Tyler9000's Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
jacob
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Re: Tyler9000's Journal

Post by jacob » Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:31 pm

Tyler9000 wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:28 am
Once I started vomiting, had trouble putting two words together, and thought I was going to pass out ...
I don't know man. To me that doesn't sound any different than reading or writing in the comment section on youtube or yahoo :P

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Tyler9000
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Re: Tyler9000's Journal

Post by Tyler9000 » Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:36 pm

@Jacob -- :lol: First paramedic question: "Sir, have you read any youtube comments today?"

@ffj -- No need to be so self-critical. Thanks!

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Re: Tyler9000's Journal

Post by wolf » Sun Feb 04, 2018 6:57 am

Tyler9000 wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:38 pm
Lately I've been thinking about using ERE coupled with my new work gig to partially disable my ingrained savers mindset and live a little. Now that retirement is covered and maximizing savings is no longer a primary concern, I can instead use my PT work income to live "paycheck to paycheck" in a cool, walkable, but expensive part of town I wouldn't have previously considered when I was thinking of retirement finance as a closed system. I'll still have FIRE-level investments backing me up and continuing to grow in the background, but an outside observer will just see a surprisingly happy and relaxed guy casually working 3 days a week to barely cover expenses. New adventures enabled by stealth wealth.
Hi Tyler9000, do you have any updates regarding your PT-"paycheck to paycheck"-Hipster-Lifestyle? :D

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Re: Tyler9000's Journal

Post by Tyler9000 » Sun Feb 04, 2018 1:05 pm

wolf wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 6:57 am
Hi Tyler9000, do you have any updates regarding your PT-"paycheck to paycheck"-Hipster-Lifestyle? :D
We knew all along that making the move is probably more of a spring/summer thing thanks to the housing market cycle and the need to sell our home. Spring is sneaking up and we're definitely still interested, although a family development has made us re-think the plan a little.

Our old cat that we've had for ~16 years has recently become a little senile and developed a habit of screaming bloody murder for attention, which makes her a problematic neighbor and a terrible roommate in a small space. Standalone house rentals could be a workable solution but are a lot harder to come by in the part of town we're interested in. Luckily we're in no real hurry and can be patient until we find something we like. Otherwise we've joked that we feel like parents waiting for the last teenager to move out so we can finally be empty-nesters and do what we want. :)

Aside from that timing detail, I do very much like the idea and think it could be fun. And in the meantime, I've come to appreciate that you really don't have to live downtown to embrace the part time hipster lifestyle. Simply being "that guy" who strolls into work three days a week and generally never falls into the mental morass of deep work stress really is kinda nice. Happiness is less about where you live and more about how you live.

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Re: Tyler9000's Journal

Post by suomalainen » Sun Feb 04, 2018 7:29 pm

Tyler9000 wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 1:05 pm
Our old cat that we've had for ~16 years has recently become a little senile and developed a habit of screaming bloody murder for attention, which makes her a problematic neighbor and a terrible roommate in a small space...we've joked that we feel like parents waiting for the last teenager to move out so we can finally be empty-nesters and do what we want. :)
Have you considered euthanasia?

Asked no one, ever, and certainly not me.

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Re: Tyler9000's Journal

Post by Tyler9000 » Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:01 pm

Seems a little harsh, as life is pretty darn good for me right now.

Oh wait... you're talking about the cat. Nah, we're good. =^.^=

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Re: Tyler9000's Journal

Post by Tyler9000 » Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:41 pm

Easy Mode

Back when I was a young engineer, I worked for a while in a very large company subdivided into so many sites and sub-groups that it was hard to keep up with it all. My DW actually worked at the same company and in a similar engineering role but at a different site, and it was always kinda funny how we could relate to similar work stories but understand so little about the exact tasks we were each responsible for. That’s life in a big company. I remember feeling a little lost at times, but one of the constants I could count on was my engineering manager. He was one of the legitimately nicest and most well-grounded human beings I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with, and he was full of great advice not only for the office but also for life in general.

