Posts Tagged rant

The Truth About Self-Help In A Nutshell

“There’s no way you’re going to get a quote from us to use on your book cover”
-Metropolitan Police spokesperson, referring to “Wall and Peace” by Banksy

Introduction

All my life, there have been people I’ve been looking up to for inspiration and guidance.  These types of people can be very rich, talented, intelligent, attractive, motivating, honest, fast, defensive, unique, loud, collected, respected, prepared for anything and most of all, willing to do whatever it takes to remain successful.  There’s always been a moment when I’ve said aloud, “I want to be just like…” and “if ____ can do it, so can I”.  Of all the people I’ve idolized, I know for sure that some people have written their own books, which sell based entirely on their image.

Examples of people I idolize and look up to include (in no particular order):

  • Pharrell Williams
  • Chad Hugo
  • Boris Vallejo
  • Bill Gates
  • Steve Jobs
  • Paul Reiche
  • Fred Ford
  • Alex Ness
  • Chris Nelson
  • Denis Dyack
  • Jay Z
  • Eminem
  • Daft Punk
  • Al Lowe
  • Frank Miller
  • Robert Rodriguez
  • James Cameron
  • Wes Anderson
  • Ryan Gosling
  • Chris Remo
  • Gene Roddenberry
  • George Lucas
  • Todd McFarlane

One thing about this list is most are celebrities, the rest are either filmmakers, CEOs or video game developers.  I am well aware I will never achieve the same success as those people.  The reason why these types of people inspire me, because I feel like the people mentioned above are free to do what they want, create something new, raw and not watered down.  They’re always doing what they feel is valuable and never stepping down simply because some manager disagrees with it.

I’ve seen hundreds of advertisements about getting rich legally, finding my dream job, finding true love, simple exercises to get the perfect body and discovering true happiness.  These are all things that happen under very difficult-to-replicate circumstances; finding ultimate success and true happiness is not something that can be done by following a specific path.  There are books about recipes, car maintenance and learning how to use computer software; these are things that guide the user towards very specific goals.

My First Self-Help Audiobook

I listened to a one-hour audiobook by a motivational speaker who talked about getting promotions and weight loss.  Overall, he seemed to mention random, indirect advice:

  • Whiten your teeth.  People with whiter teeth are more respected.
  • Avoid sugar.
  • Avoid carbonated beverages.
  • Avoid deep-fried and fatty foods.
  • Avoid red meat.
  • Exercise.
  • Start work earlier.
  • Work longer hours.
  • Take shorter lunch breaks and do more work.  There are no laws that prevent this.
  • Don’t listen to music while walking outside.
  • Always call clients and follow up with them.  Form relationships.  Ask if you can do more.
  • Avoid idle chit-chat at work.  Tell that person, “I’m too busy to talk right now.”  Let that person ruin someone else’s life.
  • Let nothing distract you.
  • Take part-time classes and never stop learning.  The more you learn, the more you earn.

At the end of the audiobook, the narrator asked that I go to a website and subscribe (for a fee) to an online success service where I can chat with other users about discovering my success.  While the above may improve someone’s health and work life, it’s described as if it’s a matter of making different choices.  I can’t do the above; not because I’m lazy and ignorant, but because I would feel even more miserable doing this simply because an audiobook told me so.  Any of the above points can be debated.  If I walked up to my friends and repeated this information to them, I don’t think they’d appreciate my “advice”.

You can’t get rich quick!

It is very possible to have a million dollars in my bank account.  I can win the lottery, strike gold, strike oil, discover a giant dinosaur fossil in my backyard or just happen to come up with that overnight million dollar business!  What all these have in common is they are highly unlikely and none of them can be achieved through a guaranteed logical means.

If we can’t reach this level of success, why bother?  Philosophical debates aside, one must work in order to live.  Money is required.  In the end, everything we do goes towards relaxation or paying off some living expense.

If I were to ask any millionaire how they became rich, I would be willing to bet my life they cannot tell me anything that I can replicate in order to gain the same riches.  Bottom line, they made the right connections, got lucky and are rich.  It just happens; an opportunity was present, the person took advantage of it at the right time and was lucky enough to gain an extremely large amount of wealth.

And yes, I know that money can’t buy happiness.

Constantly talking is not communication.

