Hristo's FI Journal

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

Post by horsewoman »

Bathrooms are a funny thing, aren't they? Here in Germany the standard in a family house is a downstairs loo with a sink (the so called guest bathroom) and an upstairs shower/bath/loo family bathroom everyone shares.

I live in a 100 years old farm house where the bathrooms/loos where very obviously parceld in the 50ies in making regular rooms smaller. So our "shower" is a tiny room as a large as a bathtub, plus a few centimeters to get out of the tub... While I totally love our house and prefer it to a newer one I do have "bathroom envy" and regularly contemplate sinking a few thousands into a remodel. I have no cravings to remodel any other room of our crumbling old house, for some reason. Funny, isn't it? What is it with humans and bathrooms?

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

Emphasize the ability to produce, not the ability to consume. https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archi ... on/576625/

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

Silver linings, since beginning of lockdown.

Books read:

- Seneca, On Providence;
- The Gospel of John;
- Boethius, On the Consolidation of Philosophy;
- Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail; and
- Elie Wiesel, Night (re-read; wonderful for context right now).

Currently reading (finally) Dostoyevski's Brothers Karamazov. I decided to do a bit of a Great Books undertaking during the lockdown, prompted in part by the fact that the Great Courses did one-month free, and so I'm generally following the reading list in "Life Lessons from the Great Books" lecture series: https://www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/lif ... reat-books.

I'd also like to knock out St. Augustine's Confessions and Dante's Divine Comedy.

Honey-do items knocked out:

- Patched about a 4-foot hole in the ceiling, from a water leak (my introduction to drywall work; and to "stippled" ceiling patterns);
- Painted the master bathroom;
- Hid the TV cords behind the drywall;
- Fixed the 30-year-old garage door opener by taking it apart and replacing the main gear, which had worn out (my introduction to garage door openers); and
- Caulked around the master bathtub/shower.

Still on the list: paint the rest of the upstairs and main floor, including the kitchen cabinets; clean out the gutters; hang new blinds on main floor windows; replace back patio fence; patch up back patio flooring.

Physical Health:

I've managed to get in 4 runs a week, which I'd like to get to 5. This is certainly better than average, but not as good as I like. Obstacles are: (1) I get worried every time I feel a little run down with body aches, and so I'll take off a couple days or so when that happens so I don't push it; and (2) I've definitely been fighting a pretty deep lack of motivation when it comes to getting out of bed in the morning.

I'd love to be doing some bodyweight or kettleball exercises as well, but ever since playing in a school basketball tournament/fundraiser in early March, my good shoulder (i.e., the one that isn't held together with pins from the bike accident) has been pretty useless with a bad case of what I guess is tendinitis. This also sucks because I've been unable to throw the football and baseball around with my son, despite ample time to do so during the lockdown.

DW and I have both been drinking too much through this. The "no alcohol during Lent" plan went out the window immediately upon the beginning of the lockdown. Call it self-medication, but frankly, we both find we look forward to 5:00 when we can both stop working (or, sometimes, like right now, pretending to work) and have a cocktail (or two, or three).

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

As for the financial update, our net worth was down about $30K in February, and another $50K in March. Certainly not the end of the world, assuming of course this doesn't actually end up being the end of the world. I've not adjusted my automated 401K, 529, HSA, or post-tax index fund contributions since this began, on the hope that eventually we get out of the bear market and my net worth restoration will be accelerated by having bought some stocks "on sale"; but honestly, who the hell knows. I'm just grateful that my family is healthy, and also that, financially, it will take a lot to break us, given that: (1) we've paid off all our debt and our mortgage is a fraction of what it had been; (2) DW works at a hospital and, as such, can reasonably expect to hold on to her job for a while; (3) we could live on DW's salary without too much sacrifice if needed; (4) unbelievably, we actually have become pretty damn self-sufficient over the past couple years; and (5) also unbelievably, we actually do have quite a bit in savings, even if almost all of that is in tax-advantaged accounts we don't plan on touching, even with penalties being waived, etc., unless we absolutely have to.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

Also, DW and some of my neighbors and work colleagues are convinced I had coronavirus back in October, when I spent a week on a ventilator with pneumonia, and came very close to dying. DW claims what I had and what she is seeing in the hospital now are identical from a symptoms and prognosis standpoint, and the (very good) doctors, including a couple infectious disease doctors, never did figure out what caused my pneumonia or why it was such an extreme case given that I'm relatively young and healthy. Any way, I ran DW's theory by a friend who is an infectious disease doctor, and she says the timeline just doesn't work--that the cornoavirus circulating now was first identified in December in China, and that doctors never figure out what causes pneumonia for a significant minority of cases. That said, I'll be interested in seeing the antibodies test results if I ever get a chance to have the test done.

