Moderation

Last night my wife and I went out to eat at the local sushi place we usually frequent. We have not been there for a while and I think they where pissed off at us for not being there. The last time I went there I think I told them that we had been going to another sushi place which looking back seems like not a great idea. The food was great and Shannon and I didn’t each too much. I have been starting to get carbohydrates back into my diet and yesterday I decided to just start eating bread without worrying about it.

Yesterday, during our walk we where really hungry. We walked kinda late and had not eaten anything up to that point. On the way back we saw the scone shop that is open down the street from our house and decided to check it out. It looked good and smelled even better when we went inside. They server Temple coffee and that’s usually pretty good so I ordered a cup. We also broke down and bought a couple “hand-pies” for lunch and also a maple and bacon scone. After not having bread for a long time (months) it was nice to have a little and it tasted great.

So we had the scone for dessert after the sushi dinner and I enjoyed it very much. After not having any sweets for a very time you discover two things; how much you like sweets and how dangerous they can be. I must have ate the scone too fast because, for the first time in a long time I got heartburn.

I’m really not going to worry about the carbs any longer. I think that it is important to have them in moderation (like not having too many beers) but not to ‘force’ them out of your life. I do, however feel that because of the massive amount of advertising and the basic ‘forcing’ upon us of carb rich foods as well as the fact that carbohydrates can become addicting to many people; that I should still be very weary about eating too many and having it effect my life.

I know that if I can eat the sweets and cakes in moderation, then I will have truly mastered the urge and the desire. Just removing it from your life is not enough, it is there to test you. If you never take the test then you never have a chance to pass. The right way is to neither indulge or abstain completely but to control and moderate the intake to best suit you. That is where the real strength comes in.

Even though I know moderation is the right way, it still takes steps to reach the goal. Removing carbs and going into full keto for many months was the first test. The practice of absence helped me to recognize the amount of influence it had on my life. It is hard to realize fully just how much what you eat effects your mood and personality. With the amount of carbohydrates people take in in this country it is no wonder why there is such a prevalence of anxiety and depression. Instead of subscribing patience anti-depression medicines right off the bat, doctors should be asking their patience what they have been eating. I guarantee that in many cases a simple change of the diet would be just as effective and would cost the patient much less in the long run. Instead, the pharmacies and drug companies make so much money and enslave the people onto horrible drugs!

If we can just maintain self-control then we will never need to be controlled by others. The only way to really be free is to find the freedom in yourself. Unfortunately for some, this requires work and dedication and they are unable to accomplish this task. The ones who cannot control themselves cause the effect of the creation of systems of control that do the work for them but also reap the reward of the work. This is the mythology of the vampire. There is no real blood involved. Blood is a metaphor for energy, life, work. It is all a story of cause and effect.

The more we grow…

“The more we grow in love and virtue and holiness, the more we see love and virtue and holiness outside.” – Vivekananda, Inspired Talks p.526

This is a very wonderful quote that I read in one of my books. It struck me as the most beautiful thing and I thought that I would share it along with some thoughts that I had. The more we grow in love, the more we see love in the world. That is the basic maxim of the quote. The outside reflects the inside. What you see on the outside, what you think of as being outside, comes from within you.

Taking the thought a little farther, there is an essence, a truth being said here. The truth being that we create the world we see around us. This is not directly saying that everything we see is really just inside of our own heads. We are obviously, each having an experience, but that experience is essentially singular. There is a collective consciousness but it is not the result of our individual minds, it is the CAUSE of our individual minds. That is very important to remember. The stream only flows one way.

So in this way we are all collectively generating our existence. Each one of us being the part as well as the whole because the connection to everything being one is inherent. We are like a million eyes, creating the universe. Creating light through the eye. That too is a very strange and sacred idea that may not be understood by everyone. The idea that the eye is the thing that causes light to be. It is easy to mistake the effect for the cause. Even though the cause is always unaffected by the effect, the effect still has an inherent connection to the cause but this connection can only flow one way; from the cause the the effect, not the other way around.

