C40's Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
snow_leopard
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by snow_leopard » Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:02 pm

Awesome journal, enjoy reading your adventures.

I would also recommend Dead Horse Point, breathtaking views. Kodachrome Basin State Park is also a great low-key place to camp, it's about 30 minutes from Bryce Canyon and has showers and a laundromat. A local also told me one of their favorite spots in southeastern Utah was Goblin Valley S.P. but I didn't get a chance to visit, looks wild.

https://stateparks.utah.gov/parks/kodachrome-basin/
https://stateparks.utah.gov/parks/goblin-valley/

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C40
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 » Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:50 pm

Ok. I came up to Portland a bit faster than expected due to a number of different things. Nothing big.

Currently, the two major things I have in motion are:
  • Phase two of and a significant expansion in scope of a ‘Lentil Buddy’ housing hack.
  • An expansion of “C40 Industries” (which is the name I’ve given to income-producing hobbies, work, and investment management).
————————————
LENTIL BUDDY
————————————

The original forum term for this is “Lentil Baby”, but this is a non-sexual and non-romantic relationship, so I’m calling it “Lentil Buddy”. See intermixed posts on pages 1-4 of The “Random Relationship Derailment Thread” for a definition of the title. Credit to 7Wanabe5.

Short version here:
7Wannabe5 wrote:
Tue Feb 26, 2019 7:24 am
“I would like to suggest that it is important to differentiate between two very different modes of functioning which might be referred to as Sugar Baby vs Lentil Baby. A Sugar Baby would be the stereotypical individual who trades youth, beauty, charm, and other associated skills for the posh lifestyle provided by the significant financial resources of another individual. OTOH, a Lentil Baby is the extremely rare individual who consequent to much study in the realms of home economics, perma-culture, finance, modern relationship and systems theory, is able to readily help another individual to reduce personal resource waste and improve over all quality of lifestyle through intelligent process resembling beneficial symbiosis”


I’ve arrived up in Portland a few days ago to live with my close friends. I lived with them before, for 4 months, ending a year ago. Then I left to build that van for my mom, and then lived in Tucson for 6 months.

My friends don’t care about rent (and when I first suggested it before coming up) they said “ohh, no, no…… “. I felt a bit like a freeloader sometimes, so I was doing some things for them basically in lieu of rent. The main ones I remember are making them really nice coffee most mornings, exercising their dog most days and training him (they have a huge dog who goes nuts without heavy exercise), and general management of some house things and projects.

After I left, one of the friends asked me many times to come back. So, I’m back. Before I came, told them some of the things I planned to do here, and asked them to each pick one specific thing they’d like me to do for them in exchange for staying here. For now, between my own and their requests, the list is:
  • Making lattes most mornings (a monumental improvement over the utter shit coffee one of them has been drinking every morning)
  • Exercising their dog regularly
  • Command and obedience training for their dog
  • Planting and managing a garden, providing a significant harvest
  • Organizing their disaster of a garage and keeping it organized.
  • Fitness coaching for one friend
  • Restoring an old motorcycle for the other friend (he bought it 10+ years ago and hasn’t touched it)
In order to make a big entrance, and to clear space for projects, I did a full day of garage organization yesterday and made a HUGE improvement. It was really a disaster, with barely any room to walk around. Now there is room to walk around and start some projects.

On some fronts, improving their efficiencies/organization/lives will take leading by example and significant time to allow convincing/adoption. When people are accustomed to merely throwing money at problems in order to solve them, changing that takes time and mindset changes.

One example of a hurdle was when I was looking at shelves for the garage on craigslist, and finding some good options, and making a list in excel calculating storage volume per $price, my friend saw the screen and declared “I don’t want any cheap flimsy shelves!!”. I abandoned Craigslist searching and bought the same style to match one they recently purchased (at 25% of the storage volume per $ of Craigslist options). The friend reimbursed me, so I’m not losing any money myself, but in this case didn’t save them money.




————————————
C40 INDUSTRIES
————————————

C40 Industries is a made-up and legally non-existent business conglomerate including all my income-producing efforts.


I’ve long been meaning to make more income from hobbies or work that I enjoy. So far, most of my non career income has been from art - I made about $8,000 in shirt design sales over 6 years, and less than $500 from shooting portraits of people over the last 6 months. I have a big list of potential income sources somewhere. At the moment, I want to expand my shirt and portrait income, and start two additional sources.