One conversation sticks out more than others. I was sitting in his office talking about something innocuous like the company 401k, and I remember him casually leaning forward and saying “You know – If you don’t have a million dollars saved by the time you’re 40, you’re doing something wrong.” For context, I was just a young kid with student loan debt, car payments, and a small apartment. I also came from a very meager background and had an entire lifetime of memories of parents, family, and friends being stressed about money. And to top it all off, it was about 2003 with the 90’s stock bubble that made him wealthy fully in the rear-view mirror. So there I was, sitting across from my 40-something mentor who basically just outed himself as rich and out of touch with no concept of what normal people deal with. I pretty much filed that away as one of his rare missteps and went on with my life.

It took several years before I had enough experience and maturity to fully appreciate what he told me. Young me misinterpreted his comment as a broad statement that he believed applied to all people and made him sound ridiculous, when in fact I later figured out he was talking about me specifically with full knowledge of my wife's job as well. While he was far too polite to say it, he could have equally said “You have no idea how good you have it, kid. Don’t blow it.” Luckily, while it took me a while to understand his motivation I never forgot his message, and I credit that manager as one of the positive influences on my own financial journey. Fast forward to 40, and I may not be where I am today without people like him willing to put himself out there and offer a different and even controversial perspective compared to what you hear every day.

Recently a conversation on the forum brought up the term “easy mode” in financial independence, where high income spoils some in the FI blogosphere into a false sense of savings accomplishment. While I admit I sorta resent the implication that my own hard work and personal choices (studying instead of partying, engineering degree, dedicating life to career, etc) were in any way “easy”, I totally understand the concept. Looking at my income over the years, my old manager would agree that my path to future wealth was relatively easy provided I didn’t waste my opportunity, and looking back I’m thankful that someone pointed it out.

I may have indeed accumulated on easy mode, but just because something is easy doesn’t mean everyone takes advantage of their gifts. I worked with many people who made way more than I did, and it’s amazing how many are still struggling to save. Likewise, I’ve met people with far less income opportunity who are even more financially secure than I am as a result of their impressive skills (carpentry, gardening, machine repair, etc) that allow them to provide for themselves rather than pay others for goods and services. So many people are blind to the opportunities that come and go every day, easy to dismiss success stories as outliers rather than positive examples. No two people will follow the exact same life path, but that doesn’t mean the desired destination is unreachable.

Think about the personal opportunities you have in front of you right now. Not just the income opportunities, but ones built around each of your personal strengths. Now imagine a wiser older person sitting across the table from you and giving sincere advice free from your own mental baggage and preconceptions. What would he say?

Listen. And don’t blow it.
Last edited by Tyler9000 on Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Tyler9000's Journal

Post by BRUTE » Sat Apr 21, 2018 2:06 pm

Tyler9000 wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:41 pm
my own hard work and personal choices (studying instead of partying, engineering degree, dedicating life to career, etc)
brute always found typing way more enjoyable than partying, and why wouldn't he get a degree in something that's fun?

this doesn't mean brute wants to belittle Tyler9000's accomplishments. but he thinks that the puritan work ethic narrative isn't necessary to justify being proud of accomplishments and a moral justification to keep the accumulated shit.

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Re: Tyler9000's Journal

Post by Tyler9000 » Sat Apr 21, 2018 2:41 pm

No worries. I definitely don't believe one path is suitable for all people. Everyone is different.

To the extent that my comment reads as defending the puritan work ethic, I really only meant to critique the mindset that any appearance of ease is a result of unattainable aptitude or circumstance rather than hard-earned mastery. Think of it in terms of putting in your own 10,000 hours towards whatever goal you care about.

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Re: Tyler9000's Journal

Post by bryan » Sat Apr 21, 2018 5:19 pm

It doesn't take much looking to see how anything can be truly relatively easier, harder and by a large order. For example, working in the US tech sector of the last 20+ years: a mediocre CS grad or self-taught programmer from the bay area is in much more of an easy mode than a programmer in Nebraska, Germany, France/UK, Japan/China/Korea, Ukraine/India, etc. The least one can do is be humble and avoid jealousy, anger.

The (as perceived by me) waste (of resources, opportunities, etc) is kind of disappointing but also understandable.

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Re: Tyler9000's Journal

Post by ThisDinosaur » Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:46 pm

Easy Mode/ Hard Mode is a misnomer. We use it around here to separate people by whether or not they ever achieved a six figure income. Or maybe whether they need more or less than 1 million to be FI. But it's probably not fair to call either of those accomplishments "easy."

