Tuesday, November 10, 2009

End of the Blog

Hello -

For the sake of consolidation, all future posts will be at This Rugged Life



Tuesday, October 20, 2009

6. Camping trip to "the spot" in Big Sur

The first time that I really hung out with Will and Steve was on a camping trip up to Big Sur in Northern California. I had already been good friends with Onn, and knew Lina from work. Other close friends like Mike, Kalvin, Audrey, and Aleida have joined for some of the road-trips. Will had found the place by word of mouth while surfing along the Northern California coastline. It is not a campsite, and it is illegal to have fires. The few people who know about it camp there often, and what’s camping without a campfire? Local authorities seem to look the other way about it, and we have never been bothered. From that first initial trip, we have been back up there several times, and close friendships were made stronger for the adventures.


This last trip was at the end of September. Lisa and I drove South from San Francisco and met up with Will, Lina, Kalvin, Audrey, and Aleida in San Luis Obispo. We had our customary sandwiches and beers at the local grocery store, and then debated whether or not to make our hike to the top of the SLO Hill. We always have this debate. The beers are cold and the weather is hot, and trail hiking just seems like too much work. But we always go.


Aleida and Audrey set a land-speed record, finishing the hike in approximately 18 seconds. The rest of us mere mortals followed in the wake of their dust and mocking laughter. Lina was a good sport this time, and didn’t kick dirt in my face. Lisa made her first summit without kicking or screaming at me. We all lounged at the top, drinking the finest of warm, Mexican piss-beer and enjoying the view.


A stop for refreshments, candy, and more beer later, and we were back on the road. We found the spot, which is always a bit tricky, and started bringing our stuff into the forest. I have noticed that bringing women on the camping trips causes the overall volume of supplies to quadruple. I have also noticed that bringing women on the camping trips ensures that dinners don’t consist of beef jerky and trail mix, or God Forbid, Steve’s “coffee.”

We set up tents, and then Kal, Will and I went down to the shore to get driftwood for the fire. Kal jumped into the ocean like a fucking lunatic. Apparently, he doesn’t watch Shark Week, since Nor-Cal is the site for approximately 87% of the world’s Great White Shark attacks. Feeling like a complete Nancy, I stripped and jumped in too. Will doesn’t feel peer pressure, so he just watched and laughed at us.



We hauled the wood back up the cliff to the campsite, and Kalvin and I decided to show off our Bear Grylls fire-making skills. This took about 4 hours, due to the driftwood being driftwood, and hence, completely damp. Everyone else was too polite to ask us to hurry the hell up.



We drank beer, ate carne asada, and laughed at Kal’s complete recitation of “Nacho Libre.” Aleida vouched for the authenticity of his accent. When we ran out of beer and jokes, everyone retreated to their sleeping bags and tents.

The next morning, we had a breakfast of I-don’t-remember-what, and then headed out for a last hike. Aleida and Audrey popped in their Ipod ear-buds, and sprinted up a sheer cliff wall. The rest of us followed, shuffling slowly like we were patients at a geriatric ward. When stopping to take pictures, we could see the ash and scorch marks that A&A’s hiking boots had left in their mad dash for the top.


We got to the top, and our two track stars didn’t act impatient with us at all. The view at the top sucked though, so we spent just a few minutes to see how many mosquito bites we could collect, and then turned back.

Lisa and I said our good-byes to the SoCal group, and too quickly, the trip was over.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday, September 25th

Now that most of the easy tasks have been knocked out, more planning and prepping is needed for the remainder of the 101. I also need to come up with new goals for all of the goals that are for finishing an individual book. Since one of the goals is to read and write a summary for each book I finish, all of those are a bit redundant.

In the works for planning a way to visit Bryan and Brittany in Thailand. They are leaving for New Zealand by the end of December though, so I need to get cracking.

In other news, I have a fight on October 2nd in San Francisco, Ca. I have been training hard and should come home with a win. After that, I will probably take a bit of time off from competing in order to put off moving up to "Open Class" before the next Golden Gloves. I'd like to give myself one legitimate shot at winning the Golden Gloves trophy.

Heading out this weekend to Big Sur to see my buddies from Southern California. It's not quite a yearly event, but it's a good excuse to keep in touch and see how everyone is holding up to the weathering that comes with age. As much as anything, I am looking forward to getting out of the concrete jungle for a few days. San Francisco is awesome, but I need to see, like, a tree every now and again. Kind of makes me feel like moon-walking...


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

#93 - A Few More

"Blink," by Malcom Gladwell

One of the more interesting books I've read in a while. Discusses how we make split decisions, and when and how this is useful. Worth a good read.

"Strong Boys and Buttercups," by William Plummer

An inside look at amateur boxing along the same vein as "The Gloves." Maybe even more readable and gritty.

Monday, September 7, 2009

#93 Progress - Finish all books on shelf

I have 3 shelves worth of books that I have bought and paid for, but haven't read. This goal recognizes how ridiculous that is. Here's my progress:

1. "The Old Man and the Sea," by Ernest Hemingway

Notes: Hemingway writes the books that I wish I had written. There is not a single extra word used in the entire book, and he is probably the best I have ever read at saying as much as possible with as little as possible. Great book dealing with Man's resistance and acceptance of hardship.

