I recently canceled my internet subscription. I didn’t want it anymore. I felt like the internet was constantly competing for my time, and the vast majority of it is garbage anyway. I also felt that I needed to seek validation through my various forms of social media. People 20 years ago didn’t need that, so why in the hell do we?

Then I had this radical thought. What if I simply just canceled my internet, and just used it when I needed it, at like a coffee shop? What would happen? What if I treated the internet like a utility instead of some form of escapism. Just a place where I did my online banking and sent the occasional email and written blog content. That was 2 months ago. 2 months in, here’s the results folks.

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Yep, this indeed is a picture of me holding my $79.99 Dr. Moody hand puppet out the window of my apartment during the 2nd Annual Women’s March in Downtown Seattle.  I’m trying to go for that Jim Henson look…if he looked like a pedophile.

My friend Chris snapped these photos. I actually got a couple of people to stop on the street and wave back at Dr. Moody from below. People loved Dr. Moody. I also blew kisses to some folks with the puppet. It was awesome to brighten people’s day with this ridiculous toy.  I think I’ll keep it up for all future parades in Seattle.

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Here’s an obligatory hiking photo too from earlier that day on Rattlesnake Ledge. Quite frosty. Mustache is also staying, sorry haters.

3 months without the bottle too. Feels good.

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Every time someone says they hate it, it just grows longer.

 

 

I’m not a good dancer. Whenever I start dancing it reminds me of what would happen if you put shoes on Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer from the Rankin and Bass animated 70’s film. Do you remember how clumsy Rudolph is? He awkwardly runs and falls all over the place. There is a specific scene where he charges across the ice, only to slip on all 4 legs and spin himself into a dizzy mess.

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“You’re a terrible dancer Rudolph. I hate you.”

I’m quite grateful I only have 2 legs to do that. I can’t imagine what 4 legs would feel like. I tend to do the same thing, except there is no ice.

So like I said, I’m not a good dancer, and as result I’m afraid to do it. But deep down…I desperately want to dance. I often times find myself dancing in my apartment to whatever I’ve added to my Spotify playlist, whether it be Eric Church, Kanye West, or Fifth Harmony. I find myself spinning in my apartment. Dancing like no one is watching…and that’s the way I like it.

I wish I could feel the same feeling in public and not care. And tonight….I finally did just that. How? Well, with a bit of help from a “life theory” known as “Radical Implosion”.

No, it’s not a theory on how to collapse a star. It’s rather, a theory on how to DESTROY your insecurities about anything. Literally, anything. It was coined by Albert Ellis, notable psychologist from the 1930’s. I don’t know much else about him, but I don’t think it’s important. What is important, is this concept itself.

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Albert Ellis, the creator of the “Radical Implosion”

Ellis called it, “a shame attacking exercise.” A method for developing a thicker skin and reducing fear in anxiety producing situations, such as talking to women, public speaking, and…dancing.

So, how does this “exercise work”. How do you reduce fear in anxiety producing situations such as these? Well, it’s quite simple. Here’s how it works.

Imagine, you are like me….and you are ALSO afraid of dancing in the public. The sheer thought of it makes you cringe. You think if you dance in public, everyone will hate you. Not only will everyone hate you, but you will also hate yourself for how much people hate you. It’s ridiculous right? It’s an irrational thought. Of course people aren’t going to hate you, well most people won’t! At worst, they probably won’t want to fuck you.

 

So then why is it so hard to dance though? What’s stopping you? Well it’s anxiety, it’s your brain telling you, “Don’t dance, otherwise you’ll die.”

To combat this silly thought, people who are afraid will either:

A. Skip Dancing

or

B. Self medicate to dance

Historically, I had chosen route B. But since I’ve stopped drinking that was no longer an option.

But I don’t want to skip dancing because I can’t drink. I still want to do dance, which is why I tried out option C, which is, “Radical Implosion.”

Radical Implosion is the idea that overcoming a challenge much more difficult than the one you’re actually afraid of makes your fear dissipate.

Albert Ellis was afraid of talking to girls, So to get over this fear he approached every women he saw sitting alone at the park one day. He approached over 100 girls that day, and tried asking them out. What happened? Well, 90% of the women rejected him. Yes, indeed. This man faced rejection 90 times. However, 10 girls did say yes. What happened to Ellis? Well, he was never afraid to talk to women again

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Me dancing.

