Hristo's FI Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
Hristo Botev
Posts: 820
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:42 am

Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

Thanks for your thoughtful post, and for providing your experience, as you really do appear to be about 20 years ahead of me in a lot of ways, and I really appreciate your insights. Some thoughts:

On the capitalism point. One thing DW and I have always had a disconnect with, as it concerns our respective industries: In the law, the economics are really, really easy; not so at all in healthcare (or, at least, I sure as hell don't understand it). When I was still in BigLaw, my fellow associates always whined about the junior partner from our team's compensation committee who had the unfortunate task of sitting in on all the associates' annual evaluations and explaining what their compensation would be for the next year, and why. The reason my fellow associates didn't like the partner? He was too black and white on the numbers--you brought in $A in revenue this year; your compensation was $B; and the overhead attributable to you was $C--that's a profit (or loss) of $X. I, however, LOVE this approach. I don't expect my employer to "value" me apart from how much money they can make off of me; I know that sounds cold, but if you're looking to your employer and/or your job for anything other than just compensation (that's "just" as in "justice"--to each his fair share), you're going to be disappointed. So, I'll disagree with you that my old BigLaw partners didn't owe me anything--they owed me just compensation for the profit they made off of my work/time that they wouldn't have made had I not been there. And job security for me was getting myself so ingrained in my matters and in the lives of the clients with whom I worked that it would have been really, really hard for the partners to try and replace me with some other attorney. They of course could have replaced me, but as you know, it's expensive and time consuming to train an associate and to get him up to speed with clients/matters.

But that's the law; I don't get how the economics work in healthcare, or really in any industry where your employees are for the most part on the expense side, as opposed to the revenue side. It's too difficult to show what value you, personally, bring to the table in a corporate setting--where you've got so many redundancies and inefficiencies already.

On the unpleasantness of life, I don't necessarily disagree (to a point), but man, some good old fashioned gratitude goes a really long way--whether of the Ignatian or Stoic variety, or some other. When you look at all the gifts you've been given (your kids, your wife, etc.), and all the thousands of miracles those gifts represent, and how unworthy you are of those gifts, it's pretty difficult to view the world as unpleasant and hard and unfair.

Which brings me to the religion point (you kinda threw that one in there!); I guess I'm just one who can't contemplate my own marriage, or my own kids, or my parents, or my godkids, or my existence on this planet, and not see the hand of God. And no religion is perfect, certainly (even, I dare say, my own Catholic faith), but any religion that calls you to look up from time to time, and realize that, in fact, you are not the center of the world (and your life isn't actually about you), is a net positive.

On your wife leaving the workforce, admittedly I hadn't thought about the latch-key/middle school kid thing, but that's a really good point. Our own DD will be entering 6th grade next year, and but for the change in DW's schedule, DD likely would have been charged with making sure she and her brother got home from school and started on their homework until DW got home from work. That wouldn't have been a whole lot of time, but it would've been some time. I'm very glad, for the reasons you mentioned, that DW will be able to be home when the kids get home from school--we are very fortunate in that regard.

RockyMtnLiving
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri May 08, 2020 8:49 am

Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by RockyMtnLiving »

I don’t envy parenting in the modern age, with iPhones, social media and all of that. And middle and high schools are the danger zone; even good kids can go awry during those fleetingly years. We sacrificed dual income for enhanced parental supervision when that window opened up; and it turned out to be a wise choice.

As she got older, and before she passed, Mom made the following observation, which I think is wise: “It isn’t fun getting old, but if you could in fact live your life over again, would you want to?” She then referenced the middle school years.

Next week, the OSIRIS-REx probe is going to scoop up a tiny bit of asteroid Bennu, then send it back to Earth for a 2023 arrival. Here’s a picture of Bennu, with the Earth and Moon in the far background (image credit: https://www.space.com/42955-osiris-rex- ... photo.html). Aside from Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot” image, this pretty much captures a lot for me — literally and figuratively— and I very much know I am not the center of anything.

Thank you for letting me intrude upon your thoughtful journal, and I apologize for these detours.

Image

Hristo Botev
Posts: 820
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:42 am

Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

Is that the Earth and the Moon at the bottom left? That's incredible! Thanks for sharing (b/c I'm a goober, that's now my desktop background!).

On another topic, I'm looking forward to reading this study on car seats as contraception: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm ... id=3665046. Cost was a big reason we chose not to have a third kid way back when, and knowing what I know now, that's a really stupid reason.

