When I was little, my mom would tell me to clean something up and I would always tell her that I would do it tomorrow. Every time her or my grandma would bring up the story of Lord Ganesha and his wedding. Parvathi (his mom) would continually ask Ganesha when he wanted to get married. Everytime she asked, he would say that he would be ready tomorrow. As it turns out, he was never married because he always postponed the date.
After millions and millions of lazy moments in my life, where postponing something inconsequential has led to a huge headache (i.e. credit card bills, rebates, RSVPing for stuff), I got hit in the face with a revelation of sorts. What if I always tried to put myself in the best situation tomorrow. Do everything I can right now to make tomorrow sweet. Now, to some of you that may sound simple but this is coming from a guy that used to write high school essays the morning they were due at times and had to run to the post office to get his college applications in on time. So the idea now, is to act in a way to make tomorrow easier than today.
This matches well with my philosophy of life that you need to view things in life as if they are a groundball in baseball. Now if you wait on the baseball and let it come to you, chances are it's going to take a bad hop or bounce and hit you in the face. Believe me, my laziness has definitely resulted in me getting hit in the face (literally and metaphorically). In this position, we are back on our heels and we are basically at the mercy of the bouncing ball coming our way. We don't give ourselves as much reaction time and we end up getting eaten by the ball. Now, a great short-stop was ready for the ball even before it was hit. In their stance even before the pitch was delivered, the short-stop creeps in on the ball and decided which hop of the ball he wants to charge. The play is made on his terms and in his time. I feel like that's how I need to start living life.
I've been on my heels for far too long now. Saying things like, "my diet will start after this pizza slice" or "I'll send out that email tomorrow morning" (I barely even see mornings these days). I'm starting to think this way of thinking applies to everything. Business environments and social environments alike. Charging the groundball is what life is all about. I was going to postpone this blog entry but I keep repeating in my head, "tomorrow starts today.... so make it happen."
Why not come up with annual awards for people that have made a difference or have influenced my life? At first I thought having something like "The (V)Love Award" would go to the person that has shown the most amount of altruistic love and selflessness to people that I know. But then I realized that this could go on and on. I could give a "Flava in Your Ear" Award to the person that has been the best listener to me this year. I could give a "Dr. Phil Award" to the person that has given me the best advice this year. How about a "Michael Richards Award" to the biggest asshole in my life this year. And I am not just talking about posting this online or sending out an email. I want to actually get trophies or plaques for these people. Here are some other categories I thought about:
The (V)Love Award: most altruistic and selfless person of the year
Flava in Your Ear Award: best listener
Dr. Phil Award: best advice giver
Be Like Mike Award: person I strive to be more like
Kobayashi Award: favorite eating partner
Diabetes Award: always making others smile, basically the sweetest person
Urkel Award: the person that urked the shit out of me the most
Kramer Award: biggest asshole I've been around
You got any more for me? I guess whether I do the first annual (V)Love Awards or not doesn't really matter but just thinking about them since last night has really got me thinking about how specifically people around me make a difference and influence my life. What awards would you make for your life? And among people we both many know, who would you nominate from my list?
"On first meeting a stranger, a beard will never up the face value of that person. It will either cause a neutral to negative affect."
"Beards look sweet on people that you already know and look especially sweet when they're not on your own face."
I have seen my theory pan out time and time again and I am sticking to it. Anyway, I've been growing my beard out for quite some time now and once you get past the itchy and uncomfortable stage (as Rones will atest) having a beard can actually be a lot of fun. Here are some beard shots I recently took:
Me and Rones looking like real mountain men.
What just cause I have a beard? (That's what I was thinking)
Alas, tonight my beard was trimmed into a goatee. We shall see how long before I revert back to a shaven face. Thus is the life of a beard my friends. Enjoy them while they last because everyone knows most beards can't live forever. (I wish I could insert a montage of beards here with "Forever Young" playing in the background)
Well actually it hasn't gone anywhere but the last few days I have been quite insane with my recklessness with spiciness. Before I get into a few tall tales of my historical relationship with peppers... I would like to precaution you... some of what you are about to read may disgust you... it may horrify you and in the end it may reach out and give you a case of the "ring of fire."
Growing up I wasn't necessarily consciously a nut about spicy things but I didn't really have a choice. My mom would make (and still makes) some of the spiciest curries I have ever encountered. When I was really little I would try to fight off the spice with cup after cup of water or milk or I would try to eat something quickly after dinner to quell my mouth pains. All foolish tactics I would later learn. Water basically only postpones the pain, milk makes you way to full and kills off the amazing after-taste of some dishes (I will sometimes not eat dessert just to keep an after-taste as long as humanly possible) and trying to eat something afterwards to ward off the pain? Just foolish. Often times the thing would be hard or crispy and would just feel like it was cutting my mouth all over the place. So what became my standard tactic you might ask? I would go outside, take deep breaths, and let my eyes and nose water and my head sweat. After a few times that feeling became almost euphoric (and still is!). At times the dishes were still bordering insanity but me and my sisters built up a tolerance.
It was then that I realized my mom's dishes were just a gateway drug into harder spices. The fried pepper challenge arose. My mom and grandma would fry giant and medium size red peppers every year and keep them in a jar in our kitchen. My sisters would began challenging me to eat as many as possible without drinking any water. I think the record was something like 8 or 9 back then. They are soooo delicious by the way and not as spicy as you would think they would be. They are actually more salty than spicy. Anyway, that is neither here nor there.
Middle school and high school were mostly a blur in my spice life, other than my Tabasco shooter before finals in high school. My sister got me a six pack of tiny Tabasco shooters and I would carry one in my backpack all the time. Before one final I took a shot and did well so I started doing that before all of them. Not gigantic shots, just a tiny taste to get me fired up. Who knew I was still no naive at this point in my life about spices?
Let's fast forward to freshman year in college. I was rushing Sigma Nu and one of our pledge events was to eat spicy chicken wings. Vik, Ziggy, and I laughed at this idea. We were all cocky in our abilities to eat spicy things and thought the older guys were going to feel stupid when we actually enjoyed eating the wings. So we got to the place and basically every older dude in my fraternity was on hand to watch the challenge. That worried me a little bit and then I got worried much, much more. One of the older guys went up to the counter and ordered 3 "911 Challenges." We were given 3 clipboards and 3 waivers to sign! WAIVERS! I kid you not. Most of the things on the waiver were written in a joking manner but I was still worried (things like, "if I touch my eyes and go blind...... if I need medical attention.... I will not hold Cluck U responsible). Anyway, we all looked at each other and I took a deep breath and then the wings came out.
You couldn't even see the wings in the paper boats. They were swimming in a thick black sauce and with them came these instructions from a waiter. "You guys have 10 minutes to eat all 12 wings. You cannot wipe your hands or your face and you cannot drink water for a full 5 minutes after you're done eating." Basically we were screwed. We grabbed the first wing and ate it down. Tasted like a normal wing..... oh wait that was until I felt horrible, painful burning all the way from my lips to my tongue then to my throat all the way down to my stomach. At this point my stomach was burning. I could still feel (with burning pain) the entire path of the wing. But on this day I was not going to back down. I grabbed another wing and sucked it down. As I grabbed my third wing something happened. My eyes and nose started to water. GLORIOUS euphoria I thought. But alas, that watering was followed by the numbing of my entire face and giant hiccups. My hands started to tremble. I still slowly moved the third wing toward my mouth but one of the older guys made me stop and I was done. Vik actually got through 3 wings, which is balls out in my book. I ran outside and threw up all over the place. I then drank about a gallon of milk and a tub of ice cream right in front of the joint. At this point, I was so shaken up that I couldn't safely drive home. I was basically wasted. When I got home I ran to the bathroom to puke some more and low and behold, Vik and Ziggy were already in the can puking their guts out. Want to know something disgusting? Yeah spicy chicken wings are even spicier when they splash into your eyes. My night ended with me passing out on the floor in the hall and my RA calling an EMT friend to come check me out. I had no idea that eating something spicy could actually kill you. I went to bed and vowed to never eat hot wings again.
Spicy eaters know full well that eating extremely spicy things is a commitment. You are committing to the meal itself, whatever stomach issues that might arise, and of course we always forget to think through the next day when spicy treats reenter the world. That morning, I was startled by Ziggy coming up to me and saying, "Whatever you do, don't take a shower. My hands... they're burning." What a crazy thing to say, I thought. Holy shit, my hands BURNED sooooo bad when I got into the shower. The felt like they were on fire. I ran to my room and called my grandma (I just had a feeling that she would know what to do), who calmly said, "Just put them in milk." (Well she said that in Konkani. She doesn't speak English remember?) So by noon, I had basically visited the "ring of fire" in the bathroom and I was sitting in the dining hall with my two hands in two cups of milk.
I guess the moral of the story here is that most foods you can enjoy at anytime and live in the moment. Spicy food on the other hand is not just food... it's a commitment and if you're not committed for the next 24 hours might unwillingly be visiting your good friend vlove at the "Ring of Fire." (Since I seem to have a summer home there.)
Well I went off the college, I made the move in no less than 10 trips (since Stanford is so close to home). So it didn't really feel like I was moving. I guess it felt more like an extended trip I was going for a long time. When I moved to San Francisco, I fit all my belongings into my Toyota Carolla, so that didn't feel like a real move either. Needless to say the last two days have been weird. This is where I need your help. One of my New Year's Marinations is to write more things down. So, I have catalogged everything that I have packed thus far. I have one more day to pack and then of course I can bring some things when I actually fly out in January. So check out the list and tell me what I'm missing! (I didn't include clothes because that would just be boring to ya'll). So in all the moves that you have done, what are the things you wish you had brought along with you but forgotten? And what am I missing below???? TELL ME!
Chicago Packing List
12 Serving Spoons
Spoon Holder (Stove)
Fish Runthay Sauce Pan
Spaghetti Pots (4 qt.)
Sauce Pan w/Lid (3 qt.)
Sauce Pan w/Lid (1 qt.)
Tiny Omelet Pan
Spaghetti Strainer (metal)
Random Bowl (off-white)
2 Random Marination Bowls
Indian Pan/Pot Cover
George Foreman Grill
Cutting Board (white)
8 Stanford Plastic Cups
5 Plates (w/ tan abstract design)
Down Comforter (blue)
2 Bedsheets (Queen - bamboo pattern)
Bedsheet Set (tan w/ stripes)
4 Pillow Cases (turquoise)
2 Pillows (green)
Rough Throw Blanket
Flannel Throw Blanket (wild)
Gigantic Blanket (baby blue)
4 Large Towels
3 Medium Size Towel
6 Hand Towels
6 Wash Towels
1 Beach Towel (ridiculously large)
8 Irish Spring Bars (micro)
6 Irish Spring Bars (aloe)
2 Agras (1 metal/1 plastic)
I have challenge for you people. I would like to make November a month to experiment with resolutions. For example, I am not eating meat until Thanksgiving, changing my workout and I am thinking about only drinking water and milk (and hard alcohol of course - don't worry). I call these things, New Year's Marinations. Think about it.... how good would you feel if you sat down this week and came up with a bunch of things you want to change about yourself, your life, your existence and you slowly started doing them this month. Then in December you could become even more strict with these Marinations and by the time 2007 arrives, you will already be at full speed on your New Year's Resolutions, instead of giving up things cold-turkey.
So what New Year's Marinations are you thinking about this November? Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to meet a new person every week? Do you want to get better at keeping in touch with friends? Do you want to save more money and spend less? Do you want to learn a new language? Do you want to cook a new dish every week? I have a bunch of things I would love to get better at in the New Year. In an effort to get on the right track, I am going to keep track of certain things in November and December. Here are a couple examples:
1) Fitness: I would love to continue my fitness goals and for this I am going to keep track of everything I eat (in my eats log) and everytime I work out (in my get yolked log).
2) Communication: I need to get better at staying in touch with people. My goal for 2007 is to send 2 personal emails every single day. So I'm keeping track of people I email and making a list of people I haven't talked to in a while (in my holler log).
3) Productivity: A long time ago, Ramit told me to start keeping track of what I do every hour of every day. I was scared to do this because I don't do anything most of the day. Anyway, I need to get better at managing my time! (especially being more proactive Friday through Sunday) So I am keeping track of my productivity each day (in my make-it-happen log).
Anyway these are just a few examples. Other people I've talked to have brought up all sorts of great, creative goals. Resolutions having to do with reading more magazines per day, having more random conversations with random people, volunteering once a week, etc. So folks, send me some Marinations that you've been thinking about and I would love to share them on my blog (anonymously if you wish!). The more great ideas we can share now, the better the chance that we jump on board BEFORE New Year's Eve.
I guess the point here is.... don't wait until December 31, to think about this. There's a quotation that I hope sums up 2007 for me. It goes.... "tomorrow starts today, so make it happen right now." Start some New Year's Marinations now in November, grow them into Resolutions in December and bring positive change to your life even before the clock strikes midnight. The main question here is, who do you want to be? Make it happen.