Jobs, motivation, and cartoon squirrels.

I’m fond of the Foamy series which I’ve been watching since I was a teenager. I find that this episode I just stumbled across fits really well with the theme of some of my recent posts.

There’s sometimes a bit of language and risque stuff in these cartoons so be forewarned.

 

The idea of working hard for yourself rather than a company that doesn’t treat you right is one I’m on board with. But as I pointed out in my post on loving uncertainty you have to temper that feel good notion of entrepreneurship with realism, diligence, and flexibility.

Hope this was fun, helpful, and cathartic cause that’s the intent.

Cheers.

PGP – Joey and Al – Thrift (Webcomic)

I like to doodle while I listen to podcasts in the morning. I definitely had a hiatus with doing that for a bit so it’s kind of messy at the moment. I draw in the Blitz style I learned from a book I picked up around 2006 when there were still bookstores.

PGP is an acronym for Post Grunge Punks. I actually am not a huge fan of the genre but feel that it places my age group and mentality in proper chrono-phenomenological (yes i am that pretentious) order.

Thrift shopping at places like Goodwill is popular in the states among trendies and this is loosely based on an experience I had. I feel that comics are a great medium for getting across skit style points. Hope you enjoy. And Happy New Year!


PGP - Joey and Al - Thrift

PGP - Joey and Al - Thrift SB2

PGP - Joey and Al - Thrift SB3

PGP - Joey and Al - Thrift SB4


The script for those who couldn’t read my caffeinated chicken scratch:

Alan: The Chavs need this Joey.

Joey: Buhh…I want it what are Chavs?

Alan: What are you gonna do with a mid 90’s toaster, commune with Thom Yorke via breakfast.

Joey: I want that toaster Alan and…what? Chezz?

Alan: I guess I fell asleep watching Top Gear again.

Joey: Yea BBC America was on when I came in.

Alan: How drunk was I?

Joey: No Nookie… and you kept talking about the anglo-zionist conspiracy.

Alan: I was David Icke drunk…shit….

Joey: Dude I never know what you’re talking about…Why should the chaffs get my toaster?

Alan: Because you’re a daddies money arts student and I’m a first generation immigrant living a Bohemian lifestyle you’re middle class and I would be too if I cared to castrate myself.

Joey: What?

Alan: We don’t need this junk! Chavs need this junk your mom gave you a toaster and bought your books, this is the only toaster Chavs can afford.

Joey: But it’s cute! And beige! And has the little chrome strip and I want it. The chaffs can get their own! What are Chaffzzz anyway….!

Alan: Chaffs are people who like soccer, boozing, swearing, and have low future time orientation!

Joey: I like soccer and booze! Orientation… are chavs gay? You shouldn’t pick on people Alan…my professor…

Alan: Looks at Joeys shirt and his face is lit by a brooding realization.

Joey: What….don’t look at me like that Alan!

Alan: “Nevermind” Said hurriedly as he hands her the toaster.

Joey: I’m so confused…

Thoughtbubble: Oh shit I’m dating an east ender.

Birdie’s Window and Did Crichton Float?


I do a song, and I’m going to be doing book reviews, so I thought I’d start with Sphere.

This Michael Crichton classic is one of my favorite reads and I only just now noticed how it may be related to a float tank experience he may have had. Feedback is always welcome and thanks for stopping by.

– Addendum: “After trying out several models, Perry settled on a tank that used 10-inch-deep water saturated with Epsom salts. He and his wife Lee opened a float center in Beverly Hills in 1979, renting out their five tanks largely to entertainment industry types. Michael Crichton came in to float when he had writer’s block. Eventually, Crichton bought a tank of his own.”

http://www.slate.com/articles/life/anything_once/2013/05/sensory_deprivation_flotation_tanks_i_floated_naked_in_a_pitch_black_tank.html

Nerdy Delights for Crichton Fans (everyone else too! good stuff here.) 

http://primate.uchicago.edu/2008Crichton.pdf

Instant Uploads and the Death of Magic?


I do a ramble about how the way that music and art are framed, in this case via recording medium, drastically effects perception. As well as raise the question of whether the ease of upload effects the process and magic of creating new songs.

