Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Primer on Power

A few days ago I watched parts of an episode of The First Churchills (a series I recommend), and rewatched a scene that is a very good primer on how to be powerful:

Skip to 15:33. King William III meets Lord Marlborough. Some years earlier, Marlborough had raised the specter of public dissatisfaction with the King, who seemed to favor Dutchmen over Englishmen even in the English service. For this, Marlborough was dismissed from all his offices and reached the nadir of his fortunes. Now, the prospect of a return to favor dangles before Marlborough's face.

He remains somewhat stoic, giving a light compliment as part of a joke. William then begins to explore Marlborough's thoughts regarding the Peace of Ryswick. William wishes to know if Marlborough is "capable of looking one hour beyond tomorrow." He probes Marlborough's thoughts regarding the Spanish Succession, and Marlborough answers to his satisfaction, revealing that he has kept a pulse on matters of importance despite his dismissal from court.

In a good sign that he has indeed answered to the King's satisfaction, Marlborough is offered a drink by William. In an even better sign, William tells Marlborough of a still-secret treaty he has made with Louis XIV regarding the Spanish Succession.

William then gets to the point of the meeting: after stating that his and Marlborough's "interests grow closer every day" earlier, he offers to the latter the appointment of being the Duke of Gloucester's governor. This was a very important position, as Prince William, Duke of Gloucester was expected to become King in the future. Marlborough was thus restored to his position on the Privy Council and his rank in the army. He was also told that he would be one of the Lords Justices acting as regent while William was overseas.

Marlborough still expresses a gratitude to the King despite his having asked for none, and further reveals his thoughts on the future. Notice also that Marlborough mirrors William's earlier language when he mentions the words "past infamies," which causes the King to smile. Regarding the future, Marlborough said that he hoped the King's efforts for peace would succeed, but he feared Louis' ambition, and that he would very possibly opportunistically break a treaty when it suited him, and that the King knew this perhaps even better than he.

Marlborough states that the struggle may begin again, and that the King was honorably afraid he would not be up to the task. To help him along in that end, he would pick a delegate to take control in emergency, but was albeit powerless to act without his direct command. Marlborough compliments him again, calling the King a "prudent general."

"Do I read your mind correctly sir?" Marlborough asks.

King William answers in the affirmative by offering Marlborough a tour of the rebuilt palace.

There were a lot of subtleties regarding the wielding of power in this scene. Firstly, Marlborough kept a firm finger on the pulse of things despite his disadvantage. If he had not maintained his awareness, he would not have succeeded here.

Secondly, Marlborough mixes some light compliments with a push, saying that the King was honorably afraid. Flattery is part of being the perfect courtier.

Thirdly, Marlborough knew what William wanted to hear and said it to him. He knew that William's entire life was spent opposing Louis XIV's France, and offered him some comfort that he would be able to continue his life's work. He reflected William's thoughts back at him.

Most importantly, Marlborough demonstrated that he would be able to serve the King's self-interest.

I really should rewatch this largely accurate series after having read The 48 Laws of Power. I'm sure there's a lot of subtleties that I may pick up on now that I may have missed before. Marlborough really knew how to play the game - both political and military, and that's why he's one of the Twenty Men I seek to associate with and emulate.

Friday, April 18, 2014

First Daytime Direct Approach

So, after a somewhat disappointing way to start the business week, I finished it in grand style: by doing my first-ever direct, ballsy, daytime approach.

I've mentioned the girl in question in another post. She wasn't there that day, or the next time I went to get my hair cut. But she was there today. And in a true show of how far I've come, my first instinct was to approach.

I made flirty eye contact with her and we began to talk. I was a bit nervous, but my body language and vocal tones were generally excellent (exercise and video/podcast making REALLY go a long way in just making these two things naturally good). It was just stupid small talk generally. I told her she looked nice, etc. She seemed open. She even asked about my plans for the weekend (very good sign). Of course, I dressed very well.

