Saturday, October 1, 2022

Relative Mass

195 lbs:
"How do you stay so thin as a food writer?!?"

205 lbs:
"How do you stay so thin as a food writer?"

215 lbs:
"You're pretty thin for a food writer!"

"How do you manage your weight as a food writer?"

225 lbs:
"I was expecting you to be really fat!"

Friday, September 30, 2022

The False Smugness of Middle-Aged Life Smoothness

I've been having trouble articulating the mounting trepidation I'm feeling about moving out of the country. But the whole thing just popped clearly into my head. I understand it all. And I understand middle age!

I have an honest, super-competent mechanic. It took me years to learn to work with him, because he has quirks (e.g. he hates phone calls). At this point, Jimmy handles my car, smoothly as silk (I make no decisions, I just write checks), and I don't need to think about cars...ever. Jimmy's got it! And while Jimmy's not cheap, he's not particuarly expensive nor will he ever rip me off. So he's budgeted for. Case closed, realm handled. One less thing to ever worry about.

I didn't reach this position of smoothness from learning how cars work, or evaluating every single mechanic. I don't stand atop some mountain of knowledge. This is not an achievement! I just stumbled into Jimmy and my search ended, that's all! Crack that shell open - take Jimmy off the table - and I'd face a cold wind of stress. My true helplessness would be revealed. I don't have great skills for finding Jimmys! I just found one of him once! And it's way harder in a foreign country with any number of X factors...and even Y factors (unknown unknowns).

The great thing about being middle-aged is that lots of stuff gets smooth. Having stumbled into solutions and procedures that work, you don't need to push every boulder, like in your 20s. You enjoy easy momentum as certain things appear to take care of themselves (though right around then your body begins to break - often soon after you've managed the final breakage of your parents - opening up whole new realms of stress and stategy).

This is my recent epiphany: all my easy momentum came about by having stumbled into solutions. I don't necessarily understand those realms. I haven't, like, mastered them! I've just jury-rigged processes into working well. It's all precarious, but it's stood the test of time.

None of this applies when moving abroad. New ground-rules and perils. And language! The lid comes off every pot, and you realize you never had reason to feel smug about your buttery smoothness. You didn't build this smoothness out of wisdom, you just relaxed into decades of accumulated serendipity! want to hold onto your US phone number from abroad? Ok, cool! Keep your wireless account! But, hold on, then you'll need an American bank account. And if you give the bank a New York address (even a postbox), you'll need to pay state income tax. Whoops! Rug pulled!

Yes, there are other ways, e.g. Google Voice, but I'm just offering an example of how when the lid comes off you need to be savvy about a range of options and co-dependencies. You need to actually know how systems work, and you're a helpless baby, flailing for the old serendipitous smoothness!

I feel like a centipede forced to contemplate each foot after a lifetime of simply walking. I'll need to either master car mechanics and banking and appliance voltage and container shipping and European attitudes to taxing gains on American mutual funds, and god knows what other stuff that previously just worked...or else await serendipity, hoping to stumble into jury-rigged solutions. I'll reach that point right around when I'm ready to mortally uncoil.

I mean, it took me 59 years to jury-rig my life, acquiring a portfolio of serendipitous solutions that let many processes seemingly take care of themselves. I'm not confident that I can conjure up another smooth life any faster than that. I didn't do this a hundred or a thousand times. I just did it once! So I suppose I'll need to increase my tolerance for dropped balls!

Monday, September 26, 2022


That's a nicely terse explanation of how Italy is about to wind up with an openly, flagrantly, fascist leader (here's Ben-Ghiat's profile of the candidate, Giorgia Meloni).

If you refuse to join in coalition against a common enemy due to philosophy/policy differences with potential partners who fail your purity tests, the enemy will win and you will lose.

That sounded rather anodyne. Let me vivid that up for you.

This is how the world goes down in flames: Tunnel-visioned people unwilling to sacrifice any iota of idealogical purity despite the presence of a massive threat.

I'll jazz it up and dumb it down even more: Remember how in Game of Thrones everyone wasted time with pointless infighting while an infinite army of murderous icy zombies advanced toward them? That!

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Blacks Standing Up for Jews

I'm watching Ken Burns' new three-part series "The U.S. and the Holocaust" on PBS, and it's, obviously, a tough ride, even though Burns offers a balanced presentation, duly citing the many ways America - and various Americans - helped end the Holocaust, not least by defeating Nazis on the battlefield (also: we accepted over 200K Jewish refugees, a larger number than I'd thought). But even in its grimmest moments, the series keeps me latched on to a happy thought.

