Rain, Fast Food Trainers, & Blowing Up Downtown Dallas To Solve Its Wolf Problem - Day 165

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Rain is a huge deterrent. It's like a tranquilizer for my soul. It literally sucks the life out of me, especially when it's cold. All I want to do when it rains in the Winter is lay in bed and watch re-runs of Jerry Springer and eat massive amounts of delicious chili, then sit on the toilet for hours playing games on my phone.

But fuck me (get the play on words?) if the world doesn't stop just because of a little rain. We've "evolved" to the point where almost all weather is just an annoyance, not a show stopper. Which, in a way, is sort of sad. I imagine in the good old days, the days when we wore loin cloths and bathed in the river and lived in caves, we just huddled in our caves by the fire and worried about starving and other things that might wander into our cave to avoid the cold rain and wind up eating us. Why can't modern life be more like that? So I don't have to feel guilty if I don't get anything done on days like today? Unfortunately, The Progress Machine doesn't give a fuck about a little rain.

Thank God I'm Not Dumb Enough To Hire A $10/hr Personal "Trainer"

Despite the cold and the rain and the gloominess and the feelings of "fuck it," I got my ass up and headed to the gym. The mornings are the best, because there's only old people and a handful of extremely dedicated fitness enthusiasts to navigate. I completed my workout with ease.

I did notice this old lady who had paid extra (I assume) for one of the gym's personal trainers. Where this YouFit gym stands apart in cheapness, cleanliness, etc, it doesn't stray too far from the big box gym formula, which is to constantly recruit new members and get them to sign up for long term deals and push in-house personal training.

Now I don't have a problem with personal trainers. I think I could use one myself, just to keep me accountable. But the guys and girls you find in the big box gyms, the ones making $10/hr, are absolutely worthless (most of them, not all, some are actually pretty good, but they're few and far between (hint to all you wanna be personal trainers: it's not hard to stand out from the crowd)). They seem disinterested. They run everyone through the same boring, ridiculous workouts, which includes lunge walking around the perimeter of the gym and doing some variation of ultra light dumbbell curls that are about as effective as curling the remote control to change the channel. Ugh.

I suppose those who have no clue what they're doing benefit from it, so good on them for taking action. But I can't help but laugh when I see some overweight new mom doing infinite leg presses with 10 pounds on the sled. C'mon, man!

Honing The Value Prop

I've been reading a lot of inner web articles on creating value propositions. Probably too many. It seems there's varying opinions about what exactly a value propisition is. To some, it seems it's more of a marketing thing, describing the benefits to the customer. In other words, it's just writing copy that sells. Others, like this one, break down in more business-y terms, where it's almost a very shallow business plan. It's all making me insane because I'm trying to figure out who is right; which method should I follow?

Here's my value prop so far for the elite programming academy, code named, Engine Zero:

Engine Zero will vault your development prowess to elite levels. With stiff competition in the software development world and plenty of ordinary developers willing to work for nothing, setting yourself apart from the pack is paramount. Engine Zero has crafted a plethora of focused, deliberate practice exercises to stretch and strengthen your skills as a developer, which will help take your career to new levels.

I think it's decent as a marketing message. Like, if I already knew that the market existed for an elite programming thing, then this would be good copy to put on the landing page of the web site.

But I don't have a validated market. All I have is a hypothesis. So I think I need to break it down to a more basic level, a level that inspires conversation instead of pressure to buy. So the value prop in this context, I think, looks more like this:

  1. What is the problem I'm trying to solve?
  2. Who has this problem?
  3. Why does it need solving?
  4. What are the main benefits to solving it?
  5. How am I going to solve it?

I think this is a better conversation starter, because I come at whoever has the problem I'm trying to solve asking questions instead of dictating, "you have this problem and I have the solution." It's more like I'm asking them, "hey, I think you have this problem, you want to talk about how to solve it?"

The last question I think is optional, because I only need to come up with the How? after I've verified that, indeed, my hypothesis is correct. But still, it may be a useful exercise just in case how the problem is solved is just as important, or more important than, as the problem itself. For example, if the city of Dallas all of the sudden has a situation where wolves start eating people's faces off in downtown, and my solution is to blow up all the buildings, i.e. eliminate downtown, then that may be a deal breaker to solving the problem.

When You Don't Feel Like And You're Like, Uck, But You Fucking Do It Anyway - Day 163

GETTING SHIT DONE

I was sitting on the couch watching football, exhausted from the day, getting ready to finish things up and go to bed. One of the things I have forced myself to do for the past couple weeks is map out the next day. It helps me think about where I'm going and what I need to be doing. "I've heard this before you idiot, get on with it already!?" you might be thinking right now.

So I had this moment, it was really brief, where I almost said to myself, "fuck it." Meaning, I almost punted making the schedule. It is kind of a beating to think about what I want to do when I'm fucking tired. It is a pain in the ass to get up, grab the notebook, write stuff in it, and use my brain to predict the immediate future. But it's something I feel like I have to do, at least until I've laid a good enough foundation where all this shit is automatic. And even then, I'll probably need some sort of schedule to remind me not to forget to breathe air and shit. And also to not run off chasing the new new shiny thing.

Anyway, that small moment, I noticed it, yet I pushed through it. I made the stupid schedule in spite of not wanting to. I think that's really the key for creating good, healthy habits, doing something important even when I don't feel like it. It's like flossing. It's a pain in the ass and more time consuming than just running a toothbrush over the teeth, but it's important and must be done, every, single, fucking, God damn, forsaken, day.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Health & Fitness: The New Meat Head King

I went to the lime green and electric purple gym this morning. 15 push ups, 15 body weight squats, 2 assisted pull ups, 3 sets of 8 dumbbell inclined bench, 3 sets of lat pull downs, and a light, 0.5 mile jog.

I practiced doing front squats with just the bar and these two meat head types were talking about what I was doing right behind my back. They weren't real meat heads, more like meat head wannabes (why in the fucking Hell would anyone WANT to be a meat head?). I ignored them for the most part and continued doing my thing.

Outside of that, the gym was quiet and not very crowded. Me like. Maybe one day I'll be the one wearing a tank top two sizes too small and do nothing but variations of bicep curls while looking in the mirror admiringly. Then I'll make love to myself and have a love baby out of my butt. I'll name him Adolphozonsodonis and he'll be the most handsomest, most strongest, most whatever-est living thing ever, king of the meat heads.

Biz 2015: Too Many Questions

I don't know why I feel awkward closing the door to my office at the job. It feels like I'm shutting out the world, almost like I'm going to miss something important or fun or interesting or whatever. Then I remember, none of those things ever occur at work. I might miss someone saying a thing about me, like, "that A-ron guy, yeah, boy, you know?" but outside of that, the job is the most uneventful, least interesting, boring-est place that a person can ever be. So then I didn't feel so guilty about closing my door to do more important work.

I came up with a couple of new ideas, deleted some ones that are never going to happen or are too stupid to be considered "good ideas," and worked on the value proposition and offer for the elite programming academy.

I used to read Joel on Software a lot back when he was the blogger de jour. I remember reading a thing where he proclaimed that developers don't like paying for tools and shit, or something like that. Essentially, since most developers, at least the ones who think they're good, are egocentric, self centered, self proclaimed geniuses, they don't like paying for things they can make themselves or can get for free from the open source community. That was what started running through my mind as I thought of what value this elite programming thing is really providing.

Do developers really care about achieving mastery? Do they care about becoming valuable in the work force? Do they really want control over the kind of job they have and the work they do, or are they mostly content just showing up and doing their job as is? Most important, if any of them do actually care, would they buy in to the whole "deliberate practice" stuff? Are they willing to do difficult exercises that grow their skills but don't necessarily relate to their current job duties? I suppose these are questions that can only be answered by asking actual developers.

Meat Heads, Offer Creation, Unwinnable Battles, & The Robot In Me - Day 162

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

A Gym Not Filled With Grunting Meat Heads

I went to this new new gym in town called YouFit. They have obnoxious colors, lime green and electric purple (I feel like I'm walking into a Prince video), but they're cheap, clean, well equipped, and not packed to the brim with socializing grunt faces.

I remember working at Food Lion when I was a teenager and how awesome people thought they were. The manager lady, who was also a chain smoker (she's probably dead now, just FYI), would go on and on about how much more awesome Food Lion was than the other grocery stores she used to work at. I just rolled my eyes and went back to cleaning up the baby diarrhea on aisle 8.

After my workout, I talked to the guy who stands behind the counter at the gym and makes sure only people who have paid money to workout there get in. He reminded me of that old, most likely dead, chain smoking manager from Food Lion. He went on and on about how 24 Hour Fitness used to be the hot shit and now it's a toilet (it is, and it's also filled with aging meat heads, who are really just fat guys with big muscles), and how YouFit is the bestest. He had a "feeling" that YouFit is going to be the next best thing in fitness.

So fucking what. If it's cheap, close, clean, and has the shit I need to accomplish the shit I want to accomplish, I'm in. Who cares if it's primed to be the next gym the meat heads flock to and eventually ruin because they're obnoxious.

Creating An Offer

Continuing from yesterday's customer development thing, I sat down and thought about the hypothesis for the elite programming academy idea (code named Engine Zero aka Mastery Project aka Project:Mastery). Developing the hypothesis wasn't too difficult, but I needed to add an extra step between developing the hypothesis and testing it. I called it: crafting the offer.

This is the thing I'll take into the real world and put in front of the "who?" and see if they want to buy it. If not, then I'll back track and revise the hypothesis or the offer and test again. Surely, eventually, someone will buy whatever thing I come up with, right? It has to happen. Jesus loves me enough. Or does He?

Here's the new flowchart:

Battling The Blog

I've decided to give up on the notion of trying to make this thing interesting to all people all the time. I went back and forth on transitioning to a more fictional story telling blog and just keeping it the way it is and let it organically grow over time (i.e. assuming it gets better as I do). I can always go back through the posts and pull out the most useful information and put it in a book or handy dandy guide or something. Since I really haven't figured out anything for myself yet, I really don't have much "advice-y" type stuff to offer. It's just me, a keyboard, and a shit ton of ridiculous thoughts for now.

