Fun Archive

Survey: Please Tell Me Which Cover Sketch You Like Best

I’m getting my book covers redesigned starting with Stormcaller and I wanted to get your feedback on the initial sketches I received from the artist. Please let me know by filling out the survey question below which cover sketch you like best. Thank you!

 

Create your own user feedback survey

Playing with Racetams and Nootropics

DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor nor do I play one on the internet. Use caution. Do your own research.

Racetams and Nootropics

In the past couple years I have dabbled with using various nootropics and have found that the racetams have always had the most profound effect.

From Wikipedia: “Nootropics are  smart drugs and cognitive enhancers—are drugs, supplements, or other substances that improve cognitive function, particularly executive functions, memory, creativity, or motivation.” Racetams are a class of nootropics. Unfortunately, the research is scant, however they do work well.

They’re good. Too good.

One of the principals of life is that there is no free lunch. (Also See: Law 40 of the 48 Laws of Power) It’s my belief that using them long term is probably not the best idea. I believe there is always some sort of biological cost. It’s certainly still fun and interesting to experiment.

I recently bought a sample pack from notropics depot and so far have found Phenylpiracetam to be my favorite. It seems to give me an awesome bump in my ability to focus. It also lends a feeling of lightness that I find hard to describe. Music sounds better and colors seem more vibrant. Some of the benefits purported from racetams are improved memory, better recall, increased learning capacity, and better concentration.

If you want to go down this road, you’ll also want to purchase a milligram scale to determine your doses if you buy powders. I would encourage giving the racetams a shot if you’re interested and feel like your brain needs a little tuning for cognitively demanding tasks.

Precautions: check out this reddit for other considerations and information. 

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Laughter is Medicine

I’ve recently taken to including at least a few breaks during my day to watch things that make me laugh. I’ve found it’s a really awesome and easy way to reduce stress, put you in positive state, and hit the reset button if you’re feeling like you’re in an emotional slump. It’s really amazing how well it works, especially if you intentionally seek things that will make you laugh.

They say people who laugh more live longer. There are some really cool health benefits to laughing too. It improves blood flow, lowers blood sugar, and helps you sleep.

I like youtube videos because they tend to be between 2-5 minutes which is perfect for a quick break. Here are some of my favorite youtube channels to help get you going.

https://www.youtube.com/user/JStuStudios

https://www.youtube.com/user/LAHWF

https://www.youtube.com/user/BigDawsTv

Readers: What do you like to watch when you like to laugh? Please let me know by leaving a comment below.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (SPOILERS)

THIS CONTAINS SPOILERS

THIS CONTAINS SPOILERS

THIS CONTAINS SPOILERS

Now, if you’re still here you have either seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens or you don’t care (if so, who are you and why are you here??) Just kidding, sort of.

The movie was incredible. It was what the prequels should’ve been. In short, the magic is back. BB-8 is friggin adorable, he’s like a dog you just want to hang out and do stuff with. I loved how when people shot, they shot to kill, rather than filling the air with 10,000 lasers. Super cool how Kylo used the force to stop a laser bolt mid-flight then re-directed it to use it as a weapon. Han was a dummy for thinking Kylo Ren wouldn’t kill him. It had some awesome throwbacks and the attention to detail was nothing short of staggering…but there are A LOT of questions.

1: How did Kylo Ren fall to the dark side?

2: Why does his lightsaber have a guard no one else ever thought to make one with a guard? Is his more advanced?

3: Did Han know Rey?

4: It seems like Finn might be able to use the force. Can he?

5: Why did Rey suddenly get to use the force?

6: How did she know she could inject her thoughts into the Stormtrooper’s to control his body to release her restraints?

7: Where did Vader’s helmet come from?

8: Why does Snokes look like Gollum?

9: Does he have the precious?

10: Why did the order build another Death Star with a ridiculous easy to exploit vulnerability?

11: Did Kylo Ren survive the planet’s melt down? I say likely for an antagonist, but how?

12: Maz needs to explain how she got Luke’s saber

13: How was Luke surviving on an island of rocks and moss? Force catching fish perhaps.

14: Speaking of the Force. Instead of Force choking, Force pushing and the like why no Force ball crushes? That would certainly end fights against men in a hurry.

15: Why did R2 suddenly wake?

16: Who’s the old guy who gives the map piece to Poe?

17: What’s the deal with the Stormtrooper wearing shiny plate armor? Does it stop lasers better? Does any Stromtrooper’s armor do anything but look stupid?

18: How is Rey: an expert in the staff, sword, mechanical engineer, and crack shot pilot?

19: So Luke was training Jedi, supposedly. Where the fuck are they all?

20: Are there other Yoda’s er Yoda people things?

A few critiques…

1: Not enough breathing room. I loved the action, but it left little time to recuperate and breathe. That was something I felt the first trilogy did really well. It was too much, too fast. It needed a little work with pacing. It would have been nice to get to know the characters a bit outside of surviving for their lives.

