Picasso’s Guernica: Una Operación Reprimenda

Picasso with Brush

Picasso with a brush in the studio at Grands-Augustins, Photo taken by Dora Maar, 1937.

Instead of recapitulating dogmatically the art historical writings surrounding Pablo Picasso’s life (25 October 1881 – 8 April 1973) and his contribution to the art world( e.g. cubism, surrealism), this blog series seeks to focus on an iconic and still, a relatively unknown work of art for much of the world.  Guernica (1937), by Pablo Picasso is an oil on canvas work measuring 349 cm × 776 cm and currently located in the Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain.  This painting was commissioned by the Spanish Government for the 1937 World’s Fair in Paris.  Picasso as well as Joan Miro were asked to paint great murals for Spain’s pavilion, and in the midst of the offensive bombardment of Franco’s Nationalist Party the pavilion was deemed, “A home for democracy.”¹

The Spanish Civil War is in many ways a precursor to World War II.  Some 500,000 people were killed as a result of assassinations, battles, and concentration camps.  In the end, Franco and his fascist regime were victorious and by 1939 most world governments recognized him as the head of the Spanish government.  Picasso was no lover of Franco and we can see his reaction to the Franco lead coup d’etat appearing as early as January 8, 1937 in a series of sketches titled, Songes et Mesonges de Franco or “Dreams and Lies of Franco.”

 

Songes et Mensonges de Franco,  Pablo Picasso, Plate Etchings, 8 Jan. 1937.

Songes et Mensonges is a sardonic, comic style narrative that bears striking resemblance to Picasso’s Guernica and can be viewed as prototypical of “what’s to come.”  The agony, contorted faces and bodies, and the metamorphosis from human to animal to abstract is a theme he seems to be exploring.(Note: The last four plates were added after Guernica was finished) 

Guernica, Spain (Gernika as spelled by Basques):

April 26, 1937, three squadrons of German bombers approached the borders of Guernica approximately a half an hour before sundown.  The “V” shaped arrangements of planes hovered over carrying a overwhelming amount of bombs and incendiaries; more than enough to level Guernica, the oldest Basques city in Spain.  It is estimated that 300 to 1000 people died due to the carpet bombing raids.  Those that fled the city were mowed down by machine gun fire.  Guernica was not a strategic attack for Franco and his allies, it was a warning siren amplified through destruction and extermination.

The horrific events spelled out the massive amount of carnage the ensuing war would bring.  Air raid bombings on defenseless civilians, hell bent on showing the might of the oppressor.  The senseless violence on animals and property only added insult to injury, and through the madness, Pablo Picasso found his muse.  This time not in the form of lustful women, but in the outrage and reaction to the unabashed hatred on his fellow countrymen. Five days later, Picasso would find inspiration in the most unholy of events and sketching in what must have been a fervor of emotional outpouring.  Forty plus sketches were completed in Picasso’s study for Guernica, and by the 9th of May 1937, the first outline was drawn out in large format.

 

Citations

1. W.J.H.B. Sandberg, “Picasso’s ‘Guernica’,” Daedalus, Vol. 89, No. 1, The Visual Arts Today (Winter, 1960): 245-252, http://www.jstor.org/stable/20026564
2.  Richard Rhodes, “Guernica: Horror and Inpiration,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Vol. 69(6), Sage Publications (2013): 19-25.

Ciclismo De Santiago

Poste_Camino_de_Santiago

Camino de Santiago or the “Way of Saint James” is a medieval pilgrimage route from the French/Spain border to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.  I first learned of this path and the amazing cathedrals along the way from Dr. Susan Caldwell, a retired professor of art history at the University of Oklahoma.  Ever since then I’ve dreamed of making the pilgrimage myself.  It seems to be both a spiritual right of passage as well as an act of testing my physical ability.  During a Sunday school service at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Oklahoma City we visited some of the pilgrimage churches along the way and I was reminded of how amazing the architectural and religious history of those sites are. I went back to work and immediately began cooking up a bicycle trip version of the Camino de Santiago.  The trip that I propose here is an expansion of the route.  Beginning in Paris and traveling by bicycle all the way to Madrid.  This is a crazy 23 day trip totaling 2,294 kilometers.  Instead of giving you the history of the Camino de Santiago, you can click this link to Wikipedia.  I think my research at each leg off the journey will include more detailed information, but a basic knowledge is helpful to understand the journey.

