You Need to Pay Attention

This awkward incident happened on my walk into work today. A girl was riding her bike one direction, and another young lady was walking the opposite direction. Both headed for each other.

The girl walking realizes this will end badly, so she stops walking to give the girl on the bike time to adjust course and avoid a collision.

The girl on the bike slows down but doesn’t change course, continuing straight toward the girl standing right in front of her, and just before colliding, she jams on her brakes so hard her rear tire pops off the ground. She then declares to the standing lady,”You need to watch where you’re going.”

The lady replies, “I think you need to watch where YOU’RE going.”

The girl on the bike peddles away declaring, “Jesus!”

And that’s when I started chuckling out loud. And I continued chucking like that as I replayed the scene over and over.

But as I think about it, it is psychologically mundane AND fascinating. As a little boy, I would say, wow two grown ups are fighting! A little older, and I would say, “What was the girl on the bike thinking? She is nuts.” But now I wonder… does the girl on the bike truly believe herself, or was she just puffing herself up to make up for a blunder that she was too proud to accept was clearly her doing? In some way, I hope she truly believes she is right, because then at least she acted in earnest, even though I believed her assessment was incorrect.

What’s the moral of the story? Hmm… maybe “bike helmets can save your brain, but your ego is all on you.”

Or maybe, “Jesus has nothing to do with your free will, learn how to ride a bike, derp.”

Or maybe, “If your going to act like a booger on a pedestrian walkway, go take your chances on the roadway. After you get smacked by a couple cars, you will appreciate pedestrians more.”

I Just Single-Handedly Ate an Entire Extra Large Pizza

That about sums it up.  I didn’t feel like cooking this weekend, so I picked up the phone and ordered a 16″ extra-large 3 topping pizza (the coupon I had also pledged a second free 1 topping large pizza… I got that, too).

Over the course of about 60-90 minutes, I inhaled the entire thing by myself.  I just had to say something… but math wise it looks like cheese pizza is a bout 300 calories a slice, so that was 1800 calories. It was also about 96 grams of fat and 5600mg of sodium.  That was not a brilliant maneuver…but it was delicious.  Guess I will have to run a few extra. . . hours. . . to work that off, ey? Whew!

Is it wrong that I just ate a slice of the free large pizza while typing the article about demolishing the extra large pizza? Gotta got to the gym for sure!!

The Age of Misinformation

It’s funny how my mom would say, “You kids didn’t come with an instruction manual.” By the time I had children, there were so many instruction manuals, you could use one to disprove another.

I like to say that we’ve moved from the Information Age to the Misinformation Age on account that there is so much information now, and its interesting to see the root problem of finding answers is still about the same today as it was back then.

In the past, a person wouldn’t have ready access to information, so they would make decisions based on what they knew and their intuition.

Now, a person reads the top 3 best related Google results and makes decisions based on what they know and their intuition.

I guess that’s why web 3.0 is such a big deal. “Give us you data” so that people can make more relevant decisions… but we are still a long way off from that. The internet has become a fascinating flavor of our collective consciousness… we can see everything about ourselves: from the darkest most disgusting caves to the pinnacles of inspirational thought.

But it’s all still kind-of random, dangerous and only select pieces can be reliable.

Still, I think things are heading the right direction. The internet, by being less censored, allows us to see the whole of ourselves and allows us an opportunity to shape our destiny based on what we see.

Time will tell if our species has the wisdom to follow Spike Lee and “Do the Right Thing.”  Of course, the crux of that movie was (imho) to do what was right based on (drum roll)  what you know, and your intuition!

Giving Thanks

Right now, I would love to be asleep, but there are construction crews working a priority repair and I have this nagging cough… so jack hammers are at full blast at 2:45AM, and I am singing harmony with them using “cough counterpoint”; however, this is a “first world” problem. It’s not like I don’t have a bed, or fresh water, or a toilet. I have all that, and much more…so, a sleepless night – heck, some people would dream of being able to have a sleepless night where I am!

2013 has been quite a year.  A lot of things have happened and some can be posted on a blog, and some of it cannot! Bottom line is that I am truly thankful for what this year has brought.  I have been brought many gifts: time with family, good memories with friends, some solid career progress, a focus on balance and health, renewed energy towards goals which have been pushed aside for years, and renewed focus on achieving those goals.   I have been brought many challenges: family members I am going to visit in person, rebuilding my life when certain plans didn’t go how I thought they would, overcoming the loss of people near and dear to me, and pulling myself off the cross I created.

