Evening pages

Today has been a whirlwind. Missus actually got up before me this morning, which never happens, and we had a little quiet time around the house before the girls got up. It was nice. I got an early work call which set the tone for the rest of the day. I’ve been busy all day, and have a couple minutes before dinner while the girls are out shopping for cat supplies.

Yes, I said “cat supplies”. We’ve been talking about getting one for some time, and have been looking at candidates from the local cat shelter for almost two months now. We went there yesterday and wound up adopting not one, but two cats. Utah and Bodie, yes, named after the characters from Point Break. And they’re polydactyls, one has six fingers on its front paws, and the other six on the back. So the girls are out right now buying litter boxes and toys, food in anticipation of them coming home with us tomorrow. The kids couldn’t be happier. Me? Meh. I’m more of a dog guy, but don’t want the responsibility of having one.

The girls spent most of the day play acting scenes from Moana all morning. We were watching the Broadway Junior version of it on YouTube yesterday, so they laid blankets out on the floor for the ocean, and stuffed pillows in their shirts to be like Maui. Elder found a basket she could fit on her back and was dancing around like a crab to Shiny. It was super cute, so I’m planning on them doing a performance for Missus and I later this week, if they can stop arguing long enough to figure out who is going to be who.

Work is really a blur. Between managing the helpdesk, onboarding a new telecom partner, and trying to manage our printer tech, I barely have time to deal with my own projects. I’ve got to migrate 11 users’ Apple IDs off of a domain so we can federate it with Apple Business Manager, and I’m trying to figure out how to design a build workflow for C++ ARM and DSP modules, not to mention handling all my other stuff. I was pissed during the day I think I yelled “that’s not my job” at my boss at one point on the phone today. Whew.

As far as side projects go, I’m not getting a lot done, that’s for sure. I did write up a contract template for my web hosting clients that I’m happy with, but I’m going to have to start cutting some costs if some people don’t pay up this month. Basecamp is going to have to go, and I’ve got several other smaller vendors that need to go, like my Adobe CC account that I’ve used once in the last six months.

Other than that, I’m looking forward to relaxing tomorrow with my latest batch of homebrew tomorrow. I ordered another refill and have been researching some bigger kits and working on upping my game as far as quality control goes. Missus will have a fit if I try to buy two hundred dollars worth of vats and supplies though. Maybe I can blame my mom for buying me a kit in the first place.

Generating spelling flash cards with RemNote

Making alphabet and spelling flash cards with a little help from regex

I’ve been getting used to RemNote for a little over a week now. I haven’t really gotten too much into yet, just taking notes and trying to link things up. I haven’t played with the spaced repetition features yet; I’ve used Anki in the past to get through an accounting class a few years ago, but I haven’t really felt the need to use it much for anything I’ve been dealing with lately. I may start using it for certain CLI commands at some point, we’ll see.

I did start trying to use it for Younger and Elder, though. I set up a document for the alphabet and filled it out like so:

A:: A
B:: B
C:: C

And so on. It doesn’t look like there’s a way create these cards without having something on either side of the double colons, so I just filled it in with the letters on each side. Of course, Younger can’t do these by herself, so I have to sit there with her and push the answer buttons for her. It’s been working ok so far, it takes a couple minutes, and the app makes a nice little fireworks display when you hit your daily goal. She loves it. It of course makes her big sister a little jealous so I had to find a way to do one for her as well. We settled on third grade vocabulary words.

I found a couple lists online, but I wasn’t trying to copy and paste two hundred words into the proper format, so I did what any programmer worth their salt would do: regex.

Take a list like the following:

additional	event	region
agreeable	examine	repair
argue	example	ridiculous

We want to separate the non-whitespace \S from the whitespace \S, into two ( ) groups : (\S+)(\s*). Then we can substitute, using \1 as shorthand for the first group: \1::\1\n. This gives us the following output, which exports perfectly into RemNote:


Now while this works fine from a technical perspective, it’s a bit flawed in execution. Elder can’t see the words that she’s trying to spell, obviously, so I have to read them to her while she sits across the room from me. It causes her to miss the reward, the fireworks, and caused a bit of distress on her part.