Favorite Quotes/Lines:

"Let him think I am more man than I am, and I will be so."
"...And pain does not matter to a man."
"I must hold his pain where it is, he thought. Mine does not matter. I can control mine. But his could drive him mad."

2. "In a Sunburned Country," by Bill Bryson

Notes: Witty and charming humor, like all of Bryson's books. A bit more fact-heavy than some of his stories that I liked better, which is why it sat unfinished on my shelf for so long.

3. "Cities of the Plain," by Cormac McCarthy

Notes: 3rd part of McCarthy's "The Border Trilogy," and it was the best of the 3. Understated writing, with brutality, violence and dark humor. GREAT book.

Favorite Lines/Quotes:

"What is wrong with this story is that it is not a true story. Men have in their minds a picture of how the world will be. How they will be in that world. The world may be many different things for them but there is one world that will never be and that is the world they dream of. Do you believe that?"

"You didn't answer [my question.]"
"Ask it again."
"Let me ask you this instead."
"All right."
"He's in trouble, aint he?"
Eduardo smiled. He blew cigar smoke across the glass top of his desk. "That is not a question," he said.

4. "This Bloody Mary is the Last Thing I Own," by Jonathon Rendell

Notes: A journey to the end of boxing. Jonathon was a sports writer, enamored of boxing, and ends up managing the career of an aspiring contender. As they climb the ranks, Jonathon ends up encountering all the seedier sides of boxing's underbelly. Good story, but a bit depressing as the author finds the "bad" of boxing to eventually overwhelm any "good" in the sport.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

#34 - Track Finances Daily for 3 Months

This goal came about after reading "Your Money or Your Life." While the book managed to stretch about 20 pages of useful info into over 400, there were a few valuable tips that I managed to pick up. The book's authors put a huge priority on knowing exactly where every penny that comes into or out of your life goes. To do this, I now keep a small notebook with me all the time to track my expenses. The point of this is to know exactly where you stand in regards to your spending habits.

The second useful tip I picked up is to put all of these expenditures into monthly categories to be analyzed at the end of each month. The goal here to is to review and determine if I am getting satisfaction or fulfillment out of where my money is going. If I am, then I need to make the decision on whether I should put the same amount of money into that category or if it is ok as/is. If I am NOT getting fulfillment out of a category, then I need to make the decision to scale back on expenses in that area.

Examples here would be money spent on meals with friends versus money spent on meals by myself. The former helps build up my social life and is a way to spend time with friends and family. The latter usually comes about when I was too lazy to pack a lunch for work and need to buy something from a local restaurant. The one I get satisfaction from, the other, not so much.

The final tip I got from the book was to make a wall chart tracking my expenses, income, savings and debt from month to month. Having this visual reminder has made a big difference in getting control of my finances.

Monday, August 24, 2009

#7 - High Sierra Camping Trip with Bryan and Dad

Of all the 101 goals, I was looking forward to this one as much as any. I picked up Bryan from Santa Cruz on Thursday, and we went on a mad tour of San Francisco's "outdoorsy" type of stores. We needed small cups, hot chocolate, and ever more beef jerky. We got the cups and the jerky, but sadly, no hot chocolate.

Dad flew into SFO later that night. Bryan and I were there early, and had spent the last few hours getting dinner ready for the Papa. Starved and teased by the proximity to food without release, we spent the time waiting in a heated debate about whether we should combine our total cash value of $4 to indulge in a box of french fries. Deciding that $4 is too much to pay, regardless of the quality of the fried goodiness, we pouted our way back to the waiting area. Dad came through with his Hawaiian shirt and shorts, and we headed off.

We had a "last supper" of hamburgers, fries, and mountain dew at the Yosemite Grill before heading off into the wilderness. We made sure to take pictures of everybody prior to loading the packs in order to ensure respectable levels of good cheer and heartiness. Hefting our packs, we swayed and considered the fact that there was still time to back out. There was some trouble finding the trail...all while the paved road was still visible. True mountain men, us.


The first day of hiking was fairly uneventful. The trail was clearly marked and covered flat terrain. 5-6 miles from the Toulomne Meadows entrance, we stopped for the night.


As we did not have a permit, we decided to go without a fire the first night, with the goal being to avoid any attention of a overly competent wilderness ranger. Dad had mentioned that whiskey would have been a good thing to bring a few times, and Bryan and I were able to present his gift. A pewter flask full of Jameson Irish Whiskey, engraved with "High Sierra Hiking Trip, 2009, To Dad, from Martin and Bryan." He liked it.

We went to bed when the sun went down and saw some shooting stars. The sky was lit up like a Christmas tree with all of the stars, and it was really a beautiful thing. Bryan and Dad fell asleep first, leaving me to the tender mercies of mountain lines, chortling mountain men, and monsters. I considered this for a while before starting to drift off to dreamland myself. A crash of a large creature through the trees and into our camp roused me. Confident that it was a monster, I screamed girlishly to my family, "Guys, there's something out there!" Fumbling for our weapons, pants, head lamps and glasses, we turned the lights towards the pitch black of the far edge of camp. Two yellow eyes gleamed back at us. Hefting our flimsy pocket knives, Bryan and I inched forward. Hefting his massive Rambo knife, Dad inched forward as well. I picked up a large stick by which to club the beast.

