All posts by Roosh

Player Or Poseur?

If you missed it, the last edition of Player or Poseur was the best yet. Reader Mad1 knew the people in the photo so within only a couple of hours there were half a dozen members of the DC clubbing elite taking a break from whatever they do when they are not clubbing to come here and comment. I would say the drama jumped the shark when someone came in with legal threats (gleaned from a Google search, no doubt).

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:laugh:

Poseur to the nth degree. It seems like the photographer did him a favor because the girls don’t even want him in the picture. Big beta move with the chin rest on the girl’s shoulder. All he’s missing is a pair of sunglasses.

Here is a bonus picture of Tara Reid with her entourage:

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Monthly Newsletter

If you look over at the top right, you’ll see a form for my new monthly newsletter. I plan on sending the first one in the next week. It will be about getting numbers.

How To Get Your Finances In Order

Humans have not evolved to handle modern currency for two reasons:

1. The paper that currency is based on has zero inherent value. When you are gambling at a casino you tend to make bets you would not have made with paper money because you don’t have a strong attachment to decorative pieces of clay. But as we get older, the attachment we have to paper money lessens and we get desensitized to its value. Spending money becomes easier. Price tags would have more meaning if it listed how many hours of labor it would take you to buy it. That iPod now costs 13 hours of labor the HDTV is 2 weeks of labor. That $7 slice of cheesecake took you 15 minutes of labor. You may buy these things anyway but its real value is clear because you know exactly how much of your time and energy it takes to obtain it.

2. There are too many streams of income and expenditures to keep track off. We are not designed to make daily purchases, pay bills, deal with emergencies, spoil ourselves, and then be able to have a balanced budget each month. If you were to ask people how much they spend on food, a necessity, each month, they can only give you an estimate which I guarantee is a lot less than they actually spend. Humans need extra help to keep track of multiple streams of data.

I’m sure you know someone whose life is consumed by huge credit card debt. It’s even possible that they are much bigger debt than you even though your living situations aren’t that different. Why are some people just bad with money and others are not? The answer lies in a person’s belief system. Some people believe in things that make going into serious debt an inevitability.

“I know I’m spending more than I make now, but I will be making more money soon.”
This is counting your chickens before they hatch. Unfortunately, there is absolutely no guarantee that you will be making more money in a year or two. There is no way to predict if you will even have a job. In case you do make more money a year from now, this belief ensures you keep increasing your spending anyway, preventing you from having the extra cash you planned on using to pay off debt obligations. Spending money you don’t yet have is an assumption that keeps you in perpetual debt.

“I know I’m in credit card debt, but these are things I need and they are making me happy.”
There is not a documented case of human fulfillment coming from items manufactured in China. Fact is, other than a quick rush when purchasing something new, your mind quickly gets accustomed to the new possession and your happiness level remains constant. And now you have this consumer good that you need to maintain until you throw it in storage. The ability to increase the amount of happiness you can generate only comes with committed changes on how you view the world and yourself.

I know many girls who own very expensive handbags, and when I ask them why they bought these bags they usually make a reference to the quality and not the image the brand represents. But those expensive handbags are not handmade and come off the same factory lines as those that cost significantly less. And then I have the friends who insists on buying luxury automobiles because living without soothing German engineering would be uncomfortable. Now I don’t know if they are telling me the truth and they are really buying these things for the status, but I do know that the idea of turning these needs into wants is a basic marketing principle that drives the sale of these products. If you can afford these items without going into debt then great, but otherwise you should resort to the free alternative of fantasizing about the objects instead.

“I want other people to know that I am very successful.”
This stems from insecurity. You are concerned that you are less worthy as a person because someone else is displaying material possessions — probably bought on credit — that is worth much more than yours. So you catch up so this person by going into debt. Problem with this strategy is not that there is no end — there will always be someone who has more than you. So your life is a pattern of trying to keep up, going into more debt, but never really getting there. You sit at home, with all your stuff, still upset and wondering if you can pay more than the minimum payment on your credit card statements. Most advertising put out by marketing agencies aim to make you feel insecure and inadequate, and this is financial death for those that are already insecure. Unless you are on top of the latest rotating style, it’s assumed, you are a loser and the girl with the latest pair of boots will show her disgust with dirty looks.

