28 Before I Turn 28

Posted: July 31, 2016 in Uncategorized

This list represents my fourth time writing a set of goals (25 Before 25, 26 Before 26, 27 Before 27). For this year, I’ve changed up how I do things. Instead of 28 random accomplishments, there are six large goals/categories with more specific sub goals for each. On to the list!


Eating a healthy, nutritious diet is something I’ve continually struggled with. If not for the metabolism of a [insert skinny animal here], I’d surely fall in the obese category.

  1. Eat Four Servings Vegetables for 200 Days
  2. Drink 12 Cups of Water for 200 Days
  3. Eat Four Servings Fruit for 200 Days
  4. Cook / Eat at home for 500 meals


I’ve been competing in triathlons since 2012 and have had lackluster results the last two years. I’d like to change that this year with the big goal of qualifying for the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii, which requires placing at the top of your age-group in another Ironman race.

  1. Bike 5,000 Miles
  2. Run 1,000 Miles
  3. Swim 500,000 Yards
  4. Weight Training 50 times



Engineer is my job title. Unfortunately, I don’t create anything that interesting for work. I’d like Lethal Engineering to be my outlet for the crazy contraptions I dream up. The design and construction process is very gratifying and is something I’d like to do more often. The major goal would be to generate $10,000 from YouTube, a fifty-fold increase from last year.

  1. Create Patreon Account
  2. Solar Death Ray Video
  3. Halloween Video
  4. Three Thermite Videos
  5. Call to Action at end of Videos
  6. Build Workshop


This blog is a public diary. My little space on the internet. I gain insight reading others’ blogs and hope to contribute a little with my own.

  1. Track Goals Daily
  2. 20 Blog Posts
  3. Reread 10 favorite books and summarize
  4. Two Courses MIT Open CourseWare


I feel like I became a family man all of sudden. I now have a wife, a mortgage, and a (fur)baby. Exciting times around here!

  1. Train Dog Sit, Down, Stay, Come, Heel, Fetch, Potty Train
  2. Be More Positive / Smile More
  3. Help Alexis
  4. Net Worth (Alexis Debt Excluded) $100,000



So what prevents me from accomplishing all these goals? I work from home, so my time is very flexible. However, I tend to waste time on things that contribute little to my personal satisfaction. The plan is to eliminate those distractions this year.

  1. Facebook
  2. Watching YouTube Videos
  3. Junk food / Soda
  4. Distraction When Working
  6. Complaining / Getting Angry


Making the goals is the fun part, obtaining them is more laborious. Going a year without sugar seemed like a great idea when I made the goal, but it’s not so much fun when you can’t eat the free samples at the Jelly Belly Factory. This year, to increase my goal completion rate, I will institute a punishment for not completing certain goals. Leave a comment if you have any ideas.

27 Before 27 – Results

Posted: July 23, 2016 in Uncategorized

27 Years Old! This was my third year of making these lists, let’s get to the results!

I Only Completed Three of My Goals

Proposed to Alexis

Four years ago, I didn’t think I would ever talk to Alexis again. She was dating another guy and wanted nothing to do with me. A combination of a chance encounter and dogged persistence on my part led to this moment.

Proposal Picture

100,000 Views Lethal Engineering

I only created one video this year, but my rocket launcher video really took off! My channel accumulated 415,000 views, a significant increase from the 34,000 views last year.  All those views netted me $200 in revenue.



Read 30 Books

I read (or listened to) 32 books this year. My favorites included Sam Walton: Made In America, Thinking Fast and Slow, The Entrepreneur Mind, Rich Dad Poor Dad, and the Elon Musk biography.

30 Books

Partial Completion

Exercise Goals

Run: 589.57 / 2000 Miles (Last year: 654.60 miles)

Bike: 1935.53 / 10,000 Miles (Last year:: 2042.82)

Swim: 69,311 / 1,000,000 Yards (Last Year: 154,868 yards)

A Year Without Fast Food

My fast food habit was bad. I would eat Taco Bell, Burger King, and McDonald’s 10 to 12 times per week. I went almost the entire year boycotting any restaurant  with a drive thru and then gave in with one month to go. I came to the realization that I was finding other unhealthy foods to eat. The first time I went back to Taco Bell, the lady working the drive-thru said, “I was wondering where you’d gone. Thought you might have moved”.

