I’m going to keep this one super short because it’s probably the nicest day I’ve seen since I moved away from Techno Mordor to the jolly dystopia of West Oakland. If you live in the area, seriously, put down whatever you’re reading this on and get the fuck outside.
What does the picture above have to do with anything? Look how happy that man looks. He’s in a nice bathroom with a funny shirt and a very nice looking AR-15. Everyone should aspire to be so happy. Especially when you’re trolling out in the real world like this proud Second Amendment supporter.
If I had a rifle, I’d be out at the range today. Shooting is super fun. People who hate guns never get this. Shooting is like a combination of archery (which many people seem to love thanks to The Hunger Games) and fireworks. What’s better than that?
The words “gender neutral” bug the shit out of me. What a weak, bureaucrat combo. It sounds like they’re going for a genderless, flat fronted Ken & Barbie nightmare world of sexless drones. It’s not worthy of Conan, Red Sonja or anything in between. How can you even be excited about dropping a deuce in a place with such an uninspiring name?
I say we go for Total Gender bathrooms. Like they had in Starship Troopers. Balls and titties out all day. Oh, I can hear your flaccid objections now, “what about the kiddies?” There’s a solution for that: child only bathrooms.
Those little amateur humans are fucking disgusting anyway, let them smear shit and spread ringworm to each other in the comfort of their own easily hosed down spaces. If it’s your kid, you can go in to assist, but you assume all the risks of potential biohazards. If an adult tries to enter a child only bathroom, he or she or they or whatever immediately goes on the sex offender registry.
You can never be too safe when you’re protecting children.
If I were to guess, I bet one of the benefits of being rich is you don’t white knuckle your way to payday. Money shows up in your account and you’re all like,”sweet, I was hoping to have even more of that.”
Years ago this girl I was sleeping with told me I’d always be poor. I told her that’s okay because I’d always be smarter than her. She was feeling confident about life because her parents had money, but her dad fucked up and one day they didn’t. I don’t know where she’s at these days, but I imagine it was tough adjusting to an uncertain future.
By most people’s estimates, I’m doing pretty well. I was the first person in my family to graduate college, I did it without debt, I have no consumer debt, and I have a job many people on Earth would cut a child’s ear off for (most people are living in apocalyptic slums, so the bar’s pretty low). I still have massive anxiety about my finances, though. Almost no career is certain these days and you don’t see too many copywriters crushing it past 40.
This has me thinking about a late life career switch, which at my age is insane. If I had to do it all over again, I would’ve liked to have gone into the Navy and tried to get into their medical program. Being a combat doctor is about the coolest thing I can think of. No matter where in the world you go or how dystopic the world gets, you’ll be useful. And if the world doesn’t become a smoldering rock covered in ash and fossils, I’d at least be able to afford a Ford Raptor on a Dr.’s salary.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from watching The Walking Dead, it’s that it’s never too late to become a better, more useful version of yourself. All you have to do is harden the fuck up like Carol.
I’m heartened by this perspective. There was a time when I’d get overcome with existential despair and depression and just hate myself and the choices I made. I still think I’ve fucked up a little more than I’m comfortable with, but I know how to grind and get shit done. There’s no time for moping when you’re making shit happen.
I’ve been listening to metal since I was about eight years old. No one got me into it. It was something I found completely on my own, and for a little while I thought I was the only one in the world who knew what it was. Which is super dumb because obviously someone had to make those albums.
The first time I ever had any exposure to it was at a church fair. There was a row of games and one of them was a deal where you threw darts at balloons. If you popped three with five attempts, you won one of those mirrors that kids used to put in their lockers. I actually won. After a quick look around I spotted one with the art work for Iron Maiden’s Somewhere in Time. It was the first time I’d ever seen anything as cool. I didn’t even know it was related to a band.