We found the massive, gigantic, colossal beast attempting to use blunt force to open our bear-safe canister. Grasping onto our previously rehearsed plan of how to deal with such creatures, we gave a tentative yell, and I smashed my stick against the nearest tree. My "club" broke off at the handle, and the bear looked up at the mild noise disturbance. With a roar that sounded much like a sexually frustrated cow, the bear took one last whiff of the pungent goodies hidden in the canister, and ambled off, grumbling about "tourists" all the while.


After the encounter, Bryan and Dad went back to sleep. I stayed up and thought about massive fangs, blood-stained claws, and a sneak attack by which the bear climbed the tree above me before jumping off and descending upon us in a kamikaze fashion.

The next morning over breakfast, we came to the conclusion that the bear was slightly bigger than a cub, and it was actually "kinda cute." Bryan pointed out that I had bear drool on my backpack. Sweet.

We had a leisurely breakfast in bed, consisting of beef jerky, power bars and water, and then strolled back onto the trail around 10am. Feeling proud of our early start, we started heading uphill for what would be the hardest day (physically) of the trip. Climbing nearly 2000 feet in elevation in just under 3 miles was like being held captive by a sadistic stair master. We took lots of breaks.

We hit the highest mountain pass of the journey in the early afternoon, and the views from above the timberline were worth the struggle.


We found an awesome mountain lake somewhere around 9600 feet up in the high country, and it allowed for a nice, fresh water shower. The water was cold enough to wring a few shrieks from all parties involved.


After a few hours of lolling about in the sun, we retrieved our backpacks without a whole lot of enthusiasm, and trudged on. Our campsite the second night was amazing. With access to a free-flowing stream, a nice meadow to rest our heads, and a large stone table for a fire pit, we felt like we should pay someone. More whiskey was drunk, more stories were told, and Bryan managed to beat me at Jin Rummy for the first time in, well, ever. At some point, a spirited debate rose about whether flies aim for people's ears, or if they just get in there randomly. Those vicious bastards do it on purpose, and this website proves it. Bryan, I win.


The night passed without attacks by bears, mountain lions, or marmots. The third day took us by several more lakes, mountains, the Vogelsang high camp, and groups of cowboys leading their pack horses on high, rocky terrain. We camped the last night in a dry riverbed, which is most likely illegal.


It was at this point that we had all decided that we hoped to never even SEE another piece of beef jerky again, and started discussing what kind of food sounded best. After hours of debate, we came to a consensus of chili dogs, hot dogs with ketchup and relish and onions, and sushi. Bryan and I stayed up a bit later that night, talking about his upcoming trip to Thailand and life in general. More than anything, we all just sat and stared into the fire. Hoping to make it through the night without being disturbed by giant predators, we stored the food several hundred feet away from our camp. It worked, although it didnt keep me from imaging a million deaths by creature through the night. If possible, the night sky was even more clear than before on the last night, and we counted meteorites and satellites whizzing by above us.


We woke up the next morning and drank some tea. The thought of eating any more jerky, trail mix or power bars nearly brought us to tears, so we headed down the home stretch with empty stomachs. Dad set the lead like a rock star, and we made really good time over the last 4 miles of the journey. There was one no-so-funny stretch where we thought we missed the trail, but we regained our bearings due to Bryan's superior map-reading skills.


We stumbled into camp looking tired, beat-up, dirty, and relieved. (We could not quite summon "triumphant.") Heading directly to a restaurant, we each had both a chili dog and a regular hot dog with fixin's, and a beer.

And just like that, the trip was done almost as quickly as it started.



Monday, July 27, 2009

#22 - Run a Marathon

I remembered that I was registered to run the San Francisco marathon about 3 weeks ago. Well, that's not completely true. It had been in the back of my mind, and I knew I would have to run it, but I had been trying to ignore the need to start training. Training for a long distance run sucks. And it's boring. Sprints and shorter distance runs are cool, because you can go fast and you're blitzed at the end of the session. Long distance runs are slow by necessity, take hours out of your day, and you are left with a lot of joint pain. That's why, after a few solid weeks of training with Israel and Mae shortly after registering, I stopped.

I woke up at 4:15am and feasted on cereal, coffee, and some energy gel. Then I walked over to Israel's house. We taxi'd to the start point and managed to find Mae and Gabby...completely by luck, as it was an absolute swarm of people at Mission and Embarcadero. Israel was adamant about finding and staying with the pace group...a plan that I didn't see the importance of right away. We found the 4:30 pace group, and stayed just behind them for nearly the entirety of the race. This was an unbelievable help, as the pace leader told stories, gave advice, handed out sugar and salt pills, and kept everyone motivated and going strong.

A lot of the course itself is a blur, but I do remember not enjoying the section that went over the Golden Gate bridge. The course narrowed so severely that you had to be very careful not to step on people's heels or bump into folks. Water and cytomax stations were set up every 2 miles or so, and that was a big help. The section through the park was a lot better, as the trail widened and runners were able to spread out. I felt very strong up through the 19 mile mark. At no point was I ever winded, but my knees are started bothering me pretty badly, and my right hamstring was in danger of completely cramping. A pit stop for water, electrolytes, and ever more energy gel restored me somewhat, and I got a 2nd (or 4th) wind in Portero Hill.

