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“Well”, HR replies as she turns her head back to the TV, “that’s a tough one, Yo.”

“Oh!”, I say as I turn my head to look out the window, “it’s already done. I tell you how litAF Tuesday is going to be?”


“Yeah”, I say as I turn my head back to the TV, “I already knew those things and so I’ve been making deals and turning wheels. I’ll get a response on Monday and then Tuesday will be litAF, right?”

“Look at you, dad!”, HR replies as she turns her head to me.

I recline the chair in the living room;

Thinking to myself, litAF.

My wife calls out from the kitchen, “hey Mr. LitAF, you forget to take out the trash again. Be a dear?”

I sigh… even in our moments of greatest cleverness must we remain grounded in our day-to-day life, right?

0.362584 nanoseconds after setting the trash on the curb, the trashmen come in their trashjet and it’s gone. I think how they have started sending it to a different planet, now–MOKDTI, I think it is called?

It’s Time To Decide What Kind Of Life You Want And Live It


It’s time to decide if you want to be living or settling.

It’s time to figure out what kind of life you want and find a way to live it. It’s time to decide if you want to take actions to live a happy life or stay stuck in a life that doesn’t excite you — a life that doesn’t give you purpose or a reason to wake up in the morning. It’s time to change your life.

It’s time to decide if you want to be loved or you want to stay broken.

It’s time to let go of the relationships that hurt you, the friendships that bring you down and really surround yourself with those who lift you up, those who make you feel loved and those who appreciate you. It’s time to decide if you want to truly be in love or if you just want to be with someone. It’s time to wait for the love that doesn’t keep you waiting, questioning, afraid, sad or broken.

It’s time to decide what kind of message you want to convey to the world.

8 Things That Happen When You Stop Drinking Alcohol


Maybe your nightly glass of vino has turned into two or three. Or you’re overdoing it on the beer and have the paunch to prove it.

Whether you want to clean up your diet or you’re trying to nip a potential issue in the bud, giving up alcohol can be tough—but the benefits make it worth the effort, says Damon Raskin, MD, a Los Angeles–based physician who is board certified in addiction medicine.

“Taking a break from drinking alcohol—even if it’s just for a couple of weeks—is a good idea, especially if you’re regularly consuming more than the recommended daily limit,” Raskin says. (By the way, that limit is generally defined as a drink a day for women and two for men.)

Also, if your drinking seems to be affecting your work or personal relationships—regardless of how much hooch you’re knocking back—it’s time to consider taking it easy, he adds. (Try this 12-day liver detox for total body health!)

Here’s what you can expect to happen, both short- and long-term, if you give up alcohol:

1. You’ll sleep more soundly.

One recent study in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research found drinking before bed increases alpha wave patterns in the brain—a kind of cerebral activity that usually occurs when you’re awake but resting. The result? Disrupted sleep. Another review of 27 studies found that while alcohol may help people fall asleep more quickly and deeply at first, it seriously screws with sleep quality after that initial restful period. You may toss and turn a bit at first, but give up alcohol and the sleep you get will likely leave you feeling more refreshed and sharp the next day. The byproducts of better sleep: improved mood, concentration, and mental performance, Raskin says.

2. You’ll consume less at dinner.

According to a study published in the American Journal of Nutrition, alcohol is one of the biggest drivers of excess food intake. That may be because alcohol heightens our senses, according to a new study published in the journal Obesity. Researchers found some women who’d received an alcohol “infusion” equivalent to about two drinks ate 30% more food than those who’d received a saline solution. Even mild intoxication increased the women’s brain activity in the hypothalamus, making them more sensitive to the smell of food and prompting them to eat more.

3. You may feel new sugar cravings.
Sugar boosts levels of the “reward” chemical dopamine, which fuels feelings of pleasure, Raskin says. Alcohol does the same thing. So it’s very possible that when you give up one substance that causes happy-making chemicals to float around your brain, you’ll be more likely to reach for the other. “Don’t be surprised if you try to get that same enjoyment or rush you used to get after a drink from something sweet,” he says. (Check out these 25 sugar-free ways to beat a craving.)

4. Pounds will start to fall off.
Alcohol has a sneaky way of increasing your daily calorie intake without you realizing it. One margarita may contain 300 calories or more—mostly from sugar. (A delicious piña colada might have 450 calories!) One study found men consume an additional 433 calories on those days they drink a “moderate” amount of alcohol. For women, it’s 300 calories. Cut those from your diet—and don’t replace them with desserts—and you’ll start to lose weight without much effort.

5. Hello, clear complexion.

Within a few days, you’ll notice your skin looking and feeling more hydrated. That’s because alcohol is a diuretic, causing you to urinate more, Raskin says. Alcohol also decreases the body’s production of antidiuretic hormone, which helps the body reabsorb water. (Less water in the body equals parched-looking skin.) Ruddiness in your cheeks and around your nose may also start to fade, and other skin conditions—such as dandruff, eczema, or rosacea—may also improve, Raskin says.

6. You’ll have more money.

I’m not saying to quit drinking, or make any life changes–that’s not the point. The real question that I’m proposing is–Where do you want to be tomorrow?

Perhaps, you expect your life to be different tomorrow–but tomorrow is simply today with a different number and name, Yo.

“Only the educated are free.”


“So where are we going, again?”, HR asks as I rearrange my pack on my back, “you said that something wasn’t done right, here?”

“Yeah”, I reply as I look at the smoke over the water at the bottom of the hill, “I think we were supposed to actually go to that house over there.”

I point with my finger to a small shack partially hidden by a mangrove tree; the sunlight illuminates the broken window on the front and reflects rainbows on the porch; the roof of it is on fire–the wooden shingles blacken as the flames spread over the entire structure.

“What did you just say?”, HR asks as she looks over to me while we continue down the hill on the trail.

“Huh?”, I reply as I look forward, “just making notes for my next book, Yo.”

“Your books suck, dad”, HR replies as she puts in a wad of chewing tobacco, “you know that, right.”

