Log

2020-01-17

I'll just make my own wind chimes on my 50th birthday. I want to use that special lydian tuning I discovered when Patty died. Maybe I can get a good design going for it and sell it on Etsy.

2020-01-16

Part of me wants to be famous. I think it is just part of the music gig. I want fans. That's how the bills are paid. I want people to enjoy the things I create as I enjoy the things other people that I support create. Part of me would love retreating into a totally private, even pathetic world. Part of me just wants to get to financial independence and then live the rest of my days in my house creating things. I'm certainly a little scared at being so successful that I would have to plan my days. I've probably used an alarm clock less than 10 days in the last 15 years.

I like playing Home. It's a little challenging to play perfect every time. I've been playing the theme to Contact on the piano lately too. I love the Lydian sound of it. It's hard to not screw that one up too.

I've made $500 playing music in the last 20 years. I've made 1/4 of my life income from playing trombone. I've made 1/2 of my income programming with Flash. I'm working hard on revitalizing my career here. I'm going a little slow, but I'll get the job done.

I think my book needs another revision. I've been thinking that I'll just add sections to it, but no, that isn't good enough. It's going to need a whole rewrite. I'm really just starting with this writing stuff. I think I focused too much on events and not enough on my feelings. I skirted around drugs and sex in an effort to focus on math. I think I was successful with the math end of it and that made me happy. I certainly don't have time for this rewrite now. It may be a few years.

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One thing I learned a few years ago when I was fasting to lose all that weight was how much I missed cooking. Everything that goes into a meal. And that's what I'm talking about when I say "take the time." We all choose what we spend our time on. Choices. I chose a few years ago to use serving bowls and serving utensils. It means more dishes. That's OK though. I've got time to do the dishes. I've got time to put all the ingredients in different bowls. Maybe I'm lucky though in that I don't work full time.

I like taking the time to put a tie on once in a while. I own one suit. The suit I got married in 13 years ago. The pants are newer, but the jacket is old. I've worn out several pair of the pants. Sometimes I'll put on my suit and tie and then just do my normal daily thing around the house. I like the padded shoulders. I like the satin lining in the wool pants.

I'm going to take the time to do these cold calls and invite some people into my life.

2020-01-14

Liz on the FW blog was talking about hair so I want to share a little bit about that. I got sensitive to how frizzy my hair was looking a few years ago. So now I'm combing and brushing it more. I've been wearing a shower cap so I'm not getting it wet all the time. I used to notice that my eyes would get irritated when oil from my hair got in them. I noticed that when I started washing my hair less, the oily problem went away. Ironic, isn't it? I'm probably only washing my hair twice a month now. I use conditioner every time. I don't own a blow dryer. I'm not noticing any split ends. My hair is still a little frizzy though.

My hair is about halfway down my back. I really don't think it's going to get longer. Anyway. I'm enjoying it the way it is. If I want it out of my face, I put it in a low pony tail. I've been enjoying shaving my face lately. I'll let it grow for a week or so then I'll trim it with the buzzer, do another pass with my Norelco cutter and then do a close shave with the Gillette razor. I always liked shaving my face in the Navy, and might start close shaving a little more for a while here.

I'm dialing up a really frugal year here. I'm trying to keep my discretionary spending to just $1,000 for the whole year. I'm not going to make it though. I already have $910 of it earmarked (dentist, garden supplies, Christmas tree). Maybe $1,500 is the better goal. That would still be a lot lower than it has been like EVER! I did just spend $22 on a yoga video. Doing programming work has been hard on my back lately and I'm looking for a way to get into a stretching routine. I felt the video might help me make a practice of it. I got it yesterday and have done a couple routines with it already. I moved my couch to the other side of the living room so I have room in front of the big TV. It's all working well.

I have my Roland XV-88 keyboard setup in the living room next to the piano. It works well enough, but I just don't think I'm into it enough to keep it setup. I've made about the cleanest setup I could. I've got it with a mixing board and MC-307 Groovebox. I've got the output of the mixer going wireless to my living room stereo system so there isn't a cord going across the room. I think I'll tear it down today though. I just like playing the piano. I sold my Djembe drum the other day. I made a $50 profit on the deal. It was one with a 12" head. I like the smaller backpack Djembes. But the hand drums are just a distraction at this point. I just have all that history with hand drumming. My drumming isn't very good at this point though. I'm probably going to sell my conga set too. Too many instruments.

I've done enough cold calling now to see a small success ratio. It certainly is a numbers game. I've got to dig in for the long haul with it. I've been spending more time learning new technologies the last few weeks. I certainly do need to be doing that work and it is going well. Cold calling is important too though.

2020-01-13

I finally figured out how to remove the aerator on my new Peerless kitchen sink faucet. It was brought to my attention by the water bureau before my last lead test. The story goes that my lead level tested at 19ppb (parts per billion) 3 years ago. 15ppb is the actionationable level by law (EPA). My inital thought was that I'd have to replace the main line to fix it. So I put it off and got bottled water delivered for a few years. Then the curry business came up so I felt I had to fix it. I had read MMM talking about PEX pipe. Even though I did copper work in the 90's professionally, I did not know about PEX pipe. So I went to the store and bought a roll of blue PEX pipe and the tools and adapters.

Before I installed it, my brother wanted to bring his tractor over and replace the main line. So that's what we did. We replaced it with 3/4" PEX pipe. Then I got the water tested. Well, it came back at 39ppb! So I immediately soldered up a 6' section of 3/4" copper with a new main valve and another 1/2" valve to go out to the kitchen. It did take some effort to do all that and install the PEX run, but I got it done over Labor Day weekend. Then I called the water bureau to get a new test. They said that the test was probably high because we had knocked some lead off when we replaced the main line. It's obvious now that the galvanized was not a lead source. There really is lead in the solder in my house that was done in the mid 80's. The water bureau suggested I clean out the aerator on my brand new faucet in case some lead got stuck there.

I couldn't figure out how to take the damn aerator out though! I used my phone camera to look at it. There are no markings on it to attach a tool to. I just didn't get it. So I got the test and just let the water run for about 5 seconds before filling up the jar. Just like I normally do when I'm getting cold drinking water. The good news is that the test came back at 0.086ppb. Yay! No more bottled water and it really felt good to get that job done. And then earlier today I'm looking at that faucet and noticed that the aerator does just screw on. The seam is about an inch up the faucet and is so smooth it's almost impossible to see it. I screwed it off and sure enough, there was all kinds of debris in there. It sure is cool to know how to clean that out now. I love my sink faucet even more now!

2021-01-10

Boy, I'm happy tonight. I'm celebrating 5 years of not smoking today. I went all over town looking for quart mason jars today and couldn't find any. I wound up putting the 3 double batch curries I made today into pint jars. I used every last jar I had, but I got the job done. I made fresh fettucini and butternut squash soup yesterday. I did my laundry today. I've been doing one load of laundry every two weeks. Been doing it on Sundays pretty regularly.

And then I'm sitting in bed this evening and just laughing. My 50th birtday is in 50 days! 50 till 50! Haha!! And I'm getting this vision of getting a nice cake made with a 50 on it. And I'm going to get myself windchimes for my birthday. I've been thinking about getting wind chimes for years. I was thinking about making a wind chime app. I could put it in the dot trombone app. Anyway. Wind chimes and a 50th birthday cake!

Even though I have a financial dilemma, I'm pretty happy with how things are going. When I was 20, I turned my life around by transcribing for 6 hours each day. When I was in my early 30's, I did all that hard work of switching careers. And then I was at a low when I turned 40. I was in my new career, but I had gained a lot of weight. I ended up fixing my health in my 40's. My 40's were a good time.

I coded a retirement calculator the other day. I was trying to do some retirement calculations with Excel's FV, NPER, etc. I made a pretty good mortgage payoff calculator in Excel a few years ago. But the fact is that I'm a programmer and writing a loop to calculate interest is about the easiest programming task there is. So I put together this nice retirement calculator. I've filled it in with some numbers that make the most sense for myself. It's not as bad as I thought it was. If I can stash away $3,500 extra every month in an investment that gets 6% for 5 years, I'll have a nest egg that works for me. $3,500/month is still a lot of money, but if I can make a 6 figure income for 5 years, I'll have it. Then I can go back to operating how I have been for 5 years and then fully retire when I'm 60. And that calculator says I'll have enough money until I'm 101 years old. And that's without taking a reverse mortgage. And it is considering that I only get $1,400/month in social security.

The bottom line is that I don't think I need to make a million. I need to put $210,000 into a nest egg. I need to make $450,000 to cover bills including the mortgage and taxes. That's it really. That's $660,000 I need to earn to make it to retirement. That's an average of $66,000/year. I really need to average $87,000/year for the first 5 years and then $45,000/year for the next 5 years. I can do that by getting some big clients in the next few years and then I can do maintenence work in the last 5 years. After that, I can completely retire at age 60.

Anyway. Who knows what will really happen, but those are the facts. I'm drilling down into these numbers a little deeper here. I also think that I can make some programming tutorial pages on my lessons section that focuses on making financial calculators. It's a good way to teach loops.

2021-01-08

I composed Home last night. The furnace was acting up again this morning. I blew air in it and now it is back to normal. I've been doing a good job programming with Angularjs the last couple weeks. It really does make the front end look a lot cleaner. I'm making my first cold call of the C-suite today. It's actually a warm call. I'm nervous. I've got a good pitch though. Just got to make these calls.

I picked up some financial advice on the FW blog. They have a mortgage because their money is worth more when it is invested. It does make sense. I calcualted last night that if I save $5,000/month for 10 years, at 6% interest I'll have $819,397. And it'll generate around $49,163/year. And I'll be able to take $55,000 a year from it for 32 years. That's actually way more than I need, even with the mortgage. So this is better thinking.

2020-12-30

I'm excited for the new year. I think the FW's are awesome. Mr. FW is killing it, right? It sounds like they have a great relationship and have certainly been through a lot.

I think that in a future utopia, a lot of people might live like the FW's. I certainly don't think everyone is going to live in cities. We're certainly going to need a drastically reduced population. Completely automated factories making homestead items for frugal people that are taking care of the land. I don't know. As far as utopia goes. A way out of our existential crisis.

2020-12-29

The dang furnace is malfunctioning again. It's been making clicking sounds and shutting off once in a while. So I got out the air compressor again today and blew air into the gas inlet part of the unit. I turned it on and what do you know, no more clicking! I guess there are two possibilities. It could just be dust or the air I'm blowing into it is moving some broken part back into place. Anyway. I'm glad the air fixes it.

I had huge success at work yesterday. I started using a "new technology." I used Angular to backfill a form. The purpose of this is to clean up the front end design. So now I have ajax style query files that return json and the view gets filled with the json data. It worked great and it does look like the speed of the site is going to be increased.

My Wifi has been acting up the last week or two. Web pages have been really slow to load. So last night I did a speed test on my iPad and sure enough, I was getting <1Mb download. My upload was aroung 10Mb. So I went to my living room computer that is also using that wifi. It got a 45Mb download. Crazy! So I messed around with the wifi on the iPad. I turned it on and off. Nothing. So then I unplug the router for a minute and reboot it. This wifi router that I use is connected to an ethernet cable that goes to my main router. That way I can put the wifi right in the middle of my house. So I also reboot the iPad at the same time and what do you know, that fixed it! Crazy wifi. These iPads are wonderful devices. I love reading on it. I'm a little too addicted to reading though. I have literally used no data (or wifi) on my phone in almost 6 months now (before that I was using about 10MB/month). My phone battery is still lasting about 4 days. I am talking more on the phone that and that is draining the battery a little faster.

I guess I have gotten pretty frugal. I'm still reading the Frugalwoods blog. I relate to their homesteading lifestyle. I like my urban setting. I like the water and sewer system. I like not having to drive to get my groceries. I like working part time from home. I like working on non-work projects. I enjoy doing chores.

2020-12-27

I do have a DVD/Blu-ray library. I probably spent about $2,000 building it up. A decade ago I had Netflix. I was renting these old DVD's and they were so scratched up that they didn't even work. And most of the things I wanted to watch were not on streaming. So I built this library of all these classics that I knew I would watch over and over. Is this an economical way to do it? By saving $12/month from not having a streaming service, I will break even in 13.88 years. I've already gone almost 4 years without it. I think it is all about knowing yourself. If I stay single, I'll likely never incur a streaming fee again. I only bought one Blu-ray last year. It was Mr. Mom! I've been looking for that in widescreen for years. They finally made it!

I looked into getting auto insurance by the mile last night. I might be able to save $20/month by making that switch. That's $240/year and $2,400 in 10 years. $240 is almost a month of groceries.

I was reading a blog last night that said that being minimalist was bad because it is unmotivating. You certainly can take it to the point where you decrease your spending so much that you don't have to work much. To a point where you don't have anything but time. I've been noticing lately that not needing any more material possessions is a little demotivating. There is always something though. I currently need a sponge in the kitchen. And I know I'll need to buy a couple pair of pants this year.

2020-12-26

My December grocery spending included $13 for a strand of Christmas tree lights. I had four strands of these that I bought when I moved into the house. I was running out of replacement bulbs. About 2 bulbs a year turn out to be defective. So I bought one more strand while this kind is still available so that my sets can last a good 20 years or more. I've also started growing my own Christmas trees last year. I've got 5 of them growing. I'm going to work on growing some douglas fir Christmas trees from seed too. I'm not sure if they are the best tree to grow for that, but the seeds came from my tree and it'll be fun growing them.

So, even though I spent a lot of money on things for my house, I've arrived so to speak. I do have a frugal sense and I'm working on strengthening that muscle. This Daily Stoic book I was reading last night was pretty good. I guess that from being a self-described introvert, I can focus too much on things and processes. It's not my goal to be alone, but I do like maximizing time in my workshop and around the homestead. I'm excited to build my new garden in the spring. 2 tomato plants and 2 pumpkin plants. I'll probably put a cherry tomato plant by the blueberry bush too. They love growing there and it makes a nice transition going from blueberries to cherry tomatoes in the summer. It'll be nice to not buy pumpkins next year. Hopefully I'll have some nice ones for cooking too. I like roasting a pumpkin or two and then pureeing them and putting them in 2 cup plastic bags in the freezer for pies throughout the year. One of my secrets to the pies is that I use a mortar and pestle to grind up fresh allspice. And I grind nutmeg with a microplane. I've been using canned pumpkin the last year or two. I do like the flavor of the canned pumpkin. I'll go back to the fresh pumpkin here to get a good comparison. I'm going to make another batch of pumpkin muffins next week.

As you can probably tell, I'm quite addicted to my lifestyle. Trading more of my time for money might be hard. I like working 10-20 hour weeks. If I need to do 40 hour weeks for 5 years or so to pay off the house, I can get on board with that. But if I can figure out this cold calling, I can really have the best of both worlds.

