Grooming the Next King of Foosball: One Ridiculous Don King Quote at a Time

“Gonna beat your face to outer space!” – Little Dude’s foosball trash talk.

Don King? Or does that American flag top hat put him in Apollo Creed territory?

Either way, Little Dude is on the path to greatness. Foosball greatness.

Are you aware there are foosball greats?! Yep, a pro tour, tournaments, world champions, $65,000 prizes, and some scandal too.

But, it’s a shadow of it’s 1970′s prime when the pro tour offered player trading cards, groupies, coke parties, sports cars, and a $1M prize purse.

A rec room legend has been on a long decline.

Perfect opportunity for the rise of the next king.

Last year I transitioned a dirt mound under the deck into a patio. As part of this mastermind landscape creation, I purchased a $50 foosball table on CraigsList and hauled that beast to it’s new home in the Dude casa backyard.

I have no idea how to play foosball.

Why get a table? Simple. Mrs. Dude whipped my unskilled butt on our 2nd date….years ago. Dudes remember these things. Dude pride is at stake.

The perfect addition to the backyard patio.

To pay the bills back in the day, I worked at a dive bar in Boston that was lovingly described as the “star wars bar.” Perhaps the best dive bar…eva. This dive bar rocked a foosball table, and regulars rocked the foosball table. I’ve seen some nasty foosers.

But I never put the foos time in…the dudes seemed waaay too good. And unfortunately, I never realized I could have made it my (alcohol/drug fueled) occupation. Until I read about The Party Boy King of Foosball.

I’ve been sitting on this Men’s Journal article for a year because the foosball table has been sitting idle on the patio for a year. But a couple week’s ago the foos frenzy began.

For some reason (great summer weather, time to kill, threats from Dad?), we’ve started an evening foosball tradition – Dude & Little Dude vs. the Princess.

None of us had a clue at the beginning, but we’re catching on fast. Flick of the wrist here, pass off the wall there, power shots galore.

We’re definitely catching our foosball groove.

Watch out competitive foosball world, Little Dude is sharpening his skills…and his trash talk. 

I just hope the convention hall tournaments and Trans-Am prizes can last long enough to fulfill the dreams of a future foosball legend.

Give the MJ article a read…it’s equally ridiculous and awesome.

Long live foosball.

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Dudeist Priest Wedding Officiant: How to Rock Your First Wedding Ceremony [Bonus: Script Include]

As you may glean from the name of this blog, I dig the Big Lebowski.

Wit, dialogue, deeper meaning…it’s tough to beat The Dude.

In honor of The Dude and his Zen-like ways, I joined the fellowship of the Dudeist Priests many moons ago.

In addition to a few chuckles and reminders of classic Lebowski quotes, I became an ordained Dudeist Priest.

No cost and two minutes of my time, why not?

Ordained priest; check off that bucket list.

In the back of my mind, I contemplated making use of my ordained status…someday, but never dedicated too many brain synapses to the mental image.

A few years ago my cousin asked me to be the officiant at her wedding. But it was a long trip, kids in tow, blah didi blah blah. I declined. I figured my next bucket list check had passed me by.

Turns out my sister-in-law is also a poor judge of character and requested my ordained presence as well.

A beach vacation/beach wedding with the entire family. Hard to turn that request down.

It got really real, real quick.

So, a few weeks ago I performed my first (last?) wedding ceremony. And if I do say so myself, I think I may have rocked it.

Well, I didn’t fall down and I wasn’t booed off the beach. Rocked it? I’d say so.

Lessons for the first time officiant? Sure, how about a Top 10…

  1. Abide. Chill, Dude. I’m a Dudeist Priest…you should have expected that one.
  2. Search flow and scripts online (see below).
  3. Watch officiant videos on YouTube.
  4. Know the bride and groom. Talk about their wishes for the wedding, but more importantly, about themselves and their relationship.
  5. Take time to prep. The great Dude in the sky hooked me up with a 20 minute t-storm to give me added memorization time…much needed.
  6. Memorize, don’t read.
  7. Be comfortable in front of the crowd. Practice…use a mirror.
  8. Keep it short and sweet.
  9. Mix a hint of humor with a whole lotta love.
  10. Tell the bride she’s beautiful. ;)

Marrying two human beings was one of the coolest experiences I’ve had. Bucket list, checked.

