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And Now the Deal is Closed

So things feel a bit surreal right now. I debated whether to make this post, but since I don’t share my blog anywhere anymore, I figure anyone who does read this is a good enough friend that I don’t mind them knowing.

After a painful, stressful, exhausting 4 months of negotiations, I sold an asset of my business for mid-7 figures…an amount of money I never really dreamed I would have. So many times during the process, it seemed it just wasn’t going to happen…but now it’s done, signed, closed, and my bank account is much obliged.

This pretty much puts me in a position most people dream of – relatively young, financially secure forever, and nothing holding me back. Strangely, as much of a blessing as this is, it also presents a lot of challenges. What do I do now? Where do I go? Who do I go with? Should I be thinking about starting a family? Do I buy a zebra just because I can?

I’m not going to complain because this is what I’ve worked toward for 10 years. I’m extremely excited and a little nervous for the future, but reaching this financial landmark is, thus far, the biggest achievement of my life.

Now time to prepare for a new chapter…

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I Just Signed a Life Changing Deal

More details soon, but I just closed a deal that will forever change my life. It has brought me to a financial state I never dreamed possible, and I am forever grateful for it.

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This Dude is Unbelievable

If only I was gay, and he was gay, we’d be gay together.

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I Love It Here

This isn’t meant to be a brag post, but more of a reflection on finding a life that I believe truly fits me.

In Ohio, I live in a fairly large house (3000 square feet, 3 car garage, 4 bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths) in a nice neighborhood. Everything about it, in theory, should make me happy. It’s a good life. But it’s not really the right life for me. Maybe I’m throwing around the word “life” a little too loosely. I should say, the right “situation” for me at this stage of my life.

But where I am now in Spain, it just feels right. There are a couple of things that are challenging – notably, the terrible Internet connection, which makes it very interesting to run a Web business, and the language barrier. With the latter, you can get by with just English, but I do plan on taking Spanish lessons from a 1 on 1 tutor very, very soon. If I was at least remotely fluent in Spanish, it would help so much.

Anyway, now I’m in an 810 square foot apartment and feel so much better. I think my house is just overkill…no one needs that much space. I feel better being in a more “this is my space” type environment where every inch of it is truly me. That may not make sense, but take a step in my house and you’ll understand. Most of it is just empty space and it doesn’t provide a very personal feel at all.

I also get to wake up to the awesome Mediterranean Sea every single day now. It’s beautiful and rain is relatively rare, so there’s tons of sunshine. It just makes a person happier. I (along with most people on Earth) have always dreamed of living on a coast, and now that I am, it’s every bit as great as I thought.

The general feeling here, perhaps just among my friends here but maybe the entire culture, is a lot more relaxed and less focused on careers and sticking to norms. Don’t get me wrong – the people I know here are probably the smartest business people I know, which is what drew me here originally, but they know how to have fun. It’s not a struggle to hang out and get people off of their couches. That, of course, isn’t an insult to anyone back in the U.S., but it is definitely so much harder there than here to get anyone to do anything. I think maybe in the United States, everyone’s so drained from focusing on other things that they don’t have the energy to enjoy themselves. Seems weird, but I know I’ve been that exact way.

All in all, I just wanted to write a post about my general feelings here so far. The plan is to stay at least 4 months, but I’m not sure I’ll ever want to leave. All things become ordinary though, so we’ll see. 🙂

 

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I Can’t Believe I Leave in Two Days

It’s definitely starting to sink in that I’m leaving for Spain for a long, long time. Well, okay, not that long…but a minimum of 4 months. I have a strange nervousness, not about anything in particular, but just because it’s such a big change. I’m very excited to be going, and I think it’s the right move for me in this stage of my life. Of course there are lots of things I’ll miss here:

– some friends/family

– Starbucks, Jimmy Johns, and pretty much all  of the restaurant choices

– my car

– my fast Internet connection

– my 3000 square foot house (which I’m trading in fora  645 square foot apartment)

On the flip side, I’ll be gaining some things too:

– a much more active social life with my friends there

– having pretty much everything in walking distance

– living directly on the sea

– tons of sunshine / the weather

– being a minority nationality is always fun

 

So there are pros and cons to both, but I try not to look at it that way. I try to just look at it like, right now this is what I genuinely want to do. So I should do it. You really do only live once, and I’m not about to just SAY “live life to the fullest” …I want to actually do it.

