12/11/2010

Free Money

Money-supplyImage via WikipediaI know what your thinking - "money ain't free". I not talking about a handout. What I mean by "free money" is unearned money; obtained through means other than my paycheck. I guess you could call it random passive income. I always seem to get some free money here and there, whether it be a rebate, a class action settlement, or selling something on Craigslist. I wanted to know how much free money I received, so I started tracking it in 2010. I created a Google Docs spreadsheet to do so. The total free money amount for this year is a whopping $1337! About half of that came from a contest I won which had an approximate retail value of $598. I won the Redskins "AAA Ultimate Fan Zone Sweepstakes" for the Sunday night game against the Colts back on October 17. The prize included: 2 suite tickets to the game, 2 passes to the AAA Ultimate Fan Zone pre-game hospitality area & 1 FedEx Field purple parking permit. Although technically not cash, I didn't pay for it out of pocket and is in essence free money so I'm counting it. The second biggest amount was $200 in Southwest Airlines credit we got for a long delay coming home from Louisville, KY for Lebowski Fest a couple years back that I used to purchase my flight to the National Beard and Moustache Championships in June. Rounding out the top three is $101.65 in oil royalties. My wife's family owns a small stake in land leased for obtaining oil in Texas. The smallest amount is $.59 which was another oil royalty. We actually cashed a $.59 check. It probably cost more to drive to the ATM. But every little bit counts.
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Debt Free

First 4 digits of a credit cardImage via Wikipedia(Cross-posted on the Shock Family Circus blog.)


My family is debt free! That's the best holiday present money can buy. We paid off our car two years early in August and I paid off my student loan a few days ago. We pay our credit card each month in full, so we don't have any credit card debt. As one of my friends so eloquently posted on Facebook "Congrats! not owing shit to anyone is a great feeling." It is.


We celebrated by spending money! We are going to an exclusive New Year's Eve party in New York City with my sister Lisa (a.k.a. Aunt Lili) and bro-in-law Steven. My company has an office on the 31st floor of a building in Times Square, eye level with the ball drop! We're going to be all dressed up with an awesome place to go. We also booked a weekend getaway to a quaint riverside inn at historic Smithfield Station for just the two of us. Thank you Living Social Escapes.
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11/10/2010

Forget Frugality

We've been living on one income since we decided to start a family. It's hard to do living in one of the most affluent metropolitan areas of the country, but we're making it paycheck by paycheck. We cut our expenses to the extreme by selling one of our cars, eliminating cable TV and by me working from home full time. We recently paid off the car we still own two years early. I have a work issued Blackberry that I also use as a my personal phone so we pay for only one mobile phone contract. We started budgeting by using the best budgeting software for the money-YNAB, which stands for You Need A Budget. I found out about YNAB from my favorite personal finance blog, Bargaineering. We don't go out to eat or buy anything without a coupon or discount. We subscribe to Groupon and all it's copycat competitors. But you can only do so much cutting back before there's nothing else to cut.
2011 will be the year to "Forget Frugality". I've been looking into ways to make additional income, both passive and active. Passive income requires money but not time. Active income requires time and money, but less of the latter. We don't have a heck of a lot of money to invest in dividend stocks to generate passive income, and I'm not going to dip into our savings to do so. It takes a lot of money to make a lot of passive income, but anything is better than nothing. I don't have the time for a part-time job and they usually aren't worth the trouble for the amount (or lack of) money you make or the time investment.
I stumbled upon the internet marketing website Prosperly.com while researching YNAB's founder and online entrepreneur Jesse Mechem (He and I have something in common. See if you can figure it out by reading his profile ;)). Prosperly is a website flipping blog. The founder, Adam White, is supposedly a successful online entrepreneur and will teach you the 'Prosperly Way'. He offers personal coaching to help you buy and flip your first website. I'm intrigued but nonetheless skeptical.
The YNAB community also introduced to me Ramit Sethi of blog and book I Will Teach You To Be Rich and the "Earn 1K on the Side" course. I participated in a two part webinar hosted by him. He's an in your face/personal guerilla marketing kind of guy that really talks up his Earn 1K course. His hard sell worked. He only opens the course for very short internals at a time so we talked about it and we decided to sign up. It's an expensive course, so I didn't take the decision lightly. I was again intrigued but skeptical. He offers a 3 month money back guarantee, so what did I have to lose? When I went to sign up and pay for the course the website crashed. How's that for a sign? I contacted customer service and they gave me another link to sign up, but I saw the writing on the wall. I Googled both Prosperly and Earn 1K to see if they were scams, but nothing negative came up in the search results. That doesn't mean they aren't scams, it just means that no one has posted anything negative about either program or that both guys are very good at suppressing the negative feedback or they are legitimate. Has anyone ever used either course? I'd love to hear feedback from people I know.
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9/22/2010