So here I am now, brainstorming ways to generate audio files for these words so that I can put them in with the cards. Do I read a list of 200 words, and then go through the editing process to separate them into individual files and attach them to the proper file, or is there a way to program and automate all this.

Of course there is. There’s a Python module for the Google Text to Speech library, so I could literally generate the files in a few minutes. Then it’s just a question of importing them into RemNote. Unfortunately, RemNote doesn’t seem to support uploading or local audio files, so I would have to either upload them somewhere like an AWS bucket, or just use something like Anki, which supports audio within the card decks themselves. We shall see.

I’ll have to keep quizzing Elder on my own now, she seems to do better with the one on one time anyways. I’ll be sure to share any updates.

Storm watch

Hurricane Isaias is making itself known. Wind gusts are pounding the house, making it shake like a freight train. The girls are up, Missus let them start a movie this morning despite my protests. She woke up early because of the storm and apparently isn’t planning on doing any work till later this morning.

Alerts have been popping up on my phone all morning as our managed servers have been going dark across the board. Internet and power have been dropping across the region as the storm makes its way across the area. It’s not really that much more work for me, since there’s not much I can do about it. Hopefully I’ll be able to get some work done on my two main goals at work: converting a client over to Microsoft’s mobile device management, and building a C++ build pipeline for some embedded controller software.

The RMM vendor that we work with integrated IBM’s MaaS360 product into their offerings two years ago, and we signed on one of our clients for it. It was a bit more involved than we expected for such a small deployment. We had to get a management certificate issues from Apple, which wasn’t too bad, but then we had to manage eleven Apple IDs, one for each user, before we could even enroll the phones. This involved downloading a special management app and profile. The client wanted content filtering on the phones, which meant the deployment of MaaS’s Secure Browser, which involved several more steps. Then we thought we were done, and I just ignored the deployment until about a month ago.

The client contact me about installing a new service app on the phone, and after figuring out how to login to the management portal I found that nine out of the elven mobile devices hadn’t checked in, some in over eighteen months. After contacting my RMM vendor for some support and getting frustrated at their lack of knowledge, I started searching for solutions. I new Microsoft had been offering some options through O365, and since most all of our clients are 365 clients, I thought that any solution that can be managed through it would be a plus. What I found is that the latest MDM offerings, included free with O365, actually gives us a lot of what we need, which is security profiles on the device itself, and the ability to control the software installed on the device. I did a quick test with our O365 tenant and my personal device, and I’ve been holding on to a client phone for about a week to test and document procedures so that they can setup the rest of the devices. I’ve been talking to other MSPs in our network, and let me say that there’s a lot of interest in the fact that I’ve been able to setup federation between O365 and Apple Business Manager.

The other project I’m trying to work on involves setting up automated deployments for a development project. The developer workstations are based off of an Ubuntu 16 VirtualBox image with a custom IDE and hardware libraries installed. The process to setup runs about five or six pages, and hasn’t been replicated by the client, so I’m hoping to go through the document and create a full script that can be replicated to set things up for new employees, or whenever the developer config changes. I’d like to get them up to Ubuntu 18, at a minimum, but the eventual goal is to make sure that we have a build process that exists outside of the IDE and can be automated via a build job as part of the version control process.

The problem I was running into is that my own computing resources are kind of limited right now. I already run my Windows workstation in a Ubuntu KVM instance, so running another VirtualBox wasn’t really an option. So I decided to use some of my Azure credits that I get from my Microsoft Service Provider benefits. I recently used an Azure VM to stage an on-prem domain deployment, scripting it out using Desired Configuration State (DCS). I was able to validate my AD and DHCP scripts on the Azure server, then copy the files down to the on prem server, run them, and have my deployment up and running in about an hour. The scripts will need some improvements before it’s really useful, but it’s a start.

