Thursday Things

What I’m Playing

  • Doug and I continue our learning of vehicles, guns, and how they interact with infantry in Advanced Squad Leader. We played The Puma Prowls and The Meat Grinder in the past week
  • Played more Band of Brothers with Peter. I introduced some guns and off-board artillery in this scenario (Scenario 6 – Eindhoven), and we will get into vehicles next.
  • Allen and I started our delve into Vietnam 1965–1975. This is deep, complex strategic level game that looks to have captured the asymmetries well. We are starting with some small scenarios to get the hang of the rules, and this wil take quite some time. Playing some more this afternoon.

What I’m Eating and Drinking

I’ve managed to stay fairly disciplined during my bachelor stint here in Oregon, sticking to a glass of red wine most nights and only eating between noon and about 9pm each day. Diet has been mostly of the slow carb variety, mixing up chicken, pork, and steak with veggies and beans. Snacking is usually mixed nuts or celery with no-sugar-added peanut butter.

I did have an awesome cheat day on Saturday after running 12 miles with friends. We had a blowout breakfast at Pine State Biscuits then later in the day I went to the Boise Fry Company downtown and had their Burger Week $5 burger, fries, and a Westward Amber beer. They were out of the IPA.

What I’m Contemplating

  • Two Ways to Break Work Down – Helpful, brief discussion about ad-hoc project planning. Meshes well with David Allen’s natural planning model.
  • You Still Get Paid – Bold post from the wealthy accountant but he said things that needed to be said. I’m still coming to grips with how to charge for my services, given that was something I never had to explicitly define throughout my career. I think I’m charging enough for my training, but I need to escalate my leadership coaching pricing schedule.

Thursday Things

I decided I need a title for when I post it not on Wednesday as planned but on Thursday. Sorry.

What I’m Reading

What I’m Watching

  • Ozark – This is so much fun. Breaking Bad with Jason Bateman.
  • The Defiant Ones – Jacob suggested this and fun to watch and educational.

What I’m Playing

  • Band of Brothers – This is my favorite easy-to-teach tactical WWII wargame. In fact my young friend (and future Army officer) Peter is coming over this afternoon for another session. That will be three plays in one week.
  • Mansions of Madness – Geoff and Lisa came over Sunday night and we played this semi-cooperative game. Technically “we won” but I went insane at the end and was forced to try to stop us from winning, and failed. Fun ride and a good successor to Betrayal at House on the Hill (but more complex).

What I’m Contemplating

How I’m Playing

  • Because I’m engaging in a frugal month, playing golf doesn’t fit in the picture. So that means… disc golf! I’ve played a couple of new courses in my area over the past week and I’ll be heading to another tomorrow.

How I’m Hacking my Life

  • Priority Pass Adds Capers Cafe Le Bar & Capers Market To PDX – Holy cow what a great deal. When I flew to Dallas last week, I took advantage of my Priority Pass on both ends. I got $28 credit at Capers (Cobb salad and a glass of wine) and $28 at House Spirits Distillery on the way out. On the way back, I stopped by Capers again and got another salad, which lasted me for two meals when I got home. PDX might be the best airport on the planet for using the Priority Pass (also get Alaska Airlines lounge access).
  • Intermittent Fasting Versus Long-term Fasting – I’m doing the 16/8 fasting model right now and it is easy for me to do. The problem is I’m also training for a half marathon and fasting before I do long (6+ mile) runs appears to be a terrible thing to do. At least my body is telling me that. So no more fasting before my runs the rest of the month, but I plan to resume this after the half marathon when I transition back into strength training combined with shorter runs.

You Should Get to Know Your Library Again

Julie and I have become dedicated library patrons. I think it was a mix of downsizing and getting rid of a ton of books (and not wanting to build back up again) and wanting to be smarter about spending money on entertainment and reading. We have a pretty amazing library system here in Washington County (metro west side of Portland) that serves up a great mix of digital and physical content. Here’s my current request and hold list for physical checkouts:

When we left Oregon for our summer in NY, I went to the request page and pushed out a number of holds and spaced them out for after I return. So nice to come back and have a backlog of materials that will show up at our local branch which is less than a half mile away.

