Japan Video Games Blog


Hey guys and gals! We FIND and PROMOTE people's work, we never take credit for things we haven't written, we just love sharing the things that are interesting, but if you don't want your work or pictures shown, please let me know and I'll take it off, we're not trying to harm any one here or infringe on anyone's copyrights, just late night entertainment for my friends and I after a long days of work.

We're not making money off the site, nor are we publishing anything to other places through feedburner claiming that it's our work, just a hobby of finding cool things around the internet, that's all. Sometimes we copy and paste too quickly and a link giving you credit doesn't appear, if that's the case and you DO want your work promoted, we will add in the backlink, we would love to give credit where credit is due!

Please contact me or drop a comment on any posts you guys don't want up and I'll take it off within 24 hours, thanks!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

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Survive A Recession, Think Long Term

How To Survive a Recession

#1 Spread your risk, be diversified.
Investing across the board is way more important during bear markets, when your assets can really get hammered by volatility. Make sure you’ve managed your risk with a diversified, well-balanced portfolio.

#2 Think long term. Recessions are usually short.
Eight out of the ten recessions we’ve experienced over the last 60 years have lasted under a year. The two most recent recessions we’ve had — in 1990 and 2001 — lasted only 8 months each. Though you won’t be able to avoid temporary losses during a downturn, the long term has been much kinder to investments, with returns averaging 10%.

#3 Act conservatively.
Make cautious, conservative financial decisions. Some examples:

  • Think of renting until you feel that the property market has bottomed — and it may be a while before it does!
  • If you’re buying a house now, apply for a fixed rate mortgage.
  • Don’t take on additional debt; pay with cash to avoid the temptation of overspending.
  • Make your emergency fund a priority over spending for big items or taking on investments.
  • Live within your means.
  • Get a full employer match through retirement fund contributions.

#4 Be patient and stay the course.
Lots of people are tempted to bail out on their poorly performing investments when things go south. But they may be jumping the gun by unloading assets that could very well recover nicely once the markets improve. I’ve been whipsawed in the past, and I’m not about to fall into that trap again! Avoid tinkering with your portfolio and acting on emotion.

#5 Consider being a contrarian.
The recession will pave the way for lower stock prices and cheaper purchases everywhere! Why not buy low?

#6 Look into future trends.
You might feel better about the stock market when you realize that it is a forward indicator and tends to track ahead of the economy. So even as we’re steeped in the gloom of the economy, the market itself may already be picking up and recovering. Conventional wisdom states that the market recovers around 6 months before the economy itself does.

#7 Look at valuation.
Recognize that stocks have already deflated. Well-priced stocks won’t have far to fall despite recessionary conditions. The stock market has already gone through some beatings, which makes it less likely to fall significantly further.

#8 Recognize that bad news is already priced in the markets.
With all the unpleasant news that’s been released, a lot of the bad mojo has already been absorbed by the markets. Could it get any worse? Only if the news is significantly unfavorable.

#9 Realize that the markets and the economy have support.
Whether or not you agree that the Fed should step in and “bail out” failing institutions and other financial channels, the Fed’s strategies have worked in the past to turn things around. Also, the economy finds support in the fact that it functions in a global environment.

#10 Don’t fight the Fed.
The actions of the Fed will have ramifications later on. It would be foolish to go against expected trends.

#11 Evaluate your job situation.
If you’re worried about your job, be proactive and look into other options before anything happens. Other tips:

  • Beef up your skills, keep your resume updated, explore career changes before the axe falls. Keeping one step ahead of possible eventualities is a good thing but avoid charging ahead and acting without a plan.
  • If you do happen to get laid off, file for unemployment benefits right away by visiting this site for more information. You can also review your health care options (such as COBRA or other coverage).

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For those who don't know what Chernobyl is

"Fifty thousand people used to live here. Now it's a ghost town"

 On April 26th 1986 in the early hours the Number Four reactor at Chernobyl Power Plant, Ukraine suffered a catastrophic accident. During an experiment to test the reactor’s ability to safely run in the event of an external electrical supply outage, a tragic oversight resulted in the extreme overheating of the reactor core. A deadly steam explosion followed by a second explosion two minutes later and ensuing fire released a cloud of toxic radiation 100 times more potent than the first atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined.

Chernobyl ReactorThe town of Pripyat, Ukraine lies just a kilometre North West of the Chernobyl power plant. Many of the people who lived in the town were workers at the nearby Nuclear plant and lived within sight of the world's biggest nuclear disaster. When the reactor core erupted people watched the fire from the rooftops of the many housing blocks unaware of the massive doses of radiation pouring across the surrounding area.

It was 36 hours before authorities even began to evacuate the residents of this now doomed town. The massive radiation cloud drifted over parts of the western Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Northern Europe, and eastern North America. Large areas in Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia were badly contaminated, resulting in the evacuation and resettlement of over 336,000 people. According to official post-Soviet data, about 60% of the radioactive fallout landed in Belarus.

