Friday, December 31, 2010

Chris's Poem: The Great Setup

The Great Setup

Are we ready?
Are we ready to go now?
Please don’t wear me down to nothing
Please don’t let me down

So have we got what we need?
Do we even know what we need?
Please don’t placate me
Please don’t let me down

I hope this wasn’t taken too far
Because I don’t think you ever know until you know
I hope we didn’t set up to fall too far
Because we’ll never know until we’re ready to go

- Chris McGinty – 12-16-10 – 5:18 am

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Solution to the Resolution

by Chris McGinty (According To Whim .com)

A quick thought about New Year’s Resolutions, you know, since 2011 is fast approaching. The key to keeping a New Year’s Resolution is to plan for the whole year. One of the most common resolutions is to quit smoking. I’ve never smoked, so I’ve never had to quit. I’m not attempting to say that it is easy, hard, easier for some than others, or anything of that nature. I am simply wishing to discuss how one might go about keeping that resolution, or any other resolution, but using quitting smoking as an example.

1. You have to mean it. Any resolution you make that you might do, provided nothing goes wrong, provided your emotional support backs you up, provided any number of things, is an empty resolution. If you say, “I’m going to quit smoking,” but you don’t mean it, save your breath… you’ll need it to smoke with. (That sounded judgmental. I apologize. Even if it was funny.)

2. Don’t be all or nothing. Give yourself some breathing room… you’ll need it to smoke. (I’m sorry!) If you put out you “last cigarette” at 11:59 pm on December 31, 2010, and do well all the way up until 2:47 pm on January 3, 2011, when you find yourself outside freezing your ass off with your co-workers on just a quick smoke break; don’t decide that the whole resolution thing was a bad idea. Sit down. Remind yourself why you set your resolution. Start over. Rinse. Repeat. Your resolution was to quit smoking (or whatever, fill in the blank). Find it in your resolve not to be defeated by a slip up.

3. Perhaps take it in small steps. Reduce the amount you smoke, and the amount you buy over the course of the year rather than just quitting. You can always decide at any point to just go cold turkey if the slow reduction starts to work better for you, or you can move your deadline up to be finished with it.

4. You have to mean it. Nothing will work if you’re not serious. Humans are very good at finding excuses. If you don’t have a healthy hatred of your excuse making ability, you’ll instead congratulate yourself on realizing what went wrong, and for discovering sooner rather than later that you weren’t cut out for that resolution you foolishly chose. Resolution. Resolute. Resolve. Think about those words. If you’re not resolute, if you don’t have resolve, then you have no right to be making resolutions anyway. Go find some other dumb tradition to follow.

5. Make other resolutions throughout the year. Once a day. Once a week. Once a month. The first day of a new season. Every 100 days. It doesn’t matter. New Year’s Resolutions have a bad reputation because they are forgotten until the following year. Don’t take a whole year to remember them.

6. Some factoid that I can’t cite and hope that I’m remembering right. I read somewhere that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. I’m sure that’s not based on science, but it’s at least something to consider. I also know from experience that it takes far less time to slip back into old habits. I think this is because while it may take only 21 days to form a habit of intent, a lazy habit can sneak up on you.

7. My own little factoid. I realized something a while back, and I’m giving myself credit for saying it this way, because I’ve never heard it said this way: “It is said that if there was a formula for success then everyone would be successful. I say that there is a formula for success. The reason that not everyone is a success is because the formula for failure is easier to follow.” – Chris McGinty

8. You have to mean it. I mean that.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Everything You Wanted to Know about Chris's 2011 Goals, but Were Afraid He'd Actually Tell You

by Chris McGinty (According to Whim .com)

I’ve been trying to define how I intend to fill my To Do Lists. The way that it is normally written balances project work, chores and errands, and some recreation. It was initially used as a way to simulate eight hours of personal work in between things like raising kids and delivering pizza. I was unable to simply note the time and work uninterrupted for 30 minutes and do this sixteen times a day. The idea was that if I managed a few minutes writing here, some reading there, paying this bill at this time, and doing this extra household cleaning at that time, that I would know that my day wasn’t all spent on normal daily requirements