Get Unlisted

I've been a privacy advocate for a long time. Admittedly that sounds hypocritical since Google has enough of my personal information to clone me, but I digress. If you want to take control of your personal information, Catalog Choice has a new service for you. On September 27th, they will be unveiling their Unlisting Service. Get all the details at their blog post Get Unlisted. For a $20 donation, their staff will act as your Agent to contact Third Party Marketing companies and Personal Search services and go through the process to opt you out of their systems.  Most of these companies have made the opt-out process complicated so you won’t do it.  But Catalog Choice knows you want to suppress your name from their systems, so like a valet, they do the work for you. I think $20 is not a lot to ask to stop getting junk mail and to go "unlisted". 
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8/21/2010

"Convenience" Fees?

Buying event tickets from anyone other than private buyers is a complete ripoff. But everyone knows this. I bought a ticket to the Redskins first game of the season, a Sunday night game against their hated division rival the Cowboys on September 12, for my brother Chris. He's coming into town to go to the game with the wife and me. It's an annual ritual. Long story short, I was able to purchase a ticket at face value through the teams official Ticketmaster website. But the final transaction price was not the ticket's face value.  You saw this coming. Let me break it down for you. The ticket's face value was $70.40. The team tacked on a whopping $25 FedEx shipping charge! It was the only shipping option. Presumably FedEx's partnership with the Redskins (FedEx owns the stadium's naming rights) is clearly being abused. It's not like the game is tomorrow and I need overnight delivery, the game is three weeks away. They could drop the ticket in the mail and it would get here in plenty of time and for the price of a postage stamp. To add insult to injury, Ticketmaster charged me a $3 "convenience" fee. What the hell is that? On Ticketmaster's FAQ page it states:

[The convenience] fee covers costs that allow Ticketmaster to provide the widest range of available tickets while giving you multiple ways to purchase. Tickets are available in many neighborhoods via local ticket outlet locations, our telephone reservation system and Ticketmaster.com. Tickets can be purchased through at least one distribution channel virtually 24 hours a day. The convenience charge varies by event and is determined by negotiations with arena operators, promoters and others, based on costs for each event.
What a line of crap. In the case of the Redskin's ticket, there was only one venue to purchase the ticket, online. They can shove the convenience fee up their ass. Here's the final breakdown:
Ticket face value = $70.40
FedEx shipping = $25
TM convenience charge = $3
Total Price for 1 Redskins upper level sideline ticket = $98.40
Getting ripped off buying event tickets = EXPECTED!
After all was said and done, I actually got the ticket for a good price. Going rate on StubHub "The Redskin's Official Ticket Reseller" is $200 per ticket. (Don't get me started on StubHub. They are an even bigger ripoff). Trying to buy a Redskins ticket on Craigslist is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. It was worth it. We always have a good time going to football games. 
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8/09/2010

Merging Interests

I've merged my now retired beard blog Hirsute Pogonologist with this blog. The imported posts are merged with the existing posts, sorted by date. I'm still into bearding, but it has run its course as a hobby. Let it grow my bearded brethren!

7/01/2010

The Big Surprise



Originally uploaded by chronic-shock
I promised a big surprise when I got back from the Nats. Well, if you take a gander at the pic, the surprise is obvious. I shaved off the beard. It's bittersweet. I loved the beard and the wife doesn't. Nuff said.

6/16/2010

Beard bingo!

While in Bend, OR for the Nats, I picked up the local paper and saw a new game, Beard bingo!

6/13/2010

From Reno to Bend and back again - June 3-6, 2010

I bookended my trip to the National Beard and Moustache Championships with a scenic roadtrip from Reno to Bend and back again. My tour guide of the Pacific NW was two-time world sideburns champion Toot Joslin. His grandson Carver came along for the ride. See the pics here. CIMG0936 is the last to route pic. CIMG1031 is the first ot the from route pics. On the way back we stopped at Crater Lake National Park and Lava Beds National Monument. All the mountains in this area are volcanic formations. I made a pit stop in Lake Tahoe on my way home from Oregon to see my bro and his girlfriend.

Here's the corresponding route map.
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6/10/2010

A Hair Raising Experience



in costume
Originally uploaded by chronic-shock
Wow. Where do I start? The first ever National Beard and Moustache Championships in Bend, OR was awesome. I had a blast. I meet many new bearded brethren with whom I partied my ass off.  We all felt like rock stars for a weekend. There was so many people taking pictures and lots of press coverage. OregonLive.com was there, Demotix was there, even the Los Angeles Times was there. There are of course YouTube videos. I'm quoted and featured in a video called Bearded In Bend from the local ABC affiliate station KOHD. I even got my picture in the LA Times. My pics of the event are on Flickr and Facebook. Visit the BTUSA website and Facebook for lots more pics and videos of the event. We even went for a Guinness Book of World Records record for the most bearded people in one place. My traveling companion, two time world sideburns champion and one of the coolest dudes I know, Toot Joslin, won the partial beard category. He also held a grooming clinic. Here's the competitions full results. Bearded badass Jack Passion emceed.