In Infinity Ward's Call of Duty 4 one of the most notable missions involves a 'flashback' with Cpt. Price as a sniper undertaking a shoot to kill mission on the ficticious Russian ultra-nationalist Imran Zakhaev. Along with his superior Cpt. Macmillan the sniper mission involves an infiltration to reach the sniper firing point and then, following the seemingly successful shot, your efforts to evade capture and reach the extraction point in the town of Pripyat.Pripyat Tower Block

Much of the mission takes place amongst abandoned housing blocks where wild packs of dogs roam the streets. An encounter with a pursuing helicopter leaves Macmillan unable to walk and the tension of the mission heightens as you are forced to carry him to the safety of the extraction point whilst still taking out the troops searching amongst the desolate crumbling facades of the apartments. As you pass silently through the buildings you'll make your way out through the crumbling remains of a public swimming baths whilst ignoring a pack of hungry dogs to make the final push to safety.

 Watch out for dogs!This place looks familiar?

As you reach the extraction point and set Macmillan down behind a giant disused Ferris Wheel you have a few precious seconds to lay claymores and C4 charges around the vicinity of the amusement park and then dig in to await the enemy assault. Ground troops are soon re-inforced by two helicopters and the area quickly becomes the most frantic mission of the game so far. Dodging around the Ferris Wheel you pick off the troops who are attempting to flank you whilst trying to lay down fire on the oncoming enemies who attack through the remains of the bumper car ride. A brief stop for shelter in one of the Ferris Wheel cars is fruitless and the wave of enemies continues until the helicopter finally arrives and you can carry the injured Macmillan aboard.

Pripyat Overview - Ferris Wheel

 Playing this level of Call of Duty 4 on 'Veteran' difficulty is surely one of the more challenging portions of the entire game and will demand you become familiar with all the hiding spots in the amusement park area. The primary focus is of course the Ferris Wheel. Brand new in April 1986 the wheel itself was due to open in just one weeks time when the explosion at Chernobyl changed the course of history for the people of Pripyat. The ruins of the bumper car ride are still evidence today of the hasty evacuation of the people and lie dormant, rusting away gently over 20 years after the accident.

Hold Tight, No Bumping!

The Pripyat 'Eye'?Today the town is still shrouded by an exclusion zone and within its close confines deadly pockets of radiation can still be found. Low-level radiation permates the entire area, buildings, trees, water, all of them carry toxic levels of pollution. The town now lies empty as a monument to the nuclear disaster, buildings cannot be demolished as doing so would release yet more radiation into the surrounding area so they are simply left to be consumed by the passing of time.

Is it safe to get on?Now where should I plant the C4?

So, as you line up your next enemy for that headshot or detonate your carefully laid C4 charges spare a thought for the people of Pripyat and the history of events surrounding that Ferris Wheel. Just make it a quick one though as you evade the inevitable hail of grenades landing all around as you're cowering helpless in the draughty ticket booth praying for that extraction helicopter to land.......

I can see my house from up here!

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Swearing At Work | Funny Shit

Swearing At Work

Dear Staff

It has been brought to the CEO's attention that some individuals throughout the organisation have been using foul language during the course of normal conversation with their colleagues.

Due to complaints received from some employees who may be easily offended, this type of language will no longer be tolerated.

We do, however, realise the critical importance of being able to accurately express your feelings when communicating with colleagues.

Therefore, a list of 13 New and Innovative "TRY SAYING" phrases have been provided so that proper exchange of ideas and information can continue in an effective manner.

  1. Try Saying: I think you could do with more training
    Instead Of: You don't have a fucking clue, do you?
  2. Try Saying: She's an aggressive go-getter.
    Instead Of: She's a fucking power-crazy bitch
  3. Try Saying: Perhaps I can work late
    Instead Of: And when the fuck do you expect me to do this?
  4. Try Saying: I'm certain that isn't feasible
    Instead Of: Fuck off arsehole
  5. Try Saying: Really?
    Instead Of: Well fuck me backwards with a telegraph pole
  6. Try Saying: Perhaps you should check with...
    Instead Of: Tell someone who gives a fuck.
  7. Try Saying: I wasn't involved in the project.
    Instead Of: Not my fucking problem.
  8. Try Saying: That's interesting.
    Instead Of: What the fuck?
  9. Try Saying: I'm not sure this can be implemented within the given timescale.
    Instead Of: No fucking chance mate.
  10. Try Saying: It will be tight, but I'll try to schedule it in
    Instead Of: Why the fuck didn't you tell me that yesterday?
  11. Try Saying: He's not familiar with the issues
    Instead Of: He's got his head up his fucking arse.
  12. Try Saying: Excuse me, sir?
    Instead Of: Oi, fuck face.
  13. Try Saying: Of course, I was only going to be at home anyway
    Instead Of: Yeah, who needs fucking holidays anyway.

