the mungk – reading list

I read. A lot. Not everything I read is mindblowing or revolutionary. I appreciate a good solid straightforward story as much as the next guy and I’m far less interested in reading the “right” books than in reading things that are enjoyable or bring me a perspective other than my own. Understanding another perspective doesn’t necessarily imply agreement, of course, and sometimes, a book just doesn’t do it for me. I don’t really enjoy rating things, because I think it’s a little gauche. Lists of greatest songs or movies or whatever bore me. What might feel like a number one to me today may feel like a number eighty-six tomorrow, depending on what’s going on. Sometimes, something cheesy will strike me in the right way and bring me to tears. See or hear it again ten years down the road and I’ll think, wow, that’s bad.

Mostly, I’m reading through my extended library (which as a guy who lives off e-books and has a full attic library, is a lot).

Anyway, here’s the stuff that blew my mind while I was working on The Mungk.

One Small Step Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way – Robert Maurer
Is Your Genius At Work? – Dick Richards (yep, Dick Dicks, for reals)
I’ll Be Gone In The Dark – Michelle McNamara
Radical Acceptance – Tara Brach
The Practicing Mind – Thomas Sterner
People Of The Deer – Farley Mowat

As you can tell, I was working through a little bit, trying to find some good old fashioned personal development. Sterner’s terrific; everything I found Tolle was not. I wanted to delve into some classics, and Farley Mowat fits the bill as a fellow Canadian. I was suitably blown away.

This is the stuff that I really liked, but for some reason or another, found something just a little off about that didn’t connect. Stylistic questions, a viewpoint that I didn’t quite agree with or minor plot hole – that kind of thing.

Getting Things Done – David Allen
Face It – Debbie Harry
The Princess Diarist – Carrie Fisher
SexRx – Lauren Streicher
Good Sex – Jessica Graham
If Chins Could Kill: Confessions Of A B-Movie Actor – Bruce Campbell
Welcome To Night Vale – Joseph Fink/Jeffrey Cranor
Dancing Barefoot – Wil Wheaton
The Art Of Non-Conformity – Chris Guillebeau
Hammered – Elizabeth Bear

I don’t typically care about celebrity or their bios, but I deeply admire Carrie Fisher and Debbie Harry (the latter being one of the first women I obsessed over as a kid, along with Kelly LeBrock from Weird Science). And who doesn’t love Bruce Campbell or Wil Wheaton? Night Vale is a guilty pleasure. Elizabeth Bear filled my sci-fi quota. The sex books? Well, what can I say? Sex is great. Finding ways to improve it is never a bad thing.

These represent things I found entertaining, but not really mindblowing. Standard fare, basically. Not bad, not amazing, just decent or enjoyable.

Get It Done When You’re Depressed – Julie Fast
The Power Of Less – Leo Babauta
Start With Why – Simon Sinek
The Sorrows Of Young Werther – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
The Fire Starter Sessions – Danielle Laporte
Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
Pride And Prejudice And Zombies – Seth Grahame-Smith
Gregor The Overlander – Suzanne Collins
Dead Until Dark – Charlaine Harris
High Hunt – David Eddings
The Sword Of Shannara – Terry Brooks

I’m sorry, I wanted to like it more, but nothing can make Jane Austen not at least a little boring to read for me, not even zombies.

The next bit is stuff that didn’t resonate. It had some redeeming quality, like I didn’t think it was total trash, but yeah. Wasn’t great.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull – Richard Bach
Hot Sex – Emily Morse
The Power Of Less – Eckhart Tolle
Aesop’s Fables – Aesop

