Expiration Dates

I mentioned last week that I told my boss about my upcoming bike ride and how that would be the end of my employment here. I thought things would get smoother but to be honest, it hasn’t. Like most things, it reminds me of a girl. In college I dated a girl pretty seriously my senior year. Let’s call her Miley (because I’m listening to Wrecking Ball right now). With the exception of my current partner Miley is really the only woman I can still look back and say we could have had a long-term thing, but it didn’t happen that way. I got a job in DC and she was continuing her graduate studies in Charleston, and neither one of us could really do the long-distance thing. After we realized our relationship had an expiration date things got rocky… we tried to make it work and tried to focus on the present but that didn’t work. We had an expiration date.

The same is with my current job. I wonder if it wouldn’t just be better to rip off the bandage or if I should try to hang in there for another couple months. Neither my boss nor I are really “wrong”, but knowing that this won’t last has made small problems seem much bigger and my misery at work is increasing. So here I sit, with only written words to help me clear my thoughts. This is probably going to be mostly for me to vent, but maybe there is a boss or something that will stumble upon this and something good will come of it. Here are the reasons why I am unhappy at my job and why I’m not sure if I can make it another couple months.

The Old Way of Doing Things: Maybe this is a generational issue (am I a millenial?) or maybe this is just me personally, but I hate the office environment. My job requires me to wake up at 7am, commute to work, sit at a computer from 9 til 5, and then commute home. When you factor in commuting my “work day” is 12 hours. And why? Why the hell should I put on dress clothes and commute to work on a computer that has half the power of my laptop? Well, it is because that is how things have been set up. The office is dying, I know this but my boss doesn’t. I waste moments of my life to warm a seat. I am not judged on the quality or quantity of my work but am constantly critiqued on my time in the office and my attire, two things that should be irrelevant if I am doing my job.

Money Only Motivates So Much: When I can live off of 30ish hours a week at about minimum wage and still save for my retirement there isn’t a lot of monetary motivation. I don’t care about things, I care about my time and experiences. No raise is going to convince me to stop spending time with my partner or miss a weekend bike ride or not go to a rave. I just don’t care about money. If my boss wanted to motivate me he would give me days off or let me go home when my work is done… instead I sit in an office because someone needs to be here to answer our landline phones, because apparently landlines still exist.

I’m Never Off Work: This is a big one for me. I am salary which apparently means “haha, sucks if you had plans on Sunday we have an asshole client who needs something done ASAP”. When I spend 3 hours commuting each day I really need my evenings and weekends to myself. This wasn’t something that was mentioned during the hiring process and I wish it would have been, I may not have taken the job.

Industry People Suck: I work with a lot of people in “the industry”… basically movie and television assclowns who have egos similar to people in Washington DC. I don’t deal with most people in general very well, much less pretentious dicks. It stresses me out to deal with them, particularly when I don’t feel like I have any type of back up from the rest of the office. When someone is incredibly disrespectful, angry, or unreasonable there is this idea that I should just shrug it off because that is how the industry is. I guess I might be able to shrug it off if I was somehow compensated for dealing with these people but even if we charge assholes more than nice people I don’t see a dime of that… I still have to deal with the assholes.

As I look back at things now I am glad I took the job but wish I would have asked more questions and discussed things before accepting the job. This was my first time working in corporate America so I learned a lot of things, a necessary if sometimes painful lesson. So now I must decide what to do about it. I can quit soon and find something part-timeish to get me through until April, or I can stick with it and hope I don’t lose my mind in the process. There really are only two reasons to stay in my mind: I don’t want to abandon my office spouse (she would be dealing with a lot of bullshit if I left) and I don’t want to hurt the reputation of the guy who recommended me for the job. I don’t know… writing things out some helped but I’m not sure what to do still. It seems really likely something stupid will just set me off and I’ll quit with no notice.

I Cannot Live Without Books…

I’m pretty sure the title for this post was a Thomas Jefferson quote. To be honest, I mostly remember it from playing Civilization and that quote would come on when you build a library or something… man that game was great. Anyway, I just got a Kindle and it has kind of revolutionized my life. I read a fair amount due to my 90ish minute commute each way on public transportation. I also see some weird value in learning what other people like to read. So, I decided to ask 18 of my Facebook “friends” what their favorite book is and what book they think everyone should read. These friends run a wide range from people I’ve known for decades to mostly Facebook “friends” but they are all people who I respect and would love to know more about… basically they are 18 people that I’d love to have in my life forever in some way or another. Ideally we would all live in a big communal house together in Colorado, grow weed, and sell high-end edibles while raising a bunch of cool dogs and maybe a human child or three. Most of them kept to just two books but some of my friends can’t be limited in such a way… another sign they are fucking rad.

