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Mark Reale
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The joy is in the aim.
The joy is in the aim.

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Was reading an article about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (the article seemed to suggest something along the lines of PTSD being a situation where somebody experiences an event that affects their perception of reality, and they experience the disorder part until they find a new perception of reality where the thing that happened fits back in some cohesive and manageable way - something along those lines - it seemed to be a compelling argument) when I remembered that I had got into a discussion earlier in the week with somebody who mentioned that they “do not know how to cook anything, not even rice” (different life situations can lead to different people learning different things at different times). It didn't occur to me at the time, but because they brought it up I was wondering if they were really asking for rice-cooking tips. I am no expert, but here they are just in case (you can ignore this part if you already are comfortable cooking rice, or do not care about cooking rice): all you need is heat, water and rice (and some sort of pot and probably a spoon). Use about twice as much water as you do rice. Let the water boil. Rinse the rice and put it in the boiling water, then you can drop the heat to a low setting (if your stove has a number on it that says something like 'LO', you can use that). Stir a few times (if you want to be specific here, you can stir the rice between 1 and 5 times - it will not be a disaster if you stir a bit more). Then just let it cook - check back on it every once in a while (starting after say 10 or 15 minutes) until it seems like it's ready. You can add things to it after. Some people I know add salt or a bit of oil while it's cooking. The rice discussion was not a traumatic experience for me, but it just happened to be the thing I thought about after reading the PTSD article.
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A while ago I was telling a story about when I went to a bar and had a beer that tasted like vinegar. This is the rest of that story.
So here's the thing: the place I was at was pretty busy, and if I was going to bring this situation to the attention of the bartender, I would have to crawl through a bunch of people again and have to play the role of unsatisfied customer (I do not excel at that role). So my immediate reaction is a blend of: A) is there a way I can take care of this situation without having to interact with anybody. B) how do I know for sure that this beer is actually rotten? I am no beer connoisseur, and one of the articles that came up on the Internet said something along the lines of "before you go sending your unique, sophisticated tasting beer back, make sure you let one of your friends taste it so they can validate your suspicion that the beer is actually bad". But I was by myself! And I just was not up for asking a stranger to taste a potentially rotten beer.
I consider a bunch of things. 1. Leave (with the beer on the table), 2. Go to the washroom and pour the beer out, 3. Probably some other options I cannot remember. In the meantime, I continue to take little sips of the beer to continue checking whether I am hallucinating or not and the beer has actually not gone bad, but every sip is the same. Vinegar. Vinegar. Vinegar. Vinegar. Finally, I say to myself "to hell with it", and I get up and fight through the crowd to go to the bar and tell the server that "I think there might be something wrong with this beer". The server holds up the glass to the light, and immediately says "oh yea - this beer is no good" (!!!!!). So they ask me what beer I want to replace it (going back to my original dilemma when walking into the place), and at this point, I'm like "just give me anything that's fresh I guess". I get the beer, sit back down, take a sip, and I swear the new beer also tastes like vinegar.
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Was on a flight (not necessarily a red-eye or whatever they call it when the flight goes through the night time, but it was pretty late) and I had to use the washroom. All things being equal, I think I prefer aisle seats to non-aisle seats for the ease of being able to enter / exit whenever, even if it means I need to get up a million times for other people to pass through. It doesn’t bug me. (Actually overall I don’t mind the window seats either. Reconsidering this entire topic, there are pros and cons to all seating situations. These details are not important to this story, however.) On this flight it seems I really lucked out – not only did I get this aisle seat, but the seat next to me was empty also. An abundance of space (also not crucial to the story). So anyway – I had to go to the washroom, but it was not a matter of extreme urgency – likely I just decided to go at that point because it was easy for me to get up and out of my seat. Also, the timing was good at the part of this documentary I was watching (just reached the end of a main scene) – it was a documentary on Arctic Foxes (key takeaway: in Winter when food sources are low and hard to find, the foxes trail polar bears in the region and wait for them to find something to eat, and then they just eat the leftover scraps – also they will eat vegetables if they have to). So I get out of my seat and see there is another guy waiting to use the washroom, so I wait beside / behind him. I was standing there for a couple minutes when I notice that the washroom does not have the ‘occupied’ light on, and then I start thinking “is there even anybody in the washroom?” Couple more minutes go by, nothing changes. In fact, I am starting to be almost impressed at how motionless this guy is, and I begin questioning if he is doing some sort of meditative exercise and does not even need to use the washroom. It almost seemed like he was sleeping standing up. I had to give him the benefit of the doubt that he saw somebody enter the washroom before I rolled up on the scene. I did have an experience years ago where I accidentally walked in on somebody who had not put the ‘occupied’ light on, and those situations are just never fun.
