Idaho’s climbing the charts!

The CATO Institute has recently released the “Freedom Index” for 2016, which ranks – by their measurements – which states are considered the most free. This seems to focus primarily upon which ones have the most personal freedoms and fewest taxes and regulations.

Unsurprisingly, California and New York are at the bottom of the list.

But Idaho managed to climb up one spot from last year, and is number 7 on the list. Personally, I think that’s great – it’s nice to live in a state where there is less government watching its citizens and telling them what to do. Even though this state does have a state income tax as well as a sales tax, there are many other aspects of the state that make it a nice place to live.

Interestingly enough, my home state of Washington didn’t fare so well – it came in at 32. Somewhat peculiar for one of three states that has legalized recreational marijuana, and was one of the first states to legalize same-sex marriages. However, it also has one of the highest sales tax rates, and was the birthplace for things like the $15-an-hour minimum wage, and having stores charge their customers for using bags. It also has a reputation for being one of the most business unfriendly states in the nation.

In any case, it’s yet another reason to enjoy living in the great State of Idaho! How does your state rank, and what are your thoughts on it?


Work, work, work!

I had hoped to have more updates this month, but I’ve been pretty busy! Interestingly enough, I have been working on writing, though!

I’m getting ready to submit one of my novels to another publisher. Hopefully, by the end of the week. I’m also going to submit a few of my articles to Knights of the Dinner Table magazine. They’ve published some of my things in the past, so I think it’ll be worthwhile to send them some more.

So, just a brief update to let you know what I’ve been doing here in Idaho. I hope to have more news for you soon!

Until then, keep on writing, and have fun!


A lazy Sunday in northern Idaho

So I’m sitting here in the bar that my sister-in-law recently opened. It’s called Bailey’s Public House in Bovill, and I’ve been helping out where I can. My wife and her sister have been doing most of the work with the food and the people and whatnot. I just do some lifting and put things together.

And sometimes some proofreading.

There are plenty of other things I could be doing, instead. For example, working on more game reviews. Or getting one of my novels ready to submit to a publisher. Or working on a Web page so I can get my business up and running. You did know I was hoping to start a home-based business, didn’t you?

Yes, I’m hoping to get a business started where I can help other people get their works published. I’m going to offer proofreading and editing services, because if there’s one thing any good writer needs, it’s someone else to look over their work, and give them an honest assessment about what needs to be tweaked, revised or completely rewritten. If you would like to hire me for this service, please feel free to contact me! I have no issues with taking on customers right now. Besides, it will give me a good feel as to how to treat my customers, and what they might expect of me.

So yes, I could be working on any of those. But instead, I’m sitting here at Bailey’s making a blog post. Because every once in a while, you just need to relax on a Sunday afternoon. There will be enough to do tomorrow.

Another great book deal!

I’ve mentioned previously about one bundle of books that Humble Bundle had to offer. Well, they just came up with another good bunch!

This time it’s a “Start Your Own Tech Company” bundle, and includes several books on starting and running a Web-based business. Since I’ve been kicking around the idea of doing just that, this comes at a nice time.

The bundle can be found at this link. Pay what you want for six books, or pay more than the average to unlock more books. They come in electronic format, so you’ll have to read them on your computer or other device. I know, it’s not the same as holding a physical copy of the book, but it’s still a good opportunity to get some advice and lessons.

Plus, as with all of the Humble Bundles, a portion of your purchase will go to charity. You can stick with the ones they have selected (EFF and the Challenger Center for Space Science Education) and choose another one to give a portion of your money to as well. (If you can’t decide, might I recommend Christ Centered Gamer? They publish video game reviews from a Christian perspective, and is a valuable resource for parents and Christians who might be curious as to what content a game might have before putting down their money.)

The deal will only be around for a couple weeks, so don’t delay! And I’ll see you on-line with your brand-new startup!

The joys of home ownership!

I’m on the last day of a vacation from work. No, I didn’t do anything fun. I worked on the house. Or, more precisely, under the house.

I had started a project last year replacing all the drain pipes under the house. The pipes were all cast iron, and probably installed at the time the house was built at the turn of the century.

Erm… last century, not this one.

The first phase consisted of replacing all the pipes from the kitchen and the laundry room to the central drain, under the bathroom. That was a chore, but fairly straightforward. I replaced it with black PVC pipe and special, durable rubberish sleeves that tighten down with screws to form a tight seal. This way, if there’s a problem with a pipe or a coupling, it’ll be much easier to replace than cutting out metal.

Amusingly enough, while I was cutting out the pipe last year with my grinder, it made one of my daughter’s panic. She could see under the house through one opening, but it was dark. When I started cutting, there was a flurry of sparks and, of course, loud noises. Whenever I stopped the grinder, I heard her crying outside the house. “Daddy! Don’t die!” She still refers to the grinder as the “evil tool.”

In any case, when the shower started backing up due to a blockage, I figured it was time to finish the rest of the project. The pipes didn’t have to go as far, but there were more bends and a lot more other things to try and navigate around. This made it trickier than the first stage, as I had to use a mini-hacksaw for a good portion of the cutting, since the area was too cramped for me to get my grinder in place.

It really doesn’t take a lot of knowledge to do plumbing. A simple grasp of physics, knowing that water flows downhill, and how to look for leaks is all it really takes. The more difficult part is dealing with the environment. It is cramped, smelly and sometimes painful work. After my experience with replacing our drain pipes, I can understand perfectly why plumbers charge so much for their work. If I had to deal with other people’s crap in such a cramped area, I’d charge $100 an hour, too. And no, as profitable as it sounds, this isn’t really something I’d want to do as a career.

Still, it’s nice to get a complicated project off the to-do list. Now to see what else I can finish before I have to head back to work.

Hmm… maybe a blog post to my sadly-neglected blog! Check!