The Willpower Chronicles

It has been a little over a week since the Great Saturday Night Willpower Epiphany and its immediate aftermath. I figure it’s a good time to see what the start of this looks like, thus far.

Landscape of the Week

In a word: crazy. Or “busy” might fit in here, too.

Work was crazy throughout the week. One of my closest friends wound up in the hospital due to complications with a surgery the prior week. I was more than happy to help out and visit and generally try to make the experience less miserable. Also had some freelance work to do. And Kate had to go up north to say goodbye to her grandmother who is in the process of passing away, so I had the kids starting mid-day on Saturday (after my fatbike race), until Monday morning when I dropped them at their respective daycare/pre-school environments.

So yeah. “Crazybusy” might be the one word I’m looking for.


As I’ve focused on imposing my will on things like a task list, productivity has definitely improved. I frequently have shit that lives on to-do lists for weeks at a time, and make all these ridiculously overpopulated lists of things I want to tackle in a given day, which just made me frustrated by my inability to get things done. A week ago, I popped out of bed, hustled downstairs and got to work. I had been neglecting some things for far too long, and that was what got tackled first. This week has been fairly similar, particularly at work, and less so at home.

Changes to Habits

This hasn’t been as successful, but I need to learn to apply the willpower mindset to things like sleep schedule, food intake, and quitting the soda habit. I think what needs to happen here is that I need to develop a list of certain habits I want to be doing on a daily basis — those that I know are good for me, obviously — and apply the concept based on that.

A Willpower App?

One of the things I’ve been mulling over is how to build some sort of organizing system that will allow me to organize things split out between Large-Scale Projects™ (LSP), to-do tasks that advance the LSPs, and a daily habits tracker. I’ve also considered revisiting David Allen’s Getting Things Done to see if it’s a possible solution to my woes.

Image Credits: Derek Robinson.

What I Believe In (2016 Edition)

Posts in this series
  1. What I Believe In (2015 Edition)
  2. What I Believe In (2016 Edition)

I believe that Mister Rogers was about the closest to the embodiment of the Buddha that’s walked the Earth. I believe in love and science — those are my religion. I believe that having a logical explanation for something does nothing to reduce the magic of its existence. I believe that standing in the rays of the sunrise is the best possible start to the day. I believe in being the Big Spoon. I believe that there can be interesting magic in stream-of-consciousness writing. I believe that constraints and rules make for amazing creations. I believe that good sex comes from communication, creativity, and caring about your partner’s pleasure first. I believe that the GOP has fallen into irrelevance and has to resort to gimmicks, mascots, and showmanship, to cover up for their complete lack of ideas that are acceptable to the average American. I believe that Dan Savage and his campaigning for a GGG (good, game, and giving) mentality has done more to advance the cause of rational, enjoyable sexuality in this country than any two other people. I believe that there might actually be too many superhero movies being made — Peak Superhero, if you will. I believe that I might actually be starting to like baseball again, but that I don’t have the time or energy to follow it religiously. I believe that the Back to the Future trilogy was damn near perfect and that it should never be rebooted or remade or re-anythinged. I believe in the awesomeness of El Niño winters. I believe that Texas should be kicked out of the Union, but Austin can stay if it wants. I believe that Marvel comics are far superior to DC. I believe that genre fiction is just as good and as important as “literary” fiction. I believe the FAA trying to regulate drones is like NASA trying to regulate model rockets. I believe that if you hire someone for their expertise you need to shut up and listen to what they tell you, even if you don’t like it. I believe that beers don’t pair with food — they pair with the seasons (ask me about this). I believe that I need to make a kick-ass effort to get onto Jeopardy! because it’s awesome and I’m awesome and I have a head full of trivia (and room for more), plus I’d get to use “What is the Magna Carta?” and “I’ll make it a true daily double!” and it’d make a couple of my friends very happy. I believe that the defense should never comprise more than 25% of the federal budget, and since they’d be giving up so much money, we could spend more on education, NASA, and infrastructure.

