Tag Archives: culture

How an Overachieving Work Monger Learned the Benefit of a Good Nap

staged napping photo

staged napping photo

I’m staying at a friend’s co-op which is unsurprisingly full of long haired hippie types with slow eyed dreams. Despite the fact I’m also pursuing an “alternative” career as opposed to something in office dronery, I’m still skeptical of those who dream of nothing more than working on a farm for six months out of the year and going south to roost with the birds come October.

Where’s the ambition? Where’s the love of early mornings and hard work? Where’s the drive to produce every single moment of the day and have a list of goals hanging from the wall and over your head that you must accomplish or suffer failure?

To me, even travel can and should be considered work, which I love. If I’m successful at the work of travel, I go out and see a great many things, write a good many blog posts and thoughts, draw a picture, talk to a stranger and spend little money. I fail by staying in bed and being lazy. Being lazy must be avoided at all costs.

I’ve always felt righteous about my overbearing work ethic, which has often stressed me out and caused me to spend too much time working on things that didn’t matter as opposed to relaxing with friends. In fact, I hate the very word relax. It offends me. I don’t want to relax. I want to learn, to work, to be productive, to produce, to experience, etc. etc. It’s exhausting.

When one of these hippie types pulled out a book two days ago called “How to be Idle,” by Tom Hodgkinson, I nearly vomited in my quinoa. Could there be anything more disgusting than a book dedicated to laziness and encouraging these kinds of people who needed nothing more than a swift kick in the ass? I scoffed at the very idea of it.

Then, minutes later, I picked it up. I started reading the first chapter “8 a.m.: Waking up is hard to do.” And within a couple more minutes I was hooked. I saw my life and culture in a completely different light. The emphasis on productivity hasn’t served me but my corporate overlords. Busyness is a cult that degrades our quality of life, our freedom, and the ability to reflect on and live contemplative existences.

Though I don’t agree with Hodgkinson completely on everything about the idler lifestyle, I did suddenly realize that my relentless focus on production is not productive. Boom. It’s as simple as that.

I’ve not finished the book, but it has been interesting to hear this man’s thoughts on how our culture of work conspires to keep us chained to our desks, away from home, and most of all, to keep us from thinking.

In honor of my newfound appreciate for idleness, I took a nap and spent five hours today in a cafe merely reflecting. It was certainly time well spent.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book so far: 

On working long hours and doing nothing: 

“After all, aren’t modern companies always saying how much they value creativity and innovation? How much they need ideas? Perhaps the truth is rather sadder, that they actually value steadfastness, application and your bum being on your revolving seat for as many hours in the day as you can stand.”

On the culture that rejects illness and taking any time off for it: 

“Drug companies make vast profits out of magic beans which promise to deliver us from torment and return us to the desk.”

On napping: 

“Don’t think that you will be doing less work because you sleep during the day. That’s a foolish notion held by people who have no imagination. You will be able to accomplish more.” – Winston Churchill

“Employers would rather you put in four hours of sitting and accomplishing nothing than an hour’s nap, clothes or otherwise, followed by three hours of productive toil.”

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High-End Restaurant Concepts from Children

Lunchable themed restaurant?

San Francisco is a bizarre place. Everyone complains about not having enough money while eating out four times a week and spending $100 each weekend on drugs and alcohol alone. Based on my armchair research, this phenomenon is the result of a large population of parentally wealthy young people, people who are used to a high standard of living but don’t make enough money to support it. For that reason, they save nothing, spend 50% of their income on housing and the other 50% on going out.

These yuppsters demand tasty, childhood-nostalgic food, leading to eateries such as a restaurant that only sells macaroni and cheese, one that specializes in carnival-inspired food, and a pirate-themed bar, concepts that children ages 5-12 would also enjoy. As a money-making scheme, I briefly considered getting kid’s opinions on restaurant concepts and then stealing them, but instead I opted to imagine what a 9-year-old would think and forgo frequenting playgrounds where I would undoubtedly raise parental suspicions while conducting interviews.

Note: If there is anyone out there who is inspired by these ideas and wants to take them on, please shove it because they are mine.

1. Slime: At this restaurant, not only are there a variety of slime-inspired food items like Slimey Cornish Game Hen and Slime Shroom Soup, but every patron enters the restaurant knowing that he or she has the chance of being slimed for no extra charge. Showers provided at the YMCA down the street for a nickle.

2. It’s your birthday!: The hostess chooses one birthday boy or girl out of each party. The birthday person wears a funny hat, commands the conversation with pre-chosen discussion topics, orders his or her favorite foods for everyone in the group, and gets to blow out as many candles as he or she wants on the cake. Due to San Francisco law, no singing is allowed.

3. Candyland: All food items are made solely from candy, with dishes such as Flambeed Heart of Reese’s on a Bed of Twizzlers Scented with Hershey’s Syrup, or Braised Lindt Truffles Smothered in Peanut Butter and Topped with M&Ms. For beverages, only milk, hot chocolate, Bailey’s and their combinations are offered. Insulin provided upon request.

4. Outerspace: Featuring space ice cream and all the weird, dehydrated, astronuat food that has been turned delicious using the magic of science. For an extra fee, groups can reserve an actual space shuttle and go to Oakland!

5. Camp Swampy: Everyone’s camp favorites such as fish sticks, mashed potatoes, biscuits and gravy, meatloaf, and French fries done up all fancy like and served to you by a staff that still doesn’t care. Truffle oil on everything! Sole sticks! Gravy with hand-made sage sausage from a pig named Phillip! Coolaid made with top shelf rum!

6. Eve: Formed around the holiday of Christmas Eve, this restaurant is open to people of all spiritual backgrounds, because presents are more important than religion. Not only does the restaurant serve up some of the most indulgent holiday treats, but for a fee, everyone has the chance to open one present! Enjoy the holiday atmosphere but watch out for Santa—he might slime you or take your wallet!

Anyone have any other ideas for high-end restaurant concepts inspired by children? What do real children think?

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Is Peanut Butter Good For You?

This is enough peanut butter for roughly three days.

Yes. It’s what we in the medical community call a “healthy food,” and it should form a significant portion, if not the majority, of your diet. Most white, male doctors recommend eating 4-8 tablespoons of peanut butter a day (32- 64g) in order to maximize its health benefits. These include decreased excess energy, facial sprouting, peanut mouth, and a heightened sense of disclarity.

If you’re trying to lose weight, female doctors say you should replace two meals a day with half a cup (64g) of peanut butter and wash it down with one cup (128g) whole milk. In order to see the best results while using peanut butter, you should also avoid eating vegetables or other bulky foods like whole wheat and oatmeal, since they will only hinder your body from taking in more peanut butter.

In addition to being a nutritious oral food product, peanut butter is also scientifically proven to have effects as a hair treatment, carpet cleaner, and virus removal software for your personal computer.

Just as peanut butter performs the sacred cohesive act in a sandwich made with crustless white bread, it is also a driving force of social cohesion. Countries whose populations consume a high amount of peanut butter, like the United States of America and Mali, are generally referred to as “paradises on earth,” which is sociologist speak for “a great place to live.”  Countries with low rates of gross peanut butter consumption, like Belgium and Egypt, are more prone to social unrest and mayonnaise based diets. Even though mayonnaise is a nutrient the body needs, basing an entire nutrition system on it will undoubtedly hinder the television production capacities of said countries.

If you have any more questions about whether peanut butter is good for you or not, please re-read the paragraphs above and don’t call me at home.

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What is “Fax Machine?”

I’m trying to get back to San Francisco in July. Yes I got back yesterday, but yes I loved it and yes I want to live out there just like the rest of the dreamers in the world. A large man at a bakery told me to come back when I made it big and buy a cupcake from him so now I definitely have to go back. He awaits me with his floppy hat and the cupcake.

Unfortunately, I’ve found myself in the awkward position of having no money. This sad fact has led me to Craig’s list as I search for the likely-lethal ride share possibilities. I’m also considering the safer yet more complicated method of using frequent flier miles, which got me out to SF in the first place.

Scared of Craig’s list, I began trying to rack up my miles in earnest. After cashing in on all possible miles with Delta, I still found myself short a cute 30,000 miles for a reward trip. Disappointed but not yet defeated, I turned my sights towards American Airlines.

I hadn’t earned any miles for my first trip to Cairo last May, which could put me just over 12.5K miles, the minimum amount for a reward trip. “They owe me,” I thought. I also thought, “This will be easy. Flight problem solved. Next step: find a puppy and an apartment.” As I found out later, the puppy will have to wait.

So I hunted through the back logs of my emails, scrutinized all of the numbers that lay within the ones pertaining to flight information, and found everything I thought I needed. Success was at hand. I could see the California sun, the blue water of the bay reflecting its golden rays. I filled in the information for the first leg of the journey, feeling cocky. Then came the second leg, carried by Royal Jordanian.

As soon as I selected the name of that carrier, this message came up: “Mileage credit requests for this airline must be submitted via fax. Please send a copy of your ticket receipt and boarding pass(es) to 1-817-963-7882.”

Excuse me? Did I read my screen correctly? You want me to fax something? As in, use a fax machine to transmit information? How about instead of faxing anything, I build a time machine and go back to rescue American Airlines from where it is clearly trapped in the past. I could bring their executive leadership into the year 2012 where we have things like scanners and internet.

Also, when they say boarding passes, do they mean those pieces of trash with numbers and my seat number on them that I have to show the person in front of the jetbridge in order to get on the plane? The ones I usually crumple, fill with gum, or tear apart before absent mindedly shoving them into the pocket of the seat in front of me? Surely they don’t mean those things?

All of this archaic nonsense makes it seem like they don’t want me to get these miles. It’s almost like they want me to pay for a flight. But I’ve never heard of a large, failing corporation acting against the interests of the consumer, so that certainly can’t be it.

I guess it’s back to Craig’s list.

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A Victim of Netflix Mania: Part One

(I watched a lot of TV and then my mind felt slow, inspiring this story.)

Scene: Doctor’s Office

Doctor (addressing Nurse prior to entering a patient’s room): Sir, hit me with the patient’s history.

Nurse: Sir, the patient’s family brought her in this morning. They had found her weeping while trying to hug the television. At the time, the TV was displaying the Netflix home screen. She is currently functioning at the mental capacity of a toddler. Her mother said that when they went to sleep last night, she was behaving normally. However, she had just discovered how to use the family’s Netflix account on their new television and was on her 3rd straight hour of comedy programming.

Doctor: And they just left her there?

Nurse: Yes, sir.

Doctor: Sir, what is this patient’s previous television viewing record?

Nurse: According to the family, the patient goes through bouts of extreme motivation, where she watches little to no television. However, during breaks from school or periods of emotional malaise, this motivation focuses on television and she consumes entire seasons of her favorite shows in days. She becomes inaccessible and irritable, insisting on complete solitude and/or demanding others watch with her. They told of one summer when she watched an entire season of True Blood in 3 days and would not “shut up” about it. They referred to it as “a scary time.”

Doctor: Television is not meant to be watched in this way. And what is her previous experience with Netflix, sir?

Nurse: Sir, she has never had access to unrestricted Netflix watching. The family thinks it may have caused her to lose her mind.

Doctor: They may be right, sir. She may be crazy. I feel we might be looking at another case of Netflix-induced mania. Shall we go in to see the patient? Do you have your rubber duckies and pipe cleaner handcuffs, just in case?

Nurse: Of course, sir. I am a nurse, sir, not an imbecile.

They enter the examination room, where the patient babbles, her mother hovering worriedly

Doctor (addressing the mother): Hi, thank you for waiting. I’m sure you’re quite concerned about your daughter. We’re going to do all we can to save her. As I once said: a mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Mother (anxiously): Doctor, what’s wrong with my daughter? Can you help her?

Doctor (assertively): We’re going to get to the illness of this bottom. Oops! I meant bottom of this illness. (laughs heartily.) Don’t you hate it when that happens! Anyways, I’ve dealt with cases like this before and almost cured them. She’s in good hands. (shows her his hands). These hands.

Nurse: (holding up his hands) And these hands.

How do the symptoms represent? Will the patient be cured? Can this happen to you? Some or all of these questions might be answered tomorrow, when the saga continues.

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