Categories
Community Finance Travel

Day 1155 and On The Ground

It’s come as a bit of surprise to me that I’ve done so much on the ground work in the last two years. Not so long ago I was basically bed ridden and stuck inside for the extended run of the Pandemic. Now I spend half my time on the road again.

Once I was settled comfortably on our homestead in Montana and had an acceptable level of resiliency planning done, I hit the road to pursue my particular brand of weirdo off the beaten path ground work investing.

I cultivate movements, memes, degenerates, eccentrics and engineers. I’ve made many trips to far flung corners of the European continent including extended stays in the Baltics and the Balkans.

You have to experience problems first hand if you are serious about investing in the people whose ideas can have a large enough impact at country, continental or global scale. It’s easy to be bamboozled at the edges so it’s best to be clear eyed about human nature and how technology can improve or harm a given incentive set.

It’s my hope that I’ll put in some face time in other interesting geographically interesting regional hubs. I’ve got Argentina on my agenda but I’ll likely make trips to the Middle East and Singapore as well. If you are in an interesting hub with a desire to pursue ambitious ideas let me know. Maybe I’ll swing by and we can meet.

The emerging network states of culture, affinity and intellect are far flung. The type of free market capitalism preferring decentralized resiliency minded crypto- libertarians are welcomed in as many corners as we are shunned. Either way you will find me on the ground looking for ways to make our incentives improve upon our human natures

Categories
Homesteading Preparedness

Day 1108 and Frozen

It’s cold in Montana. I woke up at 6am as the forecast predicted the coldest weather would be around dawn. I was not disappointed. . We have a personal weather station so we can get a read right outside our home.

The station measures wind direction, wind speed, wind gust, UV & light, temperature and humidity, as well as precipitation measurements (though that works much better with rain than snow).

The weather station feeds all the data to the display screen, which then pushes the data to our home automation system as well.

Our EcoWitt showing it as -40F outside Bozeman Montana on January 13th 2024

Two interesting details you may notice. The humidity was 73% outside which looks misty when it’s that cold. The other is our house was down to 61F. That is quite a spread of temperatures even still. Also fun fact, -40F is also -40 Celsius. It’s where we Americans finally agree with the rest of the world.

I’ve definitely felt the weather in my body. The pain in my spine is worse. But I feel it elsewhere in subtle ways. My joints hurt. My skin is dry. Even my sinuses are dry. It wears a bit heavier. I won’t mind when we get back to a more normal sunny and 30F.

Categories
Preparedness

Day 1107 and -20 Below

The polar vortex that is hitting the northwest of America has come to Montana. It was an eerie scene as the light of the setting sun contrast off the dark of the inbound storm

The Bridger Range as the storm comes in

We woke up to -20F temperatures (which is -28C). That the sort of cold you can get frost bite from in less than 15 minutes of exposure.

Our weather station this morning.

Obviously this is a day for staying inside. There are however things you should do to make sure you are safely prepare for this kind of weather. Keeping closets and cabinets open and letting water drip helps with freezing pipes.

You should prepare extra layers and emergency food and water as you would for any other storm. If you have to travel make sure you’ve got a car emergency kit.

That should include, aside from a full tank of gas, “jumper cables, sand, a flashlight, warm clothes, blankets, bottled water and non-perishable snacks,” according to Ready.gov

Axios Prepare for Extreme Cold

We’ve got a roaring fire in our wood stove and have backups for both gas heat and electricity through our solar. So we should be snug as a bug. So stay warm outside everyone.

Alex still went in the hot tub at -20
Categories
Preparedness

Day 1104 and Storm Systems

It’s finally time for severe winter weather alerts. Much of America is under various forms of extreme weather watches.

We got half a foot of snow in southwest Montana in Gallatin county but it looks as if we’ve more on the way with plenty of gusting wind and temperatures dropping to -10 Fahrenheit.

We’ve got a number of habits around storm preparations in our family. I like to take a shower, run a few loads of laundry and run the dishwasher. Cleaning up yourself and your house before a storm is a good habit.

The idea is that if you lose power for an extended period you will appreciate having a clean home. In the cold and dark you don’t want to be surrounded dirty dishes. The extra time to feel you live in a clean house is well worth it.

Day 364 and Before The Storm

Losing grid power isn’t something we need to worry about as we’ve got a number of redundancies for both power and heat. We’ve got a solar array and wood burning stove for backups.

Alex stacking up wood

However the weather plays out, we should be I good shape.

Categories
Aesthetics

Day 1077 and Disaster Porn

I loved the movie Independence Day when I was a kid. I still watch it every 4th of July Aliens invade and Americans unite a rag tag group of nerds for our species survival? I stand by my affection for it.

My mother had a very different take. She didn’t like that they showed the White House being blown up. She thought this was in fact a horrible image to have in one’s mind.

