The weather is finally breaking here. January was warm, but then February and early March were unusually cold, with temps as low as -21 as little as 1 week ago.

Yesterday, however, was 40 and sunny, and today looks to be 40 again. And the upcoming week will have weather in the 50’s.

In the words of Robert De Niro at the end of Midnight Run “looks like I’m walking."

“It happens to everyone"

Crisis management is never part of the acting curriculum. That’s too bad. Rolling with the punches is key to success in this business. It’s not whether you can cry on cue. It’s whether you can cry on cue, in a windstorm, while drinking a fake beer out of a dirty glass.
How do you do that? I’m not really sure. Grab onto the story like it’s the mane of a runaway horse? That helps sometimes. The one thing I do know: It happens to everyone. It’s not just you. Recently, I have tried a mental adjustment that seems to work: Don’t look at calamities as a wall between you and your work. Think of them as little surprises life is giving you to keep it fresh.

                  ~ Stephen Tobolowsky

In his post, Mr. Tobolowsky was talking about acting, but it's a good attitude for living your life.

Part of the problem with the parade thing…in my opinion, is that if you want a parade, go start your own fucking parade, and don’t care who comes. And don’t care who likes it or not. That’s empowerment. Empowerment is not sitting around and waiting for people to use the right word to make you feel like a whole human. It’s going out and living your life the way that you want, and being impenetrable about people that see you as less than you want to be. And there’s no amount of parsing language that’s going to fucking improve that. It can’t be done. Maybe in time everyone will evolve, but the best way for that to evolve is everybody who wants to be in the parade, all walking the same direction and not worrying about who likes it or not.

                  ~ Roderick on the Line, Merlin Mann.

Love this podcast so much.

Hold every hour in your grasp

Hold every hour in your grasp. Lay hold of today's task, and you will not need to depend so much upon tomorrow's. While we are postponing, life speeds by. Nothing is ours, except time. We were entrusted by nature with the ownership of this single thing, so fleeting and slippery that anyone who will can oust us from possession. What fools these mortals be! They allow the cheapest and most useless things, which can easily be replaced, to be charged in the reckoning, after they have acquired them; but they never regard themselves as in debt when they have received some of that precious commodity—time! And yet time is the one loan which even a grateful recipient cannot repay.

                  ~ Seneca, Volume IV, Epistles 1-65 via Letters of Note

This is the beginning of a new day. You have been given this day to use as you will. You can waste it or use it for good. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever; in its place is something you have left behind, let it be something good.

                  ~ Poster at my doctor's office

Draft: a new online text editor and collaboration tool

Just started using the new web text editor/collaboration tool Draft and it is intriguing. I wish it weren't called Draft as 'Drafts' on the iPad and iPhone is my favorite and most used app currently. That pettiness aside, it really feels like Nathan Kontny is on to something. The ability to see the markup by others is far and away superior to google docs.

And he added a bookmarklet that allows you do use Draft anywhere you would write. For instance, this is a blog post to my Squarespace account. I went to my blog, clicked Add Post, then clicked on the bookmarklet. It opened a new tab and I'm actually typing this in Draft.

If you can read this, then it posted to Squarespace successfully!

Habits Update

Shortly after New Year's I wrote a short piece on habits and thought it would be a good time to check-in.

So far, the habit part is going well. I've been doing it in small bits and just started back on the exercise side of things this week.

I started by adding LoseIt to my iPhone. This allows me to keep track of my eating habits. I'm not worrying about finding the exact right food, but I have gotten into the habit of tracking everything I eat, even if it's a quick, small snack like a piece of cheddar cheese on a cracker. The critical thing isn't whether I estimated wrong on a homemade piece of banana bread, but that I am more aware of when I eat. I have cut down on my sweets and late-night eating, as well as cut back further on stopping for fast food when I'm out and about. Now, that's not to say I've lost a ton of weight, I haven't, but I haven't set goals up for that yet. I am really trying to be careful about building these habits up a little at a time and not trying to do everything at once, as my history has shown that it's not sustainable.

In addition, I wrote about Good Habits. For the way my brain works, this has been a wonderful app. I created a handful of easy habits that I've wanted to work on and set them up to tick them off. The first one was flossing. I have always been bad about it, and that's stupid as it is a simple thing that takes two minutes a day. The next one I added was my 'gratitudes'. Following the 'Happiness Advantage' book, every morning I think of three things for which I'm grateful. Then I added meditation. I started by meditating five minutes a day and after about forty-five days, upped it to ten minutes a day.

Recently I added my exercises and writing. In late June / early July, my boys and I are going to Philmont Camp in New Mexico for a 10 day 80 mile hike. That's the motivation I need for my exercise. So I have added push-ups, sit-ups, kettlebells, and treadmill to the habits. I am starting small with all of them and will up the minimums over time. But the idea at first is to build the habit, i.e. build the time into my day to do this. Right now I'm doing 1.5 miles on the treadmill and will be upping it by half mile increments every two weeks.

As an add-on to that my wife and I bought FitBits. We are setting goals for walking and flights of stairs. I really like that the FitBit tracks sleep as well and have been shocked by (a) how little sleep I get and (b) how many times a night I wake up. Going to have to look into that this year too.

The writing component is 500 words and can be anything, even a work product, as long as it is not an email. I use Day One for journaling so may use that, as well as this blog. I may allow myself an 'out' if I find a quote that is especially meaningful. And I'm okay with that.

Ultimately, I've made the decision that phase 1 is building the habit, however small, into my day, build the ticker up in my Good Habits app, and set some goals in my FitBit. Then, over time, maybe over years, I'll build up deeper, more challening goals.


Newsflash. Building habits are good for you.

Well, it's not really news, but it seems like everyone needs to learn this for himself, and in my case, re-learn it. But I just finished reading The Power of Habit and it was the lesson I needed at the right time. Earlier in 2012 I read The Happiness Advantage which is a book about building good habits as well as a new-ish trend in psychology called positive psychology, which is basically about building habits that can turn your attitude around.

Then I listened to Mac Power Users episode on Geek Fitness. I jumped in. The apps in question are Lose It and Good Habits. I've wanted something like Good Habits for a while. Basically it's a streak builder, e.g. if you've exercised for 10 days in a row it will show 10 next to that habit, and if you skip a day it cycles over down to zero, so the pressure is on for you to keep going even when you don't want to.

I'll have more to say on habits over 2013, hopefully good things on them, but for now, like many people at the beginning of a new year, I'm excited about trying to build some better habits in my life.