I once read a question on some Dear Abby column by someone who asked how she can get her girlfriends to stop picking expensive restaurants for girls night out without having to tell them she is broke. But your friends should have no problem knowing you can’t afford something and if they do maybe it’s time to get friends who don’t judge you or make as much as you do. (I’m not saying to go hang out in the ghetto but having friends that are poor will save you an incredible amount of money.) By not caring what other people think, you immediately start living a more simple life that allows you to focus on things that make you happy instead of things that other people approve of. There is nothing wrong with not having enough money.

Having correct beliefs makes it very easy stay on top of your finances because you do the right things without having to consciously think about it, in a way that fits your own unique situation. I don’t read finance sites or lists of 1,000 ways to save money, but I’m able to put save a large percentage of my income each month because I have internalized the right beliefs.

One of my most important beliefs is knowing that demand increases to fill supply. If a friend buys you a chocolate chip cookie, you are going to eat it even though you may have not been craving for a chocolate chip cookie. If your coworker brings a cake to the office, that cake will be gone even though no one was really hungry. If you just get a bonus at work, you will spend it on things you wouldn’t have bought otherwise. If you buy an extra large bottle of cologne, you will use it more often than if you bought a small bottle. If you have $100 in your pocket, two days later you will wonder where it went. If you happen upon a stash of hot porn, you will masturbate more than usual, maybe into the early dawn hours if you got a lot of sleep the night before. If your mind knows that something is there, it will find a reason to use or consume it. When people complain to me about their inability to lose weight, I simply tell them not to buy food. You can’t eat what you don’t buy, and a midnight snack craving loses its punch when you know you have to get in the car to find some Doritos instead of reaching your meaty paws in the cupboard.

Places like Costco and Sam’s Club exist because people think they are saving money when they buy things in bulk. They see the cost-per-unit price and then toss the extra large jar of mayonnaise into the cart. Without even thinking about it, they will now consume more mayonnaise because their mind knows there is a lot of it. If you look around your house right now, you have a lot of consumables that are just sitting there, inching towards their expiration dates. What this really represents is cash not earning interest. That cash is in the hands of the companies instead. There is little reason to buy more than one week’s worth of food or goods unless there is a natural disaster coming. I only buy what I need, don’t tie up my cash in things that just sit there, and don’t let anything go to waste. This ends up saving me much more money in the long run.

We are tricked into believing that buying the largest size possible makes economic sense. Flyers will advertise how much you are saving by purchasing the warehouse sized packaging of hypoallergenic ass wipes. But are they selling thousands of ass wipes because they are trying to help you save money, or because it benefits them? Companies don’t want you to save money — they want you to spend and contribute to their profits. Sizes are getting larger because it benefits corporations. If they didn’t make more money on quantity, the larger sizes would not exist. At the grocery store there is now a gigantic jar of spaghetti sauce that is so big it has a built-in ergodynamic handle. You will buy these and consume more or throw away a large amount, and then go back and buy more again because you think you’re saving money.

How about if I buy in bulk something that I use a set amount of every week? For me this applies to my Tuna Helper habit. I consume two boxes a week, no more or less, so you think I’d load up on this “food” during 2-for-1 specials. I don’t. The point of a sale should be for you to spend less. But what happens is you load up on the sale item so your weekly spending never goes down. In the short-run it may cost me a couple bucks, but in the long-run I save because I strengthen the belief to only buying what I need, cutting spending in almost everything else. Don’t turn your house into a warehouse.

The opposite of this principle also holds true: if you constrict supply, demand will lower. If at the beginning of the month you commit to saving a large amount of money and enter it into the budget, and you can see how little you have left to spend on everything else, you have no choice but to constrain your spending for that month. But if you wait until the end of month to save what is left over, you will find there is nothing left over to save.

A tool that reinforces all these correct beliefs is having a monthly budget where you monitor every dollar you spend. I believe that if people simply knew where their money was going, they would be a lot more careful with it. It’s just too hard to understand how much you are spending with credit cards and check cards until you have to manually enter your spending into a spreadsheet and see your monthly balance go down. This act tells your brain that this money you earned no longer exists.

