"The greatness comes not when things always go good for you. But the greatness comes when you’re really tested, when you take some knocks, some disappointments when sadness comes. Because only if you’ve been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain." - Richard Nixon, from his resignation speech, 1974
How to be EVEN MORE interesting in 11 simple steps
I stumbled upon (ironically via @wjarch, and not StumbleUpon) this really great article in Forbes yesterday that outlined 10 “stupid-simple” ways to be interesting. I liked where it was headed, but wanted to expand on Jessica’s pointers a bit. Here are some of my own thoughts on the topic.
Buy a puggle. Name it “Drizzy Drake.” Nothing says “I’m super interesting” quite like acquiring a puppy in the Young Money namesake. Nothing.
Watch Degrassi: The Next Generation. Speaking of Drake, you should probably also start (religiously) watching Degrassi. These kids are BSC (bat-sh*t-cray) and facing common teenage challenges such as finding a prom date, fighting concealed weapons charges, grappling with drug abuse and recovering from bullet-induced paralysis.
Pick a favorite Beatle and construct a thesis paper that explains your selection. For example, my paper would be a 20-page analysis of why George Harrison is the quiet backbone of the group, happily infusing his genius into the music from the shadows of Paul and John. Extra points if you’re able to write more than 100 words on what, if anything, Ringo Starr contributed to society before “Photograph” — which btw, was mostly written by George Harrison.
Place random hashtags in text messages to your parents. It can really be anything - look to the current trending topics list for ideas, i.e. “Miss you too, Mom! #AllWomenAreLiars.”
Call everybody ‘bro’ — regardless of relation or gender. Traditionally a staple of the classic North American Bro (Bromo sapien), referring to people by this term of endearment really never gets old - especially when you’re addressing your grandmother or a Starbucks barista.
Listen to Motown. The music that came out of Detroit in the 60s and 70s is so grossly underrated by my generation that it makes me sick. Do yourself a favor and YouTube some old Temptations footage from back in the day. David Ruffin is incred - a maniac, yes - but incred nonetheless. For those unfamiliar, he’s the one at right with the 3D glasses on.
Get a library card. Use it. Remember the library? Most cities have more than one. And guess what…you can get BOOKS there. FOR READING. FOR FREE.
Purchase KABOOM! Foamtastic bathroom cleaner. This is so crazy - upon deployment, you’ll notice the cleaning agent is a deep royal blue. But wait… after a few seconds (WHEN YOUR TUB IS CLEAN!!) it turns white. Magical.
Send obscene songs to your friends via Spotify. I won’t list all the options here but get creative, people. (Three words: Color. Me. Badd.) This maneuver is especially amusing when sharing music with ex-flames.
Make an iTunes playlist exclusively for tracks 7 minutes and longer. Jam bands aside (vom), most songs over 7 minutes long are epic. “(I Would Do) Anything for Love?” Check. “Jungleland?” Check. “Estanged” (GnR)? Check. “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant?” Holy mother of a check.
When given the option of a classy cocktail, choose Natural Lite. If you live in a big city, chances are you’re being judged on where you work, what you wear, even what you drink. Buck the cocktail trend and order a Natty Lite tallboy.
An extremely deep & ridiculous assessment of Dashboard Confessional's "Vindicated"
Actual comment on SongMeanings.net re: the song “Vindicated” by Dashboard Confessional:
yup. my ex should be singin this to me right about now, cause I had to break up with him over someum [sic] stupid (apparently he stopped liking me, but it was most likely cause we were on spring break, and we couldn’t see each other, or talk to each other much.
it’s rare that song lyrics stand out to me, but this song immediately grabbed my attention. This “person A” was feeling lost and confused, for whatever reason, and is singing about “person B”, who saved them from heading down a dangerous path. I think there is something keeping them from being together - whether it be distance, etc. This had caused Person B to give up hope of ever being happy and just wanted to settle for less (“swallowed in the sea” of fish), but Person A had completely selfless feelings for them and knew that they deserved better. . I’m not sure if I believe in the idea of soulmates, but I think this song pretty accurately describes it. Two people who are meant to be together in the end, no matter what. Fate only takes you so far, the rest is up to you.
I’m dealing with something like this right now, it’s tough and it hurts - but I have faith. complete faith. it seems ridiculously naive but I can’t change the way I feel. I refuse to settle for less. I kind of feel like a tool for writing this, I just felt like letting it out.
1. Do less. This is my productivity mantra, and it’s counterintuitive. I actually don’t believe in productivity, but instead believe in doing the important things. Do less, and you’ll force yourself to choose between what’s just busywork, and what really matters. Life then becomes effortless, as you accomplish big things while being less busy.
2. Having less is lighter. Start asking yourself if you really need everything you have, or if you just have it out of fear. Start to let go of what you have, so it doesn’t own you. And then, as you have less, you feel lighter. It’s wonderful.
