Different Days

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How do you want your days in 2024 to be different than your days in 2023?

How marked a difference?

I have the power to change my daily life in so many ways.

To spend more time listening to sounds like rain like I’m doing right now. Forced by my last migraine and my last period of the year to just lie here. And listen.

Fitness: Journey, not Destination

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I like this interview with Dr. Kenneth Cooper: The father of aerobics still works out five days a week at age 92. Here are his expert tips

I love these reminders:

  • being fit and staying that way requires habitual, near-daily practice for your whole life:
    • “Fitness is a journey, not a destination. You’ve got to keep it up the rest of your life. You can’t just get it and store it.”
  • people used to think exercise was crazy and actually BAD for you
    • people crave conformity and try to enforce it. It makes people uncomfortable when anyone integrates something atypical into their life that they know intuitively or even with science to back them up will be good for them. Somehow the mob and even doctors will try to talk you out of it, saying it is somehow “dangerous” and SICK (or will lead to sickness) even when it goes so totally against common sense.
  • within my lifetime, it was normal for people to question women SWEATING and RUNNING as unladylike or even specifically harmful to their bodies (like your uterus could fall out)
    • SEXISM IS BAD FOR OUR HEALTH, not moving our bodies in athletic ways

I disagree completely with his suggestion that the number one thing we should do is try to fit into a “healthy” BMI. BMI is BULLSHIT.

What I am taking away from reading this:

If you know something is good for you and integral to your well-being, it is necessary for you to integrate it into your DAILY LIFE — to do it ROUTINELY — and plan on doing it forever. In order to do that people will often call you crazy, but that doesn’t mean you are wrong. On top of doing the work, you have to be able to detach from what other people think and not question what you already have determined is best and healthy for you. Your daily life, routines, priorities and standards will set you apart from other people who probably will be dead before you have evidence that your way made/makes your life better than if you settled for conforming to whatever is normal and expected for the times and people like you, especially if you are a minority.

Dark Moons and Days of Rest

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I believe the most important TOP PRIORITY thing to schedule — the thing that should be scheduled first, before anything else — is REST.

Daily rest, weekly rest, monthly rest, seasonal rest, and yearly rest.

Rest. Recovery. Recuperation. Regeneration. Reflection. Rejuvenation. And to come out of these periods of time REBORN.

I’m still working on putting this belief into practice, and being able to rely on myself to protect times of rest like a little baby lives inside it. Because they do.

Honoring a Sabbath and taking sabbaticals are two ways of implementing this practice of resting on a regular basis with strong traditions to back them up.

Syncing up special rest time with the dark phase of the moon is another way I keep promising myself I will keep restful time on a regular basis, but failing to do.

Today the moon is new. Officially exactly in the same hour I am writing this. And writing this is not rest, so I am going to stop here and allow myself to sleep at three-thirty in the afternoon. ALONE. With room darkening shades pulled in a clean space that is empty of all but a very few personal items chosen especially for this time of rest. And I will not feel guilty about it even though tomorrow is a special love-date for my wife and I, and some people would say that if I’m not working, I should be entirely devoted to the social energy of appreciating my wife and our marriage. But this year, with her support, I’m doing what I know is right and best for me to have the energy and capacity to be loving to her and others: I am spending our anniversary-eve ALONE. Resting. Enjoying solitude and as much sleep as I can fit in. Even though I keep wanting to tell her to come here, now. I am prioritizing REST FIRST. Knowing what is restful to me, which may not be what is restful to others … affirming that everyone deserves to get the rest they need, even if it is not what the picture of “rest” looks like in other people’s dictionaries.

Mobile Phones: From Anxiety to Detachment

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Things weren’t going so great. Unplanned-for interactions made me feel self-conscious, and the handles on the paper bag broke.

At least I didn’t look totally repellent. Wearing tight warming yoga pants and the new black puffer coat my mom gave me (that my sister then took away, and our mom then bought back for me) I felt somewhat less self-conscious and terrible about myself when all of the heavy groceries crashed to the floor and spilled out at the self-checkout. At least I look a little cute.

In the dark parking lot of our last errand-stop I reached into my NEW capacious pocket for my phone and … it wasn’t there. OHMYGOD MY PHONE WHERE IS IT I LEFT IT SOMEWHERE IN SAFEWAY!!!
Panicking, I patted the quilting of my new coat all over, shrieking and freaking out my wife.

The total humiliation the loss of years of photo and video assets the exposure to shame the loss loss loss and hassle. The uncertainty of what to do next.

