A Peculiar guy named Geremy

CategoryDaily Life

My Stellar Kids

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When my brother was 5, I hated going to his little league games because the parents would sit in the stands and boast about how their kid was better than everyone else’s. I’d cringe and try to ignore the stories about how Little Timmy is only three years old and already knows how to rebuild a transmission from a 1963 Chevy Nova. Stop talking about your son, Dianne!!!

Well, now I’m Dianne and I’m here to boast about my kids!

When I say “my kids,” I don’t mean kids that I’ve birthed from my own birth canal— I mean the teenage kids in my youth group who I teach life and empowerment lessons to every week. These kids are absolutely amazing and I’m immensely proud of them because they’ve done some stellar things.

While they’re all amazing, I just want to highlight the recent accomplishments of a few of them. Three of them not only got into every single college that they applied to, but they’ve received merit scholarships from every single one. Then there was another who got one of the leading singing and acting roles in her high school musical. Then there was another who decided to randomly buy gift cards for everyone in the class. Then there was another who became a near-expert at operating studio production video cameras within a matter of weeks. While accomplishing all of these things (and more), the majority of them have either gotten honor-roll or high honor-roll and are incredibly respectful and ambitious.

Much to my mom’s chagrin, I haven’t given her grandkids yet (with no plans of having kids anytime soon), but while I’m without an army of mini-Geremy’s, I’ve got these amazing kids. Each of their parents do an amazing job to raise them and maximize their opportunities in life, and I’m happy that I’m able to witness their growth and root them on. We meet every Friday to talk about life-lessons, meet on Sunday mornings for breakfast, and we go on outings every few months. Over the next few months we’re going horseback riding, doing a scavenger hunt, going to the movies, and going to an amusement park, and I’m looking forward to every single opportunity to be their biggest cheerleader.

I’m immensely proud of what they’ve done and what they will continue to accomplish!

TAKE THAT, DIANNE!! MY KIDS ARE BETTER THAN YOURS!

Five Years After Buying a Car Online

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In 2012, I made an $80,000 online purchase for a product that didn’t exist yet. That product was a Tesla Model S and the entire experience was pretty nerve-racking from start to end.

First Time Seeing a Tesla

It all started when I was hanging out with my brother on June 9, 2012. We went to the mall and saw a car parked in the middle of a store. I thought, “who is the obnoxious person who parked their car here to show off,” but then I learned that a small American company was trying to promote their creation, a Tesla Model S. The car was one of the coolest cars that I’ve ever seen and I really wanted to own it. When I went to the sales rep and asked the price of the car, he said “$60,000.” I stared at him and waited for him to tell me that he was joking. He didn’t even crack a smile. Apparently he was serious. I made the “you must be kidding me” face and walked out of the store feeling offended—offended that he would quote such a ridiculous price for a car that was sold in a mall. The car didn’t even have an engine and they wanted $60,000?!

Tesla Model S from '13

I left the mall and continued with my life, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the car for weeks. Since it couldn’t leave my mind, I knew that I had to try to make the car mine. I brainstormed and came up with six different ways to make it happen, but none of them would work because one of them involved a rich uncle that I didn’t have and five of them were illegal.

Tesla Reservation Screen from '13

Instead of wasting time trying to figure it out, I took a step of faith and placed a deposit for the car. Tesla said that it wouldn’t be delivered until June, so I knew that I had time to figure out how to find $60,000. To make matters worse, at the time Tesla didn’t offer financing, so the only way to buy the car was to hand over a check for the entire vehicle price. When I checked my bank account, it didn’t have $60,000 in there, so instead of focusing on the facts, I ignored them because my faith was stronger than facts.

But it wasn’t all flowers and rainbows because there were times that I lost hope. I had six months to come up with $60,000 and from time to time I debated canceling the order. But whenever I doubted that I’d own the car, I scheduled a test drive and spent the entire drive picturing myself as its owner. This method motivated me and got rid of the doubt. By the end of 2012, I was excited because it was looking like I could actually make this work!

