Log

2020-08-10

I've got a picture of each curry on the website now. It took over a month to do that. I had to practice my double batch curry recipes to make sure they make 2 quarts each. And then I ate all the curries. It was fun though putting on my chef's coat and hat and making 3 double batch curries in the early morning hours. I'll do well with that routine. It's easy to be nervous about the advertising after all I've been through. I've got a radically different product this time though.

And it's more than just the curries; I'm creating technology here. I made an app that prints labels and shopping lists. The website takes orders and schedules my days. It reminds me of a Star Trek quote: "The computers tell you what to do and you do it!"

2020-08-05

Yes, showing my frustrations yesterday. Taking a step back today. You know, reboot, put on some music, take a better look at the problem. You see, when I did door hangers for the political campaign, I was taking an hour bus ride to the other side of town. And then I would walk the flyers for 2.5 hours. Walking like that is pretty tough. Aftwards, I had a hard time walking back to the bus. Then the hour bus ride back home. It was just about 5 hours round trip. But I have a car now! And I'm advertising closer to home. And I don't have to do as many. I don't think it is going to be nearly the time commitment. I don't know if it will be effective, but I can start with that and measure it. And I'll do some EDDM mailings in the same neighborhoods so people get the ad two or three times.

I've done good at setting up the technical end of this with the website. I'm putting the rest of the main functions in today.

I'm simply not an extrovert who believes in irrational optimism. I consider myself optimistic, but not irrational. I question. I'm not confident if I don't have facts to back it up. I'm an artist and not too happy about networking and advertising. I do think that the focus should be on my joy of curries though. I'm hoping the pictures are going to do the work more than the words.

I think another thing that has been frustrating me is startup costs. I ended up spending $10,000 on cars and the original plan was to have my customers come to me. Zoning wouldn't allow that, so I had to get a car. It simply wasn't in the original budget. And then I didn't get the right car in the beginning, so then I got another car. And then I needed a 2nd refrigerator and the first one I had delivered didn't work. So I had it returned and that took time. And then the next fridge I bought was more expensive and is taking more time to be delivered. And my cooking/cooling techniques are struggling and it might require me to get a freezer. And there just isn't budget for that until I sell the other car. All this is to comply with regulations. I'm getting there though. The advertising is the worrisome piece. But they are all factors and stresses of going into business.

I'm reading a book called Quiet that is about introverts and extroverts and how slanted American society is to extroverts. I'm also reading a small business book. It's nice that I'm reading some books instead of the news. I guess my feelings today are that I'm going to hang in there with the business. Walking door hangers is a pretty solitary business. It's uncomfortable feeling like you are sneaking up on people's houses and dealing with those, sometimes mean, no soliciting signs. And you know, I did that for a good month with the poltical campaign and never saw a donation from it. I'm hopeful that the food business will be a little better. Most of the cooking business is solitary actually. I'll do my best to brute force the advertising. I've certainly got an hour or two a day to pass out door hangers! There is the thought about digital advertising too. I read part of a book last week written by someone who promotes AdWords. If you are in business, you have to generate sales someway. It would be pretty sweet if I was successful in this venture! I think that on paper, it is possible for me to do it and still be an introvert.

2020-08-04

I'm feeling a little crazy today. I've got $10,000 wrapped up in two cars in my driveway that I have no personal plans of using for the rest of the year. I've been to Home Depot in the car twice this week. The first time I got paint for the front stairs and back deck. That's a yearly chore and both are done now. That always feels good. And then today I bought a roll of wire fencing so I can block off the bottom of the house to keep the raccoon out. Finally getting around to that job and there was no way I was going to bike or walk with that fencing. Well, I suppose if I didn't have a car, I'd be tempted to walk the 4 miles with it. I've done it before.

Of course I got the cars for the cooking business. I'm nervous about the cooking business advertising right now though. I mean, I might as well give it a try, but I doubt I'm going to be successful with it. My advertising skills are not that good and my design skills are terrible. I don't like the idea of other people writing the copy for my website and I have very little money for advertising. I'd do well with being a chef, but this advertising stuff is a huge blocker. Even the thought of advertising just makes me sick now. And social networks. I love working and probably would have done well with doing programming for a company, but that wasn't in the cards. I may actually love working for a software company now. I'd love it if the income was solid and I was in a good flow programming. That could be better than the cooking business.

