CS's Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
CS
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by CS » Thu Oct 20, 2016 12:47 am

Dragline - old is good for me. I feel old sometimes. I even fantasize about when I can living in the 55+ neighborhoods because...quiet

It's really odd... but I've found that the one thing that has helped me let go of my need to cling to all my 'precious things' is browsing ads for consumer goods. There are so many pretty delights out there! It makes me feel so safe enough knowing that these things exist, that I can let go of my own excess stuff. Then I don't have to pay to cart it around, search through piles of it for what I really need, and get stressed out by the lot of it. And if I really do end up needing something I don't have, then I know there are ten stores a few miles away where I can get it... cheap. It's a weird coping technique, but I've found it works for me. It's calming. Has anyone else had that reaction? Note: I don't have to actually buy anything. It's enough knowing it's out there in case I need it.

Perhaps this is just a manual reboot from 'scarcity' thinking to 'plentiful' thinking.

I've also found that what I really need is so little, that paying to move it is an order of magnitude more expensive than just buying the few big necessities again at my destination (like the ikea bed that is honestly my top choice, regardless of the fact it is cheap as heck, etc). That is definitely not something my parents taught me. They also tend to stay in the same location for multiple decades at a time, so wouldn't really have a reason to know the most cost effective way to move often.

The job in Kansas started out rough but I'm enjoying it now. There are parts of this job that I really like. I get lots of satisfaction from a well organized physics plan: all the qa ducks in a row, the spreadsheets completed neatly, getting the knowledge of my machines down like the back of my hand. Plus technology in the field changes so quickly that I always get something new to learn at each job. I think relaxing into this cycle of working intermittently would be good for me. I want to think of it as brain food, and not some horrific task that I must complete to begin my real life in ten years.

I should be sleeping, but I was so fired up from the debate that I couldn't. Tomorrow is going to be rough!

jacob
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by jacob » Thu Oct 20, 2016 2:07 pm

CS wrote: It's really odd... but I've found that the one thing that has helped me let go of my need to cling to all my 'precious things' is browsing ads for consumer goods. There are so many pretty delights out there! It makes me feel so safe enough knowing that these things exist, that I can let go of my own excess stuff. Then I don't have to pay to cart it around, search through piles of it for what I really need, and get stressed out by the lot of it. And if I really do end up needing something I don't have, then I know there are ten stores a few miles away where I can get it... cheap. It's a weird coping technique, but I've found it works for me. It's calming. Has anyone else had that reaction? Note: I don't have to actually buy anything. It's enough knowing it's out there in case I need it.
Its' the "the [super]market is my library"-strategy.

What I find the hardest about it is that it often costs more either in time or in dollars. For example, I have some hockey gear that I lug around even if I haven't used it for 5 years now. Replacing it would cost about $300 (it's rather good stuff) but selling it would net me about $0 because it smells like hockey gear :-P ... Therefore, I'm calculating that storage costs < probability that I'll go skating * $300 and so I keep it in a box.

This example extends to a lot of my stuff. I keep stuff around because time and money went into acquiring it for very little money. I don't have piles to search but the inefficiency is annoying. Accepting the inefficiency would add a couple of thousand to my annual budget.

I've tried one solution which was to DIY things. I figured that if I didn't spend more than $10 in wood on a desk, I would be quite complacent about turning it into kindling. Turned out not to be the case because I felt like I sunk 30 hours into it + it's a quality piece.

The other solution is simply to have few/cheap wants i.e. ultraminimalism/hobo. I also find that restricting.

CS
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by CS » Sat Oct 22, 2016 2:13 pm

jacob wrote:
CS wrote: It's really odd... but I've found that the one thing that has helped me let go of my need to cling to all my 'precious things' is browsing ads for consumer goods. There are so many pretty delights out there! It makes me feel so safe enough knowing that these things exist, that I can let go of my own excess stuff. Then I don't have to pay to cart it around, search through piles of it for what I really need, and get stressed out by the lot of it. And if I really do end up needing something I don't have, then I know there are ten stores a few miles away where I can get it... cheap. It's a weird coping technique, but I've found it works for me. It's calming. Has anyone else had that reaction? Note: I don't have to actually buy anything. It's enough knowing it's out there in case I need it.
Its' the "the [super]market is my library"-strategy.

What I find the hardest about it is that it often costs more either in time or in dollars. For example, I have some hockey gear that I lug around even if I haven't used it for 5 years now. Replacing it would cost about $300 (it's rather good stuff) but selling it would net me about $0 because it smells like hockey gear :-P ... Therefore, I'm calculating that storage costs < probability that I'll go skating * $300 and so I keep it in a box.

This example extends to a lot of my stuff. I keep stuff around because time and money went into acquiring it for very little money. I don't have piles to search but the inefficiency is annoying. Accepting the inefficiency would add a couple of thousand to my annual budget.

