Guess what I did over Easter Weekend? Cross country ski. My first time since 2002. And it was unreal. Why haven’t I taken advantage of this before?
I did it in Canmore, which is only 45 min drive from Calgary. Cost only 20 dollars to rent the skies/boots and you’re off! Okay also 20 dollars for the ski pass. But that is still quite the bargain compared to any Ski resort. Not to mention no lift lines. Most importantly of all, it was a lot of freaking FUN (once you get the hang of it).
It was a beautiful day with the sun shining on us. My good friend Justin won a silver medal at the Asian games for cross country ski racing a few years back. He has been bugging me and all us friends to try out this rather pedestrian looking sport for god knows how long.
Anyways, he finally persuaded us enough to do it. Some friends from Vancouver also joined us.
We got 1 hour lesson from him on the basics and boom we were off to the races. I won the relay. The back of my arm muscles were aching the next day.
Coming down the hill paths was extremo fun. Not snowboarding or skiing downhill fast, but still super fast. Some of us crashed and bailed. Landed on my ass few times, but once you tell yourself you won’t fall, you don’t fall.
Will consider again. The rocky mountains of Canmore were a spectacular setting. Need to go on more “holidays” within my locale.
A couple photo’s.
Keep it loose,
Last night I listened to 7 min talks on mental health by eight thinkers including Margaret Trudeau. (She’s the Prime Minister’s mom!)
It was a well run event by Walrus Magazine. They were serving tenderloin appetizers on toothpicks afterwards at Theater Junction. Delicious. I had about 6.
Some golden nuggets from the talks:
- Having a single friend you see during the week is as good for your health as making an extra $100,000 a year
- Weak social connections is equivalent to smoking two packets of cigarettes a day for your health
- We should develop brain retirement plans (like RRSP) to prevent dementia. As you grow older, you have a diversified portfolio of stimulating activities.
- By 2040 150 million worldwide will suffer from dementia.
- Physical activity three times a week can reduce the risk of dementia by 35%
- Cognitive bias in our health system and the adverse affects in indigenous people
- Facts: 1 in 5 Canadians experience some form of mental illness and half a million people aren’t at work due to mental illness
All in all a fun and informative night out for 25 dollars.
Since Thursday I’ve been absolutely hooked on the Roosevelt documentary by filmmaker Ken Burns and Geoffrey Ward. It’s on Netflix.
It’s about one of the most interesting and perhaps most important family’s of the 19th and 20th century.
The film discusses the rise of the first US President of the 1900’s – Theodore Roosevelt. It masterfully blends talking about his family and then the younger generation, such as his niece – Elanor Roosevelt, who later marries her fifth blood related cousin Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Now a lot of the footage is black and white, lots of great photographs, but what really captures you is the narration. Not dry at all. The hardship, the obstacles and the huge personality of Theodore Roosevelt especially caught my attention. What a hero. The guy was a non-stop doer.
I’ve probably learned more about US and world history watching this documentary (released in 2014) than any university or school course.
Anyways, must watch in between you’re binge sessions of Fuller House and Narcos.
I’m one of those people that can hear a tune in the background and within 20 seconds name the tune/ band and provide you with a mini bio. It’s quite the high demand skill set I’ve developed.
I’ve been playing these hits non stop past 2 weeks. Mostly 2016 music with some pop classics from the past.
- In the Moment by The DMA’s.
- In fact – the entire album by the DMA’s (Hills End released about 3 weeks ago) by this Sydney band is very good. It sounds like vintage 90’s Brit pop – The Smiths, Stone Roses, Oasis all rolled into one. The singer sounds a bit like the guy from the View. Melodic tunes, great riffs with modern production.
- Do It, Try It – M83
- Doing it To Death – The Kills
- Genghis Khan – Miike Snow
- Trap Queen – Fetty Wap
- Girl You Know It’s True – Mili Vanelli. (Came across Julian Casablancas cover of this.)
- My Number – Foals
- What Went Down by the Foals. *The entire new album by the Foals
- Tame Impala Remix of Waves by Miguel.
- Everything You’ve Come to Expect – Last Shadow Puppets
- Bad Habits – Last Shadow Puppets
- This is How it Feels – Richard Ashcroft
- Suedehead – Morrisey
- Cake by the Ocean – DNCE
- Best for last – The Knocks
- A night in Tunisia – Art Blakley
- Can’t Get Enough of Myself – Santigold
- Fuck Me Pumps – Amy Winehouse (Amy doc on netflix is a must watch)
- Lonely Press Play – Damon Albarn
- Somebody Else – the 1975
- Dude Like Him – Willie J Healey
- My Baby Just Cares for Me – Nina Simone (watched her doc on Netflix)
- Can’t Keep Checking My Phone – Unknown Mortal Orchestra.
Reading is important, everyone knows that. But do we make time to read like we do with sleeping and eating? Unfortunately not many of us do not. You rather binge watch House of Cards Season 4. I haven’t even seen a single episode yet!
Here’s all the books I’ve read in 2016.
