Google Cardboard Glasses? Okay, I’ll Try It!

d_scope_pro_cover

Okay, so I’m a newbie when it comes to this Virtual Reality stuff. I guess I’m like 99% of the world, but I’m always willing to try something new.

I had heard of the Occulus Rift glasses (amazon link), and I’d even seen them in posts, on websites, etc. Yeah, I wrote them off as some tech geek stuff, but for some reason hearing someone mention them recently, I decided to give them another look.

So I went on amazon and looked them up.  So they were only about $650, which basically meant there was no way on earth I was buying these things!

So anyhow, as with any and all products you look up on the site, Amazon shows you related products. So I saw these Google Cardboard glasses, and I thought it was a joke. I mean, these things were really made of cardboard! And they cost less than $20. So there was some sort of rip-off happening.

But as I read the reviews, I saw that these things are for real. Google, the masters of all things, came up with some cardboard knock-offs of Occulus Rift? For under $20? Yup, I gotta try it!

Soooo, I ended up buying the D Scope Pro ‘Google Cardboard’  (amazon link)glasses.

Ordered them on Friday, with my Prime Membership, they came on Monday, and here I am assembling them.

Basically, I’m sold! They are an awesome new toy for under $20!

As I state in the video, I ended up downloading the Titans of Space app, so I could experience floating around our solar system. I plan on downloading many more of these apps! Only issue is the apps do take up quite a bit of space (Titans was 220 MBs), but we can work around that.

I can only assume that this is only the beginning for VR. One day it’ll probably get to the point like in that Woody Allen movie, Sleeper (waaaay back in 1973), where he (they) were able to use the orgasmatron. But until then, get yourself some Google Cardboard glasses, and enjoy the ride (literally)!

Your Struggle To Find Truth

So if you watched my first vlog, you will know that I read a book called Siddhartha. I picked it up (actually, I read it on my Kindle App on my Droid), based on a brief recommendation I read. Someone, I can’t remember who, said that the book helped give them a certain awareness about life. So i figured, what the heck, let me check it out, and I’m glad I did.

What’s It All About?

The book was about a man, Siddhartha, who was on a personal journey to find meaning in life. Sounds like most of us right? Well Siddhartha’s journey started out with him being the son of a religious father who he left to go into the woods living a monk-like life learning how to project his spirit, eat next to nothing, and all types of other cool/crazy spiritual stuff. That led him to meeting Gotama (Buddha) where instead of following Gotama, he became aware that he couldn’t just follow the ‘teachers’ he had to rely on his own experience. It is very important to know that for the better part of his life Siddhartha was accompanied (really, followed) by his good friend Govinda. Whereever Siddhartha went, so did Govinda. But when they went to see the Buddha, Govinda decided to become a follower of Buddha, while Siddhartha did not. Govinda was truly saddened, but Siddhartha knew that it was the right thing to do. From there he decided to experience a  “normal” life (i.e. materialism) where he became a successful businessman, his lover was a beautiful prostitute, and he went on to a heavy gambler and ended up losing or giving away everything he owned. Not that he cared about possessions, because it was all like a game to him. From there he was led to a river where he befriended a ferry man.

Siddhartha and the River

Siddhartha ended up staying with the ferryman, began “listening” to th river, and not only started to find an inner peace, but he saw that eternal peace in his friend the ferryman. However, before Siddhartha could reach his ultimate heights, he found out he had a son by the prostitute. She dies from a snake bite, and Siddhartha attempts to care for the boy who is about 11 years old at this time. Much to his chagrin, the boy does not embrace him, no matter how much he tries.  This pretty much breaks Siddhartha’s heart. The boy runs away back to the city. While Siddhartha grieves about his situation, the ferryman guides him to “listen” to the river again. This time Siddhartha makes the discovery that helps him finding his meaning in life.

Searching vs Finding: Words of Wisdom

One day Govinda decides to visit this old ferryman that he keeps hearing about. When he gets to the river he begins a discussion with the ferryman. Unbeknownst to him, that ferryman is his old friend Siddhartha. Govinda asks the ferry man about “searching” for the meaning of life to which Siddhartha responds:

“… Perhaps that you’re searching far too much? That in all that searching, you don’t find the time for finding?”

