Thursday, April 26, 2018

Life: Getting An Early Start Is Great But Don't Get Exhausted Before Work

I previously wrote a post on getting an early start to the day.  And in that time, I've also realized that there are only so much that I can do in that time.  One thing that I do want to emphasize is that you want to manage it in such a way that you don't get exhausted by the time you get to work or school.

Before I get into some of the popular ones that I have come across over the years, there are a couple of things I want to get across.  First, whatever you do, just start doing it.  Get up early.  Yeah, tomorrow.  Start.  That's the key to everything.  In fact, isn't that the key to it all?

Second, why are you doing this?  Getting up in the morning is great.  I mean it but I think it is important to find a purpose for what you're doing.  That can come later.  But what I mean is how getting up early in the morning fits into your overall day.  At some point, just think about it.  It can make your morning more effective.  And going back to the first point:  start.

The most popular morning ritual I see is the meditation.  I'll be honest. I don't know if it is for everyone but I think it is worth a shot.  But let me start this is:  going to bed at a good time and waking up early.

People seem to believe that waking up early is the first step.  It is actually the night before - what time you went to bed.  Everyone have different needs in terms of hours of sleep.  Eight is optimal but I think it varies a hour or two - as in 6-8 hours.  Personally, I like to sleep more but five seems to be all I get, and six some days.

My bed time is around 11 and I wake up around 4 am.  I've gone to sleep earlier around 9:30 when I fall sleep in front of the TV (bad habit, guys) and end up wide awake around 2:30 or 3 am (perhaps we can explore the bad habits of unsuccessful people at a future date - bad habits that I have plenty of).

Now, if you want to go back a bit further, we can discuss diet and what to eat for dinner.  Like all the things mentioned above, it varies from person to person.

Okay, now that you're awake, what now?

Physical Activities - Getting Out of Bed

I like stretching a bit and do some walking around the room or house.  This is usually about 10 minutes but it varies.  Honestly, I change my routine so much that, honestly, waking up early truly the only thing that is routine about my morning.  Oh, and yeah, the temperature kind of matter to me.  So some light body movement to warn up the body helps a lot.


While I do that, I make a cup of coffee.  And weather permitting, I like to step outside and have my coffee and just take in the morning.  I might bring a book or my phone just to catch up on some tweets, articles, or look through my messsages/emails.  Some people do that.  Some don't.  What you don't want to do is to have your phone or tablet close next to your bed so that it becomes easy for you to pick it up and lie in bed reading or playing a quick game.  That can stretch into half an hour or more.

Some people would suggest that leaving the phone behind is important so you don't get distracted.  Perhaps there is some wisdom in that but going through the schedule and mail lets me know how my day is shaping up and what I'm up against.


Some take up writing.  Boy, would I like to do that.  Personally, I do not always have something to jot down.  When I do write, I found myself writing about the morning and what I hope to accomplish that particular day or focus on some worry or issue that I might have.  I do think a lot so perhaps, I can start with that.  A to-do list is what I have read and heard people do as a part of their morning writings.  I do caution this:  do not end up overwhelming yourself (I like to share with you another time what I do in addition to a to-do list).  I have a list and I pick two or three things I want to get done that particular day.  And if it all goes well, I do another.  And I stop there.

One habit I did pick up is that I write throughout the day even when I'm at the office.

Physical Activities - A Morning Workout

I generally like to work out after work as with most people.  But I find that if I can get in a good 20-30 minutes of heart pumping cardio, it really gets me amped up for the day.  Sometimes, no so heart pumping but anything helps.  And after that, a quick shower is like a second awakening to the morning.

I find a lot of people work out in the morning.  Sure, we read about it but to see the number of people out running in the morning or at the gym is impressive.  I'm sure we are a minority but we are who we are.  And I like to get out there.

There are a couple of things that I would like to incorporate into my routine.  Perhaps squeeze in another 15 to 20 minutes of learning.  I have been learning to draw.  Perhaps that is what I can do more of in addition to writing more.

Warning:  Side-Effect

There is one side-effect to my morning routine.  And it's a good one.  A lot of what I do in the morning I realized I did when I get to the office.  And since I've done a lot of it already (like reading the day's headlines and sorted through messages and emails), I can dive right into my work.

I'm energized even when I know I'm about to face a tough or long day - knowing that I've done something already and I'm on my way to checking off a couple more items on my list.