“I don’t write books to read”, I reply as I stumble on a tree root that must have just been exposed after the rain that we had last night, “they are momentoes of the past, right?”

“They are momentoes of shit, if you ask me”, HR replies as she reaches out to catch my arm as I fall.

“Well”, I say as I regain my footing, “people buy them, huh?”

“It’s expensive to light a fire without paper. They make good kindling.”

“Hey!”, I call out to the group, “we’re almost there.”

“Ultimately”, I tell the auditorium as I adjust my glasses in my kitchen, “we were successful. That WAS the right place at the right time, and we took the appropriate, right, action that led to the right outcome–we went back to go forward then progressed ahead.

Continuing, “does that make sense?”

A student raises her hand.

“That literally is the lamest story ever.”

I chuckle; I glance over to my wife in the kitchen.

I hand her the 5 pesos.

“I guess you won the bet–they didn’t believe the story.

“Well”, she replies as she sets the moneda on the table and slides the coin towards me, “why don’t use you use this to call someone who cares.”

She laughs; picks up the moneda; takes a step out of the kitchen.

I turn back to the laptop; another student has raised her hand.

“Is this a true story?”


life through a clear lens: how to stop distorting your thoughts


A photograph is usually looked,

but seldom looked into.

Ansel Adams

Thoughts are like photographs. We take an image, something that is what it is, and we can change it. We can get closer or farther from it. We can see it in black in white or in color. We can choose to zoom in on a specific portion of the picture. The ideas and images we photograph in our minds can be altered with different lenses. They can be distorted and changed not only by the variety of lenses we are looking through but also by the various ways we develop the the film. Thoughts are amazing. They can be wonderful and useful, but they can also be very far from what is reality (but what, really, is reality?).

Yesterday, I came across a list of thinking distortions. This was posted by Travllr in a comment section on Yahoo! Answers, so I’m not entirely sure who to credit the information to. Travllr noted that David Burns, in his book Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy, identified the most prominent types of thinking distortions that cause people to upset themselves. I’m not entirely sure if these are his ideas or if he just referenced them in his book. Either way, I’m grateful that I found them. I think I’m guilty of a lot of them and I bet most people are from time to time.

Like taking a photograph, sometimes it’s very hard to capture the world, and our interactions with others, as they actually are. It is often hard for us, after images and thoughts and ideas travel through our minds, to have them come out looking the same as they did when they went in. We are all burdened with backgrounds and opinions and life experiences and personalities that affect the way we perceive the world. When you take a moment to think about how different we all are, it’s a wonder that we can communicate with each other at all! Take a look at the list of thinking distortions. (Note: I’ve broken them up a little differently than they were in the comments on Yahoo!) Below each distortion I’ve written my ideas about how you can avoid each type of distortion to bring clarity and positivity to your thoughts.

13 Thinking Distortions

1. All or nothing thinking.

Seeing things in black and white; anything short of perfection is seen as failure.

2. Over-generalization.

Seeing a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat.

3. Mental filter.

Dwelling on a single negative detail that colors all reality.

4. Disqualifying the positive.

Rejecting positive experiences to sustain negative beliefs.

5. Jumping to conclusions.

Full text of “richest man in babylon”

George S. Clason


Ahead of you stretches your future like a road leading into the distance. Along that road are ambitions you wish to accomplish . . . desires you wish to gratify


Increase thy ability to earn

“This day do I speak to thee, my students, of one of the most vital remedies for a lean purse. Yet, I will talk not of gold but of yourselves, of the men beneath the robes of many colors who do sit before me. I will talk to you of those things within the minds and lives of men which do work for or against their success.” So did Arkad address his class upon the seventh day.

“Not long ago came to me a young man seeking to borrow. When I questioned him the cause of his necessity, he complained that his earnings were insufficient to pay his expenses. Thereupon I explained to him, this being the case, he was a poor customer for the money lender, as he possessed no surplus earning capacity to repay the loan.

“‘What you need, young man,’ I told him, ‘is to earn more coins. What dost thou to increase thy capacity to earn?’

“All that I can do’ he replied. ‘Six times within two moons have I approached my master to request my pay be increased, but without success. No man can go oftener than that.’

“We may smile at his simplicity, yet he did possess one of the vital requirements to increase his earnings. Within him was a strong desire to earn more, a proper and commendable desire.

“Preceding accomplishment must be desire. Thy desires must be strong and definite. General desires are but weak longings. For a man to wish to be rich is of little purpose. For a man to desire five pieces of gold is a tangible desire which he can press to fulfillment. After he has backed his desire for five pieces of gold with strength of purpose to secure it, next he can find similar ways to obtain ten pieces and then twenty pieces and later a thousand pieces and, behold, he has become wealthy. In learning to secure his one definite small desire, he hath trained himself to secure a larger one. This is the process by which wealth is accumulated: first in small sums, then in larger ones as a man learns and becomes more capable.

“Desires must be simple and definite. They defeat their own purpose should they be too many, too confusing, or beyond a man’s training to accomplish.”

As a man perfecteth himself in his calling even so doth his ability to earn increase. In those days when I was a humble scribe carving upon the clay for a few coppers each day, I observed that other workers did more than I and were paid more. Therefore, did I determine that I would be exceeded by none. Nor did it take long for me to discover the reason for their greater success. More interest in my work, more concentration upon my task, more persistence in my effort, and, behold, few men could carve more tablets in a day than I. With reasonable promptness my increased skill was rewarded, nor was it necessary for me to go six times to my master to request recognition.

“The more of wisdom we know, the more we may earn. That man who seeks to learn more of his craft shall be richly rewarded. If he is an artisan, he may seek to learn the methods and the tools of those most skillful in the same line. If he laboreth at the law or at healing, he may consult and exchange knowledge with others of his calling. If he be a merchant, he may continually seek better goods that can be purchased at lower prices.

“Always do the affairs of man change and improve because keen-minded men seek greater skill that they may better serve those upon whose patronage they depend. Therefore, I urge all men to be in the front rank of progress and not to stand still, lest they be left behind. “Many things come to make a man’s life rich with gainful experiences. Such things as the following, a man must do if he respect himself:

“He must pay his debts with all the promptness within his power, not purchasing that for which he is unable to pay.

