The Kazushi

The Candid Imbalance of Dan Walsh

Category: Journal

Satisfaction

daredevil

Surrender the day.

I have this picture of Daredevil as my phone background right now. It’s the cover to a comic book. He looks utterly exhausted, beat up… and satisfied. His mask is off and he’s relaxing in a chair. I imagine he’s listening to Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen and revisiting the hardships and victories of the day. Maybe he had a major victory, like against an arch-villain, or maybe he just stopped a small time mugger. Either way, he looks content. Like he left it all on the table and the effort was worth it.

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Actually Saving Money

The Difference Between Getting Ahead and Not Falling Behind.

I cashed out all my frequent flier miles a few months ago to buy a $700 ticket home to Wisconsin. It was an unexpectedly expensive ticket, and I was proud of myself for having enough points to get it essentially for free (taxes and fees apply). I saved $700 and felt good about myself for doing so.

But something about that $700 nagged at me during the trip. Where did that money go? In my heart I felt like I saved it, but in my head I couldn’t account for the extra $700. It didn’t end up in my savings account, or my investment account. My pockets weren’t lined with crisp new $100 bills! So what gives?

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Developing a Finish Habit

Everyone has little fears and personality traits that hold them back. Even the president. Even the pope. Even Richard Branson. I don’t know what their personal hurdles were, but I know I used to procrastinate a lot. I also used to avoid situations that were uncomfortable – like learning how to swim. These are both great ways to avoid ever accomplishing anything meaningful. I spent a large part of the last two years trying to overcome these habits, and overall I’d say it was time well spent. Time to move onto the next bad habit! But what is it?

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Maximize the City – Part 1

dan-walsh-san-francisco

I read an article this year that caused me to reflect on my choice of living in San Francisco. The basic premise was that the value of living in the suburbs is more space, and the value of living in the city is more opportunity. It’s easier to have multiple cars, a boat, kids, and even a dog when there’s enough space to house them out in the burbs. It’s usually cheaper too. Alternatively, cities are expensive, there is less space, and it’s hard to have stuff. But the opportunity benefits should outweigh the freedom to have more stuff. I agree with this premise, and I strongly prefer to trade in stuff for more opportunity. But only as long as I’m getting my money’s worth. Am I taking enough advantage of the opportunities in San Francisco to justify sacrificing the alternative? Read the rest of this entry »

Professional Meandering

I never thought I would become a marketer.

The first time a teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I’m pretty sure I answered “inventor”. Cartoon inventors always had experiments harmlessly blow up in their faces and that looked like fun to me. Read the rest of this entry »

Self Tracking: My Growing Obsession

I’ve spent the better part of the last two years professionally immersed in tests. These were all with the aim of squeezing out profit, or otherwise optimizing business practices for my employer. I enjoy this kind of work very much, so I guess it was only a matter of time before this type of recording, analyzing, tinkering and testing crept into my personal life. Read the rest of this entry »

How To Drown

Battery Life Preserver by Rich Renomeron

I almost drowned when I was 8.

I was a fearless kid – as far as I can recall. Of course, I had a healthy respect for adults and injury, the two not being related, but I approached cows, dark corners, and impossibly tall trees with the same reckless curiosity. I’m sure I account for more than my fair share of my mother’s grey hairs. I was a fearless kid. Read the rest of this entry »

I Took a Piss Next to Gerard Butler

I took a piss next to Gerard Butler Monday night. It’s been bothering me all week.

I got lucky and scored free tickets to the screening of his new movie Machine Gun Preacher. I was somewhat interested in seeing the film after watching the trailer, but the flyer for the screening said that both Gerard and costar Michelle Monoghan would in attendance. Of course I had to go.     Read the rest of this entry »

Journal: Eliminating Debt & Enjoying Life

I was struck by the club of melancholy twice over the past two weeks. Thankfully I am growing adept at recognizing the cause of such negative emotions, and teasing them apart in search of personal insight. These two instances were no exception, and I feel the lessons learned are worth recording digitally.

Ironically, the first gloom settled on me after watching this fantastic video of Atomic Tom covering Don’t You Want Me.

The second instance occurred after reading a very positive email from a friend I haven’t seen in some month. In it, she told me about her upcoming surfing trip, a road trip she was planning for this summer, that she had begun training for a marathon. These are all great things, and I was very happy for her. Despite the positive overtones of both her email and the music video, I was somewhat depressed. But why?

They both held a mirror to my own recent activities, and I was confronted with the knowledge that I have not accomplished much, nor had THAT kind of rowdy fun in some time. Indeed, I felt as if I had frittered away the last few months of my life. Unacceptable.

I should note that I have not been unhappy by any degree. In fact, the first four months have been some of the happiest in my life, due mostly to an adoring and caring girlfriend, and my still-somewhat-new job which I enjoy very much. I had grown comfortable in my happiness, and everyone should be allowed this from time to time. But happiness has never sparked a revolution.

Much good came from this reflection, and I realized that the chief reason for my minimal accomplishments (apart from comfort in life) was my credit card debt. It weighed on me heavily and informed a great number of my decisions. Many opportunities to have rowdy fun, or new experiences were squashed by my desire to limit frivolous spending so that I might put that money toward my credit card. Despite these efforts and lost opportunities, my credit card continued to hold a substantial balance. This debt also seemed to push my dream of living abroad further into the future. It kept me a slave to the status quo. I’m not often a fan of the status quo.

I also realized that this debt was absorbing my time, as well as my money. I spent many hours working for freelance clients as a way to earn extra cash, thereby expediting the payment of my credit card. This work did little to improve my design skills, nor was I very passionate about any of the projects. I was spending my time furthering others’ goals so that I could financially free myself, yet I was not charging enough to do so.

I promptly vowed to not take on anymore clients. I would no longer put the dreams of others in front of my own. I also surveyed my various financial holdings and learned a very valuable lesson in focus and consolidation: the power of anything, but especially time and money, is magnified when consolidated. (More on this in the future.) Through various financial maneuverings, I was able to pay off almost all of my credit card debt in a single day (almost $7,000).

With a very heavy financial weight lifted, I set about to determine what accomplishments would make me feel good about my progress in life again. The selection criteria was more nuanced than this, but a down and dirty model was to discern what would be fun to brag about to a stranger at a cocktail party.

I came up with three goals that I would pursue above all others. I had made little progress in my judo training, so I decided that I MUST sign up for a tournament – which I did that night. I also resolved that I MUST begin making and exhibiting my art again. Finally, I NEEDED to finish a web project that has been hanging over my head for the past three or four months. These three items would provide me with physical, mental, and creative accomplishments of which I would be THRILLED to brag about to strangers :)

My next three goals will be to publish a book of short stories, get my ass up on stage and try my hand at stand up comedy, and FINALLY learn how to swim.