How I saved $5000

The headline sounds pretty interesting - right? Well, in reality, I just wanted to share the fact that I figured out how much money I've saved from cutting my own hair.

With the upcoming wedding, Amy and I agreed that it probably makes sense to have someone other than her or myself cut my hair for the special event. On referral from JP (who shares my stylish hairstyle), I went to a barber yesterday for the first time in 11 years for a wedding "trial run."

The cost:
$10 for the haircut
$5 for the Goatee trim
$3 tip

I figured out - that I roughly have either had friends of mine shave my head or have shaved it myself for the past 11 years. I need to cut the nappiness about once every other week (26 times a year). So, $18 every other week is $468 per year. For 11 years - that's amassed to $5,148.

Over the 11 years, I've probably invested about $30 in maybe 5 sets of clippers...which nets my gross savings at $5,000.

If you know me - than you know I'm the type of person who is pretty proud of this fact. It's not about the $5,000. It's about "beating the system." If I truly felt that the value I recieved from the $18 a week was worth it -- I'd have no problem spending it. I can afford teh $36 per month. This being said, to date, I've been very content with the outcome of cutting my own hair - plus have the luxury of doing this without leaving my home!

I'll have to see how I feel in a few weeks. Perhaps I'll go to the barber more often in the future.


Blog Tag

Ever hear of a "Dog living in a doggy-dog world? Well I happen to be a "Nerd working in a nerdy-nerd industry." (and proud of it!)

Earlier this week - I got "blog tagged" by an industry collegue, Alan Rimm-Kaufman. Before getting "tagged" I had no idea this nerdy game ever existed. I'm 100% confident than no readers of mine no what it is either - so here's a quick run-down:

A blogger from the UK some months ago wanted to take advantage of the power of blog communities to try and help promote and increase exposure of such communities. You see - the more people who link to a website, the more popular the blog is assumed, and hence, the better the search engine listing. Various search engines - including my employer - have strict rules against "link farms" (sites that offer no value other than link exchanges - "I'll link to you if you link to me") to try and guard against manipulators of the system.

With this in mind, the UK blogger began the game of blog tag. In theory, this is a way to promote blogging (and bloggers) with staying "search engine legal."

How does blog tag work? Well - from my understanding - since I've been tagged, I've got to blog about "5 little known facts about myself" in addition to "tagging" 5 other bloggers. So .. here's my best shot.

5 little known facts about Brett:
  • I've cut my own hair for the past 11 years (more on this in my next post...stay tuned)
  • I've had contact lenses since I was 5 years old. I was told back then that it was an "experiment" (additional related fact is that my vision isn't laser-correctable)
  • I'm a 4th Generation American and currently the last remaining "Goffin" male
  • My childhood favorite hobby was jigsaw puzzles. (Yes - I'm a little annoyed that I didn't get into computer programming - apparently those 2 are connected)
  • I pride myself as the best Fantasy Football commissioner on the planet.

Now on to who I "tag." Let's just say that I don't have much hope that my "tagg-ees" will participate in the exercise (in no particular order):

  • Adam Brown - college buddy and mortgage banking guru. Recently began blogging.
  • Adam Glantz - Written articles and have always tried to help motivate to become a consistant blogger... Oh - what "Thursday Thoughts" could have been....
  • Colediggys Corner - Hard to believe that just a few years ago - his blog was being sent around like wildfire among many 20- and 30- something males. Sad to say that he truly hasn't kept up with his craft
  • Guy Hollerin - An overly sarcastic, fairly unstable blog that I find entertaining if I'm in the giddy mood


Straightening up.... For the Cleaning lady

For as long as I can remember, I've almost always been fortunate enough to have someone come on a regular basis to clean my house. This person has always been a woman - and was commonly known as "the cleaning lady." More recently, I suppose in our more "polically correct" society, these people are known by their first names like my last one "Patsy" or our current one "Pamela."

Anyhow, growing up, the following statement would drive me INSANE: "Brett, straighten up your room...the cleaning lady is coming today." WHAT!? That's like saying, "Brett - make sure you take a nap before you get ready for bed" Isn't the whole point of hiring someone to clean so that I wouldn't be burdoned with the task? Should you clean before they get there - wouln't you be doing their job for them?