That last one is probably the most important.  For all my levels of introspection (and I do count myself as highly introspective) that was still another layer of self-sabotage that I had to crush this year.  Nobody cares about my crosses, nobody cares if I nail myself to them and whine and complain about how painful they are…  There are many rules of engagement I have generated over the years.  Some of them are good, but some of them create patterns that hold me back.  I’ve been re-scripting those. Then, even worse, there was my tendency to make OTHER people’s crosses MINE.  Like I would be helping them if I did that? Welcome to the “classic enabler.” The line between enabling someone else and helping them is sometimes very fuzzy – especially if that help is expanded incrementally over time.   I haven’t done it a lot, but there have been a few key places where I practiced this pattern – picking up other people’s crosses when the best thing I could do is let them build their strength and resolve by just coaching them instead!

Live and learn as they say! I am squashing unhealthy patterns – I am erasing negative self-talk, erasing unhealthy self-imposed rules, I am done making other people’s problems MY problems. Dunzo! I might need to clarify that a little more. I’m talking about the practice of making other people’s individual issues my individual issues; supplanting the priorities of my life with someone else’s priorities at the expense of achieving my aspirations. I still might assist with someone else’s priorities, but it will be because it furthers the goals that I have in place.  Another example, there’s a billion people that do not have a bathroom.  If I choose to accept the challenge of solving that problem, I already know I am not contacting one of the billion, making their bathroom problem MY problem and then building them a bathroom. They’d have a bathroom, but wouldn’t know how to maintain it, and then they would be mad at me when it broke or blame me if there was a problem with it… see how that enabling thing works? Unhealthy I say!!  In this particular example, there would be strategy, like researching how to best have their home country tackle the project from both an educational and infrastructure perspective. Yes, education is a huge reason why building bathrooms is a “waste” of time (oh, that was definitely “potty” humor): Governments must be teaching people WHY bathrooms are important (health), and teaching a workforce how to build/maintain bathrooms (plumbing, parts, water/sewage systems, etc).

Anyway, I could go on and on (surprise).  Happy Thanksgiving to everyone  – and hopefully, in the near future, I will be doing more to make this little blue orb a more effective place for everyone.  I will probably be writing more about that soon, but note the key word is “probably.”  Even with renewed focus, I have found life is ever-changing and the best plans must bend instead of break. Sometimes the shortest distance between two points is a curve, anyway.  It just depends on the terrain, and viable methods of reaching the destination. That’s the 50,000 foot view of 2013 and it is an amazing view, whether plotted as a line or a curve!

Toilets Before Spaceships

Many folks have heard this phrase… “he’s so poor, he can’t even afford a pot to piss in.” We use it as a figure of speech, but for 1 billion people on this planet, right now, in the year 2013, it’s a reality.  Literally, according to the United Nations,  “1 billion people, 15% of the world population, practice open defecation.”  These are people who literally do not have access to a toilet, not even a shared one, not even an OPEN one where a bunch of people sit in front of each other and do their business because there’s nowhere else to go…

That really drives some perspective.  How is that even possible? Why don’t we see that on the nightly news? Maybe because it doesn’t sell.  I laugh all the time about how it is 2013 and our species seems so behind its capabilities collectively.  But when I think about it, it is usually in terms of “first world” problems like education systems, justice systems, civic and governance systems, economic systems…blah blah blah.

Now I am reading about the most basic system of all: a place to go poop, and there’s a billion people that don’t have a place?? Like for reals? That’s ridonkulous.

OK, so now what…I am just supposed to go back to my life and say,”Sorry you billion people but, I sure am glad it ain’t me. haha!”

Well, that’s what typically happens, I guess.  Everyone’s kinda focused on their piece of their pie, and I am not much different. . . . BUTT, maybe I should be.

Let’s think about this… we got 7 billion people now?  6 billion of them have a place to poop.  That’s a plus.  But what does that do? It does things like raise the child mortality rate, slows the spread of disease, and improves the sustainability of the planet.  I mean, poop is good for the planet, but 7 billion people worth of poop is a lot of poop.  So let’s say we give this missing billion a place to “pop a squat” as they say… let’s say we do that.  Then what happens?

We still have 7 billion people… now they all have bathrooms.  That’s good in some ways, but there’s still 7 billion of them, and the more we improve health the more crowded it is going to get.

At this point, some people put their villain hat on and say, then maybe we should be getting RID of places to poop.  So mortality and disease can go up and we can all die a little younger on average. . . . .  as long as it doesn’t happen in MYYYYY neighborhood (wink wink).

I don’t think that’s the answer.

And there’s a gazillion other factors to consider… for example, a lot of economic systems are reliant on growth in consumerism in order to thrive, so the more people the planet can support, the more money there is to be made by the Illuminati or whatever.  But then, if I were an Illuminati, would I care about money? Not really – at that point it is about power.  So maybe they aren’t interested in the planet supporting more hoomanz, maybe it is part of the cosmic plan for things to go to a certain breaking point.  Who knows. . .and that’s me speculating on someone else’s agenda.

