imagrownup

by @kelsocks

Category Archives: Random

Keeping Up With Things Is Hard!

Consistency is a real bitch to master. I was supposed to be keeping up with this blog to prove my ability to keep up with anything, but it fell by the wayside as more pressing concerns took center stage like trying to feed myself and maintain personal relationships and a healthy lifestyle and a cat and pursue comedic endeavors….

There’s just too many goddamn things to do in the world and I want to do them all. The scatter-brained nature of this blog is a testament to my mildly ADD curiosity. This is to say I’m going to start branching out with content. I like my previous writing style, but its not all I want to do so fuck it. Here goes whatevsville.

Kicking off the new style is this dumb drawring I made today. Boom.

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You’re Rubber, I’m Glue….Bitch.

Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
Winston Churchill

Not to brag or anything, but I am preeeeetty good at talking shit.  It just kind of happens when you combine average intelligence with a certain level of observational skill and firsthand experience of people being sucky. This isn’t a skill I’m proud of or anything, but I used to think shittalking was fine as long as I reserved my judgments for things worthy of criticism.

Recently I had a change of attitude, but you’ll have to follow me on this train of thought. I was considering how we are only capable of processing and interpreting the outside world in terms of our own understanding of it, which is based on knowledge and experience.  We are the lens through which we view the rest of the world.

I can’t remember who I was talking (or thinking) negatively about when it hit me that  I had been upset about something I knew I, too, was guilty of on occasion.  From there I ran through a list of all the people I’d been critical of recently and the nature of what my problem was, and blammo– these were things I’d done in the past, was currently doing, or potentially might do in the future:

I was annoyed when a car cut me off in traffic.

I had been upset with a girl for bending over backwards to please a less interested guy.

I mentally rolled my eyes at someone for vaguebooking.

One of my friends was too wrapped up in her own personal drama to listen to my problems.

I laughed at a sloppy drunk chick for making a fool out of herself in public.

I railed against Americans for being lazy, fearful, self-medicating overconsumers.

And finally…

I told a friend he would get more converts to his political cause if he didn’t act like such an abrasive asshole. Ha! (If you’ve been my Facebook friend for a while you’ll understand why that’s rich.)

There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of similar criticisms- big and small, justified and unjustified– that pop into our heads.  I realized that all these criticisms I was making were reflections of my own shortcomings.  I was able to adeptly rip people to shreds because I had firsthand knowledge of these flaws in myself.  This hypothesis was bolstered by looking at how the people I admire most as “genuinely good people” rarely speak ill of anyone.

I think it’s safe to say I’m not the only person for whom this phenomenon holds true.  Like Julian “I’m Perpetually Late to Gigs Because I Don’t Respect My Fans’ Time” Casablancas (sorry, it jut spills out sometimes) sings, “We’re so quick to point out our own flaws in others.” In criticizing, it’s as if we hope to distance ourselves from our own flaws.  It’s like saying “Hey, look over there! That’s where the problem is, not here” or “I couldn’t possibly be guilty of that because I obviously disapprove of such behavior.”  It’s a deflection.

Aside from just being a dick move, this behavior is problematic because when we hide from our shortcomings, we can’t fix them.  So now every time I think something critical, the next thought is “What am I really upset about? Is this actually something I don’t like about myself?”  It’s a worthwhile exercise.  Of course this doesn’t hold true for every situation (I’m not critical of seal furriers because deep down I secretly want to club baby seals to death), but it is worth exploring in your personal relationships.  Changing my pattern of thought from criticism > dismissal to criticism > red flag > self-examination has been helpful for me, maybe it can help you too.

 

**Special thanks to Mr. David Hook for his drawring skills!

Number 40 (or 40 Lessons In 40 Posts)

In celebration of my 40th disjointed post, here’s a disjointed list of 40 things I’ve learned since starting this blog (the author recommends enjoying while drinking a 40):

40- I’m going to die sooner or later so I need to hurry up and do all the awesome stuff I’ve ever wanted to do. 

39- Being physically fit will make you happier, and the inverse is just as true.   Luckily, exercise is an antidepressant that will fix part of the problem instead of just treating the symptoms.

38- Quinoa is as delicious as it is difficult to pronounce: Very.

37- Humankind is inherently good.  At least based on how everyone rushes to make way for ambulances.

36- Humankind is inherently evil.  I forgot it’s against the law to obstruct emergency vehicles, so people have to move whether they want to or not.

35- Humankind is hard to figure out.  Fuck it.

34- Making memories is widely underrated. Did making two costumes and driving 8 hours to a music fest for Halloween weekend substantially complicate my life and require a great deal of time, energy, and money to execute? Yes. Was it fun as fuck? Definitely. Studies have shown that the happiest people are those who purchase experiences instead of things, so go do stuff.

