Hristo's FI Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
jacob
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by jacob »


7Wannabe5
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

What type did James Stockdale think would come next?

mooretrees
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by mooretrees »

Nice! I want a full report when you're finished. I'm still thinking about that book and modern life. That's some weird and scary stuff.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

mooretrees wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 10:11 am
Nice! I want a full report when you're finished. I'm still thinking about that book and modern life. That's some weird and scary stuff.
56% completed, and it's definitely anxiety inducing. Multitasking the work, "social," influencer, management, etc. tasks all via an array of task-specific screens on your desk; I wonder what that's like? (He says as he types out a forum response on one screen while reading an e-mail on another screen and ignoring the pleading he's supposed to be writing on a third screen.)

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 9:52 am
What type did James Stockdale think would come next?
I'm guessing those passengers from the Axiom in WALL-E.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

A little pat on the back: I've been mostly a walk/bike to work person for several years, but on days when it was raining or especially hot and muggy, I've been known to drive rather than walk/bike. Since the lockdown started, however, I've not had a parking spot at the office--this was first done involuntarily, as the firm stopped paying for parking for all employees, and it's now voluntary, as the firm is now paying for parking again for those employees that are coming into the office and want their spot back (and I don't). My takeaway, even in humid, 95 degree weather typical of the South in July/August, walking the 20 minutes or so to work is FAR superior to driving. But like most things with me, I need to arrange my life in a way that practicing unhealthy or un-ERE behaviors is simply NOT an option; otherwise I'll give in. It's like having potato chips in the pantry--if they are there, I'm going to eat them.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

Projects for this weekend:

- Transfer beer from primary to secondary fermenter
- Turn extra trash can into a back patio compost bin
- Map out and perhaps begin building raised beds to cover unused sections of back patio

Hristo Botev
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Eggers' The Circle

Post by Hristo Botev »

Secrets are lies.
Privacy is theft.
Sharing is caring.

Just finished the book, and definitely right book, right time for me. It's a book that almost makes you look forward to the day when, per JMG et al., the institutions maintaining the Internet are no longer able to do so.

mooretrees
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by mooretrees »

The only thing I couldn't quite buy about that book was how much buy-in the very junior members had. I might be naive about that, but it was really hard to see that actually happening on such a wide range of people. Maybe I'm deluding myself and my bubble is so outside the norm that I can't imagine or relate. Glad you enjoyed (right word?!) the book.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

Agreed. I don't really think people are as motivated by instagram-y likes to the extent Eggers portrays it in the book. And all of the characters (including Mae) were about as 1-dimensional as you can be; very cartoonish. But, I do buy the "slowly, then all at once" sacrificing of privacy.

And yes, I definitely enjoyed the book. It was a good combination of a quick, beach read-type that also made you think a little bit (and, admittedly, confirmed some of my own biases). I haven't read a Stephen King book in a while, but this kind of reminded me of that; certainly from my standpoint its scarier than a Stephen King book.

As dystopian literature is concerned, however, this would fall several quality levels below a 1984, or a Brave New World, or MacCarthy's The Road.

mooretrees
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by mooretrees »

I can't read anymore of MacCarthy's work after reading No Country for Old Men. Oh my word, that is one of the scariest books I've ever read. That terrible character with the cow gun thing still scares me. Though The Road was fantastic. I've got Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower on hold, I've read it before but I think I'll read it with a new focus when it's ready at the library. Another dystopian novel by a great author. Still need to read 1984 and give Brave New World a reread, it's been a long time. The Huxley family is interesting especially with their connection with psychedelics.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

I just put Parable of the Sower on hold at the library as well; hadn't heard of it and am really looking forward to reading it based on the description (and your recommendation, of course).