Now, I'm not saying I should go out of my way to make my apartment unbearably messy. This would clearly cause one of the following:

  1. A "high-turn-over rate" of employees
  2. Someone who will feel underpaid, be resentfull and thus figure out where I hide my "emergency cash" and take consistant withdrawals.

This being said - I geniunely believe there is nothing wrong with not taking the garbage out, not emptying the dishwasher (Amy's favorite), or not puting the towels and sheets in the hamper. Employment is called a "job" for a reason. If you tell a bellman at a hotel that you would like to carry your own bags - do you tip them anyway? No! (and if you do - you clearly need some lessons on how to spend money).

I wouldn't call myself a slob or a neat-freak....I'm somewhere in between. Although I was much worse as a child, I've learned how to generally pick-up after myself and can appreciate the satisfaction of a clean apartment (especially in the ridiculously small apartment spaces of Manhattan). I believe that as long as I don't go out of my way to make my apartment the toughest job they have -- that it's ok to not "clean up for the cleaning lady."

Am I alone here?


Best SNL skit in years

Amy and I have often discussed how disappointed we are with the writing of Saturday Night Live. As she has been watching the show since she was a little girl, Amy has always DVR'd the show - primarily as an old habbit. This sesason, I think it's fair to say that we fast-forwarded through 90% of the skits, enjoying maybe 1 or 2.

This past weekend, though, a true gem was discovered. Much respect to Justin Timberlake who brought a much needed quality performance to a struggling SNL season. He was in 90% of the skits - most of them were funny - and this one below is absolutely PHENOMONAL.

Ladies and Gentlemen...thanks to the power of YouTube... I bring you the world-wide Holiday Season Instant-Classic soundtrack: Dick in a Box


Who's hot right now?

For Amy's shower, I was asked to answer a handful of questions on a video that Amy would try and guess my response. One of the questions was what celebrities would I have on a "kiss list" (not my terminology). Well, when it was time for me to answer, I was a bit tongue-tied. Not because I don't think any celebrities are hot -- but moreso because I didn't know the actresses real names. Given the fact that I'm not 15, and shouldn't be obsessed with things like this -- I got over it pretty quickly, but I was intrigued to find out the real names of 2 ladies in particular.

The first is "Lyla Garrity" or in real life (um, according to Hollywood): Minka Kelly. Minka plays Lyla Garrity on NBC's Show Friday night lights. When I used IMDb to find her real name, I was happy to learn that she's 26 years old in real life and not 16 like she plays on the show. (I'd be a little woried if I thought a real-life 17 year-old was hot)

Anyway, I truly believe that Lyla, I mean Minka, is the next "Buffy" or "Felicity" type character who's cute enough to get her own show in a teen-oriented environment. To date, Friday Night Lights is her biggest success, having minor roles in a handful of shows beforehand.

The second "no-real-name" hottie is Emmanuelle Chriqui, or as I knew her "Sloan from Entourage." I actually thought she was a little too hot to be casted as "E's" girlfriend. I love "E's" character on the show - and I'm glad he gets the hot girl - but I think she is hotter than any of the girls that "Vince" (the mega movie star) has gotten on the show. Maybe that's how Hollywood really is -- who knows. Anyway, Emmanuelle is from Canada and is 29 years old. She's been in a bunch of minor roles (including a few episodes of the O.C.) and according to IMBd has 3 or 4 projects coming out next year.

(In addition to these 2 ladies --- Jessica Alba was also in the Top 3... but given that everyone knows who Jessica Alba is - I decided to focus the other 2)

So - that's it. This blog post represents who I thought was hot in 2006. The fact that this blog documents a point of time is both scary and cool. I wonder if I'll still think they're hot in 10 years...


NYC - Open 24 Hours

When I lived in my last apartment, I loved to tell people that on the three corners other than the one my apartment building was on, there was:
  1. A 24 Hour Bakery/Deli
  2. A 24 Hour Drug Store
  3. A 24 Hour Grocery Store
I mean - if I ever needed ANYTHING at 2 AM - I was covered. New York Fuckin City!

