in my way. Congress!” he pointed toward the Democrats then at the Republicans with a scowl. “The lying media!” he pointed at the camera as if it had personally offended him. “The supposedly conservative Supreme Court!” he pointed and glared at the Justices on the front row. “And even the agencies themselves until I got the right people put in charge. Even now many of those people have not been approved by the Senate. I’m here to say right here and right now that they are APPROVED BY ME. Approved by Trump, and that’s all that matters. Congress has advised and I have consented.”
The President’s demeanor changed. He slowed down and stood tall without fidgeting. “The Office of the President of the United States comes with many powers, Constitutional powers, unquestionable powers. Every President since George Washington has had them and none has fully used them. Abraham Lincoln came close. I will use them all to protect this country against all enemies foreign and DOMESTIC!”
First is the power to appoint people to do the work I require. I am proclaiming that the Congress has advised and I consent to the current directors of my agencies. I am telling these directors that they have the right and the mission to use the money their agencies have in the way that I have directed them, starting with the Department of Immigration. You, Steven Wright, are directed to move whatever money you need to move from other areas and get my wall built starting tomorrow. My lawyers tell me that if you do this you may be held in contempt of Congress for not following their appropriations. I pardon you!
The second power of the President is the power to pardon. I need no approval to pardon anyone. I have signed pre-emptive pardon orders” he said waiving some papers in the air “for each of my department heads. I have signed pre-emptive pardon orders” he said, picking up another stack “for everyone on my staff. I will pardon everyone who Congress or the states like CALEEEFORNEEEA try to prosecute for helping me make America Great Again!”
This is an election year. I guarantee that I will be re-elected and that the Senate will not go down the same path that the House did last year – getting filled with Democrats. I guarantee it. If you are watching this and you are ready to support me by doing what you have to do to make America great again then I have one of these for you,” Trump said, holding up a stack of pardons.
You will not be arrested for helping me make America great again. If you are arrested you will not be prosecuted. If you are prosecuted you will not be convicted. If you are convicted you will be pardoned. Everybody has been wrong about me. Everybody has LIED about me. Everybody who has stood in my way is a LOSER! You people who have stood behind me know. You know what to do to help. Let’s make America great again. I, as ordained in the Constitution of the United States as President, have the power to declare amnesty. Jimmy Carter declared amnesty for draft dodgers. Bush gave amnesty to illegal immigrants. I’m giving blanket amnesty to anyone who helps make America great again by protecting and defending the President of the United States and my policies. God bless America and goodnight.”
With that he walked off the podium as the chamber erupted with yells and protests from most of the Representatives and Senators assembled. Then the chant started, “Impeach, Impeach, Impeach, Impeach.” filling the historic chamber as a smiling Trump walked down the aisle and out the carved double doors.
The next day the vote occurred in the House of Representatives, by a vote of over 90% the House of Representatives voted to impeach the President of the United States. The day after that the vote went to the Senate. With almost no debate the vote was taken. The final tally 59 “For” removal from office, 41 “Against.” Forty-one Republican Senators, many from states where the blue wave was about to hit next, voted against removing Trump from office. The law requires 60 votes in the Senate to remove the President, 59 wasn’t enough. Constitutionally there was nothing anyone could do to stop him.
The next day the country erupted in argument. President Trump watched alone on multiple screens in the private residence of the White House. A few miles outside of DC, in Virginia, Susan’s phone rang non-stop as it had since the end of the speech, She didn’t answer. She was busy typing on her computer, the title of the piece, “Trump’s Plan to Take Over America, as Told to Me in the Oval Office.”
Nancy looked over Susan’s shoulder as she walked by, which Susan hated, and paused briefly to read the first paragraphs of the expose.
The Constitution of the United States enrobes the President with a limited number of unilateral powers. Before Donald Trump no President ever used them to their full extent. Former Presidents might veto a bill, pardon a criminal or push the War Powers act with a wink and a nod from Congress. But they always displayed restraint. In a break from history and tradition, President Trump told me that he was going to change that. Primarily he said he plans on using the powers of Pardon and Clemency to allow both public and private citizens to act unilaterally on his behalf. In particular he told me, ‘The only thing keeping good patriotic Americans from doing what’s right is the fear of going to jail. I’m going to remove that fear.’