I've tried one solution which was to DIY things. I figured that if I didn't spend more than $10 in wood on a desk, I would be quite complacent about turning it into kindling. Turned out not to be the case because I felt like I sunk 30 hours into it + it's a quality piece.

The other solution is simply to have few/cheap wants i.e. ultraminimalism/hobo. I also find that restricting.
Yes. I hear you on time portion of the equation. I've not been willing to get rid of my fabulous Jack Sparrow costume. It took two years to make, and involved such fun challenges as pattern making from old books on historical garb. In addition to that effort, the materials were not cheap. The way you talk about time makes it clear why my gut just wouldn't let me dump it completely. (I did get rid of the backup pieces for the backup pieces... I can be a little out there when it comes to guarenteeing completeness!) What remains can fit into a medium size box. So it stays.

I'm also cheating a bit - my Dad has his father's antique table that I had rescued 25 years ago and had refinished. It is not replaceable by either time or money. He's using it in his living room. So I don't exactly have it, but it is not gone forever either.

Other things have been easier to let go after some analysis. My drums were sold three years ago. That was a lot of sunk money, but the knowledge it takes to buy the right equipment again in terms of quality (cheap stuff just doesn't work right), and the desired sound, that itself a time costly experience lesson, is still in my head. To make it easier, storage costs were a full room of space. 100 square feet of overheard quickly overtakes the costs of replacing the the equipment in a few years if I change my mind. Even renting a cheap storage space would be $100/month x 12 months x X years. Five years of storage exceeds what I would need to replace them, even at top quality.

It rather annoyingly seems 'stuff' has to be judged on a case by case basis. That itself takes time. Now that I'm traveling more, one set of decisions makes more sense, but when I settle down, that balance will change. Hopefully I won't regret the decisions I'm making now.

Speaking of which, I've noticed that loss aversion rears it's ugly head when people tell me how much they like the stuff I've given them. Or worse yet, if they tell me what high quality it is. Even if I would not currently use the item anyhow. I'm glad to understand the psychology behind the rather unpleasant feelings, even if it doesn't banish the emotions completely. It goes much smoother if I just never hear a word! :roll:

CS
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by CS » Fri Oct 28, 2016 8:28 pm

Reread the War of Art. That is such a good book. I think my Dad would like it. I have to see if he's read it. There is a lot of mystic stuff in it that I happen to believe about creativity (it's something you channel, not necessarily originate). I've also had that voice tell me things at key moments in my life. Sometimes I wished I had listened when I had ignored it.

Sitting in Wichita, I get a call from a recruiter that a job close to family (few hours) is actually interested in looking at my resume. I say actually, not because I'm not a worthwhile candidate, but because I am not available until April. That is a long time off in the recruiting world. I guess no one else is looking that great so they want to look at my resume. We'll see. I'll probably hear more in a few weeks - this company is not racing along on it's decision making process.

That brings up the perennial question (for me) of suck it up for full time work and get this FI thing done, or keep going employed part year as a traveler.

Pros and cons to full-time: I could double my savings in three years through sheer brute force (aka saving's rate). But I'm a low energy person. When I have a full time job, it's hard to do much else besides basic errands. I can fit some socializing in too, but as an introvert, that can be more a drain than a help.

Pros and cons to traveling: The older I get, the harder it seems to pop into a new environment for a few months and then leave. The plus side is I learn TONS of new technology. There is no other way to accumulate that breadth of experience so quickly. And I pay a much lower tax rate since I'm make 1/3 to 1/4 I would as a full time person.

Probably more important for long term robustness, I could get a novel (or more) done a year and get it up on Amazon. I know it's going to take a few books to really learn how to write a book, if that makes sense. And there is learning to do about the publishing business.

Plus, I want to live part-time up north by family, and part-time on the west coast. I am done with winters, and the not so subtle misogyny of the midwest. Dating there for women is an uphill battle due to numbers alone. On the west coast the odds are ever in my favor.

Frankly, I know what I want is the traveling, but my resistance is giving me fears about the possibility of not getting a gig when I need it, of never writing anything that sells, of being a fraud. The cure to this is doing. I know that. I guess I'm just venting here.

Plus I can live in my mom's art studio if I really need to. I've already done that for two weeks this year while between places.

Sorry to not having entertaining financial charts. I did just commit 18k of this gig to the recruiting company's 401k. It feels good to get that socked away in a short period. It's an addicting thrill in fact. Even with going to school for the last three years, my net worth has never been higher. Don't ever pay for grad school, boys and girls, not ever.

CS
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by CS » Tue Nov 01, 2016 11:46 am

Made black lentils the other day, One of the first recipes I've made with legumes that I've really liked. The pickled jalapeños, and fresh red onion and greens mixed in probably helped a lot. It was four meals this week, plus that many more in the freezer for about $9 (including the toppings). I can do better by buying in bulk, although I refuse to settle on non-organic. I can't do the ultimate in cheap (rice) due to my digestion not being thrilled with it, but I can supplement with delicious potatoes for carbs. They are not that expensive if purchased by the bag, even at organic prices.

