A holey moan about the stuff that sucks

“The junk merchant doesn’t sell his product to the consumer, he sells the consumer to his product. He does not improve and simplify his merchandise. He degrades and simplifies the client”
William S. Borroughs

My shoes have holes in them again. It’s a bit annoying but it’s summer now so it’s not as bad as when it’s raining in the winter and the sidewalks, footpaths, byways and tracks are all soaked.

I always wear my shoes out directly under the ball of my foot. It’s the result of teaching myself to learn to walk as an adult. Before that I used to wear these high heeled men’s business shoes all day and over time my body forgot how to walk properly. I’d strike the ground on my heel when I walked. Maybe you do that too. If you’re so messed up you think this is natural take off your shoes and walk on a hard floor. What hits the ground first? Try to deliberately heel strike. How does that feel?

If you want lots of fatigue and body pain put shoes on and bash your heels on the ground. If not relearn to walk like I did. Anyway that’s all off topic. I’m having another moan about shoes. I need good-quality shoes, but most of the shoes around are short life junk or durable, but clunky. Too many are from the skin of an animal which seems weird to me to want to put your foot inside part of the carcass of a dead thing. Probably the main objection I have to another pair of new shoes is that they are so overpriced for the short life junk that they are. I get a few months and then I’m throwing them to the Dustman. So until I find something better I’ll just go on happy to walk with holes in my shoes and money in my pocket. Sometimes when I have problems like these I consider starting a company because I feel there isn’t any good competition, but then I remember why I don’t.
There is no money in making things that last. Only money in things that suck.

It’s a sad situation we’re in. Everything is made poorly when we have all the resources, intelligence, technology and materials to make amazing stuff that could easily be passed down within family lines.

That job of yours isn’t paying you anything like you think

“I was going to live on my salary or go down swinging”
Gene Tierney

For every dollar you spend you’ll need to earn two back. That is why saving and investing every dollar you can is so critical.

You have to earn two dollars because that dollar saved comes with expenses, but most of us have never really looked at the expenses of work. We think of work mostly in terms of our theoretical income.

There are expenses though. Lots of them. Your travel to work, the tax on that income, the property tax, your costume tax (suit and tie or the nice shoes and blouse), some food and the other things.

Most people don’t understand their real income per hour is nothing like what they see printed on their weekly pay check.

For starters say you earn $45 per hour. That sounds pretty good and works out to around $1800 per week gross. That’s based on a 40 hour week.

First deduct the tax and look at your net income. Let’s use a rate of 30% which is common (but may not be what you pay in tax). That drops your after tax take home pay to $1260. If you were still working the 40 hour week then your real rate of return for your work falls like a stone to $31 p/hr. Problem is that if you work in the western world you probably don’t work 40 hours. Turns out you work 55 and each day includes an hour commute to work in peak that’s 65 hours.

You are straight down from theoretical $45 p/hr to a little under $20 p/hr. Starting to sound a bit pathetic isn’t it?

Now deduct the MBA you are studying for at night to get a better qualification. Say you spend 2 hours on that 4 weekdays and 6 hours on the weekend you just dropped your rate to less than $16 bucks p/hr.

Now things are looking grim, but we haven’t even begun to consider the costs of working. You may buy your lunch for $10 per day and buy about $100 of new work clothes every week to keep your corporate wardrobe looking neat. You need a tank of gas for $70 or a train or bus ticket and we’re hitting $13 p/hr.

There are some costs we haven’t even considered. What about the time and money you spend to decompress. Say you sit watching TV for an hour after work in a semi vegetative state drinking a whiskey. Add those costs in. What about those costs of that MBA you are studying. Maybe you’re job requires you to pay some professional registration expenses. What about all those cell phone calls to home to sort out issues in your lunch break?

The reason I call it a McJob is that you think you are earning a hefty swag, but when you think about it you aren’t earning much more than you could get in some low ball menial job where you can walk from home, go home for lunch and wear track pants all day.

Do the calculation yourself and share in the comments below. It really puts that job of yours into perspective.

The idlers guidebook to the good life

There is no time like the pleasant
Oliver Herford

Life can be simple, pleasant and happy.

Make simple changes one at a time and keep a score card on whether life got better.

Sell your car and ride bikes.
Plant a garden and eat the plants you grow.
Rent a house and save yourself from maintenance and mortgages.
Sell your screens and cut off your internet. You’re smart so you can still access the web free when you feel like it.
Sell your wardrobe and almost all the clothes in it. You can only wear one shirt at a time.
Generate some electricity and income that doesn’t take too much effort.
Smash your bills down.
Quit your job.
Involve yourself helping others in your community.
Spend time making more friends.
Celebrate for no reason.
Play your own music and dance your arse off.

Die happy and contented. Surrounded by people that knew you intimately and loved you passionately.

Casting a better lens over the pursuit of freedom

Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose


I’ve found the concept of freedom splits logically into one of two camps. The freedom from something and the freedom to do something. From or to.

Sure you want freedom from not have to limp to work in high heels at 6am on a howling mid-winter morning. Or the from having to sit in a grey office, breathing stale air, with people you hate being slowly suffocated by a button hiding piece of cloth tied around your jugular. What’s so fucking embarrassing about buttons that in order to hide them we are prepared to be choked all day?

I get what you want freedom from and having shared your experience for a part of my life I fully understand why most people want freedom from their work.

The other way to flip the coin is to think about freedom to…

Freedom to:
play with your kids
master the guitar
start a catering business
go kite surfing
sleep in
ride a mountain bike for 8 hours any Tuesday you feel like it
surf till noon everyday in summer

I’ve always advocated life design. Figuring out what you want and then chasing it both barrels blazing.