The Next Eddie Van Halen, Without The Nicotine Addiction

Guitar practice is under way. That's really it. I picked up the guitar, tuned it, and started working through this book that got delivered today called, "Guitar for Dummies." Aren't the titles of those books just a little bit insulting? I mean, if you're buying the thing you're admitting to being a dumb ass. I'm going to start a series of books titled something like, "Aerobics for Assholes," or, "The Assholes Guide to Doing Everything." There has to be a market these things, right?

But anyway, yeah, I practiced the guitar and am on my way to becoming the best ever.

GETTING SHIT DONE

It feels kind of robotic making and following a daily schedule. I hate it in every way except it keeps me focused on what I need to be doing. Instead living in the "what do I do next?" world where the mediocre-st of the mediocre-st live, I know exactly what I should be doing at any given time. Now, whether or not I actually do the thing is another issue.

Here's what my revised schedule looks like:

The hard start times of the previous version just didn't work for me. I like having loose times so I don't feel like I have to rush from one thing to the next. Plus, if I miss a hard start time, I have a tendency to not do anything. So I made a schedule that allows me some wiggle room.

Now I have approximate start times and in parenthesis I put a time range of how long I want/need to spend on that particular thing. Then the next starts at the worst case run time of the previous thing. This is similar to the schedule I do for work each day, but a little more detailed.

Unlaziness, Uncertainty, & Underwhelming Simplicity - Day 161

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Becoming The Opposite Of Fat & Sick

I got back into my workout routine. I had planned on trying out this new gym down the road from me, but punted when I showed up at 7 am and learned they don’t open until 8 am on Saturdays. Normally, I would’ve said, “fuck it,” and went home and sulked. Instead, I went to the park and did some stuff that pushes me a little closer to not being such a fat ass any more. Yeah for me!

Creating The World’s Greatest Blog Ever

I wrote a stupid blog thing and got to thinking about my whole plan of doing a daily postmortem deal. I kind of decided that it is a bad idea to go on and on about myself and make this thing all about me, even though the name of the site is The Prolific A-ron. Why will anyone care what the fuck I’m doing and the struggles I’m going through? They won’t. You want something out of this because I'm not a celebrity or an athlete or a celebrity athlete. I'm a nobody, just like you, and no one cares about nobodies.

To put it another way, I think I’m seeking to answer the question, what makes a compelling blog? It’s easy to say, “compelling, interesting, useful content,” but that’s too vague. What is compelling, interesting, and/or useful? And further, what do I have or know or think that is any of those things? Certainly writing in excruciating detail about my day isn’t it, right? While I don’t think it’s totally boring - I do think I’m a good writer that can make just about anything interesting and/or funny (#humblebrag, suck it) - I do think it’s not enough. There needs to be something of substance here.

Fuck me, just when I thought I had a new new direction to move in, I kick myself in the taint. I feel like this blog is nothing but a big blob of worthless text. And I imagine most people would agree, but maybe there’s an audience out there who enjoys being beat over the head with someone else’s minutiae.

I’ve also thought about not doing the daily thing any more. Instead, maybe I should write fully fleshed out, thought out, edited articles and post on a semi weekly basis? But then I feel like I need to stick to a particular subject, like bad mitten or yoga for guys or whatever. And I don’t like that. I like feeling like I have to produce something useful every single day. I think it will make me a better writer. "Who fucking cares? Stop talking about yourself asshole!”

The Great Business Construction of 2015

I had some thoughts on what to call my elite programming academy. Engine Zero. But fuck me if that name isn’t already taken.

I also thought about some of the details and who might be my target audience. I ran this past the girl who I’ve somehow tricked into marrying me and she asked me if this is something that I feel like I can stick with. She didn’t say, “oh yeah, what a great idea! You’re the smartest, most handsome, most studly man I’ve ever met.” She said, “are you going to stick with it,” then gave me a look that said, “I don’t believe you’re able to stick with anything.” And she had a great point, which got me thinking if this is the thing I feel like I can stick with long enough to get good at. I don’t have an answer yet.

I came up with a couple of new ideas that seemed boring, and I thought about how I should take the next step with the programming academy. I came up with this little pipeline thing that I sort of stole from Steve Blank, the inventor of the customer discovery philosophy. Here’s the pipeline:

It all starts with an idea, mainly, an idea that I feel strongly about. Not some shitty thing like dog walking or window washer or hand job in an alley service. Something of substance, hopefully aligned with whatever things I’m already interested in or good at.

After the idea, it’s time to develop a hypothesis, a theory, something that is a conjecture about what need the business is filling or what value it’s going to provide and who will be willing pay me in exchange for this value. The value proposition is the value the business is going to provide (duh!), such as, “finding new customers easily,” or, “become an elite level programmer through focused practice,” or, “write better, faster, stronger.” It’s not an explanation of what the business does or how it provides the value, although that needs to probably be a part of the hypothesis when it hits the testing phase. It’s more a statement of what the end benefit to the customer is. If the hypothesis is tested successfully, then figuring out how to deliver the end result should be easy, right?

The “who?” part also needs to be answered in the hypothesis, so I’ll know who I need to contact to present my hypothesis to. Something like, “parents of pre-college teens who want to get a head start in computer science,” or, “fiction writers interested in self publishing.” Shit like that.

Once that’s done, I get out into the world and test my hypothesis, making revisions as necessary, until I have a paying customer, someone who is ready to give me money for whatever thing I come up with. This is definitely a simplistic view, but it’s a good starting point I think.

They Say Change Is Good, But You Sir, Yes You, Are A Boring Fuck - Day 160

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

I have four things I’m really focusing on. To summarize from my goals yesterday  here they are again, reworded for dramatic effect:

  1. Become healthy and fit, a ripped stallion
  2. Build a business that doesn’t suck
  3. Learn to become a bad ass on the guitar
  4. Turn this blog into the most popular blog ever on the inner web (as if there are blogs that exist outside the inner web; and the whole “most popular blog ever” could probably use some expectation culling)

So each day should be a ritual in doing something that moves me closer to achieving these long term goals. I’ve done my best to break these down into 90 day increments, then in my scheduling thing, break those down into weekly increments. So far, I think I’ve done a good job of keeping the schedule and honing the goals, but a poor job of actually doing the stuff necessary to move closer to those goals. I see it as a ramping up exercise, because I’ve read things that say getting highly specific with what you want to achieve is a good practice for actually achieving the thing. And figuring out the specifics takes time when you’re a newbie like me.

The Call Of The Slave

My schedule yesterday got butt fucked by the fucking job, where I had to sit in on a stupid early meeting where people talked about things that do not matter in my life at all. Like, things that I could’ve gone the rest of my life not knowing they existed and still have a kick ass existence. But I had a thing to talk about, actually, my boss had to talk about the thing I’m working on and he had to pretend that everything was OK. I just sat there and listened while they threw around corporate talk, using phrases like, “why isn’t it done?” and, “when?” and, “I’m really excited.”

Of course, this stupid fucking meeting ran longer than expected, cutting into my blogging time and business development time. “But A-ron,” you might be thinking to yourself, “A-ron, shouldn’t you be doing work work while you’re at the job?” The answer is, “of course, you idiot, but I ain’t like the others. I follow the two hour rule.” Although, the two hours sometimes grows into three and four and five, and sometimes all fucking day. At the end of those longer days, I want to catapult an elephant onto my head, ass first.

Then, after the extra long meeting, I got sucked into another meeting where I had to explain, in detail, the thing I’m building for the company. And the people I’m explaining the thing to, of course, had a billion fucking questions and suggestions and blah blah blah. Murder. Death. Kill.

So I didn’t get as much done as I wanted to. I wrote a blog thing, revised some of my business ideas, ordered some guitar books, and mindlessly surfed the inner web the rest of my limited down time. Then I got home, watched some you tube videos on guitar, read a couple of articles, and watched the Legos movie, which was pretty fucking good.

I blame the sporadic nonsense of the job for my failure to follow through on my daily plan. But at the least, it’s a good lesson towards figuring out a way to schedule in unknowns and what to do when they occur.

BIZ 2015

I’m leaning towards developing a subscription based learning site for computer science. But not an ordinary, boring, site that teaches people just to program. A site where beginners and seasoned software engineers can go and improve their skills through a series of carefully crafted exercises, using the theory of deliberate practice as the foundation. Maybe include a early beginners series geared towards pre-college kids and absolute newbies.

I also have an idea for something similar but for guitar. This would be more geared toward going from practically nothing to bad ass through a series of increasingly difficult guitar lessons. It’ll have videos and expert classes and shit.

I’m taking a very simple approach to figuring out what flavor of business I want to pursue this time. Intead of being all over the map, I’ve narrowed down my interests, or markets, to four: programming, guitar, health and fitness, and writing, since those are the things I’m working toward myself. And my plan is to every day go over the ideas I already have and flesh out the ones I am highly interested in and come up with new ideas. Eventually I should have a good idea of which one I need to go after. I’m hoping it will be obvious.

Goals - Not So Fucking Stupid After All - Day 159

I've written before that goals are fucking stupid, and anyone who keeps goals is a stupid retard. Reading that thing again, I realize what a moron I was. Especially now that I have set some goals for myself and am in the process of achieving them. In hindsight, I suppose goals are fucking stupid from the perspective of someone who has no goals, and also has no direction, no ambition, no whatever, and is under the spell of the new new blogger idiot who preaches, “goals are fucking stupid,” just to be a contrarian.

I have goals now. I'm not sure how long they'll last, but I have them. How does this relate to you? How are you going to benefit from me having goals?

