Man, I haven't posted here in a LONG TIME. Don't worry, I'll get around to it soon enough :)
stories and essays with no general theme at all
ALWAYS SUCK THE POLICE’S BALLS AS HARD AS YOU CAN.
Use yes sir, no sir, thank you sir because the police can do whatever they want at all times.
This approach has served me well in a number of different run-ins with the police – whether I was writing graffiti which was illegal, or Driving While Black which wasn’t.
If you are NOT breaking any laws, sucking dick is only giving the cops and their horrible system positive reinforcement. You should stop being so lazy and learn YOUR RIGHTS so that you can handle police officers tactfully and legally. You don’t have to become a lawyer to avoid sucking cop dick. They want to keep their jobs and not look like an idiot to their boss when they bring you in for nothing (even though they can and still might). There are simple scripts to follow that will get you out of most encounters. The last thing that cop wants to do is show up in front of a judge when you take them to court!!!
You people just want to take the easy way out because it takes work and sacrifice to fight the system. FUCK YOU! If you pay taxes, cops are your employees. You’re making it worse for everyone by being lazy and uneducated cock-suckers. People died for your rights, now “We gotta take the power back!”
- He is white
- He has never been to jail
- He is from a low-crime city
Good for him for NOT BEING A FUCKING PUSSY anymore. He didn’t do shit wrong and everybody knows it else charges would not have been dropped. Period ... Fuck it. I’m going to be Skip Gates. I’m already ready for the beating ... “Why do you need to see my ID, officer? In fact, what brings YOU to MY neighborhood? May I please have your name and badge number?”
Labels: society and politics
“Let's remember the energy. Americans were governing not only themselves but some two hundred million people in Italy, Austria, Germany, and Japan … Atomic power was ours alone … And playing Sunday morning softball on the Chancellor Avenue field and pickup basketball on the asphalt courts behind the school were all the boys who had come back alive, neighbors, cousins, older brothers, their pockets full of separation pay, the GI Bill inviting them to break out in ways they could not have imagined possible before the war. Our class started high school six months after the unconditional surrender of the Japanese, during the greatest moment of collective inebriation in American history. And the upsurge of energy was contagious … Sacrifice and constraint were over. The Depression had disappeared. Everything was in motion ...”
“cruising in the neon glories of the new American night … with all this Straight-8 and V-8 power underneath and all this neon glamour overhead, which somehow tied in with the technological superheroics of the jet, TV, atomic subs, ultrasonics--Postwar American suburbs--glorious world! … ”
“He was very stoical. He was a very nice, simple, stoical guy … Just a sweetheart … In one way he could be conceived as completely banal and conventional. An absence of negative values and nothing more. Bred to be dumb, built for convention, and so on. That ordinary decent life that they all want to live, and that's it.”
“Pastoral, as an adjective, refers to the lifestyle of shepherds and pastoralists, moving livestock around larger areas of land according to seasons and availability of water and food. 'Pastoral' also describes literature, art and music which depicts the life of shepherds, often in a highly idealised manner.” -- Wikipedia definition
“You wanted Miss America? Well, you've got her, with a vengeance – she's your daughter! You wanted to be a real American jock, a real American marine, a real American hotshot with a beautiful Gentile babe on your arm? You longed to belong like everybody else in the United States of America? … The reality of this place is right up in your kisser now. With the help of your daughter you're as deep in the shit as a man can get, the real American crazy shit. America amok!”
“He understood that something was going wrong, but he was no Ho-Chi-Minhite like his darling fat girl. Just a liberal sweetheart of a father. The philosopher-king of ordinary life. Brought her up with all the modern ideas of being rational with your children. Everything permissable, everything forgivable, and she hated it. People don't admit how much they resent other people's children, but this kid made it easy for you. She was miserable, self-righteous – little shit was no good from the time she was born … But it's one thing to let your hair grow long, it's one thing to listen to rock-and-roll music too loud, but it's another to jump the line and throw the bomb. That crime could never be made right. There was no way back for my brother from that bomb. That bomb detonated his life. His perfect life was over. Just what she had in mind.”
