the animal's journal

Where are you and where are you going?
theanimal
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by theanimal »

I can't say I've looked into it that heavily. It'll be much easier west of the Mississippi due to the prevalence of public land. I think that the determining factor in terms of the cost effectiveness of hunting in the L48 is transportation costs. However, I think you can still travel reasonably far and still beat the store by a healthy margin. Licenses and tags vary by state but a quick perusal shows low prices almost everywhere. California is $48 for a license and big game tag. Montana is $70 (including bird and elk in addition to deer). New York is $22. Wisconsin is $60 . Those are just a few examples. In most of these cases, outside of the highly desired animals like elk, sheep or bison, you can still get a nonresident license for relatively cheap. For example, New York offers a non-resident license for $100 which appears to cover deer hunting. It makes most sense economically to kill the biggest animal you can find. A whitetail deer yields maybe 50-60 lbs(?) of meat whereas an elk yields 100-120 and a bison 600+. The closer the hunt and the bigger the animal the better.

Rifle is BIFL and amortizes just to a few dollars per hunt if used long term. You can get a rifle that'll kill everything up to a moose for a few hundred dollars. Bullets only end up as a ridiculous expense if you want to shoot a ton with high caliber rounds. You can buy a .22 LR for $200 new and 1000+ bullets for something like $40. There's your target practice.

I think you may have to be creative depending on where you live but it's certainly something worth looking into. I think former forum member @zev was looking into it in NY biking or using some means of public transportation. Impressive, but I think an easier solution would be to go with friends and reduce transportation costs.

Related is this thread:viewtopic.php?t=9531#p157787

theanimal
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by theanimal »

Thanks all for reading and the kind comments.

@colibri- Thanks! I'll look into that.

@Jason- I don't know. Things didn't work out to well for Jeremiah Johnson in the women department. Mail order brides might be the best bet. I can almost see Russia from my house as it is.

@7- Haha, I imagine that would be a fun dynamic. You have me thinking up potential episode ideas.

Kriegsspiel
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by Kriegsspiel »

IIRC, an ERE forumer is a call-girl up in Alaska. Anyone remember her?

theanimal
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by theanimal »

@Kspiel- That was @riparian


I accepted a job as a geology technician at a large mine. I had a friend who's done the same job and liked it. I don't have to go underground or do any heavy machinery but it still pays well. 2 weeks on 1 off, likely thru mid December. Housing and meals provided. I should make out with a little over $11k over the duration with potential for more work later on. Not bad.

arebelspy
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by arebelspy »

I haven't visited the ERE forums in a few years, so I just got to catch up from fall 2016 to today.

Really enjoyed it.

Sounds like you decided against pursuing grad school. What about the pilot thing?

My favorite part of all your posts was the introspection ones, where you talk about what you've learned about yourself, and try to move yourself forward to a better place, for you.

Looking forward to your next update.

theanimal
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by theanimal »

@arebelspy- Thank you. More details below.

-----------------------

November through January in the Arctic and across the north is a time of cold and deep darkness. At solstice, the sun is only inching above the horizon at my latitude and up for 3.5 hours a day. The past 2 winters, it was a time where I really struggled. I was flailing around unsure if what I was doing was what I should be doing and not having a community around me that I desired or could use for support. It was a time full of dread and depressive moods. This year has served as a radical antithesis to the winters of old. Some of the change is external in that I have made more friends and have somewhat of an outside structure, but there is likely some internal growth that has occurred as well. There has been no substantial depressive moods the past few months and a friend recently described my mood as very giddy. For so long I was pursuing a vision of life that I thought was in the future, but now I think I've realized that I'm living the life I want. There's a question someone mentioned here once that I like to ask others. "If money wasn't an object, what would you do with your life?" I struggle to answer this question because the reality is that I wouldn't change much from what I'm doing now. I feel great and am going to ride this wave as long as I can.

I took a job working at one of the large gold mines in the state a few hours outside of town starting at the beginning of October. I worked in the core processing facility as a geology technician. It's a work away deal meaning when I was working I was living out there for 2 weeks straight (1 week off), working 12 hours every day. The work was manual labor without much thought. Measuring core, photographing core, sampling core, moving core..and so on, but we were allowed to listen to whatever so I was able to make the most of it plowing through a hefty dose of audiobooks and podcasts. The job was well paying but was ultimately a means to an end for me and not ideal for many reasons. My last day was a week ago.