“When someone is searching, then it might easily happen that the only thing his eyes still see is that what he searches for, that he is unable to find anything, to let anything enter his mind, because he always thinks of nothing but the object of his search, because he has a goal, because he is obsessed by the goal. Seaching means: having a goal. But finding means: being free, being open, having no goal. You, oh venerable one, are perhaps indeed a searcher, because, striving for your goal, there are many things you don’t see, which are directly in front of your eyes“. It is at this point Siddhartha tells his old friend who he is.

And A Final Bits Of Wisdom

I use the word “wisdom” although Siddhartha says he beleives that “wisdom can not be passed on”. He goes into a discussion with Govinda where he passes on these jewels:

“The opposite of every truth is just as true! That’s like this: any truth can only be expressed and put into words when it is one-sided. Everything one-sided which can be thought with thoughts and said with words, it’s all one-sided, all just one half, all lacks completeness, roundness, oneness. When the exalted Gotama, spoke in his teachings of the world, he had to divide it into Sansara and Nirvana, into deceptioin and truth, into suffering and salvation. It can not be done differently, there is no other way for him who wants to teach. But the world itself, what exists around us and inside of us, is never one-sided. A person or an act is never entirely Sansara or entirely Nirvana, a person is never entirely holy or entirely sinful. It does really seem like this, because we are subject to deception, as if time was something real.”

He goes on to say:

“The world, my friend Govinda, is not imperfect, or on a slow path towards perfection;  no, it is already perfect in every moment, all sin already carries the divine forgiveness in itself, all small children already have the old person in themselves, all infants already have death, all dying people have the eternal life. It is not possible for any person to see how far another one has already progressed on his path; in the robber and dice-gambler, the Buddha is waiting; in the Brhman, the robber is waiting. In deep meditation, there is the possibility to put time out of existence, to see all life which was, is, and will be as if it was simultaneous, and there everything is good, everything is perfect, everything is Brahman. Therefore, I see whatever exists as good, death is to me like life, sin like holiness, wisdom life foolishness, everything has to be as it is, everything only requires my consent, only me willingness, my loving agreement, to be good for me, to be unable to ever harm me. I have experienced on my body and my soul that I needed sin very much, I needed lust, the desire for possessions, vanity, and needed the most shameful despair, in order to learn how to give up all resistance, in order to learn how to love the world, in order to stop comparing it to some world I wished, I imagined, some kind of perfection I had made up, but to leave it as it is and to love it and to enjoy being a part of it.”

Siddhartha is not a long book, and is a fairly simple read. However, don’t be fooled by the simplicity of it, because as you hopefully see, it contains some very powerful ideas. Pick up your copy(amazon link below), and come back and let me know what you think! I’ll be waiting!

Siddhartha (buy it here)

The Simple Science Of Getting What You Want

It’s that time of year when most of us decide to make “resolutions” for the new year. Well, statistically most of those resolutions are broken before then end of January. Hopefully you are determined to not be a part of that statistic! If you have made the resolution to not break your resolutions I have a helpful tool for you, Simpleology 101.

Simple-what?

First and foremost, let’s stop calling them “resolutions” and call them “goals”. Now that we have that taken care of, Simpleology is a tool/site that will assist you in making it easier to reach your goals. The tagline for Simpleology is “The Simple Science Of Getting What You Want“. On the site you will find useful tools that will help you better define your goals and dreams. Once you have them defined, simpleology takes you through a step by step process that helps you achieve your goals little by little, step by step. You will find a workbook (yes, you must actually work to reach your goals) and videos that go through the “5 Laws Of Simpleology” which you will follow on a daily basis in order to move closer to achieving your goal. One of the major reasons many of us fail to reach our goals is because we are impatient, and we think it will happen overnight. Newsflash!! It takes time to accomplish anything worth undertaking. So lets use an analogy okay, say your goal was a hamburger,  simpleology will help you break your goals into little bite sized pieces so you won’t choke trying to swallow the whole thing at one time.