I'm also looking forward to playing more with my pressure cooker. My grocery list has a ton of different types of beans to try. I'm thinking a white bean turkey chili might be a great treat.

I recently calculated my WR at 6% for a studio all by myself. I think I can do better on the living expenses by getting a roommate. My last experience was surprisingly awesome - I find myself wishing I had not given up that two years ago, thinking I was moving to OR full time for the ex. That place would have brought my WR down to 4.15 percent. Viola - next career here I come. Dang nab it. There has to be other amazing roommates out there. I'm going to find them! I might look by the university and see if I can match up with a female grad student.

CS
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by CS » Sat Nov 12, 2016 4:56 am

What a week. I just got my HSA ACA health insurance policy lined up for 2017... then Cheeto Hilter gets elected. Hopefully I can at least use the deduction for 2017, even if the policy goes away. Now I for sure will be either a MN or CA resident. Both have ways to get health insurance even if I cannot get an individual policy. I don't know what those red state residents are going to do.

The job in Kansas is weird. I am surrounded by people who voted for Trump. It's uncomfortable. This state is poor as fuck, and treats it's residents terribly. They have a high tax rate on food. Food. That alone tells me there is a war on poor people here. In contrast, there also seems to be a high number of people driving Cadillacs. One of the women here gave me a ride to pick up my car that needed a new battery. I was shocked when we got to her car and it was a Cadillac SUV. I guess it cost about as much as her yearly salary, if not more. Her husband is a Texas state trooper supervisor, so not some investor high roller. I wonder what she thought when she saw my 18 year old Honda. I know she was surprised when directed I her to some tiny immigrant owned garage in a working class neighborhood. I trust yelp, and like supporting small businesses.

The sexism in the workplace is palpable. The women working the treatment machines are 'the girls'. I am the only women physicist out of four. I am also the only one with a PhD (another use for education - trying to level the field). I had to ask one of the others to not use the word 'Puss' to describe someone else. Grrr. Not in my presence.

In that context, amongst some other things, I want this job to end soon. I would have actually walked off two weeks ago except I want to retain my good relationship with this recruiting company.

Under the cloud of all that, I get an offer by the newest physicist (the new chief) to stay on a few months into January and February. He and I have the same work ethic so get along well. It is a bird in the hand in uncertain times. Contrast that with my plans to spend the winter in LA writing a novel to get my new career started. The timing is because 1. winter and 2. I can sit in on a class at my old school where every student is also writing a book in ten weeks (60k words minimum) I'm torn. I had decided this morning to keep my end date in December, but haven't told anyone yet so can change my mind on Monday. My existence is pretty fragile right now - I have my singular (granted high) income source. Even with working with four different agencies, as well as independently, it feels crappy to not have another strong alternative income source already rolling.

My living expense 'envelope' is fairly flush so I'd be good for a while even without the extension.

My mind is weighing: earn my 2017 401k contribution immediately verses working on getting a income source going that might eventually pay enough to live on *if* I do it right. Going by the Wheaton scale, the smartest thing to do is reduce fragility.

My experiments with the high pressure cooker have gone well. I have not used it as much as I thought I would, because frankly I can't eat food that fast! Haven't spent a dime at the work cafeteria last this week. Even splurging on a grass fed tenderloin steak for dinner one night, I'm still way ahead just by not buying lunches at work.

Not a word about the job in WI. Just as well. F Wisconsin. They killed that Saudi student in the rural area I'd be working at. It's time to be in the (relative) safety of a blue state.

Not too impressed with the general populace's ignorance of history - or even current events. The mess that is Syria was triggered by a peaceful public protest that ended up in a massacre. Turkey is the grip of a similar dictator type. He is planning on building 174 prisons to house all the professors and librarians he has rounded up (35k+ people!). How long before he decides to just kill them all, like China did with the intellectuals? Things can change faster than you can imagine.

Has anyone heard about the story of three aircraft crashing on a runway? One craft clipped another on the runway, tearing off it's roof. A survivor on that craft tells of her, and others, being in shock - just sitting in their seats staring forward. Her partner had to scream at her, and shake her to get her to move. Just as the two of them crawl off the plane to safety, along with some stewardesses who had tried and failed to immobilize others, another plane crashes into the damaged plane, killing the remainder.

The image of the people on board immobilized by shock is a haunting one.

I think that is what happens at first with dramatic social change - the ones who survive are the ones who move.

So another task in the upcoming months is to get my italian passport together, both for me and my family. I'm also thinking about applying for a job in Aus. Not my top choice but nothing is open in NZ right now. Go I'm too old to get in on points alone - need a job offer. Much as I'd hate a permanent full time job. And it sounds like Australia might have some facist issues going on itself... going to have to learn more first.