At the point that I no longer had a daily responsibility to up to six children at a time, and I started working a job that allowed more freedom to do project work uninterrupted, I started moving toward actually working eight hours on list items each day, rather than setting out a list to mimic eight hours as closely as possible. But since my goal is to be accountable to the list, I need a way to be accountable to it without misestimating (what a weird looking word) too much more or less than eight hours. What I thought was to prioritize stuff so that after eight hours of work, if I don’t get to less important things then no big deal.

As a point of the organizing project, I plan to finish backing up all of my CDs to mp3. I also intend to listen through the mp3s I have for a quality check, and organize my music collection onto the second hard drive and properly back it up. I also intend to get back in the habit of listening to about one CD length worth of new music (or at least new to me) each week. I will do this probably using Pandora, You Tube, and Playlist. I’m just stating all this so you understand the way they fall into the priority on my list. They get a higher priority only because I will listen to them as I write and as I do other work where music can be used as background.

During the Eight Hours of Project Work

1. Choose CDs and mp3s to listen to as I write
2. Write 500 words for daily blog
3. Write 500 words for column #1
4. Write 500 words for column #2
5. Write 500 words for column #3
6. Write 500 words for novel or book project
7. Write 500 words for novel or short story project
8. Write 500 words for journaling, or novel or script project
9. Choose new or new to me music to listen to while doing computer work
10. Check in with newsgroup and email accounts (tend to archive projects)
11. Tend to posting to blog, editing drafts, scheduled posts, and ATW.com work
12. Work on organization of computer files and streamlining backups
13. Music: instrument practice, song composition, recording, lyric writing
14. Any video work for ATW or other projects or promotion of ATW
15. Organization project for stuff
16. Editing of daily writing

Beyond the Eight Hours

Household chores, bill paying and other errands, planning, note taking, social time with family and friends, check in with social network sites, TV/movie watching, video game playing, and etc. until I think of anything else important.

Actually planning and note taking is more of an ongoing activity, but my hope is that I have all my planning and notes prepared before I start on the eight hours, so I put it here.

The List above is a starting point. I may change priorities as I go along. I will list more specific activities each day signifying where I am on each List item.

A quick note about 13: I really wanted to prioritize music creation higher, and give it more items on the list, but with the organization project taking up a large part of my year, I had to cut somewhere. My three main goals for the year are: writing six pages a day, the group goal of posting to the daily blog each day, and the organization project. These aren’t my only three goals, but I had to choose priorities to keep myself from trying to do too much

Goals for the year, including but perhaps not limited to: write six pages a day, maintain daily blog, organize all of my stuff, listen to more music that I haven’t heard before than I did this year, publish book(s), complete Season Two and Season Three, figure out what to do about Season Zero (aka Sniffles (sniff)), write and record new music and shoot accompanying videos, teach my teenagers to drive, Net Runner, Net Runner, Net Runner, Magic, Net Runner, Net Runner VE, Cyberpunk, watch a movie or two TV episodes each day, read more Stephen King, post to newsgroup four or more times a week, accountability partnering with Nathan, and eBay. And probably etcetera (what a weird looking word).

A note about eBay: No, it’s not represented on the To Do List. The problem with eBay is that it could easily take up eight hours all on its own. My intent is to really treat it like my part time job, provided I don’t get a part time job. On my days off from the guard job, I can use the same hours I would be at my guard job to work on eBay, and perhaps a couple of nights I can work the hours I would be delivering pizza. It’ll be an unfortunate balancing act between To Do List and full time job and part time job no matter how I look at it, whether the part time job is delivering, eBay, or something else. I haven’t picked a date yet, but I would like to be paying my bills on my own by some time in the year. I’ve cut my expenses back almost as far as they can go, so it is going to require an increase in income more so than a decrease in expenses, unless my dad does sell the house, at which point I’d probably stay with him for awhile, which would lower my expenses considerably.