Second, Trump told me he plans on using his power to veto to stop all legislation until his priorities are met – such as the border wall with Mexico. Additionally, with very direct and clear language President Trump described how the War Powers Act prohibiting a President from deploying the armed forces for the purposes of conflict only apply to “overseas actions” and not to domestic deployments. In short President Trump told me that he can declare war within America’s borders without Congressional approval.”
Nancy said, “There’s no way he can get away with this. The election is only 10 months away. It’s already evident that the Senate is going to go Democrat in a huge way. Even if Trump somehow gets reelected there’s no way he can avoid impeachment after the new Senate convenes.
Forty miles away on “The Mall” on Pennsylvania avenue SUVs and buses continued to arrive with license plates from states like Mississippi, Georgia, Texas and Oklahoma. Shortly after pulling off onto the sidewalk the back would open and men would pull out camping gear, boxes of food and guns, lots of guns. Some groups had makeshift uniforms identifying them to their compatriots. “Texas First Infantry Division,” “America for American’s Brigade of Chattanooga” and more. Trump’s tweet had said, “I have ordered the National Parks Service to allow all patriots to camp on any federal land without harassment or fee.”
The new arrivals formed an encirclement camp around the White House grounds, in some places more than 200 feet deep. Those not camped around the White House filled every open space in Washington, D.C. all the way up the feet of President Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial.
Elsewhere in the country immigrants, both legal and illegal, cordoned themselves off in their homes, scared to travel to work, stores or friend’s homes. Some formed small enclaves with armed guards to protect the residents from harassment. It was widely reported that “America Firsters” had a pony express of sorts where immigrants were pulled off the street and transported south. At designated stations they were transferred, their hands zip-tied behind their back to another waiting van or SUV that would transport them farther down the line. At the border in Texas they were being herded like cattle across the Rio Grande. Up and down the river heavy equipment moved stacks of concrete panels with giant round pipe tops. Trump’s wall had arrived.
Although tensions were high, America continued to operate through the Spring and Summer. Trump declared that any cars built in America, including by foreign owners such as Germany or Japan, would be purchased by U.S. Government agencies and police departments while cars assembled outside the U.S. would no longer be purchased, even if they had Ford or Chevrolet badges affixed. He gave tariff relief to industries and nations that chose to remain silent about his actions in the government. The boards of directors of most fortune 1000 companies chose profits and shareholders over taking a stand. The economy continued to grow. Unemployment dropped further and wages increased as inflation took hold.
There’s no question where this election is headed.” Susan heard come from the TV in early November. With the exception of the Southern states every Republican Senator up for election is losing by double digits.”
Election day proceeded smoothly for the most part until around 4:00 p.m. Eastern time, then the first banner declared “Breaking News” in red. “There are reports of a fire at a voting station in Franklin Tennessee, just south of Nashville. Arson is suspected.”
The reports continued and expanded into 17 states. It would later be called “The 1000 matches election.” Even though only 140 polling places burned, and most of the fires were contained, the results of the election were thrown into doubt.
CNN the next day spent only part of the time talking about the disruptions, because they were mostly contained in Trump districts in the south. The rest of the broadcast was spent proclaiming the greatest day in American Democracy. The Senate had turned hard blue, 18 of the 41 Senators who were protecting Trump lost in landslide elections. America was on the verge of restoring democracy.
Susan and Nancy watched as President Trump took his place behind the podium.
Due to the terrible incidents of election disruption across the nation last night 13 state secretaries in the southern part of our great nation have called me and said that they cannot certify their state’s election results. The fake news has blamed me for it. How could I be responsible, the election stations that were effected had me way in the lead. Obviously the liberal press along with the liberal “Rise Up” and “The Resistance” groups are responsible for these horrendous acts. As a result, no Electoral College can be convened and no counting of electoral votes can occur. Until this crisis is remedied I must declare a national emergency. All the sitting Senators and Representatives will keep their seats until further notice. Thank you.
Oh, and if you are watching this announcement on CNN, MSNBC, CBS News, NBC News or ABC News I have ordered the FCC to revoke their broadcast licenses until a full review of their compliance with regulations can be conducted.”
Then, without warning, the TV screen for CNN went dark. Five hours later Nancy and Susan sat in their idling SUV with their sleeping daughter about 300 yards south of the Canadian border, passports on the dash. Every lane was full of cars, it was going to take hours to get across. Their joined hands rested on top of the center console. They were willing to wait.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Joining Crossfit at 50 (technically 49)

