The masses have passed by, which is just fine with me. I was never great with a huge readership. Too much pressure and not enough stomach to sustain any real criticism. Once, that's how it was. Blogs were new and no one read them. You could hide online in plain sight. I feel that way now, and it's nice.
One of the pesky side effects of cutting alcohol down to almost none and consistent, healthy eating is clarity. That self-imposed beer fog is a great blanket of dampening oblivion. It's both terrifying and dumbly calming. What you can't feel can't hurt. However, as that fog does clear, there are two choices: deal with what remains exposed, or find another way to ignore it.
The harder choice-the choice to deal with the stuff that's been repeatedly sloshed down-is probably the correct one.
It takes time.
I'll use the current drought as an analogy.
In many parts of the West, lakes and reservoirs are at historically low levels. This receding water exposes former mining towns, stolen cars, long lost plane pieces, and in one case, a Federal badge and weapon. They are mixed reminders of the past, some exciting and some better left swallowed by time.
You don't get to choose what peeks its head through a cleared (dry) mind, though. As you take inventory of your life, you do get to choose what you hold onto and what you chuck back in the lake. If something is no longer valuable? Dump it. Friend who constantly disappoints you? All set. Bye. Old habits and behaviors starting to creep in? Tie them in a bag and drown those fuckers.
Sometimes I wonder if the clarity is just too much; if a dampener is better for my overall existence; if maybe the guy I really am is less interesting than the guy I wish I was.
Those questions remain. Baked broccoli. Lean chicken breast. Beans. Repeat.
1. Travel now. Figure it out.
2. Forget working a lifetime to get to a pot of gold. Work, earn, spend some, save some. Work, earn, spend some, save some.
3. A little of everything is usually the best choice.
4. Let kids be kids.
5. Be as nice to yourself as you are to others.
"Spikes," she says, as I kiss her cheeks before she leaves for school. It's what she's called my whiskers since she was able to speak, and it's become part of our routine. If I am clean shaven, it's a slightly surprised, "No spikes!" She bounces out the door, telling mommy about the sheep in her Minecraft world. She is four. She is the youngest of three, so our diaper days are almost behind us. I can't be sad about that, right?
What's the word for missing the future past you are currently inhabiting? If I could hoard the feelings and emotions of right now in my life, I'd be filled with boxes of happy memories. I don't want time to move, because right now is so GOOD. Happy and healthy, and who knows what tomorrow or next year or ten years might bring? Can't I hunker down and close the doors and freeze time and never leave right here?
So we sail on.
My daughter is eleven. My son is seven. I have kids who are growing up whether I want them to or not, and rather than linger in nostalgia for the days about to pass, why not stand on the front of the ship and look to the days ahead? Maybe the best is yet to come.
I was a broke, starving actor for so many years, that I'm always sure it's all about to end. This career I've chosen is very often a feast or famine lifestyle. You begin to expect bad news instead of enjoying all of the good things in your life. Your happiness begins to be attached to career success, which is usually a roller coaster in any industry. It can mess up your psyche. You know how people who lived through the depression still re-use their bean cans and won't buy new socks? Like that, but with allowing myself to get excited about stuff.
The mistake, I think, is applying that philosophy to my life and the lives of the people in my family. It isn't feast or famine, but an evolution. They are beginning their lives, and can't wait for Fridays and wish they were older and can't wait to drive and are negotiating social situations and are excited about what life has yet to show them.
They are leaning over the bow, anxious for what's ahead.
It takes a little more strength, but I suppose that's really the only way to live.
I was listening to Tim Ferriss' podcast a couple of days ago, and stumbled onto an idea that planted itself in my mind and has begun to take hold. One of his guests, the quintissential motivational speaker Tony Robbins, said something to the effect of:
You can become bored with happiness.
Unless you attach meaning to the goals you have and the things you're doing, your successes and victories will remain unfulfilling.
As I push into my early 40's, I find myself struggling to evolve into the next version of myself. Until now, I've always at least had an idea of where I'm headed.
Someday I'll have my own place.
Someday I'll get married.
Someday I'll have kids.
Someday I'll have a good job.
Someday I'll be happy.
And then what? What if you check all of those boxes? Shouldn't you wake up every morning more excited than the day before because you are SO. DAMN. HAPPY?
Yes and no.
Tony Robbins, who I have never paid any attention to outside of occasionally flipping past his infomercials over the past 30 years, also said (paraphrased) that only by giving of ourselves do we truly find happiness.
Now, I don't know all that much about Tony Robbins. I know he gets paid a TON of money to talk to people, which he apparently does pretty well.
I also know that answers find their way to you in weird ways.
I went for a bike ride with my friend Jesse.
He mentioned Tim Ferriss' books.
I bought the books.
I happened to see the Tim Ferriss podcast on the front page of iTunes.
I DL'd the podcast.
The episode I DL'd happened to have Tony Robbins on.