Of course, there are days when I slack off.  I just want to stay in bed.  I feel off for some reason.  I'm human.  And that's perfectly fine.  We are not automatons.  And life sometimes just throws us off.  Just know that there is always another morning tomorrow.

Comic Book Futures Are Always So Bleak: What If It Was?

Spoilers regarding The Flash on WB. You've been warned.

X-Men. Batman. And now, the Flash on WB. In season 3, the Flash goes into the future to find out who Savitar is so he can take that information back to 2017 and use that to defeat the god of speed. Once he got there, he saw just how the dead of his love and wife, Iris West Allen, affected his future self and Team Flash.

If you keep up with the comic books, it always seem like the future is bleak for our hero's and humanity in general. Apocalypse. Dystopia. Earth somehow with less warmth while the environment is totally destroyed by our own foolishness and wars. The protectors were all broken and some still fight but don't really see the point other than to fight because that is all that they have left.

What if the future did not have to turn out this way? I'm still working through the Flash series but what if the future is made more bright somehow by a sacrifice or a tragedy visited upon our hero and the team.

Books with a dystopian future makes stories more compelling and gives the readers something to hope for, that by the end of the book, things will be set right. It is the struggle against the greatest odds anyone can possibly face that readers flock to and hope to see a little bit of the hero in themselves.

What if Barry Allen's loss somehow secured a better future? I think that would made a more compelling story that is more true to what life is like today. People die all the time and, yet, some of us continue to live and remain hopeful through our actions to live and try to do better. Try to be better. And that and other acts help to build a bright future.

If the Barry Allen took the greatest loss in his life and he and his friends doubled down on trying to fight crime and ended up building a better future than if Iris had not died.

Of course, knowing this, it would be interesting to explore whether Barry Allen would allow time to take its course and have it cut short his time with his wife. Save his wife and maybe end up with a bleak future or allow his wife to die but that would mean a better future for humanity? It would be interesting to see a battle inside Team Flash deciding how Team Flash deals with the tragedy and rebuilds itself.

Note: The Flash isn't real and it is a television show. So, in the end, Barry Allen and the audience gets to end up with just about everything they want: Iris lives and a future to look forward to. There is no need for a spoiler warning, right?

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Social Media War: Not Left Versus Right But Idiots Versus Idiots

Source:  The Hill.

Most have not paid much attention to the war of tweets between Kimmy Kimmel and Sean Hannity over their differences in politics and juvenile jabs at one another.  The days-long war between the two media figures really changed nothing.

Today, Kimmel acknowledged the harm this was doing to the country and apologized.  Hannity tweeted that he would respond on Monday.  It'll be interesting to see what the "right" side will say on Fox News.

But Kimmel is right.  The spat between the two offered nothing of value to advance the dialog of the state of the nation and issues currently faced by the average American family.  In the midst of international crises (a new chemical attack in Syria, continued Putin aggression, unclear foreign policy), economic issues (growing depth, possible rapidly rising interest rates, possible trade wars), and an embattled administration mired in daily made-for-TV drama and possible more indictments, the added noise does not help Americans understand what is going at all.

Kimmel is a talented late night talk show host, and like other hosts, are thriving on the Trump administration's policies, its actors, and missteps.  That will continue even after the Kimmel apology. As for Hannity, he has built his brand catering to the Republican base. Anyone who has seen his show is knows he is unlikely change and, thus, issue an apology on Monday.  His audience wants someone to blame, someone to fear, and is unlikely to offer a platform for a debate based on the merits of the Trump policies and their shortcomings (it's the same for the other side as well - MSNBC).

But Kimmel's apology is a good first step.  Instead these distractions that both political parties want the public to focus on, staying away from that and laser in on what both the Democrats and Republicans fear the most, which is what issues they should be solving.  Insults, personal attacks, and simply attack the other side's positions is easier.  This means the politicians would not have to do the right things for the American people.  The brave things for the American people.

It's unlikely that the current political discourse will change overnight.  Perhaps, the best thing is for Americans to turn the table on the politicians and focus on their fears.  And the best way to do that is ignore their attempts to distract the public, whether on cable news or social media, ignore the manufactured fears, and focus on what matters.

Apple Should Prepare to Leave China (There Is Still Time To Execute Such A Plan)

At first glance, you might think that the title of this article is a clickbait considering that China is the second biggest economy in the w...