Archive for the ‘Misc’ Category.

Quotes About Idea Lists

Here are some miscellaneous quotes about Idea Lists from a few posts and comments on James Altucher’s site. None of this is original to me; I am simply gathering it in one place for my convenience.

From The Idea Matrix – What Changed Everyone’s Life After “Choose Yourself”:
Comment from James (responding to someone else) about idea lists:
I will add one more thing to your list, and you even refer to it above, but it’s “Come up with Ideas for Others” , even if you don’t know them. Even if you never share them. It’s good practice. Antoher thing is: “10 things you’ve learned from XYZ” where XYZ could be another person, a book, or an event in your life. Because if you can find 10 things you learned from that person then chances are at least one is a good thing.

From How To Become An Idea Machine: Write down ten ideas. About anything. It doesn’t matter if they are business ideas, book ideas, ideas for surprising your spouse in bed, ideas for what you should do if you are arrested for shoplifting, ideas for how to make a better tennis racquet, anything you want. The key is that it has to be ten or more.
One possibility right now is to list ten ideas that are “too big for me” and what the next steps might be.

Check out Ideas For Ten Ideas A Day.

From The Ultimate Guide for Becoming an Idea Machine: IDEA SEX. Combine two ideas to come up with a better idea. Don’t forget that idea evolution works much faster than human evolution. You will ALWAYS come up with better ideas after generations of idea sex. This is the DNA of all idea generation.
OLD TO NEW: 10 old ideas I can make new. (Dorothy, Wall Street, etc). Similar to idea sex.
10 ridiculous things I would invent (the smart toilet, etc).
10 books I can write (The Choose Yourself Guide to an Alternative Education, etc).
10 business ideas for Google / Amazon / Twitter / you
10 people I can send ideas to
10 podcast ideas I can do. Or videos I can shoot. (“Lunch with James”, a video podcast where I just have lunch with people over Skype and we chat).
10 industries I can remove the middleman.
10 Things I Disagree With that everyone else assumes is religion (college, home ownership, voting, doctors). Or, for any one of those ideas. 10 ideas why!
10 ways to make old posts of mine and make books out of them
10 ways I can surprise Claudia. (Actually, more like 100 ways. That’s hard work!)
10 items I can put on my “10 list ideas I usually write” list
10 people I want to be friends with and I figure out what the next steps are to contact them (Azaelia Banks, I’m coming after you! Larry Page better watch out also.)
10 things I learned yesterday.
10 things I can do differently today. Right down my entire routine from beginning to end as detailed as possible and change one thing and make it better.
10 chapters for my next book
10 ways I can save time. For instance, don’t watch TV, drink, have stupid business calls, don’t play chess during the day, don’t have dinner (I definitely will not starve), don’t go into the city to meet one person for coffee, don’t waste time being angry at that person who did X, Y, and Z to you, and so on.
10 Things I Learned from X. Where X is someone I’ve spoke to recently or read a book by recently. I’ve written posts on this about the Beatles, Mick Jagger, Steve Jobs, Bukowski, the Dalai Lama, Superman, Freakonomics, etc.
Random: 10 Things Women Totally Don’t Know About Men. (that turned into a list of 100 and Claudia said to me, “uhhh, I don’t think you should publish this”).
Today’s list: 10 More Alternative to College I can Add to my book: “40 Alternatives to College”.
10 Things I’m Interested in Getting Better At (and then 10 ways I can get better at each one).
10 things I was interested in as a kid that might be fun to explore now. (Like, maybe I can write that “Son of Dr. Strange” comic I’ve always been planning. And now I need 10 plot ideas).
A problem I have and ten ways I might try and solve it. This has saved me with the IRS countless times. Unfortunately, the Department of Motor Vehicles is impervious to my super powers.
10 ways I can release more endorphins into my body
10 ways I can help people build their idea machine
10 Ways I can turn my next book into a webinar for Oprah
10 things I can talk about in my next talk on May 3
SCAMPER is a mnemonic that stands for:
Put to another use.

Big Jim has some big ideas to change the world.

Obłok by Ferdynand Ruszczyc (1870-1936), assumed allowed under Fair Use.

Buddhism from non-Buddhists

This page will collect quotes that I come across that (in my opinion) express thoughts related to Buddhism by people or authors that I think are/were not Buddhist.

This page will be updated on an irregular basis as I encounter more quotes.

She has an illusion and you have reality. May you find your way as pleasant.

– The Keeper, Star Trek: The Cage, after restoring Vina’s beauty (as well as creating an illusory Christopher Pike to keep her company)


If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs…
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting…
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim…
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you…
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it.

– lines from Rudyard Kipling’s If


Seek freedom and become captive of your desires. Seek discipline and find your liberty.

