Ode to Boompa

Boompa has lived a sweet life.
He always found new interests.  He was a true lover of learning.  He had lots of songs memorized on the guitar.  He’d pick up new instruments all the time.  He was a cool dude.  So easy going, too.  He could make new friends like it was nothing.  Always laid back and laughing.
Then there was the farm.  9 years or more he had this place, it seemed just to show his grandson’s how to enjoy the outdoors.  He could have invested that money or bought himself a bigger house.  He had his car.  I grew up with a rich grandpa.  He used to spoil the shit out of us.  That’s how we felt.  In actuality, he was very smart about how he indulged.  We got a master’s course in finance at a very young age.  This is why I’ve never been in debt and do pretty much what I want.  Boompa showed me how.  He wasn’t just rich with money, he had a refined culture of his own.  He got into Pandora Radio when it came out and would play a station called Instrumental Folk.  His house, full of genuine conversation starters, would be submerged in this warm acoustic music.  It felt like spring in the woods in his living room.  He still has most of those articles.  The eductation from his mind, movies, and time at the cabin are probably my favorite lesons I’ve experienced so far.  He was the best Boompa you could dream up.
He tought us to sail.  Steve and I took that knowledge and ran with it.  Probably more than anything, he taught us to overcome the frustration of learning new things, like flipping the 4-wheeler 3 times in 30 minutes, and still getting back on it again.
Boompa had an endless sense of humor.  Even when he’s not laughting, he magnages to keep his composure, like when he nipped his leg with a chainsaw.  He’s about the most fearless guy I’ve ever met.

end focus

Love what you do and you won’t work a day in your life.

Kids start hearing this as soon as they learn the concept of work.  The realistic options for what types of work are available are rarely lovable.  Furthermore, it is often perverted into the idea of working a job with characteristics similar to what you love to do.

If you reverse it then you’re not left hoping.  Start with what you love and build the rest of life around it.


In the life of most westerners, the threat of death comes at old age.  Our cultures do not take care of or revere the elderly and we are left to fend for ourselves.

A routine living of a first-worlder does not encounter predators, starvation, homicide, or disease.  Therefore it is the fear of death down the road that inspires our daily subconscious and plans for the future.

If on the other hand, one were to regularly experience the fear of death through adventurous activities, it would be the obstacle around the next corner that would be of most interest.  Rock climbing, motorcycle riding, swimming with sharks and paragliding are all potentially fatal.  Continuous focus of the present would be your best guarantee of survival.

If it’s true that death is what makes life meaningful, then frequent encounters with death would mean a life full of experienced understanding.

The focus of presence can also be related to livelihood and quality of life.

Working toward something is a common ingredient in the recipe for success.  If it is a true joy to work toward the same thing for a long time, then this is a great plan.  If, however, this is a miserable road to a hypothetical end scenario, then this is a messed up plan.  Forcing yourself to live a way that only pleases you a fraction of the time makes it more likely that you will later live that same fractional way.

Living life exactly the way you want to live let’s you practice and become better at living how you like.  If you see yourself working on hobbies and passions or exploring the world go and do those things.  Don’t put them off until some purchase or accomplishment allows you to.  Start on a small scale if you have to.

Make the things that make you happiest a priority.  In the end, what will you want to call your life?


I think life wants us to feel good about ourselves, whatever that means for us individually.

User Error

Cats are really present. Dogs live in the future. Always anticipating a treat, the door, some food, playing catch, etc.

That is, after they are trained.

This is a generalization.  Like people from a certain part of the world or the next town over or that look a certain way, it always comes down to a case-by-case basis.  I’ve had a couple of cool dogs, one in particular that was basically untrainable and also minded his own business.  I also know an extremely well-trained dog that sailed a couple thousand miles with us and also is as cool as the bottom of an iceberg.  It’s the stereotype I’m referring to.  Yip-yapping around their owners feet and clawing at the front door with uncontrollable anxiety.  That’s a future dog.

People are the same way. Most, not all, but most people become very anxious after their training. Planning a retirement at age 25 is a good example. Working toward a degree, a promotion, a new car, will keep you always taking the present for granted. Today won’t exist, except for trace amounts in the echoes of your mind. The future will be the only reality you perceive.

The problem, of course, is that it’s the other way around.