Jews were very active in the Civil Rights movement. They were right there in some of the most heated, dangerous moments (I have friends who were there, and were jailed for their efforts). It's not well-noted, because, for various reasons, a vast tide of anti-Semitism arose among black people in the 1970s, and since black academics at the time were (properly) deferred to in recording their own story, the role of Jews was, and remains, broadly under-recognized. I'm not bitterly indignant about this. I'm not complaining. It is what it is.

I personally experienced this sour climate after I became a jazz musician in the mid 1980s, perpetually finding myself the only white guy in the band. The flames had cooled some by then, but they certainly existed. When younger, angrier black musicians would inquire about my "family background", my older pals (most, if not all, of my friends at the time were geriatric black people) would step in and describe me as "a mixture". This felt truthful to me, and it's how I self-identify to this day. A mixture of what, exactly? Just a mixture. That's me. Not this, not that. I'm not ashamed of any of my component parts, but I certainly do not feel like any one thing.

So flash-ahead to today, a strange and eerie era of latent yet unrealized anti-Semitism. The coiled spring has not yet sprung. As I wrote way back in 2017,
The infectious smoldering of economic populism, of xenophobia, of white supremacy, and of vitriol at "coastal elites", media, "Wall Street types", etc., is not being pushed forward, I don't believe, primarily by anti-Semitic people (though plenty of rabid anti-Semites are, of course, conveniently enjoying that tide). However, The Jewish Problem is like super-dry, crackly, hyper-flammable kindling, lurking adjacently to it all, just out of frame.
I am not paranoid about this stuff. I normally go months without using the term "anti-Semite". It's not my normal shtick. But my spidy sense has been peaking geometrically (admittedly without any hard evidence), and at the exact same time I've noticed black writers and intellectuals suddenly appearing on TV to articulately and full-throatedly attack the anti-Semitism of Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano (who scares me a lot). I also see Black faces in Ken Burns' series, treating our struggle against the Nazis as if it were their own. And I can't stop recalling how American troops in WWI fought to liberate France under the rallying cry of "Lafayette, We are Here," referencing the French general critical to revolutionary America's defeat of England centuries earlier.

I probably should be preoccupied with anxieties about America's political peril, and with foreboding for Mastriano's impending victory, and with sadness from viewing Ken Burn's important series. But whenever I spot a black commentator on TV condemning anti-Semitism in passionate, heartfelt language, I hear "Lafayette, We are Here" and I feel much, much better. 

I was too young to take part in the Mississippi Freedom Summer, the March on Selma, etc., so I certainly can't take credit. No one has reason to repay me for anything. Yet while it's not dark here (yet?), and American Jews do not presently require defending/saving, and TV hits aren't courageous actions, I can't help feeling moved. Like something is being made right. 

Support is not something you can ever count on. Go to an aquarium with a mixed tank, and you'll quickly observe that schools don't mix. A bluefish never stands by a whitefish, and when sharks attack, surrounding fish can almost be seen to mumble "I'm alright, Jack" with swimmy Schadenfreude.

Support normally appears only once a tide has turned. Liberals today love them some LGBT culture, oddly forgetful of the recency of their turn. Until circa 2008, when headway had already been made, hardly anyone spoke up for gay people besides other gay people (and not all of them did, either). Everyone loves a winner!

Heartfelt support should never be taken for granted. Black people standing up for Jews feels deeply soothing. It completes the circle re: my love for, and adopted devotion to, Black culture. It helps soothe the profound gap in my life since my elderly friends and mentors departed en masse. And it mellows the memory of the pain I felt as a child and young man observing the needless, senseless, pointless turning of Black people against their longtime allies. Something's different now. The same spidey sense won’t stop registering it.

It certainly doesn't make the world perfect, and it's a mere trickle rather than a flood. But errant wildflowers blooming through pavement cracks can be far more moving than a fancy formal garden.

That's a tenet of Nano-Aesthetics, btw.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

"Lost Knowledge" Found!

I recently wrote about lost knowledge, the disheartening fact that while civilization appears to be on a broadly smooth uphill curve, loads of useful knowledge, technology, and general know-how have been (and continue to be) lost to the ages.

