There is no water in hell

Naive Evian

There might not be water in hell, but there sure is a crap load of water here on earth,   326,000,000,000,000,000,000 gallons to be exact. That’s 326 million trillion in case you didn’t know. Seventy percent of mother earth is covered with the stuff, but did you know only one percent of that water is drinkable. Suddenly, the abundance of water doesn’t seem so, well, abundant.

Today is a pretty epic day. It’s Blog Action Day. What is this day I speak of? Blog Action Day is an annual event held every October 15 that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day with the aim of sparking a global discussion and driving collective action. This year’s topic is water.

Did you know there are over a billion people on earth that don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water? That’s freaking crazy if you ask me! Especially when I can go walk in to my bathroom and have an endless supply of potable water. I guess sometimes we forget how good we really have it.

I know I’m guilty of taking long showers and buying bottled water. (In my defense, San Diego tap water does taste like hot garbage so there is no way I’m drinking straight from the source). To try and decrease my environmental foot print, Wife Ninja and I went ahead and bought ourselves a Brita filter for the fridge. The water tastes exponentially better and now we should get off without having to buy bottled water as frequently which in turn saves us money! And for the shower side of things, I’m going to only shower as long as it takes me to get clean, not a second longer. Or even better, I’ll convince Wife Ninja to give me sponge baths!!!

sponge bath

If you are feeling generous, like just a few dollars generous, you can head over to one of my friends’ Charity Water websites and make a small donation. They are trying to raise $5,000 by next week. They already have $3,044 raised which is pretty dang sexylicious if you ask me, but are really hoping to meet their goal. This would be especially sweet because they don’t know I’m posting their water link on the blog. How cool would it be to surprise them with a couple hundred dollars straight from PDITF readers!? And yes, 100% of your donation goes directly to funding water projects in developing nations, this ain’t no charity scam 🙂

If you don’t have the means to donate that’s okay too. At least you are a little more educated and can move forward making positive choices.

What is your preferred method of water consumption? Bottled, tap, purified? Is the water in your city as disgusting as San Diego’s? Why do long/hot showers feel so good, when they are soooo bad? Do you have any random water facts for me?

p.s. Here’s the video about Charity Water….

Update (8:20am): So far we have over $400 raised for my friends’ fund and it’s only 8am! Booya! Let’s keep on blessing them! They will be soooo excited.

When Chuck Norris jumps in water, Chuck Norris doesn’t get wet, the water gets Chuck Norrised.

Lying is the best policy

Let’s face it. We are all liars. We sometimes say things we don’t mean for the sake of saving face. I was always told honesty is the best policy, but I’m afraid that simply isn’t true. Sometimes ya gotta lie. And here are a few situations where I have..

Babies:

Am I the only person in the world that thinks 95% of newborns are gross looking? I mean a squished head, splotchy skin, awkward hair, and random fat deposits don’t come to mind when I think of the word “cute”. But for some reason, we are forced to pretend like our friends babies are. Don’t get me wrong. I have a friend (who reads this blog) whose daughter is legitimately a beautiful baby, but I also have a friend (who doesn’t read this blog) whose child is….how should I put this nicely…weird looking. Would I ever tell them that? Heck no. I may think “Good lord what is that thing”, but out my mouth comes “Ah, she’s so precious.”

People that make dumb choices:

This is a tough one to communicate without sounding like a judgmental jerk face, but I’m gonna do my best. I’m talking about the person that just bought a new car, but two weeks earlier was complaining about how broke they were. Or the person that has $100K in undergrad loans, but decides to get a masters in some random field, only because they don’t want to work, not because they actually want to use their graduate education. These people frustrate, but I am rarely in a position where I can call them out on their stupidity. This old blog post is a perfect example of how I felt obligated to pretend I was excited for a friend that bought a new car, when really I thought she was crazy!

Job Interviews:

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying I walk in to an interview and just make up random skills and life experiences, but I’m not saying I don’t 😉 Seriously though, a job interview is your one chance to sell yourself to your future employer. Is a little withholding of the truth so bad? What about embellishing a tad to make yourself look better than you actually are? Don’t act like you haven’t done it before. I guarantee you have. Take for example the infamous interview question “What’s your biggest weakness?” Did you really tell them it’s that you are quasi-lazy and surf the internet and read PF blogs during the day (Yeah, I’m talking to you). Or did you make up some mumbo jumbo about “Well, my biggest weakness is that I am a guilty of being such a hard worker I sometimes don’t know when to say no.” Well buddy, I ain’t buying it. Welcome to the Liars Club, pull up a chair.

