Life’s equation

What are you doing right now? Really? right now? Is it enjoyable? Will the end result of these actions bring an overall net positive to your life? No. Then stop. Just stop.
There is a mathematical equation to everything. I know it’s stale and almost cutthroat to say that numbers are involved with things like love and emotions, or relationships in general, but it is true.
You work a job to obtain money, to afford life, possibly life + “X”. “X” can be any variable you choose to spend time or money on. Maybe you work less to allow more free time, maybe you work more to gain more wealth. This is a simple time/value relationship that everyone should consider when taking a new job or moving. Essentially going down a new life path with concrete, unemotional factors.
However, your time is always worth something, and the people in your life should always add value.
Surround yourself with net positives.
This of course means different things to different individuals. Your net positive might simply be a “good conversation” while someone else’s may be getting enjoyment out of helping a friend that is consistently “a wreck”, a time and energy suck.
While we vary in life “wants” there is a finite amount of energy in each person.
We are all magnets, don’t force yourself to the wrong connection.

Here is the basic equation to life, you are welcome.

R(X)/time = V

R= Relationship This could be a person, place or thing. Your relationship with anything you spend time with. This number is always 1 as this equation only works for an individual item.

X= Self determined numerical value. Find a non-emotional baseline for “X”. Further explanation below.

Time=Time Amount of time you spend with “R” per year in hours.

V= value If value is above 1, then “R” is worth your time.

X” baseline should be a plug in that allows the equation to equal exactly 1. For instance, I like pancakes at a 2, I spend about 2 hours a year eating pancakes, 1(2)/2=1….1=1. That’s my baseline. It’s not a great experience, not a bad experience. At even value I could take it or leave it.

I like my friend David more than I like pancakes. 100x’s more? Yes. Much more. This equation isn’t necessary for my decision here, but let’s say David is 50,000.
1(50,000)/500 (hours spent with David over a year)= 500. 500>1, therefore David is a huge net positive on my life. Keep him.

A more complex issue may be something like work, or any “X” with a multitude of factors inside of that thing. So you must include all fringe elements before applying value. So work itself may be awful (-10,000), but all the necessities (+100,000. House, food, bills) and luxuries (+30,000. Travel, car, dope ass shoes) added to your life due to this awful “X” may wind up creating a net positive.

Always do the hours last. If I like pancakes at a 2, and am honest with myself, I probably like snowboarding at a 20. After factoring costs, travel, exercise, potential to hurt myself….I still like snowboarding 10x more than pancakes. OK, I snowboard maybe 5 hours per year. 1(20)/5= 4. Worth it.

Does this make any sense! YES! Kind of?….Hopefully for you. Maybe not…..sigh……Time is everything! It is the only commodity that we all have. It varies in most of us, and it is finite in all of us. Use it wisely……If that last sentence makes you wish you didn’t read any of this….This article is a net negative. If you read this and it DOES make sense, net positive. Either way my point has been proven! BLAMMO!!

Math!

355

Another day, another mass shooting…….
I remember Columbine well. It was terrifying, devastating, and it was almost incomprehensible. 12 students and a teacher were shot dead at the Aurora Colorado high school and I still have a vivid memory of standing with 2 friends at a recreation center in Kansas City in front of wall mounted TV watching the news unfold.

After todays shooting I fell into a depressing internet black hole of awful events past. I came across an article that re-introduced me to John Zawahri. It’s a name I wouldn’t expect to remember, but he was the 23 year old that shot and killed 5 people in Santa Monica, 8 blocks from my house, in 2013. I am embarrassed to say that I not only don’t remember where I was or what I was doing, I also forgot it happened. Someone shot and killed 5 people on a spree in my neighborhood 2 years ago, and reading the article today I thought to myself, “oh yeah….I remember that particular shooting”.

The unfortunate fact is, you can’t keep up. There are shootings, mass shootings, literally everyday. Actually, statistically speaking, a little more than one a day. As of December 2nd, 355 mass shootings are in the books for 2015. So we are clear here, I am talking about only in America. A mass shooting is defined as the shooting of 4 or more individuals with no cooling off period. Gang killings or incidences where these 4 or more victims are family members do not count. Why? Really good question, not what I want to address, but I mention it because 355 is, amazingly enough, a number that has been skewed down.

It’s no longer an anomaly, it’s no longer incomprehensible. It’s just what happens.

During the Ebola scare last year the US educated over 200,000 health care workers, built testing labs, set up screening centers at international airports, spent $921 million in West Africa and put over 10,000 civilians oversees to help combat the outbreak. 2 Americans died.
31 governors are currently protesting the admittance of Syrian refugees to their respective states after the Paris attacks. This is the response despite the known fact that no Syrian refugees were involved in these attacks.
Richard Reid attempted to set off a bomb he placed in his shoe in 2001, and we have all removed our footwear before every flight for a decade and a half. 0 people died.

We are not incapable of reaction. Generally, something bad happens, citizens want certain ordinances or laws to be put in place to prevent bad things from continuing to happen, action and reaction. Sometimes it is logical, oftentimes an over reaction, but generally you can see the origin of thought. There is some form of rational consideration behind it.
Except when we talk about guns.

“The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”-Wayne LaPierre NRA Vice President.

Or you know, don’t have guns. Just fucking don’t.

People do terrible things, it’s an unfortunate reality, but the accessibility we give people with corrupt or corruptible minds to a totally destructive force, like a gun, is unconscionable.
Private gun sellers are not required by law to do background checks. How is this reasonable? Anyone in America can walk up to a private gun seller and buy a Glock as if it were a pack of Orbit gum.
The concept of implementing gun control generally leads to discussion about the constitution and how it can’t be changed. You can’t take away rights.
But, our constitution has been changed, and rights have been taken away. 27 times our constitution has been amended. One amendment is of course the right to bear arms, another one took away the right to own slaves. The Constitution was and is not a perfect document. It was created for a time and place, and it worked. Some of it is still applicable. However, 200+ years later, we are in a different world.

