11 Rules For Young People

If you’ve ever been to Jimmy Johns you may have seen this list of advice/rules for high school students whilst enjoying your delicious submarine sandwich. Contrary to popular belief, this was not created by Bill Gates. It is by no means new, but I feel it is just as true now as it was when it was created. I especially like #2.

  • Rule 1: Life is not fair – get used to it
  • Rule 2: The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.
  • Rule 3: You will NOT make $40,000 a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both. (haha, this one is a little out-dated)
  • Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.
  • Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping — they called it opportunity.
  • Rule 6: If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.
  • Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you are. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parents’ generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.
  • Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life has not. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.
  • Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you find yourself. Do that on your own time.
  • Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.
  • Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.

So, to sum up: quit being a pussy and take some responsibility for yourself. I know some 20-somethings that still haven’t figured some of this stuff out. C’mon! Get with it! Life’s not going to baby you forever.

Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest.

Thanks Baby

Alayna Happy Birthday

Ten Things I Would Ask God When I Die

When I die and go to heaven, I would love to ask God the following questions.

  1. Did Led Zeppelin really sell their souls to the devil and encode backwards messages in Stairway to Heaven?
  2. Was Abraham Lincoln gay?
  3. Did Michael Jackson really touch those kids?
  4. Is the Shroud of Turin a hoax or the real deal?
  5. Is Earth the only planet with intelligent life?
  6. Is time travel possible? If so, can we go forward and backward, or just one or the other?
  7. Was the big bang a means of creation?
  8. If 99.999% of an atom is empty space, where does mass come from?
  9. Is there a New World Order?
  10. Did Jesus’s farts smell?

Leave a comment if there are any questions you would ask Him. I’m sure I forgot a ton of good ones.

Goals

I’ve decided to set some goals. Most of these goals I’ve had for a while, but they only do so much good swimming around in my head. I realized that if I present them more concretely, I am far more likely to achieve them. The goals are separated between three categories, three goals apiece. I’m sure I’ll think of more later, but I think this is a good start.

My goals for the next 5 years:

Career:

  1. Graduate with my MBA
  2. Take and pass the CPA exam
  3. Acheive supervisor level at the firm

Financial:

  1. Buy a house
  2. Have only “good debt”
  3. Establish a healthy start for my child(ren)’s college savings

Personal:

  1. Brew my own beer successfully
  2. Write and record at least an EP’s worth of original songs
  3. Travel outside of the U.S.

Who knows if this blog will even exist in five years? Knowing me, probably not. But I’ll make a promise to myself to transfer this list to a new home should this blog go the way of the dinosaur (just like my MySpace profile is destined to do).

Giving Up

I came across an inspiring essay today. Well, the essay itself wasn’t entirely inspiring, but the story that opens the essay was. Here is the excerpt:

“One winter night, one of the few Japanese friends I had in my early 20s was playing a guitar at his company Christmas party. He was an architect and was about 10 years older than I was. Before he decided to study architecture, he was making a living as a guitarist in Japan. This was not the first time I heard him play, but I was still stunned by how good he was. After his performance, I told him that it was a shame that he was no longer pursuing his musical career. He then shared with me his recent realization that life is a process of giving up. At the time, I didn’t think much of what he said. I think I remembered it only because of its unusual reversal of the popularly held beliefs. Especially on this land of dreams, “giving up” is seen almost as sacrilegious. Everyone’s livelihood seems to precariously hinge on holding big, albeit distant dreams. For some people, the more dreams, the better. So, what did my friend mean when he said that life is a process of giving up?”

The article goes on to examine the issue from a perspective consisting of philosophies I don’t subscribe to. Regardless, you may wonder why I found this story inspiring. Who actually relishes the idea of giving up the dreams of youth? I’ve been travelling down a path of life since birth that has involved many dreams, many of which I’ve given up. That sure doesn’t sound like a good thing, does it?

To paraphrase the author’s initial assessment, the root of the issue is the concept of attachments. When you “give up” a dream, you are detaching yourself from it. This process of detachment can actually help you enjoy things more. Alcohol isn’t much fun if you’re addicted (attached) to it, but when you detach yourself, you allow yourself to enjoy it safely and at a distance. Giving up dreams is really just detaching yourself from your own ego. Being attached to a dream is, in essence, being addicted to it. It’s all or nothing. Success or failure. Distancing yourself from that addiction can mean true success in your life. The author of the essay goes on to examine the concept of attachments and their roots, but I will continue with examining what the issue means to me and my life.

