life update

Sorry that it’s been so long since I posted; life has been busy, but fruitful.

At the moment I am trying to get a work visa in Germany, and living with the wonderful and charming Claudia. This features lots of kafka-esque moments, wherein I try to convince people that have no understanding of the work I do that I am sufficiently qualified.

Besides that, my zero-owned-matter quest proceeds apace:  I have fewer than 10 physical books now (an enormously difficult thing for me to do), and am in the process of selling off my car.

The clothing-rental thing would work if I were in the states; I haven’t looked here in Europe yet. Unfortunately it is not particularly cost-effective to rent your clothes, and has rather dire consequences for one’s ability to make a sartorial statement.

In any case, once the car is sold the largest piece of matter I will own is an Aeron chair and associated desk. Not quite ready to give up on that, but for the moment it is in the states.

My work is interesting – getting to implement a scrum-like development environment for a web-development firm, as well as improving their toolchain all round – svn, redmine, automated testing, etc. I am enjoying the challenge of moving an existing team towards a better method of working.

I’m still shoveling through my mountain of debt, incurred while attending college, and it seems unlikely that I will be free from it until at least the end of ’09; I am seriously looking forward to a future when I actually get to allocate more than a quarter of every dollar I earn somewhere other than “paying for yesterday”.

Steps towards zero owned matter

For those of you who follow my twitter feed, you know I’ve already broken down and pre-ordered a Kindle 2. Despite announcing it many months ago, I have not given away most of my books. I suspect my reticence is in not wanting to give up the content. However, I have a workaround. I’m going to use delicious library to catalog all the physical books I have, so that I can gradually re-acquire my library in ebook format.

Anyway, so this should get rid of the bulk of my non-car owned matter. As part of the move I’m going to try to come up with an estimate of how much mass remains in my possession, so I can accurately track its diminishment.

buy more stuff

So of course on the way to material independence, I find a (few) new things to buy; a pen and a cot with wheels and a roof. The cot looks like it will assemble in my Fit with the passenger seat down, and I imagine I can insulate it against the cold. Have to see if they’ll even let me buy one, as they seem intent on giving them away; I’ll try to give and get.

I still have to watch out for all the places in which it would be illegal for me to sleep. I have to find someplace to park my car anyway while I am not in the Estados Unidos, so I will be looking for some long term parking where I can sleep and preferentially get watts and in a perfect universe get bandwidth.

Of course, it’s not exactly a trivial pen, but I’m already planning on needing to plug in my book and half a dozen other bits of electronic lampreys. As much as I want to be a 21st century digital boy there are some thoughts I can only get out on paper, so at least this way I will get a digital transcription of what I write.

You have to use special paper, but I could use the discipline of only having one thing to write on. I also ordered some moleskin-alikes, so I should have a decent form factor. We’ll see if it works as advertised, as it is the latest in a long line of dead gadgets that tried to do something similar.

If it works, then at the end of every page I can (if I so choose) just rip it out and destroy it; the data will stay with me, so it counts as more portable than the few other old journals I never read but lug around anyway.

Now for a brief PSA:

In these Turbulent Times I feel it my duty as an American to whore myself out to the general public with more élan. It is in this spirit that I would like to formally announce the opening of the Mindlace T-Shirt Shop. Please spend all the money you were saving for that Senate Seat or Convertable Debt Swap Instrument.

The women’s T-shirt is made of organic cotton harvested using sustainable methods, so I thought I should mention that the ink on that shirt is made with the crushed bones of underage sweatshop workers.


Getting rid of everything.

I’ve decided that atoms are cryptonite and everything physical that I own diminishes my ability to use my super powers.

So I’m getting rid of everything I own. I’ve ditched a bunch of electronics, I’m donating my books to the library, and I have some folks lined up to take my tools.

I’m also looking into a uniform rental place to deliver clean clothes to me every day and take away my dirties, so I don’t have to own clothing. Mad props to Tess for coming up with that idea. Once I can rent clothes I will donate all my clothes save possibly undergarments to goodwill. 

At the moment I appear to be the proud owner of a car worth slightly less than what is owed. So I will live in that for a while. It has plenty of room for me to sleep fully stretched out.

The one limiting factor is that while atoms are cryptonite, bits are spinach; the more bandwidth I have the more powerful I become (mwah hah hah).

So I must have the most bandwidth I can afford. Right now my plan is to wire a facility near a datacenter with gigabit bandwidth and put up a really phat wireless lan. Don’t know if I can afford it but I have been spending an extraordinary amount on renting an apartment here.