Breaking the Pirate family curse

“One day you wake up behind on your dreams and behind on your bills”

Les Brown

In the past I’ve written about how much I like free stuff. I’ve written about minimizing and eliminating bills and I’ve also written about my letterbox turnaround. My letterbox thing was like a turning point in this life lived on simpler terms. See back in my old slave life every time I opened that portal of darkness my hand would return with a bill and I’d be owing some robber baron more of my hard earned money. Bills on bills on bills. Some junk mail advertisements and then even more bills and I hated it.

Then I started saving and I invested like $1500 in the sharemarket in a really crumby company. A few months later amongst the masses of bills was a cheque for $13.86. It was a 2% return, but I distinctly remember it because I nearly threw it away. An epically pathetic return, but a life changer for sure. Over time many of our bills have disappeared. Other bills are now a small fraction of the original outgoing. More and more my box is stacked with cheques for tens, hundreds and occasionally thousands in dividends and share reinvestment issues. Just the other day my small son and I did a wee dance over a cheque for $6 bucks. To him finding money in the mail is normal. Just part of life.

Yet think about this. My great great Grandfather (the guys whose nose is on my face) never received any money without working until he was in the twilight of his life. The same goes for my Grandfather, my Father and almost every other relative I’ve ever had back to pirate times. Not being sexist here commenting only on patriarchal lines because as you go back women didn’t have to work. One working adult could feed a family. Not the story today. Two working parents committing 60 hours a week each at mcjobs can still be back peddling.

So you see me and my little fella might well dance over a $3.40 dividend. He normally shouts “we’re rich” or “I’m a genius” as I open the envelope. I have no idea why he says the second thing, but it’s pretty funny. And well we should celebrate. For him life as an idle investor is the norm. It’s likely how he’ll live his life and what he’ll teach his children. Hopefully when he’s older I’ll be providing him the gearing for his first rental property.

Overriding faulty software

“There are essentially only two drugs that Western civilization tolerates: Caffeine from Monday to Friday to energize you enough to make you a productive member of society, and alcohol from Friday to Monday to keep you too stupid to figure out the prison that you are living in”

Bill Hicks

We are a very clever species, but we are not very wise. The wisdom we have built up over millennium now resides in pockets of traditional cultures and in the wisdom keepers of the old ways. In evidence of the first sentence you only need to look at how modern thinking derides the traditional cultural narratives.

But, instead of being derisive consider how we would react if we believed the spirits of our ancestors lived in the trees? Would we mass pollute rivers for shitty textiles if we still believed the rivers were the blood of the god Gaia?

Traditional societies are still founded on mutual aid and mutual support.  In these contexts competition isn’t common because it isn’t enhancing harmony and harmony is critical if the group is to survive the whims of each season.

Our lives in the modern world are not about living righteously or living to some spiritual accord or even about fulfilling our  truest desires. From birth we are carefully programmed for work. This monetizes our labour so that our greatest resources, our physical skills, our ideas, and our creativity can be turned into wealth that can then be transferred to an international cabal of Swiss banking families. These families use these international fiat currencies to accumulate real wealth. Property, gold, minerals, diamonds and other commodities that have actual value. Meanwhile we fight and claw at each other to accumulate currency that has continually eroding face value.

In my opinion its relatively easy to make a case that the upper echelon or the cream of society has gone sour. The evidence of antisocial behaviours and endeavors is staggering amongst this group. A cabal of sociopaths and psychopaths if ever there was.

I grew tired of working hard to have no money left once my bills were paid. Knowing that I was supporting this corrupt system for little more than tradition caused me to reconsider my lot in life. Even living simply we still thithe a portion of our wealth, but we are also able to live outside the monetary system and I’m noticing more and more people taking similar measures. Perhaps one day we’ll live together in a self governing system, trading in our own local currencies. One thing I know for certain is that if enough people awake from the trance of the work day trudge “it’s possible”.

Ridiculous ways of living

“Families are struggling against a tide of junk information on junk food”

Diane Abbott

Some of the things that we eat are kind of ridiculous. I guess we don’t really think about it because it is ‘normal’. A strongly reinforced part of our shared cultural narrative aggressively pushed on us by massive agricultural conglomerates. They marketed our parents hard. Right in their blind spot. Healthy kids need calcium, protein and vitamins and boy oh boy can we tell you where to get those

Milk. Full grown cows don’t drink cow’s milk. It is an infant formula for a creature that grows to be 2000 lbs. The thought of sucking on the udder of a cow isn’t appealing. We think we need the calcium (that cow’s got from eating grass) because it’s better than the calcium we get from eating an array of other more nutritious plants.

Take honey. Honey is insect vomit.

Eggs. The period of a chicken. Ewwh!

Meat. The carcass of a dead animal is good for you. Seriously? Give a child a lamb and a banana and you’d be horrified to see that kid tear into the gut of the lamb with her teeth and tear flesh out blood dripping down the front of her pretty white dress. No she’ll play with the lamb and eat the fruit. Why not eat your dog or a cat? What is the difference. But meat tastes good. That’s why most meat is smothered (disguised) by fruit. Tomato sauce, apple puree, orange rind think about it. If you were meant to eat meat your jaw and teeth would look different. You’d have a host of different enzymes in your gut. Why do we call it veal, bacon, steak or pork instead of deer, pig and cow.

When you were 5 years old you most likely loved animals. They fascinated you and they were your friends. What changed?

