Here’s how I got my job at BNET. Paul Sloan asked me if I write for other publications. I said no because I love my blog too much. (Where else could I write a post about what it’s like to have sex with me?)

Then Paul said that he would be my editor. So I said yes. I love Paul. He is fun and smart and he (almost) always answers his phone when I want to talk about my marital problems. (Although he will not publish my marital problems, which, again, is why I love my blog.)

So I tried to negotiate really hard to get a lot of money from BNET. I had Paul get his boss Eric on the phone. I worked with Eric when we were both at Business 2.0. When that magazine went under, Paul, Eric and I all got fired together. Or, wait. Maybe Paul or Eric fired me. Read more

You become the people you surrounded yourself with. Once you accept this, it's much easier to answer tough questions like “Where should I live?” or “What job's right for me?” or “Who should I marry?” I think the biggest barrier to making decisions based on how we become the people we hang out with is that we live in denial.

1. Geographic stereotypes are true.
When I moved from LA to NYC, I was horrified at the lack of yoga studios in NY. Yoga was already huge in LA, but not yet in NY. I was also scared that New Yorkers were always a little bedraggled, and I had just spent ten years learning how to look perfect everywhere I went in LA. It's fun. It's fun to have no weather and no fat and no rushing in LA. It's fun to get a day off from work to prepare for watching the Oscars. I grew up in Illinois, but I got used to living in LA.

The panic about New York was unnecessary, though. After ten years of living in NYC, when I imagined leaving, I thought I could never leave because the cultural opportunities are so amazing. The expertise people have in NYC is so vast and varied and I thought I'd never get that anywhere else.

When I left NYC I didn't care about looking perfect everywhere I went. I didn't care about the kind of car I drove. I was a New Yorker.

2. Never say never.
When I moved to Madison, WI, there were some things that were just plain shocking. There are no foreign cars here. I mean, maybe there are. Maybe ten percent of all people drive a foreign car. It's usually someone from out of state. Recently moved here. Because after you live here for a while, you get so used to the idea of driving a Ford that it doesn't seem weird. Read more

It’s true that I am publishing my gift suggestions too late for the biggest gift-giving season of the year. But I think it’s okay, because the gifts are totally impractical.

In fact, I think this is actually my wish list—stuff I wish I had been given over the years to keep my career on track.

1. A hall monitor for emails.

Email provides a chance to sidestep the problems of reading facial cues, which is what people with Asperger’s want. And email provides a chance for introverts to collect their thoughts before they talk to extroverts, which is what introverts want.

The problem with email is that the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology says that emails are misinterpreted fifty percent of the time. Read more

My new thing is self-discipline. I am going to get better at it. I am nervous writing this, because I don't want to fail.

So this is the first thing I know: If you are really serious about doing something, it's painful to tell people, because fear of failure is so high. Once you decide that you really want something enough to shift your life to get it — at that point you want it so much that you will feel like your life is somehow incomplete if you don't get it. So it is scary just to talk about it.

This is how I'm feeling about sugar and bread. I think it only leads to bad things. I think it makes me crazy and I have googled a thousand different sites about addiction to sugar and bread, and I think it's true. Here's what I think: Read more

This is a guest post from Fabian Kruse. His blog is The Friendly Anarchist.

May you live in interesting times,” a Chinese curse goes. It’s true: “Interestingness” is a dangerously broad term. Having a chronic illness can be interesting but it sucks. Wars can be interesting — but they suck even more. And maybe you too have used the classical “It tastes interesting”-excuse when your dinner host didn’t really have a clue about cooking. Not as bad as wars and chronic illnesses, but still kind of sucky.

But interestingness in general is a lot more positive. Interestingness is finding the experiences that shape us as human beings, and enjoying them to the max. What we really don’t want is the bullshit part of life.

As far as I can see it, most of us want to live our lives something like this:

Sure, a bit more interestingness would be nice, but let’s be realistic, right? At least we’ll avoid the bullshit. Read more

It’s my birthday. So I get to write about anything. I get to indulge. The first thing is that I want to republish a poem that I published a long time ago, when I thought maybe I could get away with publishing poems on my blog. Now I know that for sure, poetry kills traffic.

