Tuesday, May 31, 2016

UFO’s

This is all based on a reader request.  He thought he would be a smart guy and ask me to write about UFO’s.  Well here it is.  All you ever wanted to know about the possibility of us having some alien friends.  If you’ve got something you’d like to test me on feel free to leave it in the comments.
First off lets tackle the question of whether there’s life on other planets to fly these objects around.  It seems to me this answer has to be yes.  Scientists now say that there are an estimated 60 billion planets that could potentially support life as we know it.  In case you didn’t catch that, that was 60 BILLION…with a B.  As far as I’m concerned, the odds would say that yes, there are other planets out there with intelligent life.  This seems to be the consensus amongst scientists as well.  A while back when Zayn left One Direction(don’t judge, I’ve got teenage girls) Stephen Hawking put fans at ease when he said there was probably a planet(parallel universe) out there where Zayn didn’t leave One Direction.  According to his theories there is also a planet out there where Laura is with Adam Levine, so we can stop that discussion right there, thank you very much. The point here is that as far as we know there are endless possibilities in these planets and in the vastness of our world/galaxy/universe.
Now that we’ve got it established that there is life on other planets, lets talk about the fun stuff.  Have we been visited by them, or even more appealing, if we’ve visited them.  Although some conspiracy theorists, as I’ve got listed in the links, would lead you to believe we have had many encounters and they’ve played a significant role in our history, I think the answer here is no.  I think if there has been legitimate contact with another life form that concrete evidence would have presented itself already.  This begs the question, why haven’t we?  There’s a couple of different routes you could go with this.  Either we are the most advanced species in the universe, or potentially the least.  Either way, there’s many answers there as to why we haven’t been in contact.  If we are the most advanced, then we just haven’t found anybody yet, and those other planets are still looking to create fire, or they haven’t gotten past betamax VCR’s yet.  The other end of the spectrum is the fact that we are the babies of the universe and these other species are benevolent enough to let us be and figure things out at our own pace, this is of course assuming they know about us.  This seems like a bit of a scary option to me.  Could it be that we’re always being watched to see what we’ve figured out and what we haven’t?  All that speculation is fun, but I think for the most part we just haven’t found each other yet.  Occam’s razor, the simplest solution is probably the correct one.
There are a million different directions this thing could go in from here.  What if we’re all just a computer simulation and none of this is real?  What would that first interaction look like?  What bathrooms will the aliens use?  Do aliens even need bathrooms?  Would there be protests based on these choices?  What does this do to our thoughts on Religion?  The main question here is why haven’t the number of UFO sightings gone up since everyone and their brother started carrying smart phones with cameras?  I’ve got this same question about big foot and ghosts, but those will be a discussion for another time.
In summary, I’ve probably taught you next to nothing about UFO’s or aliens.  You’re welcome for that.  In my estimation it’s just a matter of time before we actually do meet a being from another planet, the timeframe on that could be anywhere between tomorrow and 300 years from now.  How’s that for casting a wide net?  All that being said, meeting aliens and getting used to that whole idea will be infinitely harder than deciding whether or not pilotless airplanes are a good idea, or getting on a hyper loop train and taking the 3 hour ride from New York to Los Angeles.  What if the future that we saw in the Jetsons or on Star Trek really isn’t that far off?  It’s fun to think about the possibilities.




Links:
UFO Sightings Daily

If Aliens are reading our radio waves, here is what they know about right now:

These are just fun:

Plenty of locations for a summer home here:

More info on the Stephen Hawking quote:

Interesting debate on whether we're a computer simulation or not:


Friday, May 27, 2016

Take a cold shower….seriously

       I’ve started a fun little habit the last few weeks.  I’ve started taking cold showers on occasion.  No it’s not for the old reasons that you might think, no frustrations to get rid of here, thank you very much.  I’ve started taking them after reading about and listening to some work from people like Wim Hof and Dr. Rhonda Patrick amongst others. 
If you haven’t heard of Wim Hof take a minute to follow him on twitter and look at his wikipedia page both of which are posted below.  This is an incredible human being who is doing some amazing things.  I won’t recap any of that here, just do yourself a favor and read up on the guy.  Second person I’m citing is Dr. Rhonda Patrick, I first heard her on the Joe Rogan Experience, she too is a fascinating person who has far more knowledge than any one person should be allowed.  She is definitely worth reading up on and listening to as well.  
Something both of these people have in common is research and work in conjunction with effects of extreme temperature exposure on the human body.  The long and short of it is that there are worlds of good to be had by exposing yourself to hot and cold.  This is what got me to taking the cold showers.  I mean cold showers, I get that water as cold as I can stand it and try to stay in the water for as long as I can.  I’ve given one link here to a study on the benefits, there is much more information to be had.  Give it a google and go take a cold shower.  I find that I feel amazing afterward.  The next steps for me are finding a sauna and cryo therapy(short for cryogenic).  This is where you expose yourself to unbelievably cold temps for up to 3 mins at a time.  If you’ve tried this, please share your experience.  Once I try it, I’ll pass along what I thought as well.

Links:
@Iceman_Hof  Wim Hof on Twitter
Dr. Rhonda Patrick  Rhonda Patrick on Twitter





Friday, May 20, 2016

A Baker's Dozen


The other day after I wrote about getting back on track, I got to thinking about what “on track” looks like for me.  What are those things I want to be doing on a regular basis that make me me.  What are the things I want to live by?  I came up with these 13.  What would yours be?

1.)    That thing isn’t going to make you happy

Everybody has stuff in life that they want, myself included.  I would say that those things aren’t going to make you happy.  Don’t rest your happiness on getting that next cool gadget, or piece of clothing.  Happiness is a choice that comes from leading a life you deem valuable. Knowing that, get an item or don’t, but don’t think it’s going to turn your life around.

2.)    Take the long view

When faced with a decision, what choice is going to get you closer to the you that you want to be over the long haul?  Chances are it’s going to be getting that exercise when you don’t necessarily feel like it, or getting those chores done now so you don’t have to worry about them for the next 3 days.

3.)    Show appreciation

This can be for anything and anyone.  Obviously highest on this list is loved ones. Appreciate those people around you that make your day a bit better.  Let your partner know you appreciate what they do.  This can also be something as goofy and simple as thanking a stop and go light for not changing to red before you get through it.  It sounds stupid, but it’s something I do, and it just puts you in a grateful mindset.

4.)    Got something on your mind?  Now is the time to say it

Life is too short for you to not speak your mind. Obviously with this one considerations need to be made as to whether what your are saying is true, good, or useful.  If what you’re about to say doesn’t meet any of the three, it’s probably best forgotten, but if something positive is going to come out of it, no sense in holding it in.

5.)    You have nobody to answer to but yourself

This is probably one of the hardest but most liberating.  What people think of you is none of your business.  You aren’t going to be able to stand for something and make it through life without someone having something negative to say about you.  It doesn’t matter.  As long as you can look yourself in the mirror every night and be happy with who is looking back at you, you are good.

6.)    Exercise

We aren’t meant to be sitting on a couch all day. Get out and move your body regardless of the form that takes.

7.)    Get out of your comfort zone

Life is meant to be lived, not to be comfortable.  Do something that scares you a little bit.  Don’t allow yourself to stay comfortable for too long.  This goes for personal life, work, everything.  Find new ways to challenge yourself and see what you are capable of.  You’ll never know till you try.

8.) Get outside

Nothing helps reconnect you with your place in this world like getting outside and seeing life going on.

9.)    Stay connected

Everybody needs a community, regardless of how big or small that community is.  Whether this be family, friends, coworkers or a group you meet on the internet.  With how connected we are able to be now, finding like minded people is easier than ever.  Take advantage of that and build a community to be a part of.