If the passport and/or job are not needed, fantastic. I'd much rather stay here.
Last edited by CS on Sat Nov 12, 2016 5:41 am, edited 4 times in total.

DutchGirl
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by DutchGirl » Sat Nov 12, 2016 5:29 am

Hi CS,

I'm glad I don't live in the US at this moment. But on the other hand, my country, the Netherlands, isn't doing that great, either. Elections coming up in spring, and we have an idiotic political candidate too, who might win votes as well. Unfortunately. People are pretty weird, aren't they?

I hope things aren't going to be as bad as you think they will be. Being in a blue state indeed may shield you from the worst consequences of the voters' choices. Good luck!

CS
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by CS » Sat Nov 12, 2016 5:56 am

Hi DutchGirl,

Thanks. Yeah, I'd heard you guys were dealing with that too. It's a horror show - people struggling seem to just want to stick it to others when they've had enough. Or maybe it's just desperation. Whatever the source, it seems to be a deep seated part of human psychology. We are deep in an oncoming wave of destructiveness. Our current period of peace has been the longest in recent history... shockingly long, actually.

We are just a few days post election here and already some (most?) campaign promises that got him here are on the table if not outright broken. No term limits for congress - gone, shaking up Washington - gone (he is appointing longtime politicians), the ACA healthcare might stay after all, or at least the most important parts, but also the parts that would bankrupt the insurance companies. This man knows nothing about policy, much less complex systems.

I just hope no country treads on his fragile ego enough to trigger a nuke strike in the next few years. Turkey seems intent on needling the US. That is just not a good idea right now. Two narcs go head to head, blowing the human race to smithereens.

I truly hope it doesn't get that bad too - but four days and not a word against the violence in his name is not a good sign. Kids in schools are out and out telling the minorities they are going to go. Attacks are up. People are threatening to 'grab women by the pussy' because now everyone can get away with it.

I am worried about one of my teachers. He is a prominent and outspoken muslim scholar. In the short term he has the resources to protect himself. But a national registry?

DutchGirl
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by DutchGirl » Sat Nov 12, 2016 8:39 am

Ouch. That sounds an awful lot like the national registry they started on the jews, WW2, and which then meant it was awfully easy to pick them up and kill them. I hope enough people in the US will have enough historical awareness to rally against that idea.

I also don't see why the government needs to know what religion you have. I guess lots of governments disagree with me (the German one, for example), but I don't see why it would matter to a government.

henrik
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by henrik » Sun Nov 13, 2016 3:46 am

DutchGirl wrote:I also don't see why the government needs to know what religion you have. I guess lots of governments disagree with me (the German one, for example), but I don't see why it would matter to a government.
The German government has a practical reason for it - they collect tax on behalf of the church. You can always just declare no affiliation, it's easier and cheaper:) Then again who knows.. rounding up atheists might also be something someone will deem necessary to save the society at some point.

DutchGirl
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by DutchGirl » Sun Nov 13, 2016 5:39 am

henrik wrote:
DutchGirl wrote:I also don't see why the government needs to know what religion you have. I guess lots of governments disagree with me (the German one, for example), but I don't see why it would matter to a government.
The German government has a practical reason for it - they collect tax on behalf of the church.
Yes, but that is something where I don't see why the government should have to do that. If a church wants to have money from its followers, it should convince them to give them that money and it should have its own system of collecting that money. Why have the government involved in it? Why pay civil servants to collect money on behalf of several different churches?

I come to understand that in Germany this has grown historically after world war two, the churches were supposed to keep citizens from doing immoral things like those that had happened during WW2 (nevermind that most Germans were christians before and during world war two anyway). Still, that they decided that this was the best option, back then, doesn't mean that it actually is the best option. So, again, I see no reason why the German government would need to know to which religious faith one belongs.

henrik
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by henrik » Sun Nov 13, 2016 8:59 am

@DutchGirl, I absolutely agree with you. My point was that the government doesn't necessarily "disagree with you", it's just that they've been given the task by the legislative powers (i.e. "the people") and they need the information to carry it out. You're right that the solution would be to take away the task.

CS
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by CS » Tue Nov 22, 2016 10:53 pm

That involvement of the government in with the church seems eminently disagreeable. And yes, Atheists make just as good a target as any other in some people's minds.

Been feeling a bit down lately. Perhaps too much work. Perhaps the uncertainty of life here now...

In CA for a week doing coverage on a job that will probably bring me repeat business every year. That's good (I think... uncertainty again). It's in the east bay - coincidentally where Rachel Maddow was born, which delights me. I learned that on her website recently (there is no cable here), where I also learned that she lives in or near Northampton, the location of my favorite travel job ever.