On that note - I wanted to pass along something I just found out yesterday. In this City (the one that never sleeps), there is a 24 Hour Post Office. That's right! The USPS - the public-facing business with the most obscure and non-standard hours (each office is different) - actually has a location that is open 24 hours! I don't know any other cities that have such a luxury - but would be interested in hearing of any.

The location is on 8th Ave between 31st and 32nd Street - right across the street from Madison Square Garden - and is actually the "main Post Office" in NYC. It looks like a library inside - which is kinda freaky (and straight out of an old movie), but to go at 9PM - and not have to wait on long, stressful lines -- was an absolute pleasure.


Yahoo's Peanut Butter Manifesto

Last week, a SVP over at Yahoo wrote an internal memo to the company outlining current organization flaws and his broad-based solution. He compared the company initatives to Peanut Butter, being spread too thin. Thus, the memo being leaked to the public (via the internet), has been coined "The Peanut Butter Manifesto."

What I find interesting (beyond the memo itself) is the concept of how it is virtually impossible these days to keep such broad, company-wide messages in-house. I don't think it's a good or bad thing, frankly .... Just different.

I work for a similar type of organization - and have noticed that any "company-wide" messages (although fully plastered with "INTERNAL ONLY" messaging) are completely written to be expected to be posted on a blog somewhere.

Is this a new type of investor-relation strategy? Is there any other option other than for a company to embrace it? I don't think so...

Yes - Companies need to do their part by keeping employees loyal and putting fear in every employees mind regarding releasing such information. But beyond strong policies and high security within email -- I'm not sure what else a company can do.

Regarding the memo itself -- I actually thought it was good. I felt the SVPs passion in it - and it wasn't just complaining - it offered a plan and a solution.

I guess in today's world, the lesson is that whatever you produce/put your name on - you should go into it making sure that you are comfortable with having your name attached to it.

This blog is a perfect example. I know that maybe 15 of my friends and family are the core audience, but there are times when people outside of that are the audience. When I speak at events and people want to see what I'm about, or one day if I'm ever interviewing for a job .... People will Google my name and associate the content on this blog to my peronsal brand.

And the bottom-line... I know that going into it - so I'm comfortable with it. It's just the world we live in now and it's only going to get more transparent...


Michigan and the BCS

I've had this conversation with a handful of folks, so I thought I'd write a little bit about it on my blog.

I'll start by saying I've always been in favor of a NCAA Football play-off - even if it was for 6 teams. Every year there is an issue with the current system - and nothing is ever done about it. My buddy, Salis, had a good point yesterday (which is rare) ;) ... He said, if you ran a business and there were problems with the same operational function of your business every year - that you'd be forced to change that system - even if it meant a short-term decrease in profit.... But ... seems as if the Bowl Championship committee's doesn't have to play by normal rules. They seem to believe that controversy is good - because it promotes the series (which is such BS!)

This year - the lack of clarity continues around the "right" match-up of #1 vs. #2.

Being a Michigan fan - I clearly believe that Michigan should be playing on Jan 8th against Ohio State. I think Michigan has demonstrated it's talent, success, and it's claim to represent one-loss teams against Ohio State. I've watched about 5 or 6 of Florida's games this year - and I truly think they are not a good football team. I actually believe that LSU is the best team in the SEC this season -- they just happened to play all their toughest opponents on the road... USC isn't a good football team either.

Anyway - that's my opinion - and it means nothing in the grand scheme of things...

This being said, I've been very surprised at how I've felt the past few weeks about going to the National Championship game... Of course, I really wanted Michigan to play in the game -- but there was something missing. If Michigan played against OSU in the Fiesta Bowl and won -- I'd be very happy -- but not 100% satisfied. After losing to Ohio State - it was like even a National Championship would not have made the season a complete success. Yes - playing on the road is a disadvantage and we only lost by 3 points ... but that still doesn't erase the fact that we lost to Ohio State.

Many of my fellow Michigan fans don't agree with this feeling - and that's cool. I understand the ability for "revenge" on a neutral field, but not sure that alone would make the season whole to me.

If anything, though, I'm hopeful that Michigans impact on yet another totally botched BCS system -- helps pave the way for a better NCAA play-off system in the near future.

Go Blue!