So before I got started yesterday, I decided to explore deploying my VM via the Azure CLI. I went through a couple exercises yesterday to practice, and today I’m ready to get started with the actual projects.

A couple days ago, a marketing employee at Zombie made a comment to me that they were thinking about becoming a technician, and I told her to look at cloud engineer tracks, cause AWS and Azure jobs are among the highest paying and in demand, besides data scientists. Spurred by my own comments, I started exploring the training options for AWS, and started going through the AWS Cloud Practitioner track. The exam is only $120, and why not. I actually prefer AWS over Azure cause of the pricing — good luck finding a $15 a month Azure VM! — and want to really have a handle on it since that’s where I’ll probably be focusing my own entrepreneurial projects. I’m still locked into Microsoft at work, so learning Azure is going to help me, but everything Microsoft does is convoluted and complicated.

Will having a handle on both AWS and Azure make me a double threat? Doubtful, since I wager most large shops will use one or the other, not both, but that’s just my situation now. So I’m stuck between the two. Jack of all trades, master of none.

Back in the saddle

I’ve been pretty good about my habits while we’ve been sheltering in place during this great lockdown. I meditate and write every day, but I’ve been breaking my streaks when we take these trips out of town. There’s no place like home, as they say, so I’m glad to be back in my comfort zone.

Journaling in RemNote before I start writing in the morning seems to be weeding out much of the minutia from these posts, and will probably make them more pertinent to others, although I don’t think anyone is reading this regularly. I haven’t paid much attention to traffic from it other than the number I see when I log into the dashboard. That’s fine for now. I need to finish writing my Substack newsletter, but the day has already slipped away from me.

The girls were very troublesome this morning, and after they left to go to their grandmothers I got sucked in to work management. I didn’t get much of what I wanted to get done. Mostly I was micromanaging one of my co-workers, who I’m now having to manage because he’s incapable of any critical thinking. It’s insane. And and I delved into the operations a bit more I figured out that my boss has made some pretty bone-headed decisions around how things are working between the two of them. It’s insane. My boss is focused on this subcontract work that we’re doing for another firm, supporting printers at local facilities. My co-worker, E., who is responsible for doing the work, doesn’t even have clearance to get on the facilities, so my boss has to meet him and take him. And I’m not even getting into the situation around the dispatching. My boss is all in the middle of it. It’s no wonder why we’re dying, he’s having to micromanage E. instead of hiring someone who can think for themselves so that he can work on growing our business. Totally insane.

On the bright side, I did have some fun today. I stopped at Barnes and Nobles over the weekend to pick up some rainy day games, and came across a copy of the Hamilton piano and vocal score. I was planning on picking up a copy on Amazon, but they were out of stock, so of course I went searching online and found a copy via Reddit. I started searching from there and found an archive of Broadway Junior songbooks. Broadway Junior are condensed versions of classic and Disney musicals, and I found a trove of the Disney piano and vocal books. For Frozen, I found the soundtracks and accompaniment tracks on YouTube, as well as a community theater that had put the actor scripts up online. I was showing the girls and we were singing along with them, and I think it’s going to be awesome. Elder has been telling me that she “hates” playing piano and that she just wants to sing, so this is perfect. She even asked me if we could recruit the neighborhood kids to put on a show. So cute.

I seriously spent way too much time thinking about this today, and I have a feeling I’m going to be spending way to much time with the kids, listening to these over and over.

Even for a Monday, I am really exhausted. We’re also preparing for a tropical storm hurricane Isaias to get here in a day or two. It looks like it’s making landfall, which is good for us cause I’m not worried about wind and rain so much as I am about storm surge. We should be fine, but I had to move all of our outdoor things into the shed and the garage, which was tiring. And I’m going to have to do some grocery shopping tomorrow, which is probably bad timing on my part. Well, at least we have plenty of frozen meat in the freezer, canned vegetables and rice in the pantry. Plus, my latest batch of homebrew will be ready next weekend, so I think we’ll be fine.