“He must take care of his family that they may think and speak well of him.

“He must make a will of record that, in case the Gods call him, proper and honorable division of his property be accomplished.

“He must have compassion upon those who are injured and smitten by misfortune and aid them within reasonable limits. He must do deeds of thoughtfulness to those dear to him.”

The kitten hits the power cord and the computer shuts off again.

I bend over and readjust the cable; the light turns orange on the front of the machine; I hit power and it boots up.

Where was I?, I think.

Right, I recall as I lean back in the recliner in the living room–Escape Fiction.

The cat runs out of the kitchen into the living room; I’m spooked and turn around; a stranger has just entered the living room.

She looks at me.

Speaking, “question:

You’re on an island–what’s the first thing you do?

I glance out the window; I turn my head back to the stranger.

“Why are you in my house? But, ok, I’ll play along–

The first thing you do is climb a palm tree, assuming that there’s a palm tree–and there always is, right? Then you place something bright and reflective on the top of it. Being raised from the ground, and the curvature of the Earth, it will have better visibility for passing ships.

The stranger places her hand on her chin, “that’s interesting. Thank you.”

The stranger turns around and takes a step to leave the living room; moments later, I hear the front door close.

I turn my gaze from the window back to the computer; where was I again?, I think to the laptop and the words appear on the screen, nearly, instantly.

Happiness is a byproduct–interrelated to thoughts, beliefs, actions, right?

When things line up, nearly, perfectly:

“Happiness is a byproduct of function, purpose, and conflict; those who seek happiness for itself seek victory without war.”

William S. Burroughs

Don’t Quit


When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won if he’d stuck it out.
Don’t give up, though the pace seems slow –
You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out –
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are –
It may be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit –
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.

*Editor’s note: this next section is lit.

On The Road


Ed and Galatea decide to stay in New Orleans. Dean, Sal and Marylou say goodbye to everyone; they’re off to California.

It’s becoming clearer what Sal has in common with Dean: the ache to be moving, on the road. After they start west again, Sal mentions a collective euphoria: they are leaving “confusion and nonsense” behind to perform their only “noble function”: move. The road, to Sal, is “pure” and straightforward as nothing else is in his life. This desperate desire to move is the one thing that binds Sal and Dean closer than anyone else in the novel: Even Carlo Marx can’t understand what they’re doing. Junkie Bull Lee, who himself leads an exceedingly odd life, considers Dean a “madman” and advises Sal to get away from him. Sal seems to understand Dean better than anyone else. Even when he admits that nothing Dean says makes sense, Sal believes that he understands what Dean means anyway. Dean seems to also consider Sal some kind of alter ego. They trust each other so much that he even asks Sal to sleep with Marylou.

Yet, even as Sal’s crazy friends look askance at his close association with Dean. Sal considers everyone and everything he has ever known as “One”–part of the same collective experience. There is a collective restlessness, desperation and craziness which leads sometimes to exhilaration. Kerouac constantly uses the words “sad” and “American” in describing Sal and his friends’ experiences, as in: “our sad drama in the American night”–they represent an entire culture, a time. When Sal wants to sit by his much-dreamed of Mississippi River, he can’t because there is a fence blocking his access. There is a pervasive sense of something precious having been lost, a deeper sadness underneath the carousing of their group. Sal mentions, the night that they cross the ferry in New Orleans, that a girl committed suicide off the deck. We don’t see the tragedy, but we know it happened; similarly, Sal often mentions a deep sadness, but avoids looking at the facts that caused it.

Also in this section, we see more evidence of Kerouac’s skill at giving a rounded perspective of Sal and the events.

The Call Of The Wild

Jack London


“He was mastered by the sheer surging of life, the tidal wave of being, the perfect joy of each separate muscle, joint, and sinew in that it was everything that was not death, that it was aglow and rampant, expressing itself in movement, flying exultantly under the stars.”

“So anyways”, HR replies as she puts her spoon into the pile of camotes, “what are you talking about. I don’t even know why you still are talking. You understand we never listen to you, right.”

“I don’t actually know”, I reply as I take a bite of the roll, “I just heard the term in the Earth logs and that’s what I need to do. I think it’s going to be incredible, right?”

“Sure, dear”, my wife replies as she turns her head to look out the window, “you’re going to do great!”

“Ah, thanks!”, I reply as I take my videotelepathy device out of my pocket.

I mumble the words into the digitalsearch bar; an article appears; I hit project and aim it at the far wall in the kitchen.

“Here we go. Let’s see what it says together, ok?”, I say at the dinner table as we turn our heads to read the digitalsite.

What Is Pulp Fiction


Term originated from the magazines of the first half of the 20th century which were printed on cheap “pulp” paper and published fantastic, escapist fiction for the general entertainment of the mass audiences. The pulp fiction era provided a breeding ground for creative talent which would influence all forms of entertainment for decades to come. The hardboiled detective and science fiction genres were created by the freedom that the pulp fiction magazines provided.

Pulp Fiction is a term used to describe a huge amount of creative writing available to the American public in the early nineteen-hundreds. Termed “pulp magazines” because of the low quality paper used between the covers, these publications proliferated in the nineteen-thirties and nineteen-forties to the point where they blanketed newsstands in just about every popular fiction genre of the time.

Although the pages in-between the covers were a dingy cheap quality, the covers were beautifully decorated, many times with lurid portraits of pretty women in various stages of trouble, and the handsome men attempting to rescue them.

By under-paying writers and publishing on in-expensive media, pulp publishers were able to charge 10 cents for an issue containing several stories. Low prices drew in many working-class young adults and teenagers, who could not otherwise afford some of the more pricier magazines of the day.

The low price of the pulp magazine, coupled with the skyrocketing literacy rates, all contributed to the success of the medium. Pulps allowed its readers to experience people, places, and action they normally would not have access to.