“'The Democratic Republic of Vietnam' – if I hear that from her one more time, Seymour, I swear, I'll go out of my mind!”
“You're the one who always comes off looking good. And look where it's got you. Refusing to give offense. Blaming yourself. Tolerant respect for every position. Sure, it's 'liberal' – I know, a liberal father … And look where the fuck it's got you! … No, you didn't make the war. You made the angriest kid in America. Ever since she was a kid, every word she spoke was a bomb.”
“Look, are you going to break with appearances and pit your will against your daughter's or aren't you? … for Christ's sake go in there and get her. I'll go in and get her … I'll clear out the office and get on a plane and I'll come. And I'll go in there, and, I assure you, I'll get her off the McCarter Highway, the little shit, the selfish little fucking shit, playing her fucking games with you! She won't play them with me, I assure you … ”
Labels: film and book reviews
- Switch from barbells to dumbbells
- Switch angles, grip, etc. – e.g., change bench to incline bench, change pullups (overhand) to chinups (underhand)
- Do one week of 20-sets (I know this contradicts my heavy-weight principle, but it's only one week for confusion's sake)
- Do one week of isolation exercises (confusion's sake)
- Switch exercises – e.g., squat to leg press or lunges, bench to pullovers or weighted dips (again, just for confusion's sake on a short-term basis)
- If lifting weights, you need a lot of protein. 1 gram / pound of body weight is the industry standard. However, you can't eat six chicken breasts for breakfast and consider yourself set for the day. The body can only digest 30 – 50 grams of protein in one sitting. So you have to spread the protein infusions throughout the day.
- Eat breakfast every day.
- Eat fruits and vegetables.
- Drink lots of water.
- Alcohol is the most overlooked source of excessive calories.
- Squat - 4 x 5 x 275 lbs
- Bench - 4 x 5 x 185 lbs
- Dips - 2 x failure
- Rows - 2 x 6 - 8 for technique
- Deadbugs - 2 x 10 - 15
- Deadlift - 4 x 5 x 315 lbs
- Rows - 4 x 5 x 185 lbs
- Pullups - 2 x failure
- Bench - 2 x 6 - 8 for technique
- Knee Raises - 2 x failure
Buy Love in the Time of Cholera on Amazon.
Latin culture is the most romantic in the world. Is this good or bad?
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez is set in an unnamed town assumed to be Cartagena, Colombia and spans from the late 19th century – early 20th century. As a teenager, Florentino Ariza falls in love with Fermina Daza the first time he lays eyes on her. He embarks on a letter-writing campaign professing his love. She falls in love with him and they begin to write each other regularly. They plan a marriage and life together, without ever having spoken and behind the back of Fermina's overbearing, ambiguously-criminal father.
Fermina's father learns of the relationship and is infuriated, for Florentino is the illegitimate son of a shopkeeper. The marriage would run contrary to his plans of social-climbing by marrying his daughter off to blue blood. He grabs Fermina one day and takes her on a weeks-long trip through the Colombian countryside in an attempt to break the affair. The lovers keep a secret correspondence with the help of Fermina's cousin and make plans to marry when she finally returns.
When Fermina returns, she meets Florentino and impulsively ends the affair. Florentino is devastated. Fermina marries a promising young doctor who's just returned from a university in Paris. Florentino vows to have her someday despite the fact that she has just married. Dr. Juvenal Urbino and Fermina Daza have two children and lead a compatible life. Fermina's father's dream is fulfilled as the couple ascend to the town's social elite through the good doctor's public service and Fermina's beautiful grace.
The book begins with Urbino's death at an old age and proceeds to recount the characters' histories. While they led their perfect marriage of convenience, Florentino Ariza embarked on 622 affairs in hopes to distract the love burning in his heart – all the while waiting patiently for the good doctor to die so he could reclaim his precious Fermina. On the night of the good doctor's funeral, after all the mourners leave, the now 70-something Florentino says to Fermina: “I have waited for this opportunity for more than half a century, to repeat to you once again my vow of eternal fidelity and everlasting love.” On the night of her husband's funeral. It was 51 years, 9 months, and 4 days after first professing his love to her as a teen. He knew the exact number because “not a day passed that something did not happen to remind him of her.” After some resistance, Fermina succumbs to Florentino and they live happily ever after sailing the Magdalena River.
