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One of my favorite movies is Groundhog Day. Sometimes I feel like I’m in that movie. Every day begins with taking dogs outside. Cleaning the kitchen. Going to work. Checking Facebook. Eating. Sleeping. Then doing it all over again.

I guess it would be worse if it was the actual same day over and over. Except you wouldn’t feel any worse from age or aches or anything. I imagine Groundhog Day would be even crazier in the age of the internet. You’d have nothing but time. You could theoretically read the entire internet. I wonder what that would do to your psyche?

If I found myself in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania I’d probably spend a good amount of time just reading books. Head to the library, grab something off the shelf and keep going until it was time to do it again. It doesn’t sound too bad really.

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Gene and his wife Carol.

The book I’m making my way through right now is titled Gene Everlasting. It’s by a man who just passed away named Gene Logsdon. He was a farmer and an author known for the kind of old time wisdom and temperament you might expect from a classic American agrarian. Fans of Wendell Berry or Luther Burbank reading this are likely already familiar with him.

I find Amazon makes incredible recommendations for me, in most cases much better than my friends. I’ve been on a bit of a botany and agriculture kick with my reading lately which is probably why their algorithm selected this book. After one-clicking it, I went on the internet to find out more about the author. This lead me to his wonderful blog, The Contrary Farmer.

To my surprise he had died just the day before. He had been fighting cancer for a while and passed at the age of 84. Gene Everlasting was his last book. He wrote it knowing he was sick. It’s a humble and humorous meditation on death, dying, and how a connection to the natural world influences a personal view of passing on.

The authors I’ve enjoyed the most over the past few years have been farmers and soldiers who write non-fiction. There’s something plainspoken and profound about men and women who see war and the natural world up close. Their language is lean. Their subjects are timeless. There is and has always been war and the need to find or make food. Everything else is superfluous. To write about these subjects requires clarity.

Living close to arable land and battlefields must do something to a person’s constitution because I’ve found much to admire in farmers and soldiers. I don’t think I’ll be either in this life, and that is something of a personal failing.

 

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When you workout in the morning your real goal is to step outside in your gear. The test of will is throwing back the covers and hitting the cold floor with your bare feet. I know if I’m standing outside in shorts, the battle is mostly won. Getting to the gym and lifting is just cake.

I love to leave the house when the sun is coming up. It feels like you have an edge on the world. When you get to your desk at work, it feels like you have a secret. When you’ve already done the hardest thing you’ll do all day, everything else is easy.

It makes it easy to say  no to the office donuts and meeting pizza. When you wake up early, your will gets stronger. Since no one is up, no one’s agenda can highjack yours. Nothing stands in the way except your inner bitch. Every time you make it out the door that little creep gets weaker.

 

 

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The Raft of the Medusa by Gericault. My all time favorite painting.

The last week or so I’ve been a little checked out of the news cycle. It all sounds terrible and there’s not much you can do globally anyway. It’s not all hopeless, though. You can show up for your friends. You can call your family. You can make a homeless dude a sandwich. No politics required.

I’m in a bit of a rush (need to watch Preacher before bed) so here are a few quick answers to some questions.

Is it really better for you to forgive someone’s unforgivable acts and if so, how is that possible?

Personally, I’m all about vengeance. My wife had this friend who was a total cunt and did some shit I consider unforgivable. She’s out of our lives and if she were to be chainsaw murdered by a pack of ISIS savages, I’d have to tip my hat to them.

Is it better to forgive? I don’t know about that, but sometimes the anger and hate can eat at you. If the grudge is causing you grief, then you have to be real with yourself. But here’s the deal, you never have to let that asshole back in your life. Ever.

What was the worst meal that you ate out of politeness?

My buddy Gene takes great delight in consuming meat products that are created in opposition to societal decency. It’s his gastronomical version of voting for Trump or something. This is the weirdest damn thing to me because he has really good taste in things and is among my most well-traveled friends.

He made some sort of canned meat “steakum” tacos one day and they were tough to get down. Out of solidarity with his culinary “fuck you” to the world, I gave them a try, but the texture and flavor of the meat was about as gnarly as I imagine a boiled rat corpse to taste.

What’s a psychological hack to dress well every day?

