How do we dig our way out of this one?

Treehugger posted a story saying that all is lost, using the sales stats of the Ford F series trucks as an argument…and am admittedly compelling one, as they sell one every 4.5 seconds! It just adds to a similar train of thought in my life lately though..how do we dig ourselves out of this pit we’ve created for ourselves…how do we transition to a sustainable society? The Global Footprint Network attempts to calculate the difference between how much natural resources we use, and how fast nature can replenish that. If you hadn’t figured it out already, that date falls on August 2nd this year, and has been getting worse every year (follow this link for more on that). We’re on a dead-end path here, robbing from future generations so we may live lives of luxury.

So what’s the solution? There’s is insufficient public willpower to effect change, sadly. Change of the magnitude needed will only happen if there is a sizable natural disaster of global proportions…otherwise these days will go down in history as the peak of this civilization and perhaps even of this species. If anyone is left to record this history, that is. This frustrates me…I feel we have the technology and the ability to change the course we’re on…but how to reach people, that’s the challenge…

How to regain a bit of privacy on Facebook

Facebook has been in the news a lot lately, not for what they did directly, but for what they allowed Cambridge Analytica to do…namely, harvest private information of the Facebook friends of people who had opted to take a quiz (and opted to share their info by doing so).  Around fifty million users were affected…and the fine per violation is up to $40,000!  So yeah, it’s kinda a big deal, especially as this data was used for political gain by the Trump campaign, and a good reason why the stock has plummeted (potential trillion dollar fine, not to mention loss of users and trust).

Many people are quitting Facebook as a result, as they’ve realized what a massive amount of data has been compiled on them.  Their likes, travel, interests, their whole life is sometimes documented on Facebook for companies to profit from.  There’s another option though…delete your history.  Facebook is a fun way to keep in touch with friends, but do you really need an archive of what you posted several years ago?

To delete old posts, likes, and other activity, go to the ‘activity log’ of your profile page, then you delete items one by one.  LOL.  I mean yeah, you CAN do it, but if you’re a heavy user, that’s crazy!  Naturally, technology provides us with a better option. 🙂 Install Google Chrome, then install the ‘Social Book Post Manager’ extension.  This will allow you to perform actions on a bulk level…either delete, or hide, based on year/month or even keywords (painful relationship history?  Erase all mention of your ex from your life! 🙂 ).  You can choose how far back to maintain your data…and use FB as a ‘current events’ record instead!

I’ll admit it though…deleting old posts was scary!  The extension does give you a preview of what it’s going to delete, but you’re looking for tiny checkmarks, it’s not a great user interface as the extension has to work with with Facebook provides for this.  Then when you do have a chance to confirm, there was a ‘select all’ option (avoid that and choose ‘confirm’ instead!), and the Facebook UI threw up various confirmation windows that you need to ignore until the extension is done, then hit cancel on those windows that won’t go away.  So, clunky approach…but it DOES give you a tool to regain a bit of privacy on Facebook without abandoning it entirely.

REI dividends are here!

It’s dividend season, yay!  A time when we celebrate(?) how much money we’re spending on *stuff*.  Hopefully though, it’s at least stuff that has facilitated life experiences, which are the real treasure in life!  Last year I picked up a couple new kayaks, and a mountain bike for my kid, so my dividend this year is going towards a better backpacking tent.  I can’t wait for warmer weather!

The Instagramification of photos

Instagramification…ok, so I made that one up.  But…that’s what I want to talk about, making stuff up. My Instagram feed seems full of pictures that seem otherworldly…brilliant, vibrant colors, sureal lighting…if you use Instagram, I think you know what I mean!  I had a traditionalist mentality for a long time, but am now appreciating the beauty and artistic expression that results.

So my pondering these days is focused on…deception?  If I tweak my photos a ton, it’s obvuously unreal and art.  But if I do so only mildly, like the picture here…is that being deceptive?  I think it does a good job of expressing how the scene appeared to me…even if it’s not completely accurate.

btw follow me on Instagram as @espressomatt

Investing in chaotic times

The stock market got a little wonky there for a bit though has settled down…but it provided me with a good reminder to have patience and not panic.  If I had bailed when the market tanked, I’d have missed this latest recovery!  It’s important to not let little blips throw you off.

