All posts by Nathan Ruffing

Nate’s Favorite Things 2017

This is the fourth edition of my attempt to surpass Oprah in her dominance of the favorite things market. It is my most interesting list yet and includes a lot more of my friends. Check them out, support them, and Merry Christmas!

1. Jigisha Patel’s “Positive” T-shirts

Check out the Dot Not Shop with creative T-shirts and other great gear. Comment at the bottom with suggestions for Jigisha. My favorite .not gear that doesn’t exist yet is YourFace.not  What .not shirt do you want to see next?

 2. Libby Harris’ Book Box Club

My friend Graeme’s entrepreneurial daughter started this online book club for teens. It’s based in the UK, so it must be cool and of course they are the English experts. Get your high school age kids into something positive on the vast internet!

3. Katie’s Tru Man Brand

I met Katie of Tru Man Brand appropriately enough during an Ohio State football game. I had already seen her “OH So Good” T-shirts out and about so that makes her Columbus famous at least. Get a cool Ohio T-shirt this year that is designed a little off the beaten path from the usual Buckeye gear. Click here for the Tru Man Brand store.

4. Meet Cbus TV

OK, it isn’t even out yet, but Meet Cbus TV is coming in 2018 and it’s part mine, so of course it’s one of my favorite things. Subscribe, or buy a T-shirt (coming soon), to support our effort to put a camera on the most interesting people in Columbus!

Meeting the most interesting people in Columbus.

5. Simple Kneads Gluten-Free Bread

They just keep growing and growing. Simple Kneads is in Whole Foods and expanding fast to a grocery near you. You can buy online while you wait for their arrival at the grocery.

6. Logitech Bluetooth Headset

If you talk on the phone, this product will change your life. This accessory is an absolute must-have.

  • Wireless
  • Hear conversation in both ears
  • Hands-free
  • Rechargeable with standard USB
  • Quickly switch between computer and phone

7. NutriBullet

High quality and essential for getting a healthy breakfast on the run in those always-short morning hours.

8. What to Watch

There is so much alternative media out there, I decided to select the best-of-the-best to help curb those at-work and late-night “end of the internets” binges. Click here or on the TV and you’ll earn a history degree by accident:

The Challenge

Oprah has around 365 live audience members at her show. I’ll shoot for 365 hits to this page. Help me out and help the small businesses by sharing.

What to Watch Today

Television has gone down the tubes.

Reality TV is the worst… or is it? No. Reality TV is the best, just as long as it is real. I’m talking history, people. I’m talking about current events. I’m talking about people really doing things. In the deluge of content available now, here is the cream of the crop as I see it, to include audiobooks, lectures, and podcasts.

Video and TV

  • TED
  • Extra Credits History. Awesome short history summaries. These can help you decide what you are interested in.
  • Numberphile. All about numbers by mathematicians. (Give it a chance!)
  • More Freedom Foundation by Rob Morris. Political, but connects recent history to current events. Follows a coherent line of thought from video to video unlike mainstream news coverage.
  • YouTube Fulton Sheen. Simple lessons on life from the 1950s.
  • YouTube Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Lectures, Podcasts, Audiobooks

Stuff I Haven’t Seen (Yet)

  • Hardcore History by Dan Carlin. I haven’t listened yet, but I hear it is good. It is free.
  • YouTube Michio Ikaku
  • Comment with more suggestions!

Ventures Update November 2017

695 Riverview Drive

I have been taking my own advice by improving what I have in lieu of buying more. Click here to see renovated apartment B4 available now.

We (my brother and I own this jointly) were contacted again with an offer to purchase. We shared stories with the prospective buyer about how we love our buildings, and turned the offer down.

Real Estate Agent

I went door-to-door in Clintonville and it was actually a very pleasant experience. It helped that there was nice weather and the people were nice, but also because I had something besides real estate to talk about. I was also pitching Meet Cbus TV:

Meet Cbus TV

I teamed up with videographer Matt DeNoble who is graduating from Ohio State this winter. We are going to do promotional videos for small businesses and have larger businesses sponsor them. The small businesses get free exposure. The large businesses get an authentic connection with the small business clientele, and the city of Columbus gets quality content from our own back yard!

www.meetcbus.tv

Park City Holdings

I continue to adjust course on Park City Holdings. There is a huge opportunity. We need to tap it.