Hristo Botev
Posts: 820
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:42 am

Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

Good stuff: https://granolashotgun.com/2014/12/15/p ... es-and-no/ (took a lunchtime trek through the recommended reading thread of this forum). Trying to square this (and JMG, and Huxley, and Orwell, and Industrial Society and Its Future), with this interesting and much more optimistic view of both our past and our opportunities for our future: https://rootsofprogress.org/industrial-literacy. Can industry/technology be moderated and improved, or are we necessarily heading for a collapse and a return to pre-industrial times (which necessarily means losing the vast majority of our population to disease and famine and all the other things that modern technology keeps at bay)?

Hristo Botev
Posts: 820
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:42 am

Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

My priest asked both me and DW (separately) yesterday before Mass whether we thought our parish (since the Jesuits took over, presumably) was "hostile" to folks on the right (apparently someone had told our priest exactly that). The question caught both of us off guard, as I am MUCH less forthcoming IRL as to my political leanings than I am on this forum, so I'm not exactly sure how our priest identified DW and I as his token conservatives for the purpose of his question.

Nothing really to say on this topic, just trying to process the question, I suppose. As I may have mentioned here previously, a few months back DW and I gave some thought to leaving the parish for one in which we felt a bit more comfortable--i.e., a little more justice, a little less social justice; a little more talk of sin, and a little less talk of mercy (we lost A LOT of longtime parishioners to other nearby parishes when the Jesuits took over), but ultimately we decided that this is our parish, and we're not leaving. The answer is to just get MORE involved with the parish and school, at all levels, and to recognize that if we are ever "comfortable" in our religious life, whether at our parish or otherwise, then we aren't doing it right. Just like the BEST Bible stories are the ones that make you feel really uncomfortable.

Anyway, FWIW, both DW and I responded that we thought "hostile" was too harsh a word; and we invited him to dinner to discuss further.

Biscuits and Gravy
Posts: 33
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2020 1:38 pm

Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Biscuits and Gravy »

Hristo Botev wrote:
Sun Oct 18, 2020 8:50 am
Just like the BEST Bible stories are the ones that make you feel really uncomfortable.
Genesis 19:30-38 always made me feel super uncomfortable.

Hristo Botev
Posts: 820
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:42 am

Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

Isn’t that one just a lesson to not commit incest?

RockyMtnLiving
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri May 08, 2020 8:49 am

Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by RockyMtnLiving »

This is a profoundly interesting exchange.

What does Genesis 19:30-38 mean?

As a lawyer schooled in Scalia-esque original intent, I would first ask: (1) who was the author(s); (2) when were they writing -- what was the history; and (3) what was the contemporaneous meaning of those words? This is Scalia-esque legislative history/original intent classroom #101 stuff.

It gets further complicated though if, say, I was the current-day author but I was purporting to describe events that happened in the year 1450. Were Federalist authors Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison penning contemporaneous history, or something else?

And we live in a day and age when contemporaneous "news" is declared "fake" within minutes of it being published. What if I was posting today my own observations about the Spanish-American War? My "accurate" news, penned from my complicated perspectives two-centuries plus on from the event, would likely have been viewed as "fake" by the Spanish way back then, and likely in the current day.

What is a "story"? What is "fact"? What is "history"? Slippery stuff. In the United States, our current political leadership has taught us to question everything, and that ground truth isn't, at minimum, rooted in science. Our current leadership espouses that the contemporaneous written word isn't to be believed if it was penned by somebody who is opposed by the current leadership.

So what does that mean if the original author(s) of Genesis 19:30-38 were the "MSNBC" of their day?

What are we to make of words written centuries ago via many authors with complicated progeny?

What would Scalia have made of Genesis 19:30-38?

daylen
Posts: 1693
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2015 4:17 am

Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by daylen »

RockyMtnLiving wrote:
Mon Oct 19, 2020 3:47 pm
What is a "story"? What is "fact"? What is "history"?
His story of the facts.

Jokes aside, another point to keep in mind is that the older a text is the more likely it is to persist into the future. This has a few implications/interpretations, one being that multiple interpretations will tend to arise in relative isolation and will overtime become used less consciously until merging with the "logic" of those particular communities(%). Some interpretations are successful enough to invade the common tongue thereby becoming a shared metaphor used across communities/disciplines/cultures.

(%) ..while a select few deconstruct it back to the source and reconstruct it with reference.. thus continuing the cycle.

As for what a story or fact is, putting forth a particular definition would probably miss the mark this conversation is aiming for? Or perhaps I cannot make out the target yet. :)

RockyMtnLiving
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri May 08, 2020 8:49 am

Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by RockyMtnLiving »

daylen wrote:
Mon Oct 19, 2020 4:28 pm
Or perhaps I just cannot make out a target yet. :)
Agreed :)

I can't make out a target yet either, and since I have a huge number of years in the rear view mirror, and less years visible over the hood of my '75 Mustang, these topics are interesting to me.

