If a carport is good enough for Frank Lloyd Wright, it’s good enough for me.  Actually, I started looking into car storage solutions when I knew I’d be spending at least part of the winter here in NY. I thought it’d be interesting to walk through the options and give an overview with costs of the structure I built with my dad over the course of a couple months. Initially I was looking for storage for just my car, but that left one of my Dad’s vehicles out in the snow, so we shifted our thinking. I’ll provide examples below for both single bay andRead More →

When I quit my job, I decided to take the time to do a couple of the long road trips I’d always wanted to take. Like my Northern CA drive, a trip south along the coastal highway was a must. The Route: Bay Area to Hearst Castle, Solvang, Newport Beach, San Diego Side Note: Don’t skip Big Sur I’d driven from the Bay Area down to Big Sur several times before and stayed at a cabin there once, the drive along the ocean in that particular stretch is gorgeous. If you haven’t spent time in Big Sur, I’d suggest taking at least an overnight andRead More →

My family has been using YouTube TV for about 4 months now. Overall it’s been a positive transition, and a huge cost savings. There have been a couple of positive announcements since signing up. First, several of the networks holding out on fast forward/rewind capability for recorded programs relented, so now every recorded show allows FF/Rewind/pause. (Personally, I never experienced this, but it’s a good change.) Second, PBS is coming to the network at some point, for the first time ever on a streaming platform. Great news, and good to see that the platform is evolving for the better over time. Interface YouTube TV looksRead More →

I heard from several of my friends while I was in California that they found the investing articles informative. I sat down a few days ago and ran through all of the numbers into November, and wanted to give an update here on progress. Recap: Dividend funds for income As you may recall from my previous post, I’ve experimented with higher dividend investing this year, vs. growth, to generate income while I’m on sabbatical. I used a mixture of ETFs as well as some stocks like AT&T. Dividends are not guaranteed and are only announced several weeks before payout (this is referred to as theRead More →

Hi all! I recently got back from a three week trip to California, it was great to be out there again seeing friends and catching up. I wasn’t able to see everyone though, and even for those I did talk to, answering the “so what’s up?” question was pretty difficult to do, the answer was either too short or too long. So, I’m experimenting by doing a long video update here. I’m sure it’s not for everyone, but if you are interested in hearing more about what I’ve been up to, and seeing a few photos, please check it out. I put some time codesRead More →

I’m behind on posts and have some updates to publish soon – a drive from the Bay Area to San Diego along the coast, as well as my 3500 mile cross-country trip from California to New York. Since I’ve arrived here I’ve been kept busy helping my parents with some home renovations, but I did want to make a quick post since I convinced my family to cancel cable and switch over to streaming services. I’ll give a quick update and feedback from their perspective. Cable TV is expensive! My parents are retired on a fixed income, and every time my Dad paid the cableRead More →

I’ve always wanted to take driving tours away from the Bay Area to see more of California, especially along the coastal roads. This June, I did long tours of both Northern and Southern California, and had a great time in each location. In this post I’ll give maps, a few details on things to do, and cover budget for the Northern trip.  Northern CA: Bay Area to Mount Shasta, west to the coast, Avenue of the Giants, Ft. Bragg/Mendocino  I found the northern portion of California beautiful. Once clear of the city and the weekend Napa/Sonoma traffic, Route 5 clears right out and it’s smoothRead More →

Forensic Files: Real Reality TV I’m a big fan of Forensic Files, one of the most successful true crime shows ever. It pioneered the use of dramatic re-enacted crimes interspersed with interviews with the detectives, families, and witnesses from the cases, along with scientific explanations of forensic tools. Some of the episodes have to be seen to be believed, like the Canadian doctor that fooled three different “unbeatable” DNA tests, or the mad scientist neighbor who manufactured poisoned soda (in sealed bottles) because the teenagers were too loud. The series ended in 2011 after fourteen seasons, yet in 2016 it was still on its homeRead More →

As I mentioned in the previous blog posts on investing (Part 1 and Part 2), one way to generate passive income is through dividend stocks and funds. Today I’m going to walk through my investments, discuss some numbers, and provide some simple information if you’re interested in pursuing passive income yourself. Dividend Basics First, it’s important to realize that not all funds have dividends. Some don’t. Many tech stocks in particular, such as Alphabet/”Google” (GOOG), Amazon (AMZN), Netflix (NFLX), and so on don’t offer any dividends. Some stocks, such as Apple, pay a low dividend (say 1.4%, we’ll cover this in more detail below), whileRead More →

Passive investing is a huge buzz phrase right now. There are tons of blogs covering it, like Sam Dogen’s at financialsamurai.com where he generates over $200,000 a year through a combination of real estate, stocks/bonds, and eBook sales. He doesn’t include his website revenue, because it requires regular maintenance and updates, aka “work”. Often the message conveyed is something aspirational like “break free and live the life you were meant to”, perhaps with a picture of a cocktail on the beach. Maybe you don’t want to quit your job and sip drinks on the beach all day, but you’re looking for some small amounts ofRead More →