I assume what you’re looking for here is motivation to dress well. There are only two things I think really work long term. The first is being single and wanting to land someone decent. This was the only reason I ever put any effort into my appearance.

The second hack is thinking about the concept of a “ghost outfit.” In many ghost stories, whatever you die in, is what you will be wearing for eternity; like Beetlejuice and The Sixth Sense. Chances are my specter will be clad in Levis and a black t-shirt.

What is the single most revealing thing about any person?

Their book shelf.

What quality in others makes you want to slap them?

Fundamentalism of all kinds.

What is the worst act you have ever witnessed?

About 17 years ago on Halloween I was hanging out in the French Quarter when I saw a very large man dragging a woman, I assume his girlfriend, down the street by her hair. It was such an insanely violent act, people just froze solid.

I would like to say I intervened, but I didn’t. This was before I trained in any martial arts and I had a head full of acid. It’s a lame excuse, but that’s where I was at.

This skinny dude dressed up like Pan walked up and tried to break them apart. Pan had a wooden flute in his hand and hit the large man in the face with it. It was like watching a child strike an adult with a pool noodle. The woman beater took the flute from Pan and proceeded to beat him to the ground with it. Pan’s face was slashed so severely I’m sure he has scars to this day.

The woman this young man tried to help walked over to him while he was bleeding on the ground and kicked him in the stomach twice. That, more than the actual beating, was the lowest shit I’ve ever seen.

 

 

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I’ve been a fan of the James Bond franchise since I was a small boy. My dad took me to see one of the terrible Roger Moore Bond films, A View to a Kill, and I was forever hooked. Girls, guns, gadgets and cars. What’s not to like?

Daniel Craig was by far my favorite Bond. He brought physicality and toughness to the role, replacing the smirky goofiness of probably the worst Bond, Pierce Brosnan. I was a fan from the opening fight scene in Casino Royale.

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But as all Bonds have, Craig has chosen to retire from the role. The two names at the top of the blogger speculations lists are Idris Elba and Tom Hiddleston. I think they’d both be pretty great at the gig.

Some morons are opposed to Elba on account of his ethnicity. This is rubbish. Elba is English, handsome, looks good in a suit, and can command physical roles. I’m not a fan of switching genders and races of characters for political brownie points or as a gimmick, but there is simply no reason I see that Bond needs to be white. He just needs to be plausibly English. The actor should bring boarding school menace and tasteful lethality to Bond. I think Elba can pull it off.

The only issue I see with the choice is if the studio decides to make the casting choice political.  I think you could make a great spy film dealing with racial issues, but I think Hollywood would probably fuck it up and interfere Elba’s chance to put his stamp on the role.

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Hiddleston is a solid choice as well and I imagine he’d bring a bit of that Sean Connery wise-cracking into the character. Hopefully Taylor Swift won’t destroy his soul.

My personal top choice would be Michael Fassbender. He was tremendous in last year’s Macbeth and he does fairly well with the action stuff when you consider his performances in the corny as fuck X-Men franchise and the gloriously violent homoerotic masterpiece, 300.

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I just got finished watching Spectre, the last of Craig’s Bond films. The settings, clothing, symmetry, and sequences of that film are great. I hope the next crack at it is as solid. Of course, anything has to be better than those shit Pierce Brosnan movies.

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Jocko

I’ve been listening to quite a bit of the Jocko Willink Podcast this week. Jocko is a retired Navy Seal who has become somewhat famous for his appearances on Joe Rogan and Tim Ferris’ podcasts. In addition to being a badass warrior, he’s a surfer, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt, and successful entrepreneur.

His podcast usually opens with him reading sections of classic books about war, often written by soldiers. I’ve been listening to this stuff on the way to the gym in the morning and it is motivating. To listen to what people lost and suffered through has put me in a very focused mood lately. It feels profoundly disrespectful to not make the most of every second. There are people dying right now who would give anything to sit and be able to do something silly like write a blog.

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 Most of Jocko’s Instagram feed is of his watch at absurdly early times.

The rest of the podcast is a conversation with Jocko’s cohost, Echo Charles. They hit on a lot of the same popular topics you might hear on Joe Rogan’s show: MMA, Jiu -Jitsu, weird news. But they also answer a lot of listener questions, often dispensing good hard nosed life advice.

