I’ve been around total fuck-ups my whole life. I guess you could say I have it in my blood, but I try like mad to sidestep that fate. Lately I’ve felt that blood take a bit of a hold. I let my foot up from the pedal for half a second and the enemy is gaining. The enemy is always me.
The number of times I’ve had my account down to nothing or skipped eating to make rent keeps me from ever thinking I’m that smart. How could anyone with half a clue trade so much of their time for next to nothing? But that’s loser talk and I can’t afford to listen. It’s a critical time for me, all of us really. If any of you feel that tightness, that ever present edge, the looming disaster, you know what I mean. If you don’t you must be dumb, or born rich. Shit, I wish that was me.
If I had it all to do again I’d go harder earlier. I have to go hard now. There is no rest because the time is shorter than it has ever been. That’s true for all you breathing now. It’s possible some of you will be dead within a year. It’s time to get after it.
This trip was phenomenal. I wish I had stayed longer because there’s so many people I didn’t get to see. Usually a lot of people are out of town, but this time just about everyone was ready to party.
I’ll be back in October, probably around Halloween, hopefully with Mrs. Lott. If we didn’t see each other, let’s definitely stay in touch. If you want, message me online somehow and we can exchange numbers. One thing I’ve really felt lately is that nothing beats face to face or a phone call. Texting and messaging doesn’t compare.
I’ve been missing Louisiana a lot lately. I guess I’m just getting old, but the comfort of seeing these old streets and old friends has made me deeply happy. California is lovely, but I’ve never felt like a true part of it. It feels like it could spit me out at any time and it has never accepted my natural redneck tendencies.
The instability of the Bay Area was never more obvious than when we moved to Oakland. I chose San Francisco, but that bitch likes richer men and it kicked me to the curb. So West Oakland it is. The thing about Oakland that makes me so anxious is how like New Orleans it is. I’m always reminded of home and it’s had this weird effect of increasing homes sickness.
It’s looking up in our neighborhood. Coal looks like it won’t be coming through and the awful recycling center seems like it is going to pass on as well. Mrs. Lott was smart when choosing our move.
But West Oakland isn’t home and it never will be. I’ve grown fond of it, but it’s not New Orleans. I’m careful of romanticizing it, though. It’s rough and dirty and cruel. It’s just where I’m from.
Seeing so many friends I haven’t seen in years was an eye opener. We each fell into easy conversation like no time had passed. I love these people and I always will. Even if I don’t see them. This is the biggest tragedy to me. Other than my wife and a couple of buddies like Josh Bluh, Josh Snow, Joaquin, and that Crusader Gene, I don’t really trust anyone (I know I’m missing a few names, don’t freak out). I have friends from high school I think might be willing to bury bodies with me here. Or at least drop them off the back of a boat in the swamp.
I’m over California, but I know Mrs. Lott loves it like I love Louisiana. So I’m stuck. It’s an awful choice to make. I wish I could figure out a way to live here in the fall and winter. I figure the best way out is for me to be a real deal writer, so I don’t have to live anywhere in particular.
Sometimes you just need a why to make magic happen. I guess it’s time to write that zombie book.
There’s a lot of opinion on what the best pistol is. For me, it’s the Glock 19. They are completely reliable. Easy to shoot. Easy to clean. Easy to find. Years ago I owned a Glock 22 and it was a great weapon for concealed carry. The 19 is a little more affordable to shoot and since I live in a Liberal paradise, I’m not allowed to conceal it anyway.
I know a lot of my acquaintances aren’t too fond of guns. That’s ok. You don’t have to be. You never need to own one. You never even need to shoot one. But I think it would be better if you learned the basics.
It will allow you to speak more intelligently when debating proposed laws. You won’t say ignorant shit like “he had a Glock with a lot of clips in it” (thanks, Obama). You will have empathy for people who enjoy shooting and you might come up with a compromise you might otherwise not have thought of.
Learning to shoot will also make you less afraid. You will know what a weapon is capable of and you will better handle situations if you find yourself on the wrong side of a gun. Imagine if you were in a bar and a man started shooting. If you know what the pistol looks like when it’s out of rounds, you know what your moment of opportunity looks like to move forward and stop that person.
