Stretching past complacency


A few years ago, economist Tyler Cowen published a complacency quiz to help individuals measure their level of complacency. The quiz has since been removed, but Tyler’s suggested complacency remedies are still posted.

He divided the remedies into three areas: Social Dynamism, Intellectual Dynamism and Physical Dynamism.

I’ve listed the suggestions I was most compelled to pursue. Read Tyler’s complete list here.

*Bonus: I created a few of my own remedies (see bottom). One for each of the three areas.

Can you invent a few?

Social Dynamism:

  • Go to lunch with someone in your office from a different department.
  • Explore a music genre you are not familiar with until you find three songs you really like.
  • Have a civil conversation with someone you typically disagree with on social or political issues. Take the time to figure out what drives them and where their ideas come from.

Intellectual Dynamism

  • Write an article defending the opposite political view of what you believe. Try to be as convincing as possible!
  • Identify the quirkiest thing about yourself and double down on that trait. Find similarly eccentric people in person or online.
  • Imagine your dream job. Look for it. Apply for it even if you think you aren’t qualified. What’s the worst that could happen?

Physical Dynamism

  • Leave your phone at home once a week.
  • Start a savings account so you can one day buy or rent the home of your dreams. Or at least have enough money to couch-surf all over the world.
  • Try to get to a location 20 or more min away (as the car drives) without your GPS.

*Bonus:

Social Dynamism – Attend a regularly scheduled religious service (e.g. Sunday morning, Saturday night) and sit in the first three rows of the sermon or lecture.

Intellectual Dynamism – Write a short story. 1,000 word minimum. Submit it to a literary journal or any another publication seeking short stories.

Physical Dynamism – Sign up to play at least one season of a recreational level sport. If you grew up playing team sports, pick an individual sport. If you grew up playing individual sports choose a team sport.

Four Panel Friday: Erik Larsen's Savage Dragon -This Savage World


Plan B

It’s wild.

Savage Dragon was an idea from Erik Larsen’s youth that grew with him into adulthood.

Larsen’s Dragon cracked apart the general superhero story in two ways. (I’m sure there’s more than 2, but for now…)

Savage Dragon is a police officer. The typical super hero trope is a masked gymnast turned vigilante.

Chicago is Dragon’s home. Chicago isn’t as hipster cool as say, Des Moines, Iowa. But it also isn’t New York City, Metropolis, Gotham, Queens or any other NY alias that every other superhero pays crazy rent to live in.

From: This Savage World (Savage Dragon, Vol. 15)

By Eric Larsen

Football Links: Two Defensive Midfielders and Roy Hodgson


Casemiro is still fundamental to Real Madrid’s success. By Sid Lowe:

One day early in Zidane’s first spell as Real Madrid manager, Casemiro knocked on his door. He hadn’t played yet — five games had passed — and he wasn’t happy. Play me, he said, please. Zidane looked at him, told him to calm down and said that once he started playing, he would never stop. Zidane was right, so much so that it became almost a running joke. After one game recently, Casemiro was asked if he was ever going to rest. By way of a response, he offered that cherubic smile he has and said something about how he didn’t need it. Zidane didn’t think so, either. You only ever leave Casemiro out to ensure that you can put him in.

Wilfred Ndidi snatches the ball winning crown from Nogolo Kante. By Ryan O’ Hanlon

the tactical beauty of having an omnipotent ball winner player such as Ndidi in your squad is that he allows you to shove an extra attacker onto the field without losing much (if any) defensive solidity.

Roy Hodgson reflects on his time at Inter, and Javier Zanetti. From The Coaches Voice

Javier wasn’t even signed to be the big player he became – he made himself into that. He had an incredible professionalism and desire to make the very best out of himself. Whatever his coaches or fitness coaches wanted him to do, he was going to show he could do it.

An appreciation of Lionel Messi, from the Paris Review?


You’re standing in one place, one patch of grass on a sunny Saturday afternoon in Seville, playing a game, which is to say doing your job, which is playing a game. A ball floats in the air toward you. You’re in one place and you’re in all possible places. Your name is stamped between your shoulder blades. You turn your back away from the ball. We all know who you are. You balance yourself and focus. What you’re about to do has no name.

From: They Think They Know You, Lionel Messi. By: Rowan Ricardo Phillips. The Paris Review, February 26 2019

I love finding pieces on footballers from outside of traditional football journalism. Especially when a masterful writer can share a new vision.

Rowan Ricardo Phillips accomplishes a rare feat with his Paris Review piece: They Think They Know You, Lionel Messi. He helps us relish, treasure again, this moment where we still have the opportunity to watch Lionel Messi at the peak of his powers.

Rowan reminds us not to take it for granted.

Jhumpa Lahiri and Ernest Hemingway's adoration of far away lands

I’m opening 2020 reading Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast and Jhumpa Lahiri‘s In Other Words.

This wasn’t a planned joint reading adventure, but there was a natural connection between the two – the deep adoration both authors shared for their temporary homes.

Lahiri on the sounds of Florence that captured her:

– But from the start my relationship with Italy is as auditory as it is visual. Although there aren’t many cars, the city is humming. I’m aware of a sound that I like, of conversations, phrases, words that I hear wherever I go. As if the whole city were a theater in which a slightly restless audience is chatting before the show begins. I hear the excitement of children wishing each other buon Natale – merry Christmas – on the street. I hear the tenderness with which, one morning at the hotel, the woman who cleans the room asks me: Avete dormito bene? Did you sleep well? When a man behind me on the sidewalk wants to pass, I hear the slight impatience with which he asks: Permesson? May I?

In Other Words, pg 13,15. Lahiri, Jhumpa

Hemingway on the coming Paris Spring:

With so many trees in the city, you could see the spring coming each day until a night of warm wind would bring it suddenly in one morning. Sometimes the heavy cold rains would beat it back so that it would seem that it would never come and that you were losing a season out of your life. This was the only truly sad time in Paris because it was unnatural. You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintry light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person had died for no reason.

In those days, though, the spring always came finally but it was frightening that it had nearly failed.

A Moveable Feast, pg48. Hemingway, Ernest

Four Panel Friday: Making Comics – Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga, and Graphic Novels


Collabo

There’s plenty of how-to guides for making comics out there. Still, I can’t think of one as comprehensive as Scott McCloud‘s Making Comics.

Though first published in 2006, Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga, and Graphic Novels holds up. Even chapter 7, The Comics Professional, still shares sage advice to aspiring comic writers and artists alike.

Life Lessons from The Name of the Wind

As I continue reading The Name of the Wind, I keep noticing Patrick Rothfuss drop small wisdom nuggets in each chapter.

Some of them apply to the real world:

On doing business with a tinker:

Still, it’s never wise to look eager to sell.

The Name of the Wind: 10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition, pg 524. Patrick Rothfuss

On negotiating for a horse:

I spoke with certainty in my voice, but no hope in my heart. He was a gorgeous animal, and his coloring made him worth at least twenty talents. Still I’d go through the motions and hope to squeeze the man down to nineteen.

The Name of the Wind: 10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition, pg 519, 520. Patrick Rothfuss

On using common sense when dating:

I might not be one of you University folk, but I can see the moon on a clear night. I’m smart enough not to stick my hand in the same fire twice.

The Name of the Wind: 10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition, pg 491 Patrick Rothfuss