That’s what I did tonight. Except, instead of girls, it was bars with dancing.

I walked into “Kangaroo and Kiwi” and stood in the middle of the dance floor. I was terrified. And then I started spinning in a circle, like I did when I was a kid. People started staring at me, and then most of the people on the dance floor walked out. It was only me. So then I started hopping on one foot and clapping. I was intentionally embarrassing myself. I looked like a clown. Then I started dancing out of tune, because at this point, I didn’t’ care anymore.

It feels good. And I also got to make out with a women who hated her kids, which was interesting. Thanks Ellis.

 

I did a bit of tidying up in my apartment. I cleaned out my entire closet, kind of like Eminem did in that music video, except I actually love my Momma.  My friend Tyrone inspired me to do it. He was talking to me about a book called, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Hatsune Miku. This books stipulates that you should only keep things in your house “that bring joy”, everything else either needs to be donated or burned.

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This book is great, and I haven’t even read it yet.

Since it’s been raining in Seattle, I went with donating. I started with my clothes. I learned I had dozens of shirts that I purchased within the past year that I have worn less than a dozen times. The price of shirts are anywhere from $65 – $80. That’s about a $1K of clothes that I never wear. And the pants..well…those range from $150-$200, and I tossed about 3 of those. One of those was a pair of perfectly fine sandstone colored khakis.

Why did I toss these pants? I despise them!  The last time I wore my khaki’s is when I was hungover getting a haircut last year, after a night of heavy drinking and waking up in front of my apartment door with no keys. A war story for another day…. After sitting in the salon chair for 1.5 hours in late June, I stood discovered I had been sweating through my underwear and into my pants. I had a giant wet spot right where my asshole is. I was so embarrassed that when I stood up I begged my hairdresser for some paper towels.

After frantically patting my ass for 2 minutes I realized this was not working. I then asked her if she had anything else. She motioned to the blow dryer that minutes ago was pointing at my head. So, at this moment, my hairdresser, Sarah, blow dried my ass in front of all the other clients who were getting their haircut. I think I heard someone say, “I’ll have what he’s having.” among the whispers.  The stained seemed to dissipate, but within 3 minutes it was back. I was having some serious ass seepage and the culprit was unknown.

Unfortunately, I had to walk home after that too, with this huge wet spot on my ass walking down 1st Avenue in Seattle. To cover the stain I started stretching my slim fit black T-shirt past my knees, so it would droop down like a Moo-Moo worn by Kylie Jenner or Justin Bieber. Every couple blocks or so I would try and check my ass out in a shop window to see if the stain was still there. It was tricky due to heavy foot traffic, so I stepped into a Taco Del Mar to do a closer examination in the bathroom.

They said I had to buy something to use the bathroom so I purchased a children’s bean and cheese burrito and proceeded to throw it into the garbage can and run into the bathroom. Things looked ok…but I wasted $5.67 so I was kind of pissed off.

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I was trying to make my shirt look something like this….

I eventually made it home, but was still locked out of my apartment. It was the worst day of my life.

 

 

 

 

I haven’t written on here in awhile. I was going through some rough times. To cut a long story short…I finally found out…after the course of 10 years…that I indeed have an alcohol problem.

Some folks might be surprised. Other’s not. I’m not sure what to say to either camp. But for me, alcohol has been problematic. I can’t handle my liquor, like some people can’t handle cigarettes. One drink, and I’m already at 6.

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June 2012…Hungover before graduating college

I’m going to save the war stories too. As in, I’m not going to talk about everything I’ve done with liquor. It’s not important, maybe I’ll throw it into a book on day. But for now, I want to move on.

I found a good program besides AA, and found a good accountability buddy from High School. He’s been through something similar and he’s been looking out for me. Thanks and you know who you are. The program is called Smart Recovery. It’s tenets are to take a logical approach to eliminating addictive behaviors. It has nothing to do with finding a higher power or repeating a credo. It’s based on psychology, where you logically look at your addiction to understand its triggers. You learn about what’s chemically going on in your body during addiction.