Anyway. That is my struggle today. I liked it when there were no cars in the driveway.

2020-08-01

Well, I bought a $5,000 EV today. Now I've got two cars in the driveway that I'm not using much! We'll see. Both cars are pretty nice and each have their strengths. I guess I'm going to sell the GTI though. I honestly don't even want a car. I'm still walking and biking to get my food. The EV will be better for my needs though. The GTI was growing on me. It's a nice car.

I managed to not read any news for a week. Then a week ago, I got sucked back into it because of the news of the Portland protests. The truth is that I like reading. So anyway, I read the news this week and got burned out on that. So I'm back to not reading the news again. I got the library reader app, so I'm reading a little bit on the iPad. I'm working on meditating a little more. It's really been the iPad that has brought the news into my life. Yes, I have always done quite a bit of reading on the internet. The iPad seemed to kick that into overdrive. I don't like how I'll be on the iPad while I'm watching a movie. You know... I'll be watching a movie and then get curious about an actress and start following those connections on the internet.

But the real evolution of all of that is the idea of transcribing movies. I'm half way through transcribing the dialog for a Star Trek episode and I'm having a great time with that. I think if I were retired, I'd develop a hobby of doing that to my whole DVD collection. That kind of thing is more appealing to me than getting Netflix and consuming new material.

2020-07-26

This situation I'm in is reminding me of where I was in 2006. I was on SSD and could have used that money to get back into music. Who knows, I might have been successful with that. But I felt that I had come so far with programming. I really wanted to see it work. And then within a year, I was a professional programmer. It's the same thing with cooking now. I've done all this work to get my cooking to this point, I want to see it work! I do believe it is important to follow your passion. If I didn't follow my passion, I might have wound up staying in the Navy band, or doing cable installation or even driving long distance trucks! If you are passionate about your work, it just goes a long way to lasting happiness and spreading joy.

2020-07-25

My programming career isn't doing well because I was heavily invested in Flash based technologies and I can't use them anymore. So it means that I have to learn new languages. How long is this going to take and how much will it cost? Taking 6 months to a year off from work to study for free? Or go to a school and pay them while I'm taking a year off from work? Or can I do it in 6 months? Really?

I've already invested 15 years of work in my free time on my cooking. With just a few thousand dollars, I can turn it into a business. It's a low investment at this point because I've already done the investment.

I've got this calcualtion... If I work a salaried software job for 40 hours a week for 48 weeks a year, that's 1,920 hours a year. Divide $100,000 yearly salary by that and you get $52/hour. I've been making almost twice that hourly rate as a freelancer, so that means I would be working twice as hard. I think I can make close to $50/hour doing cooking with my own company. Sure, I'd be working the same amount of time, but I wouldn't have to do a year of unpaid education to get there.

Can I get a $100,000/year job doing programming? Certainly making less than that doesn't seem like a good deal! I might be able to make more than that by being a chef!

My cooking prices are inline with the local Indian restaurant. My product is quality. Initial investment is minimal and I don't have to learn a new skill. And as long as orders come in, it might even be more profitable than programming. Getting away from the computer for my last decade of work might be nice too. And better for my posture! And hopefully I can still do a little higher paying programming work. The idea is sound. It works on paper.

I get a lot of flack for not wanting to learn new programming languages. You know... Maybe if I put the time into learning new programming languages that I put into cooking, I'd be able to get better programming jobs. It's neither here nor there. I like cooking! I like eating good food that I made! It's who I am and what I do. I like the idea that I've already invested in a new technology (cooking) and that I'm prepared for the final decade of my career without having to invest more.

2020-07-21

The best I can come up with is the goal to retire in 10 years. I'll be in my early 60's and it will be a very basic retirement relying heavily on social security even after a whole decade of $90,000 years. I'm not sure I can make it. It's going to be tough. Getting a dog like Nala in retirement is a goal. I don't know if I'll really want a dog then, but it is a fine idea for now. I do miss Nala.

I don't have much desire to travel the world. I did that in my 20's. It could be cool if I had money to do that, but there is very little chance of that and I have no desire to work extra hours or take on more stress for that. Composing music is always a goal. I'm already doing that and will definitely always be exploring there. Playing some old video games in retirement is a huge goal. Maybe making an extra building on the property or a hot tub or sauna. Maybe waiting until retirement to do that.