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Allergy Alert: Breathe Easy, Naturally on Yahoo! Health

Itchy, watery eyes, running nose, an aching head, and sinus congestion. Sound familiar? You may be among the 37 million people in the United States who suffer from allergic rhinitis or sinusitis. Consider combating your springtime woes naturally with these time-tested self-healing techniques.

Allergens in the Air
When your sinuses, the air-filled hollow cavities around your nose and nasal passages, become inflamed, fluid can accumulate and interfere with normal drainage of mucus in the sinuses. This condition is known as acute sinusitis. The result? You may have trouble breathing through your nose and feel your eyes and facial tissue swell up.

Your symptoms may include a headache, fever, a nagging cough, post-nasal drip, thick green or yellow discharge, and a feeling of facial "fullness" that gets worse when you lean forward; during a severe sinus infection, some people even experience a toothache.

This uncomfortable condition has many possible causes, including bacterial, viral, and fungal infections, allergies, or a deviated septum. Synonymous with spring, allergic rhinitis, commonly called hay fever, is the inflammatory result of your immune system's overreaction to allergens in the air.

Pollen is one famous offender. Other allergens include dirt, pollution, animal hair, food particles cloth fibers, and mold.

Surprising Secrets for Sinus Health
Here are some all-natural ways to gain freedom from sinus suffering.

• Clear your sinuses and your mind with a steamy stovetop spa. Add a few drops of wintergreen oil to a pot of boiling water and inhale the steam. Take care not to be burned by the vapor.

• Herbs and spices like ginger, scallion, basil, garlic, oregano, cayenne peppers, white pepper, horseradish and turmeric will have your sinus passageways unblocked in no time!

• The supplement bromelain - a papaya and pineapple-based enzyme - helps reduce histamine release, the body's natural allergic response.

• Clear your nasal passageway daily for healthy, happy sinuses. Add 1 tsp of sea salt, 1 drop of oregano oil, and 1 drop of wintergreen to a cup of warm water. Fill a small-spouted squeeze bottle with this warm solution. Squirt into one nostril at a time and blow out through the nose. Alternate nostrils.

• Press one clove of garlic, mix with 1 tsp of olive oil and soak a clean cotton ball with the oil mixture and place in nostrils after having washed the nostril with warm salt water. Leave in for 20 minutes and repeat three times a day until the symptoms clear up.

• These two simple self-massage practices that follow are incredibly effective for relieving sinus congestion. For both, sit at the tip of a sturdy chair with your back erect, spine stretched, and your head tilted slightly forward.

1. Inhale and gently press your forehead just inside the temples with your palms. Exhale and release. Repeat three times.

2. Cross your middle and index fingers by placing the tips of your middle fingers on top of the fingernails on your index fingers. Rub the sides of your nose 36 times in a circular motion, warming your fingers first if they're cold.

What you eat affects your sinus health
Avoid the foods that produce mucous and dampness: dairy products, cold and raw foods, corn (including corn syrup), and simple sugars. Choose whole grains like quinoa, amaranth and brown rice instead of wheat, rye and barley, which are typically high allergy grains. Opt for papaya, cranberries, pear, pineapple, cherries, mango, and citrus fruits. Eat more green vegetables such as artichoke, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, and spinach.

Both alcohol and smoking should be avoided during a sinus flare-up as they irritate the respiratory tract and worsen nasal inflammation. Also, sinus congestion is often worse with lack of quality rest so be sure to get plenty of sleep and keep your stress level low.

I hope that you find the ways to keep your sinuses clear and freely flowing. I invite you to visit often and share your own personal health and longevity tips with me.

May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

-Dr. Mao

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Experts now recommend hands-only CPR on Yahoo! Health

NEW YORK - You can skip the mouth-to-mouth breathing and just press on the chest to save a life. In a major change, the American Heart Association said Monday that hands-only CPR — rapid, deep presses on the victim's chest until help arrives — works just as well as standard CPR for sudden cardiac arrest in adults.

Experts hope bystanders will now be more willing to jump in and help if they see someone suddenly collapse. Hands-only CPR is simpler and easier to remember and removes a big barrier for people skittish about the mouth-to-mouth breathing.

"You only have to do two things. Call 911 and push hard and fast on the middle of the person's chest," said Dr. Michael Sayre, an emergency medicine professor at Ohio State University who headed the committee that made the recommendation.

Hands-only CPR calls for uninterrupted chest presses — 100 a minute — until paramedics take over or an automated external defibrillator is available to restore a normal heart rhythm.

This action should be taken only for adults who unexpectedly collapse, stop breathing and are unresponsive. The odds are that the person is having cardiac arrest — the heart suddenly stops — which can occur after a heart attack or be caused by other heart problems. In such a case, the victim still has ample air in the lungs and blood and compressions keep blood flowing to the brain, heart and other organs.