Post-vacation debrief

We’re back from our out of town trip, the family is up in the den, the girls are watching Frozen 2 for the umpteenth time, Missus reading the paper. I’ve been up for an hour planning my day out. We’ve got a lot of work to do to unpack from our trip, plus we have tropical storm Isaias tracking our way, and is expected Tuesday, and today is supposed to be the last day of sunshine for the next five days or so. Since it’s the first weekend of the month I have some other financial stuff that I have to take care of, including balancing the house accounts. There’s a lot to be done.

Our trip was pretty good. We left early enough that I didn’t have to drive past my bedtime, and late enough that the girls slept on the way up. They woke up when we got there and we had a bit of trouble getting them back to bed.

Missus’s dad loves to cook huge amounts of bacon for breakfast when we go up there, so we always wind up pigging out. He cooked what must have been two pounds of it and it just sort of laid out all day until we ate it, piece by piece.

We neglected to check the weather before we went up there, which is pretty big fail considering that we were up there for a canoe trip. The weather was forecast for rain all day Friday, but we managed to sneak in a quick forty five minute trip in the afternoon when the precipitation let up. We thought we were going to be holed up for the whole trip, so earlier in the morning we had left the girls with Grandpa to go for ice cream, and Missus and I drove out to a bookstore to pick up some games and activities. I grabbed Exploding Kittens and Munchkin. Missus got Yatzee and some other things for the girls to do on the car ride home.

On Saturday the weather cleared up, so the four of us did a full seven mile stretch on the river, and made pretty good time, less than three hours. We had a picnic near the start, and even let the girls float behind us for a while at one point, which they really enjoyed until they caught some shallow rocks on their legs. After we got home, I took a nap while the girls watched a movie, then we packed and headed home. The girls fell asleep almost immediately, and we got home just before eight.

I listened to some good podcasts on the drives:

Eric Vishria – The Past, Present, and Future of SAAS Software [Invest Like the Best, EP.183] There’s some really good explanations of API and SAAS services in here that I’m going to be sharing with people in my professional network. It gave me a lot to think of, both as an investor, as someone who is looking to build a SaaS platform, and as someone who provide services to SMB clients and has to explain what all this API stuff is about. Basically, when a person consumes a service, they use the UI, when another application uses a service, it consumes the API. It’s about the shift from business using software, to businesses being encoded in software.

Brad Feld β€” The Art of Unplugging, Carving Your Own Path, and Riding the Entrepreneurial Rollercoaster (#448) – The Blog of Author Tim Ferriss There’s so much to take away from this one. Feld’s quarterly off-the-grid vacations and digital shabbats were right up my alley, and his discussion of his relationship with his wife, their monthly life dinners and the way they deal with conflict in their relationship were all very interesting. Feld talks about his struggles with depression and OCD, as well as finding a therapist. And he knows himself, very well, and this self-knowledge comes through brightly.

Lack of proper planning

I’m writing this from my father in law’s mountain home, it’s almost eleven PM. I’m doing this out of sheer habit, trying to keep my writing streak going. I was just pulling up in bed with a Kindle book when a voice in my head said: BLOG POST. And so I am compelled to commit something to the ether.

This morning was rough, I was woken several times in the early morning by Younger as her and Missus played Musical Beds throughout the night. The kids were mostly well behaved while I worked, then I shuffled them outside for a few hours while we got ready for our trip. I drove straight through for almost three and a half hours, non stop, driving over a windy mountain highway in the dark rain while the girls snoozed soundly in car. We got here just before ten, and now the kids are too rested too sleep, poor Missus is in the bedroom next to me, telling them stories or otherwise trying to get them to fall back asleep.