Bigger-than-life heroes, pretty girls, exotic places, strange and mysterious villains all stalked the pages of the many issues available to the general public on the magazine stands. And without television widely available, much of the free time of the working literate class was spent pouring through the pages of the pulps.

World War Two brought paper rationing and increased paper prices. Also, some believe that the real horrors of the war replaced the fictional horrors found between the cover of the pulps. The once popular magazines began to lose readership and disappeared from the newsstand, one-by-one, replaced by paperbacks, comic books, television and movies.

Today, the short story has changed into a different breed of creative writing, leaving the stories found in the pulp magazines a unique offering. But, beyond the legacy of entertaining stories, pulp fiction must be given some credit for the evolution of literature and popular fiction heroes of today. Many authors that got their start in the pulp magazines grew to be great writers that changed the landscape of popular fiction. Writers such as Carroll John Daly changed the detective fiction story from the staid whodunits popularized in Great Britain to the more “hard-boiled” version where the bad guy was bad and the detective was tough and street-smart.

Edgar Rice Burroughs was another pulp writer, who helped to define the science fiction story into what it is today.

“So what do you think?”, I ask HR and my wife as I take another bite of the roll.

“Eh”, HR replies as she reaches over for another spoonful of camotes.

“That’s nice”, my wife replies as she grabs the other turkey leg.

“It’s got potential”, the man on the couch replies.

“Oh”, I reply as I turn my head to him, “you’re still here, huh?”



From the day he was born, in Chicago, on September 1, 1875, until he submitted one-half a novel to All-Story Magazine in 1911, Edgar Rice Burroughs™ failed in nearly every enterprise he tried.

He attended half a dozen public and private schools before he finally graduated in 1895 from Michigan Military Academy, an institution Burroughs himself described as “a polite reform school.”

Having failed the entrance examination to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, he enlisted as a private in the Seventh U.S. Cavalry, for he had the notion that he might still obtain a commission as an officer if he distinguished himself in a difficult assignment. Thus, he asked to be sent to the worst post in America–a request the authorities speedily granted.

The post was Fort Grant in the Arizona desert, and his mission, as he put it, was to “chase the Apaches”. “I chased a good many Apaches”, he tells us, “But fortunately for me, I never caught up with any of them.”

Private Burroughs soon had his fill of Fort Grant, and after appealing to his father for help, his discharge was arranged through political friends. In 1900, he married Emma Centennia Hulbert, who dutifully followed him back and forth across America during the next eleven years.

He became a cowboy in Idaho, then a shopkeeper, a railroad policeman, a gold miner, and even an “expert accountant”, although he knew nothing of the profession. Throughout this period he somehow raised money for a number of his own businesses, all of which sank without a trace.

Life was dismal for the newly-married couple. Burroughs became depressed, his wife discouraged. Perhaps to escape from the grim reality of his own life, or perhaps to amuse Emma, he would often sketch darkly humorous cartoons or write fantastic fairy tales of other worlds.

Much later, he was to confirm the fact that he wrote all his stories, particularly those of other worlds, as much for his own entertainment as for that of his readers.

“Well”, my wife replies as she puts her hand on my shoulder, “we have each other.”

HR chimes in, “and me too, Yo.”

I turn my eyes away; I sigh… we got this shit, I think.

“Ok”, I respond as I pull out a packet of #palomitasAF from the cupboard, “so what are we going to do, Yo?”

The man on the couch speaks up, “I have an idea.”

We turn our heads towards him.

“How the fuck did you get in the house?”, I say in shock, “and why don’t you have pants on?”

“Yeah”, the man on the couch replies as he puts his hand into the bag of #papitasAF, “that’s a funny story.”

Continuing, the man on the couch picks up the bottle of #salsaAF and pours more sauce into the bag, “so did you want to hear my idea, then?”

“Um”, I respond as I pull the #palomitasAF out of the microwave, “no.”

My videotelepathy device beeps; a new message has come in; my phone rings, nearly, instantly, next.

The cloaked voice speaks.

“Annette… trying to sign in to your official account to drop off your new assignment…. the password’s not working… is it still–

The Angry Aardvark Attacks Another Alpaca

Is that it, still?”

I look away a moment, to think; no, I think to the caller–replace Alpaca with Antelope.

The voice on the phone responds–

Ok–I’m in. Thanks, Annette.

The phone cuts off.

I sigh… when will this job get more routine?

Let’s just take a moment to appreciate how awesome this video is — I mean: where is he walking to? Why are the guitar and bass players following him around? What’s up with the hanging out behind the keyboard player? Was this a cutting-edge video when it came out? 

The TV turns on; hun, I think as I turn my head towards the kitchen, did you turn on the TV again?

Yeah, she thinks back to me, but we need to talk? I think you need to go back. Something is wrong. Something wasn’t done correctly. Can you come here to the kitchen?

I gulp the air; the panic subsides; I get up from the recliner. I take a step towards the kitchen.

This is what I was afraid of, I think to no one.

Moments later, I would enter the spacejet and go to the lab to return.

13 (Non-Pharmaceutical) Ways to Deal With PTSD


On Oct. 28, 2000 I witnessed the murder of my dear friend Wendy, and the shadow of that trauma has shaped my life ever since.

But that’s not my whole story, nor do I want it to be. (I can almost hear Wendy out in her Great Beyond singing, “Finally, Sezin. Finally.”)

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is like any chronic illness — it needs managing.

So, each day I wake up and decide how I will find moments of peace, and over the years I’ve developed an extensive emotional apothecary, none of which involve pharmaceuticals.

Here are 13 healing “potions” from my kit:

1) Avoid stressful situations whenever possible. If you had nightmares or generally woke up on the wrong side of PTSD then that trip to the DMV can wait. If you can’t avoid stress — you’re at the airport, a meeting, a dissertation defense — have a battery of calming solutions on hand.

I don’t go anywhere without my Homeopathic Calm Drops.

Lavender, sage, peppermint, or any other relaxing oil massaged on the spot between your eyebrows and your pulse points is marvelously calming. Always have a stone, or image, or song, a mantra of any kind that keeps you grounded to the present, focused, and can assist in regulating your heartbeat.