I linked to an informational page about Benjamin Olshin's "Lost Knowledge" ("The Concept of Vanished Technologies and Other Human Histories"), which goes much broader, examining the evergreen proposition that early civilizations with sophisticated tech may have vanished tracelessly ("All this has happened before, and all of it will happen again").

For what it's worth, while one can't dispute that progress is jagged - i.e. often retrograde - and that earlier civilizations were well on their way with certain  notions and methods and contraptions we've only recently begun to regenerate (or have missed entirely), I seriously doubt there was ever a Shangri-La or Atlantis with laser scanners and mopeds that receded into the dust before history’s dawn.

But it's still a fascinating topic, and Olshin's book costs well over $100 practically everywhere, and keeps coming up in conversations of smart people, and I'm delighted to have found a free PDF download (hit "Download Original PDF")!

Another postscript: When we speak of technology, we mostly refer to gadgety/sciency tech, but creativity and spirituality might be thought of as an inner technology. That sounds funny to modern ears, but only because we've sunk so far from the ancients, and even more so from the primitives. I wrote about it years ago, in a posting about Werner Herzog's film, "The Cave of Forgotten Dreams":
[The film] takes us inside a French cave, discovered in 1994, containing the oldest known art, from some 32,000 years ago. The obvious surprise is that these ravishingly beautiful drawings are far more sophisticated than we'd have expected. The most skilled modern artists could respect them without condescension. The less obvious surprise, spoken of only indirectly, is the nature of their power. Herzog, the investigating scientists, and the cavern's discoverers all report a vivid and very chilling impression of presence in the cave.

You may squint and study the drawings as closely as you'd like, trying to pinpoint the magic, but, of course you will fail, because a lasagna's magic is never about the noodles, tomato sauce, meat, or cheese. As we analyze the art, trying to define it and conceptualize it, we miss everything. It's what's missed when our own art is viewed literally and technically. The thing our ancient forebears excelled at is the thing we've mostly lost - to the point where we can't even recognize it when it's in front of our face - or, more to the point, under our skin. We can only chatter in confusion and fear, like the cavemen probing the monolith in "2001".

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I've beefed up the "Popular Entries" list of links in the left margin. Take a look, if you'd like.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

The Magic of Low Density

Night Driver

It's 1980 and my big exploits are 1. learning to drive and 2. hanging out in pinball/video arcades (arcades in the 80s were like philosophy in the 00s, art in the 10s, bebop in the 50s, pop music in the 60s, film in the 70s, and food in the 90s). I like playing an early driving game, "Night Driver". Unlike current day ones, there is no photorealism, just a highly abstract ribbon of highway to be navigated via physical steering wheel and gas and brake pedals. Per video game convention, one crashes frequently. So, after an hour or so, having "died" umpteen times, I make an anxious connection: "Wow, it's so easy to crash while driving! Should I be much more scared?"

It took a while to recognize the critical difference: The video game takes place at the equivalent of 200 mph. If you were to slow the game way down, it would be extremely boring to play, but you'd hardly crash at all. That's real driving. Real driving I realized, with relief, is like a video game played at 1/10th speed. Boring, but you don't crash.


I've always eaten a lot of cereal. I once experienced the joy of impressing my favorite food writer, John Thorne on the topic. While reading his erudite and beautiful white paper on the historical foodway of "milk toast" (reprinted in "Best Food Writing 2010", and much of the piece can be viewed via Google Books) I emailed him this:
About 3/4 of the way through, though still full from dinner, I stormed into the kitchen like a man possessed, and, without thinking, poured myself an enormous bowl of cereal. And immediately realized that breakfast cereal is, in just about every way, the contemporary stand-in for milk toast.
He loved it. He hadn't thought of that connection.

To this day I curate more cereal choices than anyone over age 10 with parents worth under $100M (I normally stock like six or seven boxes). Sometimes visitors ask me to account for this overabundance, and I offer this explanation: "I'm a grown-up now, so I at least get to have as much cereal as I want." It always strikes people as 1. odd, and 2. completely indisputable. It is what they call a "conversation stopper".

At some point I learned, to my immense surprise, that muffins contain 500 calories or more, and even Dunkin Donuts crappy soft little bagels - plain ones, shmearless - weigh in at a hefty 310 calories. And yet a serving of Corn Flakes or Rice Chex is just 100 calories (sans milk). How is this possible, when a bowl of cereal occupies similar volume to a bagel or muffin?