“Never imagine a future you wouldn’t want to happen“

My mom

As a kid I thought this was a little silly. Imagining things is good right? If we imagine bad things we can present them from happening right? I’ve given some thought to how we portray disaster aesthetically. The hope is always that by imagining bad future that we can take action to work for better ones but what if we don’t?

Hyperstition has been a hot topic as of late and it has me wondering if my mother may have had wisdom I didn’t fully appreciate at the time. The artistry of imaging dystopian outcomes vividly can turn a searing critique into a cult hit which eventually becomes genuine admiration. Think of how American Psycho’s perception changed over the years.

Let us hope we only hit rock bottom in our imagination and use it simply to fuel our ambitions for a better tomorrow.

Categories
Emotional Work Preparedness

Day 1017 and Crisis Chores

No matter how trying the week may have been, a day of rest is a day for chores. Fighting entropy is the fight to remain among the living. I feel more than a little bit behind on my goals and obligations. Doing chores is the way I exert my own will over a crisis.

I hope that anyone wondering why I’ve not been up to date on correspondence over the last week can glance at the last few days of posts and extend me grace. I’m not sure if I have done anyone wrong but be slow but I notice my own tardiness.

The benefit of public diaries and social media is that it provides a kind of open “what is happening” context for everyone to see why their emails and messages are not being returned.

I was able to do some amount of personal chores around the Airbnb. Then I was hit with another round of migraines and had to lay down. I am not out of the woods yet it would seem. Maybe tomorrow.

Categories
Travel

Day 998 and Pack It Up

Packing is one of my least favorite activities and yet is one of my most refined life skills. I’ve got a number of systems including the 3 bag cascade and the 54321 method.

Packing is a source of significant anxiety for me as I moved a lot as a child. I’ve written about packing 36 times during my thousand day writing experiment so it’s clearly still an unresolved issue for me. But it’s a great opportunity to share my tricks.

I’ve got a Notion document that has a list of all the various medicines, supplements, and other necessities for keeping me healthy & functional on the road. I also maintain a packing list in my daily note book by hand to double check. Then I lay it all out on a towel and double check against both lists. Each separate bag & cascade of needs goes through this process.

Skincare for my transcontinental flight that I keep in a pocket in my backpack.

Because you can’t rely on checked bags arriving at the same time as you (or sometimes at all) I separate out what I need for the first 3 days in my Aer backpack, the first week in my carryon roller bag from Muji, and the remainder of the trip in a checked bag. That’s the three bag cascade system.

Being detail oriented is crucial to the packing coming together. I go so far as to label my packing cubes so I know what pajamas to grab for the overnight versus the more formal clothing which can be safely checked. A separate set of casual outfits goes in the carry on so no matter what happens I’m comfortable and have what I need.

Categories
Culture Preparedness

Day 883 and Ride the Edge

If you aren’t comfortably with the current standards of living on average, I’d consider shoring up your resources now. As our planetary resource situation doesn’t appear to be getting better.

As more first world countries come to terms with slowing growth (perhaps even degrowth), resource scarcity is going to affect daily life in uncomfortable and visible ways we can’t smooth over with shrinkflation. If you aren’t prepared to live life on a harder setting, you should begin as soon as you are able to prepare for that reality.

I’d like to think about this problem with a bit of distance. What if we have a coercive state and social consensus for something you’d consider a personal preference or choice, but civil society views as as deviant? You will need to find ways to look like you are conforming even if in private, you are not. So how do you do so?

You may find it helpful to not stick out. In that situation there are two ways to survive an attack. Being protected and in the middle of the herd. Or be as far away from the herd as you can be.

Anyone on the edges of the herd of social consensus, but still within the second or third standard deviation from the norm may get hurt. Forced metaphor of the brutal blue curve but you get what I mean. Better to be a true outlier, as the secondary standard deviation will be forced by a brutal bell curve to fit in better.

If we add in artificial intelligence to the equation, we’ve got even more effective tools for monitoring and surveillance of out-group behavior and even easier mechanisms to deploy social shaming force at scale to insure social adherence. The panopticon is us. An army of Karens armed with the probability you will deviate waiting to pounce.

See for instance a social shaming quote tweet campaign. Now imagine it’s state sponsored propaganda but organized, through the seemingly spontaneous egregores of populism, add a dash of rule by authoritarianism and you’ve got yourself quite a problem. The wisdom of crowds can look like mania.

I got a small taste of being shamed yesterday by my neighbors in a Frankfurt Airbnb. Air conditioning use is frowned on in Germany now for both social reasons and also failing energy policy. Shutting down the nuclear power was a bad idea.