The day before the competition was activity day. I choose the Central Oregon Microbrew Pub Tour. Our tour guide, Amanda Gow from Specialized Meetings and Events wrote in an email "I wanted to extend a huge THANK YOU to all of the tour participants for making today's tour the best one I have ever been on."  We were a rowdy bunch. We visited McMenamins Old St. Francis School, Cascade Lakes Brewery and Deschutes Brewery.

The weekend was bookended by my whirlwind tour of the Pacific Northwest, from Reno to Bend and back again!
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6/02/2010

The Nats are here!



Originally uploaded by chronic-shock
I'm heading out to the Nats tomorrow. Fifteen months of not shaving culminates into the biggest bearding event of the year. I'm giddy with anticipation. I'm tingling in my nether regions. I'm competing in the full beard category. Check me out in all my curly, fuzzy glory. I'll post all the pics and videos of the event and my misadventures in Bend, OR here on the beard blog. I'm also making a pit stop on my way home to visit my kid bro in Lake Tahoe. When I get back home, I've got a big surprise for everyone!

5/15/2010

Shuffle Up and Deal

A pair of aces is arguably the best hand to be...Image via Wikipedia
I started really getting into poker and specifically the Texas hold'em variety of the card game back in 2004. I read some books on how to play and improve my game. I hosted a few games at my house, but quickly learned none of my friends knew how to play. I played a couple cash games in casinos in Reno and Atlantic City. I learned very quickly that cash games are very different from tournament style. I didn't play online because I liked the action of a live game and being able to study my opponents. The World Series of Poker tour was all over the TV, but if I wasn't playing I wasn't watching. I guess I could have learned something by watching the pros, but that didn't dawn on me at the time. I joined a poker club that met Sunday nights at a local bar. A poker club is for those who live where gambling is illegal, which is pretty much everywhere in this country. I had fun in the beginning, but being a stickler for the etiquette of the game, I learned very fast that people play very differently when it's free compared to when money is on the line. Playing in a smoky bar with drunk idiots or with people who didn't know how to play or both wore me down pretty fast. What really did it for me was the fight where the word "divorce" was first uttered by my first wife started at a poker club game because some crusty old douchebag was hitting on her. Seriously-no joke. You play the hand you are dealt (pun intended).

I moved on with my life without poker. I still loved poker, I just didn't go out seeking to play. The passion died. Fast forward a few years. I got remarried and started a family. We joined a great Episcopal church. The Young Family Ministries dad's group has a monthly poker game that I got invited to. I won my first two games. That's all it took to get the fire burning again. I was back baby. I was so motivated that I got my own monthly poker game together with a new group of friends who love to play poker as much as I do. Two games a month didn't satiate my hunger. Like a sign from the heavens, I turned on the boob tube one night and what was on? You guessed it-poker. This time i watched intently, hoping to learn a trick or two from the pros. What I did learn is that as skilled as these poker pros are, you still need lots of luck. With lots of playing, studying and luck, I can do what they do. So I took the plunge and started playing online for free. Online poker is a very different beast which is good because it adds another facet to my game.

Last week I played in my first high stakes ($100 buy-in) game. It was a charity game dubbed "Hold'em for the Cure". Half the buy-in was a donation to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the other half went to the prize pool. I was excited. So excited in fact that I was the first one knocked out. On about my fifth or sixth hand I went all in with a full house deuces full of aces. It's hard to beat a boat. But I was beat by a full house sevens full of aces.  He sank my battleship! I then played the role of sore loser as there was no re-buy and you still had to be in the game to purchase the add-on. I stayed for the pizza dinner. After eating and throwing a hissy fit, I quietly left.

So here I am playing and losing lots of poker. I have dreams of becoming a professional poker player. It's my only hobby that if I'm good enough could pay the bills. Like the saying goes "you can't truly know success without failure." Well, I've failed a lot. Hopefully thats a catalyst for my success. Shuffle up and deal.
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5/13/2010

Less Than a Month Until the Nats!

Here's the latest BTUSA news:

Magnificent Specimens
Saturday was the opening of "Magnificent Specimens," Dave Mead's exhibit of photos from the WBMC last year in Alaska.  The exhibit is at the Chelsea Market in New York City.  It will run there through June.  There was a strong BTUSA presence at the opening, including a film crew from LA.   Details on the exhibit here: http://davemead.com/ magnificent/  Check it out if you can!

