episode 12: self-education & the perpetual student
fast forward to the 3 minute mark if you don’t wanna hear me talk about hurricane harvey, or shaming racists.
the benefits of audiobooks, how to get them on the cheap (or free!).
blue also talks about where to get a college education online for free ninety nine.


i took my time with this one.
this hurricane really put a… damper on my plans if you know what im sayin.

i had some involuntary days off from work since my usual path was a literal river (shoutout beltway 8 and the toll road authority who takes $100 a month from me).

also had no internet since that saturday night, so it’s more tedious trying to use my phone for everything at once.

but now that the bad weather has passed, houston’s left to rebuild. so many flooded neighborhoods. so many subdivisions turned into lakes.

it was a pretty heartening feeling to see neighbors looking out for each other, forming makeshift rescue teams with their kayaks and air mattresses.

there were also, of course, the reports of subhumans tricking others into thinking they were helping them, and then turning around and robbing them.

i try to ignore stuff like that because i feel some type of way about people who take advantage of others. instead of taking care of and looking out for each other, we steal from each other. we bring each other down.

if you know somebody like that, you should know the best way to fight that kind of behavior is to shame them.

straight up shame tactic.

say shit like, “who raised you?” “what the fuck is wrong with you?” “you look so stupid right now.”

i mean, plenty of these people probably dont give a shit what you think anyway, but much of their behavior is guided by their need to either be somebody or impress somebody.

a group of people shouldn’t just sit back and let it happen when it’s happening right in front of you.

“there are two kinds of evil people. people who do evil stuff, and people who see evil stuff being done and don’t try to stop it.”

i shouldn’t have to tell you that’s a quote from mean girls.

so the point is there are consequences from inaction.

consequentialism is a real thing. without getting too political, which lord knows i can be, there’s a reason we have some of these politicians in power, on a platform where they can speak their backwards hateful messages to everyone.

we didn’t do enough to stop them from gaining that traction and resonating with those like-minded people who were in the closet so to speak, with their racism.

ten, twenty years ago, it wasn’t okay to say bad shit about groups of people based on their ethnicity without being labeled a racist. so those people kept their mouths shut while they still had these prejudgments about specific groups of people.

but now those people have spokesmen. and now their actions are justified.

blah blah that’s my soapbox for the day.

to wash that out of your mouth, just remember, keeping yourself informed and knowing your history so you’re not doomed to repeat it is so so so so necessary.

everything thats happening has happened before and with bad results.

there’s a quote by alvin toffler that says:

“the illiterate of the 21st century will not be those cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

if you think just because you’re done with your formal education it’s coo to stop learning, why you sleepin?

many of you guys might not believe this but
i come from a very far far away time
when computers didn’t exist.

and if you ever wondered about anything, you had to walk your happy ass 40 minutes down the street to the library and then HOPE that you could find even a single book that answered your question.

but i know most of us didn’t have that kind of dedication, and unless you had a pretty up to date encyclopedia set at home, you were basically forced to wonder.

now, we have almost every piece of information available at our literal fingertips and we’re too busy liking that lil cuties instagram picture or scrolling through reddit like our little monkey brains are trained to.

face it – you’ve become a slave to technology, and you’re not even utilizing it to its fullest potential. you just got got TWICE.

i’m not saying throw away your phones. i think we do need them. i use them for productivity purposes, but i mean, i do waste a good deal of time scrolling through the social media accounts.

i think for myself it’s become an autonomous pattern. a habit. the cycle of facebook, instagram, facebook messenger, okcupid, instagram, facebook. rinse and repeat.

the trigger is idle hands, and i’ve noticed if i’m not doing something for long enough, my reaction is to look at my phone.

i’ve tried to become more mindful of this, and i recommend telling yourself STOP every time you catch yourself mindlessly scrolling through bullshit that doesn’t even matter really.

a d d i c t i o n

i’ve been putting myself through some rigid restructuring.
scheduling time in for good habits to create a healthier happier existence for myself and learning to use my time more efficiently.

mostly forcing myself to incorporate everything i’ve been talking about the last few months into a routine that i can stomach.

what are goals without actions?

so this included creating a new schedule for myself, which is as follows:

5:45-5:55am high intensity interval training
6:20-6:45, which is my commute to work. audiobook. strictly audiobooks for the commute to and fro.
6:45-7 is my meditation time.

after work, between 4:30 and 5, more audiobooks.
tuesday thursday i set aside an hour of walking with the fam, monday wednesday and saturday is my strength training/mobility day.

at a later date, i’ll talk about the recommended routine i’m participating in. if you’re from reddit, the subreddit is bodyweightfitness. there’s a sticky that includes the recommended routine, its breakdown, everything you need.