2) Stop watching the news. Instead, subscribe to an email newsletter with major headlines: Every news outlet offers one. Stay up to date on local/global happenings without getting triggered by disturbing moving images or the voices of newly-traumatized people.

3) Distance yourself from negative or toxic individuals. In some cases you might not be able to do this entirely, but you can certainly limit those encounters to when you’re feeling strong and have the support you need to be around them and not feel devastated.

Surround yourself with kind folks who’ll lift you up out of your dark places, not drag you down into new ones.

4) Have at least one person in your life to whom you can reach out, call, or text whenever you need. Sometimes you need that person to take your mind off things, sometimes you need to vent. Sometimes you just need to know that even if you call at 3 a.m. they will answer their phone or door and be there for you.

5) Create in whatever way comes best. For me it’s writing, painting, collage, photography, wacky self-portraiture, tattoos. For others it could be singing, gardening, interpretive dance, ikebana, cooking.

Sublimating pain into beauty has been one of the most useful healing techniques I’ve incorporated into my daily routine.

6) Make alone time for yourself each day. I know this is harder for some than others when work, children, and other obligations take over all waking hours. You still need to do it.

You need to sit, breathe, read a book, watch a show, a movie, write in a journal, make art, dance, cry, have a hot bath, wallow, primal scream, listen to “Let It Go” on repeat. Anything that helps you reconnect with yourself.

PTSD often detaches us from who we were before, and making me time each day can help us remember that the pre-trauma you is not completely lost in post-trauma symptoms.

7) Set boundaries. I don’t watch television shows that take place in prisons because my testimony put two people in prison for murdering Wendy. I don’t care how good Orange is the New Black might be, I’m not going to watch it. And I don’t need to hear stories about people going to gun ranges for fun. For me, guns, gangs, and prisons are not entertainment, and that will never change.

Whatever are your trigger points, don’t be afraid to let others know and stand up for yourself. Your healing is yours alone, and only you determine what will help or hinder your process.

8) And speaking of “triggers,” PTSD has a tendency to bring up older traumas that on their own might not have felt so bad or been manageable, but when combined with a huge trauma become devastating. Depending on the severity, finding an experienced trauma counselor — even if temporarily — can be a huge help towards putting each event in its place and being aware of when they spill over.

A friend once told me I could put my traumas in imaginary boxes — not hermetically sealed, but ornate lattice-worked compartments through which fresh air can pass and yet exist distinctly from each other. Ever since it’s been easier for me to know exactly which wound has been activated and how best to approach it.

9) The Native American ritual of smudging — burning sage — is one of the most powerful methods of clearing bad energy from yourself and from a space. Smudging before bed can also help combat nightmares and night terrors. I always smudge after I’ve been triggered, it gives me a cleaner slate from which to heal.

10) Give yourself permission to have bad days. They happen, and sometimes there’s nothing to do but ride it out, knowing it will pass.

11) Practice gratitude daily. Take a photo of or write down one thing each day for which you are thankful. This alone can change your life for the better.

12) Drink green smoothies.

“Well that’s fine”, Noone replies, “I’m still going to give my point-of-view.”

“Yeah”, I reply as I turn my head to Noone, “and I’m still going to leave this job interview.”

“You won’t get the job”, Noone replies as she looks up from the stack of papers on her digitaldeskAF.

“And”, I reply as I stand up from the digitalsillaAF, “you won’t get the right candidate.”

I slam the door as I leave; my videotelepathy device rings in my pocket.

I look down at it; it’s from my wife.

Hun–I got a notification that your heart rate was up. Is it about the job interview? Call me if it can’t wait until dinner tonight.

I pause as I think of how to respond; I stop walking down the sidewalk–looking left, I see a rose bush that I hadn’t seen before, and then turning my head right, I see an office building that has architecture like I had imagined on my time on Earth.

I, then, take my videotelepathy device out of my pocket and snap a couple quick pics; uploading them into the digital simulator, the images are turned into 4D virtual environments that my cyberfollowers will explore later when I post them on my digitalsocial accounts.

For now, I think, I have done something.

I start thinking the message to my wife:

I’m ok. The job interview went like we planned. You want me to pick up digitaltofu on my way home?

The message response comes back nearly instantly from my wife:

Sure, baby. See you later. 😉

I feel like the world is on repeat; and the true valor–yet, again–revolves around the influence of fear; beyond fear, and discernment–where will you find yourself? Who says it’s a destination? 

Every Seven Years You Change


Most cells in your body are renewed over a period of time.

Does your personality change, too?

14 Road Trip Games Adults Will Actually Enjoy


Before tablets and podcasts, we used games to keep us entertained. For your next road trip, try some of these games to keep you going along the way.

1. If you have some sleepy passengers in the car, you should definitely play “While You Were Sleeping.”

The Game: Create the most believable story when someone falls asleep

The Rules:

• First, a passenger must fall asleep

• After five minutes of slumber, the awake passengers begin creating a story

• Each person takes turns adding to the story

• Once the passenger wakes up, you have to get them to believe the story

• If somebody breaks character, they lose a point

• If somebody goes off script, you ask, “Are you sure?” and then that person is silenced and loses two points

• If you successfully fool the person, each storyteller wins three points

• If the sleeping passenger fools the car and joins their story correctly, they steal their current point total

• The one with the most points at the destination wins 

2. For a good old-fashioned guessing game, play “21 Questions.”

The Game: Guess what a person is thinking in 21 questions

The Rules:

• Someone thinks of something

• Then the car begins by asking questions

• You can’t repeat a question that has been asked

• Whoever guesses it right gets to start the next round 

3. If your car mates are current and hip on events, then you should play “Did You Hear That…?”

The Game: Pop culture and news collide for a fun game of fact or fiction

The Rules:

• You are trying to fool your opponent

• You start by asking, “Did you hear that _______ happened?”

• Your opponent can either say, “That didn’t happen,” or, “Tell me more.”