Okay, What Does It Cost?

This is the best part, it is FREE! Yup, F-R-E-E! But there is a “catch”. The owner of the site also has a lot of other valuable courses and will email you regularly in order to try to get you to purchase the other courses. You may end up purchasing some of these other courses (I did), but even if you don’t, the “price” of receiving some emails is well worth it to get this particular tool. So mosey on over to www.simpleology.com and do yourself a favor and join now.

My Baby Can Read

So at the end of July I embarked on a mission to help give my son a leg up on the competition. I started diligently working with him to help him to read just like the babies in the commercial. You’ve seen (or heard) the commercial for My Baby Can Read right? It’s the one where the parents show their kids the flash cards and the children barely 2 years old are reading them! Well, that’s what I set out to do about a month ago. But Justin is 3 and a half, so those damn 18 month olds got an advantage on him!!!

Well a month into the process and he can’t read yet, but we’re working on it. Although I did by the My Baby Can Read kit, I am using the cards because getting him to watch the DVD is damn near impossible at this point now that he prefers Backyardigans, Wow Wow Wubzy, and Yo Gaba Gaba as his choices of viewing pleasure. So what I did discover was the original concept of babies reading from Glen and Janet Doman in their revolutionary book “How To Teach Your Baby To Read”. So I’m employing their methods to get my son to read, but let me tell you it’s no walk in the park.

The main thing that you are supposed to do is make reading the cards fun and interesting. According to the Domans you only need to show the child the word for one second and just keep it moving. Let me tell you, getting Justin to look at 5 words for one second each takes about five minutes. Instead of just standing their for no more than 10 seconds, he wants to roll around, spin around, snatch the words out of my hand, put them in his mouth, crumple them, run around with them, or hide them. At least he’s having fun…I guess.

Although it a labor, it is truly a labor of love. I don’t know if he will really learn how to read (earlier that normal), but I do know that whatever time is “lost” during this process is well worth it. At the very least I’m a parent concerned about his child’s education. Besides, no one said it would be easy (well, actually in one of the commercials some woman says all she did was plop her kid in front of the tv and thats it, I think that’s some B.S.). I believe the effort will pay off in one way or another. Afterall, he knows how to speak some Spanish (numbers, colors, body parts) and he didn’t learn it by accident. So one day (soon) I will be writing about how my son surprised me and he can read!

Can You Function Without Your Cell Phone?

Can you function without your cell phone?

That question was posed to me this past weekend by my wife. For a change I wasn’t actually fiddling around with my phone when she asked that question. I went ahead and gave some vague answer about how phones these days have so many useful functions on them (which is true)  and that when I’m on my phone I’m not just on Facebook or Twitter (also true). Although I pointed out some “truths” about the usage of the phone, I never gave a definitive “yes” or “no”. She knew that, so after my diatribe she said “Well how about you had to use just a plain old flip phone?” to which I replied “Uhh, I guess, if I had to”

Back in the day when I left the house I used to check to make sure I had my wallet and my keys. Today, I check to make sure I have my wallet, keys, and phone. And if you are like me, you have either wondered (out loud) or heard someone ask “How did we survive without cell phones?” (Sometimes “cellphones” is replaced with “computer”, but that’s another post). My answer is, I don’t know. Because with the functionality of cellphones these days, I know I don’t need a cellphone, but it sure does come in handy! Here are just a few things that I use my phone for:

  • Social Networking (Facebook, Twitter)
  • Directions (google maps)
  • Emailing (2 Google accounts, 2 Yahoo accounts)
  • Updating my blog
  • Taking pictures
  • Reading (Kindle for Android)
  • Listening to music (Pandora)
  • Setting my Calendar
  • Looking up information online

All that and more!

I’m sure you use your phone for a bunch of things too, right?

So what do you use your phone for, and can you function without your cell phone?

