The Things We Do

Often throughout life, as I am happily enjoying myself, doing the exact thing that I chose to do at that moment, for some reason, some people will come up to me and ask me why I am doing that thing I am doing. Whether it is playing a video game, going for a walk, reading a book, working on a website, watching TV or anything else I do, for some reason, some people feel that I should have something better to do at that particular moment.

Often once somebody decides that I should not be doing the thing I actually want to do, they will offer recommendations of the things they feel I should be doing, using language such as, “You should do this” or “You should do that”.

I have a hard time understanding this mentality that causes them to guide me away from the thing that I wanted to do, and into a direction that I chose not to go.

Where do they get such vast knowledge of what I like? How can they feel that their idea of what I should be doing is actually superior to my own opinion on the subject?

Am I actually supposed to take advice on what I should be doing with my time, from someone who can find nothing better to do with their time then tell others what to do?

People do the things they do, because after all the weighing of all the choices they can think of, they chose that as the best possible course for them.

We are all different, we all have different goals, and we all want to do different things. Whatever a person chooses to do themselves, is decided with the unparalleled knowledge of self, and only they can choose the very true best thing that they should be doing.

We do what we do, because that’s what we chose to do.




I heard the below song a few months after writing this post, and thought I would share it here.

The Raconteurs – You Don’t Understand Me

You don’t understand me
But if the feeling was right
You might comprehend me
And why do you feel the need to tease me
Why don’t you turn it around
It might be easier to please me

And there’s always another point of view
A better way to do the things we do
And how can you know me
And I know you.
If nothing is true

Why do you think that you are doing
But who is the fool, the fool or the fool
that you are fooling.
And maybe I just don’t see the reason
But in the corner of my heart your ignorance is treason.

And there’s always another point of view
A better way to do the things we do
And how can you know me
And I know you.
If nothing is true

You think you know how I feel
Its not that big of a deal
There’s no such thing its not real
Oh-Oh

You don’t understand me
But if the feeling was right
You might comprehend me
And I don’t claim to understand you
But I’ve been looking around
And I haven’t found, anybody like you

And there’s always another point of view
A better way to do the things we do
And how can you know me
And I know you
If nothing is true

Time Is Not Money – Time Is Money Debunked

I have been getting really tired of hearing people say the phrase “Time is Money” to me recently. Though I can understand the merit of the phrase when spoken during business hours, since rent, hourly wages, and other time based payments are factored in, each time I hear it outside of work, I just want to shout to the speaker at the top of my lungs “No it’s not, stop spreading stupidity!”

When I was a toddler, I used to play with a very simple puzzle, the goal of the puzzle was to fit various shapes into similar shaped holes, the triangular shape into the triangular shaped hole, the pentagon into the pentagon hole, square into the square hole, however the circular piece on my version of this puzzle, was a little bit special, since all the pieces were designed with the exact same width, the circular piece would not only fit into the circular shaped hole, but also into the square shaped hole. However even in my toddler years I was already smart enough to realize that this did not make a circle equal to a square, because the square would not fit through the circular hole. The phrase “circle is square” makes about as much sense to me as “time is money”.

Shape Puzzle

Although money is something you can rent people’s time with, and with more money you can indeed rent more people’s time, one thing that you can never do with money, is buy more time for yourself, and neither can anyone else. Time is limited, and the only real thing that any of us have here on earth, it is the most valuable thing we ever possess, and most everyone would give up any amount of money to have more. Although you’re always free to sell your own time as much as you wish, you can never buy it back.

In a social situation, two people are sharing their time with each other, nobody is paying one another, and therefore the value of both people’s time is completely equal, in fact you could use the phrase “time is time” or “time = time” and nobody could ever bring a valid argument against it.

Sometimes I feel that a good part of society has things a little bit mixed up about money and time, that some of the rich people, and also some of the poor, feel that the value of a wealthy people’s time is greater,  but again, in a social situation, where money is not involved, time has no monetary value, and we all make the same wage of absolutely nothing.

Obviously time is not money.