From what I can gather, the popular blogs, the blogs that people actually read (no one reads this crap, so I'm not sure why I care), write stuff that is useful and/or is at least interesting to other people. So if I want people to read this thing, then I probably better start creating content that is useful to you, the dear, cherished reader.

That's why today, I'm rolling out the Daily Postmortem  where I break down my progress in achieving my goals, insights I've gained, and stories that matter. How does this benefit you? Well, if you have things and goals and stuff you'd like to achieve, then you can feel free to play along. I'm going to go into detail about how I've been keeping track of my goals, along with stuff I've been doing to get me there. And I'll collect the important "highlights" into a weekly post. Deal? OK. Here's my fucking goals.

GOALS

In the next few years, I want to...

  1. Get down to 10% body fat @ 190 lbs - 0%
  2. Build a business that replaces my current income - 1%
  3. Become a master guitarist - 20%
  4. Redefine blogging - 5%

By Feb 24, 2015 (90 days):

  1. Read these goals every day right after waking, right before going to sleep. 
  2. Develop time scheduling habit (plan every day). 
  3. Drop to 180 lbs
  4. 25 pushups, 25 squats, 2 pullups, 2 mile jog near daily
  5. Pick a business to pursue
  6. Setup guitar practice space, develop practice schedule and routine
  7. Blog 6 days a week

By May 24, 2015 (180 days):

  1. Maintain 180 lbs @ 15% body fat
  2. 34" belly circumference
  3. 37 pushups, 37 squats, 5 pullups daily
  4. Make $100 from the business
  5. Develop set list
  6. Keep blogging 6 days a week
  7. Promote blog

By Aug 24, 2015 (270 days):

  1. 12% body fat
  2. 32" belly circumference
  3. 50 pushups, 50 squats, 8 pullups daily
  4. Generate $100 monthly from the business
  5. Write 2 songs
  6. Keep blogging 6 days a week

By Nov 24, 2015 (1 year):

  1. Eat only veggies, fruit, lean meats, eggs, and nuts 80%
  2. 30" waist, 30" belly, 10% body fat
  3. 62 pushups, 62 squats, 12 pullups daily
  4. Generate $500 monthly from business
  5. Play at an open mic or setup a gig
  6. Keep blogging 6 days a week

I pulled this format from a thing I read on Quora that also said to review these twice a day, every day, which I have been doing, mostly. The goals have morphed since I first wrote them down and will most likely keep morphing as I gain more clarity. Like, "redefine blogging" is vague and stupid. What does it even mean? I don't know yet. All I know is I want to do it, but I don't know how.

I whittled this list down from a bigger list. I've noted extensively on this thing that I am a person who likes to bounce from one thing to another, never really sticking with anything longer than the inital excitement lasts. I'm a jack of all trades, master of none. While I used to think this was a good thing, I'm now understanding that it's bad, and being a master, better than 99%, at just a handful of things is probably a better, more profitable, more satisfying way to go. This article has convinced me.

That's why I think the "review twice a day" thing is the most important thing to do, because it keeps me on track and helps deflect any urge to pursue the new new thing. Also, I've made a rule to keep this list to no more than 5 long term goals, preferably fewer, but five is the absolute maximum. Laser focus is extremely important in achieving mastery.

GETTING SHIT DONE

In addition to these goals, I've also started a daily planning ritual. Like, trying my best to map out my week and each day. I stole this idea from Cal Newport's blog, this post specifically. Here's what today's schedule looked like, although I didn't follow it to a T, and I'm still experimenting with the format to fit how I do things:

Each thing corresponds to one of my goals. Since I have a hard time sticking with hard time starts, I've started using bubbles to approximate when I should begin or end a thing. In the right column, I add more detail to things that need more detail, which forces me to think about what I should be doing to move closer to my ultimate goal. Like for biz, I really have no idea what I should be doing other than thinking of ideas. So I wrote down that I need to figure out what I should be doing.

And there you have it. Don't think the witty, funny, angry, off putting blogger that you know and love is going away. He's still here and his number one goal for this thing is to be entertaining. But maybe you can also harness some useful crap out of this to apply to your own miserable life to make it better. Or maybe not. Maybe you're content wearing shirts two sizes too small so your belly hangs over your belt and you spill syrup on it and let your dog lick it off. Send me pics.

Cock Rings, Blow Up Dolls, & The Default Fucking Rail - Day 158

I don't need no fucking alarm clock to wake up. Usually I don't. But sometimes I do. Like when I have to get up at some ridiculous hour to catch a flight or something. Anything before 5 am, I set an alarm. Anything after 5 am, I don't need a fucking alarm.

Today was a day that I needed sleep. And that's exactly what I did, not giving two fucks what time I got up and got moving. But somehow, I wound up feeling guilty that I didn't get up and do something productive. Although I felt great, that nagging feeling of being a worthless loser piece of shit couldn't be suppressed.

I shook it off as just one of those days and promised to make it up to myself the next day. A promise I seem to make almost every day. Like I say to myself, "tomorrow is the day I make all the changes I need to make to achieve the goals I want to achieve," and magically, I feel better while simultaneously ridding myself of any momentary guilt.

There's always this harsh transition when I go from the bed to the shower to the car to the office. It's like I'm sleepwalking on the rail that The System really wants me to follow. I imagine it being the routine of most working stiffs, and that bothers me more than anything, that all I'm doing is going through the motions. Then I damn my environment, the suburbs, as the reason I'm content following the rail.

I suppose I should be happy the rail exists as a default. Not just happy, grateful, because without that rail, who knows what I'd become on days like this. I'd probably end up on the couch watching re-runs of Jerry Springer while eating mountains of ice cream and wondering how I can break out of this cycle of nothingness. So, thank God and The System that fucking default rail exists, even though I hate it with all my heart.

Not that there's anything wrong with having a rail to follow. I just don't like getting on the default one, the one that (most) everyone around me is following. I like having my own rail, all to myself. A rail that I get to build, destroy, re-paint, whatever. Or ignore and abandon altogether, which is what I did today in favor of sleeping a little more. It was worth it.

There were donuts at the job, sitting on the little table right outside my office, right alongside all the candy and soda and shit that calls my name every single day. It feels like I'm walking through a gauntlet of guilty pleasures whose only purpose in life is getting me to consume them so they can later turn my body into something resembling a plastic sack filled with goo. Those guilty pleasures win almost every day. And every day, I curse them and think for about 20 seconds how to defeat them but always come up with something like, "try harder." I can attest that "trying harder" isn't a good solution to any problem that involves willpower.

I had a couple of donuts. Then I had one more. Then I felt a little sick and a little high, so I had soup and a kombucha for lunch. Then I spent the rest of the afternoon in a foggy daze, wondering whether I was dreaming or awake. I realized I was actually dead when I ended the day sitting in a meeting where everyone sits around and makes conjectures and wild ass guesses about the profitability of the product I'm currently building for the company. Yeah, death is a good metaphor for these kind of things.

I went home and picked up the girl who chooses to share a bed with me and we headed to the company holiday party. I said, "we need to get there early so we don't have to sit next to people that no one else wants to sit next to." But that fell short, because everyone I work around has nothing better to do but show up early to a company party. We walked into the room and saw everyone already there and seated, and I said to myself, "fuck me."

Luckily, we didn't have to sit next to anyone too terribly objectionable. It could've been much worse, so we lucked out. Since I don't drink, I got to watch the night turn from a quiet, mild mannered, pleasant dinner party to a drunk fest. There's always at least one person who overdoes it and makes a fool of himself. And yes, it's almost always a himself and not a herself, although I've witnessed both ends of the spectrum.

But it was mostly uneventful. I was proud of myself for bringing the worst gift. I love being that guy, the guy who puts the risk in choosing whether to steal a gift or open a fresh one. I am that asshole.

One year, me and a buddy conspired to bring the most horrible gifts we could think of. After agreeing that shitting in a box was probably the most horrific thing we could do outside of a severed head, we decided it probably wasn't a good idea to do something that terrible. So we went to the sex store instead.

He bought a blow up doll and a 1 pound bag of peanut M&M's. I bought a cock ring with ball divider. I remember the look on the dude's face who opened my gift, held it up, and asked, "what the hell is this?" I told him it was plant holder, but I think he figured out that it was some kind of sex thing. Especially after the blow up doll was opened. Good times.

Via Chicago - Day 157

I've gone my whole life thinking Dallas was a real city. That's something like 40 years. But now I realize Dallas is a good approximation of a real city, but doesn't even come close to the real thing. It's almost like a copy of a copy of a copy, or a clone of a clone. And if you've ever seen the movie Multiplicity, you know that a clone of a clone never comes out right.

My world was shattered over the weekend after visiting Chicago. I've never really thought of Chicago as being a big big city, but I was fucking wrong. It's the real deal, and now I want to divorce Dallas and move there.

Not that there's anything wrong with Dallas. We got lots of good food, lots of tall buildings, lots of grit and grime, lots and lots of sterility, lots of metrosexuals, lots of hot girls, lots of ways to get lost, and probably more than our fair share of douche-ness. But Chicago has more of all that. Way fucking more. Plus a decent subway system, complete with urine smell and weirdos. I loved it.

Now to be in that every day, to live right in the middle of it, to be a part of it may be a different story. I might move there and decide within a week or so that I made a huge mistake. Then I'll slowly decline into one of the weird homeless people that spend their days sleeping on the subway, begging for change, and shouting nonsense in the streets just to hear my voice echo through the massive glass and steel towers.

And it's weird because, I have this thing against the repression that all those glass and steel towers represent. Like, I know they are nothing but monolithic representations of wealth and power. They're vertical because we have a fascination with phallic symbols; a kind of "my penis is bigger than yours" sort of thing, except substitute "skyscraper" for "penis." You can see the pissing contest on full display.

Or maybe I read too much into it, like it's my own interpretation of the truth, which is going up is more practical than going out. When you can concentrate a large population in a central location, it makes it easier to get around. In other words, you don't have to go very far to get what you need. Your work, groceries, all of it is within reach quickly, either by riding the subway or hoofing it.

