Thursday, July 2, 2015

The 32 List is Here

  1. Try eating soylent for a week.
  2. Be able to explain the history and high-level beliefs of the Quakers.
  3. Fast for an extended period of time (1/2/3 days?)
  4. Take a course in story telling.
  5. Don't use recipes for a week.
  6. Take a nutrition course.
  7. Get on the bone marrow donation list.
  8. Try to get a good guy discount
  9. Write a blog post per month
  10. Learn to do a free standing handstand
  11. Vegan for 2 months.
  12. Junk food only when it's rare and appropriate all year.
  13. Spend all weekend with Sarah.
  14. Don't complain for a month.
  15. Express gratitude daily for a week
  16. Do the hardest thing first for 2 weeks.
  17. Drastically simplify my wardrobe. Something like a capsule wardrobe.
  18. Ignore urinal etiquette as much as possible all year.
  19. Do a craft project with Angie.
  20. Reduce the amount of trash I produce.
  21. Figure out a fitness goal that excites me.

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Blessings and Curses of the Internet

I needed a break from the internet. I want to do so much in life that isn't Clash of Clans, yet Clash ends up taking my free time.

This graph is from the week before my internet fast.

4+ hours playing clash. 4+ hours on Facebook. Admittedly, a lot of this was while doing something else: resting while weight lifting, riding (not driving) in the car, or pooping.

It was time to see how much it hurt to not have the internet, so I cut all non-work ties. I'll admit, I accidentally clicked a few articles and felt the pull to check Facebook, but overall I was pretty clean.

So, what's the internet good for?


  • Podcasts
  • Music streaming
  • Killing time between sets at the gym
  • Communicating with friends/family
  • Meal planning
  • Bill paying
  • Focus at work
  • Rule clarifications for Star Trek: Fleet Captains


  • Mindless use of social networks
  • Clash of Clans
  • Random Youtube videos

The benefits of the internet far out weight the costs. So, the first morning I had the internet again, I got up, and wasted 15 minutes playing Clash and checking Facebook.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Age 31 List Results

Whelp, I'm 31 now, that means last year's list is over. I completed 10 out of 19. Not quite the showing I would like, but still got some good stuff out of it. Biggest thing I learned with these items is that when I make hard-and-fast rules, I have some long-standing negativity towards the "bad" thing that lasts long after the goal's timeframe. There was also a bonus goal of becoming a father that was a big deal this year.

  1. Randomly help some strangers - Failed
  2. Develop a meditation practice - Success
  3. Call extended family once per month - Failed
  4. Come up with and execute a photography project - Success (more on this one later)
  5. Learn to speed read - Success
  6. Troll a bunch of people in a positive way - Success
  7. Stage a roller coaster picture - Failed
  8. Don't buy anything for a month starts - Failed - gave up after a week
  9. Don't eat any added sugar for 30 days - Success
  10. No internet for a week - Success
  11. Read a book by someone with opposing views - Success - the first one felt like it was cheating to count it for this goal, so I added another.
    1. Every day is an Aethist holiday - Penn Jillette
    2. Scientology: The Fundamentals of Thought - L. Ron Hubbard
  12. Spend at least one night with the Amish - Failed
  13. Give a public presentation - Failed
  14. Fruitarian for a week - Tried and gave up (more on this later)
  15. Learn to do a freestanding handstand - Failed and put a large dent in my wall. This one will be coming back next year.
  16. Don't drive for a month - Success
  17. Interview my grandma - Success
  18. Get a colonic - Success (if you can call it that)
  19. Ride a mechanical bull - Failed - surprisingly hard to find this in Omaha.

What ideas do you have for the next list?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Mini Goal Update

Here's a picture, just because
An update on a few goals that don't really deserve a whole post of their own.

No sugar for a month - complete

Boy howdy was this a mistake to do. This turned out to be one of those things that my mind just breaks a little bit when I create a hard rule around something. I already have a difficult relationship with food and this made it worse. I came to villainize any food with sugar in it. The bad thing is that there have been some after effects where that villainization persists and I feel down on myself for having succumbed to weakness.

Develop a meditation practice - complete (kind of)

Head over to the Google machine and you'll find all kinds of benefits of meditation. I really wanted to get in on some of these benefits. I also thought that given how much I try to take care of my body, I should put some time into taking care of the mind. I tried out a guided meditation app called Headspace to help me get going. I meditated every day for almost 60 days. I quit though because I wasn't really seeing any benefit (which is exactly the wrong mindset to approach meditation with). Maybe Headspace just wasn't right for me. It's something I definitely will try to pick up again in the future.

Learn to speed read - complete

I took an online speed reading course to learn how to speed read; it wasn't worth it. There are plenty of articles that teach you the same thing in less time. The main drawback of speed reading is that it's very active. In general, I read to relax, so this isn't a good tool for that. However, I do read some books for work and I've taken to speed reading those to get through them faster and it definitely works.

Free-standing handstand - on hold

I had been practicing this every night for a few weeks but then I just stopped. I stopped because I've been trying to treat my plantar fasciitis, so I'm using that time in the evenings to work on that instead of handstands. This one will definitely carry over to next year.
My butt-print in the wall from a handstand gone awry

Stage a roller coaster picture - gave up

Didn't fit this one into my schedule.

Don't buy anything for a month - gave up

I'm a consumer; I gave up after 2 weeks. I wanted coffee.

Give a public presentation - gave up

No ideas really came to me and I didn't really try.

