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 »

Yeah, during the past couple of generations people^H^H^H^H^Hconsumers became used to either one of two options. Get someone else to make it at a restaurant at heavy mark up prices XOR buy the preprocessed variety at the big box store. It's either quick, good, and expensive or quick, bad, and cheap. Most have largely forgotten the skills to make it slow, good, and cheap. Last week our neighbors had a backyard BBQ party and seeing them out there while drowning in cucumbers and tomatoes from our garden, we offered them some produce. In return, we got a taste of what they were making. Wow! We had to go back and ask for the recipe. Hopefully we got something started here ...

It's just that the current generations have largely forgotten because the idea during the past 20ish years has been that we all go get degreed and get fancy paying office jobs to pay so we never have to know. Worst mistake of the late 20th century.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

jacob wrote:
Mon Sep 14, 2020 3:14 pm
It's been interesting to watch, for sure. I don't want to do the generation blame game thing (especially since my own Gen X seems to be doing a fantastic job of living up to its slacker stereotype), BUT, it's amazing to me that my grandmother and her many sisters survived the Great Depression through sheer craftiness, frugality, and badassity, with a skillset and community mindset that would have made them ERE all stars. And yet, NONE of that seemed to have been passed on to my own mother (God rest her soul; she's a saint, naturally) and her first cousins, whose idea of home cooking was a frozen lasagna from Sam's Club thrown in the oven (delicious) or fish sticks, etc. I was always blown away when we'd go to family reunions and the cooking would be out-of-this-world amazing (compared to what I was used to at home), because it was my grandmother and her sisters and cousins who were doing the cooking. Then, as that generation started dying off and handing over the reigns to the next generation, the cooking at family reunions consisted of casseroles made with processed food ingredients and a lot of already prepared stuff from Costco or whatever.

It's the same with DW's mom; we (and our kids) have to detox a bit after DW's parents have been in town, because her mom insists on bringing us all of this "homemade" food for us to eat; and it's all casseroles of the type that my mom's cousins make at family reunions--processed cheese, some form of boxed pasta, something from a Campbell's soup can, maybe some frozen peas and carrots, and some chicken or sausage. And then we have a "salad," which means a bag of shredded lettuce from the store, which has the primary purpose of being a receptacle for store-bought salad dressing.Anyway, I shouldn't bash on my MIL or my saintly mother, because with DW's mom it really comes from a really generous and loving place--she's trying to take the load off of us a bit by doing the cooking when she is in town. But she doesn't realize that DW and I both LOVE cooking--it's really important and high quality family time for us--and, not to be too dramatic, but MIL's cooking makes us feel like shit.

But it really is amazing to me how much confidence the "Greatest Generation" must have had to have come out of the Great Depression and WWII, into the "American Century," thinking that our future prosperity was so assured that it'd be a complete waste of time to pass on their vast survivalist knowledge and skillset to their sons and daughters.

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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

Not sure what WL this purchase qualifies as; presumably I could fashion a straight razor out of an abandoned lawnmower blade or something, to use for shaving. But, this certainly has to be a step up from using overpriced Gillette cartridges. Last year's stupid "toxic masculinity" commercial made me rethink my shaving practices, and so far at about a year in I'm very happy with the switch to the non-disposable (and quite beautiful) Merkur safety razor with these blades to shave my face and head. There was a learning curve, after a couple decades of exclusively using disposable cartridges, but it's very rare that I knick myself now, unless I'm just not paying attention and in a rush.

Image

I pay more than I should for these blades ($6 for 10 blades), because I buy them at the CVS I pass by on my walk home from work. But, this is only the second time I've had to make this purchase in a year, as I've been averaging about one blade per month (I only shave every 2-3 days), and that's still a helluva lot cheaper than what I'd pay for the Gillette stuff; and less wasteful. Also, as many of you already know, there's no way in hell I'm buying anything from Amazon, which I suspect is the only really viable option for buying these blades in bulk and for cheap (though, please feel free to prove me wrong by sending me non-Amazon links).