Up until about a month before the fair, I had been living as a shut in with my grandmother and the only music I ever heard was country on The Nashville Network. She had the TV on more or less 24/7 and it never came off that channel except for a few glorious hours on Saturday morning when I would rot my brain and teeth with cartoons and Captain Crunch cereal. I knew cartoon time was over when Soul Train cam on. I had to turn the TV back to TNN, so I never got to see any of the cool stuff from that show until much later.
This church fair was about three blocks from my mom’s house and I think it might’ve been the first thing I ever walked to by myself. The church itself was Episcopalian and used to throw all kinds of wild shit to get people to come in. One group they hosted was called the Power Team. It was a crew of bodybuilders that did old time strong man tricks and circus gimmicks to impress upon the young or mulleted how powerful Jesus was.
It was quite a show, but when they called people to come to the stage and accept the Lord, I just sat in the pew by myself and watched everyone raise their hands and totally freak the fuck out. It wasn’t that I was some sort of atheist protege (I’m actually sort of religious in my own way, which I don’t often talk to people about); I had read quite a bit of the Bible by then and the whole affair seemed to be in direct violation of Matthew 6:5-6
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
Nowadays I’d be totally into some shit like that. I think one of the major uses for faith is that it works like motivational nitrous, boosting your resolve when you need it. I even have this weird practice where I silently repeat the Lord’s Prayer before I work out. I don’t think it boosts your testosterone or anything, but I find some comfort in it.
Back to the mirror. The carny handed it over encased in a cardboard frame and I sat down in some grass and stared at it intensely. Lights from the rides behind me flashed on the reflective parts of the mirror, creating an almost magical flickering flame effect. The ride nearest to me was The Scrambler. The operator was blasting the craziest music I had ever heard. Eventually I would find out the song playing was Metallica’s Four Horsemen, written by Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine while he was still in the band.
It would be a few more months before I even discovered Iron Maiden was a band. My younger cousin was always an earlier adopter of cool shit than me and he got his mom to take us to a record store called Warehouse Records and Tapes in Metairie, Louisiana’s booziest neighborhood, Fat City.
Warehouse Records and Tapes was where I learned about Iron Maiden. I wish I could say it was my first album, but that was actually an album by The Highwaymen (a supergroup with Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Kris Kristofferson). On this trip I finally saw a cassette tape of Somewhere in Time. I didn’t know what it was, but my mom bought it for me and I took it home and listened to it. I became completely transfixed.
Over the summer I went back to Warehouse Records and Tapes as much as I could. The clerk had a goofy poodle haircut and he would recommend different bands for me to try. When I get into something, I usually become completely obsessed. I bought every single Iron Maiden album before I even tried to listen to anything else. After Iron Maiden, I got in to Metallica and after Metallica it was Megadeth.
This was right in the middle of the “Satanic Panic” and for some reason my mom wouldn’t let me own a Slayer album because it had a pentagram on it. I could never figure out why that was an issue since she bought Number of the Beast for me.
Eventually I discovered Headbanger’s Ball on MTV and my knowledge grew. It wasn’t all positive, hair metal was ascendent and I ended up with an enormous KISS tape collection along with some really questionable shit like Poison and RATT, which are kind of cool now, but definitely false metal.
By the time school rolled around I was deeply into heavy metal. The only shirts I owned were Iron Maiden T-shirts and when I went to class I was in an unenviable position of being hated on by normal kids for being a freaky Satan worshipper and completely ignored by cool kids who thought I was a poser because of my Coke bottle glasses, hick accent, and short bowl hair cut. Fortunately I was never really afraid mouthing off or fighting back, so most of them moved on to softer targets.
One day a really pretty girl who hung out with the metal head hoodlums in my school said, “cool shirt.” I just about passed out and immediately crushed out on her. The concept of a girl liking Iron Maiden was one I hadn’t considered and it blew my mind. The fact that there are tons of hot girls at metal shows now still blows my mind. I think I may have fallen in love with Mrs. Lott when I visited her apartment for the first time and saw an enormous amount of dark music, including the majority of Slayer’s discography. She’s definitely a keeper, even if she hates Chevy stepside trucks.