3. Let the little things go. People who struggle often fight over little things. We obsess over things that don’t really matter. We create resistance instead of letting things glide off us. Let the little things go, breathe, and move on to the important things.
4. Clean as you go. I haven’t written about this for a long time, but early in the life of Zen Habits I wrote about the habit of cleaning as you go. Instead of letting the cleaning pile up, put things away when you’re done. Wash your bowl. Wipe the counters clean as you pass them. Sweep up dirt when you notice it. By cleaning a little bit at a time, as you make messes, cleaning up becomes a breeze, and it’s never difficult. By the way, this applies to everything in life, not just cleaning.
5. Make small, gradual changes. Most people are too impatient to follow this advice — they want to do everything at once. We have so many changes to make, but we don’t want to wait a year for it all to happen. As a result, we often fail, and then feel crappy about it. Or we don’t start at all, because so many big changes is intimidating and overwhelming. I’ve learned the hard way that small changes are incredibly powerful, and they last longer. Gradual change leads to huge change, but slowly, and in a way that sticks. And it’s effortless.
6. Learn to focus on the things that matter. This is implied in the items above, but it’s so important I have to emphasize it. Swimming (or any physical activity for that matter) is best done when you do only the motions that matter, and eliminate the extraneous motions. Stop thrashing, start becoming more efficient and fluid. You do this by learning what matters, and cutting out the wasted activity.
7. Be compassionate. This makes dealing with others much more effortless. It also makes you feel better about yourself. People like you more, and you improve the lives of others. Make every dealing with another human being one where you practice compassion.
“Ringo Starr quit the Beatles in the middle of the White Album in 1967. He went on holiday to Sardinia, and when he came back the other three Beatles band told him they loved him. And then George Harrison decorated their entire studio with flowers.”—Paraphrased from George Harrison: Living in the Material World
There’s really nothing better than reading through Twitter conversations immediately after a public figure makes an epic fail. I first realized this earlier this summer when the Heat choked in the NBA finals. That said, you can imagine my delight when Tony Romo lost the game for the Cowboys last night [see animated GIF below] and was completely destroyed on Twitter for the entire day that followed.
Some of my favorite tweets, in no particular order:
"How big was the Big Man? Too f---ing big to die."
I’ve been sitting here listening to everyone talk about Clarence and staring at that photo of the two of us right there. It’s a picture of Scooter and The Big Man, people who we were sometimes. As you can see in this particular photo, Clarence is admiring his muscles and I’m pretending to be nonchalant while leaning upon him. I leaned on Clarence a lot; I made a career out of it in some ways.
Those of us who shared Clarence’s life, shared with him his love and his confusion. Though “C” mellowed with age, he was always a wild and unpredictable ride. Today I see his sons Nicky, Chuck, Christopher and Jarod sitting here and I see in them the reflection of a lot of C’s qualities. I see his light, his darkness, his sweetness, his roughness, his gentleness, his anger, his brilliance, his handsomeness, and his goodness. But, as you boys know your pop was a not a day at the beach. “C” lived a life where he did what he wanted to do and he let the chips, human and otherwise, fall where they may. Like a lot of us your pop was capable of great magic and also of making quite an amazing mess. This was just the nature of your daddy and my beautiful friend. Clarence’s unconditional love, which was very real, came with a lot of conditions. Your pop was a major project and always a work in progress. “C” never approached anything linearly, life never proceeded in a straight line. He never went A… B…. C…. D. It was always A… J…. C…. Z… Q… I….! That was the way Clarence lived and made his way through the world. I know that can lead to a lot of confusion and hurt, but your father also carried a lot of love with him, and I know he loved each of you very very dearly.
It took a village to take care of Clarence Clemons. Tina, I’m so glad you’re here. Thank you for taking care of my friend, for loving him. Victoria, you’ve been a loving, kind and caring wife to Clarence and you made a huge difference in his life at a time when the going was not always easy. To all of “C’s” vast support network, names too numerous to mention, you know who you are and we thank you. Your rewards await you at the pearly gates. My pal was a tough act but he brought things into your life that were unique and when he turned on that love light, it illuminated your world. I was lucky enough to stand in that light for almost 40 years, near Clarence’s heart, in the Temple of Soul.
So a little bit of history: from the early days when Clarence and I traveled together, we’d pull up to the evening’s lodgings and within minutes “C” would transform his room into a world of his own. Out came the colored scarves to be draped over the lamps, the scented candles, the incense, the patchouli oil, the herbs, the music, the day would be banished, entertainment would come and go, and Clarence the Shaman would reign and work his magic, night after night. Clarence’s ability to enjoy Clarence was incredible. By 69, he’d had a good run, because he’d already lived about 10 lives, 690 years in the life of an average man. Every night, in every place, the magic came flying out of C’s suitcase. As soon as success allowed, his dressing room would take on the same trappings as his hotel room until a visit there was like a trip to a sovereign nation that had just struck huge oil reserves. “C” always knew how to live. Long before Prince was out of his diapers, an air of raunchy mysticism ruled in the Big Man’s world. I’d wander in from my dressing room, which contained several fine couches and some athletic lockers, and wonder what I was doing wrong! Somewhere along the way all of this was christened the Temple of Soul; and “C” presided smilingly over its secrets, and its pleasures. Being allowed admittance to the Temple’s wonders was a lovely thing.