So, the current plans for C40 Industries include:
  • Art - Graphic design
  • Art - Portrait photography
  • Investment management
  • Horticulture - gardening
  • Animal Husbandry - dog sitting / walking / exercising
If all goes well, I’ll get over $3,000 from these this year. If success continues, I’d hope for $8,000 next year. I’m not sure how long I’ll be here in Portland Lentil Buddying, and leaving would interrupt some of these.

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Re: C40's Journal

Post by chenda » Thu Apr 18, 2019 5:08 am

Good luck with your business ideas. I'd be interested to hear about your graphic design work. I've dabbled in Photoshop and illustrator though never tried to monitise it.

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Re: C40's Journal

Post by Quantummy » Fri Apr 19, 2019 7:24 am

C40 - do you have advice on products & methods for inexpensive lattes? If so thanks in advance!

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Re: C40's Journal

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Fri Apr 19, 2019 11:34 am

I predict that you will have more success as a Lentil Buddy than I have had as a Lentil Baby. Nobody in their right mind would enlist me as their fitness coach or let me touch their motorcycle with a tool.

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Re: C40's Journal

Post by TopHatFox » Wed Jun 12, 2019 3:24 pm

@C40, how's Portland? Would you recommend it as a place to live & accumulate through multiple streams of income?

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Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 » Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:32 pm

TopHatFox wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 3:24 pm
@C40, how's Portland? Would you recommend it as a place to live & accumulate through multiple streams of income?
Its.... ok. I don't recommend all that much because it's so expensive and I don't believe it's worth it. I don't think incomes are scaled up with costs (though maybe I wouldn't really know). A good deal of people here - particularly those who have lived here since before it was expensive - are sort of jaded and annoyed. It's nice here. The neighborhoods are cool and there are tons of people around my age and younger out and about. But it's not nearly as nice as the real estate is expensive. There are other cities that have cool/fun/hip neighborhoods. Even ones where you can buy a house for 1/3 as much, like St. Louis. (though St Louis does come with it's own set of problems)

Portland might still be a good idea for someone younger than me and with more of a gleam in their eye. Personally, when I think about cities/places to move to, it's to places that are less expensive, and usually smaller cities.


Quantummy wrote:
Fri Apr 19, 2019 7:24 am
C40 - do you have advice on products & methods for inexpensive lattes? If so thanks in advance!
Here's what I use:

ESPRESSO MAKER
Flair Espresso maker, which costs $160 and up. (I finagled one for half that in exchange for promotion. It's worth full price though. I've used it nearly every day for about 2 years). Here's a really short video that shows what it is. There are other manual espresso makers, probably some that are quite good. This one is definitely good and I'm quite certain better than at least some of the competition. This doesn't have the same repeatability of the full on espresso machines, but it also does give you the ability to do things that a machine cannot (whatever pressure profile you desire, saving a shot when you grind too fine or coarse by modifying the pressure, whatever pre-infusion process you want, etc.)




GRINDER
There are like 5 different high quality hand grinders. Watch this video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dn9OuRl1F3k&t=358s

The grinder is very important for espresso, so don't use a cheaper blade grinder. Get a nice burr grinder. I use a Lido 3 ET and I like it. It has larger burrs than most of the others which means it grinds much quicker. It's significantly larger, which is not a problem in nearly all actual situations. When I bought this, availability of some of the other grinders in the comparison video was extremely limited and one of the reasons I bought a Lido is because I could actually buy one.



MILK STEAMER
Bellman 50ss stovetop steamer. I've seen people make good looking latte art with other methods like frothing with a french press. But, when I tried similar things, I was getting horrible results (bubbles way too big). This steamer is the real deal and you can make real-deal micro-foam. I also bought a metal steaming jar, probably on Amazon. If you prefer stronger drinks (with less milk), definitely do not buy a large one. I think the size matters and if the cup is too large and the milk too shallow it might not work right.



ROASTER
Along with the espresso maker, roasting equipment choice can save somewhere from a fair amount to a ton of money. I hand roast using a Gene cafe roasting pan.

Looks like they might be fairly difficult to purchase now. One day in Target or a similar store, I saw a larger pan (maybe in the cooking part of the camping isle) that is essentially the same thing but larger. Can't recall if it was cheaper. But you could maybe find basically the same thing (for cheaper?). It's important to have all those holes in the pan and to have the edges of the pan turn back in past vertical so the beans don't spill out while roasting. The Gene Cafe pan is large enough that a max capacity roast in it will fill up a 1 pint (16oz) jar, which is about 160 grams of coffee, which is enough to make 10-12 shots of espresso. I'm currently taking about 12-15 minutes per roast batch.


