Least Complicated

Today was the beginning of the rest of my life. It was my first official day away from the box factory as an actual writer. From here forward, I’ll be taking every Tuesday off. Starting in April, I’ll add another day off (probably Mondays), and so on. By this time next year, I’ll be working from home full-time.

Though this move comes with some trepidation, I’m pleased to report that one of my fears seems unfounded.

I had worried that by staying home, I’d simply free time for goofing off. The primary reason I want to write full-time is that I feel thwarted by the constant (justified) interruptions at the box factory, and from Kris when she’s home. But would I stay on task when on my own? It appears I will.

Over the past couple days, I’ve managed to reply to about 20% of my e-mail backlog, write ahead for the next week at Get Rich Slowly, and even bank three or four articles in case of emergency.

I’ve also managed to read a couple personal finance books and watch several episodes of Star Trek. What I’m trying to say is: this is going to work just fine. I’m going to stay on task. The quality and quantity of my writing should improve.

I still have some apprehension regarding the financial side of things. Yes, I’m earning enough from my web income to support me, but now that I’ve had a brief taste of earning two incomes, I have stars in my eyes. Two incomes is a lot of money.

But two incomes is also a lot of work, and that’s one thing I’m trying to escape. I want to focus on just the one job, the writing. The writing is what I love.

“This is My New Year’s Resolution…”

As a reward to myself for paying off all my debt, I recently signed up for XM Satellite Radio. It’s awesome. I love the ability to listen to loads of music that matches my mood exactly.

My top channel is XM 44 — also known as “Fred” — which plays “alternative” music from 1978-1988. We didn’t call this alternative music back then. I don’t know what we called it. Some of it — Duran Duran and their New Wave kin — found wide airplay on the radio, but most of it — The Cure, New Order, early U2 — did not. The station is awesome.

I also like channel 84 — XM Chill — which plays chill-out music. (Chill-out music is basically mellow, light jazz (not “smooth” jazz) and electronic music.) The third station that sees heavy rotation is channel 4 — the 1940s station.

I still love early American popular music. Though my plans for a site devoted to the subject are on permanent vacation, I listen to recorded music from the 1890s to the 1940s all the time. XM Channel 4 plays mostly stuff from the 1940s, but sometimes squeezes in tunes from the 1930s or even the 1920s. It’s great.

Anyhow, the whole reason I’m telling you this is that they just played a 1949 song called “Happy New Year” by Spike Jones and His City Slickers. I’d never heard it before. According to some quick Googling, this was the B-side to the immensely popular “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth”. The internet — this amazing series of tubes — actually yielded a version of the record being played on a 1956 Philco:

This song is hilarious. Enjoy!

101 Things in 1001 Days (280-Day Update)

Last spring at Get Rich Slowly, I wrote about the 101 things in 1001 days project (which I learned about from dienu.com). I drafted my list of 101 goals on March 25th, my 38th birthday. I updated my progress for a couple of months, but it’s been a while since I took a look at how I’m doing.

It’s probably no surprise that the financial goals on this list have seen the most progress. They get the most attention. Of my ten financial goals, I’ve accomplished five of them, and am close to completing four others. (This would leave only one financial goal remaining.) On the other hand, I’m far far away from completing most of my health and fitness goals. Let’s hope that Get Fit Slowly can help me remedy this.

Here’s the current state of my list:

List updated 01 Jan 2008

Health and Fitness

14 goals

1. Give up sugar for a week 4 Jun 07

2. Eat only home-prepared food for one month

3. Eat vegetarian for one month

4. Get cholesterol to healthy levels

5. Have a colonoscopy doctor discouraged this

6. Complete a marathon

7. Complete a 100-mile bike ride

8. Play a team sport

9. Do 100 push-ups

10. Bench-press my body weight

11. Complete a one-mile swim

12. Maintain a weight of 170 or below for six months

13. Drink only water for one month 31 May 2007

14. Give up alcohol for three months 31 Jul 07


10 goals

1. Pay off all non-mortgage debt 3 Dec 07

2. Fully fund Roth IRA (2006) 10 Apr 07

3. Fully fund Roth IRA (2007) 8 Jan 08

4. Fully fund Roth IRA (2008)

5. Fully fund Roth IRA (2009)

6. Establish a $5000 personal emergency fund

7. Open a high-yield online savings account 13 Sep 07

8. Automate bill payments Nov 2007

9. Automate IRA contributions

10. Get a safety deposit box

Home and Garden

19 goals

1. Get the birds out of the workshop ceiling

2. Repair ceiling upstairs in house

3. Clean all gutters and install gutter guards

4. Finish modernizing the electrical system

5. Build a patio

6. Prune the holly trees

7. Learn how to use the chainsaw properly

8. Finish building the horseshoe pit

9. Hire somebody to paint the house

10. Open all windows that are painted shut

11. Park my car in the garage (this entails a lot of sub-steps)

12. Remove debris file from beneath the cedar Oct 2007

13. Add new spigots outside

14. Get a rug or carpet for the library

15. Acquire some nice office furniture Sep 2007

16. Create home maintenance checklist (and follow it)

17. Erect a hammock

18. Aquire a chipper Sep 2007

19. Set up workshop for woodworking


11 goals

1. Purge wardrobe of anything I haven’t worn in the past two years in progress

2. Get a massage

3. Learn to shave with a safety razor 15 May 2007

4. Update my address book

5. Sell record collection

6. Get rid of computer books Summer 2007

7. Sell CDs, keeping only hard-to-find favorites in progress

8. Sell comic books

9. Sell board games

10. Hold a gourmet potluck

11. Create the Indispensable Comic Strip Reprint Library in progress


7 goals

1. Take a speech-com class (Dale Carnegie?)

2. Take a drawing class

3. Take a Spanish class

4. Take a yoga class

5. Take a cooking class

6. Give a good radio interview 6 Nov 07

7. Give a good television interview


6 goals

1. Get tickets for World Cup South Africa

2. Skydive

3. Go on a trip by myself

4. Go white-water rafting

5. Ride in a hot-air balloon

6. Learn to shoot a gun Kris beat me to this and taunts me about it


3 goals

1. See all Oscar-winners for Best Picture 53/79, though I want to review some

2. See all Oscar-winners for Best Documentary 5/64

3. Bowl 300 on Wii Sports


3 goals

1. Sell/publish a second photo

2. Digitize all photos

3. Sell $100 of images at iStockPhoto


5 goals

1. Read all of Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past 1/7

2. Read all of Shakespeare’s plays (no matter what Kris says) 13/37

3. Read all of Dickens 5/17

4. Read all Hugo & Nebula winners in progress

5. Read all Pulitzer winners (for fiction) 8/54


8 goals

1. Compile and print a Friends Cookbook

2. Sell a short story

3. Sell a poem

4. Sell a magazine article

5. Write a book some progress in the department!

6. Publish a book

7. Participate in National Novel Writing Month

8. Digitize all of my creative writing


15 goals

1. Implement GRS forums 15 Apr 07

2. Implement GRS book section

3. Implement GRS tools and calculators section

4. Start a GRS podcast in progress

5. Complete GRS redesign

6. Complete Animal Intelligence redesign Summer 2007

7. Move all old foldedspace entries to the new database in progress

8. Launch Success Daily site created — building content

9. Launch Vintage Pop on hold

10. Launch Too Much Cat domains purchased

11. Interview Robert Kiyosaki (or host guest post)

12. Interview Dave Ramsey (or host guest post)

13. Achieve $10,000 web income in one month

14. 1,000,000 visitors in one month to GRS

15. 100,000 RSS subscribers at GRS

I now know that some of these will never be accomplished. Setting up other web sites? Not going to happen. I don’t consider this a failure — it’s just a shifting of priorities. And I’d now rather beat “Super Samurai” on Dance Dance Revolution than bowl 300 at Wii Sports.

Happy New Year everyone!