― Frank Herbert, Chapterhouse: Dune


All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone

– Blaise Pascal


Too many people dream of places they’ll never go, wish for things they’ll never have, instead of paying adequate attention to their real lives.

– Odo, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, “If Wishes Were Horses”


Big Jim wants all people to be enlightened.

Standing Bodhisattva Maitreya (Buddha of the Future), ca. 3rd–4th century Pakistan (ancient region of Gandhara) at the Metropolitan Museum, assumed allowed under Fair Use.

With Each and Every Breath

I recently read a book that is on the recommended reading list of the StreamEntry sub-reddit: Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s With Each and Every Breath. I thought it had some good things to say about meditation and is a good guide.

There are a lot of references to “breath energy” and many calls to “follow the energy”. That sounds a bit like woo to me.

It has a lot of good tips on dealing with problems you can encounter in meditation.

One tip that helped me is that when your mind wanders, just ask yourself if continuing to think about something other than your breath is helpful. The word he uses is “skillful”. I have used this tip to deal with other problems. A couple of issues that I have had are trying to control the breath (which sometimes leads to me being out of breath or getting dizzy), and falling asleep. I tell myself to “focus on observing the natural, awakening breath.” Over the past couple of months, it has helped quite a bit.

A few other tips to deal with drowsiness are: to change the meditation object (such as going to a mantra, or focusing on death), to change the length of the breath, to change the posture, to open your eyes for a few seconds, even to stand up. He also recommends walking meditation, but I do not like walking meditation.

When you have a comfortable focus on the breath, he recommends expanding awareness to different parts of the body. To me this sounds like body scan.

I have also found a way to deal with itches. I just tell myself that I can inhale and exhale one time without scratching. I do this two or three times. Sometimes, the itch goes away. If not, I just scratch the itch. Sometimes I don’t really have to scratch; I just put a finger on the spot that itches and that takes care of it. I know some people say you should not scratch an itch since it will make things worse, but this works for me.

Another thing that I do is I usually “warm up” with a few minutes of deep breathing/qigong exercises. This helps me settle a bit faster, and makes me less likely to try to control my breath.

Big Jim is focusing on the breath to improve his life.

“Pilgrim’s Visiting Album” from 18th century Japan; image from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, assumed allowed under Fair Use.

Signs Somebody Is An Asshole

Signs that someone is an asshole:

  • They say “Laugh! It’s a joke!” or some variation thereof.
  • They ask checkout clerks to break a $100 bill.
  • They drive a Lexus.
  • They vote Republican.
  • They think they walk their dog with a retractable leash, but let the dog go wherever it wants.
  • They are a head of state who picks a fight with Canada (Cool And Nice And Dang Awesome).
  • They say or do something to shock people (as Ed Brayton said, “If you spend a great deal of your time pretending to be an asshole to get a reaction from people…you aren’t pretending. You are an asshole.”)
  • They put their phone on speaker when they are in public.
  • They use “virtue signalling” as an insult (but never against Susan Collins; she is independent up until the moment she votes).
  • They bring a dog into a business that is not pet-specific.
  • Intentionally giving someone else unnecessary work, and thinking that other person should be grateful.

Other items will be added to the list as they reveal themselves.

Big Jim does not like assholes.

“Wheatfield with Crows” (1887) by Vincent van Gogh (March 30, 1853-July 29, 1890), at the Van Gogh Museum, assumed allowed under Fair Use.

Comments on Craigslist Posts

I used to look at the Craigslist personals, back when they were around. I kept some notes and comments on a few that I thought were interesting. I think a lot of these would fit right in on the FatLogic subreddit.

Even though the URLs do not work, I will include them anyway.

Im the kind of girl that u can take home to ur mom.
[She is looking for a man who] has a car…has a job…no assistance from the government unless u r a veteran. I work hard for what i have so should u.

Why don’t you work towards learning better English? If that is how you type and/or speak, actually, no, you are NOT the kind of woman I would take to meet my mother.

I am looking for someone who can also be active and be supportive with my choices in life. For me I am a single mom work my butt off to make a living.

If you are a single mom, maybe you need to face the fact that you make poor choices.

Hey there. Im an AA BBW 46 looking for something worth talking about. Funny witty and charming would be great with an abundance of common sense, taller than 5’10. Slim to athletic, as two fat people Don’t mix.

It’s interesting how many fat people want a fit person, yet so few fit people want a fat person.

So here’s the problem. I’m attached to more fit and generally attractive men. I was raised around good looking people both male and female but I am a bit on the round side. It’s a huge challenge to find a guy who is into gals who are a bit thicker!

