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Old March 3rd, 2014 #21
Alex Linder
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MINIMALIST FINANCES AND BUDGETING
By Joshua Fields Millburn

Ever since I wrote about leaving my corporate job, a lot of people have asked a lot of questions, many of which revolve around finances.

How are you going to make a living? How are you going to pay your bills? What expenses do you still have? What expenses do you get rid of? How can I apply this to my life when I still have to deal with X and Y and Z?

First, a note: Living a meaningful life has nothing to do with how much money you make. I used to make a lot of money. I don’t make nearly as much now. Not even close. And that’s OK because contribution and growth and pursuing your passions are more important. I’ll address those concepts later in this essay and tie it all together—finances and living a meaningful life—with a neat little bow at the end. That said, we are minimalists, not communists. And minimalists aren’t allergic to money. Money is just not the primary focus of my life.

Budgeting

Let’s start with how I manage expenses. As you can imagine, I like to keep it simple, so let’s look at it in a way that will apply to anyone: regardless of your income, you must spend less than you take in, otherwise the math does not work, and you will go into debt—or further into debt—if you spend more than you make.

This might sound overly simplistic or vapid or trite, and yet more people are in debt today than ever before. And I know this first hand. I used to spend more than I made, even when I was making well over six figures. It didn’t matter because I was spending more money than I brought home. That will never get you ahead. Never.

This all sounds like common sense, I know. But the problem is that common sense isn’t all that common these days.

Bottom line: You must spend less than you make. Until you fix this part of the equation, the rest does not matter. First you must realize how much money you truly need to survive, and then realize that everything beyond that is just a want, often a superfluous want.

Resources

I realize that your situation is different than mine, but that doesn’t mean you have an excuse, it doesn’t mean you can keep putting it off, it doesn’t mean that you have to remain trapped in a job or situation you hate, in a life without freedom.

Because everyone’s situation is different, I want you to have some resources to tackle your finance and debt problems:

Debt: Baker over at Man vs. Debt has some outstanding resources to help you get out of debt. That’s a great place to get started. It doesn’t happen over night (it took me nearly two years), but you must get out of debt—or a least be on the journey towards a debt-free life—before you can live a life of freedom.

Money Management and Tracking: the best site to track all your expenses (from what I can tell) is Mint.com. Mint brings all your financial accounts together online, automatically categorizes your transactions, lets you set budgets & helps you achieve your savings goals. And it’s free.

Accountability: I respect Raam Dev for the way he holds himself accountable W/R/T his finances. On his website, he publishes a monthly financial report in which he discloses all his expense (e.g., meals, housing, cellphone, etc.). Even when he overspends, he makes it public. While I don’t aspire to live a similar lifestyle—the lifestyle of a perpetual peripatetic—I can tell Raam’s tracking method has changed his mindset for every dollar he spends. How will you hold yourself accountable?

My Expenses

Let’s talk about absolute expenses. These are simply the things I must pay to live my current lifestyle:

Rent (includes trash and water)
Utilities (gas and electric)
Car Insurance (I don’t have a car payment)
Gasoline (for what little I do drive; I walk when I can)
Food (including tips; don’t be a jerk, tip well)
Savings Account (can also include retirement accounts like 401k, 403b, Roth IRA, etc.)
Health Insurance & Medical Expenses
Cell Phone (optional)
Gym Membership (optional)
That’s it. I didn’t include totals because yours will obviously be different. So plug in the numbers for yourself, and that’s what you need to live. For me these expenses don’t count money for things I want to do outside of my absolute expenses, things like concerts or movies or other events that require money. But those things are optional, and I don’t have to do them. If I don’t have the money to do them, I don’t. I can be content just sitting in a quite room by myself.