A Year Without Sugar

The first two weeks were awful. I was surprised at how addicted my body was to sugar. I never completely eliminated sugar, but for the first 6 months I’d say I removed 95% of it from my diet.No soda, no candy, no ketchup. Sugar is added to almost all processed foods making it difficult to completely eliminate. My willpower held strong even with visits to the Jelly Belly and Ghirardelli factories (100% Cacao Chocolate is disgusting, FYI) . My downfall came when I had a stressful time with work in December and gave up, consuming a soda. I can see why people stress eat.

Jelly Belly Cropped

And Then We Had The Big Month

Alexis Graduated Medical School

What an accomplishment! I thought getting a bachelor’s degree was tough, but it pales in comparison to the effort required to become an M.D.


We Got Married

What a fantastic day! I told Alexis “You know, this turned out even better than I thought it would”, to which she responded, “Well, that’s because you didn’t plan any of it”. Fair enough


We Completed An Ironman…On Our Honeymoon

Alexis says our next vacation will be of the all-inclusive, do nothing but lay on the beach variety.


We Moved To Milwaukee and Bought A House

Buying a house was on my 25 Before 25 list. We visited Milwaukee after Alexis matched for residency and looked at 17 houses in one day, putting in an offer on the same day, and having the home inspection the following day. Big thanks to Mike Wrobel and Mark Bowder for helping us move!


We Got A Puppy

I told Alexis if she matched in a city where we could buy a house, and if she came up with the money herself, then she could get a puppy. It’s amazing how much cash someone can make selling stuff on Craigslist when they are motivated. Little Zucc (short for Zucchini) is a Vizsla and we picked him up in Iowa on our way to Milwaukee.


You Only Completed Three Goals. Why Do You Keep Doing This?

It would be easy to call this year a failure. 3 for 27 is a pitiful 11% success rate. The goals I set are ambitious and I fail a majority of the time. I started making these lists because I was unhappy with the track my life was on, and three years later I’m pretty psyched where I’ve ended up. Next year, I’m going to change up how I do my goals. Instead of 28 somewhat difficult goals,  I’d like to have four or five major goals with specific sub-goals for each of them.That will mean giving up on some of the crowd favorite goals (see below). 28 Before 28 List next week!



This was Alexis’ idea. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. She wanted to attempt an Ironman after graduating medical school and before starting residency. She also wanted to get married in that time frame while attending three friend’s weddings.


Hence, we ended up in Brazil for our Ironmoon (haha, get it? Ironman/Honeymoon!). My training leading up to this race was pretty sparse, with a total 95 hours in the past six months which comes out to 3.6 hours per week. That’s more like the training volume for a marathon instead of a 140.6 mile triathlon. I would pay for it during the race…

The Swim – 2.4 Miles

The race format was a wave start instead of the 3,000 man washing machine that Ironman races are known for My group started five minutes before Alexis’. She and I had almost identical times, and I waited for her in transition so we could bike together.



The Bike – 112 Miles

What a beautiful course! Cycling is a great way to explore a country. We rode along the coast and got fantastic views of the countryside, some pirate ships, and the Hercilio Luz Bridge


The conditions started out difficult as it poured rain for the first hour. You know what also poured? My bladder. Not sure what was wrong, but I peed 10 times on the bike. I pissed on myself so frequently that the guards at Abu Ghraib would say ‘Easy man, that’s too much’ (Too soon? It was a toss up between that and an R. Kelly reference). These weren’t little tinkles either. It was like Niagara Falls running down my leg. Don’t worry though, I washed it off with my water bottle (see below). A little too much detail? You should have learned from my previous race reports.


The Run – 26.2 Miles

Since I stayed with Alexis on the bike, she thought it was only fair to stay with me on the run. However, I wasn’t running an acceptable pace so she went on without me. You know that part of the vows, “til mile 8 do us part”.


Sidenote: In Portuguese, ending a word with an ‘e’ creates an ‘ee’ sound. At the aid stations they didn’t have ‘Gatorade’ but instead ‘Gate-o-raid-eee’.