On one level we can understand possibly the relationship between the mind and the world around us. The world around us is the result, or the effect of our minds cause. If we grow out selves, grow TOWARD ourselves. Then we will always be creating something that is closer to our true selves, the universal truth which is love. By coming closer to the truth, we cause an effect in the world that is also generated closer to the truth. This generation is like starting a fire with two sticks. You rub them together and they slowly build up heat and eventually, in one moment, a flame appears. This is the same thing that happens inside during this moving toward ourselves, or “the more we grow in love…”.

Even if we are not trying we are generating this world, affecting it. Some people are able to effect things more easily than others, all according to their capacity. Eventually everyone with gain independence from this Maya through complete realization and experience. There are others who are actively working in their lives toward the supreme goal. Those people have a choice. They can work the right-hand path or the left-hand path. The right hand path is the correct path, the one that brings you closer to the supreme goal. The left-hand path is the path that brings material treasures. It brings things down from above, the other end of the circuit if you will. Both paths are the same, neither really good nor bad. But the EFFECTS are different, that is the key.

The closer we get to the ultimate reality, that we are all one and that everything is one. The more that we move towards the love and virtue and holiness, the more we will succeed in our mission. In this worlds mission. If we concentrate on love then love will appear. If we concentrate on virtue, virtue will appear. If you concentrate on holiness, then you will become holy. If you become any of these things, then you will spread them like a fire and others will become loving and virtuous and holy. Even a little candle can fill a room with light.

Day-dreaming

Sometimes I find that I enjoy just sitting here and thinking. I’ve been doing it for a long time, as long as I can remember in-fact. Back when I was in grade school, around third or fourth grade, I remember it was called ‘day-dreaming’. The first time I heard that word, it was being applied to me and what I was doing which was staring off out a windows and thinking. It sounded like a magical word. I was always fascinated by dreams and this sounded to me like a way to make dreams come to me in the day time, while I was awake. Of course day-dreaming does not go that far in to the fantasy, but it can cause you to loose touch with events that are going on around you. Maybe I had taken up day-dreaming as an escape from what I saw as an oppressive and demanding world.

To this day I still day-dream. Just before I started writing this I was doing it, the act of which lead me to write about the fact and ponder it a little more. There is just something nice about day-dreaming. About sitting there with your thoughts and just letting them come to the forefront of your mind. The relaxation can go both ways. I can calm myself down by staring at a single point or object and focusing on it. I have been doing that since I was a child as a way of escaping situations that where overwhelming to me. This happened a lot, so I did it a lot.

Then there is the other way day-dreaming can correlate with relaxation. When I am feeling relaxed and free, I often drift into a day dream state where I let my thoughts wander and go where they will. It is a great past time that I cherish and hold as part of who I am. I have been day-dreaming so much over the course of my life that I feel I have done more in my mind that I have in the real world. No idea if that is a good or bad things but it has to be at least somewhat true.

There was one time, when I was on a baseball team as a child, where we where running laps around a field. I was having a tough time that day with feeling like I was part of the team. In my mind everyone was very different than me and I always felt that they didn’t like me. So we are running and I am thinking of what I would rather be doing at that time. During the 90’s a very popular game was Sim City and I was playing it religiously. In my mind I was still there at the computer building my city. I spent the majority of the run thinking not about what I was doing, but literally building a city in my head. That, to me, was much funner than running and even though I was doing one thing physically, I was doing another, much funner thing in my mind.

The moments just before sleep are also one of my favorite times to just think. I will be lying there in bed, my wife asleep next to me, and I will just think about things for maybe an hour or so. Sometimes I will try my best to run back everything I did that day in chronological order. Seeing if I could pull up from memory each thing that I did and thought. Heard and smelled. I am often surprised at how hard it can be to think of all the things that you did in a day without feeling that I am missing large chunks of my day. Those chunks must be the parts where I was day-dreaming throughout the day!