A note about health insurance: if you want to leave your job or start your own profitable business or are already self-employed, I still recommend having some type of health insurance. Sure, some people don’t have health insurance (e.g., the extremely successful Tyler Tervooren), but there are options for non-corporate people. The most common options are as follows:

Purchase a high-deductible policy
Check prices with the Freelancer’s Union
Compare quotes with an insurance broker
Get insurance through your spouse’s employer
Move to Massachusetts or take lots of vitamins
A note about your savings account: it is important to have an emergency fund saved that you don’t touch. Rule of thumb is three to six months of basic living expenses (food and shelter). Adam Baker shows you how to make money from selling your crap; that’s a great way to build up some quick savings.

Expenses I Eliminated

These are the expenses I used to have, but got rid of (over a two year period):

House payment (sold the house)
Homeowner’s insurance (sold the house)
Car payment (paid off the car)
Cable TV (got rid of my TV)
Internet (I go elsewhere for internet)
New clothes every month
Credit card #1
Credit card #2
Credit card #3
Credit card #4 (Yes, I had four credit cards. No, I am not kidding. I still owe a little money on one of them and plan to pay it off this year.)
Student loans (paid off except $55 per month for US Dept. of Edu.)
Other miscellaneous debt (paid off)
Junk
Junk
Junk (yes, I used to buy a lot of junk, but I’m not buying that stuff anymore)
Trading Money For Freedom

One principal I live by is questioning all my purchases. It takes time to earn money, and my time is my freedom, so by giving up my money I’m giving up small pieces of my freedom. Before I make a purchase (even for a cup of coffee) I say to myself, “is this cup of coffee worth $2 of my freedom?”¯ This has significantly changed my mindset.

Income

Once people know how much money they need, they always want to know how to make that much money so they can leave their soul crushing job or find a job that they enjoy more that might pay less. These people often say, but I don’t want to write or start a website. I say, that’s OK! If you start a website like this one with the intention of making money, you will probably fail. Yes we make some money from this site now, but that’s not why we started it. But that’s not your passion anyway, so…

First, you must identify your passions. This one is easy for some people, and you might already know the answer. If you do, that’s great.

But if you don’t know the answer, Jonathan Mead did a beautiful job explaining the seven keys to discovering your passion. Everything you need to know is there.

Me? My Passion? Writing. Especially fiction. I would write fiction until my eyes fell out and my fingers were bleeding on my keyboard. Passionate enough? And by the end of 2012 I anticipate that my income from fiction will surpass the income generated from this site.

What about you? What is your passion? Do you want to start a profitable business? Do you want to teach children? Do you want to start a blog? Do you want to write a novel? Do you want to become a scientist? Do you want to travel the world? Do you want to feed the homeless?

Click here to watch Larry Smith’s TED Talk about why you likely won’t pursue your passions.

Second, you must identify your mission in life. This one’s a little more tricky and even a bit philosophical. Sometimes, if you’re very lucky, your mission is the same thing as your passion, but it’s alright if it’s different too (it’s different for me).

Another way to look at this is to ask yourself, “What is the meaning of my life?”¯ OK, I’ll admit, this is an extremely complex and abstruse question. The good news is that I’ve spent years thinking about it and helping other people with this same question (I led a large group of people for a long time and helped them understand their goals; I have a decade of leadership under by belt).

So let’s remove the complexities of this question. Regardless of the answer’s specificity, the answer always revolves around two things:

Personal growth
Contributing to other people
In other words, the meaning of my life is to grow as an individual and contribute to other people in a meaningful way. And the good news is that you get to decide how you’re going to do both.

Growth. I grow in several ways, most notably:

Writing & Reading (mostly literary fiction) strengthens my mind and my craftsmanship, and it also strengthens my relationships because we have interesting topics to discuss.
Exercise (daily) strengthens my overall physical and mental health.
Relationships allow me to connect with others to get new ideas and learn more about myself through conversation.
Contribution. I contribute to others in several ways too:

Charity & Community Outreach. I donate my time to charitable organizations, I also organize larger teams to participate at local community outreach events.
Coaching and Mentoring. I help others when they are looking for direction.
Writing. Great writing contributes to readers in a special way. Great writing can connect with another person on a level that other forms of entertainment are incapable of doing.
How about you? In what ways do you grow? In what ways do you contribute? How would you like to grow and contribute? Make a list and pick your top three in each category. Focus on those, they are your mission.