We Finished!

You’ll have to give a big congrats to Alexis. Training for this race while juggling all the other life events is a major accomplishment. There were lots of tears, lots of “I can’t do this”, but she finished.


What’s really impressive though was that this was Alexis’ first triathlon EVER, which is just nuckin’ futs. You know what’s also crazy? After we finished she said, “I didn’t think it was that tough”.

End Note

Yeah, Alexis beat me. I don’t want to talk about it.


Don’t Play the Fucking Lottery

Posted: January 12, 2016 in Uncategorized



Really? Don’t tell me you did it. You bought a fucking lottery ticket? You moron!

Easy, Man! It’s Just Two Dollars!

The record Powerball jackpot has created quite the buzz. However, just like that email from the Nigerian prince, it’s a scam. Any knowledge of taxes and expected value should tell you that.

It’s not breaking news that the lottery is a poor decision, but millions still play. The popular excuse is that it’s fun to dream about what they would do with the money if they won.

It may seem like such a hard stance to call Powerball players idiots, but playing the lottery is indicative of other bad choices.

I have two main grievances against the lottery: The News Coverage and The Mindset.

The News Coverage

Television, Social Media, and the Newspapers have been filled recently with coverage devoted to this get-rich-quick scheme. I’m sure the airwaves will continue to be polluted when a winner is announced. Tell me a story about a man who worked his ass of to make his money instead of one made rich by dumb luck. Elon Musk became a billionaire by developing an electric car company and a spaceship business. Joe Powerball became a billionaire because he was able to find eight quarters in his desk drawer.

A popular story is the ‘Curse of the Lottery’ chronicling how one-time Powerball millionaires go broke and bankrupt a couple of years after striking it rich. The truth is there is no curse of the lottery, just a curse of being really fucking stupid. Is it surprising that a person who thinks the lottery is a bright idea has trouble managing their money?

Also, why do lottery news articles always seem cite someone with a PhD in Mathematics? “According to Dr. Smith, the odds of winning are 1 in 292 million”. This isn’t differential equations, it’s basic probability. A 7th grader should be able to calculate those odds.  Perhaps you should have to pass a test in probability and expected value before you participate, just so players realize how stupid they are.

The Mindset

By playing the Powerball it says that you subscribe to the belief that millionaires should be created by luck. That you hope minimal effort will bring about amazing results. It’s a mindset that leads people to buy a vibrating ab belt with hopes of losing 100 lbs. This should not be the mindset of the masses.

What really bothers me is that a person who has created zero value will become a multi-millionaire. Millions of dollars should be a reflection of hard work and intelligent decisions. Playing the lottery fails both of those tests.

The sad thing is this the lottery represents the best hope some people have of becoming a millionaire. One in 292 million. Ten minutes spent buying a ticket. A couple days fantasizing how to spend the millions. Fuck it. Create your own luck

What Should You Do Instead?

Read about self-made millionaires. Mark Cuban, Elon Musk, and Sam Walton are some great examples with fantastic biographies. Quit dreaming about how your going to make millions and go do it yourself. Stop relying on luck to make your dreams a reality and become self-reliant.

How I Make Money on YouTube

Posted: January 3, 2016 in Uncategorized

Goal #20 – 100,000 View for Lethal Engineering

Last year, for my 26 before 26 list, I only managed 30,000 views for my YouTube channel, falling far short of my goal of 100,000 views. I duplicated that goal for my 27 before 27 list and an interesting thing began to happen. YouTube started suggesting my Rocket Launcher video on similar videos. Viewership immediately shot up and I achieved my goal of 100,000 views in under four months.


All Those Views, You Must Be Making Some Money!

Getting paid on YouTube is quite easy. You set up an AdSense account, choose which videos to monetize (no copyrighted music!), and watch the money pile up.

Not Exactly…

My channel, which has 265,000 lifetime views, just recently met the minimum income required to get paid ($100).


I currently make anywhere from 50¢ to 60¢ per 1,000 views. That’s such a small amount of money that I had to look up the keyboard shortcut for the ‘cents’ symbol (Alt+0162). Don’t get me wrong, I’m stoked to be making passive income from my videos, it’s just a low amount relative to what’s possible on YouTube. There are other users making making $2.50 to $5.00 per 1,000 views. I need to figure out why that is.