Dallas kind of chose the horizontal thing. Outside of downtown, everything is spread out. It takes forever to drive from point A to point B. And you have to drive because there's no handy dandy subway system connecting everything, which, now that I've experienced the greatness of the subway, is a huge limitation of Dallas. It's a beating knowing I have to drive 30 minutes and most likely sit in horrific traffic just to get to my job.

So my new favorite city is Chicago. I loved it. It feels like my kind of place. It's alive. I almost felt like I had to hustle to survive. Like, if I slowed down or stumbled, I'd get swallowed up or trampled and swept to the side. Then people would step over me, and even spit on me, as I laid in a puddle of dirty water dying. They'd thank the lord Jesus in Heaven that it wasn't them, not caring one bit about helping me back up. Call me a masochist, but that sounds extremely appealing to me (not the dying part, the having to survive part).

The Mastery Continuum Version 2.0 - Day 152

DELIBERATE PRACTICE - THE MASTERY CONTINUUM REVISED

The more I think about this whole Mastery Continuum thing, the more I like it as a method of making "life" decisions. It's a nice visual representation of where you're at in the areas of life that you think matter the most. And it's also a good indicator of how far away you might be to achieving mastery.

I've revised the graph, merging the difficulty factor into the continuum and breaking down the continuum into 5 areas:

  • Novice - you're just beginning or haven't accomplished much. At this stage, no one gives a shit about you. This is where most people are with most things.
  • Average - you've broken through to the next level. You can converse intelligently about the thing you're attempting to master. No one still gives a shit, but the people who are around you most take notice of your skill level, and might say something like, "oh, that's cool."
  • Noticeable - you're now in the realm where people outside of your normal circle take notice. And some of those people might be willing to pay you for the thing. Getting better is noticeably more difficult and painful and time consuming. This is where most people stay.
  • Superstar - people are blown away by your abilities/knowledge/skills. You can punch your own ticket, name your price, whatever. You've reached a level of competency that only a small subset of others have. You can do the thing in your sleep practically. You are considered one of the best.
  • Master - you are considered the best human on the planet at this thing, almost without debate. People write about you as a means to inspire. You are in the company of Steve Jobs, Louis CK, Jimi Hendrix, Thomas Edison, Martin Luther King Jr.

The Mastery Continuum version 2.0

As you can see, the level of difficulty increases as you get better. When you get to the Master stage, there's really nowhere else to go except parallel. At this point, you may invent new methods of doing things. You may change the world forever. You've raised the bar.

I've included where I think I am in the areas I'm most interested in. I may have been a bit generous in my assessment of my programming level, but, fuck it.

The $$$ threshold appears when other people outside of your close circle start taking notice. When you get emails from people who say things like, "I love your work in <insert the thing here>. Can I give you some money?" I thought it might be a moving target at first, meaning it appears at different points on the continuum depending on the thing. For example, it's easier to get to the $$$ threshold cleaning toilets than it is for say, brain surgery.

But I changed my mind, because even if you're a janitor who cleans toilets, people aren't going to pay you unless you're noticeably good at it. If you clean a toilet and it's still dirty afterwards, you're not going to last long. And it's easier to get to the noticeable level in some fields than it is in others. But still, you have to be in the noticeable portion of the continuum for people to be willing to pay you.

The thing I had a hard time representing is time, because some things just take longer to master than others. I suppose the bottom axis could be a representation of mastery over time, or the bottom axis could be time and the vertical axis could be mastery, but that would rotate the 5 areas to the horizontal.

Anyway, I've made my point, and my big "life" decision. It's pretty clear cut now that I think about it. Whether or not it's doable is another question. I have a feeling one or two of these things are going to fall by the way side in favor of something else. I suppose that's where priorities come into play, with health and fitness a clear cut number one. Because without health, it's hard to do anything else.

How To Achieve Control, A Theory I Developed Just Now - Day 151

MORNING ROUTINE

I woke up around 5:30 am, a full thirty minutes before my scheduled get up time. I'm like the master at waking up at the time I need to get up without an alarm, unless it's really fucking early. Then I need the stupid alarm or my body will protest.

I fed the dogs, put on some warm clothes, drank a big glass of water, weighed myself, reviewed my goals, and headed to the park to do my new workout. It's not that new, but I have changed some things up. I need to ramp it up!

Instead of getting to the park and deciding to quit, like I did yesterday, I got out of my car and did the fucking workout. God smiled at me from Heaven and for a second, I contemplated flipping him off for this shitty weather all week. But I decided to ask him to give me some decent weather for my trip to a city where it's known to be balls fucking cold this time of year. He probably doesn't give a shit.

I came home, made a smoothie and paid bills. I love watching the money I acquired because I showed up to a place I don't really want to be, and did work that I didn't really want to do, go practically directly from my bank account into someone else's. All for the privilege of having infinite running water, electricity, gas, and other shit. Modern life is awesome, isn't it?

DELIBERATE PRACTICE - THE MASTERY CONTINUUM

The so called "experts" really need to come up with a method of choosing between different "life" choices. I mean, I know it's impossible to predict the satisfaction one will get out of a certain endeavor, but there's gotta be a rational way to make a decision, right?

Well, I'm going to invent one because decisions are hard to fucking make. Not all decisions, but the ones that seem like they're going to have the biggest impact on your life, the ones that feel like there's no turning back once they're chosen, are really fucking hard. And that's one of the reasons I think most people either never decide (me!) or avoid making the decision at all.

I made this little graph to depict where I'm at on the "Mastery Continuum" in regards to the things I'm mostly interest in or am already good at. The leftmost notch means I have zero mastery. The rightmost notch means there's no better human in the world at the thing than me. And the red dashed line is the "money threshold," which I'm defining as the point where you're good enough that people are willing to pay you.

The Mastery Continuum

As you can see, my programming skills are the only thing I'm good enough to be paid to do, and they're not quite close to the "master" notch. I think this is OK, as it's very hard to achieve mastery in just about everything, especially if there's already a bunch of competition, but I'm good enough to get paid to do it. I think my writing is close to the money threshold, but not quite there yet. I still have some growing to do in that aspect, especially in the story telling department. I can't expect to keep ranting on this blog, disregarding quality, engagement, etc, and get better. I need to focus on more deliberate practice that stretches my current abilities. Still, I think I'm close to being able to cash in on my writing skills.

I also made a second graph to depict the difficulty in achieving mastery. This will be different for each thing, but in general, as you move closer to mastery, the difficulty increases exponentially. But at some point in the trajectory, there's the option to cash in on what you've already mastered.

Mastery vs Difficulty

I'm not sure this is a useful exercise in making decisions, but seeing things as they relate to other things is helpful. Like, I only included the things that I think matter the most to me. I didn't include other stuff like guitar or dog whispering or whatever. Only the things that either A) I've achieved a level worthy of money or B) I want to achieve mastery in.

And getting so good at multiple things, passing the $$$ threshold, gives me options. Not choices, options. And options give me control. And control is the name of the game. It's what I seek, I believe, ultimately. Control over how and when and why I make money, spend my time, etc. Sounds awesome, eh?

Josteling With The Unknown Fate - Day 150

MORNING ROUTINE

The greatest radio day of the year occurs on this day on Ticket AM, my favorite radio station, and really the only radio station any one should ever listen to ever. It's White Elephant day, where they mix and match all my favorite show hosts, and radio magic happens. You have no idea what the fuck I'm talking about, do you?

With the excitement pumping through my heart and blood, I woke up earlier than I wanted to. I typically hate getting up earlier than I scheduled myself to get up, especially on a day where I had a planned sleep in day. But today, not so. 6 am, I got up, put the stream on, then laid in bed and listened for about an hour, until about 7 am, which was my scheduled time to get up.

Now you may be asking yourself, "what the fuck is he talking about this 'schedule' concept? Why would anyone want to 'schedule' a wake up time?" And those are valid questions, yes. Thank you for asking them to yourself silently and not to my face or digitally via email. And, one day, maybe I'll answer them. After a suitable amount of time has passed where I actually stick to the whole schedule thing and can dictate to you that you're doing life wrong.

Do you see where this thing is heading? Products, SEO, e-classes, money grabs. The good news is, after 150 days of existence, I still have zero readers. So if you're reading this now and are wondering what all these products are in the sidebar, um, I got nothing. Go buy something.

I scraped myself out of bed and got ready to go do my workout thing. I got in the car and drove to the park and sat in the parking lot listening. I got out of the car and proceeded to pull the kettle bells out of the back seat, where they've been banging around annoyingly since I've decided to keep them in the floorboard of the back seat stupidly (there's a lot of -ly words in the there you have to fight through, valiantly...suck it).

Just as I bent over to pick up the heavy one, a thought popped in my head, "why don't I just skip this workout?" It was cloudy and dreary and depressing outside. Not very cold, but cold enough to influence the decision to not put in the work. So I didn't. I got back in my car and drove around like I had a purpose. Pretending to be in the throws of thought is a go to move for me when I don't want people to think that I have no idea what the fuck I'm doing.

SLAVE

It was another beat down day. They seem to be coming more frequently these days (they're not, it just seems that way). The managers were in full triple-expresso-enema mode, buzzing around, making jokes, laughing off task failures, which is good, because typically they're throwing me demanding looks of, "why didn't you get this done and why aren't you meeting the schedule!?" "Uh, because I'm not a fucking robot and I find it hard to maintain productivity all the fucking time, and fuck you asshole!"

I thought I had more to say on this, but I don't.

DELIBERATE PRACTICE

The initial excitement of making the latest "life" decision is starting to wear off. It's even beginning to creep in that maybe this isn't the best thing to do. I'm beginning to think this is a bad habit of mine, where I can't wait to get started on something new new, then after a couple days, when I realize that it's going to take a shit ton of work to accomplish, and a lot of fucking time, I want to quit and search for something easier.