Kineomen

Kineomen’s founder has graduated from Duke Business School, so full steam ahead.

Simple Kneads Gluten-Free Bread

Simple Kneads is now available in 5+ Whole Foods stores in the North Carolina research triangle area and growing fast.

www.simplekneads.com

Vino de Coco

I still plan to visit the Philippines. Still.

Other

www.meetohio.tv

www.coldcall.tv

www.youtaxi.tv

Art Gallery

Videos and Marketing

Local internet. Relevant advertising that people want to see, rather than trying to trick people for 5-30 seconds. Informative advertising. People are smart and getting smarter. Attention marketers! Trying to trick us just isn’t working anymore.

 

Hyperinflation … of Stuff

You may have heard of or remember from history class stories of “hyperinflation,” where the value of money drops to zero. Above are the most iconic images of this concept that I can think of. They are from the post-World War 1 German Weimar Republic.

How does this relate to us here today? How does it relate to real estate? Real estate is expensive. Space is at a premium. We have so much stuff that we can hardly fit it all in! In my first year in real estate, this has been one of the most striking surprises. My clients, who are moving, try to sell their things. Beautiful china cabinets and kitchen sets cannot find space on the floor of a consignment shop.

Sellers are happy if somebody can come pick them up and take them away. Working refrigerators on Craigslist have to be dropped to $20 or even free to get rid of them. I sold a nice desk and perfectly good adjustable rolling office chair for $30, but had to let the desk go by itself for $20 and I even delivered it for the buyer.

No space for the chair! I let it go for free so that somebody would come and get it. Consignment shops, re-purpose stores, and Goodwill are jam packed with stuff and there are more re-use stores popping up all the time. “New Uses” in Columbus is the latest one that I know of. There are three locations.

Have you been to the dump lately? It costs anywhere from $10-$50 and they are getting more and more picky about what they take. That’s right. Even the dump is picky about what they take. There are only a few dump locations who will take items with refrigerant (Sims in Delaware has the required equipment) and I have yet to find one that takes old fluorescent bulbs.

What to Do?

Trade in used goods. Use Craigslist. Garage sales have great stuff now. Check out this post here for several good options. Get a deal on the purchase, because you may find that selling actually costs you more money!

The Uninviteds Nate and Gregs Epic Ski Adventure (Not Thad’s Idea)

Holiday Valley snow report

Ski Resorts

  • Stowe: 485 acres, 2,360ft vertical.
  • Snowshoe: 244 acres, 1,500ft vertical. Very difficult drive Greg says.
  • Holiday Valley: 290 acres 750ft vertical.
  • Seven Springs: 285 acres, 750ft vertical.
  • Wisp Mountain: 132 acres, 700ft vertical. Greg and Pat have been. It is an easy drive from the interstate.
  • Peak n Peak: 130 acres, 400ft vertical. Ed, Greg, and Thad have been. Good?
  • Perfect North: 100 acres, 400ft vertical. Rachel’s suggestion. 45 minutes west of Cincinnati.

Check out OnTheSnow snow report app. Pat uses it for snow storm alerts.

Click here for skiing tips from expert.

Property Value Reappraisals

Franklin County and surrounding counties are releasing their property value reappraisals in 2017. This includes Delaware County.

Franklin County

In Franklin County, you can see your new 2017 “Tentative Value” by searching your property on the auditor website. You can reach the property search page by clicking “Useful Links” on the menu on the left of this page. The Tentative Value report for your property gives information about the reappraisal process. If you choose to dispute the value, you can contact the Franklin County Board of Revision. Be sure to arrive with a professional appraisal, and if you own your property through an LLC, you must be represented by a lawyer.

Delaware County

You can search for your Delaware County new appraised value by clicking here.

Delaware County reappraisal information can be found by clicking here.