I still listen to metal. There’s never been a better time for it. You still have all the classics as well as incredible new shit coming out all the time. I probably love the Southern metal like EYEHATEGOD and Pantera the best, but all the new shit like Mastodon and The Sword crushes it too. It’s a great time to be alive, brutal, and evil.
I have a degree from UC Berkeley that cost me zero dollars to acquire. My parents contributed zero dollars. I got it by climbing up through the junior college system, working two jobs to cash flow expenses, keeping my grades up like it was my third job, and applying for every single scholarship and grant I could.
Sounds like bragging right? It is. This is the kind of bragging people should be doing all the time. If you do something awesome and other people can easily do it, shout that shit out. If you’re reading this, you can probably do what I did.
I’ve coached about half a dozen people on this method and they’ve all gone far without any need to take on debt. Some of them took out student loans for shit they didn’t need, but that’s their fault. I almost did the same thing, but I can do 5th grade level math and after I calculated the interest, I realized I really didn’t need to be paying for a vacation to Thailand for the next 30 years, with interest.
The bummer about the loans is every dickhead college advisor makes them seem like a good idea. Fuck these people. They deserve the same hatred we pour on the pieces of shit that wrote up all the bad home loans that caused the 2008 crash. I remember sitting down with one of these assholes and she spent about two minutes trying to tell me what classes I should take to transfer to a UC (she was totally wrong) and then 20 minutes telling me what loans I’d be eligible for. I wouldn’t be surprised if these cretins got some sort of kickback, but the reality is they think horrifying debt is normal and you may as well start building your credit. Don’t take financial advice from broke people, unless you want to be broke too.
There should be a law that requires student advisors to calculate the interest rate and monthly payments for students so they know what they’re getting into. They should also be forced to provide real data on the salaries that each major can expect after graduation. If the cost to benefit ratio seems weak, they should provide information about traditional trade schools and non-academic career paths including small business entrepreneurship.
If you’re into unions, this could be a tremendous way for them to swell their ranks and provide better lives for Americans. I’ve had my own negative interactions with lazy as fuck union bastards, but my father-in-law was a leader in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and he really changed my opinion on what they can do for people. He was a very stand up dude. At his funeral, so many people came up to my wife and told her how much he and the union had done for them. They were trained in viable trades that allowed them to own homes and provide for their families. They were educated in things people need to know, not in made up concepts like “intersectionality.”
Don’t get me wrong, I love reading totally effete theory books, but I never expected that knowledge to pay the bills (it hasn’t). It’s just fun to think about and it’s great to stretch your perspective. But you don’t need to sink an assload of money into it. Thanks to the internet there are forums filled with really smart people who love discussing this stuff. You know where it’s rare to find smart people who like this stuff? College.
“But…but…but…education is a right.”
Yes it is. You have the right to educate yourself by any means possible. Lots of conservatives shit on Malcolm X, but that dude is a hero of mine. He was bright as fuck and educated himself while he was in prison. He had some religiously induced antisocial perspectives, but the more he learned, the more rational his perspective became. I consider his biography to be one of the most inspirational books of all time.
Nope. All he has promised is a potential 2 years of college. That’s basically community college which is so fucking cheap pretty much any motivated American can afford it now. If it’s really that important you can make it happen.
“But…but…but…how will people get hired without degrees?”
If you believe the billionaires of Silicon Valley, you don’t even need college anymore. Anyone who has built a business knows how worthless most degrees are. This isn’t to say that there aren’t things to learn at college. I consider myself very enriched my a number of my classes, but not so enriched that the average student debt would’ve justified the cost. If you’re talking about education for education’s sake, then college does not have the monopoly. You can join organizations dedicated to your interests, watch lectures online, take free courses offered by colleges like Yale and Stanford.