And I can't help but think that the easy things are staring me in the face. The two easy things that I've practically been doing for the last 10+ years: writing and programming. I don't know if this is my mind trying to sabotage me or it's God screaming in my ear that the obvious answer is right in front of me. After all, with a little bit of focused effort towards getting better, becoming a "master" at these things isn't nearly as far away as the other thing, drumming.

It really comes down to prioritizing. I don't feel like I have enough time to do all the things. That's one thing that's really gotten me in trouble in the past, focusing on too many damn things at the same time. And it's pretty well documented on this blog. By the same token, it's hard to ignore all the things that keep popping up in my head. It's hard to resist chasing the new new thing.

But I believe my biggest problem is trying to find more happiness, or better, I'm seeking absolute satisfaction. Like, if I do become a master drummer and become wildly successful within the next 10 years or so, I believe that I'll be completely satisfied with how my life turned out. Or if I somehow achieve bodily perfection, I'll be completely satisfied also too. Like, the things I'm pretty good at right now aren't cutting the mustard.

But maybe it's simply a matter of becoming better at the things I'm already good at? Maybe I should put down the idea of starting my own business and "escaping" the constraints of a stupid job? Maybe I should give up what I think has been my "calling," drumming, whatever that means? I don't know. And I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be able to think my way out of it.

The hard truth is, I'm going to have to whittle down my options, pick a fucking direction and start moving at a rapid pace. I've been spending too much time trying to do things right by analyzing to death what I think is going to make me the most satisfied, which is an impossible task. It's impossible to know in advance what is going to satisfy you.

I'd love to learn and master the drums. Being a legit musician, a paid pro, has always been at the top of my life's wish list. I can play guitar good enough to be a good rhythm guy, but picking it back up seems like a huge challenge. In other words, I don't want to do it because I've already been down that road.

I'd also love to build a lifestyle business, and achieve bodily awesomeness, and write best selling novels, and be considered one of the greatest programmers ever (love may be a bit strong for this one).

So I don't know. I think I'm still faced with too much choice, as I outlined here in a very preachy style. I think I need to follow my own fucking advice. Decisions are hard to fucking make.

Regardless, I'm still tunneling down the drumming and business path. I'm not changing my goals just yet.

Computer Science With Doo Doo As The Programming Language - Day 148

MORNING ROUTINE

Hello Winter! I fucking hate you, die!

I woke up around 6:30 am, rolled out of bed around 7 am. I checked my iPhone for the degrees outside. 39 degrees Fahrenheit. Why are we still, as Americans, the only country on the planet, using Fahrenheit instead of Celsius? Was Mrs. Celsius a communist or something?

I fed the dogs, walked through my schedule that I made last night as part of my intention of accomplishing more shit with the time I have left on this planet, then got dressed and headed out into the cold to do my stupid fucking workout.

There's nothing worse than freezing cold wind, which is what I braved to do my dumb workout. I planned on doing a bit more, but after about 10 minutes in the freezing wind, I couldn't feel my ears. And I feared my lungs were going to freeze. So I quit early and warmed myself up in the car.

I made breakfast, paid rent, washed my butt crack, and went to work. The schedule is paying off so far, but I think it needs a little more detail. Like, I have a slot for doing "business" tasks, but I'm not quite sure what I should be doing. Maybe my goal is not very clear, which is basically, "develop a business website." It doesn't say anything about what all that entails. Should I just pop up a cheap little site with generic business talk? Or, probably more like it, I should flesh out some of the details of what products and/or services I think might be useful.

So, yeah, the schedule needs more details so I'm not sitting on my asshole trying to figure out how to fill the time allotted for "business."

SLAVE

I've debated whether or not this whole programming thing, the skills I paid thousands of dollars to acquire, was worth it. I suppose from a practical, financial standpoint, yes. It's kept me employable and will most likely keep me employable for years and years to come. Although I can feel The Progress Machine nipping at my heels.

I guess I used to think this was THE thing I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing. It was between this and writing/art/music. When I decided to go back to college, my family thought I was going for some kind of writing or art thing. When I told them, "no, computer science," they reacted both disappointingly and pleasing at the same time. I suppose disappointed because they had me pegged wrong, and pleasing because, "computers, fuck me, that's the future, he'll never live at home again!"

I further suppose that if I had known then what I know now, I would have chosen the writing and art thing. Actually, if I'd known then what I know now, I would've had a completely different life path. I'd probably be some famous musician or a dead rock star. But hindsight is always fucking 20/20, right?

And I don't mean this to say that computer science and programming and shit doesn't suit me. It does. I fit the profile for the most part. I'm a social retard. I'm mathematically inclined. Yada yada yada. But the problem is, I'm right brained. Strongly right. Although I don't put much stock in the whole "testing to tell you what you should be good at" nonsense, I do believe people, through whatever process, life experience, upbringing, genes, whatever, are more inclined to be technically oriented or artistically oriented.

With that in mind, I've always thought computer science is more art than science. Programming is a form of writing. It's also a form of expression. Whereas the true sciences, like rocket and mechanical, have clear cut answers for most of the problems it tries to solve. You either land the rocket or the moon or you don't. Physics don't lie.

But computer science doesn't play that game. The only rule that a programmer has to live by is the rules of the language, just like a writer or painter or musician has to live by the rules of whatever medium they choose. Other than that, you can let your tits hang out however you like.

And that's the major problem with "professional" development. While computer science is mostly art, it also solves a lot of business type problems. In other words, there's money involved. And when there's money involved, there's managers and process and ethical codes and blah blah blah. All this overhead that stifles pretty much all creative aspects. Imagine being a musician with a handful of managers who try to schedule you to death and constantly want to know why you chose one note over another.

So when I waste an afternoon sitting in a meeting that is really a pre-meeting to a meeting about schedule management and shit, I question my decision to choose this for a method of creating a livelihood (i.e. income generation). I still like the programming aspect, and since I'm really fucking good at it I'm afforded a lot of freedoms, but I hate dealing with the management types who want to know exactly how everything fits together and how long such things will take. Computer science just doesn't fit neatly into that mold.

But oh well, they keep paying me. It's not so horrible. It's not as bad as sucking dicks in an alley for 20 buck or cleaning up after drunks with explosive diarrhea, excessive vomiting, and bad aim. And since I don't care very much about the end product, the thing that's going to potentially make the company millions, it makes it easier to swallow a whole afternoon of manager appeasing nonsense.

EVENING ROUTINE

I've made a lot of "life" decisions. Things that I've decided I want to do or be. And every time, I've either quit after some frustrating period or my interest has faded. I have documented proof of this on this damn blog. Just go read the posts tagged "knorbi." It's a living time line of my slowly decaying interest in developing a cool writing app, from the high point of the initial idea to the decision to quit doing it for whatever reason, probably because I got bored with it.

Every time I quit one of these projects, I always find myself stuck in this rut. It's more a mental rut. It's me trying to figure out, in my fucking head, what I want to do. It's really more me trying to figure out in my head what I think I can do, and be good at, and not have to face any frustration or obstacles or any difficulty at all. So far, having a job is the only consistent thing that's stuck as an answer to the, "what do I want to fucking do?" question.

Times seem to be changing though. Not having the feeling of being indestructible, not feeling like I have infinite time left, really bubbles the things I feel like I've been putting off to the surface. Those things that always come up when it's time to "figure it out" again. Those things that have nagged me over my entire life. The fucking voice that won't shut the fuck up.

So this "life" decision feels a little different. Like, it's not a thing I can just dabble in any more. It's not something I can put off and hope that one day the stars will align and I'll be able to pursue it full force. This one feels like it's either do or die. Other things have felt that way before, but they were never as important as this one thing.

There's two things I know I've always wanted to do/be. Number one is a drummer. Number two is an athlete. Those two things have nagged me over my entire life. Frequently, these two things bubble to the surface as things that I feel like I should be doing. The mental rut has a way of making their presence more pronounced. But every time, I say to myself, "no, they're not practical. I need something that will make me money, make me super happy all the time, and provide me with infinite satisfaction. Oh, and it should be really fucking easy to do. Hook me up, God."

Computer science has been a neat substitute, but it hasn't killed the nagging voice. It may be too late to become an athlete, at least in the sports I care about, but it's not too late to become athletic. And I have most definitely missed my prime for developing a successful drumming career, but it's not too late to become a master drummer and have wild success.

That's how I spent my evening tonight. Really, most of the day. I've been thumping around trying to think of businesses to start and things to do, like podcasting, writing books, playing guitar, whatever, but none of them are going to get rid of the voice that keeps trying to draw me towards the two things that have been waiting to express themselves in me. (God that sounds so gay.)

And I'm not a believer in passion. I think I used to be, but several years ago I realized that people who are living their passion worked really fucking hard to get to the point where they are good enough to feel passionate about what they do. I suppose I have some passion for computer science, but the overhead of dealing with management types and the stress of working a job and all that crap have killed just about all of it.

So, that's what I've decided, to build my business around drumming and athletics. I don't know how I'm going to do this, although I have developed some plans/goals/whatever. I think this is what my 2015 is going to look like. Hopefully I won't be sitting here this time next year stuck in the exact same mental rut.

Routine, Time, & The Brainwashing Hurdle - Day 147

I really wanted to delete this and make a new thought of the week.
But so far, on this fucking blog, I’ve resisted the urge to filter what I think is good and bad.
I started this thing with the intent of just writing down the stuff that flows through my stupid fucking head, uncensored (for the most part), whether it’s “good,” “bad,” “horrible,” “offensive,” “stupid,” “unreadable,” “amazing,” etc.
So I’m not going to delete this, even though I think it sucks and is really fucking stupid.
Although there is some truth in it, for the most part it’s poorly thought out.
It’s more a diatribe than anything.

