Couldn’t Stay Away

Last time you heard from me, I had returned to my home country (USA) for another go at making it in the “real world.” Having given it a good faith effort for almost a year, I decided to embark on another international adventure.

Whether these previous few years are a break from the pursuit of the American Dream or the path to my dream is to be determined. I am having more fun than I deserve though.

For my latest discoveries, musings and more, please follow my vlog about my adventures in China!





Non-Political YouTube Series–Day 7 (Final Day)

I’m going to end on a high-note. My avoidance of politically themed videos led to my discovery of more positively themed ones. I intend to continue watching more of the positive ones in the future than I did before starting this series. I may slip up and indulge in watching clips of combatant talking heads every once in a while, but I aim to continue viewing content that lifts my mood from now on.

Sticking with that philosophy, this final one speaks volumes about the importance of mindset. Admittedly, I have been guilty of the poor man’s mindset in the past, but have been and will continue to follow the rich man’s as outlined in the video.

Check out today’s finale video and enjoy!

Non-Political YouTube Series–Day 6

Vogue’s “73 Questions” series is terrific. If done in real-life, it is a profoundly better way to get to know someone than asking the basic series of questions, such as “where are you from, what college did you go to, where do you work, do you like it, do you have siblings, etc.” Such basic information from that line of questioning tends to come out naturally through the answers to questions like those asked in 73 Questions interviews.

I could have posted most of the other 73 Questions interviews as they are all intriguing, but chose the one with Aziz, because he just can’t help being funny. As is the case in a lot of his performances, he will go for minutes with moderately funny moments and then will smack you with something hilarious. Amy Pohler’s children call him “turkey sandwich.” That is hilarious.



Non-Political YouTube Series–Day 5

Today’s non-political is of the humorous sort and may have a few political undertones, but, let’s be real, current politics should be made light of. In fact, humor is likely the single strongest force in keeping freedom of speech alive.  Contrary to what mainstream political reporters and analysts may believe, you don’t fight fire with fire and you don’t beat a bully by bullying him back. I digress.

The Armageddon scenario in today’s video illustrates some dark and mostly hilariously truths about politics, humanity, and pop-culture in a short span of time. This channel generally appeals to my inner college student, but this video tickled a few of my developed funny bones.

Check it out:


Non-Political YouTube Series–Day 3

Today’s non-political video features Bill Nye’s affirming and thoughtful response to the question of whether homosexuality can be an evolutionarily developed trait. He answers the question asked and elaborates on his very sensible position. Then, he finishes with a memorable, quotable line. Good job Bill.

Someone very close to me recently accepted his homosexuality and made it known. It was hard for him. His friends and family were accepting, but it made me want to scream exactly what Bill says in this here video from a mountaintop.

The next time someone asks for my position on the issue, I’ll show them this video.

Check it out.

Non-Political YouTube Series–Day 2

This guy’s awesome. 

His multi-character, single actor performances have captured YouTube viewers for a few years now for good reason. He uses basic mashing, background music and blocking to create this suspense fully absurd piece. It goes from combative, to funny, to perverted, to ridiculous and back again. This guy is talented. 
As appreciative of Logan Paul as I am, there must be a place in young Hollywood superstardom for this YouTube / vine to riches actor. Check him out.

Non-political YouTube Series

Youtube’s continued improvements cannot be overlooked. The homepage has a neatly organized overlay showing the most relevant and hottest videos drawn from current events and the user data coming from your computer or phone. It is no surprise that political videos appear prominently on Youtube home page. They are omnipresent.

Lately, I have caught myself watching more political videos than is normal or healthy, which has prompted me to begin a 7-day, self-imposed political video restriction. During this time, I will take in only non-politically themed videos and pick the best one of the day.

Today’s selection is as follows:

As you see, Jerry West appears to be enlightening young basketballers on shooting techniques. He instructs them on the proper dominant-arm shooting position while making it rain inside the arc. Clearly his legendary form is still with him.

Check it out and tell me you don’t feel better than if you had watched a political video.