Advice is valuable.  However, it must be the right kind of advice.  I remember when I was getting my driver’s license, I decided to go to driving school.  Before my driving test, we drove on a road with a very slow speed limit of 40 kph (25 mph).  The instructor told me, “You will be driving on a road like this.  Be careful.  Watch the signs and your speed.”  I then drove to another area and parked at a curb.  The driving instructor told me, “Don’t park within 3 meters (10 feet) of fire hydrants”.  These are direct pieces of advice that are related to what I want.  In this case, a driver’s license.  If he started saying things such as “Always have a clear conscience”, “Wear comfortable shoes” and “Expect the unexpected”, I would feel offended.

It’s impossible to give advice to someone to go through life in a way that will apply to everyone.  In the case of the driving instructor, the advice was clear, concise and related directly to the task at hand.

People need advice tailored to their situation and resources, not hundreds of tips that sound like a good idea.

Love is blind. It will take over your mind.

I’m not Doctor Love nor do I give advice about love.  As of this post, I am single, never married.  Without getting too personal, all I can say is love is nothing like the movies and is quite predictable.  It is generally believed that 50% of marriages end in divorce.  Love can bring two people together.  However, one does not need to be in a relationship to be broke; it can just as easily happen to someone who is single.  There are millions of books dedicated to the subject of love.  Love is very complicated and is rarely synonymous with logic; the only thing they have in common are the first two letters.  I always hear about how exciting a relationship starts off; suddenly something happens, the climax ends and the relationship becomes worse and ends.  Everyone has a different idea of what defines “true love”.  Unfortunately, true love is not a stable currency that can be exchanged for goods and services.

Let’s just say that single people generally spend less money than those in a relationship or have kids.

You’re not getting any happier!

My grade 9 science teacher told the class, “Ask anyone out about their life; nobody tell you smiling.”  It was the end of the school year just before exam week.  At lot has changed since then.  If anyone asked me about my life, I wouldn’t discuss it smiling; I’d keep a straight face, get angry and complain endlessly about things that annoyed me.  Sure, there are things I wish I would have done differently, just like everyone else.  All I can do is learn from my mistakes; either avoid repeating them or be prepared so the consequences are not as severe next time.  As we get older, we start to accept that we are a tiny puzzle piece.  I am one of 7 billion people; Earth is just a pale blue dot in the universe.  Personally, I feel I am trying to find interesting things to stay focused on, getting things done rather than finding that philosophical path to true happiness.

Summary

No form of self-help can create a path to a successful life with love, adventure and excitement.  They’re nothing more than collections of advice that sound nice.  There are no logical, safe paths to riches, true love and happiness.  We rarely know what to expect and we can only react to what is happening in the present time and hope we’re prepared for it next time it happens.  The successful people we idolize probably wouldn’t be able to do it again if they were sent back in time to re-live their entire life again.  For these people, they just happened to see an opportunity, made the right decisions and got lucky.  Life is rarely fair.

There has never been a set path to success that everyone can follow and there never will be.  There are no free lunches.

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Token Valentine’s Day Article

Introduction

I was listening to the radio again. I know I mention avoiding it more than once and sometimes I just can’t help it. With February 14 less than two weeks away, the discussion of love and sex is unavoidable. To be honest, it’s always the same stories, whether it’s “chivalry is dead” or “40% of women/men __________”.

Anyways, I heard a rant on the radio about teens and high school. I don’t think the article is worth mentioning because the subject has been discussed so many times. It’s one of those “Too many women are _____” and “Not enough men are ______” or “Boys need to ____”, “What girls really want is ______” types of issues. We’ve all heard them.

High School

To be honest, I don’t think people remember their time in high school. It’s certainly nothing like movies and TV, I’ll give you that; not even close; not even 5%! I remember when I finished elementary school, I wasn’t sure if I still needed a bag because I never saw anyone in Saved by the Bell with backpacks. I took public transportation to and from home.

I was never popular in high school. Sure, bullying was an issue for me and I found ways to avoid it, live with it, deal with it and accept it. I didn’t have many “friends” if I could call them that; more like acquaintances. I didn’t spend a lot of time talking to people outside of school; I was just so busy with homework; I could never find anything in common with anyone. It was too easy to get laughed at if I said something wrong. I had no knowledge of cars whatsoever; if I saw a Prius and a Mazda 3 drive by, I wouldn’t recognize their makes and models unless I read the backs of the cars quick enough.

