Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Living in the limelight; My Praise and Pissing on of Zen Habits

I want to take a second here to state one of my underlying life philosophies, that being one of always keeping a promise, and never turning my back on my word. This may come off with the same authority of a punk band claiming to never "sell out", seeing as how I can count my readership on one hand, but I want it put in writing, for all to see. So, first my pledges, and then, explaining the title of this post.

1) I will NEVER try to sell a premium section. And the simple reason of that is that if I make money off of this blog at some point, that would be awesome, and I'd try to further my life's ambitions even further though them. If I were to sell a book after becoming famous through this, I'd do that. But that would be a separate project, and I wouldn't compromise my values to do so. Especially since now that this post is here. The simple fact is that I don't have, never claimed to have, and never will have, any more knowledge than what a two or three page deep google search will tell you. My philosophy isn't deep. Find what you need or want to do with your life, break it down, write it down, and fucking do it. I'm trying to get the basic ad stuff on this site, if things get big, I'll even get my own fancy .com, and fill it with ads, but I won't create a VIP section. If I ever need that much money, something's gone wrong with my life or I've gotten lazy. In either case, do me a favor, hunt me down, and put a bullet in me.

2) Comments are forever.  I'd be pretty hard-pressed to turn my back on freedom of speech, so unless you're plotting to do something illegal in the comments section here, aside from putting a bullet in me for creating "Neverending PLATINUMMOTHAFUCKAboard", I'm not going to edit the comments, or take them away. I'll even try to keep up with the comments, if any are ever posted. There's going to be a limit on that, but I can at least take a sample and address them.

3) Does Rush's Limelight EVER get old? No.

4) I wouldn't count on a forum section. If there's a vast outcry, I'll consider it, but honestly...there's a life out there, people. And it's for the living.

Now on to the main event...all the world's a stage and we are merely playing in the limelight the universal green for those who wish to see those who wish to be must put aside the alienation get on with the fascination the real relation the underlying theme

My beef with Zen Habits. Well, here it is. The guy spends a year writing about all of these really great ideas, and a lot of his more recent posts were what made me start reading his archive FROM THE START...only to find it to be more of biography of a man corrupted by success and seemingly a lack of original ideas. And honestly, that wouldn't be so bad a thing, I mean, sooner or later we all run out of ideas. So, I'm going to give him the benefit of a good man gone wrong, and list them in their latest appearance.

1) The creation of the Premium section. Honestly, this isn't egregious until you read through his entire archive, only to find a pledge dated way back in the tail end of his first year when he was asking for donations to fund his ability to focus all of his life energy into the blog, and that he wouldn't start a premium section. The name of the blog is an easy target, but if Gavin Rossdale had to consider whether everything was zen with that, he'd say "I don't think so"

2) Neglecting to update his "free" section. Okay, so you've sold off a part of your focus to a paid section. Fine. (sidenote, I just checked the site...and he changed the premium section to the...dear god...Zen Habits Sea Change program) Seven updates throughout February. That's one update, every four days, for a guy who doesn't work a second job, thanks to the content of his blog. Great if you're trying to make a buck off people, not so great if you're trying to sell an honest lifestyle and philosophy. The guy at Getrichslowly SOLD his blog three years ago and still writes more than that. AND he's going through a divorce. Damn.

3) Preaching a shortened work week for the masses. No. I'm sorry, I know some people can get away with this, I know my best friend can on certain occasions, but this is not in the realm of possibility for people that go to jobs that force them to put on pants. Even strippers need to have clothes on to take off. I like going to my job, even if it seems boring at times, I like knowing that at any point, I can be needed, and that fuels me. If you buy into that 4 hour workweek tele/compu commuting stuff, then by all means, go for it, but most people that I know that are actually fulfilled by their job and see it as a life's calling not only have no problem going to work their 40 hours, they also have no problem going in for extra hours, unpaid, unrecognized officially, or any other sort of recognition. Again, I'll say it, if this blog somehow becomes the main job in my life, my life has seriously gone off course, and I'll want people to reference this post and set me straight.

4) Either regretting decisions, or doing what works for him. I'm at the point now, going through the archives, where he just published his first book...and then months later states that he'd like to have it available for free. I seriously just slapped my head so hard I should go into the ER. So let me get this straight.

1) You have a hugely successful blog.
2) You publish and sell an ebook that does tremendously well. 
3) You get so popular you can actually publish a book.
4) You have already released copyright on everything on your site. 
5) You publish the book anyway
6) You then LAMENT it??!?!??!??!?!?!

I mean, at least Radiohead decided to release In Rainbows for practically free...they didn't charge money, make money, and then say "oh shit, we should've released it for free". 