And afterwards, we danced our faces off to a kick-butt funk band, and watched Little Dude dominate the dance floor with his sweet break dancing skills.

Congrats Mr. & Mrs. Newlyweds.

Wedding Ceremony Script

Here’s my rad wedding ceremony script. Feel free to use, but use with caution…it’s pretty awesome.

Greeting

Welcome everyone. Welcome on this gorgeous day to the celebration of the marriage of XYZ and ZYX.

On behalf of X and Y and their parents, Z and W, I’d like to thank you all for being here to celebrate this special day.

In the wise words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once and a while, you could miss it.”

It’s easy to get lost in the details of the day and lose focus on the big picture.

I encourage us all to stop and look around.

Relax, take a deep breath of the salty air, enjoy this lovely location, enjoy this special moment on this special day as we launch X and Y on their lifelong flight together. (Groom is a pilot, you like that, right?! :) )

Exchange of Vows
(Luckily, they wrote their own vows – not included)

X and Y, the words you are about to say to each other will change your lives forever. It’s an honor to be here to share this moment with you.

X, please share your vows with Y…

Y, please share your vows with X…

Ring Exchange

For X and Y these rings are a symbol of their commitment to each other. By exchanging these rings, X and Y declare their eternal love for each other.

X, repeat after me: “Y, take this ring as a symbol of my love and commitment to you.”

Y, repeat after me: “X, take this ring as a symbol of my love and commitment to you.”

X, do you take Y to be your wife?

Y, do you take X to be your husband?

Closing

This ceremony may have only lasted minutes, but your promises to each other will last a lifetime.

It is my great honor and privilege to now pronounce you husband and wife.

You may kiss your bride.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Mr. and Mrs. XYZ.

Yes, I did quote the great Ferris Bueller. Classic Dude.

Go forth and marry Dudeists!

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MenEssentials: Smell Waaay Better than Your Grandmother on Fire.

MenEssentials Beard Gear

A few weeks ago the Dude was in need of some new beardscaping products.

I conducted the perfunctory Google investigation and turned up too much and too little. Too many options with too little details.

I quickly turned to Amazon and their highest sellers. Mistake.

The first time I oiled up the beard and slapped on some aftershave, Mrs. Dude responded with…

Sniff. Sniff. “What’s burning? You smell like a camp fire.” Sniff. Sniff. “And those spicy candies my grandmother always had. Pretty much my grandmother on fire.”

Not the review I was hoping for.

Thankfully, MenEssentials sensed a bearded bro in need.

A well-timed email, and the Dude had a box of beard gear waiting on the doorstep. Rad.

MenEssesntials gear is solid. Natural ingredients. Sweet smells. Healthy beard.

Waaay better than your grandmother in flames.

A couple favs: Bluebards Beard Wash + Bluebeards Wonder Beard

Happy bearding matey.

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[Bulletproof] Coffee of the Gods: Quality Beans, Butter & the AeroPress

Quality is important.

Coffee is important.

Quality coffee? Crucial.

I mentioned my affinity for “bulletproof” coffee in a post a couple years ago – grass-fed butter and MCT oil added to quality coffee as a great way to start your day.

Since coffee has become a staple in my daily routine, I’ve developed a focus on improving my coffee routine and quality.

Last week, this improvement hit hyperspace.

A bit of a tangent, but we’ll loop around.

Tim Ferris. 4 Hour Work Week. 4 Hour Body. 4 Hour Chef.

Never read his books. The infomercial names turned me off. But I’ve been listening to his podcast and reading his blog for the past few months.

I’m amazed at the amount of quality info I’ve consumed at the hands of Mr. T. Ferriss in a short time.

Another topic for another time.

Coffee.

The first blog post from T. F. that caught my attention was

Tim digs into the coffee ritual at Apple. Decently interesting. But the magic is in the tips Tim offers to hack the coffee game.

After listening to all of Tim’s podcasts, I realize this is the magic T.F. brings to every endeavor. And the reason his books are probably worthwhile.