I’m not talking about bullshit Rambo nonsense. I’m talking about little bits of information that could make a difference in your life. The Marines on the that train in France new what an AK jam looks and sounds like. Because of that, they were able to make a smart move and take that terrorist douche bag out.
Is this paranoid? Maybe. People I respect and I know have good information tell me there are terror cells here in America. Despite what the news might lead you to believe, that asshole in Orlando was a terrorist. There will be more of this and I plan to be ready.
But here’s the deal. Getting ready isn’t some dreary chore. Shooting is fun. It builds discipline. It takes skill. Shooting is a martial art and it is a great one. There’s also a great community feel with gun people. I think the nicest people I’ve ever met hang out at gun ranges. The news wants you to believe it’s all nazi libertarians, but that’s bullshit.
Two days ago I was getting a shooting lesson from an old friend and the guys in the lane next to us were a young gay African American couple. They had never been shooting and didn’t even know how to load rounds. We showed them how and told them the basic gun safety stuff (finger off of trigger, never point it at anything you don’t want to shoot, etc).
These dudes definitely should take a class, but that’s not what I’m getting at. If gun ranges were actually strongholds of white racism and angry hillbillies, no one would help these men. The desire to learn to shoot better transcends identity. The next day I went to the range with my uncle and we were in the lane next to a couple of real life juggalos. You can’t make this shit up.
And you know what? We had a nice conversation about the X-men movies and our favorite pistols. And it’s not like I’m a normal looking dude, either. I have long hair and a beard. My dad thinks I look like Charles Manson. The fucking guy who sold us ammo had a man bun. Gun culture is not what you think and if you buy into the mainstream narrative, you are not seeing the full picture.
I’m basically a white belt in guns, but I will be a black belt. If you want to go shooting some time, I’ll take you. And it’ll be fun. Even if you’re a Hillary supporter.
New Orleans is an inspiring city. Yesterday I got sunburned running through a cemetery, learned some firearms accuracy drills, drank sweet tea, passed a Jazz funeral, ate with an old friend, drove a fast car, and saw a giant cockroach.
I think I’ve found the best fried seafood plate of all time. It’s at a Metairie joint called Seither’s Seafood. It was one of two cheats I’m allowing myself on my plant-based diet this trip. The chef went to the same high school I did. In fact all the guys I was eating with did. Archbishop Rummel High School class members of 1995-1998 were represented (though I bounced to coed paradise in my junior year).
One of the quirks of Louisiana is that when people ask you where you went to school, they never, ever mean college. A person’s high school tells you where they lived, how much money they did or didn’t grow up with, who their friends and enemies were, and how successful they probably are now. It’s an absolutely unique phenomenon.
The best part of this trip is connecting to old friends. They can remind you of how you were, even when you’ve forgotten. Apparently I was involved in a lot more madness than I recall. I basically think of myself as a boring, mundane person, but the record stands opposed.
What’s a small fact that might save your life one day?
For me, the most important thing to be clear eyed on is that your own personal safety and security is ultimately your responsibility. It can’t be outsourced. A fast response from the police is still enough time for something very bad to happen to you.
If you are able, you should learn how to defend yourself and the people you love. It’s all well and good to hope and pray for a better, safer, kinder world, but that shit is not happening because this is a planet of death. I know my time learning the basics of how to shoot and fight has been well spent. I have defended my wife from an attack, chased and caught a purse-snatcher, and pulled an attacker off of a gay man at a bar.
I am not tough. I am not even particularly well trained. I barely weigh over 150lbs. I’m not even terribly strong. But what I have is a mindset that’s prepared for the potential of violence and I have the will to unapologetically do what it takes to fuck up someone who wants to cause trouble. I don’t care about what society did to you or how hard you had it or what the media says. Fuck with me or someone I love and you’re not going to get sympathy. This is the proper way to live because this world is full of savages and the only thing they understand is savagery.
Is there a product or service you pay more for than the average person?