Finding my way...

2020-12-25

Merry Christmas!

I'm kind of clunking around on this page trying to find my way. I like these financial blogs and I like writing. It looks like I'm through spending money for the year. Here is what I spent in December:

Expenses

item amount reason
Mortgage $1,844
Natural Gas $87 I haven't been burning wood this year. My house has an old gas furnace, gas range and gas hot water heater.
Electricity $158 The squirrel cage fan in the furnace is the main electricity sucker here. I also have 3 computers running 24/7 without montitors. It's winter. I make up for this by not using AC in the summer.
Water $247 This is a 3 month bill
Internet $105 I have fiber internet with 5 static ips and run servers.
Cell Phone $31 Verizon with 500MB of data that I don't even use at all.
USA Today $2.99 I like paying for the ad free iPad experience.
Auto Insurance $314 My 6 month policy
Groceries $297 I wound up buying 10 packages of Udon noodles on Amazon before my Prime membership expired.
Fast Food $34.25 I find that the car is a magnet to fast food.
Alcohol $19.95 I hope to keep my alcohol spending well below $100 in 2021. I wanted to drink on New Year's Eve this year.
Clothing $63 I bought two pair of the skate shoes I like for $31/each right before my Prime membership ended. I've been looking for a deal like this for over a year. I make these shoes last over 2 years each.
Haircuts $0 This is a joke :) I have only had one haircut in the last 7 years. I'll probably never get my hair cut again.
Software $110 TurboTax
Email/Domain Names $0
Gifts $22 I paid for delivery for some hand made gifts.
Other $530 I paid to have some people critique my website. I went over 20 years with virtually no feedback on my music and website. It was also part of my journey to break out of my introvert shell.
Taxes $0 I haven't paid anything on my 2020 taxes yet. Tax season is coming though. 2020 was another low earning year, but I should be able to squeak by on my taxes.
HELOC $570 My home equity line of credit. I eliminated my high interest credit card debt with this. $107 of this went to pay interest.
Total Expenditures: $4,435.19 The total without the website critique is $3,905.19. This is higher than normal because of the water bill, auto insurance and TurboTax.

Income

item amount reason
Freelance Income $5,368

Balance Sheet

$5,368 minus $4,435.19 is +$935.81. I'll need this extra money to pay my 2020 taxes.

I'm doing much better on spending than I was a few years ago, but I'm also doing worse in the income category. Income wasn't bad this month, but I've had way too many negative balance sheet months in the last two years.

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A living. I'm going to work this thing out on these pages. I had a great day yesterday. What did I do? I swept. I swept the driveway. You see, when my brother came over with the tractor in the summer to replace the main water line, we destroyed the front yard. I had built two planter boxes for Patty when I moved into the house 6 years ago. I built them tall so Patty didn't have to bend over to do the gardening. But the planter boxes were falling apart because of my poor choice of screws that held it together.

So we used the tractor to destroy the planter boxes. A few weeks later, it was mid-September and I laid down some grass seed and patiently watered it for the next month. I now have beautiful grass in the front yard. To grow the grass there, I moved all the wood debris to the back of the driveway. I researched getting one of those Waste Management Bagster things. It would have cost about $200. Since Cynthia died 16 months ago, I've barely been using the trash can at all. So I decided to chop up all the wood into one foot pieces and simply throw them in the trash. Well, it took all fall but the last load went out this week. So I was out there sweeping up the driveway on Thursday and reclaiming space. It sure felt good. Getting a job done. Just like getting my Bumper Bubbles game done by the end of the year like I had wanted to.

I started reading a book on stoicism this evening. Before that I was reading the Frugalwoods blog. Elizabeth was talking about how they made maple syrup for the first time. And she keeps on mentioning "homesteading." I read her book this fall, Meet the Frugalwoods. It sure was cool to read about all that lead up to them getting their homestead in Vermont.

Sweeping, right? If you come here much, you're going to here about brooms! I just love the sound of brooms. I saw a broom for sale on Craigslist today for $5. It sure did look nice!

Some people would think that my life is quaint, in a bad way. I'm pretty happy with the way things have turned out for me. I sure did come a long way from living on the streets. And this budgeting stuff I'm doing here. You're going to see a lot more of this if you come here. I've gotten to the point where I just have all the material things I could want. Today was Christmas day. I took out two brand new, sealed, medium large Lego sets out of the attic and put them, unwrapped in front of the tree. I bought these years ago. I'll enjoy building them someday, but it could be a while. I can see putting them under the tree like that each year for the next decade. I have a hard time seeing myself as frugal. I've got a DVD collection. I've got a Lego collection. I've got an old PC game collection. I may add a small bit to those collections in the coming years, but then again, I may not. One thing I was thinking of today was getting an Omni-pac board and 3 spin-trac controllers for my Starbreak video game. It's a game idea I came up with a decade ago. Something I will both assemble and code. So it isn't simply something I consume. I'd be producing it. It's a 3 player Warlords type game.

So, that is another project. I should concentrate all my efforts on how to get a six figure income so that I can pay off the house this decade. But I've been listening to Clockwork Angles this week and the line "going where I want instead of where I should" keeps ringing in my mind. Still, I need more success at work. It would be something to have success on my own terms. To remain a freelancer. I think I can pull it off.

Things. Brooms. Christmas tree lights. Saplings. You see, up to this point in life, I was working to get all the things that I wanted. I have those things now. I have debt because I didn't buy all those things with cash unfortunately. And taxes and food are a constant no matter where you are in life. I still have to work, but this carrot of things has been removed from my life. It isn't about getting things anymore, it's about not losing things.

If I look at my preliminary budget for next year, it says I will spend at least $30,000. How much is that? If you work 48 weeks a year, 40 hours a week, at $17/hour, you'll make $32,640 and have a whole month of vacation. That would be a little shy of what I need once you figure in taxes, but it is close. Not that I'm going to get all fearful and start considering that again, but it is a frame of reference. I'm sure I can do much, much better than that. I'm working the problem. Working out what the problem actually is.

2020-12-24

So anyway. The plan now is to go all in on this cold calling business. I know I'm going to face rejection here and I tend to give up quickly when that happens. I've just got to dig in and get it done. I've also developed a good plan for modernizing my coding style. I've got my work cut out for me for the next few months. This cold calling is the best shot I have at both increasing my income and keeping my current lifestyle.

I do have a plan to spend $200 this spring for some gardening things. Some pressure treated 4x4's to make a new bed, soil and multch for the rest of the front yard. I'm going to give it my best shot to grow my own pumpkins this year. I also want to grow 2 tomato plants. I'm looking forward to spring already. We haven't even a sign of winter yet.

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I walked a Christmas gift in the neighborhood this evening. I was a good little elf and heard people singing Christmas carols by the fire! Nice memory for 2020.

2020-12-23

It's just that I keep reading these FIRE blogs. And I've always been into budgeting. I rebooted my quicken accounts in September by giving myself a blank slate so I can track categories better. I'm dialing up a tight financial year for myself. I'm hoping to keep discrectionary spending well below $4,000. Hopefully around $1,000. That will include my dental cleanings as well. It will not include my auto insurance though and that certainly is a discretionary expenditure. My preliminary budget says I should spend $29,308 in 2021. That has $500 of discretionary spending in it. $400 for the dentist and $100 for a Christmas tree. I've got the usual $350/month for groceries and household expenditures. That number does not include my taxes though. With taxes, I can probably survive on $37,000/year. Ideally I'll figure out how to get a six figure income so I can pay off the house quickly.

2020-12-22

I was going to wait until New Year's Eve to do this, but I realized it was going to be too much work to get done in one evening. So I coded the Bumper Bubbles app today. It was pretty challenging. It was a conversion from Actionscript 1.0 done in July of 2004 to Adobe AIR app with Actionscript 3.0. It was mostly math and I didn't have to alter the math. But it was using good old eval() to write dynamic local variables. I mapped that to a variable called evalObj:Array. No problem :_) It took about 8 hours to get it done which included a new key mapping tool. Then installing it on my Windows Vista gaming system was a challenge. That system doesn't even have USB2 so my flash drive wasn't working. And I couldn't get the ethernet connection to work. I had to take the system in the house to connect to WIFI. I did get it installed finally. It's great! Just what I wanted! It was a bit like WALL-E playing pong though. It is a two player game. I enjoyed how the ships are green and red like the buttons on the control board. There are a couple minor non-show-stopping bugs with it. It was a good day's work.

Thank you to everyone who participated in my website content review. 11 people reviewed my music and site. Trombone Interlude did get voted as the top song when compared with Cynthia/Emotion and Dirty Pot/Igotarock. That's good; I can make more of that.

I made good progress in breaking out of my introvert shell this fall. It's still tough work though. There is a huge desire for me to be a strange old hermit like obi-wan, making music, apps and blogging. I've just got to keep at it here. I tend to make good progress and then need to take a step back for a week or two. It would probably help my professional situation if I wasn't working so much on the "Rand Thing." That's pretty tough for me to do at this point. I'd feel lost if I wasn't working on music and doing programming for my site.

2020-12-15

I'm bringing back the log this morning. One of the problems with having a musical blog is that the search engines don't have anything to index with. For many years, all that was on this site was music links and Flash interactions. I'm not a typical blog site where search engines pick up keywords in articles. But I did go through a writing phase with the political site and my book the last few years. I enjoy writing.

I also took down the log because I've been looking for work. It's the same reason I took down most of my autobiography. Sometimes I feel I need to be more careful of what I post and try to look more professional. I do have to earn a living after all. And if you've been reading this, you know I've been having a serious struggle setting up the last full decade of my working years. I'm almost 50. I need to earn a million dollars this decade to pay off my house and get a couple hundred thousand earning interest. I've done good at becoming more and more frugal. But I started life as a musician and have had a hard time playing catchup financially. I've earned $850,000 in my life to date. Earning another million sure seems like a hard task.

I'm figuring it out though. I've shaken things up by reading books the last few years. I've been taking more chances the last few months. I'm learning how to keep emotions out of business negotiations. It's really easy to get emotional when negotiating, but it is imperative to be logical and look for a win/win situation in every negotiation. If you can't see a clear win on both sides, you need to just walk away from it.

Also, I've been behind the times on this vaccine stuff. I latched onto the idea that vaccines are difficult to engineer. I felt people were being too optimistic about it. But damn, it looks like they did it! I fear that we are going to have a boomerang bounce back that will be bad for climate change. I think it is reasonable to continue working from home if you have a job that supports that. I think we should aim for keeping half of the carbon savings we realized in April 2020.

2020-12-09

I'm continuing to read digital books from the library. I've read YNAB (You Need a Budget), How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age, and Meet the Frugalwoods. The Win Friends book caused a mental overload brain crash. I was able to take a sleeping pill to recover from that. I'm much more at home reading these frugal books and blogs. Win Friends was good though. I learned some things from it. As a business owner, dealing with people is unavoidable and I must do better at it.

Elizabeth from Frugalwoods is interesting. I was already heading down a frugal path before I ran into MMM a year ago. I feel compelled to post my budgets. I budget $350/month for consumables. Gas would be part of that, but my car is electric, so there is no good way to track that (or I just havn't figured it out). I'm only driving the car an average of 2.7 miles a day though. $350/month for food isn't too much. It's pretty much at an MMM level. He is probably a little lower than I am. It's just over $10/day. That includes my $20/month alcohol budget too, although I haven't been drinking lately and may not go back to it. Last month I went $40 over my budget and the whole $40 was for 4 $10 fast food outings. The damn car is like a magnet for fast food.

I eat a quart of curry a day. I figure that the curry ingredients cost an average of $10 for 2 quarts, so that is $5/day for curries. It's probably a little more than that. If it comes to $7/day, that is $210/month. I probably spend at least $30/month on coffee. I usually eat oatmeal and short grain brown rice in the morning. I've been buying a little chocolate lately. I only buy ice cream a couple times a year. I have been buying some milk and chocolate sauce to make mochas with.

So in November, I went $40 over the $350 budget. in October, I only spent $245. In September I spent $446. I spent $40 for two months of alcohol that month. My kitchen was out of operation for a few days and that had me going out to eat. In August I spent $331. In July I spent $391. I had ordered $50 of food from my curry competition and also got a fancy Pietro's pizza, the monthly alcohol and $18 for PEX parts.

I expect my spending to really level out here in the next year. Now that I'm living alone, I have total control. The FWs (Frugalwoods) just bought a 50 pound bag of oats and I just bought a $52 supply of Udon noodles from Amazon. That was my last purchase on Amazon Prime. I canceled my Prime account because I'm barely using it. I was also able to score two pair of DC skate shoes for $31 each. I made my last pair last for 2 years and grabbed my last pair from the attic. So both of these DC shoes are going into storage. I should be good for shoes for 6 years. I almost got sucked into buying more black pants for $20/each, but without my prime account, delivery would add another $12 to the order. It would cost about $70 to get three pair. I'm not sure it is worth trying to get a better deal than that, but I think I'll hold out for a little longer.

I'm working on refinancing my mortgage. It'll drop my interest rate by 1.5%. There are closing costs though. I think this deal makes sense though. I like thinking about being frugal, but I just can't go much farther with it. I obviously need to increase my income. But I'm so addicted to my relaxed work life. I live this semi-retired lifestyle. I'd have a hard time working a lot more. If I can get more freelance work though, work like I do for my best client, then I think I'll be enjoying myself enough to crank it out. I really do enjoy solving business problems and I have been a great value to Malarkey. I just need to repeat that success. I'm working on it. I have a good feeling that 2021 is going to be my best earnings year to date!

2020-12-06

Coronavirus Update

Since those numbers I ran on May 15th 2020 proved to be so accurate, I'll try to lay down the math again here...

These are US numbers I'll be using. We had just over 200,000 new cases yesterday and just over 2,000 deaths. That's a 1% death rate. If we take the assumption that the virus doesn't get any better for the next 365 days and over optimistically assume that it doesn't get any worse, we'll have 73 million new cases in 2021 and 730,000 new deaths.

OK, OK, we're all hopeful about these vaccines, right? I've been very skeptical about these vaccines all along. I have not done extensive research on it, but what I'm getting from the headlines is that they are about 95% effective, they require massive refrigeration, they require two doses, and they may only be effective for a year. So, yes, the vaccines are coming, but it still isn't a sure thing that this is going to be a huge win. But maybe I'm biased on this. Maybe things will be a lot better a year from now.

Not to be alarmist or anything. This is just how I see the numbers. Certainly having people working from home and living locally is a good thing for climate change and you know, I'm all about that. It's going to be interesting to look back on all this in 20 years. I'll remember that on this first Sunday of December 2020 I was playing the theme to Forrest Gump on the piano. I often say to myself "Cynthia would like this!" That's become a good guide in my life. I think that if I'm filling my time with things Cynthia would like, then maybe I'll attract someone like her again. I sure do miss being with her.