Israel and I stayed with the pace group until mile 24, and then kicked at the end. I am proud that I was able to go through the finish line at a near sprint. The final time was 4 hours and 25 minutes. No world-class runners need fear me breaking their PR's, but I was pleased with the time as a first (and only) effort. We set up shop a few blocks down from the finish line, within convenient proximity to a medical station, and zoned out for a bit. The sun was warm and the ice bags felt good on my knees. We stayed there for about an hour, talking a little, but mostly just people watching and coming back to reality.

After a while, we walked down Mission Street, hailed a cab, and destroyed several kilograms worth of food and beer at a BBQ spot in the Lower Haight.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


#9 - Spend a full, uninterrupted day with Mom
My Momma came out! I ended up getting several uninterrupted days with her. We had a great time in Santa Cruz for Britney's graduation, had long talks over coffee every morning, explored Hayes Valley and China Town. I miss her already.

#37 - Send a thank-you note (5x)

Check. Check. Check. Check. Check.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Spring Cleaning

Even though it's only been a hundred some-odd days since starting this 101 in 1001 plan, some of the original goals are out-dated, redundant, or less important to me. Therefore, I have gone through and made changes/revisions where appropriate. Those changes are as follows:

• 2. Blog about each completed task
*goes without saying, and it’s a waste of a goal. Replaced with “Take Yosemite Mountaineering Class”

• 13. Save $5,000 in 2009
*Changed to “save $20,000” by end of 1001 Days

• 15. Own a handgun and practice enough at the range to be competent
* Not important to me anymore, and I don’t want to spend money on it. Replaced with “Use Library for all new media needs for 6 months”

• 49. Use cash for all purchases that are not a bill or online for a month
* Want to change this because I want to use my new AMEX card for most purchases in order to take advantage of the rewards program. Replaced with “pay for all inevitable purchases with AMEX, while maintaining zero balance for 6 months”

• 60. Buy a decent watch
* Meh. My Timex Sport works fine…and it has a stopwatch for running. Replaced with “Buy a decent roadbike.”

• 69. Go to one Project Luz event
Not important to me anymore. Replace with “Hike the Sierra High Route”

• 76. Re-start jiu-jitsu or other grappling sport
* Cancelled. I would prefer to keep my focus on boxing. Replaced with “Market Test at least one Muse idea.”

• 81. Subscribe to "The Modern Outdoorsmen"
* Cancelled. I can’t keep up with my reading list as it is… Replaced with “Private Philanthropic Goal”

• 86. Take a politics or history class at SFCC
* Cancelled. Prefer to read about whatever subjects I am interested in at the time. Replaced with “Go without home TV or Internet for 1 year”

• 93. Go to the beach
* Redundant, since I already have a goal of having a bonfire at the beach. Replaced with “Write summary of every useful book I read”

• 96. Go on a camping trip
* Big-time redundant since I have so many camping/hiking-based activities already listed. Replaced with “Read the “Sierra High Route.”

• 98. Grow a vegetable of some kind
* Canceled. Don’t have the space for it…Replaced with “Go to Vegas for WAKA Championships”

Friday, June 12, 2009

Media Fast


Starting at 5pm tonight, right before I head out for my last sparring session of the week, I will be cutting the cord on all media and going on a "low-info diet." The rules, based mostly on Tim Ferris's recommendations, are as follows:

No newspapers, magazines, audiobooks, or non-music radio.
Music is permitted at all times

No News websites whatsoever.

No Television at all.

reading books, except for the challenges in the "4 Hour Workweek."

No Web surfing at the desk unless it is necessary to complete a work task for that day. Necessary means necessary, not nice to have. For any written essays or blogs that need to be published, I will copy and paste them from a Word document to the website, publish them, and exit the Web browser without checking on comments or emails.

To fill up the time, I plan on writing with more concentration, calling some clients that I have been putting off, focusing on the tasks from the "4HWW," such as the 80/20 rule and others, and getting ready for my next fight (tentatively June 20th). I will concentrate on being "effective" over merely "efficient." Throughout the day, I will ask myself if I am being productive, or just active.

This very well may suck. See you in a week.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Live Uncomfortably

Regardless of what I end up doing in a year, I need to start saving more money. Normally when I make my personal budget, I add up all the monthly expenses and then figure out how much I can allocate to entertainment, savings and debt repayment. This time, the first line items were for savings and debt repayments. That needs to be the priority, so I made sure my planning reflected it. The number one task is to save $1,000 a month. That's more than I have ever saved before. The numbers add up as long as I make the necessary sacrifices.

Step two was setting up an automatic transfer from my checking account to savings every week for $230.

It is definitely a bit scary and nerve-wracking to know that that much money is going to be leaving my account EVERY week, but it's a good thing. It forces success rather than just hope that my resolve stays strong enough every month to make the manual transfer.

Living uncomfortably can be a good thing.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Current Inspiration

It's important to take inspiration where you can find it. That's mostly because we all spend a lot of our time doing the exact same stuff over and over again. Wake up, eat breakfast, battle the commute, work, work, work, get home, prepare for the next day, rinse and repeat. Inspiration, in whatever form it comes in, reminds us that there is a reason we do what we do. We have goals, plans and dreams that are furthered by what we spend our time doing. If not, then changes are needed, and inspiration helps bring about those necessary changes. Below are some of my current sources of inspiration that I hope others will find useful as well. The common theme that you will find running through most of them is simplicity, time over money, and the value of spending your time in pursuit of that which is most important to you.