One bit of advice--or at least to relay my anecdotal experience with this transition--I got carried away with all the online videos and blog articles about the safety razor shaving "experience"; i.e., buying fancy (though not particularly expensive) shaving cream (e.g., Proraso is lovely), and lathering it up and applying it with an equally fancy brush, and getting lost in the details of the attributes of boar hair vs. badger hair vs. horse hair vs. synthetic. I'm not going to lie, if I were retired and my kids were out of the house, and I really was in no rush in the mornings, then I probably would do the whole lather and brush shaving thing, as it is a meditative and relaxing experience. BUT, that is not where I'm at at the moment. So does that mean you can't do the safety razor? No. I shave my face and head in the shower with a safety razor (with the water off, of course) using body soap as shaving cream, which I apply with my hands without a brush, and it takes me no longer than it would if I were still using a cartridge razor.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

It was inevitable: https://www.businessinsider.com/spotify ... yees2020-9

These aren't snowflakes; these are people using their power to silence anyone who dare say or even think anything that doesn't comport with their worldview. It gives me comfort, however, as I'm as skeptical of big business as I am big government, and as these places become more and more insufferable to work at, I think we'll see more and more of these places implode. Or become irrelevant and ineffective, because (ironically) in the name of "diversity and inclusion," these places are stifling out all the benefits and attributes that real diversity undoubtedly brings to the table--namely, different backgrounds and life experiences, resulting in different worldviews, opinions, interests, tastes, and different and dynamic ways to solve problems. When we outlaw wrongthink, you get 1984 and conformity, resulting in a cold, grey, dull, boring, unproductive, uninspired, and monotonous world.

ETA: I'm thankful for this journal as it keeps me from being the old man that forwards via group email or Facebook every click-baity article tailor made to rile me up. Instead, I'm the old man that posts it on my ERE journal; that's a better option for all of humanity, I think.

Alphaville
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Alphaville »

seeing as how it’s a public journal though, it begs the question of who the snowflakes are.

are the snowflakes the kids pushing for social change? or are the snowflakes the old folks who find change insufferable and must retreat to retro-world safe spaces?

/me ducks :mrgreen:

but seriously though. are we the baddies?

AnalyticalEngine
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by AnalyticalEngine »

Have you heard of the book, "Kill All Normies: Online Culture Wars from 4chan and Tumblr to Trump and the Alt-Right" by Angela Nagle? I think it provides some critical context to the current culture war debacle.

The main thesis is that this "cancel culture" is a reaction to a lot of the genuinely grotesque shock culture of early 4chan et al. This has been a debate that's been going on in Internet culture since 2012. It's leaked into real life only recently, but it's fascinating to read the history.

classical_Liberal
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by classical_Liberal »

Hristo Botev wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 7:41 am
Also, as many of you already know, there's no way in hell I'm buying anything from Amazon, which I suspect is the only really viable option for buying these blades in bulk and for cheap (though, please feel free to prove me wrong by sending me non-Amazon links).
Not sure if you're anti Ebay? I dislike Amazon as well, for some of the same, and some different reasons as you. The only thing it really has over Ebay is Prime shipping anyway. But I'm never in a hurry to get my stuff, so it's meaningless to me. Here's 100 on Ebay for a couple bucks more than you're paying at CVS for 10. Ebay is my "go-to" for this type of stuff(if not at Costco), also it's a gold mine for random parts to fix random stuff.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

Whoa, $8.50 for 100!?!? That’s like 8 years of razor blades! I love this forum.

Biscuits and Gravy
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Biscuits and Gravy »

Hristo Botev wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 4:06 pm
...benefits and attributes that real diversity undoubtedly brings to the table...”
FWIW, this is why I consistently read your journal (and appreciate our broad range of folks on this forum). You have a very different worldview than me... honestly, you kinda remind me of my dad, with his “retro-world” railing against snowflakes and “the war against religion.” [ducks behind alphaville] I dunno. As a snowflakey millennial I gotta say I personally have nothing against you doing what you wanna do or other people doing their own thing. Takes all kinds.

Hristo Botev
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The Prophet Sturgill

Post by Hristo Botev »

Well now some days you kill it and some days you just choke

Some days you blast off and some days you just smoke

ETA:
Ain't no point getting outta bed if you ain't living the dream
It's like making a big old pot of coffee when you ain't got no cream

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

More fun with pictures.

A sign of our times, action shot of Jefferson being removed from the public square.
Image

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

And now, inspired by ffj, some fun with home brewing, as yesterday was bottling day for the red ale (batch #3).

