On my birthday three years ago, I was at my favorite downtown bar for a few beers with close friends. Little did I know I would be enjoying one of the greatest beers of all time and would never get to try it again.
In October, I attended the third annual Financial Blogger Conference. At FinCon, I hosted the second annual Ignite FinCon speaking event, and took to the stage for my own five minutes of glory. Enjoy!
You don’t often hear people talk about “beautiful St. Louis, Missouri,” but I had a great time enjoying the architecture and a lovely afternoon in Saint Louis as the Financial Blogger Conference came to an end.
A couple of weeks back, I returned from a great trip to Seattle with my girlfriend’s family. We had a great visit to the rainy city (no rain!), and we had a special visit to famous glass blower and artist Dale Chihuly’s boathouse and museum.
A while back, I started a new web project with a friend, Jeff from Sustainable Life Blog, to create a niche website that makes money. I just found out that we have officially made money!
I wanted to have a profitable niche site by the end of 2012, which was a life list goal, and I am pleased to report that we have easily passed the hurdle point.
The site, all about elk hunting, is a collaboration of Jeff’s knowledge and my research on the topic. Jeff is a passionate elk hunter, and I am passionate about making money. I was happy to put in time and research to help build a useful and reputable site about elk hunting, though I have never been hunting myself.
Jeff focused primarily on hunting rifles and recipes. I focused on articles on elk hunting in specific states, mostly in the Mountain West of the United States. I learned all sorts of things about elk hunting laws and regulations. I had no idea what you need to do for a hunting permit, now I know what to do in five different states.
I would not go as far as to say I am an expert in elk hunting, but I am an expert in building websites. I put in a lot of time on images, headers, and placing Google AdSense strategically around the site. I am thrilled to say that it worked like a charm.
We are not rich just yet. We have not even made enough to justify all of the time we put into it. But we have hit the first milestone, profit.
I can confidently and happily mark this one off of the life list. The project is not over by a long shot, though. We need to keep adding quality content and working on increasing the site’s ranking in the search engines. We have a lot of opportunity to make a lot more money.
I recently had the opportunity to plan and speak at Ignite FinCon, the Ignite event at the Financial Blogger Conference. As we were in Denver and I could talk about whatever I wanted, I took my five minutes in the spotlight to tell everyone “Why Denver is Way Better Than the City You Live In.” Enjoy the video below.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking at Ignite Denver, and my video is now live. If you want to find out how to start a blog that doesn’t suck, make sure to check out my talk.
Last night, ten miles from my home, a disturbed young man walked into a movie theater and started shooting into a crowd. As of now, 12 people are dead and 38 are wounded. While it was not in my neighborhood, it is one I know well. I have seen movies at the Century 16 Theater in the past and it is across the street from my Dad’s office.
Like in 1999, when two kids walked into their high school and started shooting students and teachers in the lunch room and library, murdering 13 innocent people, the first thing we asked is why.
Why did someone find it necessary to murder 13 people at Columbine High School in 1999, and why did someone find it necessary to murder 12 people last night? Why did someone think it was their right to take an innocent life? Why did someone think it is their last resort? Why did someone think it was the right thing to do? Why the pointless killings?
As angry as I am at the individuals responsible, this country’s asinine gun control laws certainly make it easier for someone to kill.
I could walk into a store and buy an M-16 automatic assault rifle. For only $729, I can walk into Cabela’s and buy an AR-15. The popular M4 variation fires .233 caliber bullets faster than one every second.
You don’t need an automatic murder rifle to hunt deer. You don’t need to fire more than one bullet every second to hunt deer. You don’t need an AR-15 assault rifle to hunt deer. You don’t need an M-4, M-16, AK-47, Tech 9, or any other automatic weapon to hunt deer. Those weapons were designed for one thing, to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible.
The Second Amendment
The next person that brings up the Second Amendment when discussing this deserves to be punched in the face. The Second Amendment was written long before these murderous weapons were designed that can kill so many people so quickly.
The intent of the amendment was to allow citizens to protect themselves from a tyrannical government. That was a relevant fear at the time, as the Bill of Rights was signed on the heels of the Revolutionary War, a war uprising against a tyrannical ruling king on the other side of the world.