I also play a little ‘song’ I wrote which is just three or so chords and these lyrics:

My mellow sunshine

Showed up on time

My mellow sunshine

Dropped me a line

My mello sunshine

Pulled me on through

My mellow sunshine

With eyes of blue

I remember sitting I remember dreams (I remember grinning) I remember smiles and miles

I remember I remember All from the beginning

When my moon was highest

When the night was cold

When the taste was driest

When the song was old

My mellow sunshine

Showed up on time

My mellow sunshine

Dropped me a line

My mello sunshine

Pulled me on through

My mellow sunshine

With eyes of blue

A faded couch Nicotine nerves I’m here to vouch

That none better serves

Than to see the sun in moon

To correct the spell

Quell the monsoon

Of aught Of naught Of never

With Yes And Now And Forever

When…

My mellow sunshine

Showed up on time

My mellow sunshine

Dropped me a line

My mello sunshine

Pulled me on through

My mellow sunshine

With eyes of blue

The Sort of Cold

kjk


Oh no. The common workers’ dilemma. What the hell is this tickling in my nose? Oh,  it’s now a burning in my throat.

Well damn, it’s not too bad. I have a pretty good immune system. I guess I’ll go to work, wash my hands often, and won’t stand too close to people. There are bills you know.

This mini-episode of sociopathy and desperation is pretty common and indicative of the sort of society we live in. Sure you could talk all day about personal responsibility but life costs money and people get sick and sometimes they can’t afford to be sick. What can be done? I don’t really know but I think it’s worth mentioning.

What I can do, besides just bring it up, is offer ways to proactively deal with the bummer of the ‘sort of cold.’

The first thing you can do is view these mini-maladies as practice. Honestly, I sometimes get suspicious if I don’t get just a little bit sick at least once a year. How else am I going to know that my immune system is getting a workout? I don’t know how wise or scientifically sound this hypothesis is. But, it seems at least to be a better tactic then getting upset about sickness.

It is possible to lose your temper at common cold. I think that I have pretty good grounds for getting upset about it. Aside from the occasional double pint night or go at the cookie jar I’m pretty healthy. I exercise regularly, I eat a more or less balanced diet with an emphasis on protein, I make it a point to get enough sleep, and I have decent hygiene.

WHY AM I SICK? I could get justifiably mad about it but that’s not productive. Obviously assessing the nature of the illness, recovery plans, whether you need a sick day, or a doctors visit are the first steps you should take.

My two cents here is a tad more philosophical. It has to do with outlook.

The second thing you can do aside from viewing colds as practice is letting them inspire you. Sounds odd but it works. Due to a combination of luck and effort, I can generally remain feeling pretty great most of the time.

What happens when you feel strong and enthusiastic for a long time is you can lose touch with mortality and your vulnerability. This state produces complacency. A complacency that’s very helpfully broken by the common cold.

If you’re used to feeling well and are suddenly sick, even a little, it can be jarring. Jarring enough to inspire you to redouble your efforts at being healthy and strive to be vigilant about your vulnerabilities.

A good use for illnesses that you are 100% sure are gonna pass in a couple of days is to realize that they could be much worse, that they could be cancer, or diabetes, or dementia. Musing on ‘an even worse’ case scenario will inspire you to take the preventative measures we are all familiar with more seriously. It can inspire you to do more background reading and to be more sympathetic and understanding of situations and people because you’ve contextualized life as the complex and vulnerable thing that it is.

The third and final strategy that I’ll mention before I make a beeline for my coffee/honey/milk-fix is the trite but true method of letting sickness kindle a greater appreciation. A greater appreciation of what exactly?

Well, obviously of your health when you have it, of the fact that things work as well as they do in a world where something you can’t even see can kick your ass, and of the fact that you have the means to recover. I for one, due to avid reading, and some experience with slightly less than first-world conditions, am ecstatic as hell that I can munch on frigging pineapples, chocolate,  drink milk, and enjoy honey in December while exploring the world with keystrokes in a warm, dry, clean and well lit little office. I am also greatly appreciative that even if I am an odious toad and risk getting my coworkers slightly sick they’ll understand cause that’s how I got the cold in the first place.

Generally though, avoid going to work or even near family when sick. I only risk these things because I can knock out a could within thirty-six hours and think that whatever that slight burn is, is just the devastated phalanx of micro-organisms who chose to mess with the wrong Barbarian horde. This is already a bit silly but sometimes we can’t avoid silly.

Hope these tips have helped and use your own discretion. May your celebrations be bug-free and Happy New Year.

Learn to Love Uncertainty

sunset-401331_640


 

Learn to love uncertainty.

That’s the best advice that I feel anyone can give. Especially today. Alright, so maybe not especially today since in a lot of ways today is more certain than days when you could get killed by the flu or pirates.

Yet, today is still precarious. While the uncertainties may be far more subtle than starving or getting mauled there may be a greater variety of them.

One such uncertainty is job security.