You could try exercising. And eating less. Or you could just wait for a unicorn to fall from the sky. Also, I think you meant “attracted” when you wrote “attached”. If you were attached to a fit guy, you wouldn’t need to place an ad.

I’m a medium BBW/curvy and I love my fluff.
Now it’s your turn! Please be intelligent/witty/sarcastic! Employed (white collar? YESSSS)! Caucasian (just my personal preference). I love tall and thin to athletic men. Yes, fat girls are allowed to be picky too 😉

Yes, you’re allowed to be picky. But fit people are not obligated to find fat people attractive. And I am allowed to say you’re an idiot.

URL not recorded

I am a thick girl (size 16) and I wear it well.

Fit women never say they “wear it well” or “carry it well”, or they are “fit in the right places”. Or “goddess”. Fit women never seem to call themselves goddesses. Or call themselves a “real woman.” It seems like a woman only calls herself or another woman a “real woman” when they are fat. Women never seem to point to a women who runs marathons and says, “Now there is a real woman.”

If you are thick or curvy, or whatever you want to call it, fit guys are not going to care that you “wear it well”. You just have too much of “it” in general.

I prefer rugged lumberjack type, tall muscular and bearded. Needs to have a good job and be faithful….I’m a cute Caucasian woman, early 30s, std free, blonde/blue, fair skin, thick & curvy but HWP. 34D and bubble butt.

“thick and curvy but HWP”. That’s like saying you are “smart but stupid”. It’s one or the other.

But I’ve played the waiting game and the dating game …. no good ones have come along. Maybe I’m too picking??

I assume you meant “picky”. No, you’re not too picky. Probably not too bright either. Maybe that is your problem.

Open to all races/heights/age
No men over 325 lbs
Have own private space (no little brothers sharing the room)

How many 325+ lb people are you going on dates with if you need to state that as a criteria?

I read a lot. Don’t watch to much tv. I am also currently going to school to get my bachelors in psychology then I will be getting my masters after that.

If you don’t watch “to much tv”, perhaps you read to littel.

Title: disabledbbwseizure patient seeks a true man

disabled seizure patient that is also a cancer patient and psych patient and diabetic.looking for a true gentleman. one that isn’t after sex on the first that at least tries to go to church.i am in a wheelchair at times and use a walker other times.i am looking for a long term relationship

Is meeting guys who are only after sex a problem really an issue for this women? This woman sounds like nothing but problems.

I’m HPV positive. If you’re not already vaccinated, this is transmitted via skin cells. Do your research before contacting me.

You’ve got an STD. Don’t lecture me.

Your martial status is not of concern just be real and of good character.

A married man cheating on his wife does not have good character. But you do you.

I’m attracted to tall guys, thin (big and big don’t really go well together, so I like all the thin guys that can appreciate a bigger woman)

Where does this idea that thinner people should date fat people because big/fat “don’t go well together” come from? Try exercise instead of asking for a bailout.

I do not think I have every heard a fit person say they do not want to date another fit person.

I do request men only, non smokers, physically fit, and clean. I prefer taller dates, but it’s not a deal breaker. You must be accepting of my slightly older and attention-deprived BBW body, as you can see. If you aren’t attracted to a plus-sized gal, no worries…that’s what the other ads are for, right? Let’s see what Austin has to offer!

Again, if you are fat and do not want to date a fat person, do not get upset if other people do not want to date a fat person, or lecture other people that they have to accept your body.

Yep that’s right…I’m a sassy fattie that tells it like it is!

“Sassy”. Another word that only fat women use to describe themselves. Most people who brag that they “tell it like it is” generally do not want to hear it like it is from other people.

Headline: Young, thick and ready to go
Beautiful, curvy, Ebony young lady here hoping for the impossible. I’d love to find a great, tall, successful man who knows how to treat a lady for a long term relationship.

If you know it’s impossible, then why are you looking for it? “Thick” is another code for fat.

I’m looking for an older man to hang with. Not only sex but yes I do want sex. I dont smoke or drink. I work and im well educated. I just want to have fun i’m pregnant and have hormones……….

Is this a troll? Or someone who is really messed up? Yet another person bragging about having and/or getting an education, yet they post an ad with a lot of spelling and/or grammar errors. In all seriousness, one of my big fears is misspelling “intelligent”. To top it all off, she is pregnant, and looking for another man. If you gave another man the meal, do not even think about giving me the bill.

Jesus is a big part of my life (the god, not the Mexican)

On one hand, I thought that was pretty funny. On the other: There seemed to be a LOT of ads from Christians. There are also a lot of Meetups about Christianity. Note to Christians: If someone does not go to church, it’s not an accident.