---

I'm all about routine.
I love it.
I hate not having a routine.
My time left on this planet is limited, and I don’t want to wake up one day unable to go after the things that matter.
This is a fact that is a pretty new concept to me, whereas before, meaning, before I passed the 40 year mark, I figured I had all the time in the world.
In other words, I thought I was going to live forever.

Now, routine is more important than ever.
Digging a little deeper, it’s habits that are more important than ever.
The bad ones need to be quelled.
The good ones need to be cultivated and strengthened.
I know this, but somehow, it’s still hard to implement.

And I don’t really feel like I’m fighting a demon any more.
I used to.
I used to think it was a matter of courage, where I would, one day, make a valiant stand against all the bad habits and fear and shit that inhabit my soul and my life would turn around for the better.
Then, happily ever fucking after.
But lately, I’ve turned my thinking into something a little more realistic.
Like, it’s not a struggle or fight or a matter of overcoming some evil that’s been pounded into my head.
Actually, I do still believe that we’re all brainwashed to be obedient little worker drones that are little more than pawns for the few that “break out of” the brainwashing.
Or maybe, it’s just a way of making sure that everyone has a chance to make a living in this modern world?
People need money to live, and although there are several ways to make that money, the best (and easiest) method for most is to get a job.
But I still hate that people are put in a position to overcome brainwashing, that we’re not more tolerant of risk takers and folks who want to live an unpractical life.

Anyway, whatever.

These things are born from being a person who has too much time to think about such things.
And being a person who feels more comfortable complaining about his lot in life instead of making plans and executing those plans to achieve the things he wants to achieve.
And being a person who is jealous of others who have achieved the things he wants to achieve.
And being a person who makes fun of those people, or looks at them as “sell outs,” instead of deconstructing how and why they achieved what he wants to achieve.
And being a person who is generally cynical and likes to blame The System or whatever for his lack.
Lack of planning.
Lack of getting real.
Lack of execution.
Lack of ignoring the pull of things that don’t matter.
Lack of cultivating a healthy routine.
A routine that fuels accomplishments that matter.

Hopefully, there's still plenty of time.

A Passionate Love Affair With The New New Blogger De Jour - Day 146

MORNING ROUTINE

Saturday mornings are usually my favorite part of the week. Since I’ve quit drinking, therefore I don’t have to worry about feeling like a dump truck full of dog shit crashed into my mouth, Saturday mornings have been even better. I particularly like getting up before most people and doing whatever, working out, going to a popular coffee chain and writing this thing, and whatever else that makes me feel like I’m doing something more important than trying to sleep off a hangover.

But last night was “game night,” so I didn’t get to sleep until late, around midnight, which is fucking late for me these days. Then my eyes popped open at 5:30 am. This holiday weekend thing has not been a good one for sleep.

I slogged around the house for a while, fiddling with the dogs, contemplating the logistics of setting up a rigid drum practice, and wondering if I have the stamina, motivation, whatever to accomplish what I want to accomplish. In other words, I’m scared. For what reason, I don’t fucking know. I just know I’m scared to death that I’m going to fail somehow and be right back to wandering around like the walking dead. Oh well.

Around 7 am I decided to go get my stupid little workout in. I rolled up to the park and got it in. It's starting to feel like I’m not doing much of anything. Compared to climbing stairs and hills and battling nature in the foreign land I just returned from, my little workout feels really fucking tiny. I keep telling myself that big things have little beginnings, but I still think I need to ramp up the workload so I don’t lose momentum, or whatever.

And also, I hate this time of year, where the days seem to be noticeably getting shorter and shorter at a rapid pace. The sun is just scraping across the horizon, so my shadow stays long all day. There’s pretty, colorful leaves blowing everywhere, and the days are actually really fucking nice, but still, I like the fucking sun and the heat. I’d rather sit in a puddle of my own sweat than shiver all day long. Although, they say the latter is good for burning calories and losing fat. Frankly, I think it’s a big fucking lie.

MASS CONSUMPTION

I don’t know why I like the torture of Christmas shopping. I typically hate fighting swarms of people intent on getting theirs; crumb snatching has never been a trait I identify with, although, count me among the swarms out searching for a crumb to snatch. My hypocrisy knows no limits.

I’ve also decided that malls and shit, the places portraying an image of “high class” or “fashionable” or “in style,” or more bluntly, the shopping centers that carry the latest products at the highest prices, are designed to attract the wanna-be-rich-poor, the crumb snatchers I mentioned above. You can see this on display at just about every “fancy” mall in the U.S. of A. At least that’s my observation. I have more opinions on this, but maybe I shouldn’t let them out. Like my one about how “poor” people are more prone to overspending than not “poor” people.

Actually, the mall is an experiment in buying psychology. First, you’re in a controlled environment where it’s OK to spend money. Second, everyone around you seems to be doing it. Third, the stores know more about your buying habits, and how to control those habits, than you do. If you don’t believe that, read the book The Power of Habit and how Target uses big data to predict the future. It’s scary and fascinating at the same time.

So, yeah, I walked away spending more than I intended yesterday. And way more than I intended on myself. I was supposed to be shopping for someone else; those other people that inhabit my life that make me feel guilty if I don’t spend money on them. Maybe that’s why I don’t feel so guilty about buying a lot of stuff for myself, because it’s all under the guise of shopping for others. I just happened upon some things that may come in handy for me one day. Yeah, that’s it.

EVENING ROUTINE

I’m still fascinated with Cal Newport’s blog, and now book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You. The whole deliberate practice thing is both awesome and scary. It’s awesome because it’s a methodology that anyone can follow, and it doesn’t require some mystic sense of “passion” or God given talent. It’s scary because it requires a long period of time, think several years, of focused, “stretching” practice to become a master at something. Where “stretching” means you’re always, every practice session, pushing just beyond your abilities, into the land of frustration and deep concentration. That’s not necessarily scary in itself, but it is scary for a 42 year old who is just getting started.

I created a schedule for myself for tomorrow. It’s simply a breakdown of how I would like to spend my time, complete with little notes about what I need to get done, i.e. the “chores,” and time set aside for writing this stupid fucking blog and doing other things that move me closer to my goals.

I keep a schedule like this at work, bracketing my time to keep me focused on what needs to be accomplished for the day. And also, to help me not get sucked into distracting work nonsense, like conversing with the walking dead that inhabit the same office space I do. So I thought[1] why not extend this into all the time in the day? Maybe if I added a little structure to my daily life, I won’t be so prone to wondering around the house trying to figure out what I should be doing? Hopefully, that will be the case. Stay tuned for pictures and detailed descriptions of the schedule thing I’m experimenting with.

[1] Yes, mother fucker, I got this idea after reading Cal’s blog. You got a problem with me having a hard on for him? I have a lot of things I want to accomplish before I kick off this planet, and so far, I’ve accomplished none of the important ones. So maybe a little daily structure will be a good thing for me? You know what, fuck you for making me think you’re judging me for liking some stupid blogger person.

Blackest Of Black Fridays - Day 145

It’s not really black Friday any more, is it? If the stores are opening up on Thursday, it’s really black Thursday. How about we just fuck black Friday and Thanksgiving and the whole charade and just keep everything open? Or better, how about we stop buying in to the creep? Fuck it, I’m probably in the minority.

They interviewed a girl on the news last night. And by “interview,” I mean “played a sound bite of.” The question was, “how does black Friday shopping creep affect your Thanksgiving day?” or something like that. They didn’t use the word “creep.” The girl responded by saying something stupid, like, “like, it’s hard, you know, to celebrate and be, like, thankful and stuff, and then go out and buy, like, a bunch of things for yourself.” I think that sums up the culture nicely. But hey, count me among the masses who’ll be clawing around for the scraps today.

MORNING ROUTINE

I officially feel like a fat tub of lard. I consumed more than my fair share of garbage that we don’t ever eat on any other day besides Thanksgiving and Christmas. In the process, I enjoyed raising my middle finger to all the third world countries who were scratching in the dirt for a carrot yesterday.

I woke up and felt like I had a boulder lodged in my intestines. I sat on the toilet for about 15 minutes and gave birth to it. I can only describe the feeling as liberating, although remnants of the beast still live in me.

I scrolled on the iPad for black Friday and deals, and pretty much came to the conclusion that it’s all a scam. There’s no real “deals.” It’s all a ploy to get you into the store so they can say, “well, the retards who waited in line for 35 days snatched up all the things that were really cheap that we were just trying to get rid of. But here’s a thing that maybe you can give us money for.” Once again, count me among the suckers who just feel like getting rid of some of my money on this day.

MASS CONSUMPTION

You know you’ve "made it" as a society, I mean completely dominated the basic instincts mother nature gave you, when you can walk into a massive store that’s filled with nothing but shoes. And you know you’ve made it as an individual, a person living in this dominated world, when the hardest thing you’ll do all day is try to choose a good pair of shoes that you’ll probably never wear most of the time. Seriously, isn’t it great? Like, choosing which giant pillow to wear on our feet is a crucial life decision.

So I chose my new shoes carefully, after trying on a few pairs and doing the customary four or five step walk. I had to battle a salesperson who was trying to talk to me about signing up for some club the store has and how awesome it is to be a member. I asked him if I will have to carry another fucking card. He said, “yes, but we can tie it to your phone number so you don’t need the card.” I said, “no thanks, I’ll pay the 2 cent penalty for not being a member.” He seemed disappointed in my choice, but quickly recovered to try and recruit the next schmuck,

EVENING ROUTINE

I took a nap on the couch before heading out to a person’s house who invited me and the girl who has a key to my house over for “game night.” During my nap, I dreamed I was kidnapped and handcuffed, and I had to work my way out of the cuffs in order to escape.

I woke up and hoped the “game night” had been cancelled for whatever reason, earthquakes maybe. But it wasn’t, so we got in the car and made the long drive to the other side of the universe.

