Savings and Cash Back Pro Tips

Like the old adage says, it takes money to make money. Here are some quick pro tips on how to save money while making purchases you already make.

  • Use Rakuten or Honey chrome plugins to find coupons and save from your favorite online stores.
  • Use a credit card with cash back but pay off the credit before the due date.
  • Use a store card which might offer up to 5% savings. Amazon, Target, and Walmart all have store cards with 5% off.
  • Use store loyalty cards or apps for additional savings and coupons.
  • Use App Cash and enable boosts like 10% off purchases from grocery stores or coffee shops.
  • Look for deals associated with your bank’s debit card.
  • Try to stack as many of the above tips as possible.

Favorite Things 2020

This past year has been one for the history books. For me, the bulk of the year was spent in lockdown, social distancing, and quarantined in my home. Here is a short list of my favorite things in 2020.

  • Favorite place to visit: The couch
  • Favorite place to eat: The kitchen 
  • Favorite place to hike: Between the bedroom and kitchen
  • Favorite place to run: The garage
  • Favorite place to catch some rays: The backyard
  • Favorite place to get a drink after work: The living room
  • Favorite memory: walking into a room and not remembering why
  • Favorite thing to hoard: toilet paper 

COVID-19 and China

There is little question that COVID-19 originated in China, where it made its first appearance in Wuhan, China in mid-November 2019. By mid-February 2020, it had spread worldwide with tens of thousands of confirmed cases in China, Italy, Spain, and Iran. By mid-March, thousands had already died. Now, in mid-April there are about 2.5 million confirmed cases and 165 thousand dead. Across the world, governments enacted shelter in place ordinance for everyone except essential workers, like police, doctors, nurses, and grocery store baggers. Who knew that a grocery store bagger, a job that barely requires a GED, would be an essential worker?

There have been plenty of questions about the transparency of the Chinese government about the spread and death toll of COVID-19. There was mounting pressure and belief that Chinese statistics about COVID-19 cases was significantly undercounted, so much so that China has revised and doubled the official number of confirmed cases and deaths. Experts still believe that these number are low, given China’s population density in the region.

And now, in the midst of a the worst economic shutdown in modern history some people, including politicians, are beginning to question and believe that COVID-19 was engineered and subsequently escaped a research lab in Wuhan, China. If China covered up the infection rate and death toll of COVID-19, it would certainly cover up if in fact it originated in a research lab there. All we can do is continue to shelter in place while keeping social distancing, and wait for our stimulus check.

China Coronavirus Flag, Jyllands-Posten, Niels Bo Bojesen
China Corona Virus Flag, Jyllands-Posten, Niels Bo Bojesen

The New American Economy

The American economy is based on economic growth, and for a long time growth was achieved by making territorial gains, pushing west.  Then economic growth was was made by opening new markets.  An exponential growth occurred each time a new industry was formed.  For the last quarter of a century, most of the exponential growth has come from the financial sector, where companies merge assets, layoff staff, and outsource production paystub generator for business.  The modern American family is a reflection of the new American economy.  American families used to have more children than they do now, as children were an economic benefit by an early age but now they are an economic drain well past their 30s. Homelessness is on the rise as the cost of living has skyrocketed but wages remain flat. The cost of health care jumps up each year, not due to new medications but because patents for those medications are bought up by conglomerates. American’s don’t save because it doesn’t pay to save.

Best Technology Jobs in 2019

Here is LinkedIn’s list of the most promising jobs of 2019.

  • Data Scientist
  • Site Reliability Engineer
  • Enterprise Account Executive
  • Product Designer
  • Customer Success Manager
  • Engagement Manager
  • Solutions Architect
  • Information Technology Lead
  • Scrum Master
  • Cloud Architect

Here are the most common skills amonst these jobs.

  • Python
  • Data Science
  • Machine Learning
  • Cloud Computing
  • Software Development

Glassdoor also released similar research and published their list of the top 25 jobs with the best career opportunities in the US. Glassdoor’s findings seem more broad, but these are the best tech jobs in their list.

  • Salesforce Developer
  • Product Designer
  • Data Scientist
  • Java Developer
  • Mobile Developer
  • Devops Engineer
  • Data Engineer
  • Scrum Master
  • QA Engineer
  • Software Development Engineer

I’ve looked beyond 2019, and posted the top jobs throughout history.