Springfield Beard and Moustache Contest
Memorial Day Weekend will see the final, final warm-up event for the Nationals -- the Springfield Beard and Moustache Contest.  It's at the Patton Alley Pub on Saturday night, May 29.  Organizer Christy Claybaker has promised a great time for anyone with or without a beard.  Brighton- and Anchorage-vet Devin Cara and Christy's husband Clay, both of whom will be competing in Bend, will serve as judges.  Proceeds go to the Lance Armstrong Foundation.  See http://www.facebook.com/#!/ event.php?eid=115300261835815& ref=mf Which Springfield?  Not the Simpsons' one.  This one is in Missouri, Missouruh to some.

Burke Kenny to Judge
And now, announcing another celebrity judge!  FBSM former world champ (many say he should be the current world champ) Burke Kenny will be on the judges' panel in Bend.  "Beards should judge beards," says Burke.  Also it looks like Burke's band, As the Devil Dances, will have their gig in Bend on Friday night, not Thursday as previously planned.  This will be at the big welcoming party at the Old Stone Church to which everyone is of course invited.

Judge Applicants
We have several applications for others who want to judge.  Go to beardteamusa.org, check them out, and let your opinions be known!
Posters
If you'd like to print out some of the posters for yourself, the full resolution images are available http://beardteamusa.org/nationals/posters-and-logos.

Nametags
Finally, a reminder:  If you want a super-cool Beard Team USA name tag to show off in Bend, you need to Paypal me $5 by this Saturday, May 15 at the latest.  Let me know how you want your name and hometown to read 
Twitter and Facebook
Beard Team USA now has a much more active presence on both Facebook and Twitter.  Be sure to become a fan/follower to keep up on last minute preparations for Bend.  Also be sure to keep the rest of us posted on your own plans.  Twitter.com/beardteamusa and facebook.com/beardteamusa.

See you soon,

Phil Olsen
Founder and self-appointed Captain
Beard Team USA
 

==============================

I'll be in NYC in June visiting my sister and bro-in-law. We're going to see the "Magnificent Specimens" exhibit. With Burke Kenny judging and Jack Passion MCing, two championship beards are not competing in the Nats, opening the floor for some new blood to be crowned champion.  -Shock


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4/30/2010

Carstache™ | Glorious mustaches for cars and trucks

I randomly came across the Carstache™ Car Mustaches website in an email. Here's the Carstache story:

Carstache™ is the global leader in automotive facial hair, delivering the industry’s most luxurious in car mustaches.
We made Carstache™ purely because we think it’s funny and it makes people smile. No other reason. When people see a Carstache™ on the streets they laugh, wave, thumbs-up, fist pump, gun flex, wink wink, kiss kiss, you name it.
Some of you will rock Carstaches on a day to day basis, and for that you are awesome. For most, though, the Carstache™ is a sensational flare piece for events and special occasions like tailgates, birthdays, bachelor parties, Bar Mitzvah’s, Father’s Day, weddings, Halloween, Cinco-de-Mustache, etc… When you drive into a tailgate with a Carstache™ you get free beer, hot dogs, and high fives.
From the Hills of Hollywood to the Plains of Panama to the Alps of Awesometown, let it be known that the Carstache™ has arrived. Your car grille has been naked until now. It’s time to ‘stache up and feel the power!
Carstache™ car mustaches became available for retail purchase on April 12th, 2010. Carstache LLC is located in San Francisco, CA, and each Carstache™ is made right here in the USA.
Awesome is as awesome does…
~ Ethan at Carstache™
They come in classic black, firestache orange, legendary blond, so hot pink and wisdom gray. Check out the pictures that illustrates how cool these things are. If I had a car, I'd definitely get a Carstache.


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4/23/2010

The Trustworthiness of Beards

My friend Euro Rob shared this Trustworthiness of Beards chart:
It's hard to classify me. I have a full beard, which would make me trustworthy. My beard could be considered unkempt a.k.a. "homeless" which puts me in the threatening category. I'm quite hairy and could be considered a werewolf, which is dangerous. I like it that I can't be classified.
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4/21/2010

Here Comes the Judge

BTUSA is soliciting online video applications from beard fans to serve as potential judges at the Nationals.  Of course, judges must be unbiased, demonstrate outstanding moral character, and love facial hair.  Anyone who wants to be a judge can submit a video.  See http://beardteamusa.org/ events/want-to-be-a-judge/  Any nudity should be tasteful.

