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How to Build a Raspberry-Pi

Rasberry Pi
Rasberry Pi computer(about the size of a credit card)

A month ago, I had my 21st birthday since I turned 21. We flew up to my in-laws house for $30.00 (414,000 satoshis) I did that by travel hacking a Southwest card. So I spent my birthday at the Shadow Puppet’s Brewery in Livermore, California; but I got something way better than beer for my birthday!

I ordered a Raspberry Pi 4. Mac, shmack, this is what all the cool nerds are using these days. It is a credit card sized computer powerful enough to run a full node on the bitcoin lightning network. the best part is that it only costs about $ 85.00
Back when Alf was my favorite TV show, computers cost a lot of moolah. My parents didn’t make this fancy mullah, but my mom was from the home of hippies and geek-trapranuers alike, the Bay area. So her sister was married to a guy, my uncle, who had a computer before downloading porn was possible. We used to play flight simulating games, flop the floppy disks, type commands on a green screen—You know, the good ol’ days.


Consequently, I have never suffered from computational-phobia, yet I never actually built a computer. Enter the Raspberry Pi. A Raspberry Pi is a computer no bigger than a library card, but it is a gateway to the biggest library on the planet—the Internet. It’s a miniature computer. It comes with usbb 2.0 and 3.0 ports, a mini HDMI port, CPU, motherboard, et al right on one board. It also comes with an open source operating system called Linux. It’s a Debian version called NOOBS, but there are other operating systems as well. The best part is that it only cost about $90.00. In 1987, a Nintendo console complete with everyone’s favorite mushroom eating game, Super Mario Bros. And Duck Hunt cost $99.00. The Raspberry Pi does way more shit and there are no cartridges to blow into.

What you will need for your Rasberry-Pi


Here’s how you put this thing together. In this blog post I will teach you how to set up your raspberry pi. Eventually, sometime next week, I am going to change my version of Linux to the Mynode version. I am going to use it as a lighting node. After that, I am going to practice networking from windows to Linux using Putty. I also want to set up an online sticker selling business using the Lightning Network.
This is the Vilrose Raspi 4 with 4 GB Ram. I also bought a Logitech wireless keyboard and mouse combination. The great thing about this keyboard is that it only uses one dongle. The Raspberry Pi comes with 4 USB ports, but I try to use as little as possible.
Things you’ll need:


Vilrose Raspberry Pi, you could also use a different one, but this is the one I am using if you want to follow along exactly. You will also need a grounding bracelet to prevent bricking your computer with pesky static electricity.
Let’s get back to that digital divide. The computer cost $89, the keyboard cost $22. I picked up this 32 inch TV on Offer Up for $50. Libber office is open source, Linux is open source, as well as all of the computer games that teach you how to code python and Java. For a another 60-80 bucks, you can get a 1TB hard drive.


It also comes with wifi(but you’ll need to plug it in to an Ethernet port to run MyNode. I’m taking the Google IT course on Coursera because I wanted to learn what the heck it was. My goal is to get a certificate I can add to my Linked In profile. Since I have all the debt that goes with a teaching credential, but make less than the average salary of a high school dropout—I’m using my free time to stack skills. I’m using my Creative Writing Degree to create this blog. Along the way, I had to learn WordPress. I leaned how to outsource logo design. I learned how to create a web store. The next step in the process is to learn networking and more Linux commands. Eventually, I want to explore penetration testing and how to protect against certain attacks. So far, I have learned a little bit of this using multisig time locks, Six months from now I want to sell some stickers using the lightning network. I don’t expect to make a ton of money doing this, but creating an online bitcoin only store would probably look better on a resume than babysitting teens.


Step 1 – Put your super sexy grounding bracelet on, Attach it to fa piece of non-painted metal. In a normal computer, you’re supposed to attach it to the case, but because this one is so small I used the screwdriver.


Step 2—remove the Raspberry Pi from the box.


Step 3—remove the case which comes with the thermal compound, spatula, screws, footrest, and screwdriver.


Step4 put the thermal paste on the square in the bottom of the unit, this thermal paste helps keep the unit from overheating. Then place the motherboard into the case sliding the side with the HDMI connections in first. Make sure that all of this Ines up before you put the top of the case onn, otherwise it will be a huge pain in the ass to screw on correctly.


Step 5: Next, put the paste on the chips as seen here. Make sure you use the spatula to spread it evenly over the chips. Place the top of the heat sink case onto the unit.. And turn it upside down.


Step 6: screw it together.


Step 7: plug in your keyboard//mouse dongle into a USB port.


Step 8: plug in your micro HDMI to HDMI cable into a mini USB port. Plug the HDMI into a TV or computer monitor.


Step 9: plug in the power cord and plug the unit into a surge protected wall outlet.


Step 10: insert the HDMI card with NOOBS into the Raspi.


Step 11 turn on your TV and power the puppy on using the switch.


After you do that, you’ll have to choose your country and language and come up with a password and most of all—Play with your new toy!

My Lightning Network Node


I stepped away from mine for a second and my son found Minecraft-Pi. I even taught him a few simple echo commands. Minecraft-Pi is pretty cool, but I set up a lightning node.


The process is pretty simple. After you set up your Raspi, just go to
https://mynodebtc.com/guides

You just need to flash the OS to your SD card with Balerena etcher and follow the instructions.
Here’s a Twitter thread someone posted:
https://twitter.com/KenrickLuneX/status/1227078860816052225?s=19

Thanks for reading.

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Optimal Minimalism

Optimal Minimalism

It’s been almost a year since I started this blog and I have figured out that I have to change my focus just a bit. My goal was to create a blog about bitcoin, financial independence and minimalism. I still want to do that, but in April, part of my plan changed. I didn’t know how I was going to re-work the third part of that equation, until now.

I enjoyed fine Southern Hospitality at a place called the Peanut man. My son is allergic to peanuts, meaning they make him vomit like that girl in The Exorcist so we usually avoid places that advertise peanuts like the hamburger place with a x number of guys. (X = 5). Anyway, Mr. Peanut Man is a friendly bald fellow who has specialized in something called boiled peanuts. The Peanut man gave me a small amount of free peanuts and they were delicious! I can’t believe how good these peanuts were. It’s like you get all of the flavor of the salty shell inside the nut. Who doesn’t love soft, salty nuts?

