Monthly Archives: October 2009

How I’d Like to Die

Dear Death,

I know how I want to die. You may have other plans. Since I am a tiny mortal, you are free to disregard my wishes, of course. You can take me away at any time and with any method. No matter the case, I shall be prepared and unafraid. Still, I only ask that you listen to my request.

When I grow older, I will move away from my beloved America to a country that does not hold freedom so dear. I will speak the truth and gather enemies. This will catch up to me, as you know from your experiences with previous brave men and women, but that is the point. I want to die like Cicero.

This, of course, dictates that certain things will not happen. It assumes that I will not have to die Cicero’s death in America. I hope that does not come to pass, but if it is necessary, I still put forth my request to die in this manner. If indeed this happens, I hope that I die sooner rather than later, because that would mean that many years had passed in which I had not saved my country. A patriot’s death would only partially redeem myself from the shame.

The one thing I do not wish to do is live in exile, grow old, and watch my country morph into a terrible monster. However, Death, if that is your plan for me, so be it. I shall bear such a fate, stoically. Living alone. Writing, writing, writing. Cramming as much truth as I can into pages of work, until you come for me.

Yours always,

Wake Up

I’ve been asleep. (Metaphorically speaking, of course; I don’t take naps.) As I step forward, my unsteady feet betray the length of my slumber. I sway back and forth, re-learning that which I had forgotten.

While asleep, I sometimes go to fantastic places. It takes me a while to remember where I am, and even who I am.

I remember.

And my steps will become even and my breaths will be calm. The conqueror will walk amongst you once more.

Two Items

Item 1: After an atrocious 1-4 start, The Banana Grabbers have come roaring back with two straight victories, jumping from 8th to 6th place. I’m also 3rd place in points for. The stars were perfectly aligned. Ray Rice had a monster game. DeAngelo Williams and Ryan Grant faced crappy opponents for consecutive weeks. I picked up Miles Austin for this week, and Shiancoe last week.

Item 1a: Right call, wrong result. In poker, sometimes you make the right call, but the cards don’t go your way. I benched Vernon Davis, only to have him explode for 3 TDs. Of course, these came after Shaun Hill was benched, and the 49ers went to a spread offense. With the terrible play in the first half, it was the right call. I don’t think anyone could’ve predicted such a drastic change in play-calling… and really, hats off to Alex Smith, I never would’ve expected it.

Item 1a.2: Right call, wrong result. Leon Washington scored me zero points as a flex. He got injured, which you can’t predict. His backup, Shonn Greene, had two TDs. All I want to say is this: Leon Washington is more explosive than Greene.

Item 2: This anything goes after 5PM rule, for internet usage, isn’t working at all. Anything goes from 5PM-7PM, and then again after 10PM.

Internet Limits

I’ve set limits on my general internet usage, which is similar to what I did with e-mail a while back. I actual felt less violence than when I limited e-mail or even when the internet broke on me for a while. Perhaps this was because I managed to distract myself by hanging out with a friend and filming for the greater part of the day.

There is a lot I need to do these days and limiting the amount of time I waste on the internet will certainly help me finish those things.

Currently, here is the plan: I get to check my e-mail once in the morning, but only for job alerts. I get to check facebook at 12:30 or later for posting stuff on my fan page or responding to fans. I then do not get to go on the internet again until 5:00PM. After that, I’m pretty much free to do what I want, but I may restrict that to a few hours of general browsing.

This Friday I’ll review and change the limits as necessary.

Alex Smith

Alex Smith looked good against a Houston defense, which isn’t that great to begin with and wasn’t prepared at all for a spread defense. So I’m not ready to anoint him as the 49ers savior. Still, I hope he succeeds because then the 49ers don’t have to use a high draft pick on a QB.


Brushing up on my JavaScript today. Gotta actually get some stuff done for a website I’m working on.

By the way, I find it depressing that I missed two days right after I noted that I had a streak going. I jinxed it! Oh well, let’s try it again.

DeAngelo Williams

So so so so so glad I didn’t sit DeAngelo Williams, who scored 29 points for me. This, along with Ray Rice’s 30 points, Visanthe Shiancoe’s two TDs, and Green Bay’s shutout has given me a huge lead. I’m up 131 to 80-something. And, I still have Philip Rivers to play. I’m running up the score like the Patriots.

P.S. Eagles lost to the Raiders. Wtf?
P.P.S. Picked up Shiancoe as a free agent last Friday. Definitely my most genius move of the year. Or really, my only genius move of the year.

RB Worries

DeAngelo Williams has been a fantasy bust. I’m highly tempted to bench him, and put in LeSean McCoy, because I really like his matchup against Oakland, and I’m pretty damn desperate for a win. I wish I had watched either of them play so I could get a better idea of what to do. I’m probably not going to bench a stud, even if he is struggling. Look what Roddy White did for me last week! (Didn’t get me enough points to win the game…)

Internet Addiction

I’m nearing the end of my singular effort to meditate every morning. I’m getting close to the end of week 4, and at 30 days, I’ll just arbitrarily declare that I have a new habit. It’s time to start plotting for my next habit-change, and I worry that it may be too ambitious to work, but I’ll test it out anyway. My goal is to conquer my internet addiction, to limit my time on social network sites, blogs, and sports sites. I’m currently developing a plan, which I’ll reveal in due time. I figure chronicling this on my weblog will help keep me accountable.