Tesla Purchase Order from '13

However, In January 2013 everything went wrong. All of a sudden, Tesla was running ahead of schedule and I was invited to configure my car in January instead of May. I chose all of the options that I wanted in the car and the total came up to $80,020. UMM…THAT IS TWENTY THOUSAND AND TWENTY DOLLARS MORE THAN I EXPECTED. Then a week later, I got an email telling me that my car will be built and delivered in a month or two. Then two weeks later they called me and said “great news, your car is on the delivery truck and will be delivered in a week!!” Firstly, that wasn’t great news, and secondly, where can I find $80,020 cash in a week?!?

I hung up the phone with the delivery specialist and called a bank to see if they were interested in financing the car. The first bank I called didn’t know what a Tesla was, so I spent 10 minutes explaining to them that a Tesla is an electric car that didn’t have an engine. They said that they don’t finance golf carts. I said “It’s not a golf cart, it’s a car…” They still didn’t understand, but they agreed to finance the entire cost of the car at a 1.49% interest rate. Two days later, they mailed the check to me and I handed it to Tesla when I picked up my car on February 19, 2013. I couldn’t believe that everything actually worked!!

This week is exactly five years after taking delivery of the Model S and it has been a phenomenal experience since day one. I’ve never struggled to make a payment at all and to this day, it is still the best purchase that I’ve ever made. It started as a dream car and I am happy that I was brave enough to take that initial step of faith.

Now it’s time to do it again…

A Mug Predicted My Future

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I got this mug as a gift and I love it because it summarizes my expectations for 2018.

On one side of the mug it says, “The Best Year Ever” and that’s what my 2018 will be. In my church, the pastor (who is also 1/2 of the duo who gave birth to me / my parental unit) said that he believes that 2018 will be our best year ever. I liked the sound of that, so I took it. This year will be my best year EVER, and now I’ve got a mug to constantly remind me.

Future-Predicting Mug!

On the other side of the mug, it has a picture of the newest Tesla. While I love my car, it has been almost five years of owning it and I need another mega-ambitious car-related dream to pursue. So, this year I want a 2018 Tesla Model X with all of the bells and whistles. I used to think that the Model X looked like a Prius that grew up in a rich household (and I still do), but I feel that it’s the vehicle that is best suited for the next chapter of my life. I don’t know how I’ll get it, but that won’t stop me from chasing it. The picture of the new Tesla on the mug is a reminder that I am also pursuing a new Tesla! When I get her, I’ll name her Judith.

The person who had the mug made for me either clearly knows my desires, or has a clear view into the future. Either way, I dig it!

So let’s see if this mug is right. We’ll reconvene by the end of the year, or sooner…

I Sold My Dream House!!

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After 10 years of being a landlord and a homeowner, I’ve ended that chapter to move on to greater and more massive things. Although I’ve owned the house for ten years, everything started with a dream 20 years ago.

When I was 12, my family moved into the house across the street and I was constantly bored because wifi wasn’t invented yet. Each day after doing my homework, my entertainment was to look across the street and make up stories about the people entering or leaving the house. Eventually, I had fake names and personas for all the people who lived in the house. “Oh, Eduardo is going back to the mechanic because his Toyota Cressida’s exhaust has another hole in it.” I wasn’t old enough to truly know what the word “stalker” meant, but unbeknownst to me I became one. An innocent stalker with no negative intentions. I was just a bored pre-teen who couldn’t afford a Gameboy Color, so he looked outside instead. Stop judging me.

Within a few months, the house was listed for sale and Eduardo’s family moved out. The new owner of the house immediately started a total and complete renovation. Suddenly, with all of the action happening in the house, I finally had something interesting to stare at. Each day, I saw contractors tirelessly work on the house and transformed it from an eyesore to a beautiful house before my eyes. Suddenly, Eduardo’s former house became the nicest house on the block and at the age of 13, I decided that I NEEDED to have it!

Many years later, I moved out of the area, graduated from college, and started saving all of my money to buy my first investment property. When I saved enough money, I started looking at places within my price range, but they all looked like crackhouses and some of them were actual crackhouses. I spent weeks looking at houses and none of them made my heart jump with joy until I looked at a house on the street that I grew up on. The house I saw didn’t meet my requirements, but as I walked to my car I saw my dream house that I admired for years. I was in awe when I realized that the house still looked as amazing as it did when they first renovated it, and to my surprise it for sale. When I did some further research, I found out that after the big renovation, the former owners couldn’t afford to pay their mortgage and the bank took it. I had to have it.

