Avalok's Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
Western Red Cedar
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Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2020 2:15 pm

Re: Avalok's Journal

Post by Western Red Cedar »

I'm sorry for your loss. Hopefully you can follow in his renaissance footsteps.

avalok
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Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2021 4:42 am
Location: West Midlands, UK; Walkscore 73

Re: Avalok's Journal

Post by avalok »

Thank you both. Western Red, that is exactly how I have taken this. All the more grateful to have found this community; I don't think I would have understood my Grandad in that way without the philosophy here. 🙂

candide
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Re: Avalok's Journal

Post by candide »

I want to add to the condolences.

My grandfather was the greatest man I ever knew -- there is something about those useful, frugal men of the past. They might not make as many of them as they used to, but it's good that there is a place where people to aspire to be like that can come together.

shaz
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Re: Avalok's Journal

Post by shaz »

I'm sorry for your loss. Your grandfather sounds like a man to be admired.

avalok
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Location: West Midlands, UK; Walkscore 73

Re: Avalok's Journal

Post by avalok »

Thank you candide and shaz. Yeah, this forum is a great community for aspiring renaissance types :)
-----

I've been trying to improve my economic understanding in September: I have been reading Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson. This is certainly different economics to that I was brought up on! In fact I am enjoying reading stuff that challenges my assumptions about the world, even if I may not agree entirely afterwards. I believe this is what it was like talking to someone about politics before 2016. :D

Related to the above, I have been spending more time on my investment strategy. I have read a lot this year about investment-as-philosophy and come to the conclusion that if I am going to invest actively, I really need to know my approach. I believe I mean what jacob says about knowing yourself:
jacob wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 1:27 pm
What's the lesson here? What Jason is saying ... the most important thing to know in investing is yourself. This is why many traders spend time studying Musashi, Sun Tzu, or Jesse Livermore or other traders rather than the minutia of 10Ks, etc. I
My problem is in getting started, in that I am finding the strategy development process too overwhelming. Part of me wonders if this is a combination of top-down thinking and lack of practical experience. If I only I can get some entry point to start thinking about this, as I would do when approaching a design at work...

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Work has been much easier this month; less stress and less brain-intensive. I have floated some architectural changes with my boss, and he is allowing me to experiment with those, so I am continuing to learn while not feeling a weight of responsibility. A position as architecture design, and other "broader" skills are where I want to move to anyway. I have found that, with software at least, once you have seen a good number of problems, you've seen them all; the technologies change, but the patterns and paradigms are more glacial. I would rather have a glacial base, and I find it ties with my enjoyment of systems/macro thinking.

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The allotment is still going strong. We have had tonnes of tomatoes (I really wish we had weighed each picking), and plan to turn the latest batch into passata before going away this weekend. Our sweetcorn have been great. I am so chuffed I managed to fool the badgers for the second year in a row. When we joined the plot, we received a lot of unsolicited advice that growing corn was a waste of time. Late beetroot, second sowing of spinach, and swede are maturing now. I made borscht in the pressure cooker last week; 8 minutes at pressure! IIRC, when I cooked it previously on the hob, it took nearly an hour. After we have been away, I think the priority will be to cure our winter squash, and then to clear any crops that have gone over for the winter. This has been by far our most successful year, and I think I have started to find the rhythm of gardening.

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Total capital: 95,674.01
Average savings rate: 56.8%
Average savings rate TTM: 61.6%
SWR: 20.00%

avalok
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Location: West Midlands, UK; Walkscore 73

Re: Avalok's Journal

Post by avalok »

Visited family from Friday to yesterday evening. I'm not sure why, perhaps it is the time I'm given to pause, but every time we go to visit DW's family, I come away wishing our lives were different somehow. This changes: it has been about land before, and of late about freedom of time, but on almost every visit my patience wanes.

avalok
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Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2021 4:42 am
Location: West Midlands, UK; Walkscore 73

Re: Avalok's Journal

Post by avalok »

I have been going through what we have in our loft. Both of us want it to be as easy as possible when we come to move from where we are now, especially having seen close family members struggling on account of too much stuff. I'm pleased that what looked like a load of junk is mostly boxes I can flat-pack for when we move. There are some things I will need to sell/freecycle because we no longer have a use for them (inner tubs, Nikwax, etc.). Reminder to self: don't stock up unnecessarily on items unless you're confident you will use them.