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

Had a fun, but exhausting, weekend, as I'm enjoying what may be the tail end of the COVID-induced unstructured weekends, as kids' sports activities slowly start to come back. The highlight was a get together in the (very large) backyard of a friend's parents' "house" (in-town mansion is a better description). There were 5 families, all of us parishioners at the same church, and all of us having elementary school age kids at the parish school. It was 95 degrees with close to 100% humidity, the mosquitoes were feasting, and the bees tagged several of us; but it was a blast nevertheless, and the party only broke up after over 5 hours when DW and I had to meet up for a pre-scheduled dinner with DW's parents. The dads played a very competitive game of WIFFLE BALL (tm) against the 13 kids in attendance, and I'm happy to say the dads prevailed (due in part to my successful slide into home plate, leaving my khakis covered in mud). It was a potluck, and I'd spent the entire night prior slow smoking a pork butt on my back patio; the pulled pork was a hit for adults and kids alike.

I bring up the get together because it's a good example of how our lives have changed for the better since DW and I started being much more intentional in our selection of friends and community. One thing that is a definite positive of living in an urban, densely populated setting, is that you have lots of choice about who you want to be friends with, and which community(ies) you want to be part of. I don't believe that's as true in the small(er) town where DW and I grew up. Here, DW and I finally realized that, as with finding the right spouse, you can seek out friends who share the same core values as you; as opposed to just defaulting to spending your social time with those in your neighborhood or in your kids' public schools who just happen to be about your same age, and who happen to have kids about the same age. We learned, slowly, that those neighborhood/public school friends often see the world in an EXTREMELY different way than we do, and in a way that makes personal betterment harder for us to accomplish. There's certainly a place for those friends in my life, but I'm a very broken person, and as such, I need to have people in my life (as in, actually present, not just people who I read about) who make me want to be a better person, and who live virtuous lives that I want to emulate. Anyway, this is largely a nonsensical screed, but i'm currently re-reading Jacob's ERE book, and I'm on the part about the different types of men (working, salary, business, renaissance), and it's been a really interesting re-read given that I now have two very distinct group of friends in my life. The first group, who we'll call my neighborhood/public school friends, are ALL salary men, with very few characteristics of any of the other groups (this is true of me as well, as you all know). The second group, my church friends, consists of a working/business man, two salary/business men (with more business man characteristics), and a true renaissance man. And I've found that as a result of this diversity in types, the second group is lightyears more interesting to spend time with, and they all make me want to be better, in all facets of my life, INCLUDING the ERE facet, of which these guys aren't even aware. (Honestly, if they were to read the ERE book, there'd be entire sections of the book to which they'd respond, "yeah, no shit"; and those same sections are the ones that were mind-blowing for me, covered with highlighters and margin notations.)

The renaissance man friend in particular is a fantastic influence on me. He just fundamentally looks at the world in a way that is completely foreign to me. No matter what, he thinks produce/create first, with consume as a very distant second. It's a blast to have group conversations in which this guy is involved, because he consumes so little of what would be considered "pop culture"--not because he has some religious objection to it, or really any conscious objection to it at all, but just because he always has been more interested in other things. What that means is that he approaches every conversation with these wide eyes of fascination, because he's being exposed to all of this stuff (crap) for the very first time, and he genuinely finds it fascinating and simultaneously outright hilarious, in the way that Darwin must have been fascinated by the unique creatures of the Galapagos. I mean, you could blow his mind if you walked him through the entire story of the Kardashian clan, starting back with the OJ Simpson relationship. He's the kind of guy that would see the beauty in the Kardashian thing, in both the tragedy and the comedy of it.

He's the first one people turn to when they need help with something, because they know he either (a) knows how to provide the help, because he's done it before, (b) knows the person you need to talk to provide the help, or (c) if neither (a) nor (b), is really excited about the prospect of learning something new so that he can figure out how to provide the help. That's not stated very well, but my point is that his renaissance man mindset makes him a natural leader, in part because everyone recognizes his competence and wisdom, made all the more impressive when you consider that he's the youngest in our group.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

Apologies to anyone torturing themselves by actually trying to keep up with my journal, but I have some further stream-of-consciousness thoughts before I declare my lunch hour over and return to saving the world from consumer confusion.