I do think that sleep is a form of focused thought no different from the more ‘forced’ or induced focus that happens when day-dreaming. The only difference is that you have reverted back to a more true state, that of observer only. During a dream you are still consciously thinking of things, but it seems that you are just watching things play out. Without the control from your conscious thought to guide a dream, you can end up with some very strange connections and events happening in dreams.

I dream very often, I would say pretty much every night. I don’t always recall all of my dreams even if I knew that I dreamed that night. Most of the dreams that I can recall are the ones that I have just moments before I wake up. When I am in a halfway place between dreaming and sleeping. Those are the dreams that have the most impact on me. I believe that dreams are very important to understanding yourself and can reveal many things about yourself to yourself.

In the same way that dreams can tell you about yourself, day-dreaming can also reveal to you aspects of your unconscious that you otherwise would not have revealed. If you day-dream with this intention, it no longer becomes the unguided and frowned upon ‘day-dreaming’ of youth. Instead it becomes something called meditation. The conscious focus of thought on a certain object or form. If you can do this with your mind, you can discover all of the knowledge that is in this world. It truly is a very powerful tool that we all have within us.

To frown upon a child who day-dreams is wrong. Instead, that child should be fostered to develop his/her talent. For if the child can start from an early age, controlling his/her thoughts and turning day-dreaming into focus and meditation. Then a great gift of love and truth can be given to the child which. If children can discover their true-selves at an early age, or even start the journey itself at an early age; society and culture will reap the rewards in the future.

For those of us who are older, lets us try and practice day-dreaming a little every day in order that it may eventually develop into intense meditation. Anyone can do this!

Moving around is a good thing

Today was a pretty easy going day. I was able to get a lot done including working on the temple painting. It is actually developing nicely so I am excited about getting it done. I already have a place above my desk to put it.

Tomorrow is a workout day so I’m happy that I am not feeling too sore today. It is a whole lot easier to get motivated to workout when you are not already feeling the pain from the last workout! Plus, I don’t think that it is too healthy to work out too much. There has to be some time to get healed before you can really push it again. I also think that it is important to make sure to stay active for most of the day. You may be surprised how many calories your body burns just simply walking and standing. If you walked for an entire day straight, you would burn well over the 2500 calories recommended by the US Food and Drug Administration. That’s quite a bit!

A reason for this large number is that your body is actually very inefficient at using calories for physical energy. Only about 20% of the calories used by the body result in locomotion. The majority of calories burned are used for brain function, with the rest going to basic body functions and heat regulation. So you can see how much you can expend by just moving your body.

One can only imagine the amount of time people spend just sitting and doing nothing. People who work in offices are the most prone to this problem. I, myself used to sit for most of the day when I had a desk job. I would try my best to get out of the building and take a walk around the building, but that would only be for 5-10 minutes and then I was back to sitting at my desk for the rest of the day.

If you can just get up and move around you can actually burn quite a few carbs. There are people who think that in order to work out and loose weight, you have to push yourself to the limit and really make it a chore. The only time you need to kill yourself working out is if you want to create muscle. In that case you have to literally tear the muscle in order for it to heal stronger, and bigger than it was before. For fat burning, you only need two things: be in a fat burning mode (ketogenic), and burn more calories than you consume.

Office life is not a good way to live. I feel bad for those who are stuck at a desk job, or any job, that they hate. Being locked in to a job that you hate is one of the worst ways to spend your life, but many Americans are doing just that. It is easy to get locked into a cycle of consuming debt. With things like credit cards and home mortgages, people get locked into having to just pay the bills. There are those who have so much debt that they will never be able to pay it off. That is no way to live.

A lesson I learned early on; Don’t get put in a position where you owe someone something. As soon as you owe something to someone, you are their slave plain and simple. They can come and take your entire life away. It is always best to be as self reliant as you can. Sure there are people in your life that depend upon you and those you depend upon, but this dependence should be based on fellowship and love, not mandated by debt.