- Mate by Tucker Max and Geoffrey Miller– Tucker Max wrote outrageous books about getting with girls in the 00’s. He teams up with dating scientist (yes such thing exists) to add some credibility to this subject. Oddly not a lot of books on this subject. Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance is more about the online dating world. This book is quite conversational and well researched. In a sense I feel it’s less about meeting girls and its more a marketing book. Wear leather boots on first dates guys! Lots of actionable tips that have worked for me.
- Tartar Steppe by Dino Buzzati – This is an Italian book from 1930’s translated into English. It’s a tale of young solider in northern mountainous Italy assigned to military post overlooking nothing. He wonders what he’s doing with his life. Time is passing, yet he feels obligated to stay on so he can be Captain one day. Waiting for a war that may never happen. It’s a haunting read.
- How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life by Russ Roberts. – Adam Smith is the father of economics. He’s famous for his book “The Wealth of Nations “. Yet people don’t realize he wrote another book before this one called Theory of Moral Sentiments. This is a modern take on that. Adam Smith had a deep understanding of human nature. He discusses why we shouldn’t be addicted to our modern gadgets. He also has deep thoughts on the pursuit of fame, of money, and the value of an “indifferent spectator” guiding your actions.
- Why I Write by George Orwell –Written back in 1940. It’s a collection of essays on why he writes. The third essay he discusses socialism, fascism and capitalism. Important subject in those days when the threat of Hitler and Nazi’s taking over England was possible. It’s funny many people still don’t know the difference between socialism and communism! The final essay talks about how political language is jumbled up English to persuade you murder is acceptable. You can finish it one day.
- Creatocracy by Elizabeth Wurtzel – This was OK. It’s central thesis is the United States had this intellectual property clause written in the constitution that led to much of the innovations/wealth we see today in Silicon Valley and Hollywood. She’s has a weak but interesting argument that fear of poverty is needed for creativity. She thinks every great musician only comes from the States. Axel Rose wasn’t the last real rock’n’roll star. That would be the Gallagher brothers from England. She has a amazing insight about how rival ideas affect our consumption of them.
I’ve thought about writing a ebook and posting it on amazon.com for a long time. So the other day I decided to write down ideas. They would be quick 30 page ebooks. It would be a fun experiment to see if I could do it. Without further ado here are my ideas:
- United States in 2020 After Four Years of Trump : Lots of google searches on him at the moment. Could be a HUGE seller.
- Leonardo DiCaprio Oscar Movies : discuss other movies he should have won an Oscar. For example: The Beach.
- Why Minorities Struggle in Hollywood/Creative Fields. This was also a big topic at the Oscars.
- How to Save Kanye West. He’s back in the headlines with crazy tweets. This would discuss his recent meltdown. Maybe relate it to what media does to famous people like in the movie Amy.
- Top 20 recipes to make in a crock pot in 5 minutes: I recently bought a crock pot and it’s slowly changing my life. I still need more recipes. This would help me and help others. Win/win.
- Top Rug Designs in 2016. I work with rugs so this would be a easy peasy one. A subjective one yes, but that’s the beauty of art. I can discuss trends in modern decor and interior design for young people.
- Top Ten Music Festivals to attend in 2016. I attend a music fest once a year for past 5 years so I could write some helpful tips. Best food at a music festival, best city, best line ups, best bang for your Canadian dollar.
- Canada Needs to invade Europe. This would be about stealing golden ideas from Europe, such as 8 week paid holiday leave in Italy for all its citizens and zero home work in Finland schools, and amazing 5 course lunches in France for public school kids. Free University Education in Slovenia. Inspired by the Michael Moore movie – Where to Invade Next.
- How to Throw a Successful Reading Party in the Park. I’ve done 3 of these so I have some experience with this.
- Top 10 Hikes to do around Calgary for a Beginner. I’ve been hiking lots past year or so. Consider myself a beginner, so I’m authority on this subject.
Okay some of these ideas suck. But who cares. Writing this list was itself a mind exercise. Let’s see if I actually follow through and turn one of these ideas into an Amazon kindle book.
What are things you don’t wanna do?
Who are people you want to avoid?
Information you seek to avoid.
It’s sort of a counter intuitive idea in these modern times. But it’s needed in this age of distraction to get anything done. It was something talked about by Stoics two thousand years ago: The Subtractive way. Also applies to diets as well, which is another topic.
Seneca believed removing things does more than adding things to your life.
Removing things from your list of things TO DO might help you finish those things you wanna do faster.
For example, I hate the fact I still check Facebook quite a bit sometimes in the middle of the work day.
Note to self: Perhaps making you’re number one on your Don’t Do list is to only check FB (this is short for Facebook) only at 5 pm. Maybe it’s deleting FB entirely.
Remove all the impediments towards getting more stuff DONE. When there is more disturbance in that flow, there are then more impediments to getting stuff out.
Now getting rid of FB entirely for me would be too much. I’m part of a private online business course/workshop groups (paid) on Facebook that I get a lot of value out – for that reason alone I frequent that site. It’s not only checking out single girls photo’s. We have discussions on creating online businesses.
So I’ll probably go with first option which is block FB during the day so I can focus on output.
BTW: There is a cool software out there called selfcontrol app.com. It will stop you from checking certain websites until say 6 pm when you’re done work and back at your apartment.
Will experiment with this software this month and report back.
Hope you had a good Monday!