Right now is the only thing that is actually happening. The future will get here eventually, arriving moment by moment, but it won’t ever by what we predict.  And we won’t notice when it does, since a large percentage of our focus will be on another hypothetical parallel universe in which none of us actually exist.


Sunglasses trigger an ego reaction through perceived indifference.

There’s so much crap in the world.  If you want to succeed, give people something good.

If you are feeling depressed, it’s because you are victimizing yourself.  You can’t see the way out.  You know what the problem is, so start writing it down.  You’ll naturally start writing ways to solve it, whether through action or discussion (still action).  After writing it down you’ll feel like you are in control of your life again.  Putting things that are in your head into the physical world (writing) is a simple way to show yourself you are still have control over your life.  Google: Locus of Control.  (Thanks, Kacey.)

I buy two of the same fruit or veggie often.  One organic, one regular.

I want the organic to lose.  If they are the same in quality, flavor, and texture, then the organic loses because it is marketed as something superior.  Usually it wins.

I want organic to lose because that would mean that I outsmarted the trendy hippie-hipsters.  I want to outsmart complacency, mindless following and lack of experimentation.  The anti-scientific hearsay that is plaguing the western world and perpetuating its folly with clever marketing.  I’m a cynic.  I think a company selling the same product at a higher price knows that working class consumers are too tired, lazy, and unimaginative to research products, and just want someone to tell them what is good for them.

I want to be able to say “Ah-hah! See?!!  It’s bullshit!  There’s no such thing as “organic” because that literally means: “Any member of a large class of gaseous, liquid, or solid chemical compounds whose molecules contain carbon.”

But there are numerous definitions for everything and each story has at least two sides.  Words are weak.  it comes down to personal preference.  Labels and descriptions are often misleading.  We should always be on the lookout for bullshit, especially in a society where the most common thought that we ponder is, “how can I have more $$”  

So far. organic has a 90% success rate.  Don’t take my word for it.  Experiment for yourself.

Listening to sad music reinforces a victim mentality, which keeps you focused on the past, in your head, and kills proactivity.  It’s a shitty way to live.  Keep sad music listening to a minimum.

for 200,000 years, we had a group of friends no bigger than 30 people.  If you had a hundred friends, you knew a lot of people.  It was an event if you saw a new person.  That was a good day. Otherwise, you were working, finding food, basically hanging out with the same people.  This still happens to a large extent with the people we work with.  Between them and the people we live with, that’s a full social life.  

Insert social media.  Add 50 texts a day.  Then look at 25 people’s lives on Facebook.  Reply to some messages.  Check out a few Instagram photos.  Send a message on WhatsApp.  I’m a lightweight, too.  Other people do SnapChat and Twitter and I don’t even know what else.  

We went from interacting with less than 20 people on a daily basis to hundreds or even thousands.  

The feeling we get when we need social stimulus still comes now and then.  When that feeling isn’t there, we can take care of our work, homes, hobbies, transportation, skills, community, etc.  The human psyche evolved to handle those 20-50 people in our lives.  It’s been that way since humans started.  The overload of social media is a stressful burden.  It may require a leap in evolution.

If I truly care about learning as much as I can about coffee, which of the following would be the most effective? to act like I know more than anybody I meet, or to act like I don’t know anything?

I got no time for victimization media anymore.  Music about heartache.  I want solutions, not complicated rewordings of the problem at hand.  That is philisophical masturbation.

I just tried watching a movie called Waking Life.  I made it about 45 minutes before I turned it off.  It is dense with descriptions on how we are subjects in a modern-day slavery scenario and cannot break free from our conditioning and blah, blah, blah.  I skipped around through the rest of the movie, but it was chalked full of the same “boo-hoo, I can’t do what I want bullshit”.  It’s bullshit.  

People are afraid and don’t follow their hearts and that’s that.  I know this from all of the traveling comments that say “I wish I could do that.”  You could if you could just be honest with yourself and say, “I’m being a lazy wimp.  I have to make sacrifices to get the things I want.”  Then at least you have an honest starting point and can make the necessary change.  