I also have a queue of about 80 movies in IMDB to watch, so from time to time I go in and look for matches in the library and put in a request (ideally for an enhanced Blue-ray edition).

I used a mix of the IMDB watchlist and Amazon wishlist to remind myself what I should be looking for, then have a monthly reminder the pops up to go make requests.

The digital side of their offering is even more impressive. Above you can see my current checkout list. With my twice-weekly commute to Monmouth, OR during the school year I consume a healthy dose of audiobooks and the library keeps my queue full.

Wednesday What’s Up (Thursday edition)

I wrote this yesterday but inflight WiFi wasn’t let me connect to many sites. Here we go!

NB – I freely admit that I stretch the relevance and meaning of my headings below. I just like the format and it is fun to come up with categories and ways of talking about these categories.

How I’m Thinking About Money

  • Julie and I (mostly I… Julie is pretty much always frugal) are experimenting with a frugal month in August. The timing is good because we are apart for the month (less temptation to eat out, engage in bar trivia, etc.) plus I’m heads down with football season starting. One goal we have is to see if we can dial our expenses to the coveted 4% / 12 of portfolio withdrawal rule I talked about in my letter.
  • Welcome To The Wish Farm! – Julie and I use YNAB to track and plan our expenses, and this little hack is brilliant. We are experimenting with this presently, and I even used the wish list to buy a 4 pack of much needed underwear. Discretionary? You bet!
  • The Betterment Experiment – Results – Jacob and I had a conversation last weekend about the merits of a robo-investment service like Betterment or Wealthfront. I’m doing a small experiment with now with Wealthfront and I’m pretty happy so far. I still think a low cost Vanguard or Schwab ETF strategy makes more sense, but he’s in a no-fee zone for quite a while with Wealthfront and there are some cool services built in.
  • Valuable Lessons from My First Year of Freedom – Loved, loved this article. I almost wrote an entire post as a response, but I’ll summarize with this: I’ve felt mostly the same was he did during that first year, but I had one big advantage. I was fully engaged in finishing my first football book and nearly ready to actively promote it. So I had a big lingering project dangling in front just as I walked out the door at WebMD and that made the transition so much better. His description of coming back from his extended travel without having to go back to work was spot on:

Have you ever woke up thinking it was Sunday morning but it was actually Saturday instead?
It was like that but 1,000 times better because it wasn’t just an extra day off that you didn’t expect but the rest of your life!

How I’m Leading

Or, rather, stuff I’ve read that helps me get better at the coaching and training I do for technology leaders (and my undergrad students).

  • How we pay people at Basecamp – Always a company I pay attention to.
  • How to Decide Which Tasks to Delegate – Eh, I thought this article was self serving for the manager. I suppose the focus of this article may be more on the freelance or solo entrepreneur crowd, but when I coach folks on delegation the primary beneficiary of the delegatee should be their own development (and increasing organizational capacity). Not taking work away from the manager.
  • The Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Become a Manager – TL;DR: If you are unsure whether you should pursue a career in management, ask yourself certain questions: Do you truly care about your co-workers? Can you enjoy working with people? Can you listen? Can you spot talent? Do you feel fully comfortable in your technical field?

What I’m Reading

What I’m Drinking

  • Tried the beer Maui Waui 3X at Salinas City BBQ on July 30 2017. Gave it a rating of 4. Just what I needed after hiking Big Sur and visiting aquarium with Jacob and Kaitlin. Chewy and tart.
  • Soon, I’ll be drinking more red wine and less beer. Part of some experimentation I’m doing in August on both the health side of things and the money side (we are doing a frugal month, remember?). I was able to use this Amex offer on two different cards and select six bottles of what look like decent dry red wines from Martha Stewart and get them all for about $21, shipping included.

How I’m Teaching

  • Medical school without the ‘sage on a stage’ – Very interesting ideas here, and though I’m not ready to ditch lectures this coming term, it does bring to mind some creative things I can consider in one of my classes to improve engagement and retention.