6 August 2009 — Foldedspace Now at JDRoth.com (0)

Just a reminder that all of my non-financial blogs have been folded into one. Foldedspace is back! But you won’t find it here. Instead, head on over to the new Foldedspace at jdroth.com.

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24 July 2009 — Foldedspace 6.0 (4)

Hey, loyal and patient Foldedspace readers.

As many of you know, I’ve been doing some soul-searching over the last few months. The end result is that I want to become more focused in my writing, and to pursue my passions with, well, passion. That means there’ll be lots of little changes in my life, most of which are visible only to me.

One external change is that I’ll be focusing my writing in three places:

  • Get Rich Slowly, my personal finance blog. All of my money-related writing will appear there, as has been the case for the past few years. However, I’ll be reducing how much I post there, and I’m actively working to bring on board some Staff Writers. That means I’ll have more time to write…
  • A personal finance book. I have a verbal agreement with a major publisher to produce a money book! My literary agent received the offer yesterday, and we’re hoping to receive a contract soon. Very cool. More info when I’m allowed to share it. Meanwhile, everything else will appear on…
  • My new personal blog. After nearly a decade at foldedspace.org, I’m moving my personal site to jdroth.com. The stuff here won’t be going away, but there won’t be anything new published. Instead, the new stuff is over yonder. I’ll gradually move the “best of” the old stuff over there, too.

As I work to mold my life into what I want it to be, my aim is to write much more often for Foldedspace (which is still the name of my blog at jdroth.com). I miss writing about non-money topics. I miss interacting with my friends and family. I miss the glory days of Foldedspace.

I know I’ve made noises like this before, but mostly failed to follow through. Fingers crossed that this time I make it happen. Come on over to Foldedspace 6.0 to join the conversation. I promise to post lots about cats and comic books and movies and our garden. And I won’t talk at all about money!

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19 March 2009 — Apology (2)

Hello, my friends. How are you? I know that it’s been a while since I’ve been here for you. I know that you’ve probably given up on me, and I don’t blame you. Deep in my heart, I have not abandoned foldedspace; I’m only on hiatus. Again.

Still, I can foresee a time when I return. A time Real Soon.

If it’s any consolation, my entire life has been on hold for six weeks. I’m not joking, either. My entire life has been Get Rich Slowly. This may seem absurd, but I do think that ultimately the sacrifice will have been worth it.

In any event, I’ve been thinking a lot about you lately.

Just today, for example, I was reading the Countryside magazine. My first issue arrived in the mailbox today, and I spent two hours soaking in the tub, devouring the reader-submitted stories of modern homesteading. I read about people raising rabbits and chickens and goats. I read about people growing carrots and pears and zucchini. I read about people with no electricity, no plumbing, no cars. I read stories from radical Republicans and from die-hard Democrats. I loved every minute of it. And every minute of it reminded me of you.

You amy not know it, but I talk about you all of the time. I realize that only a few of you read Get Rich Slowly, but rest assured that your stories color the site and inform every article. More than that, when I speak with reporters, I often cite your actions as examples:

  • “Well, my friends Craig and Lisa have an enormous food-producing garden on a standard city lot. They even grow hops!”
  • “My friends Ron and Steve have goats. They love their goats.”
  • “Believe it or not, many of my friends have chickens. Mary and Steve, Mac and Pam, Jeremy and Jennifer.” [Note: I know the latter have "volunteer" chickens, but whatever.]
  • “My friends Rhonda and Mike tore out their front lawn and put in a vegetable garden.”
  • “Kristin and Roger have tons of grapes! Paul and Amy Jo just planted eight apple trees.” [Or was it six?]
  • “My sister-in-law prides herself in frugal fashion. She dresses well, but buys her clothes at thrift stores.”

Countryside magazine makes me long to live, well, in the country. The first page contains real estate ads. “20+ acres in West Virginia, 3BR 2BA. $50,000.” $50,000? Sign me up! (”But then you’d have to live in West Virginia,” says Kris.)

Anyhow — my life for the past three years has been like a runaway train. It picked up speed gradually at first, but before I realized it, it was careening out of control. Now, however, I’ve put the brakes on, and things seem to be slowing. Hell, I even got to go see a movie with Andrew and Dave recently. Can you believe it? Neither can I.

So, I’ve missed you, dear friends. But I look forward to making your acquaintance once again…

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31 January 2009 — Error Resolved? (5)

Rumor has it that several of you (Lisa and Will, for example) have been encountering an error when attempting to access foldedspace recently. I just upgraded to the latest version of WordPress, which may have resolved the issue (or it may not have). If you were getting an error, but now are not, could you please let me know?