I see occasional jealousy from hard mode people here as well as defensiveness from the easy mode high-earners. One noteworthy thing about this forum is that the high earners can frequently learn more from the Hard Mode people than the other way around.

I think it's a matter of niches and a personal economic calculation about whether a particular individual is better served becoming a high net worth specialist, or a low-spending generalist. We shouldn't all have the same strategy.

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Re: Tyler9000's Journal

Post by oldbeyond » Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:35 am

It is of course relatively easier to FIRE on a 100k income than on a 30k one all things equal, but that doesn't mean that easy in a absolute sense, certainly not a sort of expected outcome. It is a major accomplishment and something to feel proud about.

It takes wisdom to see the fields of possibilities and probabilities clearly, and then focus your energies where you have agency. I guess that's stoicism. I.e people harping on EZ-moders grasp the socioeconomics, but it's likely wasted energy on a personal level, serving as an excuse not to deal with their own challenges. I think a lot of discussions of politics, personality etc fall into that trap.

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Re: Tyler9000's Journal

Post by IlliniDave » Sun Apr 22, 2018 4:55 am

It used to rankle me a little to hear the set of references in the vein of "easy mode"* that nowadays seems to get captured in the "X privilege" language. I guess it still does a little, but in a different way. I was back home recently and spent time with a broader cross section of my family than normal. I have a good-sized batch of cousins and we are mostly similar in age, all grew up in the same neighborhood, went to the same schools, etc. Same is true for most of their spouses. I was really distressed by how deeply victimhood had become part of their self-identities. A couple of them truly have had more than their fair share of life's negative vagaries. But many of them seem to have just given up and place all their hope on some external entity giving them a break (mostly government and/or politicians). It really saddens me to hear the various dismissive, sometimes pejorative, way individual success is labeled. By focusing the attribution too heavily on the outward differences between groups of people rather than internal qualities we all share, I'm afraid we tend to discourage people from believing they can make a difference in their own lives.

I wish I'd had your supervisor as a young engineer!

*I don't think "easy mode" in ERE context is meant to have the same kind of implication as something like "class privilege" in everyday discourse might, it's just that the prevalence of terms like the latter tend to make a "loaded" interpretation echo when hearing the words together.

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Re: Tyler9000's Journal

Post by BRUTE » Sun Apr 22, 2018 1:18 pm

brute often gets the impression that "easy mode" makes humans in the accumulation phase of their own "hard mode" game jealous, or creates a sort of "if us hard mode humans had that kind of income, we'd be FI in 3 days!" mentality.

brute would like to point out that how hard something is can't easily be compared between humans, just as how much a human values something can't be easily compared in economics.

what might seem impossibly hard to give up to human 1 might be easy for human 2. some of it is likely malleable, or discipline, or "ERE skill", but brute believes the majority is just already there.

brute finds it very trivial to give up certain luxuries and even "necessities" that humans tell him they could never give up. other things are such a staple of his life that he'd rather never FI than give them up.

brute believes it is somewhat similar with income - because it's impossible to compare how hard it was for e.g. Tyler9000 to go to school and learn engineering and do well in that career, compared to how hard it was for someone else to end up on food stamps, the whole protestant work ethic narrative strikes him as ill-fitting. and brute honestly doesn't believe that income potential and difficulty correlate very much. brute makes what is probably considered well into easy-mode income, but has never made any "hard" decisions or used "discipline" to work at his career - he just kind of fell into everything and into every single decision, and somehow ended up places.

similarly, what are the odds that any given human will end up finding out about FIRE or even ERE? brute forgets how he found ERE originally, but it's hard to believe that he would've even gotten onto the path without reading the book.

so maybe finding ERE is another dimension on which humans can be on easy mode?

brute thinks the real easy mode comes from happening to like a high income potential career, while also happening to have relatively cheap desires. if brute had his income potential and Dear Leader Jacob's lifestyle desires/mentality, he could ERE in a year or less. in fact, brute does have much more expensive desires than Dear Leader Jacob seems to. from what brute has read, the most expensive hobby Dear Leader Jacob ever displayed interest in was building computers. that's maybe a $2,000/yr hobby. brute has the hobby of going unreasonable fast when twisting his right wrist. this hobby doesn't even start at $2,000/yr, but is still easily doable on an easy-mode income. but what if a human had the hobby of driving red, Italian, mid-engined vehicles? brute is not convinced humans choose their hobbies.

to throw it back at the hard-mode humans: isn't it much easier to live with such cheap desires? that's another easy-mode right there.