Tony Robbins, through what sounds like a painfully gravelly voice, magically lifted my guilt about feeling sometimes bored with "happiness."
I was at my sister's XXth birthday party the other night and met her friend Tracy, who helps run a charity called One Kid One World.
From their website:
The mission of OneKid OneWorld is simple: to make a difference in the lives of children in need around the globe. One world, one school, one kid, at a time.
Since 2006, OneKid OneWorld has raised over $1,000,000, with over 93% going directly to our projects. We have directly affected the lives of over 10,000 students by building new classrooms, paying for tuition, covering teachers’ salaries, developing athletic programs, and supplying books, desks, school supplies, solar power and fresh water to communities.
A few years ago, my sister traveled to Africa to help build a school. I told Tracy I want to go somewhere to help build a school. I think it's time to start helping instead of feeling overwhelmed by the amount of help people need. It seems so daunting, the need for help around the world, but jumping in and beginning to help seems like the right first step.
Tim Ferriss has so many great quotes in his book, The 4-Hour Workweek. Here's one of my favorites:
"Being overwhelmed is often as unproductive as doing nothing, and is far more unpleasant."
I've stopped reading bad news. I don't want to see beheadings or read stories about dead children or see pictures of awful things. Lately, I choose to focus on the good. The good still outweighs the bad in this world, although it doesn't make for good news ratings or clicks.
I've stopped consuming the fear. Instead of wasting my energy processing horror, perhaps I can expend energy to make small changes in the world that will leave it slightly better than I found it.
In the end, what other purpose is there?
I have this block that won't allow me to write honestly. It's a huge unmoving blob of fear and hesitation, resistant to poking and prodding. I've been staring at it for what feels like a few years.
We put out this version of ourselves on social media. A guarded angle on a much less slick reality. We carefully paint a person we want to be instead of baring the person we are stuck being. Problem is, you can start to feel disappointed in yourself each time you don't live up to the punched up version you wish you were. Eventually, the disconnect between the two people becomes unbearable and writing a simple 900th blog entry feels like lying.
This is the 900th post on this site.
If I keep writing, I'll get there. Gotta snake the drain, vent the chamber, declutter the brain.
I'm leaning on that blob, and eventually I'll get there.
The return of the SoCal #MurderersRow home game, with @taopauly @change100 @kent171 @absinthetics @factgirly @fhwrdh @noahfonosch and Phil Cheung. So fun. #WPBT
Back in 2005, poker bloggers, traditional bloggers, programmers, and a couple of pros used to play online poker together with a group that became affectionately known as the World Poker Blogger Tour: The WPBT. Dr. Pauly, the OG poker blogger gives a nice account of how that group came to be here:
The WPBT began as a bad inside joke like a half-baked Saturday Night Live sketch that morphed into a global phenomena and yearly pilgrimage. In his next book, Malcolm Gladwell should write about the compelling story of how an innocuous weekend in Las Vegas became a sanctuary for an unusual group of people, which originated from a couple of potheads from the Bronx and two cynical brothers from Michigan.
When I (loosely) organized the first Winter Classic with the Poker Prof, we thought it was going to be just a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet virtual friends, many of whom we had never met before. The group grew. Fast. Infectious. Huge. Then things got out of control as it became a flash mob of several hundred, inebriated degenerates clashing with cowboys on the Strip.
Eight years later, the weekend still exists which is a testament to the people involved. The original weekend in 2004 was never about online poker, gambling or a pissing match -- rather it was a whimsical leap of faith in an attempt to nurture a sincere, yet genuine connection that we all made through the virtual world with online poker as our portal. Many of us originally booked their flights because we were seeking out a shared visceral experience in Sin City. The rest is history.
-from The Tao of Poker Blog: "Ocho - WPBT, Part 1"
I found my way into this group through Wil Wheaton. Back then, he was playing for Poker Stars and he had a weekly blogger game that attracted anywhere from 75 to a couple of hundred people every week. I played it whenever I could. Badly. I started to recognize screen names and build relationships in the comments section of the virtual poker tables we all sat at for hours at a time. It was a mixed group of people with stock avatars and different styles of play. We'd watch each other go deep in nightly tournaments at Full Tilt Poker (before it went tits up in the US). Eventually, I almost felt part of this group of poker writers, poker sharks (and occasional donkeys), and code writers. I was never patient enough to actually learn the math of poker, but I enjoyed the odd bond that held us all. Holds us all, I suppose.
Out of that group, I was invited to the SoCal home game known as Murderer's Row. I still don't know exactly how they named themselves, but once again, I'll let Dr. Pauly explain the vibe:
The infamous homegame at Murderer's Row in West L.A. is a place that no matter how well you played, you're still not guaranteed to leave without getting your junked kicked so far up into your esophagus, that you're gonna need emergency colon surgery just to pluck out your swollen testicles from your digestive track.