Having another partner is a fine idea. At the moment, I've switched gears into paying for everything myself to become more independent. I have to admit that I'm pretty satisfied after being with Cynthia. She was really good to me. We had a great time.

Doing the RV thing and exploring the parks in Oregon and Washington is a fine idea. I liked having the small RV. My logs say that the RV cost me $279/month over the 5 years I had it. It is a cost. And my driveway doesn't work well with that.

I have mixed feelings about the cooking business. I do have high hopes that it will work. If I can just get 20 hours of work from it a week, things will be on the right track finally. The more the better. I'm going to have fun with it! I am a little skeptical about my advertising costs and the nature of the market. And the nature of making curries. Making a curry is a lot more time consuming than almost anything you can make. And that is a major part of the operations of the business. How do you make that work? My plan works on paper, but I'm not sure consumers will get on board with it. There is a reason there are so few curry restaurants. The logistics are challenging as far as I understand it.

2020-07-16

Cars are huge money suckers so buying one is a big decision. I went 10 months without a car, but I had to buy one for my upcoming cooking job. I've always wanted a VW GTI, so I picked up one for $4,900. It runs well enough, but it scrapes on my driveway. Right after I bought it, I realized that a small EV would be better for my business. So, now I'm in this scene of do I spend my last dime to swap out these cars and have two cars at the same time? I decided today to wait on the idea. If I don't get sales for the cooking business, I may want to just hang onto the GTI for road trip vacations. If business picks up, I'll have the extra cash to make the swap easier. The swap is pretty much 1:1 though. It isn't going to cost me more money as long as I do it correctly. I'm noticing that car buying craziness vibe though. Crazy cars!

2020-07-15

We got the hole dug and are putting in the PEX pipe later today. Nice! Finally!

What has been holding me back professionally? It's a combination of factors. Flash going away of course. My introversion as well. I love being an introvert, but you can't pay yourself. I like that I did the poltical campaign. The writing was excellent. Learning about advertising was good. Getting out of my comfort zone a few times was good. I still think I could do well with being a politician, but I'm not cut out for this talking to people kind of campaigning. I love being an introvert! Cooking could work well for me. Getting up early and cooking. Then doing a little programming in the afternoon. Delivering the food in the evenings. My days are going to be packed, but that is good. I'm looking forward to it.

I'm hopeful that my mail and door hanger skills can be used for the cooking business. I don't know if it is going to work out. Whether people will be interested or not. Some things you don't have control over. I'm not just going to twiddle my thumbs waiting to find out though. I'm getting my resume fixed to apply for software jobs. I'll send my resume to a bunch of places and see if I can get to talking to some people that way. It could even lead to some contract work. I'm trying to pay for my house, not just become a chef. The chef thing is exciting though.

In the programming world, I've gotten good at Unity, but I have mixed feelings about it. What I really want to do is use Visual Studio 2008 to create apps. And then I'm hoping that those apps can be compiled using Xamarin. My hope is that doing it that way will be better for 2d development. I'm an old school generation x'er who has very little desire for anything 3d. Flash was great at 2d development, right from the beginning.

So, putting it all together... I'll finish putting the cooking business together. I'll polish my resume. And I'll experiment with Visual Studio.

On the hobby side, I think I'll finally put together that Space Duel control board. I had to store a bunch of cooking stuff in the garage, so I won't be able to build more machines, but I can build control boards. Space Duel is a two player game that doesn't work well without the authentic 10 button layout. I've even got the red and green buttons!

2020-07-13

I finished MMM today. He hasn't posted for almost 2 months now. MMM and I are pretty similar methinks. He certainly had better financial sense than I did growing up. I'm not so into salads and lifting weights, but I barely eat any meat. We've had different lives, but you know, being a lifelong bicyclist has a way of making you think like this. Also, I'm an introvert and have practically no desire to change that. I think we both have a love for creating things and being in the workshop. I feel that I've been living a pretty mustachian lifestyle the last 5 years or so. With the exception that I'm not financially independent. I'm glad I was a professional musician first in life. It did set me back financially though. My records indicate that I've earned $27,000/year over my 30 years of working. I wasted a good chunk of money on a used car and old RV in my 40's. I probably only spent $5,000 on cars and driving in my 30's though.

