Real Estate Investing Tip

From Rich Dad’s Real Estate Advantages (paraphrasing):

It’s important to have a team to help you.  Find a good lawyer and accountant.  Don’t get your law advice from an account or your accounting advice from your lawyer.

Go to local investment and real estate meetings.  These can be found in real estate publications, bulletin boards at collages, online, etc.  Ask realtors as they may also know the time and location of these meetings.

When there, meet people smarter than yourself who are into the same type of investing you want to get into and work to get them to mentor you.  Make sure to exchange something equally valuable (food, work, etc).

Datsun 510 Stuff

I’ve wanted to do a 510 for a while now.  If Garage Tune ends up getting new shop space, I’ll be picking up a 510 that’s for sale locally and beginning a new resto/mod build!  I just wanted to make some notes of some of the parts so I didn’t forget.

Radiator For Datsun 510 with SR20DET Engine Swap with Shroud & Fan

Solid Aluminum Cross member For Datsun 510 Supporting SR20DET Or KA24DE Swap

Silicon Radiator Hose For Datsun 510 with SR20DET Engine Swap

Thick Polished 304 Stainless Steel Mounting Brackets For Datsun 510 Rear Bumper

Aluminum Suspension kit For DATSUN 510, 6 pcs Set

SR20DE (non-turbo) Motorset w/Tranny (~1400 shipped on ebay)

Techno Toy Tuning’s 510 Parts Page

Extrudabody KIT: Nissan SR20DE/SR20DET ITBs

Summit Racing® Pro Sport Fuel Cells SUM-290112

Fab Auto 510 Parts Page

Outsourcing Jobs, Who Does it Really Help?

Due to our current economic environment (which I’ll get into in another rant) I’ve been thinking a lot lately about ways that we could potentially resolve some of the issues we’re all going through.  One of the issues that came to mind was outsourcing and it’s pros and cons.

Being a small business owner myself, I can certainly see the benefits.  I sold aftermarket automotive parts and at one point I wanted to sell my own brand.  First I shopped here in the US, calling around to numerous (15-20) parts manufacturers getting quotes and samples at great personal expense.  I then did the same for a number of overseas manufacturers.  Being a very small business and almost totally funded out of pocket, cost for quality was a huge concern.  I refused to put my name on junk, but at the same time, I had to be able to sell something that I could make money on.  I settled on two different companies – one state side, and one from Taiwan.  I purchased a small run from both companies (5 pieces each).  The US company costing me around 850/set, and the Taiwanese company costing me about 450/set.  Unfortunately as it pertains to customer service, I chose the WRONG US based company.  It took 8 months to receive the product that I paid for on day 1.  I paid more in credit card interest carrying fees than I could ever make in profit (the average selling price for these parts being around 950).  The Taiwanese company not only had the order done on time (2-3 weeks), but had the product on my door step in Nevada within their originally quoted timeframe.

After finally receiving both runs from both companies and examining the quality, I was relatively impressed.  Both were of equal quality in construction and materials.  I was very pleased.  For me, the shorter timeframe and better customer service for an equal quality product from Taiwan made more sense.  The price point made it so I could make a decent profit and afford to expand a bit. Who did this benefit?  Me, clearly.  It made it possible for a small business to stay afloat.  If I could have purchased a quality product from an American manufacturer and still made any profit, I would have absolutely done so.

Let’s look at this on a larger scale.  Take a large auto manufacturer for instance.  This auto manufacturer employs thousands of Americans, keeping them employed and paying them money that they can and will reinvest in the US economy. What happens if/when they outsource manufacturing to another country, essentially cutting their costs in half?  Do they lower the price on their cars?  Does they reinvest that money locally and hire more people, creating more jobs?  Unfortunately history shows us that the answer to both those questions is no.  They lay off the American workers, and pocket the increased profits.  This is an unfortunate example of the rich getting richer.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some sort of hippy that believes everything should be made locally or that we should all live in tree houses and hug everyone, but I don’t believe in laying off hundreds or thousands, only to buy myself another vacation property, or a couple new exotic cars.

Unfortunately, there is little room for ethics in today’s money driven world.

I believe that the only way to solve this is to tax outsourced labor depending on the size of the business.  If outsourcing is the only way for a small company to stay in business and continue to employ the 1-10 people that they currently employ, then I feel that it should be taxed very little if at all.  If a large company wants to outsource and replace 10,000 American workers, then I believe they should be taxed to the point that they essentially pay for the welfare checks that the US government will then have to cut those 10,000 people until they find a job.

I’m sure there are issues with this plan, but I’m just one guy.  I’d hope that a government full of people who’s job it is to think of ideas like this could come up with something better – something that could keep jobs in the US, or at least tax those who outsource enough to cover the added financial stress put on our government by their actions.

Who knows.. these are just the ramblings of someone who’s sick of seeing campaign advertisements from two dudes trying to prove themselves the shiniest of two turds.

