May 25, 2014


We hoped to hike Kauai this summer.  You peeps offered bountiful advice on volcanoes and topless drives along the coast.  Made me hungry rehashing your huddle around pit-style hog roasts and fresh cuts of yellowfin tuna.

The plan was to fly from Des Moines to California, hang out on the west coast for a couple days, then arc over to Hawaii and fry our pasty Iowa flesh.

Flights between California and Hawaii are running $650+ roundtrip.  More than we want to pay, so we're truncating and looking at only doing California.

A lot of B&P readers ping from the left coast, you're the #2 hit count after Iowa.  400 last month, I figure you'll offer better travel advice than what I can glean from Google:

May 19, 2014

Ear Holes and The Reddit Army on Habanero Sauce

I've got issues.

Often, the best solutions to my problems are offered up by creative entrepreneurs over at  This is where I go to get the scoop on products before they're released to the wild.  Below are a some of my 'starter goodies.

Custom Fit Phones
All brands of earbud headphones I've tried are terrible when trying to bump the beats on a run.  They bounce around and fall out of my ear holes when prancercising.  Cords tangle and my high hats sound like sissies.  

After nearly giving up on trying to listen to TiĆ«sto on my trots, I browsed Kickstarter and found a fix.  Decibullz are a set of custom-molded 'phones for $39, claiming to stay in place on a 10 mile tempo.

Waiting is the hardest part, I forked over the bucks last November, with an expected ship date of March. Kyle is in charge of Decibullz, he raised $112,000 in 30 days.  He kept contributors up-to-date on progress, sharing photos of his trip to the factory in China to help configure molding machines and finalize design tweaks.  I love watching the details of a product growing from idea to production.

May 13, 2014

Why $1,000,000 is Not Nearly Enough (for retirement)

$1,000,000 is Limp

A million bucks will last for about 10 years of retirement.

With inflation, one million dollars in the year 2040 will be worth $400K in today's dollars.  $40K a year for 10 years, then the tank's sucking fumes.

I think most of us will need at least $2.5 million in savings by the time we're riding Rascals.

$2.5 million / 30 years retirement = $83,000 per year ($40K inflation adjusted)

Many of us will croak before 30 years of bingo, and some may get lucky and receive a social security or pension stipend.  Taxes vacuum some out of the coffer.  So the numbers are nebulous.  But better to have leftover $ than run dry when it's time to touch up your blue bouffant.

You've Already Made $1,000,000

Slow Growing Tree
Most people in this country will make more than one million dollars in their lifetime.

If you earn $30K per year, you'll see one million after 33 years of paychecks.
$60K per year, a million after 16 years of bacon.
$100K per year, you'll hit a million in 10 years.

You get the idea.

Totaling up all the money you've ever made is an interesting way of looking at saving and spending.

Crunched the calculator tonight and realized I've already made seven digits.  Been pretty structured with saving and investing.  Plain oats for breakfast every morning and an 8-yr-old filthy flip phone to save a buck is fine by me.

But dang a million in income already, and way less than that in savings...makes me realize I can do better.

May 11, 2014

Smarten my Phone

8-yr-old Staphylococcus Flipper
This is my daily carry, a crusty Samsung flip phone, circa 2006.  Its capability checklist includes:

1)  Sending and receiving phone calls.  
2)  Sometimes it makes random spaceship beeping noises.
3)  That is all.

I'll pause now so you can go ahead and mock and taunt me.
That's it, get it out of your system.

May 5, 2014

Electro' Shades

I've got a small face, roughly the same size as a 12-year-old boy.  So finding sunglasses that fit is a difficult task.  Even small shades look like giant BluBlockers on this delicate mug.  After striking out on finding spectacles that don't make me look like a clown, I downloaded the Glasses app to help.  The idea is the app allows you to "try on" different types of sunglasses to see what they look like, without actually putting your mitts on them.

The app snaps front and side pics of your face, then creates a 3D Terminator-style wireframe, pimples and all:

May 4, 2014


Blew a calf on a 15 mile training run a few weeks ago, so have been taking it easy and resting it back to health.  I'm 37 and the fitness goes down the toilet quickly at this age.  I remember in my 20s when I'd have a sore leg or the start of an injury.  The fix was to simply go to bed, the next morning I'd wake up and my body was back to 100%.

As you age, it's use it or lose it.  Injury comes more easily, and so does body fat.  Here's a pic from a few months ago packing for the Boundary Waters trip:


I didn't realize birds work together to build their nest.  Always figured mom bird did the heavy lifting.

Last spring, I suctioned a GoPro to my soffit to capture a robin weaving her house of sticks, then planting a pair of blue eggs and hatching her chicks:

Simple Soy Citrus Grilled Chicky

Tonight's dinner was easy and delicious, so thought I'd share it in case you'd like to give her a try.   Here's how I whip up citrusy soy chicken on the back deck.