Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Happy 6th+ Year Anniversary to Geauga Lake Being Closed – NOT! – A Revitalization Idea!

I just saw that it has been 6+ years since Geauga Lake in Northeast Ohio closed out of nowhere on the last day of the season!   Like everyone else that grew up in Northeast Ohio, this was devastating to me. This is part of where we grew up, we had season tickets, we went there every weekend as teenagers.  Hundreds if not thousands of memories were made.  In reality, I always knew growing up that this could happen to an amusement park, just never though it would be my amusement park!  I always had a fascination for Euclid Beach Park and it’s closure.  I read many books, but still could never understand why a park would close.  The fun, the memories, the screams, the laughter, why, how, could it happen?  As I became older and wiser, I realized, it all comes down to MONEY.

Money is probably what has caused the land to sit empty for 6 years.  Money is why no one wants to buy the land.  Money is why no one can figure out what to do with The Big Dipper.  Honestly, it’s been a recession, who wants it?  I’m not here to disrespect Cedar Fair or talk about what happened.  I’m here to present my proposal for the land.  I heard today that a trustee thought a medical campus would be a good idea for the land.  I laughed.  Why does the Cleveland area need another hospital complex?

The best thing moving forward is to create an 1887 Geauga Lake “Pre-amusement park era” mixed with a modern use mixed residential and commercial property.  I present to you the new Geauga Lake:

Screen shot of my design for Geauga Lake.

Screen shot of my design for Geauga Lake.

 

This Google Maps page, “An Idea for the Geauga Lake Property” , pretty much explains all of my ideas if you hover over all of them, but I will go over the basics in a list here:

  • The Yellow Areas are public spaces that provide entertainment for anyone entering the park, these include rides and the beach.  The whole park would be open to the public, with pay for use on the rides and attractions. The beach would be free, with revenue coming in from concessions, drinks, non power boat rental and umbrella/chair rental!  The new attractions would be on the smaller scale and could include go-karts, mini-golf, batting cages and kids rides.  All of the attractions would use a smartphone app for payment and services.
  • The Orange Area is designated to The Big Dipper, the main attraction and saving it!
  • The Green Areas are all green space that divide commercial areas from residential areas or just provide a nice area for park space.
  • The Blue Areas are all commercial areas for restaurants, shopping and nightlife.  They also include a marina, event center and hotel!
  • The Maroon areas are all for upscale condos, apartments, town homes and possibly single family housing.  The idea is they will be close enough to walk to all of the entertainment options (and possibly work) in the blue areas, but far enough away that noise will not be a huge concern.  A shuttle/trolley service could be designed to easily move people around the new Geauga Lake.

 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION:

  • I don’t know anything.  I have not done any cost analysis, acre analysis, city/township border analysis, etc.  I assume it’s in the billions of dollars to complete.   It sounds like a fun place to live; if it gets built, I will live there.
  • This is just an idea I came up with in my spare time.  I don’t have any affiliation with Aurora, OH or Bainbridge Township, OH.  I just think it’s the best idea I have heard.  Let’s be honest, the park is not going to ever go back to it’s former glory days and this seems like a good plan to make it a fun place to live and/or visit.  Let’s bring back the 1887 days?
  • I currently live out of state and have no idea if this kind of mixed use development would work where Geauga Lake it located.  I don’t even really know or understand what all that big box shopping is around it.
  • This design is conceptual and is created by Dan Murry – http://dmurry.com  – It may not be used or reproduced without written permission from author.

 

 

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31

05 2014

Snow is Here! Top 10 Ice and Snow Driving Tips!

It has finally snowed!  The roads are a bit slick, but no worries I have been driving on slick roads every winter for the past 14 years.   Recently, I took a drive from Cleveland to Baltimore in the middle of a snowstorm, passed at least 50 cars off the road and it took me double the time it normally takes.  During this drive, I came up with the following list:

Top 10 Ice and Snow Driving Tips!

 

  1. Slow Down! – #1 tip, drive significantly slower than if the roads were clear.
  2. Appropriate Tires – have all-season (or better yet snow tires) on your car; a BMW M3 with high performance tires is not going to make it up a hill, stay at home!
  3. Check your Tread Depth – if the tires are low on tread be extra careful, if they are bald and the core is visible, stay at home!
  4. Relax and Stay Calm – Sudden braking, accelerating and/or turning is problematic; slowly take your foot off the gas if you start to slide until you regain control.  See #5.
  5. Turn into a Slide – If the back end is going right, turn the wheel right.  This is not necessarily instinctive, practice putting your car into a slide (at your own risk!) in an open parking lot and removing from it to learn.
  6. Anticipate Stopping – it’s going to take longer to stop, especially if you start sliding
  7. Do Not Pump Your Brakes – let ABS do the work, unless of course you do not have ABS…
  8. Leave Room – keep plenty of distance between vehicles, see #6.
  9. 4 Wheel Drive/All Wheel Drive – Just because you have it, doesn’t mean you will not slide.  It only helps in accelerating and climbing hills.
  10. Slow Down! – See #1.

