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Bitcoin Guide for Beginners (Blog and Book Review)

Bitcoin Guide for Beginners is just that, a great, quick book that lays down the basics of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. The title is a bit misleading, however; specifically the way cryptocurrency has been (not) performing this year. Making money in an hour could have been the way it was when the  book was published, but in today’s market, it’s a long term game.

This book was an easy way to support an independent author, it’s only twenty-eight pages.  Personally, it took me about a year of listening to my husband, reading blogs, posts and comments plus (the most important) watching our retirement account grow for me to actually, “get it”. Jonathan P. Worderth talks in basic, simple language that anyone can understand and he gives great comparison examples in his book, Bitcoin Guide for Beginners.

Fiat currency vs. cryptocurrency

The first thing people need to wrap their heads around is the difference between fiat currency and cryptocurrency. Back in the day, our money was backed by gold or silver. A tangible metal worth whatever the purchasing power was for that time period. Our money now is backed by the U.S government. (Let that sink in.) Yes, we live in a country to be proud of, a wealthy, developed country. But fiat currency is an abstraction. A crisp hundred dollar is worth nothing on it’s own.

Human beings have traded as long as they have been on this earth. Trading everything from beads to tulips to things that are aren’t moral or legal. Trading one thing for another has been a way of life as long as life has been around.

Most recently, things have been traded for time. People make an hourly wage, the money is transferred from one bank account to another minus the taxes the government requires you to pay. People in turn pay their bills using electronic transfers or swiping a plastic card to exchange their time for their groceries. In most cases, folks don’t actually have cash anymore.

It all stays the same – but different

Cryptocurrency does everything cash can do but takes the middle man (the bank) out of the equation. It’s easy to pay for goods and services directly from one on-line wallet to another. Here’s the biggest difference and where the biggest challenge for Americans is going to be; YOU are responsible for all your money.

One advantage with a bank is if your account is hacked, if your credit card is stolen and used without your permission, if you lose your PIN #, etc… a bank usually has a customer service agent that can walk you through the steps to reset your lost PIN or an insurance of sorts to replace the money that was stolen.

With cryptocurrency, that’s not a thing. YOU and YOU alone are in charge of your money. This is good and bad. A friend of mine is over seventy and has a nice retirement ‘nest egg’. This year, the government forced her to withdraw over $2k or they were going to tax her and she would lose a percentage of the money. The deregulation of the cryptocurrency was a huge draw for her as there is no one telling what you can do our not do with YOUR money. (It’s a hefty responsibility we’ve never really had, the banks have always been there controlling our money.)

In summary, Bitcoin Guide for Beginners is a wonderful place to start with your investing. I wished the author had taken us a deeper into the mechanics of using cryptocurrency specifically out of the U.S plus delved a bit more into the multitude of cryptocurrencies that are popping up every day. (There’s a subject suggestion for volume two!) But if you’re interested and don’t know a thing about crypto, this is a great, affordable place to start.

 

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The Hate U Give (book review) #mustread

The Hate U Give was a difficult book to put down and a painful book to read.

This book is all about Starr Carter, a black girl living in a poor neighborhood that to some would be considered the ‘hood’. She goes to school at a swanky prep school where the majority of the students are white, including her boyfriend. The trick to her life is balance between the two worlds. Her dad doesn’t know she has a boyfriend, let alone that he’s white. Her white friends don’t know she witnessed a drive-by shooting when she was in elementary school resulting in the death of her best friend. And her black friends don’t know how difficult living in both worlds can be.

Everything seems to be going fine until Starr is the only witness to a police officer shooting an unarmed black teenager, Starr’s longtime friend, Khalil. This incident causes her worlds to collide in ways that are unimaginable but yet hauntingly familiar.

I love to read and when I rate a book, I look at the number of times the story brought me to an emotional state. The Hate U Give covered the spectrum, from tears of sadness to rage to fits of laughter. I recommend this book to every one of every color. This is exactly the type of book I’d love to write! Kudos to Angie Thomas for totally nailing it with her debut novel.  If you’ve not heard of this author or book, check it out. Angie was born and raised (and still) lives in Jackson, Mississippi. She has a passion for literature which led her to get a BFA in creative writing. I can’t help but feel happiness towards this young woman for writing her book and following her dream. The novel is under contract for a movie and what author doesn’t want that to happen. Bravo, bravo!

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My Hong Kong Adventure

While scrolling through a cheap-airfare google search, my husband asked, “Want to go to Hong Kong?” Is there any other answer to that but YES! Him and I set off for the other side of the world to ring in 2018 in style. Konger style!

Getting there is half the fun (JK)

We flew Alaskan to Seattle. From ABQ, we don’t have a lot of choices but I must say, I prefer Alaskan over Southwest. With some advance purchase, their prices aren’t too bad. SWA compatible. From Seattle, we went non-stop on Delta. Watched more movies on that flight than in all of 2017! (LOL! May I recommend Snatched with Amy Shumer and Goldie Hawn… Or if you need a good cry A Dog’s Purpose should do the trick.)