If I spend a full eight hours on all the list stuff, and get about a half hour in on each item, then I’ll consider myself to be on task and achieving my 2011 goal of a perfect year To Do List work (my true priority, but somewhat hollow without other priorities). As I realize that eight hours each and every day is glitchy at best, I am allowing that I can work more than eight hours some days and less than eight hours other days, as long as I can claim 56 hours of List work each week and keep up with the 16 items of priority (list priority as opposed to goal priority).

Other checkpoints:

January, March, May, July, August, October, and December – 248 hours
April, June, September, and November – 240 hours
February – 224 hours
Each Ten-Weeks – 560 hours*

* checkpoints not cumulative. Just as a means of making sure that I don’t get really behind, I should make sure that I’m current for eight hours a day at each of these times. The eight hours a day will equal (365x8) 2920 hours for the entirety of 2011.

So I am very thought out on what my goals are and how to measure the completion of the goals. The real work will be keeping up with it though, and a good accountability partner will be a significant help. And a great scapegoat… I keed!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Overthinking a Hypothetical Question

by Chris McGinty (According To Whim .com)

The first book I ever read on time management was “How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life” by Alan Lakein. As a quick aside (I know I’m only on the second sentence so what the hell is with the aside?) I find it interesting that I live much of my life by some of the principles in this book, but I still feel like I have no time. I don’t think this is a flaw of the techniques, but rather a flaw in my personality. No matter how much I do, there is always another two or three or seventy-eight other things I’d like to do.

As if to give me something specifically to ignore, the book deals primarily in prioritizing your activities by the most important thing to you. About that flaw in my personality, to me, it’s all important. It all feels like an A priority eventually. Like right now, it seems reasonable to be typing this. Tomorrow, I’ll wish I’d spent my writing time more wisely.

One of the first things that he has you do to organize your thoughts and give you a snapshot (because he uses the photography analogy) of what your priorities are, is to have you write down three questions and answer them. I do this exercise from time to time to see where my priorities actually are at that moment. Here’s what you do (with me paraphrasing what he wrote):

1. What are my lifetime goals? Write for two minutes with abandon, as in, don’t worry about if what you write is possible or even if it’s really a goal. Just write. Then take two more minutes to refine what you wrote, and add to it if you missed anything.

2. How would I like to spend the next three years? Again two minutes of abandon, and two minutes of refining. He says to make it five years if you’re over thirty, but neglects to explain why he thinks you should do that.

3. If I knew I would be struck dead by lightning six months from today, how would I live until then? Treat this question same as the last two. But first, read what I have to say below, because this question is why I felt the need to even write this.

He says not to think about this, just write, and to presume that all arrangements like funeral and burial and whatever is all taken care of. That’s good, because my first thought was to find life insurance that pays out big for acts of God.

I do understand that this is a question that is designed to find what is important to you. That when you’re faced with only so many months left, your priorities will change. The thing is that mine would change drastically. I’m at work as I write this. I would call off right now and go home. I would make a list of people to assault 170 days from now, and I would buy a baseball bat. I’m kidding. But that’s just an extreme example of how one’s outlook might change if they knew they were going to die. I wouldn’t work anymore. No way. Moving back in with one of my parents for six months would be an acceptable course of action.

Let’s stop for a moment. This question is designed to get this kind of response. The idea is that likely nobody would say, “Oh, I’ll spend more time at my job over the next six months than I ever did.” And when you’re done, you’re supposed to look at it all realistically anyway. The assault list is suddenly not very practical, so it goes off the list. The question is designed in such a way as to make you think, “What would I get rid of from my life that isn’t important?” My job. Gone. So once I have no job, what is important? That’s what you should be working towards more often than you are. Sure, you have to keep your job, but if you say, “I would spend the last six months of my life hanging out with my children,” then it means that that’s what you should be doing as often as you can.