First, brew day, 2 weeks ago:
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Then, ready for bottling yesterday, in the "FerMONSTER" (my second carboy fermenter, and preferable to my first):
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Really, it's called the FerMONSTER, which I appreciate as a trademark attorney:
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Next, sanitizing:
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More sanitizing (and if anyone is looking for a Christmas gift for me, I'm in desperate need of a bottle tree):
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More sanitizing:
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And more sanitizing:
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Then, boiling up the priming sugar, for carbonization:
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Next, out of the fermenter (while enjoying a glass of batch #1, a West Coast IPA):
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And into the bottling bucket (certainly looks like a red ale!):
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The final gravity reading:
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What's left in the FerMONSTER (these are no fun to clean):
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Ready for bottling:
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And bottling:
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Case 1, bottled, boxed, and ready for bottle conditioning in my coat closet:
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And case 2:
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Using the FerMONSTER yielded significantly more beer than my prior 2 batches, and I ran out of bottles, which I used as an opportunity to do a little experiment. My favorite brew shop owner tells me that I can't use growlers with screw tops for bottle conditioning, because (I think) the glass isn't really strong enough, or the screw top isn't secure enough. Anyway, I want to see if she's right, and since I had so much more beer with this batch, I filled up 2 32oz growlers to finish off the batch, which I've left to bottle condition in the garage, so that any damage from a busted bottle will be minimal and easy to clean up.

Now, 2 more weeks of waiting for bottle conditioning to finish.

ffj
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by ffj »

The FerMonster, haha. I could see the benefit of that wide mouth for cleaning for sure.

I picked grapes yesterday and crushed 3 gallons worth of juice to convert into wine last night, so we are brothers in brewing arms this week. ;)

If only I had known how to do all of this in high school and college, haha, I could have been rich. Missed opportunities. ;)



Keep the pictures coming, that photo of Jefferson looks like it could be in a newspaper or a history book.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

@ffj:

- The brew shop lady taught me a trick for cleaning the regular carboys, which I wouldn't have thought of; basically, sticking a rag into the carboy along with the water and soap and then swishing it around centrifuge style. It works, but it's still easier to clean the wide mouth carboys.

- So did the in-laws back off the mask mandate?

- My 8yo son likes to help me with the brewing, and I joke with DW that I'm teaching him all the skills he'll need to run a highly profitable (and highly illegal) business in high school. My buddies and I tried homebrewing on 2 separate occasions in high school, and both times were big busts. Took a lot of pizzas delivered and lawns mowed to pay for that equipment, and all for not.

- Re Jefferson, that was a surreal walk in to work. I'd read in the paper that morning that the county had come in to remove the Confederate obelisk unannounced at like 3am in the morning, which was a smart strategic call, to avoid all the craziness. But I was very surprised to then see Jefferson sitting in the back of a municipal flatbed truck outside my office. Apparently the statute isn't owned by the city or the county, but by a private individual, and given what had happened to a similar statue in Oregon (I think) a couple days before, the owner asked the city to return it.

@AE: Thanks for the book recommendation; sounds interesting.
Alphaville wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 4:50 pm
seeing as how it’s a public journal though, it begs the question of who the snowflakes are.

are the snowflakes the kids pushing for social change? or are the snowflakes the old folks who find change insufferable and must retreat to retro-world safe spaces?
That's exactly my point, "they" (i.e., the folks working at Spotify trying to get Joe Rogan "cancelled" for having someone(s) on his show questioning the trans thing) are NOT snowflakes. It's a power struggle, and they are very effectively using the tools at their disposal. "We" (i.e., the idiots who haven't yet realized we are living in a post-ideological world) are getting played as we laugh at the "snowflakes" and say stupid shit like "the facts don't care about your feelings" (B. Shapiro); the facts are in reality totally irrelevant in this Marcusian power struggle. Equate words and other non-violent conduct with aggression, "micro" or otherwise; and then you've justified responding to non-violent behavior with violence. It's a smart strategy; and it's scary because it is working so effectively.
Biscuits and Gravy wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 10:09 pm
FWIW, this is why I consistently read your journal (and appreciate our broad range of folks on this forum). You have a very different worldview than me...
Thanks; and ditto.

ffj
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by ffj »

- So did the in-laws back off the mask mandate?

Yeah, but not after a bunch of unnecessary drama. I wisely stayed out of the whole mess but in the end they figured we could just work in alternate rows which was my recommendation from the start. Sometimes I feel other people speak in code and I failed mind reading in school so I just let my wife figure everything out. It's her family anyway, but I'm still confused by who wanted what, haha.

When we arrived there were a bunch of people working that normally aren't there and it was a light harvest, and NOBODY was wearing a damn mask. And when people came up to talk NOBODY kept their distance. So I'm still perplexed what the fuss was all about, but the good news is that I grabbed some grapes for wine and all of the grapes are harvested. Everything worked out well in the end.


Regarding the "snowflake" issue, I think Scott Adams has some good advice where he explains that people's opinions, whether right or left, are assigned to them by various outlets. People are outraged because they are told to be outraged.