When you focus on freedom from its a negative trip that leads to stress. It’s the flight response. The running away to hide feeling creates a spiral of negative emotions, broken helpless thinking and unbelievable sadness and stress. However, if you flip it and look at freedom to do things you can created a completely different type of energy. ‘Freedom to’ leads to a new type of stress called eustress. This is a positive motivating energy that pulls you towards your goals. It’s night and day. The exact opposite of a stress reaction. You wake up inspired, energised and ready to get what you want out of life. Eustress wakes you up early. Time disappears. You get in the flow state where work is play and nothing can stop you from achieving the result you’ve targeted.

There’s no time to lose this is your life we are talking about. Do some visioning of what you’d like. How you would live your life post working. Make it exciting and compelling. Now figure out how to get there and take some action or are you going to just sit there ironing your neck ties.

How boring.

Set your laser to stun and find that escape hatch

“Lottery tickets are a surtax on desperation”
Douglas Coupland

“Forget the lottery. Bet on yourself instead”
Brian Koslow


There are only a handful of options for idle anarchists that have seen through the thin veneer of soulless monotonous corporate work.

The options are:

Rely on luck, magic and fortune. Marry a rich person. Win the lottery. Strike a gold seam in the backyard.

Play for pay. Find work you love. Do it passionately and full heartedly. Accept that you may never pay all of your bills, but you will enjoy your work and be more fulfilled in your life. This is the path of the artist, the musician, the writer, the hobbyist.

Massively reduce your cost of living. Live frugally and simply. By reducing the costs of life and enhancing your skills you can limit or eliminate the need to work.

Build a business and farm it for income or sell it for profit and live off that nest egg.

Of course you can combine all of these options and fast track your freedom from the corporation. Even though you might not have the same income as you would if you continued working chances are you will relish in the challenges of a self determined life and enjoy many more of the minutes of your work experience.

[If you have a better way please share it by clicking the speech bubble under the title and leaving a comment].

The most powerful post ever written

“The road to enlightenment is long and difficult, and you should try not to forget snacks and magazines.”

Anne Lamott

In a contemplativa one has time for the big questions and what bigger questions than who, what, where, how and why?

It is a remarkable feat to awaken to the understanding that you are not who or what you think you are. Who or what you’ve been told you are is only a label. A story. An idea! This process is called enlightenment and is a cornerstone of access to deeper wisdom.

Once you’ve turned this corner you will find a rapid accumulation of understanding and knowledge. A sense of knowing and an ability to feel truth from lie.

You may then discover plane truths like you are not where you have been told you are. Yes, you are in the world, but what world? A true global conspiracy! If you quest to discover where you are (as opposed to where you’ve been told you are) start with Zetetic Astronomy free on Google books, but tread carefully friends. The path to this discover is well hidden with powerful information peddlers hell bent on leading you off the garden path so to speak. [There is also another link in this post]

Next comes how which is all just a question of physics and metaphysics. The enlightened one approaches this knowledge from a unique vantage point and with penetrating insight that the unenlightened one stumbles over with only rational intellect as their tools of discovery.

Last, one is left with why. I believe this is the most important question of all. I also believe we will never know the answer to this riddle in our conscious lifetime on this material plane.

Best to not worry about the unknowable. Instead spend time with friends doing that which pleases you. Why may be answered in death, but most likely I suspect there is no why. All is just as it is. There may be no true answer to why.

Waking up in your own adventure

“We need to preserve our neighborhoods, our small business, our local economy”
Maria Semple


One has to realise that many occupations are fundamentally inconsistent with satisfactory living. A marketing or civil engineering consultant working all day to produce products or reports and entertaining potential clients at night is not going to have time for proper recreation (the recreation of oneself), children, family, hobbies or any of the activities that nourish the soul. No attempts at work life balancing is going to overcome the fundamental flaw. To avoid this pitfall life must be designed. Consciously and carefully.

We must concoct a prescription for living and in doing so our labour must become a love rather than the living dead trudge to a barren grey office. We fear the leap toward uncertainty of a self derived economy because we have been taught to fear since childhood. Mostly when we think of business we only consider some scary sized corporation which would certainly drown us if we were plunged in as the crew captain.

Yet business need not be all consuming and megalithic in size. Say you produce and sell handcrafted ale as a hobby. Soon your sales grow out of a Saturday stall at a local farmers market. Then a few more and a few more. Perhaps your living costs are so modest that you can live off the proceeds of a few days of labour per week. You agonize if you should do it full time and chuck in your dreary job in accounts. A business and banking adviser will try to sell you debt pushing and bleating that you must heavily invest in mechanization, distribution, staff, marketing, advertising and grow your company to compete on the world stage with the big boys, but to what end? To be rich? And what if you were rich? Chances are you’d buy your freedom and finally pursue the pleasures you’ve dreamed about. If that is the case why take such a circuitous route?

Skip the whole monster phase. Stop working when you’re expenses are met and start living. In my estimate a simple liver could cut their labour to a modest 1-2 days a week and live comfortably once they rodeo wrangle their expenses into line. I’ve come to think of work as life support and what better way to support life than in a project of importance to you. If you do take the leap into leading a petite business you may find yourself so empowered and inspired that you will want to work more, but maybe you won’t. If you own the company it will be your choice when you knock off and go play.

By reducing liabilities, expenses and bills you reduce the need to work. By doing this as a precursor to business you generate savings. These savings are a buffer from failure and the capital you need to build your own life support vehicle.

There is more to life than work-spend-sleep. A petite little business all your own may be the vessel to help you discover what else you can do with your life besides the boring work of the corporation.