"Fup," by Jim Dodge - Has to be first on just about any list of mine. I have read this probably a half-dozen times at least, and it reminds me that life is a marathon, not a sprint, that the person who uses the most F-bombs often wins, and the value of the still life. Also encourages the use of whiskey via mason jars.

"Vagabonding," by Rolf Potts - A how-to guide for the art of long-term travel. Part instruction manual, part motivational speech, Potts' manifesto is an ode to grabbing a backpack and hopping over the back fence... and landing in Ecuador, Moscow and other exotic locations.

"The End of Poverty," by Jeffrey Sachs - My current read. Real solutions on how to help the world's poorest grab the lowest rung of the economic ladder. Sach's is one of the world's premier economists, and has spent a life-time involved in analyzing and practicing the best ways to help communities escape the poverty trap. As reading this is one of my "101's," there will be a more detailed summary to follow after I have completed the book.


"Live Uncomfortably" - Wish I had thought of this title first. Part of a growing circle of lifestyle independent-minded folks who travel and move through the world on their own terms. A mindset that can be applied to your life today just as easily as if you were traveling.

"The Art of Nonconformity" - A blog of Chris's way of living life unconventionally and on his own terms. Useful stuff here.

"Location Independent Living" - Tips, guides, and how-to info on taking your work, career, and life to whatever exotic locale you wish. The goal is being completely independent of a set location, and is probably most helpful for contractors, project managers, writers, artists, and the like.

And a great way to start your day, or pick it up a notch halfway through. If this doesn't get you fired up, you may need a blood transfusion.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Quick List


1. Call T-Mobile and change plan to include unlimited text messages.
2. If you aren't going to plan your day, than owning two day-planners is a bit silly.
3. Go through books that you don't need. Sell or donate. :(
4. No more than one firefox tab open at once.
5. No more than one facebook status update per day.
6. Making food is better than buying food.
7. Making beer is better than buying beer.
8. Drinking beer is better than...wait, what?
9. Get up in the morning and do your goddamn roadwork.
10. If you aren't going to sell your car, then you don't need to buy a bike.
11. Your writing habits are inconsistent and lack focus. Fix that.
12. You don't get credit for just buying vegetables, you actually have to eat them.
13. Focus on only one thing at a time.
14. Start putting money back into 401K.
15. Get your eyes fixed.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

#79 - Play Chess

This was accomplished a few weeks ago with Mae at a wine bar by her house. I won one, and then got stomped in the second game. We have loose plans to have an on-going game, where we each submit one move a day.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

On “Going Without…”

I recently finished a book by Judith Levine, titled “Not Buying It.” It was written as a journal, and chronicled her year-long experiment in not buying anything but necessities. While “necessities” is completely subjective, and she failed by her own standards a few times, it was a very interesting read that made me think about my own consumption. While saving money was not the author’s reason for the experiment, it obviously ended up as an additional benefit. The most interesting benefit that she observed was her transformation from a “consumer” to a “citizen.” She became more reliant on public goods and services, ranging from transportation, to the use of libraries, to neighborhood co-ops, to the generosity of friends and neighbors. This led to her caring more about goods and services that are set up to serve the public, shaping her political and moral values.

I am insulated from people and social interaction during most of my day. I work in a quiet office, without peers that I can share a conversation with. After work, I spend several hours at the boxing gym. There is a lot more personal involvement with my friends at the gym, but still, a good part of the time and energy is focused on your individual work and progress. Partly by necessity, I have become a lot more reliant on less traditional forms of interaction. Social networking sites like facebook.com, on-line message forums, and instant messaging have taken the place of more direct forms of communication. I want to force myself out of this comfort zone. I also want to take back some of the wasted time that I devote to these on-line diversions. That time could be better spent reading, writing, learning, working, or a million other more productive activities.

One way I will do this is by going without internet or television at my new apartment. Of the two, the internet will be the harder service to go without. However, I have internet access throughout the work day if I really need to look something up, and my internet time after working hours is almost entirely made up of “time-wasters” such as the activities I mentioned above. To make up for this “loss,” I will read and write more. I hope to finish the rough draft of my book by the end of my 1001 day experiment, some 930 days away. I also have a huge stack of books, bought throughout the years, but never finished, and in some cases, never started. Along that same vein, I will be going without buying any new media until I have gone through everything I have. I plan on making use of the fact that I am within walking distance of the main branch of the San Francisco library. Using public services, such as the library, will do its part to force me out into the city and being more social in my daily life.

I plan on cutting back consumption in all areas of my life, not just with new media. I don’t have a clear goal yet of how I want to keep track of this, but I will be avoiding any non-essential purchases moving forward from today. One example of this will be the 4-day hiking trip this September with my Dad and Brother. Rather than buying new or even used equipment, I will be renting the backpack, sleeping bag and tent from a Berkeley adventure shop. One possible exception to this rule is a purchase of a road bike. With my new move, I am much closer to both work and the gym. It has made going “car-less” much more of a realistic possibility than when I was living way out in West Portal. The still-unformed plan would be to make the purchase of a road bike, and then experiment with using it for all transportation purposes. Getting rid of the car would save me a lot of money, especially in a city where your monthly parking fees cost upwards of $200.