Don’t panic. That’s always what to do next when you feel for your phone and your fingers don’t find it: STOP the PANIC. Because you always do find it. You haven’t lost one yet. DON’T REACT WITH FEAR! BE CALM! That is always the next right thing.

Easier said than done.

The bigger “what-to-do-next”:

Moments like this add a sense of urgency to detaching from our (my) device addiction. To building in time WITHOUT devices. Not just an hour or evening locked in the kitchen safe timer (still great, with so much underutilized / neglected potential), but building in TOTAL TIME OFF from device-attachment.

A week. A WHOLE MONTH. Disconnected. Not ever even picking up a mobile phone. Not taking it with me anywhere.

The inability to do this for an extended period of time speaks to a bigger problem of not taking time off at all in general — not being able to have a whole day or weekend off. Not ever taking a vacation.

I do not want these devices (and fears of losing them, or missing out on whatever it is they supposedly offer) to be part of my daily life anymore. I do not want attachment and interaction with these devices to be my strongest and most-repeated habit. I do not want the sensation of being without a phone in my hand to send me into a tailspin.

But what about …

But what about using my phones to access and play music, which I do want in my daily life? What about using them to access and read BOOKS, which I do want in my daily life? Well … I can use more stationary and/or focused devices: desktop and laptop computers, my kindle, and perhaps a new tablet with limited apps installed and no phone or messaging capabilities.

But what about using my phones to create content? Using them to capture videos, sounds, and images? What about using my camera phones as part of practicing my signature strengths of Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence, Gratitude, Love of Learning and more? Well … we have a DSLR camera and camcorder for that.

There are better FOCUSED tools we have or can (SHOULD) upgrade to enjoy doing those kinds of work with more mindful, productive and high-quality focused results than what we get using our phones. Using intentionally-purposed tools means experiencing more happy-making uninterrupted FLOW in the process. It would be more effective to start planning our content creation with intention than doing half-assed phone shit on the fly, anyway.


So what do I need to do to make this happen? To be able to take days, weeks, or even a month or whole season OFF of mobile devices? How can I totally untether and detach from the constant phone companions?

In the long run, one of the biggest requirements is to get a personal assistant. But even without one, it’s still possible to make solid plans that start with clear visions of A) real restful time totally off, and B) productive happy work in flow. Visions of what I want instead of these stressful, intrusive phone habits.

Without a PA, the keys are

  1. batching all of the tasks that require the phones use:
    • setting specific time(s) a day for doing those phone tasks, and
    • limiting the amount of minutes or hours for doing that batch of tasks
  2. Tethering the phone(s) to one static location (a desk, workstation, or, at the very least, a single room)
  3. Keeping the phones locked up in a kitchen safe timer outside of set batch work time(s)
  4. Having enough money and being on top of bills enough to not constantly have to be on the lookout for unexpected withdrawals, managing payouts, and hoping payments come through


OMG the ongoing maintenance of the devices with their unexpected shutdowns, updates, and needs for more juice!

Making sure all of our devices are charged is one of the insidiously basic low-level tasks that makes us habitually preoccupied with our phones and intrusive fealty to them. Managing and maximizing our devices’ battery life require whole systems by themselves, and are more reasons I’m thinking about the need to streamline processes associated with daily habitual mobile phone use.

You can’t charge them while they’re locked up in a safe, so how can you get around this AND completely reduce opportunities to mindlessly pick them up and play with them? To make sure your devices don’t die without constantly checking them and how much charge you have left you can

  1. Keep them turned off when charging / not in use
  2. Refer back to tethering: have specific stations where the devices are used and charged; it is easier when you’re not dragging them with you everywhere like a ball and chain, into bed and everywhere you go.
  3. Schedule and batch all of the charging and other maintenance tasks the same way you are going to do with more interactive kinds of phone use

When it’s all said and done, maybe the main master key is to prioritize recharging your OWN batteries over your mobile devices that you habitually use for dopamine hits and checking out. Instead of constantly being infected and depleted by the blue light of your device, alerts, etc., think about what you’re going to do to restore your own power levels and protect yourself from having your battery drained by constant distractions, time sucks, and noisy demands for your attention.

How often do you power down to rest? Do you ever reach 100% charge and feel lit up to go with bright green light? Do you noticed when you are depleted and take immediate emergency measures to shut down completely and attend to restoring your cells? What are the signs it is time for you to go into energy-saving mode and what does that look like? What is YOUR power source that makes you feel plugged in and energized, and how often do you connect to it?

Answer these questions. Shift your focus away from your devices and towards addressing your own personal power levels. Make plans to address deficits and recharge yourself. Implement those plans, practicing new daily phone-free habits to level yourself up to a new ascended model of your phone-free self.