I’m digressing from by original purpose for writing this post, which was me working out and the value of being active. Again, it’s amazing what you can do for your health and fitness by just moving around for the majority of the day. I’ve even had the thought of removing the chair at my desk so that I would stand all day and never really sit down for any length of time. That may be a little extreme, but it would probably be very effective.

The other thing that I have discovered only yesterday is that it helps when going through the ‘keto flu’ to take salt tablets. I discovered that most if not all of my keto transition symptoms where alleviated by salt pills. No more dizziness or light headed feeling from low blood pressure. I would highly recommend that you check them out if you ever feel fatigued or tired. They have really done wonders for my overall vitality, especially when transitioning.

When you are going through keto, or even during keto if your body is still adjusting, it is common to loose salt when your body is flushing out all the water weight. This can result in de-hydration. Even though you may be drinking a lot of water, you will still feel thirsty because your body is loosing salt as well as potassium. An easy way to take care of this is to salt your food more. After a while your body should adjust (takes about a week or two) and then you will be back to normal and you wont have to worry about your salt intake so much.

I found that by taking a salt pill every hour or so, all of my fatigue, headaches, and dizziness upon standing quickly went away. The effects where almost immediate. The nice thing about the pill is you don’t have to take it with food so you don’t necessarily have to eat to get your salt up. I like to take one just before we go on our walks around the neighborhood in order to have more energy.

Most people think that taking salt would be harmful, but really the issue with salt is not the amount that you eat. It is more about the amount of water that you drink with the salt intake and if you have high blood pressure due to other factors which can be exasperated by the salt. What people forget is that salt is an important part of our diet and is required by our bodies to function.

With the addition of the salt pills I have been feeling great. Today was the second day taking them and they are really making a difference. Hopefully tomorrow I will be feeling just as good when I work out.

Goals for Jan 2017

Today I decided to go over my goals for the month of January 2017 and I thought I would post them as a reminder to get them done! The month is about half over, so these are goals for things that I either want to do every day, or that I want to get completed before the end of the month. A lot of the things listed here I have been doing all month already, so it should be no problem for me to knock these things out for the rest of this month. I am also planning some things for the new moon that is approaching on the 27th of this month so that will be the day where, if I need to, I will shift my focus away from things that are not working. In the meantime, here are my goals for the rest of January 2017:

Scheduled tasks:
* Write over 1000 words per day, everyday.
* Post a blog post every day.
* Learn Shinken monitoring -> Get a server up and running with monitoring of something working.
* Work out 3 times per week -> Each workout consists of:
100 sit-ups min
100 push-ups
100 squats w/ weight added (30 pounds)
As needed weight lifting
* Paint my temple board panting (Ill post it when it is done!)
* Meditate and read every day -> Reading should be non-fiction.

Quick tasks:
* Label networking equipment in the house.
* Create networking topology diagram for the house network.
* Enable SNMP on something -> One of the routers/switches maybe?

For the reading, I am also going to be trying to get at least a chapter of the fiction book I am reading for pleasure; Neil Stephenson’s Seveneves. If I could finish that book this month that would also be quite an accomplishment. It is a big read but I really enjoy the way that Neil Stephenson writes and would recommend his books to anyone who is interested in “hard science fiction”; that is, science fiction that is as close as possible to real, but with one event or thing that is changed to create the story. Something like historical speculative fiction could be considered a close relative of this genre in that everything is as close to how it really happened, but the author changed one thing (like the Nazis won the war) and takes off in that direction. The primes of Seveneves being; the moon blows up. It literally gets blown into a bunch of pieces that eventually disintegrate into a cloud that covers the earth and kills everyone on the planet (called the hard rain). The only people who survive are the ones who where able to make it off the planet and onto a makeshift space-station orbiting the earth. Ill leave it at that. If it sounds like an interesting story then you should give it a try.

