Birds and Small Bets

May 29, 2016

Birds
Now that spring has sprung, our feathered boys & girls are back in town from their southern vacation.

In our backyard, there’s bird chatter day and nite, save for a few hours while it’s dark, when I assume they’re sleeping. If I forget to wear earplugs while sleeping (which I started for unrelated reasons), they’ll be sure to wake me at 4am. On the dot. Super loud chirping action.

I have no idea what they’re chatting about.
It sounds like grownups talking with little ones. I imagine it’s all the mom birds lecturing their baby birds on not crossing the street alone. Don’t take candy from strangers. Do you remember the address in case you get lost? Repeat it to me one more time. Don’t fight with your brothers and sisters while I’m at work. So on and so forth.

There’s a huge animal ecosystem here because my father decided to lay one of those small green kiddie pools filled with bird food on our deck. There are birds of all shapes and colors, feisty gray squirrels, and timid small chipmunks who visit the buffet daily.

It seems to be the same group coming at the same time every day. Week after week.

One curious thing I noticed is the birds’ eating behavior.
They never hit the buffet head on. They take many small steps before reaching the food.

Back in the days when I visited chinese & old country buffets, I went straight for the good stuff. No sitting down first, no putting in a drink order. Point me towards meat loaf, mashed potatoes, fried rice, and general tso’s. Where the dumplings at? I didn’t care who I almost ran over and neither did the other patrons.

Birds, on the other hand, sit atop our neighbor’s roof, across the street.
Two or three of em at a time. Two then will fly to a nearby tree. The missing ones get replaced by another two or three coming from who knows where.

The two birds will then move to a different closer tree. Just chilling and looking. Next, they’ll land on the wooden railing on our porch. Still a few feet away from the food. Here, they’ll sit for a long time. At some point, one of em will take the giant leap down and walk around the food. And finally dig in. Sometimes neither will jump, so a third bird will come by and start pecking at one of them until he does. Similar to pushing your friend into a pool. “You first buddy.”

This behavior seemed super odd until I looked at it from their perspective. Humans, at the top of the food chain, have no dangers while hitting up a food spot. These birds have to take smaller risks. Being too eager one day could mean death.

Lifting Weight
Now that I’m weight lifting regularly and following the Starting Strength protocol, I realize the benefits of small bets, even for us humans.

In S.S., there are a bunch of warmup sets before you hit the main weight. For example, before doing a bench press for three sets of five using heavy weight, there are five warmup sets. First warmup starts with bar alone, and we progressively add weight each new set. 25%, 50%, and 75% the weight of our main working sets (minus the weight of the bar).

At first, I scoffed at the idea for this many warmup sets. Once I started doing em, I noticed the immediate benefits. I’m hitting the main sets just as the muscles feel their “warmest”. Also, each warmup set is a small bet.

I know immediately how much energy my body has by the time I do a couple of warmups. How much sleep I got the night before. If I ate enough food during the day. How motivated I feel. If my muscles are still fatigued from the last workout. If this workout will be a badass record breaker, or a squeaker.

The amount of data gleamed from warming up is priceless. And I can adjust accordingly.

Sometimes I’ll quickly drink some liquid carbs (coconut water) to get more energy. I may drink a second cup of coffee. I’ll be more careful while doing the main big sets if I feel sore. I may drink my protein shake midway during the workout rather than after. On rare occasions, as the information warrants, I’ll decide to take it easy on the body and give it a break. After fifteen weeks (this past one), I gave my tired achy body a one week vacation to regroup.

Small Bets
I was reminded of the concept of small bets from a book by the same name. Never finished reading it but the idea has stuck.

We need to take small bets.
Once we know what works, go ahead and swing for the fences.

Warren Buffett buys billion dollar companies overseas without ever visiting their plant. He decides within a few seconds if a company is worth buying. When asked about this skill, he said, I’m paraphrasing from memory, it’s 30 years of preparation and 30 seconds of execution.

As a eager youth and still an eager adult, this is a lesson that I need to learn. Whether it’s investing in stocks, selling things online, lifting weights, or awkwardly asking girls out by going all in too soon, there needs to be small bets first.

Finally, Cheetah
I saw this video of a guy reuniting with a cheetah after one year apart.

He takes a bunch of small bets over a few days before entering the cage. He had to follow the official cheetah protocol for social bonding by letting it sniff him, lick him, etc before going inside.

Once he followed the proper steps with his former friend, even other cheetahs in the cage left him alone.

Newton’s Third Law

May 29, 2016

I want to point you to a good article.

But first.
If you were to draw a venn diagram of three seemingly separate topics that I’m into, this might be their only intersection.

The Hulk Hogan sex tape scandal.
It includes pro wrestling. Startup billionaire. And a writer I follow.
Add a forth circle for gossip websites (I usually avoid but sometimes can’t resist) and we have a fourfecta.

It involves Hulk Hogan having sex with his best buddy’s wife, with consent. He was being videotaped, however, without consent. Apparently he said some racist things in that video. And a gossip website known for ruthlessness leaked that info without his permission. As a consequence, he was immediately fired by his employer, WWE. And his reputation took a big hit, maybe for good. Hogan, devastated, asked them to stop. They refused. He filed a lawsuit.

The main question courts had to decide: Do celebrities have no right to privacy?

In this case, law sided with David instead of Goliath.
Hogan won a $140M lawsuit against Gawker media.
And an appeals judge upheld the results.
It’s likely Gawker will go out of business.

This week, it was revealed that Hogan had secret financial & legal backing by billionaire Paypal cofounder Peter Thiel, who was publicly outed for being gay by the same website, and has been seeking revenge by supporting lawsuits against the website. The same media company also outed Tim Cook, CEO of Apple.