Tim tells you how Apple loves coffee and their obsessive habits around it, but he also tells you how to do it cheaper and easier.

I bought the recommended inexpensive grinder after reading that post.

I watched the video included in the post and saw the plastic coffee-maker, but like Tim’s books, I judged the book by the cover. Wrong choice.

Tim talks about using this plastic masterpiece to make the “perfect cup of coffee,” but I didn’t believe.

Until last week. I finally broke-bad and ordered a $25 AeroPress (Amazon).

It’s hard to overstate how great the AeroPress is. Quick, easy. More importantly, the best cup of coffee I’ve had.

For reals. The best. Ever.

Coffee of the gods.

Here’s a great post on the invention of the AeroPress.

And a great video of the AeroPress “ritual”…

Sandwich Video | AeroPress – “Ritual” from Garrett Shannon on Vimeo.

I’ve included a list of coffee-related links below that I’ve collected while wandering the interwebs in search of el perfecto cuppa joe. But all you really need to know is…

  1. Grass-fed butter
  2. Single-origin coffee beans (no blends)
  3. Aero Press for life

Coffee-related Links:

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Zen and the Art of Mobility: A Minimalist Approach to Stretching and Mobility [Fitness Bonus]

I won’t claim to be an expert on Zen. But I dig the Zen/Buddhist ideas I’ve studied.

I’m a big fan of simplicity and minimalism. Both of which seem to have strong ties to Zen.

Simple and minimal also have a broad application to an efficient, productive everyday life – a core focus of the Dude’s world these days.

Including health and fitness.

You can dig a bit further on the Zen philosophy and the relation to minimalism in this blog post:

Rather than a focus on esoteric ideas, let’s use this post to explore a minimal, simple, quick and easy approach to mobility and stretching.

And start to consider an efficient, minimal approach to fitness as a whole.

I’ve mentioned the idea of “mobility” a few times:

  1. Take Care of Yourself
  2. Best Exercises to Keep a Dude Healthy
  3. Dude’s Flow: Off the Reservation
  4. You Should Stand More
  5. Everyday Mobility: Every Dude Needs to Move

From my experience, mobility has always been a drawn out approach – from a short and long-term perspective.

I stretch and foam-roll for 40+ minutes almost every day. And I’m still working through deep-seeded damage to muscle groups.

It’s not a quick fix…but neither was the damage.

Progress is being made, but there is a strong time commitment as well.

As I explained in Dude’s Flow: Off the Reservation, my approach to fitness has changed drastically over the last few years, and it is continually evolving.

Efficiency and minimalism are at the core of my fitness approach.

It’s great to see the fitness and health world moving in this efficient/minimal direction as well – forget the gym, use everyday objects and activities, stop over-training, use science to focus on minimal exercises with best impact, get back to nature and use your body.

I could share a long list of resources that are moving in this direction, but rather than an overload, let’s look at a couple recent gems I’ve enjoyed (check my posts listed above for additional links)…

And the motivation for this post – Dan John.

Dan is an impressive dude with a long list of credentials and experiences.

Jumping from one link to another I landed on a post Dan wrote about his go-to mobility exercises:

2 exercises. That’s it!

A big difference from my daily 40 minutes+.

I see value in my slow, deep approach to mobility and stretching. But dang, only two exercises?! I dig. Always room for efficiency.

I’m now working with both approaches. Some days long. Some days short. Dan’s exercises, every day.

Dan sums up his approach to minimal mobility well:

Listen, I KNOW you can do more…I know it! But, will it be better?

Checkout Dan’s great explanation – Two minimal mobility movements:

  1. The Windmill Stick
  2. The Stoney Stretch.

Bonus

Dan shares a great minimalist fitness practice (Pavel says don’t call it a workout) in the same post:

Day One

  • Warm up with Turkish Get Up, Goblet Squat, and Swing
  • Bench Press
  • Snatch

Day Two

  • Warm up with Turkish Get Up, Goblet Squat, and Swing
  • Bench Press
  • Deadlift
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Still Time to Score for Valentine’s Day [More Importantly, XOXO on the Reg]

There’s only a couple rules we live by in the Dude casa.