Last month, I traveled to South Carolina to see my daughter’s Army Basic Training Graduation. I’m glad I went and My daughter looked spiffy in her outfit. TK graduation Pic

I had a nice time hanging out with my daughter. The ceremony was beautiful and I liked how they explained that the US was actually a country based on an idea rather than a homeland, religion, or creed.

We ate at Buffalo Wild Wings which is her favorite place, although we couldn’t drink any adult beverages because she was in uniform. I also met her battle buddy who is the daughter of a very frugal accountant. She was impressed with some of my money saving tips. We took some pictures, caught up on all of their adventures, and walked around a Whole foods store and make up place of some sort. I think it was Ulta, but I’m not an expert at these things.

I also hung out with my ex-wife and her husband and I actually had a nice time They even gave me a ride back to my motel so I saved some satoshis on ridesharing. Here are my souvenirs.

Then, when I got to my hotel, I ran my laptop up and played a bunch of sit n go tournaments I ran really well, doubling my 500,000 Satoshi balance and remembered how much I loved playing poker.

I read vagabounding and romanticised long term world travel. It’s a great book and it gave me all sorts of ideas about how to designhn my life. I decided I want to play more poker when I get back home.

So I played after work a lot. It got to be to where my wife said she wanted me to stop because it was taking up too much time. I was winning a little bit of money, but I decided it wasn’t like how I was in my twenties and I could just pay five or six hours a day and expect to fulfill my duties as a husband and father. In economics terminology, this is called a trade-off. The trade off is time away from my family, writing a new blog post, or learning something new.

Then I thought… wait a minute…I think I know what my blog should be about.

It occurred to me that I read the Vagabonding book because Tim Ferris recommended it in the 4 Hour workweek. I do my meal prepping once a month or less, spending about 4 hours. This is something I learned in the Four Hour Chef. It didn’t even occur to me that I actually spent 4 hours a month on making dinner during the weekdays.

I work an average of 20 hours a week and take off one to two months off every five months or so. I also flew to South Carolina for free via travel hacking. The entire trip, including food, Uber, and airfare cost me less than three million satoshis, (less than 300 bucks) I’ve gone almost completely paperless and I got rid of everything I don’t use and I invest in the assets that have given me the greatest return, volatility be damned. Pro tip: eat lunch at Costco across the street and pick up a salad for dinner.

I have fully embraced the lifestyle of Optimal Minimalism. This doesn’t mean that I live like a monk. It just means that I only focus on the things that bring b value to my life and I ruthlessly cut everything else out. I go through my automated budgeting system and decide what 20 % of purchase am I making that I don’t use. This month, I decided to pause Treehouse and eliminate Audible, at least temporarily. I also eliminated at least 90% of my wardrobe a couple of years back. The point is to look at every single thing in your life. The goal is to only keep 20% of the most important things in life. Is your 2 hour commute everything you always dreamed of? If it is, congratulations… but I suspect that most people f-ing hate their commute.

This blog is about the direction my optimally minimalist choices take me. It’s about my rapid learning experiments and how I will apply them. That’s the minimal structure. Sometimes, while using the optimal minimalism technique, I find that a project doesn’t pass the 80/20 analysis, I drop the project like an itchy pair of underwear that I never use. Sometimes, I continue learning the project to completion. Next week I am setting up a Bitcoin Lightning Node. I will write about it and maybe even do a video about how I put this project together.
Thanks for reading.

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Mayonaise Once Cost a Nickle: Why We Have Inflation

My  mom likes to reminisce about  mayonnaise being a nickel.  She also talked about this when listening to the oldie’s station when the it played Elvis instead of the Red Hot Chile Peppers.  Now a jar of mayonnaise I have been replaced by plastic containers that cost $3.00 during the 4th of July sales.


Why Does This Happen?

The simple answer is Inflation, or a rise in prices.  I would say a gradually rise in prices, but that’s not always the case.  For example, Venezuela is said to have 1,000,000 percent annual inflation.  Other currencies have experienced hyperinflation as well such as the German money before world War 2 and I remember hearing stories of Zimbabweans people burin paper money to keep warm.  This begs the question?  Why do prices rise and why do some countries have prices that rise so dramatically?  The answer is not so simple because it involves macroeconomics and macro economics is political. There are many different schools of thought on macroeconomics just Ike there are many political parties, but most countries follow Keynesian economics.  This is the center left Democrats and center right Republicans of Macroeconomics.  I’m not an economist, but I enjoy about the subject.   We could dive deeper down into the subject and talk about different schools, but I’m just going to focus on two for simplicity.

  My high school economics teacher used to be a part owner of a bank.  At the time, Red Hot Chile Peppers were played on the Alternative rock station in stead of the oldies station and  if you and a few of your friends could come up with three million dollars, you could start a bank,  He and seven of his friends owned such a bank until it went under.  It was one of those too small to succeed banks.  He then explained how Fractional Reserve Banking worked.  I explain it a little differently than Mr. Silva, but I assure you I learned this from him When I was a young Red Hot Chile Peppers listening whippersnapper.

This is Bob

This is Bob.  Bob has a dollar, but in this world, dollars are not made of cotton and pictures of dead presidents embossed with spider webs.  In this example a dollar is represented by a cat.  New dollars will be referred to as kittens. 

This is one of my cryptokitties. I’ll write about these another day.

Just so we are clear, Bob has one cat. He wants to put that the bank, the bank of Bob or B. O. B.  To keep things simple, though, we will her for the refer to it as just “the bank”

So now the bank has Bob’s cat.  We’ll call this a savings account to keep things simple, of course, there are different types of accounts.  The bank must keep Bob’s cat in the bank, so he is able to withdraw it.  it will pay Bob 0.01 cats every year he has it in the bank. (a whisker) For keeping this cat safe, the bank gets more than a whisker.   It gets to extract that cats extra nine lives.  I assure you that Bob’s cat is safe in the bank.  They just took that vacuum machine they have in the drive-through window and sucked out all of its nine lives.  It then takes these nine cats costs and makes 9 kittens or new money.  Now they can’t just take these kittens and make it rain pussy cats on the general public.  They throw these kittens to people who use credit cards, buy homes, or start new businesses.  

