There's a petty sense of self-satisfaction when I get the first cup of a freshly brewed pot of coffee, particularly one that I initiated. There I am, filling my mug with the hot brown mud and the coffee wouldn't cease. All over the kitchen was the foul-tasting Starbucks Cafe Verona. I had removed my hands from the machine completely but the handle was stuck and a mess ensued. I did like any normal person would do and I cleaned up the mess. I felt an incredible sense of calm as I completed the task and here's why: I had lost myself in the simplicity of a black and white task. There were no complications in cleaning the coffee. I used absorbent paper towels. Threw them in an ever-ready trash can. The kitchen was back to pre-mess mode. The takeaway here is that if I just reduce my problems into very small, manageable tasks, I can lose myself in them, and then ignore them.
I went to the gym yesterday to put a dent in the caloric atrocity that was the 4th of July weekend. I propped myself on an elliptical machine and proceeded to fake cross-country skiing. Of course I had an iPod, but my attention was elsewhere. Straight ahead planted on the wall was a television airing an info-mercial for St. Jude's Hospital, trying to solicit donations. They try to guilt you into calling by showing images of children with terminal cancer and their parents with tears streaming down their faces. Sam, aged 9, had no immune system. Another boy, a toddler, had a brain tumor. I move to level 15. Sweat is pouring down my face. Other 24 Hour Fitness patrons come and go. Some try to avoid this particular TV but it's damn near impossible.
This is where I start the big-ticket guilt, asking myself whether it's okay that I did nothing the previous day but eat sausages. Should I be doing more. Do I owe it to Sam and to the toddler-boy to use my time differently. Would he be pissed at me if he knew that I sat on the couch and watched two movies back to back. Has this info-mercial rationalized self-hate? I'm over thinking yet again. I'm tired at this point and decide to go home, but not without the cleansing that 45 minutes of beating myself up provides. I somehow managed to find a morality in what I was doing. It's moral to burn calories, because, plenty of people die before they should and I owe it to them. This is what I found in my workout: moral obligation.
I could have changed the channel. I could have switched to ESPN and watched the end of the Wimbledon Men's final. This was better. I needed it to clarify, in a twisted way, my purpose in life. That purpose? To be alive. Survival. That's all there is.
I grew up 3 blocks from my elementary school, so I would walk to school everyday. One time in 5th grade I found $5 on the ground beneath a car parked along the street. Pretty much ever since that day, whenever I walk down residential streets, I imagine finding large stacks of money hidden from plain sight but apparent to my watchful eyes.
Last night I went for a cigar walk, and just as I was about to prematurely put out my cigar, I decided to walk a few more blocks to finish the rest (to show respect to the Partagas factory workers). I turned around on Ocean Blvd. to head back to 4th St. and there it was, staring at me in its crumpled, dusty glory: a $10 bill. This discovery felt good, but probably not as good as the idiot felt that found the $100 bucks I dropped in the Santa Monica Public Library. But still.
Why is this even an option? I thought I was doing my heart a favor by eating Quaker oatmeal everyday in those stupid little packets. Now I have to ditch the "regular" instant oatmeal and get this shit. Hey, Quaker, do me a favor and just make your regular oatmeal healthy for me, okay? Does that seem reasonable to you? If it doesn't, then get out of the oatmeal business.
Michael Vick should not have to go out of his way to apologize to anyone. He apologized by going to prison. If he's allowed to continue his career in the NFL, the only thing he needs to do is win.
Also, to PETA: please don't waste your time organizing protests at NFL football games. Use your resources to do something useful for animals instead of trying to destroy Michael Vick (the damage is done).
I read an article a while back about our ability to focus. Say you're studying something and you stop to answer your cell phone. In addition to the time it takes you to finish your phone call, it takes an additional 15 minutes for you to regain the concentration that you had before you decided to check your cell phone. So, if you spend 3 hours at the library, but stop to check your phone 4 times, then an hour of that study time is spent trying to regain focus and concentration.