It kind of hits on business, leadership, and entrepreneurship, too. Anyway, give it a listen. I’ve been turned on to a ton of good books and I could listen to war stories all day. It’s also really rekindled my interest in Jiu-Jitsu. My neck is feeling pretty good and if I can pick up a few hours more of freelance work each month, I’ll be able to afford it.

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Jocks got his black belt from Dean Lister, which is pretty legit. 

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Right around the time we met in San Francisco.

Today marks my 15th anniversary with Mrs. Lott. Or if you go by my facts, tomorrow does. We met through mutual scooter riding friends and have been a major pain in each others’ asses ever since. I don’t know if any of these stupid dating apps would’ve ever put us together today, but I’m glad we met before awful, unfuckable nerds designed new ways for lonely people to connect.

Mrs. Lott is my best friend and constant companion. I think about her all day and still get excited to see her when I get home. Since we’re 15 years in, I figure I’ll go ahead and give you fifteen reasons why she’s the one for me.

  1. She is beautiful to look at. I figured I’d get the shallow one out of the way first. Anyone who’s met her would agree and it’s certainly worth mentioning.
  2. She is extremely funny. We laugh all the time. At each other and at other people’s expense. Our shared sense of humor tend towards the dark and the absurd.
  3. She can cook. This was truer before she went vegan, but even without the benefit of tasty animal flesh, she still rocks it out in the kitchen.
  4. I’ve never known a harder worker. She is a total psycho when it comes to work. She’s taking care of shit all day and never complains. I think she has faulty wiring, because she seems to actually like it.
  5. She listens to metal. I remember being quite pleased when I went home with her the first time and saw the entire Slayer discography on her shelf. Unfortunately, the entire Smiths back catalogue was next to it, but I guess no one’s perfect.
  6. She is a parallel parking wizard. This is an odd one to mention, but her skills are so insane they have to be recognized. Spots I would immediately abandon are not even a challenge for her.
  7. She gets really scared watching horror movies. There is simply no one I’d rather watch a scary movie with. She talks to the screen, warns characters to “not go in there” and gasps at jump scares. It’s the best.
  8. She’s into cars. Like really into them. I can’t even tell you how many ear beatings I’ve had to endure  about the merits of various Porsche models. I think this is the year she’ll finally get her race car.
  9. She’s into scooters. We actually met through scooters. She has a beautifully restored Vespa with a souped up motor. She drives it like a crazy person despite it having the worst brakes and shocks of any machine I’ve ever driven.
  10. She is a Diaz Brothers fan. It took a while for her to get into MMA, but now she is totally down for Stockton’s finest. We’re already planning a massive party for UFC 202. Neither of us can wait to see Nate knock the Lucky Charms out of Mr. Touch Butt.
  11. She is kind to crazy people. We’re both sort of weirdo magnets. Mrs. Lott has a way with the odd and broken members of our society.
  12. If she says she’ll show up, she’ll show up. I’ve never met anyone as committed to her word. No matter how tired or over it she is, if she made plans with you, there’ll be no canceling them. Even if you want to cancel them.
  13. She is a runner. I can’t even tell you how many half and full marathons she’s done. Like me, she’s not big on training. She gets to the finish line on pure toughness (and caffeine).
  14. She gets along with my family. This is a big deal because my bloodline, while very sweet, is not the easiest. When people try to tell me their parents “are so crazy” I always laugh. Dude, you have no fucking idea.
  15. She loves me. I don’t know how anyone would and I don’t know how she sticks around. I’m moody, angry, sharp, sullen, and prone to melancholy. She puts up with all of my craziness and obsessions. She makes me better and she pushes me to do more than I ever imagined I would.

I could probably do a hundred more, but I’m going to stick with the plan and stop at 15. I don’t know if Mrs. Lott will read this (she rarely looks at this blog) but if she does, I hope she knows she will forever be the light of my life.

She has saved me from myself on more occasions than I care to think about. She has made a real home for us and has kept friends and family in our life. I’ve never known anyone with as much heart or integrity. She can be a real pain in the ass sometimes, but all truly great people are.

Mrs. Lott, I love you more than you or anyone will ever know. I hope to hold hands at the end of the world so we can watch the sky burn out together. You mean everything to me and being with you is the best thing I’ve ever done.

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Still fit 15 years later.