Tank Update (clean up crew, chromis, reef keeper lite)

So I’m not sure if I mentioned this but a few weeks ago I put a chromis in the tank and the poor little guy died.  I did some investigating and found out that it was due to my pH being super low.  Apparently when you use SOME types of dry rock, it can drop your pH way down until it becomes fully alive (3-6 months).  Since then I started dosing some SeaChem pH buffer, and it’s brought my pH up to acceptable levels (high 7’s low 8’s), the ammonia started to go up then down, diatoms started showing up, and the tank started to cycle the way it should have.  I’m still using the SeaChem Stability, and my ammonia has dropped to 0 along with my nitrites and nitrates.  After that, I ended up picking up a little hermit crab and let him roam around the tank.  After he lived 3-4 days, I went to pick up another Chromis, as well as a clean-up crew (4 conchs, 10 nasarius snails, a sand sifting star, and 10 red legged hermit crabs).

I was getting mad at my DIY ATO (though it was of NO fault of the ATO I learned), so I picked up a Reef Keeper Lite by Digital Aquatics.  It’s a cool little unit that has about a billion functions that I’m not even going to attempt to outline here.  I’m currently using it to control my fan, my pumps, my skimmer, and my pH dosing system.  I’ll probably expand it a bit here in the coming months to handle everything else like my lights, my ATO, and my return pump.

I also tweaked my Tunze 9002 Protein Skimmer.  Apparently it’s common to have them come from the factory poorly assembled, so I took mine apart, realigned the ventury and the output, and got it put back together and now it’s making much better bubbles and is a lot quieter.

I’m currently having a bit of an issue with microbubbles, but I’ll get them figured out.  I think that somehow they’re making it into the last chamber of my sump and getting pumped back into my tank.  I’m going to be putting some rubble rock in the first chamber and hopefully that’ll weed out some of them from even getting into the system.

Here are some updated pictures.

Tank Update (40g is up and running!)

Wow, so I got the 40g up and running tonight!  I planned on it, I planned everything I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it, but that doesn’t mean that I actually expected to ever finish, let alone for everything to work!  It took some tweaking, and I’m sure it’ll take some continued tweaking, but it’s working thus far so I’m pretty pumped.  I still need to work on the cover a bit, but tomorrow I’ll test the water (I’ve been conditioning it), get my phosphate reactor up and going, and if all looks good, I’ll toss a chromis in there.

Tank Update (20g long sump, other assorted stuff)

Today R&R got back from cali and picked up my stand and my 20g long that I’ll be using for my sump.  I’m waiting on a friend to drop off my stand, but while I’m doing that, I figured I’d show you the progress that was made tonight.

I got some grid cut for the bottom of my display tank and got that in.  I’m doing that because I prefer the idea of the weight of the pointy edges of the rock being distributed over a wider area than a sharp edge.  I also got the return portion of my sump setup (1/4″ arylic cut, bubble trap made, you’ll see it in the pics).  My girlfriend got the light put together, and I threw the powerheads and return fans into the display tank as well.  I got the return pump, as well as the two pumps for my reactors unboxed and ready, in the return area.  I got my timers setup and ready (one for the ‘fuge light, and one for the display light).

If you guys haven’t yet, you NEED to go check out Reptiles-n-Reefs (R&R) down off of stephanie and sunset in Henderson.  The folks there area amazing!

Tank Update (plumbing, plumbing, and more plumbing)

Tonight I got as much of the plumbing completed as I could, I don’t think there’s much more that I can do until my stand comes in.  I have the drains plumbed and sealed, and the returns plumbed and sealed.  I know it’s not what most would consider “standard plumbing” for a tank, but you’ve got to try new things every now and then.

Not having the stand is killing me!  I’m so pumped to get that part done.

I also figured I’d start the rack curing, so I put as much of the rock as I could fit into a 5 gallon pale, and dumped in some Dr. Tim’s.  I probably fit about 30 lbs in there, which isn’t terrible, and at least gets it started.

Last night I also got a ‘lid’ made for the tank so my jumpers can’t escape.  I’m curious to see if it will cut out too much light, and if it does, I’ll make another cover out of acrylic.

Tank Update (holes drilled, back painted, skimmer box cut)

So tonight, I.. well I did the above.  I decided to pick up a 3rd 3/4″ slip/slip bulkhead for a drain.  I SHOULD have just used 1 1/4″ drains, but I didn’t do the calculations initially.. You live and you learn.  Either way I got all 3 drain holes drilled tonight, and I cut the back off of my skimmer overflow box so it could fit over the bulkheads.  I also got the back of the tank masked and painted black.  I think it’s starting to look pretty good!  I had to modify the skimmer box a liiiittle bit more than I wanted to, but either way, it’ll work and I’m pleased with it. Either way, check out the sexy goodness!  Next week my stand should come in, and when it does, I’ll be able to get that assembled, and get the ‘fuge built/installed, and get water in the tank!  I’m so psyched!