One thing I hope is that some people here I really like will visit me. It would be a ton of fun, but I know it can be difficult to just leave for a week or two for Europe. If anyone ever wants to though, please let me know…you really only need a plane ticket 🙂

So, it’s time to start this new chapter and enjoy it as much as possible.

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Blogging From Chicago

One of the original reasons I started this blog was to post about any traveling I do. Ever since then, though, I haven’t done a whole lot of traveling so I’ve mostly stuck to blogging about cookie monster and random things that annoy me. But today, I’m pleased to be blogging while in the middle of traveling – yay!

I’m in Chicago. I came here for something very loosely business related but decided to make a mini-vacation out of it. I’ve met about ten new people in the two and a half days I’ve been here, which is probably more people than I met in two and a half years prior. One thing I’ve realized is, most people are likeable. Maybe not as a boyfriend/girlfriend or even a great friend, but as acquaintances you can go out with and have a good time, very few people are naturally disgusting enough that you just can’t have fun with them. At least in civilized circles.

Anyway, the flight from Cleveland to Chicago is the shortest trip ever. By the time we got in the air and the gay flight attendant (all male flight attendants are gay; it’s factual) served me my Vodka Cranberry, the pilot announced we had to stow our crap. So I had literally 3 minutes to down this:

And I was determined to get every ounce of it because it was free.

So when I got off the plane, given I hadn’t eaten yet that day, I was a bit tipsy.  It actually made the airport experience a little easier and more interesting, so I plan to down Vodkas more often.

Nonetheless, I’m not going to blog about every little thing I did, but I met Brian at the airport and we took the dirty, filthy L-Train to the hotel. Later, I met some people from a company interested in working with me to discuss business.

Not much business was discussed:

I promise that everyone is far less goofy in person than they look in this picture. The ginger is Brian, the chick is Tara, the Indian is Sam, and the other dude is Jeremy. They were all really nice, cool people…we had a great night. Oh, and I didn’t pay for anything…their company did. WOOT.

The next day, we met someone I’ve known online for over 5 years, even negotiated a high 6 figure deal with him and the company he works for…yet had never met once. Thank you, Internet, for being awesome and impersonal at the same time. This is the only picture I got of him (and Brian on the left).

Very cool guy…a much more family-oriented guy than the rest of us, which was actually cool (more on that later).

Then we ate deep dish pizza, which was clearly a MUST for Chicago. Not doing it would be like going to Paris and ignoring the Eiffel Tower, or going to Vietnam and refusing to check out the incredible sweatshops.

Needless to say, it was incredibly delicious. In the past couple of weeks, I’ve found a new appreciation for pizza. It’s something I rarely have, but when I do, I can’t figure out why I don’t have it more. I am 25% Italian after all….because that totally matters when it comes to eating pizza.

Later that night, a bunch of us went out. Brian and I sought after females and had a combined success rate of 0%, which is a step up fro….oh wait, no it isn’t. I did, however, buy someone a drink. A muscle-bound black man with an Asian girlfriend who spotted my driver’s license on the floor and  I didn’t realize it. He was cool. I’ll consider meeting him a victory for the night in the least gay way possible.

Although, I must say I partook in probably the most unique, borderline insane event of my life afterwards. For many reasons, I won’t go into detail, but if you’re someone cool enough to be reading this post without me prompting you to read it, you’re probably cool enough for me to just tell you the story personally. 🙂

So today, my last day here, I tried Potbelly’s because you really can’t in Ohio as far as I know. It was good, but fairly normal for a sandwich shop.

Okay, this post is starting to make me hungry. But I can’t stop here without sharing my latest meal as well.

That pizza could best be described by saying it’s indescribable. No words have been invented yet to accurately depict how tasty it was. Oh, and banana bread and fruit for the win, too.

All in all, this was a great little trip to take before I move to Spain in 10 days (holy crap). Met some cool people, it’s a very easy flight, and Chicago is always always always fun. I also had some pretty in-depth discussions about things I think about a lot: whether everything is meaningless, love/relationships, and fate/destiny. It’s very interesting because I went down a very jaded path in recent years, and I am starting to really hate it. There are certain truths and realities I will never have the answers to, but that shouldn’t stop me from finding meaning and experiencing the kind of things that seem to make people really happy: having a family, possibly kids, etc. Not to say I’m ready by any means for that right now.

I have a fairy tale-like vision of what would be the perfect life and the perfect situation. I’m sure everyone does. But I feel like it’s right there in reach with the right outlook and the right attitude…and maybe a little luck. Looking at everything in a completely rational, realistic way is good for a lot of reasons, but it also takes the humanness out of you. It takes the emotion and the feelings that come with it away. So I had some interesting conversations and possibly the start of some mental reshaping. I guess we will see.