Needless to say this trip is an undertaking and one that should be trained for.  2,300 KM on a bicycle is dangerous and although there are plenty of stops along the way and the overall average distance per day is not un-doable (110/day), it will require medical monitoring, proper nutrition, and plenty of gear.  In order to make this work, I am starting my preparation now, and will not take the trip for 3.5 years.  I am going to consider it a graduation present to myself for finishing law school.  I’ve already contracted my stepmother to drive a sag wagon behind us to carry gear, food, water, and luggage.  I’ve worked out a price breakdown and will tally the totals at the end of this blog series.

Ciclismo de Santiago: The Route

Day 1: Land in Paris

The typical flight from Oklahoma City to Paris costs around 900-1100 US.  Tickets need to be purchased a year in advance.  I’ve checked into it and  purchasing a ticket that arrives in one place and departs from another country costs more than making two separate purchases. Upon arriving Paris you need to get a few things done before you sit down for a glass of wine in the Latin Quarter.  You need to procure a sag wagon.  Depending on the number of people you have with you that are not riding this may need to be a fairly large van.  This actually is going to be one of the most expensive parts of the trip; however, I cannot stress the importance of having support.  There will be times when you can’t ride or run out of water in the Pyrenees, a sag wagon’s sole purpose is to keep you going, a literal mobile fuel stop.  Renting a van will cost you around 4000 US, it has unlimited miles and will fit up to 7-12 people, which is plenty of room for gear and people.  You actually may like having transport at night to go to and from dinner, or it will allow you to stay a bit outside of the city center saving money, and making the next days departure easier.  One of the most important things to remember about this “pilgrimage” is that it is not just about cycling.  This should be seen as an opportunity to explore parts of Europe that the typical tourist does not visit.  It can also be a spiritual journey in whatever capacity you should see fit.

Alright, so day one, you are in Paris.  Hopefully you planned your flight so that you arrive in the morning.  This is your only day and you should focus on getting all the initial stuff out of the way and then relax and enjoy Paris.  I’ve been to Paris on three different extended trips and probably will skip some of the more routine tourist activities and dig a little deeper into the city.  Either way, you should budget about 50€ for the day.  Keep it cheap and keep it simple, remember you are on day one of twenty-three.

Stocking up on supplies.  Paris is a city full of cyclists and cycling enthusiasm.  Just think Le Tour de France.  I suggest that you go ahead and pack your bicycles with extra tubes, a pump, and any bike gadgets that can snugly fit between your frame.  This will save on shipping cut down on the luggage you have to travel with.  I recommend mailing your bicycles to the hotel you plan on staying in the first day.  Make sure they arrive a week in advance, to ensure that everyone  has their bikes.  I recommend if you don’t speak french, calling the local university and paying a student $20 to make a call for you.  Offer the hotel some extra money for storing your bikes, and go ahead and pay up front for your room that night.  You don’t want any hang ups in France.  If you mess up on day one, you can forget about day 2-23. After you rent your van and travel to your hotel, get your bikes and haul them up to your rooms.  Look them over, inspect for damage, make a checklist of things you will need for the ride, and then seek out a bicycle shop.  I suggest doing a bit of google searching, and locate a shop that you can easily drive to, and one that has plenty of equipment needed for a 2300km journey.  Spend 100€ here, and look around, because nearby is probably a boutique that sells bottles of water for less than a euro.  I would stock up.  Don’t by Pre-mixed Gatorade, by powder at a Supermarche and stock up.  Gatorade and sports drinks are expensive, or some of the more local drinks taste like bubblegum and pickles.  I would spend about 30€ to start, there are plenty of places to get water along the way.  Also, why you are at it, you may want to invest in some energy bars, bananas, and other food items that will fuel your journey. The last thing you should do before you hit tourist mode is pack the van, fill up the tank, and make sure you have your gear ready for an early departure.