The Murderer's Row game is filled with some of the best minds in poker including an eclectic collection of the astute programmers and members of the poker blogging elite. Whether it's cash games, tournaments, online poker, or playing in the super loose local cardrooms... you'll easily find a successful player in one of the regular seats at Murderer's Row. With a mine field cluttered with tight players and loose maniacs, you're constantly playing the guessing game and must switch gears on every hand in order to survive. It's hard enough to play against a guy like Ryan who spent the last six weeks playing against pros everyday or a guy like HDouble who routinely kills the cash games at the local casinos. But then throw in a very drunk and uber-loose Lance into the mix or the cagey Mrs. HDouble who can and will play any two cards and set you on tilt for weeks, and you have a challenging table and a rough night ahead of you.
-from The Tao of Poker Blog: "In Cold Blood: Another Night at Murderer's Row."
The last time I played in that game was 2006. Shortly after that, a bunch of the regular players moved to Ireland to work for Full Tilt Poker. The game dried up, and not long after, the US government shut the virtual doors on all Internet poker. It was the end of our online community, more or less.
Earlier this year, Chris Hanel started an email chain about resurrecting the legendary SoCal home game. It never materialized. August of this year, I made another attempt. This time, I found ten players. Murderer's Row: The REDUX.
Seat 1: Noah Fonosch - New to the game and a co-worker who regularly grinds it out at Commerce. He used to make a living on Full Tilt, until his bankroll got frozen and seized by the Feds.
Seat 2: Kate "Factgirl" Henderson - A regular at the old Murderer's Row game, and a dangerous poker player.
Seat 3: Phil "StudioGlyphic" Cheung - Another regular who used to occasionally host the MR game back in 2005-6. He's won the annual Winter Classic #WPBT tourny as well. Excellent player.
Seat 4: Me - I'm not a very good player. I probably could be, but I treat poker like gambling instead of like science. My card is always coming. I often got gutted at the Murderer's Row games. No regrets.
Seat 5: Marty Fortney - A commercial casting director and the captain of my softball team. I used to see him playing $100NL at Hollywood Park, and I've occasionally played at his house. Good player.
Seat 6: Ryan Kallberg AKA Absinthetics AKA Troublecat - OG MR player. Ryan hasn't played for a while, but he's a sniper in tournaments. He knows my play too well, and it is a huge liability. Excellent at all variations of poker.
Seat 7: Dr. Pauly - THE poker blogger. Pauly has seen and covered more poker than most of us have will ever play in our lifetime. His poker blog was a constant and pretty much the gold standard of poker blogs thru his last amazing entry in 2012.
Seat 8: Kent "JoeSpeaker" Coloma - One of my favorite people to play with in Vegas. We've stormed the Excalibur castle several times, and landed at Pai Gow with Otis until 4am more times than I can remember. No, I seriously can't remember. Played the old MR game, and used to cash on the reg in the Full Tilt/Stars tournies.
Seat 9: Kristin AKA "Change100" - I had hoped the years of not playing had perhaps softened this poker assasin. Alas, no. She is just as deadly and remains one of the best players at whatever table she's sitting at. OG Murderer's Row player, too.
Seat 10: Franklin "fhwrdh" Henderson - Franlin and Facty both used to play in the Murderer's Row game, and I used to play with both of them on Full Tilt. Franklin showed up with a growler of Lady Face Belgian Double, so he's obviously my favorite of the people above. (Also a heck of a poker player, although I did get him to lay down QQ with nothing in my hand.)
It was an amazingly fun evening for me. Everyone seemed genuinely happy to be together with old friends and back at a table playing cards for a good reason: because it's fun. Yes we were trying to win each other's money, but we did that while reminiscing, catching up on each other's lives, and making a plan to do this more than once every 8 years. Beer, wine, and laughs.
We broke for pizza after the first hour and talked about #WPBT and what other people are up to and the demise of online poker. The consensus is that we miss the community. Ryan misses the income.
I could break down key hands for you and talk about chip counts and payouts, but I was never much of a poker blogger. I'm about as good of a poker blogger as I am a poker player, in fact. Glyph, Kallberg, Speaker and I found ourselves out of the tournament shortly after the first break, and so we began a limit cash game of HORSE. Pauly followed soon after, and it almost felt like being at the MGM on the Friday night before the Winter Classic (without all the random bogies).
The tourney went:
3. Marty Fortney
Murderer's Row: REDUX was a hugely fun night for me. We played the cash game until 2am, and then reluctantly called it a night as our real lives lurked in the fringe of the next morning. It was a nostalgic return to a game long gone from a time when poker mattered more.
The game location will rotate now, hopefully every few months.
Poker is dead, long live poker.
The fallacy is that the destination is the goal.
And then you discover the routine you've been in for quite a while has become the source of some of your best memories, and you can't quite remember when the repetition took hold and became part of who you are.
