Do you have FOBO and FOMO?

When my brother and I were younger I remember my dad jokingly saying to Heath “When you say yes to one woman, what you’re really doing is saying no to millions of others.” It was meant to be funny, and I remember that we both laughed.

Setting all humor aside though commitmentphobia (the fear of commitments) is a really prevalent issue especially in my generation.

Priya Parker did a TED Talk back in 2011 where she defined two problems: one causes us to constantly be on the look out for new, better things to do and the other keeps people from committing. They’re known as:

  • FOMO: the Fear Of Missing Out
  • FOBO: the Fear Of Better Opportunities

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Two YouTube Videos and Passive Income

I’ve been thinking a lot about trying to find alternative forms of passive income. YouTube is an option, but it’s complicated to figure out how much you can make (I’ve heard different websites talk about between $2-5/100 views) because the amount is always changing depending on how many views, subscribers, and likes each video has. It does seem like one of those snowball things though: as you develop a following you’ll start to have people that will (hopefully) like one of your videos enough to watch the others. And of course, because you only have to make the video once the income is passive.

Here are two videos that I did on my last two vacations. Only the first one is currently monetized. Even though I do license the music, YouTube has flagged my video both times. I then have to dispute the copyright infringement claim (guilty until proven innocent) and wait at least 30 days before I can actually have the monetization applied.

I’m certainly not as good of a videographer as I am a photographer (yet), but practice never hurt anybody…except for that hang glider…


Absolute Truth

Today I went home to Holland to celebrate a belated Father’s Day with my Dad and family. My brother and I drove down early and went to the church that we were raised in Central Wesleyan Church. The sermon was delivered by Brad Gray and focused on John 14:2 where Jesus says “In my Father’s house are many mansions…” That was the King James translation. The NIV version says “My Father’s house has many rooms…”.

This difference in translations came from the connotation of “mansion” at the time of the translation; then a mansion merely referred to a dwelling. That discussion pushed us into what was really meant by that statement: the Hebrew “bet av” literally means the house of my father. In those days everyone lived as one large family for up to three generations and it was the father’s responsibility to take care of the family and pay any ransoms necessary to get people back. This leads into Jesus saying: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me” in John 14:6. Essentially Jesus was the eldest son in the family and was sent to pay the ransom to bring everyone back to their Father.

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Authentic Experiences

After a week of work in Orlando, today was a vacation day taking advantage of the already paid for flight. Thursday a friend of mine joined me at the Gaylord Palms and then last night began our weekend in Florida. We decided to go to Universal Studios Islands of Adventure today and the thing that struck me was that so many people were thrilled with their experience there. Don’t get me wrong, I did have fun today, but I was also able to view the experience as if I was a third person observing the day.

Everything that happens at Universal (or theme parks in general) is the product of masterful experience designers. They architect the environment and plan all the little details to create a grand illusion. I do recognize that perception is reality, so if people believe that they’re content with their time there then who am I to argue?

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My Morocco Expedition

A City Built Out Of Concrete

A City Built Out Of Concrete

Thursday 3/6/2014 5pm Western European Time Zone

Misconceptions abound. I’m writing this while sitting in the second class car of the train that’s bound towards Station Voyeux downtown Casablanca. Sure it smells a little bit like cat urine, but then again I did see what appeared to be a stray kitten roaming around just inside la gare.

I honestly did not put a lot of planning into this vacation, but that seems to be a recurring habit that I should probably start breaking, but so far it’s turned out quite well for me.

I’m sure you’ve heard of Groupon? Well is the exact same thing except that it focuses on vacations. The deals vary in terms of how good they actually are, but every once in a while they have a site-wide 25% off coupon. When that happens the Dutchman in me finds it very hard to resist purchasing. Such was the case the day after Christmas…over the past few years, I’ve grown a list of about 10 friends that have said things like “I’d love to start travelling more, let me know the next time you’re going to somewhere cool!” The way that usually works is I send a note to 10 people and get 10 responses back that start “That looks awesome, but (insert excuse about the lack of time, money or both).” This time, though, a friend from college told me “Let’s go!” So we found something that sounded fun (I’ve always wanted to ride a camel), and booked it even though I’ve been running extremely low on funds lately with my most recent renovation project.

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Could We Get Rid of Our Elected Officials?

While I still have some pretty strong political beliefs, I try not to shove my thoughts down other people’s throats like I used to. I’ve been tossing around an idea for a few months now, though, that I think presents a pretty interesting thought exercise.

We have 435 Representatives in the House and 100 Senators in the Senate. These elected officials are ostensibly in Washington to support the interests of their constituents. But this is impossible: they’re more like an individual pixel on a black and white television whis shows a larger picture of our nation. That pixel can only be black or white. Yes or no. Yay or nay.

Back in “the day”, this made sense but what about now? Justin Amash posts every vote that he makes and explains why which is a fantastic step in the march towards transparency.

So here’s the idea: What if we every person had the ability to vote on every issue?

Preposterous! Insane! Asinine! Impossible!

I can hear it now: “There’s no way every person could know enough about every issue to make an informed decision.” And I would counter, “As it stands, members of Congress are often thrown large reams of paper with small print minutes before having to vote and they may only have a chance to take a cursory glance at the proposed bill.”

I would suggest that by concentrating power, we run a higher risk of corruption of power. If House of Cards has taught us anything it’s that Lord Baron’s observation was true: “power tends to corrupt, absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Many people vote based on their most important issue: pro-choice vs. pro-life, gay rights vs. traditional marriage, etc. The lesser of two evils is quite often chosen because let’s face it: there’s never a candidate who has positions on all issues that align perfectly with our own. But if every person can vote on every issue then settling never has to be a necessity again. Of course I don’t believe that every person would vote on every issue. But I do think that interesting central voting authorities would develop to lobby for individual’s to assign their proxy rights to vote on particular things.