Please Keep Your Freedumb Away From My Freedom

I am just days away from a two week holiday to my hometown of Vancouver Canada, it is always nice to see the west coast of Canada in the spring, often during this time of year the trees will blossom, adding some incredible colors to the already beautiful scenery, and a sweet scent to the cool fresh air. I am also of course very much looking forward to seeing my family and friends, who are the reason for the trip.

After making some plans to visit friends, a discussion about me started amongst my various acquaintances back home, and eventually, some of this discussion came back to me though hearsay. Apparently not all of my friends think I am doing very well in life, and by their measurement, which is salary, I guess I am not, but I do not measure my life in salary, if I did I would have kept some of the high paying jobs I had in the past, or taken some that were offered to me along the way, but I did not, because instead of salary, I measure my life in how much free time I get to experience, free time I often spend with my son, or traveling, reading, and writing.

Consumer PrisionerInevitably during my trip back to Canada as I visit with the few friends that can find enough time off work to see me, they may give me advice, as they often have before, about how I should change my life to be more like theirs, forgetting that I had lived that way for too many years already, with the waking up to an alarm, rushing to work, wearing a shirt, tie and black socks, eating when I’m told to, and then rushing back home at the end of the day. Many just can’t seem to understand that even though I hardly make any money at all by writing, programming, and selling shirts on the internet for a living, it is exactly the type of life I hope to live forever. To me what I have is something closer to true freedom, than the common illusion of it, which is humorously defined on the web today as freedumb.

As they suggest I dust off my work clothing, which I assume still exists somewhere in my closet, to get a “real job”, and make some real money, I will likely just nod politely, and think to myself, “Please keep your freedumb away from my freedom.”

Below are three videos, with a combined total of only seven minutes, they are all great clips, that I feel relate perfectly to normal corporate life and real freedom.

Enjoy!

Sometimes They Actually Are Out To Get You

When I first started this business, I thought I had a great idea, I would be a reseller of hard to find and interesting products from all sorts of factories I had sourced out. I would sell the things I liked, and get to deal with customers that were just like me. This has worked to some degree, I enjoy my work most of the time, and almost all of the customers we ever deal with are cool and fantastic ones.

The online world is a bit different that I had imagined though, I thought I could build my own little online home of cool items, deal with only cool people and kick any uncool people out of the house forever, never having to deal with them again, but unfortunately it is not quite like that, just as a percentage of the real world contains some of confrontational, narcissistic, non empathetic jerks, so is the Internet, but unlike the real word, where none of these people would be allowed in my house, my online home with its millions of visitors, tens of thousands of them will be the type of person I do not want a visit from. Some of them even bother to write my Inbox with threats, though they are not physical threats, but legal ones, they are still very disturbing to read.

Justice Scales

Justice Scales

I do not make any of the products I sell, I buy them all from large companies, they are branded, trademarked and copyrighted already, but still the shirts that I pick, especially the funny ones, often have messages the corporate world does not like. Once they decide they do not like your product lawyers are often unleashed at you to try and stop you from selling any more of the offending products, the first tool the lawyers usually use are cease and desist letters. Cease and desist letters, for those of you that don’t know, are like legal declarations of war threatening severe, business destroying legal action if you do not surrender your suppliers names, products, sales records, and even your website immediately. Please know that these letter are not from courts, as they pretend they are, and do not actually hold any legal value, but are usually the first step taken before any legal action.

The most recent legal threat against us was from a massive massive company who were very offended by an original image drawn on a shirt I was selling, though it contained no logo, trademark or even words, when I named the image for the shirt, I used a very common English word to describe it. They sent me a letter saying that this word can only be used by them, and even claim to have trademarked it. From what I know of law, having only studied it for one year, I find this highly unlikely. Even though it has a strong smell of BS surrounding it. I have taken the product down since the letter seemed to come from an actual lawyer, and although they might not be able to win a case on this particular shirt, I do have other ones that they may win cases on. So better safe than sorry I guess.

I find I am itching to fight with them, but I still have other shirts I can sell, and had best use my energy elsewhere, though it is unjust for this multi billion dollar corporation to try and control such a common English word, and to deny the world not only the word, but the sight of the funny t-shirt, not to mention my bread and butter. I will let them win the battle they started. I will not currently post the word, company, letter and shirt image here, but I may in the future.