I’m hoping some of you will humble yourselves and share a few areas of your life where you feel like telling a fib every now and again is actually the RIGHT thing to do. Under what circumstances will you lie?

Are you a serial upgrader

So Mom Ninja rocked my socks off two days ago with a freakin’ awesome wedding present. A new TV! She had been tracking them for a while and when she saw a killer deal on a Samsung 46″ LCD TV, marked down over $400, she jumped on it like a fat kid jumps on cake. Next thing I knew, I had a TV in my possession. Go mom ninja!

The new TV was a huge upgrade for me as I went from this piece of junk…

to this glorious conglomeration of awesomness…

Needless to say, I made a serious upgrade in the television department via mom ninja’s generosity. Since this whole wedding/moving process means acquiring a ton of new stuff (i.e waffle maker, food processor, decorations) I can’t help but wonder what things Girl Ninja and/or I will upgrade on a consistent basis. As always, I made a list, and here’s what I came up with.

Cell Phones:

I swear the cell phone companies design these things to break at the two year mark. My iPhone 3G is three months shy of its second birthday, and it seems that each new day brings a slight decline in performance. My “home” button only works if you push it extremely hard, many of my apps take AGES to open, and the battery life is rapidly degrading. I’ve had a cell phone for the last 10 years now, and I don’t think I’ve ever had one for longer than it’s contract. I am a serial cell phone upgrader.

Computers:

Similar to cell phones, my computers  also seem to crap out every few years. I’ve had my Macbook now for almost three years and the CD/DVD drive is completely dead. It makes a horrible clicking sound every time I open the screen, and it’s becoming painfully slow. Computers are exponentially increasing in awesomeness and if your computer is more than a few weeks old, it is already outdated. I’m sure Girl Ninja and I will be buying a new computer every three or so years for as long as we live.

Bedding:

Girl Ninja flew to Seattle yesterday to finish off all the last minute wedding preparations. This means I’m left to fend for myself in San Diego for the next two weeks. On Sunday, we moved all of Girl Ninja’s stuff in to our new place. For now we are planning on using her Full size mattress and frame, but will eventually upgrade to a queen. I’ve slept two nights now in Girl Ninja’s bed (without her), and let me tell you… Homegirl has some incredible bedding. Her sheets are honestly the most comfortable sheets I’ve ever slept in. Now that I know what high quality bedding feels like, it will be a cold day in hell before I ever go back to those crappy 100 thread-count sheets from Big Lots.

Pens:

Anyone that does a lot of writing for work will be able to vouch for me on this one. There is nothing worse than writing with a  spotty pen. I love a pen that bleeds a little as I write. For Christmas, a few years back, Sister Ninja got me a Kross pen. For those that are unfamiliar, Kross is like the Lamborghini of pens. It gracefully glides across my piece of paper with every movement of my hand. A nice pen goes a long way in making my work day more enjoyable.

Sure, there are plenty of other things I will consistently upgrade throughout my life, but these four things are my priority. I can tell you there are definitely some things I plan to rarely upgrade (i.e car, clothes, iPods, sound systems, video game systems, etc).

So, reader, what are some things in your life you “serially” upgrade? On the flippy floppy, what are some things you keep forever?

Murphy Sucks

I hate, hate, hate Murphy. Like seriously hate him. If you don’t know, I’m talking about Murphy’s Law. You know, If something can go wrong, it will. Unfortunately, I experienced this the other day. My bike was stolen. Like straight up jacked. It was the first time I’ve ever had anything taken from me. I feel violated. Dirty. Like I need to take a cold shower.

I bought my GT Avalanche 2.0 (w/ disk breaks) mountain bike my Junior year of college. My relationship with my bike even predates my relationship with Girl Ninja. We’d been through popped tires, bloody knees, and many many miles together. She was a loyal and faithful servant. Always taking me where I needed to go. Here are a few shots of the good times we had…


Sadly, our relationship ended yesterday. I went to take her out for a ride under the gorgeous San Diego sun, but to my dismay, she was gone, and probably never coming back.