The problem is even if one is aware of this issue and takes steps to negate their influence, it doesn't help you if the mob is coming down your street smashing and burning. It's a mess.

mooretrees
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by mooretrees »

jacob wrote:
Mon Sep 14, 2020 2:24 pm
It's interesting and also cool how the pandemic shifted so many cooking and eating habits for the [much] better. Some shifts have been ratchet-like. Once you know the difference, it's hard to go back. In our case it's been making tortilla shells and hotdog buns instead of buying them. I don't see us going back to store bought any time soon or ever. Cardboard. Talk about WLs. Probably 3+ level shift at least. Thoroughly spoiled now.
I'm interested in both of those recipes! DH loves flour tortillas AND hotdogs.

mooretrees
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by mooretrees »

Also, HR, so much is going on for you! Really, really fun to read your notes. Fewer book reports and more beer brewing + hands on learning lately. Cool. Though I do like the book reviews too :D

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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by jacob »

mooretrees wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 11:39 pm
I'm interested in both of those recipes! DH loves flour tortillas AND hotdogs.
Hotdog/burger buns: https://www.kingarthurbaking.com/recipe ... uns-recipe (stopped at the first one)
Tortillas: https://www.rickbayless.com/recipe/flour-tortillas/ (tried several, this is the best)

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

@MT - yes, I've certainly been slacking in the reading category. The pile of "currently reading" books on my nightstand is getting bigger, without much getting finished. And I know that if I'm only reading in bed before I go to sleep, I'm not going to get through much. This is where I'm at since my last update.

- Toole, A Confederacy of Dunces (finished a couple weeks ago)
- Slavin, One Million in the Bank (also finished a couple weeks ago)
- Graham, The Intelligent Investor (sort of finished)
- Wendell Berry, Jayber Crow (still reading)
- Genesis (currently reading)
- The Swamp Fox, John Oller (currently reading)

I thoroughly enjoyed A Confederacy of Dunces--the use of language and of the absurd is wonderful. But, as Alphaville commented previously here, once you get through the quotable language and funny turns of phrases, and the absurdity, this is one of the most depressing books I've ever read. I mean, you just know things aren't going to work out for Ignatius ultimately, especially given how autobiographical the story must be and what happened with the author. Toole does a fantastic job writing Ignatius as being a true prophet for the modern era, and/or completely insane (or, as Catholics like to say, "both/and"); someone who is just banging his head against all the absolute madness that surrounds him, and who absolutely refuses to grin and bear it--refuses to put on a mask and fake it. Rather, Ignatius calls out the absurdity, again and again and again, without really caring about the repercussions.

The Slavin book was about 223 pages too long; I'm not one for anecdotes in books like these.

I did a Blinklist binge on a free trial a few weeks ago, prompted (I think) by Alphaville. It's a neat service, and I probably listened to the summaries of more than 10 books over the course of my free trial, including Graham's Intelligent Investor. That said, almost nothing from any of what I listened to has stuck with me. So I didn't continue the subscription (also, I'm currently enjoying living a completely subscription free lifestyle at the moment). If I ever go the route of trying my hand at active investing, I'll probably start by reading Graham's book for real, and move on from there. But I'm not at that point yet.

I'm about 100 pages into Jayber Crow, and I've really enjoyed it so far--but for whatever reason, the book has yet to suck me in to the point that I can't wait to pick it up to read more. I think it's the setting; I'm so far removed at this point from living in a sort of community that Jayber Crow takes place in and (I think) idolizes or at least glorifies, and yet I long for it so much, that the setting is actually serving as a bit of an obstacle.

As for Genesis, I've recently started being a lector for Mass at my parish church, and the deeper reading of the weekly Bible passages that lectors are expected to do in preparation for reading at Mass has prompted me to read through the entirety of the Bible again. My plan at this point is to go mostly in order, but alternating Old Testament and New Testament books. So, I'm currently reading Genesis, and then I'll read Matthew, then back to Exodus, and so on.

Finally, for The Swamp Fox, one of the ERE skills I'd like to tackle some day is to try my hand at writing more niche/local-focused histories or biographies, perhaps using it as a way to learn more about my family history and the places and people and institutions that have shaped who I am along the way. So, instead of writing a biography of a national figure like Alexander Hamilton, etc., write instead a history of my little city, or my parish, or of a more local figure or a figure who isn't necessarily local but who is more of a more niche type guy, like the founder of the Knights of Columbus. E.g., I've got a federal judge in my lineage, and it would be interesting to perhaps learn more about him and his family and time by writing a non-fiction book focused on one of the more famous trials he presided at. Anyway, I purchased The Swamp Fox a few months ago because according to family legend (confirmed by far reaches of the Internet), my great-great-great-great grandfather fought under Francis Marion in the Revolutionary War, and I'd wanted to learn a little more about Marion. I finally got around to reading the book, but now I'm kinda fascinated with the book's author, John Oller, who made the transition from BigLaw lawyer to full-time historian/biographer (http://www.johnollernyc.com/author).