• If they correctly guess that it didn’t happen, the opponent gets two points

• If they incorrectly guess that it didn’t happen, you steal one point and gain two additional

• If you are asked, “Tell me more,” points double at the end of the statement

4. For a car full of human jukeboxes, play “The Singing Game.”

“So what are you going to do about the job interview?”, my wife asks as I hang up the phone.

“I’m not sure”, I reply as I put the videotelepathy device into my pocket, “they want me. I start next week, I think?”

“Told you that you would get the job”, she says as she leans into me with her arms outstretched to give me a hug.

“Is this what you want, too?”, I ask her as the microwave beeps that the #palomitasAF are done.

I put on my tie; looking in the mirror, I brush my hair back; I recall my moments at the office before leaving Earth; I wink in the mirror; I think to myself–you still got it.

I walk outside to the sidewalk; setting the carefully folded tie into the trash can, I turn and take a step back towards the house.

I think to myself–as if.

0.24698 nano-seconds later, the trashmen come and empty the contents of the trashcan into the trashjet trash compactor; I think how the trash is being sent to Planet FMNUYER.

Well, I think to myself as I see the trashjet move on to the next trashcan on the street.

“I want to be a travel blogger and go to different planets and take pictures on the beach”, HR replies as she reclines her chair, “I’m going to be like super fucking famous, Yo.”

I turn my head to her.

Picking up a handful of #palomitasAF, I turn my head away from her, “yeah, whatever. You think I care?”

“Well”, she replies as she turns her head to me, “do you?”

“I want to see you

Happy & succeeding.

End of story.”

“And”, HR replies as she turns her head away from me, “you don’t think that will happen, or what.”

“I think”, I reply as I swallow the #palomitasAF, “that you will go on your adventure, and that you think it will be beaches that people want to see–people want to go on their adventure, and see how you handle yourself in your life. It’s easy to be happy on a beach–can you be happy when the baby is sick, when your husband is gone for long hours at work. Can you remain the buoy in the lake as the storm passes?”

“What”, HR replies as she turns her head back to me, “the fuck are you talking about, Yo.”

“Life in a vaccuum is pretty–what about in the chaos?

“Dude”, HR replies as she looks out the window, “just give it to me straight. What are you wanting to say.”

“You’ll know when you find it”, I reply as I pick up another handful of #palomitasAF, “I ever tell you how I met my wife?”

“Only a hundred and two times.”

“Oh!”, I reply as I turn my head to the TV, “you really are counting. That wasn’t a joke. Yes, so you know that our mutual friend introduced us, and we had chemistry. The first time I met her, face to face, I simply thought,

Huh–so this is what people think when they meet me.

Later that night, driving home, I had another thought–

I didn’t know people that attractive actually existed.

Randomly, one day, a work collegue mentioned to date your friends.

I thought about it–well, I only really have one friend, and we’re only kinda friends.

I wouldn’t think about the fact that I instantly, nearly, thought about her, in that moment–the way that my mind went straight to that one person.

So, HR, if I tell you to date your friend, who comes to mind?”

“Your stories are #lameAF, dad”, HR replies as she reaches over for the #palomitasAF, “the boy with the blue pants, huh.”

“There you go. You want me to make the next round of #palmoitasAF or are you going to make them again?”

“I got a phone call to make”, HR replies as she pulls her videotelepathy device out of her pocket, “I’m ordering a pizza. I don’t actually like #palmoitasAF. I just pretend to like them to make you happy.”

“I know”, I reply as I turn off the TV, “that’s why I keep a #digitaltorta hidden in the kitchen for when you leave. You didn’t know that, huh?”

How to Write a Story


Here you’ll find a step-by-step guide on how to write a story, including answers to these Frequently Asked Questions:

How can I write vivid descriptions?

How can I invent characters that feel like real people?

How can I create suspense?

How can I can I make readers care about my stories?

You will also find answers to some Infrequently Asked Questions::

What did one successful novelist do instead of murdering her ex-husband?

How is writing a novel too soon like getting married too young?

What’s a really bad strategy for convincing people you’re super-cool?

Do you hear voices in your head? If not, what should you do about it?

How to Write a Story – Table of Contents

1.1- How to Get Started Writing a Story. So you have a story idea… and now you’re facing a blank page. Here’s a step-by-step guide for turning your ideas into stories.

1.2- Types of Fiction – Which One You Should Write. Do you want to be a short story writer, a novelist, a novella-ist? Is novella-ist even a word? Learn about the types of fiction and which one might be right for you.

2- What is Fiction and an Easy Technique for Writing Better Stories. What is fiction, and how is it like dreaming? A discussion of where story ideas come, plus an incredibly simple way to improve your imagination and your writing.

3- How to Write Fiction that Feels Real – The Secrets of Showing Versus Telling. Find out how to write fiction that makes readers feel like they’re inside your stories. Learn essential techniques for developing scenes and creating an intense reader experience.

4.1- Fiction-Writing Tips – Create Characters Your Readers will Care about. Tips for inventing characters and turning them into stories. Learn the number one secret to creating stories and novels that people will care about.

4.2- Questionnaires for Writing Character Profiles . Writing character profiles is an easy way to invent characters and to come up with story ideas. Use these helpful questionnaires to get started.

5- What is Plot – How to Build a Story from Beginning to End. What is plot? It’s what happens in a story, and the order it happens in. Learn the basics of story structure. How to create a narrative conflict and why your fiction will die if you don’t.

5.2- Constructing a Story Conflict. A student e-mailed us asking for help with using conflict in her stories. Here’s the advice we gave her.

6- The Story Climax – How to Make Your Fiction More Exciting. Have you ever read a book you just couldn’t put down? Learn what a story climax is and how to write a story that will keep your readers on the edge of their seats.

7- How to Write Short Stories from Inside Your Character’s Head. What’s the best way to tell your story? All about narrative point of view, plus tips to help you avoid common creative writing mistakes.

7.1- How to Show Your Characters’ Thoughts. Learn how to express your characters’ thoughts and feelings, and use our Character Reaction Questionnaire to get to know your characters better.

7.2- How to Make Your Characters More Interesting. Here are 5 techniques for adding interest to your characters and your stories.