I am a big girl, I am 20 years old, I attend college, and I have a part time job. Lately ive been feeling a little lonely and i would like to share my time with someone who wants the same. Im like a dog lol. Easy to please with attention, and of course loyal. I just want someone to grow with, and to be there for me in the good and bad times. Someone that can be my best friend. Please don’t respond if your over 30.

Another person attending college, with an error-filled post. Also: If you are a “big girl”, you have probably done growing.

BBW looking for Friendship to turn into more

At least she’s not a fat woman looking for a tall guy, but she had this:

If you are replying please tell me a little bit about yourself, include a picture, and tell me
1. The last craziest thing you’ve done
2. A joke
3. The most embarrassing thing to happen to you.

What are you, an online bank?

I am looking for someone who is open to something more than just a casual encounter.

Her ad had a naked pic (presumably herself).

Title: Tired of my vibrator.
I need some stimulation. I’m very into articulate guys. Also very kinky minded. I like white and Latino guys under 45 and under 450lbs. Art and music interests a plus. Kik me: nowalice

She says she weighs 160, so maybe her upper limit of 450 is a typo. If she has dated guys over 450 lbs, I think a solution would be to just stick to guys under 200 or so. Or stop picking up guys at WalMart.

32f seeks m for fwb/dating.
Unique situation; I need someone to talk to me, cuddle me, and make me feel human.
I am currently bouncing around between air bnb’s while I hide from my murderous ex-husbands. Plural, it’s a unique clusterfuck. Stalking orders get filed this week against both.
Hit me up to chat. I am easy going, a gamer, an avid reader, and no drama on my end.
Please send a photo to get a response.

No drama, but hiding from people trying to kill her. And asks for a picture. I really hope I have more self-awareness than these women.

I am incredibly picky. I like confident, independent guys which are educated, sensible and can keep me grounded. I am very high maintenance. Send me pic and phone number, I can tex you back.

Demands education, has a spelling mistake on a word that is not that hard to spell. Also, it’s “guys WHO are educated”.

Friendly, outgoing, playful, open minded and (some say) attractive. Nonsmoker. Nondrinker. ***I have controlled HSV (herpes). You have to be okay with that.***

I’ll decide what I am okay with, not you. And maybe you are a bit too friendly.

And then:

Prefer middle aged North Shore and southern coastal New Hampshire gentlemen.

So why are you in the Austin section?

professional , well groomed , easy going guy looking for a girl friend to start with.

Want someone to hold a conversation many of craigslist loose patience.

Don’t complain about other people’s conversational skills when you type run-on sentences like a lolcat.

Seeking God fearing/loving, Christian man who attends Shoreline Church, and is living the sober life.

Here is an idea: Why don’t you go to Shoreline and ask there, instead of on Craigslist at 9:30 on a Monday night.

Title: Quadriplegic wants more

Maybe it’s wrong, but I found that amusing. Almost as amusing as “BBW wants more”.

Me: Single, tall, soft and curvy, terribly evil, nerdy, educated, cheeky, impish sense of humor, mildly perverse, social drinker, non-smoker, bon vivant. Decent aim.
You: Same, except maybe the soft and curvy part. I’d rather you hard. Menacing tattoos and facial scars particularly encouraged.

As Neil deGrasse Tyson would say, “Look out! We’ve got a badass here!” Another fat person wanting a fit person. If you’re asking for tattoos, you might as well ask for an arrest record as well.

Why is it so hard to find a great guy? Where are they hiding? All I’m asking for is a guy that knows how to talk to a woman properly. One that can take her on a date and show her that chivalry is not dead. One that is truly interested in getting to know just her! I mean, is that to much to ask? Anyway, if my ad has peeked your interest at all, and you’d like to make a new friend, please feel free to send me a message. Do NOT waste my time! If you have no pic, I will not respond, that simple

So you want a guy who knows how to talk to a woman, but you have a poor vocabulary. And you make a lot of demands, but can’t find a great guy.

When women say they want a guy who can talk to a woman, they don’t mean they want a guy who can hold a conversation. They want a guy who can hold a conversation, and looks like Brad Pitt. I guess there is nothing wrong with that. Just be honest about it.

Being taller than me is a must! I love my heels. This really is a DEAL BREAKER! If you’re less than 5’11 don’t even reach out… Not trying to be mean, just being fair, and saving time for everybody!

You’re not mean, just really stupid.

I need your honest opinion. Why do men perfer skinny women? Am I considered fat???? What’s wrong with a thicker woman? We cook better, and give it you wetter

Well tell me, what do you think of my body type.

When women stop filtering men based on height, then we’ll talk. People are free to do as they want. Besides, a woman can lose weight, but a man cannot gain height. Yet for some reason, women wanting tall men is a “preference”, yet men not wanting fat women is a bias.

I have realized that when women say something is a “preference”, it’s really a requirement.