Another item on my list that I am excited about is learning Shinken. For people out there in the tech world, you may have heard about Nagios. It is a tool that monitors your network and reports problems in performance and availability to you. Very useful when you have a lot of network devices all relying on each other, or even when you are managing a load of servers and special hardware. The best way to start fixing a problem is to first know about the problem and this system helps you do that. I am planning on learning the Shenkin spin-off of Nagios because I love to use things written in Python. It just makes it so much easier to deploy and use packages because of ‘pip’. Other than some architectural changes, it is completely compatible with Nagios and can even use Nagios configurations without any editing! The software is challenging but I feel that it is worth knowing how to use and configure it. The payoff of knowledge is just too sweet!

As far as things that I want to get done this month, the only one that remains on the list is painting my temple board. I have a board that I painted black and I am planning on painting a Hindu temple on it using bright and pastel colors so it resembles the temples in India. Recently I found out that even the Greek statues where originally painted and looked very real. We have sense let the paint come off the marble and that is how we know them today, but that was not always the case. Even many of the old temples that you can see in Cambodia and Thailand as well as the great pyramids and many other ancient building where painting bright colors, with the pyramids originally a bright white.

My foray into painting came when I decided to paint some dancing skeletons on a board as a Christmas present for a friend of mine. At first it was hard and I thought that I was going to mess it up and that it would not come out looking good. Instead of giving up before I even got the painting done, I decided to keep pushing and I worked hard at getting it done. Within two nights I had the entire painting done and I thought it looked amazing. For me, it was a testament to the fact that if I wanted to get something done, no matter how hard it seemed to be, I would be able to complete that thing and succeed. In reality everyone can do that. That is a fact! If you really want something, there is nothing but yourself that can stop you from reaching your goals!

Exercise is also a big part of this months goals. I lost a lot of weight last year and I am feeling great this month so far. Now that all the weight is off I am realizing that was only half the battle to looking and feeling my best. Diet is a huge part but exercise is also just as important. If I can work out on a regular basis I think that it will help keep me feeling and looking as good as possible.

Wish me luck on this months goals! If you have any goals or comments, be sure to tell me about them in the comments of this post. I would really love to hear back from you all!

Jury Duty

Today I had to go to the courthouse for jury duty. For those who live in an area where there is no jury duty, or for those of you who don’t know what jury duty is, I’ll explain.

Jury duty, at least in the United States, is a civic duty that you are required to perform if you have a drivers license (DMV) or are registered to vote. Every year you are entered into a group and that group is chosen out of a list to be called. Sometimes your group gets called and sometimes it doesn’t, but you have to keep checking back each day for a week to find out if your group is called or not. Very annoying. If your group is called you have to show up to the courthouse at a certain time. If you do not show up at the appointed time, you can actually be fined or arrested. Very serious stuff!

When you arrive at the courthouse, in the city I live in, you have to go down to the basement where the jury check-in is and you wait. While you are waiting they play a video that goes over all the things you have to do when you get called. One of the things they have you do is wear a plastic badge that lets everyone know that you are a member of the jury. I guess this way the attorneys and people on trial know not to talk to you in the hallways. Again, if you get caught talking to anyone outside the courtroom about the trial, you can get fined or even arrested.

You wait in a room with about 100 people in it all seated. There is a little area where they have a table setup to eat food at. It’s a little strange in that you are in the basement and you can really tell. Right out-side the jury check-in area, there is a maintenance door and everything. They call out names every once in a while and if they call your name then you are selected to be on a jury panel. This is where things get interesting.

In this instance, I was selected and was told to report with a group of about 75 other people to one of the courtrooms. Once there the judge went over all of the laws and rules and told a lot of stories about different trials, trying to get us to understand what they where trying to accomplish in this trial. I find it very interesting and I understand how the law works so I was somewhat excited at the prospect of being selected. During this initial selection you just have to not have any hardships that stop you from being able to server (children, taking care of older relatives, etc.) and then they had us go into another room and fill out a questionnaire.

The questionnaire was a series of simple questions that asked you if you understood certain parts of the law. They where especially interested in if you understood that the person is innocent until proven guilty. That is one of the things that many of the people had a hard time understanding. There is no burden of proof on the defendant. If the trial ended today without any evidence being presented he would be no guilty.