I recently gave my budget spreadsheet to a friend. Like me he set up a line for going out, and estimated that he spends maybe $400 a month in bars and restaurant. Three weeks into December, he was already at $500. Then when he went out to the club, he spent half of the amount that he normally spends because that $500 expenditure was something he couldn’t ignore. He saved $30 that night only because he knows how much he spends when he goes out. Every dollar counts. In the long run it adds up to amounts you would leap at if you saw laying on the street.

When you use a budget, your finances become an obsession because they are in your face almost every day. Every transaction, from ATM withdrawals to buying a coffee at 7-11 with your check card, gets logged.

Budget.xls spreadsheet (Right click > Save as)
How To Maintain The Budget Spreadsheet

Step 1: Put in your paycheck income and other guaranteed income. If you are a freelancer, you may want to add lines to account from different sources of spending and income. Or you can create a new worksheet in the same spreadsheet and link those values to the main budget.

Step 2: Enter all known bill payment expenses (rent, gym fees, car payment, etc.). For other expenditures like going out and food, make an estimate. You will be changing that number as the months go on.

Step 3: Play with you expenditure numbers until you balance goes to zero. If this seems impossible to you, then you are not living within your means, and having a budget will probably help you most. Hint: cut back on leisure spending.

Step 4: Take note of how much money will always be in your checking account (your cushion). On the first of every month when all bills are paid, that is the value you should have in your account. My cushion is a low $200 because I don’t like tying up too much cash. But when my first paycheck doesn’t come until the second week of the month, I temporary bring in money from my savings account to cover those early expenses. The more you monitor your account activity online, the less you can leave your cushion since you are always aware of your balance and catch surprises before they overdraft your account.

Step 5: Keep track of every dollar that moves in and out of your main account (usually your checking account). If you mostly use your check card for transactions, save all receipts and pile them on one side of your desk. After you enter them every few days, move them to the other side. I don’t recommend forgoing receipts and using online banking to log spending because you will forget whether you entered items or not. Make sure you don’t miss transactions that have no receipt, like buying something from the internet or getting a lap dance at the strip club. If you mostly take out ATM withdrawals, I recommend categorizing what you can and then putting the rest in Leisure > Stuff. For instance say you take out $100 one day then spend $40 on groceries and $50 on going out. When you go home, put -$40 for groceries, -$50 for going out, and -$10 for Stuff. Or just put the whole $100 into Stuff and not worry about categorizing. Using mostly cash makes it a pain to itemize your spending unless you always get receipts.

Important: You are only keeping track of money that moves into and out of your main account. If you charge something on your credit card, it does not get reflected in the budget until you pay that bill. For instance if you charge something in late January but don’t pay the bill until February, you enter the expense in February. If you purchase an electronic gadget with a rebate, you have to enter the full cost of the item in your budget and enter the rebate separately when it comes months later.

I like to itemize my credit card bills by putting the individual items into their own category. For instance if I get a $20 credit card bill with $10 from internet hosting and $10 from Netflix, I enter two separate $10 charges in my budget and send out a $20 check. My budget does not record the fact that I just sent out a check to a credit card company. If you have a credit card balance you are paying and it is from old spending, I would just use a separate Credit Card line.

Savings is negative in the budget because it is coming out of your main account. Bringing savings money into your main account will be reflected as a positive amount. If at the end of the month you are running a deficit, you need to draw money in from somewhere. If you are running a surplus, put it into a savings account. Since you are not the federal government, you need to maintain a balanced budget every month. If you run a deficit from high spending, and you don’t have savings money to make up for it, you need an immediate reality check. Your way of living is unsustainable and will catch up to you sooner than later. It will just take one accident or layoff to send you into deep financial crisis. Plus the recent change in bankruptcy laws make it harder to wipe away unsecured debt.

The nice thing about the monthly budget if you receive a paycheck is the two months a year when you get three paychecks. Since you will not account for this third paycheck when setting up your budget, these checks are like the bonuses you wish your company would give out. Put it directly into your savings account or credit card debt, or do something fun for yourself. These two extra paychecks have gone to my travel fund for the past two years.