It may be a result of a majority of my views coming from international countries. Views from highly developed countries (United States, Germany, Canada, United Kingdom) pay more . For example, 17% of my views are from the United States but make up 46% of my earnings whereas 5.1% of views are from Indonesia but account for a measly 1.2% of earnings.

It may also be the total time my videos are viewed. YouTube places more adds on videos that have a longer view duration, and my average is quite low at 1:16.

It’s Not About The Money

Even if I made no money through these videos, I would continue to produce them. I love building cool shit and YouTube provides a means to showcase those projects to the masses.

My dream would be to make a living off a YouTube. It’s possible with a high level of commitment and creativity, but would require several orders of magnitude more views. In order to accomplish that goal, I need to devote more time and energy to producing interesting, entertaining content.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite videos that I’ve made. My friend Ben needed to make something solar powered for a school project. We strapped some batteries and a solar panel onto my beer cannon and made this video. He got an A on this project!


27 Before I Turn 27

Posted: November 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

Below is a set of 27 goals I’m going to attempt to achieve before my 27th birthday. Some have been recycled, some expanded, and some are completely new.

1. PADI (Scuba) Certified
Alexis would like to go Honduras for spring break this year. Her grandfather has a house with some great reefs around it.
2. Increase Net Worth to $100,000
3. Finish Van
4. Bike 10,000 Miles
5. Swim 1,000,000 Yards
6. Run 2,000 Miles
I’m registered for Ironman Brazil in May 2016 and the Hitchcock 100 Ultramarathon in December 2015.
7. Glass Blowing class
Every since my parents took me to a David Chihuly exhibit way back when, I’ve been a fan of glass blowing. This has been on the list the last 2 years.
8. Set a World Record
I’m thinking most tennis serves in an hour. I’d like to raise money for charity while doing it.
9. Volunteer 200 hours
I will continue volunteering with Big Brothers / Big Sisters. I would like to find new volunteer opportunities as well. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
10. 3rd Movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata
11. Propose to Alexis
This one was accomplished shortly after turning 26. Don’t worry, there’s a video that I’ll post later on.

Proposal Picture
12. (-10) Round of Disc Golf at Seymour Smith
I really enjoy disc golf. It’s free, challenging, and get’s me outside.
13. 50 Blog Posts
Reading about people’s experiences through blogs has inspired me to try things I otherwise would not. I hope that by sharing my experiences and insights I can do the same for others
14. Help Dad Lose 70 lbs
My Dad always been supportive of my goals, whether it be driving to Arizona for an Ironman or spending an entire weekend crewing for my ultramarathon. It’s time that I return the favor.
15. Skydiving
16. Meditate 5 minutes a day for 60 days straight
A lot of benefits are supposed to be correlated with meditating. My friend Matt Brand suggested this one.
17. No Added Sugar – Entire Year
18. No Fast Food – Entire Year
19. Develop a habit of eating 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day
Eating healthy is one of my biggest goals for the year. It’s one area of my life that I need to vastly improve.
20. 100,000 Views Lethal Engineering
21. Read 30 Books
22. Perform Stand Up Comedy / Open Mic
23. Learn Chess / Become a UCSF Level 1000 Player
24. Donate 10% of Income
Somewhat contradictory to goal #2
25. Develop a habit of waking up before 6 a.m.
26. Learn French (Pimsluer Lessons 1-5)
I let Alexis pick one goal, and this is what she came up with. French is the national language for many African countries, and Alexis would like to do medical volunteer work in Africa in the future.

Hey, That’s Only 26! Maybe One of Your Goals Should Be to Learn to Count!
Yes! Last year I took one suggestion from readers and learned how to throw ninja stars. I’m going to take suggestions again this year. Leave a comment if you have any ideas!

26 Before 26 – Results

Posted: October 29, 2015 in Uncategorized

It seems like just yesterday that I turned 26. In reality, it was four months ago, bringing the end of my 26 before 26 list. Getting rid of procrastination was not one of my goals and this post was delayed as a result. This is my second year of making a list of goals. Last year I went 3 of 25. This year I completed 7 of 25.