One of the reasons I took the job is to pursue the pilot license. I started lessons this past week and barring environmental factors, I will likely have my private license by mid March at the latest. There is tons of opportunity in the aviation industry, especially in Alaska going forward so if I progress through my hours and other certifications, it is not out of the question to obtain a job for some air taxi or regional airline up here by the end of the year.

I turned 26 a couple weeks ago and I wanted to do something hard. So I decided to run 26 miles on the morning of my birthday on some local trails. Mission Success. My first marathon in the books and without all the commercial bullshit and vanity associated with many of the organized races. I am doing an organized one with a friend in March, but plan to do another one on my own sometime over the next month. I like the fitness aspect of it but it is more about making my mind harder. There is too much encouragement of fluff and ease in our current culture IMO, when things like tolerance for adversity can deliver incredible returns. It takes a lot too faze me right now. For example, it's been -40 F for the past two days. Two days ago, my heat went out at home, my windshield cracked and I had a flat tire. Both days were really good. I'm going to continue to pursue stress and create friction in my life. It seems stupid not to.

In miscellaneous news, there is a girl I am seeking to court. Its kind of pathetic that it's news that there is one single female that I am attracted to and am interested in pursuing but such is the state of affairs up here. It seems promising but its extremely early. We'll see. I'm looking forward to an EMT class that I'm starting in a couple weeks. And I'm planning on starting BJJ. I started last winter but stopped due to poor transportation situation. The schedule conflicts with the EMT class but I think I've found a way to work it out. I'm currently doing remote work as an insurance underwriter. The pay isn't lucrative but I can work as little or as much as I want from my couch. It combines well with the rest of my schedule.

Finally, here's an analysis of 2018 income vs expenses via the ratio created by Fish (I think he's the one who did it..)

Writing- .125
Tour Guide- .25
PFD - .1
Forestry- 1.0
Mining 1.0

Total- 2.475

I'm OK with that. 2019 should be similar but I think I'll be able to get it over 3.0 which is much more ideal.


Not many good pictures from the last few months but here's one from the mine and one from a recent trip to the AK Range with some friends.

Image

Image20190105_095852

Seppia
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by Seppia »

Sorry if my replies to your journal all sound the same, but your journal is the awesomest of all the (very awesome) journals on this board.

Kriegsspiel
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by Kriegsspiel »

Can you elaborate on the remote insurance underwriting work?

theanimal
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by theanimal »

Thanks, Seppia. Always appreciate the compliments.


Re the insurance work: The company I work for contracts agencies to source customers (all auto). The agents sign customers up for policies and enter all the information in an online database. My job is to review the policy to ensure that any additional documents required are uploaded and to verify policy holder information to make sure it falls within the company's parameters. The work is extremely simple and I'm on the lowest rung. But it pays $15/hr, there is tons of flexibility, no stress/pressure and I have a great relationship with the boss.

arebelspy
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by arebelspy »

theanimal wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:41 pm
Finally, here's an analysis of 2018 income vs expenses via the ratio created by Fish (I think he's the one who did it..)

Writing- .125
Tour Guide- .25
PFD - .1
Forestry- 1.0
Mining 1.0

Total- 2.475

I'm OK with that. 2019 should be similar but I think I'll be able to get it over 3.0 which is much more ideal.
Interesting way to break things down. Anyone have a source thread?

jacob
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by jacob »

I don't, but IIRC, it's min(incomesource/totalspending,1). It's meant to measure diversification. If a given income source fully covers one's spending, it maxes out at 1. The higher the score, the more resilient one is towards income source loss.

Fish
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by Fish »

@arebelspy - Jacob came up with the idea in the “ERE indicator” thread: viewtopic.php?p=128954#p128954

theanimal
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by theanimal »

I started flying soon after my last update and have been flying on average about 4-5 times a week since that point. I've made some great progress during that time period. Currently, I'm sitting at ~37 hrs of logged time and deemed ready for a check ride by my instructors. They want me to pad some more time instead of taking the test at the minimum of 40 hr. Apparently, proctors are skeptical of those at the minimums and give those people a harder time. Kind of annoying but the time is the same, albeit slightly more expensive than if I was flying elsewhere.