33- Those Sally Hansen stick-on nail polish strips are awesome.  They should invent a way to create custom designs. Maybe sell blank sheets of polish that people can decorate and peel off..? I don’t know, I’m just spitballing here but someone should get on this.

32- I’ll miss being forced to read books I wouldn’t normally encounter. Por ejemplo, Joseph Conrad is a pain in the ass to read but brilliant when it comes to using language and exploring existential crises and moral dilemmas.

31-  Cities are beautiful, dazzlingly complex embodiments of the best and worst of man’s accomplishments. And living in them is fun.

30- Find people you can be yourself around.  It makes everything easier.

29- Weird kids turn into awesome adults. They also have hilarious weird kid anecdotes.

28- You can gain a lot from spending time with people different than you. Like, for realz.

27- Skydiving is awesome. Do it.

26-Institutions of higher education just want your money, but you can still have a valuable learning experience if you take advantage of the opportunity.

25- Almost everyone is lonely.  Some are better at hiding it than others, and some don’t think about it because they’ve filled their time with enough people and things to distract, but everyone wants to feel connected.

24- My joints are feeble as shit, and dealing with athletic injuries is really annoying so use good form, y’all.

23- Throwing ice cream is fun. Fact.

22- Everyone deludes themselves from reality in some capacity. Whether it’s justifying past decisions, rationalizing present circumstances, only seeing what you want to see in others, self-medicating, or self-theologizing, most people prefer their own version of things to the truth.

21- Consistently generating content is hard. 

20- I need to find a reasonable income if I’m ever going to afford that great white shark cage diving trip.

19- It is important to know when to hold and/or fold ’em.  A few little risks here and there in the name of fun is one thing, but actual danger is not worth the consequences. Shark dives don’t count, they’re mostly safe, although honestly if I’m going to die I wouldn’t mind getting eaten by a shark.

18-Lachrymose is a good word.  It means tear-inducing/weepy, FYI.

17-If everyone is cool, no one is cool.  Being hip is a mass produced cultural trend, so basically everyone is average. Which is redundant.

16- There are artificial estrogen-mimicking chemicals in air fresheners.  [source] Probably to keep women in constant nesting mode buying products like more air fresheners…

15-Routines are incredibly efficient. Not having a routine is the opposite of that.

14- Nobody’s business is anybody’s business. 

13- Our generation didn’t create the fucked up world we’re inheriting, but it’s still our responsibility to make it better.

12- If hell exists, it’s probably run by towing companies.

11- Dancing is undervalued. 

10- A lot of people seem okay floating from one societal threshold to the next without worrying about why they’re doing what they’re doing.  You can get a lot out of self-reflection and evaluating your motivations.

9- Balance is the key to just about everything.  Yin and Yang had that shit down.

8- Thinking up 40 things I’ve learned recently is harder than I expected. And most of this shit sounds like clichés. But clichés are clichés for a reason so…

7- Water your friendship plants regularly.  Some are delicate violets and others are durable cacti, but it’s important to take care of them.

6- Putting creative work on display is an embarrassing but necessary evil.  I hate rereading old posts but fear of embarrassment is a too common roadblock to creation. Everybody sucks at first, you just have to keep going.

5- The War of Art is an incredibly useful book. Everyone, especially creative types, should read it.

4- Laughing is the best. More, please.

3- We naturally gravitate toward the things and people we need in order to grow. Just like plants!

2-Better to look like an idiot trying something new than to never try anything.

1- Settling is for suckers. Don’t do it!

Workout DVDs, How I Love Thee

Let me begin by saying I spent the first 19 years of my life avoiding any kind of exercise.  Then, as with most of us, as I grew up my metabolism slowed down so I began to take fitness more seriously.  Spurts of athletic enthusiasm and periods of guilty procrastination punctuated the first several months of my attempt to get in shape.  This was my basic strategy: 2-4 days a week begrudgingly attempt jogging or one of my mother’s outdated workout tapes. Then, feeling a false sense of accomplish having gone through the motions of working out, overeat and destroy any potential benefit I may have had from exercise.  Needless to say I wasn’t getting the kind of results I wanted.  I had no idea what it took to be committed to a healthy lifestyle.

Then, as cheesy as it sounds (I hate the fact I’m about to publish this– I sound like a fucking infomercial), I came across a workout series that changed my life. I received Tony Horton’s P90X as a gift (shoutout to Rocks).  I’d seen the infomercial late at night and was intrigued by the straightforward, no shortcuts, results-based approach to fitness.  Unlike so many frivolous As-Seen-On-TV products promising unbelievable results, Horton’s attitude of was different. He didn’t try to sugarcoat the amount of work it takes to get fit.  Soon after consistently integrating P90X workouts into my routine, I started seeing the results that have since kept me motivated for the long term.