10.)  Spend some time alone


As nice as it is to have people, a person also needs to be comfortable alone and with their thoughts.  Accomplishing this while exercising or spending time outside only adds to the benefits.  Being comfortable in your own skin sure does make things easier.  This can also be a call to meditation.  It’s not as goofy as you may think.  There are great apps out there like headspace that walk you through something that is really straight forward.

11.)  Read

Spending time reading and gaining knowledge or escaping reality with a fiction book is something that only benefits a person.  Learning a new skill, polishing up an existing one, or having a little fun is a great way to spend some quiet time.

12.)   Write

Obviously I’ve taken to this one quite a bit lately, but I’ve been writing in a journal for quite some time.  It’s fun to look back at things and see what’s been on your mind. Again, doesn’t have to be anything profound.  There’s no wrong answers with this.  One place I really like for notebooks is  Field Notes  but obviously anything works.

13.)   Be Amazing

This really comes down to if you are going to do something, put your heart into it.  I don’t think you’ll have regrets if you do that.


After making this list and looking at my articles up to this point, I realize that these are the things I want to continuously get better at, and these are the things that are on my mind most.  With that being said I feel like most of what I write is going to be an offshoot of these ideas or getting better at these ideas.  Also take these ideas with a grain of salt.  I’m just a guy.  What the hell do I know.  If you like what you're reading please give me a follow on Google+ or Twitter.  You'll find the links above.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

A few of my new favorite things

Since starting to do the blog I’ve found a few things that I am really enjoying.  I thought I’d share some of them with you:

   -  You sign up and enter some of your interests, hit the stumble button, and you get randomly thrown to an article.  You may even find one of mine!!

  -  This is the website of Derek Sivers, he’s just a really cool guy with a very interesting outlook on life.

  — This is the website of Tim Ferriss.  I really enjoy his podcast, as well as The four hour work week book.  He’s another interesting guy that is just fun to listen to.   As far as the best podcasts to listen to?  I’d pick Jamie Foxx and Cal Fussman below.

@CalFussman on twitter  
  — This is the twitter handle for Cal Fussman.  Cal is a writer for Esquire.  Fascinating gentleman.  Search out his articles.


This is the YouTube Channel for “Smarter Every Day”  Just a cool way to spend some time.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

My Favorite Lincoln Quote(Probably)

Here is my favorite quote from Honest Abe:
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

I say probably because the good people at Quote Investigator aren’t so sure the words came out of Abraham Lincoln’s mouth, as you can discover here
        It turns out Lincoln also never said “You can’t believe everything you read on the internet”  I feel a bit more comfortable with that one, but for the sake of argument here, let’s just humor ourselves and pretend ole Abe was the genius behind the Axe quote.  You can look up this source for the quote, but simply google "Lincoln Axe" and plenty of sources will emerge.

Let’s get down to why this quote is so powerful. Essentially this comes down to the willingness to prepare.  You’ve got a very immediate task ahead of you in cutting down the tree, and a tool, that while dangerous, seems pretty straight forward to use.  I think that’s where the depth of this really comes in.  Such a straight forward thing in chopping down the tree, yet he’s taking time to make sure the tool is ready for the job.  Seems that’s a valuable lesson that can translate to pretty much anything in our lives. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Getting back on track

This is another one of those posts that may seem like common sense to some of you.  To others it may be profound, hopefully useful to most.  I think it’s simply another reminder to myself.  Let me give you a little back story here.  A few weeks ago I was dealing with a cold, one of these scenarios where it went through most of the house, one by one.  It didn’t knock you out of commission, but bad enough to be aggravating for quite some time and made everybody just not feel like themselves for at least a good week.  During this time I wasn’t running, having a hard time concentrating at work and everything else that goes along with that.  Time passed and I just let my schedule and the important things get out of control.  Still not running, still not doing those other things that I want to be doing in life.  I’ve been feeling good enough to be running for at least the last week or so.  All the while fighting myself to concentrate at work, not being in the greatest of moods and just feeling like I was letting life happen to me instead of dictating what happened.   This all got me thinking, how do you take the lumps that life throws at you in stride and get back to the things you want and need to be doing?