It starts with a decision to try something new:
Softball team. Scuba diving. Tennis. Running. Hiking. Dancing. Bowling league. Game night.
Then, you must have faith in the fact that your enjoyment of the thing you're doing warrants a return to that thing.
Then you must not be afraid to make that thing a regular part of your life until it no longer causes enjoyment.
Then, a few years later, you realize your journey is more important than whatever you imagine is at the end.
When I moved to Los Angeles, I wanted to be a famous actor. I had performed in college and was proud of myself for having the balls to chase a risky dream, but when it came time to really do the work; to learn the lines and know the character and prepare for auditions...
I got lazy. I got lazy because, now that I look back with some distance between me then and me now, I did not actually like being an actor. I liked the IDEA of being an actor. The idea did not match the reality.
I loved working as an actor. I loved having the job, but I did not enjoy the getting of the job. I didn't make my own films or write my own plays. I didn't fight for stage time anywhere I could find it just for the joy of it. I didn't scrape and save to finance my own movie. Instead, I spun my wheels on sketch comedy stages and wasted way too much time doing improv, tricking myself into believing I was acting. I wasn't. I was stalling. Luckily, I plopped right into another career without even realizing it was happening. Repetition took hold, and then suddenly I was a TV producer.
And so you reach 40 and are forced to look back and reevaluate and assess and take inventory and you see that life is not suffering until you reach an imagined goal.
Life is finding the things that bring you joy right now, and more importantly, allowing yourself to discover those things even if they weren't part of your original plan; especially if they weren't part of your original plan.
Go to where the joy is, and don't wait until the end and hope it's there waiting for you.
Most likely, it is not.
Occasionally, I decide to stop drinking.
Today, 17 days into a streak of sobriety, I can't remember why I'd ever start again. Anxiety attacks have stopped, my mood is more predictable, my energy level throughout the day is consistent...I wake up happy.
I wake up happy.
Weird how that works. Stop drinking (delicious hoppy) poison every day, start feeling better. I'm more productive, more creative, more focused. I like people more, I find the positive angle on things, I'm better equipped to deal with setbacks in life or at work.
I'm also eating well. No bread, no white foods, no grains or rice. No starch. No hungover fried food what's it matter anyway meals. Water only, with the exception of my morning cup of coffee.
I registered for the Spartan Sprint Race in December. I'm writing.
See? I'm writing.
This blog is an accurate gauge of my cyclical swings. Dark periods of silence here line up with deep trenches of either busy work schedule or busy drinking schedule, or both. My Instagram is filled with pictures of alcohol or places where alcohol is heavily featured.
What can I do? I'm Irish. I'm young. I'm healthy enough to handle it. It's fun. I'm boring without it. It helps me in social situations. What's a couple of beers? Wine is good for you. We're a drinking society! Life is too short. Work is hard. I deserve it. It's a good escape. I can handle it. Beer is good.
All bullshit. (okay, except for beer is good)
I know me, so I know I'm not done forever, but right now, being done feels pretty great.
-Dusting this place off. We'll see.
-We moved. More space and a pool, which has made me never want to leave my house. In the best way. Life is good, so what's missing? Artistic expression?
- I miss writing, but it feels clunky. Like when you haven't worked out in a couple of years and you walk back into a gym and look around and want to just leave because why bother? It'll never work. This is me stepping back on the treadmill in not cool gym clothes and a full sized towel because my workout towels are long gone and even though people are staring at the extra sweaty guy in the wrong Nikes, I'm going for it anyway dammit. Or something like that. Turning on the writing treadmill. I'm already tired. I could just go home.
-I archived my last post and returned Google Glass after having it for about 2 weeks. It's basically a mini phone screen over your choice of eyes. It's kinda cool, but mostly annoying. it's like the Segway of wearable technology.
-I have a working theory that we are all overstimulated, and that is causing us mass group depression. No one I know is happy, and everyone is hopelessly tethered to bad news and new information. I won't click the bad links anymore. I don't want to hear stories about kids getting left in hot cars or babies dying or beheadings or animal abuse or TMZ VIDEO! of a woman getting punched. We don't need to see these things. We can choose not to feed that machine of "bad news porn." Obviously there are issues to confront within these stories, but the media has no interest in conversation starters. They want outrage because it drives traffic. I'm pulling off of that freeway. Analogy level 2: unlocked.
-Are people who don't have to work and can just travel around the world without worrying about the cost happy? Please advise. Seems ideal.
What was that, like 5 miles? .24 miles??
Let them mess up the house.
Enjoy even the crying.
Walk around the block at their pace.
Answer them all the way.
You are their life.
Make them yours.
Live the way you want them to live.
Learn as they do.
You're not perfect.
Be present now.
You'll miss this later.
As I thaw out from a couple of months of drowning creativity with self-indulgence, my synapses refire to remind me of who I prefer to be.