Wisconsin got back to me (surprise). I have an interview for a chief position. Crap. Mixed feelings on that one. And a lot of frustration that I'm still dealing with trading my life energy for dollars in my late forties. If only I had been just a wee bit smarter with money in my youth - at least I've only worked full time for about 7 years of my life.

401k is maxed out for the year, the money is set aside for IRA, HSA and SEP, and enough non-retirement funds to last me for a year without work. All told it is about 50% savings rate. Am I the only one with nearly all my money in retirement funds? Thank goodness for 72t if needed.

I did some research on writing romance novels a week or so ago. Read a few by an author on Amazon that claims to be making a few thousand a month selling at the $2.99 price point. I could tell she wrote them fast - and didn't splurge for a picky editor. Not so much typos (few), but a few gaps where she had clearly rewritten something and forgotten to match up a detail here and there. The writing was so simple. All first person, little time spent setting the scene or carefully laying out backstory to come back later. But I think I could tell why people buy them... they want to see the satisfaction of having their characters win.

On the flip side, I'm reading Rainbow's End by Vernor Vinge. He's on the edge for me: his character and setting are a bit like literary science fiction. Lots of thought provoking detail. But sometimes I struggle to stay in the story.

I'm also reading Lolita. I fell in love with Nabokov's writing in "Speak: Memory". But somehow, knowing just a bit about this story drags on me. I'm not sure it's a world I want to know more about.

Looking forward to get back to Southern California. Not a fan of either the cold or the dark - and when working that is what greets me every evening. There is a monthly MFA/PhD sci fi book club at my old school that I plan on attending this winter. I'm excited to see everyone again.

I'm also excited to get back to waking at the decent hour of 9 am, writing until noon, and then... perhaps dating? It's a thought.

CS
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by CS » Wed Dec 07, 2016 2:25 pm

I'm coming to realize just how much time I can waste ruminating. Sometimes it is effective, like when planning out the most efficient way to save money, but sometimes it gets in the way, like when I've got the problem figured out and now need to put any further time into something productive.

Does anyone else do that?

I keep thinking about the three week position I turned down in Northern CA because it would conflict with my planned time in Southern CA. It was good money for an easy stint. But I think paying yourself first doesn't just include money - it has to include time too. I mean, that is why we are doing this, right? For control over our time?


Financials:
164-206 months of expenses saved up - depending on how credit I'll get for the health insurance payments (affecting my monthly costs)

My current big obsession is reaching 500k saved. Should happen some time in the next 24 months, barring something unusual.

Having some misgivings about the PP, but then again, things are so uncertain, this doesn't feel like the right time to make big changes either. It might be the perfect time to be in it.

It is just a faulty, (uninformed) perception of mine that there is just too much money, from too many people, floating around? It seems to have flooded the market. People don't know where to put their cash. I hope we are not (but fear we are) in the midst of a cycle that will thin the herd. Having half the population would solve many problems.

News:
Had a Skype type interview with WI after all. Was asked if I was good in conflict (can I stand up to people). Sure I am, but do I want to deal with that for a job in a place I don't want to live? Probably not. The recruiter is persuasive though... Or perhaps I am susceptible to pressure. Need to work on that.

Plan for 2017:
Earn enough to cover a year (April to April 2018), save at least that much again (MMM Wheaton level), and have a check from Amazon by the end of the year. I don't care if the check is for $1. I want to have my first book sale.

DutchGirl
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by DutchGirl » Thu Dec 08, 2016 11:25 am

Ruminating. Yup, I do it too. And it definitely helps, sometimes. Sometimes other people are running around panicking, and I'm the one who is already working on the solution, because I had already thought about what to do if this were to happen. Sometimes people accuse me of being cold when I don't react like they do - shocked and overwhelmed. So that's a downside, as is spending too much time ruminating, and fearing things that will never happen...

And remember that the recruiter's job is to connect a worker (employee/contractor) to a specific job; if they can convince you to take that job, they will get money. Doesn't mean that it's a good job for you. Actually, this particular one doesn't sound like a good job for you at all. I assume that you'll have different options, too? I see this with my boyfriend, sometimes he says "no" to an opportunity, and then the next one will present itself within 1-2 months...

I think your observation is correct, CS, to me it also feels like everyone is investing these days, because savings accounts bring in hardly any money. People start exploring other options, but people also generally aren't very good at that. They just seem to jump in, and transfer money to anyone promising them "more money". I see it with Dutch bloggers who are all blabbering about P2P-lending (a very new market in the Netherlands) and also about at least one multilevel-marketing scam...

Still, doesn't mean you and I can't just keep going.

CS
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by CS » Wed Aug 23, 2017 4:06 pm

Wow, it has been a long time since posting here. Lots has changed.

I ended up working two (and the third is coming up) temp jobs instead of taking off a lot of time as planned. At the end of this third job, I'll have ~485-490k saved, depending on how well I do with frugal housing. Which means I am so close to 500k that some earnings might get me there by the end of the year anyhow!