I did buy a bit of a fancypants house in my mid-40's and I spent a good chunk of money, on credit cards, to fill it up with computers, DVD's, old video games and musical instruments. It's all built though. I have no material wants. People are different. I've always liked the idea of getting older and watching the same TV shows, listening to the same music, and playing the same old video games. Like with all this old music, I still don't even come close to really knowing it. Sure, I can play a good chunk of it, but there is just so much to learn there. We are so rich and spoiled with all the information we have. Decades of music, games and movies at your fingertips. How much more could I consume?

I'm working on my resume today. Wow, the years and projects certainly stack up, don't they? I've done all kinds of incredible programming work, but most of it was in Actionscript and I can't get any more work doing Actionscript. Have I really been robbed of a six figure income and now have to become a chef? Possibly. Not that I have any problem being a chef working for my own business. But I am concerned about the payoff. I'm not switching careers just because I want to be a chef. I'm trying to pay for my house and make it to retirement. I don't care which one of my skills gets used to make that happen. I just don't want to learn a new skill from scratch on my own time. I've worked for free way too much in my life and I have an extensive portfolio of music, apps and a book to show for it.

But I guess after filling 4 pages with intense skills and projects, and barely mentioning my music, that I am perhaps worrying a little more than I should be. I'm hiring someone to help me with the programming job search of this puzzle. I like the idea of doing my cooking business, but I'm at a point in life where I have to consider all my options. And I'm also wise enough to enjoy the spectacle of what will happen! I'm certainly proud of the work I've done. It's been a great ride!

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One interesting story in my professional career is always fun remembering. The backend programmer on the Fitwall project thought that time syncing the 16 iPads, TV and iPod music app was going to be next to impossible to do. I didn't agree with that and told him it would be no problem. You see, you just send a request to the server for the current time. If you get a response within say 50 milliseconds, or a quarter second or whatever small time you decide is reasonable, then you have enough information to be acurate enough. Say the request and response takes 100 milliseconds, 1/10th of a second. You take note of the time when you send the request and assume that it was 1/20th of a second into the request when the server got it and got the time for its clock. So you take the time the server sent you, add 1/20th of a second to the time you got it and that is the time you use as the current time on the app. That should get all the devices within a few milliseconds of each other. If the response is slower than that, you just throw it out and wait for one that is quick. Close enough and not hard to do. I did that and wow, it sure is impressive to see a whole room of iPads, a TV and an iPod all completely synced. I personally never went to one of their studios, but I had a setup with a few devices in my studio and it was really popping.

And I have a whole second career of stories like that. And you know, I don't even mention stuff like that in my book because well, I've just done so many things. Maybe I will go in an backfill the book with more stories like this. I was really self-conscious about all the drugs stories in my book. It's easy to get the wrong impression about me. I've probably spent about $1,000 on drugs in the last 28 years. (Oh, except for that stupid year of nitrous oxide that messed up my health.) Most of that was on marijuana and most of it was right when I got out of the Navy. Understandable that I would smoke some pot after the Navy! Most people buy more pot when they go to the cannabis store than I've smoked in the last 15 years. I do remember liking it at one point though. Smoking and playing music was really fun. I've tried to recreate that. It just doesn't work for me anymore. I'm thankful that I know my limits with alcohol now and can enjoy a little buzz from it. It's been almost 5 years since I had my last puff of anything. Which brings me to...

That janitor job I did for 2 years in my early 20's. I got two lifelong injuries on that job. I damaged my lungs from cleanup of drywall debris. And I hurt my back moving a table. Maybe I would have been better off flipping burgers!

2020-07-12

Not that the time savings had much to do with giving Nala away. I still go on some walks. Thanks for showing me the neighborhood Nala! And introducing me to the neighbors. But there is more freedom with my time now.

Almost through reading MMM now. Here is what I've read in the last year or two:

Mr Money Mustache
The Biology of Belief
Inside Out
My Booky Wook
The Audactiy of Hope
Energy and Civilization: A History
The Next Millionaire Next Door
Wishful Drinking
A Brief History of Time
The Two-Income Trap

MMM is very supportive of the idea of starting businesses. I'm proud that I'm giving it a try again. If it works out, I get to cook my way to retirement! A 10 year chef career sounds like a good change of pace. If it works out financially. If it is just going to putter along, well, I'll have to make the hard decision to give up on it. I was working on my resume last night. My goal is paying off the house, not becoming a chef. Perhaps applying for programming jobs and keeping Nala would have been the smarter thing to do. We'll see. I'm going to give it 6 months here.

