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Like most kids I used to delight in waking up at the crack of dawn to unwrap the mountain of presents under the tree. With shreds of paper covering the living room I'd run upstairs to call my friends and compare our hauls.
One Christmas, maybe when I was in high school or so, my parents asked what I wanted for Christmas. For no good reason, I felt different.
I mentioned the idea a few times in the past, and people seemed to like the idea of having forums here. I do too, so here they are.
The forums should make things a lot more interactive around these parts. You can ask for advice, post your own stories and tips, or just chat with all the other cool BTYB readers. With your help, I'm going to make it into the only forum on the internet dedicated to living an awesome life.
I'll be checking the forum several times a day, and probably posting every day too. Stories that are too short (or that I'm too short on time for) will also go there. So help me get some momentum by registering for an account and posting something interesting!
Right now I'm sitting on my couch enjoying the aroma of onions and garlic cooking in olive oil. On another burner is a giant pot full of vegetables. Next to it is a skillet with roasting eggplants. To the side of the stove is a cutting board with even more chopped vegetables. What's going on?
On Friday I'm heading up to Massachusetts to be with my family for Christmas. I go every six months and see my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. The one problem is that it's very difficult to eat healthy while traveling, especially during the season of many fine home cooked meals. My family is Italian, and thus most meals are a healthy salad coupled with an unhealthy pasta dish.
I get back to my building and reach into my back pocket. I dig for the fob that opens the front door, but can't find it. Each pocket gets patted in anticipation of the familiar key-jingle noise, but I don't hear it.
I wait for someone else to come into the building and I take the elevator up. There are two sliding glass doors that lead from the living room to the patio, and I sometimes leave one unlocked by accident. Hopeful, I shuffle to the first door and try it. Locked. I look inside and see the glow of my bedroom lights.
It's November, which wouldn't mean much in Austin if it weren't for the cold front we're dealing with. I move on to the next door, and it's also locked.
I've mentioned before that I have become a vegan. It's now had such an impact on my life that I'm going to write a whole post explaining why on earth I'd become a vegan, and why I'll be a vegan for life.
First, I should say that the term "vegan" isn't great. It's usually associated with freakshows who are so against killing animals that they won't wear leather. While I'm not going to frequent cockfights or go hunting, I have no problem with animals being killed. I like leather stuff, and animals dying is part of life with or without humans.
Another problem with the term "vegan" is that many vegans eat an unhealthy diet. They cut out meat, but don't add vegetables in their place, so they tend to eat a lot of refined grains. Doing that is more unhealthy than just eating meat.
The Legend of the Sparkly Hat
Anyone who has seen me in real life, seen pictures, or realized that the awesome cartoon at the top of this page is me, knows that I wear a sparkly hat almost all the time.
One day I a friend called to see if I wanted to check out "First Thursday". It's a monthly event here in Austin where the stores on South Congress stay open late and serve beer. Since none of them have a liquor license, they give away the alcohol for free.
Yeah, so I forgot to mention that I'm on a cruise so there won't be any posts for a week. The upside is that I have a criminal amount of free time, so I'm going to whip out a few posts for posting later.
Highlights so far :
We arrived at our cabin and the default arrangement is the worst possible. I would break out MS Paint and show you, but it's really not that important. We skipped the "mandatory safety drill" to pass beds over each other in the tiny room and totally rearranged the room. I may have found my passion - I'm totally awesome at rearranging cruise cabins.
My keen interest in online security and privacy has recently blossomed into a full on obsession. Some may say it's because I'm eccentric and weird, but it's at least partly because of the crazy new laws going down in this country. There is an excellent chance that all of your e-mails and IM conversations are at the very least being analyzed and logged. I doubt anyone actually reads them, but you never know.
The common argument against online privacy measures is "if you have nothing to hide, why do you care?". True, I'm not some criminal mastermind, but it's not unreasonable for people to think that I am. Many people in real life think that I'm a drug dealer for some reason. The forums that I visit to read about privacy concerns are often hot beds for credit card scammers. I think credit card scamming is retarded and would never do it, but I'd hate to be accused of being guilty by association.
There are also a lot of people sniffing traffic. The average internet user doesn't realize that it's not particularly difficult to intercept traffic on the internet - especially if you're using a wireless or shared connection. Encrypted communication can be intercepted, but not decoded - making it useless.
I'm awful at expressing it (an opinion frequently voiced by the ladies who have spent any amount of time in my life), but I'm a very grateful person. I feel like most of my happiness and success comes from my friends, family, acquaintances, and even the random strangers who I meet on the street or who IM me. So now, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I'm going to thank every single person I can think of. I hesitate to do this because I can be forgetful and I may accidentally leave out someone important. If I have done that, please don't be offended. Let me know and I will add you.
Thank you to...
Adam Hammonds for helping me start my gambling empire and for trying the H Fund (oops...).
I love failure. When it occurs, I'm pretty indifferent to it, but as a concept I love it. Failure lets you know that you're doing something wrong. It shines a light on a personality trait that needs to be fixed,one that probably would go unchanged if it weren't for failure.
People who fail and get angry are missing the point. Failure is opportunity. It's like getting angry that your car tells you you're low on gas. The indicator light isn't the problem,the level of fuel is. Further, hiding the failure doesn't solve the underlying problem. Disconnecting the indicator light won't fill up your gas tank, but filling up your gas tank will turn off the light.
During my tenure as a pickup artist, I never took failure personally. It never mattered to me. Each time I failed, I felt as though the girl had revealed a secret to me. No attractive girl is chaste her whole life, no girl is a bitch to every guy. If she didn't want me to call her, that meant that there was something unattractive about me that I had to change. Compliments and success stroke my ego, but honest critical feedback leaves me thinking for months.
I have failed financially so far. It's not that I'm poor, or anywhere close to it. I'm sure my income, net worth, or lifestyle are impressive or even enviable to a lot of people. I'm so immeasurably grateful for everything I have that I feel a tinge of guilt on a daily basis for not spending the entire day thanking everyone who has made my life so great. However, despite whatever success I have, I am not where I want to be. I will be a billionaire, I will own my own submarine and airplane, and I will spend the majority of my life traveling and seeking adventure. I'm not nearly as close as I should be to these goals, and I'm not exactly on the express train there.