This, too, took a while, but I figured it out. Cereal is almost entirely air. Break it up and compact it, and a bowlful would reduce to a few tablespoons.

I find it cognitively soothing to connect these two epiphanies. What's at play behind both counterintuitive conclusions? The magic of low density!

Friday, September 16, 2022

The State of the Mac

I've always used Macbook Pros docked with external monitor, keyboard, and mouse at home. It offers the best of all worlds; maintaining a portable option without sacrificing full desktop comforts at home.

But then iPads got better (I'm still using this setup from ten years ago), and I found myself taking my laptop with me less and less often. So when it was time to upgrade to a new machine, I had a choice: 1. pay up for a Macbook Pro with a fancy expensive retina screen I'd never actually see as I used it like a Mac Mini, or 2. buy a Mac Mini. The latter cost half the price, making it a no-brainer. So I sold my Macbook Pro and bought the Mini (either used or refurbished, I can't remember; I never buy this kind of equipment new).

I kept using my excellent 4K monitor (link above) with the Mini for a while, but, compelled to give my aging eyes every advantage, began researching 5K monitors. I learned that the only affordable route was to buy a 2020 iMac Retina, with built-in 27" 5K display. The thing was so bafflingly cheap that the computer essentially came for free. So I sold my Mac Mini and monitor.

The iMac's 5K display is astounding, though the computer, while considerably faster than the Mac Mini on specs, didn't deliver any discernible speed improvement. No computer does anymore. As I wrote earlier this year, computers are now fast enough…though I’m apparently the only one who’s noticed. My 2015 Macbook Pro, my 2018 Mac Mini, and my 2020 iMac felt more or less equally fast, though their specs varied widely. So fast as to be essentially instantaneous for normal tasks. Fast enough!

I'm headed to live in Portugal for a while, and, having researched options for bringing iMacs on a plane, decided to put it on the slow container ship that’s bringing the rest of my stuff. After much scheming, here's how I'll bridge the gap: I bought a 2021 MacBook Pro (open-box on eBay), and will use that until my stuff arrives in Portugal in the Spring. Then I can sell the Macbook Pro in Portugal for more than I paid for it, and return to the comforts of my luxurious 27" 5K iMac screen (note that all Apple devices are dual voltage).

I'm averse to small screens - even the comparatively huge 16” screen of this Macbook Pro. When I first started writing (on a Mac Classic II with a 9" screen) a more experienced writer - I think it was David Lindsay - mused to me about how writers suddenly all seemed to be stamping out 9" chunks. There'd be great coherence within each tiny block, but the beginnings of paragraphs/chapters/articles/books and their endings often felt oddly disconnected, as if they'd been crafted with blinders on. Which they were!

I've embraced larger displays whenever I could afford them, and each leap improved my writing coherence. It's painful for me to revert to a laptop screen. A big part of what feels like "home" to me is a large display. And while I'm plagued by anxieties re: chunky coherence, and thirst for the day when I can unfold a business card-sized slab of magical material into a semi-rigid 27" screen anywhere I want, this temporary screen size demotion is a concession for the move.

For the moment I'm still typing on my 2020 iMac, and the screen is fantastic. It remains nearly impossible to find an affordable separate 5K display. Advancement isn’t a given! In fact, Apple discontinued this 27" iMac, so you might want to look for it on eBay (again: computers are fast enough™, so you won't take a processor speed hit by reverting to two year old hardware).

I just received the 2021 MacBook Pro 16" M1 Retina (note that an M2 version is due soon), and it's terrific, display dimensions aside.

Sometimes a computer "feels" great. I remember, after buying a Performa 630 in 1995, emailing my friend (and programming hero) Bill Monk to rave about it ("I haven't had to restart it in days!"). It was impossible to say what made the 630 so creamy delicious to use, but it's less of a mystery with this MacBook Pro.

It's got the custom M1 chip, designed by Apple not just for MacOS and Mac hardware, but specifically for recent MacOS and recent hardware, so it's not tasked with serving all scenarios. Most chips support a funnel of legacy hardware and software, but this thing's positively bespoke, so the usability - the Fahrvergnugen - is off the hook.

I described the Performa 630 as more solid than any Mac computer I'd ever used, though the touchy-feely notions of “solidity” and "usability" are surely nonsense. Hardware differences are easily quantified via drive and processing speeds. Beyond those stats, it either works or it doesn't - though, sure, poor hardware will torture you as errant operations touch errantly upon errant points of failure.

