The Source of All Achievement

Today my roommate’s cat was treated to a new toy — a few catnip-soaked feathers on a line on a pole.

Pascal is, in no uncertain terms, a fat cat.

He’s got an ample belly that dangles charmingly almost to the floor. Sometimes, he struggles to jump even a couple feet up onto the couch.

But hang those catnip feathers high above his head and he becomes…

Air Jordan.

It made me think: when you want something enough, you are capable of remarkable feats. You will go farther than anyone thought you could.

DESIRE is the starting point of all achievement; not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.
— Napoleon Hill

In other words, “How bad do you want it?”

I am taking a break from Facebook and writing a blog post a day. I will share these posts daily on Facebook via a Share link, but I won’t be checking notifications, messages, my News Feed, or Timeline. You can contact me here.

Prolific Facebooker

The other day I ran into a business acquaintance while out for drinks and he mentioned to me, “Dude, you are a prolific Facebooker! I see your updates ALL the time.”

My response was a mixture of shame (man, I yap too much) and pride (I just love to connect with my people!)

Thing is, it’s hard to fully take pride in Facebooking. More than anything, the updates are random and impulsive; snippets of my life, but not the story of my life. To Facebook (the verb) is not much of an art form or craft. It is a revelation of your stream of consciousness, a window into your brain, maybe. But it is not your work.

Sometimes you share your joy; other times you share your struggle. There is a humanity in that, no doubt. That is what makes Facebook a valuable social tool. It provides a glimpse of who people are (or at least who they might be) and facilitates knowing them in person.

I also have business clients or customers that are Facebook friends, and I feel it makes for a stronger relationship. I am not just a salesman, I am a person, and you can see that for yourself by observing me on Facebook. I can see that about you, too.

But let me not be fooled into thinking that to Facebook something is to create something. No matter how artfully I worded that 150-word status.

It is not enough to be a prolific Facebooker.

I would like to be a prolific writer. A prolific developer. A prolific entrepreneur.

Do your work elsewhere. Develop your properties. And share them on Facebook. But your Facebook itself is not the work.

I am taking a break from Facebook and writing a blog post a day. I will share these posts daily on Facebook via a Share link, but I won’t be checking notifications, messages, my News Feed, or Timeline. You can contact me here.

Channel Your Fury

In seventh grade, I took a public speaking class.

Mr. Williams assured us that it was perfectly normal to feel nervous before giving a presentation.

The key, he said, is to transform that nervous energy into kinetic energy — literally, the energy of motion.

Similarly, in life, it is normal to experience various states of crippling emotion. You can’t expect to never feel angry, annoyed, or dissatisfied. The question is how do you turn this emotion into motion?

Passion and positivity are natural propellers. But what is the function of frustration and fury? Naturally, these feelings can make you stagnant or destructive. Or… they can be channeled toward positive action.

Fire can burn you and it can destroy you. But learn how to channel it and it becomes fuel to move you forward.

I am taking a break from Facebook and writing a blog post a day. I will share these posts daily on Facebook via a Share link, but I won’t be checking notifications, messages, my News Feed, or Timeline. You can contact me here.

My Goal in May: A Blog Post a Day & Put Facebook Away

I have felt lately
a frustration
beyond the norm.

Maybe I could point
to people or events,
but the truth is
the external circumstances don’t matter,
because they are only excuses
for what I lack internally.

Hemingway on writing

Put simply,
what I need
is to figure my shit out.

I am 25,
with a seedling of a business
that is a reflection of
my passions
and my inadequacies.
My business
*deep breath*
is the ride of my life.

I am proud of what I’ve done,
but I feel an increasing angst
over not being where I want to be.

Take this not as a cry for help,
but as a statement of intent.

I will take a month off of Facebook
not for the first time
and I will spend more time in my personal space (on this blog).

I will maintain my social life,
but put personal interaction
above the compulsive voyeurism
of social media life.

More importantly,
I will nurture this writing habit,
to get my gears moving each day,
and to fulfill my insatiable desire
to create,
and to express,
in a more meaningful way.

It is time
to carry out my mission
with more stamina and focus.

Time and Potential
are not things to be wasted.


  • I will still share my posts on Facebook by clicking a Share link that does not direct me to my News Feed or my Timeline.
  • I will bookmark my business Pages and update those only.
  • I will NOT check my personal notifications, messages, friend requests, or News Feed.
  • I set no guidelines for the length or content of each blog post. All that matters is that I write something and hit Publish each day.
  • Between May 9th to the 13th, I will be out of the country, so my updates depend on whether I have Internet access on those days.