So I'm thinking after reading the Swamp Fox I might want to read the rest of Oller's books and then reach out to him directly to ask about his experience with transitioning out of law and about his research and writing process. I was a history major in college, and I suspect that writing non-fiction is likely the thing that most appeals to me as an ERE or semi-ERE productive endeavor.

Honestly (and this is turning into a much longer post than I'd planned), as I've read more and more of the journals on this forum, I'm starting to realize (slowly) that part of the ERE thing is just figuring out where your personal interests are, and ALSO what your basic skillset is ALREADY (because, if you're in your 30s, 40s, 50s, there's a good chance that interests and skillset are going to be somewhat in alignment already)--and then building from there. For me, the two interests/skillsets that have been pretty constant throughout my adult life are (1) research and writing, and (2) teaching. I enjoy working with my hands outside of the office, from time to time, but I don't like problem solving in that realm. E.g., using ffj as an example, I like seeing his progress in homebrewing, gardening, mushrooms, and construction. And I also have enjoyed (and will continue to enjoy) doing my own homebrewing and gardening (and, maybe, some DIY projects around the house). BUT, I like to do those things as a sort of manual laborer. I like to create things following someone else's recipe/instructions. I'd enjoy working for my friend's furniture shop, but only if he's telling me here are the tasks you need to do, and the order in which to do them. I don't have that kind of creativity that makes me want to, e.g., figure out how using this kind of grain or malt or yeast might change the nature of the resulting beer. Or, when it comes to DIY at home, I want to watch a YouTube video that shows me how to tackle my EXACT problem; I don't want to watch 20 videos (or read 20 articles) that tackle similar problems, that I then get to creatively apply to my own particular problem. Also, things like bike maintenance and home repair are, at bottom, chores for me; I don't mind doing them, but I don't get excited about fixing a door that's out of level, etc.--I appreciate the feeling of accomplishment that follows from tackling that project, but it's a chore nonetheless, similar to doing the laundry or cleaning the house. (Contrast that with cooking, which I do get excited about.) ETA: But, I also like to follow recipes for cooking; I don't like experimenting--unlike DW, who is very creative and adventurous in the kitchen.

BUT, that's not true for research/writing (and also for teaching, in small bits). I HATE (and aggressively push back on) following step-by-step instructions when it comes to those endeavors; in fact, the folks I've worked with through the years have learned that I need to be given a good bit of free reign to tackle the problems I'm given by clients; and I'm prone to view almost any level of criticism as micro-management. Not saying that's healthy, it's just that I think I have that artist-type of creativity when it comes to research and writing (and also teaching).

Anyway, still processing this, and I know this is a lot of stream-of-thought, self-therapy jibberish; but I think where I'm coming out on this is that the "stuff" I feel called to create and do may be stuff that is pretty similar to what I'm already creating/doing in my career; just with me having more say in what that stuff is--i.e., instead of spending all of my creative time and energy managing the problems of my clients through research and writing, I should spend some of that time doing research and writing on topics that I select and that are more directly interesting to me. But the process of the doing/creating is pretty similar to what I already do 5 days a week.

As an aside, sort of, my father is a fiction writer--by which I mean that towards the tail end of his working (non-writing) career and ever since he's retired, he's written probably in excess of 50 fiction novels, of various genres. He's had some back and forth with editors, agents, and publishers through the years, but none of his books have been published, so far. I know he'd like to get at least one published, but I also know it doesn't really matter to him. I don't see him getting so disappointed with rejection that he stops writing. He loves writing, and he loves participating in his various writing groups, and having family members read and critique his writing.

I could do that; but I'm not inclined to fiction writing, and that's not where my particular skills lie. Writing non-fiction would not be with a goal of getting published or making any sort of living. Making a success of writing would be, as an example, self-publishing a run of 100 or so books about the local history of my parish, and then selling them for $2/each at our parish shop, next to the prayer cards, rosary beads, and first communion veils.

Alphaville
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Alphaville »

jacob wrote:
Tue Sep 22, 2020 8:49 am
Tortillas: https://www.rickbayless.com/recipe/flour-tortillas/ (tried several, this is the best)
lard ftw

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