I've also temporary moved home and resigned, no, resolved to stay there for a year after this job - at least until I can get on my feet with the writing, aka a new way to make income. At any rate, I could live off of 3% of my savings while home. I asked about paying some rent, but was rebuffed.. think mom just wants me around for now. I'll take it... for now.

My plan is to let the blood money from hated current career multiple while I spend like madwoman all earnings from the new career. (Well, unless I really starting making some change, then it will be more savings of course.) The savings should double over the next decade if I lucky (it's invested right now in PP). If I'm really lucky, I'll have too much new money coming to take Social security at 62 1/2.

There is a slight possibility this last temp job will extend into the new year, which I would take just to get the Solo 401k funded for 2018 and then some. Really want this to be the last job in this field - between the recruiters spreading my personal info far and wide in some sort of identity theft dare to the universe, and the last job sorta sucking to the point I quit without notice (never done that before), that I'm ready for a change. I sometimes marvel that people do just fine without being a *******, like I am. I want to be one of those people.

What else - not going to talk politics here - other threads for that.

I did sign up for a dating service and had good luck - or rather an overwhelming amount of attention resulting in the rather ironic outcome that I sort of ran away and am still alone. Need to buck up and deal with that I think. I did post about wanting the simple life, yada, yada... which went over well. If they think it's code for "she's a cheap date", then they would be right. Just don't expect me to have lots of the latest fashion, etc. Umm, no.

But it's rather difficult to date when going to another state for 4-6 months. I told a few guys I'd be back this fall - now what do I tell them? Sheesh. Maybe I'll just date in that new state, which would open a whole new can of worms. Or I could just enjoy it for the moment and go home. Worked out okay this spring, so maybe.

The biggest struggle I'm having right now is lack of community. I don't need much of one, but with all this traveling I've missed all the Sisters in Crime meetings locally. Perhaps I'll look up the Portland chapter (location of fall job) and hit that up. The local chapter dues should be $20 or less, and it can be a business expense. It IS a business expense - must work on that thinking, eh?

Totally unrelated note, if anyone knows how to get strikethrough text to work in the journals without being an admin, please let me know... I wasted too much time trying to figure that one out.

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fiby41
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by fiby41 » Thu Aug 24, 2017 12:56 am

CS wrote:
Wed Aug 23, 2017 4:06 pm
Totally unrelated note, if anyone knows how to get strikethrough text to work in the journals without being an admin, please let me know... I wasted too much time trying to figure that one out.
Even the admin uses ^H^H^H to emulate strike through text. :lol: You can copy paste strikethrough text though.

CS
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by CS » Thu Aug 24, 2017 11:02 am

Well that answers that on the strike through! Going to have to play around with the copy and paste option. Thanks for the tip fiby41.

Been reading "The Intelligent Investor". It seems to be a 101 basics on value investing. I've skipped a bit ahead just to learn more about stock analysis - something that has felt like a black box until now. Excited to learn this stuff. Not sure if it will be enough to lure me away from a total stock index fund, but perhaps. Things take a while to sink in.

Also got my local library card (finally) and was able to link it up to the much larger, neighboring county library system. Which means access to a slew more books, including ebooks. Pretty happy about that. (It's not as bad as it sounds, I've been out of town for much of the year... excuses, excuses)

CS
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by CS » Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:41 pm

So, been thinking about the next step now that 'retirement' is approximately 52 days of work away. (Semi-retirement, could be full, whatever... it's freedom).

I've been reading a lot of blogs lately - Lacking Ambition, Mad Fientist, Retired Syd (thanks Lacking Ambition for that one), JLCollins, and this persistent one that keeps sending stuff to my inbox, Jeff Goins. I keep going back to The Minimalists, but am consistently disappointed in their focus on podcasts. I can read much faster than I can listen - and have little patience for audio these days (unless it is an audio book by Anthony Trollope and I'm driving cross country.)

Doing a google search on blogs for middle aged women talking about existential questions came up with not much. There are recipes sites, and flowers, and homemaker stuff (how our family lives on 14,000 a year, etc) - but these are mostly younger women. Part of the problem is 1. women are busy taking care of everyone else (selfish == bad, also why blogging about the home is okay), 2. Statistically speaking men will read male authors, while women will read men and women authors, this leaves half the audience for women to mine (this is true for books - can I extrapolate to blogs? I'm going to say yes), 3. We women are tired as shit by the time we reach middle age.

The thing is I'm also angry as shit.

Yes, angry.

That dirty little word that is especially bad for women to express. Because, frankly, angry people are scary to be around. I get it.

But it could also be a good thing, because all that anger could be channeled into courage to stop doing 'The Dance'. It takes a hella lot of courage to stop doing 'the dance'.

What is the dance, you ask?