COFFEE
I buy green (un-roasted) beans from Sweet Marias. AFAIK, they are one of the largest and maybe best suppliers. Roasting myself saves some money (IDK exactly how much, maybe 50% at most), but also has other advantages like being able to match roasting timing and amounts to control days past exactly how one wants. Compared to driving to a store/shop to buy beans, it doesn't take any longer and is way more fun.


So many people drink and love coffee (and/or are just addicted to caffeine) that making high quality coffee at home provides a good reason to invite people over to socialize. It also has caused one of my room mates to feel very dependent on my presence and gives me almost un-beatable bargaining power if I infer or remind her that I could stop making her a latte every morning.

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Re: C40's Journal

Post by George the original one » Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:05 pm

Portland quit being Portland about 15 years ago, during the runup to the Great Recession. There are too many people, the transportation system is a shambles (for many reasons), the homeless encampments are out of control, but it's not so bad if you are a pedestrian who can live just within a neighborhood of your choosing.

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Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 » Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:17 am

Yeah. It's sort of like Voodoo Donuts or various other places that were good and got popular but then they got a lot more popular because they were popular, and now the main reason they are so popular is because they are popular.

bryan
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by bryan » Mon Jul 01, 2019 8:29 pm

C40 wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:32 pm
Flair Espresso maker[/url], which costs $160 and up. (I finagled one for half that in exchange for promotion. It's worth full price though. I've used it nearly every day for about 2 years).
Somehow I missed that you use this! Is it the PRO, signature, or classic? It's actually what I plan on having in my van too; though I plan on only buying the brewhead+stem/piston and building the assembly and lever mechanism. I may start with the aeropress first though, since I already have it and am on a timeline with the build now.

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Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 » Mon Jul 01, 2019 10:43 pm

bryan wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 8:29 pm
Somehow I missed that you use this! Is it the PRO, signature, or classic? It's actually what I plan on having in my van too; though I plan on only buying the brewhead+stem/piston and building the assembly and lever mechanism. I may start with the aeropress first though, since I already have it and am on a timeline with the build now.
I bought the Classic (which was all that existed at the time). About a year ago, I visited the guy who does their social media and some other stuff, and he gave me pieces to convert it to the Signature. I think the main difference between those two is that the signature can fit the bottomless style portafilters.

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Re: C40's Journal

Post by Quantummy » Thu Jul 04, 2019 9:12 am

@C40 thanks so much for the detailed description of what you use! I'm starting with a grinder and milk steamer along with aeropress for now. Cheers!

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Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 » Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:46 pm

.

LONG-TERM LIFE PLAN - EVENTUALLY

My long-term expectation is to set up my own domain somewhere, likely in the U.S., and settle in. I’m thinking that will be property/home that I own. My main focuses there would be:
  • Starting and enjoying projects (garden, building things, fixing things, and so on - various types of ‘flow’ activities)
  • Establish some hobby incomes or simple work that I enjoy
  • Building a social circle
  • Setting up “home” in ways that I like
… and then, I hope, living there a long time



BUT NOT READY NOW…

I’m still thinking through some things, like:
  • What parts of the country / what cities …
  • Normal house in city?… Some ‘alternative’ home (tent/yurt, cabin, tinyhouse, earthbag, etc.)
  • Will the money work out? In most scenarios, I’d need to earn some more income to make sure I cover the costs of land/house/bills. Would work better in a few years when I’m getting $10k per year from my retirement accounts through the IRA ladder I started in 2017.
And, maybe mainly, I’m just not sure I feel ready for it yet.



CURRENT LIVING ISSUES

I’ve been living in Portland with some friends for about 4 months now. In many ways, it has gone great. But in some, not so good. There’s friction living with others. Here, most of it is from observing the behavior of my roommates, and not between me and them. I’ll spare you the details.

One day I thought “If I had more money, I wouldn’t be here” and thus that carried/included a “so maybe I should do something else”.

(The “Lentil Buddy” stuff has gone quite well. I may post some details about it)



GO TO ASIA??

Living in Southeast Asia or south of the U.S. is a phase of life I’ve been considering since back when I was still working. Lately, when I thought of it, it was along the lines of “that’s something I used to think about doing”, and didn’t consider doing ‘now’, mainly because it’s far away, and language barriers.

I learned a bit about the language barrier thing when I spent a winter in Mexico. First - that I can feel very much like a stranger. But also - that I feel it would work out ok if I just stay in the same spot for significant time.