  1. Never break a promise: Trust is important
  2. Always give a kiss goodnight…

You can’t get today back. Make sure the peeps you love, know it.

  • “I hope they know how much I love them.”
  • “I wish I had a chance to say I love you.”

Such simple regrets to avoid.

Don’t wait for the next holiday to say I love you and share a good night kiss.

Today’s the day.

Holidays? Gifts?

Meh.

Make every day the right day to share a special moment.

With that said, I love love. Any reason for an extra squeeze is good by me.

It’s a week away, but you still have time to score for Valentine’s Day. Here’s how…

You’re welcome.

Posted in Family, Holidays, Life Lessons, Love | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Meditation: The Ultimate Life Hack? [A Dude's Guide to What, Why & How]

The Dude is all about some life hacks.

Simple. But effective. That’s my jam.

As I travel down life’s path, I continue to refine. Every aspect of my life. Daily.

How can I improve? Make this better. Easier. More efficient.

Everything can be improved. Always.

Regardless of the area of life I place my attention – work, art, fitness, relationships, health, well-being – a common thread that binds is the suggestion to practice mediation. It is astounding how often mediation comes up from all walks of life.

I’ve tried to create a mediation practice for years. Read. Researched. Started. Stopped.

I never felt I was doing it “right.” Or my mind would drift, and I felt my efforts were wasted.

Practice was consistently inconsistent.

Almost two years ago, I hit my stride. Daily practice has become a reality.

What changed?

Unfortunately, I don’t have the magik bullet. I did land on a style I dig (check out Theurgy), but mainly, I think I’m at the right place at the right time.

I may not have the magik bullet, but the interwebs sure do have A LOT of valuable info.

During meditation tenure, I’ve collected a variety of articles, blog posts, etc. that discuss the vast benefits of meditation. Coupled with the real-world effects I feel on the daily, I’m starting to believe mediation just may be the ultimate life hack.

Let’s take a gander at what the interwebs have to offer…

What is Meditation

  • The Paradox of Meditation: Great source. Subscribe. The book reviewed here has been on my Amazon list for a while. Time to buy.  In Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion (public library), neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris argued that cultivating the art of presence is our greatest gateway to true happiness. After his extensive, decades-long empirical romp through the world’s major religious traditions and humanity’s most potent psychedelic substances, Harris returns again and again to meditation as the holy grail of self-transcendence, the single most promising practice for slicing through the illusion of the ego to reveal what Jack Kerouac so memorably called “the Golden Eternity.” (You can also find a great interview on Tim Ferriss’ podcast. Book AND source. Foreshadowing?)
  • Ram Dass on Meditation (Polishing the Mirror): Meditation is basic spiritual practice for quieting the mind and getting in touch with our deeper Self, the spirit. Meditation provides a deeper appreciation of the interrelatedness of all things and the part each person plays. The simple rules of this game are honesty with yourself about where you are in your life and learning and listening to hear how it is. Meditation is a way of listening more deeply, so you hear how it all is from a more profound place. Meditation enhances your insight, reveals your true nature, and brings you inner peace.
  • Meditation & Theosophy: Builds on my Theurgy link above. Meditation is thus a continual process of remedying our ills by remembering who we are and adapting to the circumstances we face in life. The techniques of meditation are varied.
  • The Rituals of Kumar Pallana: Kumar loves mediation. Wes Anderson love Kumar. You should love meditation AND Kumar.

