The Idea Series: Week 6

#NaNoWriMo18 has started, and I’ve spent the majority of my past two days at a keyboard typing. In this time, I’ve written almost eight thousand words. My fingertips feel like they should be bleeding, but thankfully most of a lifetime of this behavior has hardened them to such trauma. If only the same could be said for my mind!

Anyway, let’s jump in.


10 things I have which I could donate or repurpose

It’s a good exercise to declutter. I don’t subscribe to the minimalist lifestyle, but I do think of myself as a clean person, and clutter does aggravate me. Things I don’t use just collect dust. I have a bad habit of holding on just in case I might need them. This is especially true of the things below, which I haven’t touched or used in God knows how long, which someone else might have better use for.

  1. My extra shoes
  2. Old, unused T-shirts
  3. My Xbox
  4. Board games I haven’t touched in 3 months
  5. My LEGO
  6. Seasonal decorations
  7. Extra kitchenware
  8. The books I have that I dislike
  9. Old blankets
  10. Office supplies


10 ways I can squeeze in more physical activity

I live a sedentary lifestyle. I have a desk job, where I find myself lost for hours at a time concentrating on solving one problem or another. At home I read, or write, or watch movies, or play video games. At the end of the day I’ll find myself feeling particularly slobbish, in that I haven’t really moved very much all day. I often fear for my long-term physical health, and I do know I need to make more efforts at maintaining it. So here’s a few very easy ways to do that.

  1. Park as far away from the store as possible
  2. Take the stairs
  3. Set reminders to stand and stretch
  4. Do pushups / squats when thinking
  5. Walk to lunch
  6. Go to the gym more regularly
  7. Get back into nature / landscape photography
  8. Play more disc golf
  9. Find other outdoor hobbies
  10. Walk the dog longer


10 books I could write that would “leave my wisdom behind”

If I were whisked away to another world and had just a month to impart what I’ve learned in this life, these would be the titles of the books. Only the titles themselves did I write down, but here I’ll include a couple of things that might live in their tables of contents.

It’s OK to Not Like Things, but Don’t Be A Dick About It

  • Recognizing your judgmental behavior
  • The things we like define us
  • The things others like typically don’t harm us

Getting What You Want, While Getting Everyone to Feel Like They’ve Won

  • Negotiating from a position of weakness
  • Asking questions so the answers change their mind
  • Adjusting your expectations for any outcome

Incremental Personal Growth

  • You are never complete
  • Success is the result of accumulation, not random bursts
  • Measure yourself against yourself, not others

How to be Fully Present

  • Mindfulness
  • Thankfulness
  • Communicating your feelings

How to Teach Yourself Anything

  • How to master the art of the Google search
  • Finding a mentor or a community
  • Teaching others teaches yourself

Nothing Will Ever Change If You Don’t Change It: A Guide

  • Planning to change
  • If you’re on the fence, then jump
  • Executing on your plans

Pink is a “Girl’s Color,” and Other Bullshit Lies

  • Don’t listen when people tell you how you should be
  • Let people be themselves, and be true to yourself
  • Norms may exist for a reason, but they also die for a reason
  • Gender is a spectrum

History is a Grand Fiction, but Fiction Does Teach Us

  • Conquerers write the history books and the conquered are vilified
  • The stories we tell define who we are
  • Fiction is the true artifact of a culture’s beliefs

The Divine Is Everywhere and All Around Us

  • So treat things right

People Just Want to Be Loved and To Love

  • So treat them right


10 people that have made an impact on my life (and why)

My dad

I was definitely that kid in elementary school who, when asked who his hero was, said, “my dad!” My dad taught me how to be who I am, how to love openly, how to be patient and kind. He taught me how to solve problems and fix things. He showed me to some of the hobbies that turned into my career. Everyone I know loves my dad and likes to be around him and I still find myself trying to emulate him when I’m unsure how else to act.

Mr. Rogers

What kid who grew up in the time when Mr. Rogers still aired wasn’t deeply affected by him? He was a modern-day Jesus. When I catch myself thinking, “Why isn’t there anyone else like him out there?” I have to remind myself that I can be like that, if I try.

Philip K. Dick

The father of the “what is real, anyway?” brand of science fiction. Endlessly creative, empathetic, tragic, intelligent. Ten years ago when I wrote fiction I did my damndest to write just like him.

Terry Pratchett

Another unique voice in fiction, singular in style and broad in subject matter. Though he mainly wrote fantasy, I think what he wrote about was broader than that, and everyone should at least try to read him. You’ll laugh your ass off, I promise.

Steven Eriksen

Leave it to an anthropologist tabletop gamer to write a one-million-word fantasy work that became a cornerstone in the “grim dark” genre, whose core theme was empathy. One of the only authors I’ve read who actually got me to cry while reading.

Robin Williams

There was a time when I was young that I wanted to be a comedian, and Robin Williams was one of my idols. The world is lesser for having lost him.

My step dad

My other father figure shares the responsibility of shaping me into who I am today. I’m blessed to be able to say I have not one, but two dads, and they are both active in my life.


One of my best friends from high school. We used to joke that I owed him half of my soul, because he would pay my way everywhere we went. The other half, the joke went, I traded in second grade for an erasable pen. Sean is smart and capable and determined and unafraid to be himself. He’s also generous, and though he never asks for anything in return I still know he’s waiting on that one grand payment.


Another friend from high school, Kevin is kind and empathetic and has a keen emotional intelligence. He’s incredibly thoughtful and caring and always has encouragement handy for when you need it.

Marcus Aurelius

The philosopher, the stoic. I’ve read Meditations twice and think about its words often. A thoughtful and stern writer and person. If a Roman emperor knew that his life was ever an unfinished book, and that he’d better stay on his toes to keep it good, then I know I have a lot of work to do.


10 recipe / flavor combos

Just some things I’d like to try in the kitchen. A list to change it up.

  1. Soy sauce / tomato / lamb
  2. Caramel dates
  3. Toffee sea salt sourdough pretzels
  4. Iced vanilla rooibos
  5. Diet Pepsi + vanilla + cream
  6. Mint root beer
  7. Chocolate pistachio ice cream
  8. “Potato chips” made from almond flour
  9. Peanut butter caramel pecan pie
  10. Sweet + spicy lime sriracha chicken


10 things I deny myself permission to buy

From this list I realized that I have an issue with self-control, and the way I deal with it is by keeping myself out of the position where I need it. I also realized I have an aversion to buying just about anything new when I can buy used instead. Buying used has the effect of shifting who profits.

  1. Cookies
  2. Scotch
  3. Admission to any buffet
  4. Brand new shoes
  5. Candy: candy corn, Nerds, Nutter Butters
  6. Soda
  7. New books
  8. New electronics
  9. Apps
  10. Anything without research


10 lines I recently heard that left me thinking

  1. What ambiguity there is in exalted things.
  2. Self-importance is the desperate invention of inadequacy.
  3. Truth is One, but the sages speak of it in many names.
  4. The way you do anything is the way you do everything.
  5. Everyone will be called to account for the legitimate pleasures which he or she has failed to enjoy
  6. Adults who are unwilling to reeducate themselves periodically are doomed to mediocrity.
  7. Irony isn’t real. If you say terrible things ironically, you are still saying them.
  8. I can do something for 12 hours which would appall me if I felt I had to keep it up for a lifetime.
  9. Giving me a new idea is like handing a cretin a loaded gun, but I do thank you anyhow, bang, bang.
  10. Go forward, seek wholeness without pause.

This has been a very long week. I tried to keep this post short, but it still ballooned to almost 1500 words. Oh, well. This is the way of things.

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