There are many popular voices today that upon seeing mass migrations, automation, and all sorts of economic shenanigans reflexively begin to espouse the virtues of entrepreneurship.

While I think that entrepreneurship is a fine thing, I also think that one of its core pillars is more important to highlight. That pillar being initiative.

Initiative is what will allow you to navigate uncertainty.

Before you can navigate uncertainty you have to want to navigate uncertainty. This means learning to love it.

Fortunately this loves come naturally, at least somewhat. Despite uncertainty’s membership in an acronym that marketers use to sum up difficult targets (FUD – Fear Uncertainty and Doubt) uncertainty is thrilling. Uncertainty is vital because a sure thing is generally a boring thing. The addicting nature of gambling bears testimony to our innate love of uncertainty.

The aptest analogy for uncertainty is probably the open sea or if you want to get a bit more modern open space. I think that it can be argued that gazing out at the ocean produces a fairly consistent reaction. That being excitement, wonder, and the desire to explore.

Yet, even in days and cultures where sailing was common and promoted as a great virtue not everyone sailed. Why?

Because not everyone learned to love the sea. Not everyone learned to love uncertainty. The infatuation with the idea and romance of seafaring is not the lived love of spreading actual sails, braving actual storms, and overcoming your aversion to such things.

This is where the point of this little essay comes in. Why would somebody have to learn something that comes naturally? What does any of this have to do with work and navigating modernity?

Because it is only the beginning of the thing that comes naturally. Because the world of today is as fluid as the ocean and our social institutions, means of relating to each other, professions, and technology require the deft navigation that you can only master by learning to love uncertainty.

Loving uncertainty will teach you the need for initiative. It is the expectation of challenge and the unknown that will drive you to make the adequate explorations and preparations needed to succeed in an uncertain world.

A favorite lesson that I learned from Alan Watts comes into play here. It is the lesson of the benefit of perspective. Of not seeing yourself as lost in a maelstrom of causality but as an integral component of the great happening. This perspective allows you to see that the hard ground is holding you up, that the hill that’s in your way is taking you higher, that your hunger and fatigue are keeping you alive by pulling you towards seeking out necessities and thus appreciating their satiation all the more.

Uncertainty is the firm ground that’s lifting you up, it is the rain that though at times cold will make that ground fertile, and learning to see it in this way is a psychological tactic that I believe is essential today.

It is essential because it teaches initiative and it teaches love. The whole reason that I pluck the word initiative from the entrepreneurship concept is because it is a principle.

Entrepreneurship you see is a practice, a very specific practice, and one whose successful execution requires a host of skills and realizations.

Principles are much simpler and more essential things which make entrepreneurship possible.

If you have the prefabricated notion that you must become an entrepreneur then you run into the problem of fitting into a mold. You are limiting yourself in the same way that you would by trying to squeeze into a pair of skinny jeans cause they’re hip.

Running a business, a website, programming a game, or opening up a Cafe are all entrepreneurial pursuits which may or may not be a good fit for you at any given time. Holding any one of them or even the more nebulous notion of entrepreneurship as concrete goals may be premature.

Before you begin any of these ventures you need to learn to love uncertainty and take initiative. Starting with a simple physical job while seriously pursuing a creative or academic project on the side is what I’ve found to be best. There is something in the instant feedback and relatively small number of variables of simple manual labor that is absolutely incredible for building the skeleton of timeliness, sequencing, and stamina. You of course still have to be seriously pursuing your creative or academic project.

By academic I do not mean college or university. While those institutions do have value I think it important to point out that one can do serious scholarly work on ones own. Especially with the tools and resources available today.

Staying out of the restricting mindset of becoming an entrepreneur, or needing this or that career, or this or that degree is exactly the sort of embrace of uncertainty that I’m trying to get across.

First learn the initiative of getting things done in a timely manner, of making sure that you are able to provide you and perhaps others with resources, and learning what you love and value.

Entrepreneurship, or a law practice, or a degree in anthropology will I think come more naturally and painlessly with this mindset.


This essay has been mulling about in the back of my head in various forms for a while, and is finally brought forth because I had a firsthand encounter with uncertainty just today.

I’ve taken on seasonal work to pay some bills. Today, there was a surplus of people and a lack of work for them to do. So a couple of us got the day off.

This got me to thinking. Suppose that this was my only idea of income, my only idea of how to make my way in the world, this would make me very nervous perhaps even a little panicked.

Sometimes seasonal work is all that’s available, sometimes law graduates work at cafes, I actually recently ran into a female programmer who is now waiting tables because she got laid off.