You can always contact me here.

fucking authentic

I want to be fucking authentic.

I want to document the journey of my life in the most truthful way.

I want to feel no allegiance to anything but my relationship with the universe.

I find myself to be
… hyper self-aware…
constantly feeling
like maybe
I need
to shut
my mouth.

But I have an urge to share

To expose myself
is to feel consoled,
and absolved.

I don’t know why this is,
but it is.

Thank you
and forgive me.

Three Urban Garden Ideas: Gravity Drip Irrigation, Worm Walkways & Bamboo Hoop Houses

I have been experimenting with some new ideas in my small-scale urban garden in our rented home in the Gainesville, FL student ghetto.

One of my goals in gardening is to use local, sustainable and/or reclaimed materials as much as possible.

I am interested in discovering and developing urban gardening models that are:

  • Affordable.
  • Built with local and reclaimed materials when possible.
  • Beneficial to ecology and promote soil building.

Here are a few of the projects I am working on or have worked on (often with help from roommates and friends) over the summer and fall in my small home garden in Gainesville.

#1: Gravity Drip Irrigation System

A drip irrigation system keeps plants consistently watered, at a slow pace throughout the day. It saves you water, time, and work. And the plants love it because they are never thirsty.

Here is a video of my gravity drip irrigation system when I installed it in July:

For this project, I got a 55-gallon barrel from a car wash and washed it out several times to get out the soapy residues. I placed the barrel on a stack of about 10 half-pallets (five wooden shipping pallets which I sawed in half). The barrel serves as the water reservoir for the gravity drip irrigation system.

Instructions & Parts

I purchased my irrigation supplies from Irrigation Direct. I estimate that it cost me around $40 to $50, for drip materials that will last for seasons. While I would imagine it would be difficult to find reclaimed or free microtubing parts, it is a small investment that will last, will save you time and work, and will pay for itself in water savings.

Materials from Irrigation Direct:
Links in bold are items that are necessary or highly recommended.

  1. A 1/2″ Main Line of Poly Tubing is inserted in a 1/2″ hole that I have drilled in the main water reservoir, a plastic barrel which I acquired from a local car wash.
  2. Inside the barrel, I have attached a 3/4″ Hose Thread Swivel and a 3/4″ Hose Filter Washer to prevent debris inside the barrel from clogging the main drip line.
  3. Outside the barrel, I have attached a 5/8″ Flow Control Valve to have the ability to turn the whole drip system on and off.
  4. The main 1/2″ poly tubing halfway encircles the garden, while seven 1/4″ Vinyl Micro Tubing lines divert the water throughout all of my rows. Attach the 1/4″ micro tubing to the 1/2″ main line using 1/4″ Barbed Connectors. You can also restrict water flow to individual rows by installing 1/4″ Barbed In-Line Flow Control Valves.
  5. Finally, you need 1/2 GPH Mini In-Line Drippers to drip water on the individual plants, or Full Circle Stream Spray Bubblers for spraying larger areas like flower beds or a group of containers. Micro Tubing Holder Stakes are helpful for keeping dirt out of the drippers.
  6. Don’t forget Goof Plugs for cutting off the water at the end of the 1/4″ microtubing, and a Compression Hose End Plug for stopping water flow at the end of the 1/2″ main line.

To use the gravity drip system, I fill the water reservoir using a hose every one to two days (depending on the size of your garden and water needs). I run the drip system for 4-5 hours each day and turn the valve off every evening. Adding mulch around plants helps to retain moisture and reduce the amount of water needed.

In the future, I would like to find or fashion a rain gutter on the shed to divert rainwater into the reservoir.

#2: Worm Walkways

Worm Walkways

My Worm Walkway is a raised garden path made of wooden pallets, with a worm farm underneath.

Why worms? Worms aid in breaking down organic matter and turning it into compost. They also produce castings (i.e. worm poop) which can be used as a nutrient-rich organic fertilizer.

To make the pathways, I cut wooden pallets in half, then removed the bottom panels of wood so that I would have space to add the worm farm below. Important: Be sure to use pallets marked with an “HT” stamp, indicating that they are heat treated rather than chemically treated.

After cutting the pallets, I filled the area below them with a mix of dried crumbled leaves and vegetable scraps, fruit peels and coffee grounds. After the mixture sat for a while and composted, I added 1000 Alabama Jumper worms, which should further break down the organic matter and leave behind their nutrient-rich castings.