I answered a few ads (none of the ones here). I think I placed a couple as well. The email conversations seemed pretty good. Then they would ask my for a face pic. Things always ended after that. I don’t pursue women at all anymore, so I guess I do have more self-awareness. Than just about any other person on this planet.


The guys grow up and mature, they learn to need women less, and they settle into a life of resigned solitude, which means that they cheer up because they’re no longer striving for something they can’t have.

Big Jim isn’t where he wants to be, but he doesn’t live in a fantasy world.

“Standing Nude” by Guy Rose (1867-1925), image from WikiArt, assumed allowed under Fair Use.

Getting Back Into A Routine

Over the past year and a half I have fallen off the wagon (for lack of a better phrase) with regards to fitness, meditation, discipline and general self-improvement.

I track workouts and meditation on a spreadsheet that I started back in September of 2009. Throughout 2017 there are a lot of red boxes in the column for exercise. For some reason I cut back, but not intentionally. Around late October 2017 I also cut back on meditation. I was working through Claudia’s book on becoming an idea machine, and I stopped that too.

I don’t know why I started exercising less, but for meditation I tried using sound as an anchor. It went okay, but for some reason I stopped.

I did not get much done in December because I moved to another apartment in the complex. There was a leaky pipe they could not fix in my old apartment; other than that I was happy with things, so I asked them if there were any alternatives. Now I am on the second floor.

I started to get back into working out by doing squat thrusts on my balcony. I could not do as many, and I think my balcony is crooked. I do not have the luxury of doing it late at night on my balcony. I had toyed with the idea of finding an unused section of the parking lot early in the morning and working out there. But that would involve waking up a lot earlier, so that is not practical for me. Plus it would probably be really hard on my joints. There is a small gym here; frankly it’s not very good, but there is enough room to do some squat thrusts. I used it a couple of times.

The final time I tried it, I go in and turn on the lights. I heard music, which is odd because there is no sound system in there. I walk towards one of the cardio machines, and I see a small radio. Then I turned around, and there was a guy who was sitting next to the door. He asked me if I needed the lights on. I said I did if he was going to be in there. I tried a couple of times to ask him how long he was going to be (thinking I could just come back when he was done). I rephrased it, but I could not get a straight answer either time. I decided it was time to look into a gym.

I liked Lifetime Fitness, and I really liked the saleswoman from Sweden. She did not have much of an accent at all, but she pronounced the “R” sound in “Saturday” oddly, so I asked her where she was from. That club was $90/month. Planet Fitness did not have much to offer. 24 Hour Fitness was a decent price. The one closest to me has a pool, and when you walk in you get hit with a nasty chlorine smell. Other than that it is not too bad.

I got a free session with a trainer. At first I was not intending to buy the package, but towards the end he had me do some HIIT/functional fitness stuff. I thought to myself, “Why not see what he has to offer?” I can get myself back into a routine if I am not interested in what he shows me, and maybe he will show me something that I want to continue.

Well, it turns out, the only thing that interested me really is HIIT. Lifting is a bit boring to me (which I know sounds odd since I think nothing of doing sets of squat thrusts for 30 minutes). For a lot of the lifts, he wanted me to do a fast concentric contraction and a slow eccentric contraction.

Looking into HIIT brought me to the Jump Rope Dudes. My favorite video is the one with the woman from Australia, yeah. Frankly I wish all women spoke with Australian accents. In all seriousness, if a genie gave me three wishes, that would be one of them. It is taking longer than I thought for my body to adjust. I have found I can actually last longer when I count jumps than when I just try to last a set amount of time (generally 30 seconds; usually me feet need a rest at 20 when I go for time). I am also looking at squat jumps, or jump squats. I did some jumping lunges. They seems to exacerbate my inner thigh issues.

I have also used some kettlebells. Tim Ferriss put the kettlebell swing on the map  According to this page, “most women should start with a 35lb (16kg) or 44lb (20kg) kettlebell and most men should start with 44lb (20kg) or 53lb (24kg) kettlebell.” The gym I go to has some with standard freedom measurements, and some with communist metric measurements. Make up your mind kettlebell makers! Are you with us, or against us?

The gym closest to me has a track. I was thinking of trying sprinting. My last six months in Chicago, I lived in a house with a driveway out back. I did some sets of shuttle sprints up and down the driveway, and I liked how it affected me. I did not like doing it. Getting up to my top speed was harder than I thought. I have done shuttle runs a few times in the studio at the gym. I was hoping to do some sprinting on the indoor track, but just jogging on the track is hard on my knees. I thought the cushioning would help, but it does not. The odd thing is that shuttle runs in the studio are not a problem. Someone at work suggested I try Dr. Scholl’s inserts. He said they helped him.

