I love rocks

Rock shops are so cool.

Our family spent around an hour in this one store alone. Of course they’re all terrifically expensive, but it’s still amazing to look at them…

Velociraptor

While in downtown Breckenridge, we spotted a velociraptor.

Zaque mocked it:

I dared it:

Laralee tamed it:

And Kyra? Well, Kyra just ran from it.

Words to live by

I saw this in a window at a tourist shop in Breck a few weeks ago:

So very, very true.

Art is weird

This is the kind of stuff people look at and say, “Wow, that’s so inspiring! The artist really captured the essence of (insert some random object or emotion).”

But when I look at it, I feel pretty much like Kyra.

Zaque on death

We were sitting around the dinner table last night, talking about death (yeah). I mentioned how I want to be cremated, and Zaque responded with:

When I die, I want to be cremated, and then have my ashes placed gently in a really nice fancy cloth. Then I want someone to roll up that cloth really tightly, shove it into a t-shirt cannon, and fire it directly into the chest of my worst enemy.

Lovebirds

Alex finished his spring semester at BYU, so he’s back home for a few months before heading off for fall semester. Kaitlyn came with him, which was really cool because we can hang out with her for a few days before they head to Kansas City so he can meet her family.

Here are the two lovebirds, sitting together in front of the open door (for a bit of a breeze) while they play some online game with each other.

It’s like they’re made for each other!

Engaged!

Well, it’s official: Alex is engaged. A little over a week ago he proposed to Kaitlyn, and she accepted.

They promptly headed off to Middle-Earth for a photo shoot. Here’s a nice picture of them romping through the Shire, with the Misty Mountains in the background.

I’m really excited for the two of them. Next is the fun part: planning a wedding!

Well, that’s complicated

Every few weeks I get together with a group of friends and we play board games. Between all of us, we have a pretty broad collection of games, varying from silly to strategic to simply epic.

Last night I watched the guys play a relatively new addition called Gloomhaven. The game itself costs over a hundred dollars and comes in an enormous box with hundreds of pieces. It’s a four-person game, and they were already in the middle of a “campaign”, so I didn’t join. But I watched and learned the rules. Much of the game looked like this:

Meaning there were tons of cards and pieces on the table, some confused looks as people read the various cards, and frequent referrals to the thick rulebook.

Yeah, maybe this one is a little too complicated for my tastes. After two hours, they’d almost finished the first of two rooms they were exploring that evening. I headed out to pick up Thom, who’s visiting this week, and wished them the best as they continued to figure out all the craziness.

Weirdest meeting room

I dropped some things off at the Zing office yesterday, and it was the first time I’d been there in a couple of weeks. Since I’d left, the building owners had installed some kind of weird meeting room at the top of the stairwell.

These nice chairs and a little end table are literally in the hallway as you come up the stairs to the second floor. I’m really not sure what the expectation is: are the businesses on that floor supposed to hold meetings there? Should clients wait in the stairwell until their appointment? I just don’t know what to make of it… except that the cost of it is going to be reflected in my HOA fees. Hmm.

RIP computers

I’ve had stacks upon stacks of computer parts in my basement office for years. Every now and then I’d go through and purge the old stuff, but still they filled my closet and shelves. Now that we’re preparing to move, it’s time to get serious.

This morning I filled four big bins with old computers, monitors, and parts that I’ll take for recycling.

It’s funny to see that I still have my old IOMega Zip drive (those things were the bomb back in the day, when all we had was floppy disks to move data between computers). Of course there are stacks of floppy drives, video cards, and I even found an old 14.4k baud modem. Yeah, I’m so glad I’ve saved that for almost 30 years.

I found my very first computer’s motherboard, complete with the original 386 chip running at a screaming 33MHz:

And my first laptop, a sweet Toshiba that weighs about as much as four modern laptops:

This puppy is the one I used to start this blog, way back in 2002. I’d sit on my bed clacking away, writing blog posts. I’d take it on trips and plug in the PCMCIA modem and dial into NetZero to check email in Netscape Mail and browse the web in Navigator. Yep, those were the days.

Now all this stuff is heading off to Best Buy, which is the closest place I could find that recycles computer parts. I wonder if any of them will recognize some of these antiques…

The Bunny Whisperer

Once again we had a baby rabbit fall into our window well. Zaque noticed the little guy while he was mowing, so he rescued him and then sat with him in the family room for a little while.