I learned more about Philosophy listening to The Partially Examined Life and reading their forums than I ever did in college. The great thing about these online communities is they’re made up entirely of people actually interested in the subject. There’s something nice about talking face to face in a class, but in my experience most people don’t read the assignments and the ones who do are trying to get the professor’s attention so they can get better grades (I know I did).
If you’re motivated, you can even get advice from professors at schools you haven’t even attended. Over the years I’ve sent dozens of emails to professors of subjects I was interested in learning more about. Most of the cool ones will send you reading lists and sometimes a syllabus from their class. The last email I sent out was to a professor of Aztec studies at the University of Arizona. I was curious about a claim I kept seeing on quinoa packages; that quinoa was a staple food of the warrior class of the Aztec empire. I was beginning to think it was bullshit because I couldn’t verify it, but he found an obscure passage in an old book that referenced a quinoa gruel warriors would eat before fighting. He was actually totally stoked and flattered that someone involved in marketing quinoa would take the time to reach out.
There’s an important lesson there. People who are really into learning about things, also love talking them. I answer every single email I get about copywriting or working for Whole Foods (thanks to LinkedIn I get a few a year). If you’re curious about something, ask an expert. If someone’s curious about something you have expertise in, share that shit.
The only professor who hasn’t responded was Neil De Grasse Tyson, so fuck him and fuck astrology. I don’t even believe in that shit anyway.
Getting a job is all about who you know anyway. My fancy ass degree hasn’t opened a single door for me. I will concede that graduating from a career specific major (law, medicine, science) from a top ten school is probably a nice to have if you want to land a job at a top organization. That said, if you graduate from an ok school with no debt, you’ll still be able to work in the same field. If you can articulate your personal education, work history and skills to a hiring manager, you should be golden.
I would rather hire a smart person with no degree and no debt than some entitled fuckwad sitting on $100K worth of debt from their Communist Comp Lit degree. Both are functionally useless to the job market, but at least the debt free kid will have low enough overhead to handle a few years of paying her dues.
“But…but…but…you make connections at college.”
True. It’s crazy how awesome college is for connections. Oh wait, I mean hookups. College is awesome for hooking up. That’s about it.
If you’re looking to network, just go to a networking event in your area, or in a city you’d like to live. A few years ago I went to an app developer mixer. I got to see the dudes from Uber get on stage and talk about their idea when it was just out of beta testing. I was actually way more impressed with an earlier speaker who presented their astronomy app (I’m actually quite fond of astronomy, despite Tyson’s bullshit). Boy was I wrong.
I met a guy from India that night who had travelled to San Francisco using money that was supposed to go to his honeymoon. He was looking for a job and came out for a week to interview at a few places and attend mixers just like the one we were at. That man is a fucking badass. I can’t even imagine what balls it must’ve taken to tell his wife-to-be he was going to spend that money trying to get a better life. That is real sacrifice and that is what you’ll be competing with in the global job market. Think about that when you’re stacking your schedule with classes like Harry Potter and the Industrial Revolution or Safe Spaces 101. There are math and programming savages coming for your humanities ass.
“But…but…but…you seem mean.”
Yes. Yes I am. But I also really care about people and I hate seeing folks step on financial landmines. All I’m saying is that you can do school cheaper and no matter what you end up paying, make sure you have career potential that can cover the expense of your degree.
Look, college can be pretty amazing and if you apply yourself, you can pick up some very useful skills. I took an Intellectual Property law class on a lark and I use what I learned in that class all the time. I also took the English department’s world famous Shakespeare class. I can’t even believe how much it enriched my enjoyment of The Bard.
But don’t believe the hype about it setting you up for automatic success. That’s totally dependent on your will to grind.
I’m about 60 days or so into a fully vegan diet. I’ve only had a single cheat, a cupcake at my friend’s wedding. The particular brand of veganism I’ve been rocking is the high carb, low fat version popularized by vegan psychos Freely and Durianrider.