Let’s say that you support the NOH8 campaign that has been going around. What if instead of raising money to spread the word, they collected proxies to vote on issues surrounding gay marriage? Focus on the Family would likely collect proxies of traditional Christians to vote not only on issues surrounding gay marriage but also a host of other issues that they care about. I would suggest that a central tenet be that proxies could be reassigned at any time prior to the vote. This breaks voting from its regimented past and transforms it into a very fluid way of expressing our nations desires.

One positive thing I see coming out of this is that we sidestep the issues of concentrated benefits and distributed costs. Farming subsidies still exist because they benefit farmers in large amounts and only cost the average American a few pennies. Any lawmaker that made it his mission to eliminate this pork barrel spending would gain some vehement enemies and those of us that saved a few pennies probably would even think twice about what he did. But since everyone is now voting and elected officials are no longer in office, there are no reelection campaigns to worry about and we instead see a purer form of law.

I’m interested in hearing your thoughts. I’m sure there are many holes in my idea and many things that I haven’t thought about yet. Enjoy the thought experiment!

Ironic Cognitive Dissonance

I don’t mean to nitpick about little foibles, but have you ever noticed how people will say that they don’t mean to be something followed by a sentence that contradicts the statement they just made?

For instance, if someone says “I don’t mean to be rude, but…” you can be rest assured that the next thing out of their mouths is going to be something that’s rude.

It works in many other cases too:

  • I don’t mean to be racist, but…
  • I’m not usually mean, but…
  • I don’t really like gossip, but…
  • I don’t like to cheat, but…
  • You know, I’m not usually this easy to convince…

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Bitcoins and a Human IPO: Interesting Alternative “Investments”

Back on June 20th, 2013 I ordered a 5 GH/s Bitcoin Miner from Butterfly Labs affectionally nick-named the Jalapeño. I also bought a USB cable for it and with shipping, I paid $312.99 for it. I just received it last week making the time between order and delivery eight days shy of six months! Had I gotten it when I paid for it, I probably could’ve made a few thousand dollars…especially if I had held the Bitcoins earned until the recent 10x surge that they went through. Ironically, had I merely bought Bitcoins with my $312.99 and held those, I probably would’ve made more money.


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Fiji: The Real Deal

Wednesday, October 16 2013, 7:17am (or with the IDT, Tuesday Morning)

It is Tuesday Morning….again. Yesterday was Tuesday as well, but that’s what happens when one is cruising over the 180th Meridian. But I’m getting ahead of myself, let me talk about Monday afternoon which was two days ago…even though today is Tuesday 😉

I enjoyed the morning at the beach and did a bit of writing and reading. My flight was at 2:20, and they ask that you be there 90 minutes prior. I arrived about 2 hours before, simply because I didn’t have anything else keeping me at the hostel. Posted fare to the airport was $14 FJD. I tried negotiating to $10, but eventually acquiesced at $12.

My bags were too heavy due to the fact that I insisted on lugging my huge tripod around for some nice shots; my checked luggage was 22kg vs. 15 and my carry on was 12kg vs. 7. I ended up paying $38 FJD for the difference. I grabbed lunch which was chicken curry. It wasn’t the best, but then I’m not a big fan of spicy food AND it was airport food after all. I went through security and into the small, one flight-at-a-time gate. It makes sense because most people depart Nadi via small boats headed to nearby islands. My flight was full except for a few seats and was a small approx. 20 person unpressurized prop plane. The flight was beautiful if not loud, and offered panoramic aerial views of the largest Fijian island Viti Levo. After about an hour we took a stomach churning descent over the even more luscious island of Vanua Levu which is home to Savusavu known as the “hidden paradise of Fiji”. The “airport” here is just a tiny runway with a small gate. I met my driver Junior who told me that it would be about an hour and a half drive to my embarkation point (which was much longer than I was expecting)!

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First Impressions of Fiji

I decided to come to Fiji because Zozi (a site similar to Groupon) had a really great deal on a SCUBA expedition and I LOVE diving. Ever since getting certified and experiencing the weightlessness and amazing underwater environment, I’ve been addicted! But there were limited flights and Tuesday’s were the cheapest, so I decided to come a few days early to check out the main island before heading on the boat. Like usual, I procrastinated and didn’t book my hostel until a few hours before I left. This meant that I didn’t start packing until I was to the point where I had about 15 minutes to throw everything in my suitcase! I grabbed a Lyft and was dropped at SFO a little over an hour before my flight. Even though the ticket counter agent gave me a funny look, I was still able to get through security in plenty of time, and my luggage all arrived safely. While I wouldn’t recommend cutting it so close, it did all work out well for me. I flew from SFO to LAX at which point I had to exit the terminal and head over to their very large international terminal. I went through security again, and was blown away by the amount of high-end, duty-free shops. I had about 3 hours before my flight, so I actually had time to log on to the amazingly-free wifi and book my return trip ticket from SFO to Grand Rapids. That was a bit sad to do, but exciting at the same time.

As I boarded I realized that this was the largest plane that I’ve ever been on! It was a double decker and I got to sit in front on the upper deck. Plus I even got a window seat which had a bunch of additional storage on the right side. The flight took 10 hours and 10 minutes. We got dinner right away and then breakfast about 2 hours before landing. I was able to sleep like a rock, so time passed quite quickly. When I was awake, I was able to chat with this really friendly family that had been taking a holiday in the US.

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