The Bad

A large number of goals resulted in some that don’t even get started…

#2 Save $50,000
#6 Complete Pimsleur Lessons 1-30 in Haitian Creole
#16 Write a Book
#19 Go Skydiving
#20 Take a Glass Blowing Class
#23 Become SCUBA certified
#24 Learn to Pick Locks
#25 Set a World Record

Partial Completion

#18 Help 3 Other People Reach One of Their Goals

Back in March, I helped my friend Zach run his first marathon. ‘Helped’ is a strong word, as he ended up pulling me across the finish line. I would recommend the L.A. marathon. I would not recommend eating the ice cream sandwiches at mile 20.

Marathon Photo

#14 Go To Church Once A Month

I went to church eight times attending services for Quakers, Catholics, and Christians. I’d like to thank all my friends who invited me out to their churches (Wes, Nathan, Matt) and then my three friends who had weddings (Annie, Barb, Jarod). After consulting other attendees, I considered the weddings as ‘going to church’ if they said the Lord’s prayer.

#13 50 Blog Posts

I wrote 13 blog posts this year, with the most popular one being a post about my girlfriend.

#5 Volunteer 200 Hours

I continued hanging out with my Little Brother through Big Brothers / Big Sisters and also tutored a coworker at the car wash in Pre-Calculus. Total Volunteer Time = 83 hours.

Creighton Tickets

#9 100,000 YouTube Views For Lethal Engineering

I created zero videos over the year, but my rocket launcher video got picked up by HackADay generating 7,500 views in one day. My videos combined had 34,607 views over the course of the year.

Lethal Engineering Views

#10 Bike 10,000 Miles
#11 Run 2,000 Miles
#12 Swim 1,000,000 Yards

Biked 2042.82 Miles
Ran 654.60 Miles
Swam 154,868 Yards

#22 Build or Restore a Car

This seems to be everyone’s favorite goal (besides my mother). I bought a 1968 Chevy G10 last July and have received numerous offers for help since then. Unfortunately, the only work I’ve done on it was getting a V8 for it from an old Chevy Suburban. Don’t worry though, there are still big plans for it.


The 7 of 26 I completed

#1 Get a Tattoo

This goal required some money and pain. I worried about what other people would think, but a year later, I’m really glad I went through with it.

tattoo 1

#4 Eat Vegetarian for A Month

Last November, I went  30 days without eating meat. That said, I didn’t eat healthy. Cheese Pizza, French Fries, and Chocolate Milk Shakes were all allowed under this month long diet. Addressing my diet is going to be a large part of next year’s goals.

#7 Travel To Haiti

Back in February, I traveled down to Haiti to visit my girlfriend who was spending a year volunteering with Partners in Health.

#8 Go Skinny Dipping

When in the DR…

#15 Read 20 Books

Reading has been a habit that has changed my life. I need to do a post with specific examples, but can say with certainty that if you watch television and don’t read then you should immediately sell your flat screen and purchase a Kindle. The impact reading has had on my general happiness has been gigantic.  For whatever reason, I stopped keeping track of the books I read when I hit 22 in January. Here are some of my favorites.

Books Read

#17 Get Promoted

In October 2014, I quit my job to start my own business. It’s probably the scariest thing I’ve ever done. Leaving a career where I worked for great people and was compensated really well was a big risk. I went four months without any consistent work and resorted to getting a part time job at the car wash to have some source of income. Going from a salary job to close to minimum wage was a reality check. Business has picked up since then and I love it. I don’t think most people would consider working longer hours for less money to be a promotion, but I enjoy the opportunity and additional responsibility.

First Check

#26 Learn to Throw Ninja Stars

Big shout out to my friend Carlos for this suggestion. My Little Brother and I had a blast doing this.

How long are you going to keep this up? The 50 before 50 list is going to be tough!

Setting goals and going after them works well for me. Publicizing them holds me accountable. Over the course of this year, I’ve realized how fortunate I am to have great friends who who are supportive of my goals. Stay tuned for the 27 Before 27 List next week.