So You’ve Got My Card

So you’ve got my card. Why do I have a card? The real question is, why don’t you have a card? I have one because I am an aspiring adventure capitalist, and I have ideas percolating from 7 1/2 years in the military and I want to  share them and execute the best of them. Here is my story.

This was one of the first paved roads at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan in 2011.
This was one of the first paved roads at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan in 2011.

I am a transitioning Marine Corps Officer and pilot of the mighty CH-53E heavy lift helicopter. I joined the Marine Corps after graduating college, and began my service in January 2007. Following initial training and flight school, I was in “the fleet” from May 2010 until May 2014, and deployed with various units to Afghanistan in 2011, on the 31st MEU in 2012, and back to Afghanistan in 2013. During my service, I have had the challenge and privilege of serving with inspiring and intelligent Marines. As I transition out, I feel an implied obligation to live up to the example that many of them set, and to use what I have learned for good.

This day marked seven years in the Marine Corps for me and we tested this bird up.
This day marked seven years in the Marine Corps for me and we tested this bird up.

During 7 1/2 years in the military so far, it has been busy, but there have been many hours in chow halls, K spans, “at the LSA,” on the boat, and–who am I kidding?–at work, to plan, scheme and dream about what we are going to do after. That’s a lot of talk. Now it’s time to walk the walk.

What is the website for then? Once I’m out, in July 2015, I will need a place to define and organize what I am doing. I want to share my ideas, network with people around the world, establish business relationships, sell products, and give friends and acquaintances a way of following my whereabouts, failures, and successes.

Currently the site includes a summary of my only real business venture (695 Riverview Drive) and some posts that are basically just my musings. On the near horizon, I am in the process of investing in a start-up gluten-free bread company organized by a fellow transitioning Marine Officer. It is an exciting opportunity and an endeavor for which two families are moving across the country and risking it all to ensure its success. I look forward to posting about it. I also plan to post a first-year summary of my apartments at 695 Riverview Drive.

Comment on the site, or e-mail me! nate@nathanruffing.com

 

 

Words to Live By

These are my favorite quotes. Some are famous, some are my own, and some are things I’ve heard friends say. Feel free to suggest some more.

Famous:

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.

-A summation of Aristotle’s ideas by Will Durant

If you don’t pay for the product, you are the product.

-Free e-mail, etc. They are selling your information.

If an argument goes more than 5 minutes, both sides are wrong.

-Popularized by Neil deGrasse Tyson

The science of government it is my duty to study, more than all other sciences; the arts of legislation and administration and negotiation ought to take the place of, indeed exclude, in a manner, all other arts. I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.

-John Adams

I believe in almost nobody all the time, but I believe in everybody sometimes.

-Success is situation-dependent. Everybody has their time to shine.

Friends’ Quotes:

You don’t have to explain doing the right thing to me.

-Sergeant Brad Johnson to my brother, at a party during college, when my brother was explaining why he had to leave the party to study. I prefer this variation,

Never explain doing the right thing to anybody. The right thing is self-evident. Let them figure it out.

 

I strive to be a value, not a success.

-Staff Sergeant Brandon Hayes during fitness report debrief. It is a variation of an Albert Einstein quote.

The first one with a power point wins.

-Major “IKE” Rossman to the company grade officers, meaning be the first to come up with a plan and it will become the plan.

Prepare: today is not over until you are ready for tomorrow.
Enjoy your meals. Work to eat. Don’t eat to work.

-A variation of, “Work to live. Don’t live to work.”

My Favorite Things

Oprah and I have a few things in common. For one, we both have favorite things. If you want to see her favorite things, click her picture. If you would rather see my favorite things, read on.

OPR120113_000

Check out the Amazon Affiliate program for an explanation of why I made this post.

If you have never read your e-mails, browsed Facebook, Netflix, or YouTube from your couch, then you are missing out, trust me. With this on my lap, my wireless roller ball mouse in one hand and the King of Beers in the other, I am king of my domain (my domain being my living room).


Borderline sadistic, this product makes you want there to be more flies to kill. For an extra $10, there is also a PRO version for those man-eating horse flies.

This flashlight got me through many aircraft pre-flights in Afghanistan with the white light, then switched colors to green for the flight. Single AA battery, durable metal, bright enough. Must-have flashlight.

Favorite movie, hands down.