Chemicals. What is food additive 144 or flavor enhance 621 or thickener 1422? If it isn’t in your pantry or you’d need a triple PhD in food science to pronounce it, then you can probably give it a miss from adding it to your shopping basket.

How to unblock a toilet with your bare hands and other bare knuckle sports

Don’t wait. The time will never be just right”

Napoleon Hill

Sometimes things go wrong and the fact that things go wrong seems to be the reason why we cling to things we can generally do without. We cling to money in case of emergency. We fill our shed with tools we don’t know how to use just in case we might find time to remodel our kitchen. We cling to acquaintances that drain us of time, money and the will to live.

Things will go wrong. Period.

Simple living requires a subtle shift to view problems as an opportunity to build intellectual muscles in the same way that lifting weights would strengthen your thighs. As you push against and overcome each problem you become a fitter, smarter and a more skilled Bricoleur.

You don’t need stuff to fix problems.

This morning our toilet was blocked and I’m here to tell you that you can unblock a choked toilet with your bare hands although I wouldn’t recommend eating a sandwich immediately afterwards. Of course you could always wear gloves.

You can unblock a toilet with a coat hanger.

You can unblock a toilet with the toilet brush (but my experience tells me it’s better to wrap the brush head in a plastic bag first).

You can unblock a toilet with a tree branch.

You can unblock a toilet with a garden hose.

And, you can unblock a toilet in any number of ways without the proper tools.

Obviously you can unblock that shitter with a store bought plunger, but for less cost you can easily make your own state of the art toilet plunger.

The rub is that many of us unblock our toilet with an iPhone. It’s a bit icky so we call a plumber who does a wee pantomime and then charges us a bomb and the kitchen sink!

My point here is that everything is on a continuum starting from ignore it or pitch in with bare hands.

How low on that continuum you choose to reside is up to you, but how low you are living will have a very direct relationship to how much money you have available to invest each month.

Sometimes living simply means having your arm up to the elbow in crap, but in my opinion having to do this once in a while  beats having to go to work everyday.

Dirty hands down.

Reflections on the simple living journey

“Maybe a person’s time would be as well spent raising food as raising money to buy food”
Frank A. Clark

When we started our simple living journey it was because we both hated work. I mean, come on, don’t you?

It wasn’t really about simple living. It was about finding an alternative to the daily grind of survival.

Reflecting few years down the track with considerably more savings, but it isn’t just about hating work now:

We have a take it or leave it attitude to almost everything. Like if someone is offering me cake, maybe I’ll eat it, but I am certainly not going to go to the hassle of baking and there is no way I’m buying an edible food like substance in a shop that they have labelled ‘cake’.

You develop other interests because you become bored with the standard conversations. We don’t care about the new iDevice, because we didn’t watch TV or buy the magazine that reported how sensational it is. It gets to the point where you just can’t make yourself care while your friend describes the cool stuff they can do with their new toy.

You’ll become more earthy. In many ways you haven’t taken any steps on your simple living journey until this happens.

Life will be about people. Putting material concerns to one side makes personal relationships all the more obvious and important.

Your life will be richer. This is a obvious by-product of having more time to do what you like and spending more time with your kids.

There is no doubt you will be cleverer and more skilled. I think its also fair to say you will routinely do things that will make you proud of yourself or proud of your family.

There might be less money, the same money or more money, but there will certainly be enough money. That is the big difference for us.

At some point you stop feeling like you are missing out. My advice is the sooner you change your mindset the better!

Life will be more real. Your experience will be more direct.

If I was asked to guess if your life would be better I’d say ‘yes!’. All things being equal I think many people would experience a better quality of life taking measures to simplify. Life is becoming ever more complicated, but we aren’t becoming happier because of our technology, social networks or complicated economic arrangements.

The education of an idler

“How is it that little children are so intelligent and men so stupid? It must be education that does it”

Alexandre Dumas



I’m always relearning life through the lens of the small child.

In the presence of an imp I am the student not the teacher.

Small children can’t distinguish right from wrong. What is this distinction other than accepted conventions?

They don’t care if your jeans are Levi or Calvin Klein. Only that they need less clothing to be cool or mittens to make their fingers warm.

Children don’t draw a line between work and play.

There are no seasons. No days of the week. No minutes. No hours. No mealtimes.

Children are completely captured by the moment. They play with what is presented and long for nothing that is gone.

A child can sleep anywhere on anything.

Small ones are untroubled by history, culture, economics and politics unless extremism intrudes in their moment to moment experience.

They will run instead of walking. Climb when adults sit.

The most important lesson.

Children are captured by their dreams, and not what they fear.

To hell with rules

“Most rules are just bad habits that people are afraid to change”

Therese Anne Fowler

Logical people follow the rules.

Creative people play with the rules.

That is a the key difference.

Great art, poetry, music and even great lives didn’t happen because people followed the rules.

Like in the movie the Matrix life has some rules that can be bent, some that can be broken and some rules only exist in the minds of the players.

I’m not suggesting flat out anarchy (although if we finally reject the Swiss Bank cabal and their disingenuous puppet politicians then I am in the front row). I’m simply pointing out that your life is a result of your thoughts and if you are not happy with the results you are getting its time to re-examine the playing field and change a few fundamentals.

You can only remain a rat in a trap while you believe your environment to be a giant trap and yourself to be rat-like. This is your life and only common law principles apply – do onto others as you’d have done to you (or something like that). Everything else is a choice. Play with the rules, but choose wisely.

Being right too soon is socially unacceptable.