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Sometime in November or December I was reading the daily Video Game news (it might have been something on Business Insider) when I came across an article about Heavy Blankets. Heavy Blankets is just like it sounds: it's like a normal blanket, but it's heavy. Apparently they have therapeutic benefits (I'll take any help I can get!) and are known to help reduce anxiety (you can look up the science). In retrospect, I am thinking that it is quite likely that the article was some sort of paid product placement, but hey - I can't disrespect - they got me. What sealed the deal for me was one of the articles compared it to what those x-ray aprons feel like at the dentist, and another thing compared it to like the pressure you would get when you are taking a bath. So I order it (I think there was some sort of sale on Amazon at the time), and it takes a looooooong time to deliver. Long enough where I mostly forgot about it, and then if I did remember, I am definitely questioning the purchase. Anyway, the blanket finally comes (it sure is heavy!) and I lug it into my place. Open it up, everything is cool but I have this thing where my skin reacts to whatever chemicals they use to treat new fabrics (I normally have to wash everything before I wear it or it causes my hands to feel on fire and like my brain is going to explode out of my head), and this blanket is no exception. Problem is: how do I wash a 25 pound blanket? This thing would for sure wreck the washing machine. So the blanket sits there for days until finally I wake up on a Saturday morning and I’m like: “today is the day”, and I take it and I toss it in the bath tub. Of course, I have no idea about how I’m gonna dry the blanket (but action needed to be taken at some point). After giving it as good a wash as I could, I tried to see if I could find some way to prop it up in the bathtub to dry, but the rate it was going, it seemed like it would take a few days, and that would not be acceptable. So I got out the drying rack, and got the blanket from the bathtub to the drying rack (with the water, this blanket must have been like 50 pounds by now), and I try to start putting it on the rack, but the rack starts collapsing under the weight of the blanket, and the floor was getting pretty soaked. Anyway, I finally figured out how to get it propped up on the drying rack, and it finally dried after a couple days. I used a towel-rotation strategy to protect the floor - no floor damage.
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Went to a bar a while ago because I was thirsty (either thirsty or just generally looking to have a beer - not sure if that feeling is the same as 'thirst', although I have read some things that suggest that beer has hydrating qualities of some sort - I cannot remember the specifics). Normally I have a bit of a hard time selecting beers, and also I do not have a 'sophisticated palette'(?) when it comes to beer tastes (don't know the difference between 'ale' or 'pilsner' or 'lager' or whatever is - I don't know the slang). My main aim is to go with beers under 5% alcohol content (life lessons), but if I am with somebody that seems like they know what they are doing when it comes to beer selections, I just pull the old "I'll have what they are having" routine, and it usually leads to OK situations (it is pretty convincing when people seem to know what they are talking about, even if they don't actually, but we can talk about that more later). Also in general, I enjoy trying out new things, so in this situation, I spotted a beer under 5% alcohol that I had never heard of, so I ordered that one. Fast-forward to the part where I get the beer, I sit down and get settled in, take a swig of the beer, and there is pretty significant 'hint' of vinegar to the beer. In my head I say to myself "who in the shit would make a beer that tastes like vinegar?!". I jump on the Internet and see what the Internet is saying about the situation, and I start to get the feel that I have a rotten beer on my hands. This is turning into a long story - I am probably gonna have to continue it later.
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Was at home the other day finishing off an article about tips for business success (hard work, discipline, tight OODA loops, 'Never Give Up', etc.) when I remembered that earlier in the week I had knocked my Swiss Army knife behind my dresser (you are probably wondering if it is an Ikea dresser, but that is not really relevant at this point of the story).
Originally when this happened, I was in a bit of a rush (I had to leave the house for a meeting or something - maybe the dentist), and not being able to immediately resolve the situation was messing with my head because I knew it was gonna be a mission to get the Swiss Army knife back out. It's a pretty large dresser, and the way it is positioned makes it really difficult to access anything behind it. It meant I was probably gonna have to clear everything off the top and move the entire thing until there was enough space to reach behind. Also, it was annoying because the way it all happened was clumsiness on my behalf. I was in a rush, and I knocked it behind the dresser while I was reaching for my wallet. It was one of those situations where it seemed to all happen in slow-motion. Reminded me of the time I was working the midnight shift at a place and when I was coming back from a 3am smoke break, I dropped my access card, and it took one bounce before falling down the elevator shaft and there was nobody else around to let me back in to the place I was working at (now THAT was a shit show - it happened several years ago though, don't worry).
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