We obviously miscalculated this trip. We initially planned to come up here for a canoe trip, but the weather report says that it’s going to thunderstorm all day. So I fear we’ve basically driven all the way here just to wind up watching TV all day tomorrow. We even forgot to bring our board game. We packed the car to the brim with suitcases, laptops, and bags of food and a cooler, which seems to be overkill for a simple two day trip. At least it’ll be a day off from work, and the kids can spend time with their grandfather.

Work was interesting. Almost eight years in and we’re still trying to figure out the basics of dispatching and managing our workflow. I’m putting the hammer down with one employee and created a Kanban board just to track their work. I was being super micro-managery today, calling him every two hours to check status. This is after years of giving up on him as unmanageable. I said “thanks for working with me through this, cause if this doesn’t work, then we aren’t going to work. You understand me?” They said yes, so I’m going to give it another week or two, or at least as long as it takes to find a replacement.

I also decided to start working through some AWS training with an eye toward a certification. I figure it will be helpful to me just to know more about how to manage my EC2 instances, and who knows what else it will lead to. I had a call with a young entrepreneur who was trying to create a startup around business process as a service, BPaaS, or as I call it, business process automation, and it went pretty well, so I figure having a handle on AWS will be an advantage. I’m not going to be able to settle between AWS and Azure right now, given so much of my world is in the Microsoft space. AWS has its advantages; it seems price is much cheaper for starters. Having another certification certainly won’t hurt though. On a slightly related note, this cloud native landscape chart is completely overwhelming.

I can feel the fatigue setting in, and should be turning in now. I’ve got a glass of IPA next to me that I’m going to finish while I read about stoicism or something, and spend tomorrow trying to find some tranquility in light of the situation with the weather.

Fight mind-set

pair of pink boxing gloves

Not tolerating failure

It’s the end of the day here, the kids are asleep, and I’m sitting down to write now because I had a dentist appointment and it threw my morning routine off. The trip to the dentist was my first since COVID, and I bring Elder with me, so I was a bit anxious about what to expect. I shouldn’t have worried, since we’re dealing with medical professionals here, so everyone was wearing PPE and we didn’t run into any patients, except for one lady who quickly exited past us as we were walking out. She wasn’t wearing a mask, but I forgave it as I figured it was just a lapse since she was coming out of her cleaning or whatever. It was a black woman, about my age, although I wonder if I would have had the same reaction if it had been a white person.

The office was understaffed for a couple of reasons, so the dentist himself did my cleaning, tearing through it in record time. We talked for a bit about what was going on, and he admitted problems they’d had with PPE previously, and that they were unable to get the disinfectants that they usually used.

The kids were ok today. Elder and I continued our stalemate for most of the day. She wanted to ignore me and read a book, which was fine except for the extent that I had to keep an eye on Younger as a result. She decided to play with some slime on the back deck, and now the whole thing is stained with the residue of purple paint and glitter. If I wasn’t planning on ripping everything up in a few weeks and laying down new boards I would have been mad. Elder’s defiance continued until after lunch when she began to realize that she wasn’t going to get what she wanted, TV, until she spent sufficient time studying, and I managed to get her to do some math work. I even got her to do piano this evening as well.

A few days ago I printed up the following image from a metalearning post on Medium. Elder has this tendency to get frustrated at the things that I try to get her to do, saying things like “I can’t” or “I don’t know how” whenever she doesn’t want to do something, usually the dishes or some other academic point that I’m trying to make to her. We fought over it yesterday when I tried to get her to go over it with me, and she finally sat down with me this afternoon. Missus was in the room, giving me side eye for “trying to force freshman level psychology on our seven year-old”. Elder got it though. I asked her which side of the diagram that she thought she was, and she said, “I’m this side (growth) for my teachers and mommy, and the other for you.” That kid.

Overall, it was a good day. I managed to keep the kids from tearing each other apart by interjecting at even the hint of conflict, and Missus was more available to take over during the day instead of locked away in the office like she’s been more recently. We spent some time preparing for our getaway to the mountains Thursday evening, I did some yard work and the girls got their bags packed. We’ll be spending a couple days away, going canoeing, and maybe a hike.