8.1- How to Write Dialogue that Works.

“Well”, I reply as I pick up my soda, “these things tend to work out naturally–see what happens then. The best plans you make are still based on a fictional situation in your head that doesn’t, and never will, exist in reality. Ground yourself in where you are now–and see where are you then when the time comes to make a decision happen. From experience, I’ve found that normally you don’t even have to make a decision–the question never arises. You get me?”

“I’m sorry”, HR replies as she picks up a #servietteAF to wipe down the table, “you know I never pay attention to what you say, right.”

“My actions speak louder anyways”, I muse as I turn my head to look out the window, “so you want to go back to the planet to pick up 2 more people?”

“Sure”, my wife replies as she takes a bite of her toast, “but there’s a quota on people so we need to wait until next year, ok?”

23 Crazy, Weird Signs That Might Mean You’re In Love


You’re not in love, right?

After all, you KNOW the signs that mean you’re in love with him. Whether you’ve been in love before or not, you’d be able to tell whether you were in love.



Unless you’re afraid you might be in love with the wrong person.

Unless you don’t know how he feels about you.

Unless he’s in a relationship or terrified of commitment and loving him would be a waste of time.

Unless you’re sure you’re NOT in love with him…

Unless you do NOT want to be in love right now and love is NOT in the cards for you at this moment and you have NO intention of being in love because you’re just NOT …

When you take the time to think about it, are you SURE?

Even if you’ve never said the “l-word” to him, even if you’re not even together, even if you’ve SWORN you would never fall in love with him… there’s a chance you might have gone and fallen in love anyway.

Love is strange. It’s wild, uncontrollable, and can happen totally by accident when you least expect it. If you read anything on this list and think, “Hmmm, weird…” I hate to break it to you, but you might be in love.

Sign #1: You obsessively check your phone every 10 seconds

And no, I’m not talking about Candy Crush.

Maybe you’re checking to make sure you still have service. Or that your volume is still on. Or that you haven’t missed any calls.

Or that you haven’t missed any texts… from him…

If you’re glancing at your phone all the time, if the sound of your phone going off sends a tingle down your spine and has you lunging for your purse… we might be talking about love.

Sign #2: Everything reminds you of him

Whether you’re walking around, see a Starbucks and wish he was there with you…

Or you’re shopping around at Bed, Bath & Beyond and can’t help but wish he was there choosing random pillows…

No matter what, everywhere you go, you think of him. It’s a strange feeling you can’t help. He just pops into your head at the most random times.

Sign #3: You’ll happily jump through hoops without even thinking about it to spend time with him

If it means being able to spend more time with him, you’ll sacrifice a lot.

You’ll drive an hour out of your way just to see him. Or you’ll change around your entire schedule just so you can find 30 minutes to have coffee with him.

And most importantly – you don’t mind at all. It doesn’t even seem like a pain to reshuffle your whole life to carve out an hour to spend with him. You don’t even think about it – you’re just happy to do it.

Sign #4: You find yourself always talking about him

You can’t help it. Someone says or does something that reminds you of him and before you even realize it you’re talking about him.

It doesn’t matter who you’re talking to. You could be talking to the lady who does your hair, or your mom, or the cashier at the grocery store and he’ll still come up in conversation.

Most importantly, you can’t stop bringing him up around your friends. If they’re tired of hearing about him, that’s a dead giveaway that you’re “guilty” of this sign…

Sign #5: You re-read his text messages

This is an undeniable one.

You keep the entire texting conversation you have with him. When he sends you a text, you often smile and read it a couple times just for good measure.

Feeling down? All you have to do is re-read the conversation you had with him a few days ago to put a smile on your face.

Even if you’re someone that regularly deletes your emails and texts, with this guy, you’re the total opposite. The reason? Because his texts literally brighten your day and make you smile from ear to ear.

Sign #6: 2 minutes with him is worth more than a whole day without him

Ever get a short text from him that sends a jolt of excitement through you and puts a smile on your face for the rest of the day? Does your heart skip a beat if he calls you just to say hi or to talk about anything for a couple minutes?

Any tiny interaction, even if he isn’t saying something romantic, makes your whole day. And it can leave you smiling inside for hours after.

Sign #7: It never feels like you’re wasting time with him

What’d you do yesterday?

Ugh, nothing. Just hung out on the couch watched Netflix and ate pizza. I totally wasted my day.

Now, change one thing about that scenario:

What’d you do yesterday?

It was GREAT! I hung out with ____, watched Netflix on the couch and ate pizza. What a great day.

Yup. Time “wasted” with him doesn’t feel wasted at all.

Sign #8: You’re endlessly curious about him

You literally can’t help but be interested in every little detail about him.

It’s crazy, but everything from his random stamp collection to his boy scout medals as a little kid to his stories about his crazy first job make you smile inside.

When he tells you stories about his life and how he is as a person, you find yourself hooked on every word he says.

Sign #9: Your appetite shrinks

You know the feeling of getting butterflies in your stomach when you think about a guy?

Wait, before you get mad at me, I’m not saying YOU get butterflies when you think about him. I’m just asking you if you know the feeling.

Butterflies are a super common and easy way to tell if you’re in love – in other words, it doesn’t belong on this list.

But just because you don’t CALL them butterflies doesn’t mean you’re not feeling them. If you’ve been feeling a lot less hungry lately and you don’t know why, it might be because you’re in love… and the “not butterflies” in your stomach are going crazy.

Sign #10: You lose track of time and no amount of time spent with him is ever enough

You could spend hours and hours talking on the phone to him or cuddling up together watching movies all day, but it wouldn’t matter. At the end of the day, it still only feels like you spent brief moments with him.

Even if you spent all weekend together, you’d still have trouble saying goodbye. It always feels like “it’s never enough.”

Sign #11: He drives you crazy, but you still can’t help but love being around him

Sometimes, he says things that just drive you CRAZY. Every time he does something dumb it makes you want to grab his head and shake it until all the dumb falls out.