Aside from the surrealism seen in all of Garcia Marquez' work and other Latino writers, the theme of love is unrealistically portrayed with a passion absent in other cultures.
Continue reading ...
Labels: film and book reviews
- ~1½ years in Arizona rehabilitating in fear of prison
- 4 months in the fraternity after breaking my leg
- 1 month as a grad student in AA while depressed
- 6 weeks in Peru while inspired by Henry Rollins
- Alcohol is a major part of who I am
- I rely on alcohol to meet women
I recently met Ben Casnocha for a date at his hotel in Bogotá. Ben Casnocha is an entrepeneur and author, a heavyweight in the blogosphere, and an intellectual. He is a regular guest on NPR's Marketplace and contributes articles for The American. His blog is here. His bio here. His book can be found here. His company here. His Delicious page here. He is only 21!
I found his blog a few months ago and was humbled by how smart, mature, and accomplished he is at such a young age. I follow him on Twitter (here). In March, he tweeted that he would be in Colombia soon. I re-tweeted that I was moving to Bogotá April 3. He replied that he would still be in town and maybe we could meet up. He also mentioned that he looked at my expat blog and noted it was "very entertaining." He asked if I ever worry about STD's (haha). We agreed to meet his last night in the lobby of his hotel.
That night at dinner with Ryan and Fabien (who were both in town), I started writing down questions for the big date . After dinner, I ran to my hotel. I briefly worried that Ben may have sent me a cancellation email. I showered, shaved, and brushed my teeth. I put on my nicest dress shirt, a white Burberry button-down with yellow stripes, along with my cleanest jeans and dress shoes. I grabbed a bottle of Peruvian Maca tablets for a gift and ran out the door. I stepped out of my no-frills, $8 / night hotel in La Candelaria and passed all the junkies and sketchballs on my voyage to Ben's nice hotel by the airport. I stopped by Ryan's and Fabien's hostel to borrow a camera. They joked about how I put on a collared shirt for my big date. I got the camera and left, arriving at Ben's hotel forty-five minutes early. He had an early flight so I assumed he would end our date after an hour. I sat at a table, monitoring every hallway and looking at every person who passed through. After about twenty minutes, I recognized Ben leaving the gym, drenched with sweat. I greeted him. He said he was going to take a shower. While I waited downstairs, I paced back and forth in nervous anticipation. Ben came down and we got a table in the hotel restaurant. He ordered a pasta and I ordered nothing. I told him I already ate, which I had, but the truth was that I didn't even want to look at the menu due to my brokeness and what the prices would look like.
I didn't think Ben would be pretentious based on our email exchange, but I didn't expect him to be so interested in me. I couldn't ask any of my questions for the first half hour because he peppered me with questions first. What do I read? What blogs do I follow? What did I study? How did I decide on this Latin American life? What do I do? What did I do? What am I doing with this writing thing? Etc. As I said, I thought Ben would give me an hour. We talked from 9:30 - 11:30. Besides being smart, Ben Casnocha is nice and down-to-earth, chock full of decency. He asked me great questions. In two hours, I think he has me accurately sized-up. We covered some interesting subjects.
After getting warmed up, Ben's questions got around to the sexual nature of some of my Expat Chronicles posts. He asked what is meant by my tagline, "sexually-frustrated, alcoholic gringo in Latin America." Specifically, sexually-frustrated. The truth: it's a slogan meant to entice people to click through to the blog. He asked if I had read Neil Strauss' The Game. I haven't. He asked if I followed any of the pickup artists' blogs. I don't, and I am not a pickup artist. In fact, I think my game is below average. I'll often go out and not hit on a girl all night.