For the past four years I’ve kept it tight using at-home workout DVD series like P90X, Slim in 6, TurboFire, Chalene Extreme, and Insanity, and I can’t praise them enough.

Here are 5 reasons why DVD workouts are great:

1) Privacy.  These workouts are fantastic for the socially retarded, gym-shy, and the self-conscious because you can do them in the privacy of your own home.  Most of these workouts require little equipment (weights or bands and a yoga mat will suffice) and a minimum of about 5×8 square feet of floor space.  For the past two years my gym has been a square of carpet next to my bed.  It’s not fancy but it works (and it’s free).  You also don’t need to worry about looking gross or stupid so you can more fully concentrate on what your body is doing.

2) Engagement.  With so much competing for our attention these days, one roadblock to fitness can be having to disconnect from the world to focus on physical activity.  These videos help curb athletic A.D.D. by grabbing your attention in much the same way any other TV show does– dialogue, music, quick cuts, catchphrases– all there to keep you engaged in your fitness.  I can’t speak for everyone, but if I try sitting in a quiet room to count off squats or crunches by myself, I always magically end up sitting back at my computer fucking around on the internet, so it’s extremely helpful to have cues provided by an instructor.

3) Accountability. Part of why these DVDs have so many success stories is because they create a sense of accountability towards oneself and the program that will keep you coming back each day until it’s a fully integrated habit. Not only do they provide calendar style workout plans, but the fitness gurus will keep you motivated toward consistency.  They’re charismatic, positive, educational, and inspirational (although not everyone will like every instructor’s personality– it’s important to find someone you can stand listening to for an hour a day).

4) Thoroughness & Versatility.  A lot of people get going with fitness but poop out from boredom when they hit a plateau. Sometimes this is because we get in the habit of only working on the things we know we’re already good at (Runners only running, weight lifters only lifting, yogis only yogiing, etc.) because we feel confident in those areas.  It’s an easy trap, but we can only improve if we get out of our comfort zones.  That’s easy to forget if you’ve been active for a while because when you do the same thing over and over, you get so good that you can’t remember what it feels like to struggle.  These DVD workouts involve an array of activities to keep the body challenged (cardio, strength, martial arts, dance, yoga, plyometrics, interval training…) as well as tips on how to intensify each workout to challenge you as you progress, thus warding off dreaded plateaus.

5) Education.  Finally, and perhaps the most important key to long term success, is how these programs attempt to educate viewers so they have the tools to make healthy decisions on their own.  Being healthy is a 24 hour job, so that’s 23 hours away from our instructors that we are free to sabotage their good influence.  I’ve found that these programs not only provided useful information (by way of the literature included with the DVDs as well as the tips given throughout each video), but they also catalyzed a desire to learn more on my own.  I’ve since taken fitness and nutrition classes and read up on the subject on my own.   It is only by getting educated on health and fitness that you can learn how to make smart decisions by yourself.

These are a few of the main reasons I love workout DVDs.  Having said all this, it’s important to remember the following:  First, check reviews of workouts.  Obviously the more success stories there are the more likely it works (or maybe it just has great marketing…).  I’m particularly biased in favor of Beachbodys programs because of my own success with them.  Of course if you do any fitness consistently you’ll see results, so no one “needs” these series per say, but they are helpful.  Secondly, don’t forget about the great outdoors!  It’s good to mix up your routine by getting active in actual sunlight doing real things– running, biking, hiking, rock climbing, swimming, whatever.  Sprinkling in these fun activities will help keep you on track with a healthy lifestyle. There are also some things you simply can’t do in your living room, like improving your distance run, so don’t forget to take to the streets.

I hope this has been the slightest bit helpful to someone.  After all, fitness not only improves your physical well being, but also your mental health.  It reduces stress and builds confidence, so get moving!

Boozin’ On A Budget

In troublesome economic times like these, we all want to drown our sorrows every once in a while.  But when you’re already low on funds, it’s hard to find extra money for partying.  It’s also hard to do that when you’re just naturally cheap, so here are some tips for how to get the most crunk for the least cash.

Plan ahead.

If you know you’re going to want to be drunk from 10pm-12am, don’t eat a giant greasy burrito at 9:30 or it’ll take more drinks and more time digesting to get drunk.

If you know you don’t want to spend $5/drink at an event, just grab a 6-pack of the highest alcohol content beer at a gas station and shotgun a bunch in a public bathroom or alleyway immediately before heading in. If this makes you uncomfortable, don’t worry: homeless people do it all the time.