What I’m Reading, What I’m Watching

I’m reading this: Matthew Berry’s Week 6 pickups. Yeah, it’s fantasy football advice, but if you don’t care about fantasy football, I still strongly suggest you read the intro. It’s about how many times he failed on his way to success, and it’s pretty inspiring.

I’m watching this, which my friend Trevor shared on facebook, on how mass protest in America has been neutered:

What He Said

Wow, Frank Rich is on fire in this column: Two Wrongs Make Another Fiasco. He burns McCain and makes a good case against a troop escalation in Afghanistan. My favorite line:

Afghanistan is not Iraq. It is poorer, even larger and more populous, more fragmented and less historically susceptible to foreign intervention.

Let’s hope that Obama tries to live up to the Nobel Peace Prize through his actions in Afghanistan. Yet given Obama’s history with foreign policy, I am skeptical. It will probably require more than a prize to change his mind; it will require a loud citizenry.


My experience with Adsense was a failure. It can’t read comics, and even if it could, I doubt the ads would be relevant. I just made a special k pun, would you like to buy some cereal? I wasn’t making any revenue, so I decided to give Project Wonderful a shot. So far, so good, I think. I’ll be making a larger number of pennies per day.

I’ve also moved forward on future t-shirt sales. I just ordered one for myself to see how it turns out. If all goes well, I’ll be taking pre-orders within the next few weeks.

Becoming New

It’s amazing when a thought dissolves into nothingness. First, you’re thinking really hard about something, and then… there’s nothing. No thought. The old thought has vanished. This is an impressive ability to have, and meditation will help me cultivate it.

I had once come to the conclusion that a negative thought pattern must be replaced with a positive thought pattern. Admonishing oneself to “Stop it!” rarely achieves its desired result. Focusing on negative behaviors isn’t a good way to get rid of them, so it’s better to compliment oneself on the positives. However, there now appears, to me, another path: Stop thinking.

Yelling “Stop it!” at a runaway train will still get you run over. But imagine standing in front of the train, silently outstretching your hand, and then having the train disappear. Thoughts, after all, are not solid objects. With much practice, this trick would become effortless.

I return to this:

When fighting with enemies, if you get to feeling snarled up and are making no progress, you toss your mood away and think in your heart that you are starting everything anew. As you get the rhythm, you discern how to win. This is “becoming new.”

Anytime you feel tension and friction building up between yourself and others, if you change your mind that very moment, you can prevail by the advantage of radical difference. This is “becoming new.”

Careful practice of meditation will make it much easier to “toss your mood away.”

The Twitter

I joined the twitter today. You can follow chalkboardman. My plan is to just post my random thoughts. If people want to know when updates are up for The Chalkboard Manifesto, then they can join the facebook group, subscribe to my rss feed, or just check the website.


I went home thinking that Brett Favre had broken my heart again. First, he beat the 49ers, and now he was going to crush my fantasy hopes. Instead I log-on to find out that… I tied? Did this really happen?

2-2 looks much better than 1-3. But 1-2-1? What does that even mean? I’m not sure if I should feel depressed or relieved.

Well, I guess it’s better than a loss. Thank you Clay Matthews — a USC product — for that touchdown. Everybody else on my fantasy team, except Rivers, was allergic to the end zone.

UPDATE: This morning ESPN took away two points from me. I’m 1-3. %#$^&!

The Book of 5 Rings

I recently re-read The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi. These passages stuck out for me:

The long sword seems heavy and unwieldy to everyone at first, but everything is like that when you first take it up: a bow is hard to draw, a halberd is hard to swing. In any case, when you become accustomed to each weapon, you become stronger at the bow, and you acquire the ability to wield the long sword.

“Mountain and sea” means that it is bad to do the same thing over and over again. You may have to repeat something once, but it should not be done a third time.

When you try something on an opponent, if it does not work the first time, you will not get any benefit out of rushing to do it again. Change your tactics abruptly, doing something completely different. If that still does not work, then try something else.

Thus the science of martial arts involves the presence of mind to act as the sea when the enemy is like a mountain, and act as a mountain when the enemy is like a sea. This requires careful reflection.

When fighting with enemies, if you get to feeling snarled up and are making no progress, you toss your mood away and think in your heart that you are starting everything anew. As you get the rhythm, you discern how to win. This is “becoming new.”

Anytime you feel tension and friction building up between yourself and others, if you change your mind that very moment, you can prevail by the advantage of radical difference. This is “becoming new.”

Reset the Router

One of the laptops in the household wasn’t connecting to the internet. This was curious because my laptop connected just fine, even when placed in the same location. I had no idea what the issue was. The settings were correct, the password was correct, and I was running out of things to try. After 10 minutes of dicking around with the laptop, I went downstairs and unplugged the router. I put the power cord back in, waited a few minutes for all the lights to go on, and then went back upstairs. The internet was now working fine.

I suppose this story could be interpreted as a parable. During negotiations, maybe when the problem seems intractable, talk with a different person. Or, try fixing the problem from the other end when one is doing any sort of problem-solving. Maybe the way I solved this problem says something profound.

Alternatively, maybe it just means that whenever you have any problem with the internet, try resetting the router.