5) You can only have so many words of relevance. Look, the guy has had some great ideas over the years, and it got me out of serious rut. For that, I'm eternally grateful. But reading through it, from start to more than halfway finished, it has become redundant. Maybe he's in a rut of accomplishment, which is totally fine, but some kind of admittance of such would be a sigh of relief. I have no doubt that, if left alone, his blog would be as popular as it is today. But sooner or later, Brett Favre gives up the game, and lets a protege take his place. We know how to supposedly work our inboxes, there are more relevant sites or coworkers for figuring out how to make the most of our work week, and we just plain shouldn't have to be told to tell our loved ones that we love them (if you need to be told to tell your soulmate and children that you love them, stop reading my blog and never return. I'm dead fucking serious.) 

Seriously, thanks Leo, for all the weeks of time you've put into your blog, the world thanks you for it, but you've become a broken record and a hypocrite over the years...I just hope I don't meet the same fate. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

(Ad)ed to Adsense, and Bring out yo Lent!

Okay, so I'm approved for AdSense, and even though this site gets less hits than something witty, I'll throw this out there; between now and Easter, I'll donate every penny earned through AdSense, and I'll even double it. The first charity that comes to mind is the Wounded Warrior Project, a charity that seeks to guessed it, wounded warriors. Seriously a great cause, so click some ads and tell your friends! 

I don't have anything too crazy going on to write about, but seeing as how tomorrow's focus will be on my end of the month recap, I thought I'd take the time to go over the past week in my Lent "sacrifices". I had given up facebook, cursing, and red meat. And here we go!

1) My Swear Jar. Due to a lack of coinage (I use my debit card most of the time), I opted for a "swear stickynotejar" instead. And the results of the first three days were quite hellish, with me cursing about 30 times in three days. Even though I feel tech support should be liable for about 5 bucks of that, I'm the one keeping $15 is now gone. This week has gone easier, with me catching myself only about 10 times in the past two days. I've decided to make that money go towards my usual Friday snack for my coworkers, but haven't told them; not that they'd goad me into cursing, though I'm sure some of them would LOVE some lobster for a snack. Then again...I would too.

2) Quitting Facebook. My account info was downloaded, I clicked delete, and then I got my notification that deletion would take place in about two weeks. I still get the urge to check it, I mean, as anyone in their mid-twenties knows, Facebook is such a powerful social tool that there are actual websites dedicated to people facing "Facebook addiction". Psychology Today even featured a blog about the "addiction". I'm not sure if that speaks more about how successful a service it is, or how lonely and disconnected we've become as a people. Perhaps a mixture of both?

In any case, addict or not, I seem to be doing okay. Google+ is a nice enough replacement so I get all the feeling of Facebook, but with none of the crippling desire to stay on it for hours, essentially doing nothing but talking about sitcoms and how I want new Arrested Development episodes (NOW!). What I'm trying to say is...Google+ is the methadone clinic for my Facebook addiction. I swear I'm not lonely or disconnected. :)

3) No meat-rouge. Again, this is so little of a problem for me at this point that it's laughable I even remember to do it. I did face some temptation when buying a frozen pizza since for some reason the grocery store stopped carrying my beloved buffalo chicken pizza, so I went for four cheese instead...I don't know if it's because of Home Alone, but cheese pizza just seems wrong to me. Luckily the other three cheeses pulled their weight. And mine.

As you can see, I'm also trying to adjust to whole format of blogging, so while my voice may be the same, I'm working more on the style and presentation to suit things a little bit better. I also spotted a local deal on horseback riding lessons, something I've been wanting to try for a while, so now that my finances are looking better, it's gonna be time to get out a little more.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Going the distance! - A bastardized tale of my first half marathon

I've finally done it! I finished my first half marathon yesterday at a respectable pace, and more importantly, I finally get to cross that off my whiteboard. Of course, once something gets crossed off, another thing is added...and so it has been replaced with running a full marathon by the end of the year.

So, on to the details! I finished the 13.1 mile race in 2 hours and 6 minutes, which averages out to about 9:35 minutes/mile. I had been shooting for finishing around 2:10, based on just about every previous long distance run in which I'd averaged 10 minutes a mile. I even would have accepted 2:30, just for it being my first time out there, but luckily I managed to pull it all together. Now I'm just wishing I had been six minutes faster!

I've been running on and off for several years, but until August of last year the farthest I had ran in one shot was about 3 miles. At that time, life had forced me to rethink plans, and I resolved to a life of constant self-improvement, and the neverending whiteboard was born. I thought having one of my all-time goals, running a marathon, should be on there, so I began researching the topic. Not surprisingly, it turned out running 26 miles out of the blue is a really bad idea, and the common sense approach is to build up to it. So I hustled my browser over to, and looked up the next 5K. I ran that in just shy of 30 minutes in a muggy August sun, and claimed my first t-shirt.

The next month had me switching over to night shift, which for anyone who hasn't had the experience, leads to a life of darkness and many the TV rerun. Instead, I eventually grew frustrated (after watching every episode of Mad Men and How I Met Your Mother) and found a 10K to run with one of my friends. Six miles is a fair distance for the uninitiated, so I began to run between 3 and 6 miles about four days a week, in addition to laying off the cigarettes. This was also around the time that I went for what ended up being a 10 mile run. And yet on race day, I only managed to finish it in about an hour. However, due to the low participation of 25-29 year old men, I took 3rd place in my age bracket!