I first started using the budget spreadsheet after I spent $320 at French Connection in winter 2002. I felt incredibly guilty because I didn’t have that money to spare. After sacrificing on clothing and Starbucks, I started making $200 monthly payments to my debt. Then I squeezed myself even more each month until I was able to make consistent payments in the $400 range. Fourteen months later I made my final payment and was debt free. My income since then has doubled but my costs of living have actually decreased, so all that extra money is gravy. I consider credit card debt to be a form of mental slavery, and even though I have much less possessions than my peers (I don’t even own a bed), I depend on myself to generate my happiness instead of products made by companies that view me as nothing more than a FICO score. I still have the French Connection clothing that sent me over the edge, including the $120 pair of corduroy pants that I have worn about six times.

La Tomatina Video

Here are two short video clips that should have gone in my La Tomatina post a couple months ago.

The first is a clip of the mayhem surrounding the grease-covered ham pole that brave men tried to climb. I used my hand to shield the camera from the rainstorm of grease. While the Asian guy is wiping grease up top, the girl down below got her shorts pulled off. Her pale, white ass was seen by thousands. It was alright.

And this short clip was shot immediately after the ham pole was brought down.

Evolution Of White Trash

I was sitting in Starbucks when two older white women sat down with three girls. Two of the girls were about 10 years old and the third one was around 18. The 18 year old was complaining about the aloof behavior of a gentleman who owned a pick-up truck. Everyone in the store became very familiar with this young man in a short amount of time.

Later, she started singing Akon’s single I Wanna Fuck You (she did use “love” instead of “fuck”). Then the two older women started singing along and encouraged the two young girls — who were probably their daughters — to sing along as well. The little girls sang the chorus.

I see you windin n grindin up on that pole,
I know u see me lookin’ at you and you already kno
I wanna love you, you already know

After the little girls were done, the teenager and the two mothers gave them a round of applause.

I can barely tolerate the suburban mom on her cell phone chatting away with a Louis Vuitton diaper bag draped over her shoulder, extolling the benefits of “me-time” while reminding everyone within earshot how little Madison is smarter than her playmates — but I much rather deal with that then have to watch adult women train little girls how to be dirty whores. If my parents pushed me to sing songs about fucking strippers when I was little, I guarantee you I would be feeding mouths instead of blogging, wondering when the fire sensation in my crotch area will go away. Remember: all you need to create life is a functioning genital organ.

Tired Of Not Getting Attention

When a girl wants to leave early from a club or bar, it’s because she’s not getting attention from guys. Many times I’ve seen a girl who is “tired” or has to wake up “early” start her exit, finally get approached by some guy, and then ends up staying longer than me. The question is if they believe their own reasoning.

When a guy wants to leave early, it’s because there are too many guys.

Exclusively Bad

Every weekend, the same scene is played out in thousands of nightclubs in hundreds of cities worldwide: young, upwardly mobile people are doing their best to get past the velvet rope.

If you went to Best Buy to purchase an electronic gadget, and the staff made you wait in a non-moving line, and expressed doubt about wanting your money, and then, depending on the cashier, an extra, random amount was tacked on to the price, would you go back again? It’s a strange thing to wait in a line for a nightclub that is not full, where your patience is just a plea for acceptance in dark rooms that have alcohol, loud music, and the possibility of sexual attention. But you don’t wait in lines do you? Well, there are other ways people pay for this VIP access, from money to fake friendship to flirting, where the possibility of sex is never outright denied.

It’s hard to find something to belong to that defines you as a person. Not everyone is going to be marathoners, artists, athletes, politicians, or imported car enthusiasts. Not everyone will easily find their niche. While there is nothing wrong with the vast majority of people, they fit right in the middle of the bell curve: they are normal, maybe successful, but without a specific group they can call their own. If this normal person is social and in possession of discretionary income, that leaves not many options for hobbies except alcohol and partying. Alcohol makes you feel good so it would make sense that a lot of people go this route. After going out three nights a week to the same places for an extended period of time, they can now say they are in a special group that exchanges pictures and party stories. Now they belong.

