Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ever Want To Get Away From It All?

Try this place...
The island of ElliĆ°aey in Iceland. As one of the Vestmannaeyjar (in English, the Westman Islands) in the South of Iceland, this island is about as far away from anyone or anything as you could get.

The island, sometimes known as Ellirey is small.  .45 square kilometers, complete with a house where you can take shelter from the elements. Internet access?... negative.

The island is accessed via a rope on its lower east side – and you can only access the rope by boat. There are a few lonesome cattle for company on the island but your major source of camaraderie would be the thousands of sea birds that use it for a nesting site.  The island, a volcanic crater, was formed in a large eruption about five or six thousand years ago. Since that time Puffins have used it to dig their holes and to settle down to nest.  The house was only built in 1954.

The island is owned by a collective – even though there were once rumours that it had been gifted to Icelandic singer Bjork for her contribution to raising the profile of Icelandic culture throughout the world. Actually, it is rented out to those who wish to be alone.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Money Vs. Happiness

I always knew I could generate money at will.  But I also knew that great wealth didn't equal great happiness, so I pursued happiness over wealth.  I've got what I need, I pay my bills, but free time is what's most important to me.  Doing what I want to do, when and where I want to do it, this is the definition of wealth in my book.  Check out what the very wealthy have to say about this...

Karl Rabeder

Karl Rabeder grew up poor and thought that life would be wonderful if he had money. But when he got rich, Karl discovered that he was more unhappy, so he decided to give away every penny of his £3 million fortune: "My idea is to have nothing left. Absolutely nothing," he said. "Money is counterproductive – it prevents happiness to come."

On the block, or already sold, is his luxury villa with a lake in the Alps, his 42-acre estate in France, his six gliders, and the interior furnishings and accessories business that got him rich in the first place. Instead, he will move out of his luxury Alpine retreat into a small wooden hut in the mountains or a simple bedsit in Innsbruck. His entire proceeds are going to charities he set up in Central and Latin America, but he will not even take a salary from these. 

Graham Pendrill

Most people return from Kenya with photos of giraffes and lions, and tales of their time on safari. But one millionaire has come back with the title of elder of a Masai tribe. Graham Pendrill is the first white person to gain such an honor from the group after solving a potentially violent inter-tribal dispute while on a month-long trip to the East African country last year. 

During the official ceremony, Mr Pendrill had to drink bull's urine and had a cow sacrificed in his honour. Since returning, he has worn his Masai clothes while going about his business in his home town of Almondsbury, near Bristol, UK. The 57-year-old bachelor, who was given the tribal name Siparo meaning 'brave one', often wanders down his local High Street wearing nothing but a robe and sandals. 'People can call me eccentric - it doesn't bother me,' he said. 'When I got home my ordinary clothes just felt odd. 'I've had some sideways looks and a difficult moment in a Bristol pub, but most people are polite,' he added. Mr Pendrill, an antiques dealer, has given his suits to Oxfam and plans to sell his £1.2million mansion so he can move to Kenya to live in a mud hut with the Masai later this year. 'I've developed a huge respect and affection for the people there. It's a real honour to be an elder,' he said.

Nicholas Berggruen
Meet Nicholas Berggruen, a homeless billionaire. You read that right. Nicholas is worth billions but doesn't even own a home (he stays in hotels) because he's lost all interest in acquiring things. After making his billions, Mr. Berggruen, 46, lost interest in acquiring things: They didn't satisfy him, and in fact had become something of a burden. So he started paring down his material life, selling off his condo in New York, his mansion in Florida and his only car. He hatched plans to leave his fortune to charity and his art collection to a new museum in Berlin.

For him, wealth is about lasting impact, not stuff. Forbes magazine estimated Berggruen's net worth at $2.2 billion as of 2010.

“Everybody is different and I think that we live in a material world,” he says. “But for me, possessing things is not that interesting. Living in a grand environment to show myself and others that I have wealth has zero appeal. Whatever I own is temporary, since we’re only here for a short period of time. It’s what we do and produce, it’s our actions, that will last forever. That’s real value.”

When pressed on why he no longer got much enjoyment from acquiring more “things,” he said this: “First, I don’t need it. Secondly, maybe in a bizarre kind of way, I don’t want to be dependent on it or have the responsibility. I don’t get that much enjoyment out of saying ‘I own it.’ ”

Mr. Berggruen makes clear that his philosophy is his own, and he has nothing against those who want to enjoy their wealth by having big homes, cars and all the rest. And of course it’s easy for a billionaire to say “money and things aren’t important.”

But his perspective seems to be increasingly common among today’s superwealthy — and even wealthy — who are looking for more lasting meaning in their lives beyond their possessions. I’m not saying they’re right or wrong or that possessions are inferior to other measures of wealth — people should use their wealth however they choose. Yet for all that, Mr. Berggruen’s personal downsizing may be a sign that the voluntary simplicity movement could be moving up the wealth ladder.

So, there we have it, straight from the horses mouth.  Money cannot buy happiness.  