Seriously? They sell Snickers bars on Amazon? It is my favorite candy bar, but I actually don’t recommend buying 48 at a time…

Web Design

Do you like this site? Do you want your own website? It’s easy–or it can be if somebody shows you how.

I will show you how to create a simple WordPress website. Post your business information, post your own ideas, have a customized e-mail address associated with your website. It costs less than $15 per year to maintain.

Professional web design companies will charge you hundreds of dollars to design a site for you. For $100, I will sit down with you and take 5 hours (a short day of work) to walk you through the process, and get you started as an independent operator of your own simple site.

Notice I didn’t use any fancy jargon here. Creating a website can be complicated and time consuming. The first step, however, is simple and very worth it. Take that first step!

Contact me, Nate@RR34.us, with any questions, and we can set up a time to get you started!

Financial Tools

I have a monthly budget. This makes my life 1000% easier than people who don’t because I am financially ahead. I want you to be ahead also and your life to be easier. Here is a great spreadsheet:

Cash Flow and Potential Savings v1.2

Change the yellow boxes. Other boxes have formulas. Use this spreadsheet to identify financial changes, challenges, and opportunities with an upcoming life change. Enter your monthly income and expenses for your current situation, then enter the same information for the future and quickly see the changes. Finally, see how much you will save over time with a monthly savings allocation.

The Ultimate Commuter Bike

Bike to work, because driving cars everywhere makes us soft and weak.

This is the Ultimate Commuter Bike. The bike and accessories are tried and true by me for over 1400 miles and counting. Build one with the links in this post.

In order to set yourself up for commuter success, the right accessories are the key. Flat tires, you can’t have them. Theft, it might happen, but it can’t break the bank if it does. The sun is down half the time. You are going to have to ride in the dark.

It is simple and reliable. The bike is a single speed. The single speed chain never comes off and rarely needs adjusted. The bike itself, the Motobecane Fantom Cross Uno costs $399.

The “egg beater” pedal clips are great for beginners. They are designed for mountain biking, making them easy to get in and out of and impervious to dirt.

I have never had a single flat on the tires. The bike pump is portable and effective for keeping those tires hard and ready to ride.

Inexpensive: A simple, lightweight cable that you can wrap around the frame prevents crimes of opportunity, but short of carrying a U-Lock everywhere, theft can happen. $400 for the bike is the least you will pay for a legitimate bike. If it does get stolen–like mine did in 2012–hopefully you’ve gotten a few hundred miles out of it first.

Versatile: the cyclocross bike is good on the road, and still able to go off road when necessary unlike sissy pure road bikes with tiny tires.

Day and night: with the bright rechargeable AA battery powered headlight and AAA battery powered tail light, day and night riding is safe. With the single speed bike, you won’t go too fast for your light at night.

Other items that make your ride more enjoyable on the good days and bearable on the bad are a good pair of gloves. A good bike tool that is light and versatile is useful for on-the-road and at-home repair. Back sweat from a back pack is no fun, a good messenger bag eliminates this and gives you lots of compartments for little items you want for every ride. A water bottle with a removable bottom makes cleaning easy.

None of these accessories will make the ride easy. It will still be cold, dark, wet, and scary on your ride at times. Your success will always depend on your own fortitude, but these will remove any excuses you might have. I personally own and use each of these accessories and each is worth every penny I paid after hundreds of miles. The total accessories I purchased cost about $400.

Biking makes us lean and strong.

Big Money

Consider these numbers to put some current news topics in perspective:

$16.9 trillion = annual US gross domestic product estimate (www.BEA.gov)

$2.7 trillion = total US government annual tax revenue, fiscal year 2013 estimated (http://www.gpo.gov, Fiscal Year 2014, Historical Tables, Table 2.1)

$17.2 trillion = US government national debt (www.treasurydirect.gov)

$3.66 trillion = currency exchange reserves held by the Chinese government as of Oct 2013 (www.blogs.wsj.com)

$3.57 trillion = money supply inflation as of Oct 2013 by the practice of quantitative easing (www.federalreserve.gov with data interpretation help by Wikipedia)

17.2 / 2.7 = 6.4. The US government owes more than 6 times what it brings in annually with taxes. (per my own math)

3.66 / 2.7 = 1.4. the value of China’s foreign exchange reserves are equal to the US government tax revenue for a over year and a quarter.

Check out the links. There is a story behind each of these numbers, but the numbers themselves are generally not disputed.

Produce. Persevere. Own. Succeed. Fail. Care. Do. Learn. Win.