I keep on looking at dogs and cats online. I do like having a pet, but man, I have just had it with them peeing in the house. I'm probably not going to get another pet in the near future, but I do think about it.

2020-11-28

Thanksgiving had the feeling of abundance. My house, my skills, my cooking. Sure, I could use a couple friends, more money, less worry, and more jobs. Those things are on the way though.

I crashed yesterday. I had to take a sleeping pill at noon. I take that medication about once a year. It's a real life saver. I start losing sleep and it just becomes a feedback loop of not sleeping. I did good at catching it on my own though. I got a good 16 hours sleep. Then I got my Christmas tree and got some good work done for my clients.

It's this book How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age. It got me on one of those dry drunk trips. I'm just a worthless, self-centered dry drunk. The dry drunk makes a warehouse full of ornate tables, what's the use? We're all drinking cinder block juice! So, at least I wrote some poetry! :) I crashed the same way when I read the beginning of Anthem. Sure, I'm a loner that likes to work in my garage. That doesn't make me a bad person though! This book makes me feel like I should go to a church social to learn how to be friendly. Pleasantville! I can see Neil Peart throwing up a fist and saying "NO, no, we are not doing that!"

The book did bring up some good points though. More tools. I am gearing up to cold call and should be mindful of my language.

I also found a good home for this log. I'm going to add it to my on the donkey book. I'll create a new edition of the book on New Years' Eve every year and add the previous year log to the book. It seems like a solid idea. If you want the dirty details about me, you'll have to pay and wait until the end of the year! That's a good game to play.

2020-11-26

It's Thanksgiving! I'm all alone this year, but I am just brimming with excitement with what I'm cooking. I cooked from 1pm to 9pm yesterday. I made my pumpkin pie and three double batch curries. I prep cooked everything for today. I woke up this morning at 5am and skinned and cut up the chicken. I've got all my spices measured out. The only prep cooking left is peeling the potatoes. I could have peeled them and put them in water. Maybe I'll do that right now.

I'm thinking of song lyrics here. Slippery Slope. Sliding into an old habit. Now that I'm singing, I'm going to have to figure out this lyric stuff.

2020-11-23

This log is cool! All the months that lead up to my break-through singing moment. It's been 6 weeks since I started singing and I've learned 13 songs so far. I sang them all as a set this morning. It'll make for a good warmup. I'll probably start every day like that now. I learned most of the intro to A Farewell to Kings on piano this morning. I love it when the keyboard enters and it goes to the C chord! Irononically, I find it easier to sing this high stuff than the low stuff. It's hard to project the lower notes. Always a Woman is kind of hard. I'm getting it though. It's a brilliant song! I always liked that one.

I should be able to figure out how to merge the songwriting and my blog post writing with the singing to make true songs. It makes me think. Songs are cool, but as a horn player, I tend to focus on just the melodies without the chords. I certainly spent a lot of time focusing on upper extensions. I love singing the major 7th and 13th on The Analog Kid!

2020-11-19

I finished reading YNAB today. I had a couple inquiries about possible jobs today. It's still good that the phone is ringing, but getting a salaried job is not as exciting as the idea of cold calling and bringing in my own, higher paying work. I'm finding my way though.

2020-11-17

I got the title/registration/plates for the car yesterday. I've been driving without plates for 3.5 months. I've driven 287 miles in the last 3.5 months. That averages out to 2.66 miles a day and 970 miles a year. I keep on going on about the car, but it's an environmental issue. You know me and living locally.

I cooked 3 double batch curries for myself this morning. That's a week of food. It always feels good to get that done. I cleared my drums out of the living room to make room for the Christmas tree. It has a nice open feeling. Singing is going good. Trying to figure out the stongest songs to sing every day to get chops. My main two are Arthur's Theme and Circumstances. I'm singing The Trees all the way through too. It goes up to a high B, so that is a little bit of a stretch. Arthur's Theme has the high A on "When you get caught..." I love singing it and it is solid to sing that every day. The range hood in the kitchen sounds an A, so I sing along with that to all these tunes. Red Barchetta is in A too. I like having the A over Circumstances as well.

I struck a retainer deal with my main client yesterday. It's really going to help me to get this cold calling done. I've got a plan here, but I do like taking my time with these things.

2020-11-15

OK, since the log is offline, I can put my secrets down here! I learned Arthur's Theme this week. I used the transcriber app to record it off the DVD. I learned it quickly and it is a nice easy sing and play. I've been singing that all week along with Circumstances. Then yesterday I learned Fly Me to the Moon, She's Always a Woman and The Trees. 3 songs in one day! She's Always a Woman is tough to play and sing at the same time though. I'll have to practice that one a bunch. I'm excited about singing. I didn't do a lot of singing today because I'm resting my voice. I did like an 8 hour session yesterday. I love those 8 hour practice sessions.

I'm going to do my best to remain an independent contractor here. I've got to get started on this cold calling. I've been distracted with phone calls from salaried positions. I'd have a hard time making a salaried position work with my life. How would I get my singing in? I can't give up my singing! I could literally learn to sing and play 100 songs in the next six months. I want that rush of melodies and chords! I'm on track. All I have to do is follow through. But my work life has to allow time for it. You can see why I'm not posting this stuff right now. This will be good to read in a year, but not while I'm looking for work! At least the phone is ringing and I'm talking with people. I'm starting to do things differently and get out of my rut.

2020-11-12

I just went under the house to put pipe insulation on all my new plumbing. We've had nights below freezing lately, so it was good I got that taken care of. It does feel good to get a nasty job done!

I had an interview with a recruiter today. I basically turned down a $110,000 salaried job. I'm going to have to cold call here. It doesn't make sense for me to take a salaried job. I'm too much of a leader now for that kind of arrangement to work. It is good that the phone is ringing. It's a start.

I'm way looking forward to my Thanksgiving alone this year. I bought a chicken last night and put it in the freezer. I'm making the mandalorean chicken with my caraway spiced mashed potatoes and traditional stuffing. I bought a gravey packet so I'll have some gravey on the potatoes. I'll make Sandi's pumpkin rolls too. I'll make my saag for the vegetable and I'll make a pumpkin pie. I'll cut up the chicken into 8 pieces like Ragahavan Iyer does the day before Thanksgiving. I'll also make my saag and pie on Wednesday. And then it'll be time for the Christmas tree! I've got some gifts that I've been working on all year that I still have to finish up.

I just got an email from the VA that is urging people to stay home. It looks like this virus is really ramping up. They are saying that we are expecting over 400,000 US deaths by February. That's even more than the 350,000 I predicted last May. I was pretty spot on with that prediction. I've also been predicting that this vaccine is going to take longer than people are saying. Maybe years longer. I could be wrong about that though. They are saying they are making progress. I have a hard time envisioning a vaccine putting an end to this thing. This VA email is more than just the VA, it is all major health providers in the Portland metro area.

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I guess this log could be called my diary. I like that I wrote my autobiography and now it is continued as the log. I did take it offline the other day, but this will all eventually get posted. I'm looking for work now and struggling through my fear issues, so that wasn't a good combination to be posting in real time. It should make for a good story once I get things turned around here though.

I started reading YNAB (You Need a Budget) this evening. It was only a year ago when I started reading my first personal finance books and blogs. I've been tracking and budgeting my whole life. I'm better at tracking than budgeting. I tend to blow the budget when money isn't coming in. I do think I'd be totally lost as a contractor without my budget. I think I'll post my starting budget for the year on my Lessons page. The fact of the matter is that I've been reining in my expenses for about 2 years now. Now that I live alone, it's been easier to be a hardass with myself! A stroke of luck last March allowed me to roll my credit cards into a HELOC and that reduced my interest payments by over 400%. And it was about a 2.5x decrease in the montly minimums on my debt. Debt is debt, but it sure allows me to live leaner if I have to. And boy, I sure have had a couple of bad work years here.

This year did turn out a little better than last year for income though. Things are going according to plan too.

OK, I already covered that today. I came up to the computer this evening because the YNAB book had me thinking about my budget this month. I chose not to drink alcohol this month as a way to save money. As you know, I only budget $20/month on alcohol and I don't roll over that money, but my income is low right now and every bit counts. I prioritized a Christmas tree over drinking during the holidays and decided to go with chicken instead of turkey for Thanksgiving. I normally buy free range chickens, but money is really tight, so I just bought a $10 chicken this year. I bought two bags of flour this evening too. The organic flour at Fred Meyer is almost $8 for a bag, so I opted for the non-organic $2.49 bags. The savings on the flour, chicken and alcohol (for November and December) adds up to $59. That almost pays for my Christmas tree right there.

I canceled my Amazon Prime membership, so that theoretically saves me $119/year. Before I canceled it, I bought a big bag of cheap loose leaf tea and a large container of cardamom pods for my homemade chai tea. I'm drinking about half the coffee I used to these days.

My budget is pretty basic now. I'm going to double down on being a budget hardass in 2021. So far in 2020 I've had $5,765 in discretionary spending. $265 of that was for Nala's dental cleaning. $500 was for an XV-88 keyboard (that I don't use). I did sell other gear that more than made up for that purchase. A couple thousand went to home improvement. $500 went to a resume writer (thanks Ursala)! A bunch of that spending was startup costs for the curry business. I don't consider that a waste of money. It did make me a better chef and helped my programming skills a little bit.

I got rid of all of my software subscriptions. I'm still paying for domain names and email. I'm researching running my own email server so I can save that $150 yearly charge. I am getting rid of some domain names too. The only one I really need is dottrombone.com. I doubt I'll ever be bold enough to just have one domain name though. I am sick of paying for that stuff though. Running my own server has been great, so at least I'm not paying for that anymore. I did lower my internet bill by 40% a few years ago. I still pay a premium for it, but I was able to save money, get fiber and more ip addresses.

I picked up a car this year though and that is a really bad financial move. It's a 50/50 right now whether I keep it or sell it. I'll probably only sell it if I have to. My goal is to have a huge increase in income so that the car expense isn't a big deal.

I'm excited to see how my 2021 budget works out though! I've got it stubbed out. It says that my bare bones expenses including food but not including taxes comes to $38,310. That includes $1,832/month for the mortgage including property taxes and insurance. It also includes making the standard payment on my HELOC. If I were to borrow from the HELOC instead of paying it down, my yearly expenses would be $33,390. That figure does include my dental cleanings, but does not include my domain name and email expenses. It includes no discretionary spending or taxes. Taxes on $33,390 would probably come to less than $6,000. It will probably cost me $40,000/year including taxes with no discretionary spending. I wonder how low I can get my discretionary spending in 2021. I've bugeted $350/month for groceries and pocket change. I did budget for my Christmas tree next year. I've got 5 Christmas trees that are 2 years old now. Another 7 years of so and I shouldn't have to pay for Christmas trees anymore. I'm going to start some from seed this year too.

Anyway. About the only way I can lower expenses more would be to move back to a crappy little apartment or rent out the house and live in the garage. I shouldn't have to resort to those things. I need to increase my income here. I have the number "52" on my fridge right now. That's my goal. Pay off the house (and the HELOC of course) in 52 months. I just made my 68th mortgage payment today. It's aggressive, but doable. I will have to make a change and get smarter about how I'm doing business. I've got a plan though. I can hang in there for a few more months while I execute it!

2020-11-11

Another ground breaking day today. I made my 2020 Curry in the morning and then broke out the transcriber app and used the record feature to get Arthur's Theme off the beginning of the movie. I took that to the piano and was playing and singing it in no time. I always loved that tune. My singing is solid and I love doing it with the piano. I love singing the high A on it! I've been slacking off a little bit on my singing the last few days, but doing what I did today solidifies it. It's a good addition to the romantic piano songwriting I've been doing. Cynthia would have liked that.

2020-11-09

I wound up fixing the furnace for real today. The furnace kept the house up to temperature for the last month, but it got cold enough out that it died this weekend. I just got out my air compressor and blew air in where the gas enters the unity. Now it is working just fine.

The phone is ringing now. I got a call for a high paying javascript gaming gig. It would be cool if I got that. I'm gearing up to cold call too. I'm feeling better about the career thing. Still not out of the woods, but progress is being made.

2020-11-07

In the 90's, I ran the household finances. I bought a computer and Quicken in 1994. I kept all the receipts from my purchases during the day and put them in my inbox tray. When the bills came in the mail, I'd put them in their return envelope and put them in the inbox. About once a week, I'd enter all that info into Quicken and mail off the bills. Then when the bank statement came in the mail once a month, I'd reconcile.

In 2005, I started using Excel to track my working hours. Each column is a day and then I'd highlight cells in 15 minute increments and notate what I did. I'd do this for work and personal projects. This is still how I track my time.

For the last 10 years, I've continued using Quicken for my register along with entering in the infomation from my daily receipts. I use Excel for my budgets now. I have a sheet for each year and I have a block for each month divided into a bi-monthly budget. I don't have any bills on autmatic payment. The budget clues me into what I need to pay and when it is due. I pay all bills electronically of course. I go to their website and submit the payments and notate it in Quicken and Excel. I've been reconciling daily with the banks and reconcile the Excel budget with Quicken twice a month.

Since I have debt, I'm living paycheck to paycheck. A year ago I started reading Mr. Money Mustache. It was the first financial book or blog that I've read. Around the same time, I read The Next Millionaire Next Door and Starting on a Shoestring. I was most impressed with MMM. The year before that, I had really been working on tightening up my expenditures. Getting better deals on phone and internet. Canceling subscriptions. Using Amazon less.

I've owned my house for 6 years now. I got a late start in life because I started over when I was 30 years old. I was 44 when I bought the house. When the virus hit earlier this year, I switched banks to the credit union and was able to wrap up all my credit card debt into a home equity loan. What a relief!

I've been continuing to read financial and business books. I've been working as a freelancer for 12 of the last 14 years. It wasn't my choice, I just kind of fell into that. I'm naturally pretty anti-social and all of my work contacts have either come from Craigslist or where a referral from a client I met on Craigslist. My house was found on Craigslist. My car came from Craigslist. Unfortunately, I haven't gotten any work off of Craigslist for almost 2 years now. My social network is pretty much played out.

I'm going to have to cold call if I'm going to survive as a contractor. I've been gearing up to this for a few weeks here. I've been trying to get out of my comfort zone enough to do it and I've had some small successes. This plan has been developing for over a year now and I'm fired up this evening.