That’s it, here’s the short list for Day 1: (I’ve changed it all to Euros for ease)

Flight: 810 to Paris

Van Rental: 3600

Bike Shop Stock-up:100

Water, Food, and Powder: 30

Hotel: 75

Tourist Stuff: 50

DAY ONE TOTAL: 4,665€

*****Remember you can pay for the van as a group, so it is not going to cost one single person 3600, and the flight should be paid for 1 year in advance so, hopefully you will have recovered from that expenditure. The more people you can talk into this journey, the less it is going to cost you as an individual.

 

In Progress: An Update

Image.jpg

I’ve been working on a few things recently.  First I am working on an extensive blog series about Guernica and Picasso.  I am tentatively shooting for the first of next week to publish the first part of the set.  Secondly, I am working on a cycling trip from France to Spain to Portugal, mostly along the Camina de Santiago. Since I am working on two different topics I am going to alternate on each post.  I think this is a new direction for my blog, which has grown dull and I lack the same enthusiasm for it I once had.  This new direction should do more to highlight my various specialized areas of expertise and hopefully attract a reader base.

Update:

Game of Thrones: A Lullaby of Ice and Fire (No Ambien® Required)

I finally finished the first book and although I would very much like to read the other books, I don’t plan on ever picking up another copy in the series. “Why,” you ask? First off, the book took me over a year to finish.  I am a person that will finish a book no matter what, but may put the book down and read three others before I return to it. This book was like that, no excitement because of the HBO series, the writing is actually pretty poor and dull at time.  My wife and I would joke about how I kept it by the bed only to read three pages and fall asleep.  It is seriously better than any sleep aid, or a robust glass of red wine.

Murakami Strikes Back: Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

Not only a great title, but a great book.  I first heard about this book a few years ago during an interview with NPR’s Diane Rehm.  I haven’t read IQ84 yet, but I am going to rank this as a top 3 book of Murakami.  Again, he adds a great list of reads and music to his novel.  If you think Blade Runner meets Alice in Wonderland, you’ll get the twisted concept of this book right away.

Coursera: Honestly, I can’t believe I missed out on this during its start up.  Luckily, I was catching up on Lifehacker and noticed a link for Lifehacker U.  It linked me to Coursera and I immediately enrolled in an Introduction to American Law and for the hell of it, Buddhism.  I’ll let you know if I pass.

 

Balancing Life:

Your Week of Chili and Cheese all wrapped up in a flour tortilla

During my last premarital counseling session, we discussed ways in which we can balance everyday life, especially when an unexpected event occurs and we are left out of balance.  For instance, my life has always been a shuffle between time I have my daughter and time she is with her mother.  This kind of back and forth creates a sort of schizophrenia in my life and I’m sure in hers.  One day I am out watching the game at a sports bar, and the next I am at home helping her with her math homework.  It is not only with my daughter that this dynamic exists, for instance: on days when I wake up early to workout, when I teach spin, or make it out the door for a run, I tend to eat better, have a better attitude, and make better life choices in general. On the contrast, if my day starts off disorganized and unproductive, I tend to eat worse, spend money frivolously, watch more TV, and make poorer life choices.  It is the daily habits, and in my opinion, it is the first habit of the day that can set the whole day’s trajectory.

I recently finished The Power of Habit and then read How to Win Friends and Influence People.  Both of these books are helping me to develop certain aspects of my life that I know I need to work on.  First off, I need to develop a healthy habit routine so that my days become more consistent, I need to find a way to incorporate both sides of my schizophrenic life and begin the process of normalizing my day to day. This, of course, means I need to develop a program for everyday and stick with it until it becomes a habit.  I am considering putting together an idea for an app that helps you form healthy habits and stick with them through a system of rewards.  Hopefully I can get the support needed to get this underway.