In this case especially this was an issue because of the nature of the charges. The man who was on trial was being charged with ‘lewd acts on a minor’ which means that he touched a girl under the age of 16. Because of the nature of the charges there where people who said that they would require that the man himself shows evidence and or testifies or else they would find him guilty. The law explicitly states otherwise so they where dismissed.

This all happened on the first day which was last week. Today I had to come back and be present for the jury selection process. For this we where ushered into the courtroom and names where called for people who would be sitting in the jury box to be questioned. Those people who’s names where called would go to the jury box and be asked questions about the answers they had given the week before. There where no right answers; the judge was trying to get an idea if the person understood and would follow the law. People who could not where dismissed.

This process when on for some time. After the judge was happy with the 18 jurors that where in the box he passed the questions over to the prosecutor and then the defense. Each attorney would ask their own questions and at the end of the questions they would be able to dismiss whoever they thought was not good for their side. Again, this took a while.

It actually took all day. The entire time this is going on I am sitting in the courtroom, having not been called, waiting and listening to all of this proceeding. For the first hour it was kinda interesting to me and somewhat entertaining, but then it started to wear on me. I wasn’t getting mad or anxious, but the energy of the courthouse in general is weighing and I was starting to get tired.

The end of the day approached and I thought that I was home free. They had a jury selected and all they had to do was finish the process by selecting 3 alternates that would take over a spot on the jury if someone had to be dismissed. Often times during a trial things will happen like someone will get sick and not be able to continue their roll in the jury. That’s when my name was called.

I sat up at the jury box and answered the questions. I understood the law and was able to say that I thought that I was a good judge of character. After the questioning by the judge, it was the prosecuting attorneys turn and he basically selected the first to people called, which did not include me, and they where chosen as the alternates. We where all dismissed and don’t have to return for 2 years!

I have mixed feelings about not being on the jury. First and foremost; I really thought that I was going to be on the jury and I was excited. I figured, what better time for me to fulfill this civic duty than when I am not worried about it interfering with work and when I have free time on my hands to commit to this. I also thought that I would be a good judge of the case and I knew that I would rule correctly on this matter. I was excited to be able to serve.

I am also a little relieved. It was hard to sit there for just this one day and listen to the back and forth of the attorneys. I can only imagine how much more it would wear on me if I had to sit in on the entire trial which was scheduled to last 3 weeks. I probably dodged a bullet on this one!

Moving on

Over the past week or so I have been streaming on Twitch.tv, mostly playing Dwarf Fortress but also playing a game called RimWorld. The streaming is fun and it is interesting to get myself out there. I feel that it is really making me think about the things that I say and do. It is also making me re-asses my character and how I am perceived by the world.

I remember when I was a child my dad had a mini-tape recorder. It was old and was probably from the 70’s when he was in the Navy. I would take the recorder and record my voice into it and when I played it back I thought that my voice sounded strange. I’m sure that there are other people who have noticed the same thing. Streaming is the same way. I would see and hear myself and how I acted and it would seem very foreign to me. Which is strange; because it’s me!

The streaming part has been a lesson. On top of learning about myself it has also taught me about the work and setup that has to go into video and audio. Making it all work and sound good is not an easy task. There were moments when I thought that the only way to get it to work was to spend money. I found out that was not true. If you really want to do something then you will get it done. Where there is a will, there is a way so they say.

Unfortunately, it started to wear on me. Not the streaming so much as the gaming. I really found out something about myself… I’m not much of a gamer. Playing the games was fun, but I don’t really get into playing action games or other types of games that most of the people who are streaming are playing.

Instead of streaming, I am going to fill that goal with more writing. I think that writing is more relaxing for me and really is something that I have always wanted to do. All you really have to do to become a good writer is have something to write about, and to write!

Instead of writing 500 or more words a day, I am upping my lower limit to 1000 words per day which should be a challenge but should also be doable. The main idea during this time of my life is to get things done that help me explore who I am and what I want to do in/for this world. If something is not working in your life, it is best to move on as quickly as possible. If moving on was not right then you can be sure it will present itself again in your life in the future.

