Books

“You know what I miss?” Kim asked last night. We were sitting in bed, reading. “I miss the way we read The Martian together. That was fun.” Last month, during our week-long quest to find a place to live for the winter, we read/audited Andy Weir’s The Martian as we drove all over Florida, Georgia, […]

I’ve recently returned to the world of reading after many years away. For one of my first books back, I read John Steinbeck’s East of Eden, and I loved it. It’s very much a “J.D. book”. East of Eden tells the storis of three generations of one family, and of the people in their lives. […]

For fifty years, Mihály Csíkszentmihályi (pronounced “me-high cheek-sent-me-high-ee”) has studied human happiness and creativity. Much of his work has focused on flow, which is his term for “optimal experience”. Here’s how he describes it: We have all experienced times when instead of being buffeted by anonymous forces, we [feel] in control of our actions, masters […]

A couple of months ago, I reconnected with Ken, one of my college roommates. Turns out that 25 years after rooming together, he and I gain live in the same building. Over dinner at Relish Gastropub — one of my favorite new restaurants in Portland — Ken and I reconnected. We talked about life and […]

In my spare time — what little there is of it — I’ve been continuing my research into the nature of fear and how that relates to success and achievement. Why does fear hold some people back yet serve as a motivator for others? As part of this, I’ve been re-reading all of Malcolm Gladwell. […]

I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of extending human life. As a boy, my favorite characters in the Bible were those like Methuselah who lived for hundreds of years. (Noah, of ark fame, was reportedly 600 when he built his boat, and he lived for another 350 years after the flood!) I’m also drawn […]

For most of my adult life, I’ve been a pretty rational guy. I’ve prided myself in a scientific mind, one unclouded by spirituality and mysticism. Yet as I’ve experienced profound personal changes over the past few years, I’ve found myself more and more fascinated by abstract (or “spiritual”) questions, the likes of which I haven’t […]

Famous First Lines

19 November 2012 · 13 comments

On Saturday, our book group met to discuss Ernest Hemingway’s 1941 classic For Whom the Bell Tolls. Most of us thought it was great. I loved the language in the book; I hadn’t read Hemingway since high school, and I’d forgotten that he used to be one of my favorite authors. Here’s how he opens […]

Escape from Freedom

08 November 2012 · 6 comments

“We cannot solve life’s problems except by solving them.” — M. Scott Peck One reason I enjoy dating Kim is that although superficially we’re unalike, and although we’ve had vastly different life experiences, deep down we have similar values and life philosophies. This means we have some interesting conversations about the way the world works, […]

We Are What We Think

06 November 2012 · 2 comments

Today, while sorting notes for a big project I have planned for 2013 (my biggest project for 2013, actually), I found a scrap of paper on which I’d copied three excerpts of a buddhist poem. (Well, not a poem precisely, but close enough.) Each of these three verses comes from a different place in a […]