Scrolling through Facebook one day, I saw a meme about cousins being our first friends. It quickly caught my attention, but didn’t think too much about it.
Out of the blue today, I heard from someone I’ve always considered a cousin and friend. It was a brief, yet touching and meaningful text conversation, that I was warmed to my heart, and driven to write this.
On my mom’s side of the family, we don’t have a lot of cousins, but on my dad’s side of the family we have a bunch! As I sit writing this, I think of each and every one of my cousins (on both sides of the family!), and how much they have come to mean to me.
It’s funny – cousins can grow up together, then go separate ways, yet always seem to come together again. And as I get older, I have found I appreciate my cousins more and more. And more.
No, I don’t always talk to my cousins, and a lot of time, messages come and go out of the blue, but after we converse, I always reflect back to how much I love being in touch with them, and love having them in my life.
One thing I especially enjoy is that each time we come together, it’s almost as if we’ve never been apart. Cousins are cool like that. Another thing I love is that my cousins seem to really enjoy my wife – and that is really important to me.
“Cousins are your first friends”. This may be correct, but it may be more reasonable to think that “cousins are true friends”.
To my cousins out there – scattered among the four winds – I love you all. Thank you for being my friend, and thank you for the love and support you always gave me – whether you knew you were providing it or not. You are all awesome in your own lovely way!
One of my goals for 2017 was to read 20 books. It was a real struggle, and with three days left, I have read 18 books. I may get another done before the year is over, but I still feel like I missed my goal. My wife disagrees with me, as I released three books this year, she says I read and re-read each of them numerous times – so they count, right?
Regardless, I wanted to take the time to give you my top books read in 2017, listed in the order that I read them:
- Moonwalking with Einstein (Joshua Foer) – If you’re like me, you sometimes question whether your mind is going. I wanted to read this book with the intent of learning how to retain more knowledge. Unfortunately, this book didn’t do that. However, it did open my eyes to amazing and effective memorization techniques. I loved this book!
- Never Split the Difference (Chris Voss and Tahl Raz) – This book was a phenomenal read about how to properly negotiate. I learned a lot of hints that I’ve used since, and others that I can’t wait to try. It was a fun read!
- The Power of Starting Something Stupid (Richie Norton) – This book was an eye-opener! Many cutting edge thinkers do what is stupid, and most of them come away looking like geniuses! Important read!
- On the Edge (Alison Levine) – I listened to a lecture by Alison Levine, and was so impressed that I bought and read her book. It’s a book on leadership, told through the adventures of climbing Mt. Everest. In some ways, her tone is a bit silly, but the lessons she provides are important enough to learn or be reminded of.
- Abundance Now (Lisa Nichols) – I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching this year, and this book helped me remember how I’ve been successful in the past, and how to get there again.
Books of Note:
A Message of Hope from the Angels (Lorna Byrne) – I am a very optimistic person by nature, and this book helped reignite that optimism. I have also been doing a lot of spiritual learning, and Byrne’s angel stories were exactly what I needed to hear it the time.
Radical Acceptance (Tara Brach) – For some reason, I really struggled through this book. The concepts are great, and the lessons are spectacular. Nonetheless, I found it tough to get through. This book and The Toyota Way were the books that stalled me from achieving my goal!
Think and Grow Rich (Napoleon Hill) – Surprisingly, this book did little for me. It was written in the 1930s, and I couldn’t get past the idea that so much has changed in the time since. Yes, the basic concepts are phenomenal, and can certainly help you think and grow rich. But I felt that a lot of the steps were no longer applicable. I probably did myself a disservice by not opening my mind to these ideas.
The Toyota Way (Jeffrey Liker) – I read this book because I was hoping to get a job at Blue Cross Blue Shield that required the person in the role to be Six Sigma certified within a year. This book was highly recommended in the Udemy class I took on Lean/Six Sigma. And boy, did I struggle with this book! I already understood most of the concepts, and agree with them, but for some reason, this book took me 11 months to read! Ugh!
Alright, that’s the list for now! What is on my reading list for 2018, you ask? well, my reading list has over 100 books, and I keep adding to it faster than I can take books off it! And because I plan to have more of a life in 2018, my reading goal will be a mere five books. I expect to have closer to 10, but five is my minimum.
Happy 2018, y’all!
“EXPERIMENTAL ARCHAEOLOGY” IS NOW AVAILABLE!
Matt’s newest release – “Experimental Archaeology: A Writer’s Remains” – is available in time for the 2017 holiday season!
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The museum of random modern art is just as quirky as its’ name.
Located on a corner near a busy intersection, the colorful doors invite you to your own unique experience.
At the main desk, you can pick up a headset that gives you a wi-fi enabled tour experience.
While they play randomized snippets of songs chosen to make your experience more random than you can handle, you can meander past exhibits and feed into the randomness.
You can stop at the vizualisation station and pick a random set of glasses that show you a potential path through the museum. Hint: Each path ends at the gift shop!
What a joy to pick through the random pieces of modern art!
Look! It’s a picture of the melted front end of a cop car caused by the exhaust of an M1 Abrams tank! Its’ title? “Tanks a lot! Waa waa…”
There’s a sculpture of a feline, made entirely of wood! Look closely, and you’ll see the name “Cat of log (get it? Catalog?)”
Oh, the laughs!
Oh the sights!
Is that a burning bag of poo in the corner, or is it just a burning bag? You better find out!
It’s neither! It’s a hologram!
Any guess what it’s called?
Yep, that’s right!
This museum is something you’ll never forget!
I was frustrated.
In my head, I was banging my noggin on the table.
I couldn’t see the future. I could only see red tape.
Whenever I tried to go around it, I was
Stopped. In. My. Tracks.
Sometimes, I wished I didn’t have to follow the commands handed down to me.
Why do I put up with this shit?
I would pull out some hair except I was already bald, and my fingernails were already chewed to the nubs.
I went outside and took a deep breath.
I envisioned myself in the Swiss Alps, looking up at the sun.
It was a glorious moment.
And all was good.
One Night Only
In the sweaty summer night, the moon melted behind wheezy clouds
Noise hung solidly over the dirt and straw of the midway grounds
Hucksters and carnies shouted over the crowds, luring the unsuspecting
While bells and sirens screamed and strobe lights flashed.
People laughed, yelled, and cheered
While drinking beer, and soda.
Eating fried everything, cotton candy, and elephant ears.
One night only
At the carnival.
They say that there is always pain with birth
There is also pain with a papercut
There is pain when you stub your toe
There is pain when you are broken.
Some say that living is pain.
Some say that there is no life without pain.
No pain, no gain, they say.
Pain makes you feel alive.
It’s all such a pain.
I minimized my expectations
I dreamed in big, colorful letters
The taste of success is sweet as honey
Karma is good to me.