Gotta pay those bills

Monday, monday.  Getting the motor started Monday is always a little rough.  I hit the gym, but due to some chest congestion (not sure if it’s allergies or a cold) I did about 15 minutes on the stepper and I was done.  It’s good to know when to not push it too hard and to let your body rest/heal.

Not feeling 100% it takes that much more effort to get going. The best tricks to get yourself in the right direction are to make your bed, take a shower, and get dressed for work even if you have no where to be.  It tells your brain your in work mode and it allows you to start being productive.  I set out to hit some schools and do some mailing.  While I was out and about the emails started piling up and I needed my computer to get some results so back to the office. I targeted the most important emails first and worked backwards.  Since we are towards the end of the sales season and I have been procrastinating taking care of my accounts receivable I decided to focus and start paying invoices.  This is quite a process in an antiquated system so it takes time.  In all I paid about 30 invoices and that brought me dinner time aka quitting time.

What started as a slow, sluggish morning ended as a pretty productive day.

Time for the World to Know

Yesterday was the day for the pregnancy to be known to the social media world.  After mowing the lawn, I analyzed the sun and scoped out the perfect spot for the photo.  Jessica had been looking on pinterest at birth announcement photos.  She showed me the ones she liked and I got prepped to re-create it with our own spin.  She showered and I set the scene.

My Nikon can be connect through my phone, so with the camera on a tripod I can see how the shot it set on my phone screen and snap the shutter.  We took about a dozen or so shots trying to get the right composition.  Finally we had it.

I took the SD card to my lair and got to work finessing the image to make it perfect (or closeness for me to be satisfied).  I sent it to Jessica and let her post it for the world.

The outpouring of “love” was pretty miraculous.  It’s fascinating how many people on a Sunday afternoon checked their Facebook newsfeeds.  Within about 20 to 30 minutes we had amassed about 100 likes and it soon become old news.  At least it’s no longer a secret and it can be shared with everyone.  I can no longer get in trouble for spilling the beans.

If you want to see the announcement photo Click Here

We don’t need no walls

Back to the kitchen renovation.  It was sort of at a stand still as I waited for my father to come assist to remove the load bearing wall.  A. He is an architect so he can ensure it is done properly and structurally.  B. I would need a second set of hands to help out anyways.

It took two trips to Home Depot, 4 car jacks, and all day to remove a 10′ section of wall and put in a supporting beam.  Since we didn’t have all the time in the world we weren’t able to be a tidy as I had been removing the other walls and sheetrock.  At the end of the day there was dust EVERYWHERE.  I spent a good 90 minutes that night just vacuuming and wiping down every surface in the dining room, living room, and kitchen.

In the end, the difference was great.  Seeing it all open was a good motivating kick to keep moving on the project. Onwards and upwards.

I hope that’s not a nose!

Yesterday we had the rescheduled appointment for the first trimester screening.  It’s always exciting to see how the baby has changed week after week.  This was the first time the ultrasound showed some prominent features.  You can now clearly see the outline of the head, the neck and a torso.  The ultrasound tech was also able to show us a foot and a hand.  She told us this will be the last time you will be able to see the entire baby in one shot.  It’s so amazing at how fast they grow and change.  At the end of the scan, she printed us a new picture.  The picture has a highlight on the front of the face that looks like a very large nose.  We started to joke about how it already has my nose. Let’s just say I don’t have a small nose.

Although we don’t know the results of the test, the nuchal translucency measured 1.4mm in thickness which according to my Google search is well within the normal range.  Jessica then had to get a blood draw as a second portion of the test.

Since it was lunch time Jessica and I took the time to sit down for lunch together.  We both got the soup.  She had a tuna wrap and me a salad.  It’s always enjoyable to break up the day spending time with the wife 🙂

Big Data

I listened to a new podcast sponsored by NPR called Hidden Brain.  This episode focused on how big data knows more about human behavior than I think most people realize.

One example (Note: I am not quoting exact statistics because this isn’t a research paper and it really doesn’t matter to prove the point) is when males in the United States 4% will identify as gay.  But when you look at search terms for gay pornography online 8% of males could be identified as gay.  The real interesting fact shows that males living in a state where gay rights are quite progressive, the self report surveys and porn searches for gay porn are about equal.  In states where gay rights are still very limited males will self-report as gay about 2% of the time, but gay porn searches will equal the more standard 8%.

Example two.  Areas of the United States where search terms included racial slurs at higher levels where high predictive of whether they would have supported/voted for Donald Trump for President.