We have no plans to move currently, other than that we know we will want to do so. I am trying to put us in a position to be prepared and flexible, so that moving can be done with ease, and perhaps at short notice. It feels like a win-win situation: it guides a minimalist approach to possessions, and expands the opportunity set you can explore. Neither of us are sure what we want to do after the place we are in now; may as well cast our net wide.

avalok
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Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2021 4:42 am
Location: West Midlands, UK; Walkscore 73

Re: Avalok's Journal

Post by avalok »

Went for a walk with DW this evening and we came across a sweet chestnut tree, loaded at its base with ripe nuts. I am amazed how many were there, as the squirrels normally beat any humans to it. We have come home with our pockets loaded. Will try to roast them tonight. :)
Last edited by avalok on Tue Oct 11, 2022 2:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

avalok
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Location: West Midlands, UK; Walkscore 73

Re: Avalok's Journal

Post by avalok »

I went to my Grandad's funeral yesterday.

I think I need time to process it all; it had not hit me until talking to my Dad at the bar. Today I feel very down, mainly from exhaustion I think, yesterday was long, heavy, emotional.

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Lemur
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Re: Avalok's Journal

Post by Lemur »

@Avalok

Food for thought regarding figuring out your investment strategy. Easy to say in hindsight, but If I were to do it all over again, I'd park all my money in treasuries (or just something real conservative like half stocks / half bonds indexes) and just read for a while. I noticed my own strategy just shifted and reacted to the whims of the market the past couple of years. Sure one should be flexible to different scenarios but that needs to be dialed in from the outset. Its been both painful and fun.

I've read Economics in One Lesson by Hazlitt. Not a bad intro. My memorable lesson from Henry was the Broken Window Fallacy. http://mannkal.org/downloads/guests/the ... xtract.pdf . Sometimes decisions in economics will effect A which then effects B. But we easily forget about C or second/third-order effects. Ludwig Von Mises has some good stuff to.

But really can't recommend this enough and what is shared throughout this forum:

"Investments" by Zvi Bodie, Alex Kane, Alan Marcus
https://www.amazon.com/Investments-Stan ... 146&sr=8-2

avalok
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Re: Avalok's Journal

Post by avalok »

Thanks Lemur! Hazlitt's book is great at exposing the narrow thinking in economic policy, as well as the human tendency to discount higher-order effects. Mises' Human Action is on my reading list :)

I have worked my way through much of the MPT chapters of the Bodie book, but the chapters on security analysis are sparse in my edition. I have the Reilly Brown textbook as well, so am using that instead. I get the idea of just reading for a while, but think it is valuable to still try out a strategy, in order to get a feedback loop going. Currently, I am only actively investing with fairly trivial amounts of capital. Not sure if you think this is a good middle ground?

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Lemur
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Re: Avalok's Journal

Post by Lemur »

I think so. Not much beats hands-on and using an Excel spreadsheet to perform some analysis on your decisions. I mean for instance, I only really learned options trading myself by …. options trading. I considered some losses the cost of education.

One could also just do simulated investing/trading but the problem I think with this approach is you don't learn your own psychology and risk tolerance. Easy to execute when real money is not on the line.

avalok
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Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2021 4:42 am
Location: West Midlands, UK; Walkscore 73

Re: Avalok's Journal

Post by avalok »

Thanks Lemur.

---
I finished Hazlitt, and picked up Taleb's Fooled by Randomness and really enjoying it so far. The writing style, I guess outspoken, reminds me of what I enjoyed about the style of the ERE blog.

Went over to the allotment for the first time in a while today: took out the corn, and lifted a lot of creeping grass that had spread. Moved a compost bin from our back garden over there so I don't have to bring all plant material home.

avalok
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Location: West Midlands, UK; Walkscore 73

Re: Avalok's Journal

Post by avalok »

Another intense week at work, but I am really enjoying what I am doing. I've been given the go-ahead to begin shifting the architecture of a calcified system towards something that can evolve much better. My idea has been to give us as much of a greenfield space as possible by providing a convenient set of tools and APIs to make extracting parts of the existing system a breeze (in theory).

The current system is extremely inert and has an ill-defined architecture. This is now causing large issues, as the system cannot scale. My hope is that if we can make extraction of components easier, and provide a better defined architecture, then we will be able to disentangle the system, all while making it more pliant.