He pushes your buttons in ways that no one else ever could, and it makes you want to scream in frustration. How could he spark something this intense in you?

The answer to that question lies in this piece of wisdom: The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference.

Sign #12: You have more energy

As you go through your day, you feel more alive and energetic, as if you have a constant adrenaline rush going through you.

You feel more productive, like you can take on the world every single day. And you’re not on drugs. Well, you’re probably not on drugs. You’re not on drugs, right?

This weird, natural energy boost that lifts your mood and gets you excited through the day… where did it come from? It’s a crazy experience, it actually feels like you’re high on life.

Could it have come from… him?

Sign #13: You get defensive when your BFF is negative about him

So you know how your BFF’s job is basically to rag on the guy you like, right? Well, maybe normally it wouldn’t bug you and might even be comforting to hear, but in this case, it’s the complete opposite.

You have an instinctual need to protect him if she dares say anything even remotely rude about him. Even if she’s not saying something that bad, her not being super appreciative of his amazing nature is enough to spark a bit of fury in you.

Sign #14: You have fun talking with him no matter what you’re talking about

It doesn’t matter what the topic is, you’re just delighted to be having a conversation with him about anything.

Even the most random, uneventful stuff (like the weather or the news) becomes exciting, engaging and fun. You can even talk about stuff you don’t care about at ALL (like his fantasy football league that you’re not even in) and it still feels like you’re having the most interesting conversation in the world.

(Seriously, dudes, unless we’re in love with you, or IN it, we don’t care about your fantasy football league.)

Sign #15: You totally stop thinking about your ex

So you might have had an obsession with your ex-boyfriend who broke your heart and cheated on you with his ex-girlfriend (or whatever he did).

You might have missed him or completely hated his guts with a burning passion that could light a thousand suns. You might have gone weeks where every morning you wake up and your first thought is wondering whether you could fit him inside a blender.

And now? You actually pretty much don’t care anymore. You don’t fixate on your anger for the guy who screwed you over. You almost feel a sense of indifference.

It’s a crazy experience. You never thought you’d see the day where he’s truly gone from your thoughts, but now he is… because someone else has taken over your thoughts.

Sign #16: You do boring stuff with him just to have the chance to spend more time with him

Does he have to go to the super market because he’s out of eggs?

Your Self-Esteem Determines Your Life


Perhaps the most important part of the psychology of time management, and the role that your self-concept has in determining your performance and behavior, is the impact of your self-esteem in determining everything that happens to you.

Most psychologists agree that self-esteem is the critical determinant of a healthy personality. The best definition of self-esteem is, “how much you like yourself.” When you like and respect yourself, you always perform and behave better than if you did not.

The more you like yourself, the more confidence you have. The more you like yourself, the more efficient and effective you are in each area of your life. Self-esteem is the key to peak performance.

Your self-esteem is so important to your emotional health that almost everything you do is aimed at either increasing your feelings of self-esteem and personal value, or protecting it from being diminished by other people or circumstances. Self-esteem, the feeling of liking and respecting yourself, is the foundation principle of success and happiness. It is vital for you to feel fully alive.

The Key to Peak Performance

The flip side of self-esteem is called “self-efficacy.” This is defined as how effective you feel you are at doing or accomplishing a task or job. When you feel that you are really good at something, you experience positive feelings of self-efficacy.

One of the greatest discoveries in psychology was the discovery of the connection between self-esteem and self-efficacy. Now we know that the more you like yourself, the better you do at almost anything you attempt. And the better you do at something, the more you like yourself.

Each feeds on and reinforces the other. This finding is what makes time management so important for every part of your life. The better you use your time, the more you get done and the higher is your sense of self-efficacy. As a result, you like yourself more, do even higher quality work, and get even more done. Your whole life improves.

Three Self-Esteem Builders

There are three additional factors that affect your self-esteem that have to do with time management.

1. Determine Your Values

Living your life consistent with your deepest values is essential for you to enjoy high self-esteem. People who are clear about what they believe in and value, and who refuse to compromise their values like and respect themselves far more than people who are unclear about what is really important to them.

This immediately brings up the question, “How much do you value your life?” People who truly value their lives are people who highly value themselves. People who value themselves highly use their time well. They know that their time is their life.

The “Law of Reversibility,” says that feelings and actions interact on each other. If you feel a certain way, you will act in a manner consistent you’re your feeling. However, the reverse is also true.

If you act in a certain way, your actions will create within you the feelings that are consistent with them. This means that when you act as if your time was extremely valuable, the action causes you to feel like a more valuable and important person. By managing your time well, you actually increase your self-esteem, and by extension, you become better at whatever you are doing.

The very act of living your life consistent with your values, and using your time effectively and well, improves your self-image, builds your self-esteem and self-confidence, and increases your self-respect.

2. Strive for Mastery

The second factor that affects your self-esteem is your sense of being in control of your life and work, your feeling of mastery in whatever you do.

Everything that you learn about time management, and then apply in your work, causes you to feel more in control of yourself and your life. As a result, you feel more effective and efficient. You feel more productive and powerful. Every increase in your feeling of effectiveness and productivity increases your self-esteem and improves your sense of personal well-being.

3. Know What You Want

The third factor that directly affects your self-esteem is your current goals and objectives, and the activities that you take to achieve those goals.

I turn off the slideprojector in the auditorium.

“Any questions?”

A person raises their hand.

I point at them.

They start speaking, “why are you such a loser?”

I pause; take a breath; look down at the ground; look up;

I laugh.

The class laughs.

“Well”, I say through the microphone in the kitchen to the auditorium, “if there’s no more questions, then you’re dismissed.”

The students get up; slowly start walking out of the auditorium; after the last student leaves the space, I turn off the lights and close the lid of my laptop in the kitchen.

The refrigerator turns on, “you hungry, big boy?”

The door of the refrigerator opens.

“Honey!”, I call out to my wife in the living room, “this really is not funny any more.”

She replies, “I’m not sure what you’re talking about.”

I hear the volume on the TV increase in the living room.

I sigh… I take a step towards the refrigerator.


so what’s there left to do?