Now, onto the questions.
What’s your story (your elevator pitch, if you will)?
Never really took time to get one of these worked out, as I prefer bumbling through one like a fool. Anyway, here goes:
Lots of people have problems with their finances and their health, and typically do a lot of talking about how bad they want to change either finances or health, or both, but take little action. I’ve tried to point out that these tasks do not need to be seen as separate battles, but you can get in shape and save money by human powering yourself to work and errands, or doing light physical activity with friends (like walking) instead of shopping and spending money. Not only are both of those cheap and good for you, they are great for the earth too! It’s a win-win-win.
Three wins, LOVE it.
What made you decide to start a blog?
I started a blog because I was actually serious about getting out of debt, and I wanted a public tracking system for my progress. I also thought that my take on financial blogging was different from what is out there currently, as I have tried to tie in environmental and health concerns and benefits from the very beginning. I also didn’t have a job at the time, so I had a lot of free time, and figured that blogging could be a way to improve my writing (which I was interested in). Jury’s out on whether or not that happened.
What’s your next project?
Funny you should ask, as I’m right in the middle of two of them. I had a bunch of spare cash sitting around that I wanted to put to work, so I started to look for new income streams. I settled on buying not one (because that would have been easy) but two online shopping sites, each with a partner. One of the websites sells football training equipment. We don’t actually keep any of these products on-hand, rather we are just reselling them on behalf of other stores. This venture was a bit rocky at first, as we were dealing with a very outdated host and had some issues getting our account paid instead of the old owners. Those have been resolved, and we’ve completed a total redesign of the store, and if the month finishes out like we expect, we will cover costs and make a bit of money. The other store (different partner) sells reusable grocery bags, and like the other store, we don’t keep any inventory on hand, just resell things for others. Both of these ventures have been a pretty significant departure from what I was used to (blogging) but I’m excited for the opportunities going forward with each.
Non-internet related, my wife and I are continuing to work on upgrading the house we purchased last year.
The online stores sound like a bunch of fun. How do you get traffic to those sites?
You live in one of the most unpopulated states in our great nation (and one I haven’t visited). Are you from Wyoming? What made you decide to settle down there?
It’s not one of the most unpopulated, it’s the most unpopulated. Coming in just behind Oregon in total area (98,381 versus 97,814 square miles), it’s a very large place with very few people (around 576,412). What we lack in people, we make up for in scenery.
Just inside the state is Devils Tower, Grand Teton National park, and Yellowstone National park (though I’m about as close to these things as Kathleen is to the national antelope refuge) – All amazing places you should visit. I am not actually from Wyoming – I was born in Colorado and have lived in Wyoming since 2007. (I am what’s referred to as a “greenie” which is a derogatory term for Coloradans to Wyomingites, because of Colorado’s old green license plates.) I decided to stay here because I liked the easy access to recreation (hiking, running, camping, fishing, hunting, etc) and I love the mountain west – I really don’t know if I could ever leave the region. Also, Wyoming is where my wife is from, and when we were trying to find places to live and jobs, we knew we wanted to be near family.
What’s the best thing about blogging (other than the obvious “getting to consider Kathleen a friend”)?
The best thing is the connections that you make and the ideas that you’re able to share with others. I really like hearing strategies for saving money from my readers that I would never think of. It’s also nice to connect with other bloggers, share strategies and tips for blogging and saving money.
What’s the hardest thing about blogging?
Blogging (for me anyway) seems to ebb and flow. Some days/weeks I’m full of great ideas, and doing tons of things worth sharing, other days, I feel like anyone who listens to my advice should get their head checked. Mostly though, it’s usually just hard to sit down and find the time. I’ve been blogging for ~4 years (holy cow) and there have been about 2 periods where I’ve taken an extended break from writing, just because I had too many other things going on (for instance, my wedding & buying a house last summer).
Do you blog full time? If not, what do you do during the work day?
I do not blog full time, and I’m not sure that I’d ever want to. I work in the energy sector, on the regulation side of things.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
Well, I can be a bit of both at times. I like being around people that I know pretty well (who doesn’t?) but occasionally find it difficult to be around people that I don’t know that well. It’s gotten better over time and now I’m much more comfortable with people I don’t know that well which is great, because blogging puts you in those situations a lot. If I had to say it, I’m probably more extroverted than not. For the best answer, ask my wife.
Coffee or tea? What do you put in it?
– Neither. I gave up caffeine in 2010, and haven’t looked back. I just drink water in the morning.
What would you have as your last meal? Rules of this game: you’re not sick, and you have a super stomach which will allow you to eat more calories than normal.
Oh, I’m not sure. H and I have had a lot of great meals lately. I think though, that the black pepper fried rice we had in a Tokyo metro station would probably be at the top of the list, as well as a sushi bowl that I ate in Akasaka. I’ve also really enjoyed eating salmon in Alaska. Seems like an odd list, but I swear that black pepper fried rice was soo good. I don’t even really remember what station we were at, but I would totally go back there if I could find it. The sushi bowl was in a real restaurant, that was frequented by guys in suits who went in there, slammed some sake shots and a few pieces of eel and left. I’d probably eat all of those things as my last meal, and thankfully I’ll be able to get some Alaskan salmon this summer!