A child who collapses is more likely to primarily have breathing problems — and in that case, mouth-to-mouth breathing should be used. That also applies to adults who suffer lack of oxygen from a near-drowning, drug overdose, or carbon monoxide poisoning. In these cases, people need mouth-to-mouth to get air into their lungs and bloodstream.

But in either case, "Something is better than nothing," Sayre said.

The CPR guidelines had been inching toward compression-only. The last update, in 2005, put more emphasis on chest pushes by alternating 30 presses with two quick breaths; those "unable or unwilling" to do the breaths could do presses alone.

Now the heart association has given equal standing to hands-only CPR. Those who have been trained in traditional cardiopulmonary resuscitation can still opt to use it.

Sayre said the association took the unusual step of making the changes now — the next update wasn't due until 2010 — because three studies last year showed hands-only was as good as traditional CPR. Hands-only will be added to CPR training.

An estimated 310,000 Americans die each year of cardiac arrest outside hospitals or in emergency rooms. Only about 6 percent of those who are stricken outside a hospital survive, although rates vary by location. People who quickly get CPR while awaiting medical treatment have double or triple the chance of surviving. But less than a third of victims get this essential help.

Dr. Gordon Ewy, who's been pushing for hands-only CPR for 15 years, said he was "dancing in the streets" over the heart association's change even though he doesn't think it goes far enough. Ewy (pronounced AY-vee) is director of the University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center in Tucson, where the compression-only technique was pioneered.

Ewy said there's no point to giving early breaths in the case of sudden cardiac arrest, and it takes too long to stop compressions to give two breaths — 16 seconds for the average person. He noted that victims often gasp periodically anyway, drawing in a little air on their own.

Anonymous surveys show that people are reluctant to do mouth-to-mouth, Ewy said, partly because of fear of infections.

"When people are honest, they're not going to do it," he said. "It's not only the yuck factor."

In recent years, emergency service dispatchers have been coaching callers in hands-only CPR rather than telling them how to alternate breaths and compressions.

"They love it. It's less complicated and the outcomes are better," said Dallas emergency medical services chief Dr. Paul Pepe, who also chairs emergency medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

One person who's been spreading the word about hands-only CPR is Temecula, Calif., chiropractor Jared Hjelmstad, who helped save the life of a fellow health club member in Southern California

Hjelmstad, 40, had read about it in a medical journal and used it on Garth Goodall, who collapsed while working out at their gym in February. Hjelmstad's 15-year-old son Josh called 911 in the meantime.

Hjelmstad said he pumped on Goodall's chest for more than 12 minutes — encouraged by Goodall's intermittent gasps — until paramedics arrived. He was thrilled to find out the next day that Goodall had survived.

On Sunday, he visited Goodall in the hospital where he is recovering from triple bypass surgery.

"After this whole thing happened, I was on cloud nine," said Hjelmstad. "I was just fortunate enough to be there."

Goodall, a 49-year-old construction contractor, said he had been healthy and fit before the collapse, and there'd been no hint that he had clogged heart arteries.

"I was lucky," he said. Had the situation been reversed, "I wouldn't have known what to do."

"It's a second lease on life," he added.

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7 Helpful Spouse in car

A man and his wife are having a huge argument when their car is stopped by a police officer.

The following  exchange takes place....

 The man says: "What's the problem officer?"
 Officer: "You were going at least 75 in a 55 zone."
 Man: "No sir, I was going 65."
 Wife: "Oh, Harry. You were going 80."
 [Man gives his wife a dirty look.]

 Officer: "I'm also going to give you a ticket for your broken tail light."
 Man: "Broken tail light? I didn't know about a broken tail light!"
 Wife: "Oh Harry, you've known about that tail light for weeks."
 [Man gives his wife a dirty look.]

 Officer: "I'm also going to give you a citation for not wearing your seat belt."
 Man: "Oh, I just took it off when you were walking up to the car."
 Wife: "Oh, Harry, you never wear your seat belt."

Man turns to his wife and yells: "Shut your mouth, woman!"
Officer turns to the woman and asks, "Ma'am, does your husband talk to you  this way all the time?"
Wife says: "No, only when he's drunk."

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Morbid Optimism: How I See Fit. » Americans Shouldn’t Cosplay.

Actual Cloud

The good:

good cloud

The American:

American Cloud: Awesome hair, dude

Next up is Sepiroth from Final Fantasy VII:

Original Sephiroth

The Good:

Good Sephiroth

The American:

American Sephiroth? Yessir...... So hawt!

Now behold Vincent, another fan favorite from Final Fantasy VII:

Original Vincent

Not only is this good one good, it’s fantastic:

Awesome Vincent

The American:

American Vincent: OMG get him another hit of heroin before he claws my eyes out.

Okay, okay, I have another Final Fantasy VII character for you guys, here’s Tifa:

Original Tifa

The Good:

Good Tifa

The above picture is NOT, I repeat, NOT, from the movie! She is a real person and, by far, the best Tifa cosplayer ever. I don’t care if she was paid by Square or not, she’s still a killer Tifa. Not much information is known about her, but she is the real deal, yo.