Somethings I am working on right now:

  1. Abdominal workouts:  Sit-ups suck.  No doubt about it.  If you wear tight clothes, a belt, a skirt, or anything restrictive like that, you cannot just plop down and bust out a quick crunch set.  Traveling to the gym requires a change of clothes, a shower (hopefully), awkwardly finding a spot where you can workout and not get stepped on.  Basically, Ab workouts take more time then they are worth.  If you were to do two sets of abs a day, one in the morning and one when you get home, you would be able to develop and maintain a great stomach.  So why don’t we all have a six pack right? With me, Abs are never convenient, and come with a huge list of reason why I can’t do abs (Child, clothing, floor isn’t clean, belt, don’t want to sweat, dog attacks me, and so on).  Rather than coming to terms with the rationality that this is only 15 minutes of my day, and I am smart enough to find the time and place to make this work, I do the exact opposite and spend 1:15 minutes on the couch watching Netflix.
  2. Getting Outdoors: It’s spring and summer is right around the corner.  I have been listening to the Podcast below, and have been getting the itch to get outdoors more often.  I live right by a lake with an amazing jogging path.  There are kites, kiteboarders, cyclists, joggers, and people picnicking.  I have no excuse but to drive the 5 minutes and enjoy the world outside of my home.  I think my dog will like me more.

Day After Thursday:

Spin Class:  This week I did a workhorse set.  We did a nice warm up session and then started the major body of work. This particular set stood out as particularly challenging.

Set: 15 secs Sprint/ 15 secs Rest

—-Increase resistance 15 secs “Almost a Sprint”/ 15 secs Rest

—-Increase resistance 15 secs Intermediate Pace/ 15 secs Rest

***For each set to follow add 15 seconds to each interval, leaving the rests at 15 secs.  Continue until you are at 2 minutes. Extend final rest to 1 minute.

Here is a link to the  WorkHorse Spin playlist from spotify: Work the Spin Class

Words to Live By: It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about. Dale Carnegie

App I’m Diggin’: Starz App for the AppleTV!  Thank god they finally added this.  The amount of money I am going to save not having to rent $5.99 rentals from iTunes is amazing.  With Starz you pay a monthly fee or use your cable provider, but you can stop watching a bad movie and not feel like you are throwing away money.  Rent a $6 new release from Apple and it ends up being a stinking pile of crap, you end up watching a pile of crap.  We have got to make better use of our time.

Podcast: Spring is here and the weather has been getting increasingly better.  I spend a lot of time indoors, whether it is watching TV, sleeping, at work, at the gym, in my car, I feel like I am always inside. REI’s sponsored podcast “The Dirtbag Diaries” has become one of my favorite listens to and from work. They are usually short enough for a single commute and it leaves you longing for the outdoors.  Longing to join a rock climbing gym so you can make friends with people who can take you safely through the wild and let you live off the grid for a bit.  I’m not saying I want to go hike the Pacific North Crest, but I wouldn’t mind a weekend in the wild.  Preferably one that didn’t involve a case of beer and a weenie roast.  I want the real experience. Check it out here. Dirtbag Diaries

Final Thoughts: Balancing my daily life has been my new year’s resolution in a nutshell.  So far, I haven’t had much success.  It would seem the biggest obstacle between me now and the me I want to become is the direct relationship between Work : Money.  It’s slippery slope, but when you work 50 hours a week, have a kid, have debt, are planning a wedding, trying to finish a thesis, and trying to fit in as much healthy exercise to healthy entertainment in between, you find yourself wondering where did the day go.  It is over four months into the new year and I have not yet finished a single day’s ToDo list in a single day.

Thanks, Remember to follow, comment, criticize, and share.

 

 

On Habits and Meditation

I’ve been reading Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit, and as I near the end I wanted to reflect upon what I have learned.  First off, habit is not necessarily the focus of this book.  I believe his goal was to show how you can change your habits to be more successful in life.  I really believe in the message he preaches, but was hoping for more of a self help book on how to change your bad habits into good habits. Instead you are inspired by a series of stories and convinced by a few case studies.  Habits unfortunately are not that easy to break.  These habits we form, like the book says, become ritual and part of the unconscious mind.  We fall back into habits when these triggers are activated and it is very hard to identify the trigger and to change the behavior associated with it.  Now, the book is not totally unsuccessful in my life.  Since I started reading this book I have overcome my writer’s block, I found a passion for fitness again, and have managed to contain my temper.  One of my major goals in life is to become a better father and to eventually be a be great husband.  It has taken 35 years of my life and finally I found a strategy to make some serious changes.  One place you might start is by going to the store and buying a Moleskine.  I suggest writing in it daily, be obsessive in your account of your day.  Write down how much you slept, what vitamins you took, how much you ate, the amount of money you spent (made, owe, lost), and after awhile, you will start noticing that by writing it down it makes it permanent, tangible, and real.  Take this journal or ledger with you everywhere.  This is perhaps the habit that has made one one of the biggest changes in my life thus far.

