Cuckoo Sandbox Software

One area of cyber intel analysis that I’m working on is malware analysis. I help collect the artifacts (like memory dumps, system files, etc.) to pass off to a specialized team for analysis and I’ve probably read hundreds of detailed malware analysis reports through the years. I also know what those reports are supposed to look like so that users of the report gain maximum benefit from it. But outside of a classroom environment, I simply don’t get the opportunity to analyze actual malware all that much.

In a way, that’s understandable. You don’t want to do it on just any computer, especially when connected to a network, because any of a number of things could (and will) go wrong. It has to be carefully done in a controlled environment. And since almost all of my work is done at a customer site, using their computers and their networks, it would not be cool if I were to accidentally unleash a malware epidemic on their network. I’m supposed to be defending against stuff like this, not adding to the problem.

Yes, this is one of those “don’t try this at home” moments! Or at work, for that matter…

But I’m one of those “trained professionals on a closed course” people so I’m going to dust off an old laptop I have at home that’s still in good working condition and load up some software called Cuckoo Sandbox (http://www.cuckoosandbox.org/about.html). It will allow me to drop in some malware (which is, surprisingly enough, relatively easy to get if you know where to look; I do know where to look but I’m not going to tell you), let it do its thing, analyze the results, and draft up a report on what happens.

It’s one thing to supervise a task like this and read the reports that others publish; it’s something quite different to do it yourself. I’m not going to go out and look for trouble (i.e. new, unanalyzed malware), but it’s a critical skill for cyber intel analysts to possess and I think it’ll be a good one that will help round out my skill set.

If you have an hour or so to kill and want to know more about the software, there’s a YouTube video from the [SIGINT13] conference that gives an overview of the software at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=720Vh3FaGN8 (I’ll also embed it below).

I’ll do my best to remember to post a link to the analytical results of my experiments.

Written and published 20150608.

How I Write My Blog Posts

I’m in a writing mood today. Saturday is our family “Sabbath”, and to put it mildly, I don’t rest very well. I do try to get rested and let my mind “renew and refresh”, but I’m one of those people that gets all kinds of ideas whenever I start reading. And since I have to write the ideas down, that leads to writing.

I guess I could make the argument that it’s not “ordinary work” since I seldom have time to write like this during the other six days of the week, but I’ll leave that to the religious legalists to decide. In the interim, I’m going for it (and probably will continue to do so, even if the legalists tell me that I’m going to burn in hell or something worse).

Anyway, today I’m going to talk about how I create my blog posts.

I Write On A MacBook Air

I like my MacBook Air a lot. I have an 11” model with a 256GB solid state drive. I’ve decided that I never want to own another computer with a spinning hard drive if I can avoid it because the solid state ones start up so fast. Even my Windows based laptop has a solid state drive.

But that’s not why I write on a MacBook. Or at least it’s not the whole story:

  • Size. My MacBook Air (I’ll call it my “MBA”) is small enough to pick up and carry around with me yet big enough to sport a full-size keyboard. Both are important to me because I like to write when the urge strikes. I’m also a touch typist and a smaller than normal keyboard drives me nuts. I think that small keyboard is one reason why Netbooks never really caught on.
  • Battery life is great. I’ve been pounding away on this thing all day, doing all kinds of web surfing and other stuff, and the battery still has about 20% left at 6:30 PM. And the magnetic power cable makes it easy to hook up to the charger; no fumbling to fit the power cord in the hole.
  • Notes. Notes is a little writing app that comes with OS X. I like it because each blog post I’m working on shows up in a separate tab on the left side of the Notes window. I can easily switch between posts as ideas come. I’m pretty sure there are Windows apps / programs that do this but Microsoft would be smart if they created a similar app that shipped with Windows. Heck, for all I know, maybe they have, but it’s not apparent to me. I also don’t have to hit a “Save” button when using Notes. Apple has figured out that if I write something, I want to keep it unless I specifically delete it, so they save stuff automatically. What a concept…
  • Disconnect. I don’t have to log in to my web server to write a blog post. That’s important if i’m in a place that doesn’t have WiFi access (and even if they do, I don’t like connecting my computer to a WiFi network under most circumstances). I can stay disconnected from the Internet and still write.
  • I Just Write. This one is both easy and hard to explain. There’s something about this computer that almost dares me to not write when I use it.