Baby Steps

If we don’t start, it’s certain we won’t arrive” – Zig Ziglar

I’m a week into my 39th year and it doesn’t feel much different than my 38th year. I didn’t really expect much to change, but it is funny how much weight we can put on New Years and Birthdays. For instance, next year I will be the “Big 4-0”, and I’m not sure why it’s “big”. I haven’t had a birthday, or a new year, yet that I have all of a sudden just become this new and improved version of me. I’ve learned that it tends to happen gradually, in baby steps.

The baby steps that I have embarked on are 1) my health and 2)my wealth. Without going into too much detail about each here we go….

My Health

I’ve had a stiff/sore neck for quite some time now. I have a very limited range of motion with my neck, and it’s just ridiculous at this point. So the first step was seeing a doctor about it. So on the day after my birthday I had my first appointment to address the situation. X-Rays were taken, and nothing out of the ordinary was found, so I will meet with a physical therapist, and she will probably give me a stretch routine. In addition to that, I am going to get some accupressure and accupuncture done on my own. I’m even considering getting one of those back inversion machines. We’ll see about that.

The next step after that is to start my exercise routine. My job offers a gym benefit that I’m considering. And there is a piece of home equiptment I’m thinking of getting, Tower 200 by Body By Jake (www.officialtower200.com) . I’m leaning towards the home equipment because I have the option of working out in the comfort of home, and I’m always home.

Another step is maintaining a healthy diet. I can definitely do better, but I do pretty well at that already.

My Wealth

Being unemployed has a funny way of messing up your finances. I don’t know how it does it, it just does. But now that I’m past that, it’s time to start getting myself to level ground; once on level ground it’s time to take off!

So the steps I’m following are based on Dave Ramsey’s “The Seven Baby Steps” (http://www.daveramsey.com/new/baby-steps/). They are (in order)

  1. $1,000 to start Emergency Fund.
  2. Pay off all debts using the “Debt Snowball”
  3. 3 to 6 months of expenses in savings
  4. Invest 15% of household income in Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement
  5. College funding for children
  6. Pay off home early
  7. Build wealth and give

Simple steps, but will definitely take commitment. And it will take time also. Unless I get a windfall of cash, Steps 1-3 can take about 3 years (or more). That’s not bad, because then I can eventually pay off my house (step 6) within the next 10 (or less) and that will save me a TON of money versus paying it off in 30 years.

Also, I will be teaching my son how to manage money from a young age. That is something that I didn’t get growing up, and it cost me dearly.

Along with all the other things in my life, I think I will be walking for quite a while….

How Do YOU Use Facebook?

How do 500,000,000 people use Facebook? In 500 million different ways I would guess. Maybe we are like snowflakes, no two users are alike. There are so many ways to use it thus the question I ask is how do YOU use Facebook?

Here are a few ways that I use Facebook:

Share Information: The information could be personal information such as “going on a job interview ” or “watching Thomas the Train for the millionth time” or the information could be something like a link to an article about How To Become Debt Free.

Ask For Help: When you have a lot of “friends” in your network if you ask for something, there’s a decent chance someone will respond. Help could be anything from answering a question to getting a job (Ive gotten some part time work via a friend on FB). I’ve also asked friends to vote for my show or my idea in the Pepsi Refresh Project (if its June 2010 when you read this you too should vote at http://www.refresheverything.com/iamhiphop ).

Spread Hope: I often post inspirational quotes on my status, particularly in the morning, so hopefully someone can use it that day.

Talk About TV Shows and Sports: When LOST was on a number of us would post our thoughts about what was happening on any given episode. Same thing went for events like the Grammy Awards, BET Awards, and especially sporting events.

Promotion of a Project: When a group of us were organizing our 20 Yr High School Reunion, we used FB to promote it.

Pass/Waste Time: With a good number of games on FB, it’s easy to find something of your liking. When I first got on FB I was big on Wrestling. Then I got into Hold ‘Em Poker. Millions of people are on Mafia Wars and Farmville (I think I got 1000 invites). Even if you aren’t playing games you could pass a ton of time looking at friends pics, looking at videos they post, or responding to people’s status.

These are a few of the ways I use Facebook, how about you?