These people, when they are in a nightclub of their peers that gives an air of exclusivity, no matter how manufactured, undergo a transformation. First is appearance. Just like in any social club, a uniform must be purchased which lets others know you belong. This is the cornerstone of the fashion industry and ensures that everyone buys the same styles at the same time. Recently when I saw a girl with a belt around her stomach, I thought she was just being creative, but then when I saw a dozen other girls with the stomach belts in a matter of weeks, I knew the memo had gone out, replacing the tassel belt fashion that seemed to be popular a few years ago. Imitation triumphs over individual style.

Second is attitude. In a sort of mind meld, individuals wishing to join the social club must adopt the attitude and beliefs of the leaders, who are the owners and to a lesser extend, the staff of bouncers, promoters, and bartenders, who know more about projecting attitude than intellect. While owners are the local leaders of this club, party celebrities such as Paris Hilton play their role in determining what is cool and what is not. It is not surprising that Paris Hilton is part-owner to successful nightclubs that bear her name.

Being cool means having a serious look on your face, recognizing someone’s worth based on their appearance and who they know, and limiting contact with those who are obviously commoners. If you are a single man without friends trying to break into a city’s VIP circle, all you need is the willingness to pay for other people’s alcohol long enough until they consider you a friend. But of course this friendship is only limited in venues that serve alcohol — sobriety would tear the fragile bonds apart. The reason you go inside a nightclub and no one puts out their hand to meet you like they might at a house party is because you could have terribly low social value that taints the reputation they have spent so many months building.

When someone works hard to belong to some group, the value of that group automatically goes up in their mind. This person look downs on non-members and makes sure that others are limited access to preserve his or her membership value. It’s not very exclusive if there are too many members. Exaggerated behavior replaces normal behavior, and the harder it is to get into a group the more exaggerated the members will act. Don’t work too hard at getting into something that is exclusive. There will be other people who have also bought into that exclusivity, and all the mental rot that goes along with it.

Animals Are Tasty

I have no problem eating animals. They taste good and the protein in their flesh helps sustain my gym workout routine and muscular development. I go to the store, buy meat that looks nothing like the animal it came from (definitely no hair or feathers or soft skin or anything gross like that) and then I go home and cook them up in a hearty meal that may or may not give me digestive issues one hour later. This is a meat-eating world and those who don’t jump on board are pansy-ass liberals who think they are smarter than everyone else.

But what would happen if meat-eaters had to kill the meat they wanted to eat? How about if you had to kill the cow, cut up its body, and filet its flesh. I don’t even know how they kill cows — machete, maybe? If you want leather shoes or handbags, you have to condition it yourself. I think you have to leave it out in the sun for a certain period of time. If you wanted to eat chicken breast for dinner you had to take the chicken, hold it on a board and slice off its head with a large knife, being careful not to let all that blood splash on you. Then you get rid of all the feathers, open it up, and gut its internal organs with some type of scooping instrument. Of course you would preheat the oven before the slaughter to save time.

I could not make myself kill any animal for food when I know I could survive without it. Big agri-business does me a service through their immigrant-powered factories in the Midwest: they allow me to eat meat by placing a big enough distance between what happens to the animal and what I see on grocery shelves. (As I write this I’m eating a huge cow cheeseburger with cheese, mushrooms, and grilled onions. Mustard and ketchup is falling all over the keyboard which I have no idea how I’m going to clean up. My fingers are covered in greasy goodness and I’m using the sleeve of my shirt to wipe my mouth because I don’t plan on going out later.)

In the old days of rural societies, people had no problem killing their food because that’s how they were raised. But in modern, capitalist society, all of us are groomed to be end-users who consume without question. So what if this chicken meat come from a couple thousand miles away. It’s still chicken right? So what if this DVD player was made in a dangerous Chinese factory by 16-year-old girls. It’s on sale right? If we had to kill our meat, at least half of the country would turn vegetarian overnight.

January Book Update

I’m halfway done with the outline, which is becoming more and more useless as I go on. The hardest part is finding a place for all the material, much of which doesn’t fit neatly into categories. Right now my goal is to get it in somewhere for now and worry about editing later.

I’m making progress, but the end seems so far away that I’m just taking it one hour at a time.