So, that’s the plans for now. Any comments on how to proceed with similar goals would be appreciated.

Monday, May 18, 2009

101 Goals - Beer, Steaks, Boxing and Frugality

59. Get Beers with Will, Mike and Steve
Good seeing these guys down in Southern California last week. Got to meet Steve and Lou's new addition to the family. Emma is little and doesn't do a whole lot...she has a good grip though if you give her a finger to grab. We all drank too much...

64. Visit a Churrascaria

Went to Esbetus last night with Israel. This is a Brazilian BBQ place within walking distance of the Hayes Valley neighborhood. If you haven't been to one of these, GO. Unless you are a vegetarian or vegan who hates America, Freedom, Apple Pie, and probably even Puppies. There is a full buffet with salads, fruit, rice and other side dishes, but the main event is the meat. Each table is set up with a green (meaning "go") and red (meaning "stop") button. If the green light is on, waiters will come by your table constantly with huge spits of meat and slice them onto your plate. Prime Rib, Bacon-Wrapped Chicken, Lamb Chops, etc. All you can eat. Make sure to order a Capirinha as well.

68. Read "50 Pages of Financial Freedom"

This is a guide to handling your finances and saving money by one of my favorite bloggers. The Simple Dollar is a personal finance blog, which offers a lot of money and time saving ideas, thoughts on productivity, work-life balance, etc. You can find a link to the actual post here: http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2009/05/06/everything-you-ever-really-needed-to-know-about-personal-finance-on-just-one-page-download-my-personal-finance-ebook-for-free/

56. See Local Pro's fight Live in the Bay Area
Got to see Oakland's own, Andre Ward fight at the Oakland Coliseum for the first time in his career. Ward won an Olympic gold medal in 2004 and has been brought along pretty slowly by his management. Last Saturday night was his first big test, and it came against Puerto Rico-based slugger, Edison Miranda. Miranda is crude, but has one of the hardest right hands in the sport, and has a knockout percentage in the 90's. Ward dominated the fight from start to finish and earned the unanimous decision in front of a very partisan crowd. Ward was cut in the very first round by an accidental clash of heads, but was not bothered by it for the rest of the fight. On the undercard was John Molina, a fast-rising prospect who got a 2nd round stoppage after his opponent declined to continue. Also on the card was San Francisco-based fighter, Karim Mayfield. Mayfield fights out of the Straight Forward Club (SFC) in the SoMa neighborhood, and improved to 9-0 (6 KO's), following his 2nd round demolition of opponent Roberto Valenzuela. Possibly the most impressive fighter was California-based Super Bantamweight, Rico Ramos. Ramos dominated his fight against Trinidad Mendoza, a tough and game veteran of 45 fights. Ramos has excellent hand speed and focus, and was adept at presenting angles to his overwhelmed opponent. Ramos improved to 10-0 (6 kos). Thanks go out to Rich for the tickets.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Knocking 'em Out

23. Visit a brewery
Visited Marin Brew Co. with Hanley and Jen. Sat outside in the sun for hours drinking some decent and not-so-decent pints.

32. Move into a more urban part of San Francisco
Last weekend I moved into my favorite part of the city. This is what I had pictured San Francisco living to be like before I moved from Southern California. Tall apartment building, old-school elevator, dozens of family-owned coffee shops, bars, restaurants and shops, very little parking, and the random crackhead. I love it. I love my apartment, despite being a studio. I love the neighborhood, with all it's quirks and charm. I am very, very pleased.

39. Research working for the State Department
This was appealing to me ever since I read "Children of Jihad." The idea of traveling to exotic locales, being fully engaged in meaningful and intense work is appealing. For now, it's not for me. I am not shutting the door on it entirely though.

55. Continue to use "Fup" as the gauge of a person.

Used this several times. This book is amazing, and you have to be a bit...rugged, I guess the word is, in order to appreciate it. If you like it, I believe that we will be able to connect on a deep basis. Not that it's the only way, but I do think that it's a good judge.

61. Completely clean inside of car
I didn't do it. The auto-body shop did, after repairing the damage from a hit and run, earlier this month. Thanks guys!

83. Repair relationship with Susan
Most importantly, Susan and I are back to buds again. Without going too much into personal detail, Susan and I moved to San Francisco around the same time. Both of us are from SoCal, and we worked together at Dave and Busters back in the day. We had a bit of a falling out over a misunderstanding, and we had a rift going that lasted for a good 6 months. I am very glad to say that we were able to talk and get everything hashed out. At 6 weeks after the initial conversation, we have been hanging out more often than ever before, and we are back to sharing confidences with each other. Glad to have one of my best friends in the world back in my life.


Monday, April 13, 2009

#75 - Beer & Boxing with Rich

Met up with my buddy Rich from sherdog boxing community. Rich joined Jai, Israel, myself and Mae for the Paul Williams vs Winky Wright fight at Jilian's in the SF SOMA neighborhood. 4 Bass Ales, Buffalo wings, good night of fights, and good boxing convo made for a great night.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

#43 - Make a dentist appointment and keep it

I begin this tale with my cheeks, gums and lips completely numb and falling forward with the blank look of an imbecile. I made an appointment for my first dental visit in what must be 5 years. I also kept the appointment, fulfilling the second and arguably more important part of this task. While I should have done this ages ago, what made it more pressing was the large, gaping hole in the back of my mouth. This was where a back molar crumbled into dagger-like shards after biting into something solid. If I remember correctly, it was bread.