The American:

American Tifa

Yeah, it matches the picture for the costume a little closer, but watch Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children and then tell me otherwise.

Okay, on to another game (same series though, I’m sorry…): Final Fantasy X-2’s Yuna!

Original Yuna(s)

The Good:

Good Yuna: mmmmm Yuna

The American:

American Yuna: Are you fucking kidding me?!?!

Moving on to another Final Fantasy X-2 character, we have Rikku:
Original Rikku

The Good:

Good Rikku: OMG the good.... so good...

The American:

American Rikku: 'nuff said.

Okay, finally moving away from the Final Fantasy series, we have the sailor girls from the Sailor Moon series:

Original Sailor Girls

The Good:

Good Sailor Girls

The American:

American Sailor Girls: The guys are scary.

The boy in the front of that picture is especially creepy. That is a boy, right? Right?

Next up for all you current anime fans, the Naruto series:

Original Naruto characters

The Good:

Awesome group of Naruto cosplayers

The American:

American Naruto and Sasuke: OMFG WTF STFU PWNED!

I don’t know who the guy in the middle is, but he’s balding. That is all.

Here is Rei Ayanami from the Evangelion series:

Original Rey Ayanami

The Good:

Good Rei Ayanami

The American:

American Rei Ayanami: Fuck me in the goat ass, I have nothing to say...

There is so much to point out in this picture… I just want you

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holy shit FOR REAL?? i hope it does it justice.. DAMN

IGN.com - Legend of Zelda Movie Trailer Premiere

LeBron James needs special effects. Kevin Love does not.

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Kevin Love Holdin It Down From FULL COURT and HALF COURT 95 FT

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Type-A Mom - Preschoolers and Gratitude

Preschoolers can be pretty ungrateful.

puppy dog eyesIt's OK, they are supposed to be that way. Infants and toddlers are unable to realize that they are not the centers of the universe. Grasping a concept that big is really too much for them. As they move into the preschool age they begin to see that they are not really the end all of everything, but what to do with this new information can still be too much to process. As they mature gratitude for what they have, rather than expecting that what they want will be immediately given, blossoms. Still, if you are worried that your preschooler is becoming a "spoilt brat' or you just want to help them move through the transition here are a few ideas to use.

One great thing to do is to create a daily habit of being grateful. For a young preschooler this does not have to be much. Take a few moments each day to share some of the things you are grateful for and encourage your preschooler to share hers as well. You can also take a few moments after or before meals to say thanks for the food. These little things can show your preschooler what being thankful means.

When your preschooler has a case of the "gimmies" it can be easy to get frustrated. You may feel that they are being ungrateful about the things they already have, and sometimes they do act that way.

One way to combat this is to talk to your preschooler about what they already have verses what they want. Try not to make them feel guilty for wanting what ever it is that they want, and always validate that their want is very real. Help them see that while they may not have the latest toy they see there are still many great things that they already have.

Of course the best way to teach gratitude to your preschooler is to show it yourself. Just like all of the other habits that they mimic from their parents, being thankful is something they will pick up from you.

Talk about being grateful often, and tell your children that you are grateful for them. Do things to show your gratitude for what you have in front of them and take the time to explain why. Over time your preschooler will mature and begin to understand gratitude in their own way.

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Why People Live Paycheck to Paycheck » Self Improvement Blog - BrianKim.net

If you're a first time visitor, I highly encourage you to click here to learn more about this site in order for you to get the very best value out of it. Thank you for visiting!

I read in a recent survey by Careerbuilder.com that 40% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck.


That’s almost one out of every two people. And that’s a pretty scary thought, considering the whole mortgage crisis going on in the U.S right now.

Granted, each situation is different and there are probably perfectly valid reasons why some Americans have no choice but to live paycheck to paycheck (huge medical bills from a car accident, multiple dependents, outstanding family debt, etc.), but I’m pretty sure that comprises of only a small percentage of the 40% statistic in that survey.

This article is geared more toward those in the 40% who make enough money so they shouldn’t live paycheck to paycheck but still do.

So what’s going on? Why are people living paycheck to paycheck when the income they bring in seems to be more than enough?

The most obvious and easiest answer that comes to mind is that these people don’t make enough money.

They usually say if I made X amount of dollars more per month, I would be fine.

But that’s a dangerous belief to have – to think that more money is the answer.

Don’t get me wrong. Having more money can indeed help with your financial situation.

BUT, if you cannot properly manage and control the money you have now, what makes you think you will properly manage and control any additional amount of money you get in the future?

It won’t make any difference if you get more money because you will not properly manage and control that money either; the same thing will repeat itself over and over again.

What will most likely happen is that you’ll probably be at the very least, proportionally in the same situation in terms of your income to debt ratio as you were before.

For example, if your income was $40,000/year and your debt was $10,000, you had an income to debt ratio of 4:1. But let’s say you get a significant boost in income – say twice as much so you’re earning so now your income is $80,000 a year. Your debt will probably increase by the same proportion, in this case to $20,000, if not more.