4/20/2010

4/16/2010

Two More Nats Judges Announced

I bet she waxes her mustache
First it was announced that the man with the world's longest beard would be a judge at the upcoming Beard Team USA National Beard and Moustache Championships. Now two more celebrity judges have been named - CC Barber, Miss Oregon 2009 and Captain Hairy Lewis from Deadliest Catch. I'm not sure what qualifies Miss Barber to be a judge, but when your hot and are awarded for it, who cares? This is turning out to be one hell of an event.
look @ that sweet fu manchu
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4/06/2010

BTUSA News - World's Longest Beard

There are two months to go until the $5000 Beard Team USA National Beard and Moustache Championships in Bend, Oregon!

I have HUGE news.

Have you ever wondered who has the world's longest beard?  According to Guinness, it's Sarwan Singh of Surrey, B.C., Canada.  Now, here is the HUGE news.  Mr. Singh will be a judge at the Nats! Yes, as if the chance to win serious cash were not enough, you now have another reason to come to the Nats.  For all the info you need and to register for this event, please go to beardteamusa.org right now.  Don't forget to sign up for one of the activities on Friday, since they are first-come-first-serve and you don't want to be left out.

Mark your calendar for May 8.  An exhibit of Dave Mead's photographs from the WBMC in Anchorage will be on display at the Chelsea Market in New York City from May 9 to June 30.  The opening is at 9 pm on May 8.  The exhibit features photos of 54 WBMC contestants including a large number from BTUSA.  Learn more here.

If you have any questions, comments, ideas, etc. please reply to me atphil@worldbeardchampionships.com   Also stop by beardteamusa.org and leave some comments.  I want to hear from you!

See you in Bend!

Phil Olsen
Founder and self-apppointed Captain
Beard Team USA 

Beard Team USA Logo

P.O. Box 800, Tahoe City, CA 96145 USA 
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4/05/2010

Two Years of Car Free Living

Today marks two years of living car free. The addition of our son Fletch truly makes us a "one car family". It's working out great for us. We run our errands together on the weekends. We haven't yet had a situation where we both needed the car. I guess we are just excellent schedulers. With Jennifer now a SAHM we've reduced our need to have even a single car. No commute for her. Her only need is going to school twice a week. Over the past year my office changed locations and was no longer easily accessible by public transit. I started commuting with a co-worker three days a week and working from home on Wednesdays and Fridays. That lasted about eight months until she surprised me with the "it's just not working for me anymore" excuse. After talking with my boss, as of April 1 I'm officially working from home full time. None of my team is even in my office, so there is no reason for me to be there. Now my round trip commute is walking up and down the stairs to my home office. A 20 second commute. You can't beat that!

Do I miss my car? Not anymore. I don't even have a picture of her on my desk. Do I still think about what my next car is going to be? Yes, but I'm not chomping at the bit to go buy one. I'm happy knowing that I'm winning the psychological battle of me verses society's "need" to have one car per adult. Bring it on.

3/24/2010

Beard Team USA Nationals News and Updates

BTUSA 2010 Nationals Logo
To All Members and Fans of Beard Team USA,

Plans for the $5000 BTUSA National Beard and Moustache Championships in Bend, Oregon on June 5 are well underway.

Huge Announcement

Online registration for the Nationals is now available! Just go to http://beardteamusa.org/nationals for everything you need to know. Registration for competitors is $40, which gets you into the competition, two chances to win $1000 (one for winning your category and another in the drawing), and free beer during the event.

Before you register, be sure to check out the options available for activities on Friday, June 4. When you register, you can sign up for a choice of mountain biking, brewery hopping, canoeing, cave exploring, or rafting. All of the activities have limited availability so be sure to sign up soon. Click here for more information about the activities.

Also, note that there are three choices for lodging. The upscale Mt. Bachelor Village Resort offer rooms and condos for a range for prices. Most people will stay at the mid-range Phoenix Inn, which is offering suites to our group for a rate of $109 per night. The budget option is at the Super 8 Motel with rooms for about $70.

If you stay at the Mt. Bachelor Village or at the Super 8, you will probably want to have a car. If you are at the Phoenix Inn, you won't need one, since the Phoenix Inn is right downtown.

Another Huge Announcement

Two-time World Beard Champion (Full Beard Natural) and noted beard book author Jack Passion will not be competing. Jack is going to step aside and give others with full beards a shot at the $1000. Instead, he will be the onstage host of the competition.

Be sure to check beardteamusa.org for the latest information.

See you in Bend!

Phil Olsen
Founder and Self-Appointed Captain
Beard Team USA











========================

I'll be traveling with two time sideburns winner Toot Joslin.  I chose the Central Oregon Microbrew Pub Tour as my Friday activity. Bend is home to some of the finest award winning microbreweries in the Pacific Northwest. Guests on this excursion will sample some of the finest brews in Oregon. Stops on the tour will include a tour and a tasting at McMenamins Old St. Francis School, followed by appetizers and pints at Cascade Lakes Brewery and a final tasting at Deschutes Brewery. The tour includes transportation, tour guide, commemorative glass, entrance fees, beer tasting and appetizers. With Jack Passion not competing in the full beard category, I've now got a chance.