My blood work looks great, I feel really energetic, and I’ve been making all kinds of gainz at Crossfit. We’ll see if I’m able to gain as much raw strength as I’d like, but so far I’m very pleased with my recovery and aerobic conditioning. If I can stay as lean as I am now while adding 10 lbs of muscle on, I’ll consider this a strong success.
Despite having no oil in my diet, including all the various supplement snake oils people love to recommend, my brain has not become foggy and I haven’t developed any bullshit fake diseases like leaky gut or panda nuts. I’ve long suspected all that stuff was bullshit.
Other than the restriction on animal products and low-fat, I’m eating large amounts of foods I really like: fruit, potatoes, tortillas, beans, rice, green vegetables, and juice. My first meal of the day is my Mega Shake, about 1000 calories of sweet, high carb fruit and oats blended up. It fills up about 3/4 of the Vitamix. This is essentially the exact opposite of that new super Atkins diet (ketogenic).
In around 30 days I will have completed my original 90 day commitment. I might have a Philly Cheeseteak at Clove & Hoof, but I imagine I will stay eating this way for a while. It’s super easy, pretty cheap, and requires almost no cooking since I don’t go in for those gross ass fancy vegan recipes that mimic meat dishes. I only really like basic ass whole food in its most natural state. Despite great success on a vegan diet, I’ve never hated vegan products as much. Vegan restaurants are worthless and all the shit junk food people Instagram is exactly the kind of food you should be eating if becoming skinny fat is your goal.
It should also be noted that I am consuming large amounts of calories, between 3K and 5K, but I’ve actually been having trouble keeping weight on. My goal weight is 160 lbs, but I can barely crack 150 lbs right now. I could add in calorie dense foods like coconut oil, but I find the fat intake makes me feel sluggish. I really notice it in my legs while I’m riding my bike.
What a week. Lots of crazy shit happened that I’ll be reflecting on for some time. There are two things in the front of my mind: Prince and the question of why so many modern books and albums are so uneven. The last two books I read were both newish fiction and neither did a dam thing for me. Both had good ideas and solid writing, but very weak plots. It’s almost like the authors were ashamed to give the audience something as pedestrian as a normal story structure with satisfying resolutions.
I hadn’t thought much about the music industry’s failure to deliver complete albums until I heard Sturgill Simpon’s magnificent new album A Sailor’s Guide to Earth. There isn’t really a hit on it, but it is listenable all the way through and really should be appreciated in one sitting. When you hear something so well done, you just have to wonder why more people don’t try to go that hard. I can’t imagine it’s anything more than laziness. It’s especially bad with these young rappers. They get one or two hits, get on the special appearance circuit, maybe do a few features, but never make great albums. Run the Jewels 2 is the only recent hip hop album I think works from front to back. It should be noted, those dudes are older cats and have the time in the studio to think about making something like that. The music they consumed as youth was longer, more conceptual.
With the above in mind, let me offer some unsolicited advice: stop listening to bullshit music and trash television. What you put in your head is what you’re going to get out of it. I’ve been trying to switch up the media I consume. Right now I’m consuming deep media: longer books, classic film, important albums, professional writing from PHDs and experts. I’ve turned down the regularity of TV series watching I do and cut marketing books out of my book schedule. I can already feel my thoughts changing, getting less flabby. It’s worth doing.
As an adult, I have always felt financially privileged, with a household pre-tax income of $200K. Over the last year or so, however, I have started feeling left behind financially. My financial peers seem to have more money and regularly go on expensive vacations, eat an restaurants, purchase new clothing, furniture, etc. My questions: am I deluding myself that we are financially privileged? If not, how do they pay for these everyday luxuries? Is this just a case of keeping up with the Joneses?
This is just a basic bitch case of keeping up with the Joneses. It’s actually such a fucking boring question that I might vote for Bernie Sanders just so your tax rate goes up and you get financially ass pounded by Socialism.
You likely have no idea what your peers’ budgets look like. They could be balls deep in debt. Maybe they prioritize conspicuous spends more than you do. Old family money might be a factor. These “everyday luxuries” are affordable at your income level, but you need to make a budget.