I'm a conservative lawyer (or was). I'm religious (or was). I do believe in being analytical in all moments. And since the grave is a lot closer than the hospital in which I was born, these discussions are interesting to me.

Had I been smarter, I would have been a philosopher/cosmologist. Alas, I fell down the food chain and became a lawyer.

I believe in science, not faith. The former may in fact lead to the latter. I just don't know. As Feynman said, and here I am paraphrasing: "I'm comfortable saying I just don't know."

Hristo Botev
Posts: 820
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:42 am

Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

Seriously, I’m no theologian, but I’m pretty sure it’s just a lesson against incest.

Hristo Botev
Posts: 820
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:42 am

Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

And also pro-Israel tribalism

Biscuits and Gravy
Posts: 33
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2020 1:38 pm

Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Biscuits and Gravy »

Oh. I dunno what the underlying message of that passage is and to me it’s always read as very matter-of-fact and non-didactic, but that’s neither here nor there. Really I was just trying to poke a hole in HB’s “best” argument. You could substitute any uncomfortable bible passage.

User avatar
fiby41
Posts: 1345
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2015 8:09 am
Location: India
Contact:

Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by fiby41 »

There are 'philosophical truths' and 'factual truths.' An anthropologist will have to discover craters and somehow link it to the place those cities were in the first place to prove the latter. 'Philosophical truths' are harder to dis/prove as they are usually conversations and interactions between people but philosophical insights can be gleaned from them. Example, if you look at that story from my lens, then the emphasis is on hospitality shown towards an unannounced guest (atithi devo bhava), two in his case, which was so great that it washed away his suffering the consequence of those two of his sins.

Hristo Botev
Posts: 820
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:42 am

Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

I'm beginning to realize that perhaps the focus of the ERE journey DW and I have been going down, ever so slowly, might be better understood not as a means by which to have some financial independence and to "retire" early (though that's obviously nice), but rather as a means to prepare our kids for a world that will look a good bit different than the one we grew up in, and one where they will be well served by having some of my grandparents' Great Depression self-reliance skills. And hopefully they will be able to build off of that basic foundation for the purpose of educating their own kids, for whom I can't even imagine the world in which they will become adults in.

Hristo Botev
Posts: 820
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:42 am

Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

OK, I voted. Where's the switch I can flip to let the world know they don't need to direct their political ads to me anymore?

Hristo Botev
Posts: 820
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:42 am

Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

I had to fire up the car yesterday to (a) keep the battery from dying, and (b) drop off some donated dinners for participants of a life skills class that a local women's clinic regularly puts on for new and expectant mothers.

For (b), yet another silver lining of the pandemic has been that, in the past when it was my turn to buy the dinners for these classes, I'd always just check some boxes on the online catering menu of a handful of large chain restaurants in town (Chipotle, Chic-fil-A, Moe's, etc.), because it's easy and convenient and can be done while sitting on my fat ass at work without having to actually talk to anyone. Well, with the pandemic, the meals for the participants need to be individually packaged (so a catering menu won't work), which got us to thinking that it might make more sense to see if one of our local restaurants could handle the order (without bankrupting us). I'm friends/friendly with the owners of a couple of the restaurants I pass on our main street as I walk to work (a brunch place and an Alsacian place), and sure enough both owners were thrilled to fill the order with us--and the owner of the Alsacian place even knocked $5 off the cost of each of the individually packaged meals when she found out who the order was for and why we were doing it. (She also told us she'd kick us out of her restaurant if she ever heard that we went back to ordering the class meals from Chipotle, etc. after the pandemic is over!--she's kind of a badass.) Well, the moms were thrilled--instead of boring food from the catering menu of Chipotle or wherever, they got high end Alsacian mauricette sandwiches with a fantastically fresh and delicious salad, and it was probably cheaper than it'd have been if we'd done the catering thing.

Anyway, that's not the point of my post. The point of my post is that I took the opportunity of being on the road during the middle of the week to stop by my local homebrew store and do some Christmas shopping.

And, here's what everyone is getting from me for Christmas this year (well, everyone 21 and over at least):
Image
I was thrilled to see this, as when DW and I lived in Cleveland way back when we fell in love with the seasonal Christmas Ale that The Great Lakes Brewery makes (which you can't get where we live now). And so I was thinking I'd try to brew my own version at home, based on some recipes I found online. But, frankly, I'm not sure I'm quite ready to graduate from kit brewing. I'm going to get there eventually (and then, hopefully, on to all grain brewing), but I'm not there yet.