I have this buddy that's addicted to his cell phone. Looking back on the last few times we've hung out, I can't recall enjoying the experience all that much. What I remember most is how often he kept checking his cell phone. Clearly his attention was on whomever was texting him at the moment. If you're so interested in who's texting you, then go hang out with them. I've made a decision to spend my time here with you. So, engage in the experience. Let's chat about the music, talk about the food, dish about chicks, whatever. I'm pretty sure this is what Eckhart Tolle talks about in The Power of Now. Life is short and precious. Why would you do anything half-assed? This is the thing I hate about cell phones: they have the potential to steal away significance and meaning from the simple joys of living. Technology has its place, but I don't want to live a life at a distracted 65%, and I don't want to hang out with people that are just about half way present. In college I had a professor that would take the first five minutes of every class to get everyone to quiet down, meditate, and "arrive" at class, to rid themselves of the concerns outside that particular classroom. I can't tell you how incredibly useful this was. I don't do this enough, but I think I'm going to start doing it more often.
Attention is an incredibly valuable commodity. Use it wisely on meaningful experiences with people that appreciate your presence.
Americans love things that are either obnoxiously huge or unusually tiny. On the same menu at Jack 'n The Box, you can order an Ultimate Cheeseburger, which is fucking huge, or you can get an order of Mini-Sirloin Burgers, which are cute, bite sized. Whens the last time you went to a restaurant that didn't offer "sliders?" Do you remember when having a huge ass boom box was the baddest thing ever? Now, the smaller your iPod gets, the cooler you are. Obviously, as technology advances, we're able to get more power out of our gadgets and they now take up less space, which is a good thing. But, in general, if you take something huge and make it small (or vice versa) you'll have a hit. Mini-Coopers, I suppose, are popular, or, at least as popular as Hummers were in the 90's. As long as you can create a novelty factor with the size of your product, you'll be able to convince a nice chunk of consumers to buy what you're selling.
I had Chinese food for dinner tonight. This was my fortune:
My initial response was to bash the quality control over at the fortune cookie factory. How could they let something like this pass through enough levels of approval to end up on my plate? I finally calmed down and steadily grew fond of the simple elegance of this advice: take what you have learned, and put it to good use. This may kill the romance of future encounters, adventures, and business opportunities, it's just more useful. Perhaps the Chinese food eating public is better off getting more pragmatic messages from their cookies. "Don't eat this cookie," for example. Or maybe, "Don't spend more than you earn." After all, if people can be silly enough to expect satisfaction from their fortune, maybe they'll be silly enough to heed the advice.
No. I didn't get your email. And even if I did, don't say, "didn't you get my email?" like sending an email is some sort of act of God. Sending an email is a nudge at best. That being said, I make it a common practice to respond to all emails I get. My job relies on me being responsive to emails, so I'm pretty vigilant. But please don't treat email like it is an end and not a means. If something is so damn important to you, call me. Find me. Talk to me. Otherwise, consider it a privilege that we can communicate via email.
Email is a useful tool, but don't use it as a crutch. Just because you forward information along doesn't mean you are doing your job.
I was just listening to "Mr Sandman" by the Chordettes and I remember hearing it in a movie, but not Back to the Future like you're probably thinking. I couldn't figure it out, and I was prepared to let it bother me all night. But then I just looked it up on wikipedia.com and saw that it was used in Uncle Buck.
Then I got to thinking--is the Internet ruining my brain? Isn't it good for me to think hard and try to remember shit, or is it better that my brain power can be used for something more "productive?" I can't figure it out. I'm not sure whether I'm screwing myself or if I'm just restructuring my brain power.
I was talking to a thin friend of mine about where I prefer to sit on an airplane. "The window seat," I said. "I don't like it when the drink cart bumps my elbow." The thin friend replies, "You know, I had never even thought of that, but I hate when that happens, too." Getting bumped by the drink cart hadn't even crossed the mind of the thin person, but to me, a heavy-set man, this was the very first thing I considered. This led me to the conclusion that fat people have a more keen ability to define space. Why? Because we need more of it. Because it's an issue in our daily life. We wake up and are hyper-aware of how clothes will fit, whether a chair will support our girth, or if we're going to bump into things while battling the banalities of daily life. Fat people live in constant fear that life simply won't fit. And rightfully so.