Star Trek and Other Nerdiness

Yes, I watched Star Trek and I actually liked Enterprise. Unfortunately, I could never talk about it with anyone. People would say something like “Yeah, I watched an episode of Star Trek… when I was FIVE!”. I don’t know why, but when I started high school, my grades were horrible: 50s, 60s and some 70s. I loved winging it. As I reached Grade 11 and 12, I took school more seriously and actually finished Grade 12 with honors; my overall average for Grade 12 was over 80%. Needless to say, I was a very weird person.

Men Will Always Fear Women

Call it what you want (gynophobia, caligynophobia, venustraphobia, horror feminae). Sure, I tried to act like the ladies’ man with great failure. Back then, I had no idea how guys were able to pick up these wonderful girls back in high school. It was magic to me. I can build a PC from scratch and yet I struggled to talk to a single girl and I knew damn well I wasn’t the only one either. When I did talk to a girl, they would brush me off or make an excuse and say they “have to go” or just point out they “have a boyfriend”. Sometimes, they would even forget my name. In this society, girls expect men to make the first move. Bottom line! Someone once told me, “girls can wait forever”, but that’s another story. Making those steps to talk to a girl back in high school was terrifying. I could finish my homework twice before I build up the courage to talk to a girl.

First Girlfriend

My first girlfriend was in high school. We just kept meeting frequently and we had so much in common; she didn’t watch Star Trek, but it was so easy for me to talk to her. We dated for two months and the relationship ended. It just died and I was so busy with personal stuff and it just ended. Nothing dramatic. After high school, we never spoke again or seen each other. It’s awkward to write about and I don’t know if she would even remember me. It took guts to get as far as I did. And that’s just as much as I can write about without getting too personal.

Conclusion

With all the heated Valentine’s discussions about teens and high school, people should take a step back and think about what high school was REALLY like for them before saying anything. Life was hard back then and it is now. The pressure for good grades, being happy and getting sleep can drive anyone insane. Yes, I believe society separates roles for boys and girls. There are many “walks of life” and I think people’s opinions and beliefs should be respected within reason (e.g. burning down someone’s house is still wrong). Some high school discussions I’ve heard have gotten out of hand. Yes, there are a lot of teens out there and they’re not as dangerous and flamboyant as people claim. Their portrayal in TV is completely over-exaggerated. But then again, I’m single, never been married and have no children. :D

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The Corny Factor 4: R-Rated Movies


REALLY? IS THIS REAL? WHY? *inhale* *exhale* *shudder* I… Feel… Sooooo…. Unclean…. I can’t believe I just watched this trailer! I know the economy is on the fritz, but this is just ridiculous. I haven’t written about corniness in a long time and I think it’s about time I start this one. Like Busta Rhymes said in “Look at Me Now”, “Let’s gooooo”!  I’m sorry for posting that.  It really hurts me more than it hurts you.

Introduction

I like watching the show Deadliest Warrior on Spike TV. However, since I live in Canada and Spike is American, half of the commercials get swapped with Canadian ones so Canadians don’t get confused when they see a fast-food chain called Checkers. There is a single, repetitive, silly and obnoxious movie trailer that plays repeatedly during commercial breaks. It’s intentionally designed this way. These type of movies are usually low-budget and appeals to an incredibly audience of 18-year-olds who are willing to spend cash to sit in a theater for a couple of hours to watch random shenanigans. These movies are sometimes referred as “teen movies” because of their young demographic.

Every commercial break as of this post advertises Bucky Larson and it makes me question who Deadliest Warrior’s target audience is. They’re trying really hard to squeeze every laugh at the lowest budget. With shows like “1000 ways to die” with it’s twisted “artistic license” makes me think of how Spike TV is trying to get more viewers. However, that’s another story entirely.

Back in the day

Of course, I remember being a much younger person and I used to watch many R-Rated movies that boasted similar mature content. Some examples include American Pie, The Girl Next Door* and Dorm Daze. Initially, they were branded as romantic comedies and the mature content wasn’t implied until this trend became more popular. I admit it; there was a time when I intentionally scoped out the R-rated movies for the sake of eye candy.