 

Are there any other important ones I missed?  Please post in the comments!

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24

01 2013

Earning 3% back at CostCo Wholesale

Most people that know me, know that I am a huge fan of CostCo.  I love everything about them from the product selection to customer service to the way they treat their employees.  I have never really had a bad experience shopping at a location.  However, I do try to avoid the store on the weekends at all cost as the crowds can be overwhelming.

I just recently renewed my membership and upgraded to the Executive Level which gives me 2% back (pre-tax) on all purchases.  It also gives me a nice fancy black card that sets me apart from the rest.  The cost of this membership level is $100 upfront, but even if you don’t spend enough to get the 2% back they will send you a check to make up the difference to the basic $50 membership level.  So the membership never costs more than $50 a year. (Edit: They told me this at the counter, but I have not seen this stipulation in writing.)  The only downside is you are giving CostCo $50 of your dollars to invest.  However, I plan on spending more than enough to recover my $50 and then some.  Between myself and the other card holding member I would expect to spend a conservative $3000.

$3000 * .02 = $60 check

$60 – $50 Executive Costs = $10 earned over the regular membership

Even if you only make $10 on the deal, that works out to be a 20% return on the extra $50 investment.  Granted you did have to spend $2500 at CostCo before obtaining this award.  This is similar to a rewards credit card that has variable tiered reward payouts and will only offer a reward after the $2500 mark.  Keep in mind that the maximum reward payable by CostCo is $500… if you just happen to be a family or business spending more than $25,000 there a year.

Now, if you also get the American Express TrueEarnings Card you get 3% back on gasoline, 3% back at restaurants, 2% back on travel and 1% back on everything else, including CostCo.  Add this to the 2% back from the Executive membership and you are accumulating 3% back at CostCo after you spend $2500 there.  This is a pretty good rate and works out to be:

$3000 * .01 = $30 + $10 = $40 back for that year.  This comes out to be 1.3%.  Of course this rate increases the more you spend because of the need to spend $2500 to cover the extra membership cost.  If you did spend the maximum of $25000 the rate would be:

$25000-$2500 = $22500 * .02 = $450 net earned (not counting the $50 for the regular membership)

$25000 * .01 = $250

Total = $700 back for the year or 2.8% overall of your total spent.

Who ever said shopping does not pay?

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13

02 2009

My Flight is Not Profitable for AirTran Airways

AirTran Airways

AirTran Airways

It is true.  Flights are incredibly cheap right now.  Today I purchased a nonstop flight to Orlando, Florida from Baltimore, Maryland for $54.00 before fees and taxes from AirTran Airways. The return trip costs the same amount.  This seemed incredibly cheap to me so I decided to do some research and see if they are actually making any money from me.  It turns out that the airline reports their CASM (Cost per Available Seat Mile) on their accounting balance sheet for the year.  The most recent CASM is 11.43 cents with all fuel costs.  I did a quick search on the distance from Baltimore to Orlando and came up with 790 miles.

$00.1143 * 790 = $90.297

So It turns out that my $54.00 flight actually costs AirTran $36.30 more than I paid. I had expected this at that price.  This does not mean the flight will not be profitable as this is just what I paid and not what the total revenue minus expenses is for that flight segment.  It’s time to get to the skies!

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02

01 2009

Do Not Waste Your Time Delivering Phone Books

Five Cent Nickel’s most recent article, “33 Ways to Earn Extra Money” reminded me of a time when I was home from college during winter break and tried to earn extra money delivering phone books.  It was one of those newspaper ads that sounded too good to be true.  I could earn a couple hundred extra bucks delivering phone books during my time off.  This turned out to be disastrous.

Phone Books on the Street

Phone Books on the Street

First off, let me point out that my hometown is outside of Cleveland, Ohio right in the middle of the Lake (Erie) Effect Snowbelt.  It is not uncommon for it to snow 2-3 feet overnight in December.  At the time, I also drove a 1991 Ford Probe.  So the deal was that everyone who wanted to deliver phone books would meet at this location and pick up a route or two.  So being young and naive, I wanted to earn the most money possible and I went with two routes.  This turned out to be a couple thousand phone books loaded into a Ford Probe!  It was definitely over the maximum weight capacity, but I was not going to ask them to unload any at this point.