These things are testaments to the dangers of certainty and not taking initiative. I am not saying that people that got laid off don’t have initiative or got too comfortable. I’m saying that culturally it is altogether too common to rely on institutions and credentials as if they’re always going to provide us what we need.

I think that many of the folks that comprise these companies and institutions have excellent initiative and understanding of uncertainty but I think that we need to start to stress the need for yet greater initiative and understanding. We need to start to develop practices that foster flexibility and reflect the increasingly fluid nature of class and demographic dynamics.

I have not provided a concrete set of practices in this essay but I may make the attempt later and think that I at least made a decent crack at conveying the requisite ethos.

Some might think this to be dreamy, overly philosophical, and flowery. Perhaps in some ways it is. Perhaps some think that this was merely writing for the sake of writing. Yes, that is true, at least in part. I decided to sit here and type this out not only because I think it is useful and entertaining enough to be shared but because I need to practice writing. I think that this is a good example of living out the ethos of initiative since I could just as easily have watched 90 minutes of stand-up.

I hope this was helpful and thank you for reading.

Dead Bunny – An Uncanny Memento Mori

“The sensibilities of the hunter and the poet…” (Consilience – The Arts and Their Interpretation, page 237. Knopf)


20171225_170054.jpg
 I made it as small as possible because I don’t want to bum out the gentler sorts. But yes. This just happened. 

I did feel a bit like I was hunting and that I had been successful. The universe, that vague thing we allude to when we want to convey the sense of a unifying and pervasive force, can surprise you. I’d been musing on the fact that trying to rush things leads to bad results. Haste makes waste, you know the old cliché.

Some trite things are true. This itself is a trite and true observation and I’m not trying to wow anyone with it. It’s just sort of necessary to get to my point.

There’s a Latin phrase: Memento Mori. It was something said to victorious Roman soldiers so that they would remember their mortality and not get overconfident. At least that’s how I recall the thing, and I can’t currently be bothered to look it up, because its Christmas day and I have work in the morning.

I went out for a stroll and fell into a bit of a reverie in the chill December air. I was thinking ‘you know there could have been so much that I could have already done in terms of a completed work.’ Why hadn’t I? Wasn’t it because I didn’t hustle enough?

No.

It was because I hustled too much. I’d missed the boon of impetus that Mercury delivers to the attentive. I’d heard it as a whisper and instead of listening more closely I’d attempted to shout back the rumor for confirmation.

Or maybe this is just me losing my point which is that it is very uncanny. It is very uncanny when the universe, that vague thing we allude to when we want to convey the sense of a unifying and pervasive force, puts a dead bunny on the path of your Yule Tide walk. Just at the moment that you are thinking about haste and death.

There are those who dismiss most everything as a coincidence I have at least a dozen teasing things that argue otherwise.

I do not mean to be morbid during the holidays. I suppose I should dispel the funk of death by explaining my view of it. Yes, the poor dead hare is leaping no more but such is the fate of all the things under the sun and it is not a bad thing. It is not a lingering illness. The physical life animate on this sphere is a song worthy of singing. But should one wish to sing the same song forever?

That bunny now knows eternal rest, and in his dusty bed, I read a poem that told me life’s completion lies in going at the right pace.

What is the right pace? I am still trying to figure that out but I think that the answer to this riddle could be that there is no pace at all.

I may be straying into obscurantism but that is not my intent. My final guess is that you can only gain the proper pace by listening to the cadence.

What is the cadence?
Perhaps we all know, perhaps we all don’t, whatever the case I hope the new year finds you well.

TAP # 9 – Intermittent Fasting and Loop Control


I get loopy. Talking about syncing up your steering wheel with your gas pedal. These are sites that I consider to be fairly well sourced and reliable: That doesn’t mean I agree with or endorse everything they say. Simply that they are a good place to try and expand your knowledge. Remember to think critically. – http://roguehealthandfitness.com/https://chriskresser.com/

Man of Letters

Image result for creel factory


Der Ding An Sich

It really stuck in my craw. I remember standing there in front of the machine. It was a bizarre twenty-first-century machine still quaintly termed a Creel. My boss, the surrogate father of my room-mate and prep school buddy was telling me something I found hard to fathom.

Not that it was difficult. There is nothing difficult about machines. The chief difficulty is generally that they’re a tad dull. Doubly dull on days when you’ve awoken before the sunrise to drive from a one bedroom apartment, past listless trees and lumbering rigs, to a grey gravely yard next to a utilitarian affair termed a factory.

“You’re a man of letters.”

