Last year, I wrote a book and an online course about mobile web apps. As you know, writing is generally a pretty sedentary activity that happens to go well with booze. Writing is also really hard work (mentally), and so it’s important for a writer to reward himself frequently with ice cream and various other snacks.
In spite of all these factors pulling me towards completely ignoring my health, I did make some attempts to be fit and forty early in the year (oh yeah, I forgot to mention that last year was also the year I turned 40). I registered for a 5k race and for a swim from Alcatraz, both of which helped me to focus on my training so that I wouldn’t die or get eaten by sharks. The problem, however, was that once the races were over, I felt like I didn’t need to exercise ever again. And, so I didn’t.
I think you can see where this is headed–writing and the successful completion of amazing feats of physical endurance have wrecked me! I’ve gained about 30lbs in the last year, and I have way more clothes that don’t fit now than I have that fit.
And so, like so many people with lame excuses for why they’re fat slobs, I’ve decided to start turning it around. I don’t have the guts to post a “before” picture of myself, but I’ll let you use your imagination. I look something like this:
And so, here I go! Stay tuned for updates!
I’m obsessed with YouTube and Google Video.
When I was in high school and college, I had a video camera and shot hundreds of hours of tape (which I’m starting to go through and digitize now). Watching this footage today, I realize that I never learned to edit, or cared much about editing, and that’s why most of the videos I made in highschool and college are unbearable to anyone but me.
I watch the videos that kids are making now and posting to YouTube, and many of them spend a lot of time editing and produce much more polished things than I ever did. They do have much better equipment than I had in the late 80s and early 90s, it’s true. But, I think they also see the potential of editing, even if they rarely get it right. I think that’s cool. What’s even cooler is that they have a way to get their videos out there so that I can watch them.
Have I mentioned lately how much I love the Internet?
So, I came home a little tipsy last night and dumped a bunch of vegetables into the garbage disposal. Like A LOT of vegetables. Way more than was good for it. The sink became totally clogged.
First thing I tried was sticking my hand in there and then running the garbage disposal for a while (after taking my hand out). Still clogged.
Then I got out the plunger and started plunging. This seems to have moved the clog further down the pipe, because now water was coming up in the other sink (without the garbage disposal).
Then I poured in a bunch of liquid plumber and followed the directions. Still clogged. So I went to bed.
This morning, the water had drained out, but the sink filled up when I turned out the faucet and the water sat there going down very very slowly. So I poured in more liquid plumber. Didn’t work.
As a last resort before calling the “solid” plumber, I decided to check with my good friend “the Internet”. I found all sorts of people telling me not to use chemical drain openers, and I found lots of people telling me the correct way to use a plunger, but not to use it if your sink is full of chemical drain opener (which mine was) because you’d probably splash the junk all over you and burn your skin off. Some people said to pour in boiling water, which I tried too. Still clogged!
Then I found one smart fellow, who suggested that if your drain is filled with vegetable junk, you can pour salt into it along with hot water and the salt will wilt the vegetation and allow water to flow. So, I said “heck, I’ve tried the most horrible chemicals I have in the house…I’ll try anything!”
So, I poured in a couple cups of salt and started running the hot water. A couple minutes later, the drain cleared and I was extremely happy.
The standard advice I used to get from my creative writing professors was to write SOMETHING. I’m a firm believer in this, but not often a practitioner. I’m also a firm believer in doing some sort of exercise regularly…but, again, I don’t follow through most of the time. Although…look: I’m writing something now, and I just started swimming again, which just goes to show that people can change (at least when the weather is right and things aren’t too busy at work).
The reason I bring this up now is because I often get asked for advice about starting a business or some such similar activity. I don’t consider myself a business guru, but I have built something that’s allowed me to be self-employed for almost 10 years, so I guess I know a thing or two.
My advice to anyone who wants to start a business is this:
Talking and planning and dreaming are ok. But, why not put your ideas on paper? It won’t cost you anything and it’ll get you one step cexercise/>loser. Already have it on paper? Do the research and write a business plan…and DON’T spend more than a couple minutes researching the format of a business plan. AND YOU BETTER NOT GO BUYING A BOOK ABOUT WRITING A BUSINESS PLAN OR TAKING ONE OF THOSE CLASSES. I’m serious. I’ll kick your ass if you do. Formatting and style should be the least of your concerns at this point…why not start with answering these questions (off the top of my head):
Who will pay me money?
What will they pay me money for?
How much will they give me?
How will I do or make what they’ll give me money for?
Where will I do whatever it is?
When will this happen (make a schedule…who cares if you might miss a deadline?)
The one question you shouldn’t specifically answer just yet is “how much money do I need before I can do it?”. Save that for your second draft. Almost everyone I know who wants to start a business but hasn’t done it thinks that money is the problem that’s keeping them from their dream. I almost guarantee that it ain’t.
I read the first 20 pages of a lot of computer books. I’ve been trying to be better about making it through the whole thing lately, but there are just so many. Here are some of books I’m reading now that I intend to make it all the way through. I’ve decided not to link or list the publisher. You can find these at all fine book stores.1. Pragmatic Version Control with Subversion
2. Head Rush Ajax
3. The Art of SQL
4. Agile Web Development with Rails
5. Complete Book of Chess Strategy
6. Innovation Happens Elsewhere
7. Best of Ruby Quiz
8. Linux Server Hacks
9. Practices of an Agile Developer
10. The Horn by John Clellon Holmes
11. The Singularity is Near by Ray Kurzweil
I’m not going to go a year without posting something!
I just finished doing this major revision to the book from HELL. I’m not feeling the relief that I should be feeling yet, however. Maybe next weekend I’ll actually believe that it’s done.
Work is good. We have 3 full-time people and 3 interns now. Sacramento is treating us good. We have interesting friends here now and I feel like I did when we left Austin…that feeling of knowing some people and belonging in this place. So, that’s good.
Yardwork continues to overwhelm me. The yard is so small…but there’s so much life going on in it! The problem with Texas was that nothing would grow. The problem here is that everything grows and just won’t quit! We’re being overrun with oregano.
steps: about 150000
listening to: David McCullough’s John Adams
I sometimes have a tendency when reading/watching/listening to biographies of smart people to take pleasure in the failings and weaknesses of the person rather than being amazed and impressed by how far above me (intellectually) people like John Adams were. I realize that this is wrong, and that Ayn Rand would have something to say about it.