Why Meditate

  • A Scientific Revolution Driven by Meditation: Harvard level professors giving attention to mediation. Meditation vs. Mindfulness – same? Maybe. Maybe not. Seems pretty close to me. This article discusses Jon Kabat-Zinn– one of my first entrants to mediation/mindfulness and still one of my favs.
  • The Power of Meditation & How it Affects the Brain: Great mediation overview on Buffer (Don’t know Buffer?! Dude!) – 4 types of mediation, how mediation affects the brain, how mediation affects us, getting started.
  • Meditation Enhances Creativity: David Lynch, famed movie/TV director, uses mediation to find great ideas. Agreed. Keep your bullet journal nearby…sweet creative ideas will bubble to surface.
  • Meditation Alters Genes: Methodology – Researchers at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Subjects trained 26 adults with no prior experience in meditation for eight weeks. Results – All of the subjects’ blood samples revealed changes in gene expression following meditation. The changes were the exact opposite of what occurs during flight or fight: genes associated with energy metabolism, mitochondrial function, insulin secretion, and telomere maintenance were turned on, while those involved in inflammation were turned off. These effects were more pronounced and consistent for long-term practitioners.
  • 10 Benefits of Meditation: The length of your practice isn’t as important as the frequency; you’re far more likely to experience the many benefits if you meditate for five to 10 minutes a day, 5 days a week than if you squeeze your meditation into a 30-minute session once a week.
  • Meditation – Key to Longer, Stress-free life?: Telomeres are portions of repetitive DNA at the ends of our chromosomes that protect our chromosomes from deteriorating. Meditation was the focus of research at UC Davis and UCSF by Nobel Prize winner Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD. The 2011 study found that meditation increased activity of telomerase — enzymes that can rebuild and lengthen our chromosomal telomeres — when meditation was conducted twice a week for three months.
  • How Meditation Can Boost Your Brainpower: For skeptics, this study showed how the brain literally changes with meditation in order to provide dozens of positive benefits for anyone who starts a practice. The sizes of key regions of our brain improve as a result of meditation, memory is made far more efficient, and empathy, compassion, and resiliency under stress are also improved.
  • Meditation Appears to Produce Enduring Changes in Emotional Processing in the Brain:  A study at Massachusetts General Hospital found that participating in an eight-week meditation training program can have measurable effects on how the brain functions even when someone is not actively meditating. The researchers also found differences in those effects based on the specific type of meditation practiced.
  • Increase Happiness, Bravery & Attention Span: Great post from a great source. A number of good quotes. Will motivate you to take five minutes out of your day to test a habit that could offer widespread, lasting positive effects.
  • How Changing Your Breathing Will Change Your Life: Think you know how to breathe? You do it every day. Even right now! Yeah, nope.
  • Google’s Jolly Good Fellow: Meditation, emotional intelligence, and Google. Safe to say it’s worth the read.
  • Meditation & the Brain: A team of researchers from Norway and Australia are trying to sort the different forms of meditation and the benefits each one yields.
  • Superhuman Energy Cultivated by Meditators – It’s Science: The energy emitted by people who have reached an advanced level in meditation practice has been shown by multiple studies to exceed normal human levels by hundreds or thousands of times.
  • Meditate Before You Medicate: There have been numerous studies of the health and financial benefits of meditation including: 28% cumulative decrease in physician fees, 55% less medical care utilization with lower sickness rates, including 87% less hospitalization for heart disease and 55% less for cancer.
  • Does Meditation Make You Smart?: A new study claims that meditation activates parts of the brain that simple ‘relaxing’ cannot.
  • Does Mediation Slow Aging?: A Nobel Prize-winning biochemist is engaged in serious studies hinting that meditation might – as Eastern traditions have long claimed – slow ageing and lengthen life.
  • Think Meditation is a Waste of Time? Watch This – The Neuroscience Behind Meditation: Despite its continued growth and popularity, meditation -like so many other practices -is not without ridicule, as a large portion of the world’s population are still happy to classify it as pseudoscientific, or a waste of time. In response to this common classification, the group at Big Think have created an easy to understand short video that explains the neuroscience behind meditation.


