Day 55 - The Weakness Of Being Tired

3:37 am, Aug 30, 2014, sitting in a crowded Starbucks amongst the other mac laptop wanna-bes…

THE STORY OF WAKING UP MENTALLY CRIPPLED

I was up at 5am this morning, after going to bed around midnight. 5 fucking hours of sleep.

In my weakened mental state, I signed up for Netflix. Yeah, I’m probably the last human on Earth who isn’t a member. Fuck them though. They have some shady advertising philosophies, with all those pop under windows. Anyway, I signed up. Now I’m part of the problem instead of the solution. (P.S. I don’t know what the solution is.)

I wanted to watch Breaking Bad. Everyone says it’s good, so why not? How better to spend almost 50 hours of my life, right?

It’s fucking good. I’m only 4 episodes in and I’m hooked. Fucking A. Another time sink.

So I’ve spent most of my day laying on the couch watching it. I took the girlfriend to the airport again, I have all the time in the world to work on the stuff that matters, and I couldn’t peel myself off the couch. I just don’t function so well on 5 hours of fucking sleep.

But I’m at it now. The sun feels like it’s against me. And I feel dirty, even though I just took a shower. Days like these always make me feel shitty, because I feel like I should always be doing something. I should always be making progress. It’s something The System beats in our heads from day 1. Progress must be made at all costs.

I know better than to think that way. Even though my brain and body protest my lack of doing stuff, I know sometimes it’s exactly what I need. I don’t know why the guilty feelings. Maybe it’s because we’re built to be outside, and the inside of my apartment is like a noisy, dark crypt. Or maybe it’s because I feel like everyone knows that I’ve been laying on my couch all day, wasting my time watching some stupid fucking TV show. Like, they can see the shame I feel inside. That sounds so dramatic.

But I’m at it now, again, practicing what I need to practice, which is this, which is ultra meta. God I hate that fucking word, meta. Fuck the inventor is his eyehole.

Oh, and I discovered a new thing, Ultra HD. It’s like High-High Definition. How much more clearer of a picture do we need? I feel like my senses can’t take any more stimulation than HD already delivers. I don’t even wanna try it, because once I do, I can’t go back. It’s like lifestyle escalation. Once you reach a certain level, it’s impossible to go backwards on your own. You have to get fired or have something bad happen to you to force you back down.

Anyway, that’s my story for today. Suck it if you don’t like it.

Day 54 - Four Days Of Freedom & Stuff Is Hard

10:44 am, Aug 29, 2014, sitting on my couch, starving…

PULLING BACK THE CURTAIN - THE ABS PROJECT

So far, the abs project has been a complete failure. I did good for about two days then slipped off the wagon.

The problem is, I went looking for excuses where excuses didn’t exist. I blamed my girlfriend for not supporting me. I used the trip to Las Vegas as an excuse to eat whatever I want. And blah blah blah. The point is, I have literally zero excuses. If you’ve been paying attention since day 1 (and I know you’re lying if you say if have), then you’ll know, comparatively speaking, the conditions in my life are optimal for a person who wants to make some money, or do anything, outside of a job.

To put it another way, I have no excuses to fall back on, except the ones I make up along the way that help keep me from having to do the hard thing, which, in this case, is simply “eat right” and “train right.” So once again, I have to check myself back in and push forward on my path.

THE STORY OF THE FOUR DAY WEEKEND

If you want to be president, here’s a good campaign to run under. It doesn’t require you focus on any of the so-called “issues” or the time or anything else. It transcends any character flaws your opponents might bring up. Hell, you could probably be a gay, black-hispanic, transgendered crack head and still make a serious contention. You don’t even need to be a Republican or Democrat.

The platform is simple, you’re going to spend your entire time pushing to institute a three day work week. That’s all you need to focus on. If your opponents start griping about how you sucked a bleeding dick in alley 2 years ago for crack, then went home and beat up your boyfriend or girlfriend, all you have to rebut with is, “3 day work week.” If your opponent tries to corner you to take a position on whatever issue is being trumped up as important at the time, all you have to say is, “3 day work week.”

And if you get into office and can somehow pull it off, then you’ll be deemed the greatest president since Abraham Lincoln. But if you can’t, then you should probably prepare to be assassinated.

I don’t need to extol the virtues of the 3 day work week. I don’t need to tell you how concentrated work effort leads to increased productivity gains. I don’t need to tell you that only having 3 days to complete what used to take 5 days forces you to focus only on what’s necessary, eliminating the waste and clutter and crap that fills up the work week. Meetings become shorter or nonexistent. Mindless office chit chat gets cut to a minimum. The long, tortuous commutes all the sudden don’t feel like such a terrible waste of life. Food tastes better, sex is better, everyone’s happier, the USA wins!

But it’ll never happen in my lifetime, because there’s still a huge majority of people who think the arbitrary 40 hours is optimal. The people who think the time one spends on a task equals the quality or difficulty or whatever of that task. Even though it doesn’t. And it’s been proven over and over and over again throughout the history of man.

Day 53 - Traffic & Suppressing The Murder Impulse

9:49 am, Aug 28, 2014, standing at my desk at the job...

LESSONS LEARNED: THE LONG COMMUTE

I've got an "extra" hour and a half every day where I do nothing but sit in my car moving my body from my shitty apartment to my shitty job. Otherwise known as a commute. I haven't had a real commute in years, and I'm reminded why I'd rather live in a slum close to the job than live in a mansion surrounded by bikini models far from the job.

45 minutes each way. One hour, thirty minutes every day doing nothing but transporting my head from my home to my office. Suck my balls. It depresses me to think about it. And I have to do it for the next month or so. Hopefully I won't contribute to the murder rate here in Dallas.

But I've been thinking how I can make use of the lost time. I could record stuff for Taco Period, the upcoming podcast inspired by the little Ticket. But I listen to The Ticket on my way. I could do it during commercials I think, sort of like a real time play by play of what I'm listening to.

I could learn spanish, or some other foreign language. I'm traveling to a place that speaks Spanish in a couple of months, so that might come in handy.

I could choke out my boss every day until he gets me a laptop so I can work from home.

I could mope in resentment, wishing I had my hour and half of life back every day. I could let the stress boil inside me, getting angry at other drivers until it spills over and I go on a murdering rampage. I think this is the one I've chosen so far, short of the murdering part.

They haven't invented a thing to write code yet, or I would do that. When they invent a thing that I can somehow attach to my brain and "think into" without using my hands or legs or feet or mouth or any other part of my body except my brain, I'm buying it and putting it to good use. If I could only capture my thoughts as they happen without going through some translation phase, like typing or speaking, I'd be the fucking pimp. (That's my new saying, "the pimp," that's the fucking pimp. It will catch on, so start using it so you won't come off as lame when everyone is using it except you.)

I think I'll stick with the first two until I can come up with something better.

PULLING BACK THE CURTAIN

It seems like I'm back to spinning my wheels again. I keep finding ways to not make progress on knorbi. I keep flip flopping about what to do and how it should be done. And it's little shit that the end writer isn't going to give a fuck about. All they're going to care about is if it's A) easy to write with and B) won't screw their shit up.

So, once again, I have to reel myself back in and focus on what's important. The editing portion should get the majority of my focus for now. I'm going to ignore all the other stuff I've thrown in to complicate things and let everything evolve from the editing portion. If I can make the writing experience a fluid and easy one, the rest should be gravy. Pray for me.

Day 51 - The Gossip Machine, Fear, & Free Google Money

7:41 am, Aug 26, 2014, sitting at the Starbucks in the lobby of the hotel I'm staying in Las Vegas because of work…

THE STORY OF MODERN DAY ENSLAVEMENT

I kept my mouth shut the whole time. I try not to get involved in the all the office gossip. It's hard though, because I have opinions. Mainly, I want to tell them all that I think they're walking dead children who get off on the drama. If there isn't any, they'll certainly conjure up some.

