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.

Goodbye Keuka

Today I leave Keuka Lake for my return west and start of football season. Always bittersweet leaving here (mostly on the bitter side this year), though a nice bonus is I get to spend a full day with Jacob in California this weekend. Within a year or two I expect to be able to stay through mid to late September and not be apart from Julie for 6 weeks.

We had some new visitors this summer, plus spent a lot more time with our neighbors in the cóvè. Here are some photos of our latest guests and antics with neighbors, such as birthday parties when there aren’t birthdays.

What’s Up Wednesday

What I’m Reading

What I’m Contemplating

What I’m Playing

  • Ninety-nine – We have three people here at Keuka Lake right now, and this is the game to play with three.

What I’m Drinking

We had guests in town last weekend that were eager to try local breweries around Keuka Lake. I’ve, ahem, “had them all” so I zeroed in on a pint at each location instead of sampling.

  • Tried the beer Hopyard IPA at Steuben Brewing Company on July 21 2017. Gave it a rating of 3.5. Better than average IPA.
  • Tried the beer Coconut Brown Ale at Finger Lakes Beer Company on July 22 2017. Gave it a rating of 3.75.
  • Tried the beer Bee Side at The Brewery of Broken Dreams on July 22 2017. Gave it a rating of 4. Sweet and strong

Chris and I running the Keuka Outlet Trail

Had a fantastic Sunday morning 12 mile run on the Keuka outlet trail with my friend Chris. He is a die-hard marathoner, having logged well over 200 in his lifetime. This is about the flattest 12 miles you can imagine, climbing just 250 ft over the six mile ascent.