To me, reading someone’s favorite book gives you a glimpse into their soul. The list of books below are what my friends answers were and I hope to read my way through them in the next year or so. Oh, and I also put down Stephen King’s and Jay-Z’s favorite two books because they are awesome. (Unrelated: I can’f find my Kindle… I swear it was in my office yesterday. Argh.) In no particular order (and missing a few because some of my friends apparently work doing the day)…

  • The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley
  • Conte of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  • The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley
  • Bossypants by Tina Fey
  • The Ethical Slut by Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy (read previously)
  • The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor (currently reading actually)
  • Nurtureshock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman
  • Why Do Beautiful People Have More Daughters by Alan Miller and Satoshi Kanazawa
  • Girls Guide to Taking Over the World by Karen Green
  • Naked by David Sedaris
  • The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • Crucial Conversation: Tools for Talking When the Stakes are High by Kerry Patterson
  • Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success by Adam Grant
  • The Great Divorce by CS Lewis
  • The Armchair Economist by Steven Landsburg (read previously)
  • Nature of Order by Christopher Alexander
  • Book of the Dun Cow by Walter Wangerin
  • Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenburg and Arun Gandhi
  • Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz
  • Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  • A Happy Death by Albert Camus
  • Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin (read previously)
  • The Good Life by Hackatt Publishing
  • The Golden Argosy edited by Van H. Cartmell and Charles Grayson
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  • The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
  • The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav
  • The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield
  • Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
  • Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Wolfe
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • The Art of Happiness by Dalai Lama
  • Me Talk Pretty One Day by Sedaris
  • On The Road by Jack Kerouac
  • The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walsh
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  • House of Leaves by Mark Daielewski
  • A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
  • Look Me in the Eye by John Elder Robison
  • Extras by Scott Westerfield
  • Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton (previously read)
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S Thompson (previously read)
  • Steering By Starlight by Martha Beck

Sexy Books

Unfortunately I probably won’t have a lot of time to blog this week. My boss is out of town, our accountant just pushed another baby out, and my office spouse had some surgery that involves her holding an ice pack to her groin for the next few days. Basically, I am the low man in the office but somehow I am in charge of this shit. There is a 50% chance I will accidentally burn the building to the ground… so yeah, I won’t have a lot of blog time.

So, instead of my regular ramblings I thought I would just list some awesome books about sex that my lovely follower might be interested in. As you probably know the subject of sex (and the taboo surrounding it) fascinates me, particularly with the increase of open relationships and polyamory that technology has allowed. I don’t really have an abnormal sex drive or anything, I just find the subject fascinating and enjoy studying it. And without further ado… here are my favorite sexy books (with my simplistic summaries):

Sex At Dawn: Definitely the most sciency of the books. The authors work against the parental investment theory that encourages human pair-bonding and monogamy. They use research into bonobos (our evolutionary cousins) and remaining hunter/gatherer tribes to argue humans are much more polyamorous than we are raised to believe. There is societal pressure for monogamy that is based more on those in power trying to control sex, but this monogamous pull may not be “natural”.

The Ethical Slut: This is the least sciency book in the series and still one I recommend EVERYONE read (seriously, I will buy you a copy and ship it to you… fucking read it). It discusses what sexually open people are and some advice for dealing with the struggles polyamorous and open relationships can bring. The authors are often funny, sometimes crass, but always entertaining. Read. This. Book.

What Do Women Want? This book is a middle ground between objective science and subjective stories. It is probably my favorite out of all the books due to it’s accessibility and tone. The author argues that the traditional story of women wanting a “one and only” lifelong mate does not hold up to scientific inquiry and it is dangerous to tell women there is something wrong with them if they desire sexual variety. The author discusses multiple studies on humans and our mammalian relatives, as well as interviews researchers and women who have cheated, desired to cheat, seek open relationships, and practice polyamory.

American Savage: This is kind of a sex book… it is a collection of essays by sex and relationship advice columnist Dan Savage. Just like his podcast it is funny but honest and there are no taboo subjects. This work is particularly personal for Savage and he discusses his marriage, raising a straight child, growing up in a Catholic home, etc. If you don’t listen to his podcast or read his column you should do that right now.