So, if anyone is interested, here's the wort in process (i.e., what I did so I'd have an excuse to not watch the debate with DW last night):
Image

And with the malt extract added:
Image

Getting ready to add the hops:
Image

And, right before terminating the boil:
Image

This is my fourth brew, and it's the first one where I had nothing go wrong (that I know of). E.g., I didn't accidentally drop the thermometer into the carboy when pitching the yeast, which I then had to fish out of the bottom while hoping I didn't contaminate the wort. And I didn't allow the water to get too hot when steeping the grains, leeching tannins into the wort. And I didn't pitch the yeast before the wort had sufficiently cooled down. (These are all things I've done before, and yet I haven't killed anyone yet.)

This one will be ready for drinking just in time for Thanksgiving!

ETA: Listened to this podcast on my way to work( http://littlethings.strongtowns.org/e/a ... epreneurs/), and this dude (Alexander Hagler) kind of epitomizes the ERE ideal in my mind--it was subtle, but in between all the talk of entrepreneurship there were lots of serendipity and web-of-goals inferences.

Hristo Botev
Posts: 820
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:42 am

The Prophet, Ignatius J. Reilly

Post by Hristo Botev »

“Even when Fortuna spins us downward, the wheel sometimes halts for a moment, and we find ourselves in a good, small cycle within the larger bad cycle.”

Hristo Botev
Posts: 820
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:42 am

Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

Learned to hem pants yesterday. The kiddos start winter uniforms today (though it's still hitting 80 degrees here), which means DS has to wear pants to school. Pants for an active elementary school boy will drive any parent crazy, because he wears through the knees pretty quickly. Eventually we found uniform pants for sale that have double-reinforced knees, but he still wears through them (just more slowly). Anyway, this time around DW was unable to find DS's exact size, and so she went a couple sizes up, and as I'm the guy that reclaimed the sewing machine from my in-laws storage, the hemming responsibilities fell on me. Now, I haven't actually figured out how to use the sewing machine yet, apart from watching some YouTube videos while folding laundry and confirming that the machine still turns on. So that meant I was hemming by hand, which is probably preferable because if (BIG IF) DS manages to go the winter without blowing the knees in these pants,* he could theoretically wear them next year as well, and all I'd have to do is take out the hem and re-hem them (there's still plenty of fabric for that). Well, what I learned from my first hemming experience is that threading a needle at 10 at night on Sunday is very difficult, and I had to thread the needle multiple times because I kept screwing up. That said, I think I've mostly climbed the learning curve at this point, and so hopefully this will be a skill that I'll be able to utilize in the future (but not too much, hemming pants is a pain in the ass). In fact, I've got a pair of dress pants that I've been wearing to work only occasionally because one of the hems came out, and I haven't gotten around to taking them to the seamstress yet. Now, I won't have to; I'll do it myself--but say a Hail Mary for me, as hemming a $30 pair of kids' uniform pants is less anxiety-inducing than hemming one of my 3 pairs of work trousers.

*Web of goals success, possibly: Because DW stepped down from her management role, she'll be able to be home when the kids finish school, which means we don't have to send the kids (and pay for) aftercare at the school any longer. AND, it was during aftercare that DS was engaging in most of his pants knee-blowing activities. So maybe, just maybe, these pants will last the year, and perhaps even more than a year.

Hristo Botev
Posts: 820
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:42 am

Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

My long overdue dive into the climate change gyre (thanks WB Yeats), prompted by this community-building parish exercise I'll be participating in (viewtopic.php?f=20&t=11677), has changed my worldview in ways that I suspect will be permanent. I've got weeks/months/years of reading and learning still ahead of me, but suffice it to say for the time being I'm almost entirely uninterested in anything that doesn't have to do with how my family and my community are going to thrive in a world that is declining. Needless to say, I've lost almost all interest in my job, at least for now. But I need to suck it up, because I've still got 2 savings goals that need to be met: prepaying the rest of the kids K-12 tuition and paying off the mortgage. Once those two things are done, I can't imagine I'll still be coming into the office 5 days a week.

ERE has gone from being a mostly abstract concept (I want to be a "renaissance man"), to a list of actual, specific things I need to do, like yesterday.

So, while I grunt it out at work for the next couple of years, here's a working list of specific projects I need to accomplish, in no particular order:

- Build up a pantry of dry good stores, and cycle through those stores as our primary food source;
- Start viewing my patio and community vegetable garden plots as significant food sources, and not as hobbies;
- Construct a roof-based rain catchment system;
- Store potable water;
- Strengthen community ties, through volunteering and taking on various leadership roles;
- Write and publish local and/or niche histories/biographies;
- Replace windows and improve insulation, also undertake needed home repairs (e.g., upstairs subfloor needs to be replaced);
- Begin canning/preserving;
- Learn to repair clothing;
- Learn to all grain home brew, and begin making country wine;
- Continue building my library of (actual) books;
- Learn to play the piano; and
- Get healthy.

Post Reply