I've been thinking a lot about art and creating and what the trick is to do it right. I wonder if the golden rule of art is to ignore the audience. Write, produce, create what matters only to yourself, and see if people care. Ignore those it is lost on, worry not about whether the majority approves, apologize for nothing.
Of course, easier said than done. But on stuff that is entirely personal (blog, twitter, pet projects) and not stuff created to satisfy an external expectation of some kind (paid gig, job, contractual obligation), shouldn't it be created without concern for who it pleases?
Tweet without worrying about unfollows.
Write without worrying about offending some.
Live without worrying about what people are thinking (they're not).
Eternal struggle. Same old words.
If you got here via search, you're probably me last week. I put off learning about Bitcoin for over a year. Finally, after my friend suggested I do myself a favor and buy into this new crypto-currency before it's too late, I did some research. I'm not last to the party, but I'm last among the Internet people I know. In the real world, it's still an underground movement.
So here's the very quick version.
Bitcoin is an alternative to a government based currency. It is not traded on the NYSE, nor is it protected by the FDIC, nor any other country's govenment. It is an idea, which is only realized through constant mining by various computers around the world. It's volatile. It may as well still be in Beta. It has the potential to revolutionize the way we pay for things.
Bitcoins are created by a process called mining, in which participants verify and record payments in exchange for transaction fees and newly minted bitcoins. Users send and receive bitcoins using wallet software on a personal computer, mobile device, or a web application. Bitcoins can be obtained by mining or in exchange for products, services, or other currencies.
There will only ever be 21 million Bitcoins. Think about that. If, and that is still a big question, but IF this currency catches on in 1/10 the way Paypal did, the price of 1 BTC has the potential to go up into the many thousands of dollars per Bitcoin.
Currently, 1 Bitcoin will cost you around $600. Steep. The good news is, you don't have to buy a whole one. You can buy fractions.
Based on my extensive research, the most trustworthy place to get in on Bitcoin is at Coinbase. I used their platform to buy in, just in case this thing goes up several thousand dollars over the next couple of years.
Of course, it could shit out and be worth nothing in a few months, but I'm a gambler. If you're looking to get in on it, Coinbase is probably your best option. But do your own research. I don't want you coming back here and yelling at me when Dogecoin Or Litecoin ends up becoming our Global Currency.
If you do end up getting in, use the referral link and we both get 5 bucks in BTC. Shit, in 2 years that could be worth 500.
When I was a younger blogger, and by that I mean back when having kids was a novelty for me, I wrote about them here. I recounted tales of outings and adventures, gloated about new parenting experiences, and shared photos as a kind of proof of my written words. This was in 2005, back when blogging was a thing.
Now, I wonder. Was it fair to mark their lives here, without their approval? Was it all right to post punched up tales of our lives, using them as main characters in a narrative that is undeniably self-serving?
I struggle with it. As they get older and become people that I live with, I find I am less willing to drag them into my own self-involvement. These words, at least for as long as I leave them here, are accessible to anyone. While we all worry about the NSA backdooring their way into our private lives, I wonder if there should be laws about what people can post online about minors. Kids should be allowed to start with an online clean slate, I think. Every bit of information about a person that lives online is a potential vulnerability. Is it my choice to broadcast my children in words?
Shouldn't kids, even when they are too small to understand their own rights to privacy, get to decide what information is shared with the world? Imagine if all of our baby photos and home movies were online for the world to see without our permission. Imagine if potentially embarrassing or revealing stories about us lived on the Internet because our parents needed validation.
Or is this just the new reality that we all must reconcile?
Okay, let's do this.
I've set up a group at Goodreads, which makes all of this much easier to manage. Some of you may already use Goodreads. As of now, I've created it as a secret private group that will not appear in search results. That's just to keep out the strays. Anyone is welcome, so please feel free to invite away.
The link to join is here:
As our first book, I chose Fun Home by Alison Bechdel.
I don't know all that much about the book or the author, but the reviews are good. Part of the reason I want to do this is to read 12 books I might never otherwise read. This seems like a great place to start.
If for some reason you're opposed to using Goodreads, that's okay. I'll post about what we read here too.
And we're off...
-I've been listening to the Eminem's Marshall Mathers LP2 for a week straight. Insane. Makes me wish I understood all of the references he makes.
-Spent last weekend in Vegas. It was rough. Some fun blanketed in bleak, smoky regret. Fuck that place.
-My last post was about beginning season 6 Fantasy Factory shooting. Almost 3 months later, we're almost done primary shooting. It's been full immersion back into a world I missed but will feel content to leave behind. It's closure I needed and have now found.
-Began shooting 20 episodes of a new series called Snack Off. It's a comedy cooking competition show, which has been very fun. I have high hopes.
-Synapses refiring after a week of abstaining from booze. As always. This blog lives and dies around my bad habits.
-Can't wait to get a Tesla when my current lease is up. I wanted a Volt, but just couldn't commit to driving such a small car. TSLA FTW.
