wolverine

I’ve only got about 16 more of these advice columns to go. Thank god. When I came up with the idea for them, I was feeling pretty good about myself and my approach to life. These day, I can’t seem to shake the feeling we’re about to be overrun with GMO demons and flesh eating locusts.

Even if I had figured out a clever way to save money and be more productive, what good will it do when the forces of darkness have blackened the skies with the ash of a billion smoldering heathen bodies?  You can’t four hour work week your way out of global warfare.

Anyway, here’s some answers to some questions, although, there’s really only one question worth answering “if life is, on balance, more painful than joyful, why not end it now?” This is the whole point of Albert Camus’ The Myth of Sisyphus. I’ve read that book a few times and it seems like his answer is “if you kill yourself you’re a pussy. Don’t give God or the cosmic nothingness the pleasure of seeing you sweat.” Philosophy is a weird way to pass the time. I totally understand why people get really into drugs or Jesus. It means you can table thinking about that kind of depressing nonsense and just get on with what’s left of your life.

What are some books to stay away from, and why?

Marketing and philosophy. The marketing books are written by hacks who think they’re philosophers. The philosophy books are written by depressed, unbalanced creeps  who know nothing of happiness. You shouldn’t listen to either of them.

If you read How to Win Friends and Influence People and stay up on social media technology and its functions, you’re golden on marketing, forever. For philosophy, just read Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl and try not to be too big of a cunt to the people you run into.

If you were on death row, what would you request for your last meal?

I don’t think I’d eat. If I could get a bottle of Johnny Walker Black and some hallucinogenic mushrooms, that’s what I’d have. Probably a pack of Lucky Strikes, too.

Do you need to be a good reader in order to become a good writer?

Yes. This is one of the few things all the great writers have in common. People who teach writing usually kind of suck at it, so you have to really learn from masters. When you read great books you are literally seeing the tricks.

Be an active reader. Underline phrases that sound good to you. Circle words you don’t know and look them up. Highlight any simile and metaphor you find.

Stephen King’s book, On Writing, is hands down my favorite book about being a writer. He recommends a simple formula for anyone who wants to make it: read four hours a day, and write four hours a day.

If you had to survive on only one food, which food would it be? 

Watermelon.

What are some things pet owners wish non-pet owners would stop saying? 

“I really want a dog.”

What are some dirty little secrets of bartending? 

Bartending has changed quite a bit in the five years since I’ve been retired. The type of work I did was high speed, turn and burn, here’s your drink now get the fuck out of my face, nightclub bartending. Speed, aggression, and drawer accuracy were the only things anyone in charge cared about.

These days it’s a bunch of cocktail dorks in fedoras worrying about their Instagram accounts and Yelp ratings. I just don’t get it. But I’m old and not getting it is part of this ride.

From an industry perspective, I’d say something you should know if you want to get into bartending is that you should really know yourself. No one tells you this, but whatever you are inside is going to be accelerated by bartending. If you’re manic or lazy or aggressive or slutty or adventurous, you”ll be even more so when you don’t have to deal with the square life.

Being a bartender was like being a weird, low-key pirate sometimes. The service industry takes care of its own and if you’re good and keep the drinks flowing, you can go to shows for free and eat anywhere like a VIP. You can make friends with real deviants and find yourself at after hours parties with hookers and drug dealers.

I wanted out for a long time. I don’t drink, so being sober that late at night really ground me down after a while. The money was always good, though. I still don’t make as much per hour as I did bartending, not even close. However, I missed out on so much. When my friends were going out to make memories and have fun, I was watching other people do the same. That always really sucked.

From a customer perspective, I don’t know what to tell you. You’re the enemy.

What would punk rock be like if it started right now?

I guess you have to explain a bit by what you mean by punk. I could imagine a Sid & Nancy reality show pretty easily. It would be like the white version of Being Bobby Brown.

I can’t think of a single place in the world for the austerity of the 80s punk scene. No one makes a virtue out of poverty anymore. If anything, it would probably look like Warp Tour acts do now.

I bet it wouldn’t be good.

Who do you think Negan killed?

I think they’re going to stick to the comics on this one.