And you know what? The debt will probably do just that. It will increase significantly.

It doesn’t seem like it will but it does in a lot of cases and it’s because people fall victim to Parkinson’s law.

Parkinson’s law: As your income rises, so do your expenses.

With your additional income, you feel like you have more buying power so you get a more expensive car, the monthly payments go up, insurance goes up, if you get in an accident with that car, repair costs go up, you eat out at more expensive restaurants, buy more expensive clothes, etc.

At the very least, the majority of people will be the same off proportionally speaking, but chances are that they will likely incur higher debt as they fall victim to Parkinson’s law.

Again, all this brings us to the first reason that most people live paycheck to paycheck.

People can’t properly manage and control the money they have now.

Ok then. What’s the answer to this? How can we properly manage and control the money we have now?

Here’s where we get a bunch of advice from personal finance experts.

Make a budget.
Track your expenses.
Save first, then pay your bills after instead of the other way around.
Save your loose change and put it in a jar.
Cash out a certain amount of money per month and only use that for food, going out, entertainment, etc.

That’s all great advice but we all know that even though people do these things - even though they make budgets, they track their expenses, they save first, they save all their loose change, etc., they still live paycheck to paycheck.

Again, remember, this article pertains to those who make enough so they shouldn’t live paycheck to paycheck but still do.

So what’s going on here?

To explain this dilemma, let’s take a look at how different times are today than they were before.

We’re being exposed to more advertising for products and services now more than ever before. We are literally soaked in it. TV, radio, Internet, billboards. It’s all around us. And advertisers have done a hell of job at convincing people that they need what they want.

If you think about it, we really don’t need much. It’s people’s wants that are taking a big chunk out of their paycheck as people have become a slave to their wants.

Job Security
Job security is not as strong as it was before. Advancements in technology and outsourcing have replaced many jobs. People change jobs more frequently now but the problem is that when people get a job, they automatically chose to opt for a lifestyle that fits the income they get from that job, and more often than not, it’s a lifestyle that tends to exceed that income.

Then, with job security being so unstable, it’s not uncommon to see gaps of unemployment where no income is coming in for months at a time, but with this lifestyle made tailored to a certain amount of income, and no income coming in, people have to rely on loans and credit cards to maintain that lifestyle and keep afloat.

Then, if they do get back on their feet, they’re greeted with a pile of new debt that they incurred during their transition, so it becomes that much harder for them to get back on track because they have to dig themselves out of the financial hole that was recently made, contributing to the seemingly never ending paycheck to paycheck cycle.

Credit Cards
Credit card offers bombard us in the mail every week teasing us with features such as 0% APR. Couple that with how instantaneous shopping can be thanks to the Internet and the instantaneous gratification mentality that seems to be prevalent nowadays and it proves to be a deadly combination.

Combine all these factors above with consumerism and materialism and you get the poster child for the person who makes enough so they shouldn’t live paycheck to paycheck, but still do:

The fake rich.

What most people don’t realize is that some people who look like they’re rich, not all, but some (and more than you think), are just faking it.

They live well beyond their means and rely on credit cards to buy the things they need to keep up the image they portray. Why? It’s probably because we live in a country where we are predominately conditioned to judge others by what they have, not by who they are.

Of course there are people out there who can afford all the nice things and I would say the old 80/20 rule comes into play. 80% can afford that lifestyle and 20% are just faking it.

It’s funny because the reverse is true too. The people you least suspect, who live very simply, who drive average cars, who aren’t very flashy are way more financially stable than those who are fake rich.

Again, not all people are like this, but more than you think. If you have a chance, pick up a copy of “The Millionaire Next Door” and you’ll see many examples of this in that book.

It reminds me of a verse I remember reading in Proverbs.

Proverbs 13:7
7 Some who are poor pretend to be rich;
others who are rich pretend to be poor.

With regard to material possessions, what most people fail to realize is that even if you do buy the big mansion, the fancy cars and clothes, it will result in a temporary spike in pleasure. Over time, you’ll always fall back to the baseline of happiness you had before. You’ll always adapt to whatever environment you’re in after a period of time has passed, regardless of what it is.

The more people realize this, the more that they’ll begin to put material things in their proper perspective. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with living in a mansion, driving nice cars, wearing nice clothes. It’s just dangerous to think that should be the end game.

People who view that as the end game will climb to the top of the proverbial “materialism” mountain and realize that there’s not much on other side. And they’ll then proceed to look down the mountain and see other people struggling to get to the top and wonder why they even bother.

So for those who make enough money so they shouldn’t live paycheck to paycheck, but still do, more money is not the answer.

You have to properly manage and control the money you have now FIRST before that can help.

But let’s face it. The odds are stacked against most people nowadays. We live in times of:

Massive advertising.
Loss of job security.
Ease of shopping.
Credit cards galore.
Materialism and consumerism.