2: Sometimes there was a little bit too much telling vs showing like writers always talk about, but all in all they did a good job of it. There were just a few times where I cringed at the exposition, specifically one with a conversation between Leia and Han Solo.

 

And that’s all I’ve got. Do you have answers? Thoughts? Put ’em in the comments.

Trading Stocks: Basic Technical Analysis

I’m a firm believer in the concept of having multiple streams of income. The idea is that you have multiple streams flowing together which form a river, making up the whole of your income. Each stream is a producer of income. One stream may be a book, another may be a rental property, another a dividend paying stock. If one stream dries up and goes away, you’re not shit out of luck. I learned this concept from the book Multiple Streams of Income by Robert Allen.The above image is a picture from the book, which I highly recommend reading if this interesting to you.

What I’m going to write about today falls into the aggressive pool. I like to trade stocks for fun and the way I mainly do that is through technical analysis. For a longer term view, I tend to use more fundamental analysis for stocks in my IRA/401k.

I learned a lot about this strategy from my friend Gavin Radzick at Thought Process Financial Education http://thoughtprocessfe.com/

Stocks are interesting. Stocks are awesome because sometimes it feels like all your doing is pushing a button and making money sprout to life out of thin air making you feel like a Greek fucking god. There is of course, the opposite side of the coin when you’re losing money, or about to lose money that can make you feel like an idiot, questioning and doubting if you have a clue what you’re doing. Ultimately, there is a lot of personal psychological management that has to be done. This involves assessing your risk tolerance and putting conditions in place that allow you to still go on with your day without obsessing about your portfolio. I suggest you read about position sizing also for risk management.

Technical analysis, to my understanding basically means using charts with overlying indicators to flatten out noise in the data and look for trends or signals that would incite one to take action. Fundamental analysis is looking at the underlying business fundamentals to determine if the co. is a good buy.

So, without further ado if there is a stock that piques my interest this is what I do. First I’ll go to Stockcharts.com (free!) and setup my chart like this:

I put green arrows to indicate where the 12 week exponential moving average (blue line) crosses UP over the 25 week moving average (red line), indicating a change in the trend of the stock’s movement to the upside (bullish indicator). If you want to buy this stock, a good time to do it would be at the point of the green arrows. A time to sell might be when the trend reverses and the 12 weeks EMA (exponential moving average) crosses down again (red arrow)

2015-12-13 10_42_19-CMG - SharpCharts Workbench - StockCharts.com

The most important thing when buying a stock is knowing your timeline for exiting the position. This may be 20 years in the sake of a 401k/IRA, so you may not even worry about technical analysis and just enjoy using DRiPs. In the context I’m discussing here, for a shorter term trade I’m going to use a chandelier exit for determining where my stop loss will be.

I adjusted my stockharts.com settings with the chandelier exit here:

2015-12-13 10_51_38-CMG - SharpCharts Workbench - StockCharts.com

The chandelier exit basically narrows or widens based off of the stock’s volatility. Volatility is a measure of the magnitude of change of a stock over time. I added the chandelier exit line to the chart below, the third green line tracing under the stock. As you can see it widens or narrows based on volatility.

It’s not foolproof and certainly not magic. If you got in say at the first green arrow I drew in May 2014 and got out in July 2015 (red arrow indicating chandelier exit point) you would have made a tidy profit.

However, if you got in at the second green arrow, August 2015 and got out at the next chandelier exit point, November 2015 you would have lost money. So, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

The key points is this: this method is very lumpy. When you’re right, you get a nice big return. When you’re wrong, you cut your losses quickly. It’s sort of like a death by a thousand cuts, but you get saved by really strong healing spell once in a while the boosts you up to level 100, or something…

I know this is a departure from what I normally write. Did you find this useful, interesting? Please let me know in the comments.

R&R (Hiking Mount Lafayette)

I took a day off writing yesterday to go hiking with some friends. It was the first day where I didn’t write a single word since July! (at least that’s when I started tracking my daily word counts). Here are some pictures of the hike, hope you like them.

I’m about 1/3 of the way into Book 5 of The Age of Dawn and got cracking on that again today. It was nice to take a day off, but that’s about all I could allow myself I think.

I just finished reading The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic which was a really awesome book about how our weird psychological biases can be beneficial. If you have any interest in psychology I would highly suggest this read. It includes an interesting discussion on revenge how it’s an innate human trait, even chimps desire it. Something I found fascinating was how it talks about how revenge is something we can sometimes hunger for and go through exorbitant efforts to attain, but often leaves us feeling hollow and awful after achieving it.

 

The lady and I and Charlotte the dog

 

My fearless mountain dog. She got way too cold and went back with my girlfriend to warm up at the hut about 3/4 of the way near the summit.

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The temperature near the bottom was about 40 F and about 0 near the peak

It had snowed the night before and make these awesome ice formations.

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All the effort was worth it for this view

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