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Extreme Bikes

If you are a true "Gear Head" you should be able to easily identify each of these bikes.  They are all in at least one of two top five lists.  What lists you ask? Well, "the most expensive motorcycles in the world, and the fastest in the world".
In case you can't identify them, I've listed the names in "The Rest of the Story" jump.  Try your best to name at least the maker or model of each before peeking though.








Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Some Signs You're Not Enjoying Thanksgiving

1. Your friends are at the dinner table nude.

2. You're 28 years old and still being seated at the kiddie table.

3. The wine you brought is gone before dinner is served, and Mom is slurring her speech.

4. You find the bag of giblets stuck to your scoop of turkey cooked stuffing.

5. You suddenly notice you're the only one eating the green bean casserole, while the host's kids point at you with each bite and laugh.

6. The eggnog is brown.

7. You can't help but notice the host's cat is walking across the table, stepping on each plate as he makes his way across, just before everyone is to be seated and served.

8. You find a Rhubarb leaf in your slice of pie.  Soon after you are seeing double.

9.  Your wife / girlfriend / mom demands you wear this...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Horror Stories

True stories from all over the place - all related to Thanksgiving and the little disasters that sometimes help make it memorable.

What A Jerk!
"We were at my very buttoned-up aunt and uncle's house. They set up their Thanksgiving table buffet-style. My dad and I were standing next to it, trying to make stilted conversation (we really don't have much in common with them). My uncle said, 'I guess we're supposed to go in a circle.' And I said, 'Yes, and then we can all do a circle dance.' Only I did not say the word 'dance.' Lord help me, for some unknown reason, the word I said was 'jerk.' It was like I had a sudden attack of Tourette's syndrome and literally we all just sort of stared at the space where my words had flown out of my mouth. Finally, my uncle proceeded to start loading up his plate without comment, as my dad stared straight ahead, unsure whether to laugh or beat me to a quivering pulp. At this point, we laugh, but I think it was touch-and-go there for a while." -- Liz, 42, Los Angeles

Thanks Grandma!
"One November, my brother and I went to Florida to see our father and extended family. On Thanksgiving Day, my grandmother started cooking at 8 a.m. and knocking back the scotches at 10 a.m. -- because she was 'working.' Dinner was at 4 p.m. We gathered at the table, all 19 of us, tons of delicious food ready for our consumption. My dad, who is the principal of a parochial school, had us bow our heads and said a very moving prayer about gratitude and family, and brought tears to everyone's eyes at the 'amen.' We sat in loving silence for a moment, each reflecting on the heartfelt words, and my grandmother announced (boozily), 'You all better eat my goddamned turnips!'" -- Laura, 36, New York City

A Cut Above The Rest

Patti Davidson: A number of years ago my sister and I were preparing dinner for both our families and extended family at her house. The day before Thanksgiving my sister had a large band-aid on her finger. We had a huge turkey to stuff and it took both of us to accomplish it. When it was all done and tied up and in the roaster ready to go in the oven my sister looked down and said, "Oh my band-aid is gone". Well, we were both horrified and then we got the giggles about someone finding it in their stuffing. Should me make it a prize like the baby in a king cake? We just couldn't risk it so we totally undressed the bird and combed through every piece of stuffing. We found nothing! So we stuffed it back up and when we lifted the roaster to put it in the oven, there it was! Stuck to the BOTTOM of the roaster the ENTIRE time! We still laugh about it all the time! 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

May One Of These Make Your Monday Just A Little Better...

Observed Truths And Burning Questions

1. I think part of a best friend’s job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die. 

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you’re wrong. 

3. I totally take back all those times I didn’t want to nap when I was younger.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font. 

5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet? 

6. Was learning cursive really necessary? 

7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on # 5. I’m pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood. 

8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died. 

9. I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t at least kind of tired. 

10. Bad decisions make good stories. 

11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren’t going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don’t want to have to restart my collection…again.

13. I’m always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to.

14. “Do not machine wash or tumble dry” means I will never wash this – ever. 

15. I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? **** it!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voice mail. What did you do after I didn’t answer? Drop the phone and run away?

16. I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.

17. I keep some people’s phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call. 

18. I think the freezer deserves a light as well. 

19. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lite than Kay.

20. I wish Google Maps had an “Avoid Ghetto” routing option. 

21. Sometimes, I’ll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the heck was going on when I first saw it.

22. I would rather try to carry 10 over-loaded plastic bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in. 

23. The only time I look forward to a red light is when I’m trying to finish a text. 

24. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger. 

25. How many times is it appropriate to say “What?” before you just nod and smile because you still didn’t hear or understand a word they said?

26. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!

27. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever. 

28. Is it just me or do high school kids get dumber & dumber every year? 

29. There’s no worse feeling than that millisecond you’re sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.

30. As a driver I hate pedestrians, and as a pedestrian I hate drivers, but no matter what the mode of transportation, I always hate bicyclists.

31. Sometimes I’ll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is. 

32. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey – but I’d bet my *** everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time!