I am talking to one of my friends about his workouts. He’s the kind of guy who works out with all these different things like kettlebells and barbells and he does some pushups and these other kinds of things that involve dumbbells and he will do this other thing where he balances on this weird thing while he does something with a weight or barbell and it all seems crazy to me.
I want to learn how to do all that! I would like to get in shape and get to the gym and start doing some serious lifting. I want to get the best weights that I can and be able to squat twice my body weight and bench press 1.5 times my body weight and maybe even deadlift more than three times my body weight. Of course if you consider that I am just a beginner right now it probably becomes obvious that I have a long way to go. I think I went to the gym once and I was able to squat like 60 pounds which I think was the bar with a few weight plates on each side. I am going to go a gain and see if I can start increasing the routine that I do.
There are a few supplements I might want to look at as well. I heard that there are some that can help you lose weight. Some of those I’m sure work better than others but I don’t even know anything about that although I was reading about garcinia cambogia extract and wondered if it was legit. I think that there are a lot of other supplements people take that are good for things like making sure you get enough fuel for your workouts and seeing if you have all of the stuff that you see in the ads. I don’t know if I am going to need any of those but I think I should at least read about them so I know what people are talking about. There are some people at most who are about my size and who are really strong so I want to see if I can get as strong as them.
My girlfriend says she wants us to be more “cultured” and wants us to go out more and do things. She wants to go see Wicked which I am actually ok with because I’ve heard a lot of the songs from that play and I think some of them are really cool. I’m into metal and I heard a metal cover of one of the songs from the play and it was awesome. Speaking of metal, my gf has gone with me to see a lot of metal concerts so I think it’s only fair that I go see some shows with her. Of course, she enjoyed the metal concerts so it’s not like she didn’t have fun. If she didn’t like them I wouldn’t have invited her. It’s not fun when you don’t enjoy something and I don’t want someone else coming with me to something that they don’t enjoy. Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever gone with a friend to see something and didn’t have a good time? It sucks for you and it sucks for them, too, because they feel bad that you’re not having fun. I don’t want anyone to feel like that.
So anyway, I’m looking forward to seeing some plays and doing some other stuff. I think we are going to go to the museum, too, which is awesome. There are some good museums around here and I like going to them. Now, if she wants to go to a poetry reading or something I don’t know what I would think about that. I would go at least once, though, because I have no idea what it’s like and it might be cool.
Tomorrow we are going to look for Wicked tickets NYC and see if we can find them. I might surprise her by giving her a copy of the soundtrack so she can get familiar with the songs before we go. I don’t think people in the audience actually sing along but I’m sure being familiar with the songs helps. It’s like being at a concert where you don’t know any of the songs the band is playing.
Anyway, it should all be fun. She said she wants to take a cooking class together, too, which could be incredible since neither of us really knows how to cook. We could learn to make something more complicated that spaghetti. I have a few cookbooks right now but I haven’t really made anything from them.
I don’t get sick very often–okay, really never–but sometimes you just wanna stay home from work, you know? I hate staying home for no reason, I don’t believe in that mental health day stuff that the women I work with talk about, so if I happen to wake up with a headache then I jump on it as a chance to stay home. Hey, why not right?
I don’t get headaches much at all but I admit that I’m not used to them, so they can turn me into a sissy sometimes. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I tend to wake up with them if I’m gonna get them–my wife says it’s probably because I slept on my neck or shoulders funny, or was grinding my teeth. Maybe so, but personally I’ve noticed that I am more likely to get them if I stay up super late then get up early, like for work. My wife and I actually work for the same company so we only have one car–there’s never been a need for a second one. I know some people will sometimes go to work then leave early if they don’t feel well but I don’t have that option so if my wife or I wake up sick or with a headache, then we stay home, period.