Example three.  People who had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancers had there previous search history reviewed to see if there were things in their searching past that could have lead to early diagnosis.  Compared to a control group with no pancreatic cancers, a person searching for indigestion with pain was much more higher correlation to being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer than the people who search indigestion alone.

I highly suggest you listen to the podcast if this is of any interest because I know I did not do it justice here.  Listen Here

But it was semi important for me to lay some ground work to share my thoughts.  First I don’t think we realize how much data we provide to the companies and apps through our daily interaction with our devices.  I can definitely see now when billions of search terms happen on google it is easy to start seeing trends and to predict future behaviors.  As much as we always think people change over time, one generation usually thinking what the next generation does is ridiculous, but in reality the human brain and basic human behavior has not changed that much.  The medium on which the human expresses themselves on has.  Humans today have the same flight or fight response when they sense an unexpected motion out of the side of their eye as our cavemen ancestors.  The chemistry in the brain has not changed drastically.

Our devices and the internet allow us to search things and discover things in a much more “private” way than in the past.  It is much easier to be racist online by searching for racist jokes, or watching videos that further your current view than to have to public stand in front of friends and family to share your view.  Who really shares with the people closest to them what exactly you search for online.

We are just as the beginning of this mass collection of data and having the ability to use it to analyze human behaviors.  How powerful would it be to have google analyze your search terms on an on going basis to predict future illness, to connect you with long last family members, or to find your perfect romantic match based solely on an aggregate of data being constantly collected and analyzed. We either will be completely run by robot in all aspects or we will have a great shift of human behavior for the first time in our history as we need to adapt to a whole new set of circumstances.  It can be a little nerve racking to think computers will know us better than we know ourselves, but there could also be some great hidden answers that we will uncover.  Let’s see what happens………

Fore!

I had the afternoon free yesterday and my co-worker in the adjacent territory suggested a round of golf.  At first I was apprehensive, what if there was a work emergency needing my attention…….. but then I remember my Semler terminal days.  It would be good to get out and swing the clubs for the first time of the year enjoying the mid-60s sunshine.  The club out by the airport runs a weekday special – $23 for 18 holes with a cart.  Yea $23!  How can you beat that?  The course conditions are alright, but for $23 who can complain.

My front 9 I shot pretty well.  I really need to work on my short game, that’s where I lost it, but in reality I play a few times year and that’s it.  You can’t expect to get that much better without lessons and barely playing.  I’m not a hardcore golf fan, but enjoy playing now and then as it can be therapeutic if I don’t get frustrated playing.

The back 9 was awful.  No consistency in my drive, a terrible short game, terrible putts.  It was hardly worth playing, but we had a good time.

And guess what?  No work emergencies.  A few emails that came across that I addressed that evening at home.  Terminal days are key to life fulfillment.

Mini Golf

My mind is constantly running and that’s half of the problem.  The north end of our town was home to a small driving range “The Golf Academy.”  It sat on a main state highway.  It has a small gravel parking area, a small white stucco/concrete building with two garage doors that had seen better days.  Behind the building was a large field outlined with 30 foot or so high netting.  I never noticed if there were distant marker in the field, but it was wide open and clear to wail away at golf balls.  Rarely would I see anyone out there swinging at balls. At most, I had seen 3 people there are one time.  Sometimes you’d go by and see someone getting a lesson but it was most desolate.

Last fall I noticed the faded sign had been removed and the grass started getting a little taller.  It appeared they had gone out of business.  Instantly I got an idea!  What a perfect place for a family entertainment center.  There was plenty of room outside of the driving range area to put in a mini golf course.  The driving range could still be operable.  Maybe add a portable climbing wall, and/or a bounce house.  The building would be the perfect little open air restaurant to serve burgers and dogs.

Then I really started thinking.  The annual July 4th fireworks were visible from this field.  What a great promotional opportunity to throw a huge 4th of July party.  Bring in a stage, have some live music, fun for the whole family.

So why not pull the trigger??  There is a pretty large initial investment required to build a mini golf course, not to mention renovating the old building to make it comply with health standards to serve food.  Money is money.  There is always a way to find money.  My bigger concern is can I stay motivated to put it all together and then run it.  With such a large investment, there would be a lot on the line.  Can I stay that excited to build it and grow it, 3 years away, 5 years away, 10 years away?  Also from some research I determined the land was most likely leased.  The owner of the land was the local power company so I doubt they would be looking to sell.  With a lease I could be at their mercy should they not renew the lease at some point in the future.  Would they even allow permanent structures, like a mini golf course, be added to the land?

Maybe this would be better when I had some more personal capital to invest rather than rely on loans or investors.  So what idea can I pursue instead to build that capital?  Ask me in an hour, I’ll have a new idea.