• That sentence popped into my, head fully-formed, on the drive to work. It was unbidden, and not in line with anything I personally was thinking about at the moment.

    However, I would call it a synchronicity.

    Look, the LORD your God has set the land before you; go up and possess it, as the LORD God of your fathers has spoken to you; do not fear or be discouraged.

    Deuteronomy 1:21, NKJV

    Abundant life is not a matter of striving or worthiness or luck – it is as simple as accepting a gift.

    It’s mine, if I want it.

  • social


    “Social” media. har har har. I just spent…let me do the math…twenty-seven minutes on FB and Twitter. At best there were a few interesting pieces of information. At worst, and most, a lot of empty calories and poison. What is the point of all of this?

    I’m not even wasting energy on the entities themselves of people making money off of them – it’s more about me and why I continue to engage with things that I *know* are, at best, unhealthy for me. Again, it’s often spiritual poison. Why do it?

  • crass crash


    On Crassness

    This morning I walked around the parking lot of my office condo park.

    A few weeks ago, I attended a sporting event in which, “F*ck you, _____!” chants broke out.

    One of our office neighbors had a decal on the window of his truck – a stick figure thrusting into the word “IT,” the obvious meaning being “F*ck it.” This is in a business park.

    A few days ago I was driving with my kids and someone had a “F*ck Biden” sticker on their vehicle.

    It’s disappointing and…angering…to me, that our culture is so crass. What angers me, I think, isn’t the vocabulary, but the lack of consideration for others that it shows.

    “Crass” is probably a different standard to everyone, and a dynamic one. I think that is appropriate – there are certain conversations or vocabulary words that would be more appropriate in a bar on a Friday night than in a grocery store on a Saturday morning, for example.

    For me, the standard (the measure) that should be used is whether our behavior/vocabulary/conversation makes others feel comfortable or uncomfortable. Anything below that standard is crass and inappropriate.

    What I don’t know is whether it is worth every bothering to say anything to people about crassness. That is probably a case-by-case thing, the main reason being if the crass actor is making people weaker or more vulnerable uncomfortable.

    Otherwise, the better option, in my opinion, is to strive to keep my own behavior above the standard at all times. That alone is a statement and an engagement in the culture, I believe. An old-fashioned term for that kind of stance could be gentleman, or manners, or etiquette, or decency.

    Our own actions are more…aspirational…for the society in which we want to live, than a judgment against others. A breath of fresh air, a whiff of fresh-baked bread in the public spaces, a warming security blanket to those around us.

    That sounds nice. Now, if only I could be that guy all the time…

  • Right to Wrong


    I’m regressing in chess big time. I’m like worse than average. What happened?

    One thing that happened is that instead of keeping on doing the things that helped me improve, I stopped doing pretty much all of it in favor of doing things that I KNOW aren’t good (exs. playing when tired, playing short-time games). Why do I do this with chess? Or exercise? Or diet?

    It’s so frustrating to do things, see results, and then…just stop. Why do I do that?

    I wonder if part of it is just sabotaging my progress. Even if it’s not that, intellectually I know changing inertia is harder than going with the flow. Why am I always insisting on starting and restarting and restarting the same things?

  • Cash is King!


    It gets a little harder to NOT spend a bunch of money when you have money. But it’s easier when you think about better uses of it. I think cash is a nice barrier because you can’t just zap it to whoever on the internet. Dave Ramsey was onto something with the “Cash is King,” slogan.

    I think I’ll start taking my monthly “fun money” budget out in cash and stowing it in an envelope, or maybe a higher-yield savings account.

    Kind of fun to play with.

  • Buy-Free ’23


    Thanks to a German artist I’ve only met on Mastadon, I found out about the “no-buy year” trend. I had never heard of this before, but my gf tells me that it’s quite popular on The Tok and the The Gram and what have you.

    [A quick note on socially-conscious and ethical trends – I think they’re great! I’m glad people are thinking about these things. As a guy who takes his faith in God very seriously, I am simultaneously glad our culture is thinking of these things, while also being pretty sad that the modern American church has no credible influence in these areas.]


    The no-buy year experiment is a wonderful articulation of a feeling I’ve been having about 2023 in general – slowing down, looking around me, enjoying what I have. [See my 2023 reading plans for proof!] So I jumped on board with the no-buy year without much planning but with much enthusiasm.

    My rules are basically the same as everyone else’s, so I won’t include them here in detail. The only two interesting wrinkles –

    1. Giving is unlimited and emphasized.
    2. Per Paco De Leon’s advice, I’m keeping a kind of personal catalog of things I *might* want to buy in the future. Most things fall off quickly.

    How’s it going? So far, so great!

