Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Random Thoughts # Whatever

To rehash a valid topic. It is very difficult to substantially change your current spending patterns unless there is some sort of event forcing you to do so. Most folks like what they spend their money on. [Or if you are married at least one partner does; you might think it is fine to ditch the wife's pet cable tv and hobbies and she might think you could cut back on beer and smokes and preps but I digress] It really sucks to stop doing things you like to do and adjust your lifestyle downward so most folks won't do it if they have a choice, heck a lot of folks won't do it if they really don't have a choice.
The thing is that it is much easier to make intentional choices about new money because you are not used to having it. Money that has not been part of your operating budget, be it additional income or a windfall, is a great opportunity to make good choices. We have hit on this before talking about becoming debt free. The short rehashing is that I got promoted and started making significantly (for us anyway) more money. If memory serves me correctly we put about 85% of this new money toward becoming debt free. Between this and what we were paying before we were making adiditional payment of about 200% a month. We did this for right around a year and got it paid off, instead of making minimum payments for two extra years.

I was recently reminded that folks who choose to make stupid decisions, in this case financially, will do so even if their situation is improving. It is really hard to outearn stupid financial choices if you increase your poor decision making when more money comes in.
Awhile I saw a review on Survival blog of Grip Pods. They are a pretty cool piece of gear. Basically it is a forward vertical grip that, if you hit a button on the top, has a bipod that pops out. I have one of these things. Slaps right onto a standard rail. They are pretty darn tough. I have seen a few break but that doesn't mean anything. If you gave every enlisted Infantrymen (Not NCO's, or O's) each a brick and a bowling ball a bunch would get broken and it doesn't mean they are not sturdy objects, just that Infantrymen break things like nobody else. These things aren't beefy enough to use during buddy rushes and whatnot like the bipod on a machine gun, though I have seen those break too. It looks like they cost between $80-100ish. More than about $110ish would definitely be overpaying. If you like to run a strait vertical grip and think a bipod might be handy sometimes it is worth looking into. If they are worth it I would say maybe (didn't pay for mine;). A quick search of the web says vertical foregrips from names I recognized tend to be $50-80ish. Another 20-30 bucks for that foregrip to have a bipod isn't a bad deal really.

Over the past year I have been shocked and saddened by things public officials I grew up trusting have done. In any case the amount of times I have thought "I would do something terrible to that person" have been on the rise. Maybe it is a change in the news cycle or particularly the democratization of information via the web and particularly the drudge report, I don't know. I get that in any bunch there are always a few bad apples. If you have enough bad apples there is always something bad going on. (Example, an Infantry Battalion has somewhere around 700 soldiers, depending on its configuration, of that probably 450-500 are young men between 18 and 23ish. Prime age to drink way too much and do stupid things. On any given weekend at least one will get into a fight, another will use drugs, and another will commit some other crime. Almost always at least one of them will get caught. So saying that a Battalion has a problem because every weekend somebody gets in trouble is while accurate, misleading. Saying that 1 in 700 soldiers got arrested looks very different.] That being said it seems like these sort of events are on the rise.
This saddens me and means I need to relook how different groups may act in various circumstances. It is worth noting that local conditions matter the most. Look at your local laws, culture and recent events. These should tell the tale. I hate to rain on the tin foil hat folks conspiracy theories; however the odds of your local deputy sheriff/ policemen/ dog cater/ zoning inspector/ health department getting into your business are far higher than a SWAT team from a federal alphabet agency taking down the door at 3 am. The importance of living in a place that doesn't suck may not be possible to overrate.
Anyway that is about all I can think




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