Or, if you don’t really want to do this or that, than shut the fuck up and stop lying to everyone.  Just stop whining.  Do something or don’t do something, but don’t just sit there and cry like a 1st-world little bitch.  It’s always the same spoiled americans that complain about being held down by the man.  The same people who take potable water for granted, who never get food poisoning, who complain when they see a plastic bag on the sidewalk, but don’t pick it up.  

At least half of the members of our species will never know what it’s like to turn on a hot-water faucet or to be able to drink out of the sink.  Stop crying about how bad you have it in this country. It is tailored for losers and bums and winners. If you want to be a rich asshole (or rich nice, cool person), there’s no better place to become one.  If you want to point out how unfair it is that people work harder than you and get more out of life, great, you have about 200 million friends.

Approaching Cruising Altitude

The cars are so self-important. Each driver racing and cussing their neighbors.  The manicured lawns demonstrate prowess.  Empty lots of orange clay, soon to be covered in sod.  Fuck those squirrels that want to chew up my $5700 yard.  I’ll kill them all!  Far from Atlanta, a random stripe, void of trees.  Maybe a new interstate.  Big flat buildings like circuit boards with squiggly neighborhoods between.  The open green, squared off.  Growing parcels.  Rare ponds.  Trees, no trees, clay, sliced by country roads.  Cotton balls gaining numbers.  Above is blue.  Ahead is white, below is green.  These are the true colors of the world.

Food Wins

I think we avoid learning our history because it’s not a fairy tale.


Career soldiers are supplied via government and will eventually defeat a population who splits time between fighting and producing food.

Cities are more efficient than small towns and allow more specialized jobs.  As human population continues to grow, so does urban sprawl.  There is no right or wrong, there’s just the laws of the natural universe, one of which is force.

Suburbs and strip malls will continue to consume the countryside until the human population reaches the capacity of its food production.  We have done this throughout all of history, growing as geography and technology have allowed us.  It will suck when we run out of food, but that’s when we reach our next level of homeostasis.

A profound example relating the previous paragraphs is the hunter-gathering people who settled the Chatham Islands around AD 1500.  The islands weren’t suitable for agriculture and so small in size that population control was critical (even castrating infant males) to prevent over hunting.  They were so close-knit, they had to handle disputes diplomatically rather than violently.

When the farming people from New Zealand (one and the same people) rediscovered them in 1835, they slaughtered and enslaved their direct ancestors.  The biggest difference between the two cultures was the food production capacity of New Zealand versus that of the cold and relatively tiny Chatham islands.  (I learned this from a fascinating book called Guns, Germs, and Steel, and then fact checked with Wikipedia.)

Perhaps the single largest factor throughout human history which decides who will be conquered is food supply.  All other innovations (writing, organized government, metallurgy, etc.) seem to spawn as a result.

Rome and the christian way of life spread, not because of belief, rather the raised quality of living.  Christianity served as common ground, facilitating diplomacy and cohesion as never before, even in the most heated debates.  This is one general observation in Peter Heather’s: The Fall of the Roman Empire.  The same is happening with our new moral compass: Chipotle, AT&T, Amazon, etc. guide us because they deliver results and improve our lives.

It is nice that folks in Guatemala City can get matching bathroom mats for the price of handwoven rug by an indigenous tribe.  It’s also a little sad to see how Pizza Hut and Radio Shack replace mom-n-pap shops, slowly homogenizing the formerly unique towns and cities across the globe.

Manufactured space food will inevitably be disguised as the latest “healthy” trends, replacing simple foods recommended by the old and wise.  Anti-aging pills will promise a substitute for clean living and exercise.  We are still searching for the fountain of youth, after all.

Why do I share this?  It entertains me to understand stuff, like how humans really function.  If the right people get the right information, maybe we can avoid getting sucker-punched.


I find it impossible to experience joy and judgement simultaneously.

Piers and Beers

Alcohol is our friend, well at least mine.  I stay away from it because of the health implications.  In today’s developed society, we so often disregard spiritual health that ties in with the other 3: mental, emotional, and physical.

Maybe social health could be a fifth pillar of the human foundation, as quoted in the movie Chasing Mavericks, but I feel it surrounds the others like the black circle around the BMW logo.

So these alcoholic spirits quench our thirsty souls, rinsing the mildewy fog from our mental lens, leaving a clear view on important things like music, laughing, reaching out to old friends, and adventure.

