Category Archives: reviews

The 4-Hour…Sleepnight?

New testament for the new rich.Holy shoeshine, am I beat. It’s going on 2am and I’m yay-close to wrapping this Seinfeld chain around someone’s neck and playing “start the lawnmower”.

Why am I up so late? I’m glad you asked. Oh, right. You couldn’t have asked. You’re asleep.

I’m up so late because of my dreams. Not bad dreams that scare me awake. Good dreams that make me afraid to go to sleep.

You see, I’m a devotee of Tim Ferriss’s 4-Hour Workweek phenomenon. I got the book at the bookstore the day it came out, and I read it cover-to-cover — taking copious notes — over the weekend that followed. The whole book seemed to speak to different areas of my life that I found wanting…working in office environments that value presence over performance, allowing meaningless tasks and useless information to consume my attention, trying to get ahead financially under a non-scalable paradigm of trading time for money.

I learned an awful lot from that book. I began to apply the lessons to my working life and my dreaming life. Re-evaluating all my commitments with the killer combination of the Pareto Principle and Parkinson’s Law has boosted both my productivity and my free time. But I also made a resolution I’ve yet to follow through with, until now.

I’d resolved to give Tim’s “muse” business creation plan a try. He said you could get a small business — simple enough to practically run itself, yet lucrative enough to free you from some or all of your time-for-money commitments — in a matter of a few weeks. I made this resolution at the end of April.

May came and went. I kicked around a few business ideas, but I crafted no “muse” to speak of.

June, July…same drill. Stuff going on with my then-employer kept me preoccupied; however, it also strengthened my resolve to work toward breaking out of the time-for-money and praise-for-presence box I was in.

August: wedding and honeymoon. Mine. Gimme a break.

September I opened my paper calendar (ug ug…fire much bad…) and found a sticky-note with a goal written on it: “$15k profit/month in 90 days!” It was dated July 15. I’d stuck the note in September to get myself back on track IN CASE I’d fallen off. I know myself too well.

The punchline: I’m up late working on a website to test the demand for a product I’m considering developing. I don’t want to jinx it by letting on, but it’s something that combines my greatest passions of cooking and performing. I hope the demand is there — in my mind the value proposition is pretty compelling — because I’d have a blast developing the product, which would boost my chance for success even more, I think. Stay tuned.

Call to action: read Tim Ferriss’s book, The 4-Hour Workweek. It may or may not change your life, but it will definitely broaden your perspective on how you’re living your life (or letting IT live YOU).

Now I’m off to bed for 2.5 hours’ sleep before I have to get up and take the kids to schoozzzzzzzzzzz…..

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Saturday night free-ver

That's Frugality / voluntary simplicity / urban po’folks nerdiness is in full effect: tonight’s romantic evening was all about leftovers and DVDs from the public library.

Luckily, I’m an amazing cook, and I had the foresight to make a double batch of everything for last night’s Shabbat dinner. We had sweet & sour meatballs with noodle kugel and farmers’ market green beans with some Aussie shiraz brought over by last night’s guests, and the Mrs. found some intertesting movies at the lie-berry.

The first was a real treat (for me): Orson Welles’s 1963 adaptation of Kafka’s”The Trial” starring AnthonyPerkins. Holy crumble, was that an amazing film. The Mrs. hated it, and afterward said something about my penchant for “crap movies”.

I admitted “The Trial” was no “How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days”, but then, what is? Her deft response: “You liked Pi!”

Yes, I did. Do. And forever shall. I even quoted that movie’s main character Max Shapiro when she said that “The Trial ” was boring and dumb.

“WHAT IF IT’S GENIUS?!”

Up top, Aronofsky fans.

The second was a further sortie into our new passtime of exploring foreign film together. “Cafe au Lait” is a French movie, circa early ’90s, I’d say, about a young woman who’s pregnant and informs the two potential fathers simultaneously. The two men compete with one another for primacy in her affections and eventually reach a kind of humorous detente.

Bonus: the two men are a wealthy African Muslim law student and a poor Jewish bike messenger who’s also a drug dealer and an aspiring rapper. Even if you’re not impressed by this attempt by the French to rip of Spike Lee as clumsily as they’ve ripped off the rest of American urban culture, the whole thing’s worth watching for the one scene where the tipsy Jewish grandpa (or Grand Pere, according to the credits) dances around the living room solo singing something in elderly Franco-Yiddish.

As much as I’m filled with anxiety and nausea by the sheer cognitive dissonance of French rap, I give this movie a full thumb and three quarters for good writing, good characterization, and several moments of genuine humor and unsaccharine poignancy. The catch: it’s in French, so get your reading glasses, Grand Pere.

Call to action: if you’re having an evening in with your special lady or gentleman, fight the urge to just get BlockBuster and take-out. Challenge yourself to try something new: drop by your local library and get a couple of movies outside the norm of what you’d usually see, and make the most romantic dinner you can out of what you’ve got in your fridge.

It’s the time you spend together that makes an evening romantic, not how much you tip the pizza dude. And I pity the fool who doesn’t LOVE “My Dinner with Andre”.