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Optimal Minimalism

It’s been almost a year since I’ve started this blog. I’ve been struggling to figure out what it should be about. I waited it to be a blog about bitcoin, minimalism, and my path towards financial independence.  My plan has changed a bit since March, however.  I still want to write about these things, but I had a little hiccup in my career and now I just need to shift my focus a little.  There are also a lot of minimalist blogs , bitcoin blogs, and so many FI blogs. The trick is to mash them up all into one blog like this one, my personal bog. I also thought it would be cool to do some anonymous thing like Satoshi Nakamoto, but there are a lot of anonymous accounts on twitter already and I think this blog would be better if I used my real name, Marc Leon and put a picture of my face on here. This will be the change to the blog, the third part of the equation.  I’m going to write about the things I’m learning like coding, or the lightning network and all these other cool things you can do in Computer Security using cryptography.

Last month, I traveled to South Carolina to see my daughter’s Army Basic Training Graduation.  I’m glad I went and My daughter looked spiffy in her outfit.

 I enjoyed fine Southern Hospitality at a place called the Peanut Man:  My son is allergic to peanuts, so we usually avoid places that advertise peanuts like the hamburger place with a x number of guys. I didn’t have to worry about this because it was a solo trip and Mr. Peanut Man specialized in boiled peanuts, something I have never heard of living Southern. The peanuts and they were delicious!  It’s like you get all the flavor of the salty shell inside the nut. They’re soft, salty, and slightly-spicy because of a secret Cajun Sauce.  Who doesn’t love soft, salty nuts?*

I had a nice time hanging out with my daughter.  The ceremony was beautiful, and I liked how they explained that the US was actually a country based on an idea rather than a homeland, religion, or creed.  We ate at Buffalo Wild Wings, her favorite place, although we couldn’t drink any adult beverages because she was in uniform. I got to take some pictures, catch up on all of her adventures, and walk around a whole foods store and a make up store with Ulta-high prices.

I also hung out with my ex-wife and her husband and I actually had a nice time They even gave me a ride back to my motel so I saved some sats on ridesharing. Here are my souvenirs.

Then, when I got to my hotel, I ran my laptop up and played a bunch of sit n goes. I ran good, doubling my 50 balance and remembered how much I loved playing poker. I read vagabonding and romanticized long term world travel.  It’s a great book and it gave me all sorts of ideas about re-designing my life. I decided I want to play more poker when I get back home.

So… I played after work a lot.  It got to be to where my wife said she wanted me to stop because it was taking up too much time. I was winning a little bit of money, but I decided it wasn’t like how I was in my twenties and I could just play five or six hours a day and expect to fulfill my duties as a husband and father. It really was taking up too much time.

Then I thought, hmmm, while tapping my head.  I’m interested in retiring early because I find my job really-boring and I want to spend my time doing al these cool things like setting up networks, accessing computers using CMD, PowerShell, Linux and other ill shit. What if, instead of trying to get a bunch of kids read stuff that interferes with their cell phone use, I just found a job that pays me to do all the stuff I enjoy doing? I recently tried out a free IT course because google must have overheard me talking about it and sent me an ad. It looks like the kind of interesting nerd work I would enjoy.  It’s only 50 bucks a month too.  I’m already paying for too much for a college degree and credentials to afford much more than that. According to this Google IT course, however, there are a lot of jobs that need to be filled in the industry and not everyone has a college degree. Some people have humanities degrees working in IT as well, humanities as in Creative Writing. I decided to take the course and see where it leads.

I once read this book called the 4-Hour Workweek.. Okay I read this thing more like four times.  In this book, Tim Ferris describes this lifestyle of Optimal Minimalism.  The idea is to work efficiently and as productively as possible. He suggests things as working remotely, getting all your work done in a quarter of the time of a 9-5 where you have to sit in traffic  so long you only have time to eat cheeseburgers and fries-of-death and taking a few months off.  I don’t work remotely, but the time off allows me to learn many things using his techniques. I have learned 50 digits of pi using a mnemonic technique called the major number system.  I was going for 100, but I decided there were more important numbers to remember at this point. This is a valuable skill that allows me to memorize credit card numbers, home addresses, IP addresses, passwords, letters in binary.  Instead of memorizing numbers you’re memorizing images. These images are then encoded into sounds and the sounds represent numbers. I don’t actually know the numbers of pi, Instead I know mother towel banjo lime olive pickup MnM fresh nacho army movie men … You get the idea.   I learned this method from another Tim Ferris book called the 4-Hour Chef which also taught me to cool (along with how to remember page numbers of my favorite recipe is on a “damp” page.

The great thing about being a substitute teacher is that I only work an average of 20 hours a week and I get to learn whatever I want during the conference periods I sometimes get. Essentially, I get to apply a lot of the principles of the 4 Hour workweek in my job.  I don’t work at home. I sometimes get conference periods. I will use that conference time to learn the IT job skills. According to the course, it only takes 5 hours a week, but I like to listen to videos at double speed and it turns pout that I already know a lot about the course because of my interest in applied cryptography. I hope to finish the course in half the time.  My brother is taking it too.  He has a computer science. He’s almost finished with the 5-month course after one month.

 I also set up a lightning node network with a raspberry pi. This Google IT course helped me with that a lot, especially with networking which can be a potential pathway for telecommuting.  I learned basic Python coding skills last year. I could still use some more work on classes and I want to learn Django and other things as well, but for now, the Google IT seems like a quicker pathway to a job.  I like coding, but I suspect that since I have such a passion for cryptography, I will enjoy computer security the best. Besides, I use programing for cryptography. I recently found out that I can pick up all of these certifications just by reading books and watching videos instead of dropping thousands of dollars on a degree before applying to your first job. So my blog is going to be about optimal minimalism.  So that’s my plan for the new year.

*aside from those with peanut allergies

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