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4 PM Journal

Market hours of 9:30 AM to 4 PM can be a bit heavy on the digital world of Bloomberg, Excel, and telephone. But after 4 PM, you can reconnect with the actual reality of the physical world. This is a journal for ideas for investors to reconnect with the natural/unprocessed/raw/tactile/analog world outside of the virtual world of capital and trading desks. It is my journal for such ideas, but I also encourage others to add theirs in the comment section below. In my experience, some of the more old fashioned ways are highly functional when you take into account exercise and value the experience. Each of these have been replaced with modern equivalents that are more popular, faster… and worse.

Felling

Winters in Rangeley Maine require a deep woodpile, but I don't like either buying wood or the constant sound of chainsaws. So, I fell, cut, and split as much of my own wood by hand as possible. It is as good an excuse as any for getting out into the woods. My favorite felling axe is the Double Bit Long Handle Axe by Gransfors Bruks, a small forge in Halsingland, Sweden. I tend to collect hand tools and this is one of my favorites.

Paddling

There are worse things than Rangeley Lake to see out of your office window. But by the end of the day, it is nice to get out of the office and onto the water. Although I come from a family of sailors and kayakers, I prefer paddling, especially on this classic wooden paddleboard.

Listening

I love everything about vacuum tubes including the sound and light that they produce. While reliable supply can be an issue, you will meet some enjoyable crazy old coots in the process. Here is a Seam amp with speakers. Such an amp is not a iPod, but has a richer fuller sound.

Cycling

The was originally a Focale 44 with this and that changed and the addition of a Brooks saddle and tool bag. Focales are well made and have less branding than about any factory bike I could find. I have never driven to work; typically I walk, but can cover the distance much faster on this (especially without brakes). If I must drive, I like clunky old G Wagons or Land Rovers, especially with stick shift. But that is only as a last resort.

Drinking

At least while the sun is up, drinking means coffee. The individual cups are fast and convenient… and ugly and soulless. Coffee drinks should be a bit of a ritual. I like the feel, sound, and smell of a strong espresso in the morning. You can make it by hand with this brass boiler.

Eating

This year we are trying to grow as much of our own food as possible. We are going to be busy with various planting projects in the spring, including apples, plums, as well as more strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. While our hope is that the children will be able to do a significant amount of the picking, we have suffered from a troublesome amount of leakage with our in house berry pickers. Since grains last much longer than flours, it is nice to have a grain mill. My favorite is the Diamant Grain Mill (above) from Lehman's, but the New Country Living Grain Mill & Large Corn & Bean Auger is almost as good for less than half of the price. If one needed to live off of one's own provisions for an extended period of time, having the skill and supplies for grain milling would be a key factor for extending the period of successful self-reliance.

Shooting

I can get as carried away as any red blooded and red stated American in regards to the capacity, complexity, and speed of modern firearms. I am not immune to the appeal of the latest tactical gadgetry. However, something has also been lost. Go back before semi-automatic shotguns and there was the humble 870 that would shoot practically every time. Since March 29, 1911, countless people have tinkered with handguns, but no one has surpassed the work of American genius John Browning in his design of the M1911. Unless complexity is required, the simpler the better. Fewer moving parts means fewer things can go wrong. My favorite firearms are the side by sides - the Holland & Holland Royal Shotgun and the Anderson Wheeler Nitro express. Low capacity? Yes, but take the time to hit what you are aiming at, if necessary grab a cartridge bag and you'll be fine.

Capturing

While I will hold out as a paper book reader until the day I die, I have surrendered ignominiously on the losing battle of film cameras. One can at least surrender with a modicum of dignity with the Leica M9 along with the world's sharpest lenses. You can somewhat obscure the digital shame with a natural case. It is a changing world and this is holding out as hard as it can.

Shaving

Every generation for the past two or three has taken a major step towards worse and worse shaving kits. Five bladed razors are quick and safe but also ugly and bad for your face. Far better are the traditional safety razors - they take a bit of practice but are not tricky. Also, the blades are cheaper. Best of all? Go back one era further and try the straight razor. But whether you try the safety razor or the straight razor, you should definitely try a traditional badger brush for applying shaving soap.

Rowing

It should go without saying that exercising off of the water and indoors is an inherent compromise, but when the lake is frozen, you can still hear, see, and feel the water on this rowing machine. In a half an hour per day, you can be ready to hit the water in the spring.

You?

How do you like to reconnect?