Now Alice takes a loan out for 3 of these credit kitties. She builds a construction business.  She does well and pays the bank back 4 cats. (The bank charges interest.  The bank also loans 3 Cats to Carl an 3 cats to Dick.  Carl paid back five cats, but Dick is a deadbeat doesn’t pay back his loan.  The bank reports dick to the kitty credit bureau and they give him a kibble score off 300, raise Carl’s kibble score to 650 and keep Alice’s kibble score at 850.   Now the other banks now Alice is low risk, Carl is moderate risk, and Dick disputes his credit score because he said the kitty credit bureau was hacked and he didn’t  actually take out the loan.  It was a mess and I don’t know if he’s telling the truth, but he can’t get credit anymore.  Regardless of what happened to Dick, those kitty’s that were lent to him are dead.  (Don’t worry, no actual cats were harmed in the writing of this blog.)

Here’s where everybody stands.  Alice has a business, Cal has his car, these new cats and Dick is bankrupt.  Bob still has his dollar and a whisker. The bank now has 9 cats in its coffers This is the new monetary supply.  These extra cats are an increase in the money supply.  In reality it is not cats, but dollars. This is how fractional reserve banking works. There are a lot more bankruptcies I’m sure, but this is ow money is printed by the banks these days.


But Isn’t the U. S. Dollar Backed By Gold?

You might be asking, wait…. Don’t they need gold in the bank to back up all of those dollars?  I saw an episode of Looney tunes where Bugs Bunny defended all of the gold in Fort Knox against Yosemite Sam; 

From Looney Tunes Episode: 14 Carrot Gold

NOT ANYMORE.   The United States first used a fiat (meaning by decree, not to be confused with the small Italian car) currency in the early days called the Continental. It was a paper money that wasn’t anything backed by anything, but JL Collins said the country went into hyperinflation in 1776, in his book The Simple Path to Wealth. paper money and it didn’t work out so well so they Said money needed to be gold and silver in the constitution.

“Section 10. No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.”

  In 1776, Adam Smith wrote the Wealth of Nations. https://www.amazon.com/Wealth-Nations-Adam-Smith-ebook/dp/B000FC1CVE  The problem was that gold would eventually be debased. The miners of the gold could not to be trusted to keep the gold pure, so they melted it down and added other metals to it.

“Princes and sovereign states have frequently fancied that they had a temporary interest to diminish the quantity of pure metal contained in their coins; but they seldom have fancied that they had any to augment it. The quantity of metal contained in the coins, I believe of all nations, has accordingly been almost continually diminishing, and hardly ever augmenting. Such variations, therefore, tend almost always to diminish the value of a money rent.”

   In 1971 we had the Nixon Shock that took the US completely off the gold standard.  According to the Bitcoin Standard, French President Charles De Gaulle send French Military carrier to get their gold back.  Germany tried to get it’s gold back and on August 15, 1971, Nixon said we were no longer using gold for money, at least temporarily. 

We never went back.

The point is the dollar was no longer backed by gold and all of the currencies of the world were traded amongst each other n a free-floating market. This is called the Forex market which stands for freeing exchange.  It’s the biggest market in the world All of these currencies are running on this fractional reserve banking system.  They are traded just like any other commodity and based on supply and demand.


What The Fuck Does This Have to Do With Inflation?

Well… everything.  The monetary supply is what control the inflation.  Central banks control the interest rates.  @hen they make the interest rates low, credit is cheap and it entices people to use more credit.  When inflation starts to get higher than the Federal Reserve or European Union would like, they raise the interest rates.  When the interest rates are high, people are less likely to take on credit and the money supply shrinks.  Inflation, therefore, is just supply and demand for money and the central banks control the strings to the system.  Their goal is to keep aggregate spending at a level that keeps the money flowing in the economy while maintaining a 2% inflation rate.  Think of them as pulling puppet strings on all those cats.

In conclusion, this is why minimalism is such a radical idea.  We are all encouraged to spend-spend-spend because we have been taught that our money will lose value.  If we put it in the bank, we will get a whisker worth of interest.  Why would you save if you expect to lose your spending power?  Sure, you can do the stock market, but most people don’t have time to figure out how to invest in between binge watching Netflix and eating out. We also get bombarded with the latest gadgets and gizmos hacking our emotions to take our money. We are like ants taken over by the cordyceps mushroom, doing the bidding of the corporations. Ask your doctor about drugs and hurry to the Buick dealership —YOLO.

I say take the red pill.  When your money goes up in value something strange happens to your behavior. Suddenly, Buick’s don’t look so Shiny and bicycles look more appealing. Beans taste good and they are quicker to make in an Insta-pot than making a run for the border.  You have seen the light and you turn it off when you leave the room.  You start doing laundry twice a month and even hag dry your clothes. You shine your od shoes instead of buying new ones. Sew buttons on shirts. You buy used and discover you don’t need a bigger TV because you have to catch up on all the books you got at the library.

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Fighting Lighting! Save Money On Electricity


Gaffing Groceries

Last month’s grocery budget
I saved $444.35 over last month!

I’ve been attacking my food budget like Kung Fu Panda this month and I have really made some progress.  We bought a lot of our food for dinners and batch cooking last month so we shouldn’t need to spend as much money on food this month.  That is why the annual food budget is what is more important.  Nevertheless, I have done some things to reduce my grocery cost as well as my fast food cost. I still have a week to go, but we should be able to reduce it compared to the last two months. I have also convinced my wife that I need to stack some more satoshis and now have increased that by $50.00 per month.  Again, this is not investment advice, it’s just what I am doing. That fifty dollar is my blow money that I am free to do whatever I want with.  If I want to buy a soda, I need to cash out 89 cents of bitcoin and buy the soda with my Cash Card.  I find that I prefer to save my deflationary currency and make a beeline to the nearest water fountain when I’m thirsty.  This helps me save some money and since I am getting a greater return on that than I am on my investments, I don’t feel like I am being frivolous with my money.