User avatar
C40
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by C40 »

The earliest date I've seen for "Patient zero" in November 17

Hristo Botev
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John Prine - RIP

Post by Hristo Botev »

This guy gave us so, so much good stuff.

When I Go to Heaven

When I get to heaven, I'm gonna shake God's hand
Thank him for more blessings than one man can stand
Then I'm gonna get a guitar and start a rock-n-roll band
Check into a swell hotel, ain't the afterlife grand?

And then I'm gonna get a cocktail: vodka and ginger ale
Yeah, I'm gonna smoke a cigarette that's nine miles long
I'm gonna kiss that pretty girl on the tilt-a-whirl
'Cause this old man is goin' to town

Then as God as my witness, I'm gettin' back into show business
I'm gonna open up a nightclub called "The Tree of Forgiveness"
And forgive everybody ever done me any harm
Well, I might even invite a few choice critics, those syph'litic parasitics
Buy 'em a pint of Smithwick's and smother 'em with my charm

'Cause then I'm gonna get a cocktail: vodka and ginger ale
Yeah I'm gonna smoke a cigarette that's nine miles long
I'm gonna kiss that pretty girl on the tilt-a-whirl
Yeah this old man is goin' to town

Yeah when I get to heaven, I'm gonna take that wristwatch off my arm
What are you gonna do with time after you've bought the farm?
And then I'm gonna go find my mom and dad, and good old brother Doug
Well I bet him and cousin Jackie are still cuttin' up a rug
I wanna see all my mama's sisters, 'cause that's where all the love starts
I miss 'em all like crazy, bless their little hearts
And I always will remember these words my daddy said
He said, "Buddy, when you're dead, you're a dead pecker-head"
I hope to prove him wrong... that is, when I get to heaven

'Cause I'm gonna have a cocktail: vodka and ginger ale
Yeah I'm gonna smoke a cigarette that's nine miles long
I'm gonna kiss that pretty girl on the tilt-a-whirl
Yeah this old man is goin' to town
Yeah this old man is goin' to town

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

Augustus wrote:
Tue Apr 07, 2020 6:37 pm
Given an average spread of 2 other persons (was anyone taking precautions when treating/caring for/interacting with you?) In theory, if you had it, you'd be Tyhpoid Hristo and your whole town would have had an epidemic. Pure speculation, I'm not an expert, etc etc.
I don't really think I had it; but it just strikes me (as someone who is unquestionably NOT an expert) that what I had might have somehow been related to this thing--Covid-19 adjacent, let's say. To your question, though, DW had me quarantined in the master bedroom with no contact with the rest of the family from when I first started showing symptoms, and for the next 10 days I was at home before being admitted to the hospital (DW slept on the couch). We thought it was the flu at first, and with 2 kids in school and DW working in a hospital, it's pretty standard procedure for us to isolate sick family members. As I recall the hospital staff was pretty careful throughout the couple weeks I was at the hospital--on and off the ventilator; in the ED, ICU, and once I went to one of the regular rooms. Doctors kept their distance and nurses and techs were all PPEd up.

Jason

Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Jason »

Hristo Botev wrote:
Wed Apr 08, 2020 8:57 am
I don't really think I had it;
Maybe. But if you play it like you did, this could be your best shot at canonization when your time really comes.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

Also--and again, the timeline doesn't seem to work--but I was at an international legal conference in May that was heavily attended by attorneys from China. And I even shared a small hostel room with 5 other conference attendees; 4 from China and 1 from India. I wouldn't think I could have carried the thing for 4 months before becoming symptomatic; but again, I have no idea. I suspect what finally brought about symptoms and put me in the hospital was that I'd way overextended myself physically in connection with the move to the new townhouse. I work behind a desk for a living, and apart from some limited exercise and an easy walk to and from work, I'm not very physically active. But I also don't have an off switch when it comes to physical activity; which means that when I am physically active (either through exercise or projects around the house), I often push myself to the point of blacking out, or to the point of making myself sick.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

Jason wrote:
Wed Apr 08, 2020 9:08 am
Maybe. But if you play it like you did, this could be your best shot at canonization when your time really comes.
Interesting thought; now, what will my miracles be?

ertyu
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by ertyu »

Did you get tested for N1H1? Because that can get quite nasty and it's now endemic

Jason

Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Jason »

Hristo Botev wrote:
Wed Apr 08, 2020 9:26 am
Interesting thought; now, what will my miracles be?
Fake heal a few covids. But if you get Chris Cuomo to shut the fuck up for real, you'll be bigger than St. Patrick.

