Buy-Nothing January 2024

A list of impulse purchases as they occur to me this month. Normally I would jump to Amazon, Ebay, Aliexpress, etc, and buy these things if they’re under $50. This month I decided not to do that. This won’t include necessities like gas or groceries.

I’ll re-evaluate this at the end of the month and see what I really need. I might push this longer than a month.

  • Heavy-duty Glue Gun that doesn’t fall over when I set it on the desk
  • Dehydrator for my truck
  • (Finally!) the complete Expanse on Blu-ray:
  • T-Deck by LilyGo:
  • The Accidental Guerrilla: Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One
  • Stealth War: How China Took Over While America’s Elite Slept
  • The Hundred-Year Marathon: China’s Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower
  • Unrestricted Warfare: China’s Master Plan to Destroy America
  • Paved Paradise: How Parking Explains the World
  • T-Beam Supreme by LilyGo:
  • Project: Keyyyyys Keyboard
  • WiPhone:
  • TTGO LORA32 433/868/915Mhz SX1276 SX1278 ESP32 OLED 0.96 Display SD Card Module
  • Beepy:
  • MeshCom:
  • LilyGo on AliExpress:

Saved: An Ephemerist

Q: “I tend to either act as a data hoarder, but most of the time end up being overwhelmed with anxiety about having so much data. Even when I just look at my personal photos, I just feel impeding doom knowing it can only grow and grow, it will never get smaller.

“I was wondering if this had a term.”

A: An ephemerist, someone who enjoys things that are fleeting, temporary, out of sight and out of mind once they’re used.

Mental Budgets

We're in the time of year where I am reminded that I like to spend money. It goes back to deprivation as a kid, not getting the toys other kids had, not getting the good corn flakes. Not understanding why those things didn't matter much, only that I was being told no. Now it's a powerful drug to be able to buy the things I want.
Combine this with an obsession with prices, the retail cycle, and tech, and I can spend a lot of money during Black Friday sales. I'm not buying a jet ski, but a 3D printer is still a good purchase, especially when I didn't budget for my dog's teeth cleaning that's going to cost $700.

Mint is going to cease operation and become part of Credit Karma. If I come back and read this in 20 years, all I should remember is how this is the most recent example of useful software that I used got acquired by a company (Intuit) and then killed.
Goals for this week:
  • At least 2000 words a day on Lyssa's Control. I'm going to finish this book.
  • Spend time with family.
  • Get in habit of taking notes as thoughts occur to me. How: carry a notebook and pen. Make a habit of transferring better notes to computer
  • Clean up and organize office. Organize projects so they aren't sitting all over the place.
  • Take Sawyer for a walk every day that I'm off.
I read an article about Ozempic ( that mentioned the “Constant Food Noise” in people's heads. Thinking about what they're going to eat, worrying about food, wanting food. Three weeks into low carb again and I feel like the noise has subsided. I'm not feeling the desire to eat all the time and have to remind myself to eat. I like this and want to continue this way. I'm down 13 pounds. Seeing my wife in pain from her Crohn's is also not helping my appetite. We're moving into a new relationship with food, where everyone in the house is eating something different at meal times. We still sit down together, but it's different. We'll adapt.
Started listening to the series that I might be writing in and am already reminded of why I like it. I hope to learn new things from this process.

We're also planning a brunch with friends, coming soon, and a party for local writers at the end of December. I feel good about social engagement, so that's a positive sign.

Yes, There is Time to Write

If there was ever a week when I could write 20k words, it's the one coming up. I'll be off work from Tuesday to the following Monday. Family is coming in but they won't be here the whole time, and MIL should be able to help with the kiddo. Should.
What's working:
  • Diet is still great. Feeling energized and sleeping well. Helping me be more present with family.
  • Plex library for music and PlexAmp app. I have a big music library that I've collected for nearly 25 years, digitized now, and it's very cool to see all the analytics that Plexamp can apply.
  • Not renewing YouTube Premium.
What isn't working:
  • Having an idea and not writing it down. Fix: Start carrying a notebook and pen.
  • Staying off reddit. It worked to delete from phone. Need to delete all links on browsers.
A new opportunity for publication came my way that I'm excited about, but I need to clear the plate with the current project. I can get this book done in just a couple weeks. I need to knock it out and go into 2024 unencumbered and ready for new projects.
Also, time continues to move too quickly.

Writing at the Kitchen Counter

I just wasted two minutes looking for a certain gif for this post. It showed a kid in a red shirt dancing shouting “Let's GOOOOOOO” and it indicated how I feel about 2023.
While I was looking for the gif, standing at the kitchen counter, my daughter took the opportunity to ask for juice, and then hounded me until I got it for her. She did eventually say please, but as long as she can see me, I'm fair game for service.
I often find myself dwelling on the opportunities I've been given and how I squander them in various ways. I don't want to do that anymore. I've been pretty lucky that I get opportunities to write things, and I've let that slide over the last few years.
I tend to focus on the task that's write in front of me, like going to work, or solving the latest work problem, and writing a novel isn't that kind of problem. It isn't like the daughter making small shrieking sounds because she wants apple juice. The novel doesn't even come in the room, but when the deadline passes, you know it's there, starting to smell bad because it didn't get cooked all the way and now the ideas holding it together are starting to mold.
I hate that.
Lots of things pulling at my attention. My mom calls me six times a day and doesn't remember that she called. She asks me why she has all this lunch meat in her fridge that we just bought at the grocery story because she said she didn't have anything to eat. And what's she going to do by herself? Am I bringing the kiddo down? No, I'm at work, mom.

And other family things. Cub Scouts is great, and legos are great. Vet appointments are necessary and health problems suck. It's all whirling around my head when I put my hands on the keyboard, and then it's just easier to give in and read comments on reddit for 30 minutes until something else pops up.
Can't do that anymore.

I did delete reddit off my phone, and I logged out on all my PCs. The withdrawal has begun. I'll keep you posted.

Consistency Step 1 – 11-16-23

Always starting over, and that's all right.

Things that are working now:
  • Getting kiddo to school early. She likes to eat breakfast and we aren't rushed getting out of the house.
  • Deleting Reddit from my phone. Leaving Reddit in new web design on the website and not logging in (I hate reading the new site)
  • Baby steps
  • Remoting into primary PC and doing most work there
  • Comixology for comics
  • Low carb diet is feeling great. I've reduced overeating and I don't feel hungry all the time.
Things that aren't working:
  • Thinking I'll write at the end of the work day
  • Going to bed too late.
  • Not doing some sort of consistent writing every day.
  • Being sick
  • Taking care of others and not prioritizing myself (VA Claim, new glasses, etc)

Consumption vs Creation

I spend too much time distracted, both by things that deserve my attention, like my child, and things that don't, like Reddit.
Sitting down at the computer or pulling out my phone and navigating to a site like Reddit or YouTube is asking the internet to fill my brain with sludge. The only intention is to be distracted, to not have to think for a while, to get caught up in someone else's drama so I don't have to think about my own problems.
I wish I could stay focused on what I need to write. Someone asked me if I still enjoy writing and I do, a lot. But I take it seriously and it's hard to just sit down and do it. I have to put myself out of the mindset and simply make something, mold some clay, I guess. It's hard. Everywhere I look is an invitation to consume mindlessly, to turn off my brain.
I've managed to control my love of alcohol. I have my calories under control. It's time to get rid of Reddit.