I didn't want to lose momentum though, and I could feel myself not being able to close the deal then and there, given the social setting. I hung my jacket up and went to get my haircut, exchanging one more flirtatious glance with her, and ignoring her at other times.

My barber's a cool guy and we had a good conversation as always. My plan was to begin flirting with her again and ask her out at the end of the session. Lo and behold, toward the end one of the other employees there began talking with her. Just my luck. Oh well, I KNEW I was not going to get this chance again, at least for a while. Backing out was not an option I would think of. The man that thinks of DOR is not a Navy SEAL.

The situation was against me but I told her I'd like to take her out. I made a joke of not knowing her name but asking her out anyway. This probably put her in a very awkward situation, but I had no choice. She didn't betray awkwardness though. She told me she was "taken." I said that it was perfectly OK and I wouldn't tell anybody. She wouldn't give me her name either (understandable, given the way I framed the thing, she definitely would have if I'd asked it before). She told me to "keep coming."

So either one of two things is going on. She really is taken or she's not and just used that as a way to gracefully exit the situation. Whether she'll continue to be "taken" when a new situation arises remains to be seen.

Overall my beginner status certainly showed, but I think I did OK for someone really just getting into the game. I could have been more dominant earlier I think, but maybe I'm just nitpicking. The most important thing was that I fucking did it. A year ago, hell, probably even a few months ago I would never have had the balls to do this. So I feel very proud of myself for making the attempt.

Approach anxiety: go get nuked.

I plan on turning this in my favor the next time I'm there (provided she is too). I'm going to wonder who she is and call her "mystery woman" or something of that nature. Wish I'd done it this time but these things often escape you in the heat of the moment, especially without too much experience.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Of Eye Contact, Anxiety, & A Rant on Smartphones

So as I mentioned in the last post, I went to an event on Monday with a couple of cute girls.

I talked to the first one, but I couldn't make conversation that was open and freely-flowing. Why? Because her head was buried in her damn smartphone the entire time. She nearly spilled coffee on me. I told her playfully that she was lucky that she didn't get it on me when she asked (remember, I was wearing very good clothes too). She told me that this happens to her every day and I responded that she'd better make sure that nothing was wrong with her, or something along those lines.

And that was it, she went right back into her smartphone. She was sitting right next to me and nothing happened after that. What could have become a nice conversation ended very abruptly because of the presence of that smartphone. Now beginning to really experience it, I can truly begin to see why Roosh and so many others are so down on smartphones. While they're annoyingly used for attention whoring, they also present a significant barrier to actual human interaction and connection. Though I obviously wouldn't be able to talk while the panel (of which my influential acquaintance was a speaker on) was doing its presentation, I could have flirted with her in other ways, but the phone made those forms of non-verbal communication next to impossible. And then of course there was the added detriment that I might very well have been literally needing to compete with some other dick at that very moment. This girl was good-looking but not gorgeous. I just didn't want to bother. She left before the thing ended anyway.

Interestingly enough she was with what might be described as friends (or at the very least people she certainly knew), but she didn't really talk to any of them either, and they were the same way. ALL of these girls were buried in some kind of device. Ah, the wonders of timing. Part of me wishes I could experience my twenties ten years ago before the advent of smartphones. Bad luck, indeed.

Onto the next girl then. This is the one I made the more significant eye contact with. Unlike the first, she didn't have her head buried in her phone, though she certainly checked it more than a few times. I checked her out immediately. I made no attempt to hide my attraction.

In retrospect I think this may have been a mistake, at least at first. I should have probably been a bit more discrete until the more opportune time. The panel was talking and I obviously couldn't make a move then. I think this may have had the effect of me leering a bit, though she didn't quite seem to be aghast at me later on at any rate. I will note this in the future.

Anyway, the panel discussion subsided, and I went to talk to my acquaintance first. It was simply more important for me to talk to him than talk to her. Remember that revolving your life around women is the absolute last thing you want to do. The social proof obviously couldn't hurt, at any rate.