-My dog is getting older, slowing down. I used to hope for that (he was a crazy kid), but now it makes me nervous.
-I'm blown out. Take on too much, pay the price.
This is for me more than you. I have to remember that.
After almost two years (1 year and 7 months, to be exact), we return today to the Fantasy Factory to begin production on Season 6 of our series.
Without context, it's probably hard for you to realize why that matters so much to me.
For now, just know that it's an exciting day that I was pretty sure we'd never see. Starting today, we get the chance to do it all one more time, and close out the series properly.
It feels like the band is back together for four more months.
ONE MORE TOUR!
This is Max. He likes weekends. We adopted him 8 years ago. He was living under a car in South Central LA when he was brought to the shelter. He is the nicest, kindest, sometimes stupidest, most loving, squirrel chasingest dog ever. There are thousands of dogs like him waiting for someone to come save them from a crappy life they don't deserve.
I have a love/hate with alcohol.
On the love side, I enjoy beer. I enjoy having the power to impair myself. I enjoy the way it makes me feel comfortable in social settings. I enjoy the culture of drinking, and the types of people who like to drink socially. I enjoy wine. I enjoy a cocktail. Alcohol and I get along pretty okay. Mostly
On the hate side, it has a dampening effect. It slows down my mental capacity the day after (and days after) drinking. It makes me sluggish. I sleep later. I miss mornings with my kids because I'm in bed. I don't write as much. Work is harder. I feel, and certainly am less creative. I panic more. The post-drinking anxiety is sometimes almost too much to bear. I wake up and frantically check who I've texted or tweeted or commented, slightly panicked. I don't exercise because why bother. I eat shitty food because who cares. I nap more. I'm annoyed more. I'm irritable and lazy. This list could go on for a while, I'm realizing.
So, it's a constant struggle. I have a hard time finding balance. If I'm in that drinking mode, being healthy seems impossible. If I'm in the health mode, drinking feels like I'm poisoning myself. I can't seem to find a middle ground. The swings back and forth between modes get deeper and farther apart as years go by.
I think we all know what makes us happy. We know what it will take to be healthy, fit, chemically balanced, etc. And yet, so many of us ignore that nagging voice inside saying:
You know what to do.
Earn a happy life.
It's not a pill or a drink or a book or a relationship or a therapist, right? It's listening to that voice telling you to stop doing the things you know aren't working, even if it's just an experiment for a week.
So it's been a week. I'm trying to swing back towards health mode after a long swing in the other direction. It's not always as fun to be healthy, but it does make me happier. Right? Is fun happiness, or is fun instant gratification at the expense of happiness? Where is the middle ground? Shit, I don't know.
I'm writing here, so maybe the experiment is working.
Is it possible that we are on the cusp of an anti smart phone backlash?
I recently ditched my iphone to break out of the cycle of buying for the sake of buying.
Yes, I realize that I just switched brands and haven't really broken out of anything.
Are we in that weird zone of new technology with no accompanying etiquette?
Is the novelty almost gone?
Do I need Vine? Instagram? Twitter? Facebook? Path? Spotify? Mulitple emails? Google+?
Do I want them?
Jesus, I'm thinking maybe not.
This social media shit is over, right?
As I round the corner towards the still youngish age of 42, I’ve had some time to reflect upon what’s worked and what hasn’t in my life. Periodically, I feel the need to share some of this wisdom. Usually this happens when I haven’t been drinking much and my brain wants to dump information. Here we are.
So here’s some advice. I know you didn’t ask for it, you probably wonder why I think I’m qualified to give it, and there’s a good chance you’re going to ignore it. I’m okay with that. This blog entry will tick a box in my subconscious need to feel like I’m connecting to people through words, and probably make me cringe when I’m out of phase with this creative streak I’m currently riding. That’s my cycle. Fun stuff, right? I'm already partially cringing.
Anyway, here we go.
1. Play like you practice.
If you’ve heard it from a coach, you know what it means. It means don’t save yourself for the big game. Don’t imagine a time when everything is real and you’ll finally be able to give it 100%. This is it. It’s real right now: your writing, your acting, your creating, your parenting, your working, your choices in life. There may never be a big game, or at least, not the one you imagine from the comfort of your couch while you’re playing Minecraft instead of rewriting your sketch. Time slips quickly, and the impression you make on people now will have lasting repercussions as your peers rise through the ranks and eventually have the power to hire you, or not. You play like you practice. You'll have no idea how to actually execute when opportunity arrives if you haven't been giving it everything until that day comes.
2. Trust your instinct.
If you’re miserable in your job, quit. If you’ve chosen the wrong career, make a plan to switch. If something feels wrong, you’re right. Fix it, and don’t look back. This applies to work, relationships, friendships, and life choices. Wake up in the morning the person you want to be instead of the person you’re constantly trying to change. Sometimes it’s hard work to stay true to the person you know you are. It’s always worth it.