It was months before the housing crash and I made an offer to buy the house at a price that was almost embarrassing. Somehow the bank accepted it and also agreed to pay $5,000 of my closing costs. Months later, the deal closed and I became a homeowner!

From that day, I owned the house and experienced some of the most exciting moments of my life there. It was at this house where I mowed my foot with a lawnmower, met one of the worst tenants in existence, met some interesting people, established my lab (where Peculiar PPL was born), had a sewer line back-up into my basement, and so many more interesting things.

A decade later, I felt that it was the right time to sell, so I quickly learned how to become a pseudo-real-estate-agent and I handled the entire process. I marketed the house, took every phone call, conducted house tours, and negotiated the offers every weekend for the past four months. Now, after signing several documents at the lawyer’s office, I have closed on a deal and have completed my era of being a landlord.

While it’s the end of a chapter, it’s also the beginning of one. Greater things are coming and my 2018 is off to a great start. Goodbye dream house…now it’s time to pursue and accomplish bigger, greater dreams—like my dream jet, or my dream zebra.

Happy New Beard!

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Ever since I started growing facial hair at the age of 7, I’ve shaved every 2-3 days. I’ve never had any significant facial hair in my life, but that’s not because of my inability to do so. In fact, if I hold my breath my mustache and beard will grow at an average rate of .01 mm/sec. But now, 2018 is here and it’s time to get out of my comfort zone.

Five years ago, I did a comfort zone experiment of going one month without a haircut. It was very uncomfortable to me, but it helped me to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. The thing about being out of your comfort zone is that you’re forced to make a move— you can either move forward to overcome the discomfort, or move back into your comfort zone. For me, I am starting my year by putting myself into unfamiliar territories so I can adapt and grow. The first unfamiliar place that I’m going to is my beard.

I’m doing a repeat of my comfort zone experiment, except this time I am going to grow a beard. I have no idea what I look like with a beard, but as of today it has been about seven days since my last shave and, from the looks of things, I’ll achieve “Santa Claus” levels of facial hair growth by next weekend.

The worst part of all of this is that I just realized that I’VE GOT GREY HAIRS IN MY BEARD. WHAT IS LIFE?! I’VE NEVER FELT SO OLD IN MY LIFE. I’M UNCOMFORTABLE WITH THIS…but I guess that’s the point.

2018 is a new year, but for me it’ll bring a new beard.

What Version of Uno Was That?!

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I was at a desk minding my own business when I heard, “I’m bored does anyone have any games?” I saw this as an opportunity to add another Uno win to my career, so I took out my deck of Uno cards and asked her if she knew how to play Uno. She responded, “yes, you get seven cards and you match the colors and numbers, then I say Uno and win.” This explanation was close enough, so I agreed to play with her.

After dealing the cards, she went first. First move: a red 2 card placed over the blue 4. Wait…wait…that’s not how you play Uno! I said, “wait, you didn’t match the colors or the numbers!” She didn’t pay me any mind and without hesitation she put down a red 9. “Wait, it’s not your turn yet!” Instead of waiting for my first card, she searched through her cards and put down a blue 2. The game was suddenly slipping away from me!

I put a blue 6 down on the pile and she followed with a green 2. The game belonged to her at this point and I didn’t know how to recover. Do I compromise the integrity of the game and disregard my morals by quickly putting down five random cards at one time? No way, Geremy, you’re better than that!

I was thinking “morals” and she was thinking “victory.” She put a yellow skip on the pile and said “UNO!! I WIN, YOU OWE ME A DOLLAR.” I said, “I don’t have a dollar.” She said “that’s okay, you can go to the bank.”

I’d just been hustled. Bamboozled. Swindled. Finessed.

I was the man at the pool hall and she was Uncle Phil.

I owe her a dollar.

The Memory of Tommy the Guinea-Dog

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When my mom was young, she was attacked by a dog, which made her eternally scared of them. This was especially tough for my dad and I since we both liked dogs. But back in 2010 my mom decided to come to a compromise and allow us to get a pocket-sized “dog” that some might call a guinea pig.