But I didn't say anything. I kept my mouth shut like a good little boy. It's pointless to point out their futility, and just how resentful and jealous they sound. I only know this because I'm one of them. I used to get off on gossiping about this person and that person, but now I don't give a enough of a fuck to give it much thought about who is trying to screw who. Everyone is trying to screw everyone else. That's how we are. That's how we're taught to behave.

And now I sound like some kind of uptity dildo whose above all of it. I'm not. I only resisted the gossip talk because I'm not familiar with the person they were gossiping about. If I'd known him/her, I probably would've been sucked in. 

I would've complained about how this person is trying to position themselves to rule over me and how I'm not going to take it if she does this and that again. "I've got news for her," is something I might've said.

The funny thing is, I would NEVER say anything. Just like these people who are complaining about this person, they NEVER do anything but complain about it. They puff out their chest when the person isn't looking, then cower like a dog when the person is. This is especially true if the person they're talking about is a boss of some kind. I know I've talked about my stupid bosses all the time, complaining about how terrible they are, but NEVER doing anything about it.

And it all comes down to fear. People, in general, are afraid to rock the boat. I'm afraid to rock the boat. I want a smooth, care free life. I want everything to fall into place exactly as I like, so I never have to speak up, or ask, or correct, or feel frustration, or be afraid, or argue, or engage in conflict, or etc. I want person X to behave just like they're expected to, like I behave, like a docile, obedient servant whose too afraid to go after what I really want.

Fear is a more powerful enslavement device than any other. That's why gossip exists, and will always exist, because the powerful aren't afraid and the weak are constantly afraid. And there's no way to "overcome" it. There's no way to get rid of the fear. It's always going to be present. And the fucking fearless kings are always going to take advantage of it. Might as well accept your place at the bottom of the food chain and hope a few scraps come your way.

PULLING BACK THE CURTAIN

Google sent me an almost free $100 adwords credit (I gotta spend $25 to cash it in). It's their way of trying to sucker me back in.

So I'm going to run a little experiment for knorbi  o see if I can generate some pre-sales, promising to refund their money when the thing is released and make it free for them forever for giving it a try. Or maybe, give them a substantial refund and allow them to use the thing for a heavily discounted price for life? That last one sounds better, since I can still collect money from them. Yeah, suck it.

Day 50 - Is It Death Or A Routine Worth Living?

7:42 am, Aug 25, 2014, sitting at a table near a Starbucks in a hotel off the strip in Las Vegas...day 3 of 4...

JUST THE TIP

     Tip #15 - Embrace routine.

I went to a spa yesterday with the girlfriend. She thought it would be a good idea to treat me, and herself, of course, to a day, really half a day, and then get a massage. I'd never been to a spa before, and this one was supposed to be the spa of spas. Like, this spa will ruin other spas for me. Whatever, it's a fucking spa, right?

For some reason, I wasn't expecting so much full male nudity. I should've known better. I actually thought there would be more co-ed areas, but there was only one, a tiny room where people were taken right before what they called "treatment."

Why the fuck am I telling you this? I don't know. It doesn't relate to making money or anything that it implies. It's just a thing I did that I've never done before because I didn't think it was very manly, and I walked away still sort of thinking it's not very manly, but somewhat relaxing.

While I was sitting around trying to not make eye contact with anyone, and certainly trying to not look down at the ding dong area, I was thinking how this place is a gay man's dream come true. Then I got to thinking a little more, and decided, well, maybe not, unless they're really in to overweight, middle aged to geraitric, hairy men. There were no 300-esque, chisled physique guys with huge ding dongs running around. Why am I typing these words?

Anyway, it's times like these, when I'm away from the routine, when I'm not plugged in 24/7, when I can't do the work I need to be doing to make the money I need to be making, that I really get a sense if I'm on the right track. In other words, if I miss doing the shit I'm used to doing, then I'm probably on the right track. And I really want to get back to working on the writing app, Knorbi  and kicking off the new podcast, Taco Period, and generally, just getting back in to the routine.

And that's really what defines us, the routine we follow most of the time. It isn't the specific things we do, or the skills we possess, or the people we hang around, or the job titles given to us. It's the routine. I get up, walk the dogs, do this, that, and whatever. That's who I is.

It's these times when the routine gets interrupted. You can call it vacation, whatever, but it could be anything that throws you out of your normal routine. It's a measure of how you're doing, how you're feeling. If you dread getting back to the routine, then maybe it's time for a change in routine. I know I dread going back to the work grind, and living in the shitty uptown ghetto apartment (not much longer to go), but overall, I'm ready to get back on the rail. I'm ready to get back to building that rail.

I see a lot of people out here trying to party it up, just like I used to do. I wonder how many of them hate the routine they've created. I used to hate my routine, because it was only wake up, go to job, go home and watch TV, repeat. That's not a routine worth living. That's death.

Day 48 - A Whiner's Manifesto Of Sorts

5:25 pm, Aug 23, 2014, sitting by the pool at a hotel near the strip in Las Vegas...

THE STORY OF QUITTING AT THE FIRST SIGN OF TROUBLE

When I was a kid, I took guitar lessons from a guy in a music store who had long, stringy blond hair and thought it was a good idea to teach a 10 year old Eddie Van Halen as his very first lesson. "You Really Got Me" was the song. I know, it wasn't written by Van Halen, but it wasn't exactly beginner material. I don't think I ever took another lesson from him.

Had I and my parents not given up my guitar career so early, who knows where I'd be today. Probably in a different place, a completely different person, doing completely different things. Instead, I'm the type of person people expected me to be. A normal, ordinary working stiff with no exceptional talents except a biting sense of humor and a judgmental attitude.

When I was about 21, I wanted to write a book, but I didn't know what to write about. I kept a journal about my daily work life. I still have it somewhere. When I read it today I cringe, because it's nothing but angry tirades about the idiots I worked around who were all fighting for tiny piles of crumbs. I was one of those idiots, but I didn't see it at the time.

What if I had written that book and continued writing 21 years ago? I'd probably be a completely different person, doing completely different things. Instead, I quit because I never could come up with a "good idea" to write about. Now I'm an ordinary working stiff with no exceptional talents except a relentless desire to give up when things get difficult.

I eventually picked the guitar back up and taught myself how to play. I wrote and recorded a bunch of songs on my cheap ass iMac when I was living here in Las Vegas in 2005 or so. But I never finished the songs, because I thought I needed professional level recording gear in order to make them "complete," whatever that means. I wonder what my music would sound like today had I stuck with it?

I also eventually wrote a book, two in fact, and self published them. I finally got permission from various sources who told me I didn't need any permission any more to do anything. They told me in so many words that I was free to do just about anything I wanted to do, any way I wanted to do it.

But those obstacles that pop up are the limiting factor. I'm a fucking quitter. I want to give up at the first sign of trouble. And for the longest time, that was my default behavior. And now I sit and wonder what might have become of all those things I started doing but never finished.

I suspect most people follow this style of living. Try something, find that it's hard and the people really good at doing it make it look easy, then quit. We don't ever see all the work that goes on under the surface. We never see Beyonce going to bed at 8 pm so she can wake up the next morning to practice for an upcoming gig. We never see all the edits and throw away drafts to those Quitin Tarantino movies, and all the scenes that were cut from the final movie.

But how I do I know when it truly is time to quit? How can I tell the difference between hitting a seemingly impassable obstacle that triggers my instinct to quit and my true desire to not continue? How do I know where the end is? Maybe I just keep going until I'm sick of it?

I think I'll go blow a couple of hundred at the craps table and feel guilty about it. That sounds like a good solution to all my problems.

Day 47 - I Wonder What A Cavemen Would Think Of Our Lifestyle?

11:00 am, Aug 22, 2014, sitting on the floor in my office at the job because we’re moving…

THE STORY OF THE CONCEPT OF ‘THE STORE'

I wonder if The Future Explorers will laugh at our way of life. The go-to-the-store-and-get-everything-you-need lifestyle. The go-to-work-make-money-so-you-can-buy-things-to-survive lifestyle.