Energy


This month I am going to the mattresses with my utilities. *  The most expensive of my utilities is Electricity.  My parents raised me right.  My childhood is filled with lovely tips and tricks on how to save energy like close the God damned door!” “Is there a movie playing in that fridge? Turn off the lights!  Sadly, this type of yelling as not my preferred mode of learning and I still have a horrible habit of leaving all of the lights on. When I looked at the budget of electricity from St. Patrick’s Day to April Fools day I noticed that I have been both drunk with power and foolish with my energy costs.  I asked myself, what is the best way to optimize this?  The best way is to build a tiny house and only have one Led light. This also optimizes=s your rent or mortgage costs and let’s you live on the least amount of energy possible is probably not a very good idea since. Alternatively, I could use candles like they did before we could flip a switch to see in the dark.  This is probably not a good idea since candles I also have too many people and animals living with me to make a tiny house worth it–So I consulted a few blogs and they seem to have one common thread: turn off the lights when you are not using them. 

That is easier said than done as it turns out.  I ended up going all over the house turning the lights off that everyone left on.  This is annoying.  I also noticed that it only saved me about ten bucks last month.

I would also like to mine Bitcoin at some point, but I am not sure if it is possible since my electricity is so high.  It seems that it would be easier to just buy it than mine it at this point.  I am also interested in using clean energy to mine Bitcoin, but I do not live in a place near any damns and I do not have solar panels.  Unfortunately, I have been unable to find out how Southern California Edison generates the electricity it serves to its customers. 


How To Get Yourself to Turn Off The Damn Lights

I have a friend that has his family put a quarter in a jar every time they forget to turn off the lights. This seems like a good idea, but ‘M not sure it would work for me.  I think this is going to just end dup costing me a lot of quarters.  I have already taught my son to turn off the lights using a calm tone and that seems to be helping  He is still afraid of the dark so sometimes he runs out of rooms without turning off the lights, but he’ll grow out of it and I don’t mind getting up during his fits of terror. I am going to use this quarter trick but modify the stakes for my families tastes.  The reason I am skeptical that this will work is because I see the electric bill every month.  We pay over a hundred bucks a month to the electric company.  If that doesn’t stop me from turning off the lights when I leave the room, I need to find something else that does. Enter the Anti-Charity

This is another one of those Tim Ferris Hacks.  I can’t remember if I read it a book or heard it on one of his podcasts, but the basic idea is to use leverage to get yourself to do something. Maybe a quarter in a bucket is not going to give me the leverage I need to turn off the lights.  I already pay the electric company about 600 quarters per month.  ( $150.00).  I will use these quarters to fund a political candidate that everyone in my family does not like.  Now it doesn’t really matter who it is or what political party you belong too.  If you are a Democrat, you can donate the quarters to Donald Trump. Republican, try donating the coins to a Democratic Socialist like Bernie Sanders. Proud Independent, donate to a SuperPAC or it could be for a cause you hate.

Here are the rules.  If we leave a room without turning off the lights, we need to put a quarter into the plastic bucket.  This bucket will have a label affixed to it that states the following: 

If you forget to turn off the lights you will need to donate a quarter to the

___________ political campaign fund.

If this bucket reaches $______ We will donate its contents to this person we do not want to be president

I thought about turning this into a label, but i decided that it’s easier and cheaper to print this, fill it out and tape it to a jar.

I’m setting the threshold at ten dollars. If the bucket reaches ten dollars, the money goes to a cause we do not believe in.  That’s leverage.


Buy Better Bulbs

  I also read a Mr. Money Mustache blog post about Led lights.  Apparently, these are the most efficient lights you can buy and I’ll just take his word for it. He does some math and it looks good to me but it’s just not something I even knew existed.  He claims every Led light bulb saves an average of about $8.67 per year.   I have about twenty light bulbs that are either CFL or halogen.  According to Mr. Money Mustache blog I had to punch myself in the face six times for the lights in the garage and two times for the lights above the stove.  I was unsure if I needed to replace the CFL lights, but as it turns out I found a box of E cosmart CFL’s at work one day.  According to the box these CFL’s cost about $2.77 per year.  The savings is not quite as much on these, but I decided to change them out anyway just because they run hot and I noticed that the Led lights are cooler and I figured I should keep it as cool as possible since I plan on keeping the AC off as much as possible.

I walked around the perimeter of the house to count all the outside lights. It turns out that I have some flood lights that have been burned out since I lived at this house. I am not going to replace them.  I also had some halogen lights in the garage that not only cost a lot of energy; but end up making the room hotter than it should be, especially during the summer.  Apparently, these are not as bad as the halogen bulbs, but they can still lose energy over time.  My house has a lot of Led lights already in the form of gas can lights. My landlord said these are the types of lights rich people have so he installed them in the house.  They look nice, provide a lot of light, and apparently are very cost effective. Luckily, I do not have to replace any of the LED lights.

I found some LED lights at the 99 cent store

Don’t forget about the stove lights. I had lightbulbs that were installed before Pulp Fiction was filmed

During my last trip to the 99 Cent Only store. I picked up about 20 lights ranging from 1.00 to 1.66 a piece, but this is a sunk cost and I plan on using them for a long time.  The 100-watt replacements are also brighter than a policeman’s mag-light so I ended up only using three bulbs in chandelier above the dining room table. This already makes it brighter than we need it and I can save money on both the light bulbs and the energy at the same time.  I’m not sure if my wife really likes this.  I might replace them with lower watt LED bulbs because it looks kind of weird.   I used half of the bulbs in the garage since I don’t think anyone is going into that room very often.  

Here’s how it looks with and without the extra light bulbs.

save more money by using less bulbs

Now I just need to wait for next month’s bill to make an update and see who wins this bright battle:  Me or the lights.

*going to the mattresses is from the Godfather by Mario Puzo. When the five families go to war, they end up dragging mattresses on the floor at a capos house. They al sleep on the mattresses until the war is over to make sure that someone is always there to protect them.