As the title says, this is not only about habits.  This is also about mediation.  I have began a mediation program as part of my New Years Resolution and also part of my stress management.  Stress will freaking kill you, and it has already played a damaging role on my life.  To begin mediation is difficult, as I suggested before, try the Headspace app for starters, but the ultimate goal is to find a routine and enter your mediation as your own guide.  You can do all the breathing and scanning you want before you get into it, but really spending about 1 minute before you go down deep allows you to realize what your body really needs.  Guided meditation are great, I use Tara Brach’s audiobook in the sauna, because their are always people bugging me in there and an outside voice helps.  However, it is hard to get what your specific body wants from a guided mediation.  They tend to be generalized and sometimes you focus so much on following the mediation you never find that deep peace you are looking for.

Outside Reading and Podcasts:

The Power of Habit by Duhigg

The Four Hour Work Week by Ferriss

The Tim Ferriss Show PODCAST

Found My Fitness (Rhonda Patrick, PhD) Great information about why saunas are beneficial

 

 

 

Lent and What I Learned in the Sauna

“Welcome to Lent,” he said, I opened my eyes slowly, awakening from my Tara Branch guided meditation audio book.  I can’t express how much I hate being disturbed in the sauna.  Typically I hit the button and let the steam fill the room while I soak in the hot tub for a few minutes.  Then, I hang up my bag with my phone bluetoothing to my Beats headphones and enter the sauna.  By that time it is like entering into the plume of an erupting volcano, minus the sulfur gas.  I am usually alone by strategic design, but this time a fully nude man came bursting through the door, lingering long enough at the threshold to allow the cloud to dissipate and the temperature to drop a few degrees.  I closed my eyes to the unabashed show of skin and entered back into my mediation.  “Clear your thoughts, she said,” and as I did, I heard the nudist speak.  “Welcome to Lent,” said the naked man.  Perturbed by the situation, I took off my headphones and leaned back against the wall.  Even if I didn’t get my meditation, I would get my 15 minutes in the sauna, I thought with resolve.  I asked what he meant by that.  He chuckled a bit and said, “For Lent I’m giving up dying.”  I thought about that statement for a few seconds, meandering from thoughts that he is terminally ill, or that he is just starting a new, healthier routine.  I spoke carefully, “I heard you could add about 5 good years to your life if you spend 15 minutes in the sauna a day.”  He replied, “Oh, I can’t be in here that long, I have a bad heart and high blood pressure.”  “You see,” he said, “I had a lot of fun in my youth, but now I spend every day wishing I hadn’t.”  Perhaps I understand this man a bit.  It is not that I am suffering from a heart condition, but I know plenty of people who, going at their current rate of hedonistic activities, will wind up just like this man.  To spend everyday trying not to die.  To live on an assortment of pills and a strict dietary regiment.  We talked for the rest of my 15 minutes in the sauna and I came to one conclusion.  For Lent, I am not going to give up caffeine, or social media, or chocolate, or wine, or any of the other superficial things people give up.  I am going to “Give up Dying”.  That means many things have to change in my life, but already in the year 2016, I have made some significant changes, I have made promises to myself and others that I intent to keep, and I have began the process of eliminating those bad habits and replacing them with healthy and good habits.

The Day After Wednesday

Apps: This week I decided to start using an app called Headspace.  This app is a mediation tracker and mediation guide.  If you have been wanting to start a mediation regiment and haven’t found a good way to begin, I highly recommend this app.  It makes mediation a game, a challenge, and a routine.  For as little as 10 minutes a day you can find inner peace.  It is amazing to enter your day energized, your production will go up I guarantee and maybe you will think twice about getting into an argument with your co-workers.  It’s weird, but when I meditate, I am able to fit in all my ToDos in less time than if I’m in a stressed out state.  Give it a shot, do the 10 for 10 and delete the app if you aren’t a different person afterwards.