Moving In in San Francisco

I elaborated about getting from Georgia to San Francisco (“SF”) late last summer in a recent post. Although the journey provided as much reward as the destination, I omitted to write about the process that unfolded during the months after I got there. It was chalked full of trial and error and taught me more than I expected. Below is a list of what I would emphasize if I decided to move there again.

Consider comfort when picking an apartment–Before arriving in SF, I brainstormed about the factors that would determine where I would live. An overpowering aversion to long commutes led me to make proximity to work a much greater factor than it should have been. I set out to find an apartment within my price range that allowed me to walk to the office. My southern charm served me well in my Craigslist search for an apartment and landed me a room on a known and busy street in Nob Hill. I was living in the middle of the city’s action within a mile from work, so I jumped right in.

Unbeknownst to me was my inability to sleep in a room, which overhung the sidewalk next to a street of a 24-hour bus line. Public buses in SF, while electrically powered, still make enough noise starting and stopping to jar me from slumber. On top of that, weeknight partiers frequented the streets until the wee hours of every morning. No judgment, but I awoke to the hooting and hollering of Tuesday night drunkards on multiple occasions. I remember waking up to someone asking, “Do you know what time it is?” to which another someone replied, “2:40.” I happily realized that I still had a few more hours before I needed to get up for work.

Lastly, the room was infested with bed bugs. They are far more awful than I can express in a blog. I will refrain from grossing you out or reliving it (my feet still itch when I think about it), but, trust me, you never want to experience them if you haven’t already. A room far away from work without bedbugs is far better than one next to work with them. Having had this realization, I happily moved to a quieter place that was a greater distance from the office and did not have bedbugs.

Put any real dating on hold–Dating is a necessary pleasure and evil at this juncture of my life. SF was, in this regard, full of more exciting options than in my previous town. I came from a place made up of the same age demographic as the Price is Right’s viewing audience. I was ready to meet new people in my new town.

In spite of my readiness, I would have been better served by putting my energy into settling in before going on any real dates. I am not talking about avoiding making new friends or connections. I’m talking about setting up a mutually agreed upon meeting place days in advance, meeting there and spending$75 on someone you don’t know.

In my defense, I deleted Bumble and Tinder before moving to SF, but ended up spending more time, effort and money on a few dates than was necessary before I had my bearings there.  Speaking to myself, you will find better partners / dating options / mates when you are comfortable with yourself and your situation no matter where you are. To try and find them before you are is not only wasteful, but may end up hindering your ability to settle in at all.

I am always looking to be who the person I am looking for is looking for, which is someone who has their shit together. So, it follows that I was not going to find a person with their shit together until I had the same. Lesson learned.

Give Friends Space–Speaking in second person again, more solitude than normal is unavoidable in a place that is not your hometown. This is obvious, but important to keep in mind when you move. You may have friends in your new town, but keep in mind that they didn’t wait until you moved there to build lives and develop routines. Be mindful of the fact that they may still want to welcome you to their circle of friends even if they cannot get together on a weekly basis. It doesn’t mean they are avoiding you, it just means they have other shit going on. Give them space by creating your own original life that does not have to include them every week. After a while, you have new friends of your own, which you can introduce them to giving everyone a larger friend base!

Adulthood is full of people in different life phases at different times. Growing up, everyone is generally on the same schedule through college. Then, people get married, have kids, and do things on different timelines. This is as true in a new city as anywhere else. Don’t assume malice when busyness can explain everything.



Me on a Sizeable Rock exactly 34 years after being born

I can continue on this subject and double the length of this post, but, in closing, SF is a magical place that should be tried for any amount of time. I am home now, but more fully understand that returning home is not the same as never leaving. I left some, not all, of my heart in San Francisco.

2016 Wisdom

By all negative or positive metrics, 2016 has been one hell of a year. Personally, it will be marked as a year of drastic geographic changes. I started the year in Central America, then moved back to the Southeast United States and am finishing it in California (pictured).

PCT straight.jpg

As a man who appreciates the growth that comes with struggle, I will look back on 2016 fondly. Nonetheless, I am eager for this next January 1st and the 364 days after. Simply stated, I look forward to 2017.