Overall, the diagnosis wasn't too terrible. I will need a root canal on that tooth, and I need gum treatment. I started this today. The doctor numbed my lips with little needle jabs of some kind of numbing agent, and then immediately jammed at least 5 swirling metal objects in my mouth. This lasted for about 45 minutes, with some whirling, some smoking, some sucking, and others added specifically to add to the overall discomfort. I will pay $580 out of my pocket for the pleasure.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

#48 - Replace Coffee with Green Tea

OK, this one isn't technically accomplished, but it counts because I revised it on purpose. No longer am I striving to replace coffee, I now supplement coffee intake with green tea.

Why the change?

Because Coffee is GREAT for you, and there is no reason to eliminate such a great source of anti-oxidants from your diet. Coffee actually has more anit-oxidant activity than green tea according to this study (http://grande.nal.usda.gov/ibids/index.php?mode2=detail&origin=ibids_references&therow=458247). Coffee was found to have the highest level of active anti-oxidants of any common beverage.

Green Tea has it's own benefits, and is believed to assist in cancer prevention, lowering of cholesterol levels, and the improvement in the ratio between good and bad cholesterol.

Coffee stays. Green Tea has been added. That is all.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

#62 - Make a steak marinade to be proud of

This turned out pretty damn good. Worked well on about a pound and a half of rib eye steaks.

I chop 2 cloves of garlic and add 1 tablespoon of ground salt. Then crushed them together to form a paste.

In a separate bowl, I mixed the following ingredients:

1.5 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1.5 tablespoons extra virgin olivie oil
1 teaspoon worchestshire sauce
Squeezed juice from 1 lemon
1.5 tablespoon chilli powder
1.5 teaspoons cumin
0.5 teaspoons ground all spice
1.5 teaspoons honey



I mixed all that together, along with the garlic/salt paste. That formed the meat rub. I rubbed this all over the meat, and made sure to get it into all the cracks and crevices. I then placed the meat into large freezer bag and poured the rest of the mixture on top. I then let it marinate for 20-40 minutes.


I enjoyed a beer...


...and prepared the side dish. Red onions and broccoli stir-fried in garlic and olive oil...


...then I cooked the steaks over medium heat for a couple minutes per side to bring them to a medium rare finish...


and then I nommed...


...and then I suffered a food coma...


Monday, March 16, 2009

#73 - Buy Spanish Language CD's for the Car

Before I moved to China, I had gotten into the habit of listening to Mandarin Instructional CD's on the way to work. Now, it turned out that I was moving to an area of China where only Cantonese was being spoken, but that's a different story. I actually found the sets made by Pimsleur to be very effective at learning conversational phrases and conversations.

I picked up the Spanish version last week, and have been using them on my morning commute to work. I would like you all to know that yo hablo y entiendo un poco de espanol.

Adios muchachos.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Musings...and Ramblings

For the first time in quite a while, I am questioning my reasons for being here in San Francisco. I really don't have much in the way of friends here. I have gotten quite a bit of satisfaction out of finally being as involved in boxing as I had always hoped. The opportunities that I didn't have in southern California were available in San Francisco. Because of that, I have been able to dedicate a huge amount of time, energy and passion into the sport. I have competed in front of hundreds of people, won trophies, and earned a respectable amount of competence at it. Sometime in the future, I can teach my son(s) how to defend themselves with their hands and tell them about my experiences in pugilism.

Right now, I wonder if that's all I really wanted out of it. I was talking with Laura, a friend of mine from the boxing gym about the subject. I could conclude that boxing, for whatever reason, means a whole lot to me. What I could not conclude was whether it actually SHOULD BE worth all the energy I am pouring into it. I am not in my early teens, where I could actually get started building a career in the sport. Being in my late twenties, I am an old man in boxing. So what am I really getting out of all this?

On days that I am not training, I am bored. At least part of that is because I don't have much in the way of social outlets away from the gym. My work is almost completely devoid of personal interaction. My co-workers are all decades older than me, with English being their second language. We have nothing outside of work to talk about, and no one seems to have any desire to do so anyway. One of my good friends from Southern California had moved up to San Francisco near the same time as me. We no longer talk outside of a small email now and again.

There is a lot of potential for me here in San Francisco, but I may have to make some major changes in my life to make them come about. The first thing to look at is the amount of resources I dedicate to boxing. Training two times a day, nearly every day of the week is a MASSIVE amount of my waking life. Perhaps it's time to cut back on that and focus on more adult priorities. That brings up it's own issues. The "typical" American adult life seems to consist of an endless cycle of work-consume-rest, with the "rest" consisting of TV, or other, similar opiates. Not that it HAS to resemble that, but I suppose I am just unsure what will fill my life and time if boxing doesn't. I see other people my age already starting to slow down, get rounder, start smoking and drinking more, and beginning to display the early signs of the health problems that will end up shortening their lives. That certainly does NOT appeal.