Get addicted to living your own life, not living through the life, screens, and lenses of your phones and mobile devices.

Light Scheduling

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It’s the time of year where I remember how important it is to schedule everything to maximize daylight hours, and also take into consideration the sun is lower in the sky, making it sort of painful on the eyes at certain times of day, but completely useless (or at cross-purposes) as task lighting.


It’s also important as the days get shorter to do LIGHTER scheduling than in brighter months; you can’t squeeze in as much. Your energy wanes, it is more difficult to SEE to do things … you just have fewer hours in the day to be energetic and active; your schedule should reflect these limitations, lowering your expectations and demands.


In the summer it makes sense to do housework as early in the morning as possible, whereas in darker months it’s best to commit to getting a solid hour of your most detail-oriented cleaning chores done between noon and two.


Shooting content with natural light can be awesome in darker seasons; your chances of cloud cover / diffused light during the day is higher for nice even lighting, and golden hours are more achievably targeted. If you prefer (or are limited) to put on makeup and fix your hair with natural light, though, you really have to factor that in and schedule enough time to do it.


Darker days are best for writing, webmastery, and marketing: harvesting, creating and putting out advertising to maximize sales at the busiest buying time of the year. You also have people in similarly darker locales spending more time at home in front of their screens, available to apply their recreational money towards pleasurable entertaining best enjoyed indoors.


It’s the time of year where it makes sense to GO TO SLEEP EARLIER (especially with this country’s inability to stop “falling back”), and aim to become more of a morning person. If you miss out on the sun early in the day, chances are you’re just not going to get any. And that is unhealthy as fuck. Don’t spend all the daylight sitting static inside, not even taking time to look out of windows.


Allow yourself to schedule time off doing restful cozy dreamy shit while your energy is lower; it’s curl up with a book season, so enjoy it! It’s better to let yourself do restorative low-energy activities you enjoy than to deplete your energy trying to force yourself to do the same amount of stuff you’d do with more active light hours. You’ll end up burning out, getting sick … or doing junk activities like binging food and tv and games that wind up throwing your schedule out of whack even more, making you feel bad about yourself, and increasing your lethargy.

Instead take long hot baths or showers. Enjoy burning more calories taking walks in the peaceful cold and gloom. Read for pleasure, or do recreational (or work-related) learning projects for fun and self-improvement.

3 Things I Do NOT WANT On the Daily

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1. I do not want to bathe / shower every day.

2. I do not want to do housework every day.

3. I do not want to be in the company or presence of others every day.

You can’t design the life you want if you can’t confidently acknowledge and clearly articulate what you DO NOT want.

It used to be people were always warning you to only state goals in positive terms. Over the years I’ve learned that’s an inefficient mistake and not 100% true. Clarity is more important than “positivity”.

Revisiting DavidSeah.com

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While eating lunch I wondered how DSri Seah (Printable CEO creator, updated here on Productivity Tools page) and their site(s) is (are) doing so I bopped over and am now looking through their albums / portfolios. I really wanted to star (lots of things, but especially) this Index Card Scabbard:

“I made an arm-mounted “mini desk” that can hold both index cards and sticky notes, to help keep me focused as I run around the office trying to get things done.” – D. Sri Seah

In comments someone said:

“You should check out quarterback gear. I often see quarterbacks and/or coaches with these!”

to which they replied, “Someone told me it’s called a ‘wrist coach‘”.

I love the wearable clunky analog plastic+paper thing and how much more useful it is than (or at least AS useful and cool) smartwatches that people allow to interrupt them with notifications every time they get a text or call. I love the tracking and timekeeping aspects of my FitBit, but absolutely do not enable the intrusive stuff. It fits with the affirmative examples / models / users of people who employ index cards A LOT (Ryan Holiday / Daily Stoic, for example).

All of this stuff makes me feel so much less self-conscious and embarrassed about having elaborate systems and space and lots of time devoted to planning, tracking, noting, logging, envisioning, writing, synthesizing and STUDYING.