 

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beetle

My favorite kind of day is one where I don’t have to do anything in particular. There’s always something that needs doing, but it’s nice when you feel like you have some agency or a chance to slack off. I actually managed to clean the whole loft and take the dogs out a few times. The rest of the day is going to be spent watching old seasons of The Ultimate Fighter. Why the hell not?

I’m under four months on this blog thing till I can stop. And oh what a day that will be. Hell, I might even keep writing, just to put a little English on it. I wonder how the last thirty days will go. I could become super inspired. Maybe something will go viral. Probably not, though.

 

donald

The nerdosphere is a buzz with news about 2018’s untitled young Han Solo movie having cast it’s Lando Calrissian. Actor, comedian, writer, and rapper Donald Glover, AKA Childish Gambino will be playing the role made famous by Billy Dee Williams. I think it’s probably a pretty decent choice.

I’m a big fan of Glover’s FX show Atlanta. It’s about semi-homeless slacker who tires to become his cousin’s manager. The cousin is a drug dealer turned up and coming rapper with a single radio hit, but lots of potential.

The show doesn’t go for obvious laughs, it’s weirdly paced and accesses humor and sadness the way a Louis C.K. show does. The strangeness of the show displays itself with touches like secret rooms in club, spoof commercials, non-sequitur dialog, and dream sequences. Glover said he wanted to make a black version of Twin Peaks. I think it would be hard to find direct influence from Twin Peaks, but there is a melancholy wistfulness to the show.

Glover’s music (as Childish Gambino) is pretty interesting. It’s kind of in the neighborhood of Kanye, production-wise, but lyrically it’s wholly his. He’s a dude who decided to take very solid MC skills and speak about his own experience. He displays braggadocio without any false-thuggery. I can’t  imagine too many rappers wanting to fuck with him lyrically.

So, I’m stoked on this pick for Lando. Glover is a cool guy with a lot of talent and I like what he makes. That said, this video shows who really should be Lando.

sleeping_squirrel_10

Yesterday, instead of watching the corny ass debates, I went into the city to go climbing with some friends at Dogpatch Boulders. It’s been a few years since I’ve been bouldering with any regularity, but I was pleased to be able to climb all the V2s I tried and even one V3. Back when I was climbing often, I didn’t do much better than that.

After my PR on the Tiburon half marathon, without training, I’m starting to feel like there’s something to my minimalist approach to fitness. I haven’t felt like going into the gym, so I’ve just been doing some very light calisthenics at home. Things like weighted pull-ups, handstands, pushups, pistol-squats, and leg raises. Nothing crazy. Maybe a few kettlebell swings here and there. Maybe some yoga stretches if I’m feeling stiff.

I never really go to failure, and I don’t really even do tons of sets. I do full range of motion and actually move pretty slow through the movement. Diet-wise I’ve been eating almost all vegan stuff with a balanced, but not too rigid macronutrient ratio. Again, nothing special. I just take a few minutes a few times a day to move with a little more intensity than is necessary.

I think this sort of lazy protocol could be expanded on for average people who just want to improve a little bit and not get any flabbier. No one is going to be killing it in competition doing things this way, but that’s not what most people are doing anyway. Most of the programs and exercise modalities out there are built for extreme performers and professionals on Mexican & Chinese supplements.

This sort of lazy daily activity should be supplemented with outdoor social athletics: trail runs with friends, pick-up basketball, kayaking. Things that are challenging, but fun and adventurous.

I’m sure I’ll want to head back to the gym eventually, but I haven’t wanted to, and the surest way to hate something is to do it when you’re not feeling it.

hat2

The more I look into it, the more the O’Keefe bird-dogging video seems to check out. You’d think the major media would be reporting on it, at least to attempt to continue discrediting O’Keefe.

It’s hard to not think conspiratorially when this video has millions of views, seems to be a sensation amongst half the country, yet isn’t trending on any social media sites. Think about it, the big nerdy dude in the red sweater from the last debate was trending within an hour of his appearance on TV.

Every single other opportunity to aggressively fact check Trumpkins gets taken. Why wouldn’t this?