Spin Class: This week I taught two spin classes.  As a result you get two different playlists, but with some song overlap.  Enjoy and hope you get a good workout.  For the Spin the Wheel playlist, we did a Tabata set.  20 seconds on 10 seconds off for 45 minutes.  I began with a sprint set of 8 and then did some climbing sets of 8.  For the climbing set I asked that intensity increased with a slight resistance increase for the 20 seconds on and then lighten up the resistance and bounce it out to recover.  You can play with the climb and keep going up in resistance until you collapse.  I made an effort at doing jumps, but it felt awkward to turn them into a Tabata interval.  Have fun.

Spin the Wheel

Spin 360

Lent: If you need a few recommendation for Lent this year, I recommend the following:

  1. Start a Mediation Routine
  2. Join a Spin Class and go every week
  3. Limit your sodium intake to 2300mg per day
  4. Limit you alcohol intake to a glass of wine in before bed, in bed 5 days a week.
  5. Start jogging after work 6 days a week
  6. Go vegetarian 5 days a week
  7. Spend 15 minutes in the Sauna 5 days a week
  8. Give up Dying

Traditionally you give up a vice, but a very wise priest once told me, “It isn’t necessarily that you give something up, it is that you give something up that keeps you from being closer to God.”  He went on,  “If you have an unhealthy lifestyle, then give that up.  You may find God easier to get along with when you start taking care of his creation, YOU.”

 

Thanks for reading, please remember to comment, share, and follow.

 

 

Happy Groundhog Day

Since 1841 the weirdos from Pennsylvania have been forcing Groundhogs to predict the end of winter.  They attempt to accurately translate from “groundhogese” to English and commune with the great spirits of yesteryear.  The immortal groundhog Punxsutawney Phil each year usurps Candlemas and re-paganizes a once Roman holiday usurped by the Christians, who were Romans also.  Now this holiday is purely American, and has nothing, unfortunately to do with Groundhog Day with the immortal Bill Murray. Think 6:00AM and Sonny and Cher’s I Got You Babe.  Check out this video from this year and if you are from somewhere else than the US, please do judge us too harshly.

2016 Groundhog Video

The Day After Monday

I don’t have much for you this week.  I have been busy working on my Thesis and completing my Law School applications. Cheers

Podcasts: Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History.  Dan Carlin is a journalist by trade, and an amateur historian by reputation.  His ability to research and present history is unique and thorough.  There are probably 100 or more hours of his histories.  I have listened to them all and patiently await the next chapter in his recent series.  Although I love classical history, the World War I series hands down is the most thorough recanting of the Great War I’ve ever heard.  Check it out here: Hardcore History

Spin Class: It may not have been utilized on Groundhog Day, but the holiday lent it the name. Check out the some.  We did some high intensity climbs with lots of big gear, seated intervals.  Check out this playlist on Spotify. Groundhog Spin

Meditation and Literature: This week I am looking to start a big part of my New Year’s Resolution, Meditation. This is part of a book that I am reading called: The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg.  What habits we have, both good and bad, have a great deal to do with our life and mental state.  Part of a good habit routine can help stabilize your life and make you more successful.  That is why I am going to start an exercise, sauna, and meditation routine.  I am so stressed out lately, finishing my master’s degree, starting law school, getting married, and most importantly raising a daughter to be a respectable and productive member of society.  I need some healthy routine, something to steer me clear of unhealthy ways to blow off steam.

Thanks for reading, remember to comment, like, share, and follow me!

 

 

Day After Tuesday

Your Guide to This Week’s Dose of Chili Cheese all Wrapped Up in a Flour Tortilla.

App of the Week: Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, talk about a time vampire.  Go ahead and give up your marriage and your job and download this game.  Take on the galaxy by commanding the Dark and Light Side characters in a series of Final Fantasy styled battles.  Honestly I am at level 63 and it can easily take an hour just to complete the daily tasks.  I suggest downloading the game, don’t give it any money unless you are filthy rich, and limit yourself to 30 minutes a day.  If it gets out of hand, delete it immediately and go back to Flappy Bird.