As a young child my son Sam became enchanted with the Big Man… no surprise. To a child Clarence was a towering fairy tale figure, out of some very exotic storybook. He was a dreadlocked giant, with great hands and a deep mellifluous voice sugared with kindness and regard. And… to Sammy, who was just a little white boy, he was deeply and mysteriously black. In Sammy’s eyes, “C” must have appeared as all of the African continent, shot through with American cool, rolled into one welcoming and loving figure. So… Sammy decided to pass on my work shirts and became fascinated by Clarence’s suits and his royal robes. He declined a seat in dad’s van and opted for “C’s” stretch limousine, sitting by his side on the slow cruise to the show. He decided dinner in front of the hometown locker just wouldn’t do, and he’d saunter up the hall and disappear into the Temple of Soul.
Of course, also enchanted was Sam’s dad, from the first time I saw my pal striding out of the shadows of a half empty bar in Asbury Park, a path opening up before him; here comes my brother, here comes my sax man, my inspiration, my partner, my lifelong friend. Standing next to Clarence was like standing next to the baddest ass on the planet. You were proud, you were strong, you were excited and laughing with what might happen, with what together, you might be able to do. You felt like no matter what the day or the night brought, nothing was going to touch you. Clarence could be fragile but he also emanated power and safety, and in some funny way we became each other’s protectors; I think perhaps I protected “C” from a world where it still wasn’t so easy to be big and black. Racism was ever present and over the years together, we saw it. Clarence’s celebrity and size did not make him immune. I think perhaps “C” protected me from a world where it wasn’t always so easy to be an insecure, weird and skinny white boy either. But, standing together we were badass, on any given night, on our turf, some of the baddest asses on the planet. We were united, we were strong, we were righteous, we were unmovable, we were funny, we were corny as hell and as serious as death itself. And we were coming to your town to shake you and to wake you up. Together, we told an older, richer story about the possibilities of friendship that transcended those I’d written in my songs and in my music. Clarence carried it in his heart. It was a story where the Scooter and the Big Man not only busted the city in half, but we kicked ass and remade the city, shaping it into the kind of place where our friendship would not be such an anomaly. And that… that’s what I’m gonna miss. The chance to renew that vow and double down on that story on a nightly basis, because that is something, that is the thing that we did together… the two of us. Clarence was big, and he made me feel, and think, and love, and dream big. How big was the Big Man? Too fucking big to die. And that’s just the facts. You can put it on his grave stone, you can tattoo it over your heart. Accept it… it’s the New World.
Clarence doesn’t leave the E Street Band when he dies. He leaves when we die.
So, I’ll miss my friend, his sax, the force of nature his sound was, his glory, his foolishness, his accomplishments, his face, his hands, his humor, his skin, his noise, his confusion, his power, his peace. But his love and his story, the story that he gave me, that he whispered in my ear, that he allowed me to tell… and that he gave to you… is gonna carry on. I’m no mystic, but the undertow, the mystery and power of Clarence and my friendship leads me to believe we must have stood together in other, older times, along other rivers, in other cities, in other fields, doing our modest version of god’s work… work that’s still unfinished. So I won’t say goodbye to my brother, I’ll simply say, see you in the next life, further on up the road, where we will once again pick up that work, and get it done.
Big Man, thank you for your kindness, your strength, your dedication, your work, your story. Thanks for the miracle… and for letting a little white boy slip through the side door of the Temple of Soul.
SO LADIES AND GENTLEMAN… ALWAYS LAST, BUT NEVER LEAST. LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE MASTER OF DISASTER, the BIG KAHUNA, the MAN WITH A PHD IN SAXUAL HEALING, the DUKE OF PADUCAH, the KING OF THE WORLD, LOOK OUT OBAMA! THE NEXT BLACK PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES EVEN THOUGH HE’S DEAD… YOU WISH YOU COULD BE LIKE HIM BUT YOU CAN’T! LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE BIGGEST MAN YOU’VE EVER SEEN!… GIVE ME A C-L-A-R-E-N-C-E. WHAT’S THAT SPELL? CLARENCE! WHAT’S THAT SPELL? CLARENCE! WHAT’S THAT SPELL? CLARENCE! … amen.
I’m gonna leave you today with a quote from the Big Man himself, which he shared on the plane ride home from Buffalo, the last show of the last tour. As we celebrated in the front cabin congratulating one another and telling tales of the many epic shows, rocking nights and good times we’d shared, “C” sat quietly, taking it all in, then he raised his glass, smiled and said to all gathered, “This could be the start of something big.”
“They were careless people, Tom and Daisy — they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money of their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.”—The Great Gatsby