If you’re like me you enjoy watching a few shows on TV to unwind and there are probably a few characters who you connect with or look up to in some regards.  They are fighting the good fight, wearing the white hat for you Scandal fans out there.  How often do you see these people taking the kids to soccer practice, or taking care of the meals for the next day?  When do they pay their bills?  I guess where I’m going with this is that for some reason I seem to find myself trying to draw correlations between my life, or the life I am trying to craft for myself and the lives of those people I admire on the shows.  The issue here is that the comparison is not apples to apples.  Seems like an obvious statement there, but at least one I needed to point out to myself, as I’m real, and well the “Gladiators” on Scandal are very very make believe.  The same comparison can be made I think though to that Facebook friend who is always posting the pics of leading the care free life and seems to be perpetually “living the dream.”  They aren’t.  There’s work involved in every day, and their success didn’t just fall out of the sky.  The same can said for the TV characters that I foolishly compare myself to.  If the TV show were to decide to be boring, it’d show all the work and the little things that brings the person to the point where the rest of their life is interesting.  Obviously that doesn’t make good TV, just like the person with the perfect world doesn’t post the details behind them cleaning the toilet.  You never get the full picture.  I guess that full picture is the answer to the question from above about how do you get back on track.  The answer is the little things.  Success does not lie behind one single grand event that is a Facebook worthy moment.  Success and being able to do the things you want to do lies behind a very long series of small decisions and steps.  It’s the result of repeatedly putting the time in and being uncomfortable and working through it to get to the desired result.  Over the past few weeks I stopped making those small decisions that would get me where I need to be both personally and professionally.  Then the worst part of it was that I let those decisions weigh on me and allowed them to gain more and more traction in my head.  Soon, doing what I needed to do became a much bigger task than it needed to be.  That’s what got me thinking about all of this.  Success and leading the life you want to lead are actually pretty easy things.  They are easy decisions to make.  I would contend that 99% of the time or more we know what the decision is to go that extra mile, or nail the report that is due.  The key to all this is stringing enough of those little decisions together and having the work ethic or mental toughness to do those little things that would have a profound impact.  That’s the hard part.  That’s the part that I failed at the last two weeks.  That’s the reason I’m writing this.  Working through the answer which I think is the fact that nobody’s perfect, not the actor on TV, and definitely not the person on Facebook.  Simply take a look at the next opportunity to do what is needed, don’t over think things, and simply start working toward that life you want again.  It’s really that simple.  I feel better.  :) 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Art of Farting Around

I love to fart around. I love to fart around so much that it may be considered a character flaw instead of a positive. I like being busy, not necessarily always productive, but busy. It’s fun. How else would I have ever found out that my head could hold approximately $730 worth of nickels? (Thanks to Andy and Nicole for the help on that one!) On the downside, sometimes when I should just sit and relax, I get antsy. I want to be doing something. I want to be farting around. Sometimes that makes relaxation a tad bit difficult. Although most of the time farting is relaxing, yes I just said that, that’s not always the case. Sometimes the need to fart around impedes relaxation. For as much as I’m using fart here, you’d think it were a drinking game or something?
    While exploring this topic of farting around I ran across a great quote from Kurt Vonnegut. “I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.” I think that’s just a cool quote. It puts everything we’re doing here in perspective. You’re a brain surgeon? You’re farting around in somebody’s head. You’re a rocket scientist? You fart around making things fly to far off places. I think that’s appealing to me because it forces me to not take myself or others too seriously. How can you take somebody so seriously when you think they fart around all day? Weirdly this has also helped me on those days when I’m feeling less than motivated to get actual work done. Almost like tricking a toddler to each her vegetables, I trick myself into working by framing it as farting around with a problem for a while. Next thing you know I’ve done something useful, and all is right with the world. Just as putting people in perspective, I feel like it puts problems in perspective as well. Again with the mind tricks, but if you’ve got a really difficult problem ahead of you, thinking of farting around with it somehow makes the problem less intimidating. It also makes the inevitable first attempts and subsequent failures of potential solutions not such a big deal. Seems simpler to move on to the next possibility when you’re farting around. Hopefully I’ve given you all something to think about next time you’re faced with a day you don’t want deal with, or a problem that seems insurmountable. Fart around a bit and it makes things a whole lot easier. The picture I’m including with this post is of the lights Laura and I put up on the deck one night when we were sitting outside and got antsy. That night was actually what got me thinking of this concept.
     On another note, if you haven’t heard of Kurt Vonnegut, he’s a very interesting character and an author worth reading, or googling some of his quotes when you are bored. More info on him can be found here.http://www.vonnegutlibrary.org/about/