A little bit goes a long way, too.  The same way that too much exercising or wiki-surfing can be unhealthy, booze can get out of control.

Enjoying life is an art form requiring practice.  My school did not teach us how to nurture the soul.  One of those gospel churches might be helpful.

Did you know that you should never get blood work done after a traumatic event?  If you get a blood test the day after a breakup, your cholesterol levers will be completely out of whack along with a host of other bio-markers.  I’m not going to bore you with details and examples, but it’s a common topic in the science community that stress is tied to physical health at a cellular level.

Too much research into nutrition and history has left me feeling dispassionate and stoic.  All work, no play…

Sitting on White St. Pier, I scribbled meaningless words into my notebook feeling like I had to complete a task I had given myself.  I can sometimes be kinda hard on myself.

Then I had an idea to get a beer, which I never do anymore out of fear of knowing what alcohol does to the gut micro-biome.  Fear.

I felt something new going to the Quick-e-mart.  Something almost forgotten.

The next thing I know, I’m with a friend at different pier for sunset.  Another friend meets us and then we’re playing wiffle ball with 10 new friends.  Then live music at Virgilios.  Good band, too.

At the end of the night, I’m lying on my back at Higg’s Pier, watching the full moon overhead.  My girlfriend Kelsey joins me after her own adventures with her girlfriends.

The next morning left me feeling relaxed and reconnected.  Less fear.  It all started with sitting on a pier, thinking about beer.



breeze, sun

smells, sounds

birds, lizards

bugs, butterflies

cars, people

clouds, trees

flowers, dogs

houses, streets

signs, lights


We Are Naturally Prejudiced

The car ahead slows, but there is no red light and no stop sign.  Waiting to see the reason, you stomp on the brakes, almost colliding as the car darts down a side road.  Looking at the license plate, you see they are from [INSERT STATE HERE].  You scoff and say something like, “Figures.  People from South Carolina (or California, New York, Alaska, New Mexico, etc.) can’t drive for $#*%!”


It doesn’t matter which state the car was licensed in.  We looooooove playing the stereotype game.  If we’re really lucky we can see what the driver looks like!  Then we get to play racist or misogynist or someone who doesn’t trust grandparents and kids, except for their own, of course.


It’s ok, it’s not your fault.

Well, kind of.  It wasn’t your fault until you learned that you were doing it.  Now if you do it, it’s definitely your fault.

Here’s a 15 minute video if you want to know why and how we create stereotypes and how to avoid them.

TED Talk on Stereotypes

Paul Bloom, the guy in the video, is a psychology professor at Yale.  You can even take some of his classes online for free.  (The university offers free online classes)

The lesson I took away is this modern-adapted story from philosopher Adam Smith, the father of modern economics.

“Imagine the death of a thousand people in a country you are not familiar with, such as India, China, or somewhere in Africa.  How would you respond?  You’d say that it is terrible, and go about your life as usual.

Now imagine instead that you learn that tomorrow your little finger will be cut off.  That would matter a lot to you.  You wouldn’t sleep.”

The golden rule is great in theory, but even better in practice.  We are able to actually plan ahead and set up systems to avoid our natural prejudices.

Blind auditions are used by orchestras where the musician plays behind a curtain or screen.  According to one study, the number of female musicians increased from 10% in the 1970s to 35% in the 1990s due to this interview method.

Unless you are a parthenogenically-produced hermit living in a log cabin in the inaccessible woods, you belong, even peripherally, to some tribe.  It can be a sports team, religion, political corporate entity, spiritual group, sorority or fraternity, country, cult, ethnic group, profession, sex, race, military branch, political party, pro or anti movement, or any other special interest group.” -Judith Fein, PsychologyToday.com

We may never conquer our natural tendency to categorize unfairly, mostly because it is so useful to us.

If we are honest with ourselves, we can learn each time we overreact, and then set ourselves up to handle the next situation better.





Selling out or buying in?

The following remarks were scribbled at 3:00AM :

Starting a business is like trading everything you enjoy for life insurance.  Maybe that’s just the sun setting on my twenties.  It’s not even my business.  I’ve been building it for someone else and haven’t yet decided if I want to be a partner.  Usually when someone turns down good money, there’s a good reason.  Something isn’t right.  You try to put your finger on what is wrong, but everything is interrelated.