It's been a really fun process, I really enjoy going out and flying. The first 20 hours or so were work on maneuvers and pattern work before I did my first solo. Then 20 through the low 30s were cross country flights to other airports. Night flights followed that, including one night around the pattern and another on a cross country flight (intense!!!). Now it's just checkride prep and padding the stats a bit. The learning process has been like that of any other, where I'm flailing at the beginning somewhat overwhelmed by skills and knowledge required and my lack thereof. Around hour 20, I started to feel smug and became somewhat complacent as I became more comfortable in the aircraft (top of Mt. Stupid!). Thankfully, the night flights, more solo work and watching a ton of case studies on accidents have humbled me and taken me down from the not so glorious heights of Mt. Stupid.

Image
Flying a cross country flight

I've come to the realization over the past few months that I excel in learning and applying things quickly with the appropriate structure in place. In just the past year, this has happened in 2 different fields in which I was employed and the people at the flight school call me their star student. I need to figure out the best way to take advantage of this and use it to its full potential.

In related news, a close friend of mine told me that sometime I can come off as arrogant or cocky. I've been making attempts at becoming more humble, but I don't think those attempts have been too successful...

One issue that has plagued me in recent years is an inability to deviate from a self projected image of myself. I build up some idealized version of myself and feel if I fail to conform to that, I fail life. The biggest example of that is a reluctance to move from the remote cabin to town. It happens in smaller instances too though. I just withdrew from the winter ski race I've done the past couple years and a part of me feels like a failure or that others will think I am. I know the reality is nobody cares. It's not the worst thing in the world, as I've shown I can make the decisions eventually. But eventually can lead to prolonged time in a situation that is unpleasant or that which is not best for me at a given time period.

I haven't gotten into Jiu jitsu and did not end up taking the EMT class. I likely could/could have added the jiu jitsu into my schedule but it seems full enough at the moment with work, flying and socializing. I'm thinking that is something to add to the docket for next winter.

No luck with any women...I asked the girl out I mentioned above but apparently she wasn't completely single at the time and still getting over a recent long term relationship break up. She's single now though and we've been hanging out regularly. There seems to be some interest, but she's a hard one to read. Anyways, ball is in her court now. Otherwise still no prospects. I've been a lot more vocal about looking for someone recently and a few friends of mine have taken on the task of scouring their circles for any available women. Maybe eventually an attractive single girl will find her way into the heart of Alaska...

Anyways, all is well with me and hopefully the same holds true for all of you reading!

Image
Reindeer at my friend's farm

suomalainen
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by suomalainen »

I'd heard getting a pilot's license is super expensive, especially if you want to fly commercial because you have to get like 500 hours in. Do you pay for your hours yourself or have you found a way to have someone pay you for them?

theanimal
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by theanimal »

I pay for them myself. The private license will come out to be somewhere between $8.5-9k. I could have done it in the same time frame or less for about $7.5k but that would have entailed going to Ohio for a month. Otherwise you could maybe do it for 5 or 6 somewhere at a flying club if you are patient and find an instructor that is frequently available. The ideal way would be to have someone pay for it but that's extremely rare early on. There are a few scholarships available dedicated specifically to each rating. The best option I've heard of though is from my dad's friend. He knows a guy who owns a remote lodge in Ontario and in exchange for work they teach you how to fly. He passed my information along and recommended me to him but the guy said it wouldn't work without a Canadian passport.

Like anything else it can be as expensive as you want to make it. There are ways to drastically reduce the cost. The FAA allows both pilots in an aircraft to log time when one is practicing instrument training and the other serves as the safety pilot. This is the easiest way to split costs. You just have to find an aircraft for cheap (as low as $50/hr w/fuel in FL) and someone to do it. I have a friend who is looking to build hours and we joined a flying club together in state. My costs will be about $35/hr wet. I'll need roughly 200 to get to 250. Meaning another $7k. Somewhere in there I plan on getting my instrument rating which will be about $5k. Then commercial is another 2. So to get to commercial a reasonable estimate based off my plan is $22k. Most people try to get paid to build hours after that with flight instruction being the most common option. Flight schools are just as desperate for flight instructors as all the other airlines are for pilots so deals are usually made for training in exchange for hire. The pay varies but at the flight school I'm currently at, instructors start at $37.5/hr.