I’ve recently met a bunch of people who have lived in Asia, or still sort of do and are just back for the summer. Eventually my thinking changed from the “I used to think about doing that” to “hmmmm, maybe I should now”.

Then I went through what I think Nassim Taleb wrote about in ones of his books: I could feel myself deciding I’d do it, knowing that it wasn’t a thought out logical choice, and knowing that over the next few weeks I’d think about it logically and of course conclude that I should do it.
At this point I’ve decided to go. I’m still at the point where it’s possible to change my mind though…



SOME REASONS TO DO IT:
  • Low cost of living. Sounds like <$600/mo would be doable. <$1,000 very very easy.
  • Nice weather. Sort of.
  • Nice beaches in some places
  • Could have very simple life (in some ways. Not entirely)
  • Very easy to start romantic relationships.
  • Would be another another interesting/fun phase of life.


SOME REASONS NOT TO DO IT: (or, things that may bother me)

I think the main two are:

1 - Won’t have long-term continually ongoing friendships. This is something important to me now.

—> Right now, it doesn’t feel important to me at all to establish a “forever” kind of romantic relationship. I’m cool with shorter ones (in the range of months), and Asia may be particularly fun for that.
—> Traveling more or less continually in the van was eventually a problem in this department. I think Asia may work ok if I do a good job of being social, and I stay in places for 3+ months at a time, and come back to the places I like numerous times.


2 - Won’t be able to do hobbies/projects that require sizeable physical materials/space (like gardening, building things, etc.) I’ve had a lot of enjoyment doing these kinds of things in Portland, and I’ll miss not being able to do them.

—> So - what would I do there?
  • Online work (I’ve been meaning to and have just recently started ramping up one that I’ve been doing for years. Could probably find more to try out)
  • Photography work? (for tourists? Money potential is likely not so high, possible issues with ‘working’ there. But I’d like to keep at shooting portraits)
  • Focus on fitness. (been doing great this summer and I’d like to keep that rolling. Gyms are pretty cheap in S.E.A.)
  • Read
  • Calligraphy
  • Make friends, girlfriends, etc.

Some other potential issues:
  • Would need to be highly minimalist (a benefit of this is it keeps me from spending a lot of money on hobbies like motorcycles, building things, etc.)
  • Cultural/infrastructure annoyances
  • Bad air quality?
  • Annoyed by visa renewing, maybe by frequent moving?
  • Really spicy food?
  • Poor logic among people in some of these countries(?)
  • Limited education, particularly of women(?)
  • Dangerous drivers
  • Dirtyness/trash/smells?


OTHER OPTIONS:
  • Go ahead with home base - alternative style. Buy land. Build something (yurt or other nice tent, tiny/small house, dirtbag home, etc.). Start big garden and other hobbies. Fairly low cost for a home. Possibly very low ongoing costs
  • Go ahead with home base - normal house. ~$100k plus. Then focus heavily on establishing (hobby) income.
  • Rent an apartment or house somewhere. Test out income ideas. If decent income started, buy a house. If poor income results, change to cheaper way of living or get an engineering job
  • Go to Mexico for winter. Van or possible just Motorcycle (and rent a cheap apartment). Either way, settle in at one area and make friends. No flights. Visa length 6 months and super easy. Very low likelihood that I’d want to stay down there through summer. Could be possible that I’d go back for more winters.
  • Travel in van more. Go slow. Add high top to van for better ergonomics. (don’t feel like doing this one)
  • Stay with my friends longer. Keep trying to help improve their communication/relationship skills so it’s less annoying. Zero rent, so possibly the cheapest option.
Going to Asia or Mexico are the cheapest options that include having my own ‘normal’ home to myself.



I’ve also started thinking about actions to prepare for leaving to Asia. I may post about those fairly soon. For now, I’d like input on the decision process. I will make another thread asking for input on Asia (where to go, what the people are like, what living there is like, etc)

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Re: C40's Journal

Post by slowtraveler » Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:23 pm

I haven't figured out quoting yet so I'll reply based on my experience, living mostly in Northern Thailand.

So - what would I do there?

---working online could work out, working in any visible way like taking pictures for tourists could get you deported without a work permit in Thailand.
---Gym I go to is 60baht per visit and has everything. Much less crowded than USA gyms.
---Friends are easy to make here. One thing is that most people are more nomadic than in US so friends will come and go more often.