It’s a scientific approach to eliminating addiction, and I highly recommend it to anyone who finds the spiritual dogma of AA annoying.

I’m trying to craft a life where alcohol is unnecessary for me. A life where it’s involvement only complicates it.  As for coffee, it hasn’t generated any war stories. I’m keeping that addiction.

Stories are interesting. Here is my theory. When something sad is happening you bring the audience down only to bring them back up again and to do something unexpected.  Make them go on a roller coaster ride. Make them happy. Then make them sad…and happy again….and bring them down to the lowest point and pull them all the way back up. Bring them to the depths of hell, you need to show them how bad things can really be, to show then how good things can really be. It’s all about pacing and timing. You don’t want to serve the nicest dessert first, no no no. You want to save the very best for last. You want to serve them the worst dish in the world, Jell-O Salad, and then serve them the molten chocolate fudge cake. They’ll forget all the bad things that happened along the way, and they will appreciate and savor the reward. It’s a lot of life. The bad will make you appreciate the good.

I haven’t written on here in awhile. I was thinking of the reasons why today. They included:

  1. Whatever I publish, people won’t even read
  2. Even if I publish something and people read it, it won’t be very good
  3. Even if it’s very good content it won’t make me money or gain me fame
  4. Even it gains me fame it won’t…

And that’s where I ended my thought process. “Even if it gains me fame it won’t….”  Notice how many “wont’ts” you can count in my thought process. That’s not a very positive thought process, in fact it’s detrimental and has prevented me from writing anything. I get this image in my head that my content needs to be “X” and pertain to “Y” people. I’m so focused on the outcome of my work that the process of creating the work itself isn’t fun. It’s work because I’m worried about what it will become. That it has to be a certain way…

And then I realized something, this thought process I have is not unique to writing.

At the gym I’m worried I won’t get bigger.

When hanging out with friends I’m worried that I’m taking too much leisure.

When I’m dating I’m worried if not if the person is front of me is the “one” or not.

There is a theme here, it involves living in the future. Thinking what will happen. Not what is currently happening. In a sense, I am time traveler. Trying to predict what will  happen and where I will be.  And what damage can that cause? Well if you’ve time traveled most of your life, you won’t have any idea what the present is like. The present will be some foreign place, where you have no idea what is going on. You might come back from the future, only to find that your grandmother died when you were gone. You might come back from the future, only to find that your kids have moved out of the house. You might come back from the future only to find that you are 80 and dying.

And you’ll realize that you were never truly present. You were worried about what will be, not what is.

Now I haven’t written on here in a awhile, and that’s OK. Because I decided to present and write this out anyway. As a reminder that I am can be present, and not worry about whether this will be read by anyone, whether it will be good, or whether it will gain me fame.

 

 

When I opened my mailbox I saw a letter from grandmother buried underneath Bed Bath and Beyond coupons. It was the first letter I received in college. 

I opened the letter. It was a Halloween card that said,

“Happy Halloween Michael…I love you very very much…take this money and do something fun with it. Love Grandma Elma.”

Enclosed was a $20 bill. Now you have to understand, at the time, getting $20 was very exciting. I mean, I didn’t have a job. I was a poor broke college kid. With that kind of money I could buy…here comes the cliche…60 packets of ramen. Wow funny.  But then I remembered what my grandma said, and you should always listen to your elders, “do something fun with it.”

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Me in my dorm…Oct 2009. Praying to wear a “rain-coat”.



Mind you, I still hadn’t attended a party in college or drank alcohol for that matter. My dad had promised me this wonderful experience on the car ride down and it still hadn’t come to fruition. While driving me to college he said, ”Just make sure you wear a raincoat.”  FYI, this has nothing to do with the protecting yourself from the rain in the PNW.

I owned raincoats but didn’t put any on.  All I had done was go to class, eat chicken fingers, and look at porn.  All the girls in the dorms went to the frats to drink alcohol and have fun. I wanted to get mine.  My grandmas $20 was the ticket to adventure. I was going to buy some booze and have some girls over, but how?

Now my roommate, Adrian, was 21 years old and could buy us booze if we needed him to.  He was from mainland China and was obsessed with Americana. He would ask me questions like,

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Me and Adrian…Jan 2009. You can tell we are in college because of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Calendar

“Do you like Michael Jackson?” And “What did you think of 9/11?”  He was an interesting, yet, well intentioned fellow.