It is possible to get hired on with a regional airline with low hours (250-400) but it's very competitive and not very likely unless you're a woman. That being said, once you hit 500 the options start widening and continue to do so through 1,000 hrs. Most regional airlines are offering crazy signing bonuses in order to attract pilots. Anywhere from a few thousand to $70k (Air Wisconsin). Starting pay isn't bad either. The lowest I know of for regional airlines up here starts at $50/hr and seems to range up to about $70/hr.

If you're strategic about it as I think I am being it's not outrageously expensive. If you're not...I know people with over $100k in debt and no commercial rating.

Seppia
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by Seppia »

Great update as usual, I like how poliedric you're becoming, slowly but surely adding very diverse and useful skills to your aresenal.

If you have more wilderness pics please post without restraint, they're fantastic

2Birds1Stone
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

I'm going to second Seppia on the pics.

Also, wish I could send some ladies up your way.......maybe we need to open an Alaskan vegan yoga retreat that does caribou yoga instead of goat. You can personally shuttle these ladies with your newly acquired pilots license!

Jason

Re: the animal's journal

Post by Jason »

With the antlers on that middle reindeer, you have to think there is at least one animal not finding it difficult to get laid in Alaska.

theanimal
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by theanimal »

Thanks everyone. The goat yoga thing is ridiculous, I had to look that up. Joking aside, that reminds me that a few years ago Ego suggested creating some type of Homesteading skill building workshop. I've thought about that and think it could be a very profitable venture. Have people come and camp at a remote site, learn about homestead life, chop wood, learn how to can and some other tasks that I have yet to determine. Something like 2-3 days and you could likely charge a fortune.

The White Mountains National Recreation area is just north of Fairbanks which is a BLM managed area with groomed trails in the winter. There are something like a dozen public use cabins along the trail that you can reserve and use. There is a race that goes around a big loop of the trails called the White Mountains 100. A friend and I decided to do a lazy version of this route biking the 100 miles over 3 days 2 nights staying in a couple of the cabins along the way.

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First day was very low clouds but cleared up the next couple days

Image
Heading downhill off the highest point. An awesome 2.5 mile descent. 40+ miles from the nearest road at this point..and on bikes! So cool.

This trip was one of the most satisfying and one in which neither of us found ourselves wanting to end once we found ourselves a few miles from the parking lot. Pure bliss through plenty of physical and mental suffering. There is a tremendous amount of satisfaction I get from travelling through these areas with minimal equipment and tools. Our desires became simple once more. Life was moving along the trail each day, and starting a fire/making water/taking care of gear at night. The lack of abundance increased appreciation for everything. No easy access to water and feelings of dehydration made every drop so appreciated, despite the plethora of floaties found within each bottle. Cold temperatures led to an appreciation of heat from the woodstove. And long miles, occasionally pushing the bike brought the greatest amounts of joy in downhill sections where we flew through the landscape.

Image
One of the cabins along the trail. We stopped here for an extended break. Each cabin has a table with benches, a propane cookstove with cookware, multiple massive bunkbeds (occasionally a loft) and a woodstove with wood.

Like most other times, I returned with no desire for the digital world and a feeling of lacking community. Normal life is so empty compared to these intensive trips with others. The trip further reemphasized my desire for a stronger community, less time alone, less time on screens and more time outside. It's been a few days and I've largely fell back into my normal habits. The first 2 are far more challenging than the last 2. And the last 2 become far easier the stronger the first 2 are. The quest continues...

Image
Snacking and enjoying the sunshine

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jennypenny
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by jennypenny »

Your thoughts are straight out of Tribe (which you've read IIRC). I don't have any advice. Apparently we're all too comfortable now to be happy and have to create situations to replicate the feelings we used to get from dealing with adversity. I sometimes wonder if my own family is happier/closer than most because my son's illness functioned as a common enemy that helped us bond. It's a weird thing. Ego used to say we all need to find challenges to make us stronger, but maybe it wasn't just about strength -- maybe he was getting something else out of it that he didn't realize. I don't talk to him anymore or I'd ask him.

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