This feeling of resistance is my reaction to change.  Coffee roasting has been an eye opener and entertaining.  The feeling of caging myself grew stronger during my recent vacation to Antigua. For years, I’ve made fun of Americans who take 2-week vacations and here I am.  It’s actually 4 weeks, but one is in the States, and I have an itinerary, which is just gross.

Marketing has overshadowed my relationship with truth.  Customer loyalty is much more important than friends when your life is based on taking people’s money.  Friends are quickly ranked by spending power and then ranked again by how strong you are financially connected.  Instead of staying up late working on photography or learning blues riffs, I  run numbers to predict next months sales and costs.

Pretty exciting stuff, right?  All of this for about half the $ of being a waiter.  But, like all american dreams, it might pay off one day, so there’s the potential of being happy. Maybe after losing all meaningful relationships, giving up my passions and hobbies, and a permanent resting-bitchface, I’ll have a profitable business that only requires 80% of my free time.

I am stoked! (He said sarcastically.)


While these notes reflected my true feelings at that moment, feelings change several times throughout the day.  Below is a quote from Mark Manson’s newly released, first book called The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life.  

You know who bases their entire lives on their emotions? Three-year-old kids.  And dogs.  You know what else three-year-olds and dogs do? Shit on the carpet.

An obsession and over-investment in emotion fails us for the simple reason that emotions never last.

I say I’m buying in because I’m trading the reckless habits of my twenties for, hopefully, a more sustainable approach to well being.  I’ve met the dudes and chicks who traveled non-stop into their 60s.  After 7 continents and 89 countries, their eyes say they are as unfulfilled as the next person.  (This article, like all writing, is a rationalization.)  It could be a good life change. It could be me finding clever ways to lie to myself.

Drastic, spontaneous life changes worked great in the past.  Today I’m trying out my grownup shoes.  I’m comparing present Me to those of past Me and extrapolating the wants/desires of future Me.  More than likely I’m becoming a spoiled American again and getting older/weaker.  These days, I like eating well.  While I still believe expensive clothes are pointless, I enjoy clean clothes that fit.  Finding used clothes that fit is difficult because I’m average height and vagabonds are thin.


I’ve found a new fascination in economics.  It seems fair, like yin-yang or Newton’s 3rd Law, or as my dad put it, that money is just a measure of productivity.  With enough financial momentum you can take a hiatus from reality, which alters your perception. Experience is the best teacher and most people miss this one.  Taking an outside look will heighten your sense of bullshit detection.

Freakonomics is an entertaining book about psychology and money.  It has chapters like “Why Do Drug Dealers Still Live With Their Moms?” and “What do Schoolteachers and Sumo Wrestlers have in common?”  At times it’s longwinded because they show you exactly how the numbers and connections are found.


As far as work goes, the job is fun when I’m not burned out, the people I work with have good hearts, and I make enough to survive.  There’s really nothing to bitch about until I have a dream about backpacking China and wake up craving to sell everything and go.  Another quote from Manson’s book echoes in my head daily:

“Learn to sustain the pain you’ve chosen.  When you choose a new value, you are choosing to introduce a new form of pain into your life.  Relish it.  Savor it.  Welcome it with open arms.  Then act despite it.”

Many of the greats say the same thing and I’m trying to listen.  Reading books like Ben Franklin’s autobiography keep the motivation fresh.  They also lead to a boring life, so I like to throw in some Bukowski in there.  In my experience, we are influenced by our surroundings.  When my thoughts get dark or dangerous, it’s time to switch back to the sunshine books and movies.  Reading the funny pages on Reddit helps.

If I do this coffee thing for another couple of years and end up with nothing but a new wardrobe and some business experience I can still take off to the other side of the planet and start working on a farm with a bunch of hippies.  There are always options.

On the positive side, living the same life everyday gives me a chance to confront my bitchy behavior.  Some people call it being “grounded” or “depth of experience vs. breadth of experience.”


In the 1st world, it’s important to not get brainwashed by various forms of news media and the plethora of small-talking dumbasses milling through the promised land like bumper cars.