Today, however, things have changed. As much as many of you may hate Barack Obama, he is not going to oppress you and enslave you. As much as I hated George W. Bush as president, I was not concerned for my safety and well-being, nor that of any fellow law abiding American citizens.
Time for Change
Need I remind you that at the time the Second Amendment was written, slavery was legal. Women could not vote. Unless you were a white, property owning male, you were a second class citizen.
As repulsive as those cultural norms were at that time, our antiquated gun laws are today.
I do not propose banning all firearms. While I do not believe in it, I do not wish to prevent people from going hunting. I see no reason a mentally healthy, law abiding Americans shouldn’t be able to buy a single action rifle for hunting and “self-defense” purposes, though it is statistically more likely for that weapon to cause an injury at home than successfully defend you against an intruder.
The only reason automatic weapons exist is to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible. Those should be illegal. Handguns that can be easily concealed in a pocket or waistband are not necessary either, outside of law enforcement.
We need to move on from our old, violent ways toward a future that can be safer and better for all of us.
I know there are detractors that say a bad guy can get a gun anyway. Maybe that’s true, but we don’t have to make it easy on them.
If you are as sickened by these events as I am, please join me in taking action. Don’t just complain on the internet, contact your senators and house representatives in Washington or your state legislators and implore them to take action against dangerous gun ownership.
We should pause and think about the victims and their families, and do everything we can to support them. But don’t let them die in vain. Let’s use this moment as one for action to make America better tomorrow.
Image by Marcin Wichary / flickr
Something that comes up again and again in my life is the question of how I have time to do everything I do. I have a lot of thoughts on time management and cutting wasted time, but a big part of it comes down to priorities and jumping in head first.
A lot of people are afraid to make big changes in their lives. I know exactly how that feels. Once upon a time, I seriously considered moving to Israel. I had everything I needed to do it ready to go. I had the money, I had family and friends there, I was single and on the verge of a layoff from an old job. The timing was perfect.
However, I didn’t do it. Everything was just too comfortable at home to risk moving to the other side of the world. My family and close friends were all in Denver. I had a new job prospect, which led to my current job. It was safe and comfortable.
So, I didn’t make the big change. But I have made other changes in my life. I bought a condo, I have traveled internationally alone, I took the jump off of a cliff in Costa Rica. There are many scary things in the world, but if the opportunity is great enough and the risk is low enough, we take the step.
On the other side of the coin, if something is inspiring us more than we are afraid of the change, we are more likely to take a step. Whether it is your career, where you live, traveling, starting a business, or making a lifestyle change, you need to be inspired to do it.
I have had many grand ideas in my life. Some of them, like Narrow Bridge Finance, I started on the whim of an inspired moment. Others, like my new project Pinboard Maps, have taken a lot more planning.
The key to doing these projects is to be inspired either by the idea or the result. If you find the right thing to do in life, you will know it. You will do it. There is just one trick.
Just Do It Already
For many years Nike said “Just Do It” in their advertising. They were on to something. At the end of the day, the only person stopping you from doing awesome things is you.
I once had a conversation with a friend about going on a trip overseas. We were talking about planning it, and she said that there is no way it could happen for at least a few years. I asked why. She didn’t have an answer.
In the time since, I have been to four new countries plus a handful of Caribbean islands. She hasn’t.
If you want to do something amazing, don’t wait for an invitation. Don’t wait for it to feel comfortable. Just take the inspiration you have and do something. It could be an amazing experience. It could change your life.
Image Friar’s Balsam/flickr
I am always excited to knock something off the life list. Last week, I was able to cross something off that, not long ago, seemed years away. In January, I moved my student loan payoff from the five-year bucket into the 2012 bucket. Last week, I made my last payment. Ever.
On Friday I published a long essay outlining how I paid off my student loans in 2 years and 6 days. I thought that was pretty cool.
I am not going to re-invent the wheel, so rather than re-write the post here, I figured I would just share the link to the original. Be sure to head over and check it out.
Image by jollyUK on Flickr