I always feel inspired and affirmed by Seah. They have been a major influence (maybe *the* biggest inspiration) in making me feel permitted and even useful, productive and *cool* (by my nerdy standards) to USE trackers and planners, to CUSTOMIZE my own printables, and to allow yourself to PLAN on having a shitty minimally-productive day, give yourself credit for what you can (and DO) do, and practice radical (self-) acceptance ON PAPER, in writing, without shame. Where is that, again … oh yeah, the Annoyed Task Planner:

  • “Everything Annoys Me Today and YET I WANT TO WORK”
  • room for angry scribbles
  • a log of annoyances
  • a manageable planner (“three mundane things I can tolerate doing”)
  • an invitation to reflect and note how you feel after doing each of those things
  • it mirrors your negativity in a funny externalized way you can laugh at (ex. “Today’s Stupid Date”) and puts your grouchy feelings into perspective, making you feel more acceptance and less shame, and see that this is not the worst day or experience ever
  • it invites you to do that serenity prayer thing and CHANGE WHAT YOU CAN, starting with recognizing you are not fucking up to changing the whole world or solving all your problems with a radiant smile today AND THAT IS ACCEPTABLE! You *accept* yourself and how it is, and move on from there, which results in the funny thing the psychs say that it is when we accept ourselves just as we are that we begin to change. As Seah says,
    • “Strangely, this indulgence of displeasure always seems to have an uplifting effect on me. I can’t stay in a bad mood for very long…”

A perfect example of how when we feel like we are bad and NEED to change, some survival-love part of ourselves balks defensively and won’t let go of the bad feelings and gnawing on the BADNESS of them. When we just say I feel shitty today and it feels insurmountable but I want to do SOMETHING … maybe I can? Let’s see what I can do here… And you give yourself a little time for breaking pencil lead with angry scribbles and laugh at yourself … moving on to what you can accomplish comes naturally, and accepting what you *don’t* accomplish and what you already left undone (by waking up late, for example) is signed off on, documented in writing, and now you can f’n file it and LET IT GO.

Even though Seah values and prioritizes social connections a lot more in their projects, planning and prioritizing (something I always want to turn upside down / customize differently when I use their printables), it doesn’t make me feel like I’m broken or that their work has nothing to offer or teach me.

So happy always, every time I check in there. I have PMS today so it is helpful to get out of my own overthinky weird head and just feel enormous love and relief for someone I *love* for being so thinky and awesomely-weird and who I would never want to feel bad about being that way.

“WEIRD” is so valuable. Weirdness helps make us IRREPLACEABLE, and so obviously humanly alive.



The Ritzy Cane

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QUESTION: what kind of cane is featured in puttin on the ritz?

The song “Puttin’ on the Ritz” has been performed by various artists over the years, but the version you might be referring to is the one originally popularized by Fred Astaire in the 1930 musical film “Puttin’ on the Ritz.” In the film, Fred Astaire famously dances while using a white-tipped black cane, which becomes an integral part of his performance.

The cane itself is often referred to as a “top hat cane” or a “gentleman’s cane.” It’s a stylish accessory that was commonly used by gentlemen during that era and added an elegant flair to their attire. In the context of the song and dance routine, the cane is used as a prop to enhance the choreography and rhythm of the performance.


While the answer I was looking for is what AI gave me (that is totally the cane I was envisioning, a la costume Taco remake, and what I envisioned Fred Astaire used in Blue Skies), it is not accurate re: Fred Astaire. He uses a regular CANE cane (too lazy to go on a follow-up curiosity-adventure to reveal what those are called) that I associate with dance performances (belly dancers, vaudeville, etc.) – I think they use them because they are light / more useful as dance and trick props.

Wanted for this graphic for a post I’m writing:

One Hour Photo & Bling Ring

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started to rewatch today by myself with brunch – only watched once before and since have never quite been able to remember why other people’s raves of it felt off, but I think it’s because I didn’t want him to be the villain / like … why can’t that (very relatable to me) person and job / setting be gifted to us as protagonists in movies / be more moderate / not so totally off-the-rails? I think it also always annoyed me hearing at the time how GOD SO SHOCKING ROBIN WILLIAMS PLAYING A CREEPY SCARY WEIRDO GUY totally rolled my eyes at that disbelief normal people have, like a precursor to their bizarre shock over Mrs. Doubtfire hanging himself. Now we have books like Convenience Store Woman which I think is who I longed for this character to be allowed to be.

Glad to finally be rewatching (at least the beginning of it) for some beautiful lines, ambience, shots, etc.