My theme this year is "50 and Fighting It."  


Up to 135, most of the girls do more.
I'm technically obese (starting weight 258 at 6'2") but I don't necessarily look it.  I haven't worked out since I was 19 years old.  I never took PE in High School.  I only actually exercised from ages 18 - 19 in the army.  I was also in the Army at ages 20 and 21 but never had to exercise because I'm smart and knew how to get out of PT (physical training).  I'm one of the few guys in the Army who entirely skipped PT for 2 years.

That doesn't mean I haven't TRIED to work out.  I've joined the gym from time to time and tortured myself on the weight machines for a week or two before quitting.  That's the generally work out pattern.  Start a "program" that isn't really working out so much as it's goofing around.  That's things like walking 5 miles 2-3 times a week for a month or so or joining a gym and doing machines for 2-3 weeks then quitting.  I would do that about once a year.  I haven't done any actual working out - high intensity, no bullshit, make myself really sweat for 30 minutes - since my U.S. Army days. So about 30 years, give or take.

Additionally I am weak.  I mean "pencil neck geek" weak.  I spent the last 30 years doing computer work and eating steak and ice cream.  Whatever part me looks like muscles is really just fat over weak tendons and hollow bones.  When I exercise I can't breathe, I want to quit, and I hate life.  I have never been an exerciser.  I only did it in the Army because if I didn't I would go to jail (and even then I skipped out most of the time.) On top of all that I'm a weak-willed quitter.  If I can quit I'll do it.  I hate exercising.

So why did I join a Crossfit Box 2 months ago?

Walmart!  Go to your local Walmart on the first weekend of the month and watch the parade of humanity going into the store.... Fat, Fatter, Fattest, Limping, Slumping, Riding on Wheelchairs, Using Canes, Can't Walk, Can't Breathe, Destined for a future of Physical Pain and Misery.  Watching people at Walmart is my #1 motivator to do the thing I hate most in the world.  It's the ghost of Christmas Future!

Being fat, weak, on drugs, shuffling down a slope of misery and pain from age 50 to age 75 isn't just possible.  It's 100% guaranteed if I don't eat right, lose weight and get strong.  I can't be old and weak and obese.  So I have to make sure I'm old, strong and skinny.

Since I don't know how to create a real workout plan and I wouldn't make myself follow it if I could, I chose to just join a Crossfit "Gym" (they are called Boxes not gyms).  At Crossfit all you have to do is SHOW UP. The workout is already scheduled.  Everyone does the same things at the same times.  Sort of a group misery thing!  The main thing is that all of the exercises can be modified (and are modified) so that anyone can do SOMETHING related to the exercise that is prescribed.  I don't do most exercises as prescribed.  I do "MODS" or modifications.  Why?  BECAUSE I WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO DO A HANDSTAND PUSH-UP.  But that is an Actual Crossfit exercise.  So most people do modifications.

I Only Have 3 Goals with Crossfit

1. Show Up.  If I show up then I've won.  I can sign in, get back in my car and go home.  I have met my goal.  However, if I show up I might as well do the stretching routine and warm up.  Since I'm already warm I might as well TRY to do the workout.  At some point I've done HALF of the workout, so I might as well TRY to finish it.  Before I know it the workout is over and I survived (generally barely).

Where most people count Push-Ups or Pull-Ups, I count Show-Ups!

2. Do What My Trainer Says.  The trainers aren't Drill Instructors trying to push people to their breaking point.  My trainer often tells me to use LESS weight, or how to modify an exercise so I CAN do something approximating the prescribed movement.  She shows me how to do proper form. So I do what she says.  And when she says, "Go Faster or Push Harder" then I try to do that too.