The best book I’ve read on this subject, by far, is MONEY – Master The Game by Tony Robbins.  As he often says, ‘success leaves clues’…he’s made a living (and a small fortune) by studying the success of others, and compiling that into a concise steps that others can follow to achieve similar results.  In this book, he took that same approach to financial planning, and it’s a great read.  One of the points he makes is that mutual funds are basically garbage…you’re better off just putting your money into an index fund (if you’re investing in stocks).  Warren Buffet recently won a million dollar bet involving exactly that…he bet that a low cost S&P 500 index fund would provide better results than a collection Protégé Partners hedge funds.  He won, with a 7.1% return compared to 2.2% from the funds.  Oh, and note that Buffet donated the winnings to Girls Inc. of Omaha, to help teen girls transitioning out of the foster system.  Anyway, the book is less than $15 at Amazon, it’s a small price to pay for the knowledge contained inside!

Bars for Geeks in the US!

There’s a cool list of 10 must-visit bars for geeks in the US, check out the video here or the list underneath.  As you might expect, many (but not all) offer arcade games!  Time for a road trip!

1 UP Arcade (Lodo & Colfax, CO)
http://www.the-1up.com/
Photo Credit: J.MIMNA Photography
http://jmimna.com/

Little Trouble (Atlanta, GA)
http://www.little-trouble.com/
Photo Credit: Little Trouble

Smuggler’s Cove (San Francisco, CA)
http://www.smugglerscovesf.com/
Photo Credit: Smuggler’s Cove

Emporium (Chicago, IL)
http://emporiumchicago.com/
Photo Credit: Emporium

The Lovecraft Bar (Portland, OR)
http://thelovecraftbar.com/
Photo Credit: The Lovecraft Bar

Eighty-Two (Los Angeles, CA)
http://eightytwo.la/
Photo Credit: Eighty-Two

Donnie Dirk’s Zombie Den (Minneapolis, MN)
http://www.donnydirks.com/
Photo Credit: Zombie Den

42 Lounge (Milwaukee, WI)
https://42lounge.com/
Photo Credit: Bokeh Effect

Safehouse (Milwaukee, WI)
http://www.safe-house.com/
Photo Credit: Safehouse

Ground Kontrol (Portland, OR)
http://groundkontrol.com/
Photo Credit: Ground Kontrol

Review: VivoBarefoot Trail Freak Winterproof

IMG_5450I live in Colorado…when winter comes, I can either hop on a treadmill, or head out into the snow for a run!  Perhaps someday I’ll do a review of my treadmill someday…but the mere thought of that beast sends shivers down my spine…so let’s focus on the joys of trail running in winter in Colorado instead.  If you’re going to have fun doing that…you need the right equipment.  There’s nothing better than running at night when it’s lightly snowing!  Assuming of course you’re staying warm and cozy, and slipping and sliding all over the place.  Again, it all comes down to having the right equipment…and after spending my winter training for an April marathon, I’ve found some equipment that works great for me.  Starting from the bottom up, let’s talk about shoes, and my absolute favorite (for winter), the Trail Freak Winterproof from VivoBarefoot.

They’re very similar to the standard Trail Freaks, but with waterproof construction and a removable insole.  These different materials result in a shoe that’s much smaller than Vivo’s normal sizes – I own several VivoBarefoot shoes (both on and off road shoes), all size 44, and these size 44 Winteproofs were really snug in the toe section (compared to the wide, loose feel in the toes in the others).  After 180 miles in them they’ve loosened up a bit, but they’re still nowhere near as roomy as my Neo Trails.  The liner can be removed (which results in a more normal VivoBarefoot fit, still slightly snug though by comparison), but with just a 3mm sole, I want to keep that in there to insulate my feet from the snow I’m running on.  So, I cope, but consider ordering a size up from normal if you get these.  I wasn’t sure how I’d like the drawstring style laces, and while I found they do loosen up a bit, the shoes themselves never felt loose.

Traction in the snow and ice is phenomenal; they use the same tread and sole design as the proven Neo Trails and Trail Freaks.  Traction won’t be a problem.  Running through puddles and slush is a breeze…water does get in around my ankle, but the rest of the shoe does a good job of keeping the foot dry (the tongue is not a loose piece, its sides are joined to the rest of the shoe like a waterproof hiking boot would be, this undoubtedly helps).  Warmth is likewise never an issue, no matter what socks I wore, my feet were always plenty warm in temperatures as cold as 10F.  The 180 miles on these were not easy miles, either…when conditions were good enough (only patches of snow), I’d use my Neo Trails…I turned to the Winterproofs when it was either snowing or there was significant snow on the ground.  Sometimes that meant running on packed snow, sometimes I was breaking a trail through 6-8″.  Whatever I asked of these shoes, they delivered!

Naturally, all this does come at a price…$160 is the latest advertised price on VivoBarefoot’s website.  However, Vivo is always coming out with new colors for their shoes, sending the old colors to places like LeftLaneSports, so if you shop around, you can find a good deal on them (at the time of this writing, $97 at LeftLaneSports for example).IMG_5454

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