Moleskine:  Do you ever wish you could go back in time?  To world where everyone relied on paper calendars and little notebooks to keep track of their day.  I don’t, I am too heavily involved in technology and stricken with the “What’s next?” affliction.  In order to counter that aspect of my life, I vowed to start keeping a planner, project planner, and event and life organizer, in the style of the luddite.  Enter Moleskine.  Once the preferred notepad for journalists and authors.  Imagine the stringer, Ernest Hemingway, covering the Spanish Civil War and reading out the story from his flip book “Stop!”  I am a fan of the Professional Notebook, but I am still working on the exact way I want to organize it. Go out to Barnes and Nobles or visit the website and get started today.  You may find your life a tad bit more organized that when you hide all your to-dos in a series of apps and folders.  There is something that triggers in your brain differently using an analog system.  If the tactile feedback from the Moleskine doesn’t do it for you, then just go back to your smart phone.  I can’t imagine The Sun Also Rises having its prototype in Evernote, but if it is Evernote you like, there is a combination Moleskine book that is specifically designed to interface with Evernote.

On Getting Out of Debt: I thought I would start a little section about getting out of debt and record my progress as I go.  There are lots of different methods.  I can’t say I have any preferred, and as of this moment I am sitting on a sizable debt.  Some say that the best method is to pay off all the debts, cut up the cards, live on Ramen Noodle, sell your possessions and so on.  I don’t know what works, but I am going to go a bit unorthodox in my battle against debt.  I don’t want to pay off my debt and then live debt free because I have learned to live within my means.  I choose to earn enough money to cover my current debt and to live within a different set of means.

The first step for me is “Facing the Debt”

-In order to do this I took out my handy Moleskine and jotted down each debt I had and the balance.  In addition, I went to the gov. site and was sent to https://www.annualcreditreport.com for your credit report and looked at my Experian credit.  You are allowed three reports per year.  One from each major reporting companies.  It is a bit scary but also energizing to look at all the mistakes you made and set a course for success.  So my advice is, “Face the Debt, and Learn from Your Mistakes.”

Audible: You may have heard about them back in 2008 when the corporate giant Amazon bought them out for a measly 300 million, or you may have noticed their advertising campaign targeting podcast listeners.  I highly recommend Audible for those of you with long commutes, traveling, or those out for a long run.  The beauty of Audible is the that it is relatively cheap and any number of books can provide 12 hours of entertainment.  The app makes it easy to share with trusted friends and family.  Check them out and listen to a little Shakespeare for god’s sake.  I however, in my aims to get out of debt by the end of the year had to end my membership until 2017, but before I did cashed in all my download credits and should be good to go for the next few months of commuting 40 minutes to and from work each day.

Literature: One day a friend sent me a link to a book called The Four Hour Workweek.  I will say I ruled that out immediately.  I was younger and full of hubris.  Self-help, get rich quick books were not for me.  After all, I had a plan.  Five years later I started commuting from the city to school and work in the burbs.  To get through the brutal drive I began listing to Audiobooks and to podcasts. Randomly I clicked on a Tim Ferriss podcast about the power of meditation.  I was hooked, and today I finally started his book.  I’m not saying you need to drink his kool-aid right away. Go to his website and sign up for his 5 bullet blast email. Check out his podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show and skim the topics.  Just give him a listen.  I’ve been a fan for about 6 months now and only now am I starting his book.  I’ll keep you posted, but for now enjoy the free stuff.  I hope you find him as influential as I have.

Music:  Here is the link to my last playlist for spin class.  I haven’t been keeping them very long after I use them, so if you like it. Save it.  I call this one, Time Spin.  It is designed to start you off pumping those legs and then a series of hard hills and a final Tabata based downhill finale.  I burned about 850 calories in a 45 minute class.
Time Spin

Monday Savvy

MLK

Happy MLK Day.

I am so tired of Millennials.  What is our world going to be like when all the people who know stuff about art, science, culture, history, language, etc. die?  I’m sorry but a world full of computer hackers who attempt to have intellectual conversations (online) based upon crap they read on Wikipedia is not for me.  Are we getting dumber?  I think so, when all your smart people drop out of school to become entrepreneurs, what kind of message does that send to the youth.  Who is going to be left to cure cancer?  This is the major question.  Are Millennials so superior to GenX because they ripped off MySpace and created Facebook?