Liberating Yet Terrifying

Once you do this—once you discover your passion and mission—it’s eye opening. It’s liberating, but it’s also terrifying.

It’s liberating because everything changes for you. You feel new and excited and free. Now you have something to focus on, and your life has a purpose, it has a meaning.

It’s terrifying because you realize that the life you’ve been living has been total bullshit, you realize that you must change, because if you don’t change then you’re essentially dead.

This might sound like hyperbole, but I assure you it’s not. It’s the cold truth. You are either living a meaningful life or you are dead inside.

Good luck on your journey into freedom. You deserve to be free.

For more perspective on finances, make sure you check out the links in this essay. Also, you can read Day 15 of our 21 day journey into minimalism.

http://www.theminimalists.com/finances/
 
Old March 3rd, 2014 #22
Alex Linder
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You see from these essays the more intelligent, younger whites are beyond materialism. That doesn't mean they're thinking racially, although they certainly seem to gravitate towards others of like mind, which 99/100 = fellow whites. We could play hegel and say that humanity went from nothing in 1800 to too much in 2000 and now we're seeing the synthesis - the best of a few things, but none of the extra crap, just focus on non-material aspects of life. Whites, as always, are at the pushing edge of things.

You should feel how personal minimalism fits with political racialism.

Blacks = clutter. Minorities = credit card debt. Enslaving us. Reducing our options.

Jews = destructive habits and destructive relationships.
 
Old March 3rd, 2014 #23
Alex Linder
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One reason I post these is to show that few things are inevitable. That way of thinking belongs to losers - among whom number a disproportionate number of Southerners and Catholics, not to be insulting.

These northern guys, they don't look tough to you Southerners, do they? They look kind of fruity. (Actually, they're neither queer nor small, surprisingly enough. The pasty, fruity one is actually 6'2")

But look at what they did, these guys from Ohio. They took stock of their lives. Realized radical changes were in order. Accomplished those changes.

They changed their personal culture.

And notice - they weren't failing when they started - they were succeeding, at least on the level of material success. But they conceived something better, and reorganized in very short order - and obtained the results they were looking for. That is impressive, no matter how you feel about them personally.

The catholic has always mocked this self-improvement, but...what else is there? Sit around talking about how things couldn't be different, how they're inevitable. Accepting whatever happens as God's will. Or, better put, being passive, being quietist, attributing everything to God. Yeah, verily, it is not so.

Human will makes history, and nothing else except the weathery drama queens (water attacks, snow attacks, sudden land shifts) exists or has any effect.

That is the truth the religious folks don't want you to know. God? Irrelevant. Even if He exists -- for which there is not one particle of evidence -- he stands by and does nothing (see the snake shaker, or my prayers to Him to heal my broo-zed ribs). It's all on you. Can you handle that? If not, there's a jesus box on nearly every corner, selling junk food for the soul. It will make you feel good about yourself: justify your passivity, reassure you that no one could have done anything. There, there, little sheep.

But if you can handle taking responsibility for your own life and every single choice in it, then maybe, just maybe, you're fit to call yourself a White Man.

Last edited by Alex Linder; March 3rd, 2014 at 10:08 AM.
 
Old March 3rd, 2014 #24
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MORE WINS THAN LOSSES
By Ryan Nicodemus

Throughout my twenties, I was an on-again, off-again alcoholic. An on-again, off-again womanizer. An on-again, off-again drug addict. I was a lot of things I’m not proud of. And I still battle with some of my demons.

I’m not perfect. I still lose sometimes. But there’s a key difference between Ryan-from-the-past and Ryan now: I win a lot more today.

The person you are today is directly related to the five people you spend the most time with and your role models (TOP FIVE ASSOCIATES + ROLE MODELS = YOU). If someone spends the majority of their time with friends at the bar and aspires to live like Snooki from the Jersey Shore, then they’ve made an obvious lifestyle choice.