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3/13/2010

Happy Birthday beard


DSC_1365.JPG
Originally uploaded by chronic-shock

My beard is a year old. One whole year of growth. When I set out to grow a beard, I didn't have any expectations of length or shape. I just let it grow. There are traces of red and grey amongst the dark brown curly hirsuted landscape. The wife and I give everything a name, yet I've never named my beard. If you've got any ideas let me know. The mustache became unruly and was impairing my eating, so I trimmed it a month or so ago. I get lots of compliments, mostly from men, but a couple women have praised the facial follicles. I'm continuing to grow the face rug for the National Beard and Mustache Championships which is being held June 5 in Bend, OR. After that, who knows? This is a pic of me and Fletch at a Texas winery. I believe he is reacting to finding wildlife living in my beard.
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2/19/2010

US Air Guitar 2010 Dates

US Air Guitar 2010 Dates: "

Guitars? The Time Has Come Yet Again To Set Aside Childish Things

US AIR GUITAR 2010 TOUR DATES
Regional Competitions Start April 6
Regionals To Be Hosted By Bjorn Turoque & Judged by 2008 World Champion Hot Lixx Hulahan

If history has taught us anything, it is this: the spirit of US Air Guitar is indomitable.

If in January Steve Jobs had unveiled Air Guitar, would it have been any less innovative? If one day the Supreme Court unexpectedly judges a case using the following criteria: technical ability, stage presence, and “airness,” would the rest of us be any worse off? If the last episode of X-Files revealed that Air Guitar was the answer, would you not believe?

With zealous pride we announce the 2010 US Air Guitar tour, now 30% awesomer. Scale back? Heck no. The road awaits, and this year we’re hittin’ it like Tiger Woods. After sell-out regional competitions across the United States last summer, including two nights at DC’s 9:30 Club and consecutive nights at San Francisco’s Independent, US Air Guitar has expanded its tour by two additional months, stretching coast to coast in April and then playing a couple of shows of biblical proportion in May and June. Inspired by mega-churches and God Himself, a month after the first tour, air guitarists will confess their sins at a colossal Vegas show. Then in June, US Air Guitar headlines the historic Fillmore Auditorium – made famous by The Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, and now, uh, us. Finally, after extracting the greatest professional air guitarists from 17 regional shows and sending them each to New York City for the National Championships, our US winner will book passage to Oulu, Finland, and represent the stars and stripes against 30 other countries at the Air Guitar World Championships. Last year the competition was tight, with two Americans tying for second and a Frenchman named Gunther Love taking the crown. But this year America has an imaginary axe to grind.

US AIR GUITAR CHAMPIONSHIPS
2010 TOUR DATES
Tickets On Sale Now

To Sign Up To Compete, Enter HERE!

April 6 || Harper’s Ferry || Boston, MA
April 8 || Johnny Brenda’s || Philadelphia, PA
April 9 || Brooklyn Bowl || Brooklyn, NY
April 10 || 9:30 Club || Washington, DC
April 12 || House of Blues || Houston, TX
April 13 || Highball || Austin, TX
April 15 || Metro || Chicago, IL
April 16 || Cactus Club || Milwaukee, WI
April 17 || Varsity Theater || Minneapolis, MN
April 19 || Fox Theater || Boulder, CO
April 20 || Bluebird Theater || Denver, CO
April 22 || Dante’s || Portland, OR
April 23 || Casbah || San Diego, CA
April 24 || Troubadour || Los Angeles, CA

May 28 || Hard Rock Café || Las Vegas, NV

June 5 || The Fillmore || San Francisco, CA


"
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Rage Against the Machine pt. 5 - Wireless Printing [UPDATED]



We bought a new wireless printer, an Epson Artisan 800. It replaces our Epson Stylus RX580. In our current setup, the printer is upstairs in the office and we use our laptops in the living room. Every time we wanted to print, we had to walk upstairs and plug the printer into the computer. Now we can print from anywhere in the house. A "green" feature is automatic double-sided printing. We use half as much paper. Epson's ultra hi-def photo printers print professional quality pictures on glossy photo paper. I was impressed with the quality of our first Epson printer so when I got a sweet deal on the the Artisan model, I knew I was getting a quality machine for the money.

2/18/2010

Beard Team USA News


Hi Everyone,
 
Wow!  There is a lot of news! 
 
Most importantly,  Beard Team USA is undergoing major changes that affect all members.  We are switching to a new email system for team newsletters.  This means that, if you want to continue receiving BTUSA news by email, you must confirm your subscription.  You will receive an email in the next few days with instructions on how to do so.  If you do not confirm your subscription, this will be your last newsletter.
 