The great thing about Crossfit is that all workouts are trainer supervised.  You show up and follow the plan.  There's someone (or multiple someone's) there to help you out and keep you safe.

3. Don't Quit.  If I can't run then I walk.  If I can't do a regular push up then I do a half-ass knees on the ground, dragging my fat belly push up.  But I don't quit.  I might go slow or have to stop to catch my breath, but stopping isn't quitting and I try.  It's hard.  It's miserable.  It's humiliating because I'm the slowest, weakest, fattest.  But I don't quit.

That's it!  I don't HAVE to get any stronger.  I don't HAVE to get any faster.  I don't HAVE to get any better.  I just have to Show Up, Do what my trainer says, and Don't Quit.

How's It Going?

It has been 10 weeks.  I did one week of "on-ramp" where you are the only one there and they show you how to do the basic moves. Then I have done 9 weeks of WODS (Workout of the Day) in a regular group session.  I've shown up to 32 workouts in total over 10 weeks. That is more exercise than I've done since Basic Training. That's an average of 3 workouts per week.  When I feel like I need a day off I take it.  A couple weeks I only went twice.  Once because my wrists were really sore, and another time because they were doing lots of Max Weight lifting, which I'm not going to do.  I'm almost 50 years old.  I don't need to try to lift Max weight.  I am not willing to injure myself trying to act like I'm 25 years old.  Luckily they don't do that often.

Once they did "Murph" the Memorial Day workout. 100 pull ups, 200 push ups, 300 squats, and 2 miles of running!  HAHAHAHA!  Not no, but hell no!  My trainer's hands were a bloody mess the next day. Blisters on top of blisters.  It took them 10 days to heal.  She still liked doing it!  I'm not that stupid!  Happy Memorial Day, drink a beer and eat a hot dog.  I don't do crazy!  Generally the workouts are very doable and very scalable, however.

No I didn't fall down.
This is an actual exercise.
Called "Floor Sweepers"
Have I said how much I HATE exercise.  I don't mean "I don't like doing exercise but I feel like a million bucks afterward." I don't!  I feel like I'm about to pass out afterward.  I can't breathe - or couldn't, I'm getting better.  I would rather lay around and do nothing.  But that's not an option... Why? WALMART!  So I have to do it.  I have to. I H..A..V..E.. to.  It sucks.

It works!  After only a few weeks I felt more mobile.  My legs got stronger first... lots and lots of squats!  Then my shoulders stopped hurting and started firming up.  My wife noticed my arms are more like they were when I was in the Army - like coiled springs.  They don't LOOK different but they ARE different.  My breathing is easy.  My core strength is 10x better.  No more grunting to get out of a low chair.

YES, I am only 49.  I'm not 69!  But when you eat cupcakes, steak and ice cream for 30 years without doing a pushup, 49 is the new 59!

I Can Do This Forever

There is nothing about Crossfit that I can't keep doing.  I have no desire to stop doing it.  All I have to do is show up.  I don't feel fear or dread.  I know it's going to suck!  But it sucks in a very predictable way.  I'm in a group of people for whom it also sucks.  The thing about Crossfit is that everyone is working to their maximum ability.  I'm doing fat tummy pushups while someone else is doing really vigorous pushups.  I'm lifting little weight (or just an empty bar) when others are lifting 155 lbs.  I'm jogging slowly when others are sprinting.  Everyone works to their ability, and everyone is sucking air so no one is looking at someone else and thinking "what a weakling."  It's group misery on a schedule, so you know it's going to end soon enough.

It costs $130 per month (for my box). I don't know if the price is the same other places.  That seems like a lot for a gym.  Most cost $30.  But, most gyms are a room full of weights and a sign that says "exercise at your own risk."  There's no personalized training, no program, no group motivation.  Crossfit is aerobic, core, mobility, flexibility, gymnastics, weight training, etc. all rolled into one.  Every workout is like a box of chocolates - you never know what misery you're going to get.  But, every day is different.  I still haven't flipped big truck tires - even after 32 workouts.  Maybe they did that a day I wasn't there.  But eventually I will!  That will look like fun until I have to do it, then it will suck.  But I'll do it.

RESULTS?