Some folks are outraged with this revelation, while others see it as the benevolent rich helping the little guy (even if it’s a giant pro-wrestler with 24 inch pythons) stand up against bullying corporations.

Finally, I want to share an article by Ryan Holiday, who it seems has also been the target by the same website. His emails were hacked and leaked. Ryan is understandably on Thiel & Hogan’s side.

The lessons from this case are applicable to all of us, in the social media generation, as we can say anything (vicious) about anyone else while behind a computer screen.

Ryan reminds us that actions have consequences, and a little empathy for the other person in our crosshairs goes a long way.

Resources:
Peter Thiel’s Reminder to the Gawker Generation: Actions Have Consequences

Play

What’s up Diarrhea Face,

Here’s the new podcast.

Creative Struggles
I removed background noises, ran compression, went thru each second and removed mouth smacking noises (trust me, that was mind-numbing), and truncated the silences in hopes of providing a better listening experience for your wax filled ears.

I still can’t seem to like the final product (my voice & my thoughts), so I added a bit of intro music to mask that insecurity. Props to Key & Peele’s movie Keanu for reminding me this song exists.

Then, I had to downgrade the audio quality from 128kbps, to 112, 96, finally to 80kbps, so that the file is small enough to be uploaded. I’m on a (ahem) cash diet and don’t wanna spend the extra money for more podcasting space. If you smell what I’m cookin. More on that later.

Still, I wanted to delete the whole goddamn thing.
Creative struggles.
It’s all part of the fun, I guess.
So, here it is, enjoy it you fuck (abusing you to make me feel better).

Topics:

1. Depression, Tim Ferriss, My Experience
Listened to an interesting podcast with Tim Ferriss where he talks about long bouts of depression, and how he built in defenses against it now. Lift heavy things, go out in nature, have a dog, good nutrition, meditation, mindfulness, psychedelics, saying no to things, etc.

This struck a chord with me because I realized, whoa, I no longer fear being depressed. This is a big accomplishment and I had no idea I’d reached this point in my life!

You know that I dealt with severe seasonal affective disorder for probably 25yrs now, where I was down and out for 6months or more every year. And normal depression came and went quite frequently. It was a way of life and although I had hopes of conquering it, all that work seemed like a fruitless effort.

Depression looks to be gone for good now. And if not, I have my own built in strong defenses too.

Similar to Tim.
Strong diet, focused on gut health, meditation, supplements, reframing thoughts, morning pages, vimala handwriting, cold showers, fir sauna, hanging out in nature especially forest preserves, spirituality, psychedelics (though I haven’t done this in a while), avoiding people/places/things that fuck me up, and a bunch of other automatic stuff. It’s a way of life that honors my mind/body/spirit.

2. Weight lifting (body health) progress
15 weeks and going strong. Newest lesson: watch what you think and say about your body, your cells are listening, like Louise Hay says.

3. Money story
Interesting scenario where I literally ran out of cash (went in the negative) and got some unexpectedly at the same time. The divine always supports us, as they say. And this was a fun way to know that for myself.

Decided to sell books that I no longer read. And maybe all of them. This is also a big deal, since my normal tendency is to hoard em.

Resources:
Tim Ferriss Interview by Steven J Dubner
Faith – George Michael

I didn’t know this was a thing until couple days ago.
You can use regular playing cards and give yourself an oracle reading. Like one would with tarot cards.

I think playing cards originally evolved from tarot cards and were used as divination tools before people figured out how to play games with them.

You can do a one card instant reading, 3 card spread (past, present, future), 9 card spread, or more elaborate ones.

Grab a deck of cards.
Get rid of the jokers (or you can keep them in depending on your preference).

One card reading
Think of your question
Shuffle and pick a card that seems to pop out.
Look at the meaning (see link below).

Three card spread
Same deal, pick three cards that seem to pop out.
First one will represent the past, second for the present, and third for your future.
Look up the meanings of each cards.

I’ve been doing a one card reading in the morning to see what I need to know for the day. It doesn’t matter which card comes up, I get some meaning out of it every time.

You can think of these readings as divine messages or if you happen to be a left-brain non-spiritual type person, think of em as a lateral thinking exercise.

Note: You’ll notice that different websites have slightly different card meanings. Just pick one you like and go with it. And don’t take the results too seriously.

Resources:
Playing Card Meanings – Cafeastrology
The Playing Card Oracle – Arcana Arcanorum

You know how songs come on the radio while driving and we barely pay attention to their lyrics?

This was one of those rare moments my mind decided to listen to what the song was saying.

Holy shit.
What a weird fucking song.

The story is about a bored married dude.

He’s so tired of his “old lady”, that while she’s sleeping next to him, he scans the personals in a newspaper. One of those ads catches his eyes and he’s hooked.

She writes:
Do you like pina coladas?
Do you like getting caught in the rain?
Are you not into yoga? Do you have half a brain?

So, he writes back.
Yes, I 100% agree with what you said.
I also don’t like health food, and prefer champagne.
You sound so awesome, I’ve got to meet you right away.
How about tomorrow noon, at a bar called O’Malley’s?
We can plan our escape together.

So, this long time married dude, behind his wife’s back, goes to this bar to meet a random woman, on a blind date. No clue what she looks like.

He sits there waiting in high hopes.
And the woman comes thru.

He recognizes her right away.

….

IT’S HIS OWN FUCKING WIFE!!

They laugh at the situation.
Get to know each other once again.

I guess he had no idea she likes pina coladas and getting caught in the rain. Nor that she hates yoga and all that other shit she wrote. And vice versa.

Seems they were both pretending to be someone they weren’t all this time.

What?!

PS: It’s a catchy song.