Spend a night with the Amish - gave up

It's kind of hard to get ahold of the Amish... The one potential connection I had didn't pan out, so I gave up.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Don't drive for a month

I have this dream that one day we can be a one-car family. In general, I don't like driving and I don't like the expense associated with it. My rough guesstimate is that my car costs me $150/month. It's fully paid off so it's just gas, insurance, maintenance, and repairs (which have thankfully been few and far between). So, I wanted to see what life might be like if we got rid of a car.

Heavy things are annoying

Carrying my laptop to work on my bike stinks. It's heavy, and I worry about damaging it if I crash. I also buy salad bar ingredients for work once a week. Thankfully Angie worked a block away, so I just had her bring that stuff in for me. I have a fancy pair of Ortlieb panniers (bike bags), so I am capable of carrying a lot, it just stinks.

Follow this one crazy trick to take the enjoyment out of something!

I genuinely enjoy riding to work, but when I make a hard rule around it like I did for this month, it became a chore that I didn't enjoy. Many days I would have to argue with myself to get on the bike, trying to think of every excuse in the book to not ride. This reaction to hard rules is something I've learned with a few of my goals this go-around.

How can you not enjoy this? Make it a chore.


I generally say riding your bike to work is a net time saver. It took me about and hour each way to ride to work, plus 30ish minutes to get ready for biking. So, 2.5 hours total each day devoted to biking. If I wanted to work out 2 hours a day and drive to work, it would take 2hrs + 50 min for driving + 15 min of workout/car prep. If you're going to work out 2 hours a day, it definitely is the way to go because it saves ~1 hr every day. However, at this point in my life, I didn't want to be working out 2 hours every day, so this resulted in my regularly getting home after 6:30, which is much later than I would prefer.

Things happen

It's worse than it looks. 4.5 weeks later and it's still not healed
One day, I was just turning right and biffed it at about 15mph. I didn't hit anything, just biffed it. These things happen. You need to brush yourself off and continue on. Thankfully, this particular day was quite nice, so I was able to ride the 2 miles into work and then do the full ride home without too much consternation.

Lesson learned

By the end of the month, I missed my car. It was great to grip the steering wheel and accelerate like crazy once I was driving again. I don't know if I could have done this without Angie working a couple blocks away. That enabled me to do a lot of things I couldn't have otherwise. Essentially, this comes down to whether $150/month is worth my time and freedom. At this point, it is. That answer might change though when I have to buy another car when my current one breaks down. In the meantime, I'll still ride my bike to work occasionally, but only on nice days when I'll enjoy it.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Colon Hydrotherapy - Yep, it's a thing

Before I begin, I must warn the reader that this entire post pertains to poop and it being forcibly removed from my body. So, if you're not down with that, stop reading and go watch some puppies instead.

Colon Hydrotherapy

I don't know where I first heard about colon hydrotherapy (or simply called a "colonic"), but it's been bouncing around in the back of my mind for years. The idea behind it is that your colon has a lot of "remnants" that build up in your colon. A colonic is supposed to cure everything and improve life expectancy by 1000000000%. That all being said, I haven't seen much hard science backing this. There's even an episode of Bullshit by Penn & Teller talking about how they're, well, bullshit.

Let's break the phrase "Colon Hydrotherapy" down into its parts:
  • Colon - your butt
  • Hydro - water
  • Therapy - someone's going to combine the two above and do something to you.
How does the therapist combine the two? Well, let me tell you...
  1. Put a hose up your butt.
  2. Pump water into your colon.
  3. Suck out water and "remnants".
  4. Repeat as needed.
  5. Profit.

My Appointment

I haven't been this nervous for an event probably since my Ironman in 2011. I mean, come on, who even friggin does this for a profession? In general, my approach was to just not think about what I had signed up for. I kept looking for some excuse to not do this, but nothing ever came.

Waiting... Thinking it's a long hallway.

The woman that was doing this for (to?) me was very nonchalant about the whole thing. I said I had a basic understanding of what was going to happen, so she didn't really explain the basics.

The procedure room. You can see the bathroom in the back. Also, note the maxi-pad lookin thing on the bed

First thing was go to the bathroom (you know, for modesty) and change into a hospital gown with a completely open back. Once I came out I got up on the table, turned on my side, and up went the hose. I'll admit, this is the first time I've had something shoved up my butt, so I was a little hesitant, but it wasn't horrible.

Now came the water pumping. I couldn't really feel water pumping, per se, it was more a gradual buildup of pressure inside. She then switched it to suction mode to explain to me how I should "release" (yay for euphamisms). More-or-less, the guide for releasing is just lie back and think of England. She also mentioned to let her know if I felt any discomfort (seems innocuous, but important).

The machine.
Note the clear tube in the middle. That's where you can watch the flow.
She then switched it back to pump. After awhile I could definitely feel water on the exterior of my body, which is not something I was in favor of. I began to have a strong urge to poop. I let her know this and she switched it to suction mode. This is where I realized her telling me to let her know about "discomfort" was a critical part of the process.

The suction just felt like a gentle relieving of pressure. I was able to watch the poop flow through a tube in the machine as it happened, which was mildly disturbing.

This process repeated another half a dozen times or so until time was up. Throughout the whole time we just kind of chit-chatted.

At the end, she removed the tube, turned her back (again, modesty is important I guess), and I ran to the bathroom to finish releasing. I then had about 5-10 minutes of what felt like the worst diarrhea ever because it was just water and poo coming out.


Having a hose shoved in my butt and water pumped in and out wasn't exactly comfortable. I guess I can see why some people might be drawn to it, but I won't be doing it again. The science isn't there and I don't feel like spending a bunch of money.