Sometimes it’s not this obvious.

Examine your friends and role models. If they’re not in line with who you want to be, then something needs to change.

Then take massive action. Once you see what needs to change, change it. Don’t sit around and should all over yourself. Can’t take immediate action? Fine. Pick a date when you’re able to implement change and stick to it no matter what. Make change a must. If you don’t take action, your life won’t be any different.

Change means avoiding negative relationships. Change means asking friends and family to embrace change with you. Change means breaking out of your comfort zone. Change means finding new, empowering relationships and role models. It’s not easy, but it is rewarding.

What’s the difference between action and massive action? My mentoring clients ask me this all the time. The difference is that massive action creates a physiological shift. Sitting down and writing out how you need to change is taking action; joining a new group of people to make new friends is taking massive action. If your actions don’t move you (literally move you) in the direction you want to be, then it’s not massive action.

Lastly, realize there is no endgame. Said another way, once you reach greatness, keep being great. Often, when I would reach success (what I used to call success), I would use my bad habits as a way to reward myself for doing so well. I did this with health and exercise. As soon as I saw good (not great) results, I would reward myself by slacking off and eating unhealthily. This attitude will destroy your momentum. You don’t have to fall back to your old habits; you get to move forward toward better ones.

Keep your chin up. I have failed many times. I still do. The key is to fail less and less as time goes on.

http://www.theminimalists.com/wins/
 
Old March 28th, 2014 #25
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QUESTIONING STUFF

By Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus

Have you ever looked around your home and wondered why you have so much stuff? Or do you, like most people, simply accept the stuff that’s there because it’s your stuff?

Instead of question why you have the stuff, do you just spend hours organizing it, cleaning it, and occasionally replacing it if it “needs”¯ to be replaced?

We did that too. For many, many years. And like us, you too can break the cycle.

Look around. Pick up something you haven’t used in a while. Hold it in your hands. Feel it. Look it over. Think about it. When was the last time you really needed this thing?

If you haven’t used it in a while, why do you still have it? Are you holding on to it just in case?

Questioning the meaning we give to our stuff is the basis of minimalism. By paring down and getting rid of life’s excess, we can focus on what’s important.

There isn’t anything wrong with owning stuff. The problem is when we give too much meaning to the stuff we own without questioning why we own it.

Over the last couple years, the two of us have questioned everything, from our clothes and our furniture, to our homes and our cars.

Question something today. Question something tomorrow. Discover a meaningful life. Lather, rinse, repeat.

http://www.theminimalists.com/questioning-stuff/
 
Old March 28th, 2014 #26
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these guys have honed their answers...good stuff on here

http://www.theminimalists.com/qa1/?u...Minimalists%29
 
Old June 18th, 2014 #27
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I cancelled my DirecTV today. Wasn't so much about intentional minimalism, but rather a long-building dissatisfaction with their service.

My signal had gone out the other day due to interference from some trees that had gradually grown too tall. I called them about coming over and realigning or moving the dish, and they wanted to charge me $40. That was basically the end of it for me. I'd been a loyal customer since 2001, and put up with their steady, ridiculous, price hikes, their periodic dropping of channels that I liked, and the increasing unreliability of their satellite signal in even minor weather conditions.

I just had to ask myself why I was paying $90 a month to have garbage thrown in my face, and make no mistake, 99.9% of what is on satellite television is useless, brain-rotting garbage. I won't miss it.

I bought one of those $30 RCA flat digital antenna's for access to my local news stations in the event of an emergency like a riot or a terrorist attack, but beyond that, me and the idiot box are having a parting of the ways.

I'm going to replace my beat-up running shoes with the money this will save me, start probing the edges of my 37 year old cardiovascular envelope, and depending on where I'm at, maybe start training for the Detroit Free Press Marathon.
 
