how to make work work

September 30, 2004
Quote and Ramble of the Moment
"Considerable evidence suggests that if we use an increase in our incomes, as many of us do, simply to buy bigger houses and more expensive cars, then we do not end up any happier than before. But if we use an increase in our incomes to buy more of certain inconspicuous goods -- such as freedom from a long commute or a stressful job -- then the evidence paints a very different picture. The less we spend on conspicuous consumption goods, the better we can afford to alleviate congestion; and the more time we can devote to family and friends, to exercise, sleep, travel, and other restorative activities. On the best available evidence, reallocating our time and money in these and similar ways would result in healthier, longer -- and happier -- lives."
--Robert Frank, Professor of Economics at Cornell, saw it in Wired but googled a longer text from

Man, what a thought-provoking statement!

I wish I knew how to act on it. Wish I had a better understanding of how my budget worked. It seems like I should be able to live on a lot less and I'm essentially debt-free (and with a comfortable buffer from the house) but my Savings grows very. Very. Slowly. Is it the toys? Media? Rent?

I can't complain about my job: it's not very strenuous, it's not physical labor, it pays well, my team has added some interesting and fun people. I must complain about my job: it's really tough to get motivated about its random projects, it has an awful commute, and I'm not happy with my work there. I guess most of my complaints are about the cosmic injustice that we all have to work except for this exceedingly tiny minority. Is it a life out of balance? Am I missing some fundamental daoist thing in not being able to find a deep satisfaction with my daily efforts?

There was an interesting Ask Slashdot about how to make programming fun again. It sounds like this guy really has it together.

One question: how restorative is travel? It always seems kind of stressful but fun, along with being something people "should" do. Or maybe the problem is that vacations always get lumped into these 1 or 2 week chunks, enough time that you feel compelled to "do something cool", but not enough time to really fit into the new lifestyle?

Sometimes it feels like my life and relationships and nation's politics all need a reboot. Not to wipe everything out, just get rid of the cruft, start with mostly the same installed programs, but free and clean to make a better go of it all.

Image of the Moment
--Ksenia (this very nice gal I've been dating as of late) at the top of the stairs. I like the way the lighting came out.