I used to be in a band, and the band’s collective dream was to be successful. The attachment to that dream caused a lot of the band’s emotional peaks and valleys. At the height of our peaks, we all worked together toward our common goal. We wrote the music, played the shows, and maintained the relationships that would, in our belief, ensure our success. In our valleys, we fought, didn’t collaborate well on the music, wrote angry lyrics about each other, and the band even tried to replace me at least once. The scenario was a typical attachment (addiction). We felt like we needed to dedicate ourselves 100% to the dream or we would fail. We would otherwise feel like we were selling ourselves short. All this was at the expense of true and long-lasting enjoyment. Only when I decided to “give up” the dream did I realize how horribly detrimental that sort of attachment can be.

Since the disintegration of the band, I’ve distanced myself from the dream of music paying my bills. That isn’t to say that I’ve given up on music. I still play my guitar regularly, write music, and hope to someday find musicians to play with who are not psychotic. The attachment to the dream was just hurting too many things in my life. It kept me from being productive in my more meaningful pursuits, like school and a real career, and ruined many friendships. The probability of achieving success in the music industry (success being defined as the ability to support oneself and family without supplemental employment) is dreadfully low. All of these factors intertwine and present themselves as solid proof that, at least for me, it’s just a bad idea.

The attachment distancing has effects in other areas of my life. Because of the fact that I can detach myself from my ego and enjoy my hobbies as hobbies, I can commit to the interests of my family. Many people fear the prospect of having kids based on the idea that they’ll have to give up a part of themselves to raise them. While this is true, it certainly is no reason to fear having kids. Because of the detachment effect, I find that I enjoy every aspect of my life that much more. I relish the time I can spend dancing with my daughter in the living room as much as I relish the time I sit by myself and play guitar. Because my ego is not being controlled by an “all-or-nothing” dream, there is no sense of risking failure. Success to me is realizing that distance from those dreams isn’t only more enjoyable, it’s absolutely necessary. Many people also get obsessed with their careers. Now that I have something I can actually call a career, I know how that can happen. The detachment effect applies just the same. If you know when to distance yourself from the attachment of your work, you can enjoy it, your family, your hobbies, and your relationships that much more.

So, life is most certainly a process of giving up. The last five years of my life have brought the most significant changes to my life to date, and many of those changes involved giving up something. Detachment is necessary and, as I’ve found out, bliss.

Destiny

If I believe in destiny…

  • I was destined to meet my wife
  • I was destined to have the most beautiful little girl in the world
  • I was destined to realize my calling and go back to school
  • I was destined to end up in the same industry as my father
  • I was destined to never again speak to anyone I’ve ever been in a band with
  • I was destined to have the job that got me through college and helped me start my family
  • I was destined to be screwed over by people I used to care about
  • I was destined to meet the people I’ve met over the last several years

and finally…

  • I was destined to be the happiest 25-year-old I know.

Do I believe in destiny?

Goodbye MySpace! …sort of

I am officially leaving MySpace! Well, not exactly. I still have a profile, but you wouldn’t recognize it as a MySpace profile (except of course for the ugly ad at the top). I’ve moved my blog to WordPress. Any pictures I put up will be hosted by some other web photo hosting site (think Flikr). My profile music is being played by a much better, and more reliable, player. Also, people can no longer put whatever they want on my page through comments.

You may be thinking, “Why the hell is he doing this?” I know, it seems like a lot of work, but I just got to a breaking point. MySpace’s standard tools are crappy. I knew there were a shitload of better tools out there to use on the internet for everything that MySpace does. Also, I wanted to be unique, just like everyone else on here, but I wasn’t satisfied with the same old-same old. I set out to prove that you can participate in the social network without being a slave to the proprietary blog tool, photo hosting, music playback, etc. And yes, it was a lot of work (thanks hyalineskies!), but I friggin’ love it!

No, I will not help you set up your MySpace this way.  No, I will not give you tips on using html/css/flash/java/mochaccino/c++/latte/ebay/teh intarnets. Not even if you pay me. Well… I might be open depending on the offer.

This is definitely an experiment for me, so I hope it goes well. Please give me some feedback on what you think of the whole setup. Also, you can comment on this blog without signing up or becoming a member. Isn’t that great?

Bluetooth headsets suck

How to Deal with Obnoxious Bluetooth Users

7 Ways to Vent Your Frustration

1. Repeat everything they say.
Everytime the bluetooth user says something into the air… repeat it. They’ll catch on and when they finally get off the phone you’ll be a hero. You can even spice it up with the classic stupid voice you used as a kid when you couldn’t deliver a decent comeback. Not only is it effective, it’s funny. If they have anything say to you afterward just keep copying them. Vintage Immature Smart-Ass. “Stop copying me!” – “Stop copying me!