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22 January 2009 — Picking Up the Pieces (5)

We held a memorial service for Paul in Eugene yesterday. It was awesome. It was awesome to see so many people gather to celebrate his life. It was awesome to hear their memories of Paul. It was awesome to spend time with other people he had touched.

I know that it’s trite to say, but Paul had an impact on so many people. We all know that he could be a pain in the ass, but this pain-in-the-assness was completely outweighed by the degree to which he improved our lives.

I’m having a hard time writing this morning. I’m a wreck. I’m bawling. Mostly I don’t do that. I handle death as a stoic. Monday was bad, though, and today is off to a rocky start. It’s as if I’ve walled off the grief for a week, put it behind a dam, and now it wants to break out.

Anyhow, I was awed by the gathering last night, and grateful to see so many people. When we sat down, I focused on talking with the people near me, so I didn’t realize how many people were in the room until I walked up front to make my remarks. When I turned around, I was stunned. “Wow,” I said, and I meant it. (I wish I had the presence of mind to pause, to pull out my cell phone, and to take a photo. I want to remember that moment forever.)

There will be another memorial service in Portland next Thursday the 29th at 6:30 pm at Ascension Catholic Church, a fact that would make Paul groan, I’m sure. But this isn’t for Paul — it’s for his family. And it’s for you. If you knew Paul and would like to make your remembrances, you are invited to attend. (If you have questions, contact me or Tom Stewart.)

Oddly, last night was also a fantastic time to meet and become re-acquainted with some of Paul’s other friends. I met Rob for the first time. I got to know Tia and Mariah a little (I went to school with them, but never really knew them). Tom and I had a chance to talk more about our long friendship with Paul. I saw Holly M. for the first time since college, and saw Melissa, too. I didn’t get to bed until after one, but I barely noticed the passing of the previous twelve hours.

I can hardly believe how modest my goals are for today, my first day back working since last Thursday. I have a 10:30 interview with Grist. I need to write a short bio of myself for a book I’m contributing to. And I want to make a mix CD that reminds me of Paul. Three little things. That’s it. Yet I still don’t know if I’ll get them all done.

One thing’s for damn sure: once I’m finished with my upcoming presentations (in mid-February), I’m going to focus on the essentials: writing and friendships. All of this other stuff is just a distraction.

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As those of you who read Get Rich Slowly already know, Kris and I recently returned from a long weekend in San Francisco. It surprises me a little that my first-ever business trip was made for blogging, but it’s true. A startup company flew me and several other personal finance bloggers to the city to participate in a workshop about financial software. They hope to develop the next big web-based personal finance tool.

But that’s boring. That’s not why you all come to foldedspace. You all come here to read about our adventures. And we had adventures!

We flew down to San Francisco on Thursday, leaving the Portland airport around lunchtime. While we waited to board the plane, I was annoyed by a family with two young girls. The oldest girl — about five — was a chatterbox. The youngest — about two — kept running down the boarding ramp. Her father would let her stray away, and then only run after her when she started down the ramp. (Or, alternately, begin pressing buttons on a control panel.) Why wasn’t he minding her more closely? It was obvious to everyone that she was just going to go down the ramp again every time she strayed away. But the father watched her go, and every time had to run after her when she started down the ramp. Then, on the plane, the family was seated a few rows in front of us. They were noisy, but fortunately I’d brought my noise-canceling headphones. (Yes, I know this rant is going to get me into trouble.)

When we arrived in San Francisco, we spent the afternoon wandering around Union Square. The weather was lovely, so we sat in the sun for a while. In the evening, we met up with Cap and Jim, two other personal finance bloggers, for dinner at Café Claude. Though Kris was seated uncomfortably close to the table next to us, I had a good time meeting my colleagues. Plus, I was amazed at the tasty ahi tuna in green peppercorn sauce. Very tasty.

On Friday, I spend eight hours meeting and talking with my “imaginary friends”. You can read more about that experience here. In the evening, our hosts took us to a fabulous dinner at Kokkari, a Greek restaurant in the financial district. Wow! The menu was fixed, but that was okay, because we were provided with serving after serving of delicious food: olives, bread, lamb, beef, potatoes and more. The “charcoal-grilled, dry-aged rib-eye with braised greens and potatoes” was out-of-this-world.

On Saturday, we drove to Berkeley for my birthday lunch. Kris took me to the world-famous Chez Panisse, where we were seated by Alice Waters herself. This meal, too, was amazing, if somewhat understated. The restaurant was crowded (to be expected), but the service was top-notch. My pork leg and pork belly with asparagus were very tasty.

On our drive home from Berkeley, we were rear-ended by an unlicensed and uninsured driver. Since I hadn’t taken out the rental company’s insurance policy, this has turned into a big hassle. I’ve spent about three hours processing the claim so far, and there’s a lot more work to do. (You can read more about the accident here.)

