Monday, June 27, 2016

Fighting Myself

I'm a mechanic. One of the interesting things about being a mechanic is that I get paid on the flat rate system. In essence, it means that I get paid per job. If I finish a lot of jobs, I get paid well. If I don't, well, you get the idea. This has worked fairly well for me during my short tenure in this trade, however, with another recession looming over our heads, fixing cars becomes a minor necessity to a lot of people. Thus, work has been slow. Everyone at the shop is on edge and tempers have flared. Add all that to losing our intranet this morning at work and even I was in rip-off-your-face mode. 

I always try to remain calm and be productive, but at times I'm unable to restrain my discontent. I know there is nothing I can do about my situation, but for some reason I feel compelled to rage about and let everyone know how angry I am. 

This is a human weakness and one I desperately need to work on. We all need to remember that while we may not always be able to control our circumstances, we can control our attitude. Lord help me.

Sunday, June 26, 2016


So, in a recent post, I alluded to committing 1% a day to bettering myself. I'd like to lightly expound upon this. I read about this idea in an article about learning how to code. It struck me deeply, as I'm always ready and willing to learn and try new things, but for some reason, my zeal tapers off after the initial endeavour. For some reason, I couldn't continue to learn new skills or new habits, for as I was very excited in the beginning, I soon lost interest and faltered. Not only that, but I found myself depressed as I was unable to continue in my quest for betterment.

Again, I'd like to reference polyphasic sleeping as the mustard seed, as I wouldn't have been reading at all had it not been for the exorbitant amount of time I've been given as a result of adopting this lifestyle.

After reading about the idea that to achieve lasting success, only small steps are required, a light turned on inside of me. I attempted to take very small, dissatisfying bites of success in multiple crafts. And although it left me feeling weak, depressed, and unsuccessful in the beginning; after about a week of enduring through it, I found myself not only adapting to the smaller meals, but enjoying them and feeling (to a lesser degree) the same soul kindling zeal I had in the beginnings of the failed attempts. I also feel compelled to complete these tasks, as they hardly take time at all individually. A baby could keep concentrated on them for crying out loud! My ability to retain knowledge and skills is at an all time high, and although I don't feel like a superhero, my wings are starting to develop.

I would encourage anyone who is a zealous failure, such as myself, to attempt what I've mentioned. Keep in mind that you are not a superhero. You're hardihood does have a limit. Just commit to 1% a day. You'll find you're accomplishing more than you believed you ever could.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

My Complaint

Sears pissed me off. Here's my complaint:

I'm am completely unsatisfied with the customer service your company provided. I called up 3 days ago and ordered (or at least thought I ordered) some parts. I spoke with a representative from parts direct over my weed eater. I informed him that the bottom of it had come apart and it was just an empty hole. I also informed him that I knew I at least needed the spool and the retainer for the spool. I asked him if he knew what I was talking about as far as the retainer was concerned and he replied in the affirmative. He then told me that I also would be needed to purchase the spring (I was unaware of this and thanked him). After he concluded the parts lookup, I again asked him if that was all I would be needing. He informed me that I had ordered everything that comes apart from the bottom of the weed eater. Today, June 25, I received a spring in the mail by itself. Naturally I was concerned that I had indeed ordered everything I needed. I therefore proceeded to call the Parts Direct toll free line once again to verify. Initially I spoke with a lady who seemed to be helpful. She informed me that I had indeed ordered the spool, but as for the retainer, she didn't see it on the order and was unsure whether or not the spool came with it. She told me she would transfer me to parts. After a lengthy conversation with her, I would have thought it common courtesy to inform the next representative of the details. She did not and the next lady I spoke with had no knowledge of my concern. I attempted to explain it to her, also providing the model number of my weed eater. As I was speaking, the call dropped. I hadn't even thought of it, but after the call had been lost, it occurred to me that most service representatives initially ask for the client's phone number in case the line drops. Again I called the same toll free number and dialed 2. Someone picked up but the line was dropped again. Finally on the third attempt, I was able to have a conversation with a representative named Linda. Curiously, she was able to find a parts diagram without transferring my call to another representative. She informed me that I needed a bump stop, and that I would have to pay more money for the part, plus extra for shipping. I inquired if the shipping would have been the same had the order been placed correctly in the first place. She informed me that shipping would be more in my situation, as shipping for any part doesn't exceed 9 dollars and some odd cents. I asked if it would be possible for Sears to take care of the shipping, as I had explicitly requested the parts in total the first time I called and was assured that they were all I needed. She told me that my description had been vague, and that in no way would Sears take care of the shipping. I, of course, shelled out the extra money for shipping, but I will not be shopping at Sears in any wise any time soon. It's a shame, as I enjoy the quality of the products produced.