3. Let your dreams change.
You thought you were going to be a famous actor but have slowly begun to resent everything about the career except the end goal you imagine to be the answer to your happiness? It isn’t. This goes back to #1. Life slips by quickly when you sacrifice your current happiness for imagined future happiness for an extended amount of time. People tell you to do what you love. That’s not an expression, it’s a philosophy. Switch your dreams to something that makes you happy right now, not hopefully happy later.
4. Open your eyes to the right person.
The right person is so rarely the one you’ve imagined since you were young. The right person is someone you love to be around; someone who makes you laugh, makes you happy, makes you feel strong. Lots of times, they're so obviously in front of you that you look right past them. If you find someone like that, latch on and never look back. If your current person doesn’t do those things for you, move on. Seriously, today.
5. Stop comparing your life to others.
Your life has nothing to do with theirs. You imagine their world to be perfect, but it never is. Find your own happiness, be happy for others successes, and fight that envy. It will tear you up and make you hard to be around. Dump your cynicism, while you’re at it. It’s cheap and simple.
6. Go where life blows you.
So to speak. Let that gentle pushing and pulling you feel each day guide you towards where you belong. Say yes to new things. Be open to exciting experience. Try new foods. Travel. Don’t just hate stuff because it’s easier. Maybe you’d love eel. Or urchin. Or the Insane Clown Posse. You don’t know.
7. Measure your failures as cautiously as you measure your successes.
So you failed. Okay. In the same way you are modest about your successes, be modest about your failures. Don’t linger in them. Think of all the hard learning you did while you worked so hard on something that sucked. Valuable knowledge. That’s how it goes sometimes. On to the next one.
8. Stop expecting stuff.
Your friends don’t owe you a job. Your parents don’t want to support you anymore. No one wants to hear you complain. You don’t deserve anything any more than anyone else. You aren’t the center of the world. You are responsible for your own happiness. Stop blaming everyone and everything else if you aren’t there yet. Fix it.
9. Be direct with people.
Fight the urge to say yes to everyone all the time. It’s okay to say no in a nice way. You’ll lose friends if you agree to do something and then just hope it fades away or they forget. Just be honest now and avoid the guilt later.
10. If you find the sweet spot, everything falls into place.
Get yourself to where you’re happiest in work, relationship, hobbies, social activities...and the world will open up to you. If you’re happy, people will want to be around you. If you’re miserable, you become a chore.
11. Be nice to the people who like you.
Don’t ignore their invitations. Don’t blow off their emails. Don’t take friendships for granted. If you do, you’ll eventually find yourself a fringe friend who everyone only kind of likes.
Okay, that's enough.
I’m sure some people will skewer this. It’s filled with cliches and some preachy horsecrap, but these are some real things I’ve learned. Most of this stuff is probably in self help books or group therapy sessions, but since I’ve managed to avoid both thus far, it's taken me almost 42 years to learn.
Of course, older folks will shake their heads and chuckle at the notion of an almost 42 year old popinjay spouting any sort of wisdom. So be it. Perhaps you 20 or 30 something youngsters will find a nugget or two in here that you can scoff at, file away, and then one day spout as your own after a hard lesson or two toughens you up.
Or maybe you already figured this stuff out and I'm just slow.
Brain dump: complete.
If there's one thing I've learned about not doing something, it's that you'll never get a return on all of your imagined outcomes.
They are zero.
Go ahead and keep tricking yourself into thinking you can do it better/faster/smarter. Keep trying to demoralize others who make things, from the cushioned comfort of your inaction.
Sellout. Hack. Not funny. Boring. Been done. Anyone can do that. Famewhore. No-talent.
Keep hiding behind the mindless act of cutting other people down...
Or, make something and release it and see what happens.
Hear criticism. Revel in acclaim.
Get better as you do both.
That's the most exciting part about art.
I wished for some things, and they came true. So I kept wishing for more, and they showed up too.
I didn't mean to rhyme there, but now I have and I won't rewrite it.
I suppose blogging is dead, now that Google has announced the death of Google Reader.
Not really, but it's sad. All of my friends are in that reader. I follow people I've forgotten about because they live in the sidebar of a bland little aggregator that keeps me connected. Sure, I could export my feeds. Will I?
Melancholy over a stupid RSS reader? Don't be an asshole, me.
Anyway, real life is on a run right now. So much good stuff that I can't bear to share it. That's not me being cryptic, it's me being cautious. I don't believe in jinxing shit, but I do believe in not fucking it up by being loud. Jinxing, I guess.
I won't be blogging every day this year. I tried, and missed. But I'll still write here. Add me to your non-Google RSS reader. Shit, maybe I'll go back to the OG NetNewsWire. They seem to be capitalizing on a rare Google mistake.
I've had nothing but juice and almonds all day. It's going to be a bitch to get off coffee AND booze for a while.