I talked with my acquaintance, inquiring about a writing gig on the insider's paper that he is the editor of. This might be forthcoming, which was the highest goal of going to the thing in the first place. It was here that I made more direct eye contact with her even as I talked with him. Ah, staring into those lovely green eyes! Again, she broke it first, twice.

I wasn't paying attention as to whether she broke it going to the side or going down. This may sound a mere subtlety but it is important, and I know to look out for it in the future now.

Was the approach anxiety there? Of course. But it felt very manageable. As you accrete your masculine frame little by little, your fears start to subside. She left first. I was still talking to my acquaintance.

When the conversation ended with him, I left, and found her...on her smartphone. Two of them, in fact. I thought of teasing her about the two phones, but I didn't. I did have some place to be after that.

I really should have just gone in on this one though. Hell, I wasn't even feeling any fear. This was just...inexplicable. Has this ever happened to you, my reader? I don't really feel bad that I didn't. I certainly should have though, and there are no excuses for this. In fact, when I left, I saw that she stopped to check her phone outside, not walking any further away from the room than she already had. I imagine that this could very well have been her hovering, waiting for me to approach her. Still, the paradox, in the words of Writer With A Dick on Return of Kings, is that "you need to give a fuck but have an I don't give a fuck mentality." You need to accept yourself and all your faults, being fine with the person inside while also having the desire and taking action to move forward and achieve glory.

If you don't, you are just going to put undue pressure on yourself, and will therefore be more likely to fail. Acceptance of this mindset has significantly reduced my anxieties and doubts in general, and has made me feel a whole lot better, feelings which translated in this situation such as making me feel comfortable making such ballsy eye contact, etc.

It's no big loss, and I feel good about the whole affair. There will always be another girl. At the very least, this was a huge confidence booster.

But honestly, smartphones just need to go to hell.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

It's So Easy to be Above Average

One of the blogs on my blogroll, Good Looking Loser, talks about the need to be above average to consistently get laid. I agree with it more or less. At the very least, it's something that you should strive for.

But here's the good news: being above average is easy.

Why? The competition is just so damn pitiful.

Let me give you an example. Yesterday, I went to an event at my Alma Mater, one which I only found out about that morning by coincidence. It was not only at my school, but a very influential acquaintance of mine (an insider in local politics) was going to be on the panel. I hesitated for a moment, since I have a history of what I think is mild social anxiety, but I'm not the man I was a year ago or even three months ago. My first instinct was to go, and remembering the advice of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Louis XIV, combined with a recent ROK article about seizing opportunities, it was a no-brainer.

So I went. I took care to go as a well-dressed man - not exactly suited up, but a more casual style that gives the wearer a degree of sophistication (blazer, non-hipster jeans, and a button-down tucked in alongside some black suede shoes, with sunglasses). I checked myself in the mirror. I looked good. Perhaps I was a bit overdressed for this event, but I believe in Mark Manson's advice: always be the best-dressed man in the room.

And when I got there it quickly became apparent that I was. I met an old professor who told me I looked good.

It was hard not to, in comparison to the other people I saw. The guys there were dressed hideously - terrible shoes, outfits that made them look goofy, etc. You probably suspect what I'm talking about here. Granted as I said, I was probably a bit overdressed - this was a daytime event at a college campus, but that doesn't change the fact that the guys were dressed poorly. I see most people on the street or anyplace else not dressed much better. I've particularly noticed shoes and can understand why women pay so much attention to them - they reveal a lot about you. Most guys just put on their unkempt sneakers and go out. I've even seen this footwear at clubs many times.

A little tiny bit of effort really does go a long way.

And I'm not even going to mention body language. Most guys have terrible or at best sub-optimal body language. Not so with me anymore.

To say that this is a confidence booster is an understatement. It really is like seeing the Matrix, and with one simple trick you begin to bend reality to your will. Most people truly are on autopilot, and by doing a few simple things (this among them), you are leagues ahead.