Ben asked why I aim for many partners. I don't know, maintenance? Maybe it makes me feel like more of a man. He asked if I tell the girls that I'm not faithful. I don't. Ben is very STD-averse. He asked if I'd been tested. I told him I'd go as soon as it burns when I pee. He pointed out that some STD's can be transmitted through condoms and some carriers never show symptoms. 1/4 of American women and 1/3 of New York City women have herpes. I told him I probably have it then. He recommended getting tested just to know where I stand. But, he said, if I test positive for something, then I am in a difficult predicament: would I tell women about it? Good question, Ben! I would like to think I would, but I know I wouldn't at least once. What happened to me? I used to be a decent guy, and I still consider myself to have a decent heart. But something has changed along the way.
One of my first questions for Ben was about reading. The man aims to read 100 books / year! I would consider it a good year if I put down 25. How can the man possibly read so much? I asked how much time he spends reading every day. Blogs, news, books, everything. He estimated an hour and a half plus all the flights he takes. That doesn't seem like enough time, I said. He said he flies a lot. And he reads fast. He doesn't speed-read, but he reads fast. He reads the first and last sentence of each paragraph closest and skims sometimes. I forgot to ask him what he thinks of Tim Ferriss' (author of The 4-Hour Work Week) recommendation of a Low-Information Diet, in effect choosing to not read so much in order to focus on more important things. But I assume that Ben would wholeheartedly disagree.
Because of a few interesting posts and book recommendations, I asked Ben about his religion. From what I've read, I couldn't tell where he stands. He replied, "I'm a non-believer." I probed him to discern if he were closer to agnostic or atheist. He doesn't like the word 'atheist' because of the dogmatic atheists like Christopher Hitchens, American Atheists, and the like. Ben isn't trying to convert anybody, but he believes there is no God. I consider myself more agnostic. I have no idea what God or the point of life is.
Ben wrote a great review of a book that had a profound effect on me: I am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe (Wikipedia entry here). That novel is an accurate slice-of-life work about the American college experience in the 21st century. I credit it with my realization of the superficiality of Greek life as well as the pointlessness of watching sports. Ben's review pointed out an angle I didn't see, how Charlotte was initially strong enough to resist tempation to fit in, or to go with the flow, in her rural hometown. But she succumbed in the face of the prestigious Dupont University (loosely based on Duke).
Ben's review struck a chord with me because, like Charlotte, I was a prodigy student early on. However, I wasn't comfortable being a nerd. I never resisted the tempations. I got into trouble and played down my intelligence to fit in / seem more normal. I asked Ben how he got his confidence to resist conforming. He said being comfortable in your own skin is hard, but it always came natural to him. He was quite athletic / jockish early on, and that helped. I mentioned that maybe my parents' early divorce affected me. While he agreed that can happen, he contended that the biggest influence our parents have on us is at conception. He thinks upbringing is highly overrated. He recommended I read Blank Slate by Steven Pinker, which supports that assertion.
Also overrated (not Ben's words) is higher education in America. I told him that I've come to the conclusion that, especially if you read like Ben does, college may be a waste of time. The guy's company was a success while in high school, so I imagine even finishing his diploma was a pain in the ass. His book published when he was 19. I think if you're going to be an entrepeneur, and you're dedicated to learning informally, you may save the time and money of a formal education. I may have learned just as much from books and newspapers as I have from a classroom setting. Ben completed three semesters at Claremont McKenna, studying political science. He doesn't know if he'll finish. One beef he has with higher learning is the censorship of ideas. Where these institutions purport to support the free reign of thinking, politically incorrect ideas are often shut down by the academia powers-that-be. For example, any discussion of affirmative action (that it might not work) wouldn't be tolerated. Another example was the backlash against former Harvard president Larry Summers for suggesting that there may be a genetic difference between male and female brains which inhibit women from going into engineering and science. Ben thinks it's a shame that these kinds of ideas have to be developed at think-tanks and in the blogosphere. Where does Ben fall politically? He voted for Bob Barr (Libertarian), but he would have voted for Obama if California were in play. I would have voted for Obama if I thought it were worth my time.