Our Airbnb was in Discovery Bay (fifth floor) across from the China Disneyland. Our hostess/host were pros and left us some snacks, local beer and easy directions to use the public transportation system. They were top-notch hosts all the way! Our flat was small, clean and just perfect for what we needed.

The first morning we explored downtown Hong Kong and found the famous ‘sneaker street’ where every name-brand of shoes has at least one shop. Beware though, they largest women size is an 8. With clothes too, sigh, good thing the guys shoes were cute too. We shopped an entire afternoon and had some local cuisine from a little cafe where we the only ones that spoke English. That night, the (impressive) New Years fireworks could be seen from our bedroom window. Which was a good thing as we were exhausted from the 20hours of traveling and the day’s worth of shopping.

New Year’s Day

We visited the Tian Tan Buddha and the Temple of Ten Thousand Buddhas in Ngong Ping on New Year’s Day. We rode up the mountain in a glass-bottomed tram. The shops and restaurants weren’t quite open as we went extra early (yea, we were still on Mountain Time Zone, lol) The stillness and then awaking of the area was subtle and sweet, a blessing to welcome the new year. We went in and paid extra to do the self-guided tour. It was a sacred and special time to be in that specific spiritual place.

We hiked down through the Lantau North County park. It was approximately eight and a half miles straight down! (Hey HK, next time you make a trail down a mountain may I suggest switch-backs?)Everyone we passed wished us a Happy New Year. (there were a lot off people!) HK has approximately 7.5 million people and it seemed we bumped into a big part of the population. I’m out of shape AF and would ask the folks coming up, “How much further?” and inevitably they answered, “Oh, about two more hours.” This went on all day to the point I was afraid to ask!

Let’s see it all

We also visited Lautau island, rode bikes through Sha Tin’s Central Park and through the neighborhood, Tai Wa. There was a three story “wet market” we went to (oppose to a dry market, the difference being the floors-wet or dry). The first floor had live sea food, as well as freshly caught and many sides of beef, whole chickens and ducks. That’s where you pick your meat. The next floor you select your vegetables. Once you get to the third floor you pick your cook, the hostess seats you and takes your food and by the time you get your drinks, the food you just picked from the market is steaming in front of you! We had pan fried pumpkin, beef/potatoes, shrimp and garlic, and a veggie scramble. I heard a rumor Anthony Bourdain went there but the cook booth thought he was nothing more than an arrogant Canadian so no mention of it is anywhere… who knows?

The next day my calves and back were screaming so I talked my husband into a taxi up to the Pok Fu Lam County Park where we took a nice stroll along a relatively flat asphalt trail to Victoria Peak and then to a lovely restaurant with a fantastic bar! (the hostess hugged me as I came in the door, so sweet!)

The adventure the next day was shopping and eating in Sai Ying Pun, Sheung Wan and along Hollywood road to the Man Mo Temple. The public transportation is so easy and convenient, we really took advantage of seeing as much as we could. Still averaged 7-10 miles of walking day. I actually lost a few pounds on this vacation and it wasn’t from a lack of food! LOL!

Our Airbnb hosts had a swanky dinner party we were (fortunate enough to be) invited to. Many Hong Kong residents have domestic help and the party had a little crew cooking up everything from ostrich, to kangaroo, shrimp to squid and more. We met some really interesting people from GB, Australia and Alaska. Thanks Simon, the British Cathay pilot I met for inspiring my next historical fiction book, Pirate Queen about Cheng Shi. Watch for it spring of 2019.

Macau

A day in Macau was a must, so we headed there on a high speed ferry on Friday. Its the Vegas of China and INDEED IT IS!!! We took the Venetian bus to the end of the line and then wandered into an old village named Taipa. It was a Portuguese settled area so the food was a bit different, delicious but different. We went on a photo safari through the rain. It was so picturesque every where I looked I bet I took 500 photos that day alone. Normally we get a Harley Davidson shirt for my husband’s brother but the shop was closed. There were people in there so we knocked on the glass door. They didn’t open until the following Monday. “Cash?” they asked and once we confirmed our method of payment we were digging through their inventory that wasn’t actually for sale, yet.

We found a ,coffee cafe and drank some slow drip java then found a brew house and indulged in a local beer. They had French fries and gravy so we ordered up that too, YUM! All day we wandered, ate a little, drank a little and wandered more. There’s a large park area that is open space and beautiful for pictures and strolling.

Overall, I took almost a thousand pictures in eleven days. I met an ambitious young woman named Ashley whom I dare bet we keep in touch. We had quite the connection. Also, our Airbnb hostess/host were fun and I feel they are now titled ‘friends’ too. Want to go to Hong Kong? The answer to that is always a huge YES!