Anyway, I have gotten pretty fat. Hopefully I will be able to do longer, more intense sets on the jump rope and become a stud that women desire. I will be in Florida in a few weeks for my nephew’s birthday, so unfortunately the next round of family pictures will feture me as a landwhale.

Why I stopped with the Idea Machine I am not too clear. Claudia Azula (James’ second ex-wife) did not handle their divorce as well as he did. She blogged that she was diagnosed as bi-polar and at least once thought of killing herself. Can a stressful life event like divorce trigger an underlying problem? Or is it all genetic? Anyway, lately she has been tweeting about ping-pong in New York City. What could be a clearer sign of contentment than making jokes about smacking people’s balls? I can laugh about it now, but at the time it was terrible.

I cannot articulate exactly why, but for some reason the fact that she had a hard time getting on with her life makes me doubt James’ methods. She followed the advice in his article. And he seems to have a lot of wack jobs on his podcast, like Dr Oz and Jordan Peterson, and he sends a lot of shady emails about getting rich trading penny stocks and Bitcoin. Now it seems like he is on a cannabis kick.

Still, I think there is something to the idea machine. In my other idea machine posts I linked to testimonials. I keep reading that mindset is more important than technical skills. Some people even push learning the humanities and Great Books to stay ahead of the curve. I like the idea of my mind being more agile. Plus, I realized I do not have to agree with everything he says or does. I don’t agree with my own family all the time. Take what you want and leave the rest.

If I try, I might start with making lists of 5 ideas. I know James says to go for ten, but since this is a new habit I would be trying to do two things at once. Developing consistency is important.

Back in January, I was a new meetup group, and the whole time was brainstorming about topics. I realized it might be a good idea to due “field reports” on idea lists in the wild. I could make idea lists about problems or issues, either in my life or in society in general. For the general problems, I could make two lists: Things I can do (if any), and things society can do. I think James sent an idea list to Amazon, and they flew him out there to speak. I could make lists about my ideal job, ideal house, ideal mate. Perhaps the ideal lists could be periodically repeated to see if there are any changes.

At one point, James suggested that you could list chapters in a potential book, or lists of things about or that have happened to a character in a possible novel. I have thought about a potential “Star Trek” show (not that I think it would ever get made). That could give some ideas.

Getting back into meditation has been a bit more difficult.

I started using sound as an anchor by listening to some videos on YouTube on a channel called Meditative Mind and a few other channels. Some worked out better than others, but the general result is that for some reason things got derailed. I kept having trouble staying awake and then my frequency dropped.

I started getting back into it after I was done moving. I tried going back to sitting on the floor, but I think it hurt my knees. At first I thought that increasing my exercise frequency was hurting my knees, so I rotating different exercises out, but nothing seemed to help. Then I realized that it might be my meditation posture, so I went back to the chair. Since then, my knees have been fine. I am still stretching so hopefully one day I can go back to sitting on the floor again.

One issue is that I kept trying to control my breathing. I think that I might have this preconception that I should do “Taoist” breathing while meditating (in through the nose, expanding the abdomen, long deep breaths, ideally 15 seconds or more). Now I do some deep, qigong breaths for a few minutes before I start and it seems to be helping.

Big Jim still likes the Swedish ladies.

 “Mount Sinai” by El Greco (1541 – 7 April 1614), housed at The Historical Museum of Crete, assumed allowed under Fair Use.

Buddhist Valentines

Some Buddhist valentines:

  • Your absence is the cause of my suffering
  • Let’s be impermanent together
  • You turn the wheel of my heart
  • I’d like to enter your stream sometime
  • You make cessation less appealing
  • Let’s add “Right Lovin'” to the Noble Path

On a side note, it seems like a LOT of the women in Buddhist groups have (or have had) some serious addiction problems. Kind of like women in general.


Standing Buddha, ca. 3rd–4th century Pakistan (ancient region of Gandhara) at the Metropolitan Museum, assumed allowed under Fair Use.

Notes On Options

I used to know someone who traded on the floor of the NYSE. Here is something they told me about options. I wrote it on a piece of paper years ago that I just found recently.

call (right to buy) – in the money when market above strike price

put (right to sell) – in the money when market below strike price

x Buy (long underlying) Sell (short underlying)
Call limited risk, unlimited gain limited gain, unlimited risk
Put limited risk, unlimited gain limited gain, unlimited risk

If selling has limited gain and unlimited risk, why do it? From what I wrote: “Premium upfront ( most options expire worthless); Higher chance of making money; may sell near maturity”.

From another sheet:

Options – downside – limited to price

short option – limited gain, unlimited loss. Cash upfront. Margin required.

