Life Journal Q2-2021

Lead Engineer, Michael Kirk-

A user recommended writing about my life, I typically want to stick to engineering studies, but this doesnt take much time.

4-18-21 Sunday Productivity

Read a bunch today, the book ‘How To Read A Book’ by Mortimer Adler. Enjoying this book, its extremely condescending but I feel like I have now joined a club of elite readers who can get the most out of a book.

Taught the kid to pick Yellow flowers in the grass. If your grass already has weeds, I would embrace it. Its good for the environment and low cost. Our grass is relatively new and I’m looking to make it comfortable for my kids to play in.

Weeded the garden area. I’m most looking forward to planting tomatoes and basil for pasta and pizza dishes. These will make otherwise 2$/day eating down to $1.50/day. Despite lettuce and spinach being low cost, growing it means it will always be fresh and none goes to waste. I suppose this is also exercise.

Urine in the compost.

I let my kid watch youtube, specifically number and alphabet/phonetic songs. Gave me a chance to read and clean.

Going to crochet tonight and watch documentaries. Pretty usual.


Last week we put an LED light strip around our bed room. This allows me to choose if my wife is tan(Red light, sometimes a small amount of Green or Blue to be less than), or pale (Red and Blue). No cancer, no time tanning.

Ran a 5k today. Always listening to an interesting nonfiction book for Double Productivity. If you hate running, I suggest getting up to a 9 mile run, it makes 5ks easy.

I wear old shirts that I don’t like during these coronavirus lockdowns. No wear on my nice shirts but I stay warm.

Currently trying to figure out how long to burp a baby to get ~95% of burps out. I’m seeing two peaks in my data, suggesting I use multimodal distribution with 2 normal curves. If the left side curve has a mean of 10s, and the right side curve has a mean of 130 seconds, I believe you can simplify the problem to only take the 95%(second standard deviation) of the right side normal curve.

I got an email from a user and he suggested a shoe that allows the heel to be bent. I considered if this is worth buying the shoe to test, but upon consideration the best possible situation is that it takes as long as slip-ons. I asked if you need your hands to fix the heel to get upright and the user confirmed you do. Worthy of a note in the article, but with no money spent we were able to logically put this shoe ‘on the chart’.

Did some double Productivity with our fussy and cuddly 3 week old. Held her in one hand, did dishes, put away leftovers, and generally cleaned the house with my other hand. By the time I was finished the house was clean and she was asleep.


There are 4 cool sides of the pillow. Front and back corners maximize cool


Last weekend we threw a party (don’t worry we were outdoor COVID cool) and instead of catering food and buying a dessert, we did homemade. It took about 4 hours to make both a tex-mex fiesta and gourmet cupcakes, with a total cost of $215(including alcohol and sodapop).

We also bought chairs, tables, and a tent for a previous party, these have paid for itself after 1 event.

We had massive amounts of leftovers as well. 11 people canceled at the last moment due to feeling ill or rough post-vaccine tiredness. This allowed us to re-coup some money and time, as a variety of fajitas, tacos, and nachos were eaten for meals all week.

I’d put our cost savings around $400 dollars if we catered and rented everything.


My grandma in-law recommended a pizza dough recipe that turned out to be fantastic, other than the large upfront time cost. We had this pizza for dinner and I thought that while the dough was great textured, what really impressed me(and my ~2 year old) was the salty garlic crust that was not part of the recipe.

I suppose my lesson here, salt is a cheap and fast way to make food taste fantastic.


Mother’s day presents to my mom and my mother in law- homemade Cookies and a homemade Veggie Pot Pie that only needs to be defrosted and baked. (And my wife bought grandchild themed accessories)

We had a bunch of leftover dough due to the pie pans being smaller than we usually use and us making a double batch. Using this dough, I saved it thinking I’d figure out a use.

In the morning after making breakfast in bed for my Wife, mother of 2, I made kneeded the refrigerated dough, then let it warm up to room temperature. After it reached room temperature, I used a knife to slice it into inch long slices and rolled them into what looked like breadsticks. I fried the breadsticks in oil for 2 minutes on each side, then rolled it in cinnamon, sugar, and salt. It was a huge hit.

(And my wife bought herself a 35$ gemstone, gift giving isn’t my love language. Spending less than 0.1% of our yearly Profit on a trinket for a rare holiday doesn’t seem expensive when it makes for a happy wife)

5/9 rant

I often see people prioritizing employment over income, or irrationally valuing benefits. Some examples in my life-

Friend has gotten his $20,000 dollar masters degree and owes his company 3 years of employment or has to pay it back. However, this friend is $20,000-$40,000/yr underpaid.