If The Constitution needs to stay (further) untouched, fine, let’s compromise. Keep your right to bear arms, but let’s make all bullets illegal, because I am so so so sick of this shit. I am not OK with daily mass shootings, and I am not OK with it no longer being shocking.

Yes there are other issues at play, other things that need to be dealt with, but if we take away the destructive means those issues are much less volatile as a whole.

Over 300,000 gun related deaths have been reported in the last decade, with more than 1/3 ruled homicides. Again, this is just America were talking about. It’s such an absurd amount of action with zero counter reaction. We have actually somehow embraced guns more during this time with only 6 states not adopting some form of “open carry” law.

Get rid of these fucking things.

It’s not taking away our freedom, we still have cars, cheeseburgers, and the right to vote. Also, you will never overthrow the government, even if your basement is decked out like the couple from the movie “Tremors” (vague reference, but they were armed to the teeth). Good decisions are made with a collection of information, can today please be the final data point to move in the right direction? Can this years 355 separate confirmations of how guns are used against us in what are, by definition, terrorist attacks, be conclusive? The NRA defense team is buried under literal bodies of “insurmountable evidence”, we don’t need any more information. At this time and place, in this day and age, guns are fucking dumb.

Saddle up

Can you feel the excitement? In only 4 seasons, just over 365 days, about 7.1 dog years, almost 1 bee lifespan, our country will do something only done 56 times before, we will hold a presidential election.
I know, it’s worrisome. Are we prepared? Well, at this point we have whittled down to only 18 potential candidates. Only 18 people ranging from terribly unqualified to completely corrupted are seeking our country’s highest office. Terrifying right? Terrifying that the GDP of most countries will be spent in the next year on electing an individual that will no doubt be tied to promises, handcuffed by government, and in debt to the corporations that paid to get him/her there.
The Koch brothers have promised $900 million to whichever GOP candidate takes the general election. That’s it? You guys are worth 100 billion, quit being pussies.
Our electoral process is really not that much different than the NFL. There is massive coverage, cover up, people get hurt, people cheat, but no one cares because money is made. Actually, that describes our banking system as well….really the entire financial industry…..oh, also healthcare…..yup, education too……military, did I say military?
Certainly you have heard the saying “money talks, and bullshit walks”….. now that I write that I don’t really get the “bullshit walks” part other than it makes a super clever rhyme, but let’s discuss “money talks”. Money does talk, unfortunately. It talks with a loud, obtrusive and overwhelming voice that squeezes through every crevice of our overstimulated American lives. It also talks in a subtle manner, forcing ideas and even beliefs into individuals that may not actually be in their best interest. Then we vote accordingly and all lose.
The left has money, the right has money, the middle has no money, and thus, no voice. Essentially what this does is create a Democrat vs. Republican tug of war in which the rope just keeps stretching and everyone gets further and further apart.
Here’s how we fix this…..kidding, obviously, it’s almost too fucked to be fixed at this point. But wouldn’t it be cool if we actually tried? If blatantly detrimental things like citizens united were overturned or better yet not created in the first place? What if the media were only allowed to present factual information on their “news” channels? What if people were given real, tangible truths and based their decisions on that? We might just have an honest, uncontaminated electoral process resulting in a president that can represent the American population on both sides of the spectrum and isn’t tied to anything or anyone.
In this next year try not to listen to the money. Take some time and research where people stand on what you truly believe in. Ignore the party lines and the temptation to make decisions based on what side of the rope you pull from. There is real unbiased information at places like this(I am sure some will argue that this too is biased, but it is undeniably better.). You put effort into your fantasy football team or stock picks, or online purchase, just put a little effort into your choice for our country’s next leader.
Or, fuck it, whatever, just vote for Donald Trump because he had a TV show you liked or Hillary even though she is above answering basic questions.

*Full disclosure, I am a fan of Bernie Sanders.

The postseason

It was another 95 degree summer night. A blue oscillating fan teetered on my windowsill providing occasional respite as I laid on top of the sheets, sticky, but not quite sweaty. The familiar sound of cicadas chirped outside my bedroom window, and the even more familiar sound of Denny Matthews voice crackled through my Sony Dream Machine clock radio. The Kansas City Royals sat 20 games back in late August, but to 9 year old me, the next crack of the bat was all that mattered.
This is baseball.
It’s not just the 162 game grueling battle of attrition that will come to an end approximately 30 days from now, it is a vivid memory of my childhood that the word nostalgia doesn’t quite encapsulate.
It is the game itself, and the thousands of games within the game. The chess match between pitcher and batter, between managers playing odds and tendencies. Then it is all of this thrown out the window when a player takes the field and does the unexpected.
Here we sit again Royals fans, in unfamiliar territory, the postseason.
Last year seemed like a gift, a tear in the time space continuum that allowed improbabilities to be the norm. Our boys in blue became supermen, and if it weren’t for the kryptonite that was Madison Bumgarner, KC would be defending their title instead of looking for it. This year is different. Coasting into the playoffs with a division title is a reality my 9 year old self never fathomed.
It’s a game, it always has been and always will be, but it is a game that so closely represents life. There are small successes and small losses, ups and downs, but there is no clock. It is not over until that last out is collected, that last batter retired. Until then, anything can happen.
Clap it up Royals, game 1 tonight.