Bonus – The Lifestyle: A Look at the Erotic Rites of Swingers: I’m still reading this so I won’t recommend it strongly yet but so far I enjoy it. It is fascinating to me how common some form of extra-spousal relations happen in the middle class and how varied there are. Very few practitioners of “the lifestyle” participate in orgys, instead most of them just enjoy being in an erotic situation where some sort of voyeurism and exhibitionism is the norm. Some will have multiple sex partners but the lifestyle is more about being open, honest, and participating in something that helps prevent confusion, harm, and secrecy. So far I really like it. This is very similar to my personal experience in the Orgy Dome at Burning Man and intimate experiences with friends… it isn’t about sex, it is about deep honest connections where there is no taboo conversation.

How the hell are you happy?

Twice in the last two days I’ve been asked how it is that I’m so happy. My response was a little bit simplistic but basically true for me, I said that I’m happy because I “moved out of DC, use ecstasy, ignore the state, and get laid”. I’m not recommending those steps for anyone else to be happy but the basic concept has worked well for me.

Moved out of DC: When I lived in Washington DC I was unhappy. I didn’t like the city at all. I had some good friends there but the weather, culture, and environment was awful. Washington DC is a city where dreams go to die and good intentions get infected with an incurable strain of syphilis that spreads throughout a community causing insanity and eventually death. It is a place whose culture is filled with power-hungry, narcissistic, future asshats who care only about what you can do for them. Also, the humidity and heat during the summer makes the crowded, sweaty, stinky metro rides feel more like a form of torture than a modern form of transportation. Basically, my happiness is do in part to taking steps to get out of an environment I hate and move to a place where I feel more comfortable.

Use ecstasy: While I am very open about my use of MDMA as a medicine, a relationship aid, and just for fun that is not really what this is about. Part of my happiness comes from having hobbies and interests that take my mind of the negative shit in the world. Riding my bicycle along the beach, reading books, going to raves, writing, and just diving into “Firefly” on Netflix are all ways to escape for a while, which we all need. Mental escape is necessary and healthy to remain sane in a world that the media, religion, and the government says are going to hell.

Ignore the state: Yes, the government sucks. It is a tyrannical leech that pretends to be for the “will of the people” but is really for “the profit of those in power and their friends”. The federal government continues to oppress minorities through the War on Drugs, bomb the shit out of people just because they live in another country, and spy on all citizens because we are all potential terrorists in their eyes. Governments have always done that… it is what they do, their existence is based on the use of violence against innocent people and they don’t know how to do anything else. In addition, there really isn’t a lot any of us can do about it as individuals. You can certainly protest when needed, donate to non-profits, share stories, and raise hell but I believe the best thing we can all do is mostly ignore the state and try to be happy. If there is a victimless crime that you disagree with and infringing on your rights, just fucking ignore it smartly. And remember, we live in an amazing time. We have the most powerful companies working to cure death. We have satellites, telescopes, and space probes finding out new crazy awesome things about our galaxy daily. New research is finding cures for a number of diseases. It is seriously the best time to be alive but you wouldn’t know that if you only pay attention to government.

Get laid: Sex is awesome and I’m happy when I get some (I wish this piercing would heal already so that I could get some more often…), but this is really about relationships and community. Find people who are happy and be around them. I have a community of Burners here who share the Burning Man principles and take care of each other. Communities can be based around religion, sports, hobbies, exercise, etc. but they are necessary in my mind to be happy. I wouldn’t base it around politics much anymore, though I met some fucking awesome people through the libertarian movement, but to each their own. And I find it valuable to do things with a community that moves beyond how you originally met. Do you do yoga and enjoy the people there? Then invite them to go camping and share your love of the outdoors. People working together, loving together, and sharing experiences is a source of great happiness for me. In fact, now that I think about it, this may be the most important step.

So, as we drift into another beautiful weekend I hope you all have a happy time. I know I plan on filling my few days off of work with the beauty of southern California, ecstasy, anarchy, and banging.

So You Wanna Go On A Bike Ride…

So, our upcoming bike ride has garnered some interest from friends and strangers. One common question we get asked is “can people join you for a day or nine?”. The answer is a resounding MOTHERFUCKING YES!!!!!!!!!!!! We love our friends, even those that we haven’t met yet and adventures shared are better than adventures alone. I think there is a ton of value in riding with your friends and exploring the world. There are some things potential travelers should know though…

1. We are burners and that means we will take the 10 Principles of Burning Man as guidelines for this adventure. While all 10 will be important I think Gifting, Communal Effort, Immediacy, and Leaving No Trace will be common themes throughout. It would be lovely if our friends who join us are at least familiar with them.