And looking good means feeling good. There were two cute girls there (more on that to come in the next post). How do you think an approach would go dressed the way I was compared with the others? Who would have a better chance? I made extended eye contact with one of those girls and she brightened at least twice at me, returning my eye contact and looking away first. I was a bit ballsy, I made no attempt to hide my attraction - and that certainly played a part, but looking good certainly helped too. Whether she was actually interested in me of course is a different matter, since you can never truly know until you approach.

Again, more on that to come.

There's still a ways to go to get where I want to be, but I must say that after one year of frequenting corners of the manosphere and about eight months of taking overall self-improvement seriously one gradual step at a time, I am peaks beyond where I was in the past, and it is only going to get better. I would have done none of this a year ago, absolutely none of it.

Now that's real progress. It's above average, and it's a lot easier than you think.

Hopefully I didn't dance to my own drum too much in this post, but hey I feel good and want to encourage other guys where I can, limited though my voice is.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Helga G. Pataki: The Perfect Cartoon Feminist

I'm a 90's kid. I'm sure many others around these parts are. I'm also sure (if you were in the U.S. at least), that you remember a show called Hey Arnold!

The show ran from 1996 to 2004, but was never ended properly. Nevertheless I've been watching it a lot lately, as a bit of nostalgia to reconnect with my childhood. There are generally two major characters in the show: the title character Arnold, and Helga Geraldine Pataki.

Aside from Arnold, Helga receives the most attention in the series, and in fact many of the episodes focusing on Arnold often focus on her too. Sometimes the show could very well be called Hey Helga! and nothing fundamental would change. She is certainly the most interesting and multi-dimensional character on the show. One of the reasons for this is that, as a friend of mine put it: Helga is the perfect feminist.

Helga may sometimes be seen as the antagonist of the show. She's a bully, hits people, is extremely bossy and abrasive, and routinely harasses Arnold in particular. The reason for the latter of course is that she's secretly madly in love with Arnold but is afraid to tell him, and equally afraid of anyone finding out her secret. By constantly bullying him, she hopes to hide that secret.

Helga's demeanor is one of an extreme tomboy, as might be surmised from the above description of her persona. She takes after her blowhard father in both looks and personality. She has been described as "your ugly little friend with the one eyebrow" by Arnold's Grandpa Phil in the episode entitled Grudge Match (Season 4). Even boys are afraid to fight or anger her. Her pink dress and bow act as a sort of ironic costume - her clothing is traditionally feminine, but she is not.

Despite the fact that Helga is essentially the boss of the fourth grade, with the other kids routinely bending to her will, she is far from happy. As we see in the episode Helga on the Chouch (a fan favorite also taking place in Season 4) there are good reasons for her to feel this way. She is the product of an extremely dysfunctional family. Her father, Robert "Big Bob" Pataki is a successful business owner, selling beepers at his store called "Big Bob's Beepers." However, he is extremely self-centered and focuses solely on the things that please him: namely his work and Helga's older sister, Olga.

Helga's mother Miriam is a depressed alcoholic that also routinely neglects her daughter. Miriam is implied to have had much more potential in the episodes Olga Gets Engaged (Season 3), where she mentions that she was an Olympic class swimmer, and The Beeper Queen (Season 4), where she was shown running Big Bob's Beepers better than her husband does, but her marriage has generally made her a shell of a woman.

The Patakis are somewhat interesting in the sense that Miriam can be seen as the perfect feminist victim - a talented woman that gets trapped in a marriage with a successful, but blowhard of a man. However, while she wastes away, Helga to me seems the image of a real feminist: an ugly, angry, broken, bitter woman who lashes out at others to combat her insecurities. On the surface she appears to be what her mother is not (and what feminists say women need to be): assertive, dominant, and in control. Helga is a "strong and empowered woman" or technically, girl. Yet she is just as unhappy as her mother. She is jealous, defensive, and prone to lashing out, particularly at those who make her feel the most insecure: namely, her older sister, Olga.