We played games, watched other people drink, then drove home, fighting off the intoxicated swarms who dominate the highway post 10 pm. I cheered for one drunk to lose control of his gas guzzling whatever thing it was (one of those giant SUV things that no person in the world has any business driving). God wasn’t listening, because just as I thought he was about to go out of control, he pulled it together and drove straight for a while. Then he cut off some other driver and nearly crashed into the V thing that separates a split in the freeway. I’d like to think he at least passed out on his back and choked on his own vomit. Is that bad to want that?

Sacrificing That Which Truly Doesn't Matter To The Angry God Of Fucking, Whatever - Day 143

MORNING ROUTINE

I woke up around 6:15 am. I laid in bed for a couple of minutes thinking about the idea I had yesterday. I kicked it around, thinking stuff like, "oooh, I could do this, and, oooh, I could do that." Essentially, I lived out the entire life of the idea in my head. Even to the part where I realize it's a horrible idea and I shouldn't even attempt to do it. It felt like that scene in Swingers where he calls that girl he just met about 600 times and lives out their entire relationship over voice mail.

I finally rolled out of bed, took care of the dogs, then, for the first time since returning from the land of "I have no responsibilities other than going out and having fun," I went to the park and returned to my daily workout routine. It felt good, although I think I strained a muscle in my neck. It's one of those things where it hurts when I turn my head a certain way. I hate it, but the show must go on.

I came home, drank a little bit of juice, washed my nut sack, then went to work. The last day of work before a dead turkey finds its way into my digestive tract.

BIZ 2015

One of my goals for 2015 is to build a business that eventually generates $1000 per month. I know, I know, if you've been following this blog since Day 1 you know I've made this claim before, and when the time comes to put the dick in the ass, I cum before the tip even makes contact. Then I roll over and go to sleep for 6 months. I don't know if this time is going to be any different, but fuck me, I wrote it down as a goal, and as another goal I have to read my goals twice a day for the rest of my life, so hopefully, this time (FINALLY!) it will stick and I'll be one step closer to living my dream of not having to show up to a shitty job every day.

OK. Now that we got the little history lesson out of the way, it's time to get down to making it happen. And this is the part where I'm already stuck. What the fuck kind of business should I build? And that's it. That's as far as I've come. But that's OK. It's actually refreshing having practically zero options in front of me. It means I can do anything! Which also means that most people, me included, do nothing.

Well, I can't let that happen. I must, I must, I must increase my bust, or whatever.

So I've thought about this a couple of different ways. The method I usually use is: 1) think of ideas, 2) narrow those ideas down to a handful, 3) go through some metrics step to figure out which one I like best, 4) choose one to run through a validation phase, 5) decide it is indeed a good idea, 6) quit and feel sorry for myself for 6 months.

This time, I think I'm going to try a different approach. Instead of thinking of ideas, actually, instead of worrying about coming up with ideas, I'm going to work backwards, pretending I already have a successful, flourishing, fulfilling business. Then describing, in as much detail as possible, what that business looks like, feels like, how it operates, blah blah blah. Here's the questions I want to answer:

  • What type of business is it? Does it sell products? Does it provide a service? Is it software or information or something else?
  • Who are the customers? What group of people is it serving/helping?
  • How many employees does it have?
  • How much money does it make in a month?
  • What value does it deliver?

I'm going to call this exercise, "Describing My Ideal Business." Pretty catchy, eh?

I've also thought about defining the parameters the business should operate under. For example, I want it to be entirely online, requiring no face to face interaction with customers. And it should cost me damn near zero dollars to get off the ground. Then after I finished doing that exercise, which I'm calling, "Defining the Parameters of the Business," I pick a name, through up a site and start making money. It's not one of my more brilliant ideas, for sure. I think sticking with the ideal business thing may be a better route.

So my ideal business is as follows:

I thought about this long and hard and came up with nothing. I keep returning to the notion that I have to get it “right” before I can make a decision, but knowing if it’s right can’t be determined until I make the decision and start dabbling. Fuck me.

EVENING ROUTINE / DELIBERATE PRACTICE

I fell down the information overload rabbit hole again. I came across a site, Cal Newport  that may have changed my perspective on what I’m doing with myself, with all the things I’m trying to bite off and chew at the same time.

This kid, Cal, is really fucking smart, and it seems he has dedicated his life, mostly, to studying how a person becomes a master. And on a higher level, how can one lead a remarkable, fulfilling life? His basic premise is, passion is bullshit, it’s skills mastery that matters the most when it comes to human satisfaction.

When I was younger (think 20s, early 30s), I always thought that my calling would just find me somehow. My calling being, whatever. Basically, I was waiting around for that “a ha!” moment to hit, then, all of the sudden, my life would take direction and I would live happily ever after.

Of course, that “a ha!” moment never came. Instead, I got drunk a lot and felt sorry for myself because I felt like I had “wasted” a significant portion of my youth. I’ve always felt I should be doing something more meaningful than just floundering in a mediocre job, working around mediocre people, doing mediocre things on the side, but that I’d never develop the drive/motivation/inspiration/whatever to put in the work necessary to create a remarkable life. And in the back of my soul, I’ve always known what it is I wanted to do/be. So maybe that’s why that “a ha!” moment of inspiration never came? Or it did when I was really young, but I was too dumb/scared/repressed to acknowledge it.

I’m not talking about happiness. Happiness is a thing like hunger or a boner, it comes and goes. Generally, I am a happy person, but happiness doesn’t kill that nagging feeling in the back of my head that comes out every once in a while and says, “well, what the fuck is your excuse for not doing/being whatever it is you want to be/do now.” I’m just now understanding why that voice exists, and why it won’t shut the fuck up. And thanks to Cal, I think, it may be premature, I think I’ve discovered the missing ingredients to shutting that fucking asshole up (not Cal, the voice).

I’m an admitted idea chaser. It’s practically the theme of this blog. You can tell how much I bounce from thing to thing if you just skim from Day 1 to now. I’ve gone from thinking I want to build a self publishing empire, to running a podcast, to creating music, to starting a stupid business. And if you’re paying any attention at all, you’ll see I’ve gotten nowhere with any of them. As soon as a new new thing pops in my head, I want to go chase it. And somehow, I’ve known all along that I’m avoiding the most important things to me. Probably because they’re hard and require years and years of dedicated, deliberate, hard practice, and like everyone else who is living a boring life, I’ve never been willing to put in the work necessary to achieve mastery.

Now Cal comes along tells me exactly what I don’t want to hear, and gives me examples and research findings, what we in the blogging industry call “proof,” that mastery is the solution to the nagging, empty feeling of non-accomplishment; mastery is the dude that can shut the fucking voice up.

But talk is cheap. The new new piece of information has a tendency to create temporary motivation, where temporary is the key word. I’ll make plans, set goals, get all excited about undertaking something I’m certain will shut the fucking voice up. Then in a month or so, I’ll fall off the wagon and return to being perpetually stuck.

One of the insights I’ve gained from reading Cal’s stuff is that ideas are pretty much like farts. You fart. You smell it. You move on. But there tends to be a theme to the farts. There’s certain ones that you actually like smelling. And those are the ones that need attention. Those ideas that keep bubbling to the top. Those are the ones that need to be fleshed out, pursued, beat into the ground, mastered. And I’ve known this for a long time. I’ve known, but not been able to articulate nearly as well as a fucking ivy league dildo, that there are a handful of things that keep coming up in my idea stream. There’s a theme. And for the most part, I’ve ignored it, or at least written it off as a pipe dream, something I could never accomplish.

The theme is simple. I’ve always wanted to build a business that replaces my income and eventually makes me fucking rich. And I’ve always wanted to master the drums. And I’ve always wanted to be a model of fitness and health. Those three things, more than anything else, keep showing up at my doorstep begging to be pursued to the detriment of everything else I fool around with. And make no mistake, all I’ve done is fool around with them (except for this writing thing, I take it pretty seriously, even though it doesn’t seem that way sometimes).

Cal uses Steve Martin as the poster child for his ideas, because Steve coined the phrase, “be so good they can’t ignore you.” And Steve focused exclusively on developing his comedy, then his acting, then his banjo playing, to the detriment of everything else he could’ve been doing. I don’t think it followed that linear a timeline, but you get the point.

This is a scary concept, because it means giving up other options. It means choosing, and we all know we have a hard time choosing anything.

This scares me because I’m wondering if I can pull off the triple threat of building a business, learning drums, and making the necessary lifestyle changes to support my health and fitness goals? Or, am I going to have to focus exclusively on one before attempting another? The scary part is, I’m 42, and if Malcolm Gladwell and the boatload of supporting research is correct, then it’s going to take me 10,000 hours dedicated to each to achieve mastery. If I practice each for 20 hours a week, it’ll take me 30 years to master them all. If I do them linearly, then I’ll be 72 when it’s all said and done. That scares the fucking shit out of me, but I guess I’m going to be 72 anyway, right?

Punch Me In The Face And Call Me An Idiot - Day 142

EDITORIAL / MORNING ROUTINE

Don't read this, because I am not qualified to be making opinions about something I've only known about for 15 seconds. The views expressed here are not my own. Well, they are, they come from my body, but they're not mine, because the idiot in me sometimes (more times than I'd care to admit) gets the floor and spouts off crap like this. So allow me to introduce my inner idiot...

I typically say that violence is never the answer. To anything. Killing, destroying, shit like that doesn't solve anything. It just gets you in deeper trouble, because there's way more of THEM than there are of US. THEIR numbers are infinite. OUR numbers are limited. You can't win. The best course of action is to blend in and/or avoid THEM altogether.

I also don't typically pay any attention to the news. But the girl who chooses to live with me watches the news every morning while she gets dressed for work. Normally, I'm off in another room listening to Ticket AM or doing something not related to watching the news. But this morning, my belly was full of diarrhea sounds, so I laid in bed and stared at the TV.