And we get people who are fake rich as a result because it’s really easy to pull it off with the availability of credit cards and it’s really easy to fall into the temptation of doing that when we live in a society where people are conditioned to judge others by what they have, not by who they are.

It’s really easy to point the fingers at all the reasons listed above, but the hardest thing to do is turn that finger around and point it at one’s own self.

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Top 5 Things That Should Be Taught In Every School » Self Improvement Blog - BrianKim.net

I can’t speak for schools outside the United States, but for those readers who went to school in America, I think you’ll agree that the American education system is in sore need of an upgrade. The world is changing at such a rapid pace and it’s my strong opinion that there should be more classes dedicated to helping students prepare and cope with the real world once they graduate.

If you look at this generation of students, you’ll find that most are “shell shocked” once they graduate because they had little or no preparation for what was to come.

High school mostly teaches you to memorize information and to regurgitate it back to your teacher, only to completely erase the information from your mind the moment you walk out after taking the test.

When you go on to college, you do a bit of the same things, but you also learn to think analytically, critically, and to broaden your mind so to speak, but even people who graduate from college will learn lessons from the real world the hard way as well. The sad part is all of this could’ve been prevented with some proper education beforehand.

Below are five things that I firmly believe should be taught in every school in America so that students don’t get railroaded when they enter the real world. If you’re still in school and reading this, consider it your lucky day as mastering these five skills will give you a great head start and help separate you from the rest of the pack as well.

#1. Personal Finance

Every week or so, there always seems to be a new article in CNN, USA Today, or Yahoo about young adults struggling with debt, whether it be from credit cards or loans in general. High interest rates, hidden fees, not consolidating debt – these terms and concepts are mostly unknown to young adults and because of that ignorance, they tend to make big errors in judgment. A prime example is thinking that they just have to pay the minimum on their balance and not realizing that by doing so, they pay 2-3 times as much in the long run.

Alongside that, most young adults don’t have a clue on how to invest their money. They don’t know what a Roth IRA account is, or a 401k, or the magic of compound interest, the tax benefits associated with investing in these types of vehicles, etc. There’s a lot of specialized knowledge out there that young adults are not aware of on when it comes to how they can invest their money and as a result, they frivolously spend it away.

Credit score is another big thing. A lot of young adults don’t bother to check up on it to make sure there are no errors with it. Your credit score is your report card in the real world and it comes into play when you’re buying a car, renting your first apartment, and even when you’re getting a job (most employers are now checking credit scores to determine how responsible the candidate is). Protect that at all costs. Learn what drives your credit score down. Learn what drives your credit score up. Check up on it every now and then to ensure nothing is wrong with it.

Even something as basic as creating a simple budget is beyond the grasp of some young adults and it simply amazes me that a lot of people don’t do this and some don’t even know how (you’d be surprised). Figure out your income after taxes, pay yourself FIRST (this is a big one – most people pay the bills and frivolously spend the leftovers until next payday), see what you can cut out if things are tight, look to see where you can bring in more income if you need to do so, etc.

Another important subset regarding personal finance are those “intangible” things, such as learning to differentiate between need and want, delaying the gratification, and having an inner sense of value. These concepts can’t be taught in the classroom but only taught through oneself via self discipline.

We live in a materialistic society where unfortunately, many young people grow up with the “have” then “be” mentality.

If I have _______, then I’ll be ____________.

Blame it on the media, advertising, or the impressionable minds of young people, but you’ll frequently see that a lot of people get stuck in this mentality and as a result, needlessly pile themselves in a mountain of debt.

One thing that I want to point out to students is that you’ll find as you get older, that a lot of people “fake” success. Not all, but a pretty big chunk. The neighbor or co-worker you see with the fancy car and nice clothes are most likely knee deep in debt while you’ll find the people with the average car and clothes have little or no debt and a nice big cushion of savings to that as well.

And the ironic and sad part is that most people don’t really care about other people because they’re so busy with themselves, so all that effort to impress others is really all in vain. The inherent danger in trying to accumulate expensive things to feel good about yourself is that you’re telling yourself that you need something outside of yourself to validate you, when everything you need to validate yourself is already within you. Stop looking for anything outside of you because there will always be something new and better to purchase. It’s like a dog chasing its tail. You’ll never catch it. Learn to simplify your life and to be content and grateful for the things you have. Don’t get caught up in the materialistic chase because once you do, it’s hard to get out.

#2. Communicating Effectively

By this, I’m not necessarily talking about giving speeches and presentations, although that certainly falls in this category. I ‘m mainly talking about being able to clearly take what’s in your head and to put it into words so the other person clearly understands what you’re saying the first time.

I know that sounds simple, but I’m sure you’ve met people in the workplace who don’t take the time to prepare when they speak with you and as a result, waste your time talking in circles when all you want to say to them is: “Can you take some time to think through what you want to say and come back to me later with that?”