Work was OK. I finished a small job for a Zombie, LLC partner outside the Denver area, which is nice because having contacts out there would be great in case we ever want to leave where we’re at. The owner is an old software development guy, more upper management than coder, based on what he told me, but it was nice to show off what I knew. In this case it was just a simple, single server Active Directory setup, but I did most of the prep yesterday building a Desired State Configuration in Azure. I just ran the script and was done in an hour and a half.

Today was also a bit amazing cause Boss actually agreed with me and seems to have decided to finally dump our problem employee, E., after what seems like three years after I first said that he has to go. Boss asked me to manage a couple projects, and I did my best to do so for the past two weeks, but E just refuses to check in with me, which forces Boss to get involved managing him. I told Boss this was the same pattern of behavior that we had fallen into several times before. If I’m going to manage someone, then I have to manage them, not him. And the time that Boss spends managing someone is lost time. Boss is our bottleneck. I think today he finally realized the E. is going to lose us a lucrative contract, so he told me I was right and that he was going to contact a potential new hire. Thank goodness, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

I’ve been continuing with RemNote today, just getting into the habit of recording some of the things I read, trying to get into the habit and figure out how to use it. I also spent some time looking at videos for Notion, and I’m leaning more toward cancelling my Basecamp subscription. I think the only thing I’ll actually miss is the communications features, since I like having that record instead of relying on text messages. For now I’m just using it for work related documents, while I give RemNote a proper chance, but Notion does so much more I think it will wind up cutting out several other apps I’m using, such as Google Drive. It reminds me a lot of Airtable, the way Notion’s spreadsheets resemble databases. Even the font’s look the same, so I’m fairly confident that there’s some sort of relationship there, even though I can’t confirm it.

Since I’ve been working on this tonight, I think I’m going to take a break from working on Substack and pull a couple other cards out of the kanban that I can knock out. Tomorrow night I’ll be on the road, so I’m going to really have to make an effort to get my posts in while we’re out of town.

Personal Knowledge Management tools

Experimenting with digital brain software

It looks like I have a bit of a new obsession this week: the digital brain. Note taking apps like OneNote and Evernote have been popular for some time, but the latest generation of apps have added backlink features, a sort of hypertext link between notes, creating nodes and graphs between individual items in the list. I was first introduced to Roam Research through Yak Collective, but found the fifteen dollar a month price tag a barrier at this point. There are a number of competitors out there, including Obsidian, Notion, and RemNote, which all have slightly different features and use cases. None of them are strictly productivity apps in the way that OneNote/Evernote are, but are geared more toward creative work than task management.

Reading through a Reddit post on RoamResearch alternatives is quite disorienting, as there are a number of alternatives out there, and I felt a bit lost. Obsidian seems to be one off the best offerings out there, and I had made a half-hearted attempt to use it a few weeks ago. It doesn’t support blocks as linkable objects, which seems to be a requirement for a good Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) system. Obsidian does have nice Markdown features. Data is stored locally, which can be a plus or a minus, depending on your needs. I took a quick look at Notable, which seems like a slimmed down version of Obsidian, but only took a cursory look at it while I was watching a YouTube video on the others.

I’m now moving forward with RemNote. It’s geared toward students, and the spaced repetition features are interesting to me as someone who’s used Anki in the past. I’m not sure that it’s the best to use for straight up writing and editing like RoamResearch is pitched as, but I’m going to give it a shot for a few days and see how things work. I may also take a look at Notion, since it seems like it has some interesting features and may be more suitable for some of the work and personal projects that I have been working on. I don’t see dropping Trello’s Kanban boards for it yet, but it may be nice to save that hundred dollars a month on Basecamp if my consulting work doesn’t take off from here.