I've developed a growing appreciation for Roman Catholic writers. Specifically George Weigel. I thought you might find this interesting: recent interview with The Pope discussing pandemic. Considering he is not recognized for his deep learning like Benedict and John Paul II were, his intellectual scope is still impressive. These Popes know their shit.

https://www.commonwealmagazine.org/time ... ncertainty

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

ertyu wrote:
Wed Apr 08, 2020 9:33 am
Did you get tested for N1H1? Because that can get quite nasty and it's now endemic
No idea; but interesting thought. Looks like N1H1 can lead to pneumonia in serious cases.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

Jason wrote:
Wed Apr 08, 2020 10:01 am

Thanks for sharing the article.

If you haven't, perhaps check out the new (I think) Netflix documentary on Pope Francis, A Man of His Word. DW and I watched it over the weekend, with me expecting to hate it, assuming it would either be some sort of over-the-top defense of all his liberalizing tendencies, or would be some sort of hit-piece on the Catholic Church. It definitely wasn't the latter, and though there was a bit of the former, it was just a really good feature-length interview with Francis, and it opened my eyes to him. I allow myself sometimes to be dragged into the "liberal" vs. "traditional/conservative" Catholic debate--the Pope Francis/Jesuits vs. the Cardinal Sarah/Benedict/Weigel thing (though generally trying to avoid those folks that pretend Vatican II never happened, who hate that we even have female alter servers, who insist on taking the Eucharist on their tongues even during en epidemic, etc.) Anyway, the documentary gave me a much better sense of his theology much more than his encyclicals have (in part because I haven't read any of them in full). And it really is a beautiful theology. It's exactly the theology that you'd expect from the first Pope from the southern hemisphere; and despite all the really bad media coverage of Pope Francis (both from his detractors and his supporters), his theology isn't just off-the-cuff, unsophisticated liberal socialist nonsense. There's real substance to it; and it's a theology the church really needs to hear right now. No matter how much I love Benedict and St. Pope JPII (and Cardinal Sarah; I've got his book on my nightstand right now); Francis's theology is beautiful and desparetely needed by the Church and the world as a whole.

Anyway, I digress. I also love Weigel; who is no doubt in pure celebration mode given George Pell's release from prison, which he has been advocating for since the beginning. Weigel's First Things articles/columns are good reads. And I've been meaning to read his JPII biography for several years; perhaps now is the time with things having slowed down.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

I also thought Netflix's The Two Popes was surprisingly good. I'd thought I'd hate it for the same reasons I thought I'd hate A Man of His Word. But it was really good. And that's the way I want to think of the sort-of weird Francis/Benedict dynamic that we have, even if it's not totally true (call it kayfabe). I know Weigel and his First Things folks didn't like it, but I have to remind myself that there's no reason for me to get into the weeds of Vatican politics; I just have to live my faith. The rest is all noise, and dangerous noise.

Jason

Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Jason »

I just finished Weigel's "The Irony of Modern Catholic History." I recommend it. His premise is that the Church's engagement with non-Catholic thought in the last 100 years has made it more effective as opposed to its traditional tendency to fight for its separateness. Any way, Roman Catholics are just better writers than their Christian counterparts. Evangelicalsim has not produced a Chesterton or a C.S. Lewis. RC's are better (not to mention more open) with cultural engagement and have a higher appreciation for beauty, whether the arts or the natural world. I have found R.R. Reno's railing against the suspension of the mass interesting (as much as I disagree with him). I think he's afraid that if a believer doesn't have to go to church to receive the sacraments, Luther wins. We suspended our Netflix but not before watching "The New Pope" which we found entertaining.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

More lockdown silver linings

Finished reading Orwell's Animal Farm; somehow I managed to make it 41 years without having read it before. Loved it; how wonderfully clever. I now will insist on being referred to by my family and colleagues as "Our Leader Comrade Hristo."

Still working on the 1,000-page Brothers Karamazov; which strikes me so far as nothing short of genius.

For honey-do items, I'm now starting to convince myself that I could tackle cleaning up the back patio myself, which will involve replacing the fencing (it's falling down), and perhaps putting in artificial turf and built-in planters/benches along the sides over the mismatched pavers, concrete slabs, and gravel that are currently there.