I’m sure we’ll get some explanation shortly.

The only major news stories about it are from Sean Hannity (of course) and  CNN, who are attempting to distance the main campaign from Scott Foval, the man at the center of the video. This guy could be a kook, but he’s a known progressive activist who contributes to Huffington Post and he has definitely received Democrat funding.

Unless he’s some sort of insane loan wolf media operative, it means someone, maybe not a Clinton high-up, but someone, hired provocateurs to incite violence at Trump rallies.

And yes, I’m totally aware of the credibility of the video’s producer. It’s for sure true O’Keefe edited his ACORN expose video to make the interviewees look worse (which is essentially what The Daily Show does). And his hit on Planned Parenthood certainly caused that organization trouble.
Now look, I know I have a bunch of friends that consider any attack on Planned Parenthood to be something like treason to feminism. It’s easy to see why.
Facts are facts, though. They for sure donate fetal tissue for medical testing, something I’m definitely not against if it actually saves lives or aids medical breakthroughs. Some of the organizations that get this tissue seem to donate back to Planned Parenthood. Is this “buying dead babies?” No, but it’s an arrangement a lot of people are not comfortable with. Those folks rightfully might ask, “if it was all kosher, why conceal the practice in the first place?”
It’s also reasonable to ask, “if this hard core operative actually paid protesters to incite violence at Trump rallies, what else did he do?”
It makes me think about the narrative of aggressive “Bernie Bros.” I never met or saw one in real life, but the Clinton machine pushed that story hard while simultaneously doing everything possible to shit on Bernie’s campaign. Were “Bernie Bros” potentially operatives as well? Who knows? But, if true, this video reveals anything is possible.
Are the other guys doing the same thing? Probably. After all, Michael Moore is releasing his own Trump documentary. We’re going to get a masterclass in creative editing from him, but he’ll likely uncover some legit dark shit, too.
This appears to be politics as usual for everyone. It’ll be interesting if it shows up in the debates tonight. I hate that these crooks have normalized conspiracy theories.
What a country.

skull

My possessions always seem to be worn down and worn out. The nicest thing I own is probably my grandmother’s 1963 Gibson Hummingbird, but even it has some scratches and dings. All my books are dog eared and marked up. I’m hard on stuff.

Mrs. Lott bought me a nice Louis Vuitton wallet a long time ago. It’s been chewed up by dogs, washed countless times, and twice run over by cars. There’s just no stopping entropy.

Stuff doesn’t matter much to me, I’d rather have the free time it takes to get the money for it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t like to have things. I’d love to have a new motorcycle or a nicer pair of boots. I’ve had my eye on a Smith & Wesson 686 revolver for months now.

Hell, I’ve wanted a 24K gold skull ring for years, it just never fits into the budget.

People who know us, know we’re big fans of Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. It’s a simple financial plan that gets you out of debt and builds wealth. But you have to stick to it. Sometimes it’s hard as hell to stay on target.

Getting out of debt was a lot easier than where we’re at right now. When you’re crawling out of the red, you have one goal: kill debt. It’s an easy enemy to hate, like the Nazis. When you start getting things in order and you’re building wealth, it gets tougher. Putting away 15% for retirement is brutal when you’re solidly middle class and you don’t want to cook at home again. For me, the biggest thrill of a restaurant is you don’t have to do the dishes.

I don’t doubt we will be in good shape in a few years. We dicked around for a long time and it’s catchup time. That means no cool pistols or old trucks or wild nights or anything fun. At least for the rest of 2016.

Thank god for Netflix and free weed.

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West Oakland skies are clear. The moon shines hard. Lighting up corners where the lazy streetlights don’t push back against angular nooks and crannies where no light gets in. Blacked out houses and shadows cast by industrial real estate make more of the dark.

It’s quiet like the country. Until you hear an old man pushing his things, the sound is almost like a ghost rattling his chains in a haunted house. The streets are full of spirits, supernatural and fermented.

Sometimes there’s the sharp bark of an argument. Loud booze voices split the night like parchment cracking. The wind is standing still. With the right eyes it looks like a movie set where the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles might fight the Foot Clan.