I hate getting caught up in all these tools, spending more time experimenting with different platforms. In a way, it’s a distraction from actual work, but on the other hand, it can be viewed as sharpening an axe before taking the first swing at a tree. Trying to find a mix of physical and electronic tools that works well together is a challenge. My Kanban wall of Post-Its in the dining room went completely untouched yesterday, and I’m tempted to tear them all down right now and start over in Trello or somewhere, but having something physically present, and prevalent in the room seems important, and is something that I don’t want to do away with just yet.

The Zettelkasten system kept coming up in my searches yesterday. The word literally means “a box of notes” and was used by a prolific sociology researcher, Nikolas Luhmann, who wrote some seventy books and published over four hundred papers during his career. He attributed his success to his Zettelkasten system.

I’m hoping that a mix of one of these note taking systems can help me organize my thoughts, and that Kanban can help me prioritize my personal, professional, and familial projects. I’m going to give RemNote a shot for a couple days, maybe play around with Notion for work. And maybe, just maybe, do something about these Post-It notes.

Live free

silhouette of person standing on rock surrounded by body of water

Dreaming of a life of financial independence

Today I’ve occupied myself mainly by watching the price of Bitcoin on TradingView. I went to bed last night with the price having settled a bit above ten thousand, and woke this morning to find it up another three hundred dollars. It had been bouncing around a bit this morning before just blasting up and testing eleven thousand a few hours ago while I was out making a short trip out for work. Days like this I become obsessed with my IRA, checking in several times a day to see if I’ve breached another ATH in my retirement account.

We’ve got a dry erase magnet on our fridge, about the size of a sheet of paper. I’ve written “FIRE by 2024” on it, along with a list of debts: mortgage, student loans, and my car. At the bottom is the price that bitcoin needs to hit before we can wipe all of that out: $67K. Not that I have a solid plan to sell everything and just retire at that point, it’s more of a psychological reminder of freedom, where we’ll be secure, and be able to walk away from everything if we need to. Of course that doesn’t take into account for taxes and ongoing expenses, and selling all of our bitcoin would have the tremendous downside of well, not having any bitcoin, but it represents the promise of being secure in our future, not just for myself and my wife, but for my kids as well, who have their own accounts set aside on my cold wallet and with BlockFi.

I’m in a bit of competition with my wife, who took a very different track earlier than I did, going into grad school and getting her Masters’ and working hard to secure a government job with immense benefits such as healthcare and a pension. I spent much of my adult life under twenty five fucking around, honestly, getting by with life on easy mode, partying and boozing it up until our orbits came together. We’ve spent sixteen years together now, and I owe much to her for getting me out of my comfort zone these last few years. I credit becoming a dad as probably the biggest single factor in that equation.

We still have remarkably different approaches to life, I’ve always used the term complementary to describe how we mesh. She’s playing the safe, long game, intending to collect her government pension, socking away her contributions in whatever index fund offered to her, stacking a modest amount to the kids’ 529 college funds. Me, I’m buying bitcoin instead, running miners and picking stocks based on my knowledge of technology, trying to follow trends and carve out more aggressive gains from my more modest contributions. I’m hoping to win big, she tells me not to jump off of any buildings should the market crash.

Another example is a bet we have about autonomous vehicles. She told our daughter Elder that she’ll make sure that she gets a driver’s license when she turns sixteen, in about eight years. I bet her that Elder would never need one, since I expect autonomous taxis to be cheaper than private vehicle ownership. I hedged on whether manually driven cars would still be on the road, whether Elder could still get a license. I even did a book swap with her, giving her a copy of The Future Is Faster Than You Think to make my case, but she hated it so much that she didn’t even finish it.

And now our current COVID landscape has brought everything into question. Everything is up for re-examination, all of our assumptions up for debate. We’ve been reconsidering our jobs, our house, how we live, our relationships with friends and family, and what we want out of life. She’s always been focused on working for the future, and all of that has been called into question. Maybe part of it that the stability she’s cherished and sacrificed for has been called into question, while I’m finding myself in an environment where I’m thriving.