Some of these books I'm reading talk about the importance of who you associate with. I'm hoping to tackle that with this cold calling. I've obviously been valuable to my best client of the last 5 years and I'm looking to repeat that success. I'm making a CRM program this evening. Then I'll spend a good week or two building up the database of companies I want to contact. I already have one warm lead, but it isn't enough. It is true that I should only need one or two new clients a year to prosper. This is the thing that has been missing from my business. Getting this job done and having a couple successes is really going to be a boost to my confidence. I really want this!

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Boy, and then I took a nap and all the fear set in. I took the links to the log offline. I feel like I'm projecting too much fear with it. I don't see where the value is in this page.

What brought up all the fear was outdated technologies. Boy, I'm really in a fix here.

Should I project confidence? Should I cower to any old employer to get any software job I can? Should I say that the guys at Malarkey love me and there is no reason why I can't repeat that success on my own terms? Why not? I'm sick of people telling me my technologies are outdated. What do they know anyway!

I've got to stick it out here. I'm barely going to be making enough money to survive here, but I'll follow through with this cold calling. It sure is scary!

2020-11-06

It's been another ground breaking week for me. I cleaned up my clients page and programming demo page. I focused not only on what I am selling, but where the value is. And it gave me confidence to get in there and do this cold calling. I've committed myself to doing it and I'm starting to do the research on the companies I want to work with. To be sure, I started this process a whole year ago. I know I'm going to face rejection, but all I need is to pick up one client a year. I'm actually turning this around and looking forward to the cold calling. I do like talking business. Having some success here is going to be a real boost to my confidence.

2020-11-05

I'm rebooting the log today. I'm looking for work here and trying to change my outlook and words I'm using. I had some strong earnings years when I bought the house, but things have really slowed down the last two years and it has produced a bit of a fear vibe in me. It looks like I'm getting it all figured out though and I should be able to turn this around quickly. I'm sure I'll bring back the last year of log history someday. It might be a nice time capsule.

Honesty...

2020-11-04

Well, my job search is underway. I had some opportunities pop up right away, so that was encouraging if nothing else. It got me excited!

It's another nail biter election, right?

2020-11-02

Politics is on the mind with the election tomorrow. I do still believe in my political ideas. The idea of UBI came up again today. Driverless cars, flippy the chef. It's going to happen. You can't pay yourself. If these jobs disappear, is everyone going to be employed giving each other back rubs? Just so we can have jobs and get paid? Does that make sense? These jobs will go away, but productivity will not be lost.

I'm living local. I drive an average of 2.7 miles a day. I walk about 4 miles a day.

But you know, I have a personal life. Dealing with my career and all.

2020-11-01

I did better with drinking last month. The bottle of whisky I bought lasted nearly the whole month. I decided to not drink this month. Getting a Christmas tree is more important to me than drinking. I'll probably spend Thanksgiving alone at my house this year. I like the idea of cooking a small turkey, but money is a little tight and again, the Christmas tree is more important to me. I may just have my mangalorean chicken with stuffing and spiced mashed potatoes. I think I'll make dinner rolls for the first time as well.

I'm probably going to cancel my Amazon Prime subscription this month. I just don't get many deliveries anymore. I really have gotten to the point where I have everything I could want. It's been a year and a half since I bought any Legos. I still have the Tantive IV and a second Saturn V that are brand new. I've got a couple other smaller sets that are still sealed too. I bought a fancy Atari Star Wars yoke for the gaming system for Christmas last year. Work had picked up back then and it was looking like it would be a normal earnings year again. And then the virus happened and I lost some work. The yoke is cool though. I have it setup with Paperboy right now. I got the second high score on easy street last night.

I do eventually want to buy some more arcade parts. I want a trackball of all things. I want to play Missile Command, Crystal Castles and Millipede! I admit it's a little silly, but I do still nurture the 80's kid in me.

I'm reading more financial books now. I've done pretty well with the frugal thing even with all these Lego's and gaming things. My bottom line is $46,000/year including taxes. It's a little high, but I am the single owner of a house and have the mortgage to pay. My retirement budget comes to $24,470/year. That includes $8,000/year in discretionary spending and no income taxes. It also includes a slightly larger amount for healthcare. It assumes that my mortgage is paid off. The mortgage is certainly a big cost.

I'm going to keep reading these financial books. The one I was reading last night was making sense to me. She had grown up in harsh conditions in China. And then moved to Canada and was a millionaire by the time she was 35. The key point in the book was education. She wanted to be a writer. But when she calculated return on investment of college funds, writing didn't look so good. Accounting was better, but she went for a software engineering degree. Like MMM, she worked in the field for a decade and then did early retirement. And then she picked up writing.

I have no regrets for having done music first in life. I'm not sure I'd be as good of a musician as I am now if I had reversed it. Doing music in my 20's was good! I am understandably concerned about my future though. I've got to pay off the house here and I'm not entirely certain how to turn my career around. Hopefully a little networking here will go a long way. I'm worried, but not too worried. I still have curiosity about it. How will it turn out? Who will I meet? Can I capitalize on my PHP skills?

Yes, it hasn't even been quite a year yet since I started reading MMM. I have been using a budget for at least 10 years though. I'm a good tracker. I've been slashing my expenses for 2-3 years now. My discretionary exepenses this year have come to $5,730. That didn't include the car purchases, but did include the kitchen construction costs and curry startup costs. It's my goal to bring that down to $4,000/year. But getting a new roof soon is going to throw that budget out the window again. It's this hidden cost of home ownership. Appliances, roofs, decks, paint.

2020-10-31

Well, I knocked out that new clients page early this morning. It's pretty close to what I had envisioned.

I finally got around to replacing the driveway floodlight today. The old one had incandescent bulbs and was staying on practically all night. I had disconnected it years ago, but I brought it back a month or two ago when I started the curry business. I've got a nice LED one now. I'm waiting for it to be dark on Halloween evening here so I can test it out!

I sure hope I pick up some work from these job boards. I'm going to hit them really hard this month.

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Yes! That new driveway floodlight works great! So much better and is going to save a ton of energy.

I've been in the house 6 years tonight. I remember playing around with lighting the pilot light on the gas water heater on Halloween. It sure was something how I fell into the relationship with Cynthia right after Patty died. That was totally unexpected! I'm feeling better now that I took care of that portfolio page. I did some singing tonight.

I'm a little giddy over the technology of the EV. I'm only driving it an average of 2.7 miles a day. It's hardly worth it. Insurance costs $45/month which is relatively inexpensive. I'm hoping to land some new work here and keep the car. I guess I shouldn't be as attached to it though. It's going to need a $5,000 battery in a few years. Modern life, right?

2020-10-30

I'm still working on making a lasting change here. I've got plenty of experience with changing habits. I'm still singing everyday, but it has slowed down a bit. I've rebuilt the C: drive on my computer to give myself a fresh start. I was at a good stopping/transition point with my clients. I'm starting to apply to jobs on job posting boards. I still have to create a new fancy clients page for dot trombone. I hope to have that done next week.

If I can just have a good search for PHP jobs going and continue my singing, I'll be on a better path. Both involve changing daily habits. I'll feel better once I have this new webpage done. I hate my clients page right now.

2020-10-29

This digital library card sure is great! I'm really getting into the nuts and bolts of my own work psychology now.

I'm trying to change my language here. From reading these books, I've realized that negative feedback is rarely helpful. You know, sometimes it is, but most the time it isn't. And I can be very whiny. Maybe I'm justified, but it isn't helping.

I've been procrastinating on coding something at work and finally got around to it last night. It was pretty complicated and took 3 hours to code. And it totally worked the first time I tried it out! That's a cool thing that happens in programming once in a while. You see, I waited and rested until I had my head on straight and then it fell into place. It was mighty hard though.

I had a small sign of encouragement on the curry business last night too.

2020-10-25

It's about time to act on my Plan B: getting a salaried software job. I can see it being a good thing. I was making $57,000/year with the salaried job I had 10 years ago with only a few years of experience. I've got excellent real world experience now. I may really like a salaried job if I can find the right situation. I know I'd feel great being on a better track of paying off the house. I've got my new music thing going on. With a salaried job, I could just be on a good working autopilot.

To be honest, I'm scared to death of cold calling businesses. Maybe I should give it a try just to tackle my fears. Let's see, what is my plan of attack? Make a new client's page that has a more modern aesthetic and layout out, crystal clear, what badass skills I have to offer. Dynamic PDF's, Excel database import/export, automated emails, custom login systems, recursive algorithms, protocol writing, hardware interfaces, servers. If I can just get that done, it'll be a huge help no matter what kind of job I'm trying to get.

The curry advertising did see a small spike in web traffic, but it didn't produce any orders. I'll still continue on with the multiple mailings, but I'm starting to feel that the pay in this restaurant business is not going to be acceptable. It's too bad because I have a great product.

I made a password management program in 3 hours with Adobe AIR this weekend. I've certainly got a nice bag of tricks in that language.

There is one more thing to mention here. Sales can be pretty ugly. I've seen it up close the last couple weeks. I don't want to end up doing a lot of sales. I don't want to end up in a management position. I like coding, composing music, cooking, woodworking. You know, actively creating. That's where I'm of value. I'm terrible at bargaining. Maybe I can learn to do enough sales to get work for myself. It is true that my social network is totally played out. I need new people in my life if I'm going to bring in more money. It's as simple as that. You can't pay yourself! I'm fine with paying someone to do the sales! Totally fine with it. As long as they are doing the job and bringing in the work! Geez! I've got to get something new going here!

2020-10-22

I'm sitting here reading the badass book some more and thinking about the last week. It might have been the most important thing that ever happened in my life. I was contemplating the worst case scenario. In a crappy little apartment again, with all my stuff and skills, working in fast food. And then I kind of acted on instinct and contacted some musicians on CL. I don't meet people often. I almost backed out. But I played with them and it was great. Luckily, they were great musicians and we had a blast playing together. It was one of my classic "do I still have it" moments. And yes, I still have it! I've still got a good ear. I still play bass. I play piano. I even played a drumset which I haven't played in 19 years and still could somewhat play my polyrhymic beat on it.

But of course that wasn't enough to really get me out of my comfort zone. It may seem like it because I'm such a recluse. I offered up my singing. That's what did it. I've worked on it before. Luckily, I had recordings of me doing it from 2014. But these things don't happen in a vacuum. The composing I've been doing the last few years with the chords and melody helped make it all work. Of course my singing in the rehearsal was pretty much non-existent, but I did attempt it. But then I came home and worked on it. I proved to myself that I can make it work. And it's getting easier every day. And I like working on it.

In retrospect, it was the only thing that would have broken me out of the mindset I was in. I really did a good job with that and the timing was solid. But of course, I have to concentrate on my career problem first. I've got to step out of my comfort zone some more and do this cold calling. It has to be done. What am I scared of? I'm an excellent programmer, multi-instrumentalist musician, composer, chef. What am I scared of? Rejection? Yes, rejection sucks. That's the definition of it!

The badass book this evening talked about the fact that if you are in business, you are in the business of sales. A business without sales is a hobby. She says I should stop whining about the sales end of it. I did put the curry business together. I'm charging what I need to. It's the general consensus that the price point is too high. What can I do? It takes an hour to make a curry. I'm sending out ads with promo codes today. We'll see if lowering the price a bit brings some people to order. Doing cold calling for the software business is a better idea for me. I am glad I did this curry business first though. The curry business could be more profitable than programming if I can franchise it. I need to find the right advertising/price point combination to bring in customers before the curry business can go anywhere.

But for software, all I have to do is make a better clients page, learn Xamarin, make a list of companies and then cold call them. To be sure, I'll face a huge wall of rejection. There is no way to avoid that. It will be uncomfortable. The payoff will be huge though. It's just a few phone calls. They'll get great work from me. They'll be working with Rand Barnett! :) I'll be fine! I've got this plan reduced to a list of steps. I'll make Bumper Bubbles with Xamarin. I'm excited about the new webpage and am alread drafting it. Really getting down to the nuts and bolts of what I'm selling. Exactly where the value is.

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

You see, I can be fairly lazy. But how lazy can I be? It takes a bit of effort to continue to be a multi-instrumentalist musician and composer! The cooking thing took a lot of time. Where do I find the time for all this and be lazy at the same time? The secret is that I don't have a family. And I don't have vices taking up my time. It's got to do with how I think too. I'm always thinking about how to move forward with these skills. I basically don't watch video. I don't do social media. The video games I play take about 5 minutes. Being lazy is just sitting in a chair, drinking some tea or coffee and thinking about what I'm going to work on next. And I've been lucky enough to have good paying contracting work. It would really cramp my efforts if I had to take a salaried job. Doing this cold calling is a better plan. If you are in business, you are in the business of sales. I've got to figure out how to make some sales here.

2020-10-21

The good news is that my leg is feeling a little better. Certainly not healed yet, but it does appear to be on the mend.

I completed my first curry order to Tennille yesterday. It was a smooth process. It was just one curry, but the whole thing worked without a hitch. They got a good curry!

I've got to break my fear of cold calling these businesses to get programming work. There is no other option. That work has to be done. I can make a solid six figure income and still have a great schedule where I'm doing great programming work for clients. I've got to pick up a new programming language too. Unity didn't work out. I'm going to try Microsoft Xamarin now. I just need a way to make compiled apps that doesn't use CSS. Unity was close, but the 2d engine in Unity just wasn't good enough. I'm afraid that if I choose React, I'll get locked into CSS for layout. I absolutely hate CSS. I insist on doing math based layout. Hopefully Xamarin delivers that.

2020-10-18

Wow, I knocked down a major mental blockage last week. I have to admit that the Badass book helped. It didn't happen in a vacuum though. I've been working hard the last few years. And the way I've been working is not about the number of hours I put in. It's how I'm constantly thinking about it all. Not giving up on something hard, even when there is no clear path to making money on it. I still have the fear about how I'll pay the bills, but the wall I busted down is no longer there and no one can take that away from me. I have something new to work on. I don't want to give away what it is all about, but of course it's going to wind up on these pages anyway. It sure is cool!

2020-10-13

I've been overwhelmed with fear the last couple days. I had to come up with a complete failure plan. What would I do if I lost the house? I'd be back to living in a one bedroom apartment. I'd keep most of my things. It seems like I have a lot of stuff, but I think it would be manageable. I'd still have some programming clients, but it won't be enough to be balance sheet affluent. I'd probably work in fast food to balance the books. I could do fast food 20 hours a week. Programming might bring in $1,000/month. My bottom line says that I need to make $2,000/month including 15% taxes. I can make that happen. And hopefully I can get a good $50,000 out of the sale of the house. And I can have that earning interest in index funds.

That's effectively Plan D, the worst case scenerio. I'd still have my arcade cabinets. I'd have my TV and movies. I'd have my computer stuff and can still compose music. Maybe I can figure out how to become more marketable as a programmer.