Though it’s an infrequent event, I spend a ridiculous amount of money on my haircuts. Most dudes I know drop $50 max. The guy who cuts my hair is around $150. Whatever magic he performs allows me to put almost no effort into my hair. I wash it with a bar of soap and rarely comb it, but it still looks pretty good.
The other thing I blow money on is nice soap. I’m not sure why, but this is a small indulgence that just makes me happy. I don’t have a particular favorite scent, but I often enjoy things from Juniper Ridge. My all time favorite is Chandrika Ayurvedic Soap.
Which nationality do you envy most?
I’m assuming you mean I can’t say America. Because that’s the nationality I’m most into.
Other than that. my first choice would be a black dude from a Guy Ritchie film. So I guess an English dude of African decent. Idris Elba is to my mind one of the handsomest men of all time and I imagine he has to beat women off his dick because of that accent.
For my second choice, I would go for whatever Viking blood the Norweigans/Swedes have. It would be pretty awesome to be tall and look like an elf from Lord of the Rings. No one looks tougher with an axe than a blonde, bearded giant.
What songs make you cry?
The only song that’s ever brought a tear to my eye is Louis Armstrong’s version of What a Wonderful World. It’s a song that reminds my family and me of my Uncle Frank. It always seems to play at eerily appropriate moments and it has absolutely wrecked me more than once.
Is there a sweet spot to visit Europe where it’s cheaper for me but the American economy hasn’t completely collapsed yet?
Thanks to fear mongering and currency manipulation from global elites, England is a great buy right now. I can’t even remember the last time the dollar had an edge over the pound. That’s where I’d be headed if I were in the mood to travel.
The second part of your question bears a little more unpacking. I think the American economy is going to strengthen over the next few years. OPEC seems to have called a truce on the secret oil war. If our leaders had the will, our military could vaporize ISIS. Our young people, despite being unbearably soft, are smart and resourceful. We are going to be fine.
What is your favorite meal for dinner and why?
You could take this question a couple ways. The first is, “what’s your all time favorite dinner?” That would be a toss up between a medium rare ribeye steak from Prather Ranch with a sweet potato on the side and the Philly Cheeseteak from Clove & Hoof. The reason is simple, the flavor.
The second would be, “what’s your favorite meal for most of your dinners?” For the most part, I like to eat simple food. I’m essentially on a plant-based diet and I quite enjoy a dish my wife makes us all the time: rice & beans.
We serve it with olives and a vinegary hot sauce from a Puerto Rican joint called Sol Food in San Rafael. It’s essentially a peasant meal, but it is extremely cheap and covers most of our nutritional needs. Our insanely healthy morning smoothies more than cover everything else we need.
Rice & beans is something we picked up from our financial guru, Dave Ramsey. It’s his metaphor for any cheap, not too unhealthy food you eat while you’re trying to get out of debt or save money. He says, “the only time a broke person trying to get ahead should see the inside of a restaurant is if they’re working there”. I agree.
Do you believe in ghosts?
I’m like Mulder from X-Files. I want to believe, but I have never seen even the smallest hint there are ghosts. I have had a life long interest in the paranormal and the occult and have tried the following methods of contacting the dead:
I’ve taken acid in a graveyard in New Orleans with the intent of peaking beyond the veil. I figured one of America’s oldest necropolises would be a good spot, but it didn’t work.
I’ve tried various Aleister Crowley and Anton Lavey style rituals. This shit really doesn’t work. You just feel like you’re playing Dungeons and Dragons with yourself while masturbating with your own virgin tears for lube.
I’ve used an Ouija Board to answer questions on a take home test. I was in middle school and this seemed like a great idea. I failed the test. I should’ve cheated off the living.
My grandmother took me to psychics and televangelists all the time. I saw nothing except a country ass woman lose her money to crooked woo peddlers.
I’ve gotten extremely stoned and prayed/meditated/begged the darkness to part and reveal the land of the dead. No dice. But I did experience profound existential despair at the thought of blinking completely out of existence after a period of excruciating pain and sadness. Thanks weed.
So, it’s not like I didn’t try. I’ve even pitched a TV show called Evil Spirits. It’s basically Ghost Hunters meets Bar Rescue. A team of intrepid paranormal investigators would travel the world looking to drink in haunted bars after they closed. Their mission would be to tell the story of the place and find evidence of the hereafter before sunrise or they all passed out. Whichever came first.