There’s a lot to suss out. Over the last day or so, my brain has started coalescing around an idea for my next longform newsletter. I had been focusing on the future of work, but I think this time I’ll branch out a bit more and look at the the future as it relates to these new possibilities. There are a lot of books that the two of us have been sharing recently and I want to explore some of the thoughts around stoicism, minimalism, and life design in a post. It’s going to be a challenge, and I want to put some notes together around them before I start writing.

I’ve never had a want for hobbies, and have basically lived my life as I could if I was retired. I won’t say that hermit is an apt term, but the lockdown hasn’t really affected my social life, if you know what I mean. I’ve been content, troubled only by the way I’ve allowed my temper to flare in response to the way the kids misbehave. For me, I’ve always found solace in reading books or blogs, or putting that knowledge to work in front of a keyboard. Missus has always relied on vacations or trip to the spas for rewards, and all that has been taken away by COVID, so it’s been more challenging for her. She’s been forced to adapt much more than I have, and is finding refuge in gardening, for one.

The kids are young enough that they’ve dealing fine. Younger will probably forget before the pandemic in a few years. All the local teachers unions have come out for virtual classes for the start of next year, which means we’ll probably just pull them completely and do homeschool. This furthers our desire to opt out. Choosing a school was one of the main reasons we bought this house that we did, and with the entire family effectively turning into digital nomads, we can effectively live and work anywhere with a fast internet connection. The fact that Americans are effectively restricted from entering most of the rest of the work is another problem entirely, but at least we have domestic options.

For now I will write, and teach the kids, work on our mini-homestead and learn how to function in a COVID world, all while waiting for $67,000 bitcoin, and dreaming about what we’ll do when we get there.

Lazy Sunday

Today has been a lazy sunday. I made the foolish mistake of purchasing a nine percent IPA, and wound up staying up late playing video games. I snagged The Outer Worlds on Epic Games for only thirty bucks, which seemed like a good deal. I read that the campaign is only about twenty hours, which seems reasonable, so I went ahead and indulged myself.

I still managed to get up at seven this morning, with more than a bit of a headache, and wound up cooking a large breakfast for my dad and the family. I finished mopping up the rest of the water in our fully-drained hot tub, and have been knocking some items from my personal kanban board while the girls watch Ballet Shoes on the TV, which has reluctatly been returned to its place on the entertainment center.

The rest of the afternoon is still up in the air, but I seriously want to attack the overgrown juniper bushes, which have grown over our back deck and high in front of our porch. I might put the water slide out for the kids as well. Other than that, the only thing I plan on doing is ordering groceries and reading a couple books. I’m still working my way through Hamilton, but I’m still working my way through several other books as well. Continuous Delivery, Digital Minimalism, Designing Your Life have been my go tos before bed, and I’ve recently grabbed a number of other books off Pirate Bay recently, including Niall Ferguson’s The Ascent of Money and William Irvine’s A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy. I also need to add Continuous Integration to my Kindle as well, to go with its cousin. I also have a large stack of The Nation magazines, along with issues of Wired, Dissent, and Jacobin that have been sitting on the shelf for some time.

Earlier this morning I noticed that Bitcoin retested ten thousand overnight, peaking at $10,150 before retracing to $9980-9960, where it’s sitting now. If it holds I’ll have a nice jump in my GBTC holdings tomorrow morning. Of course I hope it continues. The TradingView trollbox has people eyeing $11.1K before the day is out, which would be remarkable. I’m of the mind that a close over ten K would be very bullish and confirm an ongoing trend. Especially if we can close out July above it.

This upcoming Friday marks Missus and my eleventh anniversary. We’ll be driving back up to her father’s house in the mountain again, to do another canoe trip, and hopefully do a short hiking trip with the girls as well. I can’t wait.

For now, I’ve got about an hour before 3PM, and I’ve promised the girls I’ll set up the waterslide while I trim the bushes. So it’s time for me to grab a magazine off the shelf and relax.