Anyway, that’s what happened this morning. I stayed up until 3:30am last night browsing the internet and was supposed to get up at 6am for work but I just could not do it. So I overslept and my wife, who gets up at 5:30am most days, shook me awake at 6:45am saying that I had to hurry up and get out of bed. But right away I felt the hard squeeze of a headache around my skull and told her I couldn’t do it, and she should go on without me. I think it was allergies or something. I don’t know. I wanted to take some Migralex sinus headache relief and grabbed an ice pack and laid down on the couch, sipping cold coffee while I held that ice pack to my head.
I felt almost normal by 10am and by noon, after eating a lunch of greasy scrambled eggs and bacon, I felt normal and my headache was gone. But hey, we only have one car and there’s no way for me to get work without one so I just spent the rest of the day playing video games. Good day all around, I would say!
I have quite a collection of things in my “man cave” aka basement with a garage door. My wife gave me one area to call my own, where her decorating expertise and even presence are forbidden. As many of you know, that’s usually called a man cave. Mine is half garage half living room. We have a decent sized garage where I have my project car and quite a few toys, and the other side of the room has a couch, a big TV, a huge stereo, and a bunch of sports stuff I’ve collected over the years. I actually have so much stuff that I can’t even display it all. I have boxes of autographed stuff as well as cool novelties / trinkets / etc that I’ve gotten from ball games. In fact, I have about 30 bobble-heads that I’ve gotten for free by going to certain baseball / basketball games.
I need to take a lesson from work, though. My man cave is so unorganized it’s starting to bug me. At work when things started to get bad, we invested in a pretty comprehensive system for reorganizing everything. We ended up getting tons of wire shelving and organizing everything by a category. In fact, it looks pretty much amazing now. Customers walk in and instead of shuffling through bins looking for what they need they are able to be pointed right to where they need to go. Considering I was one of the people that helped organize the store, you’d think I’d be able to organize my house in the same way.
This summer, I have a couple of weeks off (been hoarding vacation for a while) so I think I’ll use a few days to reorganize my garage / man cave. We actually have quite a bit of wire shelving left over from the remodel at our store and I can get it cheap. I may grab a few sections for each half of my man cave. I’ll use it for displaying my memorabilia over in my man cave section, but I could use it to make the other side much more organized than it currently is. I have my toolbox which has all my small tools in it, but definitely need a way to organize all of my power tools. It’d be nice to have shelves for my woodworking tools, shelves for my car detailing stuff, and shelves for me general construction tools to name a few. I think I spend as much time looking for stuff as I do using it and reorganizing may be a way to fix that.
This year my wife and I are getting a little adventurous with our annual vacation. We’ve only been able to afford to take tiny local trips in the past few years, mostly due to the effects of the recession that hit us pretty hard in 2008. Fast forward to this year, though, and we’re back and stronger than ever. Both of us have recovered from the down-turned economy and actually make a bit more as a couple now than we did then. Since we haven’t had an awesome vacation in a while, we each have three weeks of time we can use, and we want to go crazy, we have decided to go further away from home than we’ve ever been in our lives.
Where are we going? Well, we’ve mutually decided that we want to go to Indonesia. Why Indonesia? Well, it looks beautiful and there are things for both of us to do. For those of you that don’t know, Indonesia is a large island country (in fact, it’s a gigantic assortment of thousands of islands). It hosts a tropical climate, typical of islands near the equator, and it really just looks like a lot of fun.
We plan on hopping around from island to island while we’re there. Initially, we were going to spend most of our time at a resort but we’ve decided we’d rather experience the culture. Because of the distances, taking a boat isn’t really feasible so we’re going to grab a few flights using a regional airline that we found online, Lion Air. They have very reasonable rates and they specialize is short, island-to-island flights. In fact, we have four flights scheduled right now and the price is very, very reasonable. I’ve never been island-hopping (of course, I’ve never been halfway around the world, either) and I’m actually really excited.
Both of us are looking forward to the trip, and we have a pretty cool trip planned so far. We plan on spending around 50% of our time in major metro areas in Indonesia, but also spending half of our trip in remote areas, exploring jungles, beaches, and natural formations. It should be a perfect mix of culture and geography over the course of three weeks, and we’re both thinking this could be our best vacation to date. Of course, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m also taking my golf clubs so I can play at least one or two rounds during our three week getaway.
