Do you know what a paraglider is? It is perhaps the best invention of the past one thousand years - a cross between a hang glider and a parachute. It is somewhat of the best of both worlds - it packs into a large backpack, but when unpacked and put into the wind takes shape. Unlike a hang glider you don't need a large hill or cliff to take off - the wind is enough to generate lift.
If this is half as exciting to you as it was to me, you're already on ebay trying to buy your own paraglider. When I heard about them, my friend Austin and I immediately picked one off ebay and bought it. Normally they're very expensive, but ours was reasonably priced. We didn't know why at the time, but it turns out it's because it's a competition glider. That means that everything is sacrificed for the sake of speed including safety, maneuverability, and ease of use.
I posted to some newsgroups asking for advice, but no one would give me any useful information. They all insisted that I had to take lessons or would likely kill myself. Austin bought a book about paragliding that explained some of the basics and reiterated the warning that no one should attempt to paraglide without instruction.
Sorry... I was really trying to do it every day. I had a good story for today, but I don't have the time to do it justice, so I'm going to delay it. Some quick points of interest :
I may be getting a "real" job. Not the kind of job boring peons get, but a really interesting one. We still have to work out the details, so I'll write more if it happens.
I got pulled over today for not putting my headlights on. Oops. I didn' thave my insurance card, so I got a ticket for that. It was actually expired, but they gave me a new policy card anyway for some reason, so I can mail that in and get out of the ticket. The best part? My car is super illegal at the moment. My registration and inspection are not only expired but not in my name. I never bothered to switch it over because I like my cali plates. This is the third time I've been pulled over in a year and they've never ticketed me for it. The last two times they noticed and had mercy on me.
The concept of Value vs. Price is one that I am inexplicably fascinated by. Maybe it's the fact that most people ignore it entirely, or maybe it's because following its principles virtually guarantees success in any area.
Most people do not understand the difference between value and price or, at the very least, greatly underestimate it.
So, what is the difference between value and price? Value is the benefit derived from an action, and price is the benefit lost by performing an action. What makes this such a profound concept is that every action has a value and a cost associated with it, and it is usually fairly easy to measure. Our unconscious minds are constantly evaluating the price and value of every possible choice, which ends up governing many of our actions.
Live and direct, here are some updates on my latest drastic changes, as well as my encounter with a deadly rattlesnake. I'm talking specifically about taking a break from polyphasic sleep and giving up the computer, of course.
It's now been a little bit over 48 hours since giving up the computer and taking a break from polyphasic. Both transitions went far better than I expected.
First, giving up the computer was a great idea. In that first 24 hours I got more important stuff done around the house than I had in the past month. I cleaned up where I had a minor flood, began cleaning the kitchen, and moved the last of my stuff out of my office. I also spent time with several of my friends, which made it much easier.
Sounds drastic, right? I've decided that I'm going to take a break from polyphasic sleep - probably 3-4 weeks. As of today I've been doing it for about 4.5 months, and I feel like I have a good feel for what it's like.
The truth is that napping during the day isn't hard to do, but it is definitely disruptive - especially to other people. For example, last week a friend from San Francisco was in town for South by Southwest. I was hanging out with him and his friends, when all of a sudden it was nap time. They basically had to sit around and wait for me to take my nap, or lose my company. If I was deriving great benefit from the schedule, it would be worth such social impositions, but I'm not really getting that much from it.
I don't really need the extra time right now. I thought I would make good use of it, but I honestly don't. If I was super busy, then I would be more motivated to stay on polyphasic sleep. Also, no one else is doing it with me anymore, so my options for what to do during the night are fairly limited. Because I don't really need the sleep, and usually don't have too much to do at night, I end up slightly oversleeping. This means that I probably sleep 4-4.5 hours per day on average.
So... I have a problem. I was thinking today and I realized that I am in front of my computer WAY more than I should be. This occured to me when I woke up from one of my naps and made a beeline for the computer. I then realized that I repeat this behaviour every single time I wake up!
Further, there's no reason for me to be in front of this giant box 'o fun. Well, right now there is because I'm writing a post, but for most of the day I DEFAULT to sitting in front of the computer. I scan through the 30 or so sites I have on my toolbar, even though most of them only update once or twice a day at most.
This is sick! Think about it - none of my interesting stories start of with "So, I sat in front of the computer all day...". Every hour I spend in front of this thing is an hour that my life is NOT getting more interesting. I spend a lot of time online chatting with my friends, which I enjoy, but is that really the best use of my time? Probably not.
Hippies love to hate Wal-Mart. Actually, a lot of people love to hate Wal-Mart. It's easy to rant on and on about how they're taking over America and are the enemy, and other such nonsense. Offering an opinion like that makes one seem socially conscious and intelligent.
Although it may not surprise anyone who has read my Secrets of Buying article, I LOVE Wal-Mart. In fact, when people offer the opinion that Wal-Mart sucks, I immediately want to punch them in the face. Luckily I'm a huge wimp and never punch people in the face.
The most obvious thing about Wal-Mart that makes it so awesome is that it offers insanely cheap prices. They manage to do that by being really efficient, and by strongarming merchants into offering things at the lowest possible price. Getting into Wal-Mart's distribution chain puts your product in front of millions and millions of people, so merchants can be pushed to keep only a small profit margin for themselves. That's capitalism at its finest, and I'm happy to have low prices. Sometimes the merchants lower their quality to be able to afford to do business with Wal-Mart, but who cares?
In one of the comments someone asked what I plan on doing now that I'm done with gambling. It's a good question, and one that I don't totally have the answer for.
I feel like I'm a little bit behind, since it hit me so fast. Normally I would prefer to have a solid new plan in place before stopping one business, but that's not how it always works.
My approach has been to get involved in a lot of different ventures, and to let time sort out which are worth doing and which aren't. Actually, this post is more for me than you guys, just so I can take stock of where I'm at.
Ever since I can remember, I have been a huge fan of Boy Meets World. With no concept of TV guide or schedules, it was a gift from the heavens above when I would turn on the TV and see the familiar cast. For roughly as long as I was a fan of the show, I had a crush on Topanga - known as Danielle Fishel in real life.
I'm hesitant to post detailed "reports" on meeting women here. Maybe because it's too personal, maybe because it's so easy to misinterpet as mechanical, but for whatever reason I don't love the idea. However, this is a funny story that probably won't offend anyone (except one guy who I don't mind offending.)
The 2004 Pickup Artist Convention, which I had organized, was held in Los Angeles, CA. Normally I'm rather lazy about going out and meeting people. I find it very frustrating to find women I'm genuinely interested in, and the allure of talking to women for practice is much less than it was when I first got into the Pickup Artist thing.
This is going to be the first article in a brand new category called "Social Skills" added to my seemingly-random category list. This series is especially for you pick up people out there. In my time teaching, I always had a good feeling for who would be successful and who would not be, way before we ever went out.
The reason was that some people had blatantly bad social skills. Face it - if you can't interact with GUYS properly, you're starting with girls with a major handicap. So here we're going to talk about everything from e-mail to gift giving. What's first on our radar? Being late. Read on...
Some people are notoriously late for everything. I used to be one of those people myself. But over time it annoyed me when people were late so much that I put in the work and changed that habit. That's not to say that I'm ALWAYS on time. Sometimes it's better to be a little late, and sometimes there are unforseen circumstances. But make no mistake - everyone notices how timely everyone else is, and this can be used to your advantage. Here's a list of common situations, and how prompt to be for each.