Anyway. Fear. It's raining now. Winter is coming. I've had the best years of my life in this house. I'm taking the first round of curry advertising to the post office this morning. Who knows? I've received a lot of negative feedback about it from my friends. When I built the business, I was all excited. But now it has come down to marketing and advertising and that is always a low point for me. I like my flyer though! I want the business to succeed. Next month I'll apply to PHP jobs. I'm a highly experienced PHP programmer. I'm not a salesman and don't desire to be. I don't have what it takes to knock on someone's door or even introduce myself. I just don't. I'm the kind of person that works well in my workshop. I find this You are a Badass at Making Money lady to be very obnoxious. I'd rather work in fast food, putting food on people's table, than to be like her. MMM is awesome though. And making money is part of the journey of life. I found Dave Ramsey to be obnoxious as well. MMM keeps it real by talking about carrying stoves on his bicycle! That's what badass is! I build windows out of 2x4's! I solder up my own plumbing. I compose my own music. I built a business that can put food on people's table.

Whatever happens, I'm going to resurrect my Bumper Bubbles game! I want to play that on the new control board! I've got to get the bug out of Micropede too!

> z

time passes...

I've been emotional and crying for a couple days now. The advertising did go out today! There is critical timing here though. I could lose all the equity on the house if I don't put it on the market soon enough. Doing fast food for a living is bad enough. I don't want to be broke and doing it!

I do love my flyer. And my website and curries. They'll always be with me...

2020-10-12

Well, the furnace is still malfunctioning. I guess I'm back to diagnosis.

2020-10-10

I can't sleep. So much going on in my life. Life is about to take a 90 degree turn. It has to! There is no other option that I can see.

I made a chocolate chip cake this evening. I had to make sure that I could get it out of the pan without breaking it. And it worked! So I know naan and chocolate chip cake work. I made 3 curries yesterday and all three came out to the correct weight. That has been a problem too. Getting these recipes finalized. If I scale up with franchising, it may be challenging to get people skilled enough to make this many different recipes. It's easy for me. I've been cooking these things for 5 years.

2020-10-09

It was 66 degrees in the house when I got up at 6am this morning, so it was a good time to replace the main relay on my furnace. It was a success and the furnace did heat the house up to 72 degrees. It's too soon to know if it really is fixed. The weather is going to be cold and rainy this weekend, so it will be a good test. I have a good feeling that I solved it. The total cost was $35.

I made 3 curries this morning after fixing the furnace. I'm still reading that Badass money book. She is pretty nutty, but it gets me thinking in a different way. I asked myself "Why would someone pay me? What value are they getting?" So I listed out the four main things people would pay me for: Programming work, Curry Orders, Curry Software, Curry Franchises. I love the idea of curry franchises, but the curry orders has to be successful for it to work. People will get value from my cooking. They won't have to cook except for making rice. They'll learn my rice technique and may have fun in the kitchen when there is a whole lot less work to do. There is the value of the food itself.

Thinking about programming made me realize that I need to put together a better portfolio. What exactly am I selling? Of course I have great client relations and responsiveness. Automation has been a big selling point. Automated emails are huge. I can showcase the Malarkey project. I can showcase my curry project as an example of ecommerce. I'm gearing up to cold call these companies. To get ready, I make this better portfolio and focus on what I'm selling. Then I make a list of companies. I've been thinking about this for about a year now.

Anyway. I'm figuring out exactly what I have to do here. There are multiple ways of making a six figure income here. I'll find one that works!

Oh, I almost forgot... I used the weed whacker on the stone tile path up to the house. It looks much better. I've done that before, but last time I used that screwdriver. A pressure washer would be better. I'll use the weed whacker next time to see how it works over the long term. It would be cool if I didn't have to buy a pressure washer.

> z

time passes...

Confidence. What is it? Should I be confident that I solved the furnace problem? From past evidence, no, I should not be confident. I did replace the part that the troubleshooting said needed replacing. It did work today. But I've seen it work one day and then not the next day. After two cold days of running it, then I'll be confident that I solved the problem. Not 100% confident, but probably 98%. Right now I'm about 60% confident. More than 50% because I did replace a suspect part. It's really low odds that that part is the problem now.

Does it help to be 100% confident, even when I am not certain? Some people would say that I have no good reason to doubt that I didn't fix it. Would an engineer doubt it? Would the captain? What would Dr. McCoy do?

It's a new thing to me. Yesterday afternoon, I went to my curry site and selected 3 curries to cook and a chocolate chip cake. I printed the shopping list and took it to the kitchen. I crossed off the ingredients that I already had. That was easy enough to do. Certainly a lot easier than going through my recipe book and composing the list on my own. The shopping was easy to do with the list. It has the vegetables separated from the other products, so that makes shopping easier. Today I cooked the three curries and now I have them in the fridge. I have absolutely no vegetables left over in the fridge. I used them all. Nothing went to waste. It sure is cool doing it like that. It is a different experience. Trusting the computer generated list like that. I've learned to really double and triple check the list before I checkout at the store.

2020-10-08

I'm a few chapters into reading the You're a Badass at Making Money book. She's got some points about toxic thinking about money. Mindless consumerism is a problem though. An environmental problem. She's right though, money is a huge topic and somewhat taboo. I realize that I am fairly badass in general. I compose fancy music. I cook fancy food. I fix my own plumbing. I built a window. I build my own computers. I run my own network wire. Yes, I'm fairly badass and I should be able to solve these money problems I'm having.

Maybe I don't have to get a salaried job. Maybe I can get the contracts myself. Maybe my curry business will be a success! I do have a solid scale-up program in mind. If the advertising can draw people in, then it works. My design skills and business thinking are getting better. I've got ideas here. I'm working the problem. I am a little scared about being too busy. But if the work is good and it is on a good track to getting my house paid off, it'll be worth it. I really don't think I'm going to get all that busy though. I like where all this is headed!

2020-10-07

Time does pass. I did the second round of cleaning/sweeping today. I cleaned up the mess behind the garage. Blackberry vines like to grow there. The pine needles stack up and become soil for them. It sure was satisfying to clean all that up! I store my ladders back there and they were all full of pine needles. I saw a neighbor a couple months ago cleaning his ladders with a hose, so that's what I did. Getting ready for winter here. I still have a little work to do under the house. Putting on pipe insulation and keeping the critters out. I've been waiting for my leg to get better, but it is still pretty painful. It doesn't stop me from working though. I'm just hoping it isn't a permanent injury.

I'm relieved that the curry flyers are here and look good. I don't want them to be delivered on the same day the ballots are going out. I still have a little prep work to do in the kitchen to be truely ready to fulfill orders. I made naan today. It turned out good. I've got to make a chocolate chip cake to make sure I can get it out of the baking dish without making a mess of it.

I'm still reading business books. I like it. I'm finding my way with all of that.

2020-10-06

The curry flyers arrived and they look good! Nothing I would change about them. The whole curry business has gone together well. Pretty much according to plan. Will the curry business pan out? Will I get a salaried programming job? I just hope one of these things turns my career around. I've got a decade of work ahead of me yet.

Oh, and it looks like I did a good job replanting my lawn. It was destroyed when the backhoe came in to do the main water line. I was able to put seed down at the perfect time of year. I've got all these nice grass sprouts now!

> z

time passes...

It was a nice day today and work was slow. The rain is coming in a couple days, so it was a good day to clean out the gutters and do some yard work. I ran all the gas out of the lawnmower for storing over the winter. I've never done that before, but it should be nice putting some fresh gas in it next spring. The yard cleaned up nicely. I did a good trimming on the new mimosa tree. It really is growing aggressively. It's already full of flowers and it isn't even 3 years old yet. And it's probably 12 feet high already. I didn't even plant it. It just started growing on its own. Cynthia and I did do a good job at removing the old stump though.

I like the yardwork and I like home ownership. I've decided that I will get a pressure washer to keep the front walkway looking good. I'm tired of all the weeds that grow between the tiles. I used a screwdriver to clear them out this year. It worked well, but it didn't last long. I'll wait to get the powerwasher until my finances are better. The lawnmower ran good today and that made me happy. Tomorrow is going to be a nice day too and I'll spend time cleaning up a little more. Doing the sweeping.

I did get a new relay unit for the furnace. I got it for $35 including delivery. It was inexpensive enough. I'm not sure that is the problem, but I may as well swap it out. Testing last week did indicate that it may be the problem.

My curry advertising is falling around the time the ballots get mailed out. Perhaps I can get one round out before the ballots go out.

2020-10-04

Like I said yesterday, there was that time when I was 35 and chose not to drink alcohol but chose to drink soda pop. It was a bad choice. I should have said no to both. And here I find myself again saying yes to alcohol. It's the wrong choice again. I'm not in danger of becoming an alcoholic or getting drunk. I have control now. It's just that I can tell my body is saying that I shouldn't do it. I've been drinking a fifth of whisky a month for 9 months this year. I'm starting to get a little acidic feeling in my stomach. I think it is the alcohol.

Of course there is balance. I'm not a textbook person. I make mistakes and live on the edge. Career wise, if I can make 6 figures doing programming, then why am I messing around with cooking? I'm not sure I can get a high paying programming job, but I may be able to. There are some companies that have a use for what I do. A lot of companies will lose money with me, but the right company could make a lot of money off my work. And if I can make six figures for a few years, I can pay off my house. It just makes sense to do that if I can. It's not like I have to study for 7 years. I've already done that! It's true that my programming style is getting a little outdated. It just makes finding the right job more complicated.

The plan for the fall here is to let my curry advertising do its thing while I read business books. I was well rested this morning. Finally! And I cooked two saag style curries with my chef coat on. I do enjoy cooking and I'm going to give the curry business a fair chance.

2020-10-03

I'm participating in a weight loss study of people that have lost significant weight and are keeping it off. I put together some pictures of myself and my logs from the journey. Boy, they do tell a story! I weighted 120 pounds until I was 35. I have pictures from those years. I was straight as an arrow!

Then from age 36 to age 40 I gained 70 pounds from drinking soda pop all day long. I remember getting the idea that maybe I should drink mixed alcoholic drinks. I thought to myself that I didn't want that, I really just wanted the sweet soda pop. Well, what a bad idea!

Here are some entries from my log:

dateweight
2012187
6/5/2013180.5
7/23/2013168.5
12/2/2013165
12/31/2013159.2
4/17/2014149.3
9/20/2014157
1/12/2015162.5
3/4/2016152.5
10/24/2017147
5/1/2018143
9/12/2019138
1/2/2020143
3/5/2020137
5/15/2020134
9/22/2020133

It took a while, right? I still have a bit of a belly and part of me wants to be in the 120's again. I always felt good at that weight. It's pretty rare for people to be 120 pounds when they are 35 years old. I realize that some people have weight issues that go way back. Still, I lost over 50 pounds through calorie reduction. I do admit that I starve myself quite a bit. I've come up with the saying that "it is good to be hungry." It doesn't matter what it is. Hungry for work or whatever you want. It's good to go without. It makes the food taste better and keeps you healthier.

Starving yourself isn't fun though. It's tough enough doing it for one or two days just to keep your weight constant. Having to put yourself in a deficit day after day is very painful. You can see from my chart that I lost almost 30 pounds in that first year. But then I gained some of it back and it took a couple years to get back on the track of losing again. When Cynthia died in the summer of 2019, I decided that my target weight was going to be 135. I needed to lose another 10 pounds or so. It was easier because I was living alone and had no times that I'm eating just because my partner wants to eat.

Anyway. I spent most of my 40's doing that. I've got to apply the same effort to fixing my finances in my 50's and then I should be set for my retirement years.

2020-09-30

Well, I'm pretty happy with how I put together the curry business. I especially like the rice page. This pressure cooker has been in my life for about 25 years now. That book by that Chinese woman on pressure cooked short grain brown rice really stuck with me. I like that I have 19 curries on the site.

2020-09-28

Car Report

Well, it's been a year since I sold Cynthia's car to try living without a car. I made it 9 months without a car and then bought one because I needed it to open a business. In the nine months, I wound up renting a car twice. Once was to carry a package and the second time I drove to Seattle to pick up a package.

The grand total that I drove last year comes to 812 miles. It doesn't include taking the bus. I spent about $70 on bus rides. I had a VW GTI for a couple months. I wound up driving it 278 miles. Most of that was simply to Home Depot. Then I've had the Fiat EV for 2 months now and I have driven it 120 miles. That's an average of 755 miles per year or 2 miles per day. After going 9 months without a car, even that seems a little excessive.

How much is this Fiat costing me? So far, I paid $5,000 for the car and $555 for licensing. I paid $276 for 6 months of insurance. It'll need a $5,500 battery pack in 2 years or so. Let's multiply these numbers out for 10 years which will be about the time I'll need yet another battery pack. In 10 years, I'll have spent $10,500 on the car and battery. Let's say I spend $500 once on tires and maybe another $1,000 on CV axles and things like that. Hardware comes to $12,000. Let's say licensing is $500 every two years (it looks like the state figured out that EV's don't pay gas tax but they still need money for the roads). So that adds $2,500 for a running total of $14,500. Next is insurance. Let's put a little inflation with that and say it is $300 every six months. That adds $6,000 for a running total of $20,500. And all that money is the bare minimum to put this car on the road for 10 years. That's $2,050/year or $5.62 a day. It's an EV, so fuel is inexpensive. It's a small EV, so I'm not going to be taking it on road trips.

Let's look at this another way. How much is the Fiat costing me per mile? If I'm averaging 2 miles per day, that is 7,300 miles every 10 years. Dang! The average American drives about twice that every year! Anyway. It comes out to $2.80 per mile, not including fuel. A quick internet search says Uber costs about $2/mile. Is it worth it? Probably not unless I start driving more.

I won't know for a few months whether the cooking business is going to work out. If it doesn't, then this car may be just a huge waste of money. I do enjoy driving it. I guess it is a good tool to have around. I hurt my leg badly and can't ride my bike at the moment. I can still walk to the grocery store. $5/day doesn't seem like much money, but $20,500 sure does! Being a work from home computer programmer, this is a cost that I can easily eliminate. Car Clown Disease is having me want to hold on to it even if the cooking business doesn't work out.

A year ago today, I sold the car, walked home with a pumpkin, and then wrote my Emotion song. It was the full on emotions of the nature of cars and produced a nice song. The main thing I'm struggling with now is fast food. Having a car is a magnetic pull to fast food. Without a car, I had no way of getting to fast food. There is a Taco Bell and Subway at a long walking distance from me. It's shorter on a bike, but that certainly doesn't qualify as fast food either way. Without a car, I simply do not go to those places. But with a car, I have the pull to Taco Time, Burgerville, the Chinese Restaurant, Pietro's Pizza, Burger King, McDonalds. I'm sure the list is longer. There is Baja Fresh. And then I could go to the other side of town and have even more options.