Well to my dismay, Adrian was out of town. He was probably hanging out in Chinatown dining on some chicken feet with our unofficial 4th roommate, his girlfriend Lisa.

So it was up to me and my own wits to find out how to procure some alcohol. I decided to hit the Ave with my partner in crime Chris to figure this out. We were both socially awkward so I anticipated we wouldn’t get very far. Optimism was always hard for me to figure out.

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Me and Chris on the Ave…Aug 2009

We began walking down the Ave and decided that we would hang out in the Safeway parking lot. There was plenty of opportunities to ask young college kids to buy booze for us. But neither Chris and I were able to make the first move. We were terrible with eye contact and introducing ourselves. So we hoped someone would approach us, just like nervous boys at a school dance.


Then while standing in the dark alley behind the Safeway parking lock, a homeless man approached us. I immediately thought we were going to get pistol whipped, mugged, and shot. I braced for impact.

But instead he smiled at us and said, “Hi brothers, my name is Stoney.  It looks like you boys are trying to buy some booze.”  My opinion quickly changed and a smile lit up across my face…I was ready to engage a homeless man…college was really changing me!

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Stoney

I incredulously said, “Yes, yes we are! We are trying to buy a six pack of beer…we want something nice so we’re thinking about getting some Heineken?  All I have is this $20 bucks. Do you think you could grab us some? You can keep the change.”

It felt like an honor to help the homeless community and get alcohol, all while breaking the law at the same time. I was a humanitarian who was also lawless. College was really making me edgy. I noticed a girl with her boyfriend staring at me in the parking lot. I stood up a little straighter and gave a half smile. Awkward as fuck.

Stoney looked at me and said…”I got you brother! Just wait here and I’ll be right back” As he walked away I felt a sense of achievement. What a time to be alive!

Chris looked at me said, “Fuck yeah.”

Then we waited. Shouldn’t be more than 5 minutes to get that I thought.

I looked down at my Razer phone, 5 minutes went by. I could feel myself getting antsy but kept my cool.  I looked at Chris and assured him,

“Lines are probably long…it’s a Husky game tomorrow…people probably want beer”

“The Husky game is on Saturday not Friday.” Chris said.

“Oh, right….”

Another 5 minutes went by, I started pacing,

“Where the fuck is he?  Maybe he got arrested.”

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Razer Phone…not too different from my current phone

“Arrested for what…buying beer?” Chris said.

Another 5 minutes went by. I started pacing more aggressively. It had been 15 minutes. I was pissed.

“This is why I don’t help homeless people! I think that guy totally took our money and probably bought drugs with it.”

Chris laughed and upped the stakes, “Well what if he bought a lotto ticket…and won. Maybe he’ll become a secret millionaire”

“Well, then he can thank my grandma…Happy Halloween asshole.”

Stoney never came back. Stoney was not an honest man.  That’s why I don’t help these people. Chris and I couldn’t help but to laugh for how stupid we were and how hoodwinked we got. This was probably his daily job, finding dumb college kids to take money from all under the charming pseudonym “Stoney”.  Oh righteous he does pot! That’s cool, here is my money! What a dick.

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College Girls

We started walking back to the dorm and watched as attractive young females wobbled like doe down the street in their 6 inch heels. Their outfits were revealing. If their mothers had seen, they’d be upset. But like Bambi, there was no mothers around to care.

 

We arrived back at the dorm and walked up the concrete stairs of the fire escape to the 2nd floor. As we rounded the corner we noticed my room door was ajar and inside my roommate and his girlfriend were talking as we heard glasses clinking together.

Adrian stood in the room, wearing a Chicago bulls Jersey and smiled at us.

“Michael! What do you think of gin? Do Americans like Gin?”, as he held up a London Beefeater bottle.

I wasn’t sure how to answer. What was gin? It smelled like Pine Needles.

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Nov 2006…Me and Grandma Elma Valeri

That night Chris and finished an entire bottle of gin. Our night included running into the street with in our bathrobes and vomiting in a urinal.  Even though I didn’t get to personally spend my Grandma’s $20, I still like to say I had fun. Thanks Grandma Elma.