I think a big reason why my salary men friends are so less interesting than my working/business/renaissance man friends is because the former is so far specialized into their various fields that they don't even really any more understand their own industries in a way that they could explain it and make it interesting to a layman; it's a forest/trees issue where the salary men really are cogs in a really complex system that they don't really understand at the 10,000 foot level. E.g., I'd think just about anyone could find the banking industry interesting, at a general level. But my friend who is a banker can't really even talk about the industry at that general level, and honestly, I think that might because even he doesn't really understand it at a general level; he only understands the very small sub-specialty that he is involved in, and one that he knows is a transitional sub-specialty that won't be relevant in a couple years. His generalized knowledge isn't in banking, it's in "project management," which I get is a thing, but it's hard to get interested in hearing about generalized project management skills in the abstract.

It's a different story with the working/business/renaissance man friends. Their industries are much less complex, and their involvement in those industries is much more of a general nature. E.g., I have a friend who works for a plumbing/hvac equipment wholesaler; and wouldn't you know, we'll have hour-long conversations just talking about toilet technology--and he has a very good understanding of the toilet/plumbing industry on a general level, in a way that my banking friend doesn't, even as it concerns those facets of the industry he doesn't personally have any involvement in.

Maybe this has everything to do with the fact that we've made the world too complex. And I know Jacob wrote about that in the ERE book, equating my particular banker friend's way of thinking to Dark Ages thinking, where he knows how to do his little thing really, really well, but as for how the system works generally, it's just magic.

There's no magic in toilets (or landscaping, or furniture making, or, frankly, in personal injury law).

So, naturally, with my salary man friends ALL of our conversations center around consumption--the consumption of spectator sports, or movies/TV, or why product x is superior to product y, or vacations and excurisons. My other group of friends talks about doing stuff; creating stuff.

AxelHeyst
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by AxelHeyst »

Well I for one am thoroughly enjoying following along - I like your almost anthropological musings on your own experiences. The "too deep in their fields to even be able to talk about them" resonates with me. I like to think I'm capable of talking about my professional field in general terms, but nine times out of ten I don't want to even if someone else expresses interest.

Does your renaissance man friend do "one thing" for his income, or multiple? I wondering how his renaissance-man-ness applies to his 'work'/job/income.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

AxelHeyst wrote:
Mon Aug 10, 2020 2:03 pm
but nine times out of ten I don't want to even if someone else expresses interest.
Maybe this is more what I was trying to get at. Perhaps it's not so much that they are incapable of explaining what they do in a way that an intelligent person could understand and be interested in, it's that they lack the interest to do it. This is certainly true with me--though with me I represent consumer brands so, naturally, people are at least initially intrigued; though I almost immediately lose them because I'm just not that interested in what I do myself, really. My father in law is one of those really curious guys who, every time he visits, wants to know what sexy cases I'm working on. And he's the kind of guy that will ask you 100 questions about it, in a way that doesn't annoy me but that I in fact am envious of--I wish I had that kind of curiosity. But sadly, even with a really willing audience like my father in law, who is also a really good active listener, I often just lack the desire to tell him more than just the bare minimum to be able to shift the topic to something I'm more excited to talk about, which isn't work. I didn't used to be that way. I'd say in my first 5 years or so of practice I was one of those typical biglaw attorneys who thought I had the world's most important and prestigious job and it was all I could do to NOT talk about the law insufferably.
AxelHeyst wrote:
Mon Aug 10, 2020 2:03 pm
Does your renaissance man friend do "one thing" for his income, or multiple? I wondering how his renaissance-man-ness applies to his 'work'/job/income.
He has a fantastically hip custom furniture business, which is where he goes to work every day. But I suspect he probably has several additional income streams, many of which are sort of related to that business (and he's constantly thinking of other ideas). E.g., he gets free wood from all the tree removal companies, and after he takes what he wants he sells the rest for firewood. He also has family money; not in a trustfund kid way, but in a way where his father is kind of a badass who has made plenty of money in his own services business, and he kind of just does whatever the f he wants to do. He was also the person who convinced his son to quit the corporate-y job he was working (in the art world) so that he could do something he was passionate about and see his wife and kids more (though that means his wife/kids are often helping him out at the furniture shop, which is as quality of quality time you could ask for). And I suspect his dad was more than happy to provide whatever help his son needed to get him off the ground.