-The dance is going to brunch with your girlfriend and her husband, having a great conversation, only to have to curb it to talk about the husband so he will stop sulking.
-The dance is having to politely ignore when the retirement aged husband puts his hands over his ears and sings 'lalalala' when his wife and two friends talk about how much they love Hillary Clinton (imagine a woman doing that to her husband). I could have punched him. Instead we changed the topic to him talking non-stop about himself. Ass.
-The dance is having to smile politely when you are touched inappropriately at work. You dance away, but discretely, (The ultimate dance skill, eh?)
-The dance is having to tolerate a Wonder Woman with fucking wedge heels, because fucking what - it helps with Amazon warrior training?! Bonus question - Who was doing the dance there - the director? The producer? The audience (tolerate it or no more female lead movies for you!)

Dances from my past -
- Finding lab partners were lazy as fuck, who would let me do all the work, which was the only way to get listened to/get my hands on the gear.
- Switching to to temporary work, so when I was ignored at work, I could shrug my shoulders and let it go because 'not my problem' anyhow.
- Finding a husband with not much going on, so I could lead the way (bad strategy, don't recommend... go for equal, or not at all).
- Walking away from careers where the battle to succeed as a woman was too much to fight (sad, survivalist, also not a great strategy). Film directing was a good example - a man with a shitty beard and a baseball cap and little to no experience has better luck than a woman with a successful first picture under her belt. This is true all the way up, or especially so, at the blockbuster level.
- Shutting the hell up about successes and hoping someone notices. This can work, but there are no promises. Because the only thing worse than an angry woman, is a successful women who is proud of her accomplishments... So make yourself indispensable, but don't commit the cardinal sin of asking for ANYTHING (and 'Respect' is a thing, don't cha know?)

Going back to my list about searching for women bloggers, point three is ironic, because it is precisely at this point when women realize how deeply entrenched misogyny in this culture is, how much it has cost us, how 'it won't happen to me' is so not, not, true. (It HAS happened to you buttercup - did you smile when it did to make them happy??)

The thing is - do I really want to write about all this? Do I want open that well of rage? I don't know. Plus blogging, successfully, is a dang lot of work. It needs constantly posting - substantial content - with a lot of revealing. I haven't even been able to post here consistently for crying out loud, how realistic would it be to think I could do such a thing?

I've come up with a list of topics to start with - things I have to say now. A few of them are:

The cost of keeping doors open
Midlife crisis
Optimizing your life (your time)
Choose something, for now
Fear based reality, or how they keep you working
Boundaries, or what MSRP have you set for yourself?
Minimalism for commitments
The dance (see rant above)

Does any of that sound interesting? Perhaps not to this crew. The problem is, just where the heck ARE all the women?

Side note, I have two, possibly three, meetings with Sisters in Crime authors coming up. These are predominately middle aged women writing books. This makes me happy. So I guess I've found some of them.

CS
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by CS » Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:06 pm

Also, I'll state this clearly, I do appreciate what the male bloggers have written, but holy hell, I want to read some women's voices as well.

Scott 2
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by Scott 2 » Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:14 pm

There's no shortage of women rallying against the patriarchy. While they tend to be younger, I wonder if there aren't more experienced women behind the veil, using who society pays attention to, in selling their message.

The biggest downside of a blog presence like you've described, is the trolls it will invite. My wife teaches plus size yoga, she's opted keep a very constrained web presence, due to the troll hassles. It's just not worth it.

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sl-owl-orris
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by sl-owl-orris » Wed Oct 11, 2017 5:21 pm

@CS
What you wrote resonates with me on many levels. Inspired by that I started a separate topic here.

Even today I saw something interesting. When we have evaluations at work we need to ask our colleagues for feedback. Since I recently started, one of the managers showed us examples of feedback he wrote for some other colleagues in the past, just to give us an idea of how it should look like. I noticed that he described men as competent, trustworthy, focused, creative, driven etc. He listed their achievements. However, when he was giving feedback about women he described them as friendly, outgoing, elegant and helpful. In the achievement section, he mentioned things such as ‘adapted well to changes’, ‘is well liked across the office’ etc. In short, men’s feedback was about their work and skills, while women’s feedback was about their personality. It’s hard to get a promotion if all they write about you is that you’re nice.

CS
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by CS » Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:44 pm

@Scott 2
Yeah, I'm a little afraid of the troll blowback. But women suffragettes were outright beaten, and still they persisted. Resorting to physical violence to contain women is age old.

Actually, and this is anecdotal, but anecdotal over a lot of women, it seems a lot of the younger women have a 'it won't happen to me' attitude. I posit this is based on a few things.
1. The naiveté of youth. (Why they think they are invincible too)
2. Inexperience (related to 1, but in a more in-depth "It will beat you down like you didn't think possible" sort of way.)
3. Ignorance of history.

It was not that long ago women could not have credit in their own name, or own property. Getting the vote came before credit. And all those things can vanish in a heart beat. Look at Iran. Look at Syria (caused in part by water, btw, which I'm guessing is the next peak thing - or perhaps a place to live that stays under 104 degrees most of year).