I’ve heard this question asked another way, which is, “If you had all the money you needed to live your life ideally, how would you live it?” It’s supposed to get the same kind of answer that says what you should be doing more often than you are now. But it would put me in a different frame of mind. I would go from “Cat’s in the Cradle” to “Shame of Life” very quickly… Cat Stevens to Butthole Surfers, in case you actually feel like looking the songs up to see what I mean.

The change in priority is this. Six months is not a whole lot of time to become a rock god, and even if I did, I’d get struck by lightning right as it got good, so I’d just want to hang out with my kids. Unlimited money resources and a normal non-lightning lifespan, and I can still hang out a lot with my kids in between being a rock god. Peter Gabriel’s daughter toured with him. And the number of rock star’s kids with a top 40 hit that they likely wouldn’t have had without mommy or daddy (no matter how talented they truly are) my kids wouldn’t complain… or they would be out of the daddy is the coolest club.

Again, please let me clarify, these questions are merely designed to get you thinking. I understand that. When the dust settles and you realize that you’re not Frank Sinatra (the rest of us just live in it) you’re supposed to make choices tempered by reality and get to it. And that’s the world where my two favourite shows that I’ve played were all ages shows so that my kids could watch their dad be a much lesser local rock god underling.

So what is my point? Well, I was thinking about this question and I realized something, well, something other than the fact that there is some song out there called live like you’re dying or something like that. I think the best way to ask this is: What if six months from now God (or fate or whatever you want to call it) was going to flip a coin (although saying God makes more sense here because fate doesn’t have imposable thumbs) that if it came up heads you would live on, and if it came up tails your life would end, how would you live your life until then?

I’m sure you want to know why I would ask it this way. I’m also sure that I’m going to tell you even if you don’t want to know. To me this phrasing cuts out any of the nonsense that you might try to throw in here. At this point, I’m throwing away my assault list in case it comes up heads, and in fact, it’s not even getting written, because I’m not calling off from my job until it’s time to go at 6 am. But if faced with the possibility of actually dying, even if I have four copies of Krark’s Thumb in play, what would I do to make sure I’m ready if I die and if I don’t?

I think when I take out a lot of the weird what ifs like certain death, endless money, or whatever limiter that is lifted from your thinking, I see what it is that I should be doing for the next six months. And if you ask this question frequently enough, the next six months of your life will gradually change.

I would literally spend my days off for the next couple of weeks getting boxes and sorting my mess of crap into two camps, stuff I can get to in the next six months, and stuff I can’t. I would tape up the stuff I can’t and get to the stuff I can. Most of what I would try to get to would be unfinished projects that are the closest to being finished, because they will take the least time to finish.

After about a month, if I was serious about doing this, I would have all of my stuff organized for sure. After all, I would be spending every free minute on getting that far. If I ask the question again, I now not only have until June rather than May (I wrote this in November, who knows when it’ll post) but the scope of what I would do has changed. My stuff is already organized. Now I could list projects with easy finishing times, like the two novels that are almost done. I could pick the one that would be easiest to finish and get to it, and then get to work on the other.

After about a month, if I remained serious, I could ask the question again, and not only have until July rather than June, but other harder to complete projects also start to open up to completion. And eventually, you can just ask it as though you won’t die if you lose the coin toss, but rather God will bitch slap you really hard. That way you stop fretting about dying, and just live as though you have a goal for the next six months rather than live as though you’re in a country song.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Definition of Goal Types

by Chris McGinty (According To Whim .com)

Nathan and I spoke recently about what the hell happened since he moved back to Rhome. Really what happened is that life caught up to both of us. We’re perhaps in a better place now. He’s got his house put back together, and has cleared out storage. I’ve gotten past the court thing for the child support with the help of my dad. So I guess we’re getting back to life as usual. That means it’s time to set goals and focus.