All is not lost for my video making. I am planning on streaming some electronics videos and maybe other IRL (In Real Life) stuff on Twitch still. I am also moving in the direction of making YouTube videos. Next week I am planning on implementing a filming schedule that will force me to shoot footage no matter what.

This week is going to be a little different, but I think that changing it up is good. Like I said, if something is not working, don’t force it… Let it go and move on as quickly as possible.

Keep pushing yourself

It is always a good thing to have goals. They help you move forward and keep you action oriented by being goal oriented. Having goals that you adhere to also allows you to create a routine that enables you to reach your goals. Sometimes these routines are constructive and help you reach a goal, other times they can lead to complacency.

* The Casey Neistat paradox. He loves to make movies but he is also always pushing himself out of the comfort zone. Making movies everyday for YouTube becomes routine and he does not feel like he is pushing himself any longer. The desire to make movies is still there but he does not find that the processes he has implemented are pushing him out of the comfort zone and has lead him to become complacent. Therefor he is not able to enjoy doing what he loves (making movies) because the way that he implemented his goals as routine.

When something like this happens, it is important to look at where you want to go and what you are doing to get there. It is easy to fall into the trap of the Casey Neistat paradox. If your methods don’t match your ideal means to reaching your goals you can slow or even stop your progress toward reaching your goals.

* At times like this ^ it pays to re-asses your routine.
* Does it really PUSH you out of your comfort zone?
* Does the routine actually get you closer to your goal?
* Should something be removed or added to the routine to make it more effective? – Add/Remove
* What things are you ignoring or not doing that you could/should be doing? – Outside of what you are doing now; things you may not have thought of or looked at. This is good to do every once in a while to make sure that you are not missing anything or have discovered something along the way that you could include in your routine.
* Re-state your goal and re-write your routine – Affirmation of goal/routine.
* Are you having fun? – Or are you stressed out. A lot of the time these types of things and this type of planning can be very stressful. It should be fun and you should be having a good time.

The best way to push yourself farther is to go a little farther each day, week, month, year. This sounds simple but it can actually lead to a lot of effort. Try to add or expand upon what you are already doing on a regular basis. If you are working on Photoshop for instance, try to learn a new technique every week. Then add the creation of some output to it. Then make the output and post it to Instagram. So while you are still learning a new technique every week, and producing some output (a drawing for instance), you are also posting it to social media and you keep adding things to do every week until you have reached your goal.

If you do one more thing every once in a while then you will find that the things that you where originally doing, that you started with, are now happening automatically because you are not focusing on them anymore and the things you are focusing on are always progressing. By doing this, by focusing on the progressing thing, you can keep your focus over time because you don’t get stuck in the complacency of doing the same thing over and over again.

I keep coming back to the concept of making the things that you do every day into habits, thus allowing you to keep your focus on the present and future events. The idea that you can ‘automate’ the tedium or at the very least, relegate it to the back of your focus.

Maybe this is a little bit of escapism on my part. I wrestle with the idea that there is still a whole lot of work to get done if I am going to reach my ideal state. Personally, it is important to keep in mind that every little step forward counts. The nickels and dimes add up quick and you can end up wasting a lot of energy if you focus on the wrong things.

There is one thing that I know to be true: If you keep focusing on the future, if you have a forward facing mindset and outlook, then you will never be moving in the wrong direction. Only when you stop moving forward, when you stop progressing, do you have a problem.

A little bit of keto

My wife and I have been living in a ketogenic state as much as possible since July of last year. I have lost over 60 pounds in that amount of time and have been feeling great. Until Thanksgiving came around. Then Christmas. Yea.

Unfortunately when you go between carbohydrate burning and ketone burning it feels a little like the flu. The way I see it is that you are ‘withdrawing’ from the sugar and carbohydrate overload you just put your body through.

It’s been a little bit of a hilly ride the past couple months. For a while we will be doing great, feeling great and we forget that we are feeling good and think that we can just eat some ice cream or chocolate sweets and then we suffer the after effects.