  • TO DO:
    • write down some of these favorite lines from one-hour photo / PW
    • incorporate into post for BR (or ?) re: photo I took after fight w/mommy
      • the why? & weird! from sister
      • add decision made a few years ago never to hesitate or feel self-conscious about taking pictures of things if I get the urge
        • it is my JOB
        • it brings me JOY
        • it is a manageable way of being a hoarder
        • an efficient way to journal (how that daily emotions app check in thing helped & the memories are so much better than like iphone auto-created ones)
        • it is how I remember stuff my empathy in dysfunctional relationships might allow me to forget
        • it is a reality / honesty check – documenting something I am ashamed of


started with dinner last night with D, thinking we were about to rewatch the documentary (series?), but it was the dramatized movie

not as terrible as I anticipated it would be, but still really useless and kind of lame / I’d rather just rewatch the doc

I don’t understand the casting of Emma – it must be the kind of thing insiders in industry do like they think it’s really impressive to see her in this unlike-her-typecast role but really for most audience it is just unbelievable and awkward / hard to suspend disbelief / it’s such an American role should just BE AN AMERICAN GIRL

there’s something extra-exploitative, I always think, about these dramatized based-on-a-true-story things, and the doc really helps highlight how off it is.

I do think Leslie Mann was a pretty good fit for the mom, from what I could tell. I pretty much love it whenever she is fit into anything, though.

Twitter ≠ “My Life”

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Beginning to modify this site because a) I want to, and b) what it’s been doing (auto-posting a log of my tweets from the previous day) is no longer possible / “Twitter” has ceased to exist in many ways.

Twitter stopped being what I’d signed up for a long long long time before the new ownership and “X”. It definitely hasn’t been a place I’ve gone focused on doing what my posts have been titled (micro-blogging “My Life Yesterday”) for many years, anyway.

It makes more sense for daily logs and such to be published online the old-fashioned way anyway: on a blog next-to-nobody looks at except for the person doing the blogging.

-Creating and maintaining logs, documentation, reports, lists, journals, etc. are important and helpful to me. I value these practices, and I believe they add value to me: to my work, my efficiency, my focus, confidence, happiness, clarity, creativity, self-esteem and effectiveness.

-Having many blogs / websites allows me to funnel boring and/or repellant content into special interest containers: greater utility for me, less counter-productive content for surfers/readers/fans, and more clarity for all.

-CAPTAIN’S LOG(s). Role playing. Vision of self. Habits and practice.

– Habitually writing, journaling, being organized, noting observations, planning, researching, studying, making flash cards, and documenting journeys –committing to these practices and prioritizing them daily (especially over what “normal” people and the Tyranny of The Social dictate) — is an act of defiance and discipline that builds grit / muscles / puts hair on your chest while naturally building walls and moats separating you from those people who do not have plans. When people know you would rather spend hours every day journaling, reading, learning, writing, researching and charting your course than wasting even a few hours every week getting drunk and socializing superficially, they will notice the the lines of demarcation between you and them; when paired with confidence that you are dedicated to your practices and priorities and enjoy them, most of them will even naturally be repelled by you and give you a wide berth. Just a hypothesis; I’ve not had the required confidence up to now to thoroughly test this. I believe the key to opening the first door to this kind of freedom is to actually DO the things when faced with challenges and undesired invitations/pressure, and to clearly, confidently state these things I already have plans to do / want to do most with relatively flat affect so as not to be confused for part of a conversational volley. TO DO: write script. Practice. Example: I’m catching up on my logs and reading. TO DO: write more scripts anticipating questions and remarks. Example: laugh and don’t say any words in response. Use invitations, questions, reactions as triggers for excusing yourself: “that reminds me of a task / I have a job I still have to go home and finish.”


I’m grateful / for

  • my wife coming out here excited to insist I come look at the sun setting, burning like lava in the trees from the wildfire smoke
  • our aimless drive and grocery store eggrolls today & unexpectedly coming across THE MUSIC THE DRUMS THE HORNS (and even the dogs and people) in the street
    • my wife agreeing to take unplanned spontaneous time to park and GET OUT and dance and follow this, and enjoying it with me even if at first she didn’t quite want to.
    • the feeling of pure joy and freedom and happiness I had — the un-self-consciousness of being this age and loved (and home from family time where my mom told me to STOP when I clapped in the park to the live music there)
    • the memories of other times we’ve wound up at this fair, joyfully dancing or hula hooping in the street … the reminder of how many of these good memories and years we have had together
    • the clarity / certainty that THIS is living … this is what memento mori prompts me to do … this is my vision of The Perfect Day: drums and singing and dancing and freedom to do them in the street or whenever wherever I want and people of all ages dressed weirdly or basically, cheering and singing together for the unexpected percussion we are designed to respond to, and that a bunch of them can just mill around on the edges and that’s okay too. Just the right number of people and space taken up and it doesn’t matter if you haven’t showered in over a week or if you were a big asshole yesterday. Not having to plan or prepare for it, just jump into the music and drumming RIGHT NOW, instantly part of it … belonging while still being relatively invisible / part of a small, safe, organic just-for-today crowd.

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