I documented some of my adventures and musings on this and my other blog throughout the year. I told you about my time abroad, my music preferences, New Year’s resolutions, eating habits and gave you other glimpses into my life.

In this post, I have copied memorable quotes from books, movies, meditations, and articles I came across this year. Some of them are more profound than others, but drafting this post will have been well worth it if one of you finds one of the quotes useful.

The final two evoked the most visceral response for me. The last one most closely aligns with the most significant event of my year, which involved the death of loved one. It came from a scene in Westworld in which Delores (Evan Rachel Wood) explains the benefit of leaning into grief. It hit me hard.

Enjoy these and my favorite picture of the year. Comment if you like!

“The Real Reason We Need to Stop Trying to Protect Everyone’s Feelings”

-Ryan Holiday-

“Some of us find humor in everything, some of us do not. It’s important too—but those of us that believe it and live our lives by a certain sensitivity cannot bully other people into doing so too. That sort of defeats the purpose.”

“If someone succeeds in provoking you, realize that your mind is complicit in the provocation.”

“Control and discipline of one’s own reactions make for a successful person and a functioning society.”

From “The Art of Manliness” blog

“While you may never have to fight off an armed attacker or save someone from drowning in a river, there’s a 100% probability that every day you’re going to need the qualities of courage, hardihood, resilience, and so on to deal with life’s little annoyances, lead your family, and excel in your career. Thus, wanting such training, and desiring such qualities, is the most rational thing is the world.”

“Because if there’s one thing you should be paranoid about, it’s living a life in which you never develop your full capacities as a man.”

The Hard Thing About Hard Things, Ben Horowitz

“[He] was a brilliant thinker who could encapsulate complex ideas into pithy sentences with ease”

“Humans, particularly those who build things, only listen to leading indicators of good news.”

“There comes a time in a company’s life when it must fight for its life.”

“All the mental energy you use to elaborate your misery would be far better used trying to find the one seemingly impossible way out of your current mess.”

The 48 Laws of Power, Robert Greene

“Do not imagine that your master’s dependence on you will make him love you.”

“By knowing other people’s secrets, by holding information that they wouldn’t want broadcast, you seal your fate with theirs.”

“[He] knew that most men build up defenses against the crooks and other troublemakers. The con artist’s job is to bring those defenses down.”

“An act of kindness, generosity, or honesty is often the most powerful form of distraction because it disarms other people’s suspicions.”

“[He] was already a millionaire through strong-arming and deception.”

“During social gatherings and innocuous encounters, pay attention. This is when people’s guards are down. By suppressing your own personality, you can make them reveal things.”

“If people suspect you are worming secrets out of them through conversation, they will strictly avoid you.”

“Give them a false confession and they will make you a real one.”

“An understanding of people’s motives is the single greatest piece of knowledge you can have in acquiring power.”

“Never discriminate as to whom you study and whom you trust. Never trust anyone completely and study everyone.”

“To some people the notion of playing power games—no matter how indirect—seems evil, asocial, a relic of the past. They believe they can opt out of the game by behaving in ways that have nothing to do with power. You must beware of such people… they are after often the most adept players at power.”

“If you attempt to treat everyone equally and fairly, you will confront the problem that some people do certain things better than others. Treating everyone equally means ignoring their differences, elevating the less skillful and suppressing those who excel. Many who behave this way are just redistributing people’s rewards in a way they determine.”

“Honesty is a power strategy—convince people of one’s noble character. It is a form of persuasion, even a subtler form of coercion. Those who make a show of innocence are the least innocent of all.”

“An emotional response to a situation is the single greatest barrier to power – anger the most destructive of all emotional responses.”

“You must learn to judge all things by what they cost you – apply this to everything –including whether to collaborate or come to people’s aid.”

The Match, Mark Frost

“Not enough of the meaningful prizes in life are contested solely for honor anymore, for the love of the thing itself, or the undiluted satisfaction of testing your mettle against the best you can find and, win or lose, walking away the better for it because the truths it enabled you to face and find out about yourself.”