Your income is phenomenal and there should be no shame in that. Congratulations, you’re earning a kingly sum. Just before the industrial revolution 99.99% of the world lived on about $500 a year. Glorious capitalism revolutionized how we interact with each other, creating many profits and benefits along the way. Most people are still poor, but that’s not your fault. What is your fault is comparing yourself to other people.
You make enough money to live a killer life. Try downsizing some shit and enjoy each other more. I’d say be jealous of the vacations and such, but involve your family in some frugal practices like cooking at home and going to enjoy your city’s free services (parks, museums, etc.). Volunteer at a food bank. My boss made our team do that a couple of weeks ago. Honestly, I was bummed to have to go because it was a busy work week, but it was a good thing to do.
What do I tell my boyfriend when a former flame wants to hang out?
You shouldn’t hang out with former flames without your significant other around. It’s fucking weird. Unless you and the old flame have an unusually platonic friendship and you’re both happy in long-term, committed relationships, this is shaky ground.
If there was no danger of clandestine fornication you wouldn’t even be asking this question. Do you have to clear hanging out with your friends you haven’t slept with? Probably not.
Something to note: being curious about an old flame is totally natural and doesn’t make you a bad person in anyway. There is not one social media using human being on the planet who hasn’t looked up someone they used to get nasty with and wonder what it would be like to hit it one more time.
Does monogamy work?
For the most part, monogamy works. It’s pretty much the bedrock of our civilization and all data seems to point to monogamous relationships being the best for raising kids and navigating close communities. There are books out there like Sex at Dawn and The Ethical Slut that cover some alternative views on the subject, but I wouldn’t consider them prescriptive.
Some people confuse the failure of their own monogamous relationships with a failure of monogamy in general. This is akin to being a shitty driver and blaming cars for getting you into accidents.There are basically three alternatives to monogamy: being single, trying polyamory, and being polygamous.
Single is the one everybody has experience with. Being single is awesome because you own all of your time. There are no in-laws to visit or dinner compromises to make You don’t have to fraternize with random people from an office you don’t go to. Most people eventually get lonely and crave stability or just become exhausted worrying about STDs.
Polygamy is usually only found in religious groups. Most of the time, as in Fundamentalist Mormonism and Islam, it benefits the men and is designed to cause the best, most powerful men to pass on their genes to as many women as possible, shutting out the lesser men.
When I was in high school I had classes with this Muslim dude named Farhan and he made polygamy sound like a major pain in the booty. Each wife had to be treated completely equally in affection, time, consideration, and kindness. All I could think of at the time was my saint like dad dealing with more than one of my mom. You’d have to be a god damned super human for that crazy shit.
Polyamory is sort of the rage in the Bay Area right now. I can only think of one couple making this work. They seem really stoked, but I couldn’t imagine rocking it like they do. Sure, I wouldn’t mind having a side fling with some morally flexible hottie, but the idea of Mrs. Lott getting down with some other dude makes me start running through revenge scenarios in my mind. I’m probably way too jealous to function that way.
Having a bunch of side-pieces seems like it would be fun, but there are tons of rules and such that poly people live by to make it work. What happens if you lose interest in your main partner and decide to become monogamous with the person who used to be polyamorous? This shit happens. Thankfully I’m old and married and don’t have to think about it anymore.
My boyfriend of three years has never been much for PDA, but recently he completely shuts me down in public. Is he losing interest?
Unless you’re trying to get him to finger bang you at Arby’s and that’s not his thing, I’d be willing to bet there’s something up. When you’re really into someone, you generally want to hold their hand or some other romantic shit like that. I’ve been with my wife for something like 15 years now and I still steal the occasional kiss when we’re out and about.
I’d recommend starting small with holding hands, move up from there and see if there’s an actual act he’s not comfortable with in public or if it’s anything to do with you. If things are cooling off in the bedroom as well, then it’s time to see a couples councilor.