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Traits of TV Characters I Admire – Regardless of How Impossible They Are

We’re all drawn to certain characters in various TV shows and movies. It’s the entire reason that we pay to watch it. But some characters are so unquestionably awesome that part of you wants to ignore everything realistic and legal, so you can be just like them. Nevermind that it wouldn’t work in real life – I want to diagnose a shapeshifter through interrogation and then kill him while making jokes.

Maybe you’ll understand that line after reading below. Here are the traits of TV characters I admire the most.

1. Dexter’s Code

Feeding your evil by eliminating evil. Paradoxical awesomeness.

 

Every man (and presumably woman) needs a code. Usually, it’s relatively normal. We try our best not to bang the neighbor’s wife or steal from the offering plate. We all, in a sense, strive to be decent people. But how cool would it be to have a black and white, set-in-stone code that you’re completely sure of? No debating based on the situation. You simply refer back to the code, which makes the decision for you.

Dexter’s code, which for those of you who don’t watch the show, basically satisfies his urge to kill by killing other killers. Remedying your own evil by extinguishing other evil. This somewhat paradoxical concept is strangely admirable. What if we can all counter our own shortcomings in the same way? I think many people already try. Church pastors tend to preach the most about their biggest “sin” and oftentimes the people with the strongest urge to cheat on their spouses are the ones who judge those who do the most.

Pay attention to that. It never seems to fail.

2. Walt’s Ruthlessness

Fearlessness, unstoppability, and a shaved head. The trifecta.

 

Breaking Bad is a combination of so many awesome things that there just isn’t a word for it. It takes misfortune, business, survival, danger and family, puts it in a blender, and gives us one of the best TV shows ever. And one of the best characters: Walter …or Mr. White.

I’m drawn to Walt for a couple of reasons. One is his business ruthlessness. Though on a dramatic and violent level, the way he takes what he wants and doesn’t ask “is it possible?” but rather says “make it happen” can be applied to actual business. You know, the legal kind. The other is his willingness to do whatever it takes to make his family secure. Granted, he has gone insane at this point, but somewhere within him is the family man that every guy can admire. Someone who puts his family 100% first. Before the law. Before everything. I think it’s commendable. Plus, his shaved head and underwear are awesome.

3. Chandler’s Sense of Humor

By now, I'm sure Monica's psychosis has stolen his sense of humor.

 

The perfect mixture of dorkiness, wittiness, and inappropriateness somehow makes Chandler Bing the funniest character on TV. Well, formerly on TV. His innocent yet hilarious humor is great. There’s not really any “cheap” humor in Friends, just resorting to talking about nutsacks or Charlie Sheen for a quick laugh (kinda like I just attempted).

The only other thing I can say about him is, he deserves way better than Monica. She’s the best example of a TV show character that would be the worst person EVER in real life.

4. Sam’s Shifting Ability

I would shift into cookie monster at least once.

 

This post has to include some kind of supernatural trait. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be complete. Sam Merlotte (of True Blood) can shift into any animal at pretty much anytime. Do I really have to explain why that would be awesome? Okay, I will.

I’d shift into a giraffe and make fun of short people.

I’d shift into a cockroach and see how much it hurts to be insulted so much.

I’d shift into a fly in a girl’s locker room because I’m perverted and a shapeshifter, so why not?

I’d shift into a dog and see what it’s like to always be happy.

The possibilities are endless. Thus, I love this trait.

5. House’s Reasoning and Rationality

It could be lupus.

 

Emotion holds us back in so many ways. Of course, without it, we are essentially robots with complex computer brains. But to be able to separate emotion and rationality is a trait I would love to have. It’s emotion that fogs our judgement and pretty much always leads to the bad decisions we make, so being able to see through that fog would help in so many ways. House seems to be able to do that, no matter how much it could hurt himself or someone else. I guess that’s the collateral damage.

Additionally, his ability to reason and problem solve is awesome. Deductive reasoning and naturally being able to solve complex situations….seeing things in a way no one else can…gives you an edge in just about everything in life. Of course if you’re hooked on Vicodin, that tends to offset the benefits of this trait.

6. Jack Bauer’s Bona Fide Bad Assery

Legend has it, he once tortured his daughter over a missing fork.