Making money is just as important as knowing how to manage it. People often think that the secret to being rich is to make a lot of money but what they are overlooking is that being rich means having a lot of money. Who is richer, someone who has made $40,000 per year for their entire life but lived frugally and invested wisely and now has a net worth of $2,000,000, or someone who makes $150,000 a year but spends all of it and has thousands in debt and $2,000 in the bank. This example should serve to demonstrate that making a lot of money does not make one rich.
One problem is that a lot of people want to appear rich. They will buy expensive clothing, lease expensive cars, and go to trendy places just so others can see them. These people are not rich, however. They often spend their entire paycheck on their car payments, their rent, and their clothes.
Ironically, rich people often don’t care about that kind of thing. Imagine you are worth $1,000,000. Would you care what other people thought about what car you drive? Of course not; you have $1,000,000 so you probably wouldn’t feel the need to impress other people.
The other reason rich people don’t care is because they are often frugal and have developed good habits with money. Just because you can go out and pay cash for a new luxury car doesn’t mean you should stop driving your 5 year old economy sedan (that you purchased used!).
Managing your money is perhaps the best skill you can learn if you want to be rich. This means learning to be frugal, learning to invest whether in stocks, mutual funds, or bonds, and not trying to keep up with the Joneses.
It can be difficult to start down this path, but there are a few good resources out there. Read the book “The Millionaire Next Door” to learn about the financial habits of millionaires and see just how frugal they really are. You’ll be surprised. Learn to invest. If you have a little extra money and want to be daring, learn to trade. Read Financial Trading School to learn about binary options. Stop buying stuff you don’t need, like a $4 coffee every morning. Get off of caffeine anyway, lazybones. Or at least drink tea instead. Pay yourself first. Contribute to your 401(k) at least as much as your employer will match, as that is essentially free money. Eventually you will develop these as habits and will start to realize that hey, it feels pretty good to save that $4 every morning that you used to spend on coffee; that’s $20 a week, and that’s $1,000 a year (assuming you take 2 weeks off for vacation). And how many years have you been doing that for?
These rules apply no matter how much you make, btw. Surely you’ve seen the stories about ex-athletes who were making millions who are now broke. They didn’t manage their money well and spent all of it instead. But it’s not their fault; they never learned how to be smart with their money. But now you’re on the right path.
I try to develop a bit of skill at things that I am interested in or that are important to me, and it tends to have mixed results. For example, I enjoy eating, and while I go out to eat fairly often, I decided that I wanted to learn how to cook some fancy things for myself, too, so I took a cooking class (which was a lot of fun, btw, but that will have to wait for another post). I ended up making some pretty good things in that class, and a few times a week or month I’ll make myself a nice dinner at home. It helped me get a feel for how the different ingredients work together which helped me better understand what I do and don’t like, and now I can even come up with some new dishes which are pretty good sometimes.
I also like art. I’ve got some sculptures and paintings in my home, so I figured it might be fun to take a painting class. We all had painting class in elementary school and it was fun, right? So an a painting class now as an adult should also be fun. Well, I think I will stick to buying my art, because I am not very good at painting. It’s a good thing we didn’t get a grade in this class that goes on our transcript or anything because I would’ve gotten a D. The first assignment was to blend paint colors to make the color you want. Apparently some artists don’t buy green paint, but if they need green they will just mix blue and yellow to make green. So we had to do it like that to make all the colors we wanted and I just couldn’t get the paints to mix well. Each time they were a different shade, and the end result didn’t look very good.
Another thing I like is home design. I like my place to look cool because it makes me enjoy coming home. I can tell the difference between a place that is arranged well and one that needs some work, but I don’t seem to be able to make it look nice myself. I’ve read a bunch of books on it but I still don’t know what I’m doing. I’ve decided that I will always need to hire an interior designer to make my place look nice. In fact, the first time I ever did this was when I was living in Shanghai where I was sent on a business trip. My apartment was kind of small and I just couldn’t get it to look nice no matter how I tried to arrange everything, so I finally gave in and called a designer and let them do their magic. I don’t know what it is they do, but it looks nice. I took pictures of it in case I ever need to use it as reference in the future if I’m living somewhere else.