It's interesting, but now is the first time in my life where finances are NOT a problem. I make a very good salary doing what I am doing, and I don't have to break my back to get it. I have the ability to be comfortable, I'm just not sure that "comfort" is what I want. For better or worse, I (and Bryan) feel like we have the potential in us to make something very good and meaningful out of our lives. What exactly that consists of, I have no idea. I don't feel any particular cause calling out to me. Ending hunger, curing a disease, donating time or money to the needy don't call to me any more than other folk. All I know is that I am not prepared to embrace a ho-hum existence, and the lack of direction on how to avoid that is frustrating, to say the least.

Monday, March 2, 2009

#77 - Get absolutely hammered with Bryan

If the night ends with people dressed up in Christmas tree and Indian chief costumes, it should satisfy the requirements of the loosely defined term "Hammered."


Had a great weekend down in Santa Cruz with my brother and his girlfriend. Had some good Mexican food in downtown, checked out a really cool local brewery/bar, where we had some INTENSE games of Janga. The only person not to lose all night was the only one who wasn't talking trash. For the record, that person isn't Bryan.


From there, we went back to the trailer, BBQ'd up some chicken wings with buffalo wing sauce, and played drinking games. Everyone lost and everyone won.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

#3 - Inspire 5 People to Make 101 Blogs

I was getting worried about this one. Admittedly, it is a bit of work to come up with 101 things that you want to accomplish. It is even more work to create a blog and update it regularly every time you accomplish one of those goals. Thanks to Anna, Bryan, Jenny, Liz, and Phoebe.

Your check's are in the mail...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

#45 - Drink 1-2 Gallons of Water Daily

I guess that technically, I would need to complete all 1001 days for this to be considered accomplished. However, this has become such a habit, and a fairly easy one at that, that I consider it checked.

I usually have a gallon down the gullet by the time I go to the gym, and then god knows how much more I drink while I'm there. I still lose 2-4 pounds of water weight on long sparring days though. A little scary.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

#28 - Finally Watch "Full Metal Jacket"

This one has been costing me man points for a long time. And we can't have that, no sir.

Assist goes to Hanley on this one again, who supplied both the house and the netflix. This is appropriate however, because he was the asshole who was giving me the most grief about not ever having seen it.


Good flick, goooood flick. Excellent movie about the Vietnam war and follows a class of guys from Boot Camp through their experiences in 'Nam. Also finally found out where the "Me love you long time, Gi" thing came from. It was an educational evening, and was a particularly good night cap to a day that included my car being broken down on the side of the road in the pouring rain. The Martin Schatz bell curve average finished the day on a high.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

#26 - Attend a Major Boxing Event Live

One of my best friends from High School works at the Honda Center in Anaheim. Thanks to her, and her generous hook up with tickets this last weekend, I was able to scratch #26 off the list. Thanks Ari!


The main event was between Vic Darchinyan (31-1-1) and Jorge Arce (51-4-1) for the WBA/IBF and WBC Super Flyweight championships. The undercard was decent, but the majority of fans didn't show up until the regular Showtime broadcast. The arena wasn't sold out, but the place was still fairly packed, and the Armenian vs Mexican rivalries in the stands kept it exciting.


Darchinyan is one of the pound for pound heaviest punchers in the sport, and Arce was unable to get going. The fight was stopped between the 11th and 12th rounds, as Arce's corner stopped their fighter from taking more punishment. There was then the obligatory race riot in the cheap seats. I had no idea there were that many Armenians in Southern California.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

#29 Complete - Get my DVD Burner to Work

This one is important. It may not seem like it, but it is. I need a DVD burner (that works) because I buy and trade DVD's of boxing fights. I first bought the type of external DVD that hooks up to your computer. There is software to be downloaded, and it reads the DVD on your computer and then burns it to the blank CD. The one I bought didn't do that. It did freeze my computer time and again, screw up programs that I use, and make me seriously consider taking a baseball bat to it. "Office Space" style.

I never did get it to work. So I returned it, and bought the amazing new toy below. The Norazzo DVD Recorder is beyond awesome. You plug it in, turn it on, and load the new and old DVD. It starts automatically, without the use of a computer, and spits out a perfect copy within 10-15 minutes. I love it so very, very much.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

#65 Complete - Hang out with an English Bulldog

And what a bulldog it was. These are the funniest looking animals on the planet. Slow, happy and mildly retarded, I can't help but crack up whenever I see one. This beast was hanging out on West Portal Ave. outside the Joxer Daly bar. He had to be 70-80 pounds, with at least half of that in his head. His name is "Knuckles." He was getting all sorts of attention by anyone who passed by, and he was digging it.

Anytime someone would come over to say hello, he would roll over on his stomach to allow easy access for a tummy rub. I considered stealing him.




Sunday, February 1, 2009

Failed Attempt Numero Uno = #25: Run a mile in less than 5 Minutes

My first attempt this year to break the 5 minute mile mark. Broken into laps, I need to maintain 75 seconds per. The first lap was 76 seconds and it felt FAST. Steadily went downhill from there, and finished at 5:23. Finished strong at the end, so I may have conserved just a little too much, but I would not have been able to shave more than 5-10 seconds off my time, I don't think. I'll give it another go in a few weeks.