Thanks for reading

If you find value from this post, please leave a tip using the lightning button on my home page. I would like to be able to pay for some of the funding of this site and maybe even make a little bit of a profit without spamming every one of my posts with links to stuff you can buy.

Bitcoin address:

3HLR8L3MuwnTn6gU6gnezyAdR3vMH6WWps

Cash App $minimalstructure

I also accept lightning tips.

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The Monster Under your Wallet

Before the last time stressed out stockbrokers jumped out of windows, I worked as a manager at a retail store that sold overpriced junk in the front off the store that people had to pass to buy their legal drugs.  At the time, my drug of choice was Monster Energy Drinks.  Two of them will give you about the same effect as cocaine, but with a bubble gum aftertaste. Nonetheless, I used to drink a lot of Monster.  Then I calculated it one day.  At $2.29 a pop and 22 days a month, I was paying $54.91 every month after tax.  This is money that I could have better used elsewhere.  At the time I was increasing my contributions by one percent every year in my 401K because I had read about that strategy in the Millionaire Next Door, but this one expense was more than one percent of my $44,000 salary.

I decided to cut it out and started buying Diet Mountain Dew instead.  This probably cut the expense in half, but it’s not the point  The root of the problem was that I was looking to get my needs and wants to be satisfied by something else. The solution to the problem is to stand back and logically think of the problem you are trying to solve by buying the Monster or Mountain Dew.  Maybe this is not Mountain Dew for you.  Maybe you buy coffee at 5 bucks every day or like to order your food from a robot under golden arches.  Why do you want the fast food or the wastebasket sized Mountain Dew from the Kwikie mart anyway?

                This problem called a natural monopoly, and I heard Naval Ravikant talk about it on some podcast I can’t remember.  According to Investopedia, a natural monopoly occurs because of a high cost that is a barrier to entry.  For example, it would be fairly difficult to make my own energy drink using powdered caffeine, taurine, and carbonated water, bubble gum and bull urine**.  It’s also not a good idea to mix drugs like this Ina a bathtub unless you have the chemistry skill-set of Walter White, so it appears easier to buy mountains of Monsters than to make it yourself. 

                Another common economics term that I learned in high school is substitute.  This is self explanatory, but let’s say you go to the store to buy French’s mustard but notice that the store brand is a buck cheaper.  The store brand would be a substitute.  I used Diet Mountain Dew as a substitute for Monster, but what did I really want?  I wanted drugs.  Maybe I wanted these drugs because I have undiagnosed ADHD or maybe I just didn’t get enough sleep.   It doesn’t matter.  The point is I needed my caffeine fix.

I now have substituted Diet Mountain Dew for tea.  Tea contains caffeine, which is what I really wanted.  Tea is easy to make, which I really like, but tea has other benefits too.  Tea has anti-oxidants so they say it can help prevent cancer unlike those cancer-causing French fires.  It’s also easy to find a microwave nearby wherever you work, just heat up some water and dip your tea bag in the water for 15 seconds.  I like to have several cups of tea thought the day so I use the same teabag about three times steeping for 15,  30, and 60 seconds.  Apparently, this is the way you are supposed to make tea at least that’s what Tim Ferris says in the 4 Hour Chef. 

I have even made Kombucha tea,, but I’m on hiatus because I once used a cone coffee filter and my batch got infested with fruit flies and I haven’t been able to get back into it since.  You can make kombucha tea with simple sugar, tea and about an ounce of Kombucha from a store. More importantly, you can get a month worth of caffeine at work for between 2 and three dollars expending on how fancy you like your tea.  I splurge on tea sometimes, but it still costs way less than one percent of my annual income.

You  can also make your own coffee at work using the Aeropress, but it costs thirty bucks and is a  lot more messy.  I got one as a gift one year, and it makes excellent coffee, but I don’t use it as often as I thought I would because it takes more time than the standard coffee maker. 

**Energy drinks do not contain bull urine, but it’s a common urban myth.

Thanks for reading

Bitcoin address:

3HLR8L3MuwnTn6gU6gnezyAdR3vMH6WWps

Cash App $minimalstructure

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The First Rule of Blogging

The point of blogging is to make money. This is usually done in the form of ads or affiliate links promoting products the blogger uses or can get paid to convince others to use. This is called monetization.  It works like this:  The blogger tells his, her, or whatever the proper pronoun is these days, experience with the said product. For example, in the last blog I wrote about how I saved money eating at a fast food restaurant by bringing my own fast food—blueberries and cottage cheese. I needed to use a couple of products to do this.. 

  1. A blue ice pack
  2. A thermally isolated  lunch bag.
  3.  A glass Pyrex dish, although you can use whatever dish you have.  I just happened to have one of these clean

Step 2: Get approved by Amazon to get a small commission on each sell you direct to the site.  carefully interrupt your blog with spam all over your blog post by creating hyperlinks that, when clicked, take the reader to another website where they can by these products.
If you don’t sell something or get kicked off the referral service.  This gives you an incentive to only recommend the things you sell. 

Step 4:  If the customer decides to buy this product within say, the next thirty days, then this cookie tells the corporation to provide a little commission for the blogger.  I don’t want to convince people to purchase things.  It’s not that I am against things, it’s just that if the point of this blog is to avoid things you don’t need.  I’ll tell you some things I need.

The thing is, I did not get my thermally insulated lunch pack on the Interwebs. I bought mine for $2.99 at a store that is named after the last two decimal places of their products.  I happened to forget that lunch pack at work last week so I borrowed my sons thermally insulated lunch bag that my wife bought at the Goodwill. I’m not sure how much it was, but probably less than the shipping you would pay online.  Hopefully, there’s some value in that.

You can buy ice packs on the Internet or you can just get one for free.  You probably know someone who spends $60 a week to get a few meals of cook it yourself groceries a box.  I’m not saying these things are not valuable.  They save a lot of time and take a lot of the guess work out of things.  But these people probably have a lot of ice packs they don’t need. I found this one on the ground the other day.  Price: $0.00.