Friends work as a Doctor of Physical Therapy in a clinic making $60,000-90,000/yr, when running your own clinic can profit between $150k/yr and $500k/yr working the same number of hours.

Friend believing that an employee is going to inherit a company with clientele upon retirement of the owner.

Friend who “likes their job” but is paid less than the cost of living and lives with their parents until the end of time. This person also buys Fast Coffee and Fast food.

People who work 60 hours per week without paid overtime, and don’t want to become a Manager in the future. Bonus points if they are underpaid and could make 30% more changing jobs(or more if the new job pays overtime)

People who think fantastic health insurance is worth more than $6,000/yr-$18,000/yr. That 18,000 number only counts if your family hits the max out of pocket, a rare event.

All of this can be avoided with rational decision making.


After finishing homo dues, I think I should get a heart monitor so I can use data to understand what gets me going.

It also makes me think the recent privacy craze is overblown. But then again, I am one of those boring people without anything to hide. And for those with something to hide, maybe humanity needs some sympathy. If you are chemical reactions going forward in time, you didn’t have the choice to make a decision.

It also makes me want to share my linear algebra food calculator. My only 2 reasons for keeping it on my computer, it’s hard to use, and it’s Efficiency Is Everything only competitive advantage. Capitalism and the future of data hasn’t mixed yet.

Also, I’ve heard “you can’t out run a bad diet”, those people haven’t ran 50 miles a week.


Given last entries, last sentence, this next paragraph looks extra silly.

Havent ran much in the last few weeks, my knees were hurting and I took time off. Not sure if it was a good decision, knees are just okay still. I think some light activity would have been good for them. Too bad US medical is authority based rather than science/evidence based, instead of these questions answered we are told to trust the wisdom of an individual human who can be fallible.

My SSD might be dying, having issues with a 3 year old OS. It ruined an Efficiency Youtube Video. Need to clear harddrive. Not sure what these kind of things are in the engineering world, ‘(un)expected disaster’? I should expect my SSD to die at some point between 2+ years. I should expect to get hacked at some point. How much time does this cost? And how much does it cost to have a process to mitigate the disaster?

On a similar note, any time I burn food, the food costs many dimensions- Time, Money, Calories available, happiness. I look at those 4 units and think, they all can be converted back to time. Wage ($/hr), Time it takes to make more calories (calories/second), and spending money on fun activities(fun/$ * wage $/hr). Time also has another interesting problem, since its finite in human lives there is a potential use of a dimensionless number, time of activity / time of life remaining(estimated). Dimensionless numbers can be useful for comparisons. Renyolds number is the most famous example I’m aware of. Consider 48 minutes to recook food/100 years vs 2 years lost wages due to unexpected investment fees/100 years, the renyolds number for how you spend your time alive.


I was going to release the Kitchen Inventory this quarter, but I’m not sure its perfect. We still had a failure in the last 3 months. Even my ‘backup’ option failed. We forgot to buy cheese due to it not being empty at the start of the week, but by the end of the week, we ran out. Originally I thought, no big deal we have freezer meals, but the veggie pot pie needed to defrost before putting into the oven. Double fail. I really need a better backup food. We can’t simply rely on humans being flawless and knowing exactly how much food we need.

On a personal note, my wife Dr. Mandy Kirk did one of those crafts where we now have a calendar with magnets covering various $1.50/day and $3 /day meals. This gives me a chance to try user suggested recipes and experiment. Email me any recipes you think are low cost or fast to make, I appreciate it.


My friend suggested a show on Netflix that he said was ‘crazy’ but he also thought was ‘not great’. I’m not interested in Fiction, especially bad fiction. I told him I’m currently interested in Science, Philosophy, and History. If you havent read books (or watched videos) on these topics since school, I find them quite interesting and useful.

Back when I read/listened to 1-5 of these Science/Philosophy/History books per year, I’d get something profound out of them, change my life in some way, and be pretty content. Today I’m finishing 40+ per year and similarly I’m getting interesting, profound, and life changing ideas, but at a much greater rate. By the time these ideas reach social media, these topics are discussed like middle schoolers repeating what their TV watching parents told them. And worse, you are encouraged to participate despite learning about these topics from these same poor sources.

Science, Philosophy, and History books seem to present both sides of topics at a much more detailed and sophisticated level. Your criticisms have already been discussed by great minds, why let angsty facebookers give you a lackluster response?

Wish you the best, don’t be weak. Use Reason and Logic, not emotion.