How to Meditate

  • 10 Ways to Work Meditation Into Your Day: Surprisingly good suggestions for a quick list. Great accompanying quotes as well.
  • Meditation for Beginners: 11 easy tips to get you started.
  • 100 Breaths Meditation: Increase concentration by using the breath as a focal point for meditation. It should take between 10-15 minutes depending on your natural pace of breathing.
  • Guided Mediation – Destress in 5 Minutes: Thinking is the cause of stress. The most effective way to relieve stress is by taking a break from thinking. Guided meditation does not involve thinking. Guided meditation is one of the easiest meditation techniques available. All you have to do is press play, close your eyes, and follow the voice instructions. Meditation downloads can be found by searching for guided meditation in any search engine.
  • How to Finally Start Meditating (Like a Pro): Without guided meditation, I could barely last for 3 minutes without getting bored, anxious, and giving up.
  • TED – All It Takes is 10 MinutesTransformative power of refreshing your mind for 10 minutes a day.
  • 5 Minute Guide to Meditation – Anywhere, Any Time: All you need to meditate is yourself.
  • 12 Meditation Apps: Guided meditation is a great way to start. These apps have you covered.
  • Mind the Gap: Notice that in between thoughts, there’s a small gap of “no-mind.” Thoughts run in succession, interspersed by gaps of empty space. Over time, with practice, we become aware of the feeling, and we learn to extend the gaps, feeling more and more stillness and inner peace.
  • Two Minute Meditation: The most important two minutes of your life.
  • 5 Methods of Meditation: There’s a myriad of methods for meditation. Some are easy and some are difficult. All require daily practice to perfect. Here are five of the most popular methods of meditation and what they each bring to the Meditation Table.
  • Four Primary Skills of Meditation: Presence, awareness, focus, concentration.
  • Learn How to Meditate in 8 Easy Steps: We all already know how to meditate. Meditation is the natural state of all human beings, and we have had to work ourselves very hard to condition ourselves out of that natural blissful state of unity with the universe.
  • Solitude as Meditation: Losing oneself in solitude is a means to the end of finding oneself in meditation.
  • 7 Day Meditation Challenge: 7-Day Meditation Challenge to see the positive affects it has on your life and on reducing stress.

Mindfulness Meditation

  • Science Behind Mindfulness: Researchers highlight six neuropsychological processes that are active mechanisms in the brain during mindfulness and which support S-ART (self-awareness, self-regulation, and self-transcendence). These processes include 1) intention and motivation, 2) attention regulation, 3) emotion regulation, 4) extinction and reconsolidation, 5) pro-social behavior, and 6) non-attachment and de-centering.
  • Mindfulness – Meditation for People Too Busy to Meditate: Practicing mindfulness – and reaping its benefits – doesn’t need to be a large time commitment or require special training. You can start right now – this moment. These techniques quite literally train the mind and rewire the brain – ability to concentrate increases, see things with increasing clarity, which improves your judgment, and develop equanimity.
  • How (Mindfulness) Meditation Works: In a practical sense, “sitting” is really all there is to the meditation aspect of mindfulness meditation. You sit in a quiet place with your eyes closed, focusing on your breath as it moves in and out. Your mind will inevitably wander, which is where the mindfulness aspect comes in. Instead of growing frustrated with your lack of focus or getting caught up in the web of your thoughts, you train yourself to observe the thought or emotion with acceptance and curiosity, and to calmly bring your focus back to the breath.
  • How Mindfulness Meditation Works: Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital have devised a model that sheds light on the science behind mindfulness. Instead of a single dimension of cognition, the researchers show that mindfulness involves a large framework of complex mechanisms in the brain that lead a person down the path of developing self-awareness, self-regulation, and self-transcendence (S-ART). Practitioners can begin training themselves to become less emotionally reactive and to recover more quickly from negative emotions.
  • A Simpler Guide to Mindfulness for Beginners: Learn how to do your daily routine activities mindfully.
  • Brief Mindfulness Yields Long-Term Results: Even brief mindfulness practice—typically, a kind of meditation that focuses on a particular aspect of the present moment, like your breath, your body, or a particular sensation—has a substantial positive effect on mental well-being and memory. It also appears to physically improve the brain, strengthening certain neural structures that are tied to heightened attention and focus, and bolstering connectivity in the brain’s default mode network, which is linked to self-monitoring and control.
  • Inhabit the Moment: Practice occupying the current moment. Inhabit it, by really being in it, fully experiencing all our senses in everyday ordinary actions.
  • The Shadow Side of Mindfulness Meditation?: Every yin has a yang. Meditation shouldn’t be viewed as a cure-all. But from my experience, it’s a pretty rad addition to your daily.

Kids & Meditation

HeartMath

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How To Transition from Movember to Winter Beard | A Dude’s Guide to Beard Care

We’ve reached a crucial point of transition in the annual calendar. November to December.