On Saturday evening, we met Andrew and Joann for dinner at a restaurant just behind our hotel. Le Colonial is a posh French Vietnamese place with prices to match. Though the food couldn’t compare with Kokkari or Chez Panisse, it was still excellent. I had a delicious curried salmon. After dinner, we walked u-p to Top of the Mark for dessert. Somehow we managed to muscle our way to the front of the line and get immediate seating. We enjoyed a panoramic view of San Francisco while enjoying our sweets.

On Sunday, Kris and I walked down to the Asian Art Museum and spent several hours browsing the exhibits. In the evening, we joined Ramit at A Taste of the Himalayas for good food and good conversation. Ramit is one of the most inspirational fellows I’ve ever met. I’m pleased to call him a friend.

Because of our wrecked rental car, we felt like we needed to allow ourselves extra time at the airport, so we got up at 4am. Turns out the return process was totally blasé. It makes me worry.

As we were sitting at the gate waiting for our plane to arrive, I was startled by a two-year old girl who was attempting to run down the boarding ramp. “No way,” I thought. Yes way. The same family that had bugged me on our flight down to San Francisco was there for the return, too!

“Did you enjoy the trip?” Kris asked when we got home. “Was it worthwhile?”

Yes. Absolutely, yes. I met some of my colleagues, spent time with friends, and ate my way across San Francisco. All with Kris at my side. What could be better?

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9 March 2008 — Giving It Another Try (7)

So, I went out to lunch with Andy last week. Andy is one of my “imaginary friends”, somebody I know only over the internet. More and more, these imaginary friends are becoming actual friends. Crazy, but true.

As many wise people before him have tried to do, Andy suggested that instead of having a zillion blogs — one for each of my interests — that I might just post everything non-money related here. I know…it’s not rocket science (and I’ve even brought up this idea myself), but for some reason I find it necessary to persist in the belief that I can run five or six blogs and make them all profitable.

Well, no more.

Get Rich Slowly is providing enough income to support me, and it appears it will continue to do so for some time. My attention is best devoted to that, I think. Get Fit Slowly will continue because both Mac and I are using it as a platform to leverage our selves to healthier lives.

But Four Color Comics is dead. Dead dead dead. Animal Intelligence? I don’t know. It’s certainly in stasis. Vintage Pop? Stillborn. Spiral Bound? Bibliophilic? Too Much Cat? Etc. Etc. These sites will never see the light of day.

Instead, I’m going to funnel all of that stuff into foldedspace. I can’t promise daily updates like I used to provide — and there will be long spells during which you’ll just get funny videos — but I’m going to do my damnedest to revitalize things around here. Again.

I know, I know. You don’t believe me. But if you’re willing to put up with musings on comic books and intelligent pigs and my notebook collection, I promise that I’ll do my best to share stories about my life again.

And videos of singing cats.

p.s. That means I’m pulling the ads from this site. The $3/day isn’t worth the annoyance, wouldn’t you agree? We’ll let GRS be the profitable one…

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23 November 2007 — Tinkering (4)

I’ve got an itch that needs scratching, and a little time to scratch it.

I’m going to make an attempt to move the traditional foldedspace theme for Movable Type over to WordPress. This could be a pain-filled process. And things around here may look broken for a while.

Update: Not bad! Not bad! Yes, I know that many things are broken. But that’s okay. This is a tremendous first attempt, don’t you think? And it only took an hour. Now let’s see if I can perform the necessary repairs in less than three hours…

Update #2: Okay, folks. Everything seems to be working, and in only three hours total! If you notice anything that doesn’t work, please let me know. I know that the flotch is gone, as is the calendar. I’ll try to bring those back. I also know that there’s no good way to access the archives. John Bodoni has graciously offered to help me recover the old foldedspace archives, all the way back to 2001. When we’ve accomplished that, I’ll bring the entire archive system back online. But for now, you may rejoice:

The old foldedspace Movable Type template has made a smooth transition to WordPress!

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5 November 2007 — New Themes (1)

Here’s the thing — as much as I love the theme I’ve been using at foldedspace, it gets in the way of things. It’s not appropriate for this site. I did pay $59 for it, so it’s going to get used somewhere. Just not here. Instead, I’m going to spend the next couple weeks playing with other WordPress themes until I find one I like.

Sure, it’d be nice to do something custom, but I don’t have the time or the inclination. Instead, I’ll just find an out-of-the box template I like.

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3 September 2007 — Foldedspace 3.0 (19)

Go here. It doesn’t work completely yet, but you can get a feel of what I’m after…

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