Communicating effectively is one of the most underrated, yet most powerful skills you can develop.

The biggest part in communicating effectively is preparing what you want to say beforehand. Keep it simple. What’s my point? Why? Prepare a good example.

Your best friend in communicating effectively are these two words: “For example”. Whenever you see a confused look on people’s faces, your best response is leading with those two words: For example. When you do that AND follow up with a relevant example, it allows the other person to “frame” what you’re talking about to get a better idea of what it is.

Communicating effectively is one of THE MOST underrated and MOST valuable skills a person can have. And let me tell you on a personal level, there’s nothing more refreshing than dealing with people who take the time to prepare what they have to say and back it up with clear examples. It’s a very rare skill nowadays.

#3. Social Skills

Closely related to communicating effectively are social skills in general. After you graduate, you’re not going to be dealing with your high school or frat buddies anymore.

You’ll be dealing with many people from different backgrounds, countries, and more importantly different age groups, so it would be wise to learn how to socialize outside your own group.

Cut the slang. Learn to respect customs from other countries. Learn how to listen – few people do. Learn when to speak and when NOT to (hint – you have two ears and one mouth. There’s a reason for that).

Build rapport. Learn the art of networking – that’s key. Networking is a big skill that’s not taught enough in schools. Learn to compliment. Mingle. Make small talk.

Learn to approach people – that’s another big skill. Most people don’t have the guts to take the first initiative and introduce themselves. Be the big man. Take the first step. Learn to make the other person feel good and important. Dale Carnegie is your best friend in this area (Google his name if you don’t know what I’m talking about)

#4. Sales

Obviously I’m not advocating people becoming a salesman after school, but learning the art of selling is what I’m advocating. If you think about it, we all sell everyday. We sell ideas to our boss. We sell to our friends when we pitch ideas on what to do this weekend. We sell ourselves in job interviews.

You could say that sales is a great combination of social skills and communicating effectively, but with some other components you should pick up that will be useful.

Listen. Really listen.
Actively listen.
Learn how to be convincing.
Be persuasive.
Think of objections and counter them ahead of time.
Stress benefits instead of features.
Listen to the other person. (yes I know it’s a repeat, but it’s for emphasis)
Develop empathy.
Think in terms of how you can help serve the other person.

Selling is one of the few skills that can be utilized in any job or career. It’s one of the most important cross marketable skills you will ever develop.

#5: Time Management

Speaking of other skills that can be utilized in any job and career is time management. The majority of students never really learn to value their time and manage it while in school. Procrastination is all too rampant (studying right before class, doing homework and essays the day it’s due, partying the night before the exam). This lack of time management often carries over into adulthood, which becomes a major liability.

Learn to make a to do list. Learn to prioritize. Learn to break things down into 30 minute blocks of time. Learn about actionable items. David Allen’s GTD system is your best friend here along with Dan Kennedy’s No B.S Time Management. Again if you’re unfamiliar with these people, Google is your best friend, but I’m sure the majority of readers will know what I’m talking about.

+1. Health

It’s not enough to make students run a mile and play sports. Education is needed now more than ever. Education on the dangers of consuming too much fast food. Education on what diets in high sugar and fat can do to the body. Education on proper nutrition. Education on the importance of exercising regularly as well.

I think if schools start teaching these kinds of things, we could nip so many problems in the bud because most teenagers will not research this material on their own. The few that do have a head start in life but if we can’t teach them, schools should at the very least raise some sort of awareness and have an introductory class that talks about them – Real World 101.

If you have any friends or family who are still in school, please forward them this article. Think of it as a cheat sheet for the real world. You’ll be doing them a great service and they will most definitely thank you after they graduate. I guarantee it.

Top 5 Things That Should Be Taught In Every School » Self Improvement Blog - BrianKim.net
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Black kid's desk

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Look at Your Interior and Love It With Mira En Tu Interior Designs

Look at Your Interior and Love It With Mira En Tu Interior Designs

Artwork makes a big impact on a space: it draws the eye towards something beautiful and focuses the attention, and it fills in negative space while expressing one's personality and tastes. On a larger scale, it is one of the easiest ways to make a dramatic impact and change the whole feeling of a space.

Barcelona-based Mira En Tu Interior's vinyl stickers can enliven the "skin" of your walls in one fell swoop, providing some dazzling flavor to otherwise empty space. But beware: these are not for the faint of (decorating) heart. These bold designs make for some very funktified living spaces that you just can't ignore. And with their fresh and playful themes, who would want to?

Mira En Tu Interior offers several designs along different themes: flowers, dreams and abstractions, geometric doodles, blurbs of text (mostly in Spanish), and even stuff for the kiddos.

Another bonus is that the patterns generally come in several different sizes and colors, for a really customized piece. On top of that, you can go even further and cross some decorating lines, drawing the decal up to the ceiling or onto another wall.

So if you have some sad, bare walls in your house you may find just the splash of modern verve you're looking for here.

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