2020-09-27

The scientific method...

It's late Saturday night here, almost the 27th. I got a couple hours sleep and woke up energized. My leg is still hurting me pretty bad though.

It's getting colder out and it's time to address the problem with my gas furnace in the house. It stopped working in March. I turned it on for the first time this season earlier in the week and it did fine. But then the second time I ran it, it was back to shutting off soon after turning on. So I called the phone number on it to get the HVAC people out to take a look at it.

And then I was talking with my brother last night. He is a carpenter. I told him about the furnace and he gave me his ideas. I told him that I have the manual for it on my computer as a PDF. It's a scan of a manual written on a typewriter. The pictures are not very helpful because they are low quality and the troubleshooting hasn't been very helpful. Geoff thinks the HVAC people will try to sell me a bill of goods, but possibly I can get the information out of them that I need to fix it. I read MMM's furnace article a few months ago. I've read that these relays give out and need to be replaced every 5 years or so.

It was Saturday, and I had a busy day working on non-coding issues for my clients. I built up a server and got stuck with a Linux permissions problem. And then the other project involved wiring up an Arduino with over 50 wires. Frustrating day, but I did good at getting in there and getting most of it done. And during the day, I opened up that furnace manual and studied it more. I think I'm understanding more of it this time. The pictures are pretty poor quality though. Almost useless.

The evening comes and I wind up having two weak whisky drinks. These habits are hard to change! But instead of drinking more, I went to bed. I have been reading a lot of news the last few days. The main thing I've been learning is that there really isn't that much there to be concerned about. But I do have a lot of free time on my hands. I've been listening to John Scofield's Time on my Hands disc a lot lately. Love that! So my iPad was charging and I didn't want to put on a DVD. So I'm sitting in bed and get out the old Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenence that I keep on the bedside table. I haven't read the book cover to cover in at least a decade, but I'm about 1/3 through it at the moment. My eyes have been getting worse the last few years and I can barely read it. And then he starts talking about the scientific process and it has me thinking of my furnace again.

He describes a process that involves writing things down. If you don't write it down, you're likely to get sidetracked and forget what you were trying to do. And there are steps here. It's kind of like how I feel about TV. You can be just a consumer and watch TV, what Robert Pirsig would call the romatinc side. Or, like I recommend, you get more involved and start writing stuff down and become more active, or interactive. Nothing wrong with just consuming mind you. Calling the HVAC people and paying them to fix my problem is consuming their service. It would be fun to have a personal triumph over the furnace though.

So, the scientific method of my furnace:

What's wrong? The main blower shuts down and never comes back on until I turn it off and on again at the thermostat. Although it doesn't always do it, it has gotten worse over time and it's a good bet that it will do it every time from now on. It is also making a water gurgling sound from time to time.

Hypothesis #1 : It's electrical. A bad relay or other electrical component. Possibly even the thermostat.

Hypothesis #2 : The gurgling might be a sign. A blockage of the condensate drain might be causing a backup and the furnace might have a sensor that shuts it down when this happens.

Hypothesis #3 : It could be some other venting issue. Venting combustable gas could be partially blocked and forcing a shutoff.

Now for the tests. I'll test #2 first since I don't know how to test the electric components. I did play around with the condensate hoses in the front of the unit. I did see water in one of them. That line is lower than the drain. The drain has a vent stack at the top. Then when the drain goes down, there is a pipe that comes off that can be used to clean it. I took one of the hoses out. The connections are loose. I guess the best way to test is to go to Home Depot in the EV tomorrow morning and buy some tube and a T connector to bypass most of the line. The T will allow me to make a venting mechanism. The tube will allow me to suck out water and drain to a bucket while the system is running. If the system runs after that, it's a good bet that the drain pipe that goes under the house is clogged. If the system is still shutting off, it's a good bet that it isn't the condensate drain.

It's just a good idea to do this #2 test. It's a known problem with an easy solution. If it works, I've saved hundreds of dollars and wasted time.

The manual does outline some troubleshooting steps. After the #2 test, I can go through the manual again and see if I can narrow it down. For testing #3, I can go on the roof and check out where the gas exits. There isn't much to see there, but it is worth taking a look. If I can get up on the roof with my bad leg!

In the book, he described this process and how coming up with a hypothesis and testing usually leads to more hypothesis' and more tests. And then he quoted Einstien as saying that science is a function of time no less! Always changing. And it made me think of how everything breaks down. Even a pocketwatch that is 100 years old. Sure, it might work according to its original design, but it is impractical these days having to wind it up and constantly be setting it. They had those clock towers chiming so people could set their timepieces. Sure, there is still some functional furniture and musical instruments from 100 years ago. My trombone is 80 years old. But the metal is worn on it and the more that it is used, the more likely that a hole will be worn through the tubing. It's not as simple as a company making something to break. It is the nature of all things.

> z

time passes...

Well, I pulled a Rand and dug out my stash of flexible plastic pipe. It happened to be the right size and I had a good roll of it. So I replaced some of the sections of pipe. The nice thing about that is now I can see the water flowing in them. I drained some water off. There wasn't much there, but there was some. The furnace did perform properly. It heated the house 4 degrees Farenheit and then cycled several times to keep it at 72. I drained more water off. I don't like the position of the drain. It's too high. I can replace some more tubes and clean up more. Is there really a sensor for this? I'll just have to watch it for a few days. It's supposed to get warmer this week, but hopefully I can run it at night a bit.

Too early to declare total victory, but at least I got in there and did something. I ran the furnace without the cover and saw the flame where the gas enters. It makes more sense. I see the relays.

> z

time passes...

I studied the manual some more. I'm understanding it better. I did a test with the electrical meter. One more test to do. It's too hot outside to do a good test now. I'll wait until late evening. It's likely that the test will tell me that the heating relay is defective. I almost ran out to get one today, but then I realized that I might not have tested correctly. It turns out I was pretty close. It was a valid test, but there is a test before it that I have to do. But the test that I did does say that the gas venting flue shouldn't be a problem. At least it isn't the main suspect anymore.

In any case, I understand this unit a lot better. The heating relay was the main suspect all along and this test is confirming that. I might as well replace it!

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

I made a dozen perfect pumpkin muffins this morning. They sure are good!

2020-09-26

It really isn't my nature to be pessimistic. I don't know if that is logical though. It's the people are basically decent vs suicidal race logic. I often pick up empty Marlboro boxes and McDonald's trash in front of my house. Who would just throw this stuff on the street every day? Sure, my work from home idea, living locally and all that, would get us on the right path in the carbon emissions world. People are quick to say "but people are not going to do that." They certainly can! Of course I admit that it is unlikely.

Although I know my cooking is awesome, I also have to admit that it is likely not going to sell. It's pretty different than what most people are used to. I'm not the type of person that is going to be overly hopeful about this. I question everything. I'm not a cheerleader! I believe in my food product and political ideas but I'm simply not a marketing kind of person. Although I'm not pessimisitc about these things, I do understand why people would be that way. There is some logic to just living your life and not thinking about trying to change the world. Resistance is Futile!

2020-09-25

Yesterday was great. I think I really committed to drinking less alcohol. It would be good if I could keep it under $100/year.

I just went out in the car to get a blood test. And the car wanted to take me to fast food! But I have a nice curry in the fridge. And my oatmeal and rice breakfast. I really can't afford to be spending money on dining out until I get my new career path on track.

I was reading this intellectual book on randomness last night. He was an excellent writer, but ultimately, he described himself as kind of a tragic comic pessimist so I decided to stop reading. He made a strong point at the beginning though. You have to work hard to be ready for an opportunity. It isn't what makes the opportunity, a lot of that is randomness. But if you aren't ready, it doesn't matter how many opportunities show up!

I'm coming up on my 50th birthday and it has me thinking of where I was in life when I was 20, 30 and 40. When I was 40, I didn't realize what I problem I had developed with my weight. I think a lot of people would think that 190 isn't that overweight. But for me, that was way off track. I weighed in at 134 today. Health is tricky though. I'm seeing other problems coming up. It's obvious that my 50th birthday though is going to be about my career. How I'm going to keep it together to pay off the house.

After I put down the randomness book, I started reading a Dave Ramsey book. I like reading about finances. I feel that too many of these people don't focus on career enough. Sure, I can cut out all spending. I've driven just 800 miles in the last year and even that seems a like a lot of driving to me. But if I don't have money coming in, it doesn't matter how much I cut my spending! Career choices are critical and they are a lot like buying a house. You don't have a lot of time to make the choice.

But for me right now, it is obvious that something has to change. The pattern I'm in is not sustainable. I will fail if I don't change. And changing can be hard. It was this pattern that got me into the nice house! It's natural to think that it would keep me here. I was researching large software companies yesterday. There are so many tech companies that I would not work for. And there are a lot that I simply would not qualify for. But there are companies out there that I would be a good fit with. One floated to the top and it really made me excited!

2020-09-24

I've got to admit that this drinking alcohol idea I got this year is probably a bad idea. I've been drinking a fifth of whisky a month. I spend $20 on it. It lasts me about 10 days. I have enough control to keep this routine up indefinitely. But my liver was damaged from all that soda pop I drank and the lead in the water. I'm very in tune with what it feels like when it is stressed out. Anyway. I think I'm going to try to put some more controls on it. It would be ideal if I could make the fifth last several months. I'm going to give it a shot.

I certainly don't expect the first curry mailing to have much of a result. As the old theory goes, people have to see an ad a few times before it registers. I've got that built into my plan. If I can get 20 hours of professional cooking in a week and 10 hours of programming, I'll be where I need to be financially. That's the goal for the next 6 months. I'm getting sick of talking and thinking about it, but there is nothing else I can do today.

2020-09-23

Work reached a stopping point today, so I finally got around to cleaning out my computer and installing a new mechanical hard drive. I had a 2TB mechanical drive that was about 7 years old. So I replaced that with a 1TB mechanical drive that I bought for that purpose a year or two ago. I use a 256GB SSD for my C drive so that programs open up fast, but I like using these mechanical drives for my data. I'm not sure how SSD's fail, but I'm nervous about getting holes in my data. I figure that with these mechanical drives, when they fail, the needle breaks off and you know that is it. At least I won't have corrupted data! Anyway, that's how I choose to do it.

I also fired up the air compressor and blew out all the dust. I took my CPU out to put new cooling gel on it. Those CPU's get stuck to the heat sink and you have to pry them off. My CPU went flying and hit the tile floor. Luckily no pins were bent. It went in nicely and the computer is good for another 4-5 years. This computer is about 4 years old. I'm hopeful that these computers will last me the rest of my life. I got very frustrated at my laptop computers overheating and getting slow. That doesn't happen with these desktop computers. Even before I did this rebuild, it was running as good as the day I built it up. No slowdown whatsoever! I know that the desktop computers use more energy and that might be a bad thing on a global scale. But there is a carbon footprint to making a computer too. I clocked one of my arcade machines as using 25 cents of energy a day. That's about $8/month or $96/year. And a new laptop can cost at least $800. You do the math. Is it worth it? What if my computer lasts 40 years? I know some people are portable with their computers. I used laptops for about 6 years and I probably used them as portable devices only 6 days out of that 6 years. It just was not worth it. Having the power and longevity of a desktop far outweighed the portability of a laptop for how I live my life. I'd have absolutely no patience for a computer that wasn't performing.

My data on my new drive comes in at 525GB. That's 25 years of files and there is still a lot of junk there that I can get rid of. I don't anticipate needing more than 1TB of data for my whole life, including all the work I do for clients. Sure, if I start doing VR/AR or video intensive apps, I'll go over that. But I'm not planning on doing that type of work. Today I also cleaned out 50GB of data in my user's roaming folder. It turns out that Adobe Media Encoder basically stashed a backup of my whole music library there.

I really like the way I roll. I'm not perfect, but I do have some nice sensibilities. The way I hooked up my drum machine to the car 20 years ago. The way I replaced my copper plumbing a month ago. The way that most of my music is mp3 files created from CDs. No need to buy the White Album again. No subscriptions (except for domain names and email). No remote servers. Nothing in the cloud. I wrote my own versioning backup software. There is a Rand way of doing things.

I was reading an old book last night. It was a business book. And the first story in the book was how a little child "won" 50 cents or something from an older businessman. And it came down to sales. It absolutely made me sick and I stopped reading. Is that what monetary success comes to? Sales? Winning the contest? What about craftsmanship? Without craftsmanship, sales absolutely does not matter! We'd have nothing! I hope the curry business does well, I really do. At this point, it is a test of advertising. A food truck gets business because of its location. All I have are printed flyers going to homes. Do they all wind up in the trash? It is dangerous to say "people want X." People are different. I happen to read all the mail that comes to my door. The most memorable thing that has come lately is a flyer from Evergreen Tree Service. I may need some heavy guns to deal with my old growth douglas fir some day. It was a memorable name. I hope that Rand's Curry is equally memorable. I chose not to clutter up the advertising with words. I hope the pictures draw people in. If the print advertising works, it can be scaled up. We'll see. Scaling up wasn't the idea that got me into this. I built it as a one man shop to get me to retirement. But the idea of scaling up has a certain appeal about it too. If I can make it work for myself, it might be satisfying to employ someone doing that. It could be their ticket to getting to retirement in 10 years too! I could have a family of chefs spreading the vegan/vegetarian way. It's going to be interesting to see how it all develops. The advertising may not work and I'll just be back to trying to get software work. I do have a product and a way for people to pay me though.

2020-09-22

It is a totally different product line. Everyone is in the market for food. Programming always has these layers of subcontracting to it. I almost never interact with the end user.

The curry business works on paper. We're going to find out pretty soon if there is any interest or not. I'm prepared to apply to salaried programming jobs, but I'm hoping the curry business works out. It would be fun making my living like that.

2020-09-21

I got good rest over the weekend. I avoided driving but I did read some news. I made a Rand's Curry and enjoyed having that over rice. I also had the short grain brown rice and oatmeal. My leg was feeling a little bit better this morning.

I got my advertising made over the weekend. I should be able to send it out at the beginning of October. I am very curious if this is going to drive traffic to my website.

2020-09-17

I've done good at getting rest and getting bored here. Last night I was looking for something to do, so I went through the wall warts box looking for the DC cigarette lighter adapter. I found it and just like I thought, it was missing the fuse. And the fuses I have for it were too small. So I planned to go to the auto parts store in the morning. But then I realized that Fred Meyer probably has them and they were probably still open. So I got in the Fiat and sure enough, they had them!