2. Inquire about the conversation.

When they finally get off the phone ask them what they were talking about. With any luck they’ll tell you it’s none of your business. Then you can retort with: “No shit! Next time wait till after you get your frappachino and take the convo outside dick-head!”

3. Grab the bluetooth off their ear and run away.

The bastard will never see it coming. Just swipe it off and make a run for it. If they’re gaining on you just throw it in the street. Or better yet, turn around and throw it right at their face. Then kick ’em in the shin and bolt. That’ll teach ’em.

4. Stare

Sometimes just staring at someone will get your point across. If they keep talking or try to ignore you just get closer and closer. Get as close as you can and breath really hard and slow. Try not to speak or laugh if they finally confront you. Just keep staring.

5. Throw piping hot coffee in their face.

This is a little drastic and may be another situation where you may have to run away. Actually, you should runaway. Nonetheless, you’re having the worst day in your life and all you want to do is get a scone and an espresso to get you through the rest of it. But the guy four people behind you is yapping away like he’s talking to everyone in the store and you’ve finally had it. Quickly change your order to a regular coffee and throw it right into his face. Keep in mind though, if you’re caught you’ll probably be facing legal charges. But, if you get away clean you’ll be satisfied for life. Next time you have a bad day you can think about the time you threw hot liquid in that yuppies face.

6. Push them over you’re friend who is quietly kneeling behind them.

This obviously requires another person who is willing to take a risk for the good of mankind. It doesn’t even have to be a friend. More than likely, the person next to you will be as frustrated and annoyed as you. Just check their other ear for a bluetooth device before you ask them to conspire with you. They could be on the dark side.

7. Politely ask them to get off the phone.

source: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/80186/how_to_deal_with_obnoxious_bluetooth.html
Used without permission. Tee hee!

Free Hand

“Free Hand”
-Derek Shulman

Who would believe me now that my hands are free, that my hands are free.
I never thought it would ever come to me, ever come to me.
Now that my life’s my own, I leave you behind, leaving you behind.
What ever made you think that I’d change my mind, that I’d change my mind.

It wasn’t hard to run, break away from you, break away from you,
After all you’d done, what was I to do, what was I to do.
Who’s gonna take my place in the games you play, in the games you play.
Nobody’s listening now to the things you say, all the things you say.

Now my hands are free from the ties, from the ties.
Now I look forward to the future, where it lies.
And with you, feeling low, looking black
Here, now my head is clear, why should I look back.

When it was over did you have regrets, did you have regrets.
Or did you really think it was over yet, it was over yet.
Now that my life’s my own I leave you behind, leaving you behind.
What ever made you think that I’d change my mind, change my mind.
Change my mind. Change my mind.

musically here: http://www.myspace.com/gentlegiant45

The Singularity

Someday machines will be smarter than us.

I. J. Good (1965) writes:

“Let an ultraintelligent machine be defined as a machine that can far surpass all the intellectual activities of any man however clever. Since the design of machines is one of these intellectual activities, an ultraintelligent machine could design even better machines; there would then unquestionably be an ‘intelligence explosion,’ and the intelligence of man would be left far behind. Thus the first ultraintelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make.”

A chilling prophecy. Can man create a technology that is so intelligent we cannot control it?

We sit at a point in time when we are looking up at the peak of a mountain. Over the course of human history, the pace of our scientific knowledge and technology, the application of such knowledge, has accelerated at an ever-quickening rate. Even in my own lifetime, I’ve seen the advances of technology overcome more and more obstacles faster and faster. As consumers, we are presented with the dilemma of what products to purchase because the obsolescence of new technology is a looming inevitability. Before we know it, our latest cellphones, computers, televisons, and other gadgets will be outdated before they even hit the store shelves. But that is just a side effect.

What we are really hurtling toward is something known as “The Singularity.” It has been predicted that there will come a point in the future when man and machine are equally intelligent. After that point, machines will be able to engineer better machines, and our intelligence will not be able to keep up. Different predictions place the Singularity as early as 2023 and as late as the end of the 21st century. The predominant prediction is that of Ray Kurzweil which puts the date at 2045.

Will this mean the annihilation of the human race? It’s certainly a possibility. One thing is for sure: if this theory proves to be fact, the Singularity will most likely occur in my lifetime. I, for one, will definitely be following this closely.

Information, examination, and criticism can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_singularity