Posts tagged “Life at Home

The Lightning Field, Part 2

Posted on May 28, 2017

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Click here for Part 1. “Every man, every woman, carries in heart and mind the image of the ideal place, the right place, the one true home, known or unknown, actual or visionary.” -Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire We make the cabin our true home for the night, supplementing dinner with what we’ve brought to share – salad, sauce, drinks, conversation, perspectives, music, connections, and paths. In darkness we find ourselves lying in the field watching the light parade of stars, jetliners, and cigarettes before we scatter for bed. Sunrise brings another golden hour, a quick breakfast, and multiple last looks at the field before our ride arrives on schedule but all-too-early at 11am. Returning to our cars in Quemado, we exchange contact information and best wishes for…

The Financial Swim

Posted on September 4, 2015

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As summer comes to an end, I was asked to provide advice to departing interns. Alongside the professional development discussions, I always recommend mastering personal finances. While it may take time to gain experiences and chart an individual financial path, here are my basic ‘SWIM’ recommendations to get started. Save Aggressively Save at least half of your income. You probably can’t do this with a high debt load, so get out of debt. Why save fifty percent plus? Traditional lower savings guidelines assume you’ll have consistent salaried income over your career, and you may not. You’ll also want to avoid dependence on individual work income or social support in the long run. If financial independence is a priority, push your savings rate to 80-90%.…

A View of Consumer Living

Posted on January 19, 2014

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  While few people live in constant show home environments, Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century reveals middle-class households closer to chaos. The thirty-two featured southern California households reinforce contemporary consumer trends in the United States that continue to shape living around the world: mountains of possessions, poor eating habits, vanishing leisure time, underutilized space, more screen time and a propensity to personalize. However much we read into consumer trends, we can read just as much into the way we analyze trends. Using systematic observations and other corporate anthropology techniques can often produce a more nuanced and interesting view of reality. Archaeologists usually don’t send out surveys. * Update: More evidence of spreading consumerism, this time in China.

Irreconcilable Differences

Posted on January 3, 2014

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Of the nearly 2.5 billion aspirational consumers around the world, over 90% believe we need to consume less to preserve the environment for future generations while over 70% are excited shopping for new things. These desires may be irreconcilable. Consumption is not investing, nor is it preserving for future generations. We may advocate guilt-free consumption to allow continued indulgence free from worry, but if the inflow of objects is relentless and the shopping continues unabated, we’re simply treating the symptom. “Each possession has a complex life story, a tale that includes when and where it was made; its acquisition; its placement in the home; its use, including re-purposing or movements around the house; and eventually its removal, which might mean a shift to the garage, a…