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I Work Off The Clock

A blog about alternative income, managing stress and simple living.

For the past several days, I’ve been getting these emails trying to get me to buy Brian Tracy’s CD program about “Clarity.” I’m on his mailing list and I follow him (or his VA) on Facebook.

So anyway, I’ve been getting these emails talking about the importance of clarity, and how important it is for you when you truly know what it is you want…what’s important to you.

Supplies were limited, and the special pricing expired at midnight, but I still didn’t buy it.
I’m cheap…I mean, I’m broke :)

So I passed on the offer.

But the idea is still running around my mind.


It is incredibly important, you know.

If you aren’t crystal clear about what you want and where you want to go in life, then how can you really expect to accomplish anything? That’s like setting out on a journey without knowing your destination. It sounds exciting,in a way, but more often than not that kind of wandering through life just leads to frustration and disappointment.

So, what do you want in life?

And how are you going to achieve that?


For the past several weeks, we’ve been getting rid of clutter throughout our home in preparation for our move to the Mainland.  I’ve already made half a dozen trips to the local Salvation Army and Goodwill stores, and I’ve also managed to sell off some of our old books and DVDs too.

But there’s still just SO MUCH STUFF!  If I could, I would just get rid of it all, but since I don’t really want my wife to leave me, I’m trying to strike a good balance between holding onto stuff and letting go.

But there’s still too much haha!

Aloha Mama-San…

My mother-in-law has decided not to move with us.  She just feels too old and settled here in Hawaii to pack up and move to another state, and that’s fine.  I can totally understand that.

But since we’re moving, that means that she still has to move somewhere.  So she’s moving into her mom’s old house with her brother and sister.

Packing up her stuff was quite an ordeal.  She’s like one of those folks straight out of the show Hoarders.  Nearly every cubic inch of her 10′ x 12′ bedroom was PACKED to the ceiling with stuff.  You could barely squeeze through the door to get in the room.  And you couldn’t even open her closet door, since it had piles of stuff stacked up in front of that.  Same with her big bookshelf…she couldn’t even get to the stuff on it because there was too much stuff piled in front of the stuff that was stuffed onto the shelf.

So we got the whole family out here last week to help her pack up and move it all to her mom’s house.  It took all day.  It took many sons-in-law.  It took many pickup trucks and minivans.  But by the end of the day, everything was out except her bed and some clothes and stuff that she’ll keep here until she finally moves out.

Now that all that stuff is gone, her room looks so…normal.  It’s so refreshing.  That night while she was sitting in her room and just relaxing with her iPad, I asked her what she thought of it all…

She smiled, took a deep breath and said, “I can finally BREATHE again…”

It’s Nice To Have Some Space Again…

Yeah, her simple little statement pretty much sums it up.  That’s how I feel too about all this stuff of ours from the other rooms.  We’ve cleared most of it out and packed it up in boxes and moved it into storage while we get the house ready to sell.  But I honestly don’t want to take all that stuff with us to the mainland.  Even with 90% of our stuff removed from our house, this place still feels messy and cramped and cluttered.

I do not want to go back to feeling suffocated by all this stuff again when we move into our new place.  Just thinking about it is practically bringing on an anxiety attack.  I think my wife is also starting to feel the same way too.  Hopefully, once the remodeling is all done and the home is properly staged to sell, maybe my wife will love it so much that she won’t want to end up with a packed house again too.

So for now, we can all breathe again, and if feels really good.  We’ll see how long it lasts, though.

Hey everybody, I just wanted to pass along a little tip for anybody who wants to make some quick cash without putting in a lot of time or effort. There’s nothing revolutionary here, and most of us may have already considered this idea before (I know I have). But I’m throwing this out there anyway. Consider it a simple reminder of something that you already knew…


This past week I’ve been getting rid of a lot of stuff before our move, and there’s no way I’m going to pay a moving company to haul my dozens of books to another state. Some I’ll take, sure, but most of them have got to go.

So I was going to just donate them all to the local thrift store like I’ve done so many times over the years, but while we were already at the mall and I had a box of books in the back of the car, I just decided to try selling them to the used book store called, “Book Off.”

Out of more than a dozen books, they only accepted two. So they paid me like four dollars and that was that. I took back the rest to donate.

But then I came across a few more books at home while we were packing, so I grabbed them and put them in the car too. So the next day we went back to the mall again (my mother in law does her physical therapy there, so we go 2-3 times per week), so I brought out the new selection of books and headed to Book Off to sell them.

I walked out with almost $10.

And then I went back a week after that with some more books and used DVDs…$25!

So I am now officially hooked. I wish I had been bringing my used books here all these years instead of always donating them. I mean, I still end up donating the “rejects” anyways, but if they’re in good condition, then there’s money to be made at Book Off. Besides used books, Book Off buys used CDs, DVDs, and video games, so it’s a pretty good place to dump your stuff and make a little money.

Bubblews is a micro-blogging/social media site where you write posts about pretty much whatever you want and earn a penny or so for every page view, like, comment, or share that your content generates.


I first heard about Bubblews back in April or May of this year.  A bunch of disgruntled HubPages folks were jumping ship and heading to Bubblews to make some easy money.  All my hubs combined were only earning me a few dollars per month at the time, so of course I also went to check it out.