Straight to the Source

Several stats are most often quoted when talking about the real estate market. Current inventory, months supply of inventory, and median sale price, for example. How can you look these up yourself? You don’t have to be a Realtor® to do so. These stats are available on the Columbus Realtors® website.

http://www.columbusrealtors.com/stats

For example, we have heard that the inventory is low. How low is it exactly? Months supply of inventory is the number of months it would take for the current inventory of homes to sell given the current pace of sales.

  • In June 2017, Franklin County had 1.4 months of supply and Delaware County had 2.3 months of supply.
  • Central Ohio in general in June 2017 had 1.9 months of supply.
  • 6 years ago, in June of 2011, Central Ohio had about 10 months of supply.

Indeed, the inventory is low!

I had to go to the archive to get the 2011 statistic, but all are available at the link above.

America’s Eclipse!

Monday, 21 August 2017 at 1425 Eastern Daylight Time, Centered Near Cerulean, Kentucky

www.eclipse2017.org

Eclipseville, Hopkinsville, KY, home of longest totality and Eclipse Con

You have to see the total eclipse! This guy says it best: http://www.eclipse2017.org/2017/close_enough.htm

Click here for a NASA animation of the eclipse. You’ll see why it is America’s eclipse. It could not be better lined up for us.

Click here for a map with Zulu time. Subtract 4 hours for eastern daylight time. Subtract 5 hours for central daylight time.

How fast is the shadow moving? It depends. Answer

NASA Countdown

NASA Map

The Eclipses You (Might) Remember

10 May 1994. I was finishing 4th grade. I remember going outside with the glasses. The view was pretty good for Ohio. However, this was an annular eclipse only. NOT AS COOL.

30 May 1984: This was an annular eclipse that crossed the southeast US. Maybe some people remember? NOT AS COOL.

7 Mar 1970: This total eclipse moved up the east coast of the US. Partial may have been visible from Ohio. NOT AS COOL.

20 Jul 1963: This total eclipse crossed Canada. NOT AS COOL.

30 Jun 1954: This total eclipse started in the US, then went up over the north pole and ended in Asia. NOT AS COOL.

9 Jul 1945: This total eclipse started near Montana and ended in eastern China. Many Americans had a legitimate pass to not travel to Greenland to see this one. The world was kinda busy during July 1945.

7 Apr 1940: Annular eclipse that crossed Mexico, Texas, and Florida. The Nazis were in power, and Pearl Harbor was attacked 20 months later. Anyone drive south see this one? Comment below.

28 Apr 1930: This total eclipse crossed the US northwest less than a year into the Great Depression.

24 Jan 1925: This total eclipse started in Canada and crossed the northeast US.

8 Jun 1918: This total eclipse ended by crossing the US from Washington to Florida. World War I ended 5 months later. Hopefully you weren’t one of the 50 – 100 million people worldwide dying of the flu pandemic that was raging at the time. There are roughly 28 living Americans who were at least 11 years old that day.

22 Oct 2137 BC: 120 years more ancient to Jesus than Jesus is to us. Apparently visible in China, but an unfortunate surprise to the astronomers of the day.

Upcoming

It looks like we actually have some good ones coming up.

8 Apr 2024: Ohio’s eclipse.

12 Aug 2045: over 6 minutes of totality on this one.

What’s Normal, We’re Not

When I arrived in Germany in December 2008 to backpack for 2 weeks, my first time leaving the country, I was shocked at how un-shocking things were. People were people, living like people. No big deal. I arrived in Afghanistan in January 2011 for a deployment. I remember that of course, but the adjustment there mostly involved the job to do. After a half year there, the real shock was returning home. The colors! The information! Options! What to do?! That returning home shock doesn’t seem to wear off. I have left the country for 6+ months 5 separate times now, to Afghanistan, Japan, and Brazil. Each time I return, I am shocked by how shocking it is to come home.

Over the last year or so, I have spent a lot of time listening to history lectures from the Greeks through today (I recommend The Great Courses, available on Audible, they are awesome). I started with world history for a while, then recently listened to 2 sets of lectures on American history. The shock is the same. We are truly different. Our everyday lives are different. In fact, I would argue that America is more different from every other country than any other 2 countries are from each other. In order, the following are most noticeable:

1. Consumer Culture

Goods are so abundant and cheap that producers systematically create demand with advertisements. The result is bright colors everywhere representing the well-organized system professionally designed to make us want stuff. Our system of advertisement reaches around the globe now, and it stands out everywhere else it appears (McDonald’s, Coke, Viagra).