Old June 19th, 2014 #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Linder View Post
- it's paying more attention to what you're eating, thinking, doing, subsidizing with your time, money, attention. Living a higher quality, simpler life.
The French call it, "Savoir Vivre". However, some of that is an excuse to justify lack of ambition and lack of goal-setting through hard work, of which the Germans are often accused of overdoing it. To each their own. Ultimately, everyone has to feel comfortable with the dicisions they make.
Minimalism can get done collectively. Here's a thread which is parallel to this one: http://vnnforum.com/showthread.php?t=187117

Last edited by Samuel Toothgold; June 19th, 2014 at 04:56 AM.
 
Old July 25th, 2014 #29
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Default A positive effect from foreclosure and divorce:

Not only is this woman no longer a slave to her posessions. She can spend days at a time, without ever having to run into invaders and freaks:

http://www.trueactivist.com/this-is-...its-brilliant/

Quote:
Macy Miller is an architect from Idaho that had a BIG dream about a tiny house. She had always wanted a place of her own, but the thought of a mortgage sickened her after she lost her home to foreclosure after getting divorced. So, her dream revolved around building a compact, but beautiful home.

For two years, Macy worked on the 196 square-foot home, dedicating her free time to building the small paradise. Finally, construction has finished on her little hideaway… and it’s hard not to be jealous of this place, no matter how small it looks on the outside. After all, it only cost about $11,000.

Also have a look at what these people did with their containers or what this guy did with his “Tiny House”
Macy Miller didn’t have a lot of experience with construction, but she was willing to learn.


 
Old July 30th, 2014 #30
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Originally Posted by Samuel Toothgold View Post
The French call it, "Savoir Vivre". However, some of that is an excuse to justify lack of ambition and lack of goal-setting through hard work, of which the Germans are often accused of overdoing it. To each their own. Ultimately, everyone has to feel comfortable with the dicisions they make.
Minimalism can get done collectively. Here's a thread which is parallel to this one: http://vnnforum.com/showthread.php?t=187117
I see it like this: you have X amount of physical energy and time. You get rid of the low-value stuff so you can focus on whatever your main interest, job, whatever is. It's not about giving you ends, but about streamlining. Stripping your life of whatever doesn't add value, as the minimalists would put it. That makes sense to me.
 
Old July 30th, 2014 #31
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Originally Posted by 313Chris View Post
I cancelled my DirecTV today. Wasn't so much about intentional minimalism, but rather a long-building dissatisfaction with their service.

My signal had gone out the other day due to interference from some trees that had gradually grown too tall. I called them about coming over and realigning or moving the dish, and they wanted to charge me $40. That was basically the end of it for me. I'd been a loyal customer since 2001, and put up with their steady, ridiculous, price hikes, their periodic dropping of channels that I liked, and the increasing unreliability of their satellite signal in even minor weather conditions.

I just had to ask myself why I was paying $90 a month to have garbage thrown in my face, and make no mistake, 99.9% of what is on satellite television is useless, brain-rotting garbage. I won't miss it.

I bought one of those $30 RCA flat digital antenna's for access to my local news stations in the event of an emergency like a riot or a terrorist attack, but beyond that, me and the idiot box are having a parting of the ways.

I'm going to replace my beat-up running shoes with the money this will save me, start probing the edges of my 37 year old cardiovascular envelope, and depending on where I'm at, maybe start training for the Detroit Free Press Marathon.
It feels good not paying for anti-white tv.
 
Old August 4th, 2014 #32
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I like this thread. Is there a good realistic way of living off grid? Has anyone here done it?
 
Old August 5th, 2014 #33
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I like this thread. Is there a good realistic way of living off grid? Has anyone here done it?
There might be more on that in a different area of the forum, like outdoor living. This is not a huge forum, but it's big enough there are parts I myself am not familiar with. That's good and bad, I guess.

This minimalism is not about ends - it's about clarifying, simplifying and streamlining your life so that you can focus on precisely what you want to do in this world. It's about minimalizing the friction everyone must face - paying bills, eating incorrectly, being involved with people who are flaky or in some other way seriously defective.

Last edited by Alex Linder; May 15th, 2015 at 03:00 PM.
 