I care about my agenda.  What is my agenda? Well, when it comes to poop, I think we should all have a place to go – from the Illuminati to the Indian salt farmer, to the African Saharan sand comber.  I have what Covey calls an “abundance mentality” – so let’s pack as many of us as we can on this rock, let’s foster ridiculous amounts of learning across all of civilization, lets colonize this galaxy.  But first… let’s all have a damn place to poop!!

Or so we think. There are other factors to consider.  For example, we might think, “if we build it, they will poop.”  But, this is not the case.  I have a good friend, and one day we theorized that if an advanced species came to Earth, an effective way to kill us all would be to simply give us free light sabers.  Seriously, we’d all be dead in like, an hour.  Research already shows, without proper education, some people have a toilet, and instead they use it to bathe, or store their weed and stuff.

So, maybe the first step is education and let people DECIDE what they want, then let them put policies and government in place to obtain it, or something like that.

It’s not as easy a problem to fix as I would hope… there’s serious infrastructure involved and people need to have the skill to engineer, build and subsequently maintain the physical structures, the ongoing supply chain, the financial systems, and of course the laws/policies that pertain to these systems.   Just building it is not the answer… communities need to evolve and mature to the point where they value having a place to poop.

Then there is the whole debate of what system to put in place… think about it – our current poop systems waste a LOT of water.  Are toilets REALLY the way to go (pun intended)??? Isn’t there some way to do this using other technology?   Something that requires less infrastructure, uses less or no water, and produces useful output (fertilizer, or maybe fuel pellets, or something)?  Just saying!

Anyway, today, I learned this crazy fact… and I realized we need to figure out toilets before we figure out spaceships, and I still think the answer is going to be in empowering people through knowledge.

One thing is for sure, I’m never gonna look at a toilet the same way again…

Driving Integrity. Literally.

This morning I used the word “integrity” in reference to driving. Driving with integrity. Admittedly, I kinda plucked the word out of a list I knew would mess with my interlocutor’s mind, but it ended up messing with my mind as well. And, that’s a good thing 🙂

In life, there are many people who preach about living life with integrity, much less just driving. But what does that even mean, really? For me, and through the various readings/lectures that have shaped my perspective, integrity exists as part of a “trust chain.” Applying this perspective to driving might look something like this:

First, we start by allowing ourselves to accept some set of rules. For example, driving wise, we study the rules of the road, and take a rest certifying that we know and will presumably uphold those rules.

Second, we then allow ourselves to become predictable. In driving, when a light turns red we stop, when the speed limit is 45mph we drive 45mph… that sort of thing.

Third, we demonstrate integrity. This means we stop at red lights and drive the speed limit even when we think there is nobody around to verify it – police don’t have to watch us, because we are predictably allowing these rules and we enforce them ourselves.

Through that chain of events we are able to build trust. In driving, this means our passengers know what to expect. Other people driving know what to expect as well (but this is more a collective expectation as they don’t know us individually…so the best demonstration of trust building would prolly still be through passenger perception)

That’s kinda my view of integrity and how it fits into driving. But how many of us drive like that? I don’t. I speed (generally 5mph as a rule, but sometimes more), I will push the envelop on an amber, I’ve cut people off and driven on the wrong side of the road. And my driving is fairly tame compared to a lot of other folks on the road! I haven’t even touched on the concept of exploitation – people who intentionally prey on the integrity of others!

Obviously then, either folks don’t have integrity, or the definition of integrity has to be broadened through a convenient set of rationalized justifications. I have chosen option B, because I see myself as someone with a fair degree of relative integrity. “Relative integrity” sounds like an oxymoron. Just like “relatively honest” or “relatively perfect.” Oh well, welcome to being human.

When I get 3 red lights in a row, I’ll rationalize running the 4th. When I am on a 8 lane road with a posted speed limit of 25, I will justify it should be 40… when i see the police officer with a radar gun, I will decide 30 sounds better. Each situation is different, and the rationale changes per person. Even those who would be considered guilty of “predatory” exploits have somehow rationalized their behavior.

Nonetheless, I have built trust with many passengers… I somehow drive with “enough” integrity that people are willing to let me drive without saying, “oh no! I am not going if HE is driving.”

I bet it is funnerer. Two people who drive about the same might actually build different levels of passenger trust based on personality characteristics that have nothing to do with driving. Put that in your frosty machine and blend it!!

What is the difference then between “enough” integrity, “not enough” integrity, and should a person even bother? It all becomes richly complex, don’t it? That’s why this phrase messed with my mind….I mean, I was hoping to draw a conclusion here, but rushing to a conclusion is like declaring “ready! fire! aim!”

The conclusion for now? “Driving with integrity” is, to my surprise, an interesting and complex topic. Good times!