Ask yourself some quick questions.  Do you like being afraid?  Would you say it is a guilty pleasure?  If not, why watch or discuss news that will never affect you?  If a bus crashes down the street, that’s worth talking about.  The local library burned down?  That’s awful and you should feel something.  If “several” (3) people were killed in a shooting across the globe, that has got nothing to do with you.  Don’t be influenced so easily by meaningless fear advertising.  It makes someone else a lot of money and gives you nothing but paranoia.

Let’s talk about the Zika virus.  I’ve heard tourists in Key West talk about canceling flights because they would be too close to a reported transmission country.  The U.S. is listed as a transmission country.  Are you going to run to Canada or Iceland?

Steve and I were asked upon returning from Guatemala if Zika was bad down there.  In the 1st and 4th largest tourism destinations, neither one of us had heard a word about it except through visiting Americans.

This article explains the difference between the original suspected number of cases and the actual proven cases.  It turns out it’s much easier to suggest something scary than to find real evidence.

Some “expert” will throw up a random number of suspected cases with no data at all and a journalist can write an article stating the “reported figures”.  That is how these silly scares start.

“Many people infected with Zika virus won’t have symptoms or will only have mild symptoms.”  -https://www.cdc.gov/zika/symptoms/

Some babies just have small heads.  That’s not a good reason to cancel your trip to Jamaica.


Every year, people die from “epidemics”.  Some of these epidemics have as few as 10 deaths per year.  One of the biggest killers in the world is still influenza.  Are you going to change the way you view the world because of the flu?

Here are the epidemics numbers by century.

Discussion and preparation are almost useful, but the real thing that saves people is medicine.  Get sick, get checked out, and get better.  We already do this.  It’s not some new revelation that Fox News or Washington Post is helping us to understand.  They help us to buy more Windex and McDonald’s.  That is what the news is good for.  If you want “4 Weird Tips for Belly Fat” that are sure to disappoint, click the link for Dangerous Latin America Travel Info.  If the article you are about to share with your friends is covered with ads for lame products or celebrity breakups, stop and ask yourself how much that story is actually worth.

These trending stories about horrible illnesses abroad are effective at keeping American dollars in America.  One time in grad school, I changed a vacation from Mexico to The Dominican Republic because of H1N1 Swine Flu.  Can you guess which animal has the closest anatomy to humans in the food world?  Pigs.  If we were to BBQ a person shoulder, it would probably look and taste just like a pork shoulder.  Guess what is now a seasonal flu in humans? H1N1.  Here is the full list of terrifying symptoms according to WebMD:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Fatigue

Holy shit!  Honey, get the kids!  We’re going to Maine until this thing blows over!!!

Joking aside, the flu does kill a lot of people each year.  Swine Flu (H1N1) is one of the many subtypes.  More people die in car accidents.  Heart disease is still the leading cause of deaths for humans.  Does this mean we are going to stop driving to get our hamburgers and fries?  No, because it has no shock factor.  Exotic diseases are new and interesting conversation starters.  The real epidemic is word of mouth fear mongering.  That’s why I can’t even be mad at the news outlets.  People are begging to have the shit scared out of them.  I guess that’s what happens when a species has no natural predators and whose fight or flight instinct has no practical use anymore.

But isn’t traveling still dangerous, even beyond the threat of runny nose?

Why would anyone ever want to leave the greatest country in the history of the world? It’s so much better than everywhere else… 

…unless you consider that cities are evolving simultaneously across the globe.  It isn’t realistic to imagine that New York operates on technology much differently than Tokyo or that Atlanta has less violence than Panama City.  It’s a timing thing.  A decade before I lived there, my neighborhood in the Lower East Side of Manhattan was “the projects” with a dwindling crack problem.  

If you are thinking, “well I’m not a city person”, would you consider a small town in Texas to be threatening?  Why would human behavior and psychology suddenly transform because the small town is now located in the mountains of Poland or Vietnam or Nicaragua?  The problem with nationalism is it makes you believe that people morph into a different species when they live across an imaginary border.

Think about the town you grew up in and how it looks today.  Our world view is dated.  In box office movies, foreign or abroad, the scenery and context focuses on the extremes and the stereotypes.  Humans like contrast.

I’m looking forward to the days ahead when we can view the world as it is now, not as it was during the time of the American Wild West.


Self Revelation Section:

I’m almost 30 and still say dumb, selfish, and immature shit on a daily basis.