2. Cars

We each have one. We drive mostly alone. Carpooling is the exception. We park close when we can, pay when we can’t. Cars are our status symbol for which we spend 6 months to 2 years up to a lifetime of income.

3. Strong Institutions and Rule Following

We trust our institutions. From the government to our universities even to our franchises and brands like Coca Cola and McDonald’s. They consistently tax us, educate us, make our favorite treats, always convenient parking, minimum service standards, and a free bathroom when you need it.

We trust institutions over people. We will invest our life savings in a faceless stock in the stock market, but are much more hesitant to invest in a local business whose owner we actually know.

We stop for traffic lights with nobody around. We pay our taxes. Corruption surprises us. The roads are straight, fast, aligned at perfect right angles. We drink alcohol in specific regulated places at specific times. Next time you walk down the sidewalk in Las Vegas and think it’s cool that you can carry a beer with you, remember, that’s the only thing normal about Vegas!

Some of these things seem unrelated, but I don’t think so. We are unique in having a ubiquitous, mostly stable government that is older than the population, and we accept its authority. Most of us arrived since the constitution was adopted in 1789. Name another country in the world whose current government is older than its people. Egypt or China? Mexico? Any South American country? Some theocracy? No, not like us.

4. Sugar as a Food Group

You notice it in the people immediately upon arrival at a US airport.

5. Security

You probably won’t be robbed at a US airport, bus station, or in most public spaces. America has never been invaded. We expect security. We expect our government to counter threats, and it does.

6. Air Conditioning

7. Television

 

For better or worse, our lives are different. We adapt everyday. Adaptation is so ubiquitous we aren’t even aware of it. We are living an experiment from which came many of the greatest improvements in our lives, … but it is an experiment. It has not run its course. The US accounts for just 6.6% of the land area of the world. It has been less than 200 years since the industrial revolution, out of more than 1 million years of human history. As a population, as a culture, we are shocked, adjusting, and changing. We will not live to see the conclusion. The only thing known so far is that we are not normal.

I live in the US, but mostly without the things on that list. It is liberating to at least identify the ways in which we are different, the stressors on our lives. To see people shop as a hobby, drive, follow conventions, sip sugar water, follow years’ worth of TV series, and refrigerate their living space is like stepping into a hyper-modern future world. You might think I’m crazy, but I am here to tell you: we are.

Ventures Update July 2017

695 Riverview Drive

I said I would never live in it. I live in it now. I said I would never manage it myself. I manage it now. So glad. Awesome location, saving money, and making money all at the same time.

Real Estate Agent

What a great deal. I highly recommend becoming an agent. It costs ~$2,000 and a couple evenings a week for 2 months. You learn a ton about something that affects everybody. $2,000 is the commission on a $70,000 house. Worth every penny.

Kineomen

Kineomen has several balls in the air. Each is unique. Success in any single venture would be very good. They are all early stages, but each is going well.

Park City Holdings

Park City Holdings will invest primarily in mortgage instruments, focusing on discounted non-performing mortgages.

Simple Kneads Gluten-Free Bread

Simple Kneads continues to grow into its vision of becoming the national gluten-free brand.

Vino de Coco

I still plan to visit the Philippines.

Other

www.coldcall.tv

www.youtaxi.tv

I started a small art gallery in my apartment:

Videos

I have decided that videos are the way to communicate on the internet. I tried making a “no more writing” rule and only do video. However, videos take time and I have a minimum quality level that I’m willing to put out there. I am hiring a video producer ASAP, starting with a college student at $12 / hour.

Around the World in Columbus

I want to do a video series of interviews with immigrant restaurant owners in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus is often considered the token “boring city,” but we are a melting pot with many interesting stories waiting to be told! I am considering taking a film class to give me the connections required to take on this project.

The Stock Market

I have closed my retirement accounts in favor of actively managing the money and accepting that I will pay taxes.