To make matters worse, each one of the phone books had to be individually stuffed into a clear plastic bag.  This does not sound too bad as it can be done while watching television, but it really was a huge pain that took more time than it was worth.  Think of the process, unload the car, bring the books into the living room, stuff into bags, repeat a thousand times and load the car back up.   I guess there is a possibility for some process improvement here, but this was before I had taken any classes in manufacturing or process improvement.  This was not even the worst part in the whole deal.

The hardest part was that the phone books had to be delivered to the front porch/steps of EVERY residence. This equated to parking the car full of phone books and walking up and down every driveway or driving up and down the driveways.  Neither of these options were easy. I’d say it took three minutes on average to deliver each book. At the time, it paid between ten and twenty cents per phone book delivered. At roughly twenty books an hour at twenty cents a book that is only $4.00/hour! That does not even figure in expenses such as gas money or wear and tear on the vehicle.  The profit would be significantly less.

It did not help that I was delivering these phone books in the middle of the winter after a recent snow storm left a couple feet of snow on the ground.  More than once, I got stuck trying to get up peoples driveways with a car full of phone books.  It also did not work well to try and walk since I lived in a semi-rural area where almost all the driveways are at least 100 ft long.  It was even worse to try to follow the houses parallel to the road and trudge through the snow door to door.  In the end, I gave up and returned the phone books. The company did not even pay me for the books I did deliver.

I do realize this scenario might be a bit different in other areas and climates, but I know for sure I’ll never waste my time with it again.  Even a phone book every minute at twenty cents a book, that would only be $12/hour.  I made more than that busing tables at the local restaurant.

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15

12 2008

Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice Recipe Leaked

Chipotle Burrito

I love Chipotle and I love their rice.  While browsing the internet to try to figure out how many calories a Chipotle burrito has I stumbled across a posting with the ingredients for the cilantro-lime rice.  The full batch ingredients are as follow:

Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice

  • 12 pounds of rice (uncooked)
  • 3 cups soybean oil
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 Tablespoons salt
  • 1/2 cup lime juice

Directions: Cook rice as package states, add the rest of the ingredients.

Pretty simple, but oh so yummy.  Now you ask, when will I ever need 12 uncooked pounds of rice?  I guess that is a bit much, so here it is divided by 27.43  (12lbs = 192oz/7 oz per cup = 27.43 cups) for a more reasonable amount.

Normal Serving Size of Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice

  • 1 cup of rice (uncooked, about 7 oz)
  • 2 Tablespoons soybean oil (okay, it’s technically 1.75 US Tablespoons)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh cilantro (1.75 US teaspoons)
  • Dash of Salt (.22 US teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon of lime juice (.875 US teaspoons)

Directions: Cook rice as package states, add the rest of the ingredients.

So there you go, now I want Chipotle.  Anyone else have any of their other recipes?  Oh by the way, they do not officially post their nutrition content, but most people estimate 800-1200 calories depending on what is ordered and the quantity delivered during assembly.

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17

10 2008

Get Rich Slowly Tips, Tricks and More

This past spring, I opened up a brokerage account with Banc of America Investment Services since I have the majority of my money in Bank of America deposit accounts.  The advantage here is next day transfers between accounts when most other services take multiple days.  They also currently offer 30 free trades a month if you have $25,000 in deposit accounts (Checking, Savings, CDs).  If not, the rates progressively decrease depending on what kind of checking account you have established.

Since then I have poured over many different documents from MSN Money, Google Finance, Motley Fool and many others.  After all this, I was left feeling like all the information I read was written by experts and was not real life experiences.  This is when I ventured off to look for some blogs to read about personal non professional experiences.  The following blogs I have been reading off and on for a few months:

Money Blogs

  • Five Cent Nickel – Decent tips and personal experiences for everyday personal finances.  The great deals for credit cards and savings accounts are always highlighted on the right.
  • Get Rich Slowly – “personal finance that makes cents” is the tag line and is all about sensible personal finance.  Really good tips that followed his journey to becoming debt free.
  • The Rich Canadian – The RC is a different approach from the above blogs.  He freely posts his net worth and claims to be richer than most people reading his blog.  There’s an even more interesting twist with reviews about energy drinks.
  • My Money Blog – Decent site about saving money and investing with an overall goal of $1million net worth by age 45.

One interesting point to make about all of these making money blogs is they all offer up some sort of ad system to boost their networth.  So that’s that for now.  I’ve added a link list to the sidebar to track these sites more easily.  I’ve also added the categories Life and Money as a few new topics to blog about.

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15

10 2008