I realize there’s probably some stuff people will give me shit on there, but JLS is intensely patronizing and Aesop’s casual reinforcement of racism and hierarchy didn’t sit well. I actually wanted to give Hot Sex a 1, for being little more than an oversized Cosmo article from someone who came across as having done their research on listicles and PornHub, not reality, but I did appreciate the willingness to go beyond standard positions, I guess. Tolle’s little more than a grifter ripping off Taoism and Buddhism, and using demagogue tactics to set himself up as a new Messiah. Pro tip: if the author of a self-help book spends all his time trying to establish how much better they are than everyone else, they’re an egomaniac trying to grift you out of your hard-earned dollars, not someone who genuinely cares about enlightenment or personal development. I gave it a two only because presence is an important concept in happiness and that’s it. Thomas Sterner’s The Practicing Mind is essentially the same book, but with all Eckhart Tolle’s insane ego stripped out, and the concept made much more practical. I mean, Tolle mansplains periods, creates his own Revelations and afterlife, constantly compares himself to Jesus, the Buddha and Lao Tzu, and basically endorses faith healing. Repugnant. How anyone takes him seriously, I don’t know. The whole book reads like a testament to his ego, even as he rails against your ego. He sounds like the Donald Trump of new age mysticism.

Anyway, enough ranting. The last part are books that I found little to no redeeming value in. Either they were just bad, or morally repulsive.

Choose Yourself – James Altucher
Ultimate Power – Tony Robbins
I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell – Tucker Max

father’s day

I’m not a traditional father, in that I inherited my kids through my wife as they were closer to leaving for college than being born. That doesn’t mean I don’t love them and don’t want to help them out in any way I can.

I just skipped the part with poopy diapers.

I’m okay with that. Other people’s feces is not my thing, in literal fact, if not in metaphorical. In metaphorical, I feel like I’m smeared with shit all the time.

Some of it, naturally, is my own.

Anyway, pleasant thoughts on this day to celebrate the men who take care of their children, and not the ones that ran away.

the day after

The problem with spiritual revelations is that they ultimately have to jive with reality. We may make a decision about how we want to behave in the future, the kind of life we want, but then, we get back out into the world and other people’s agendas, and it all goes to pot.

It takes strength to change in an instant; the reality is most change never really happens or happens very gradually. I recognize that, and I also recognize that pre-existing relationships can get in the way. We have to renegotiate the terms of each affected relationship, which is a lot easier if you don’t like the person, because you don’t feel bad at all about telling them to get stuffed. When you like the person or value their respect, it can be difficult to change the nature of that relationship and set the boundaries you need to set.

Of course, a true friend will respect your needs. The reality is that most won’t, even if, by all definitions, they are friends.

For now, I just want a workable, hopefully saleable manuscript, and a work life that doesn’t infringe on every second of every day with ridiculous demands. I can hopefully manage one of those things. I suspect a change of scenery and a new environment where I can set the standards I need right off the bat with no preconceived notions about how they should be is what will ultimately be needed. There’s too much history, too much water under the bridge. Too much written in stone.

Change is traumatic, even when it isn’t you changing. Others inevitably push back, because the status quo is what they’re used to. It’s often what they want, because it’s to their advantage. Unfortunately, the status quo is killing me, so something has to give. And if they can’t get on board with it, however fast or slow the change happens, then fuck ’em.

heart attack man

I feel like I’m on the verge. Heart pounding and fluttering all at the same time, because fuckwits everywhere just can’t hold up their end of the bargain. I’m done taking on responsibility because others can’t be responsible for themselves.

It’s not that much to ask to handle your own shit. I do it all the time. Hell, I handle other people’s shit all the time because they aren’t capable or willing to handle it themselves.

But I’m done. I’ve gone far enough down this road. It’s time to plot a way forward beyond the idiots and the assholes.

There’s no way I can endure another forty or fifty (or even five) years of dealing with myopic, selfish dickfaces whose entitlement makes them think doing whatever to whoever is fair game. Accountability is the name of the game. You want freedom? You already have it. You are in control of your own behaviour, as am I.