Flasks flasks flasks! Pick your favorite liquor and then just buy mixers all night, or if you prefer, the dirtbag’s favorite move: drinking in the toilet.  Take special consideration of liquor choice if you’re going to have to drink it at room temperature.  Also,  another tip for girls: security rarely checks the tampon zipper pocket on the inside of most purses.

Be efficient.

If you can only afford 3 or so drinks at the place you’re going to be all night, why not make them all shots and take them all at once.  This way, you’ll at least be able to get a buzz going for a while as opposed to if you spaced them out.  Another outcome is that you get drunk enough right away that you think it’s a good idea to spend more money than you’d originally planned, but either way you’ll probably have a good time.

Buy drinks that have a high alcohol content.  Light beers are not worth it unless they come in giant cans.  I’ve found red wine is often a reliable choice.

Be a hot girl.

This is probably the #1 best thing you can do to save money on alcohol.  Even though chivalry is dead (aka gender roles are equalizing) and it’s rare to find a guy under 30 who will buy unfamiliar women drinks, plenty of bars offer free drinks to hot girls on the premise that they will draw in business from the dudes who want to bang them.  Economics!

…But be considerate.

Even though it can be hard to find money for going out, don’t use that as an excuse for being a dick or not tipping.  A lot of people’s jobs depend on tips so don’t take advantage of anyone by making them bust ass for you without compensating for their efforts.  And don’t steal.  That’s rude as shit.

Music Survey

Like music? Me too. Be a doll and take this single question survey. I’m curious what my friends and readers think.

View Survey

Essay Writing Tips by an English Grad

Step 1: Wait until the night before it’s due to start.

Step 2: Pick a thesis statement that is both articulate enough to sound like you know what you’re talking about, but still vague enough that you can’t get pinned down into making a real point.

Step 3: See what’s going on on Facebook.  If nothing new, run through old vacation photos for several minutes. Or, as an alternate, plan excessively for some future social event.

Step 4: Copy dozens of semi-relevant quotes into a blank word document.

Step 5: Check Facebook again.

Step 6: Drink some coffee for focus, but spend at least two to three times the necessary time preparing it.

Step 7: String the quotes together with connecting phrases and mash them into some semblance of structure.

Step 8: Check Facebook again.  Spend an inordinate amount of time crafting witty comments no one will give a shit about or writing useless notes.

Step 9: Take a shower.

Step 10: Sit at your desk tweezing your eyebrows or trimming your nails for 20-30 minutes while you think of a conclusion and a snappy title.

Step 11: Print. Don’t bother proofreading, it’s 4am.

Step 12: SUCCESS!

“Fuck off”– Love, English Majors Everywhere

Having been an English major for my last two years of undergraduate education, I can’t escape the puzzled looks, dismissive comments, and condescending assumptions about my future.  I’m certain I’m not the only English major to experience this blatantly rude behavior, so I’ve decided to write an open letter to English major shittalkers around the world:

Dear People Who Can’t Keep Their Judgey Faces Under Control Like Most Decent Non-Rude Humans,

Yes, we are English majors.  Liberal Arts.  I know it sounds frivolous but there are several reasons you should cool it with the sassy assumptions. 

1) You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Just because someone is an English major doesn’t mean they’re stupid or lazy.  It also doesn’t mean they’re going into education.  Teaching English might be the most obvious career path, but it’s far from the only option.  In fact, at the start of my undergrad I wanted to go into public relations or advertising but was personally dissuaded against majoring in those fields. Why? Their requirements change over time as technology and communications evolve,  meanwhile the skills honed in an English degree are timeless.

2) We will influence you whether you like it or not.  The overarching theme between all English classes has been the ability to form and present a convincing argument.  Now maybe in school we’re only trained in subjective matters, but the skill set is the same: being convincing.  Your ass is probably getting persuaded right now by some shameful english major hiding in the dark somewhere.  We’re also good at bullshitting our way to the top.  Now, maybe that’s not admirable but it will certainly help us get the job over someone with weaker English skills. Womp womp.

3) Few undergrad degrees lead immediately to jobs anyway.  This has caused perhaps the most haughty, rude comments: the idea that English majors will have an impossible time finding employment and will inevitably go to grad school to stall or end up teaching.  It’s funny because last time I checked, none of my fellow college grads (with the exception of one engineering major) got jobs right out the gate.  In fact, I’d feel a lot worse if I picked a major based on the job I thought it would get me only to find out there’s no jobs.  At the very least we English majors have the aforementioned skills that are universally transferrable.

In sum, the  next time someone says they’re an English major pause, take a second, and let them explain their plans before jumping to conclusions.  And certainly keep your expressions of disgust to a minimum.  After all, in a communication-based economy, the articulate man is king. 

**for any grammar nitpickers, I intentionally use the plural pronoun “they” with singular verbs because it is more conversational and far less awkward.