The guinea pig’s name was Groffy and he was extremely well trained. He’d leave his cage, walk around the house and return to his cage when he wanted to eat or rest. After a year, Groffy unexpectedly passed away and everyone in the house was sad. That’s when Tommy entered our lives.

Tommy the GPig

Tommy the guinea pig was intended to fill the void that Groffy left, but Tommy was completely different. He didn’t care about cool tricks, he never wanted to leave his cage, and he didn’t know how to use his house and he’d sleep on its roof. Tommy was basically the guinea pig version of me. He was the oddest animal that I’ve ever seen, but he was odd in a special way.

Tommy the GPig

He’d also scare easily, so when I was stuck in bed from my foot accident, I used a robot camera to check on him, while hilariously freaking him out in the process.

Tommy the GPig

Three years ago, I read an article that suggested that Tommy had all of the characteristics of a female guinea pig. Since I’m not too skilled at identifying the man part of a guinea pig, I assumed that the article was factual and I told the family that Tommy was actually a girl. That’s when Tommy became “Tommy the Female Guinea Pig.” Months later, I purchased a female friend for Tommy and he demonstrated his male characteristics by constantly trying to…um…make little Tommys with her. So she had to be given away because we lived in a nice Christian household.

Tommy the GPig

Tommy eventually got a male friend, Sylvester, and their friendship quickly grew. They would wait for each other to eat, they’d sleep at the same time, and Sylvester would freak out when Tommy was missing from the cage. In April of this year, five years after we got him, Tommy started demonstrating signs of old age and decreased wellness. When I took him to the [super-duper expensive] vet, she prescribed medicines to try to cure his illnesses and prolong his life a little longer. When it became evident that Tommy would be going to guinea pig heaven, Sylvester refused to leave Tommy’s side and he spent most of the day staring at tommy and helping him maneuver with decreased vision.

Tommy eventually passed away at the ripe old age of 6 after living a wonderfully exciting life. Sylvester was somber for about a week and a half, but then I rubbed his belly and gave him a slice of watermelon and now it seems that he forgot that Tommy even existed. How rude…what kind of friend is he?!

The Plight of the Peculiar

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Most of the things I do don’t follow social norms or conventions. It’s boring to do what everyone else does just because it’s the safest and most socially acceptable option. The downside is that when you do things that others are unfamiliar with, many will speak boldly and loudly about how foolish you are for thinking that you might actually succeed.

You want to buy a private jet?! Hahaha! How stupid…just fly in a regular plane like the rest of us. You want to buy an electric car from an unproven company?! The company is going to go bankrupt and your car will break down…just drive a regular car like the rest of us! These aren’t just examples, they are paraphrased statements that have been said to me. While I respect and understand the desire to stick with things that are proven to work well, it’s not what excites me.

It has nothing to do with flaunting possessions. Possessions can disappear in a moment and life isn’t measured by how much you own. Instead, it’s more exciting to pursue things that can enhance the quality of life for myself and others, despite its popularity. The success of the iPod is due, in-part, to a group of “silly” early-adopters who bought a $399 MP3 player instead of the Sandisk Sansa’s and Diamond Rio’s that were cheaper and far more popular at the time.

This is also true for the people who want to invent entirely new ways of doing things. In the late 1800’s, cars were only owned by the wealthy and were quite cumbersome to drive, so people used other less-convenient forms of travel, like railroads and angry horses. Then Henry Ford came along and figured out a better way to enhance people’s lives by introducing the Model T—an easier, more reliable, cheaper car that was in the financial reach of the majority of Americans…and he did it after going bankrupt two times!

Imagine being super excited about bringing a new way of doing things to the world and being discouraged by the negativity of people who try to kill your idea because they don’t understand it. Sometimes it’s exhausting. I look at it this way—a hammer can be used to build houses and it can also be used to destroy them. Too many people use their hammers to destroy houses…not just other people’s houses, but their own also. But imagine how much better the world would be if the people who desire to do great things in unconventional ways can do so without dream killers smashing an idea to shreds before it is even started.

That’s why I started Peculiar PPL. I wanted to start a company that creates products and services for people who desire to make a positive impact on the world using their unique way of thinking and doing. Pioneers (or Peculiar people) are an under-recognized population that is quickly going extinct. Save the Peculiar…the world needs them!