Between that 10K in October and late January of this year, I let running fall by the wayside, though I quickly got back on track after plunking down the $45 registration fee for the half marathon. I began using the tried and true method of two or three short runs a week of about 4-6 miles a week, and gradually increased my weekly long run over the course of three weeks. The first week my long was 6 miles, the next week was 8, and my final long run was 10. I was only averaging about 10 minute paces, as I said before, but I felt confident that I'd at least be able to finish the damn thing.

By the way, up until this point I had never tried carbo-loading...and up until this point I had never needed it. I'm pretty sure eating a pizza isn't the proper way, but I certainly enjoyed it. All I know is that on race day, I needed every calorie I had in me, and probably a fair amount more. Previously, I had employed a run/walk mix into my long runs, but sure enough, I had so much energy I managed to avoid walking until around mile 11. Long story short, I finished the race, bought another pizza, and then went home with my medal and wiped that goal off the whiteboard. Mission accomplished.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What doesn't kill you

Aaaaaand I'm back. Well the bar crawl was about as painful as it gets, but I somehow managed to power myself through a dozen bars in less than four hours. Which is usually a cry for help, unless you have a piece of paper around your neck with a bunch of stamps on it. Sure, it wasn't the financial decision of the year, or even the best choice I've ever made in regards to my health, but it was also kind of a nice wake up call. A few years ago, I probably could have around to all those bars twice and been dragging people around for a third go at it. The five hours I spent in bed Sunday after waking up was almost a relief in retrospect. Unfortunately, that meant the rest of Sunday was spent between writing my paper for class and trying not to vomit. Such is life.

Monday led me to my last big training run for my half marathon...made it 10 miles while rocking a pace slightly above 10 minutes a mile. The weather was awesome for running and I'll be lucky if it's anywhere near that nice this Sunday. Most of it was walk/run, and I'm fine with that, as long as I focus more on the run and less on the walk, while keeping that kind of pace. Needless to say, I won't be breaking any land speed records...this time around.

And lent. Lent lent lent. As a lapsed Catholic, I still try to incorporate some parts of it that I don't entirely hate. I didn't get ashed today, but I did pick a few things to mix up my life a bit, and hopefully make me a better man in the process.

1) I started a swear jar at work. This is gonna hurt...because I love to curse. I'm going total Quaker on this motha, and not even allowing dammit. I'll try to figure out something good to do with the money.

2) I'm quitting Facebook. I'm doing this one for a number of reasons, mainly to inspire myself to actually do something other than chat with people I talk to every day in real life. As ironic as it sounds for someone who loves writing, and has this pathetic excuse for a blog, the whole point of Facebook has pretty much disappeared for me. My college friends are either in my life regardless through phone calls, or they're completely out of my life. Sadly, same with family. And as for the people currently in my life, where I'm at...well, they know my number and where I live. So it just seems ridiculous. Equally ridiculous is the fact that I'm using my Google+ account more. I enjoy having my little corner of the web for photos, and a go-to profile type thing for people to get the basic run down on me. Facebook, over the years, has it made it darn near impossible to separate the past from the present, or even split up who can see what. So, I downloaded my account info, told everyone where they could find me, and that's that. Now I have 14 days before my account deletion is scheduled to take's hoping my will lasts that long.

3) And as usual, I'm going to try not eating red meat for the entire period of lent. I've done this one for the past three or four years, and honestly it's not even a challenge anymore, and in fact as made me healthier for it. Here's hoping the previous two lead me down the same road.

PS - tried out my shiny new food processor today when I made some hummus. It's a lot easier to clean than the blender, but I'm still not completely sold on it yet...even though it was a gift. 

Friday, February 17, 2012


So I haven't updated lately, but then again, it's not like I have a anyways. February has been a pretty awesome time for trying out new things. Last Friday I attended a beer tasting, and ended up walking away with some very tasty Smoked Black Lager. Then later that night I did the unexpected and went to a country bar...not my first pick, but it was something new, and it was a new group of people so I wanted to give it a try.

The new job has been going well, and even better, after this year's tax return, I'll finally have my credit card paid off. And after that, my student loans will be getting knocked off one at a time, hopefully down to the point where I'll really be able to get the ball rolling once my car payments start back up in May. To reach my goal of being completely out of debt by September 2014, I'll need to pay about 1125 a month until then. Ideally, I'd like this amount to be under $1000, so I'll be searching for ways to scrimp and save even more than that. I might even be at that point, but between Christmas, my birthday, and the tax refund, it's going to be hard to gauge that, especially since we're talking around $5000 in that time period. Still, every little bit helps.

And on the cooking front, I am to able to say I can now cook General Tso's chicken and enchiladas.

Tomorrow is my first bar crawl...and it's looking to be a good one!