What’s funny is whenever this happens, the rabbits don’t seem frightened or even skittish. They just sit quietly with Zaque, not attempting to run away or anything. He set this one on his shoulder and watched a TV show for a while, and the rabbit just enjoyed the show. Clearly Zaque has some kind of weird talent at calming little critters.

The Voyager message

I stumbled across this, and thought it was grand. It was included on the Voyager spacecraft as a message to… whoever finds it.

Moving’s expensive

Back in the early part of this millennium, when we moved from Superior to Longmont, we hired a moving company to load and unload all our stuff. It was really nice having a bunch of enormous muscular Tongans hauling all of it while we just directed them to the right rooms. I think it cost us around $1,200, which didn’t seem too bad at the time.

Now, as we contemplate our move to Montana, I’m thinking about doing the same thing. I called a few local moving companies and, after meeting with a few of them so they could inventory our house, I’m sitting here looking at three estimates. The cheap one is for just shy of $5,000. There’s another for $6,000, and a third for almost $7,000. Ouch.

I’m not sure what Laralee and I were hoping to see; that $1,200 move was seventeen years ago and involved about twenty miles between houses. This time we’re hauling everything nearly a thousand miles. But still, those estimates kind of shocked us and we just can’t see the sense in paying that much.

So, I’m jumping over to U-Haul, where I can rent a truck and car trailer (since we can’t drive three vehicles to Montana). It looks like this will cost us around $1,300. Unfortunately no Tongans are included.

Kayaks: step 1

Today I installed the crossbars on the roof of our CR-V:

This is the first step in getting our kayaks for Flathead Lake. Now I’m off to buy some mounts, and I’m working with a friend to buy the actual yaks from a friend. Hopefully it’ll all come together in the next couple of weeks, so we can use them on the water when we travel up there in mid-July!

Wealth and stuff

A while ago I read a thought-provoking article about how wealth isn’t money. Last night I stumbled across a very different article by Naval Ravikant that echoed that sentiment but added to it in ways I found fascinating.

Wealth is the thing that you want. Wealth is assets that earn while you sleep. Wealth is the factory that’s cranking out things. Wealth is the computer program that’s running at night, serving other customers. Wealth is even money in the bank that’s being reinvested into other assets, and into other businesses… The reason you want wealth is because it buys you your freedom. So you don’t have to wear a tie like a collar around your neck. So you don’t have to wake up at 7am and rush to work and sit in traffic. The purpose of wealth is freedom. It’s nothing more than that. It’s not to buy fur coats, or drive Ferraris, or sail yachts, or jet around the world in your Gulfstream. That stuff gets really boring and really stupid, really fast. It’s really so that you are your own sovereign individual.

Money is how we transfer wealth. Money is social credits. It is the ability to have credits and debits of other people’s time. If I do my job right, if I create value for society, society says, “Oh, thank you. We owe you something in the future for the work that you did in the past. Here’s a little IOU. Let’s call that money.”

That definition of wealth, combined with the definition of money, resonates with me. I also like how he goes on to say:

Wealth is not a zero-sum game.  Everybody in the world can have a house. Because you have a house doesn’t take away from my ability to have a house. If anything, the more houses that are built, the easier it becomes to build houses, the more we know about building houses, and the more people that can have houses. Wealth is a very positive sum game. We create things together.

And finally, he compares wealth with status:

Status, on the other hand, is a zero-sum game. It’s a very old game. We’ve been playing it since monkey tribes. It’s hierarchical. Who’s number one? Who’s number two? Who’s number three? And for number three to move to number two, number two has to move out of that slot. So, status is a zero-sum game.

So many people play the status game. “I’m better than you because…” or “I’m better than that entire group because…” And often status is associated (unfairly) with money. As humans it seems like we need a ruler to measure others with, and an easy ruler is how much money everyone has. That’s probably why it’s often a faux pas to talk about salaries or bank account balances or investments in more than broad terms. Any time we pull out that ruler, we either find ourselves lacking (leading to jealousy) or superior (leading to pride). We’re never going to find someone who’s in exactly the same place as us, measured by any social ruler, so that measuring isn’t really constructive.

It’s sad to watch so many so-called “leaders” in the world pull out their rulers, or tell us to pull out ours… it just leads to Bad Things. Instead, let’s play the game of wealth and growth and sharing. Let’s take that positive-sum game and turn it into a mechanism to lift everyone. We can all succeed together.

Life of a workin’ man

Yesterday, Zaque and some co-workers were cleaning bathrooms and had to wear latex gloves. One of them asked, “I wonder if you could stretch this over your head”, and Zaque accepted the challenge.

Yep, that’s my son.