I found this on the ground, but you can get these things for free if you just ask around

I’m starting to stop thinking like a consumer giving in to the consumer compulsion.  Our televisions and smart phones have programed us to think needing can only be fulfilled by buying.  It takes a little bit of deprograming to break free from this trap.  Of course, there a lot of things that you do need to buy.  It just takes a little outside of the do-it-yourself home meal delivery box thinking.

 Re-use and Recycle and sometimes re-use by picking up what would otherwise be trash.

The only way I can think of to get money to help pay for this site and the costs of promoting it is to ask for tips  similar to the way a street performer would. Consider these lightning tips similar to a busking hat where people place dollar bills and coins into the hat after viewing the performance. I suppose I might have a few ads in the future, but I want to try and use ads that don’t require cookies. Let me know if you have any ideas.

Thanks for reading.

Here is my hat:


Lightning network:

lnbc1pwtjf2tpp5s3ts2glly7esl8er6y238s7jded9slatfynu8txrn9n8lkzd2hssdpu235hqurfdcsy6ctjvdek67twv9kk2gpgw35hqurfdchx6eff9p6nywpcxs5scqzpgxqyz5vqy90r57x2uqw6z96r93nd4c6vsu9jjgl32r54sjs3wclwv4rdq02ncv5yetaz9ufnjx9wk89glnzzany0yzauafudu8zl86p803tl9yqpufk3kz

Bitcoin address:

3HLR8L3MuwnTn6gU6gnezyAdR3vMH6WWps

Cash App $minimalstructure

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Minimal Cooking

I’ve been going down the Personal capital rabbit hole and found out that my biggest expense is Rent.  Since my wife says we can’t fit 5 people, two dogs, two cats and a frog into a tiny house in Southern California, we’re stuck with the 4-bedroom house we are living in.  Besides rent, food is our next biggest expense.   If I am going to attack my debt, this is where I need to aim my financial fists.  My goal is to not eat any restaurants.  Last month we spent the equivalent of thirty-two dozen pink boxes of donuts on restaurants.  Doughnuts look like zeros and no one wants to see what doughnuts do to their waistline or bank statements.  It’s easy to take a vow and say I’ll never buy fast food again just like it’s easy to say you will give up drinking while hugging a toilet. In practice, it takes a lot more work.  The first step is I took was to recognize why I spent so much money on food. I decided that there are basically 3 problems that I need to fix if I am going to avoid spending this much in the future.


Cooking Takes Too Much Time

Time is the most valuable resource. Of course, cooking at home will probably give you more time in the long run versus stuffing your face with fat, salt, and cholesterol from your favorite burger joint.  We all saw how the guy from Supersize me damaged his liver by eating McDonald’s three times a day, so why do we still do it?  You night say, I am really in the mood for a big juicy bazinga burger with a delicious side of the other cancer sticks, French fries.

  Yumbo! The thing is, there’s nothing stopping you from making this crappy food at home either, except for time.  Cooking takes time. It involves cutting, slicing, dicing, seasoning and thermal dynamics.  You have to turn on the oven, or fire up the stove…I can’t take the heat so I’ll get out of the kitchen. Worse yet, doing all those dishes is a huge pain in the ass.  Besides… who has time to cook after a hard day at work?  The kids argue over homework,, need to get kicked at karate, and get to bed on time.  You won’t have time to relax and watch the Real Housewives of WTF?

We got these recipes from newwellness.com, but I’m sure there are others.

Luckily, my wife found a solution to this.  She found a cookbook on Pinterest for $30.00 that gives you specific meal plans, shopping lists, and a way to print labels with instructions. Most of them are
cooked in the ultra-efficient, simple to clean crockpot.  Some of them are in foil baking sheets, and skillets, but most of them can be stored in a freezer for up to three months using generic freezer bags.  We already have a freezer in the garage.  It set us back five hundred bucks a the Sears Outlet, but that’s almost what we spent in fast food last month. So now, in about 12 hours (including shopping time) we have enough meals to last us to the end of the school year prepped ready to be defrosted and placed into the crockpot.

My goal is to not have any fast food for the next two months, hopefully longer. Last summer, I started reading the 4-hour chef, by Tim Ferris.  I learned a lot of interesting ways to cook and how to memorize 50 numbers of Pi before I finally decided that was a huge waste of time. TF gives some simple cooking advice.  Prep and Pickup.  Cooking does not have to be so time consuming if you look at prepping and picking up as two different tasks.


Why It’s More Efficient

Imagine if we just cooked every night.  I would wash a million dishes every night I cooked.  Every time you set up your kitchen to cook, you need to get out the cutting board, gather your ingredients, dirty a 3/cup, throw away your trash–all of this stuff over and over again.  Since we prepped our food for the next two months, we only had to do the prepping once.  It took us 12 hours over two days, but That’s a better deal then 2 hours five times a week for eight weeks (80 hours) This is not including shopping time either. You also waste more time by taking more rips to the store.  We did all of this in about an hour and a half. It’s better than fast food. It’s home-cooked, already prepared, easy to put in the crockpot food.

In the 4-hour Workweek, TF calls this batching.  For example, you can save time by batching your emails and only answer them once or twice a day, thereby limiting the amount of time you spend on emails.  You can also batch things like shipping your items once a week if you have a business, et cetera, et cetera.  In this case, we bathed our meal prepping and spent a fraction of the time we would have spent cooking.  In the book, Ferris talks about someone who outsources this meal prepping, He hired someone on Craigslist to prep Indian meals for five dollars a meal plus the cost of food. I think this is a great idea, but I am trying to pay off debt and I enjoy cooking anyway, So I couldn’t see doing that. We still get the same result. My wife and I have outsourced our future meals to our past selves.  This is a much better date night than going to some fancy restaurant!

I’m Not Home

Another issue I have is I go out to run some errands at ten o clock, and by 12 o clock, I’m hangry and I just want to pour calories down my throat. I make a run for the border and buy beans in a bowl. Normally, beans are the cheapest food you can eat unless they are made by a pimple faced teenager.  Then you just threw thirty dollars down the drain.   To combat this, I have done to things.  First, if I am going to run errands an expect to be hungry before I am done, I pack myself a lunch. Usually this is a sandwich.  I also pack an apple and some string cheese, but it just depends on what I have at the time.  I then keep it in my insulated lunch pail with a cold pack.  Problem solved.  There’s no need to go to get the fast food anymore.