So the plan was to plug the drum machine into the car and sure enough, I got that working! The car's stereo system is perfect for me. It has a USB connection in the glove box that I connect a flash drive to that I keep 5 albums on. And then it has a 3.5mm connector that I use with the drum machine. So the idea here is that I can go to the park and groove out with the drum machine. I'm loving the Fiat EV! Now that I have the bad leg, it comes in handy going to the store. Although I have been walking to the store some still. I still can't bike, but my leg is getting a little better.

I've got some paid work done this week and there is still more to do. I plan to finish up the curry advertising this weekend.

2020-09-15

What a summer. What a year!

I removed my over the range microwave oven, tore out backsplash tile and installed new backsplash tile. Then I gave Nala away and had a couple weeks of heartbreak. Then I started coding on the curry site and cooking all the recipes so I could get pictures of them. Then my brother and I replaced the main water line to the house with PEX. I finished up the curry website. Then I replaced a 6 foot section of copper pipe and valves and then ran PEX from that to the kitchen sink. I finally got the new refrigerator delivered and then got licensed. Boy, it sure felt like a lot of work. And I also found the time to build a couple arcade control panels.

My business is all set to advertise now. I've got the cars swapped out finally. I just need to finalize the print ad design. It's easy to follow through on this now. Just a couple more days of rest here and I'll be itching for something to do. From the feedback I've gotten so far, I'd say it is likely that my product and delivery model is not going to attract customers. You never know though and it is going to be interesting to give it a shot. I'm very curious about testing the market here.

2020-09-13

2020 will be a memorable year, no?

I sold the GTI today. It was a bit of a loss, but she went to a good home and it feels good to move on and not spend more time and money on that car. I've got a hamstring injury in my left leg and it is driving me nuts. I walk fine, but sitting down is quite painful. It's been going on for at least 3 weeks now and isn't getting much better. Dang injuries!

It feels good to have the curry business online. Making a whole business like that with a high quality product. I'm nervous about the schedule I'm dialing up for myself though. This is going to be a new routine. Quite different from my programming routine. I also stumbled upon a way to practice open voicings on the piano. I hope I have time to put into that.

It feels great to just have the one car in the driveway!

2020-09-12

It's been a crazy emotional week. Things are looking up though.

I can give a big discount to start the curry business. A "product tester" discount. My curries are still a little bit under weight. All the recipes changed when I went to double batches. It took over a month to just cook one of each menu item. I don't want to just cook and throw the food away! My promo code system was built to do this. I'm interested to see what will happen.

It's still pretty smoky here today. They were saying that Portland had the worst air quality of any major city in the world a couple days ago. Yes, it was incredibly bad! They say the rain will clear it out early next week.

2020-09-10

The realities of advertising and marketing brought my grand opening high to a crash today.

I'm going to choose to shrug it off though. It's not everyone that can make a product and business on their own with very little investment. I have successfully brought a quality product to market. If you are in the delivery area, you can order right now. I have everything to fulfill the orders. It's pretty sweet! You can't live on a $4 cup of coffee, but you can survive just eating Rand's Curry! I'm damn proud of what I've accomplished so far. And it'll be a joy fulfilling each and every order.

The plan has come together nicely. Maybe about a couple weeks behind schedule. Not a big deal. I've got this advertising thing. I'm sticking with my original plan and following through. There is only so much I can do. If it fails, then I'll just switch to Plan B and get a salaried software job. I estimate that I've been losing $30,000 of income a year for the last two years because of technology changing. It's been catestrophic to my bottom line. But the exciting part is that I've completed making the curry business! I don't ever have to do that work again. It's online!

I've got my theories about a Racking the Shotgun test of the market. I've got a pretty good handle on how to measure it. It's not going to be a huge time killer. I'm curious what will happen.

Oh, and it was kind of a rash decision, but I've decide to take the dive and link all my online activity together. The curry business is an extension of the politcal platform. My music, games and book are products too. I guess there is nothing to fear. I'm a good person trying to make good products and put them out in the world. They are certainly different than what is mainstream. If I fail, I'll fail doing it my way. I guess there is nothing to fear, right?

2020-09-09

The Adjacent Possibility

The business book I've been reading lately, I think So Good They Can't Ignore You, talks about developing career capital to make it to the cutting edge and then tapping into the adjacent possibility. That's just what happened to me today. I don't know if it will develop into anything, but I had a career changing, random connection happen. The real deal though is that I was ready for it. That's career capital. You don't become a computer programmer by looking for computer programming jobs. You have to first become an expert at computer programming. Once you have the skill, you cash in some of the career captital to create a more desirable working environment. It's like when I left DHX Advertising to go back to freelancing. It was risky, but after a few years, I had acquired "the corner office."

Things have been diminishing at work over the last couple years. I'm in danger of losing my corner office. But instead of running out for a salaried position (that's plan B), I've been working on other ideas. Some people close to me think I should be putting my time into learning new technologies. I've realized that I'm more interested in business logic than programming syntax. Sure, I can geek out on syntax, but getting the job done is what it is all about. What are we really trying to do? As that book says: "What is the mission?"

The Navy guys saw my mission as being the best trombonist possible. It certainly did look like was my mission, but it wasn't. I was more interested in composing. Life has taken its turns, and a priority for me was having a nice house. Sure, I could have made it to the cutting edge of the trombone, but it was risky. I know people who are great musicians that stuck out for that who are still in poverty at age 50. These business books also talk about "what people are willing to pay for." I see that jingle as being different from that statement "give the people what they want" that bugged me so much in the Navy. No, to me, it is about giving the people something that is something you love, but yes, it does have to be something that people are willing and able to pay for.

As a self-described artisan, there are many things I make. I enjoy making things, but I wouldn't enjoy just making anything. I have my morals and integrity! But I do have to meet the people halfway, right?

2020-09-08

I've been doing good with reading business books lately. I don't even really like books pushing me around. I prefer to have an environment around my that is almost void of triggers and books are triggers. But it is good to be on input sometimes. Between the book Quiet and The $100 Startup I've latched onto a kind of negotiating and marketing for introverts model.

I'm almost in business here and I'm pretty excited. My mind is moving on to the next phases. I've been reading So Good They Can't Ignore You. It's a bold title, but there is some great information in that book. I see great potential in the curry business. If it works, it works. If it doesn't, I can try making some small adjustments. If it really doesn't work, I've only lost a few thousand dollars and a month or two of work. I think it's a pretty sound idea though. It's longer hours than I'm used to, but I think it's going to be more rewarding.

2020-09-06

Triggers and Habits

It's a huge subject actually. While I was on the streets in 2003 and 2004, I started talking to myself. I was literally having problems hearing myself think and I was working on some fairly difficult math problems. Talking to myself helped with the math problems. I also had this problem of never having an actual conversation. I would hear stray bits of conversation while I was sleeping on the sidewalk. By the time I wound up in the mental hospital, I certainly was acting fairly crazy. But the math I was doing was working. I was getting it done.

Then I was put on medication and that's when I had problems with not being able to sleep after getting off of the medication. It's impossible to know whether I have a "chemical imbalance" that the medication didn't itself cause. But after I got off the streets, I had a new problem. I may be crazy, but I don't like having other crazy people in my environment. I want working people in my environment. Or ideally, to be left alone to do my work. Yesterday I made a joystick control board. The day before I worked on a mueseum app. Last weekend I did pipefitting.

Mom and dad used to mute the commercials on the TV, even before there were remote controls. I have always had low tolerence for advertising because of this. My ideal world is being around my house without any external trigger. It's just simply easier to do work when I have less influences trying to push me around. I listen to the same music over and over because, well, it's good music and I feel there is still plenty there to learn. And I don't have to buy anything more. I buy about 3 albums a year and 3 DVDs a year. It works well for me.

But I'm glossing over this stuff here. 15 years ago, I was in a bad place when I got off the streets. It took a lot of effort to get my mental thing back on track. Talking to myself led to hearing voices. Isolation is what fixed that problem; years of isolation. I did the isolation on purpose as a way to stop the voices. I trained myself to not hear the voices. But it was tough work. Probably just as tough as losing weight was. I also trained myself to not talk to myself. Maybe it turned into this writing.

But without advertising, how else are you going to hear about a business' product? How else would you know about it? There is nothing inheritantly wrong with selling and promoting a product, but a world full of triggers is undesireable.

It's Sunday. I wish you good luck in your business ventures in the coming week!

2020-09-05

It was Saturday today. I worked hard last weekend and had a decent week at work. I had a video game hobby project to do today!

I made a controller layout for my arcade machine for Tron. I had a nice stand-alone spinner that I've been using for 7 years, but I wanted it installed in a formal board with other buttons and the joystick. So I used my standard Logitech 3D USB joystick and used the router to inlay it into the board. It's cool! Nothing is holding it in there. Just the shape of the depression holds it solid. And boy, it sure is nice to have that joystick mounted. I played a couple games of Tron and got to the second level both times. Then I opened up Zaxxon. Boy, Zaxxon was great! The joystick is buttery smooth. And I played a token game of Arkanoid. Worked great. I finally got around to this project today!

I'm not a huge fan of trackballs, but I obviously love Millipede and secretly love Missile Command. So I want to get a trackball and make a board for that. I think that'll be it for the boards. I've got to rewire my two ball-top joystick board. That was the original board we've been playing on for about 8 years now. I also think it would be fun to play a good game of Crystal Castles.

Well, I had to buy a digital wristwatch for the kitchen. It's a grueling routine I'm dialing up for myself. On a full day, I'll be waking up at 2am and cooking until 9am or 10am. Then I'll be setting my watch so I can monitor the cooling process of all the curries. That damn alarm is going to be ringing all day long! And then I go shopping in the afternoon, do some programming and/or take a nap. Then I deliver in the evenings. Last delivery could be as late as 9pm. That gives me less than 5 hours sleep to do it all again. And I'll be lucky to be making $500/day doing this. With programming, it was possible to make more than $1,000/day. But, it is more about consistent work than how much you make on any day. I'm trying to make it to balance sheet affluent. I've had some loser months here. Hopefully this all turns around. Time! Dang! So far I am loving the cooking though. I'm proud of my product and I know I can deliver on this. I hope people realize what is really going on. This isn't Burgertime! I look like Peter Pepper in my outfit though! :)

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

One more thing to mention today... The book I've been reading on habits took a nasty turn to the corporate retail world. It just makes me want to completely shut off all input. I'd be happy just doing my cooking thing, my programming thing, and then playing some games and piano for entertainment. I've been doing better at not reading the news. I let my ad-free subscription to USA Today expire. I opened it up and saw the ads and couldn't close it fast enough! That's one way to quit! I like reading the deaths on Wikipedia though. I learn some interesting things there. It's a good random factor to research. Two people from my area of town were in there recently. One of them was credited as being the inventor of the pixel no less! Russell Kirsch.

But you know, I'm running a business that must advertise! Is the tracking bad? We all choose our battles. My whole life is posted on a webpage! That runs on my server in my garage without any connection to Google. I could turn it off today. Any copies of it out in the world are technically illegal. I like sharing on the internet and I like seeing what others share. My comfort level just doesn't want it pushed in either direction. I always wish for a yellow pages type of directory on the internet. Unfortunately, Google does not function that way. You get 20-200 results. That's it, no matter what they try to sell you. People pay to get on that list. I know they have to cover server costs, but this is way beyond that. There should be a registered business directory that is searchable, right? Is there such a thing? I guess Google functions like that. People always paid to get in the yellow pages. There has got to be a better way though.

Maybe I'm irrational thinking there is a problem here. Do I really care if Google is tracking me? Does that change anything? Do I get marketed to? I noticed a leg brace coming up on the Microsoft News today (yes, I opened it up for about 30 seconds). It must have got that information because I used Google to search about torn hamstrings (yes, my dang leg is damaged). Does it matter? It's not like I'm about to buy one of those things. You get older and these injuries just start piling up. Until it kills you! Nice.

I could arrange my life so I don't see any ads. I was ad-free on USA Today. I found that their app on the iPad was a nice way to read the news each day to stay in touch with the world. I feel like I'm headed more into the hermit stage at the moment. I've spent many years of my life completely cut off from media and advertising. I've never done much social media. I haven't turned data on on my phone for... Well, I don't remember the last time I used it. Maybe a year ago. I guess I've never really used it. I read the USA Today on the tablet. And then Google and Wikipedia things I want to know about. I don't find that Google is really pushing anything on me. I think their search results could be better (more results please). I haven't even been taking my phone with me when I leave the house lately. If my car breaks down when I'm 4 miles away, I can just walk home! No big deal. Whoever wants to do business with me can wait until I'm done driving.

Hopefully my leg can heal here so I can get back to biking. I did walk to the store today. Walking is fine. It's sitting that is the problem.

I used the mail and door hangers for the political campaign. If I had to do it again, I would have stuck with my original thought of having the comments on the website. And I would have concentrated on email marketing. I'm back to doing mail for the curry business. I like how it is hyper-local and physical. I like the physical nature of it after coming from a computer programming career. It could become quite a slog to retirement though. I'm fine with that. I just want it to work! I need something to work here!

2020-08-31

I wound up replacing that first 6 feet of 3/4 inch copper and valves and then running a line of PEX to the kitchen sink. It took all weekend and Monday morning, but I got it done! 100% new piping from the street to the kitchen sink. Problem solved, finally.

Things should be going back to a groove here now. I can get some paying work done. The curry business should fall into place easily. Hopefully the finances straighten out. Hopefully my advertising can get some people in the door. I'm fairly certain I can make my customers happy once they make that first order. I've been making 3 double batch curries at a time lately and having them in the fridge. 6 quart jars full of curries. They are damn good cold. This business model does make some sense. The investment stage is behind me. I'll put some money into advertising and see what happens. August 2020! Haha.

2020-08-28

It's been a messed up week...

I worked hard on Sunday and Monday wrapping up the technology for the curry business. All good there. I did an excellent job. Then the remainder of the week I just did a crash. I was really tired and slept all morning on Thursday and then on Friday, I cooked 2 curries at midnight and then slept until 3 in the afternoon. I made $50 on a Craigslist deal and then had a nice curry dinner with rice. Then I went to Home Depot to buy copper plumbing parts. The Home Depot I went to didn't have the blue copper pipe, so I went to the next store down the street and luckily they did have it! So I'm good to go to replace my main valve in the house and do a new run to the kitchen sink.

But I've been sluffing off on doing paid work this week. I could have made another $500 on a couple projects that need to get done, but I'm just so consumed in getting this curry business in motion. I should be all licensed in 2 weeks now. I just got the Indian spices delivered from Amazon today. I have most everything I need now. Things should be different once I'm in business. This setup phase has cost me $12,000 so far and 70+ hours of work. It's all working out though and I should be able to get $5,000 of that back once I sell the 2nd car. I just need to crank out this stuff under the house this weekend and I'll be good to go.

2020-08-27

It was an interesting, introspective day...