These actions might not sound not so bad to people that believe in a fair world, where all these letter are coming for upright and moral persons, where only people who know they did something wrong, and yet did it anyway had to face such things, but I have found that sometimes lawyers are impersonating customers, sometimes our competition in to hope of having us take down a competitive product are impersonating lawyers, and sometimes lawyers admit they are lawyers, but you never know which is which, and whether they do or do not have a legitimate case against you. I can say that in the twenty or so legal threats to ourselves here over the last four years, only one of them was legitimate, I was new to the business and did not know any better, I apologized and they let me go. The other nineteen however, were just aggressive mean companies trying to seize our products, business and website with absolutely no right to it. I would shutter to think of all the business they have closed, and things they have seized from others over the years with these immoral practices. The cost of lawyers to find out what is a legitimate threat and what isn’t is also no laughing matter.

Chuck You Tee

Chuck You Big Business

You would think I should know which is a legal shirt and which isn’t but sometimes the lines are a bit blurry, for example a shirt such as Chuck You! obviously refers to the famous martial artist and movie star Chuck Norris. I would think that it was perfectly alright to sell such a shirt, so long as it does not offend Mr Norris, and trust me I would not ever want to offend Mr. Norris. I do understand that Chuck Norris has some legal rights to the shirt, if he were to contact me, since the shirt uses both his name and image, I would have no moral reason to ever refuse him, as far as I am concerned it is his shirt, the same would of course go for many of the Star Wars inspired shirts we sell, if Mr Lucas was offended by them, I would simply bow my head down, saying “I am not worthy” and slowly and respectfully place the shirts at his feet. But it is not like that, what happens is some lawyer, or maybe competitor pretending to be a lawyer, who knows, wants to get your whole damn website, and put you out of business forever for using lets say an image of Chuck holding a gun, and they say any image of Chuck ever holding a gun is owned by them forever, even if the image is an original hand drawn piece of art.

I have written and called some of the actual lawyers back that have contacted me on occasion, and was surprised to find out that they are not actually there to help, they do not understand your position, lack any sort of empathy, have no sense of humor, and are only asking you questions to build a case against you so they can accumulate more power for themselves. As if they needed any more power already being backed by billion dollar companies. I find they are very similar to a schoolyard bully flexing their muscles, expressing their dominance, and hoping very hard to have a good fight with you so they can use their foot to grind your head into the dirt. They are not trying to avoid confrontation, they are creating it. In fact the more they get to fight with you, the more hours they can bill for and the more cash they make. Like some of the most evil corporations in the world, they make money from battle, lots of money, and do not wish for peace.

I was doing a Google search on “Corporate Bullying” the other day to see what it came up with, and came across a video which I will place below, of one guy that has started to put up a bit of a fight against this type of action, he is commonly known as the “Eat More Kale” guy. I respect this guy, and I hope he doesn’t give up the fight. Since he really only sells one product, and the massive billion dollar a year chain called Chick-fil-A decided they were going to put him out of business, he really has no choice but to fight.

Have a watch and let me know what you think.

The guy has raised almost one hundred thousand USD on kickstarter.com already to do a film on this, I have nothing against Chick-fil-A, in fact I never even heard of them until now, but I hope they lose a lot of money due to this, I hope they lose so much money that all the other companies that do this kind of stuff start thinking a bit more about their actions before doing them, as currently there doesn’t seem to be any repercussions for putting the little guy out of business, and sadly it is a very very common practice. I might start posting all the threats against us here similar to the Piratebay, but I will not do that yet.

Here is his campaign if you wish to contribute: Kickstarter Campaign

Google documents any such practice they find out about on chillingeffects.org, one particular story here I found very interesting as it resonates quite a bit with my current issue:

 

Letter To Warner Bros. From Groucho Marx

1947 Letter From Groucho Marx

 

Who’s Eating My Pies ?