I’ve been suffering from an autoimmune issue, exacerbated by allergies and pollen, so I’ve used the air conditioning on 80 degree days. This was enough to get my neighbors to complain to me twice. I attempted to comply by going to a hotel but quickly found that no hotel would let me turn the thermostat below 72 degrees.

I decided to brave the noisy neighbors and run the air conditioning at the Airbnb in the end, but I didn’t appreciate having to lay our personal health problems to justify a private decision. Now extrapolate this out to genuinely serious situations. The disability issues are often an early lens into wider social attitudes on freedom, choice, value and worth.

You have to decide now if you want to hide in the middle of the herd. Can you pass? Are you able to fit in or do you have some deviance in your life? If you aren’t sure you can pull off average, you must ride the edges. Be as far outside the herd as you can. Maybe on the edge you can find a pack that will defend you.

Categories
Finance Travel

Day 878 and European HVAC

If I were a betting women, and I am, I’d be placing them on European heating, ventilation, and air conditioning corporations. Yeah, I think HVAC is a growth industry for the continent.

HVAC is use of various technologies to control the temperature, humidity, and purity of the air in an enclosed space. Its goal is to provide thermal comfort and acceptable indoor air quality.

You’d think after the pandemic brought the importance of air quality to everyone’s attention, that decent ventilation would a priority. Add in the increasing frequency of deadly heat waves and you’ve got real tailwinds for HVAC technology being crucial not only for comfort but for life.

So why are European apartments somehow both poorly ventilated and poorly insulated at the same time? Is there even a term for this? Finally I viscerally understand why bad air (mal air) is one of the canonical health problems of the Western Cannon. All those nerdy writers inside were suffering.

I’ll grant 1700 era European cities have more excuses than modern cosmopolitan ones for having stuffy, dusty, stinky, hot and yet somehow also cold and drafty air. They didn’t have electricity so no fans, pumps or air exchanges. But why the fuck haven’t they fixed it yet?

The worst plague of the great indoors is shitty HVAC. We have no excuses for it anymore as it’s an environmental health hazard on its own before we even consider the current energy crisis (don’t even get me started on what counts as being green). Refusing to keep your apartment’s ventilated and insulated is bad for your body and your budget.

So if anyone has suggestions for investing up and down the value chain of improving HVAC systems I think we’ve got a growth industry on our hands. Europe can’t refuse to air condition forever and it sure can’t afford to continue to burn coal and Russian gas to heat drafty apartments either.

Categories
Culture Homesteading

Day 856 and Spring Into Action

It’s been a beautiful week in the Gallatin Valley. Every single morning on my daily constitutional walk I notice new growth. Very suddenly we went from of melting & assessing snow damage to bright and sunny spring green.

The more northern latitudes get a shorter growing season (in fact we will get more snow) but the season is one of magnified intensity as our evenings stretch towards 10pm before the light is gone. And so on this first weekend of May we’ve begun taking action on spring. Hobby farmers spring into action.

Alex slicing open a bag of manure in our back pasture in preparation for tree planting
A man, a hole, and a shovel

My husband and I have no idea what we are doing but with the true spirit of fuck around and find out we began anyway. Our running joke is that Alex is a #ManofAction as there is just simply so much more practically to do when you live on land for which you are ultimately responsible. It’s a lot of fun and very grounding.

And as you might guess the most liberating feeling in the world is being held accountable for yourself and your choices. So even knowing full well you are basically that dog typing on a computer subtitled “I’ve got no ideal what I’m doing” you carry on anyway.

I’ve got no idea what I’m doing Golden Retriever Typing

While I did a few laps around the pasture and helped with a bit of the lighter work my role was mostly to capture the fun and excitement of trying something new. We picked two apple, two plum and one cherry from Starks Brothers to add in after a fall planting of a number of apple trees. We’ve got no idea if any of this is going to take. We’ve read some books but that barely counts.

Meanwhile inside the homestead I’ve been doing some spring cleaning. I’ve been appropriately assigned gender formative roles as I actually enjoy keeping things attractive and beautiful. The closests need turning over from the wool and layering over to tee-shirts, sundresses, and linens. Alex mostly goes from button downs to tee shirts. Jeans are swapped for cargo shorts. Being a man is simpler.

Winter boots need to be put away and flats, sneakers and sandals brought to the front. Alex had more work gear and footwear as he does more of the outdoors work than I do so shoes are more Alex than me.

Heavy winter oil and moisture rich cosmetics will give way to lighter water creams and ceramides. I don’t change retinols but I may add in more C and lactic acid for turnover in the heat. Alex meanwhile gets away with a basic vitamin C moisturizer and SPF.

I alas have not dealt with getting my hair trimmed in sometime but the reminder that it’s time to cut off dead ends is ultimately a spring time ambition. Hopefully you had the good sense to prune in the winter. My husband is lucky enough to simply buzz his head. Happy spring everyone and may your rituals enjoyable to you.