 

When I want information at the post office, I want to grab them by the shirt and ask, “WHO ARE YOU WORKING FOR?!”  I may feel foolish when they inform me “the United States government” and I had no reason to do that just over buying a booklet of stamps, but you have to admit it would feel good. Jack doesn’t mess around. He gets answers. In a world where people are so hesitant and so afraid to do anything, his trait would be appealing.

He’s also just GOOD. He, too, has a moral code and isn’t about to negotiate with anyone who clearly is outside of it. The next time I get attitude while ordering a Blizzard at DQ, I want to shoot the kid cashier in the kneecap and demand answers. I think I will.

7. Tyrion’s Wit

...though it does get him into some less than desirable situations.

 

While I don’t particularly envy his dwarfism, Tyrion Lannister’s uncanny wit is awesome. He has a sense of confidence along with the ability to insult anyone while still being hilariously clever. Of course, going around insulting people for a laugh isn’t cool, but he seems to only do it to those who genuinely deserve it. So having the ability to make pricks feel stupid with just words? I would take it.

8. Danny Tanner’s Understanding

Aww Michelle, you lost your virginity at age 9? It's okay, honey.

 

Need I say more?

 

Any traits of TV show characters you really like? Do tell. 🙂

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Here I Come, Ibiza!

 

About a month after I arrive in Spain, a group of 18 of us are going to the island of Ibiza right off the coast of Spain. We’ll be taking a ferry over there, and let’s just say I’m extremely excited. It is definitely known as the party capital of the world where basically anything and everything goes. I won’t be partaking in much of the less wholesome activities, but it’s going to be one of the most incredible times of my life.

We’re renting a massive mansion to stay in, and we have insane parties and activities lined up for all 5 days. Can. Not. Wait.

I promised myself when I returned to Europe this time, I would take advantage of it and venture outside of the area that I’ll be living. So this is a great start. Seriously cannot wait.

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So Much Is Changing – But It’s Good

If you told me 15 years ago that I would be moving to Spain some day, I would’ve laughed directly in your face. But here I am, about 5 weeks away from venturing across the pond to start a somewhat new life. I likely won’t be there forever, but it’s a phase that I’m really looking forward to. Living right on the Mediterranean Sea is a great substitute for my teenage dream of living by the Atlantic Ocean some day. Taking in and experiencing the culture of Spain all the while traveling to the surrounding countries is something I cannot wait to do…and I feel very fortunate to be in this situation.

As if such a drastic geographic change wasn’t enough, I also am undergoing some very real relationship changes. The dynamic between me and just about everyone close to me is shifting. Some of it’s for the best and others feel out of my control, but it’s important that I don’t get caught up in it. It’s important to just take things as they come and trust that everything will work out.

My mother isn’t on board with my move to Spain. Which makes sense given her small town preference and lack of experience outside the walls of the United States and normalcy. That is not an insult to her; it’s rather common. I don’t think anyone in my family is exactly on board with it, but some are more supportive than others. And I appreciate those who take the time and care to understand rather than to judge.

My relationship with the female gender is also changing. I won’t go into detail about that, so you’ll just have to trust me.

Even my business is on the brink of the biggest breakthrough and change it has ever seen. I may finally be going from spare-bedroom-business to something much, much bigger. I have always enjoyed working on my own at my own pace, innovating in my own ways, and finding my own success in sometimes the most unlikely of places. It’s the perfect business for someone who hates talking to people in a business capacity and could never be managed by someone most likely less knowledgeable than me. But given this upcoming opportunity, it’s too huge not to pursue. Not only would it economically change my life on a personal level, but it would open up business opportunities I never thought possible.

All of these changes make me nervous but also excited. I feel like for the past several years, I have suffered from a major lack of unpredictability. It’s sometimes nice to NOT know what is going to happen but, at the same time, trust that everything is going to work out for the best. That’s pretty much where I stand now.

 

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Make Your Fair Share or Shut Up

Start rant.

Every year since I’ve been in business (2006), I’ve been subjected to an Ohio tax called the Commercial Activity Tax. It’s a stupid (usually little) tax just to squeeze a few extra bucks out of Ohio businesses. If you don’t pull in at least $150,000 in gross receipts (ie, total revenue, not profit) then you don’t pay anything, but if you earn at least $150,000, you typically have to pay a minimum of $150 per year. Not a huge deal really.