Old August 6th, 2014 #34
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Originally Posted by Samuel Toothgold View Post
Not only is this woman no longer a slave to her posessions. She can spend days at a time, without ever having to run into invaders and freaks:
Seems alright until the tornado warning sirens start going off. You might wanna plan a basement built of reinforced concrete.
 
Old August 7th, 2014 #35
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People tend to clutter up their basements, first. Without that basement combined with one accurate tornado, that piece of property she once had her house on would get instantly decluttered.

 
Old September 15th, 2014 #36
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Default Consolidating home and transportation:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Linder View Post
...it's about clarifying, simplifying and streamlining your life...
The most scenic areas are often found on waterways such as cannals. Port cities can be comfortably reached without needing to ferries use hazardous roadways to reach them and urban center dwelling can be avoided, without having to abstain from any possible urban center activity.
Annoying bill collectors can be better put to use spending their time looking for you, also.
Just sell the house, buy or build a houseboat and add the savings to any income.

 
Old November 3rd, 2014 #37
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`I wonder if the act of giving away formerly treasured possessions frees your mind from worrying about them.

Imagine winning 20 mill in the lotto. First response is that you are now free to live any way you want. Then you discover that it is a unique form of prison, worrying about losing things, protecting assets, and insulating yourself from beggars.

Youve basically substituted one worry for another.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Linder View Post
I agree, but I honestly think a good portion of the desire to acquire or buy things is innate. Some have it, some don't. But if one has it, then one can manage it. I find the older you get, the less stuff you have, the merrier. It feels good to get rid of stuff. Particularly if you have any limitations on health or energy, the more you get rid of, the more you simplify, the easier life becomes. The rule most of these minimalists go by is if you don't use something at least once a year, some say six months, you don't need it.
 
Old January 13th, 2015 #38
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- Work to gradually get rid of all the things you don't need

- Reduce your needs instead of trying to earn more money

- Become as autonomous as you can get

- Gradually, you will free yourself

Last edited by Robbie Key; January 13th, 2015 at 06:56 PM.
 
Old January 15th, 2015 #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Linder View Post
I agree, but I honestly think a good portion of the desire to acquire or buy things is innate. Some have it, some don't. But if one has it, then one can manage it. I find the older you get, the less stuff you have, the merrier. It feels good to get rid of stuff. Particularly if you have any limitations on health or energy, the more you get rid of, the more you simplify, the easier life becomes. The rule most of these minimalists go by is if you don't use something at least once a year, some say six months, you don't need it.
We were supposed to move to Oregon this past spring.

Wife had an employment opportunity she wanted to pursue, from the research we did and the people we talked to the area was downright bucolic so I thought "What the Hell" and started the process of downsizing. Listing the house, selling things I didn't want to move across the country, as well as divesting business interests. Which did not go well, the divestment part anyhow. Money makes people hear what they want to hear, and have a real selective memory.

Mostly cars, but a lot of little stuff, too. We had 3 lawn mowers. Why? I don't know. The mower stopped mowing so I bought a new one and then over beers you're bitching to your buddy who is Forrest Gump with anything that has an engine about having to buy a new lawn mower and he gets all mechanical & shit and an Anchor Steam later you're now in the possession of two working lawn mowers. Deal you couldn't pass up at a yard sale later and you have three. A person can acquire a lot of stuff in half a century.

It did begin to feel liberating. I was getting into the spirit of the thing, man. A middle-aged adventure, itz! Started playing a lot of Allman Brothers. "Lord I was born a ramblin' maaaannnnn."

We got an offer on the house that was reasonable, she then decides she can't leave her co-workers, and changes her mind about moving. After a discussion on whether she was fucking any of these co-workers as the impetus behind her change of heart, we're still Buckeyes. National champs, baby.

Now I subscribe to the Milius philosophy. I'm a Zen Anarchist.
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Old January 15th, 2015 #40
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After a discussion on whether she was fucking any of these co-workers as the impetus behind her change of heart,


SHIT!-
 
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