The relationship between Helga and her sister Olga is one of my favorite aspects of the show. To the casual observer, the two sisters could not be any more different. Helga is deeply jealous of Olga because Olga appears to be everything that Helga is not: beautiful, popular, talented, accomplished, feminine, sweet, and kind. Above all: she receives all of her parent's affection, while Helga is neglected. (Olga does suffer just as much as Helga does, but that's a different topic.)

Olga routinely makes the effort to show kindness and affection toward Helga (essentially trying to give her what her parents rarely do), but Helga tries to sabotage Olga several times throughout the series. Most famously, in Olga Comes Home (Season 1), Helga changed Olga's grade from an A to a B+. This causes a severe breakdown in Olga because she hasn't received a B since the third grade. Helga grins throughout the ordeal, enjoying the fact that she's knocked Olga off her pedestal, but Arnold's entreaties eventually bring her around to changing her mind and admitting that she changed the grade. Similarly in Olga Gets Engaged, Helga tried to go along with letting Olga get married to her con-artist boyfriend, but eventually broke up the wedding when Olga declared that Helga was the best sister she could ask for. All other attempts she makes to sabotage Olga (in Student Teacher (Season 3) and Big Sis) (Season 5) fail, and so she needs to communicate her feelings to her sister in a mature manner.

Rather unwittingly or not, Helga here demonstrates another common trait amongst feminists (and social justice warriors in general): trying to sabotage and bring down beautiful women (or what is beautiful), so they can be made equal with the ugly narcissist, even when the targets of their insecurities are not responsible for any harm. Helga does have potential to be more like her sister (more on that to come), but simply does not make the effort. The result is continued unhappiness.

Despite her social dominance, Helga's personality routinely conflicts with another facet of her nature - one that is kind, sophisticated, and even feminine. Unknown to all but the audience, Helga has a much softer, more affectionate side. She writes poetry (on a good enough level to win contests with) and is the most intelligent student in her class (in the Aptitude Test (Season 3), it is revealed that she received the highest score since her sister Olga took the test, revealing that she is generally just as intelligent as her sister is and that Helga can do whatever she wants in life). These two facets of Helga's personality: the boorish exterior and the soft, sweet interior, conflict with one another throughout the series.

In the episode Helga's Makeover (Season 1), Rhonda Wellington Lloyd, a wealthy girl who is the school's self-proclaimed fashionista, is holding the first of many parties she has at her house throughout the series. It is a girls' party, and all of the girls in her class are invited, except for Helga, who Rhonda considers not sufficiently girlish enough to properly attend.

Later, Helga meets the boys in the class, who are playing baseball. Since Rhonda is having a girl-only party, they explain, they are having a boy-only game. They quickly tease her with a chant of "Helga's not a girl!" Helga responds as she usually does: with aggression. She chases Harold and threatens to beat him up. Watching the chase, even Arnold, far and away the most sympathetic and understanding character on the show, stresses that he is not truly sorry for her.

Helga receives much the same treatment when she spies on the goings-on at Rhonda's house. She finds that Rhonda is imitating her blowhard demeanor, and all of the girls, even her best friend Phoebe, are laughing. When Helga says that she "ought to deck e'm all!" outside, she finds that she is behaving in the exact same way that Rhonda and the others are currently mocking.

It is in this episode that Helga betrays an inner desire to be and act more feminine, and also a quip that gives an insight into her more sophisticated nature. When she finds Phoebe laughing at her she responds "e'tu, Phobebe?" This line of course mirrors Shakespeare's in Julius Caesar, when Caesar is aghast that Brutus has betrayed him. This is something that a nine-year-old shouldn't be smart or sophisticated enough to say, but nonetheless Helga does.

Helga does look more feminine in this episode, but she overdoes it, becoming a caricature to the viewer (if not to Rhonda and the others themselves).

The same friend of mine says that Hey Arnold! is rife with Cultural Marxism, and looking at this episode it would be hard to disbelieve him. It is a not-so-subtle assault (to the trained senses) on that favorite feminist boogeyman: the gender binary.