2. We are a dating couple who plan on having sex in every state and skinny dipping in many places. You should be at least comfortable with nudity and tolerate the sounds of us rubbing against each other. To be blunt, I can be a bit loud, particularly when I know I have an audience.

3. We don’t have a set plan and things can change quickly depending on how our minds and body feel or terrain and weather. Also, we will definitely discuss routes with all parties involved but in the end we will follow the path we choose, even if other people don’t like it. Of course we would never leave anyone behind though and when things break or people need to rest we will do that.

4. Be prepared to take care of yourself. As it is put in the pickle back video, we will work together but everyone should have what they need to survive alone. That means having a bike, food, water, and shelter at the minimum.

5. This is going to be fun. There will be hard work and we will all get less fat but it is about the experience and enjoying everything nature and society has to offer. We aren’t setting any land speed bicycle records, rather our plan is 50-60 miles per day on average with many breaks

So, if you are interested let me know sometime… it can be today or 6 hours before we arrive in your general area. We aren’t comfortable anyone riding with us for the entirety at this point but if you want to spend a week or two with us that would be really glorious. Much peace and love to you all.

Hiring Hippies Is Dangerous

** First off, welcome to my blog all the new followers. My post yesterday had my highest view count and brought in many new followers (most of whom even seem like real people). This is probably due to two titans of social media (Jennifer and Cathy) sharing my post on Facebook… by the way, if we aren’t Facebook friends we should be. I use FB as a way to aggregate news, thoughts, cool stuff… it is pretty awesome in my opinion. I also accept all friend requests (though slut-shaming, misogyny, racism, and general assholery will get you unfriended). You can follow me also but that still seems a little weird to me, no judgement though. So, my blog is mostly my personal thoughts and journey, particularly on issues close to my heart like libertarianism, sex-positivity, body-positivity, Burning Man, Ke$ha, the drug war, my upcoming cross country bicycle adventure, polyamory, and human enhancement. I do this writing for myself but if you get something out of it that would be fucking amazing to me 🙂  **

Well, I finally talked to my boss about my upcoming bike ride and how that would effect my job. I basically informed him that there is an end date for my employment. He was surprisingly understanding and supportive of teaching me as much as he can before I leave. I think he has realized for a while that I’m not cut out for the office life. My boss and coworkers are fantastic but warming a seat in an office for hours determined by tradition and not need feels like a noose around my neck.

Maybe something is “wrong” with me and I can’t just “fall in line” or “play the game”. I just have a hard time dealing with activities that can’t be logically explained to me. Wearing dress clothes, commuting through the city, and working a 9-5 shift doesn’t make sense when my job is done completely on a computer. I could be just as effective sitting on Redondo Beach with a Corona in my hand as I am here in the office. Add my commute to that and I just feel like I am nearly wasting moments of my life that I will never get back, all for a paycheck and job-security. Security is worthless when protecting nothing of value and I feel like my life is diminishing in value every day.

While I recognize I need a paycheck to pay the bills, and I am willing to “play the game” to some extent, my needs in life are small. I don’t have kids or a car, I live with my partner, I don’t have a TV, pay for cable, or desire any possessions beyond books. I could quite literally maintain my lifestyle for about $25k per year (I did the math). That includes paying off my student loans, going to Burning Man each year, buying several books a month, rent, food, 1-2 raves or party nights a month, maxing my Roth IRA, and additional investments. Of course it means I shop at Goodwill and Ross for my clothes and furniture, but I just don’t care. I would rather work minimally and have time to write and adventure than have nice things.

So, my boss knows I’m quitting. I feel good that I gave him over 6 months notice and he will be able to find a replacement. Working in an office for a couple years like this was certainly good for me to figure out who I was and what type of environment I can thrive in, just like living in DC was good even though I hated that city. I believe each person should try new things and follow their passion, even if that road isn’t down a popular one or isn’t socially normal. There is a huge spectrum of potential lifestyles when it comes to jobs, families, lovers, homes, etc. and I don’t think anyone can know which one is “right” for them until they experiment, take changes, get their asses kicked, and come out more confident.

I’ve shared this before but I just love this XKCD:

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