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Simplicity

I want to lead a simple life.  I don’t want to have too much stuff.  I don’t want to have things sitting around in the garage never being used.  I want everything in the house to be mostly essential, and I want it to have a place to be put away.  I also want a summer home and endless supplies of New Glarus beer on tap in my man cave, which is another thing on the want list.  This is all to say that I have stuff sitting around in the garage, way more stuff than what is essential, and on the rare occasion stuff does get put away.  To put it simply, the simple life that I so desperately want is hard work, ridiculously consistent work.   I want a life where I don’t waste time and energy on mostly trivial things like what’s for dinner or what to wear on any given day. I’ve actually given serious thought to having 5 of the same outfit that I basically wear Monday through Friday and just cut that decision out all together(I like doing things like Einstein). I’ve wondered if this want for simplicity is just a desire to not make decisions, or if it’s actually wanting a straight forward(simple) life. I could be fooling myself, but I don’t think it’s about the decisions, there are certainly ones I don’t want to make, but I think it’s more about cutting out the useless noise, or pointless decisions. I hope that makes sense. It’s almost like I view myself as having a decision fuel tank of sorts. Each day I’ve got quite a bit of gas in the tank to make decisions, but there comes a point where I feel that tank getting low and I haven’t made decisions of any real importance, and I really don’t care what I have for dinner most days. I would like it to be healthy, but if I’ve had a long day I may go toward the double cheeseburger, but that’s another topic… Back to simplicity, when I think about that term I think about lives like my parents. They are definitely busy, probably busier now that they are retired than they were when they were working, but they lead simple lives
    . The more I think about it, I think the key is saying no. Like I said, they are busy, but they are busy with what they want to be busy with. They don’t need to mess around with things that they don’t want to do. The things that don’t get done just aren’t as important as other things. I feel like that’s the answer, what’s important to you, and what’s going to be important to “future you”? If you take care of those things, and concentrate on those things, life becomes simple. If I don’t want those things in the garage, get rid of them, donate them, sell them, whatever, but don’t make the decision bigger than it needs to be, simply make the decision and move on. Obviously there are things in life that you may not put on your “important” list, but they are probably on the “responsible adult” list and they just need to get done. Simple as that. No need to over think it, or make the task bigger than it is, do it and move on. Seems so simple doesn’t it? Get the things done on the need to list, work on making things easier for future you, and concentrate on those things that are important to you. Seems simple enough…pun intended… For me, preparing for “future you” is where the work comes in. Trying to make sure that you are doing what you can to make tomorrow easier gets to be exhausting, and God willing there will be quite a few tomorrow’s to prepare for. I think a lot of this want for simplicity is a big desire to lead my life in a proactive way as opposed to a reactive way. I don’t know why that is, but being prepared for something before it happens is a very comforting feeling. Maybe it’s that comforting feeling that I’m after and I just choose to call it simplicity. Or maybe I’m just full of it and thinking about this too much. At the end of the day, future you is always going to have work to do, whether it’s in an attempt to make the next day smoother, or to simply attempt to survive the day you’re in.  I think simplicity ends up being a lot like happiness.  It’s a choice.  You choose to not make things overly complicated.  It’s a choice to make a decision and move on.  It’s a choice to pay attention to those things that have significance in your life, and to ignore those things that are just going to end up being background noise.