It really stuck in my craw. I’d asked for a guide. For a chance to study the inner workings. The simple buttony operation of the thing would stick better with such documentation. Yet instead of encouragement for my interest, I was called a man of letters.

It is odd for me, it is profoundly difficult, to keep from resenting soft suburban blindness. To deal with the oversimplified dichotomy of ‘this’ and ‘that’, and ‘thus’ and ‘so’ of the collegiate. I was not cradled there, I did not belong there, and I certainly despised being called soft by its tenderest tenants.

This whole essay is years in the making and the flame animating the long assembled kindling was sparked by ‘the most widely known man of letters.’ Ralph Waldo Emerson, yes finally I had an elegant way to broach the subject.

The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy contains that little phrase. I was there because Emerson is the great Ghost behind our present machine. For good or for ill.

I think good and ill a thing that’s at times difficult to fathom. Though not as difficult or impossible as my ‘post-modern’ (relativists)(sic) contemporaries would make it out to be.

Emerson thought the man of letters was incomplete. Like Aurelius, he thought that muttering over books overlong was unhealthy. I’d been conditioned from youth to agree with this assessment.

A far more recent writer by the name of Crichton had shaped the entirety of my ethos in the span of a paragraph. In a dime-store thriller called The Lost World, there was a passage lamenting the academics penchant to be maladapted. This need to be nerdy was sharply contrasted with the athletic achievements of some 20th century Noble luminary. I think it may have been Plank.

I was thin, and pale, and dark. I reveled in the hills, streams, and woods of the nation that adopted me. My father was a security guard who participated in martial arts tournaments. My mother worked in a gym in the basement of a looming thing in the metropolis of my birth. My father’s father was a gym instructor. My grandmother’s father was a geologist or economist for a geological survey studying some of the roughest country on Earth. So despite being thin and pale, and dark I had a physical pedigree and physical passions, as well as not the cheeriest of childhoods.

All these being reasons why I so thoroughly imbibed Crichton observation, and so thoroughly resented condescension from first world humble braggarts.

These sorts steal my time, steal their own time, and stymie this wondrous blooming thing called life with listless labeling.

This is why Emerson is so essential and misreading him so dangerous.

He is called the ‘most famous man of letters’ by that Encyclopedia for solid reason. He is both hapless signpost and robust director of the American way. A decent and dare I say lovely path when properly taken.

‘America is a poem’ and the magic of poetry is in its motion. Rhythmic meter is the same animus that Emerson promotes by suggesting that a man see no work as beneath him, so long as it is useful at the moment. He saw the enlightenment sought for by all the sages in all the ages as being possible to accrue from the most mundane of tasks, provided the proper spirit.

Logos and pathos, Apollo and Dionysus, in perfect concert that’s the ethos. At least that to me is the ethos Emerson was attempting to transmit.

Transcendentalism you see is not about escape but about embrace. Individuation and individualism are not about isolation but realization. The proper reading of individuation is not of setting apart but of standing together. Yes, we are together but we do not lean one against the other, each of us stands upon the same ground and we regard each other as one regards a magic mirror. In this realization, the mirror is a window into another world where we see ourselves in a different reality. This embrace is the kindest Agape and the richest kiss of Eros.

Of course, to use a cringy cliché this rose has many thorns and plucking it requires utmost caution.

“Rich man in a poor man’s clothes.” To borrow from Elliot as I will do forever is the prickle that I find most personally irksome. The humble braggart, the latte-swilling tough guy, the ‘dude with a stilted attitude learned from TV,’ the man who called me ‘man of letters.’

Why all this ire? Was it an insult or compliment? Was it both? I do not know but I do know that it is indicative of an improper digestion.

Emerson, unless I am mistaken would have resented the separation of the ‘gritty blue jeans realist’ from the ‘man of letters.’ In fact, I think that he found this very dichotomy to have a mortifying effect. It is the same dichotomy that Crichton and Aurelius address when they remark on the imbalances of certain characters. So, to be called ‘a man of letters’ by a hard-working dandy, seemed indicative of improper digestion of the massive cultural morsel, that the Transcendental school has set upon the American table.

I’m not exactly sure what they’re playing at. What they’re playing at with all that cocky grinning, armchair psychology, beards, and flannel… And I only point it out because I think it makes everyone miserable and a shot at diagnosis may perhaps be better than no diagnosis at all.

So, I Alexander Weir, formerly known as Alexander Vadimavich Vyborov, proclaim without pride, or shame, that I am as I have always been a man. Not a man of letters, not a tragedy, not a poet, not a laborer, painter, musician, or chief, but simply a man.

It is a worthy state.

Der Ding An Sich