I like my MBA. You might like your PC. That’s cool. Just write. :)

As much as I’d like to pretend that I’m turning into a Mac Snob, that’s not really the case. My PC does some stuff well. My MBA does other stuff well. They are simply tools. And just like I wouldn’t use a hammer to cut a board, I don’t use my PC when it makes sense to use my MBA (and vice versa). Use what you think is the best tool for the job.

Production

I often have several blog posts in various stages of writing, editing, and publication at the same time. At the moment, I have one in draft form that’s already in WordPress on my site. I left it in mid-edit so that I could start working on this post. I have another one in the back of my head that I’ll start working on “soon”. That one already has a Notes tab with a couple of concept sentences so I don’t forget the idea.

As ideas come, I’ll either go straight to Notes to start working on it, or, if I’m out and about, I’ll make a quick note in Google Keep and will start working on it later. Google Keep is really nice because I can type a quick note on whatever device I’m on at the time and that note magically appears on all of my other devices. I use it for everything from a Capture device for things I have to do to blog post ideas to grocery lists.

Sometimes I’ll create an outline of the post before I start writing, sometimes I won’t. Sometimes (like this time), I’ll create the outline as I go. I don’t have a hard and fast rule for writing blog posts (unlike my books, where I have a set process that I follow); they just kind of “happen”.

In my opinion, it’s just as important to take breaks as it is to write. Part of that is physical; if I sit still too long, various parts of my body get stiff and start to ache. Part of it is mental, too; it does me good to get up from the chair because the short five minute breaks I take, especially when I’m in the middle of doing something, make me eager to return to the task, so when I do return, I get right back to work.

I now use the Pomodoro method as I work so that I’m forced to take breaks. It’s better for me. I tend to forget to take breaks when I’m doing something I love to do and that’s not good, so I also have a very noisy countdown timer that reminds me when it’s time to take a break.

I also like to listen to classical music as I write because I think it helps keep my brain and thoughts fresh. Your mileage may vary, as the saying goes, so feel free to experiment with this. I don’t like writing when there’s nothing going on in the background. I guess it also gives me something to ignore, which is my way of saying that it helps me focus on the task at hand.

I told you I was weird. :)

I Let The Posts “Ferment”

After I finish writing a blog post, i close my MBA and go do something else. I let it sit for at least a few hours, sometimes longer.

I used to go back and edit them as soon as I finished writing them but have found that taking a break helps tremendously, primarily by keeping me from publishing dumb stuff I’ll later regret. :)

I Edit

After I’ve allowed the potential post to sufficiently ferment, I copy it, open WordPress, paste it into a new post (or, in some instances, a WordPress page), then I edit it within WordPress itself. I’ll do minor edits as I write a post in Notes (i.e. I’ll fix it right away if I misspell a word and the dreaded red squiggly shows up), but for the most part, I wait until the editing stage. I write in Notes and edit in WordPress.

After I paste the text into a WordPress post, I first give it a quick top to bottom review, doing minor edits as I do. I then select the “Preview” button on the top right of the WordPress post editor screen. I don’t know why, but for some reason, I’m better at noticing stuff that needs to be changed if I use the Preview function (the Preview function gives me a preview of what the post will look like when a web site visitor sees it). I don’t rely on catching all the edits I want to make solely using the “Edit Post” function.

I’ll go through the entire post, making changes as needed, until I get the post the way I want it to look. While it’s a good idea to read the post out loud during an edit, I don’t always do it, but if it’s awkward to say, it’s probably also awkward to read. I think it’s a good idea to read your post out loud during the editing stage.

What kind of changes do I make? I correct obvious grammar and spelling errors, and if the content doesn’t flow well, I’ll make changes so that it reads better. I’ll sometimes eliminate passages that aren’t needed and might add stuff for better clarification, but that’s about it.

Notes tends to do some funny stuff to the formatting, so I’ll also go through the entire posts to delete and recreate paragraph breaks and other formatting. One thing I’ll do is to select the “bullets” and “numbers” icon after selecting all of the text in the blog post as Notes sometimes puts some weird unseen characters in my drafts. I can then go in and clean it up.

This is hard to describe in writing so I might make a video about this later.

I Publish

In most cases, once I have the post the way I want it to read, I’ll go ahead and publish it right away. In some cases, I may not want to publish it right away, especially if it’s tied to a time sensitive event, in which case I’ll schedule publication at a later date.

It rarely happens, but I’ll sometimes keep a post in draft mode even after I edit it because I’m not sure if I even want to publish it. I have one post on another blog that’s been in draft mode for almost a month now because I’m not sure if I should even publish it.

If you decide to schedule your posts for later publication, be sure to check your time zone in WordPress (Settings —> Genera —> Timezone). I’m pretty sure that WordPress sets it to UTC time by default. This can cause problems.

I live in the US Mountain Time Zone. If I want to publish a post at 8:00 AM local time on Thursday but my time zone is set to UTC and I set it to post at 8:00 AM, it’ll publish at 2:00 AM Mountain Time. This may (or may not) cause problems, so check it before you schedule a post to publish. It’s a small detail but it’s those little things that will come back to haunt you.

My Publishing Schedule (Or Lack Thereof)

In general, I write, edit, and publish my stuff when I feel like it. Yes, I’ve heard the arguments about setting  a regular schedule and all that, and I’ve heard that Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines like people that post on a regular schedule, but I write for people (including myself), not the search engines (although I am honored when they think that my writings will help people and rank my pages).

Maybe some day my attitude will change, but for now, I don’t pay attention to all that search engine optimization (SEO) stuff. I’ve given up on trying to please the search engines (I have a post in draft mode that talks about that; it should appear soon). I just write. And I laugh when all those “SEO Trolls” solicit my business for their company Ha-ha-ha, you just wasted your time!

So that’s it. Not real thrilling, I’m certain, but it’s how I write. I enjoy writing and I guess it works OK. You could do something similar, and my main point in sharing this is to show you one way of doing it in hopes that it will help you come up with a system that will help you start posting stuff to your blog.

One last word, though: Writing a blog like this can be very difficult. In some ways, doing the “write for others” blog, like I talked about at the start of my last blog post, is easier. In a “me” blog like this, you have to share at least a little bit about yourself. But I’m OK with that because I want people to really get to know me.

Guile isn’t something to be proud of (and I’ll talk a bit about that in an upcoming post) and in the end, I want to do business with people because they know I can help them, and they will only know that I can help them if they truly know me.

If you start a “me” blog like this but never make it “personal”, I think it will backfire and you won’t get results you want. One of the main reasons for having a “me” blog is so that people can get to know you better, but if you never make it personal, that won’t happen. So proceed at your own risk. But will you ever make progress if you don’t take at least some risks?

P.S. — Remember, this is an “idea” post that’s written in hopes that it’ll help you come up with a system that will make it easier for you to write. Feel free to disagree with me (I actually hope you do) and I’d love to have you leave a comment about how you would do things differently. But “right” in this case means that we “write”; it doesn’t mean that one of us is “wrong”.

Oh, and if there’s one thing I need to work on, it’s how to definitely end a blog post. In churches, everybody stands up, the pastor asks somebody to say a benediction prayer, and everybody leaves when s/he says, “Amen”.

So “Amen”. Now go read another article on my web site. :)

Written 20150606; edited and published 20150607.

How I Got Here

I’m currently enrolled in this blog writing course that, quite frankly, is quite good. And quite “not for me”. In the course, they are teaching me that everything is written for somebody else, etc.

Now that’s all fine and dandy and I’m learning a lot from it, but to tell you the truth, this blog is my favorite because I get to write however I want to. I’ve decided to not follow the rules here, as good as they may be. I can make spelling and grammar errors (although I cringe when I find them and yes, I do proofread and edit my posts. Maybe I’ll talk about that in my next post?) and pretty much do whatever I decide to do. It’s kind of like an online journal that’s counterbalanced by writing about stuff that I think will be of interest to others. It’s fun for me and I hope it helps you.

Today I’d like to talk about how I got to where I am now. I think I’m a lot better off than many people. Some would say that I’m lucky but I’d say that I created my own luck. Some would say I got a few breaks along the way but I’d say I was simply ready to take advantage of opportunities that came along while acknowledging that many have indeed helped me along the way. I also think that my journey is far from over but where I’ve been will help determine where I’m going, but my past does not have the authority to condemn me to a particular outcome.

So depending on how long I want to write, this may be Part 1 of my “How I Got Here” series. Or it could be the only part (NOTE: As I get ready to publish this, it looks like it’ll be the only part. For now, anyway). So let’s get started.

I grew up in a fairly typical midwest city (Canton, Ohio) in what I guess you’d call a typical middle class neighborhood. Mom stayed home for the most part (she did have a fairly steady job later on), dad worked driving a bread truck (and later got a job at the Ford factory), so we did OK.

I graduated from high school, hung out at home for a few months after that, didn’t see things going anywhere, so I joined the Army. I scored pretty high on the entrance exams and they talked me into becoming an intelligence analyst.

Outside of maybe attending a Bible college, the subject of going to college and getting a degree seemed to be something that was beyond my means and capabilities in spite of having done well in high school. I did get good scores on my Army entrance exams, which opened up opportunities. Which we’ll get to in a minute.

POINT #1: Take advantage of the opportunities you have. They will lead to future opportunities because small opportunities tend to lead to bigger and better opportunities. Simply doing the best you possibly can will set you apart from the pack and put you into position to see more of these opportunities (if you look for them).

POINT #1.5: Opportunities don’t come to you; you have to find them. And they aren’t obvious, either; they often come disguised as either hard work or difficulty.

During my Army tech training, they told us that we should volunteer for language school since it would improve our chances of going overseas, which was something I wanted to do. So I studied Arabic and they sent me to a foreign country called “Kentucky”. After a year there, I cut a deal where I went back to language school to study Polish, after which they agreed to send me to a country called “Germany”.

POINT #2: Don’t give up. If things don’t work out as planned the first time, you can almost always try again.

Once I got to Germany, my leaders kept encouraging me to take night classes and start working on a degree. I took my first class in 1981 and finally got my degree in 2003.

POINT #3: You sometimes have to take a non-traditional route but you’ll eventually get to where you want to be — as long as you are persistent and have a plan. But you might have to look hard to find a way to get it done.

Along the way, I had the opportunity to attend the West Point prep school and was later encouraged to become a warrant officer. I did neither because (at the time) they didn’t make sense to me. Do I wish I had done so now? To be honest, “no”. Sure, the money and etc. would have been nice, but I’m pretty happy with the way things have turned out so far and don’t want to play the “What if?” game.

POINT #4: Life is really nothing more than a series of choices that have led you to where you are now. Even if you made some less than optimal choices in the past, be thankful for the good you have in your life today and decide to make the best possible choices as you move forward.

I don’t consider myself to be overly religious or anything, but I do believe in God. It’s my job to obey God to the best of my ability (as opposed to “ensuring” that others obey per my interpretation of the rules), and in 1997, that obedience included going to Poland as often as I could (I was living in Germany at the time).

I was going to go to Poland over Columbus Day weekend in 1997 but the people I was going to with had to cancel at the last minute. I almost stayed home, too, until I remember that bit about obedience and went. Good thing I did because that was the weekend when a former acquaintance became a very good friend. A couple years later she became my wife. She has totally changed my world.

POINT #5: If you’re 100% certain that you should be doing something, do it. Fight through the obstacles. Be where you are supposed to be, when you are supposed to be there, doing the things you’re supposed to be doing. Good things happens when you simply obey.

So we’ve been married for a few years and we decide that it’s time for some change. We move to Pittsburgh (great city, great people!) but it didn’t work out at all like we thought it would on the job front. So I drove all night to attend a job fair in the DC area and got a call on it a couple of weeks later. I was working at a new, exciting job in the St. Louis area about a month after that.

POINT #6: If nothing seems to be happening in your life, make something happen. Sometimes it’s OK to wait, but in most cases, you need to get off your butt, step outside your proverbial comfort zone, and make something happen.

After I had been in that job for a couple of weeks (doing computer network defense), one of the analysts filling an intermediate position unfortunately passed away. Since it was contract work, practicalities dictated that the company promote one of the junior analysts so they could invoice the higher-priced position.

I was selected to fill the vacant position primarily because I was the only junior level analyst with a college degree, which was a “highly desired” qualification for the position.

POINT #7: What looks like “luck” or “favoritism” is often nothing more than stuff life requires. Be ready when opportunity arises because it’s too late to prepare once the opportunity presents itself. In this case, a junior analyst couldn’t go out and get a college degree overnight. Thankfully I had finished mine the year before.

We moved to Germany and spent five years working at the contract site there. We sensed that it was time to move on and decided that it might be nice to live in Colorado for a while. So we started construction on a house in Colorado.

While I was in Colorado Springs to pick paint colors and stuff like that for the house, I visited the team lead of the contract site there. It was a nice visit, but since he only had four positions on his team, he couldn’t hire me (i.e. yes, I bought a house in an area I knew nothing about with no means of generating income there!). But two months later, one of his team members quit and he asked me to fill the position, primarily because I had taken the time to talk to him and explain my “vision” for the team.

POINT #8: Do good things. You never know what will happen when you simply do the right / good thing without thought of reward.

POINT #8.5: Don’t be afraid to have a vision. Be able to communicate it to anybody who will listen. “I Have A Dream” wasn’t just a song by Abba back in the 1970s…

So I’ve been in Colorado for five years now. When a new company took over my contract a couple of years ago, they asked me to become the team lead. It pulled me out of analysis and it isn’t my first choice of work, but it’s clean, consistent, and important work that enables me to maintain a comfortable lifestyle.

One afternoon, one of the higher level managers asked me if I could be in Washington DC the next morning. The next morning. I made it, and because I did, our contract was able to exceed the timelines for providing surge support. The team went on to receive a special award from my company and my manager got me a very nice pay bump for helping out like I did.

POINT #9: Sometimes just showing up is enough. And “just showing up” isn’t always the easiest thing to do. I arrived in the DC area around 3:30 AM the next morning and had my first meeting at 8:30 AM. That wasn’t easy. Stuff worth doing usually isn’t easy.

POINT #9.5: If you help others and they don’t show their appreciation, find somebody to help that does show their appreciation.

As I said above, my job is clean, consistent, and important. But we still have a lot that we want to do in life so we continue to press forward. Just yesterday, I nominated myself for a position in New England that would enable me to get back into full time cyber analysis work. It would also mean a promotion and possibly a pay increase while staying with a great company that isn’t afraid to show their appreciation for my help in tangible ways. I was very pleasantly surprised to uncover this opportunity.

POINT #10: Always be looking, always be aware. You never know what’s going to come your way. But remember Point #7 and be ready for what you want.

Outside of driving through the state once almost 30 years ago, Connecticut is a big mystery to me and the thought of moving there makes me very uncomfortable. But that’s part of why I want to go there, i.e. it is a mystery that I want to demystify, so to speak.

POINT #11: Don’t be afraid to take risks. The last thing I want is to lie on my death bed, wondering about what might have happened had I moved to Connecticut.

I guess I could also move to, say, North Dakota to help satisfy my sense of adventure but I’m not going to do that. Why not? Because at this point in my life, I’m not going to lie on my death bed, wondering what life would have been like had I moved to North Dakota. The possibility of living and working in New England interests me more than the possibility of living in the northern plains (which, to be honest, would also be interesting, albeit in a different way).

And I think that’s a pretty good litmus test. When you have a big (or little) decision to make, ask yourself if you’d regret having not done (or having done) something while lying on your death bed. It doesn’t even have to be that strong; it could even be as simple (as weak?) as “I have the chance to move to Connecticut; will I regret it if I don’t take it?”

And I guess that kind of brings this post full circle, in a way. I don’t regret not having gone to West Point. Sure, I might have been a general and all that, but I’m with people I love in a place that I love and have had many great experiences.

And I think that people are a big part of the whole equation. I’m married to the best person in the world (yes, that is a subjective statement and I hope you disagree with me because you have the best person in the world in your life!). That’s huge.

My journey took me on a course that not only caused our paths to cross, but put the two of us on a path that now runs together. Our interests are together, we grow together. We both want to live in New England (she more than I, but it gives me great joy when stuff she wants comes to life).

And once you have the people part in place, you might slow down some. You don’t need to be “out there” quite as much because you’re seeking shared experiences instead of somebody to share those experiences with. But that’s totally up to you.

For us, we thought that the huge house filled with stuff was the answer but it isn’t. Silly old me is getting precariously close to 60 and wants to pull up stakes and move to the other side of the country. Some might say I’m crazy. They’re probably right! But the opportunity to live in a part of the world that has interested us for some may be presenting itself, so why not? It’s there!

Hmmm… I wonder what it would be like to live in Australia? 😉

Written 20150606; edited and published 20150607.

My Plan To Replace Stuff With Life And Experiences

I have too much stuff. I don’t like that and am going to do something about it, starting tomorrow.

Again, I write not as somebody who has it all figured out, but as somebody who is simply letting you know where I found help. And right now, my huge house (about 3,500 square feet), comfy “safety net” of a job doing good stuff for important customers (i.e. it doesn’t suck; far from it), and tons of stuff isn’t what I want.

It took me a long time to decide this. There was a time when I thought that the big house, filled with furniture, books, and electronic (and other) toys was the way to go, but it’s starting to get boring. I feel like I’m not really living.

So I’m going to do something about it. Here’s why.

When I was a boy, I used to beg my dad to go north on Interstate 77 after he dropped off my older brothers at work (they worked at the Akron-Canton Airport back then) because I wanted to see what was there. Once he did. Accidentally, he claimed. I think he went one exit north, then turned around and came home. I was very happy to be in the car that day.

When I was 14, the five of us piled into the family station wagon, which was in turned loaded up with camping gear, and drove from Ohio to California and back. I loved it.

When I was 18, I joined the Army on a whim. Some whim that turned out to be! I did all sorts of interesting stuff: rappelling out of helicopters, learned two foreign languages while living on the California coast, lived and worked in a foreign country, served in a war zone (yes, it was interesting), and married somebody from a foreign country.

I thought that it was time to settle down a few years back so we bought the big house in the good neighborhood and filled it all sorts of stuff. But life has gotten boring. Get up in the morning, drive to work, do a job that’s important, come home, etc. etc ad naseum.

It’s time to shake things up a bit.

The way I see it, two things are really what’s keeping us from hitting the road again and seeking the kind of life we really want:

  • The house and the stuff in it.
  • Having to go to work to earn money (or at east have to do it in the same place for the next bazillion years).

That’s really it, and changing this should be a straightforward task.

So my plan — our plan — starts tomorrow. Our community is having its annual garage sale and we’ve filled the garage with all sorts of stuff with more to haul out there. Between you and me, we’ll accept anything that people want to offer, and in most cases, we’ll be happy to just see it go away for free.

We have discovered that furniture and electronics sell best online (at sites like Craigslist), so we’ll sell some more stuff there. Our first goal is to get rid of a lot of stuff so that we only have the stuff we need and use.

Granted, this first round of elimination isn’t going to be enough, but after we go through this a few times, we should be able to play soccer in the basement without breaking anything. And at that point, we should be able to look for a smaller place that we can rent. And a smaller place will cost less, too, which means we won’t need as much money for living expenses.

No, we don’t want to own. Our home has gone up in value, but by the time you factor in the fees associated with selling a house (like Realtor fees) and all the improvements we made, we won’t have made much of a profit on the house.

As others have pointed out, housing is an expense. It’s not an investment unless you happen to be in the right place at the right time and can buy something that skyrockets in value in a short time.

The real problem with owning a house from our perspective is that it ties you down. If we’re renting, we simply give notice, pack our stuff, and move on. With a house, it’s not quite so easy (but it’s also probably not as difficult as I’m making it out to be).

And if the hot water stops working or a storm takes the roof off the house, you can call the landlord if you’re renting and it becomes their problem to fix. Not so when you own a house; it’s your problem that you have to deal with on top of everything else that comes your way in life.

So our goal (for now) is to try to get to the point where we can load up everything we own in the back of the smallest truck U-Haul rents. Our goal will probably change before we get to that point, but that’s OK because we set our goals; our goals don’t set us, so to speak. (Update 20150608: I killed our goals because I decided to stop caring about outcomes and simply focus on what I love to do.)

So with the “stuff” issue on its way to being solved, all that’s left to solve is the job issue. Which isn’t really a job issue; it’s an income issue. James Altucher (whom I’ve permitted to mess with my thinking lately; he didn’t mess with it, I allowed his writings to mess with it. There’s a big difference between the two that some will understand) says that the truly wealthy have at least seven different streams of income.

So my goal is to create seven different streams of income. I love my job income stream but my long-range objective is to not have to have one if I don’t want one. Jobs tend to tie you down to one place and require that you be there during pre-ordained hours.

That’s OK; nobody is forcing me to do it. I agree to do the work under certain conditions for a certain salary and that’s A Very Good Thing. For now, at least.

I currently have one non-job income stream in place already and am working on others.

Don’t get me wrong; jobs are not evil. They’re just keeping me from seeing interesting places, meeting interesting people, and experiencing life the way I’ve decided that I want to experience it. I want to be more spontaneous while I can and jobs don’t fully allow for that.

So if I don’t have a job, what will I do? Anything that creates an income stream that I can do from any place in the world that has electricity and an Internet connection. I actually have a 3×5 index card that I carry around with me that has my “Top 7” income stream ideas and a whole bunch of runners-up.

My plan is to build out my first seven income streams, then build another.  And another (remember, he said at least seven). If one doesn’t provide enough reward in comparison to resources required (i.e. it’s too much work for too little income), I’ll dispose of it and build out another.

What if I decide that I have enough money after I build just four income streams? I’ll probably continue to work on building more but perhaps not as vigorously as I pursued the others. Streams can dry up pretty quickly. Take away one stream out of seven and it’s not the end of the world. Take away one stream out of one or two and you’re hurting.

Right now, if my “main job” income stream were to dry up, I’d be hurting. That’s why I don’t see having a job as having true security i this day and age. I love my employer and I’m pretty sure my employer loves me, but “life happens” and I don’t want to ever again be put into a position where I find myself losing my major source of income. If my employer no longer has work for me, I understand that it makes no sense to them to keep me on the payroll. It’s life and I’m OK with that.

If all goes well,I’ll someday have multiple sources of minor income streams that’ll add up to a lot more than what I’m making at my job. That’s when I can decide if I want to let go of the job income stream. I might do it, I might not. We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

So tomorrow is the first step. The plan is to sell a lot of stuff at the garage sale and donate the leftovers to charity. We’ll repeat that a few times until our level of “stuff” is quite manageable. I’ll also be working on my income streams one drop at a time.

Do you want to do the same? If you do, I hope my journey helps inspire you to do the same.

Written on 20150522 (I’m going to post the dates at the end of the posts for my benefit). Oh, and I also don’t proofread these blog posts very much. If that bothers you, then please go hang out at Grammarly’s web site. Thanks for understanding.

Updated 20150608 to correct some minor errors.