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Re: Tyler9000's Journal

Post by jacob » Sun Apr 22, 2018 3:47 pm

I'm old/young enough to remember Magic The Gathering. Success in that game depended on four things:
1) What kind of cards you owned. Since almost everybody arrived at their inventory by buying it or swapping it (in my neck of the woods, nobody ever played for cards), what kind of cards you owned was very much determined by how much money you had sunk into the game. Some individual cards (Black Lotus) now trade for more than $10,000.
2) What kind of deck you built out of the cards you owned. When we were noobs, we tended to pick a color and included everything we owned. Later some of us started to very deliberately design for optimizing probabilities for certain combinations and enjoyed a significant advantage over those who still brought the entire kitchen sink. Yet others had theme decks based on some favorite cards insisting that the deck be built around those cards.
3) What kind of random order you drew your cards from the deck when playing (you could somewhat control this by designing your deck, but not entirely).
4) How you played those cards. In my experience, beyond the noob stage, none of us were particularly better or more hardworking at this than anyone else ... IOW nobody enjoyed a tactical advantage. A good player with a poor deck design would not do well. A bad player with a poor design but great cards would last longer.

This seems like a useful metaphor for life as well as what constitutes easy-mode and hard-more. The controversy comes about because there are at least 4 dimensions along which to judge whether something is easy or hard. People are arguing different things according to where they are often ignoring whatever has been easiest for them while focusing on what's been the hardest part.

What's most interesting here (from an objective viewpoint) is

1) Descriptions of easy. (Absolute)
2) Descriptions of hard. (Absolute)
3) People who have somehow managed to go from hard to easy ... or screwed up and gone from easy to hard. (Relative moves)

What's least interesting are likely arguments about whether one dimension is easier or harder than another dimension. To have such a discussion people would have to have moved around in hyperspace a lot. But few people do. Most people don't change; nor grok other people's situation, because either/both take a lot of effort.

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Re: Tyler9000's Journal

Post by bryan » Sun Apr 22, 2018 7:13 pm

When I hear "easy/hard mode" I think of (video)game (shooters, RPGs, and strategy games mostly) difficulty settings or finer-grained configurations. It's a simple way to think of it. What the settings control can be numerous:
  • starting money/points/skills/allies/position (i.e. initial conditions)
  • directly affecting dynamic "luck" (thresholds for logic taking random rolls as input) or other systems' components
  • formidability of (numerous dimensions here as well) other(/computer) players (initial conditions, actor models themselves, cheating)
  • victory conditions, thresholds
Using harder difficulties in videogames can be extremely frustrating or extremely fulfilling, depending on implementation and the specific player. Whereas, easy difficulties are closer to an experience like watching a movie. People have numerous preferences (taxonomies?) for how-to-play (enjoy?) games (e.g. achieve high score or "perfection", speed run, break/hack the game or expectations, realism, consume plot, playing specific scenarios, etc). Some games have no difficulty adjustments or even concepts of winning/losing.

Interesting to see how difficulty or play-style (irl or gaming metaphor/model!) fits into social behaviours/systems..

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Re: Tyler9000's Journal

Post by BRUTE » Sun Apr 22, 2018 8:08 pm

brute remembers binding the right mouse button to quicksave in some shooter he was playing on the highest difficulty.. it wasn't more difficult, it merely became a different game. walk around the corner, get shot. reload, walk around the corner, shoot first. quicksave. walk around the next corner.

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Re: Tyler9000's Journal

Post by bryan » Sun Apr 22, 2018 9:13 pm

One possible configuration option seen for "hard mode" is to disable manual saves.

Wouldn't "life" be easier if you could buy a 1-up or reincarnation+memory?

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Re: Tyler9000's Journal

Post by BRUTE » Sun Apr 22, 2018 9:44 pm

life is already hardcore :) 1 death and that's it. or so they say.

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Re: Tyler9000's Journal

Post by FBeyer » Mon Apr 23, 2018 2:33 am

The big question then is: Do you also get 1 life...

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