The business model

It’s all about the opening weekend and how much money can be made in that time; it’s Friday, the weekend is about to begin and most people will not be at work or school. They want to get as many people in the movie theaters as possible. In general, R-rated movies require that the audience must be at least 18 years old. Anyone younger must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Sometimes, the theater employees don’t bother to ask for ID. Unfortunately, I happen to be in the category that frequently gets asked for ID, especially for alcohol, but that’s another story. Anyways, they count their profits in the opening weekends in hopes that it surpasses their budget for the movie. This will determine if a sequel should be made for the theater, direct-to-disc or should be scrapped entirely.

After the movie has been in the theater long enough, and profits start lowering to a certain point, the movie is turned into DVD/Blu-Ray/Digital Download and anyone can buy or rent the movie. The movie now has another opportunity to make more profit. Now there are new ads for the same movie to rent or buy the movie.

What kind of “mature” content?

It can vary. For this article, content such as violence, gore and hate speech are not included here. The mature content in the R-rated romantic comedies include swearing, sexual innuendos, nudity, softcore sex scenes and crude humor.  To a younger person, this content feels rebellious and new.  There’s plenty of eye-candy and things to laugh at.

It’s profitable! They don’t care!

I know it sounds crude. With the combination of marketing, budgeting, writing, mixing cliches and pumping ads, it’s profitable. Sometimes they’ll lose more money than they put in. In general, they continue doing this because it makes money. Keeping the budget low saves costs for marketing and if the movies does not do well, the producers will not be crippled.

Conclusion

I remember when Spike TV used to show Star Trek, Oblivious and even new episodes or Ren & Stimpy. Their slogan was “The first network for men” and it seemed like they meant it! I am aware of the direction they are going with their new style and shows. If they’re making more profit this way, then good for them. I’m starting to have mixed feelings towards Deadliest Warrior; I like watching the statistics and how they explain the history and weapons. It seems like they over-simplify the stats and drag things on to make up the time. Do I really want to watch 5 people fight each other? All the really need to do is just show the two people fighting to the death and that’s it! I know they use 5-squad members, but when they’re testing leaders, it’s a waste of time. Spike made many sacrifices to get to where it is now.

The R-rated movies are a trend that probably won’t end anytime soon. It’s a profitable market and I am obviously out of the demographic. Eye candy will always grab attention and it’s just something that people take advantage of to make money. The positive side of this is that people outgrow this and will eventually move on to different genres.

* I’m aware that The Girl Next Door was rated PG-13 in Canada, which raised plenty of controversy because it was still rated R in USA.

More Corn

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Random Absurdity

Recently, I’ve been thinking about what I want in a relationship.  What if I told you if you told me to be “honest, true, straight-to-the-point and not hold back on the answer and I’ll still respect you” about this and I’d tell you?  I’m not saying that I have any controversial to say or anything like that.

Are my intentions really questionable?  My point is, it’s not exactly a secret, is it?  I haven’t seen any statistics about this stuff and I think we could come up with some kind of answer that satisfies both sides.  I guess some would blame the media, but if I’m not alone then it’s okay to believe the things that I believe, right?  I’m not trying to rob a bank or anything like that?

I’ve been thinking about how much time I spend listening to people talk version the other way around.  I don’t mind being quiet or deadpan.  Is there honor in acting a certain way and never being remembered for what I’ve done?  I could do or say something really silly, I get laughed at and people will forget about me if a moment.  I mean, if people remember most of the crazy things I’ve done, I’d have an entirely different impression on people.

How many meetings have I been to where I have nothing to say and the topic usually has nothing to do with me?  I’ll tell you a story about it.  I actually fell asleep in a meeting and I was caught; I sat on my chair with my arms on the armrests.  I sat up as straight as I could and I slowly shut my eyes.  It was an awesome moment.  I was about to fly into Dream Land.  My boss woke me up and people chuckled at me.  The next morning, my boss spoke to me and told me that it’s important for me to stay awake and continue to make a good impression.  He gave me a story about when he was in university, he was a class with hundreds of people and the teacher woke him up and shouted “YOU! WAKE UP!”.  I mentioned that the meeting really had nothing to do with me and it was longer than its scheduled time.  He agreed that meetings are boring and said that he’d keep me out of meetings in the future.  There were some benefits.  For one thing, I had time to do more work and I was more available.

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