Covered call – write call/put -> selling that option

Self portrait of  Zinaida Serebriakova (1884-1967), assumed allowed under Fair Use.

More Thoughts On Idea Machines

I have started making daily lists of ten ideas a day per James Altucher‘s suggestion. I got Claudia’s book and I am reading it using the online Kindle reader. Hopefully it will lead to something better. (Claudia is James’ ex-wife.)

It sounds almost too good to be true. Just

  1. write down ten ideas,
  2. *** magic happens ***,
  3. profit.

I listed a few people who wrote about it in a previous post, and I have found a few more since then. Many people report the same effect. I think that perhaps helping develop and/or reinforce consistency might also be a factor.

A couple of things made me stop in the past. One is that I kept coming with idea lists about idea lists. It was getting too meta for me. I don’t want to make idea lists about making idea lists (process, results, lists of ideas for future lists), but it might not be a bad thing to do every once in a while to have a backlog of possible topics, like agile teams keeping a backlog.

Another is that since then I have gotten more serious about meditation. Wouldn’t quieting the mind and accelerating it be at odds with each other? Meditation seems to stop unnecessary thought. Becoming an idea machine seems to be about spawning thoughts. Is it possible to do this and meditation? According to Claudia, it is. Plus, some advanced meditators say that with meditation you can change the speed/volume of your thoughts. Granted, it takes a while to get to that point.

There were a few other reasons I kind of hesitated attempting the idea list practice and were arguments against. One is: Wouldn’t freelance writers be more successful than they are, or at least more quickly? Don’t they deal in ideas all the time?

Another is that James wrote his daily practice helped him turn his life around. But now he is divorced from Claudia. I guess I assumed he would stay together with her. It seemed like a sign of his success after a divorce and multiple bankruptcies. Making the same mistake AFTER you are doing the right thing is kind of an argument against what you are doing. But according to his blog, he seems to be bouncing back. (I still have not gotten to his podcasts; it’s on my to-do list.) It looks like Claudia is taking longer to bounce back. Or she just might be keeping a low profile. She want about a year without any blog posts or tweets, but it looks like she is starting to post more consistently.

One inspiration for starting is that James wrote a post in July about how he has lived off of his ideas for 20 years. He mentions that he might give an online/email course about becoming an idea machine. The outline looks pretty interesting. The response was overwhelmingly positive, but so far I do not think there are any updates. His big thing now is doing standup. He hints that one thing he would cover in this course is how he got started writing down 10 ideas a day. On one of his pages he implies he got it from somewhere else. In another post he implies he did it to get interviews.

Another inspiration to get started again is a story that I saw on Hacker News in August linking to a site called “Random Ideas“:  “The point is to get the brain thinking, to exercise the brain muscle.” That sounds like James Altucher. A few commenters also said they had started doing the same thing, or that the site inspired them. One commenter pointed out that coming up with 3650 ideas in a year would “be an amazing accomplischment [sic] of endurance”, although the guy stopped after a month. Random Ideas are usually lists with items that are not related, generally ten business ideas. I know Altucher says you should do ten ideas on a topic, and there is something to be said for being creative within contraints, but I had a hard time coming up with topics. To follow Altucher’s method, you really need eleven ideas: the first being the topic, then ten more for your list. Perhaps it might be okay to just make random lists to keep the momentum. (See Note 1 below.)

Another inspiration is that the project I am on at work is reducing staff in a couple of months. I work for a big, multinational consulting firm. I am on a team that makes an app for a state government, and while they are happy with us, the department is having to cut their budget. So I kind of need something that will make me a wild success. I asked about some training, but I was told that company policy states that the project would have to pay for it. The problem is that they are rolling a bunch of us off because they have no money. So there goes that idea. On the other hand, my manager is an Indian guy who not only has a thick accent, but also mumbles. It’s possible I completely misunderstood what he said.

I have no desire to be a manager. Right now I have to put up with decisions I do not like. If I were a manager, I would have to justify other peoples’ bad decisions to still more people. I have no desire to do that at all. So I need to change how I think and I need to change my life. For reasons I will not go into, getting on a project in Austin is highly unlikely.

So I am working through Claudia’s book. I started on October 1. So far it is okay. I might have stopped at nine once or twice, and sometimes my understanding of the question changed while I was coming up with my ten answers but I just kept going. One guy wrote somewhere that he did not like some of Claudia’s topics. One of them is to come up with ten yoga poses. It is a bit hard when you know nothing about yoga.

One thing I have found is there are more people than I thought who are doing this, in addition to the people I found online the last time I posted about this.

One is a site called that sent out idea list topics for about a year. They recently stopped. I subscribed, so I have a backlog to use if I need it. They have a facebook group. I am not into facebook, but I might log on to see if there are any success stories.