My brother just bought a new car. I’m actually slightly jealous but that is just some superficial social conditioning I’m sure — you know, cuz now he has a nicer car than me therefore my natural reaction is to want to buy a new car for myself. Gotta keep up with the Joneses, or at least the advertising companies want you to. That would actually be counterproductive to my goals at the moment, though. Or maybe I should say my goal, singular. My goal is saving money. Why? Because I’ve recently become paranoid about future stability. What if I lose my job? It’s not that I live paycheck to paycheck, but in this economy you never know when you’ll be able to find a job if you need to. What do they say, you should have a minimum of 6 months’ worth of expenses saved up in an emergency fund? I have that, but is that really enough? Aren’t there people who have been out of work longer than that?
Here’s what would happen if I bought a new car:
First I would be excited. The new car smell. Feeling like a boss when you drive anywhere (as if other drivers even care what kind of car you drive). You look at it and think “yeah, that’s mine.”
Then I would be like “ugh. Gotta make that car payment.” Every month would be a reminder that I just spent money. Did I need to spend that money? And don’t forget the about the cheap car insurance available from Kansas Agents I would also have to buy. I have a perfectly fine car right now. The only reason to get a new car would be because I want things. Why? To feel better about myself? Nonsense. The entire purpose of advertising is to make you feel like you’re not good enough without the product being advertised. I am good enough, darn it. I’m awesome.
Finally would be acceptance. Not buyer’s remorse, but more like that morose feeling of being stuck with a payment (which serves as a constant reminder) of something you did that wasn’t the best choice. How does that new car feel now?
And that’s why I believe I’m wired differently from other people. I see everyone else running around trying to buy the newest and best version of whatever the new gadget of the week is. “Check it out, I just got a new iPhone!” Really dude? Cuz it’s exactly the same as the previous one.
And that is why I won’t be buying a new car.
But I might see if my brother will let me borrow his. It is really nice.
Anyone who does not get married is setting themselves up for a great deal of pain. It is good to get married young. To get married to a good woman takes a great deal of skill. Men are hunters but few are skilled hunters. Many men marry women who are sly and unreliable but have some other temporal attribute (good looks, a certain level of vitality, etc). Thus at a certain time they are betrayed for their lack of foresight and character assessment.
Divorce rates are intimately related to North American culture. Countries like Jordan have half the divorce rate we have in North American countries. This does not mean we have to marry outside of our borders, but it does mean that we need to find people who are not indoctrinated with the degenerated values so commonly found in people. Find someone very different who is not filled with common and bland concepts of the world. It is not very hard to find someone with an opinion on the big issues. Everyone has opinions. Sometimes it’s good to find someone who just doesn’t have a big stance on these issues, someone who is extremely involved in a particular topic (religion, biology, it can be whatever). It is better for a person to go heavily into a single thing rather than have average boring opinions on everything. Such person will know what they are talking about when they open their mouths, and will not open their mouths on anything. This is very good, it indicates their energy is being funneled in a useful way instead of being distributed uselessly in all directions.
The ego does not know how to love. Your personality is projected by you, a combination of likes and dislikes, affinities, histories, interactions and experience. Ultimately it doesn’t have a lot of reality.
Ultimately when we get into a relationship we need to restrain that ego. We will have a lot of fights, we need to learn how to not get angry during those times. This is very hard, painful and terrifying.
Indifference is the key. This is caring but indifference between success and failure, good and bad. This in itself is death to us, we live through projecting an image.
There is much more that can be said on this topic but some key facets of the diamond of the Perfect Matrimony are being addressed here. A perfect marriage is life’s purpose.