Thanksgiving to Christmas. Real world to holiday world.

Most importantly, Movember to Winter Beard.

You’re feeling good with your Movember scruff, right?

A chance to let the beard hair down. And now you’re supposed to shave it?!

The Winter Beard is your savior. The opportunity to hold onto your bearded freedom – at least until April.

If you’ve missed my previous love of facial hair, peep the links below. But to start, let’s do a quick refresher on why beards are the dopest of the dope.

 

I dig a good beard. Especially during the chilly winter months.

I’m not alone is this love. Here’s a groovy website dedicated to “the celebration of The Beard” – BeardRevered.com. In fact, the December Beard is now a thing.

Despite my longstanding beard love, I’ve never taken the time to understand how to properly grow, groom and care for the winter whiskers.

Seems the start of Winter Beard season is the perfect opportunity for some facial follicle edification.

To start, we need to be honest with ourselves – Should you shave?

Use this handy infographic/flowchart to determine if you’re a candidate for a Winter Beard. We can’t all be beardos.

 Onward, beardo.

But how will the rest of the world deal with your righteous beard? The Art Of Manliness has you covered

Alright, the world is going to love your brawny beardedness. But how do you take care of your new companion?

Keep it trimmed. Keep it hydrated. Keep it looking sweet.

Your beard is a piece of art. Treat it with the respect it deserves.

How To Trim Your Beard; with Joey Tasca from Freemans (coincidence – no way! Beards = freedom) Sporting Club Barbershop – thanks Birchbox.

How to Shave Well; with Charlie King from London Barbers – gracias Mr. Porter.

Don’t forget to Mind the Line

GIF Guide How To Tame a Wild & Bushy Beard – hat tip Birchbox.

Beardsmen unite!

Tools of the Trade

A couple bonus items…

Dude’s Beard Links

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Proud Dad Moment: Spontaneous Beastie Boys

The teacher’s mouth was moving. I assume words were spoken.

All I heard was the sound of the adults in Charlie Brown…wont, wont…wont,wont, wont…wont wont.

Like Neal Armstrong driving the American flag into the surface of the moon (did he do that?), the rap culture was hoisting it’s flag triumphantly in the back of a 4th grade classroom in the (distant) suburbs of Boston, MA.

1986.

The Beastie Boys had (crash) landed.

My friends and I passed the Licensed to Ill cassette tape (!!!) around like it was contraband…Because it was!

Like a scene from an 80′s version of Wonder Years.

Hilarious.

The Beasties are forever misunderstood, but the musical legacy is undeniable.

Changed the face of rap with timeless flow, sick mixes, and a continuously evolving style.

Yesterday, in a proud dad moment, I heard Little Dude (4) spontaneously bust out “You gotta fight for your right to paaaarty!”

Awesome. And to celebrate, the Muppets killing it on So What’cha Want

PS – Want more Beastie info? Check out this awesome Rick Rubin interview. Beasties and so much more.

PPS – Related Beastie Boys Posts:

  1. Sabotage for the Kids – RIP MCA
  2. Beasties + Sesame Street = Awesome
  3. She’s Crafty
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Prime Your World: Why Quality Matters

I may, or may not, have been referred to as frugal. Ok, definitely have.

Lack of dinero tends to drive frugality. But I’m realizing quality matters.

Perhaps it is the maturing taste that accompanies my maturing age, but quality has become a sought-after value recently.

Years of frugality leads to disposal junk. (You’re welcome local thrift store.)

Quality, on the other hand, is lasting.

Quality stays with you and helps define who you are.

I’ve been instinctively seeking greater quality, and then I happened upon a great post about the Priming Effect:

Priming: an increased sensitivity to a particular schema due to a recent experience. In other words, priming is when an experience or exposure to a stimulus puts a particular schema at the forefront of our mind. When this in turn influences our judgments and decisions, it’s called the priming effect. (Great explanation - including video)

Quality is everywhere. The words we use, the thoughts we have, the clothes we wear the food we eat, the pictures we see, the people we hug and the time we spend. Everything.

The world moves fast. Modern attention spans are short. It’s easy to lose focus on quality.