I overheard a couple of co-workers talking about shopping on Amazon, then what a beating it is to shop at Wal-Mart. They were complaining about little things, like Amazon requiring you to spend $25 to get the free prime shipping. And how when you go to Wal-Mart and they pile crap up in the aisle, just junk, and you have to navigate around it, and how they have eleventy billion checkout lanes, but only 3 are open. It’s amazing how much office workers complain about nonsense. I’m one of the biggest offenders.

It got me thinking about the concept of the store. It has everything you’ll ever truly need, and a lot of shit you don’t really need, but has become a necessity. Stuff like deodorant, and shampoo, and those Little Debbie devils food cake roll up things with the white frosting that are so delicious they desensitize your taste buds to normal tasting food. I can only imagine crack, or whatever drug is the pinnacle of drugs right now, being a similar rush of stimulation.

How did we come to this? How did we come the store as a way of life thing? Was it population explosion? Was it laziness? Innovation? Agriculture? When you look at it through the lens of a being unfamiliar with our way of doing things, it looks ridiculous. “You mean, you spend your life working at job doing, whatever, so you can make this thing called money that you then exchange for (mostly nonessential) stuff at a thing called ‘a store’?” one of those unfamiliar beings might ask. Then they say what their thing is and it seems totally ridiculous to us that they live in holes and eat by blowing each other and drinking the cum, or whatever baby making fluid they produce, if they make babies at all.

And when you think of just “the store,” Wal-Mart is the one that kinda has it all. Food, car parts, lawn furniture, curtains, greeting cards, electronics, and stuff to take care of your butt when you go to the bad bathroom. All you have to do is acquire some money, then walk in, find the stuff you “need,” put it in a thing called a shopping cart, stand in a line waiting for a person who makes money scanning the things in your cart and collecting the amount of money from you that the computer says to collect, put the stuff in your car or whatever vehicle brought you, and go home. You repeat this as many times as necessary throughout your lifetime until you are dead.

That’s our agreed upon lifestyle. Go to work to make the money, probably doing something you hate for someone(s) you don’t know and/or don’t like. Go to the store and exchange the money for things. And somewhere in there is supposed to be happiness, fulfillment, social connection, love, blah blah blah, all the positive emotions we’re supposed to feel all the time.

Starting and running a business really isn’t much different. We’re just replacing the going to a job part with running a business. All the other stuff remains the same. Everything we do centers on the store. If the store goes away, what the fuck are we going to do? Where am I going to get my shoe organizers, and hair combs, and shelf liners, and potato chips that come in a long cylindrical can?

And why do I feel shame sometimes when I’m standing in the checkout line with the other consumers with all these items in my basket? Why do I sometimes wish for chaos, for something to go wrong?

We have it so fucking easy that we have to try really fucking hard to make things hard. We have to actually try to elicit discomfort. A hardship is not, “they didn’t have my favorite flavor of corn chip so I had to buy a bag of my second favorite flavor, ‘exploding cinnamon nacho cheese pizza BBQ lime extreme’,” with 75 exclamation points, because we’re so desensitized to 74 exclamation points that we won’t notice it sitting on the shelf next to the other bags of chips with exploding graphics and similar exclamation points.

I’m not saying that there isn’t true suffering. Hell, maybe there’s a lot, but in my little bubble of a world, I can’t see it because it’s so well disguised, or I just don’t care because it’s not me. Maybe one day I’ll find out. 

In the meantime, I have to go to the store and get some things to cover my reproductive areas.

Day 46 - Proof That I'm A Dumb, Idiot, Stupid Fucking Moron, & A Challenge, Maybe

9:20 am, Aug 21, 2014, sitting at my desk at the job…

THE STORY OF BEING THE MOST JUDGMENTAL HUMAN ON EARTH

I'm judgmental. Like, brutally so. I see a person and I immediately identify all their flaws. I hate it, but I can't seem to help it.

I've read some things about how to "overcome" this problem, and it all boils down to something like, "accept people for who they are, recognize your own thoughts." Whatever. It's fucking bullshit.

I think the truth is EVERYONE is judgmental, all the time. It's programmed in our heads to be defensive about the motives of someone else. Or maybe I'm just justifying my own craziness.

I try not to be. I try to catch myself doing it. But I can't stop the initial impulse.

And I know that all my negative judgments about others is only a reflection of myself. It's all the things I find flawed in me that I project onto others. I hate it, but I can't seem to help it. So I embrace it. Instead of trying to change it, I just let it happen, then turn it back on myself.

For example, if I see a person driving like an idiot I make a complete judgment about them as a person living on the planet. "Oh, look at this dumb asshole, what a fucking moron," I'll think and/or mumble under my breath. Then I'll think, "Oh, I do that, sooooo, I guess that makes me an asshole moron idiot also."

And that's it. If you're judgmental, then you're the same asshole you think someone else is.

The end.

8:15 pm, Aug 21, 2014, sitting in Starbucks, checking out the girl in purple pants...

THINKING ALOUD: THE DRY BALLS THEORY

I have a hard time asking for what I want. I have a hard time going after what I want, recruiting the help of others. 

Chris Rock had bit where he talks about getting a woman to suck your balls. He said something like, “you can’t just ask her, like, ‘excuse me, would you, uh, mind, uh, sucking on my balls?’” He said you have to tell her, not ask. You have to go after what you want, or you end up with dry balls.

My balls are dry a lot. Because I don’t even ask, I just accept whatever someone is willing to give me. My girlfriend says I have a problem with letting people run all over me. That’s true, in most situations. I’m too nice. I don’t take enough social risks. I overanalyze everything. I try to control what people think of me. And I don’t know how to get better.

I think I should devise a challenge to strike up a conversation with at least one stranger a day. Even if it’s, “hey, how’s your day?” and they look at me then fart in my face. I practice writing every day. I practice other stuff every day. Why not practice social skills every day. I need to remember my own tips, if it’s important, do it everyday. And maybe that should be extended to, if it’s scary, do it every day.

I don’t have anything in the relationships category of life, so maybe this would be a good thing to add for September.

Day 45 - Why You Feel Like Shit All The Time

7:54 am, Aug 20, 2014, sitting at my kitchen table feeling irritated...

JUST THE TIP

     Tip #15 - Ruthlessly eliminate choices/possibilities.

The blank page is always intimidating. I hate it and I love it. It’s like it brings out all my insecurities about whatever creative talent I think I have. It’s the time to shine, the time to suck, the time to go from head to world. That’s sounds so fucking stupid.

I read a thing in a book the other day that said the incidence of depression increases as the number of choices people have available increases. That graph looks something like this:

I wonder if people know they're supposed to be depressed when they have an overwhelming number of choices laid out before them? It's like the blank page. The possibilities are endless, and therefore, somewhat depressing, because you could've picked drawing a penis on the blank page as opposed to writing War & Peace.

That's why it's important to simplifyGet rid of choices. All of them.

The subject of excessive choice has been beat in the ground enough, yet we hardly do anything about it. Then we wonder why we get stuck in inaction and feel down. I know I want to do just about everything, write novels, make music, create apps, podcast, become the strongest human alive, paint, cook, all of it. All the things there are to do in the world, I want to do them all at the same time. And it depresses me when I can't.

So the second part of the simplify equation is to get rid of that nagging feeling that you're missing out by choosing X over Y. That's the hardest part. I still want to do all those other things. And it makes me sad that I can't do them all. But I can trick myself into thinking, "one day, maybe."

4:40 pm, Aug 20, 2014, sitting at my desk at the job, distracted, tired, worried...

THE STORY OF WHAT IF YOU CONTRACTED DEATH RIGHT NOW

There's something wrong with me. Not as in serious, I don't think. But what if?

I'm not feeling the greatest, and the thought just popped in my head as I was resting my face on both of my fists with my eyes closed trying to recover: what if I died right now? What are the things I wished I'd accomplished?

I came up with the usual bullshit, write a novel (check), record an album (incomplete), yadayadayada.

But then I went deeper. Like, creating another life, and keeping myself in better shape, as opposed to settling for this doughy, skinny-fat body. Shit like that.

I suppose these are things considered regrets, but they're also things that can be changed with a little effort. These are the things that are most important. As you float up to Heaven or descend into Hell, what are you going to wish you would've accomplished? I'm not talking about the bullshit, "no regrets," those are unavoidable. I say regret can be a huge motivator. But I'm talking more about what would you do if you had more time and didn't squander a second? Things that don't require time travel. Things that can still be done if you had just a little more time to squeeze them in.

Day 44 - Sucking On A Daily Basis & Changing Directions A Bit

9:15 am, Aug 19, 2014, sitting at my stand-up desk at the job...

LESSONS LEARNED: MEASURING AMBIGUOUS PROGRESS

I have no idea how to make money. Like, the subject itself confuses me, and I don't know how to get better. I know how to get a job, and then show up to that job every day, and setup direct deposit, and all that shit. I suppose that's a good skill to have. And technically, it is a method of making money, just not a very efficient or rewarding one.

Since I have no idea how to make money outside of getting a job, why not start a blog about making money? Seems like a good idea, right?

I know when it comes to strength and fitness and weight loss, the worse you are (i.e. fatter, weaker, etc), the more gains you're going to make in the beginning. Like, going from sitting on the couch all day watching Maury to taking a 30 minute walk every day will bring huge gains in a short amount of time. But it seems this doesn't translate very well to making money. At least on the surface.

I think making money outside of a job entails more than just collecting the cash. Like, it's hard to measure the gains someone has made in the beginning if they haven't collected a dime. In other words, it's hard to quantify failure. I have made money outside of a job. Not very much, but I have. Is that considered a huge gain?

On the flip side, the person who goes from knowing absolutely nothing about making money to making thousands of dollars a month in two weeks, is s/he now a master, or just lucky? Those are the stories you hear about on the line. The overinflated bullshit about someone going from nothing to dream life in a matter of days or hours. The stories that prove the "system," or whatever, works. Fuck those people, they don't matter.

I guess the lesson is, it's hard to measure how far you've come in the beginning without solid evidence of your money making skills. Mainly, money in the bank unrelated to a job. But it doesn't mean you haven't made progress. It also doesn't mean you've made good progress. All you can measure is you've gone from doing nothing, sitting around drooling in front of a glowing computer monitor filling out weekly status updates for the plethora of bosses who lord over you, to doing something. At the very least, you've changed your thinking and started taking DAILY actions towards whatever.

And there's the real key, right? DAILY actions, small steps every day, bigger steps on good days, not so big on other days. But at least a step, even if it's backwards.

I can't say the money will come if this is all you do. The money hasn't come for me yet. And I do feel sometimes I'm doing things wrong, or I'm not motivated enough, or I don't possess some key skill required to get over the hurdles, or I'm not smart enough, or I'm too old, or I don't have enough friends, or I'm not tough enough mentally, or I'm too scared, or it's not the right time, or ...

I think I'm OK if the money never does come. I've said before, yesterday in fact  that money isn't the only reason I do what I do. I think to sustain anything long term, you have to have other reasons besides the money. Although I think you need the money to validate that what you're doing is valuable. And of course, that leads down another rabbit hole, does it matter if it's valuable or not? 

I don't know. But I do know what's directly in front of me, and I can see the horizon a bit, but it's really fuzzy. I know I like doing this every day, it's making me think better and become a better writer (try coming up with meaningful content on a daily basis). I like building my little writing app, Knorbi  because it feels like I'm making art; it's a spawn of my imagination (even though it's heavily influenced by other apps that already exists; I'm comfortable with that).

2:45 pm, Aug 19, 2014, pacing nervously around my desk at the job...

PULLING BACK THE CURTAIN

I've decided to mothball The Hustlecast. Everyone in unison, "awwwww."

It just isn't my cup of tea, because I feel preachy and lecture-y, like I'm a fourth or fifth rate professor trying to teach you kids something I have no real world experience with. Maybe one day it will return, when I have some actual stuff to say. Until then, I'm going in a different direction with the podcast.

I'm turning my attention to sports, and specifically, Dallas area sports. I listen a lot to The Ticket, one of the best radio stations EVER. That's not just my opinion, but that of Earth also. Don't believe me, look it up.

Anyway, I'm going to create a podcast centered around the show after the show, calling it P1 Podcast, or something like that. It's not related specifically to The Ticket, but it's going to be the show to listen to after your favorite sports yaks go off the air.

I'm excited about it, because I have a lot of opinions and shit on the world of sports and stuff, so, why not, right?

I hope you'll give it a listen.

Day 43 - How To Fix Information Overload

9:45 am, Aug 18, 2014, standing at my desk at the job...\

THE STORY OF UNSUBSCRIBING FROM THE INTERNET & THE FUTURE OF ONLINE (VAGUE)

I had to unsubscribe from another source of information I used to consume. Tunneling down into the depths of hell that is called affiliate marketing just doesn't interest me any more.

I'm slowly turning my back on all things Internet. It's nice to have information at my fingertips, but it's also a curse, an endless source of distraction. I have too much shit going on to be getting sucked into nonsense about how someone built eleven billion niche sites in 2 hours and made $1,000,000 the second they went live. It's taken me about ten years to see it for what it really is, overinflated bullshit.

I'm not saying that ALL sources of information are useless. I have a very short list, and getting shorter almost daily, of stuff that is valuable. I suppose I could list them all here so you can go consume them too, but I'm not, because I don't want them to become so popular that whoever is generating the information gets the bright idea to start pumping information products down his subscriber's throat, like almost all of them do eventual (but not all, see dereksivers.org, you're welcome).

That's what I'm striving for this blog to become, not just another "How To Make Money Sitting Naked On Your Couch Watching Golden Girls Re-runs While Eating A Gallon Of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream." I would really like this to become some kind of open source, abstract thing that transcends just the latest money grab scheme going around. Because I'm not in this to just make money. I'm in it for a whole bunch of other, more important reasons. Would you like to know what those reasons are? Great, I will now tell you.

  1. Make Money - suck it, you know that's why we're all here. Everyone needs money to live. It's an unfortunate part of modern day life. And the sad thing really is, we spend too much of our time in the pursuit of it. It practically becomes what we are, a thing that needs to make money to survive. Just like a squirrel needs nuts, humans need money.
  2. Freedom - this is one of those generic, fair catch answers that can't really be defined. I think what it means to me is, being free from the controls of someone else. Having a job is out of your control, no matter how you spin it. Company fails, you get fired. You screw up, you get fired. Boss is having a bad day, you get fired. Freedom means being immune to that system. It means being outside it, beyond it, whatever. You get the picture.
  3. Recognition/Fame - yep. I'd like to be famous. Not like Brad Pitt famous, but on a much smaller scale. I want fans, but I also want people who are not content just being a consuming human. I don't want a bunch of mouth breathing, checked out "ditto heads," although that's what I might get. I want people who want to be more, even if in the long run, it's all meaningless (and it is, don't let anyone else fool you into thinking that YOU or what you’re doing is somehow special or more important than the next. You aren't, and neither am I).
  4. Fuck The System - superfluous.
  5. My Own Tiny Empire - I think humans are just as territorial as other animals. We all want something that is wholly ours. I think the only way to achieve that is through building your own unique skill set and the mental and physical toughness to survive on your own. Physical property is never owned by you. The government and the banks own all the land. A job is just a rental as well. Even a business can be wiped out at the blink of an eye. But what can never be taken away is your skills, your physical and mental strength, and your ability to apply those skills. This goes beyond simply making money. It's something that you can pass on from generation to generation, like the teachings of Marcus Aurelius or that one guy whose been dead for a really, really long time.
  6. Time - it's the only thing we truly have. I don't like spending my time fulfilling the reasons on someone else's list. Perhaps I'm not a good enough "team player," or I truly do have a bad attitude. I don't give a fuck. As I get older, the more and more I realize how valuable time is, and how much of it I've squandered not being true to myself. It's never too late to start a new path.

Day 42 - The Doctor Says I Need Large Doses Of Reality To Fix My Nonexistent Penis Problems

9 am, Aug 16, 2014, sitting on my couch scrolling through the 1,000 channel TV menu for something to “watch” while I write this…

JUST THE TIP

     Tip #14 - Dwell in reality.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about complexity and the overall deluge of information that’s shoved in our face every single second of every single day. I swear when someone figures out how to advertise to us in our dreams, that person is going to be heralded as one of the greatest humans to ever live. We’ll probably build a statue of him doing whatever action makes the machine or thing work that delivers the ads.

The problem with all this information, I think, is there’s no filters any more. We’re constantly plugged in to whatever, and everyone else is plugged in to the same thing, and everyone is given a megaphone and an anonymous identity[1]. There’s always a source to pull information from. And I think that’s one of the reasons so many people just check out and go with the default. “Just give me what’s most popular/easy/doesn’t make me think too much,” a person might say when they reach an age where they have to start choosing what to do with their time.

That’s reality. Also known as, the way it is. It’s not ever going to stop. The more we tunnel down the technology road, the more creative and subtle ways people will find to deliver us information. Imagine driving with your Google Glasses on and being shown “billboards” in the corner of your eye. Stuff like, “pull over now because you won’t believe the monkey making secrets I’m about to share with you!” And we’ll build designated pulling over spots where people will be forced to go and watch an ad instead of having to pay a toll.

I know I spend a lot of time, more than I should, living in that fantasy world. Thinking, “oh, I need to be doing this, this, this, this, and this,” all at the same time. I’ll read an article that says avocados are bad. So I’ll cut avocados out of my diet until I read another thing that says avocados are good. Then I’ll add them back in. I can’t help but get suckered down these rabbit holes. It must be in my DNA or something.

But when I’m dwelling in reality, things become simple. The answers are clear. The information firehose becomes just a thing in the background, like an annoying gnat that you have to shew away every few seconds, because it doesn’t matter any more.

Reality is hard to deal with, because it’s full of unexpected, sudden changes, and it’s also really fucking boring for long stretches. The sudden changes are most of the time easy to deal with. It’s the boredom that’s the problem. Boredom seems to be an epidemic in the U.S. because there’s so many things to keep one from having to feel the slight discomfort of having-nothing-to-do-itis. God forbid you have to stand in a line for 30 seconds without any stimulation.

I’ve found that dwelling in reality solves almost every problem. It always answers the question, “what should I be doing with my time?” And isn’t that such a comfort that we often take for granted. That question wasn’t even a thing thousands, even hundreds of years ago. Because the answer was always, SURVIVE. And that’s what everything really boils down to.

And I have to constantly keep pulling myself out of the distraction pit. When I get tunneling down some rabbit hole about some subject that I didn’t even know existed until 2 minutes ago, I have to reel in the insanity and get back to work. It’s not as easy as that, because I’m just as comfortable and bored as everyone else. I’m just as guilty of checking my phone a billion times a day, getting lost in twitter or Facebook, or endlessly searching for THE solution to all my problems.

You’re probably thinking I’m going to tell you to unplug, and don’t watch so much TV, or blah blah blah. Nope. I don’t give a fuck how you twiddle your time away. I think the key is in just being aware of what you’re doing. Know why you’re playing that repetitive game where you have to steer an out of control car through a hilly obstacle course and collect coins so you can upgrade to a better car. Know why you’re sitting in front of the TV looking at the Facebook on your phone and thinking, “Oh my God, she was cut off in traffic today? What a tragedy.”

Also, know when to stop and get back to work. That’s the hardest one for me to see.

[1] Whatever, Facebook and Twitter all those like to give you the illusion that you are a unique snowflake and that everyone knows exactly who you are, but it’s not real unless it’s “said” in person, face to face, flesh in front of flesh. It still feels strongly anonymous.

Day 40 - Ramit Sethi, et. all, Can Suck My Sweaty Balls

9:23 am, Aug 15, 2014, sitting at my desk at the job...

THE STORY OF BEING A PERSON WHO IS A SOURCE OF INCOME FOR ANOTHER PERSON, AND REDEMPTION

Allow me to run down some of the things I've bought into, literally, that promised to teach me how to make money:

  • When I was around 21 years old, me and a friend went to this "free conference," which turned out to be a sales pitch for a business selling custom coupons. We found out about the "free conference" through a small classified ad in the paper. We went, we got suckered in, and 6 months later, the "business" was sitting in the corner collecting dust. Strike one.
  • Many years later, after consuming hundreds of "make money" web articles (aka blog posts) and books about this and that related to making money (aka self help nonsense), I bought into a "program" called The Micropreneur Academy. Out of all the things I've paid for, this may have been the best, although it didn't "work" for me. I found a niche, built an app, marketed the shit out of it, and zero, nothing, nada (p.s. the product I built sucked because I had no business being in that space). Strike two.
  • Then I bought into Ramit Sethi's nonsense. Earn $1k on the side, find your first profitable idea, Ramit's brain trust, all of it. I showed up to his "free teleconferences" (see any similarities here?) and bought in like the gullible sucker I am, looking for THE answer. Strike three.
  • The last course I took was Create A Profitable Online Store, created by Steve at My Wife Quit Her Job. I used to write some stuff for Steve and I got in on the ground floor of the course. I spent a year building up an online store, made a handful of sales, and gave up, probably earlier than I should have. Strike four.
  • I bought into Noah Kagan's bullshit, make your first dollar, or somethng like that, and quit after discovering it was just a money grab for Noah. Actually, this may have been the "course" that made me realize that the only people making money off these make money courses were the folks who created the course. Strike five.

None of these things "worked" for me. I put "worked" in quotes because I gained some value from each of them, even if the lesson was, "don't buy in to someone else's system, create your own system." And I suspect  that most people who take ANY course on making money, or [insert some other abstract subject here], come to the same conclusion. My theory is, for every 100 "students" who pay for these courses and follow them as intended, only 1 will "succeed," with "success" being defined as loosely as possible.

I'm not bitter (except at Noah and Ramit, because they're both money grabbers and full of bullshit. They don't care about helping you. They only care about their bottom line. Don't give them any money, please). I'm actually glad I bought in to all of them. Because it's brought me to this point, reality.

Reality says you have to find your own way. And what that means is, you have to do things your way. If you're doing things anyone else's way, trying to follow someone's system on making money, you're most likely going to fail. You may not, but if I could bet on everyone who takes one of these "courses," I'd bet every penny I have on their failure.

And it's not that the systems don't work or are a scam (except in Noah's case, THAT one's a scam[1]). They just don't work for anyone except the person who created it. I have a saying that has yet to reach the mainstream, feel free to tweet it or start using it yourself, “the secret to making money is selling the secret to making money.” If you have a “formula,” or “system,” or “tactics” to making money AND you have a clever marketing approach, you’ll find suckers to buy it. Doesn’t matter if it “works” or whatever, as long as it gives the illusion that it’s THE answer people are looking for. There’s your million dollar business idea.

I’ve come to terms with my fate and generally who I am as a person. A lot self help books and crap want to sell you on some proposition that you’re broken in some way. Only a small handful have actual value, the others are pure fucking garbage, just like all the money making courses you find throughout the inter webs.

I have a lot of fears, a lot doubts, a lot of worries (all these things are the same), and a lot of self limiting beliefs. I've given up hope of finding THE answer, and instead, I'm focusing on creating THE answer for myself. There's a big difference. Maybe I won't be able to quit my job and live on a beach surrounded by bikini models whose only purpose is to serve my every sexual desire. But oh well, maybe there's something better if I keep cutting my own path? Maybe I’ll fall of a cliff and die? Who knows.

You can take all the courses you want, but in the end, you're going to have to figure things out for yourself. If I could go back to my 21 year old self, I'd slap him in the face and tell him to stop being a sucker. Stop buying into the notion that you're "broken" and need fixing. You're perfect as is, embrace your limitations and get busy making your own way.

But I can't, yet. I'm still hoping for someone to invent actual time travel. Until then, I gotta start making my own way at 42.

PULLING BACK THE CURTAIN

I'm changing the name of Super Poppycock back to its original name, Knorbi, because I just learned that Orville Redenbacker, that asshole, has a canned popcorn Idiocracy thing called Poppycock. Fuck me. I probably subconsciously saw it on the shelves at some grocery store and it stuck in my head.

So from now on, Super Poppycock is called Knorbi. Like you give a fuck.

[1] I can sum up the course in one sentence: get a business idea, post the idea on Facebook and beg your friends to buy it, repeat. That’s not a complete sentence, but that’s the course, filled with a bunch of other bullshit.

Day 39 - Letting The Audience Direct The Movie (HINT: The Movie Will Suck)

8:30 am, Aug 14, 2014, sitting at my kitchen table in my shitty, noisy apartment…

THE STORY OF SUCKING AND WHAT THAT MEANS

I hate sucking at stuff. I’ve talked about having a low frustration tolerance and how my reaction to any resistance or obstacles is to quit. That’s the first thing I turn to when things get the slightest bit difficult. And thus, it’s the reason I hate sucking at stuff.

I suck at podcasting. I suck at talking in a coherent way. I suck at coming up with material. I suck at just about every aspect of it except the actual nuts and bolts of recording, mixing, and producing. I’m actually pretty good at those more technical activities. And I hate it, because I’d rather be good at the part that people like, the talking, the riffing, the being interesting/entertaining.

The Hustlecast has hit one of those lulls where I’m struggling to come up with interesting content. At least, that’s my perception. I THINK I don’t have enough material. But how am I defining enough? How am I defining interesting content? I don’t have an answer to those questions.

I think it’s a matter of wanting to be “the best” right now, without putting in the hard, gritty work to get there. I listen to some podcasts and think, “how are they doing this? It sounds so professional and interesting, how can I do that?” And what I don’t see is the years of work they’ve put in to getting to that point. If I’d started podcasting 2 years ago and stuck with it, where would I be today? Who knows. But what if I stick with it, push through this shitty first phase of ramping up from absolutely terrible to somewhat mediocre? Where will I be 2 years from now?

I read a thing the other day, I don’t remember where, probably some book or something. It said something like, where will you be 5 years from now? If you start doing the thing you want to do, what will your life look like 5 years from now? If you don’t do the thing you want to do, where will you be 5 years from now? If you don’t do it, your life will probably look similar to what it is now. I really mutilated the quote, but that’s the jest of it.

So I push through the lull  working with what I got  practicing, experimenting, growing. I’m going to record a segment for The Hustlecast right now...

I totally didn't record a segment. I surfed the Internet instead, looking for THE answer. I should know already, since I've told you, to look in the obvious places. Why am I driving myself insane again? Everything is right in front of me, I just need to stop looking to the crowd for assistance.

Day 38 - Your Boss Is Trying To Kill You & Passing On The Lure Of Responsibility

10 am, Aug 13, 2014, sitting at my desk at the job...

THE STORY OF THE MANIACAL BOSSES

I've had two terrible bosses in my lifetime. One was a bully and the other I was convinced was a robot who had no off button.

The bully called me a pussy one time in front of the entire office. I had broke my ankle, literally shredded the tendons and cracked a bone, and I was on crutches. My ankle was swelled to the size of a small watermelon and just throbbed in pain every time I put my body in a vertical position. Getting out of bed in the morning took all the will to live I had.

I don't remember why he called me a pussy. Maybe because he was trying to prove to everyone he was the alpha male (he wasn't, he was a weak coward). The whole office was standing in a circle around him as he talked about, whatever, corporate bullshit talk. For some reason I can't remember, he looked me right in the eyes and said, "look at this pussy on crutches." I looked around like, "what the fuck?" His name was John Dome. I found his facebook thing a few weeks ago and was disappointed. I was hoping he'd be dead.

The other boss was more recent, at my last job. I could never prove it, but I had a suspicion that he was a robot. The only thing that threw a wrench in my theory was he was a really nice guy away from the work. But when there was work to be done, you'd better be doing it and doing it perfectly or there was hell to pay.

He'd constantly check on our work. He was constantly monitoring the computer systems our team managed, looking for issues, looking for problems, looking for things to get anxious about. Whenever there was a real problem, he'd go into a manic state of what I can only describe as enthusiastic confusion. He'd sigh a lot, beat on his keyboard, and yell at people who weren't keeping up with his robotic pace. I could see his blood pressure going into the red every time. And his stress caused me stress, to the point where I started having panic attacks.

I had to quit both jobs. The bully boss tried firing me because I sucked at collections (the job was collecting student loan debts, before I went back to college and got a degree). I had to quit my last job because my boss was trying to kill me. He wouldn't have been convicted of murder because it wasn't intentional. More like, manslaughter. He couldn't help but be an asshole in stressful situations. And he couldn't help stressing himself out over the smallest problems.

I was just thinking about this morning for some reason. Probably because August 2012 is when the panic attacks hit their peak and I sought medical intervention. I survived, and luckily found another, less stressful, marginally more rewarding job.

Listen to more on The Hustlecast...

JUST THE TIP

     Tip #13 - When it comes to jobs, always take the easy road.

You don't get to choose who your boss is, unless you work in a very forward thinking company where bosses are "voted out of office" and replaced with someone elected by the people (I can't find the link, sorry).

My old bosses were just people who probably shouldn't be put in charge of other people. That's most bosses. Most people aren't good leaders. There was an experiment done at Stanford where ordinary, mild mannered students were organized into a prisoners and captors scenario. The conclusion of the experiment was people who are put in a position of authority tend to abuse their power. Not because they're terrible people, but because that's almost what's expected of people in positions of power.

The moral of the story is to ALWAYS take the easy road when it comes to the job. Take the easier, less paying job over the high stress, high pay, high expectations job. There's nothing rewarding about getting things done for a company that's only going to reward you with more work. There's no reason to put your body through the stresses. It's just not worth it.

It's more important to keep your eyes on doing your own thing, whatever it is. Do the minimum amount of work to get by at the job and save your energy for more interesting pursuits. Unless you're a career person who has no aspirations of anything more than getting a plaque and a handshake when you retire. Then, who fucking cares about you, get the fuck out of here!

I took my last job with the robotic boss because I needed the job. I didn't mind 99% of the people I worked around, and the company was a fun one to work for. But my robot boss and his douche bag boss were too much for my fragile body to take. Stress begets stress. It's contagious. Stay away from people who are in a constant high state of stress, because it'll infect you.

For things that don't matter, and your job doesn't matter (if you think it does, you're delusional and should seek therapy), the easy road is the best way to go.

Day 37 - Forced Experiments In Sleep Deprivation

9:11 am, Aug 12, 2014, sitting at my desk at the job, barely alive...

JUST THE TIP

     Tip #11 - Push through the lulls.

     Tip #12 - SLEEP!

My thinking is foggy. I'm anxious. I'm feeling lazy. I'm having a hard time concentrating. The smallest tasks seem like a huge chore. Why?

Sleep is important. When I don't get enough, I feel like a zombie. I feel like I'm just marching along like the rest of the living dead. Everything seems hard. I have no motivation to do much of anything. My mind feels like it's standing in a hurricane of blowing garbage.

I haven't been sleeping well lately. I don't know what it is. I've cleaned up my diet, I'm back to wearing ear plugs, all the shit that helps me sleep in the vortex of a noisy, shitty apartment. But I keep getting up early and I'm not able to go back to sleep. 6.5 hours just isn't enough to keep me fresh.

Regardless, I still move forward. I still force myself to write this, even though it's really, really fucking hard. I force myself to work on things that matter, sacrificing as much as possible things that don't matter to save precious bandwidth.

I suppose there's other people in worse places. Insomnia and all that shit. I've never had much of a problem going to sleep. I have problems staying asleep. I remember when I was younger, I could sleep for days without problem. Now it's in my head, it's psychosymatic, where I believe if I wake up, I won't be able to go back to sleep. I'm blaming my sleep tracking thing, because I think about it when I'm lying in bed unable to go back to sleep. It's like your boss looking over your shoulder at everything you do. I've had those types of bosses before. It ain't a great feeling.

Regardless, I still move forward. Not that pressing forward is a good or healthy thing to do. Sometimes it's best to just be lazy, embrace to lull, wallow in it. But at least I need to show up to work. My job doesn't give a shit if I didn't sleep good the night before. There's no, "oh, OK, you didn't sleep good last night, take the rest of the day off." Fuck no. Progress must be made. I'm expected to show up, sit at my desk, and at least pretend to be working.

And that's what I do, at my job and in the things that matter. If it's important, do it every day  Remember that one? Wasn't it Woody Allen, the second creepiest celebrity behind Michael Jackson, that said, 90% of success is showing up? I could use the Google to look it up, but I need that energy to do more important things, like sit and stare out the window.

LESSONS LEARNED: FOCUS

I think it's safe to say, Super Poppycock has taken over as the primary, and only, project on my plate. I've tried scheduling time for other things (this blog and The Hustlecast aside), but I can't shake building this app. I see a lot of potential with it. And the best thing is, I don't feel overwhelmed any more. I feel like I've settled into a routine, for now. Now if I could just fucking sleep more, I might get on a roll.

Day 36 - Building Neurological Strength & The Busy Work Jack Off

10 am, Aug 11, 2014, sitting at my desk at the job...

JUST THE TIP

     Tip #10 - If it’s important, do it every day.

I want to do more pull ups. And by "do more," I mean, "do a." I'm weak like a boy who eats too much sausage.

For the longest time, it just wasn't that important to me. I was more worried about my pecs and my biceps, the vanity muscles that don't really contribute that much to overall strength (I was never that worried). It might be impressive to bench 275 lbs and curl 155 lbs, but, who fucking cares (I can’t do either of those, in high school, I could barely do the bar, it hasn’t got much better).

I decided that doing pull ups was a thing that was important to me. It's not the only thing that's important, but I added it to the list. Like writing is important, "getting abs" is important, building Super Poppycock is important. I do all those things damn near every day, because they're all important. OK, big fucking deal, I get it, it's important, do it every day, blah blah blah.

Why is it important to do it every day? Neurologically, (like I know anything about how the brain actually works) the more you repeat a task, the stronger the connection in brain becomes in regards to doing that task. For pull ups, that means my muscles get stronger the more I do them and my brain conditions those nerve pathways, or whatever, to do the work. In other words, it primes the pump better and better every time I do them.

I started not being able to do one, so I did them "assisted," using my legs only enough to get me to a point where I could pull myself up the rest of the way. After a couple of weeks, I was able to do one full range of motion, strict pull up. This is what a strict pull up looks like, not those leg kicking, Cross Fit garbage types. My goal is five, every day, and I'll probably keep going, because, why not?

If something is important to you, find the time to do it every day. If you're a writer, write every day, even if it's just the act of sitting down and thinking of something to write. Train yourself to do it every day, and suddenly, you'll have the time because your brain has programmed it as a habit, and habits must be exercised. Same with anything else, working out, starting a business, making money, whatever. Repeat after me, if it's important, do it every day.

LESSONS LEARNED: PIDDLING IN BUSY WORK

I figured out that I've been piddling in busy work when it comes to Super Poppycock. I've been polishing and polishing and shining and stewing on how to do some things for way too long. It's almost like I'm clinging to the obstacle instead of finding a way to either go around it or break it down.

It's taken me a while to see it. I've done it before on another app I was building that I never finished. I spent so much time, a few months, designing and redesigning and redesigning and thinking of features and how things should work to the point I never made any actual progress. Then I quit, because fuck it, it's too hard.

I lied, I’ve done it more than once. I’ve done it a lot. It’s almost like the thing I do.

That was about 4 years ago. Just thinking of where that app could be today makes me sick. It could be THE app everyone turns to for the niche it was going to be built for. Fuck me.

I've decided to simplify, build a rough sketch of the user interface, then make it work. I've scaled down the complexity and forced myself to work within limited space. It's amazing the creativity and progress that comes from cutting out choices and focusing on only a few. Penelope Trunk has a great thing about how keeping your options open is a recipe for stagnation. So far, focusing on just getting something functioning is paying off. I expect to have version 0.1 ready to use to start composing the So I Quit My Job project.

Day 34 - Fuck What Everyone Thinks, Says, Does, Or Advises

JUST THE TIP

     Tip #9 - Ignore everyone.

Hugh Macleod wrote possibly one of the greatest books of all time. Surely The Future Explorers will think so after it’s all said and done (and by all said and done, I mean when humans leave the planet for good).

The title of the book is “Ignore Everybody, and …” whatever. The premise is simple and powerful and so obvious that most people will ignore it. It can be summed up in a few phrases. All business models are broken, create your own. Scratch your own itch. Stop trying to be like everyone else and be like yourself. If you don’t know who yourself is, make it up so that it’s not like anyone else you know.

Super Poppycock was born from ignoring all the advice that was telling me that I should only build apps that are marketable, and that scratching your own itch is a recipe for failure. And I’ve talked about this before, maybe it will be a huge failure, a failure to make millions or even thousands or even hundreds. It may not make any money at all. But I’m defining failure a little differently. Since I’m building it first for myself, and second to sell to others, the only way I can fail is if A) I find something that already does what I want it to do, reliably, or B) I quit before it’s finished. Money is a secondary concern at this point, although I’ve already run some test ads and received some interest from others.

If I had listened to the gurus and self proclaimed “experts,” I’d be building some stupid generic business app for the lackeys who buy such crap. And it wouldn’t feel nearly the same as creating something useful for myself. Is any of this making sense?

It’s not that I’m a great success because I’ve stopped listening to the idiots droning on about doing it this way or that way; that worked great for them I’m sure. But I feel better about where I’m going. I’ve let go of deluding myself into thinking that I’ll ever be able to quit my job for good. But I have figured out a system that works well for me now. A system that allows me to work on shit I want to work on and spend only minimal time on shit I don’t give a fuck about.

My girlfriend told me a few months in something like, “you can’t change the system, create your own system.” And if you’re trying to listen to the talking advice head expert idiots, you’re going to end up in the same places over and over again. It’s a good sign if what you’re thinking about doing, or what you’re already doing, flies in the face of conventional wisdom, or goes against the norms of society, or rubs people the wrong way, or makes the purists angry, or is so boring that no one wants to pay any attention to you. Grind it out and see what comes of it.

THINKING ALOUD, BALDERDASH

I’m sitting in a Starbucks watching a parade of uptown hots stroll in and out. They’re wearing their lululemon outfits (nothing wrong with that, I got my own, quite impressive, lululemon collection), their shirt dresses with go go boots, or whatever they’re called, and they’re sauntering around trying to be seen. I see them. I see them all.

I’m wondering, whose fucking these girls. I read a thing somewhere, I think it was actually in “Ignore Everybody,” that said, anywhere where there’s an abundance of young hot girls ready to fuck will be expensive. I can’t help but think about that every time I step out on the street and see all these bunnies running around.

Then I’m reminded of this Louis CK bit, where he’s making fun of the hot girl at the bar. “What do you do?” “People want to fuck me, but not you, ha ha.” I don’t know why these things roll through my head.

I’m part of the whole dance, a willing participant. It makes me a little sad. But still, I wonder, whose fucking these girls?

Then the buff guy from the gym walks in. He’s a good 3 inches taller than me (I’m 6’2”) with shoulders as wide as a semi, and I think, “Oh, that’s who.” But I don’t know if that’s true either. At least not 100%. Maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be, but everyone is so wrapped up trying to be cool all the time that real business never gets accomplished. Like, they all stand around at the club waiting for the other to make the move. Or they’re all afraid of losing so they don’t act at all. I don’t know. I never see them flirting with each other in the wild, so I have to assume something weird is going on.

But still, someone has to be fucking them, right? Maybe that’s the book I should write next? The book about whose fucking all the hot girls.

Day 32 - The Top Of The Bell Curve & The Value Of Learning From The Ordinary

JUST THE TIP

     Tip #8: Never be the best, never be the worst.

This is my all time favorite tip for worker drones.

I've worked with a lot of over achievers, or people who thought that being the smartest, most productive worker meant they would get ahead faster, whatever "get ahead" means. The truth is, working harder than everyone else, getting more shit done than every one of your peers will get you ahead SLIGHTLY faster, but you can never outrun those who are in charge of your career. HINT: you're not in charge of your career, the people making the decisions about what you will work on and how much you should get paid are in charge. You can change jobs, or lobby for a bigger raise, but in the end, you're not going anywhere much faster than the person barely keeping his/her head above water, work wise.

Here's another hint: the destination, or the goal, or the expectation keeps getting pushed further and further out the closer you get to it. So if you produced 12 widgets this month, the expectation is to produce 15 next month. The powers in charge always expect more and more and more, especially if you're the best. It's not their fault, everyone is programmed to always be growing, getting better, producing more, which is stupid, because there's more growth opportunity from failing than there is from constantly succeeding.

If you're the best, your reward for working hard is more work, and MAYBE a half a percent higher raise at raise time. It's not worth it.

If you're the worst, you get fired, typically. Unless you work for a government contractor, then you can get away with being a bottom feeder, except you won't get much of a raise.

The best place to be is right in the middle. Blend in with the average, right at the peak of the bell curve. No one ever looks in those places for anything. They always look at the people sitting at the far right of the curve when something important and time consuming and labor intensive and stress inducing needs to get done. And they look at the people on the far left of the curve when they need to cut costs.

In the meaty, fat middle, you'll get your COLA raise every year and people will tend to leave you alone. This works best in a big company, where it's easy to disappear into the crowd. At smaller companies, it's a bit harder, but still can be done. I think I've become a master at it. Shit, maybe I should write a book about that. I'm not sure I have enough material to fill an entire book. Because I'm running out of material right here, now, these are just filler words.

The point of staying in the middle or slightly below is to save your time and energy for more interesting pursuits, which you do want to strive to be your best at.

THINKING ALOUD

As I scrubbed my ball sack this morning, I was wondering, yet again, the purpose of this blog. Is it so I have an outlet to write in everyday? Is it supposed to be useful? Will I somehow be able to turn all this content into a book some day? I don't know.

I guess I was hoping when I started this thing that everyday would provide a good lesson in making money or whatever. Turns out, that some days are just regular, boring days where routine dominates. Actually, that's most days. Extraordinary days are rare, and I question anyone who claims to have a remarkable day every day.

Then I got to thinking that maybe I should only write when I have something really valuable to share? But then, if I go that route, then I'll lose interest in writing this thing. I know myself. I need to do it every single day. And not just write drivel, but also share. I at least need the illusion that someone, somewhere will find value in this.

Then I wondered if I would be interested in reading something like this. The answer was no. Why do I care about the struggles of some nobody who isn't really engaged in doing anything spectacular? All those bloggers who pump up their lives and write clickable headlines are full of shit. Douche bag shit fucks. At least, that's my justification.

Although, I do think there's tremendous value in learning from people doing ordinary, boring things, and being successful at them. I look at my grandfather and uncle and think if the internet had been a thing when they were in their prime, they might have very popular blogs about welding and running your own shop. They'd probably leave out all the hyperbole though, like this sentence, this post, this whole month worth of material.

I guess I should let go of trying to force fit this into being useful to you, the precious reader, because I don't have any readers, so it doesn't really matter what I write here. But maybe the reason I don't have readers is because there's nothing useful here? Ugh, I'm driving myself insane thinking about it. I'm taking tomorrow off from thinking about this stupid thing.

Day 31 - Thirty Day Progress Report, Or, What's Going On In A-ron's World

Ordinary Hustla is now 30! Days, not years. Ha ha, you thought it was going to be, whatever.

I think every 30 days is a good point to stop down the bombardment of useful information (sarcasm) and give a little progress report. A sort of, What's Going On In A-ron's World. Aren't you exited?

Super Poppycock

Super Poppycock is a going to be a writing app, specifically catering to digital books and geared towards self publishers. It uses markdown as the format editing language, because markdown is simple and the new new thing right now in the world of markup languages. It will allow a writer to quickly convert and "prettify" a book that is Kindle, Kobo, Nook, etc ready. It'll do everything but design the cover image. It'll run on Mac and Windows with plans to run on iDevices in the future.

Here's what the thing looks like so far on Windows...

If you're familiar with the Mac only app, Ulysses, then you'll notice a lot of similarities. Mainly, the interface looks almost exactly alike. I don't care, it's a nice interface. Wasn't it Paul McCartney or Oprah or someone that said, "good artists borrow, great artists steal." Well then, just consider me great because I stole the concept of their interface.

Here's a shot of the greeting screen...

I modeled it after Garageband, which has a really intuitive opening screen to guide you exactly where you want to go in a hurry.

That's about all it does right now, besides the fancy markdown syntax highlighting (I'm really proud of that, although Qt made it really easy). I really wrestled with how to make it behave. Now I'm currently struggling with how to store books. I hate the whole syncing nonsense. I like being in control of when things get saved, although there will be some sort of auto save functionality, just in case you forget, or your grandma walks in on you watching scat porn and you accidentally slam your computer shut so hard it bursts into a million pieces.

I've been going back and forth with storing book data in a SQLite database or just using plain JSON. I think I've pretty much settled on using JSON, because it's simple, it's text based, and Qt has good support for it. I can always ramp up to a database if need be in the future.

I estimate I'm about 20% done, with plans of having version 1.0 ready for the public sometime in October or November of this year.

So I Quit My Job

So I Quit My Job is a blog I wrote in 2009 outlining my adventures after I quit my high paying corporate gig and took a year off from cubicle slavery. This is a project to turn all those posts, the good ones anyway, into a book.

I haven't made much progress, aside from setting up the directory on Dropbox and editing a couple of the posts. I anticipate giving this more attention in the next 30 days.

I estimate I'm 10% done with this. After all, the hard work of writing the shit is done. All I got to do now is edit the damn thing and format it into an e-book. And also, design a cover, which is a huge pain in the ass because I suck at digital design.

The Abs Project

The Abs Project is my quest to "get a six pack." It's more about experimenting with different protocols that don't require me to starve myself or train for ridiculous amounts of time. It's also about getting super strong and the mental aspects of lifestyle change.

This is my first week, so not much to report other than I did a bunch of research, and pretty much in the end decided to incorporate only a little bit and make changes gradually. So this first month is all about eating protein and fiber for breakfast, working out every day doing "fat burning" movements, and staying away from the sweet stuff. Oh, and keep a food and training diary.

This is an ongoing thing, for at least the next few months. The eventual goal is to turn the results into a book or maybe some kind of weekly e-course, something I can sell. To that end, I've made almost no progress, but I'm optimistic I can pull it off.

The Hustlecast

The Hustlecast is the audio companion to this blog. It's billed as the condensed, more useful version of this site. But I know, and you'll know if you listen, it's all about me honing my broadcasting chops for the big time. That doesn't mean it's not useful, or interesting, or funny, it is. Go listen.

There's no progress to report. I'm 3 episodes in, with plans on publishing a new show every week. After a year, I'm going to pitch local radio stations of the show idea. Yeah, this means I'm practicing for a major career change.

---

You are my friend, cherished reader person. I hope you play along instead of sitting on the sidelines watching with a 64oz beer chomping down buckets of those nasty stadium nachos.

If you'd like to tell me how awesome and sexy you think I am, or you want to tell me how stupid I am, send me an email: i@a-ron.me. I'm always open to friendly things, and not so friendly things also (but get ready for massive abuse in return ;).