To the trailblazers: If you’re using your uniqueness to make a positive change, don’t let the hammer-wielders sway you from your life’s purpose to make a positive impact. The greatest oak tree was once just a little nut that stood its ground!

 

 

 

 

2015 Goals Recap

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In 2014 my dad said, “if it’s too big for you to say, it’ll be too big for you to experience,” so I ended the year by saying some things that I expect to see in 2015.

Those things were:

Now that the year is coming to a close, here’s a status update:

Traveling
I’ve traveled more than ever before and I was blessed to go on 3 international and 15 domestic trips. Of these 18 trips, 14 of them were via private jet. When I did the math, it turned out that ~78% of my trips were via private jet and I narrowly missed my goal by ONE trip! Goal slightly not achieved!

The interesting thing about this is that when I tweeted that I will be traveling via private jet this year, I had no clue how I would make it happen. However, a few weeks after saying the goal, things came together and doors opened. Who knows if it would’ve happened that way if I didn’t go out on a limb and declare it.

Peculiar PPL revenue
I didn’t meet the $1MM goal, but after thinking deeper about this, I realized that I used the wrong metric. The goal of Peculiar PPL isn’t to have massive amount of revenue— it’s to equip and inspire Peculiar PPL through products and eventually services. Therefore, instead of the goal being anchored on money, it should have been anchored on the effectiveness in building a community. I will make this modification for 2016. As of right now, Goal not achieved!

I would like to build Peculiar PPL into a more tight-knit community of the world’s key influencers and change agents. As a part of this, I would like to have more opportunities to bring Peculiar people together to inspire and help one another to positively change the world. I’m working on this through a number of different initiatives. I plan to launch these efforts in the second quarter of 2016.

Tesla Stock
C’mon Tesla! The highest that your stock has reached this year was $286.65. Next year will be the $350/share year…I feel it in my knees! Goal not achieved!

Rap Song
Writing and producing a rap song is so far outside of my comfort zone that I’ve tried to eliminate this goal. However, since the best way for me to grow is to step outside of my comfort zone, I am going to tackle this one and have some fun. Therefore, TOMORROW, December 23rd at 12:00 noon (EST), I will release a rap song. When I release the song, I will also provide an in-depth lyrics analysis (a-la “RapGenius.com”), so people can understand what was said. This is weird. Goal: Pending…

Although the majority of goals weren’t achieved, that won’t stop me from continuing to speak! Big things are happening! As for the other things that happened in 2015 outside of my stated goals, I will have a more formal recap when the year is officially over.

As for my rap song, I wonder if Drake is available to do a feature on short notice…for free!

She Graduated While I Suffered Pt 3

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The Graduation

A few months ago, I spent three hours of my life (that I will never get back) at my sister’s college graduation. After countless years of long classes internships, and commuting to Pennsylvania on a weekly basis, she finally has a Doctorate of Psychology degree!

In addition to me being proud of her for her beginning her reign as the first known doctor in our family tree, I am also proud of myself for enduring through the graduation without feeling like I was being held hostage, like I did during her first and second college graduations.

The most eventful thing that happened during the ceremony was when the child sitting 8 chairs away from me played Pokemon on his gameboy with the audio enabled. I guess that when they say “gotta catch ’em all,” they mean by any means necessary in any available environment.

I’m not only happy for my sister as she concludes her education with the highest degree in her area of study, but I am also incredibly happy that this is the last of her college graduations that I must endure through. Fingers crossed that my brother doesn’t want to become a doctor in his field, so I won’t have four more graduations to sit through.

This was quite the feeling of deja-vu…actually, deja-vu times two!

But, all jokes aside, Steve Jobs once said, “you have to have a crazy passion for what you do because without it you will never put up with what’s necessary for success” and she’s proved this time and time again. From writing a long dissertation (which she won an award for), to interning at various organizations for free in order to meet graduation requirements, to getting barely any sleep as she worked a full-time job and interned while being a full time student, to taking numerous student loans, she somehow remained motivated throughout the years in order to graduate—all because because she was passionate about the field of Psychology. Whoever she Psychologizes is lucky because they’ve got a smart, lucky, dedicated doctor!

My Sistren and I at her Graduation

Congrats Dr. Giselle.

A Peculiar guy named Geremy