Perhaps the issue is how we set goals and focus and hold each other accountable. I don’t know. I’ve read a lot of self help mumbo jumbo in my life. And I have a basic idea of what works for me and what doesn’t, and unfortunately that’s going to vary from one person to the next.

I think there are three basic types of goals (actually, I don’t know how many, but three sounded good) and I think that like the time that I wrote about the definitions of types of stuff, I should attempt to define types of goals. That is my (ahem) goal for this post.

As a quick note before I get started, Alan Lakein says that you can’t do a goal, but rather you do activities to achieve a goal. A goal to be a published author would be achieved by doing such activities as writing and learning about the industry.

Mental Goals – These are the goals and activities that are just there. You don’t need written plans or affirmations to achieve these goals. You wake up in the morning and you eat breakfast and go to work; I don’t, I go to bed in the morning, but the example “you” does. You don’t have to write out waking up, eating and going to work in a plan to do it. You just do it. If you buy a movie that you’re very interested in seeing, you probably don’t have to set a goal to watch it. You’ll probably order pizza, pop it in the DVD player (the movie not the pizza), and watch it. Mental goals and activities are things that you just do without having to put much thought into it.

Generic Goals – I want to be rich, happy, and healthy. And now that you mention it most people want to be rich, happy, and healthy. There is probably nothing wrong with these kinds of goals, except that they’re vague. And vague goals are hard to achieve because they aren’t really defined. What is rich to you? What is happy to you? What is healthy to you (aside from not coughing up a lung)?

Defined Goals – I want to be a millionaire (well, billion sounds nice too). That’s defined. Defined goals can be non-written goals or written goals. I’m just saying that they can be measured. You could make seven figures a year and think that you’re not rich, but you can’t have a seven figure net worth and not think you’re a millionaire… unless you have a pretty sizable bet on the Dallas Cowboys this weekend.

Written Goals – Simply goals that are written down. They might not even be defined goals, but they are written down. The ideal, according to self help, is to have well defined, written goals. I guess that sounds reasonable.

Long-Term and Short-Term Goals – Goals that spread out well into the future and those that are to be done soon. One of our long-term goals for next year is to post everyday to the daily blog. A short-term goal for achieving that is to set up a reserve of blog posts so that we don’t get behind.

Now on to something that is a little less me talking from education and observation and just simply me taking something I’ve read and repeating it directly. There are seven goal categories that a lot of the self-helpers talk about. Financial, Career, Health, Family, Spiritual, Social, and Recreation. Certainly some of these overlap a bit, but while your career earns you money, it doesn’t dictate how you handle the money. And while you can socialize with your family, there are other responsibilities involved, as typically you spend more time with family than friends, your social circle changes but your family doesn’t aside from birth, death, marriage, and divorce. Recreation is basically fun goals, and while you can have fun with your family, friends, and even at work, the fun category focuses on one aspect of those things.

I do try out things when I’m reading through self help. Sometimes it works out for me and sometimes it doesn’t. To me looking at goal types and goal categories and them perhaps brainstorming as such might help to define things that you might not otherwise define. Here are some thoughts about approaching each.

Mental Goals – Turn to a blank page in a notebook and list as many things as you can think of that you automatically do without formal planning. If you feel like it, maybe you can even carry around the notebook with you and add to the list as you think of things. When you have enough things on the list ask yourself if anything could be done better if you planned a little. For me writing everyday is automatic. Sometimes it’s less than a page or a few pages, and sometimes it’s the six pages I’d like to do each day, or even more on occasion. I tend to do a better job when I have notes to work from or an intended project to work on. After looking for things that can be planned better, look for things that you need to cut out, or lower the priority on. For instance, I shower everyday… kidding, I don’t intend to lower the priority on that. Cleanliness is pretty important, and I hate when I get past 24 hours without a shower, so I try not to get past 24 hours. On the other hand, I will sometimes automatically turn on my computer without thinking about what I’m going to do, and all too often without a plan for what to do, I find myself not using my computer time wisely. Anything that isn’t something that needs to be planned better, cut out, or given lower priority can stay in the automatic zone. There is no need to plan absolutely everything. If you brush your teeth in the morning, the afternoon, and before bed without ever having to think about it then there is no reason to put it on your to do list for the day.