They did a segment on the thing in Ferguson Missouri, where some asshole fucking racist cop shot an unarmed kid for no reason other than the cop has a gun and the power to shoot just about anyone s/he wants. And I guess whoever is in charge of making sure cops don't get away with going around shooting whoever they feel like shooting decided that this particular cop didn't do anything wrong. My speculation is, if the kid he'd shot had been white, the cop would already be in prison for life. But since the kid was black, well, who fucking cares, right?

The deeper story is why we allow cops to carry guns at all. And why, since there's no fucking way we'll ever be able to take the guns away from the cops, do we continue to defend ANY cop who shoots ANYONE? And further, why do we need cops in the first place?

You're saying, "well, we have to let 'em carry guns and shoot back because what if the bad guy has a gun and is planning on using it?" To which I say, "why put yourself in a position to get shot at in the first place?" To which you may say, "well, because we gotta keep the bad guys off the street." To which I say, "they're on the street regardless of if the cop is out there 'protecting' US or not, so why bother?" Cops are reactionary anyway. Why not clear them off the street, where they only make situations worse, and only "deploy" them when absolutely necessary? And yes, I know, the solution is way more complex than my over-simplification.

OUR best bet is to stay as far away from cops as possible. If you get involved with them, you're asking for trouble. Sometimes it's unavoidable, in which case you roll over and play dead.

IDEA

I think I have an affinity for getting stuck in the idea phase of creating a business. Maybe it's because I've failed before and feel like I need the most perfect, unique, can't miss idea in order to get started. What's wrong with working with the things and skills I already got? What's wrong with doing something that's already been done 1,000 times over successfully? I don't know. That's how I seem to work. And making the decision that I'm going to start a business (it's one my goals for the next few months) only adds to the paralysis of the idea phase.

Regardless, or in spite, of my obvious disability, I came up with an idea for starting a mobile gym and being a mobile personal trainer. I've seen these guys around town on occasion just set up shop in a park. They drive a truck that houses all the equipment and the people come to him. Every time I see them I think, "I could do that."

The only logistical problem is I don't have a truck. And I don't have any equipment. So I'd have to either buy the equipment and rent a truck, or I'd have to get creative and work with things that will fit in my car. And also, I gotta get the fuck in shape first, before I start preaching to people how things should be done.

I also thought I could create a website and put up "workouts of the day," and start an email group (that maybe people pay for) that sends a workout every day to their inbox and asks them to fill out some online form after they do the workout, for accountability. And if they don't fill out the form for X number of days without a good excuse, they get dropped from the program. This would definitely solve the whole needing a truck and a shit ton of equipment problem.

I've already got a name for it. Engineering Fit. Pretty good, huh?

EVENING ROUTINE / TACO PERIOD

I found a cool little music app by Propellerhead called Figure. It's got a kick ass UI and can actually create some interesting snippets of techno music. It's not anything that can create full scores, but I think it's good for creating loops that can be used as part of a larger project.

I've been jambling around thinking about how to create backing music for my upcoming new podcast, Taco Period. I don't have a format or a particular subject or structure in mind. I'm pretty much just flying by the seat of my pants, doing things as they come to me. Sometimes it's the best way to proceed, instead of floundering around and getting nothing done. If you haven't already done so, or you've already forgotten, re-read the first paragraph above under IDEA. Getting stuck trying to decide between different options is something I'm really fucking good at.

Anyway, I'm still going back and forth with either using the guitar or using some techno synth app drum machine thing to create the backing music. Since I suck at guitar now (out of practice), and since it's not really fucking easy to record acoustic guitar well, I'm leaning towards the pure digital approach. I'll most likely wind up mixing the two, because that's the way I like to roll.

Drowning In A Pile Of Inifinite Being, Or Whatever, FUCK! - Day 141

It feels really hard to write. Like, it's a real struggle; my own personal mount Everest. All I want to do is curl up in a ball, lay on the couch, and watch Maury Povich re-runs until it turns me into a moronic mush. My will to do anything productive has drained to almost zero since touching back down in THE United States of American less than two days ago, when I had all the plans for getting back into the groove. Isn't it funny how real life has a way of knocking you back down before you can stand all the way up sometimes? No, it's not funny.

MORNING ROUTINE

The hardest thing about the first work day after a long vacation is waking up and finding the strength to carry on. It's like, you know you have to drag your ass out of bed and show up to a place you don't really want to show up to and do things you really don't want to do despite an overwhelming feeling of dread. The body has a hard time adapting from amazing to, "ugh, fuck me, fuck this day, fuck this real life." But bills have to be paid, progress has to be made, yada, yada, yada.

I woke up around 5:30 am and got up to take a piss. I thought for 3 seconds about staying up and getting my week off to a productive start. Instead, I decided to go back to bed and sleep some more, which felt so right. The dogs seemed disappointed in my decision.

I woke back up around 7 am and laid in bed wondering where the fuck I was. The room was cold and dark. The air tasted like, whatever, dust and wasted dreams. I couldn't help but think how disappointing it is to be thrown from waking up refreshed and ready to do something exciting to waking up tired and dreading another day spent bumping elbows with the tragically comfortable drones who make it all too easy for me join them.

I also felt The Progress Machine gaining ground on me. Pretty soon it's going to scoop me up and throw me off the cliff onto the other souls waiting in line to check in to their coffins.

Nothing like a little over-drama to start a fresh work week, eh?

SLAVE / TIME WASTE

Vacation hangovers are hard to get over. I mean, knowing that I could be walking the dirty streets of some third world country in search of a food that won't kill me instead of sitting at a boring desk, typing into a boring computer, staring out a boring window that faces a boring street that contains boring cars with boring people inside of them going about their boring lives makes me not want to do anything.

So I didn't, and it felt great.

Actually, I didn't do any work work (I did a little, but not enough to count). I did work on a couple of things that I ran across on Quora (here's the question) while I was consuming the beauty of someone else's country. Hopefully things that will help me stay on target and get me out of this imaginary rut that I've fallen in for the last month or so.

I did two things:

  1. Started a "What do I want to be?" list.
  2. Wrote down a handful of 3, 6, 9, and 12 month goals with the intent of reading them twice a day. Once after getting up. Once before going to bed.

You may be asking yourself, "why in the fucking hell did you do this?" Because I'm a bona fide procrastinator who has a hard time choosing from multiple things I want to do. I have a hard time prioritizing and an even harder time sticking to "the plan," which has been non-existent for most of my life. Writing down goals and keeping a "want to be" list will hopefully help me not get stuck in these mental ruts.

It's still not easy to pick a direction, because I want to be so many things. A writer/author, a musician, a karate expert, a yogi, a multi-millionaire, etc. And I tend to want to do them all RIGHT FUCKING NOW! And I know I just don't have the bandwidth to do them all at the same time. I at least don't have enough time to get good at them all at the same fucking time. And I hate feeling like if I choose one over another that I'll be somehow missing out. What am I missing? I don't know, that's the fucking dilemma!

So I'm going to keep this list and add to it whenever I think of something I'd like to be. And I'm going to keep these goals, review them twice a day, modify them as necessary, and do my best to stay focused. At the very least, I hope having these goals will help me get back on track quicker when I fall off whatever cliff I'm bound to fall off again. 

EVENING ROUTINE

I zoned out in front of the TV, switching between football and basketball. I also started a new show, Olive Kitteridge, which was pretty good.

Oh, and I started a list for Black Friday, which I have a feeling is a big scam to get people to buy. You know, the whole promise of HUGE SAVINGS. If they're so huge, why is still called BLACK Friday? Answer: because they're still making HUGE profits off our psychological weaknesses. If you want to save money, don't spend it at all on shit you don't really need. And now I will insert my smelly foot in my mouth and join hypocrites anonymous.

Vacation Hangover - Day 140

I'm a spoiled, fat American who takes everything for granted.
All of it.
Running water, electricity, internet, infinite food choices and supply, organized, paved roads, safety, health care, money, abundant shelter, air conditioning, heat, hot water, gadgets that make my life “easier,” freedom, and everything else that supports our continuing climb out of the food chain.

In all of my 42 years on Earth, that's 15,330 days, I’ve spent a total of 14 of those days in 3rd world countries, where most of the things I listed above don’t exist.
That’s about 0.09% of my life.
I’ve spent more time farting, probably a lot more, because I fart a lot, because I consume more than my fair share, because, read the first sentence again.

Based on my simple observations, the common person in those countries can’t just put their hand in the void and take out what they want, any time they want, like I can.
They live in a shack surrounded by pathetic looking livestock, wild dogs, mud, and chaotic traffic.
They probably eat whatever they can, whatever they can either grow and sell or afford to buy.
The women are mostly fat, the men mostly skinny.
They’re neither happy nor sad; they just are; they’re just existing/surviving without much aspirations for anything better.

I can’t help but wonder if I were to take a handful of those folks living in squalor and give them a cushy office job with a decent salary, a nice apartment or condo, and a suitable vehicle, how they would feel as opposed to their “old” life of living in the mud?
Would they think it was better? Worse? About the same?
I don’t know, but I’m thinking of writing a fake book about what I think might happen.

Anyway, it feels good to be back in the land of over abundance.
The first thing I did was over consume the internet and the infinite supply of food.
So much so, I almost gave myself diarrhea, a tummy ache for sure.
After spending a week eating good, clean, fresh food (mostly), sweating my weight every day, and hoping to not run across a bitter squalor-dwelling zealot who hates the white man.
That last part is a huge exaggeration.

The truth is, I spent a lot of time feeling guilty, because, compared to them, I have more than I could possibly ever need and they don’t have enough.
I probably throw more food away than they eat in a year.
And I don’t know how to feel about that.
Grateful is probably what most people would say I should feel, but that’s not it.
Unfortunate, maybe, because their experience is more in tune with how nature wants things to be, consuming only what you need, sparing nothing, throwing away little, survival of the fittest.
Of course, that’s my own little fabrication of how I think they live, free of the burden of too much choice.
And burden is not even the right word.
I’m too lazy to figure out a better one.
“Shackles,” perhaps?
I don’t know.

Time to hook back up to the grind.