By the time women are 40 or 50, they've been shit on enough, had their ideas stolen, been ignored, made less money and had less opportunities to understand it was NOT PERSONAL. There was, often, was jack shit they could have done without banding together with other women and really putting some effort into it. When you are young, this sort of powerlessness is inconceivable.


@sl-owl-orris
That sucks on your review examples. Did you state your observations to your manager? He probably doesn't even know he's doing it, but once you bring it to his attention, you might see a change. If you don't, then perhaps a new job is order.

Also, one thing that makes fair job reviews harder is this - Men are assumed competent, until (any perhaps not even then) proven otherwise. Women are assumed incompetent. This colors all judgment of the results of either sex.

One glorious example of this thinking was the comment two scientists had about their (unknown to them) transgender colleague. Paraphrasing "She does good work, but not as good as her brother." The SAME PERSON. The ONLY thing different was the gender. This article is pretty succinct about the effects:
https://newrepublic.com/article/119239/ ... vance-work

Another article:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 01883.html

This is why, in the words of MMM, I want to face punch any man who whines about how hard it is to make it. Trying making it when the base assumption about you is incompetence. THIS is why I have a PhD (besides the fact the project was fun). Just to have some credence to compete the slew of MSs out there.

Also, someday I'll post about the idiot physics professors who wouldn't work on my project because I didn't use the same terms for MR spin that they did. And pretty outright rude about it, something I doubt they would do with a male student. I ended up having a physics advisor who worked on the gravity wave team. He thought out of the box, same as with my Biophysics advisor. We were doing cutting edge research in making Quantum Computers with MRI machines. They had a golden opportunity. Whatever. Now, no-one can get tenure without some sort of biology. Too bad for them.

Maybe that last thing isn't so much male/female thing, but more a "it's not incremental research so it scares the bejesus out of me" thing. Still, I don't think they would have been as rude to a guy.
--

Woke up this morning to the shit storm of Bernie BS Sanders being the opening speaker at the Women's convention. With 'friends' like that, FML.

CS
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by CS » Sat Oct 14, 2017 4:05 pm

Okay, well a day or so to cool off and yeah - pretty clear I don't want to be a blogger. At least right now.

Today's next career tasks is outlining a book by an author I admire. Transcribing worked when I was learning to make music was an excellent way to learn - this will probably teach a lot as well.

Okay, so here is a completely non ERE thing - I am lusting after a Ford Fiesta SE Manual. I could get the thing new for 12k. It is so fun to drive. (Yeah, yeah, yeah - I KNOW. Not right! BAD er person, BAD!). The reason I'm considering it is that I have a 1999 Honda Civic, bought new, that has been so, so wonderful. But it needs (probably) a new AC Condenser, A new CA Catalytic converter, new engine seals and probably all new hosing since my radiation main hose broke last year and it was only with luck and the help of guys outside a gas station that I was able to save it from overheating.

That night I also learned how to top off radiator fluid in an empty parking lot 20 miles from home, because we had not bled the thing before I ran off to my engagement and I could not drive more than a few miles before the temperature started shooting up. It was oddly super satisfying, even when it was 11 pm and I was doing this under some underpowered streetlight in an unfamiliar neighborhood. My smart phone paid for itself that day.

So why the Fiesta?
This car is like a go-cart for adults, It is the best car I've driven since... my current car. It doesn't feel like an overgrown turd lumbering down the road to squish everything out of it's way.
Plus, I love stick shift cars. (They are a dying breed in this country. Don't cha know?)

And specially, the Fiesta is no more in the USA after 2017. Because Ford hates us (or we are stupid and only buy gas guzzling pieces of shi-- I mean stylish SUVs). Something like that.

One the flip side, my main character is my mystery series is a female mechanic so I could (should?) undertake some of these repairs myself as research. Or find a garage that will work with me (I think I have actually) on doing a mix of DIY and their help.

I have tons of space (during the summer at least) to undertake this - and a backup car I could borrow if needed from dear old mom. So, why isn't this a no brainer?

I want both!

I am like that stupid Donkey in Predictably Irrational that can't decide between two bales of hay and ends up dying of starvation.

Also, I don't 'need' the 12k to make my retirement goals, which makes this whole thing with the indecision so infuriating. Wtf.

Happy Saturday y'all.

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Chris
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by Chris » Sat Oct 14, 2017 11:39 pm

Used 2017 Fiestas will be available in 2018, right?

Have you considered which car you would rather have be in a statistically-inevitable crash? I think about this with my (older) car. As long as you're driving, road incidents will occur. It's only a matter of time before a crash/theft/meteor happens. If I had to choose, I'd pick my current car.

If the catalytic converter just bolts in-line, it's certainly something you can do yourself. And if halfway through you realize you can't the car is still drivable.

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