Going along with Charlotte Simmons, and the confidence to go your own way and be a nerd, I wondered something about Ben that I couldn't quite phrase. The way I asked it was something like, "Do you think you're missing out on anything by skipping the gutter side of life?" To accomplish what he has, you have to lead a relatively squeaky-clean life. For example, by the time I was his age, I had tried most drugs, committed a slew of various crimes and been in a few different jails, and flirted with danger in other adventures. Ben has never used a recreational drug (not even marijuana!). He said he's obviously missing something in life, but the question is whether that's worth it or not. He said he'd be mildly interested in that side of life. I told him some of my stories, none of which I think are more extreme than what's out there. My First KO in Peru, The Cusco Incident, any of the brothel stories, the time I went to jail high on LSD, or the time I went to jail in South Carolina and almost got in a fight with the biggest, blackest dude in there. Or one of the best days of my life: eating mushrooms and seeing the museums in Amsterdam. In retrospect, I don't think I asked this question to see what he thought about the wild side. I think I asked this to see if he thought that kind of wild side is compatible with the kind of success he has enjoyed. Because my wild side is natural in me, and I wonder if it's incompatible with as stellar of a career as Ben's. I think I'm doomed.
Ben's intelligence is intimidating (I've never felt that from anybody). He asks questions that show how quickly he understands you. As I was riding in the taxi back to my hotel, I felt like I talked twice as much as he did. How the hell did that happen? When reading his blog posts, I would think how much I would love to sit down and pick his brain and learn what I could. And now I just had the chance, and I ended up talking more than listening. What does this mean? When it comes to a thirst for knowledge, or an active mind, nobody is hungrier than Ben Casnocha.
Labels: society and politics
This is an essay I wrote for an assignment to get certified to teach English. This open-ended assignment allows me to analyze any subject from the textbook. I chose a subject (culture) not related to language because it's less boring. Essay below:
In this essay, I want to address what I view as the part of the Business English text that is most relevant to doing business in America. American professionals will overlook minor errors in written or spoken English from an international. However, cultural missteps can damage relationships or otherwise communicate unintended messages. These cultural factors are those that present the greatest discrepancies between US and Latin American business cultures.
Time – American culture follows a monochronic time orientation, as opposed to the polychronic orientation in Latin American countries. Americans say things like “time is money” and “don’t waste time.” This particularly applies to deadlines. In America, deadlines are literally how they sound. Think about what “dead” and “line” mean. Those words don’t suggest that an agreed-upon time or date is adjustable with changing circumstances. If a project or payment isn’t made by the deadline, Americans will expect an explanation why it’s late. Deadlines are much more important in monochronic cultures. Keep in mind when conducting business in monochronic cultures, Americans value time and are not as tolerant of delays.
Punctuality – Punctuality goes along with time-orientation. Look at meeting times as deadlines. Don’t be late. If you are late to a meeting, Americans expect an apology.
Status – Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal.” This is a cornerstone of the American psyche – that no citizens are inherently better or of higher standing than others. In the English language, there is no translation for the word “usted.” It was difficult for me at first, in my Spanish-speaking company, to address certain superiors as “usted” (instead of “tu”) with the agreeing verb form. In English, there is only “you.” There is no special pronoun for people of higher status. Executives and other ranking professionals need not be offended in America if they are not treated with extra respect. Cab drivers or restaurant servers will treat professionals with the same amount of respect as individuals from lower social classes. And customers will likewise treat servers with respect. Executives from Latin America should keep in mind that they are not being insulted. But rather, all people are generally treated with the same respect in America.
Interpersonal Relationships – Americans don’t place as high a value on relationships. While there is certainly a place for building rapport, remember that they believe “time is money.” American professionals can use blunt and direct language. This is normal. Do not take offense. After acclimating to Peruvian culture, I attended a sales show in the States and was a little surprised at how blunt some buyers were. Some meetings lasted less than two minutes. Saving time and moving on can take precedence over building relationships.
Greetings – Gender roles are different in America. In business, gender roles are even subject to law. Men: do not kiss women when greeting them. Women: do not kiss men when greeting them.
Gratuities – In America, many workers earn their living through gratuities as opposed to wages. Not leaving a sufficient gratuity can be insulting and make a bad impression with business colleages. Most important are restaurant servers / bartenders and taxi drivers. Servers and bartenders earn 15 – 20% of the bill’s total. Taxi drivers earn 15% of the fare.