My Top 10 Favorite Posts of 2006

10. The Game

It’s humiliating to go out, attempt to dance, put on this “I’m a cool guy! really!” show, and essentially act like a monkey to get into a girls pants — to lower yourself for someone you don’t care about just to get that physical pleasure.

I wrote this because I felt weak to my physical desires.

9. Ten Times

How much more quality would I have met elsewhere? How much better would my experiences have been? Luckily for my sanity, I will never know the real answer.

In Spain I realized that the DC area really is ugly. A calculator was used during writing of this post.

8. Two and Out

I refuse to invest in someone of unproven value.

The only time date threes occur is if one of the first two dates were shorter than normal and when she makes it pretty obvious that sex is going to happen.

7. Coffeeshop Couple

I’m staring at this couple, who are oblivious to everyone around them, and realize that their lives are harder than mine will probably ever get. Their day-to-day struggle for normalcy is much more difficult than it is for anyone I know.

I wrote this on a piece of paper after they left.

6. My Girlfriend Judy

Finally, I found a woman who doesn’t talk back and lets me do whatever I want to her in bed.

I took down the pictures because of some work problems but they are not back up with a new bonus picture.

5. Spain: Lessons

I liked this girl a lot, but I liked the other girls a lot too. These are the times I feel pity for guys who have crushes and obsess over just one girl for months or even years. There is just too much quality out there in the world to have an obsession.

This post didn’t get too much attention but I threw in a lot of game observations.

4. Status

As a club veteran, I see the types of girls that give second looks to sharply dressed men in VIP booths. If you walk down the ghetto while waving hundred dollar bills in your hand, I doubt you will be surprised when someone robs you of it. Money attracts people who like money.

The idea that personality is more effective than money defines my interactions with women.

3. Not That Important

It’s inevitable that a lot of people will tell her family that she is “in a better place now.” Unfortunately she is not. Everything that you are, that makes you you, and gives you this state of consciousness to know that you are a different being from everything else on the planet, resides in your brain. Once you die and the cells in your brain die, it’s game over.

I wasn’t going to write about her death but all the comments on her MySpace page from people who didn’t have a clue changed my mind.

2. My Rules Of Life

There is nothing wrong with making a mistake, but you make things worse by staying blind to your own error. Don’t bother trying to fix a situation you should have avoided in the first place.

I had to develop this post for a month before I could even start it, and then it took me another couple weeks to write it.

1. Glengarry Glen Ross (Remix)

You see my bedpost. You see it? My bedpost has more notches than you will have in your entire life. You see, pal, that’s who I am. And you’re nothing. Nice guy? I don’t give a shit. Good father? Fuck you — go home and play with your kids! You wanna play this game? Close!!

This was easy to adapt from the original because high-pressure sales and getting laid are similar. The scene is from one of my favorites in movie history.

Here’s to another year of consistent blog output.

:banana:

Ghost Wars

It only took me about three months but I have finally finished the 600-page book Ghost Wars, about events in Afghanistan and Pakistan leading up to 9/11. My favorite paragraph:

The [CIA] sent out a team of mechanics knowledgeable about Russian helicopters to try to resolve the [helicopter mechanical issue]. Massoud’s men took them to their Dushanbe airfield and opened up one of the Mi-17s. The CIA mechanics were stunned: Massoud had managed to patch an engine originally made for a Hind attack helicopter into the bay of the Mi-17 transport. It was a mis-matched, gum-and-baling-wire machine, a flying miracle. The CIA mechanics were so appalled that they did not even want Massoud’s pilots to fire up the helicopter’s rotors. They were afraid the whole thing would come apart and send shrapnel flying.

The freedom fighter leadership would fly in these helicopters.

I still find it amazing that one man who traveled in SUV caravans in third-world countries continues to stymie the most power empire in the history of the world. The book, which I highly recommend, lays the groundwork for how this all came to be. Reading it has been the biggest commitment I made all year.

Gifts

For everyone: TED talks. Short and long lectures from a bunch of really smart people. Check out the ones by Malcolm Gladwell, Dan Gilbert, and Barry Schwartz.

For the ladies: a picture of me beating my meat.

For myself: a 3.5 pound laptop. My desktop and I had a good six year run.
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Very Cool Wine Holder

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This one is cool too.