Yes, I've lost some weight, but that's because I changed my diet.  Yes, I'm stronger.  But I'm not an Olympian.  I don't look like a guy in a magazine.  I never will.  I never have.  What do I care?  I'm not trying to get laid.  I'm just trying not to end up a miserable, couch bound, fat man on 6 different medications with a walker and lots of medical bills.  The $130 a month and 3 hours I spend a week working out, plus all the crap I've stopped eating are a small price to pay.  It's not hard.  It's just harder than doing nothing.  Not a lot harder. Just a little harder.  Well worth the effort!  Why?  WALMART!!!

On Losing Weight

I've lost 20 lbs in 4 months, but that's not because of Crossfit.  It's because I cut sugar out of my diet except very rarely.  I've cut most meat out of my diet (but not all meat), and many days I don't eat any meat at all. I supplement with EAS Myoplex shakes (at Walmart in the pharmacy section), because protein intake is very important when you are weight lifting and exercising heavily.  I use Sparkpeople.com to track my calorie intake and nutrients.  I generally eat nothing after 6 pm.  I also generally work out at 8 am on an empty stomach.  That means I eat my breakfast at about 9 am and generally stop eating by 5 pm.  That means I don't eat for 18 hours each day.  It's called "timed eating.'

I don't do anything to an extreme.  I did eat a vegan diet for about 4 weeks but didn't think it was sustainable.  So what do I eat?  It's boring.  I have oatmeal with blackberries, blueberries, cashews and agave nectar (at Walmart on the sugar aisle) for breakfast, generally.  On days I work out I add a protein shake as soon after I finish working out as possible.  The oatmeal keeps me full until 2 pm.  Then I eat Triscuit crackers with Pimento cheese and some turkey luncheon meat (the good stuff).  That fills me up pretty quickly and satisfies my fat requirements.  Around 5 I generally eat a few more triscuits with cheese.  Occassionally I eat something that seems like dinner (chicken thighs and a veg.) That's it most days.  I drink a couple beers per week.

On the weekends I'm in my car all day driving around.  I have oatmeal before I leave and a 12 inch Subway all veggie sandwich with guacamole and Sun chips in the afternoon.  Or I drive through Panda Express and have a Panda bowl.

Stupid right?  When I go out out to eat I generally eat Italian - Spaghetti and Marinara (no meat or cheese), or I do a Mexican restaurant - Corn Chips, salsa, guacamole, and a side of beans and rice.

No diet coke.  Mostly water.  Some unsweetened tea, or mildly sweetened with Stevia.

What I have learned is that I ate too much sugar.  I'll eat a piece of cheesecake or drink a root beer from time to time now.  But that's about it.  I ate too much meat and cheese and dairy.  Now I stick to chicken or turkey and skip that when I can get away with it.  And I ate WAYYYYY too much VOLUME!  A plate of food is way too much food.  Doing that 3 times a day is the recipe for obesity. Breakfast is NOT the most important meal of the day.  I eat it at about 9:30 - which means it's more like brunch.  Then I eat again at 2 or 3 so that's more like "linner." Then a "midnight snack" at 5 or 6 pm.  Eat light, stay light.

I found food that I like to eat, and found versions that are better for me.  Triscuits are whole grain. Corn chips are whole grain.  Sun chips are whole grain.  Etc.  Yes I eat Pimento cheese - which is almost pure fat.  But it satisfies me very quickly.  1/4 cup of pimento cheese on triscuits with a side of sliced turkey is very filling.  A subway sandwich loaded with veggies a guacamole plus the Subway vinaigrette on 9 oat bread is just as good as loading it up with meat and mayo.

In America most people literally go from meal to meal.  That's how they plan their day.  I go from activity to activity - exercising, training dogs, doing art, motorcycle ride, hanging out with my wife, cleaning something, writing an article, etc.  And I take a break to eat when I need to.

But, anyway, that's how I lost weight.  Crossfit training sessions might burn 300-400 calories.  That cannot offset a Standard American Diet (S.A.D.). I eat about 1800 calories a day and lose 2/10th's of a pound a day on average.  If I run 5 miles I lose 3 lbs in 1 hour, but most of that is just sweat.  There's no rush.  If you're 50 like me you know it took decades to gain the weight.  Taking a year or two to get it off is perfectly reasonable.  I'm down to 244 (from a high of 265).  My goal is 210.  So another 35 weeks should do it.