i’m using this one because it requires little equipment whatsoever.

i do some stretching between 6:45 and 7pm.

then from 8:45 to 9, i use elevate for some brain training. gotta keep the mind nimble. mindble.

the audiobooks thing has been pretty hard because i have cut waaaaaaay back on my music intake. if im not listening to audiobooks, it’s a podcast or a radio show. music consumption is on the decline.

report back in a month and i’ll let you know if it’s led to a suicidal depression (womp womp).

but the reason i’ve taken up audiobooks is because i’m a poor reader, as in, my attention span and discipline has deteriorated over the years since i’d taken on this hedonistic, pleasure over everything mentality.

so sitting down with a book was hard, and i started to realize that i’m suffering because of it. there are so many books i’ve wanted to experience, and my inability to focus is causing me to brush them aside and live in ignorance.

so i figured audiobooks was a good way to fight it. i can still get the information and it’s basically just being read to me like a giant baby with a pacifier.

what i’ve learned is that audiobooks are not easier than regular books, nor is it cheating.

to be able to listen is a skill many of us likely don’t possess.

struggling to listen without words in front of you isn’t exactly the simplest task. i figured this out a while back when i turned the closed caption off on my TV.

i’ve used closed captioning since i was a kid. idk why, it’s a habit. i always turn it on, and i find that my eyes always follow the words on the bottom of the screen and only occasionally glance at the actual scene and at what’s going on.

so i had an idea for an experiment. turn off the closed captioning, watch the characters, and see if i can still easily follow the storyline.

i couldn’t. i mean, i did, but not without a) rewinding a couple of times, and b) noticing traits about the characters i hadn’t noticed before. body language. the clothes they wore. now i had to train myself to redirect my focus. it’s still a challenge for me to both read the subtitles and watch the scene. i’m a failure at foreign films, i tell you hwat.

so audiobooks can be an exercise. i’ve tried listening to them at work, but i find that if your job requires any kind of attention, you’re gonna lose your spot in your book and need to back up a chapter.

if you deal with a lot of interruptions at work, audiobooks are likely no bueno.

my commute is autonomous enough that i can enjoy 20 to 30 minutes of an audiobook and still understand the bulk of it.

if driving and listening to an audiobook makes you nervous, try the shower. get one of those twenty dollar water resistant bluetooth speakers off of amazon, and BAM, there’s 15 to 25 minutes of an audiobook in.

do it while you’re getting dressed in the morning. you can do it while you’re cleaning up, putting away dishes or whatever it is that you humans do. so, there you have at least four——-

oh sorry, i guess i must have shorted out.

anyway¬† that’s four ways to tie in audiobooks into your schedule.

oh, here’s a novel idea. you could even just set some time aside to sit and listen to one without distractions, maybe like you would with your meditation. how cuhraaaaazy would that be.

so what kind of audiobooks? that’s all on you, boo boo. i’m personally on this self-help kick, but i wanna see what happens if i try to add a second simultaneously? will it be difficult to balance two at the same time? maybe i can try a good fiction book to counter the other. idk idk. work in progress.

the pros of audiobooks.

well, you can get access to a plethora of them for free through your local library system. with our library cards here in houston, we have access to both Overdrive and Hoopla, where you can basically rent audiobooks like you would a regular book.

the problem for me is that i’m usually looking for something specific and it seems it’s never available.

however, they do have a LOT of titles, so i know there’s plenty in there for you to listen to.

you also have the option of getting an audible subscription, which runs between 15 and 25 bucks a month.
that will get you either one or two book credits a month, plus discounted audiobooks for the remainder of the cycle.

that means you can listen to one book a month with your $15 subscription, and 2 with your $22 subscription.

this is why i recommend hoopla and overdrive to compliment audible. some of us can probably go through more than one audiobook a month, so it’s nice to have something on the backburner in case you run out of credits for the month.

downside of audiobooks is not EVERY book has an audiobook. so if there’s something you’ve been wanting to read but there’s no audiobook, well by golly i guess you’re gonna have to learn to pick up a book and read. i know, it’s just the worst thing ever.

but the reason i love audiobooks is there is no excuse. even the most preoccupied hustler can find time in their car, before bed, in the shower for some self-education.

but okay, so you’re too lazy to listen to audiobooks, i get it. having someone read to you and you learning to listen is probably soooooo hard for you.

books are always tried and true. used textbooks are typically dirt cheap on amazon and it’s always good to have hard copy source material for reference.

k so all that’s fine and dandy, but my favorite thing to do is to watch documentaries.
yes, i did say my favorite thing to do, besides eating and masturbation, of course.

i don’t remember the first one i ever saw a documentary, but i have always been fascinated by other people and their lives, where they came from, how they grew up, what their family and friends were like.