Alabama Jumper Worms

The idea behind the Worm Walkways is that you use the underutilized pathways between your rows to create rich, vermicomposted soil for the next season’s beds. The following season, you can plant directly in the space that was previously your walkway (and turn your spent rows into new Worm Walkways), or take the finished compost and add it to your already existing rows for the next planting.

If successful, these Worm Walkways could prove to be a sustainable and effective way to build rich soil in a small space, while turning previously unused pathways into mini ecological hubs.

The inspiration for this came from an instructional video by the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute:

#3: Bamboo Hoop House

The latest project I am working on is a bamboo hoop house, made from my neighbor’s invasive bamboo plants and plastic bags that I was previously throwing away.

Bamboo Hoop House
(Incomplete as pictured.)

With any luck, this mini greenhouse will allow me to grow some warmer season crops in my raised bed, to have a wider variety of food in the cold months, and to start seeds early before the last winter frost.

My neighbor has a mini bamboo forest in his yard, and since bamboo is an invasive exotic that is hard to destroy, he had no problem with me cutting a few live sticks to make the frame for my hoop house.

Since I have been collecting cabbage leaves (for compost) from Reggae Shack in clear plastic bags, I am using the plastic from these bags as the cover for my greenhouse. I am waiting on a few more bags that I can use to add a front and back cover to the hoop house in the coming weeks.

I used a staple gun to attach the plastic to the sticks, folding the plastic along the edges to give it more security. I have used duct tape to cover any holes and attach the edges of the bags to each other.

All of the above projects are evolving works in progress, but with any luck they will help me reach my goal of growing a substantial amount of my own food in a small space.

Why I’m Not Buying Today’s Whole Foods Daily Deal on LivingSocial

I find something unsettling about Whole Foods. Although they generally provide better quality food than Publix or other big name grocery stores, the Whole Foods model is not one I value in my community.

When I was a teenager in Miami, I used to walk a mile to a little health food store near the Dadeland South metro station on US-1. It was during high school after I had decided to be vegan and I was exploring my new “health food” options. I don’t remember the name of the store, but it was a hole-in-the-wall type of place where I would occasionally buy organic (some locally-sourced) produce, fair-trade chocolate, or Nag Champa incense. Although it was small, it had its charm, especially because it was literally the only health food store in several miles’ radius.

About a year later, Whole Foods bought out the Wild Oats chain, which had a huge store a mile south of my local health food store on US-1. Whole Foods simultaneously opened another store about a mile north of my local health food store, just off of US-1. In mere months, the health food store closed its doors for good. It was sandwiched between two Whole Foods and it suffocated.

Today, aside from Beehive Natural Foods on Bird Road (a 20-year-old small grocery store with a charming juice bar and vegan cafe), there are few, if any, health food stores that I know of within South Miami. But there are a handful of Whole Foods.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate Whole Foods, and I shop there sometimes when I visit my parents in Miami. Thank goodness that people have a big-name place to shop that offers some healthier and alternative foods, and it’s a fun place to shop. At Whole Foods, you can buy organic produce, bulk grains, and other interesting health products. They also have a great cafe that is a good place to eat lunch. And the Whole Foods company, admirably, has some focus on food ethics, with its Whole Trade Program and Seafood Sustainability ratings.

But the prices at Whole Foods make me swallow uncomfortably, and I do not like the idea of paying (especially paying that much) for a fruit or vegetable that was shipped from California, Mexico or Chile to me in Florida.

I would rather visit a farmers’ market in my neighborhood where I can pay a local farmer directly for my food; or a local grocery store with a humble focus on sustainability and our unique local culture. And I would pay these people proudly because I could see them face-to-face and feel comfortable knowing where my money is going.

The problem is that Whole Foods crushes these smaller local food distributors, and perpetuates a culture like that of Miami, where there are few local coffee shops, but plenty of Starbucks; few health food stores, but plenty of Whole Foods. If they opened a Whole Foods in Gainesville near Ward’s, or the new Citizens’ Co-op, it might crush them, too.

This is why I’m not buying the Whole Foods deal on Living Social today.

My intention is not to make anyone feel guilty about getting a great deal at a great store — go right ahead. But consider the role that Whole Foods plays in your community, and whether there are other places where you can buy food that was produced more nearby, and by people who you can actually meet and shake hands with.

My (admittedly unsolicited) opinion on Whole Foods has caused debates between me and my more eco-friendly friends before. I welcome further discussion of this topic on Facebook or wherever this might be shared.

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