2020-07-11

It feels good to be doing something.

Giving Nala away was harsh, but it did get the ball rolling. Just doing that freed up 10 hours a week. A long workday, every week. Plus a little money saved. I'm going to stop reading the news here too. I had gotten consumed by it with the virus and all. I've got a good start on the hole. I just read an MMM article on how to replace your furnace. My furnace broke in March. I think I'm going to give it a try. My furnace is way old.

And it is a major deal realizing that I'll apply to every software job under the sun. I'm serious about increasing my income here. I like a lot of downtime and Nala was going to be a drag on that even if I could keep her. I'm way behind in lifetime earnings. I've got skills and wisdom though. I've got a good shot at making this work.

2020-07-09

I just added a post to my political blog and read that page a bit. I like the things I wrote there. Writing the last few years has been good for me. I'm at the end of my day here. I've realized that I don't need my brother's fancy excavator to replace my galvanized water main. I can just dig it up. So that is what I'll spend the next couple days doing. I'll get this thing replaced with PEX pipe here in the next week. Then I'll be on to making the website for the curry business. And working on my newer techniques in the kitchen. The roof project is on hold until I can fix my income problem.

I'll give this curry business 6 months or so. If business is not picking up, then I'm simply going to apply to every software job I can find online, whether I have the qualifications they are looking for or not. I'm a solid programmer and there are programming jobs out there. And they pay well. I'd rather have a nice lifestyle of running my curry business and doing programming part time. I need 10 years of strong earnings here though. I need next year to be the best earning year of my life. I gave away my dog Nala. I'm serious about this.

I have done some pretty amazing things in life though. Cynthia was a real treat for me. She loved it when I would play Dragonfly Entrance.

2020-07-07

Welcome to the DT Log! I've been most impressed with the MMM blog and enjoyed writing on my political site. My life is moving away from politics and into the realm of ramping up for some higher earnings years in my 50's so I can make it to some kind of retirement. You'd think I'd be doing just fine as a software developer, but it isn't the case. I was highly invested in the Macromedia/Adobe Flash and Actionscript technologies. I haven't coded in that language in over a year now. It's a thing of the past unfortunately and I'm having problems finding any combination of technologies that is a good replacement. I've been using Unity, but I'm not impressed with how it works with 2d projects.

So, I'm gearing up to have a home cooking business by getting a domestic kitchen license. I'll still do programming, but hopefully I'll be more diversified by doing cooking as well. In order to do this, I had to give my lovely dog Nala away. That was about a week ago. I'm still pretty heartbroken about it. I also had to buy a car. Zoning would not allow my customers to come to my house because of the configuration of buildings on my property. So I'm going to have to deliver unfortunately. I bought a VW GTI for $4,900. It seems to run well enough. I decided to ride my bike for a 15 mile round trip to the dentist this morning instead of taking the car. It was good to get some exercise. I hope to just use the car for business and vacations only. I used it to pick up some 2x4's from Home Depot over the weekend so I could build a pantry in my garage. I spent $536 to do some kitchen modifications. I replaced my over the range microwave with a range hood. I had to cut into my backsplash tile with a diamond blade to remove some damaged tile. My brother helped me cut some new tile to fill the empty space with and then I made a nice half inch hardwood trim piece at the top of it. It looks really professional. I also got a new kitchen faucet and PEX pipe to run to the kitchen sink. My back was bad enough that I haven't installed the PEX yet.

My brother is bringing his excavator over and we'll dig up the galvanized main line to the house and replace it with PEX. That'll finally fix the water problem. Then my brother is going to teach me how to install a roof on my house. I'm replacing all 9 skylights. Other than the skylights, the roof is pretty easy to do.

I also have to make the website for the cooking business and practice my new cooking techniques. Hopefully I'll be in business by September. Hopefully I get some business! I know I'm not the only one worried about work right now, but there is the more disturbing part of it of my programming technologies getting outdated. It was painful giving Nala away and getting the car. It was just the only idea I had to ramp up my work life. I'll enjoy running this business. It is a 50% cut in hourly pay, but if business comes in, it could be worth it. Maybe I'll have a dog again when I'm truely retired.