With freedom comes responsibility, however, and if you won’t accept yours, I’m sure not taking it on for you. Meanwhile, I’m taking my freedom and my responsibility straight to heart. If I am free, which I always am, no matter what, then I am responsible for what I do in this world. My choices are my own. Circumstances can be whatever, and other people will do what they do, but I choose, I am free, in how I respond, through action or words.

And I am sick to near death of people who behave like spoiled children because they refuse to recognize they have a responsibility to handle their own shit and to show at least a modicum of respect to those around them.

I have no doubt it will get me labelled a hypocrite, because I’ve certainly had my piece of shit moments in the past, and I accept that. I will endeavour to do it with as much class and respect as I can muster. My goal is to do better and be better than I was a moment ago. To move forward, not dwell on the past.

You fuckers nearly got me, but hell if I’m going to let you. I’m done taking on more because the idiots in the room can’t be bothered or think they have the right to impose. You’re on your own, as you always will be, no matter what.

champagne anniversary

Today, I’ve been married for thirteen years to my beautiful wife, one of the rare sources of sanity in my life. I’m not sure she believes me, but every time I look at her, I can’t help but wonder how I managed to make her my wife. She’s beautiful, no matter what flaws she sees in the mirror, and I would spend all day, every day, in various states of undress with her, if it were up to me.

Mostly, I want her to be deliriously happy, content, peaceful, multi-orgasmic, well travelled, and whatever else makes a life worth living. The care and responsibility she shows for the people she loves has earned her that gift.

Here’s hoping for another thirteen centuries or so. If science fiction has taught me anything, if we can avoid an apocalypse, nanomachines will keep us alive forever.

tired of interruptions

When a person has forty-seven projects on his desk, plus another dozen or so daily tasks, and everyone wants him to do them (or he needs to do them for himself), why the fuck do those same people seem so goddamned entitled to infringe on every second that person has to spend on those tasks with inane, unnecessary things, extra bullshit work that is entirely pointless or time wasting, even if the time is simply spent telling the person that?

How many times must a person tell someone they’re FUCKING BUSY and that they have TOO MUCH TO DO before that person fucks ALL THE WAY OFF?

The irony is that I’m not a particularly aggressive person. I avoid confrontation like the plague, unless I have no choice. I prefer kindness, gentleness, serenity. I like people who think about other people, who take into account other people’s perspectives. People who genuinely make the attempt to see things from another person’s eyes. People who make the effort to move beyond their own myopia and see things as they are, as unfiltered through their own prejudices as possible.

Of course, I have that problem as well. We all do. We’re all the heroes of our own stories, or the victims.

The difference is I try to make the attempt to break that myopia, and then downplay my own needs and frustrations, and maybe I shouldn’t. What I want is peace. I need a Walden. Separation. Time. Silence. No fucking requests. No one else’s bullshit and banter.

I’m tired of being the punching bag for other people’s inadequacies, because I’m willing to make an effort and they are not.

apparently

It’s just fuck me all the time. Can’t open my mouth, someone wants to pick a fight. Stay silent, they demand I speak, and then they pick a fight. Doesn’t matter where I am, who I’m with. Everyone just wants me to suffer, apparently.

I don’t know a way out. There doesn’t seem to be one.

I have a recurring fantasy that I simply start walking and never come home. It seems more glorious than it probably would be.

There are people everywhere, and most of them seem to be awful, or at least hellbent on making everyone around them miserable.

settling down

I guess it was a bit of a spiral yesterday. The problem is that it becomes very easy to forget that there are always options. They may not always be great and they aren’t always easy, but they exist.

It is a telling feature of how our current society is structured that we are so often placed in chains and forced to suffer because of the system’s design. Any system that deliberately induces debt to create servitude, where one can lose everything because of choices that might be beyond their control, or made at a time when things were very different and knowledge or circumstances did not allow us to see the full picture, is a corrupt one.

Any system so designed is not one that appreciates or promotes freedom. Freedom means choices, and if a system such as our current corporatism removes choices in favour of indentured servitude through the debt-as-chains phenomena, then it is no friend of freedom.