Courting Fullpack Trickster in the US (Part 2)

Technical support from Trickster didn’t respond.  I guess I am not surprised, but then again, I don’t discourage that easily.  I went out on Google and looked up the President of SG Interactive (Woo Dong Lee), and put together a letter to him.  I basically explained my son’s interest in running a game, my background in the hosting and software development space and tried to present some win-win options that would allow Trickster to live on in the USA.  We’ll see what happens!

Courting Fullpack Trickster in the US

That’s right, you heard me right. When my son told me Trickster had shut its boxes down in the US, the first thing I did was…. well… feel bad for my son just a tad because I know he loved that game.

Then, I realized I would never see Fistmas Present or Experimenty Fresh ever again. I worked hard to build those toons and THEIR VIRTUAL DEATHS would not be in vain!!

I opened a ticket with GameRage, and Jinx, a game master from Pangya, answered back.  Jinx explained the game was not available to be licensed.  Bummer.  So, just now I submitted another ticket – to the Trickster inbox (oops) and explained some of the benefits of letting my son and I host the game. Who knows, maybe soon, Trickster will be back online in the US!


Beginning Without the End in Mind

Ah, yes. Steven Covey.  A name that is near and dear to many of us in theory, and to fewer of us in practice.  Proof positive that a horse can be lead to better habits, but will often instead, choose to drink.  Here I am again, then. Round 3,755, maybe.  I lost count in the 90s, but there is certainly a multibillion dollar industry in self-help and reinvention propaganda.

This year, I made this kind cool plan that was centered around starting a media company.  Some people I talk to say, “Wow, man, that’s so totally flippin’ awesome, man.”  Other people are not so interested.  And then there is another group that thinks I haven’t defined my goals enough in order to be successful.  I grouped them in teams, gave them all statistical calculators and told them to find the T Statistic for sharpness in cheddar cheese flavors by brand. The group who said my goals needed more defining won this challenge…although I can’t really prove it because the first two groups shrugged their shoulders and walked away, and the third group calculated a value that I can’t verify because I don’t know statistics.

As a result, I redid my 2013 plan. After that, the same group said there were no details behind the high-level plan, so I created some specific tasks to support the plan.  After that, the same group said my plan and my tasks did not support a clear enough goal.  After that, I changed my plan so that my top level goal was to build an epic death ray. I don’t really care if I build a death ray, but it makes the top level goal very clear for those who care about a top level goal.

But it begs the question: Is a top level goal required in order to be effective? I have a recast plan that ends with the production of approximate 20 teams, each with a specific purpose that supports a combination of sustainable housing technology, media production, and technical systems that not only glue together my business model but can likely be shrink-wrapped and resold.  The sustainable housing is for Project Sahara. The media production is for the media container, with a focus on entertainment production.  The technical piece is not only for building the systems with my two entities, but there should be some components that can be packaged and resold.

I’m pretty stoked about it.  However, if you look closely, the “end in mind” is more of a beginning than an end.  Sorta like we are beginning with the beginning of the next set of projects in mind.  Sahara will need these systems, CamAm, Sring, Pajorka and all my other containers will need these systems.  Containers I don’t even know about yet will need these systems (and the people that helped create them).  I guess this means I am either beginning with the beginning in mind, or beginning with the middle in mind… since the end is malleable in this case.

For some people the end is clear.  For me the journey is shaping the end. As new information becomes available, I renegotiate the end: I might stop at CamAm.  I might drop it and lock step on a venture I never even dreamed about. What’s important is that I progress from where I am today.  That’s my take on it for now, anywho.  We shall see – maybe I will change my mind soon.



Bacon Jam (or TSA Bacon Jam Carry-On Restrictions)

Hey, it wasn’t my idea… but maybe it coulda been, if I would’ve been a smarter entrepreneur! Anyway, I was just helping my daughter ship some boxes at the UPS Store in Castle Rock, when this couple starts wheeling in stacks of jars.

This clandestine moment was my introduction to Kay Wolfe, the owner of a small business that manufactures Bacon Jam! And, this interesting concoction has actually made the radar for, who placed an order for 1200 jars. Score one for small biz!

Now you might think Bacon Jam is just some crazy novelty. A passing phase…. but, I have learned through many life lessons: Never underestimate the power of bacon.

In fact, Kay assured me it is quite delicious. She even gave me a jar to try. I took it home, and showed my wife. I thought for sure she would react negatively to such an invention. Nope. She eagerly accepted the jar and read the ingredients, excited to try it out.
Behold, the power of bacon.

Unfortunately for me, I had a plane to catch and the bacon jam was exactly ONE OUNCE over the TSA approved amount for bacon on a plane.  Drat.

Anyway…stay tuned. I should have a critique soon. If you can’t wait, and must try a jar for yourself, Kay informs me that the bacon lovers at ThinkGeek will have the product available starting next week.

In closing, I can only site the all too familiar quote: mmmm… bacon. And check out Kay’s Kitchen for other goodies!