people and their stories interest me. if there was an actor i liked, i wanted to know everything about them. if i heard a song, i wanted to know who wrote it.

when i got older, that interest grew exponentially, especially when these books and movies became more accessible. i started gobbling top ten lists all over the place.

top 100 films to watch before you die.
top 20 horror films of all time.
top 5 woody allen movies.
top 10 music biopics.
top oscar-nominated documentaries ever.

like with any other sources, a good student fact checks the content of a documentary, but i’ve gained an abundance of information on a wide range of topics, thanks in part to starting with a documentary, and finding strings of other sources and topics to delve into over time.

you can find a connection from charles manson to neil armstrong, if you’re looking hard enough for it.

my personal all time favorite documentaries are enron: the smartest guys in the room, the paradise lost series, the thin blue line, dear Zachary, the central park five, biggie & tupac AND the two aileen wuornos docs by nick broomfield. there are literally too many for me to name.

i’ve probably seen hundreds of documentaries, maybe a dozen or two more than once. i could honestly do a podcast about documentaries alone, but that might put you guys to sleep, much like a majority of my history classes in high school.

because i’m a visual person. i like to see how things work so i can understand how and why it got there. traditional teaching methods never worked for me. a person dictating words to a classroom of 30 kids didn’t engage me.

but when someone is showing me something, i tend to ask a lot of questions and get the pleasure of annoying the teacher with endless questions. i just want to understand. that’s it.

there’s nothing wrong with asking questions when you’re trying to put the pieces together. nodding your head mindlessly and saying “mhm i understand” over and over again does not help you evolve. because you have the opportunity to grasp the information, and you don’t.

there’s a sense of empowerment when you can challenge yourself to learn new things and come out ahead because of it. if you’ve stopped learning, you stop growing.

so learn to challenge yourself. another way of doing that from an academia perspective is to take free online college courses. coursera is an excellent website partnered with institutes like stanford university, ibm, columbia, john hopkins university, princeton, and about a hundred more. with coursera you can take many classes for free along with the rest of the graded class.

of course you don’t get actual credit for it; however, there is some sort of certificate programs i’ve seen, but i honestly don’t think many people care about it.

it’s not just about compacting as much knowledge as you can into your monkey brain. what good is all that knowledge if you don’t utilize it in some way?

some other resources for online classes:

edx
oedb
academic earth

i don’t have very much personal experience with either of those, but i may delve into them and see what they have to offer.

khan academy and codecademy are both tried and true. khan academy is excellent for math and science, and has courses that covers most broad subjects taught in typical boring schools. but academia is necessary in many careers, and it’s always beneficial to keep your skills and education up to date.

codecademy of course is to teach yourself to code css, html, javascript, responsive, the list goes on, and it looks like they’ve added a good amount of material since the last time i tried my hand at this, which seems to beeeee 2013.

i should try to revisit that some point soon.

i personally use the app elevate every day (or i guess almost every day).

it’s a brain training app similar to lumosity, but somehow i gravitated to elevate.

i feel like i get the most use out of the memory, listening, and reading comprehension-type games, but it turns out im actually pretty good at math too.

if you wanna teach yourself a new language, duolingo is pretty popular. pretty funny, i saw a while back you could link your duolingo score to your linkedin profile, and i thought, “would i hire someone who is a level 8 fluency level in swedish?”

um, let’s see. ted talks. podcasts. you probably already know about podcasts if you’re here.

you can learn about literally anything in the world you want, what could be more exciting than that? WHY ARE YOU NOT EXCITED?!

the purpose of self-education is not to shove a bunch of useless knowledge into your head, only to pull out some fun facts when you’re trying to show up in front of your friends.

what good is the man who holds six degrees for the sake of saying he holds six degrees? trust me when i say i’m not recommending going out and becoming a professional student.

but teach yourself new skills. learn about your history. delve into records you forgot or didn’t even know existed.

learn about religion. keep your math skills up to date. remember to constantly talk to people.

keep a good balance.

knowledge keeps us all connected and grounded. the more we know, the more we can all share with each other.

make self-education a priority. turn it into a good habit, along with anything else you’re trying to pick up.

none of this information does you any good if you do it for three days and give up. schedule some time for these things and create a habit out of it.

i’ve been doing this rapid journaling/bullet journal thing lately.

i like it because if i write down a task for the day, and i don’t complete it, i have it to move it to the next day. and if i don’t do it the next day, i just have to keep writing it over and over again until i do it.

and after a while, i just feel like a failure for not washing the dog, so i do it out of shame.

see, i told you shame works.

rate, subscribe, share. do your thing.

don’t miss me too much while i’m gone.

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