This is a breakdown of a random day's eating. It could be healthier, but then I wouldn't do it.

Friday, May 25, 2018

1982 Yamaha XJ 650 Maxim Diaries

Pleased to introduce "Your Bike"

Fully operational and ready to ride.  My red one is named "My Bike."




EPIC DEAL!!!

So, I went and picked up the new '82 XJ650 Maxim.  Its name is "your bike."  So my red '82 XJ650 Maxim is "my bike" and my new black '82 XJ650 Maxim is "your bike."  It was 2 hours away.  When we got there not only did the guy have "extra parts" he had boxes and boxes of EXTRA PARTS.  The bike has brand new Progressive shocks on it ($250), but he had ANOTHER pair of BRAND NEW Progressive shocks that he included.  Plus an extra tank, a new tank sealing kit, extra forks, the original seat, 3 instrument clusters, 2 ignition switches - one with a matching gas cap, an entire EXTRA 4 CARB SET, manuals, a headlight assembly, full set of signals, both handlebar control sets (multiples), gasket sets, and more and more and more.  About 100 parts in all.













EPIC!  EPIC!  EPIC!

I got it back to the farm at about 7:30 pm.  Tried to start it.  It turned over but didn't fire.  So we changed the tank, no difference.  Then we (me and my brother) pulled the carbs off "my bike" and put them on "your bike."  It fired right up and ran like a champ.









Adding a 2nd XJ 650 to the stable.





Latest Addition.  750 tank.  An XJ 750 Maxim tank will fit on an XJ 650 (at least for my year 1982).  The 750 tank holds a gallon more gas than the 650 tank.  So I get extended range.  Also my 650 tank wasn't pristine.  It had some rust in it when I got the bike.  I cleaned it out and etched it (no liner added), but it still wasn't perfect.  It's nice to find a 750 tank that's pristine so I get a cleaner tank plus higher fuel capacity.




The original 81 XJ650


Monday, February 26, 2018

Here Comes Inflation

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-freight-transportation-insight/corporate-americas-new-dilemma-raising-prices-to-cover-higher-transport-costs-idUSKCN1GA0DS

I'm pretty good at spotting trends.  If I have any issues is that I'm too early with most of them.  I spotted and reacted to  the housing bubble in 2003.  It didn't pop until 4 years later.

I have been waiting a little longer before I started talking about the trend that will be happening next... INFLATION.  The good news is that the economy will grow at 3%... YEA!  The bad news is that won't enough to keep up with inflation.

The COST of housing is at an all time high and going higher.  House prices in metropolitan area have skyrocketed.  Many houses in Austin area have doubled in price in the past 10 years.  This is unsustainable.  There won't be a housing collapse like last time.  There will be a housing crisis.  Rents are going up substantially.  As interest rates rise with housing prices and mortgage requirements young families will not be able to purchase their first home (like people did in the 1990's and early 2000's).  So they will be forced to rent.  Rents are going to rise even more... HOUSING inflation.

The stories have already started where businesses that used to pay minimum wage are now paying higher than minimum wage.  Walmart is starting people at around $10 per hour.  That's about 20% higher than minimum wage.  Why?  Because people won't work for minimum wage anymore.  You can HIRE people at minimum wage but they won't WORK!  They won't show up, when they do show up they won't work.  They don't care if they get fired, because there are 1000 other part-time minimum wage jobs they can go to.  So, in order to get people to actually show up and care they must be paid a higher wage.... WAGE inflation.

Manufacturers have been eating the creeping price increases that have been occurring.  I just read a story about how transportation costs have risen at TWICE the inflation rate.  This tells me that the "new inflation rate" is TWICE the current inflation rate.  That was my indicator that we have a disconnect between the real inflation rate and the one we are seeing in the reports.  It's not a conspiracy. It's just a lag.  It happens.  So EVERYONE who transports EVERYTHING - particularly staples like cereal and chicken legs will have to raise their prices slightly to compensate for the rise in transportation costs.... STAPLE FOOD inflation.