I am partially to blame, as I did make a mistake: I didn’t lock her to a bike rack. My condo complex is completely gated and the parking garage, where the bike racks are, is underground and out of view from the street. The bike rack was completely full and  I couldn’t find anything to secure my bike to. So I made, what I thought was a logical decision, and locked my bike to itself. I wrapped it through my back tire, around my chain, and through the frame. I made sure my bike couldn’t be ridden off. I set it up against the wall near the bike rack and thought nothing of it.

This means, some hoodlum (I’ve always wanted to use that word) went to the bike rack. Looked to see if any bikes weren’t attached to it, had to physically pick up my bike (since it couldn’t be ridden), and carry it off. Although having my bike stolen is no fun, I can’t stop thinking about who could have taken it? Was it someone in the complex I live in? Maybe a resident’s visitor? Or did someone jump the fence looking for bikes to heist? Questions I will never know the answer to.

So now I begin Operation Buy a New Bike! I’m not sure if I should go with another mountain bike, or possibly a road bike, or since I live in San Deezy, beach cruisers seem to be the norm. Options, options, options. I’m looking in the $200-$300 price range. I’m excited about getting a new bike, but a little overwhelmed by all of the possibilities. I’ll probably put the purchase on the backburner until I get back from the honeymoon. I’m considering this a lesson learned: TRUST NO ONE.

Has Murphy caused some havoc in your life in recent years?

Ever had anything stolen from you?

Any avid riders have a suggestion on a good $300 used road, mountain, or beach bike?

P.S. If you are the culprit that stole my bike I have a message for you: You smell!

Professional athletes are overpaid

I was riding in the car with a friend a while back when they said something along the lines of “Professional athletes are overpaid.” While I don’t necessarily disagree with that statement (Alex Rodriguez), I can’t share the same sentiment. Yes, they may make more money in one game, than some Americans will make in their entire lives, but can ya really blame ’em?

The odds for Joe Blow becoming a professional athelete are slim…. 22,000 to 1 to be exact. That works out to about a 0.0045% chance. Did you know you have better odds at getting two hole in ones and bowling a perfect 300? You also have a better chance at marrying a millionaire, being murdered (let’s hope that doesn’t happen), being audited by the IRS, or developing hemorrhoids. Basically, becoming  a professional athlete is tough.

I thought this conversation was about athletes salaries, not about how difficult it is to become one?

Oh don’t you worry, it is about salaries. Professional athletes are the best of the best. Can you think of a position where the “best in the business” don’t make a boat load of money? Look at the creators of the fortune 500 largest companies….guess what? All of them are millionaires. As a matter of fact, they make a whole bunch more than even the highest paid athletes. Should we say actors salaries should be capped? How about scientists, computer developers, and real estate developers too?

People get all pissy when they hear Kobe is making $17 million a year, but no one seemed to care when three 20-something guys created YouTube, to later sell it to Google for $1.65 billion. Does Kobe make a lot of money? Heck yea, he does, but what right to I have to restrict his pay?

Ya see, professional athletes get paid what they’re worth. If they make a big salary, they are probably drawing in a large fan base. In virtually all private sector positions, the higher your skill level the higher your pay will also be. Instead of being bitter that A-Rod signed a $250 million contract, go fine tune your skills and move yourself up the corporate ladder.

What do you think peeps? Are professional athletes overpaid? Should there be pay-caps? I totally think limiting players salary, would be anti-capitilism. Do you disagree?

A little extra cash flow never hurts.

I’m stealing this idea from My Pretty Pennies, so I better give her credit. You rock my face off girl!

Screen shot 2009-12-16 at Dec 16, 2009, 12.21.23 AMI’m addicted to making money. There is something about being productive that is rewarding, especially when you get paid for it. When I’m not working, I’m figuring out ways I can do something I enjoy and get paid for it. I’ve been tracking my “extra” income over the course of the last year and thought I would share it with you all.

I have a couple different sources of extra income…

1) Yes, this is still embarrassing, but sometimes Momma Ninja hooks her baby boy up with some cash so he can pay down his student loan. I guess this can’t really be counted as income, since I didn’t do anything to earn it, so we will call this “gift” money instead. This article explains why I am comfortable accepting donations from the bank of Mom and Dad (no people this is not an actual bank). Wanna know how much Mom Ninja has thrown my way? $2,000!!! Holy guacamole. I don’t think I realized I got this much help. I’m totally taking Mom Ninja out for ice cream when I visit over Xmas time. That’s right mom, anything you’d like….as long as it’s less than $5 🙂

2) Interest income. Year to date, I have banked $78 from my online savings account. I pretty much forget this money exists cause it just get’s totaled in with my savings balance. I really wish I was getting a 5% APY, like a couple years ago.