Some other potential issues:
Would need to be highly minimalist (a benefit of this is it keeps me from spending a lot of money on hobbies like motorcycles, building things, etc.)
--helpful but not essential, you can rent a home for a few hundred dollars a month.
Cultural/infrastructure annoyances
--public transport is often better than USA, cultural is much harder. Internet for example is much better and cheaper here, especially with a 6 month prepaid sim.
Bad air quality?
--some months, some cities
Annoyed by visa renewing, maybe by frequent moving?
--Vietnam would be easy, Thailand you should do a multi entry visa while still in the states then a student or work visa after.
Really spicy food?
--ask for not spicy. Lol. You can also buy a small cooker at Tesco for like $30 and some utensils for $10 then cook yourself.
Poor logic among people in some of these countries(?)
--some, but also in every country. 25% of the population in my city are not Thai. You can live amongst foreigners or Thais, up to your preferences.
Limited education, particularly of women(?)
--Most go to university these days in the cities. If you decide to live in the country side, maybe.
Dangerous drivers
--Different style. Motorbikes may be safer because of the high awareness here. Driving is more of a flow than everyone fighting each other here but still very dangerous.
Dirtyness/trash/smells?
--I find it cleaner than most western cities but there are some dirty areas. Smells can be stronger due to less developed sewage systems. The dirtiest bathroom I ever went to was a portapotty in Cali. There's cockroaches, rats, and mosquitos in abundance here but also in the states if you know where to look.

It really depends on your passport(s) and what you're looking for. Most seem to like Thailand for travel but not living here too long due to the racism and visa difficulties. Taiwan and Vietnam I keep hearing good things about. China and Philippines are highly polarizing. People either love or hate them.

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Re: C40's Journal

Post by bigato » Thu Aug 15, 2019 3:42 am

I think a couple of months traveling around Asia should be enough to have more basis for your decision. It may sound like wasting time, but it's a cheap price to pay for a better decision on how you'll live your life in the next decade or so.

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Re: C40's Journal

Post by rube » Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:12 am

I agree with Bigato. I have visited quite some SE Asian countries, some just for holiday and some for work/living up to 6 months. In some countires I could probably live well for months or longer. Others, might be nice for a few weeks but not for a (very) long time (for me personally).

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Re: C40's Journal

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Thu Aug 15, 2019 9:05 am

slowtraveler wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:23 pm
I haven't figured out quoting yet so I'll reply based on my experience, living mostly in Northern Thailand.
Looking at the post you are interested in quoting, click the quotation mark button " in the upper right hand corner. It will take you to a page where the post has been quoted for you. Then edit out all the text that isn't relevant so everyone doesn't have to read it again. You can also start a new post and then use the quotation mark button but that method requires you to paste in the quote you want to use.

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Re: C40's Journal

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Thu Aug 15, 2019 9:15 am

C40 wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:46 pm
[*] Dirtyness/trash/smells?[/list]
I've only been to Vietnam and Hong Kong and only on vacation so I didn't see that much. I don't think it is anything you won't be able to handle but it will be different than the US. In Hanoi in the old part of town it smelled like sewage and garbage in a lot of places. There was a lot of trash on the ground but it did seem like people were cleaning it up all the time. I think it is just what happens when there are a ton of people living very closely with very old infrastructure. Hong Kong was much more modern and cleaner but it had urban smells like dumpsters and urine. It wasn't any dirtier than any other urban area I've been in though, for example downtown New Orleans and Chicago are just as bad if not worse.

The air quality seemed good enough in both.

In Vietnam you will see things like bloody meat being sold from a piece of cardboard on the sidewalk. It's not up to modern food safety standards. Having to see it isn't that bad and probably something good to be exposed to. I definitely didn't buy any of it though.

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Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 » Thu Aug 15, 2019 9:39 am

When you guys say to travel around asia for a couple months to figure it out - do you mean to do that to see if I want to stay in the area at all, or to do that to figure out which places I'd like to stay longer?

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Re: C40's Journal

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Thu Aug 15, 2019 9:53 am

Both, I would guess. First figure out if it's your cup of tea, and then figure out which region you like to drink your tea the most.

Planning on doing exactly this next fall (or this fall if I get canned at work). Going to visit Thailand for 60 days, Vietnam for 30, Indonesia for 30, and Malaysia for 60. The biggest reason is cheap accommodations when renting by the month. We plan on spending 30 days in Chiang Mai and another 30 exploring other parts of Thailand (islands, south etc). Might make it into Laos and Cambodia as well, all of this is very loosely planned. Then we will know which areas we like, which we don't, and what might make sense when we use geographical arbitrage in the future.

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