Oil prices are starting to rise again.  With the new Export of oil from the U.S. to the world our domestic oil prices (which have been lower than world crude) have normalized with world crude prices.  Oil prices WILL go over $100 per barrel again in the next few years.  The oil producing companies are saying so.  The hedge funds are saying so.  Since companies can now CHOOSE whether to EXPORT oil or sell it in the U.S. that means a WORLD oil price expansion becomes a domestic oil price expansion.  If I'm an oil company and I can sell oil to China for $75 per barrel then why would I sell it in Texas for $55?  Before the new law they had to sell it in Texas.  Now they can sell it to China.  It's going to happen... ENERGY inflation.

And everyone has already seen their service prices inflating.  Cell phone, pay TV, etc.  More paid tolls to drive back and forth to work in the big cities.  Interest rates and interest payments are starting to rise.  SERVICE inflation.

Finally, tariffs and taxes. When the new tariffs go into effect on everything from steel and aluminum to solar panels and car parts it will translate into inflation.  Along with that every school district, city council, water company, trash company and county government in America is raising their tax rate.  EVERY SINGLE ONE.  TAX inflation.

Plus healthcare.

HOW DO YOU COMBAT IT?

First, when doing any FORECASTS you have to figure that the cost of living will DOUBLE every 16-18 years.   So, when I'm looking at my costs in 2034 I have to double what I'm paying now.

Second, whatever you can spend TODAY'S money on that will keep you from spending money TOMORROW is always a good bet.


  • I bought my farm and paid it off quickly, so I do not have any mortgage costs in the future.
  • I moved out of the city, so I don't have to pay city taxes.
  • I moved to a low "value" part of the country, so my 10 acres with a house is only "worth" $50,000.
  • In Texas there is a "Homestead" law that allows you to "homestead" your home and reduce the taxable value.  So I only pay taxes based on a $32,000 home value... (about $300 per year in total taxes)
  • I live in a state that has NO STATE INCOME TAX.
  • I work for myself which allows me to deduct tens of thousands of dollars per year in income as expenses.  My TAXABLE income is less than the $24,000 minimum income to pay taxes. My actual income is higher but I have lots of business deductions due to driving.
  • I drive a Prius so I get 42+ miles per gallon... It's a USED Prius so I don't pay interest... It's a CHEAP Prius so I only pay liability insurance... I know exactly how to fix whatever is wrong with it... for instance I always keep an extra ENGINE on hand in case the engine goes out  (Ebay - $600).
  • I reconfigured my house and cut electricity use by well over 50%.  The new home I am building on my property (myself) will be even more efficient.  It's better to spend TODAY'S money to build an efficient home than TOMORROW'S money on electricity.
  • I have 3500 watts of solar power that helps cut electricity costs.  I can add more if I want, but 3500 is the sweet spot for me in terms of cost offsetting.  If I want to I can spend about $5000 in today's money and double it to 7000 watts.  However, electricity based on natural gas is not going to inflate as quickly as other things.
  • I bought my tractor quickly and it is paid off.  I have no other debts or loan payments.
  • I live in a low income part of the country so I can easily find skilled workers (like mechanics and construction workers) at really cheap rates.
Even with all that my low current costs of living ($1,200 per month) will also double in the next 18 years... probably closer to 12 years with the high rate of inflation we will have for a while.  So I have to plan for that.

  • Invest in things that do well in inflationary times.  Gold is one, but rental real estate is another.
  • Know that investments that create income based on inflation are better than passive investments - again rental real estate.
  • Know that no matter how pricey something looks today it's a bargain compared to what it will cost in 10 years.  So buy now.
  • Know that the stock market will take a big hit at some point in the next 4 years.  So stay liquid and when everyone on TV is talking about the stock market is dead INVEST.  When everyone else is panicking that's the time to buy.
Most importantly know that EVERYTHING CHANGES.  10 years from now will be different than 10 years ago.  Jobs come an go.  Economies shift.  Crisis happen.  Opportunities happen.  But the sands are always shifting.  If you plan for the future to be the same as the past you will be sorely disappointed.

That's my plan at least.