Unveiling Disappointment

Someone had me work on their vehicle today. I'm a helpful kind of guy, so I obliged. They told me they'd buy me a coffee and even slightly inconvenienced me to verify what kind I drank. It was a job that should have paid at least 50 bucks, but I wasn't concerned. I just like helping people. However, when I arrived at their place to do the job, there was no coffee.

Why do I care? I mean, I can make coffee at home. My job has free coffee. Why does it matter whether or not the individual neglected to bring the coffee? It's simply because they said they would. I went to an out of the way place to perform a repair for nothing. I asked for nothing, but they offered coffee and didn't deliver. And this, to me, is an offensive act. Nevertheless, I did my best to remain as professional and friendly as possible. I finished the job anyway. This is who I am.

I've met a lot of people who promise something and then don't deliver. Heck, I've done it myself. But this is something we need to purge from ourselves. It's not enough to talk a good game or look professional; we need to act the part. Each of us has our foibles and follies, but we need to treat each other as we wish to be treated. Instead of talking behind each other's backs, let's do some soul searching into why we feel the need to cower behind gossip, then act the very part we condemn.

And most of all, bring coffee if you say you're going to for crying out loud!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Becoming A Champion

What does it take to become a champion? Webster's Dictionary defines the word as "a person who fights or argues for a cause or on behalf of someone else." I've been curious on how to sway others to adopt my type of thinking for some time now. The disconnect, I think, lies in the fact that everyone is out for themselves. Me included. However, by laying that aside, I've found that the most responsive people are those who are in need or are outcasts. I find it discouraging to try and discuss something like alternative energy with an individual who is comfortable in their current situation in life. The mentality seems to be, that if nothing changes (which of course it will), they're content with the system the way it is. It doesn't matter if millions of others are suffering, just so long as they can work a normal nine to five and grab a bud light at the end of the day. Without the sky actually falling on our heads, nothing seems to grab hold inside. I think that might be why the news is so prominent. People want to experience change without experiencing change. People want to be heroes without sacrifice. 

Enter the outcast. The people in dire need. Their ears and eyes are open. They need a solution, so they listen intently to all. They are ready and willing to apply esoteric suggestions to their lives. It's as if by turning the comfort off, a light switch is turned on inside their souls. Why? Because we all need to belong. If a fellow outcast presents an eccentricity, of course they're willing to accept. If they accept the idea or thought, the presenter accepts them. 

This may seem to be backwards logic, but with pure intentions, the means by which you gather the crowd is forgotten. Only the reason remains. Thusly, to become a champion in any wise, we must become the outcast. We must become the eccentric weirdo to whom no self respecting person would associate with. Because, you see, the weirdos follow the eccentrics; and crowds follow crowds, which are comprised of all the normal, self respecting people. And this is how to become a champion.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Adaption & Understanding

Well, I've been on this polyphasic sleep thing for a while now. There are sporadic fluctuations in sleep times. I've had two sinus infections which necessitated that I sleep more, but I've always taken my naps and I'm starting to feel a sense of normalcy.

It's kind of weird having so much time in the day. I don't feel like a superhuman or anything, rather that my life has expanded. I'm pursuing goals that I've wanted to since I was a kid! I'm knitting, writing, practicing penmanship, and teaching myself how to code; and that's not even all of it.

But something else has happened as well. I'm beginning to notice just how limited my life was before adapting to this schedule. I used to wake up (slightly late), cook breakfast, and rush out the door. Work was slightly satisfying, but I felt a slight sense of helplessness, as if I were stuck and the choice I made to become a mechanic was a terminal one. When I got home from work I felt lethargic. My wife would have some chore or something which needed to be done, but I hadn't the strength or motivation to do it. I'd watch a couple of hours of television, then hit the sack, only to do it all over again. Weekends were a hazy disappointment at best. I had so many things on my plate that I could never tack one goal down. I'd get depressed and end up not doing anything at all.

This isn't to say that simply adopting a polyphasic sleep schedule was a magic bullet, but it acted as the catalyst for monumental change at 1% daily. Let me iterate. As I started my quest into night consciousness, I found that without a task or goal, I simply went back to sleep. I'd just drift off. So, very quickly, I started pursuing very simple goals. 15 minutes of penmanship practice. I've always wanted to be a really good penman, so 15 minutes was nothing; especially at 3 in the morning. Having completed that task and bathing in the glow of endorphins, I started to complete knitting a simple scarf that I had been trying to finish for over 6 months (I'm not a very good knitter, but I enjoy it as it helps with stress). 30 minutes out of the way, I'd drink some coffee and read. I completed 7 full books while on vacation in Italy, so in hopes of continuing, I started checking out e-books from the local library's website (something I had time to teach myself how to do as I had no idea).

Then I had an insane idea. I've read about all the great polymaths like Leonardo deVinci and Benjamin Franklin. I wanted to learn a college level skill on my own time without paying for it. Enter computer programming. I started with Codecademy. After completing what I wanted to in the free section, I started searching for ways to network. My thought was to motivate by immersion. I attended a few meetups with javascript developers and obtained a fantastic resource: Now I spend the time knitting, practicing penmanship, and learning how to code all before I go to work in the morning. By the time I start working on my first car, I've already completed multiple goals. I'm actually attaining my dreams.

I'm not in a rush, but I am on a quest. 1% daily is all I want. In time, perhaps I'll achieve Franklin status. If not, at least I'll be able to knit one heck of a scarf.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Diet and Sleep

So for the past two days I've found it to be a monumental challenge to wake up in the morning. This morning was the worst I've felt since adopting a polyphasic sleep schedule. I was unsure as to why I felt so terrible at first. I was able to get my checklist completed for the morning, but my mental clarity was atrocious and my allergies were even worse. I had a headache, and even after taking ibuprofen, it didn't subside. I almost fell asleep driving to work this morning too!

So after reviewing what could be causing these symptoms, I've found that for both days, I've eaten a heavy dinner (last night was sweet and sour chicken from a local chinese joint). It makes sense, because my body needs more rest to digest heavy food like meat and processed foods. When I was still in the navy, I went raw vegan for 13 days just to see if I could (I love meat by the way). I lost 10 pounds without even exercising and my mental clarity was the best I could ever remember. However, the mental challenge was extremely difficult. I would have continued, but I just loved hamburgers too much.

So here's my plan. I want to continue with my sleeping schedule, but to do that, I need to adopt a new, lighter, diet. I really need to lose a few pounds anyway, and since I'm familiar with raw veganism (at least somewhat), I'm aiming for that. What I need to make me stick to it though is a cheat meal every now and then. I'm unsure how to schedule a cheat meal without suffering for it, but I would imagine it to be sometime in the morning or afternoon. Absolutely not at night!

I'm really excited to see what my new diet will do for my waking up abilities, but with two completely new lifestyle changes, it's going to be quite the challenge.