Hristo Botev
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Bad Poetry Submission

Post by Hristo Botev »

Societal decline has me fretting
Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon pervading
My kids train for merit
but the world they'll inher't
St. Benedict for the hills would be running

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

In addition to pivoting to some DIY skills development, I'm also thinking of ways to reduce waste. Some things that come to mind:

- Turn the extra trash can into a back patio compost bin (was supposed to do last weekend, but, life);
- Perhaps switch to something like Dr. Bonner's concentrated soap, and see just how many soaps/cleaners in my life it can replace;
- Train up the kids to be more thoughtful before they throw clothes in the hamper (I have to do WAY too much laundry on the weekends, and it's almost all because of the kids, as my laundry is pretty much limited to underwear, dress shirts, and workout clothes, none of which goes in the dryer);
- Be more productive, web-of-goals focused when I "waste" time at work--e.g., my attempt at a Limerick above was prompted by being bored out of my mind working on written discovery responses at work, which seems to me to be a better way to waste time than seeing what's happening on Google News;
- Keep the cell phone downstairs when I sleep, so that I'm not tempted to pick it up when I wake up in the middle of the night;
- I'm sure I could take shorter and colder showers;
- The whole family can be better at not leaving lights on;
- Work towards only (or mostly) consuming alcohol that I created myself (beer, moonshine), with the exception of the 4 bottles we get with our monthly wine club membership;
- With the kids back in school, DW can work downstairs now, where it's cooler, so we don't have to have the AC working overtime*; and
- Long term, acquire (hopefully for free) more containers for the back patio, to grow more than just tomatoes.

Happy to hear of any additional thoughts you all might have.

*Long term, we need to scrap the stupid raised ceiling renovation the prior owner did in the master bedroom. That room faces due east, and without any attic space (because of the renovation), the temperature in that room is uncontrollable during the summer months, meaning that we have to run the AC overtime just to be able to get to sleep at night. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

JenAR
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by JenAR »

@Hristo

I use Oasis brand dish/hand soap and laundry detergent--they're biocompatible cleaners, and basically formulated as a natural fertilizer for plants, so any greywater you produce is appreciated by the things you're growing. Dr. Bronner's is okay, too, but not as biocompatible. Not sure how they compare price-wise. A little of either goes a long way. I think you could probably get away with using the dish/hand soap as your laundry detergent if you're not too picky or do your laundry by hand (I have no idea if there's some black magic in it that kills high-efficiency washing machines if you don't use specially formulated detergents or something--all that is beyond my ken). I use no cleaners on a regular basis except Oasis for my hands/dishes/laundry. Everything else can be skipped. I keep some white vinegar and baking soda around for when I need an abrasive or to dissolve mineral deposits, or if I just want to feel like something got a little extra sanitizing. I was using some undrinkable alcohol by-product (basically rubbing alcohol) from distilling brandy to wipe down door handles etc during the worst of the COVID stuff. Honestly, water and elbow grease work for almost everything.

I would like to grow some soapwort or other saponaceous plants so as not to have to buy soap at all, but haven't got there yet.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

Made the mistake of adding up how much DW and I have left to pay to get our kids all the way through 12th grade in Catholic school (we've currently got a 2nd grader and a 5th grader); it's $just over $200,000 at current tuition levels. Ouch.

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