Through many years of hard work and sacrifice, living as a poor man even through prosperous times, I ended up saving away quite a bit of money through out my working life. In order to save money, I forced myself to give up on on many luxuries, and one of the things I gave up, that I will be using for an example in this article, was pies. I love pies, but have not bought one over a decade, they may be inexpensive where you come from, but for me they were the cost of two-three meals, and did not have enough value for me to keep spending on them.

About six years ago, being forced to move and sell my home, I decided to take the savings and invest where the news, my peers, and the banks, all told me to, mutual funds. I was told through no additional work on my part, that I would double my money in about five years, it sounded like a great idea. I did some research, took the Bank’s Investment Manager’s advice, and signed some papers.

A Pie Plus Five YearsI thought I was so smart, by resisting buying myself a pie that day, and waiting five years, I would then be able to buy two of them. I thought that was great, after all I was only 34, I should still be alive at 40 and get to eat my two pies right?

Now that it has been five years, and the bank said at this point my money would have doubled, you would think I could get my two pies now right? Believe it or not, somehow I am only stuck with about halve of a pie. Not only has my money gone down, but inflation has been going up. I had invested in funds containing only blue chip companies, and they had used my money to help turn record profits over the last five years, so it is a bit strange to me that I should actually be losing money. Did I not invest in a company? Should it’s profits not be my profits? Something is wrong here, I understand about the stock market fluctuating up and down with demand for the stock, but where did my share of the profit go? Why on earth do I invest in companies, if during times of profits, I somehow actually lose money?! The market is down about 11% since I bought, but my mutual funds are actually down more? How is this possible? Do all those little electronic transfers from my bank to the investment really take so much manpower, hard work, and energy that it needs so much of my money just to pay for itself?

Should I eat this part of a pie now before it is all gone, wait and be satisfied once my whole pie has been returned to me, or hold out for the two pies that I was already supposed to have by now? If the banks lived up to their promises, in another five years, all things being even, I should actually have four pies. I no longer believe that even two pies are possible anymore, I mean with the record profits of the last five years, and me losing money, is there really any hope for the future?

Money does not disappear, it only moves around, my money was not sucked into a black hole and erased, it moved from my bank account, into others.

Due to the large bonuses corporations are paying themselves, as well as stock traders, mutual fund managers, bankers, and all the other “professionals” that are involved in my supposed “Wealth Management” actually get to not only use my money, and keep all my profits, but if I sold them today, also about 30% of my initial investment! Amazing isn’t it !

Buying into mutual funds is not supposed to be gambling, it is supposed to be an investment, you give your money to investment groups, who put your money into actual corporations to help them grow, and after they grow, they are supposed to give a share of the profits back to you. Of course if they lose money, you lose money, but recently as they make money, you lose money!!

Rather than the dream pictures the banks paint you of Mutual Fund investments, let’s have a look at an example of something a bit closer to reality. Have a look at a short clip from South Park below.

I can hear you all screaming at me now, that when the stocks go up, so will my investments, I hear you, but it is not proportionate to the inflation or the profits the companies have earned. There is too much wealth being absorbed by the people at the top, and virtually nothing trickles down to the investor anymore. Mutual Funds seem to be broken, and if my full pie ever returns, I will be investing either directly in high dividend stocks, property, or most likely my own company.

Monopoly Man Has My Pie

A friend of mine has no savings at all, he never has, he eats his pies every time he gets enough money to buy one. I used to tell him he should save his money, and get more pies in the future. Now though I am having a good look at myself here. I have not afforded myself a pie in about fifteen years, I should be able to afford rooms full of them now and eat until I explode from them, but I cant. I can see now that I am the fool, to be taken in by such a massive scam.

I understand why people are currently protesting all over the western world about the financial situation, most of them can’t quite put their finger on why employment is so low, crime is up, investments have shriveled up, inheritances have disappeared as some people have not just lost their jobs, but also their homes. The rich have gotten so wealthy, and the middle class are disappearing. Something is wrong.

All the savers of the world, the newly poor, and all their families, should be chanting out on in front of the Banking and Business Capitals of the World. “Who’s eating my pies?” because we all know that somebody is.

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