Image Credits:

Saturday Night Epiphany

Saturday night, after getting home late, I had the opportunity to do some navel-gazing. Instead of the usual abusive internal dialogue, I spent some time trying to think about an issue I struggle with, rather than to just lie there and beat the shit out of myself. Anyway, I’ve been on my self-improvement kick lately, and one of the things I have been struggling with is willpower. The Adderall has certainly improved my focus when I’m in a task, but it doesn’t do much when I’m between tasks and trying what to decide what to do (or avoid) next.

Willpower, in the Western world, always seems couched as this battle between good-and-evil, right-and-wrong, as you’re pulled between doing the right thing (difficult) and doing the wrong (the easy, sedentary path). Moreover, when we successfully engage in willpower, we frequently reward ourselves for our successes by indulging in the very things that put us in the situation in the first place — a sundae as reward for losing five pounds, for example — allowing evil as a reward for doing good.

It’s obvious that short-term rewards for one’s willpower should be unrelated to the task — you don’t celebrate cleaning the kitchen every day for a week by taking a dump in the sink — so I don’t need to delve into that here, as there are plenty of other people who have. I know, diets typically have their “cheat days” and so on, but really, the path of moderation is the path of enlightenment. You’re never going to, for example, cut all processed sugars out of your diet, but as long as you choose the path of moderation, and exercise some sensibility, you’ll be fine. (Yes, this is what Buddha called the “Middle Way”, which was supposed to be part of the path to Enlightenment.)

However, that short-term shit isn’t what concerns me. Continue reading Saturday Night Epiphany

Image Credits: Christophe BILLARD.

Holy Cats! You’re Four!

To me, you’ll always be the tiny baby who arrived so early and so small that I was afraid to hold him. And today, you are four years old. Those years have gone by in a blink and so much has changed — not just you, but the world around you — and it makes me afraid that the next fourteen years will do the same. And all I can think about today is that someday you’ll be big, tall, and leaving home and off to college or the army, or whatever, and you’ll still be my baby boy.

And today, you are four. Four! How did this happen? You went from quietly toddling about the house to a loquacious daredevil in the matter of a few heartbeats. Life has never been more interesting than it has the last four years.

Happy birthday, Edwin. I love you like crazy.

Image Credits: Dan Bailey.

Monday Tuesday To-Do

  • try to remember that it’s Tuesday, not Monday
  • get boys from school/daycare
  • feed boys dinner
  • spend time with the boys
  • put the boys to bed
  • write Eddy’s birthday post
  • run Time Machine on laptop
  • contact freelance client re: upcoming work
  • call mom re: babysitting
  • read more of Year’s Best Science and Nature Writing 2015
  • read more on MongoDB
  • install python and django framework on laptop
  • start merging Google accounts
  • feedburner plugin install (this site)
  • litterboxes
  • kitchen
  • pack remaining bike tools for fixing beach cruiser
  • get going on training program
  • maybe do some work on Blackjack Runner
  • clean mobile device screens

Image Credits: Unsplash.

Et cetera

  1. As I typed the title of this post, I was trying to decide between “etcetera” and “et cetera” it occurred to me that it would be totally awesome if Peter Cetera’s middle name was “Et”…
  2. And of course, when I realized that, it completely blew the rest of my ideas for this post right out of the water. Go figure.
  3. Really need to get ahold of my Box o’ Desk Crap and get it in to the office. I’m settling in at the new gig, enjoying the heck out of myself, and really enthused by the work. To that end, I need to write a post about how I fell in love with PM work even after doing it for years.
  4. Eddy turns four tomorrow. FOUR. What the shit? How did this happen?
  5. I still have some pending posts that I’m trying to get done — one requires some research to confirm things I’m pretty confident of, and the other requires sifting through a bunch of data. The former is a recap of the Vikings’ season which, depending on your sportsball interest, is either going to be mediocre or utterly uninteresting. The latter is my annual analysis of my reading from the previous year. I have had that on the back burner for awhile because I’ve started on an interesting coding venture for something I’m tentatively calling “Project Watney”…
  6. Oh yeah, remembering one of the things I had planned for this post: help me get more entries in this book giveaway — just what I needed, more books — by entering yourself to win, too.
  7. Insert some other semi-interesting thing in this space. No, that’s not a note. You tell me: what am I to add here?

Image Credits: Pete Linforth.