The New Evil Empire

In the 1980’s, Hollywood did not give a fuck when painting the Soviet Union as the the Evil Empire in every movie.  Think of the 1984 release of Red Dawn, where the Soviet Union with the help of Cuban comrades invade a small town Colorado.  Remember Rambo III, when John Rambo travels to pre-Taliban Afghanistan to rescue his war buddy captured by the Soviet army fighting the Mujahideen.

Of course, the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 but the threat of communist nations still linger with an iron grip on power, think North Korea and China.  Except for a cartoony stop animation of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il in Team America: World Police released in 2004 there has been no film put out by the big Hollywood studios in the last 20 years that is critical of China’s policies.

It is well known that the Chinese government are actively committing what many consider human rights violations against the ethnic Uyghurs and Tibetans.  Additionally, in the last 20 years, China has taken a more belligerent stance in the world stage, including building a military base in the middle of the highly contested territory in the South China Sea, over 1,000 miles from mainland China.  It is widely suspected that China has hacked the federal government’s Office of Personal Management, the HR of the US government, and may have comprised personal information of government employees, federal contractors, and possibly even “state department contractors”, aka CIA agents.  It has been reported, but not investigated by the media that the CIA covert network in China went completely dark in 2012, most likely because the Chinese military hacked the communication methods and procedures followed by the CIA handlers and their local informants.

It feels like the large Hollywood studios, like most companies and even nations, are turning a blind eye at the injustices being committed by the Chinese government, the Communist Party of China, all for the short term illusion of gaining access into the Chinese market.

Alone in the Universe

Movies like Independence Day would have us believe that the United States government has been keeping knowledge about alien life from the general population.  I believe that this myth about alien technology being studied at secret bases like Area 51 has been promoted in part by the military-industrial complex itself as cover for their military training exercises.  Aside from some blurry videos of moving pixels there has been no conclusive or clear evidence that there is extraterrestrial life.  Not only is there no evidence that there is alien life, but there is no evidence that the world’s governments are keeping knowledge of their existence from us.

On multiple occasions, President Trump has tweeted classified information about military operations in the Middle-East.  If he had any direct knowledge about alien life he would clearly tweet about it inadvertently in a early morning tweetstorm.

From a technological perspective, we have not made any significant paradigm shift or quantum leap in generations.  We still depend largely on fossil fuel.  We’ve essentially tapped out Moore’s Law.  Even with modern advancements, medicine and the health care industry as a whole is still so primitive.  Since the pyramids, there is no recent technological advancement that can be credited to an alien civilization.

By all accounts, we might as well be all alone in our corner of the universe.

Ideal Jobs Throughout History

I remember when I was about to graduate from high school, friends and family would offer their recommendation as to what would be the perfect job for me.  Some recommended a trade job like electrician, others offered landing a government job like a mail carrier, and a few suggested getting a union job..  Throughout history, the ideal job has changed.  Here is a short list the best jobs throughout history.
  • 150000 BCE – 10000 BCE, Hunter, Gatherer
  • 10000 BCE – 1000 BCE, Farmer
  • 1000 BCE- 1000 CE, Trader
  • 100 BC – 500 CE, Roman Soldier
  • 1500 CE – 1700 CE, Conquistador, Explorer, Soldier
  • 1660  CE – 1730 CE, Privateer
  • 1700 CE – 1900 CE, Fur Trader, Frontiersman
  • 1900 CE – 1950 CE, Construction, Manufacturing
  • 1920 CE – 1970 CE, Automotive Industry
  • 1935 CE – 1943 CE, WPA 
  • 1980 CE – 2008 CE, Financial Industry
  • 1980 CE – 2019 CE, Software Engineer
  • 2010 CE – 2019 CE, Influencer

Japanese Retail in California

I grew up in Japan Town in San Jose, California. As a kid, I loved going down to the local mom-and-pop Japanese grocery store and buy all sort of Japanese snacks and toys. Unfortunately that mom-and-pop grocery store is no longer there, but here in California there is a number of Japanese grocery stores. The follow are Japanese based stores with on several locations throughout California.
  • Daiso – General Store
  • Miniso – General Store
  • Muji – General Store
  • Uniqlo – Clothing Store
  • Super Dry – Clothing Store
  • Marukai – Grocery Store
  • Nijiya Market – Grocery Store

Modern Guide to Being Rich and Famous

So you want to be rich and famous in the age on viral videos and social media.  Here is a sure approach to becoming an influencer.  First find an audience that is easily influenced.  As a grown adult do dumb and immature shit, build your fan base of 13 year olds, ask your teenage fan base to ask their parents to buy your shirts and gear, and rinse, repeat, and profit.