Well, the past two years, my business’ revenue has gone up significantly. That’s a good thing, of course. But I just filed for this Commercial Activity Tax today because when you reach a certain threshold, you have to pay it quarterly instead of annually. My payment due, which is actually for the first two quarters, is $2,500 which means I’ll likely be paying $5,000 to Ohio for this tax instead of $150 simply because I made more money.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s a pretty good problem to have, but it infuriates me to hear economically ignorant people cry about how those who make more money don’t pay their fair share. It has infuriated me since I was in college, making $75 per week. It’s born of jealousy, ignorance, and envy.

Anyway, back to the tax. The $5,000 per year I’ll be paying is not simply scaled. What I mean is, let’s say someone who makes $150,000 pays $150. That’s 1/1000th of their revenue. For the $5,000 I’m going to be paying to be 1/1000th of my revenue, I would have to make $5,000,000 in the year. I can tell you that I won’t be making $5m this year.

So is that a fair enough share for you crybabies who insist on everyone doing better than you in life to pay more so that we all end up as equal as possible? So what if someone spent 10 years in school to be a neurosurgeon while you got stoned and ended up working part time at K-Mart for your entire life. We should all, in your idiotic eyes, end up in roughly the same situation – struggling to get by. Go occupy Wall Street again and pretend that’s going to do anything other than make everyone realize you’re a jobless, homeless bum who would rather complain about the system than find a way to beat it.

And it’s not just the relatively unknown Commercial Activity Tax. Most people are too stupid to even know the current federal income tax bracket, so let me just put it here (just using Single people for simplicity…it’s much more generous to married people):

– Do almost nothing at all and make $0-$8,700, you’re in the 10% bracket

– Make $8701-35,350, you’re in the 15% bracket

– Make 35,351-85,650 and you’re in the 25% bracket (nice 10% jump once you hit a respectable salary…thanks, America)

– Make 85,651-178,650 per year and your bracket is 28%

– Make 178,651-388,350 and you’ll be in the 33% bracket

– Make over 338,351 and you’re in the 35% bracket

I don’t know about you, but I live in a world where 35% is a lot higher than 15%. This puts me in a world where those people making a lot more are not only paying a lot more, but they’re paying a MUCH HIGHER PERCENTAGE. That is the key to all of this that so many complete and utter morons, incapable of processing information in their small deformed mind, fail to see.

So then you may shout, “BUT MITT ROMNEY PAID ONLY 16% IN TAXES LAST YEAR! AND WARREN BUFFET ALWAYS SAYS HE PAYS A LOWER RATE THAN HIS SECRETARY!”

Not to confuse the child brains of the twats who say this, but let me briefly explain how this works. When you are a super rich person like Romney and Buffet, you don’t go to a job and get a paycheck. I know that’s very difficult for someone with a tiny, tiny, tiny brain to comprehend, but hear me out. They have these crazy things called INVESTMENTS. They hold stock in companies, they own companies. INVESTMENTS ARE GOOD THINGS FOR THE COUNTRY. Therefore, people are REWARDED for them by paying something called CAPITAL GAINS TAX. This is completely different from normal income tax that most people pay because, guess what, it’s not normal income! It’s money resulting from dividends and other holdings they have. If Mitt Romney went out and got a job at McDonalds, I can guarantee you he would pay in the 35% tax bracket on those earnings. I can also guarantee you he wouldn’t last 5 minutes there, but that’s beside the point.

So now that you have a very loose and brief understanding of why these individuals are not paying a higher rate (or “less than their secretary”), you can either cry about it and say WAH STILL NOT FAIR! Or you can acknowledge that these individuals are personally responsible for not only paying an astronomically more amount of tax than you over the years, but also responsible for creating jobs and successful businesses that drive this effing economy and allow you to sit around and complain about it out of jealousy.

A country that doesn’t reward capitalists will never thrive, not in an economic aspect anyway.

As someone who has been in every single one of the current tax brackets at some point in his life, I feel like I’m as unbiased and experienced in this as someone can be. I wasn’t born into a rich family, but I’ve never ever been jealous of those people who were. Wealthy people motivate me. I want to travel to Fiji with a boat full of Filipino hookers, buy a Lamborghini just so my Audi R8 has a companion in the garage, and make sure everyone in my family is set forever. That’s what motivates me. Crying that the rich aren’t paying enough makes you a little vagina. An ambition-less crybaby vagina.

I don’t care if this post had no structure and made little sense. My overall point is…stop whining that someone isn’t paying their fair share and MAKE your fair share instead.

And for the record, I used “you” in this entire post without referring to anyone who actually reads this blog. So if you’d like to do a Find/Replace for “you” and change it to Carlton or Seymour, go ahead.

End rant.