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising AsiaMohsin Hamid

“Achieving a massive bank balance demonstrably attracts fine physical specimens desperate to give their love in exchange for affection. Achieving love tends to do the opposite. It dampens the fire in the steam furnace of ambition, robbing of essential propulsion an already fraught upriver journey to the heart of financial success.”

“There are times when the currents leading to wealth can manage to pull you along regardless of whether you kick and paddle in the opposite direction.”

Moonwalking with Einstein, Josh Foer

“Brains are notoriously trickier to quantify than brawn.”

“Normal is not necessarily natural.”

“Monotony collapses time. Novelty unfolds it.”

“If you spend your life sitting in a cubicle and passing papers, one day is bound to blend unmemorably into the next and disappear. That’s why it’s important to change routines regularly and take vacations to exotic locales, and have as many new experiences as possible that can serve to anchor our own memories.”

“Creating new memories stretches out psychological time and lengthens our perceptions of our lives.”

“…you’ve got to work on the assumption that you’re going to do better in practice than you’ll do in the tournament.”

(Quoting Bruce Lee) “There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you.”

Oprah and Deepak—21 Day Meditation

“There is nothing enlightened in shrinking so that other people don’t feel insecure.”

Talk Like Ted, Carmine Gallo

“Authentic happiness can only come from the long-term cultivation of wisdom, altruism, and compassion, and from complete eradication of mental toxins, such as hatred, grasping, and ignorance.”

“(Quoting Melissa Cardon) “When you are passionate about something you can’t help yourself from thinking about it, acting on it, and talking about it with other people”

“The passion that man has for his personal growth is the most important thing.”

‘(Quoting Dale Carnegie) The ideas I stand for are not mine. I borrowed them from Socrates. I swiped them from Chesterfield. I stole them from Jesus.  And  put them in a book. If you don’t like their rules, whose would you use?”

“The ability to tell a story is an essential trait of authentic leadership—people who inspire effort.”

“90% of all businesses fail, yet 80% of business owners never try a second time.”

“People don’t know what they want. And if they do, they have a hard time articulating what they truly desire.”

“(Quoting Isabel Allende) Nice people with common sense do not make interesting characters. They only make good former spouses.”

“Power posing increases testosterone and lowers cortisol levels in the brain.”

“I like to refer to dopamine as the “save button” of the brain. When dopamine is present during an event or experience, we remember it; when it is absent, nothing seems to stick.”

Seeing What Others Don’t: the Remarkable Ways We Gain Insight, Gary Klein

“When we put too much energy into eliminating mistakes, we’re less likely to gain insights.”

“…..Four stage model of insight: preparation, incubation, illumination, and verification.”

“While the idea of deliberate preparation appeals to our work ethic—and is, of course, crucial for many types of work—it was not the factor in the insights attained….”

“Insight cannot be taken back. You cannot return to the moment you were in before.”

“We tend to notice coincidences, associations we don’t fully understand based on relationships we can’t articulate. People who can pick up on trends, spot patterns, wonder about irregularities, and notice coincidences are an important resource.”

“While the idea of deliberate preparation appeals to our work ethic—and is, of course, crucial for many types of work.”

“Curiosities are unlikely to get us in trouble. If we examine a curiosity that doesn’t lead anywhere, we’ve just wasted some time. In contrast, coincidences can mislead us.”

“People aren’t accidentally stumbling onto insights. They are actively searching for them”

“All we can conclude is that we’re likely to miss the insight if we rely on a flawed belief.”

The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman

“You’re alive Bod. That means you have infinite potential. You can do anything, make anything, dream anything. If you change the world, the world will change. Potential. Once you’re dead, its gone, over. You’ve made what you’ve made. Dreamed your dream. Written your name. You may even be buried here. You may even walk, but that potential…. Is gone.”


Delores: “You think the grief will make you smaller inside. Like your heart will collapse in on itself, but it doesn’t. I feel spaces opening up inside me like a building with rooms I’ve never explored.”