What would it be like if Trump tried to join the Mexican soccer team?
He would be made captain of the team. He’s hyooog in Mexico. He knows soccer. He has the best soccer balls. And his pitch is perfect. Donald Trump knows soccer. His defense will be so strong it will be like a wall. And you know what? The team’s gonna make so much money it will pay for the wall on the Mexican border. It’ll be named after the team. The Trump Mexican National Soccer Team Wall of Hyoogness.
Do you have a path of books that you think people should follow while trying to find success?
I’ve read a ton of the world’s important books. I was educated at a top university. My taste in literature is unapologetically highbrow. Yet I love me some self-help books. It’s probably my guiltiest pleasure.
A strong argument can be made that Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography is the first real self-help book. It borrows heavily from the Stoics and other classics, but nearly all the books in the genre after have followed its arrangement, if not its material. It’s no coincidence it’s the first book in the whole five feet of The Harvard Classics. This book is all about setting foundational, positive habits and practices.
The next book I like is Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. The real title should be How to Enrich Your Own Life By Listening to People and Helping Them.” I got a tremendous amount out of this book. It really helps with communication and sales language. Plus it makes you a better conversationalist, which can even get you laid.
Next on deck for me is Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. My wife and I completely changed our life by following this man’s simple plan. I say simple, but it has no shortcuts and requires fortitude and guts. It’s basic and effective. It’s sort of like Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength, but for your money (that Rippetoe book is worth grabbing).
A new one for me is Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World. This book gave me a wakeup call about how distracted I had become. This book is one of a few that inspired this daily year of blogging. The premise is you have to be vigilant about the time you focus on important tasks. This includes shutting out junk distractions and diversions.
You remember that scene in Quenten Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds where the Bear Jew beats that Nazi to death with a baseball bat? I believe that is based on the story of a real Jewish strongman who tore a Nazi flag down from an American Nazi Party headquarters. When the Nazis ran out to get him, the man used a baseball bat to smash them. At the end of the melee 18 Nazis were KO’d.
This book inspired me to start training again and focus on a more vegetarian diet. It’s a tremendously weird and inspiring look at a man almost no one knows about. It’s a shame because he was a good one.
I could probably write ten more blogs about this question, but I’ll give myself just one more for this post: Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. It’s my favorite of the Stoic books. It’s transcendent and practical. A truly beautiful book.
My usual “take it easy” pace for a seven mile run is about 9 minutes a mile. I just suffered through that distance at an obscenely slow 13 minutes a mile. That included quite a bit of walking.
The moral of this undistinguished story is that 90 degree Southern Louisiana heat is not to be taken lightly. I didn’t see another person running or even riding a bike. But I did see a solid line at the snowball stand (sort of a shaved ice, but better). I’ll be hitting that bitch up a little later.
I was never athletic or even in shape when I lived in Louisiana. Part of the problem is that my asthma acts up and I can barely breathe here. As much as I romanticize moving back here, even the industrial wasteland that is West Oakland seems to be better for my lungs and overall health.
I’m not the only one who suffered running here today, though. My good buddy runs with his service pistol on his hip and the holster rubbed a hole through his pants and chewed up is ass. The lesson here? Make sure you have a comfortable carrying option for any apocalyptic scenario. It could save your ass.
I know this sounds crazy, but the world did not end yesterday. Despite what the global banking elite would have you believe, the world is not going into a free fall death spiral just because England bounced.
The same number of pints of Newcastle were drank. The same number of chimneys were swept. Just as many orders of fish & chips were ate. The reason why the markets went crazy is the reptilians running the banks hate uncertainty and prefer a more homogenous global economy because it’s easier to control. Europe still has to trade with England. Money will still exchange hands. Everything will be fine.
If it’s not? Fuck ’em. Honestly, I’ve always kind of hated the English. They come to this country on vacation, drink in our bars, and pretend not to understand tipping. And who still has a fucking monarchy in the 21st century? It’s the government equivalent of drum brakes.