But if Cultural Marxism is present in Hey Arnold!, the show also shows the inner unhappiness of those who espouse it, with Helga being the best example.

Back to Helga, then. Helga has an inner desire to be feminine (one which she openly admits) in Helga's Masquerade (Season 5), wherein she is offered pointers by Lila, a pretty, popular, and refined girl who is well-liked by boys (including Arnold, much to Helga's chagrin), but she never follows through with it, whether that be in Helga's Masquerade or elsewhere. She always reverts to her same self, never truly improving or even desiring to improve, a trait commonly seen in feminists and other social justice warriors.

This is painfully ironic because, whenever Helga acts the least bit feminine and sophisticated (except for in Helga's Makeover where she was posing and not being genuine), she is successful in achieving her grandest desire: Arnold's attention and affections. However, this never happens directly. It is an allegory for Helga's masked potential that she does not let come out throughout the series.

We see this in Helga's Masquerade, where Helga dresses and acts like Lila, receiving Arnold's affection. It is also present in Arnold's Valentine (Season 1), where she poses as Arnold's French pen pal, Cecile. The closest this aspect of Helga comes to being reality is in Arnold Visits Arnie (Season 5), wherein Arnold dreams he visits his weird cousin Arnie and all that he knows is turned on its head. The result is that Helga has become Hilda, a kind, feminine, sophisticated girl that recites poetry. This is in fact the hidden side of Helga's personality that Arnold does not get to see, and he is immediately attracted to it. It is just another example of what could have been...if Helga made the effort.

Ultimately I find the character of Helga Pataki to be a cautionary one. She comes from a broken background, but many a true champion in life has as well. We cannot control the circumstances of our birth, nor the actions of others if they are unwilling to change. How you decide to deal with your situation is ultimately your choice.

Law 25 of Power: Recreate Yourself.

The character you seem to have been born with is not necessarily who you are. Beyond the characteristics you have inherited, your parents and peers have helped shape your personality. The Promethean task of the powerful is to take control of this process, to stop allowing others to limit and mold them. Remake yourself into a character of power. Working on yourself like clay should be one of your greatest and most pleasurable life tasks. It makes you in essence an artist creating yourself.

This is a quote that I find perfectly applies to Helga, or rather, what she should be doing. The potential is easily there. It is up to her to take control of herself, which she does, but not in the way that produces the outcome that she wants. The most visceral quote that describes Helga best would have to have come from Inge in Helga and the Nanny (Season 3):

You're such an angry girl Helga, and you won't let anyone help you. So you must live with your unhappiness.

Helga does this with nearly anyone that tries to help and be affectionate to her: examples being Inge, Olga, and Arnold, and thus wallows in a deeply-entrenched misery throughout most of the series (the only exception was Dr. Bliss in Helga on the Couch, and this was essentially forced). She has friends, but isn't truly happy with herself, and for the most part, refuses to change. She fits the profile of most feminists. The only thing she doesn't do is play the victim card (which is admirable). If Hey Arnold! is rife with Cultural Marxism, it also shows the ugliness behind the philosophy within it.

The lesson is clear: Law 25 prevails. Do not be a Cultural Marxist. It is poison to the self.

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Monetizing Your Hobbies

In the age of the internet, anyone can be a part-time capitalist. Websites are cheap to host (usually a few hundred dollars a year, at the most) and the profit potential is therefore stratospheric. There are many ways to monetize a website: ads, affiliate linking, paid subscriptions if your traffic is big enough, etc. A combination of all of these is probably most ideal.

In this regard I would recommend making a website about whatever hobby you may have, and interact with the community around it. Add social media accounts to it (yes, use it in the right way).

I have begun this with the new OBD Wiki, but as I have mentioned, this was essentially an accident, a quirk of fate.

My real aim was to start a website and forum based around military history, a hobby I have had for over ten years now. I'm not quite sure when I started becoming an amateur military historian, so to speak. It may have been in 9th grade, when I first read the Odyssey, that I began to have a profound appreciation for military events. The mythos surrounding the Trojan War moved me, as it still does, and inspired me to take a larger look at military events.