I woke up to the smell of chickpea chili in the crockpot. I scored two free crockpots on Craigslist a month ago and have been altering my recipe so that they will fit. It is a success, they do fit! So I put it in one of the metal pans I have for cooling and put it in the freezer. I have to monitor the cooling process. It's part of my domestic kitchen licensing.

But then I was really tired and went back to bed. I got a cheap kitchen timer on a lanyard yesterday, so I set the timer for one hour. I have to stir the curry at one hour and then record the temperature at two hours and move it to the fridge. The timer worked and I woke up at one hour to stir the pot. I reset it and went back to bed. Then I woke up again and moved it to the fridge. It was almost freezing when it went in, so I know my cooling technique is working. Then I went back to bed without the alarm.

Then I got up at 11am. It's not unusual for me to be this tired after completing a programming project. I estimate that I spent 70 hours coding the curry website and app. 70 hours of unpaid work is quite a lot to cram into two months. I got it done though. There may be a bug, but it does everything I want. I really went to town on it in the last two days coding in all the little extra features I wanted.

So I go to my computer and check in at work. I downloaded 1GB of mp4's for a work project. My heart just wasn't into working today. I went out on the balcony of my ivory tower treehouse studio and saw these helicopter plant pieces on the rail. So I flick them off and have fun watching them twirl to the ground. I realized a few hours later that these must be the seeds from the 100+ year old douglas fir next to the treehouse. I was wondering "where they were coming from!" I've been watching these pine cones for almost a year now. I want to grow some from seed. I knew the time was almost upon us a week ago and I took a few cones off the tree and put them in a paper sack. It looks like I can just pick them off the ground now that I know what I'm looking for. And when! That was a cool year-long journey.

I bought 5 blue spruce trees from The Arbor Day Foundation last year. I got them in December and have them planted by the treehouse. All 5 are doing just fine. I'm keeping up with watering them. I think I'm going to germinate these douglas fir seeds in the spring and sell the seedlings on my curry site. I might eventually sell cribbage boards on the website too.

And then I was in the living room this afternoon, drinking some whisky and burning some incense. I was looking at my musical gear and playing my newest composition on the piano. I have two ideas for future large music projects. CD length if you will. So I got an idea of how to make them happen in the living room. It was an evolution. A better understanding of what needs to be done to realize those dreams.

And it got me to thinking about the rest of my life. I've been working for over 30 years now. My career is certainly 50-75% done. Probably more on the 75% end. And I'm thinking seriously about retirement and the rest of my life. What I want to do. What is retirement? What can I do? What can't I do? And more importantly, what should I do now? You know, you get older and realize you might not even live that much longer. What are the things that are so important that you shouldn't wait another 10 years for? I've been playing more video games the last week because I realized that perhaps I shouldn't wait 15 years to do that. And just doing that seemed to open me up to the idea that perhaps I should get on with these musical projects.

Good news came this morning that my new refrigerator is going to be delivered almost a month earlier than scheduled. It means I can be in business in less than two weeks now. The technology is done. I have most of the spices. Things are moving along here. I am a little worried that I'll have enough energy to do all this cooking for a decade. We'll see how it goes. I am excited because I know it is going to make me a better cook. And I love the idea of expanding my audience of who I'm cooking for. Maybe I'll have some fans that buy christmas trees and cribbage boards!

2020-08-26

I woke up this morning to my curry website and app programming being 100% done. It was a great feeling! I spent 5 minutes coding a little bit to analyze my web traffic and then spent 30 seconds creating and printing a shopping list for 3 curries. I put in a feature where I can free-form shopping lists. It sure was cool! And then jockied the cars around so I could take the Fiat 500e EV to the restaurant supply store to get my ingredients. I had the sunroof open and it was sunny and slightly cool out. I almost got to the store, about 5 miles, and then realized I didn't have my mask, so I came home and did the trip again. I don't go out very much :)

I've got a chickpea chili going this evening in one of the two new crock pots that I got for free on Craigslist. I also got a phone message from the city that said that I still have lead in the water. Dang! We replaced the main line and the faucet. I guess it really is lead in the solder in the copper work. I'm going to have to get under the house and replace that. At least the main line is replaced. It's going to be 100% new piping and valves all the way to the sink when I'm done with it.

I've had the Fiat for 25 days now and I charged it today for the first time. It felt good driving the Fiat today. I think I made the right move switching these cars out. I'm drinking whisky tonight. I've been solid about buying just one fifth a month. I tend to start drinking a few days before the start of the month. It usually lasts me 10 days of having 2-4 drinks a night. So far so good with that routine.

I'm hoping the curry business will do well and then I can afford to put on a new roof next summer. This year turned out to be about fixing the plumbing. I also have to paint part of the back side of the house. And when I'm under the house doing the plumbing, I'll put in the fencing that will keep the racoon out. This Old House. Always stuff to do I guess. Fingers crossed that the curry business will do good!

2020-08-23

Well, last week was a step backward. I ended up going to Taco Time, KFC and Dominoe's (with a friend). All in the car. And I was reading the news every day. On the plus side, I repaired 3 computers and played some games. I got the first health inspection done for my business and that went well. I got some good programming work done for clients on Friday.

I call this page the log. I enjoyed writing my book and the political site. I like working out ideas with the keyboard. I'm interested to see where this all goes and what I think of it in 10 years.

For years now I've been wanting to play more video games. I just like old arcade games and some old casual games. I've been looking forward to playing more games when I'm retired. But who knows? That may never happen. I can tell that my cardiovascular system is less than perfect. I may just blink out having a heart attack some day and never get to play those games. So I'm trying to trick myself into the relaxed state of mind I want to be in to play these games. I think that not reading the news is really going to help that effort. Maybe I can make a point of reading the news on Sunday morning to catch up with the world.

I've been reading a lot of books lately too. I've found the online library. That's been nice too, but I think that I honestly want to meditate more than read. I've certainly got a love/hate relationship with the iPad and technology in general.

I'm a little nervous about the cooking business being profitable enough. I'm going from one of the best paid professions to one of the worst. I do like how physical my cooking product is. It's quite a change from all this virtual stuff.

I just got back from an hour and twenty minute walk in the neighborhood. I've been doing that almost every day. I've got a 20 point hit list for the curry business I have to work my way through. I'll be happy when this setup phase is over with.

2020-08-20

The curry business has been reminding me of the Navy in a good way this week. Ironing the white chef's coats and having an inspection. I always did like the ironing and am glad that will be a regular part of this cooking gig. Rebuilding that computer yesterday was fun too. I'm going to rebuild another one of my Windows 7 gaming machines that has the same problem with fan noise. Hopefully these machines will be good for another 5 years or so. Hopefully I can just keep cleaning them and they'll keep working.

I must admit that I'm having problems staying away from fast food and reading the news. I've been eating my curries the last couple days, but I did go out to Taco Time on Monday or Tuesday. It's just so dang easy to do with the car here. I used the car today to go to the restaurant supply store. I've got this interesting log going for the car. I'm averaging about 1,500 miles/year. I've had the car for about 51 days now and have not gone through a tank of gas yet. I'm hoping to not have to go to the gas station before I sell the car. I've had the electric car for 20 days now and still haven't charged it. I've got it parked in the back of the driveway. I've only driven it a time or two. I don't know. Damn cars. If I start getting curry orders, it'll be worth it.

2020-08-19

One of my older Windows 7 gaming machines was malfunctioning a month ago. Power worked but there was no video. So I put it on the bench and took all the RAM out of it. It started beeping. Then I put the RAM back in and voila, it has video again! But it was making an awful fan noise. So I ordered a case fan and CPU fan. Amazon delivered quickly. I used my air compressor to clean the dust out of it. I took the heatsink off the CPU and put the new fan on it. I put new cooling gel on the CPU and put the heatsink back on. I put the new case fan in and started her up. Still had video and is much quieter now. Success! I opened up the Hoyle Casino '99 game and put a $10 bet on boxcars on the craps table. It came up boxcars! Then the female player said "Instead of betting on this game I should have bet on you!" Well!

I guess that is a good sign. I've been re-reading some of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance this year. There is the concept that you should be patient and not rush through things. I saw it in another business book I was reading too. I feel like I've been working for free for years and I've been working my butt off the last two months putting the curry business together. It's pretty taxing. And I'm falling behind on work projects this week. I've got the health inspector coming out tomorrow, so I've been spending extra time detail cleaning the house.

2020-08-16

I made tapioca pudding last night. It's become a summer tradion having it on the back porch in the evening. It takes some effort to make it, but I like the process and love having it when it is warm and fresh. The whipping cream was extra fresh yesterday too.

I'm going into this business of putting food on the table to put food on my table. It feels good to be switching to a business that is so basic.

2020-08-14

I had a bit of car clown craziness today. I took the car out yesterday to 3 kitchen supply stores to get the hand tools for my cooking business. On my way home, I stopped at Burgerville to get onion rings. I had only done that once this year and the season is over soon. I knew something was wrong waiting in the drive thru because their signs had changed. Sure enough, they were sold out of onion rings until next summer. OK, so I get 3 small burgers like I usually do.

I got the good news yesterday that the DMV took my money for the title and registration, so it's a good chance they are in the mail. I got the registration in the mail today. I'll be able to sell the car soon so I'll just have the EV. But today I was going to go out and get those dang burgers again. Or a burrito, or go to Burger King and get two Whopper Jrs and an onion ring. All these places are too far away to be called fast food with my bike, but are now within reach with the car. My kitchen is pretty bare, but I can make fresh pasta.

I wound up staying home and making the pasta instead of rushing out to fast food, so that was a little victory. I could easily fall into this car/fast food routine again. I didn't get a car to go out to fast food! I survived for 9 months without that. I don't want that in my life again. It's really going to take some dicipline to not get in the car and rush out to wherever I want. I had a good time living without a car and I really do want to just use it for business. It's not going to be an easy battle though. Being sucked into the clown car routine is just too damn easy!

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So, I've made this handy little car mileage log. I've been quite the record keeper in the last 10 years. This new log has some interesting number crunching. I've had the GTI for a month and a half now. 45 days to be exact. I've driven it 194 miles. That comes to a yearly average of 1,574 miles. Most of these trips have been to Home Depot. Cars sure are good at taking you places to spend money! I've spent $42.19 on gas. The car had a half tank of gas in it when I got it and then I recently filled it up. It's basically still got a full tank. The log says that I would spend $342 on gas a year. That's 103 gallons. This figure won't be accurate though until the gas tank gets to 50%.

Numbers, measurments, habits. I've been really focused on habits these last few years. Habits are a huge part of our lives. I've made some mistakes in my life, but I've had a lot of good habits along the way too. It was all based on my music practice habits. Which brings us to...

There has been a feeling of defeat lately. I'm just too scared to really play trombone properly and my playing is getting pretty rusty. It's finally sinking in that I'll never get back to my Straight Life type proficiency again. I always hoped that there would be time to make a comeback like that, but now it's more about health than time. I could intentionally decrease my high range by a perfect fifth. I'm really conscious about the pressure in my head though. Even playing any note at all, I can feel all that pressure. I play so many other instruments that it really doesn't matter if I play trombone, but you know... This is dot trombone! And I love the trombone. There are some local players my age that I'd love to play with in the future. I can do my bass and piano thing, and compose. I'm sure I'll record some more bone too, but today I'm one step closer to really shutting the door on it.

2020-08-13

Lots of good news today. A big programming job on the horizon. The DMV cashed my check for the GTI title and registration! I hate to sell that car, but it has to be done. Pretty soon I'll just have the one electric car in the driveway and that will feel good.

Part of coding these websites and my book and all of that is to leave a record for the next generation. Of course I get a lot of satisfaction from doing it, but I do like the idea that it is available for people to read. Educational entertainment has always been the goal of the kind of music I've been involved in. It's not just entertainment or just educational.

There was a cute girl walking in front of my house today smoking a joint. It's becoming a common sight around the neighborhood. I like that the neighborhood is both urban and forest. I like the smell of marijuana. I have urges to try it out again, but it'll likely never happen. I've gotten older and I just don't want to put my lungs through that. I do hope that some of these kids can learn a thing or two from my story. You see, this cooking business didn't just happen overnight. It was an evolution of a decade and a half of working things out in the kitchen. Because I was proactive about pursuing an interest, I now have more professional options. I always think about this when I think of younger people putting their lives together. Because getting good at something takes so much time, the window of time to make the decision to get good at something is realtively small. "It's never too late..." is actually a terrible phrase. Is it too late to become a dentist when you are 80 years old? Too late to become an NFL player? Or a trumpeter as proficient as Dizzy?

It's like the line from Dark Side of the Moon: "Live for today, no tomorrow. Next thing you know *@&!" Everything we have today is inherited from the past. Every product, every tool you have to work with. You're always investing in tomorrow. And you make time to enjoy today as well. I was thinking about it earlier today... Being stressed out about having enough work/money to pay the bills never seems to go away. But the older I get, the more I say to myself that things seemed to have worked out. They worked out because I was constantly stashing away pockets of time, working on projects, skills that could be useful in the future. It's important to use tools and keep creating.

I'm not so good at marketing and knowing "what people want." I operate fairly differently from most people in my observation. I do this little "prison isolation" thing. I think of the movie Papillon a lot. That kind of thing of toughing it out in solitary confinement for 5 years. You're likely to find me laughing while sweeping the back deck at 4am. Looking foward to filling some ice cube trays.

Oh, I remember the other thing I was going to talk about! I've been having fun playing Space Duel with my new control board lately. It makes me want to recode my Bumper Bubbles game. It uses the same control board and I've never played it using one. Sam and I used to play each other. Two players play using the computer keyboard. It'll be cool to play it with the real controls. I'll have to do some coding to bring it back though. But I did play the game the other day. Flash is still working on my browser! It's coded in Actionscript 1, but the code is pretty minimal.

I've been making more time for gaming the last week. Setting some time aside for it. Almost forcing myself to do it. One of the things I've noticed with gaming is the part of feeling like I have enough time to do it. Part of my inner being feels like it is more productive to spend time worrying about work and money than enjoying a game. I crave being fully retired. Having that kind of calmness to play a game. But maybe there is a way to carve out that feeling in the now. Anyway. I've been working on that while I'm taking time to play Space Duel and Ms Pac-man. It's fun thrusting around in that Space Duel environment. Those little + stars really keep you on your toes! I like Asteroids Deluxe too with those triangle pieces that come after you. I tend to wear just plain colored t-shirts, but I have a grey Atari shirt. I'm quite an Atari geek. I play Paperboy in the garage too.

2020-08-12

The exciting thing about the curry business is that my client is the consumer. Programming has always had this layers of subcontracting about it. Even when my client is the owner of the business, they are using it to generate money from someone else.

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.