It can be done. Maybe I'll just wish for it.
Seems to work.
Sure, I blew it in February. I'm okay with that.
Once a day for a year is insane. I get that now.
Also, who wants it? There are about 12 of you reading.
Quality, not quantity.
But I'm here.
I'm not going anywhere.
Just try to shake me.
I've become obsessed with classic watches.
I know how it started.
About three years ago, John Mayer shot with us for a few days to be on an episode of Fantasy Factory. He'd seen every episode of Rob and Big and blindly called Rob to tell him how much he enjoyed it. From there, the two formed a friendship and John eagerly agreed to come down to do an episode. Everyone who worked on the show was excited. When you work in Los Angeles, you occasionally cross paths with ultra famous people. It's always a bit of a thrill, no matter what anyone tells you. People who claim not to be fazed by any level of contact with mega-fame are lying.
John showed up, and was brilliant. He was funny, smart, and nice to everyone working on the show. He went out of his way to be present and accessible, a delicate dance when most of the people approaching him on a daily basis are probably doing their best to play it cool and pretend that whatever the conversation is won't become a story for all of their friends later. He's a very cool guy. He even let me drive his Audi R8 to Hollywood one day that we shot. Quite a highlight.
In addition to being a talented musician and human, John Mayer also happens to be a huge watch guy. He's a well known watch collector, and he wore an incredibly nice watch each day of the three days we shot. I remember an IWC and some mega thousand dollar exotic watch, but the watch I remember most was this one:
If I'm not mistaken, that's a Green Rolex Submariner Date 116610LV, AKA: The Hulk. Pretty sick. Back then, I knew nothing about it.
One day during shooting, we got to talking about watches. I asked him why he cared so much. "It doesn't make sense to me," I said. "Who wears watches? You might as well carry a typewriter around with you," I joked.
He dismissed me (in a friendly way), saying: "You don't get it then. You don't have the gene. Some people do, some people don't. You obviously don't have the watch gene." He smirked as he walked back into the warehouse to shoot another scene inside of Rob's office.
Pfft. Don't have the gene.
What does that even...
SURE, I don't have millions of dollars to buy ANYTHING I WANT!
Who even checks the time anymore?
Don't have the...
I MIGHT HAVE THE GENE, YOU DON'T KNOW, JOHN MAYER.
After that day, I told the story of the time John Mayer told me I didn't have the watch gene to friends several different times. "What a dick," they always said. "Thank you," I always said.
But, the seed was planted. I couldn't stop thinking about that beautiful green Submariner. I started noticing other Submariners and Datejusts and Day Dates, and Daytonas in the wild. I started researching the history of the watches and the brand. Did you know the Submariner was the watch Sean Connery wore in the Bond movies? That an Explorer was the watch Ian Fleming wore when he WROTE Bond? That they are some of the most imitated watches in history?
I didn't either. Until John Mayer planted that fucking seed.
The seed grew into a nagging urge. I started to maybe understand the idea of having a nice watch. An heirloom. A workhorse. A constant reminder of this specific point in my life.
Fuckin' John Mayer.
So in 2011, I got myself an entry level Submariner. I used my 40th birthday as an excuse, although it was something I had been obsessing about for more than a year before I finally pulled the trigger. Some people buy corvettes when they turn 40, some people apparently buy a watch. It's not a fancy green bezeled one like John's, but I love it. I've worn it almost every day since I bought it. It's a "No Date Stainless Steel Sub," as they call it on the watch nerd message boards.
Someday, I'll hand it down to my son. I like the idea of passing a cool watch down to my kid. It's a nice connection.
Today I spent the entire day studying the late 60's Datejust, one of the most classic watches of all time. I read about the intricacies of the components; the variety of models, how to spot fakes; which ones are the most desirable, etc. I read about baton hands and Jubilee watch bands and the half life of tritium (the radioactive isotope of hydrogen), which gave watches in the 50's and 60's their "lume," or glow in the dark ability. I think I've been bitten by a watch bug. Or watch gene. Or maybe John Mayer?
Hey, I read that he's dating Katy Perry.
What a perfect segue to a photo of Katy Perry to close out this post:
Look at that. Her dress matches John's green Submariner.
Set high goals and don't be afraid to recalibrate.
We've been shooting the second half of the third season of Ridiculousness for the past couple of weeks. When we finish later today, that will be 58 episodes of this series over three seasons. Unbelievable. It premiered last week as the top rated cable show of the entire day. It's taken a while, but we're finally starting to feel like we know what we're doing. If all goes well, we'll get to keep making more.
I'm also producing and directing a series of commercials and internet spots that we shoot in a couple of weeks. It's a big project for our production company, and an exciting new path for me.
So, I haven't had lots of spare time for writing, but that's a good thing. Being busy is much better than the alternative.
I'll keep striving to post every day.
The good thing about falling a little short of a lofty goal is...
hey, you're still pretty high up there.