There were a bit of problems with the website, but all is good now, and I launched it about a week ago. Showdown of Arms and its forum has gotten off to a good start and is growing slowly. I of course encourage my readers to join. If you like the stuff I write here, you will like what I do over there, and if you are interested in the topic you are welcome to submit an article to the publication. And of course, PC apologetics has no place there. I will keep it as un-PC as my hosting terms allow.

The point of this is that we all have a hobby, and in the age of the internet, there is a relatively easy way to monetize that hobby. Why not get richer by doing something you love? It's a win-win situation.

If your hobby is photography, make a photography site and add value to the hobby while selling products related to photography. If your hobby is some sport, do the same. Make it as interactive as possible too. Add social buttons and a forum, consider turning it into a publication, and bring as much value as you can (this was called "Value-Added Content" in Guerrilla Social Media Marketing, which I have recommended on my Epics page). This should work for just about any hobby except counting grass.

If you need a host, I'd be happy to recommend my own: Siteground. The user-interface is extremely friendly, and I have gotten nothing but the highest quality, professional support when I needed it, and all this for around $7.00 a month too for the basic plan (if you want some services such as hack monitoring).

Now, will you be able to make a living off of this? Probably not, but you can definitely turn it into a great source of side-income to boost you up that much further.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Quarterly Report - Q1 2014

Time for me to outline my progress towards my goals for this year and hold myself accountable to myself and my audience.

1. My writing has gone very well. I've forced myself to sit down and write at least a few pages a day, and I've made substantial progress because of that. Whereas a year ago I struggled madly with this book, I've now begun the final arc of the fourth act. Granted this will be the longest and most complex one, but if I stay on my present course I just may be able to have this thing finished by the fall of this year. Gotta keep at it.

2. This is the one that's been the most lacking. I haven't gone out to enough social occasions. I need to call up some people, re-establish connections, and get out there. I also need to approach women in earnest. However, I've begun a course that will allow more social practice and a more social way to make money. This will be outlined in #4.

3. While I need to lift heavier weights, I have made some decent gains over the winter, gaining around 3-5 lbs of muscle. This may not sound like a lot but for someone with as high a metabolism as I have, this is not insignificant. My lats have flared up somewhat, my pecs have grown, my abs are more visible than they were before, and I'm starting to get a noticeable V taper. This is good progress, but that doesn't mean I can't do more, and I haven't been doing everything I could be. So it's time to get on that, especially now with the warm weather coming in.

4. An unexpected opportunity came up over the winter, and I took advantage of it. The money from this is slowly starting to come in. While the revenues from the new OBD Wiki have thus far been modest, I'm making over 7,000% more with it than I am with these blogs. I expected this sort of occurrence.

Additionally, my new website, in which I plan to begin a niche publication and forum, is now up. It took longer than I expected to start (for reasons outside my control), but I have plans to move forward with it swiftly, and that is what I am doing. How it turns out is up in the air for now. I am taking advantage of my considerable network to get it off the ground as quickly as possible.

In addition to these two things, I have begun, and am mostly complete with, the procedures to become licensed to sell real estate in New York. I just need to take the final exams. While I don't wish to be a realtor full-time, it is a nice way to make some extra money, and it puts you in more social situations, so it gives you more practice in that area. Anyone will tell you that someone that works on a computer all day will not be as good socially (and of course, in approaching girls) as someone that works in a more social occupation, and real estate is a nicely social one, which can give you some decent money.

So while I'm still not making the money I want, I have made good progress in laying a foundation to go where I want to over the winter.

I'm not entirely satisfied with my progress over the winter, but I've worked toward where I want to be, and a year ago I never would have done this, so stuck in stasis as I was.

Now I need to do double the effort in progressing in the spring.

On a scale of excellent to poor, I would rate myself in the following ways:

Writing: Excellent
Social Practice: Fair
Workouts/Exercise/Nutrition: Satisfactory
Making Money: Fair