I haven’t updated since my “spring break” trip, so what have I been up to? Thankfully, a lot more than last year mid-pandemic! May 2021 Road trip: Nashville, TN and Lynchburg, VA When I drove cross country in 2019, I resolved to bring my mom and sister to Nashville, Tennessee. I really enjoyed it and knew they’d love the city, the music, and the scenery. Those plans were put on hold in 2020, but once all three of us were vaccinated, we decided to go for it. While my sister goes all over the U.S. on travel, my mom hasn’t gone out of state forRead More →

So much has changed since my last post in January! Vaccinations are way up, businesses are starting to reopen all over, unemployment is dropping and financial markets are at record highs. It really feels like things are on the road to normal again. Speaking of on the road, I went on my first trip since covid started, and decided to drive! I left on February 23rd and returned on March 8th two weeks later, after driving 3,115 miles. I was able to see a bunch of friends and family, and though I stayed in hotels and we practiced social distancing, it was so great toRead More →

This is the third year that I’ve done both a financial review at the end of the year, as well as a prediction of my own passive income looking forward.  Since dividends aren’t guaranteed and can fluctuate a lot (especially last year), there’s always some uncertainty and educated guessing required to work out your own specific numbers ahead of time. I delved into potential market recoveries in my update on 2020, as well as a preview of my expectations for 2021. In this article I’ll get into specifics on my own finances, and what I expect for 2021. (As always, these are just my personalRead More →

When I posted my 2020 predictions back in January, I casually threw in a typical financial statement of caution: “Everyone has seen those “the past is not an indicator of performance” disclaimers, which is of course true, so predictions are just that – estimates that could easily be affected by market changes.” Well, I think it’s safe to say nobody saw 2020 coming. Not even the guys from The Big Short.  Here’s my year-end look back at the market, updates on my financial experiment in generating income from dividends during my sabbatical, and a quick look forward.  Stock Market Performance in 2020 The National BureauRead More →

One of the few positives to come out of 2020 was that people found they had spare time on their hands, maybe for the first time in years. Baking homemade bread and cooking exploded in popularity. Home workouts and video yoga took off. Judging by social media, people were able to spend tons of time outdoors with their partners and kids, and even try new hobbies. I was unemployed this year on sabbatical, so instead of traveling as I’d planned, I had even more free time at home than most! One of my goals was to scrutinize and cut back on my spending without feelingRead More →

In my last update in April, I talked about the complete unknowability of the world’s financial situation. The stocks have been swinging up and down seemingly on a whim, and nothing seems safe anymore.  I’m a year and half into my experiment of living off dividend income while on my sabbatical, so in this completely terrible time to try such a thing, how am I doing? While some of my funds have indeed suspended payouts, including Carnival Cruise Lines (go figure), I’m actually doing fine with others.  I predicted back in January that I should be able to make $1,191 a month on average thisRead More →

It’s been about a year since I built a two (ish) car carport with my Dad. I documented that process here and wanted to give a followup on what worked, what I tweaked, and what I’d change if we did it again. The good First off, the carport performed great in the winter. I was worried that the 4/12 pitch wouldn’t be steep enough, but the snow slides right off in big sheets as soon as the sun warms it up. Even when ice forms, there’s enough of a roof overhang that the plastic on the sides hasn’t been damaged.  The 11.5′ width of theRead More →

When’s the last time you’ve watched old family home videos? Do you still have a stack of old Hi8 or VHS tapes, orphaned without a device to play them on? Our family was in this boat, with tapes we hadn’t watched in years (or, in a couple of cases, ever), so I undertook an effort to digitize everything and upload it to a family YouTube channel. Converting everything can seem like a daunting task, but I’m going to walk you through the ins and outs and provide tips to make it as easy as possible. Most of this guide is tailored to converting old analogRead More →

I still have the first MacBook Pro I ever bought, a mid-2010 model with a Core 2 Duo processor. It has features that even the modern MacBooks don’t, like a fantastic keyboard, a very cool sub-surface sleep indication light, MagSafe power, and an array of ports that just work without a $50 USB-C dongle. Of the two upgrades I made to it years ago, moving from 4 to 8GB of RAM definitely helped, but the SSD is what’s kept it usable, even ten years later. What’s an SSD, and why would I want one? Simply put, they’re really fast. They’re also much more resistant toRead More →

Hi all! Haven’t done an update in a while, so I recorded a short vlog update of what I’ve been up to. As I mention in the video, two things I did in the past couple of weeks were replace the hard drive in a 2015 iMac, and encode and upload all of our family videos to a private YouTube channel. If you’re interested for more details about either, or a different topic, please let me know. Read More →