As for physical health, this week I managed to run for four days straight. I don't remember the last time I've done that; but my legs are definitely lacking any spring now.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

More lockdown silver linings

Finished the 1,000-page Brothers Karamazov this weekend. Wow; just wow. After watching the Great Courses lesson on it, I then spent several hours digging around YouTube trying to find discussions of the novel, of which there are a lot. Anyway, what a genius. Definitely want to add his other great books to my reading list, starting with Crime and Punishment. Also, want to name our next dog Alyosha.

My next Great Books read was Hamlet, which I read yesterday after watching the 1948 Laurence Olivier production that was available on YouTube (I was surprised how engulfed my daughter was in watching it with me). I don't know if I ever read Hamlet when I was in school, but I love how in some ways it is just completely morally ambiguous; very different from the great morality tales of the pre-modern period. Hamlet really is a very fascinating character; despite the fact that you really can't help but dislike him. It's also of course worth the read for no other purpose but to highlight every single quote that's still part of our everyday language. There's an entire wikipedia page dedicated to it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phrases_f ... on_English

Highlights:
-mind's eye
-frailty, thy name is woman
-give every man thy ear, but few they voice
-neither a borrower nor a lender be
-to thine ownself be true
-there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in our philosophy
-something is rotten in the state of Denmark
-brevity is the soul of wit
-though this be madness, yet there is method in it (i.e., method to his madness!)
-there is nothing either good or bad but thinking make it so
-what a piece of work is a man (i.e., he's a piece of work!)
-to be or not to be
-to sleep, perchance to dream - ay, there's the rub
-what dreams may come
-get thee to a nunnery
-o, woe is me
-the lady doth protest too much, methinks
-hoist with his own petard (!; my old boss/mentor used this phrase all the time--to this day I love to use it for no other reason than people are generally pretty willing to ask: I've heard that before, but what the hell does it mean?)
-the rest is silence
-goodnight, sweet prince; and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest
-the image of Hamlet's soliloquy holding a skull; contemplating the brevity of life and the cosmic meaninglessness after we are gone of the actions we take on earth
Last edited by Hristo Botev on Mon Apr 20, 2020 10:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

In other lockdown news, I got 5 runs in the week before last, and 4 runs in last week. I would have gotten 5 in last week, but there was rain both Saturday and Sunday that thwarted that plan. So instead I did some family-fun indoor cardio, including Jacob's 1-minute burpee challenge. My 7-year-old son and I tied at 24 (admittedly, I stopped the clock while my son had a coughing fit, so not really fair), and DW and my 9-year-old daughter tied with 20.

DW and I have adjusted just fine to cleaning the house ourselves; it's really not that hard, given that our current house is so small. I'm hoping this translates to foregoing a cleaning lady altogether once the lockdown is over, but DW correctly points out that once-a-week cleaning is fine now because we have the time to do it on the weekend, as opposed to having to drive to various soccer tournaments, etc.

I continue to tackle honey-do projects myself, whereas in the past I would have outsourced a lot of the work. The next big projects are painting the main floor of our house and the kitchen cabinets; and also replacing part of the fence around our back patio.

Work is going alright; I'm still employed, though many of my clients have had to do layoffs and furloughs. Our firm leadership has been pretty great; and it's been a blessing to be at a small firm of talented and experienced attorneys in the prime of their careers who are nimble and able to become experts in whatever needs our clients might currently have. But, of course, this is only sustainable for so long; at some point all of our clients are going to go bankrupt. DW and I have both noticed how incredibly exhausted we are at the end of each weekday. I know there are a lot of advocates out there and on this forum for working from home, and I used to be one of them before switching to a firm with an office just a 10-minute walk from my home. But managing being a homeschool teacher on top of trying to get in a few solid hours of work, and on top of that still also trying to be a positive, loving, kind parent and spouse--with all 4 members of your nuclear family spending nearly every waking hour within a few square feet of one another--is a lot. I honestly can't imagine doing this either: (1) with an only child; and/or (2) as a single parent. We have several only children in our neighborhood and I feel for the parents knowing that they have become their kid's ONLY personal relationship. Our kids bicker with one another a lot; but they also provide one another human contact and interaction and stimulation that they'd otherwise be COMPLETELY dependent on me and DW to provide.

Next in the Great Books program is supposed to be von Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther, which I'm honestly not really looking forward to all that much, because as far as I understand it, it's about a teenage boy's longing for a girl. And honestly, it's always annoyed me that that is pretty much the ONLY great theme that is incorporated in our popular art--be it pop music, or movies, or dime novel stuff. But who knows, perhaps the book will be so great that it will indeed ruin me finally and forever from ever being able to listen to some pop song about forlorn love, because I will have been exposed to the theme at its best in Goethe's book such that everything after will miserably fail in comparison.

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