26 February 2010

Fall in Flagstaff
















Fall is my favorite season. When we lived in Phoenix, we’d go up to Flagstaff every October to see the aspen leaves change colors. We’d look for a trail we’d been on with a friend years ago - up to a cliff that overlooked multiple aspen groves. And, every year we failed to find it. We’d get to the bottom of the cliff, but fail to find a way up it. Every year. Then we’d give up and go hike somewhere else. The slightly over-exposed picture above is near the north side of Humphrey's Peak.

24 February 2010

Currency Exchanges



What exactly does a new TV cost? Or a new car?

I was taught to think about items in terms of how long it took me to earn the money. That thinking got harder the more I made - it got easier to spend more. The time value shrank to quarter hour increments instead of hours. Having stuff, being able to afford all the nicest things, was not making me happy. And then came last year's stuff experiment.

So, I've adopted a new exchange value for the stuff I think I need or want. One that makes more sense to me now. It’s not about how long I have to work to earn it, but what is the item really worth? Do I really want to spend $3000 on a new TV, our would I rather spend a month traveling around the South Island in New Zealand? With the choice in front of me like that, I may not have purchased the pretty TV that is not worth half that today. There is an important exchange value for every penny spent.

I could spend $480 a year for a landline telephone, or I could use that for a flight to Hawaii. I could buy a cute pair of shoes, or I could take tango lessons in Argentina for a week (maybe two). Seriously, I don’t need another pair of wedge sandals. The $30 kitchen gadget (which is good for one thing only) could also be meals for a week in Southeast Asia. Choosing the cheaper dinning table and chairs (saving at least $300) could be a week in Istanbul. By giving up dinner out four times a month, I could have a flight out of town for the weekend, a few nights in the Czech Republic, train and lift tickets to ski in the Alps for 2 days, a week of kayak rentals in Costa Rica, or a sailing trip between Caribbean islands.

When I lay out things like this, the answer is clear. Of course, I love travel, but this little game can work with almost anything.

12 February 2010

Look Up, Look Down


















The design detail is amazing in Japan - even the sewer covers.

08 February 2010

On Work


There is a misconception that freelancers and the self-employed hang out in their pajamas and play video games all day - that we don’t have to deal with the shit storm that comes with work.
The prevailing view of work is that it’s not supposed to be fun, that we’re supposed to put our heads down and suck it up, pay our dues. Frankly, that’s like telling a prisoner to just shut his eyes tight and push through it.

The truth is, there is always going to be crap. There will always be things that we hate, but we have to do. Filling out TTB forms, reading laws about alcohol control, and revising something for the tenth time are not what I call fun. My days are not filled with afternoon movies and coffee dates. I do, however, enjoy the flexibility I have now. I enjoy building a business enough that it makes dealing with the crap worth it.

Ideally, you like what you do enough that the shit is worth it. There is no reason to hate every day, no reason to just keep your head down and get through it. Other options exist; you can create another path for yourself.

04 February 2010

Ruins


















Stone ruins of a Church in Ireland - another part of my fascination (obsession?) with all things Irish.
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