Yet no one buys more credulously into the "usability" myth than hardcore computer geeks - the ones you'd expect to be super rational. I remember Bill being genuinely excited to hear how buttery good the Performa 630 "felt".

On those same terms, the MacBook Pro is doce de leche. It's fast, but all computers are fast now. Bespoke architecture, fahrvergnugen, impressive build quality, crazy nice 16" screen. And Apple's finally put keyboard-gate behind them (notoriously crappy keyboards for several generations of Macbook Pros). This may not be my favorite keyboard, but it's good, and the built-in TouchID relieves pain I didn't know I’d been suffering on the iMac. I’ll say this, though: my 5K iMac display at half brightness looks like stadium lights compared to this laptop at max. 

One real speed benefit, courtesy of the M1 chip: boot time is under 20 seconds. Not that I often reboot.

I particularly enjoy talking and writing about Apple tech, because, while I've been very avid about it for a very long time, the topic gets buried beneath my more public-facing interests. Really, I could write full-time about this stuff. Prior Apple writings (including, sorry, lots of posts about AAPL stock) here. Don’t miss ”Massive Mac Info Dump.”

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Twelve Light Years, or Half an Inch

I figured out a great analogy for something I previously found impossible to explain. But it will take a minute to set up (especially with the self-indulgent digressions).

I was talking to a friend about the Slog. I said I'm never unaware that one day a lot of people might read through the backlog.

Totally Understandable Reply: Jim, only a very small number of people will ever have a taste for this sort of thing, and be willing to take deep dives through convoluted and deliberately counterintuitive thoughts. This is hardly a mainstream undertaking, and, I hate to break it to you, but that's unlikely to change.

My reply: In the 1990s everyone I knew thought I was out of my mind for devoting so much time and effort to hunting down great eats. And I seemed like an embarrassing hippy for practicing yoga. And I was downright demented to hold out for obscure imported beers when Bud's perfectly fine. I tried to interest my friends in the Internet, but they assured me that "computer stuff" was strictly for nerds like me.

I could go on. Hoo, boy, could I go on! This has been the pattern for my whole life. So I reject the notion that I'm a contrarian doting on esoterica; a golden retriever fallen rapturously in love with random sticks and squeaky toys; an eccentric destined to remain as marginal tomorrow as I seem today. My kooky interests always - always! - blow up into enormity. And yet the slate wipes clear every damned time. I move on to my next fascination, and even those who've paid attention continue to view me as oddly beguiled. At some level, I've come to believe it, myself.

The stuff I write here isn't so difficult or convoluted or intellectual. It's just hard to choke down while firmly locked into the assumptions and framings of our era. There will be a reframing, and my insights will seem absolutely "duh" for a swath of society (this series of postings will take the longest to strike a chord, but we'll get there, as we finally did with relativity - which many of us still don't really understand, but we're at least past considering it silly hogwash). So I write as if a bona fide crowd might one day read. Even though it's highly unlikely.

To be sure, people never go back to consider how things started. No one ever raked through my ancient beer writing so they could shake my hand for being super early. The craft beer craze sailed right past me like a train. My name's not engraved in The Annals of Beer. It doesn't work that way. And there were no public apologies from folks who deemed me overheated on the subject way back when. Redemption is not a thing. And that's fine, I'm not looking for medals. I'm just delighted to be awash in great beer. The future is awesome!

So while I can acknowledge that, to contemporary eyes, the Slog seems like eccentric writing on esoteric shit, I know that 1. the world will move closer to my perspective (not through any actions of mine - the first popping kernel doesn't make the other kernels pop), and 2. I won't be noticed or remembered when it does. However...a few stragglers might randomly bump into the Slog and spread word to a world better prepared to pay attention to these sorts of observations. That's possible, though by no means probable.

A kooky, marginal project of mine drew mass attention once. Suddenly, I didn't seem so kooky or marginal. In Chowhound's early days, I occasionally imagined what it might be like if it blew up big, but those were cartoonish fantasies, invested with very little reality. The humble beginnings and the imagined outcome were two unrelated things, separated by twelve light years of space.