(NOTE:  My HubPages earnings are currently at an all-time high, so I guess I love HubPages again…)

Bubble Wars:  Episode I…

I wasn’t all that impressed.

There was no quality control, short, poorly written posts were the norm, and it just seemed like the kind of website that gets chewed up and spit out every time there’s a Google update.  But what really pushed me away was the alarming number of members complaining about non-payment and non-communication from Bubblews.  That was a big red flag for me.

And then (that’s not all)…on top of that was the unprofessionalism (i.e. bitchy attitude) that the Bubblews staff demonstrated when addressing members who complained about not being paid or complained about not receiving responses to their email queries.  These folks at Bubblews don’t know shit about customer service…or maybe they just don’t care.  I know there’s no law that says you have to be nice to your employee/customers, but when you throw in the non-payment issues, there’s reason for concern.

So after writing a dozen little posts (which earned me maybe $3 or so) I called it quits.

Until a couple weeks ago…

Episode II:  Return Of The Bubbler…

bubblewsThen 2 or 3 weeks ago, I poked my head back in for a peek at my account and saw that my “Bank” was up to around $10…almost halfway to the minimum payout threshold.  Several other bloggers I know have been doing pretty well on there (like Terrye Toombs), receiving regular payouts and having a good time, so I gave it another chance.

Two weeks later, I had earned over $25 and hit the “Redeem” button.  I checked today, and my payment is in my Paypal account.  So my faith in Bubblews has been restored.  Mostly.  Well, I mean, I still have my doubts about the longevity of the site, but at least now I know that it’s worth my time.  It’s not a scam.  I’m not sure that I’m ready to make it my permanent place of residence, but I think that an hour or two a day would be well spent on there.  Maybe three =)

After doing quite a bit of research on why people don’t always get paid (it boils down to rules violations), I’ve got a pretty good idea of what to do and not do to clear those payments.  I’ll follow before too long with a post about it, for those who are interested.

It’ll be nice when Bubblews gets their own OFFICIAL Bubblews FAQ published, but for now all you can do is go over the Terms of Service with a fine-toothed comb, read posts and comments by the official Bubblews accounts/members, and try to sort out the fact from fiction in all the posts by members on the subject.

Aloha, Chris


I’ve been doing stuff online for the past year and a half to try to make some money, since the whole “real job” thing isn’t much of an option anymore.  I had some small successes there, but nothing to get excited about.  So lately I’ve been considering other options to bring in some money.


Doing artwork seems like an obvious choice for me.  I’ve always loved drawing, ever since I was a kid, so I guess I should try and make some money at it.  There are lots of options out there.  There are the usual methods with craft fairs and stuff like that.  There are always artists set up by the Honolulu Zoo too.  There’s also eBay and similar sites for artists and crafters to sell their work.

And I can also try joining the many street performers out in Waikiki, making drawings or simple paintings on the spot for donations.  That seems like an interesting route to try, so I’ve been looking into that.


I’m also thinking about going that route with music, and I think that will actually be easier and cheaper to start out with.  I already have a guitar, so I can just take that out there with me and see what I can do.  Drawing and painting costs money, even just for practice, but music is free, as long as I’m not busting strings.  So I may start with music.

The problem is that I don’t know any songs lol.

Actually, I used to play guitar — like maybe almost 20 years ago.  I mostly played at church.  Simple stuff.  Just strumming basic chords and singing.  But I don’t want to play that kind of stuff anymore.

So the first thing I need to do is learn some songs.

How Many Songs Will I Need To Learn To Start Busking?

At first I was thinking that I would need to learn hundreds of songs like those other guys out there, but you know what?  I’m not trying to compete with them.  I’m not trying to be a professional musician or earn the respect of other musicians.  I’m just trying to put some smiles on some tourists’ faces as they walk by and earn me some tips.

One thing I learned from my days as a young musician:  you don’t have to play guitar like Jimi Hendrix to please most people in the crowd.  They aren’t musicians, they just like listening to live music.  So if you can keep a beat, play your chords right and sing in tune, most non-musicians will be happy if you’re playing songs they already love.

And there’s one huge difference between playing music on the sidewalk and playing in a club:  your audience changes every few minutes.

If I was trying to play gigs at clubs and bars, I might need to learn several hours of material for a single gig.  But out on the street, most people are just passing by and will only hear 1-2 songs at the most.  Some will stick around for a little longer, though, maybe because they are shopping at the store or eating at the restaurant that you’re playing in front of.

So just how much music do I need to get started?  I figure I can do okay with as few as 10 songs to start.  I could probably stay in one spot and just keep playing those same songs over and over without anybody hearing the same song twice (except maybe the employees who work within earshot of my music).  I can live with that.

And I can always move down the street after playing my set, if I’m getting the feeling that it’s time for a fresh audience.

So seriously…I think I could get started busking with just 10 songs.  Even if I only make $5 a day (which I think is a ridiculously conservative figure), that would still be more than I’m making online at this point.  So why not give it a shot?

At the very least, it would give me something interesting to blog about :)

Got any suggestions for my first 10 easy guitar songs?

So far I’m learning “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver, “Island In The Sun” by Weezer, and “Same Girl” by Jack Johnson.

Have you ever tipped any street musicians in your area or while on vacation?  What songs did they play for you?