This change comes about because we have grown so big.  We now have 1677 members and 56 local chapters, some of which are more active than others.  With so many members, my computer just can't handle email blasts going out to all members.  Also, I am sure many people are not receiving newsletters because their computers treat them as spam.  The change should overcome these problems. 
 
If you know of any team members who have not been receiving emails about BTUSA, please let them know they should go to www.beardteamusa.org and simply click on "subscribe." 
 
Our websites (www.worldbeardchampionships.com and www.beardteamusa.org) are undergoing major changes as well.  Both are now much more interactive.  Everyone is encouraged to drop by and leave comments on any of the posts found on the site. 
 
Also if you have sent me a picture and asked me to put it on the BTUSA site, but your picture has not appeared, I apologize.  Until now the process of adding the pictures has been very tedious and I frankly have fallen way behind.  Here is the good news -- at the new site you can upload your own picture and biographical information which will automatically be added to the site.  BTUSA reserves the right to edit any content of course. Even if you pic is on the site, I would encourage you to put up a new pic and add or update you bio info.
 
Coming events:
 
With four months to go before the HUGE first ever $5000 Beard Team USA National Beard and Moustache Championships in Bend, Oregon, on June 5, there are several warm-up events you should know about. 
 
February 13 -- Southeastern Regionals, Charleston, South Carolina, hosted by the Holy City Beard and Moustache Society.  Welcoming party Friday night, Contestants and VIP Oyster Roast on Saturday, Competition Saturday night.  Further info here: http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendId=152898107&blogId=527608553
 
February 13 -- All American City Beard and Moustache Contest, Somerville, Massachusetts, organized by BTUSA member Todd Easton and the Somerville Arts Council.  Time: 3 pm.  Place: Precint, 70 Union Square, Somerville.  For more info email Todd atgetyourbeardon@gmail.com.
 
February 19 -- Msiprint's Fourth Annual Beard and Moustache Competition, Austin, Texas. This is Misprint Magazine's gig, held with the cooperation of the Austin Facial Hair Society, a local chapter of Beard Team USA.  This year's contest includes a six-month sprint category.  In true Texas spirit, the AFHS is threatening to secede from BTUSA but for now they are still part of America's team.  For info on the competition, see http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=280534273809
 
March 20 -- First Annual Philadelphia Beard and Moustache Competition, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  A non-gendered, non-judgmental celebration of a love of all things bearded and moustachio'd! Competition will be in several categories, you can sign up at the door, with the judging by the audience, slam-style. Come share your facial hair, drink some local beard themed-homebrew, and meet the Philadelphia beard community!  Location: Studio 34, 4522 Baltimore Avenue.  Time: 8 pm.  Suggested donation: $5.  Contact Roo (werdnus@gmail.com; 540.588.4101) or Mica (mica.bt@gmail.com) with questions.
 
BEND, BEND, BEND!
 
Planning for Bend is well under way.  Registration, info on lodging, info on other activities, etc. will be online as soon as key decisions are made.  For now, here is the tentative plan and schedule.  Keep in mind it is tentative:
 
Thursday, June 3 -- As the Devil Dances (featuring former FBSM world champ Burke Kenny) concludes its tour of the Northwest with a gig in Bend. 
 
Friday, June 4 -- Mountain bike tour ending at the Deschutes Brewery for brewery tour, beer tasting, and the call to order of the Official Somewhat Annual Beard Team USA meeting.  Meeting progresses to other breweries for consideration of agenda items.
 
Saturday, June 5 -- The Nats take place at the Les Schwab Amphitheater.  $5000 on the line for America's best beards and moustaches. 
 
Getting there:
 
The airport nearest to Bend is Redmond/Bend (RDM), served by United, Horizon, Allegiant, and Delta.  For most people, it will be cheaper to fly into Portland.  We will try to organize a charter bus from Portland to Bend, but many people will want to simply rent a car and drive.  It's about 2.5 hours from Portland to Bend. 
 
Hint:  Allegiant Air offers non-stop flights between Las Vegas and Redmond for only $49.77 each way but only on Fridays and Sundays.  There are always lots of cheap deals from pretty much anywhere to Las Vegas, especially on Southwest.  The Friday flight to Redmond departs at 7 am.  So you will have to spend a night in V*E*G*A*S on the way to the Nats, but that's not a bad idea anyway.  If I were considering this option for myself, I would book right away atwww.allegiantair.com.  My guess is the flight will be full of people headed to the Nats.  You'll miss As the Devil Dances, unfortunately. 
 
