Journal Issue 13: The Blog of Five Things

My progress on this blog reminds me of Seth Godin’s concept of The Dip. The total effort is accumulating but the results aren’t increasing. A dip can come before a breakthrough. If there’s no breakthrough coming, it’s not a dip it’s just a dead end. The trouble is that they look similar. Is this a dip or is it a dead end?

If I read the book maybe I could take a look at my situation and answer that in a few minutes. But I haven’t, so I’ll just assume the breakthrough is coming.

A template for five things

I’ll continue a rough format of five sections. Earlier posts that were more fun, both to write and read. They involved drawing. I haven’t drawn at all in over a week and haven’t been drawing regularly in a month.

I want to get back in the drawing habit. One of the best things I did regularly a couple months ago was was use storyboard templates for brainstorming.

In my effort to get back to that, I made a storyboard template that moves everything into one column to follow the blog post format better.

Each page has five of the blocks with a place for a doodle and a few lines below it. Here’s a look at a rough explanation of Warren Buffet’s goal-setting technique.

Eventually I would write a post about focusing and one technique for happiness is not focusing on becoming a billionaire like Warren Buffet.

Writing through the book backlog

I’ve still been reading. Writing book notes increases the value of the book for me quite a bit. It’s a no-brainer to continue them. I can read a book faster than I write the posts, though, so a backlog continues growing.

Here are books I’ve finished in the past couple months that I want to write notes for:

  • Rise of Superman by Steven Kotler
  • Sick in the Head by Judd Apatow
  • We Learn Nothing by Tim Kreider
  • Momo by Michael Ende
  • The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis

When the year started, I increased the frequency of listening to an audiobook. There’s a backlog for them also:

  • Born Standing Up by Steve Martin
  • Joy on Demand by Chade-Meng Tan
  • Search Inside Yourself by Chade-Meng Tan
  • Live Right and Find Happiness (although beer is much faster) by Dave Barry
  • The Mindful Athlete by George Mumford
  • The Joy of Less by Francine Jay

I can’t write 3 posts for all of these books. I don’t want to be overwhelmed by the backlog. I need to work on a solution somewhere int he middle.

The first thought is to stop reading as much and write more. Except I can’t exactly. Reading time isn’t equivalent to writing time. Reading can be done in smaller chunks of time. It’s not ideal but it works better than trying to write full posts in smaller chunks of time.

I know you were waiting for a bad food analogy—don’t worry I’ve got one.

Reading in chunks adds up. It’s like making a crepe cake. Which I’ve never done. But you add a layer a time. 10 pages here, 10 pages there. Soon you’ve got the full cake and read the entire book.

Writing in small chunks is more like adding chunks of butter to a stew. What kind of stew it is that you add butter to, I don’t know. The small pieces disappear.

I have a few better options:

  • I can write single posts with collections of shorter thoughts. That at least helps give me the mental checkmark of completely finishing a book. I can move on and write about the next book. If I write 3 posts for a book, take it as a sign that I really enjoyed it.
  • I can skip writing a book notes post altogether. I’ll probably just give some brief thoughts in one of these journal posts.

Born Standing Up by Steve Martin

I’ve been listening to more audiobooks. When the year started, I did a photo walk and really enjoyed it. Almost the entire time, I was listening to Steve Martin’s memoir Born Standing Up.

I never knew how big Steve Martin was until reading Judd Apatow’s Sick in the Head. Here’s how Apatow describes Steve Martin:

When I was young, I loved him without even understanding the premise of his act. I didn’t realize that he was poking fun at the self-importance of showbiz personalities, or the clichés of comedy. There was this whole meta thing going on that was completely over my head.

In Born Standing Up, Martin describes different points in his career and you see the development of the meta aspect of his act. He goes from being a magician doing someone else’s act to doing his own magic act to removing the magic and then realizing people are laughing at some parts that aren’t exactly part of the act to honing in and focusing on that.

Audiobooks and podcasts

Back to Sick in the Head. Key and Peele talk to Judd Apatow about improv and how it compares to stand-up. Peele talked about working with Key:

“The best moments I’ve ever seen in improv are funnier than the best stand-up bits that I’ve ever seen. There’s something that can only happen between two people collaborating, and I just think that two people with the same vision is better than one.”

The best moments from podcasts are funnier than the best audiobook moments. If you asked me a few months ago, I would’ve said audiobooks are a better use of time. I’ve changed my mind on that. Especially when listening for leisure. I’m more likely to laugh at a conversation between two people when they’re laughing.

Look out for my future post “17 ways podcasts are better than audiobooks except buy these audiobooks with the affiliate tag“.


A lot of my earliest memories involve watching my brother play videogames with his friends. They all seem to just have the blurred faces of memories or at least a tendency to never look at my memory camera. I remember them playing Street Fighter II over and over trying to it beat it with every character. It took them hours to beat it with Dhalsim. That’s my very first memory of yoga.

I’ve been telling friends “I started doing yoga”. I don’t know if taking an intro class counts as starting. “Starting” implies that I’ll be continuing.

A couple years ago I realized I couldn’t touch my toes anymore. This was never an issue until I went probably a decade without every trying it. Then it was an enormous struggle. I knew mobility was a part of CrossFit so I went with my normal pattern of joining a CrossFit gym and attending until I injure myself.

I’m going to try the combination of yoga and whatever meathead strength plan sounds good for the month at the local Globo gym. I’m 3 classes in and day to day I’m feeling pretty good.