Generic Goals – List as many goals you can think of that are vague and undefined. Pick one, or maybe all, to define.

Defined Goals and Written Goals – Review these regularly, and make sure they are still defined the way your wants and needs dictate. Prioritize these from most important to least important, and change the priority order when your wants and needs change. Create lists of activities for the three most important and prioritize the activity lists as well.

Long and Short Term Goals – Create deadlines. Adjust deadlines when you have more information about the ease or difficulty of the goal.

Financial and Career – Like I said these are similar, but you should try to define them separately when you can. Really look at your situation. If your income is lower than your expenses figure out how to fix that. If you income is higher than your expenses still try to define your lifestyle. I’m always happy to point out to people what percentage of their income I could live comfortably on. I don’t mean to tell people to live impoverished when they have money that can be spent on luxury. I just mean to say that sometimes it’s interesting to question your purchasing habits by pretending you have less than you do.

Health – This one has always been an issue for me. It feels like the extent of my goals are to just not get sick. It means that when I try to find goals to put into this category, I find myself coming up with things that may not actually be necessary for me. I think the best list of goals for health is eating enough without overeating, sleeping enough without oversleeping, taking walks or going to a gym a few times a week, cleanliness, and relaxing frequently. I may have missed something like maybe taking vitamins and drinking more water than alcohol, but you see what I mean. With health goals it’s best to keep things pretty simple, so you don’t end up being unhealthy in the process of trying to be healthy. Consulting your doctor about your health goals is a great idea.

Family, Social, and Spiritual – Value your family as long as they aren’t assholes. Make friends and do your best to keep the good ones around while seeing less of the bad ones. Social networks and other online social stuff is a great media. I’m a huge fan. I do believe that you should have real world contact too though. If you have a family that lives with you or close by you should start there. If not, get out and meet people. Spiritually, I’ve always had trouble defining goals. Pray everyday? Perhaps. Go to church once a week. No thanks. Read The Bible? Well sure if that renews you spiritually. The trick here is to figure out what you believe and try to follow that as well as possible, and if you can find somewhat likeminded people, try to make part of your social goals overlap your spiritual goals. If your family is somewhat likeminded, all the better.

Recreation – This one is so hard to define too. Recreation is meant to be fun and relaxing. If it becomes a goal based activity like everything else then it can become not fun and not relaxing very fast. So what to do with this? I think it should be defined more in time off, like having an hour a day to simply relax or a particular day of the week to not concern yourself with responsibility. Sure you can list things you like to do with your recreation time, but don’t fret it. If you set aside some time to go bowling on Tuesday, but then feel like going to the park instead, then go to the park. For as goal driven as I am, I still find time to do something relaxing. Sometimes it’s just lying in bed and breathing slowly and methodically, and sometimes it’s skydiving. I’ve never been skydiving and likely if I ever do, it’ll be me pretending to skydive while lying in bed and breathing slowly and methodically.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Tomorrow Da Big Day

by Chris McGinty (According To Whim .com)

Description

This is the 'business' side of the show According To Whim and all its business off shoots. Pretty much a gathering place for forward motion of our grand plan.

That's the description of our private newsgroup. Nathan may have written it just because it asked for a description of the group, but I want you to look at the last six words: forward motion of our grand plan.

That is what we tried to concentrate on in 2010, but without defining it as such. All told, we did pretty well, but we lost momentum somewhere along the way. I'm sure we can agree that one contributing factor was our inability to hold each other accountable. This year, accountability should really be job #1.

We've talked about accountability, and how it's hard to keep someone accountable without punishing them in some way, which is probably not going to help the "forward motion of our grand plan." So what's the answer to this problem? Strangely, it lies within the person being held accountable.

When Nathan says to Chris, "How are you coming along with your writing?" Chris needs to be realistic about his response, and not dodgy. Is the writing current? If so, then good. If not, then why? Is there enough time to do it all? If not, then how to fix the issue. And if so, then why is he not using it wisely. One of the trickiest things about changing your time management habits is to realize that you really can’t do it all. So when you start thinking about a new project while the old projects are still in the works, the question should be is the project you’re thinking about taking on really important enough to change your priorities around, or is it a distraction from your real priorities?

When Chris asks Nathan about his financial goals for the year, Nathan also has to be realistic about his response, and not dodgy. One of the trickiest things about financial goals is realizing that spending habits have to change. It's also realizing that the extra money you pay out to deplete your debt will eventually come back to you when you are paying less interest each month. So when you start to ask yourself if you can really afford to pay down credit cards at such an alarming rate, the question should really be do I not want to let go of the money because I'm seriously having trouble paying my bills, or is it because of an unwillingness to cut back in the luxury category?

What I mean to say, is that accountability starts with the self. Having an accountability partner is merely a way to remind yourself that you do have goals that you wish to achieve. Your partner can't help you if you are filling your own thoughts with bullshit excuses.

A good goal does not lean toward impossible to achieve, but a good goal also forces you a little bit out of your comfort zone. “Comfort zone” is one of those phrases that makes Nathan cringe when I use it. I think it’s because it is hard to think of “comfort” as a bad thing. Humans are creatures of habit, and when we start a bad habit, we still become comfortable with it. It may be harming us in the long term, but we’re comfortable with it. It’s who we are. We sometimes even define ourselves by it. We sometimes even go so far as to ask others to accept us as we are, when we don’t even accept ourselves as we are. Chris has become too comfortable in his role as the guy who will one day be hugely successful, but is just working on it now. Nathan has become comfortable as that guy who is just in debt because, well, everybody is, it’s just a fact of life, and I like having stuff. Neither of these things is good for them long term, but bad habits can make you comfortable.

In a blog post I wrote about self publishing, I pointed out that as a society, we are starting to move away from the act of getting a second job and moving toward starting a part time business from home. While I think this is a good concept, I fear that many people who enter that arena don’t do so with an end goal of making that much money. It’s supplemental, because if I can make more working for myself, then why am I still working a job? The truth is that when you have the entrepreneurial spirit, you will always be trying to move in that direction and you will always have a grand plan. It will sometimes be a hobby, sometimes a business, and sometimes both, but the plan will always be there. I think sometimes we fight it, because we feel like when we’ve achieved what we’ve set out to achieve, we will no longer have anything to achieve. I think sometimes we fight it, because we realize that once we’ve achieved what we’ve set out to achieve that it will create even more for us to do. Whether we achieve it or not, we will always have a plan, so why fight against it?

Tomorrow da big day. The start of the first ten-weeks of the year (because our ten-weeks always start on Monday). Forward motion of our grand plan. We should not let our doubts and excuses get to us. And when our accountability partner asks you wut’s up, we should be realistic about wut is up.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Chris's Poem: A Bongwater Christmas

                              A Bongwater Christmas

I went to bed on Christmas Day
I had to be back at work by six that day
And I was determined not to be
Trying to nod off the whole twelve hour shift again
From about as far back as July, or August or something
But I do know it was 2010
Because it was in an appropriately named folder
On my computer, “Current Projects 2010”
I’d written a note in my poetry brainstorming
And it read something like this:

“Regardless of which DVD I’m playing
“That TV isn’t in my bedroom
“I wish I could talk like Ann Magnuson sometimes
“And I wish I could sing a well as she”

I thought to myself, when I wrote that
“I have to use that somewhere”

Flash back forward to Christmas Day
And I’m sleeping heavily
I’m dreaming about Suzanne
And we’re hanging out at the burger joint
That we hung out with Scott and Jonathan
Earlier that week
If I had time to think about it
I could have a long interview with Sigmund Freud
About the implications of just that one image

The restaurant had a much bigger outside patio
And we were walking around it
Talking about stuff when I noticed the music
That was playing over the speakers
Because I always notice the music
That is playing over the speakers
It was Bongwater, “Double Bummer”

But there were some odd changes
Made to the recording
I proceeded to explain to Suzanne
That this wasn’t how the songs normally sound
When my phone rang
There was someone on the other end
Wanting to interview me for the newspaper
It was Ann Magnuson
I wasn’t nervous at all
I may not have known what to say to such a huge star
But I do know how to talk uninterrupted
For long periods of time

I explained to her how
Sometimes people who are trying to hide the fact
That they’re sleeping with someone else
Will make very odd mistakes
And I recalled a conversation Suzanne and I
Had apparently had at some point
Though not earlier in the dream
About her younger cousin
Who probably doesn’t really exist
Like Santa Claus or God
At least so Magnuson’s
One time band mate, Mark Kramer would believe
Because he’s an atheist, or so I read
Suzanne’s cousin, who exists in my dream
Made the mistake of borrowing t-shirts from her boyfriend
Just like my ex-Jennifer
Because every Chris has an ex-Jennifer
Used to borrow my Butthole Surfers t-shirt
When we were dating
And I was rattling on much like this
As Ann, Miss Magnuson, if you’re nasty
Took it all in leisurely on the phone
And finally made my point that
Suzanne knew she was seeing that boy
Because she was wearing his t-shirt

Ann explained to me that she had enough for her article
And that I could go now if I wanted
I told her I was happy to talk as long as she wanted
And she said that she had a few things to tell me

She started out by trying to explain
That she wasn’t an accomplished guitarist
And since we were now sitting in a parking lot downtown
She showed me one of her lesser moves
On the guitar she had with her
She then proceeded to explain that her voice was so amazing
That all she had to do was wail like a banshee
And men would orgasm
All the while as she spoke
I was checking out some woman
Who was walking around in a revealing bikini
She noticed my fascination for this woman’s ass
And it seems that she thought
Two can play that game
She found a group of men
All hanging out in cars that were also hot tubs
She began to use her voice on them
And at least one of them orgasmed because of it
Just like that Lonely Island video
I saw the day before

She was really having quite a good time
Using the sonic qualities of her voice
Trying to make men orgasm
When suddenly the police arrived
They were arresting her for disturbing the peace
I thought real quick that I should follow
On a police motorcycle left on the street
And wondered if I was really good enough
To become part of this news story
I started to use my voice as she did
And the guys in the area took notice

I took off on the motorcycle
Following the police car Ann was in back of
Until I saw an opportunity to turn left into a dead end
The cop noticed me at this point
And I knew he would arrest me
As soon as he could catch me
As I posed ready by the street
To try to make my getaway
I thought of how cool it would be
If Ann said I was part of her band
And the publicity we would get from the headline
“Members of Bongwater Arrested Downtown”

This is when I woke
Warm under my electric blanket
I realized that I had my inspiration
All I had to do was describe my dream
In some sort of rough poetry form
And I had my opportunity
To use the line from my notes
Where I spoke of Ann Magnuson
It was like a Christmas present
From my subconscious
But I’d already written my poem for the day
And the more I pondered this
The less benevolent the gift became
But I wrote it anyway
And now that I think of it
The poem I wrote last night was for yesterday
This really was a Bongwater Christmas
But nonetheless I decided
That I was better off alone
And would never try to join
A band that I admired again

        - Chris McGinty – 12-25-10 – 5:33 pm