That lose of quality is changing who we are. Who we want to be.

A few quotes from the above mentioned post to help build some perspective…

Your visual cortex is only about 1/200th of your brain. Your auditory cortex is about 1/1000th. If you can’t even consciously fathom what these relatively small brain regions are doing computationally, what hope do you have of maintaining awareness of what the rest of your brain is doing on an ongoing basis?

Your conscious mind doesn’t have anywhere close to the capacity that would be required to intelligently monitor and maintain all the thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that are constantly firing inside of you. Most of the time you’re not even aware of what’s happening inside your mind.

The reality is that different patches of neurons are processing different thoughts in parallel at all times.

Dude! We are SO cool.

Our bodies just work. And we have no idea how or why. It just is.

But here’s the magic. We can influence. We can drive.

We can work with our ability to “prime.” When we prime with quality, we’re more likely get quality.

In fact, we need to consciously prime. If you’re not aware of what is priming your world, then someone else is – Pepsi, Chevy, Facebook.

It’s a battle for your mind Neo. :) But you’re in control…if you want to be.

Your brain is always bouncing around between linked associations. It does this in parallel, subconsciously, all the time. The vast majority of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors occur without your conscious awareness or conscious involvement.

The lesson here is that seemingly subtle influences matter. If your senses perceive it, your brain is processing it. And this processing is seldom isolated. One little change in input can create significant ripples throughout your neural net. And this in turn can have a significant influence on the results you get to experience.

By exerting some control over our priming influences — which may involve just a few small changes that can be made within a minute or two — we can create a permanent and lasting improvement in different facets of our lives.

By giving your brain slightly different input on a subconscious level, you can enjoy some truly significant benefits on the results side. This is easy. It works. And there are many ways you can apply this for free.

Small changes. Big impact. I dig.

How do we put this into practice?

We need to consciously prime our world. Start on the inside and work our way out. Surround ourselves with the right thoughts, feelings, words, people and sensory input.

Start small and grow. Perfection is overrated. Take the next step and see where it leads.

Get  primin’ y’all!

  1.  Let Your Values Drive Your Choices: Blog post about a great approach to making decisions. Mi Padre preached the gospel of only making decisions you would be happy seeing in the newspaper the next day…more accurate than expected considering social media.
    1. Every decision is made within some type of constraint. Maybe it’s how much knowledge you have. Maybe it’s how much money you have. Maybe it’s how many resources you have. Why not what values you have?
  2. #1 Secret of Astronauts, Samurai & Navy Seals: Develop a practice to build calm mindfulness. Decision points are crucial and keeping a calm mind in tough situations makes an amazing impact. We need to train ourselves to make this happen.
    1. Meditation, spirituality, breathing, yoga, Tai Chi…it’s a long list. How are you going to prime your mind to stay calm when you don’t have time to think about it?
    2. One of my fav quotes – Thomas Jefferson: Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.
    3. Side Note: This blog post mentions a book called Musashi. Supposedly the best samurai book ever written. 900+ pages. 6 months later, I’m almost at 700. It’s awesome. Well worth the time.
  3. 10 Regrets You can Avoid: Don’t steal paperclips from the office. Make good choices. Be true to yourself. See #1 & #2.
  4. Keep a quality journal
  5. Quality pens: The Best Pen evaaaaaa?! From Wirecutter.
  6. Quality mug (for your bulletproof coffee)
  7. Take a nap.
  8. Take distractions and negative vibes out of your view. Keep your world clean and happy.
  9. Keep your world smelling good.
  10. Quality tunes or background noise
  11. Keep some power words lingering in your view (whiteboard?): Flow, Focus, Success, Complete, etc.
  12. Clothes
  13. Food
  14. Technology
  15. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

You get the gist. Quality matters. And everything is quality.

Focus on the things that are important in your world, and make sure you surround yourself with quality. Spend time on the things that matter, the influences that make you the person you want to be.

The Putter: A Great Example of Quality

Quality…scissors. Amazing. I now want quality scissors. Who woulda thunk it?

Hat tip to A Continuous Lean

Posted in Dude Knows Best, Dude's Flow, Hack, Life, Life Lessons, Life Skills | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments