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2010-11-05

For Neil Strauss, every second counts. What about yourself?

Neil Strauss is an author and journalist who has written books like "The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists" (how he transformed himself from a hopeless geek into maybe the best pickup artist in the world) and "Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life" (how he went from a city slicker to a survivalist who can survive the next apocalypse). He also has a mailinglist where he sends out info about his most important activities.

His most recent email was about time management, and if you don't know much about the subject, maybe this can get you inspired to achieve more in your life and use your time wiser.

If after reading this you want to know more, take a look at Brian Tracy's excellent book/e-book/audio book "Eat That Frog: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time", possibly the best and shortest book ever written about the subject of time- and life management.

And if you want to receive Neil's emails, sign up through his site.



From: Neil Strauss
Subject: Every Second Counts
Date: 04.11.2010

I recently tried an experiment.

I decided to see if I was a morning person.

Instead of staying up all night writing, I decided to do one of my thirty-day experiments: I spent a month going to bed at 9:30 p.m. every night and waking up at 5:30 a.m.

Though it meant dashing out of dinners early, turning down all nighttime plans, and going to sleep with work still unfinished, I discovered that I was much more productive this way. By the time most of my friends were waking up, I'd already finished much of my work for the day.

While it did destroy my social life, I learned a lot that month, in part because during those extra morning hours, I began reading books on time management and productivity.

So, in response to several hundred email questions I've received about time management, I thought I'd share some of the advice I picked up.

The books from which I picked up the following tips include "Getting Things Done" by David Allen (a birthday present from Mystery); "First Things First" by Stephen Covey; and "No B.S. Time Management For Entrepreneurs" by Dan Kennedy.

QUICK TIME MANAGEMENT TIPS

1. Know what your time is worth. There's an easy formula to calculate this: Take your earnings for the year. Divide that number by 1760. The resulting number is roughly what you make hourly in a work week. However, considering that statistically most people work for an average of one-third of a work hour, multiply that number by three. Now you know what your time is really worth. Treat it that way.

2. Make lists. For those of you who don't keep running lists of the things you need to do, it's time to start. Get to-do items off your mind and down on paper. Then prioritize them. One way to do so is to mark them as "A" tasks, which must get done right away; B tasks, which must get done that week; and less urgent C tasks, which simply need to get done sometime in the next six months.

3. Link what you do with your time to your longterm goals. With the Internet available as a constant distraction, most of us are constantly busy but not constantly productive. So always ask yourself: "Is what I'm doing right now bringing me any closer to my goals?"

4. Beware of people who suck up your time. Wean them off their dependence on you and teach them to respect your schedule. If they continue to call, text, or distract you, put them in their place politely. Explain, "I'm really busy, so I'm only dealing with things that are urgent do-or-die priorities. If what you need to talk to me about isn't an emergency, let's deal with it later in the week." Handle your priorities first, not theirs. If your door is always open, people will always be walking through it.

5. Turn off the phone while you're working and do not check your email, so that you aren't constantly distracted. Most things can wait. Unless your work requires being available by phone and email all day, set yourself one or two specific windows of time during the day when you deal with emails, phone messages, texts, Facebook, and all the rest of the technological innovations that consume your time and energy.

6. To further manage this, narrow your avenues of communication. Choose one medium for most of your indirect contact: whether it's phone calls, text, Facebook, or email. Create a new phone number or email account and only give it to your inner circle. Then set up vacation responders, voicemail greetings, or autotexts on the rest that tell people who contact you that you're no longer checking those inboxes due to your current workload. Doing this just with my email account saved fourteen hours a week.

7. Try to do something active and physical every day. Though it takes time, it improves focus, so you can use the time you do have more productively and feel better about yourself. In general, as we discussed in one of the first emails I sent you, the secret to happiness is living a balanced life.

8. Keep a log for a week: Write down everything you do in fifteen to hour-long increments. At the end of the week, analyze it and find out how you really spend your time. Then adjust your schedule and priorities accordingly to minimize the distractions that eat away your time and expand on the things that bring you closer to your goals and passions.

9. Since as a writer, my priorities are different than that of the business people to whom these books are often directed, I've developed some additional strategies. These are not for everyone, but unplugging your Internet if you don't need it for work saves countless hours. If there are things you need to research on the Internet, make a list and look them all up at once. Even when I'm not working, I always have my ringer and text alerts off on my cell phone, with special exceptions programmed in only for very close friends, family, and work people. In addition, I will sometimes light a candle when I'm writing and not stop until the candle burns out; this also serves as a signal for anyone in the house not to disturb me (unless there's an emergency, like the candle's set the house on fire)

10. In addition, a simple rule that most people have trouble following: Do the most important thing first, not the easiest thing to get it out of the way. There's a book I haven't read, but the title illustrates this point nicely: "Never Check Email in the Morning".

11. And finally, have a plan and a direction. Know what you want to accomplish: not just for the day, but in the big picture. I'm going to share with you something Spencer from Emergency taught me: have a detailed (but adjustable) five-year plan for your life. If you don't know where you're going, you're never going to get there. If you need help creating one, just download this worksheet I put together for some of my students:
 http://www.neilstrauss.com/fiveyearplan.pdf
  (right-click to download)

You only live once and you never know when it's going to end, so by making sure you get the most out of your time, you'll also be making sure you get the most out of your life.

Hope this helps some of you get to your dreams and goals that much quicker. If you have any of your own productivity tips you want to share with the list, send them to me at this email address and title it QUALITY TIME, and I'll share them in a future email.

Yours This Second,
Neil

2010-10-24

"Wake Up, Ron Burgundy - The Lost Movie"

One of the funniest films to come out the last decade was the slightly absurd "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy" from 2004, masterfully directed by Adam McKay, starring Will Ferrell and a whole cast of excellent comedians.


Unfortunately most people aren't aware of its companion film "Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie" (2004). Compiled by dropped sub-plots and alternate takes, it's much more absurd, features another main plot and has a lot more ad-libbing and crazy improvising than the takes used in "Anchorman", which is in a way more "mainstream". (If that word can be used about such a film.)



To prove my point, here are five amazing clips from "Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie":






If you like this brand of humour, why not get the double-pack DVD-set with both films? Click here or the image below to go to Amazon. You will not regret it!



Adam McKay has also done the feature films "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" (2006) and "Step Brothers" (2008), but these are not nearly as good as the aforementioned combo "Anchorman"/"Wake Up". Hopefully his newest effort "The Other Guys" (2010) is better!

2010-10-04

George Carlin about life


"I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time. What do you get at the end of it? A death. What's that, a bonus? I think the life cycle is all backwards. You should die first, get it out of the way.

Then you live in an old age home. You get kicked out when you're too young, you get a gold watch and you go to work. You work forty years until you're young enough to enjoy your retirement.

You do drugs, alcohol, you party, you get ready for high school. You go to grade school, you become a kid, you play, you have no responsibilities. You become a little baby, you go back into the womb, spend your last nine months floating... and you finish off as an orgasm."

George Carlin, American stand-up comedian, actor and author.

2010-08-30

The importance of focusing on your "Circle of Influence"

In a blog post the very interesting Derek Sivers explains very well Stephen R. Covey's principles of "Circle of Concern" (what we care about) and "Circle of Influence" (what we can affect).


Basically it means - focus on your own life and what you can do about it (= Circle of Influence) and train yourself to release all other concerns (= Circle of Concern) from your mind.

These principles are from Covey's "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People", a book I've read twice before. Therefore I know the principle very well, but it's hard to be aware of it all the time.


This is the way Covey explains it in the book. Read the following quickly, it might remind you also what you should prioritize in your own life:


"An excellent way to become more self-aware regarding our own degree of proactivity is to look at where we focus our time and energy. We each have a wide range of concerns -- our health, our children, problems at work, the national debt, nuclear war. We could separate those from things in which we have no particular mental or emotional involvement by creating a 'Circle of Concern'.

As we look at those things within our Circle of Concern, it becomes apparent that there are some things over which we have no real control and others that we can do something about. We could identify those concerns in the latter group by circumscribing them within a smaller 'Circle of Influence'.

By determining which of these two circles is the focus of most of our time and energy, we can discover much about the degree of our proactivity.

Proactive people focus their efforts in the Circle of Influence. They work on the things they can do something about. The nature of their energy is positive, enlarging and magnifying, causing their Circle of Influence to increase.

Reactive people, on the other hand, focus their efforts in the Circle of Concern. They focus on the weakness of other people, the problems in the environment, and circumstances over which they have no control.

Their focus results in blaming and accusing attitudes, reactive language, and increased feelings of victimization. The negative energy generated by that focus, combined with neglect in areas they could do something about, causes their Circle of Influence to shrink.

As long as we are working in our Circle of Concern, we empower the things within it to control us. We aren't taking the proactive initiative necessary to effect positive change.

Though they may have to prioritize the use of their influence, proactive people have a Circle of Concern that is at least as big as their Circle of Influence, accepting the responsibility to use their influence effectively."

Wise words indeed.

2010-07-10

Why Chuck Lorre seems to be a nice guy



Chuck Lorre is a writer/producer of some pretty nice TV comedies, the best one being "The Big Bang Theory". (Buy the complete first, second and third seasons on DVD.) He also created and wrote "Grace Under Fire", "Cybill", "Dharma & Greg" and "Two and a Half Men".

At the very end of each episode of most of his series, he publishes a so-called "Vanity Card", most of which are either funny, thoughtful, wise or all the above at the same time. And most of them seem to be deeply personal at some level. Adding such vanity cards shows that his writings definitely are more than a few notches up from the usual boring sitcoms we are served.

Here's a funny vanity card ("The Sitcom Writers' Prayer"), and for the whole series, check out the main site.

And oh, if you like the writer and director Paul Feigyou will probably like Lorre's work. Feig did the TV series "Freaks and Geeks" and the two films "I Am David", "Unaccompanied Minors". And both Lorre and Feig both seem to have that tender nerve that not so many TV writers possess. Feel free to read this short text I wrote about Feig and his work.

Quart Festival 1995 - a short report on the electronic music there

For nostalgics out there, this is a short unedited report I wrote in 1995 after the Quart Festival in Kristiansand, Norway. I was focusing on the electronic artists, so if that's your thing, read on. And sorry about the lack of pictures, but I hadn't gotten into that habit at that point.

Wednesday 5.7:
Markens:
Kenny Larkin was DJ'ing. Great set, typical Detroit sounds and style all the way through. Lasted until 03.00.

Thursday 6.7:
Vaskeriet:
Coldcut was DJ'ing before Sandals. Apparantly it was just Jonathan and another bloke which I didn't know the name of. The music they played was a mad mixture of own cuts, Ninja cuts, strange cuts and even Bros cuts! Madhatters ruled. Music to go wild to. Then I only caught ten minutes of Sandals before I went to..

Markens:
..where Laurent Garnier was DJ'ing. What a fine set he managed to pull. After the gig I talked a bit with him, and he said that he had played VERY commercial, since he couldn't help notice that the crowd was a bit... what can I say... unscholared? I didn't actually think the music was that commercial, but then again he is more famous than me.
Anyway, an absolute stormer, and later on we tried to get in to an afterparty where he would play, but apparantly nothing much happened, and we didn't get in anyway. (Just a bunch of VIP's and drunk hotel guests and no one dancing. What a waste.) Actually got some sleep that night.

Friday 8.7:
Vaskeriet:
Luke Vibert DJ'ed and pulled a quite jungly and strange set, even for him, with Depth Charge coming on to DJ after him. He played some unbelievable funky stuff, and during the last quarter Tricky came on and MC'ed and got the crowd into gear for Rocker's Hi-Fi, who played well and according to their record. However..

Markens:
..Juan Atkins was DJ'ing, and no one in their right mind wants to miss him, right? Well, turned out that his mixing was pretty bad (a lot of double kicks and out of time hi-hats). The songs were good, but I was just a tad disappointed about the mixing. Just a tad.
I actually heard that they had some trouble finding him on the airport in Italy, where he was supposed to get the airplane to Norway. No wonder: he was in Paris! Too much spliff, I suppose...

Saturday 9.7:
Teltet i Tresse:
Tommy Tee spun the decks for Norwegian rapact Warlocks. Good enough. Mad Professor came on and did his/their thing, which is perhaps a bit too much REAL dub for me. I prefer my dub a bit washed out. (Stonewashed?)
Then House of Pain came on, who were... I guess good enough, but HoP for me is something I put on to hear the ruffness and feel the lyrical flow, which was lacking a bit during the concert. I mean, the same words, but live is never the same as studio, right?
After that people literally threw themselves over each other to catch Tricky. Now this gig was very good. After the concert I felt... kinda weird. I did! Very strange mood over all the songs, and I have to say he was actually better live than on record. (Just to contradict myself re: HoP.)

Caledonien Hall:
Gazz played before Blachman Thomas meets Al Agami & Renee, but I didn't catch this at all.

Markens:
Neither did I see Michael Dog who was DJ'ing. You see, I was at..

Dyreparken:
..with two different scenes:

The Junglecafe:
..starring Little Simon, LTJ Bukem and A Guy Called Gerald who were all DJ'ing. But I wasn't there either! I was at..

Piratscenen:
A tourist attraction with a pirateship. The artists were actually performing on the ship, with us standing around a big swimming pool! Great place to take a swim, right? No. Too much chlorine in the water made that impossible. And if anyone had tried, they would have shut down the whole area. You can imagine the tight security.
Anyway. Earth Nation came on first, and Ralf and the other one (can't remember his name, sorry) performed a lot of new material. Very good. A girl from Eye Q was there too (Pauli), and danced even harder than most of us others! (Ever seen a promotion person dance? I have - now.) Beautiful trance all the way, even some ambient excursions inbetween. Can't wait for that album!

Then came The Aloof, who also did a great set. During 'Religion', Tricky came on and I felt a bit indignant on Aloof's behalf as the crowd started to shriek 'Tricky! Tricky!'. Oh, well. Apparantly, a friend of mine knew a girl who had been hanging out with them all week, since they arrived on Monday and spent the week there. Lucky. And regarding Tricky, he was all over the place. He got himself a new tattoo and people were whispering "Isn't that...?" while pointing at him. Strange. I don't wanna be a star.

Fluke then came on and did a storming set. Absolutely brilliant. The way these men twist their knobs is incredible. I don't think they had any DAT's going, judging from the activity behind the mixer, and if they did, I don't care. The music was salvation enough. Btw, I liked this live appearance much more than Fluke's Peel sessions, which were a bit more mediocre. (Then again, those are recordings from 91-92.)

After some dead air, so to speak, came Global Communication, or more correctly half of them, as only Tom was present. Mark was in the Netherlands (I think?), also performing as GC. How quaint. I say GC, but I probably mean Link or Reload, as the music this evening was quite housy and uptempo. On the vocals were Kirsty Hawkshaw from Opus III, and sometimes Tom would shout into the mike phrases like "isn't she beautiful?", "so lovely!" and "she IS beautiful". (Which she was, of course.) And she has an amazing and unique voice. Also, they had two performers, a man and woman, doing things I really didn't understand. But then again I wasn't supposed to, as they explained to me afterwards.
Most of the songs I had never heard before. They may be on some rare Infonet-12", and if not I hope they get released. Much to splendor over here, I tell you! And Kirsty's voice fit perfectly into the whole picture (or do I mean sound?) Also present was a saxophone-player and another girl on vocals. During the last two songs, the sun started to come up, and the musicians tossed out out little GC boxes with candy in them. I will never forget how I felt facing the sun and listening to the music. I don't think I have ever felt something so powerful and emotive. Just pure and happy bliss.

When it was all definitively over, we took a bus back to the campus, packed our tent and left the city by train - back to Oslo.

2010-06-10

100 great quotes about motivation and taking action


Here are 100 great quotes I found about motivation and action. Personally I take from these that you have to start doing it, whatever it is you want to do. And if you don't know what you want, it's time to find out. :)

Also check out my collection of quotes, it's another popular post on my blog. You can bookmark both pages and also link to them.

-*-*-*-*-*-*-

1. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.
- Aristotle

2. The best way out is always through.
- Robert Frost

3. Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.
- William B. Sprague

4. Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.
- Albert Einstein

5. Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right.
- Henry Ford

6. I know for sure that what we dwell on is who we become.
- Oprah Winfrey

7. I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.
- Michael Jordan

8. You must be the change you want to see in the world.
- Mahatma Gandhi

9. What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.
- Goethe

10. You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.
- Zig Ziglar

11. Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.
- Mahatma Gandhi

12. Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.
- Napoleon Hill

13. Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.
- Truman Capote

14. Vision without action is daydream. Action without vision is nightmare.
- Japanese Proverb

15. In any situation, the best thing you can do is the right thing; the next best thing you can do is the wrong thing; the worst thing you can do is nothing.
- Theodore Roosevelt

16. If you keep saying things are going to be bad, you have a chance of being a prophet.
- Isaac B. Singer

17. Success consists of doing the common things of life uncommonly well.
- Unknown

18. Keep on going and the chances are you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I have never heard of anyone stumbling on something sitting down.
- Charles F. Kettering, Engineer and Inventor

19. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
- Mark Twain

20. Losers visualize the penalties of failure. Winners visualize the rewards of success.
- Unknown

21. Some succeed because they are destined. Some succeed because they are determined.
- Unknown

22. Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want.
- Dan Stanford

23. Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others; it is the only means.
- Albert Einstein

24. A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.
- Hugh Downs

25. If you're going to be able to look back on something and laugh about it, you might as well laugh about it now.
- Marie Osmond

26. Remember that happiness is a way of travel, not a destination.
- Roy Goodman

27. If you want to test your memory, try to recall what you were worrying about one year ago today.
- E. Joseph Cossman

28. What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

29. We judge of man's wisdom by his hope.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

30. The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.
- Mark Twain

31. Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.
- Mark Twain

32. Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect.
- Mark Twain

33. Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.
- Mark Twain

34. The surest way not to fail is to determine to succeed.
- Richard B. Sheridan

35. Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

36. Act or accept.
- Unanonymous

37. Many great ideas go unexecuted, and many great executioners are without ideas. One without the other is worthless.
- Tim Blixseth

38. The world is more malleable than you think and it's waiting for you to hammer it into shape.
- Bono

39. Sometimes you just got to give yourself what you wish someone else would give you.
- Dr Phil

40. Motivation is a fire from within. If someone else tries to light that fire under you, chances are it will burn very briefly.
- Stephen R. Covey

41. People become really quite remarkable when they start thinking that they can do things. When they believe in themselves they have the first secret of success.
- Norman Vincent Peale

42. Whenever you find whole world against you just turn around and lead the world.
- Anonymous

43. Being defeated is only a temporary condition; giving up is what makes it permanent.
- Marilyn vos Savant, Author and Advice Columnist

44. I can't understand why people are frightened by new ideas. I'm frightened by old ones.
- John Cage

45. Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others; it is the only means.
- Albert Einstein

46. The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.
- Unknown

47. The best way to predict the future is to create it.
- Unknown

48. Anyone can do something when they WANT to do it. Really successful people do things when they don't want to do it.
- Dr. Phil

49. There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.
- Dr. Denis Waitley

50. Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.
- Sir Winston Churchill

51. Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes but don't quit.
- Conrad Hilton

52. Attitudes are contagious. Make yours worth catching.
- Unknown

53. Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.
- John Wooden

54. There are only two rules for being successful. One, figure out exactly what you want to do, and two, do it.
- Mario Cuomo

55. Sooner or later, those who win are those who think they can.
- Richard Bach

56. Vision doesn't usually come as a lightening bolt. Rather it comes as a slow crystallization of life challenges that we one day recognize as a beautiful diamond with great value to ourselves and others.
- Dr. Michael Norwood

57. Success is a state of mind. If you want success, start thinking of yourself as a success.
- Dr. Joyce Brothers

58. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
- Samuel Beckett

59. Flops are a part of life's menu and I've never been a girl to miss out on any of the courses.
- Rosalind Russell

60. Cause change and lead. Accept change and survive. Resist change and die.
- Ray Norda, Chairman, Novell

61. Winners lose much more often than losers. So if you keep losing but you're still trying, keep it up! You're right on track.
- Matthew Keith Groves

62. An idea can turn to dust or magic, depending on the talent that rubs against it.
- Bill Bernbach

63. An obstacle is often a stepping stone.
- Prescott

64. Life is trying things to see if they work
- Ray Bradbury

65. If you worry about yesterday's failures, then today's successes will be few.
- Anonymous

66. Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.
- Dennis P. Kimbro

67. We are all inventors, each sailing out on a voyage of discovery, guided each by a private chart, of which there is no duplicate. The world is all gates, all opportunities.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

68. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

69. In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.
- Thomas Jefferson

70. I think and think for months and years. Ninety-nine times, the conclusion is false. The hundredth time I am right.
- Albert Einstein

71. Where the willingness is great, the difficulties cannot be great.
- Machiavelli.

72. Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.
- Mahatma Gandhi

73. You are what you think about all day long.
- Dr. Robert Schuller

74. What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

75. Success is not to be measured by the position someone has reached in life, but the obstacles he has overcome while trying to succeed.
- Booker T. Washington

76. Talent is formed in solitude, character in the bustle of the world.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

77. To avoid criticism do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.
- Elbert Hubbard

78. If you want to make your dreams come true, the first thing you have to do is wake up.
- J.M. Power

79. By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day
- Robert Frost

80. I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.
- Maya Angelou

81. The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.
- William James

82. When I hear somebody sigh, ‘Life is hard,' I am always tempted to ask, ‘Compared to what?'
- Sydney Harris

83. Don't let life discourage you; everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was.
- Richard L. Evans

84. In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: It goes on.
- Robert Frost

85. You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face.
- Eleanor Roosevelt

86. Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.
- Seneca

87. Do first things first, and second things not at all.
- Peter Drucker.

88. The only people who find what they are looking for in life are the fault finders.
- Foster's Law

89. Defeat is not bitter unless you swallow it.
- Joe Clark

90. I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else.
- Winston Churchill

91. Positive anything is better than negative thinking.
- Elbert Hubbard

92. People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

93. Those who wish to sing, always find a song.
- Swedish Proverb

94. If you're going through hell, keep going.
- Winston Churchill

95. The sun shines and warms and lights us and we have no curiosity to know why this is so; but we ask the reason of all evil, of pain, and hunger, and mosquitoes and silly people.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

96. Life is a shipwreck but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.
- Voltaire

97. Enduring habits I hate…. Yes, at the very bottom of my soul I feel grateful to all my misery and bouts of sickness and everything about me that is imperfect, because this sort of thing leaves me with a hundred backdoors through which I can escape from enduring habits.
- Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, 1882

98. There is no education like adversity.
- Disraeli

99. He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.
- Friedrich Nietzsche

100. Adversity introduces a man to himself.
- Author Unknown

2010-05-04

Want to watch something intelligent? Take a look at these three BBC documentary series by Adam Curtis, all of them explaining how the society we know today became like this through ways and mechanisms you probably didn't know. These are all very good and can be downloaded or streamed completely legally:



1) "The Century of the Self" (2002) focuses on how Sigmund Freud's family exerted a surprising amount of influence on the way corporations and governments throughout the 20th century have thought about, and dealt with, people. [Download] [Wikipedia]

2) "The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear" (2004) compares the rise of the American neo-conservative movement and the radical Islamist movement, and argues that the threat of radical Islamism is largely a myth perpetrated by politicians in many countries. [Download] [Wikipedia]

3) "The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom" (2007) explores how a simplistic model from the cold war of human beings as self-seeking creatures led to today's idea of "freedom". [Download] [Wikipedia]

He has of course done more work, check out his Wikipedia entry. And then download/stream it through Archive.org.

2010-04-03

How to solve "Dial failed, do you want to retry?"

For a while I had a problem with my laptop not being able to use my USB 3G modem to connect to the Internet. Everytime I tried to connect I got this error message:
"Dial failed, do you want to retry?"

I finally managed to solve the problem by going to Services and setting the Telephony Service to "automatic". For some reason it was disabled, that's what caused the error message.

So if you are having the same problem, make sure you try the solution I used. And if it works for you, please comment on this post. :)

(This was on Windows 7, using Indosat IM2 in Indonesia, but I think the same solution will work for other systems and providers as well.)

2010-03-27

How to get rid of religion - the easy way



Is it possible to get rid of religion? I think so, and here's my take on how we can do that:

FOUR IMPORTANT STEPS
1) Religion is removed completely from everything that has to do with official and public life. In other words complete separation of church and state, no religious content in public service radio and TV stations, and certainly no financial support of any kind for religious activities or organizations. People are of course free to have their beliefs, but will not receive any kind of support for it.

2) Non-religious people must make sure they are not a member of the state church in their country. The more people who remain passive members, the more state churches can use their "but we are a religious country" argument. So contact the state church to see if you are a member, and if you are, make sure you cancel your membership. (Norwegian readers, read this for reasons and "how-to".)

3) Religion as a subject in school is removed, and instead taught in a dry and factual matter under the history subject. "Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists believe that.." etc. Evangelism of any kind will not be allowed, and religious teachers will not be permitted to claim that key events from the religions really happened (since it's not possible to prove it).

4) A new subject called "Moral, ethics and philosophy" will be introduced instead. Children will attend this subject all through-out their school years, maybe even from kindergarten. This subject will probably be based on a kind of "best of" from various philosophers and religions, but without any religious content. In such a subject the students will train their critical thinking in everything related to morality, ethics and philosophy.

The effect of all this? In a few generations there will be fewer religious and superstitious people, and a much bigger part of the population will think differently, more independently and wiser. They will be more tolerant and have more respect for each other's differences. And — there will be fewer differences if religion isn't part of defining identity anymore.

IT'S POSSIBLE
Religious groups might feel these measures are disrespectful to their faith, but that won't be true since they still have complete freedom to believe. The only change is simply that religion is removed from the visible society.

Please note that I'm not talking about communism or socialism here. Totalitarianism in the past has worked ruthlessly to actively forbid and criminalize religion — I'm not suggesting anything like that. No, what I've outlined is a natural part of democracy and very possible to achieve everywhere, especially in secular regions like northern Europe, in particular the Nordic countries.

WHY WE DON'T NEED RELIGION
I'm probably obliged to inform that I think religion — and the illogical and inhumane traditions that accompany it — is one of humanity's major problems and lead to unimaginable amounts of suffering and practical problems for large population groups that are bound by their religious mindset.

Just think how many people would have had a better life without e.g. Catholicism's meaningless ban on contraception, the abuse and murders commited in the name of Protestantism against non-believers, the historical oppressive caste system of Hinduism and the antique and destructive view of women in Islam?

Up until now culture, tradition and religion have always been interweaved and connected. But if humanity aims to become as enlightened and free as possible, we must in the long run minimize the significance of religion. We simply don't need it.