A little bit of sweets or carbs are fine, there is a limit that we know we are reaching (and surpassing) where are are overloading our bodies. This was the case even before we started this diet. Everyone knows the feeling where you know you should stop eating but you just have those couple more bites.

The impulse to eat more and more is one of the reasons I believe that a carbohydrate based diet is not the natural state we are supposed to live in. Our bodies function much better when running on fats and this can be witnessed by the calm and serene feeling I get when I am in ketosis in stark contrast to the anxious and often irritated feeling I used to have for most of my life.

Today was one of those days where I was feeling slow and irritable due to being in transition. Tomorrow should be better and by the end of the week I should be back in a ketogenic state. Until then my wife and I are being sure that we keep our distance from each other. We have been doing our own thing all day and have made it through so far with little conflict.

Even with me being in transition to ketosis, I was able to get a lot done today. I did more streaming, but I didn’t get a chance to play Rimworld unfortunately. I played for about an hour streaming DF with not a single person watching and then I noticed that one of the more well known DF streamers was online. He had about 15 people watching which is pretty good. Apparently everyone who would have been browsing that game was watching his stream and ignoring mine.

The stream today was also the first time that I was able to get the music and my voice and everything really dialed in. I also found some stream monitoring sites/tools that I used to check the quality and administer my stream. Little by little I am learning all of this.

The other thing that I was able to work on was my twitch channel’s branding. I Photoshop’d some artwork and uploaded them to the site. Banners and labels for the info section, things like that. Every time I use Photoshop I always am perplexed by the amount of things that you can do, but how everything is hidden and not easily accessible. I have to re-learn everything every time I use it!

Aside from the struggling with Photoshop, I actually was able to get some really great artwork done for the page. I’m going for a gold and black command line look. I am also working on getting everything to have a glassy look. All of the buttons and banners will look like a screen with glowing pixels if it all turns out as I am envisioning.

Another day of getting all three of my goals done. I streamed, blogged, meditated. My three pillars of accomplishment!

I got my first twitch.tv follower!

Over the past couple of days I have been working on getting my twitch.tv stream setup and running. Today was the first day that I was able to actually do a full stream of Dwarf Fortress. Every day I’m learning a little more and if I just keep on doing it every day, then I will eventually become really good at it!

The stream went well. The main issue that I am having is getting my sound levels down. I like it when people play music when they are streaming so I put on Pandora in the background. Getting the level between my voice and the music is a little tough to get right the first time. Once I get the levels down I should be able to just replicate the settings between streams and it should cease to be an issue.

Working through the sound issue is a perfect example of progression forward. As long as I am ACTIVELY doing it every day, I can’t help but learn and eventually get it right. Do this enough and it becomes second nature.

The other difficulty I had was actually making watching me play the game exciting. That is, playing the game in a way that I would deem entertaining to people watching. Part of it is the fact that DF is a little on the strange side. It’s not necessarily an action game! I also tend to zone out when playing DF. Sometimes I would sit there and just watch the dwarfs perform their tasks. It’s part of what I love about the game; it’s a little like an ant farm!

It must have been half way entertaining because I got my first follower. Who knows, it could be a bot, but it’s better than not having any followers! You have to start somewhere. At one point during the stream I had about 5-6 people watching which is pretty much all you are going to get streaming DF. So I consider this quite an accomplishment!

My desk is slowly turning into a recording studio. If I would have taken a picture the day before I started this (about a week ago) and then I compared it to what it looks like now the difference would be significant. I think that out of all the changes I have made over the past week, the desk transformation would be the most drastic.

The next game that I am going to stream is Rimworld. It’s a game inspired by DF that I donated to early on in its development. I had access to the game before it was on Steam and the developers would send out emails with links to download the newest version of the game. Since I played it last, it has really blown up both in popularity (there are quite a few streamers) and also in the amount of game-play that they added. I’m excited to play it again and I’m sure I will be doing a couple of full day streams.