3) Blogging. Boo to the Ya. I wasn’t really planning on monetizing my blog, or at least I wasn’t actively pursuing making blog money. In the 8 months I’ve been around, I’ve managed to bring in $800. That averages out to $100/month. That means you all are totally paying for my gas/water/electricity each month. I need you to keep stopping by so I don’t have to take cold showers and sit in the dark. That would not be fun.

4) Tutoring. I took a huge hit in tutoring income this year. Most of my ‘my kids’ have reached their senior year of high school and are no longer required to take a math class. In 2008, I was tutoring about 8-10 hours a week. I brought home $11,000 in extra income from tutoring last year. 2009 was not so bueno. I definitely can’t complain though because any money is good, and I’m definitely not worth the $40 an hour I charge for Algebra and Geometry. This year I made $5,000 tutoring. It’s the easiest and most fun way to make a quick buck.

All totaled, I supplemented my base salary with about $6,000 of earned income and $2,000 in gift money. 2009 has been good to me and I’m hoping 2010 will be even better. As my tutoring kids get older, I’m beginning to think of new ways to make money. What are some means you all have used to bring home some extra bacon? Do you know how much supplemental income you made in 2009? What’s the easiest way to make some moolah (that doesn’t involve anything illegal)?

A week with some high schoolers

I am incredibly excited. Tomorrow morning I will be waking up at 6:30 am to meet up with some of the most incredible people I have ever met. In previous blog posts, and twitter updates, I have mentioned I am a volunteer Young Life (YL) leader. Young Life is a non-profit christian high school outreach program. It is unlike any other youth group I have experienced. Young Life’s mission statement is simple: Every adolescent will have the opportunity to meet Jesus Christ and follow Him (I understand some Punch Debt readers may not share the same beliefs that I hold and that is fine, to each their own). This week, myself and five other young adults will be taking a bus of 50 rambunctious high school kids to Lost Canyon Young Life camp in Williams, AZ.

I have been heavily involved in YL for eight years now. I started as a participant my junior year of high school and have volunteer lead for both high school and middle school groups ever since. When outsiders think of San Diego, they often envision beaches, fast cars, and big houses. In reality, only a small percentage of San Diego residents live this life style. I lead YL at a high school in which over half the student body is bussed in from all across the county (basiclly meaning 50% of the student body should be attending a different high school). Why are they bussed in? Because the high school near these kids’ homes are too dangerous for them to attend. These kids literally wake up every morning at 5 am to take a one hour bus ride across the city so they can get a decent education. I have been leading at this school for two years now and have gotten to know the kids pretty well.

Spending time with high schoolers serves as a humble reminder how good we (meaning most people reading this) really have it. We may worry about our overwhelming debt, or how we are going to make the next mortgage payment, but few have dealt with the issues these high school kids face every day.

One of my favorite students, Yonis (pronounced Yo-niss), has one of the most incredible stories ever. He was born and raised in Africa. As most know, Africa is not the best place to be right now. Tribal warfare and child abduction is rampant. At 8 years old, Yonis witnessed the murder of his parents and siblings. I need not go in to further detail, but understand, Yonis has faced something none of us probably will. He now resides with his aunt, uncle and 8 cousins, in a small three bedroom house. Yonis is coming to camp with us. Yonis is going to have the best week of his life.

This week at camp 50 kids have the opportunity to take a vacation from their broken families and abusive parents. They will experience seven days of love, excitement, and good ole fashion crazy fun. I am excited to spend the next week of my life with some of the most inspiring individuals I will ever meet. Does this article have anything to do with personal finance? No, but I hope it reminds us to be thankful for what we have (no matter how crappy things may seem) as well as our responsibility to help those in need.

I encourage you to check out the clip below. It is a short video about the camp resort these high schoolers will be attending this week.


*p.s. What’s really cool is these kids would not be able to afford the camp costs, but we had someone donate $30,000 for camp this summer to fill up a bus of kids. It’s stories like this that make me want to be wealthy.*