But I like this poem so much:


by Beverly Rollwagen

She just wants to be employed

for eight hours a day. She is not

interested in a career; she wants a job

with a paycheck and free parking. She

does not want to carry a briefcase filled with important papers to read

after dinner; she does not want to return phone calls. When she gets home,

she wants to kick off her shoes and waltz around her kitchen singing, “I am

a piece of work.”

I like it maybe because it’s me. Sometimes I get tired of having to earn money. I have so many things I want to do, and it’s so distracting to have to earn money. I could have married someone with a lot of money and then I wouldn’t have to worry about earning money, but I didn’t choose that.

For the record, those dates went terribly. Read more

The biggest lie we tell ourselves is that meditating is not a high priority.

First of all, if you don't realize how much science there is behind meditation, you must be living under a rock. And the book I’m currently kvelling over, The Happiness Advantage, says that meditation, just five minutes a day, is one of the most reliable ways to increase our natural tendency toward happiness.

But I don't want to sound too girly when I tell you to meditate. So I'm telling you instead that the Marine Corps is using meditation to help troops cope with the stress of warfare. Imagine fifty guys sitting cross-legged, eyes shut, with a rifle in every lap. The Marines were totally skeptical at first, of course, but in Men's Journal (one of my favorite magazines) there's a great article by Vanessa Gregory about how the Marines became believers. (This article is not online. Annoying. So here’s a link to a Science Daily article about Marines meditating.)

Also, I don't want to sound like an overly spiritualized hippie cliche, so I’m also telling you that I learned to meditate when I was playing professional beach volleyball. Many professional athletes meditate because at that level, everyone has the skills to be the best, but only a few have the mental strength to use those skills in the toughest moments. Read more

It's time for the farmer to check to see how many of his cows are pregnant.

Here's what he does: He puts five bulls in a field with 130 cows. And the bulls have been waiting all summer to breed, so they can pretty much get all the cows pregnant quickly and then all the calves will be born in April.

The farmer runs a tight operation. Any cow that isn't pregnant now would end up having a calf later than the rest, and he wants a short calving season because then it's less work.

So this week it's time to do “pregnancy check.” The vet comes to the farm and sticks his hand into the cow's anus and he can tell. Any cow that's not pregnant goes to market.

“Goes to market” is one of the zillion terms on the farm for “gets killed.” Like Eskimos and “ice” and philanderers and “love.”

So this is what the cows look like when they are maybe pregnant.

And this is what the corral looks like.

The cows go in and then, one at a time, the farmer guides them into the chute. I am immediately attracted to the chute. It looks cozy.

Read more

I'm deciding if I should take a sleeping pill.

I know tons of people who take them. I never understood the need, to be honest. I remember when I was in a mental ward. My group therapy was a bunch of eating disorder girls (which I was part of, but a little old for) and a bunch of grown-ups who were depressed and maybe receiving electroshock therapy. (Does this still happen? I don't know.)

Anyway, the girls' biggest problem was that they hated their family and wanted to live in the mental ward instead. (I definitely fell into that camp.) The adults' problem was that they could not sleep.

At first, I thought, “If this is your biggest problem, do you need to be in a mental ward?”

And this is why I loved the mental ward, by the way. You learn so much about life from people who are unable to live it. Read more

It’s amazing that people admit to being perfectionists. To me, it’s a disorder, not unlike obsessive-compulsive disorder. And like obsessive-compulsive disorder, perfectionism messes you up. It also messes up the people around you, because perfectionists lose perspective as they get more and more mired in details.

We can never achieve perfection — any of us. Yet so many people keep trying to reach this elusive goal and they drive themselves crazy in the process. So cut it out. Accept that it’s okay to do a mediocre job on a certain percentage of your work. If you need convincing, consider this: Perfectionism is a risk factor for depression. No kidding. Sydney Blatt, psychologist at Yale University, finds that perfectionists are more likely to kill themselves than regular, mediocre-performing people.

Here are three steps to take to avoid the perfectionism trap: Read more