The other problem I have when away from home is that I sometimes, more often than n I would like to admit, forget my lunch on the kitchen counter because I am running late for work.  To fix this, I now keep a couple cans of Progresso lentil soup.  It’s pretty good and it contains 18 grams of powerful protein. I also keep a plastic bowl and spoon with it.  That way, when I forget my lunch I can just go to my car and open the can (it does not require a can opener) and place the lintel filled plastic bowl in the microwave.  It holds me over until I get home. If I had a job that made me go to the same place everyday, I would just keep some soup there, but I work at various places and don’t really have a place to put my stuff other than the back of my car.

It’s a Special Occasion

This one is a bit harder for me.  I have a birthday in my family coming up this month and I know we are going to have to go out to eat.  I refuse to be a deadbeat  We are getting separate checks and I will order a small appetizer, hopefully during happy hour.  I’ll fill up on cottage cheese or Greek yogurt before I go out.  Before I met my wife I listened to Tom Leykis suggest eating before you go on a date and then just order a side salad and tell the woman you’re watching your weight. The idea is that she will not want to order a big-ass meal when you only order a salad.  Now a salad will set you back almost twenty bucks and it will contain enough calories to sustain a small donkey for a week.  Appetizers are still reasonable, especially during the half-off happy hours.  I’ve thought about bringing a flask with me to, but I’d rather just wait and have a beer when I get to my In Law’s house.

Thanks for reading. What are some of the ways you save money on food?  I’m open to any other money saving ideas.  In the next post, I will put together some of my favorite quick, cheap and easy meals. Peace, Love and satoshis.

I ♥ ฿⚡tips! 

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The $1,000,000 Schrodinger’s Cat

HODL

Today, I am going to talk about Hodling.  A while back, some drunk dude in the bitcoin community typed HODL instead of Hold and now it has become crypto-parlance for holding bitcoin.  We say it stands for  Hold On for Dear Life.  This is because Bitcoin has more swings than a schoolyard.  It is highly volatile. I have seen the price drop in half at least three times since I’ve Hodled, but I took these lumps like a Stoic philosopher standing under a tree of well-fed pigeons. It’s been a proverbial roller coaster.

                I first heard about the technology in 2014 in an episode off the Joe Rogan Experience. The idea I found most intriguing was that the bitcoin inflation rate is scheduled in advance, unlike the whimsical monetary policies of Central banks.  There amount of new Bitcoin gets cut in half about every four years. Of course, it took me a good six months of research before I mustered enough courage to buy any.  I asked about it on Twitter and someone gave me a small amount, about $1.50 worth using a twitter app named Change Tip. That app  doesn’t exist anymore, but if you are one of the first ten people to share this blog using the hash tag #minimalstructure, I will send you 28,882  satoshis on the lightning network. Just send me an invoice. I’ll explain how to do that in another blog if you would like.  The short answer is use Blue Wallet

When I first heard it, bitcoin was less than $200 and down from an all time high of $1,300. If you would have bought some at the height of the market, your investment would have been down about 90% percent by 2014. This didn’t discourage me.  If you had Hodled, your BTC would be worth 4X that initial investment assuming you didn’t put anymore money into it while it was cheaper.  If you had held onto it until December of 2017, everybody including your long-lost dear aunt Sally who has never even sent an email would have told you to “Sell! Sell! Sell”

It went all the way from around $20,000 to $3,000 and it’s $5,000 today.  It jumped about 17% the last time I looked.  So you might be asking yourself, what the hell is wrong with this guy?  Is he  more Loco than El Pollo?  I thought bitcoin was dead again. What’s going on here?

                Well, if you look at the worst-case scenario where someone invests in December of 2017 and holds onto it all the way until last month, you are selecting for the worst-case scenarios, which is aweful, but If you started investing in 2015, you are up about 20X.  There is another financial blogger who I love and respect that talks bout once getting $300% returns because he got lucky.  This is 2000% return, and for the record, I am not a millionaire.  If it makes you feel better, I made less than $8,000 in 2017, so it’s not like I had a lot off capital to throw into bitcoin. Even If I had a lot more, I wouldn’t have gone all-in anyway.  I also listened to an podcast about bitcoin in 2015 called EconTalk, an economics podcast hosted by Russ Roberts, professor of Economics at George Mason University.  It’s a great podcast with a wide range of past guests that include Milton Friedman, Charlie Munger (Warren Buffet’s partner) and Thomas Piketty.  I like the show because even though Roberts is biased, he is willing to talk to a wide range of guests.  He even had Gavin Andreasen back in the day when it just $1.00, but I was not lucky enough to listen to the show back then.

                In 2015, he had Wences Casares, CEO of Xapos, on the how. Casares talked about growing up in Argentina a country wrecked by hyperinflation while he was a child. He told a gut-wrenching story about having to run around the grocery isles to try and beat the price labeler to the punch so they could buy their food before the prices went up again.  We don’t really think about this type of stuff in the United States because this country has never experienced hyperinflation.   This clearly illustrates why he is so biased to believe that the technology is so powerful.

The Bitcoin Inflation Schedule

                Bitcoin is designed to eventually be neither inflationary or deflationary.  At first it is inflationary. It started out by increasing at a rate of 50 new Bitcoin issued every ten minutes until the first having after 4 years.  Then it decreased to a rate of 25 new Bitcoin every ten minutes.  In 2015, it decreased to 12.5 new bitcoin every ten minutes.  In 410 days from 4-8-2019 (the date I published this)  the rewards will decrease to 6.25 new bitcoin every ten minutes.  4 Years after that, it reduces to 3.125 every ten minutes.

This is technically inflation, but in about two years the rate of inflation will be less than that of the inflation of the US dollar. Eventually there will only be 21,000,000 Bitcoin.  Technically it’s slightly less, but we all say 21M just for simplicity.  Those 21 million can be divided by 100 million individual units called satoshis.  In other words, there will be 2,100,000,000,000,000 individual units for circa 8 billion people in the world.  At this point, more Bitcoin will be destroyed and no more will be created.  Miners will be paid by fees. Technically there will be some lost coins and forks that may be considered inflation or deflation, but the protocol that everyone deems as Bitcoin has not inflation after that. 