Nature creates in opposites. Acid and alkaline, positive and negative electrical charges, male and female. The union of male and female along with the neutral reconciliation force is the unfoldment of something extremely powerful. The potential between man and woman or positive and negative is intimately related with electricity.
The one who falls into some decrepit philosophy on why they should not get married or the one who possesses distrust and hatred towards women ends up being a miserable worm. Give up on that negativity, cultivate positivity. There are no perfect women out there, but that is a good thing. If you are going to be good to your wife then that means you have to die psychologically, and we are very ugly and incapable of love, so with such psychological death comes great beauty, and we can make our spouse happy, and have a lovely household, and that is something incredible.
This is something rare in America and I wonder if anyone here can appreciate the beauty in these ideas, since this board is so Americanized. The divorce rate is so high here because in America everyone is obsessed with their identities and desires, but really this is the cause of all suffering. Marriage can be amazing, but you have to cease to be and to stop your wants. You will physically survive and live after, but as a new person, when you stop getting what you want all the time, having everything in such and such a way you want things, having people act how you want them to, etc, etc…
For the last year I have been working as a professional copy-editor. Specifically I have been working closely with a major university, and one of the foreign language departments there, where most of the professors are not native speakers of English.
My job has been to review prospectuses, research proposals, emails, literary reviews, and presently the doctoral thesis of a foreign politician living abroad, to edit these documents and correct them for anything from basic spelling and grammatical issues, to adapting them to a particular publishing style (for instance the Chicago Manual of Style, or The American Psychiatric Association Style Book‘s standard.
From these experiences I have noticed certain reoccurring attributes of intellectuals from abroad, which is a tendency toward what we American wordsmiths would call wordiness and excessive verbosity. In the case of Turkish writers, for example, copyists often intentionally belabor their arguments with complicated sentence structures, and difficult vocabulary where much less difficult explanations or arguments could easily suffice. In American writing this kind of purposeful verbosity is rare except in the cases of highly technical fields where such jargon is almost unavoidable. To these Turkish writers being difficult to understand is a hallmark of intellectual achievement. Such a thing would never be accepted in American intellectual circles, where it is generally believed that the most knowledgeable people are able to say things in such a way that anyone can derive the essential meaning.
Of course, coming up in the American school of thought, I have always felt that the goal of writers of technical prose or of essayists, is to communicate the message in the most efficient method possible while retaining maximum clarity, and maximum transparency. Excessive verbosity seems to work against all of those goals.
But reconsidering, I have began to entertain the possibility that the American love of literary minimalism is merely a byproduct of our general tendency toward anti-intellectualism. The typical American cannot fully utilize simple elements of our language, including understanding basic punctuation, including the distinction between the colon and the semi-colon, and being able to apply those devices in their prose. Most of us would be hard pressed to understand what makes a sentence passive, what a prepositional phrase is, what part of the sentence is the preposition and what part is the subject, or many other fundamental elements of our language. It is no wonder that we get nervous in the face of a forty word sentence, or that we prefer our words under three syllables if at all possible.
But, the Minimalist in me of course rejects that idea. After all, as members of an internet forum where frequent debate occurs, we are no strangers to those who, failing to find solid footing with a valid argumentative stance, frequently fling themselves into further and further esoterica, in the obvious hope that nobody will be able to follow them into the opaque depths of increasingly obscure images. If you want to be verbose you can write poems or fiction that nobody will bother to read, not attempt to make a political argument or some kind of appeal meant for the greater population! That kind of willful ostentation is just a form of self aggrandizement, which works against the objective of creating an effective and persuasive argument!
Nevertheless, my editorial spirit is torn. What do you think? Do we practice stylistic minimalism in the name of clarity, or is it just that we think and write for an audience of perpetual eight graders? Are these foreigners indeed verbose literary masters, or are they puffed-up pompous pee-cocks hoping nobody will be able to penetrate the layers of muddy metaphor in order to propose a possible counter argument – in short, cowards slinking around in the vestments of poets – and knock them off of their intellectual high-horses?