From the reverse perspective, they are one thing, barely separated at all. The humble origin remained quite real for me. I'm sure that Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak never stopped associating Apple with Jobs' parents' garage, despite the success and scaling. Having lived through a marginal thing drawing wide attention (at a lower order of magnitude than Apple, of course), I'm always mildly cognizant of the possibility. To me, it's not twelve light years of distance from origin to outcome. I've learned that it's half an inch, even if it never happens.

That last part is unrelatable for most people, which is why I've long strained for an analogy. And I've finally got one! Here goes:
As a child, you fantasized about being an adult. And that fantasy was cartoonish and unreal. Origin and outcome were two separate things, 12 light years apart. But looking backward, it's only half an inch, right? Aren't you much less distant from your childhood right now than your adulthood seemed back then?
So here I am I working in obscurity, plying a pursuit that will likely remain obscure. Fine. If a few people benefit, great. If it's only me here, alone, working out answers, that's great, too. But it all takes place a comfortable half-inch from mass attention, because I learned, once, that that's the truth.

Consider if you were to relive childhood. The second time, adulthood wouldn't feel like a grand goal or preoccupation. You'd recognize that your fingerpaintings are more than a silly childish proxy for fine art painting. Smart, sensitive kids perpetually feel themselves to be engaged in silly childish proxies for proper adult accomplishments. "Kid-sized meals" and "children's books" and "G" ratings, etc. But, the second time around, you might recognize that fingerpaintings are beautiful and perfect in and of themselves. You'd take the here-and-now more seriously, and have more fun, and be in less of an impatient rush. You certainly wouldn't idealize adulthood. In fact, it would hardly enter your mind at all.

So I'm not praying to Cheeses that THIS TIME I'll cook up an insight that might draw mass attention AND I'LL BE SOMEBODY AGAIN! That mindset is for people for whom that result is a distant two-dimensional cartoon, twelve light years away. No, I putter in my garage, fully immersed in the doing, bemused by a mild awareness of both origin and potential. When the two are separated by a mere half inch, you sense no gap, and proceed full-heartedly.

Of course, it’s gotta be genuinely good (I can vouch, at least, for the postings listed in the left margin). I don’t register a potential for tour groups to one day file in and out of my house to view my sock drawer. I mean, yeah, it’s a pretty good sock drawer. I’m not un-proud of it. But I’m no lunatic. I don’t harbor delusions of sock grandeur. I know my frickin’ limits.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Fantasy Commencement: Chapter 3

Ever since I graduated from college, I've fantastized about what I'd say if I were a commencement speaker. I'm slowly compiling ideas, labelled "fantasy commencement".

Anytime you find something great (a writer, a book, a poem, a brand of yogurt, etc.), note it down.

Anytime you receive a good sounding tip (for pizza, or a podcast, etc.), note it down.

Anytime you notice something that looks cool (a park, a tree, a cafe, etc.), note it down.

Anytime you figure out how to do something you'll need to do again some day (download a PDF, print on an envelope, add lyrics to iTunes music, etc.), note it down.

You have a smart phone. Use it! You can also note stuff by shooting photos (which, don't forget, conveniently record location and time).

This sounds like abnormal behavior. And it is. But consider normality. Most people eat crappy yogurt and can't recall 99% of the great stuff they once knew about or heard about. What was that movie? Where was that restaurant?

Abnormal behavior is problematic if it puts you at a disadvantage. But the following are abnormal:
Being super good at something
Not being overweight
Committing to life-long learning
Being kind even when you can get away with being mean
Being generous when no one's watching
Living below your means
God bless abnormality if it gives you an edge. Happiness is abnormal. Creativity is abnormal. Excelling is abnormal. What's normal? Tedium, depression, and conformity.

I'm "Mr. Tip". I've offered hot leads to thousands of people, face to face (way more via my writing). And 95% of them thank me profusely, pretend to commit it to memory, and obviously immediately forget. They go back to eating needlessly crappy yogurt (you want Esti brand, often found at Shop Rite...and their humus is great, too). Simply because they couldn't be bothered to jot it down. 5% of people note stuff down, and enjoy greatness in every aspect of their lives. It's like night and day.

I promise this: You won't look back in regret for taking the time to note stuff. At no point will you think "Geez, all that work...for nothing!"

Obviously, you needn't obsessively chase down every single lead. That would be the bad sort of "abnormal"! But give yourself a fighting chance. At least have them available. Be kind to your future self by leaving a trail of breadcrumbs!

It's not "eccentric" if you get great results.

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