I had a great moment this afternoon when I watched a colleague begin to extract a component using these tools; it gave me confidence that this idea might just work. It was also relieving to have someone use code I had been working on alone until this week, and find it relatively easy to get set up. It is extremely satisfying when you deliver functionality to an end user and they appreciate it, but it is something else when you deliver functionality to another dev, and they act like that end user :D.

avalok
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Location: West Midlands, UK; Walkscore 73

Re: Avalok's Journal

Post by avalok »

October was a strange month; it flew by with being away at the start of it, followed by my Grandad's funeral, and then a(nother) busy period at work.

I planted our best garlic bulbs, and some broad beans to overwinter last week, and took out the corn and broccoli to do so. The plot is still mostly full; I have not had success with winter sowings like this before. I could do with clearing space to spread manure, but can't face taking food out the ground to do so.

I've been struggling to sit down and read for about the past month, so have barely made any progress through my current book. I've felt a sort of agitation around just sitting down and reading. I'm hoping I can rekindle the habit, but don't want to force it either. I've also felt a bit rough for about the last week so felt out of doing routine things like my kettlebell exercises, walking etc. At risk of contradicting my previous-but-one sentence: I want to try and keep better routine habits in November. I feel like the past few months has been a slow-but-constant decline in my diligence regarding the "little things" I normally do that are important to me.

We had a more expensive month than recently, mainly due to travelling and the yearly car insurance renewal. Savings rate still solid, and all being well we will pass the 100k mark at the end of November. :)

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Average Savings: 56.8%
Average Savings TTM: 62.4%
Total Capital: £98,694.68
SWR: 19.25%

avalok
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Location: West Midlands, UK; Walkscore 73

Re: Avalok's Journal

Post by avalok »

I was thinking about the robustness principle the other day and wonder whether this is a borrowed modelling of the flow of energy in a (software) system. In my garden, I apply (input) all sorts of material to my compost heap, but I remove (output) a normalised material: compost. In program code you'd model this as such:

Code: Select all

class Composter
{
    Compost Compost(OrganicMaterial[] materials) { }
}
The specifics of the above function do not matter. What matters is that the inputs are far broader than the output. I think this is analogous to energy degrading as it flows through a system. OrganicMaterial is concentrated energy: plant material, fruits, wood chips; Compost is diffuse energy. In software engineering, the above principle leads to highly plastic code which can be reconfigured in surprising (emergent?) ways. If I can put anything considered OrganicMaterial in the composter, I can use it in more ways than if it only allowed PlantMaterial or GrassCuttings, but I always know what I am getting out: Compost. I can't be surprised to find my compost bin give me Manure because that is a similar product.

I wonder whether both parts of this principle hold in the material domain: would a garden be better designed if more parts were accepting of inputs but restrictive in their outputs?

avalok
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Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2021 4:42 am
Location: West Midlands, UK; Walkscore 73

Re: Avalok's Journal

Post by avalok »

We've started getting through our winter vegetables: squash, beetroot, swede. We had a massive swede, our scales could not weight it, but I think it was well over 10kg. I lifted that a fortnight ago and we're still working our way through it. :D Having pressure cookers to reduce the cooking time of these winter veg is making a massive difference: I'm willing to cook those longer winter meals in the week.

avalok
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Location: West Midlands, UK; Walkscore 73

Re: Avalok's Journal

Post by avalok »

Our kitchen is extremely cold in the winter as it is a single storey extension. The boiler has started ticking on, so I'm trying to think of more ways to reduce our energy bill, hence the bodgiest draught excluder:

Image
Mk1 was not long enough and I could feel an almighty draught coming around the sides. The cat is clearly trying to be a draught excluder herself.

Image
Mk2 looks even worse, but is long enough. The appendage is an old hand towel wrapped into the original. I'm not sure how long DW will tolerate Taz staring into our dining room.

Pretty pleased with this, if only because I find it unintuitive to "see the world as a box of legos".

P.S. Many thanks go to the lady who donated these towels for a towel cooker a couple of years ago, and which I tore down last month now we have two pressure cookers.

guitarplayer
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Re: Avalok's Journal

Post by guitarplayer »

DW made something similar from old trousers that got broken I think. She just cut it in half and stuffed each of the legs. Works great.

ertyu
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Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2016 2:31 am

Re: Avalok's Journal

Post by ertyu »

My grandma had permanent ones sowed up from old rags. she called them "the guts" and she laid them along the sills of drafty windows. the rest of the window was taped around with clear packing tape

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