I love this answer. Who knew that you could have a great meal at a metro station?
Name one thing in real life that drives you crazy.
Not being able to find what I am looking for. Typically it’s my own fault, but it really annoys me when I can’t find what I need.
Name one thing on the internet that drives you crazy.
People who own larger sites that do nothing but push press releases out to their readers. There’s one site that always comes to mind, and I can’t believe that people still go there! All this person does is put a press release on his blog about the latest GMO threat or how one random chemical is the next carcinogenic ring benzene. It really bothers me, and mostly because the press releases aren’t backed up with anything scientific, and are mostly trying to scare people.
You and I read different blogs, my friend.
What’s the best (or “best”) pickup line you’ve ever heard or said?
“I’m not really this tall, I’m just sitting on my wallet.” Is probably the best one that I’ve ever heard. As far as saying them, I never could quite keep a straight face to use them around anyone other than my friends.
BAH! That one is rich. See what I did there?
How did you propose to your wife? What’s that story?
Well, we had been dating for an “eternity” (like 3 years) and I was finally ready to propose. Months earlier, I went and bought a ring and stashed it in a place that I figured she’d never look. After that, I thought about the moment that she would least expect it, and worked backwards from there. I had to have a visiting friend take the ring from my house in Wyoming to his house in Chicago, where I had planned the proposal, which would happen at the end of Fincon11. So, after the conference, we hung out with my friend, he slyly passed me the ring, then he and his now-fiancee leave. I took my wife to all the places that we went to the first time her and I went to Chicago together, right after we started dating. We went to Buckingham fountain, navy pier, then we were supposed to meet our friends for drinks at the Hancock building.
I had prearranged a dinner for us, so we exited on the dinner floor and waited for our table for a few minutes, while she was confused as to what was going on. We ate dinner, and then when the dessert came, they chefs wrote “Will you marry me” on her plate (I had called ahead and arranged it). She was very shocked and accepted (which was nice). The surprises didn’t end there, however. After dinner, We went to “grab a celebratory drink” at a bar nearby, and all of our friends and her sister were there to meet us.
I just love this story. What a sweetheart!
What’s the funniest prank you’ve played on someone?
I really don’t remember anything that good. I got a recently married friend a baby outfit for Christmas once. Other than that, my life is pretty tame. Sorry for such a lame answer.
What are some of your favorite books? Just the ones that come to mind, they don’t have to be the very best books of all time. (Answers contain affiliate links.)
I have been really into stuff about the 2009 downturn lately. I enjoyed Too Big to Fail (read it in one plane ride), The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine and The Greatest Trade Ever. I bounce around quite a bit when it comes to books, so I’d have to say those are just some of the more interesting ones.
Same with movies. What are some of your favorites?
I don’t watch movies that often, but I do like ones with explosions. The social network, hitch and the batman movies.
Who would play you in the movie version of your life?
Adam Brody (from the TV show The OC) because people told me he looks like me.
Wow, I can totally see that!
Have you ever been in a fight? Did you throw the first punch?
Do you have now, or have you ever had, a tattoo? If so, details, please!
Where’s your next vacation?
That would depend on what you call a vacation. I’m going to Vermont in June for the spartan death race, but most consider that nuts, not a vacation. I guess the answer would be Alaska, where my wife and I are headed to in July for our first anniversary.
Please share a joke.
A young boy went up to his father and asked him, “Dad, what is the difference between ‘potentially’ and ‘realistically’?”
The father thought for a moment, then answered, “Go ask your mother if she would sleep with Brad Pitt for a million dollars. Then ask your sister if she would sleep with Brad Pitt for a million dollars, and then, ask your brother if he’d sleep with Brad Pitt for a million dollars. Come back and tell me what you learn from that.”
So the boy went to his mother and asked, “Would you sleep with Brad Pitt for a million dollars?”
The mother replied, “Of course, I would! We could really use that money to fix up the house and send you kids to a great university!”
The boy then went to his sister and asked, “Would you sleep with Brad Pitt for a million dollars?”
The girl replied, “Oh, good heavens! I LOVE Brad Pitt and I would sleep with him in a heartbeat. Are you nuts?”
The boy then went to his brother and asked, “Would you sleep with Brad Pitt for a million dollars?”
“Of course,” the brother replied. “Do you know how much a million bucks would buy?”
The boy pondered the answers for a few days and then went back to his dad. His father asked him, “Did you find out the difference between ‘potentially’ and ‘realistically’?” The boy replied, “Yes, ‘Potentially’, you and I are sitting on three million dollars, but ‘realistically’, we’re living with two hookers and a future congressman.”