See you in Bend,
 
Phil Olsen
 
Founder and self-appointed captain
Beard Team USA

2/15/2010

LEGO VW Beetle Part 1 of 2

My next Lego project is another large scale model, the classic Volkswagen Beetle. Based on the iconic 1960 'Charlotte' model, the LEGO Volkswagen Beetle features realistic details and functions like opening doors, hood and trunk, a spare tire in the front and engine in the back, an accurate interior, and more. Includes display plate with detailed specifications of the original Volkswagen model! Measures 16" (41cm) long and 6'½" (16cm) high! Realistic details include a movable stick shift, opening glove compartment and seats that fold forward! Features an engine in the back trunk and spare tire under the hood! Beetle details also includes a Volkswagen logo decal, windshield wipers and rearview mirror! The set has 1626 pieces and contains rare dark blue and sky blue pieces.

This set was a Christmas present from Santa. Part 1 took a few hours to build. I really didn't keep track of my build time. Nor did I sort this set as well as I did the Eiffel Tower. Better sorting = easier build. Lesson learned.

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2/14/2010

Hirsuted Valentine's Day Present

For Valentine's Day, the wife got me a cool beard t-shirt from Chop Shop called "Dapper Men". It's everyman's guide to looking dapper on a t-shirt. 141 duds sporting a right gentlemanly combination of hair, beard or mustache with a good majority scoring with all three. The design is from HumanShapedRobot. Can you figure out all 141? Doubt it. If you want to see how well you did, here's the key.

2/05/2010

The Day of the Dude


March 6th will be Dudeism's high holy day: The Day of the Dude. It commemorates the day The Big Lebowksi was first released, back in 1998 A.D. (Anno Dudeni - The Year of the Dude).

We welcome any and all suggestions for how people should observe this holiest Dudeist day of the year. And we hope that observant Dudes will post videos from their celebrations on You Tube. So stock up on festive supplies, get your bowling lanes reserved, and make a nice garden party of it for the whole world to see!

Please send any suggestions and ideas to the email address at the Dudeism contact page: http://dudeism.com/contact.

html.

Also, if you know anyone who works in the media, please tell them about Dudeism and the Day of the Dude. It'd be a great story to cover.

We considered several days but settled on March 6th. You can see the whole story in this forum thread: http://dudeism.com/smf/index.
php?topic=288.0
Take er easy,
Reverend Shock
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It's Official

It's official. I've legally changed the spelling of my first name to Atom. Why? Well, I've gone by that nomenclature since high school and because the wife dared me. I always complained when someone would spell my name wrong but I'd have nothing to back it up. "Dude, 'Adam' is not the preferred nomenclature. It's 'Atom' please". One relative spelled it correctly but put my name in quotes, e.g. "Atom". That was the last straw. So my wife said "why don't you just get it legally changed. Then you'll have a legitimate argument." So that's what I did. Now I've got to go through the same process every women who gets married and takes her husband's surname has to go through. I feel your pain. But I'm glad I did it. I just made the "coolness" of name permanent, legal and official. Now I've just got to wait until I shave off my beard to get a new driver's license picture. :)

1/26/2010

Another Awesome Blog Giveaway

This one is from Dream Routine, another personal finance blog I follow. They are a part of the Money Crasher's 2010 Giveaway, which I blogged about. They have a $1000 valued bonus prize. Here is the link to enter http://bit.ly/7Wonsy.

  • Dream Routine is the top sponsor with a $600 cash prize for Money Crasher’s 2010 Giveaway which ends Sunday, January 31, 2010
  • Get 15 entries towards Money Crasher’s 2010 Giveaway by signing up for the Dream Routine Insider’s Newsletter. Sign up here: http://www.dreamroutine.com/beta/
  • Get 5 entries towards Money Crasher’s 2010 Giveaway by following @DreamRoutine on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/DreamRoutine/
Don't miss out!

    1/25/2010

    LEGOLAND Florida scheduled to open in 2011

    LEGOLAND Florida will be the second LEGOLAND park in North America. It will be located at the historical Cypress Gardens in Winter Haven Florida and will open at the end of 2011. LEGOLAND Florida will be the biggest LEGOLAND Park ever opened and will offer a unique mix of more than 50 rides, shows and attractions, including spectacular LEGO models and other interactive elements for the whole family to enjoy together. It will provide a full-day, year round, theme park experience geared towards families with children between the ages of two and 12. Its design will mirror the successful concept of the four existing LEGOLAND Parks in Denmark, Germany, UK and California. However, as with the other four, it will also have its own unique “twist” reflecting its stunning location and adding a Florida flavor.

    all I can say is Merlin is a genius for buying the site and placing a LEGOLAND theme park that close to Disney World. Right in Disney’s backyard, but far enough away to avoid the fallout. Legoland California is set up almost the same in relationship to Disney Land.


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