“ Eventually at most only 21 million coins for 6.8 billion people in the world if it gets really huge.  But don’t worry, there are another 6 decimal places that aren’t shown for a total of 8 decimal places internally. It shows 1.0 but internally it’s 1000000000.  If there is more inflation in the future, the software can show more decimal places.” Satoshi Nakamoto, creator of bitcoin. Here’s how bitcoin’s inflation works until 2022:


I didn’t add every halve-ning to this table. Basically, It gets halved every 4 years. Do the rest of the math yourself, don’t  just take my word for it. That’s the beauty of it, you don’t need to trust anybody!

                So, if I had to explain Bitcoin in one paragraph I would put it like this: Bitcoin is an experiment in one where the unit of account is verified by cryptographic signatures on an individual level and a cryptographic hash on the group level. This cryptographic hash time stamps a public ledger that needs no trusted third party or central bank because everyone knows how much Bitcoin has been spent. And how much will be released today, 4 years from now, and 140 years from now. The collective is rewarded with new Bitcoin and mining fees for time stamping this ledger.

In other words, everyone is incentivized to hide their keys and miners are incentivized to keep the public ledger verified every ten minutes.

$1,000,000 Schrodinger’s Cat

In that episode of EconTalk, Wences Casares said he believed that there is about a 50% chance that bitcoin will fail, but there is also a 50% chance that it will succeed and be worth $1,000,000 within the next 15 to 20 years.  Using this framework, I like to compare Bitcoin to Schrodinger’s cat, only this cat is worth $1,000,000 and it stuck in the box for 15-20 years.  It is both dead and alive at the same time, just waiting for an observer to set off the device that either kills the cat or lets it live based on where the proton is at the time of the observation. If we see the proton ends up on the poison gas side, Bitcoin dies.  On the other hand, if the proton does not set off the poisonous gas, one Bitcoin will be worth a million dollars. **

Casares admits that he is super biased, and no one can really foretell the future, but his early childhood experiences clearly have colored his Bitcoin colored lenses.   The world is full of examples where a national currency has failed. We have all heard stories of Zimbabwe, Argentina, Germany after world War 1 where hyperinflation became the sad, scary reality of those nation that printed too much money and were unable to pay it back.  We have recently seen issues with Brexit, protests of austerity in in Greece, and dangerous hyperinflation in countries like Venezuela. Since these are international events, they undoubtedly create political divides, but one thing is clear—These things keep happening again and again. It would be silly to think that every currency in the world will not never have these issues again. Even though most of the world is not in hyperinflation, many countries have currencies that are experiencing 10-20% inflation and most of the world has no access to any banking system. 

I really do not know what bitcoin will be worth in 20 years, but Casares suggest putting no more than 1% of your wealth into this new technology.  He reasons that most people can afford to lose 1% of their wealth.  I think this is an acceptable risk for me, so That’s what I do.  Now you see why I’m not rich, given that I make so little money.    It would clearly be a mistake to put your kids college fund into it or take out a second mortgage, but I think it’s a fine idea to risk 1% for most people as long as you are willing to lose it.  The thing is, even if it does go to a million dollars it is very easy to still lose all your Bitcoin.   If you put it in the wrong wallet, your money is gone forever and there is no customer service to help you retrieve it in bitcoin.  Think of it as digital gold that is buried and can only be recovered with a special shovel. If you lose the shovel you are screwed. No one can get it back to you.

In a way, this is Pascal’s wager for money with one subtle difference. Bitcoin works right now.  I know this because I run a node every transaction gets added to the Blockchain every ten minutes. It’s not dead yet because it still works. This is not to say it won’t be dead tomorrow or 29 years from now.  The future can not be verified, but right now, the past transactions on the Blockchain can be verified.  This is an important point—the future cannot be verified and that is why I can not say for sure that Bitcoin will be around in 100 years. There is no such thing as a sage investment.

                Index funds are the probably the best risk to reward ratio.  Bonds are kind of boring to me, but I understand their purpose.  JL Collins wrote an excellently book called the Simple Path to Wealth that describes all these financial instruments and I highly recommend it and he says nothing about bitcoin or cryptocurrency. You should read that before going deep down the rabbit hole.  He wrote about the big scary events like hyperinflation and deflation.   I just included Bitcoin as another edge versus worldwide hyperinflation.  

To me, it represents an exit plan for people in the countries with no other option, or for people that have no access to a banking system.  To me, this is more valuable than gold… It’s even more valuable than Bitcoin, but that is something you must decide for yourself.  Just make sure you realize that this is not investment advice.  As Satoshi Nakamoto and Mr. Mustache point out, bitcoin does not have a dividend or potential dividend.  Bitcoin is more of a gamble than an investment.  Actually, it’s more like a commodity such as corn or a collectible such as a baseball card, albeit one that allows you to exit the banking system if you have to.  Don’t Risk More than you can afford to lose. I look at it like a coinflip and that’s how you should look at it too. You wouldn’t want to risk your life savings on a coinflip(I hope) and you should also not risk it on a bitcoin flip.

The Cash App is my favorite place to buy it, but please don’t risk what you can’t afford to lose.

https://cash.me/app/MCLFTJTIf

If you would like to store your Bitcoin using Cold Storage, please check out Leger Nano.  https://www.ledger.com?r=6c06a57e6d68

 They are an affiliate, which means I will get paid some money if you get one using this link, but it’s an awesome product that lets avoid exchanges—You know those big news stories you hear about bitcoin getting lost or hacked?  It’s actually the exchanges that get hacked or lose their coins, it hasn’t been the protocol.  You can also store more than bitcoin on it.  Put any questions you have in the comments.

**This is not investment advice. I can’t tell the future and I don’t actually know the percentage of bitcoin going to a million dollars, but It’s an interesting experiment that works right now, even though it is volatile—Which it obviously is.

I also take lightning tips on Twitter @marcsmyname

Thanks for reading.