The Day After Sunday

Podcast:  In a recent podcast from Re/code, they interviewed Mic CEO Chris Altchek about his way of bringing the news to Millennials because traditional means have failed them.  Honestly, take a look at Mic.com and tell me if you think that the news on this site is any different than other sites.  I don’t believe that a Millennial needs to receive news any other way, instead they should follow these three steps.  1) Stop only caring about yourself and your online presence, 2) Realize that the world is a lot bigger than Palo Alto, 3) Get your news from multiple sources.  Trust me, the journalist who won the Pulitzer Prize might have a leg up on the twenty-somethings who worked at the Huffington Post.  Just so you know, they are owned by AOL, who gets their news from AOL except those 50-70 yo that started out with a dial up AOL account and still login daily to the chime of “You’ve got mail” and a series of spam emails about Viagra.

Apps:  This week’s app is called Elevate.  It is a learning app that first tests your knowledge and then designs a plan to improve your abilities in certain areas.  I have not tested the premium version, but currently I do a few lessons about brevity, vocabulary, and everyday math.  It leaves my brain tingling with excitement.  I highly recommend you download the app and take the test.  Give it a week and train everyday.  I you aren’t sold, you can delete it at no cost but to your mind.

Books: Still following along with the Cast of Kings podcast and book 1 of the Game of Thones, but I wanted to introduce you to my favorite living writer of fiction. Haruki Murakami, is one of the most talented writers, he combines history, philosophy, science, fantasy, and religion all grounded in Japanese culture.  I’ve always been a Japanophile, and his detail makes me want to visit and spend some time deeply entrenched in their rich culture. I suggest starting with The Wind-up Bird Chronicle and then devouring any other of his book that meets your fancy.  I read Kafka on the Shore  in a beautiful park in Ravenna, IT.

Health: I wrote about salt last week and if you haven’t yet, I recommend you read it as a start and consider changing your life. It’s a Salty World.

Music:  Here is a link to this Monday’s spin class! It is meant for a Tempo/Hill ride.  I’m gonna kill’em later today. Saltland Sweat

That’s it for this week.  Check out last weeks Day After Sunday update and please share, follow, and comment.  Thanks.

 

It’s a Salty World

Salt

It’s 2016, Obama put Biden in charge of a campaign to cure cancer, I just read a blog about a vaccine for AIDs, David Bowie died, and I just found out that salt will freaking kill you.  It’s not that I didn’t know about the negative effects of sodium, but I never thought my soup and salad from Panera Bread would contain the recommended amount of sodium to kill a horse.  In order to track my food and calorie intake I downloaded the Lose It app.  According to some googling results I am going to keep my sodium content down to 2300mg per day.  Lower if possible, but man it is hard.  So, my recommendation to you is: google the nutritional information on everything.  I had a cup of Thai soup yesterday and then found out that my modest 500mg of sodium for the day quickly turned to 2700mg.  That’s too freaking much salt.  If these restaurants want to continue to get my business then they need to cut the sodium.  We are all salt addicts and it’s killing us.  A study attributes 1.65 million deaths to cardiovascular salt related deaths.  Read this NPR article, it will change your world.

The Day After Tuesday (Mid-week update)

    1. Dungeons and Dragons:  I have never played, probably never will, but I love a good podcast, especially one that contains long story arcs.  I recommend checking out the dudes from My Brother My Brother and Me‘s podcast called “The Adventure Zone.”  The McElroy brothers, aided by the radio friendly voice of their Father, guide you through a world of Dungeons and Dragons (Well maybe eventually a dragon).  It’s for the novice player to the no player.  Advanced D&Ders need not apply, you probably will be too cynical to enjoy the hilarious adventures of Taako, Magnus, and Merle.
    2. Apps:  I really can’t stress how bored I was with Run Keeper.  If you don’t go premium it does very little to motivate or enhance your run.  So…when an alternative popped up in the app store I made the choice and killed Run Keeper and went forward with the new running and cycling app “Strava.  It’s user friendly, not overly complicated, and most importantly lets you post your route.  At first I thought, “Oh great, now people can learn my run courses, stalk, rape, and kill me,” but luckily that hasn’t happened.  I like the option for premium users to see the times of other users and let that competitive edge drive you.  For me, I like to go run someone’s course and see what they saw and ponder why they turned where they did.  Check it out, I’m sure if you don’t like it Run Keeper will take you back no questions asked.