Another site is 10 Ideas A Day which will give you themes, lets you submit themes, and has a few links to other sites. Some of the links are out of date. Here is one of Claudia on a podcast talking about becoming an idea machine, one of someone on Claudia’s podcast, and someone sharing their lists as they go through Claudia’s book.

A guy named D.R. Fideler who moved to Sarejevo got the idea bug from James. He has a post and a PDF about it. It sounds like this guy goes into some detail with his lists. Some are “complete business plans”. Maybe I am not putting enough into my answers. Or maybe the magic will just take longer. Looking at James’ post “How To Have GREAT Ideas” my one-sentence ideas might be too short. Maybe each of the ideas should be lists themselves, like SMART goals.

Chris Remus wrote about it here,  which I think is a copy of this article. He gives you a list of ideas.

Let’s not forget this one and this one and this one.

I plan on emailing some of these people to get a bit more info on their daily idea list practice.

  • How long have you been doing this?
  • Do you still do it?
  • Was there a gap?
  • When did you start seeing results?
  • What results have you seen?
  • How long does it take to come up with ten ideas?
  • How long/many sentences is each idea?
  • Where do you get your topics from?
  • Do you ever share your ideas? If so, how?


Note 1: He spelled dubious as “dubias” in a post bad-mouthing educators. The one time in life you want to have perfect spelling is when you are saying you are smarter than someone else. (“Dubias” is a species of cockroach; I am assuming he misspelled “dubious”.)

In all seriousness, I would love to know if this guy has read James’ blog and/or Claudia’s book. I looked up his domain on whois, but after a few steps his registrar uses a registrar that uses itself as its own registrar. Using the “Yo Dawg” trick to hide in plain sight.

Here are a couple of more posts from James Altucher’s website:

Fragment of a manuscript by Wang Zhideng (1535–1612) available at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, assumed allowed under Fair Use.

Thoughts On Tom Petty

There was an article on Bloomberg the day he died (but presumably before he actually did) that reports of his death were false. (I cannot find the article on the Bloomberg site.) Like Jackie Chan. Then a week later, I saw a cartoon about it on which inspired me to do some more searching.

So it was more Abe Vigoda than Jackie Chan.

I was a fan back in high school and into college. I had all the Heartbreakers records up through “Let Me Up (I’ve Had Enough)”, and his first solo record. But eventually I got out of the loop. When I was younger, I did not want to become one of those older people who just listened to the same stuff from their youth. But that is kind what happened to me.

I used to listen to WXRT a lot in my car. But then I moved closer to the lake, and I took the CTA to work, so I spent a LOT less time driving. In addition, at some point I lost the antenna on my car. I think a car wash tore it off. I tried a few times to use a radio in my apartment to get WXRT, but for some reason the reception was terrible. I have fallen behind on Pearl Jam and Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan as well. And I have no idea who the new bands are in rock and roll. I will try to pick some of it up again. I was so out the loop on Tom Petty that I did not find out about the death of Howie Epstein and the departure of Stan Lynch until several years after both events happened.

One thing I did find odd about Tom Petty is: Why did he do solo records? He was the leader of the Heartbreakers, he sang, he wrote the songs. I don’t see what he was not getting from that arrangement. On the other hand, you could argue he never really did a solo record. Mike Campbell was on all his records (except the Traveling Wilburys, which obviously is not a solo project). I always felt that unless Petty worked on his own without Campbell, he wasn’t really going solo. Granted, Mike Campbell is an amazing guitar player, so I can see why Petty wanted him around. I guess I am using a pretty strict definition of “solo” here.

I know there is a documentary out about him, and an authorized biography of him by Warren Zanes. Apparently Petty felt he made some mistakes in his life there were not in the film, but were discussed in the book.

I did see them live with Bob Dylan on their “True Confessions” tour (June 29, 1986, to be precise).

I also had their live album “Pack Up The Plantation” and the concert film of the same name for their “Southern Accents” tour. I think I taped off of MTV. I think I watched that at least two dozen times. A couple of things that I remember from that is being impressed by both Mike Campbell and the drummer Stan Lynch. I was surprised to later learn that Stan Lynch was not confident in his drumming, but this may have been earlier than the “Southern Accents” tour. But on “Pack Up The Plantation”, he was pretty awesome. And the coolest Heartbreaker ever.

So in addition to looking into what Springsteen and Pearl Jam have been up to, and finding some bands that are more contemporary, I have to catch up on what Tom Petty with and without the Heartbreakers had been up to for more than a decade. Going forward, there may not be any more Tom Petty music that will be new to the world, but there is still some out there that will be new to me.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers on their final tour (but NOT the final show), available at Wikipedia, assumed allowed under Fair Use.