    The main thing I’ve noticed is that my decision fatigue is much lower. Unbeknownst to me, I had been spending a lot of time deciding whether to buy things or not. And, if so, deciding which version of the thing to buy. All that is gone.

    Another thing I’ve noticed is that things feel…slower, somehow. I can sit with what I have (books, video games I never played, comics, my zettelkasten) and enjoy them more.

    I’ll try and check in periodically with new observations.

  • 2023 reading plans


    2023, in book shelf form.

    Un/fortunately, it’s common for me to read 60 – 85 books a year. In some ways this is great because of the breadth of experiences and learning I can get. In other ways, my reading life can become something of a chore. While I enjoy what I read, I sometimes feel the need to move on to one of the 1,000 other books waiting in line.

    In 2023, I’m trying purposefully to read fewer books. I don’t think I’ll read less, but I’ll read fewer books, more newspapers and magazines and web articles. Additionally, I’m also hoping to spend more time reading books I’ve previously purchased. Pictured above you’ll see most of the physical copies of books I already own that I haven’t yet read. I bought 2-3 of those with the plan to read them this year, but the rest are older.

    If you look closely, you’ll also see my new Kobo eReader lying on top of some of the books on the right side. Many of the books that I read “just for fun” (aren’t they all fun!?) might be more likely to be digital this year.

    I’m excited to read all of these, and I’m equally excited to take it easy in ’23!

  • My Year of Analog©


    A confluence of events led me to, weirdly, “personal knowledge management”, the zettlekasten, notecards, fediverse, braincalm, et seq.

    As a result, I’ve decided that 2023 will be even slower than 2022 (which was, in the last quarter, pleasantly slower than the preceding years). Why slow? Because things are still too fast, too crowded. There’s not enough white space on the page, as it were.

    I need more room to think and exist and have fun. My Year of Analog© is kind of a misnomer on purpose. I don’t think there is anything inherently bad with electronics or digital versions of things. It’s not the screen time so much as how the screen time is used and what I expect from the screen time. What are some examples of things that will happen in TYoA? Reading, for example:

    • Fewer books
    • Reading more of what I own
    • Happy “Mediums” – Print, Dedicated eReader
    • Better manual notes/digestion of materials
    • More magazines
    • More WSJ/NYT

    Now that I’m not in higher ed, or a PhD program, or paying for notetaking software, I’m also excited about getting into my zettel system. I want to actually engage with what I’m reading and thinking about, find those connections, let it change me and vice versa. I have already noticed that it is helping me feel less fragmented and dis-integrated, because I don’t have pieces of myself all over the place.

    Similarly, I’m using the Johnny Decimal System to organize my files so I know where things are and I can finally feel comfortable with all the stuff (that’s putting it nicely) in my files and on the computer. What I have is known, more useful, and more fun. I like computers and tech and it’s nice when it’s clean and fun.

    I’m also a bit nostalgic lately for how much fun it used to be to get online. We don’t go online now so much as live with total connection. I don’t prefer that. I prefer it to be, like, a special occassion. It’s fun, frankly, to have your internet time be at a desk where you actually go sit, and intentionally look up whatever it is that you’re looking up. Then you close it down and you are whole again – not divided up amongst devices.

    So 2023 will be My Year of Analog©, even though of course I will use electronics. But I’ll use them when I want, and how I want. I think it’ll be fun!

  • starting lines


    In my lil’ beginner running series on Nike Run Club, Coach Bennett briefly talks about how finish lines aren’t really a thing, so much as the next starting lines (I’m paraphrasing). I am really enamored with this idea.

    As a recovering perfectionist, the freedom from worrying about my finish time or outcome is…freeing? LOL.

    Perfectionism kind of…pollutes things that I otherwise enjoy. Or this fear that I will be unsuccessful (this was not a self-imposed fear – been working my way through that for years).

    Enjoying the tinkering and growth and playfulness of yoga, running, music, writing – I really enjoy that. It’s so much more optimistic and plain ol’ fun!

    Coach B’s starting lines…line….also reminds me of this passage from the Gita:

    You have a right to perform your prescribed duties, but you are not entitled to the fruits of your actions. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, nor be attached to inaction.

    Bhagavad Gita 2.47.

    My engagement is the thing – the duty and even the joy; not what happens after.

  • greedy little hobbitses


    While I love writing, the business of writing feels gross to me. But I get seduced by it, I do.

    It starts purely. “I want people to enjoy this thing I made, but how do I get it to them?”

    But, it’s a short trip from that genuine excitement to a…lust for attention.

    The “C” word – Content; mercenary, soulless Content. Blech.

    I just want to write good things. The rest – utter piffle!