I figured maybe I should start my own journal here instead of posting on the blog. I hope this means I can keep a lower profile. As noted on the last blog post, blogging has reached the critical douchebag factor(*), an inevitable consequence of
getting exposure on sites where such internet-personalities frequent, I suppose. I hope they don't start reading the forum as well [under the theory that the forum is more hardcore].
(*) It's my theory that 1) there's a certain fraction of douchebags on the internet, say 0.5%. 2) each person has a certain tolerance for douchebaggery, say 1/week. Thus once exposure reaches a sufficient level, e.g. 1/0.005 = 200/week, douchebagging reaches a critical level and being a public figure becomes a drag.
On that note, if I can ask you all a favor: Please don't go posting somewhere public that "hey Jacob is blogging on the forum" or something.
Okay, that aside ... here's the update.
Overall, I think I made the right decision with this job. The only downside is having to get up at 730 in the morning---that really sucks(!) Everything else is upside. The project is engaging and very interesting. The work environment is great. It mimics my experiences in grad school a lot. Pick the right people and put them in front of a computer and see what kinds of interesting things come out. It's management of the "third kind" which usually works well with self-directed and competent people.
The work itself is looking at codes, debugging, research, and coming up with equations. Quite similar to astrophysics, in a way.
Hmmm... did I mention the free coffee and enough personal computing power (that's just for me, no need to share in queue) to rival a small university department. Yeah, this is heaven!
Of course engaging work has a downside. When I finally decide to go home, my brain is fried (in a good way). Then I go home and
exercise(*)---currently using a 45lbs clubbell. Then the body is fried (in a good way). Then what to do?! This is an unresolved problem: Finding things to do that are fun but don't require any kind of mental or physical effort. Once I bought a playstation2 but that didn't work out well (I'm not very good with a game pad). I guess this can be considered a luxury problem, but it still needs a solution.
(*) Unfortunately the nearest shinkendo dojo turns out to be 20 miles away. On the other hand we're two miles away from the marina. They have an offshore fleet (yippie skippie!) and a Rhodes 19 fleet. I'm once again thinking of buying a boat. Rhodes 19's are <$10,000 and they're cheap to race, relatively speaking. I haven't settled enough to start crewing yet.
Most evenings are spent constructing furniture. I've made an end-table. Next I'm going to make a bed. We got a free kitchen table+chairs on the first day. Otherwise we haven't done much in that department. Used furniture is surprisingly expensive (compared to CA), at least on Craigslist. There's still lots to learn in terms of woodworking. Tons of little stupid mistakes that disappear with experience. Maybe furniture making can be my third career(*). Having talked to a few older INTJs, the 5-10 year attention span (which extends until we have sufficiently
mastered a challenge) is common and almost inescapable.
(*) Maybe it's a lack of imagination, but almost everything I find interesting will pay money once it's done at a/the level of competence I strive for. I'm not really into "traveling"... what else is there? To add to that, being FI is tremendously helpful to be able to find hardcore challenges that are perfect in form. There's actually a great ERE irony here---many who achieve it has too much drive to take advantage of the full time loafing...they're bound to make money of some kind given the intensity with which they operate. I guess in principle, finding sufficiently interesting things [in the form of jobs] to do could be done with credit card debt instead of FI, but that's just not my style. I wouldn't even chance it with 2 or 3 years of expenses saved, something which I think would be quite enough for most people's temperament.
In terms of expenses, some things have gone up and some things have gone done (mostly by virtue of moving out of California). Rent has increased for 495 to 875 (divided by 2). However, that's not to say that we couldn't have found something cheaper with more time. However, we were sitting in a long-term stay hotel paying 55/day so you figure spending 6 days more finding something spread over a year easily makes a 27.5/month difference in rent. Furthermore, apartments in Chicago seem to be a crap shot. We were shown slumlord style apartments for 900---price seems to have little correlation with quality here---and just 3 hours after applying for this one, we found a great place closer to work (but outside commute) for 700/month. There's very little/nothing under $600.
Note that non-fixer upper houses start in the $120k range (that's in Chicago, not burbs) and fixer uppers start around 50k.
As it is, I have a 15 minute walk to the L train which drives right to the door [of work]. I'm sufficiently far out and in on the commute that I always get a seat. Furthermore we live in a dog friendly and quiet neighborhood. It's been described as the place for the 30something yuppies, so that's probably pretty accurate as far as describing DW and I.
DW is currently staying at home studying. We have effectively switched roles although she makes a far better house spouse than I do (she actually enjoys it). I don't really mind this as a permanent solution---at least not so far. Point being, we can easily afford one income (we're actually quite close to being able to afford no income at all for either of us).
Our current setup also means we have zero reason to keep the car. This depends on whether DW gets a job in the city or not---which depends on whether she wants one. Even with just me working our combined savings rate is around 75%. What to do with all those digits on the bank account?
If the car goes, so does our car expenses which incidentally have gone down already (insurance and gas)---this would make our total expenses similar to what they were in the RV. Electricity has also gone down. Heat and water are now free. Food is sticker-shock cheaper.
That said, total expenses have gone up slightly. I'd estimate that they went from almost 50 years of savings and down to the lower forties.