Welcome to the Lodge.

This is the internet home of author/Bob Ross enthusiast Sam Neumann. Check out his books up top or the blog below. Or just grab a drink. We serve drinks here.

Why Group Projects Are Cumbersome & Unnecessary

Our species is the only creative species, and it has only one creative instrument, the individual mind and spirit of a man. Nothing was ever created by two men. There are no good collaborations, whether in music, in art, in poetry, in mathematics, in philosophy. Once the miracle of creation has taken place, the group can build and extend it, but the group never invents anything. The preciousness lies in the lonely mind of a man.


And now the forces marshaled around the concept of the group have declared a war of extermination on the preciousness, the mind of man. By disparagement, by starvation, by repressions, forced direction, and the stunning hammerblows of conditioning, the free, roving mind is being pursued, roped, blunted, drugged. It is a sad suicidal course our species seems to have taken.


And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about. I can understand why a system built on a pattern must try to destroy the free mind, for this is one thing which can by inspection destroy such a system. Surely I can understand this, and I hate it and I will fight against it to preserve the one thing that separates us from the uncreative beasts. If the glory can be killed, we are lost.


– John Steinbeck

East of Eden

 

Triple Down on Your Strengths and Stop Complaining

Good life/career advice from Gary Vaynerchuk (investor in Uber, Snapchat, Venmo, et al). Stop bitching, get to work, and if you’re lucky enough to be good at what you like, you’re in a unique and fortunate position. Capitalize on it.

(If you aren’t a fan of cursing, feel free to loosen your grip and relax for 109 seconds while you watch this.)

Full podcast link here. Worth the time.

Love Cliches to Wow That Special Someone This Valentine’s Day

This V-Day, ditch the old standards and try one of my modern love lines instead:

  • “I love you like white millennials love ‘Regulate’ by Warren G Feat. Nate Dogg.”
  • “I love you like moms loved Oprah in the nineties.”
  • “I love you like progressives love Beyonce.”
  • “I love you like white girls love Ellen.”
  • “I love you as much as Trump supporters love saying ‘it’s not a permanent ban.'”
  • “Life with you is so much better, similar to how each film would be better with the inclusion of Tom Hanks.”
  • “I hope our time apart always goes as quickly as the MLB offseason. Pitchers and catchers report soon.”
  • “I love you like Texans love Texas.”
  • “I love you as much as non-Texans hate Texas.”
  • “Quitting you is harder than quitting Facebook.”

 

Common Sense Traffic Rules for Which I Will Attempt to Gain Bipartisan Support

Here are the traffic rules I will enact if and when the good people of the 1st Congressional district of Colorado elect me as their representative:

  1. Just wave. When you find yourself needing the help of your fellow man in traffic, to let you into a lane or out of a parking lot, and and said fellow man does indeed let you in, for the love of God, do the decent thing and give him or her a polite wave before being on your way. This driver was not required to let you in, and yet he/she deliberately halted his/her own progress just to let you in front of him/her, in order to fix an unfavorable situation that was almost certainly caused by your own stupidity in the first place. The least you can do is throw up a kind hand in the universally accepted automotive sign for “thank you.”
    Those who refuse to wave are not only outing themselves as horse’s asses, but damaging the public good, as well. When I let someone in in traffic and they do not wave, I am rightfully infuriated, but unfortunately there’s no recourse against the offending party; indeed, I’ve already let them in, so the chance to get back at them for the slight is unlikely to arise. Instead, it makes me want to let motorists in less in the future. Thus, the asshat is worsening the traffic climate for his fellow man.
  2. Turn signal: use it. It’s there for a reason. No, you’re not above it. Just use it and stop making the rest of us guess.
  3. Zipper merge. It’s a real thing, look it up. Turns out those dudes who wait until the last second actually aren’t being buttholes.
  4. Go. My God, could you just freaking go? I mean, seriously. Move. What is taking so long? What. Just go. Moron. Go. Goooooooooooooooo.

Apologies

If the words “I’m sorry” are followed by the word “if,” it is not a real apology.

As the saying goes, a good apology has three parts:

  1. I’m sorry.
  2. It’s my fault.
  3. What can I do to make it right?

Only the ego causes us to stray from this formula.

What Anxiety Feels Like

I’m going to tell you a story.

Last night I had probably the worst bout of anxiety of my lifetime. If not the worst, definitely top five. In the grand scheme, it wasn’t a huge deal, because I was at home, safe and alone with my wife, so all I had to do was lie down and ride it out. It was also self-inflicted; I did some things I know can cause it, and knowing full and well I was putting myself at risk, I went ahead and did them anyway. So that part was my fault, and it was stupid, and I won’t do it again.

But lying there in bed, hoping and praying that the madness would just release me long enough to close my eyes and go to sleep, I had one lucid thought:

Nobody knows what this is like.

Now, that’s not totally true. A lot of people deal with anxiety/depression/panic disorders, and while it’s impossible to know that anyone is feeling the exact same thing you feel inside your own head—it can feel pretty lonely in that locked room—chances are good I’m not the only one on earth who’s experienced these very feelings. But every time you have an attack like this, it feels like you’re the only one it’s ever happened to, because it’s terrifying, and it’s odd to think that others are going through these same things and not talking about them.

Because that’s the thing; we don’t talk about them. I’ve gone most of my life without mentioning this to anyone, and just recently have I begun confiding in my closest friends and family members. There are two reasons for this:

  1. It’s embarrassing. I don’t know why, but the idea that my brain does things to me that I can’t control, and these things can be awfully scary, isn’t something I like to share. It makes me feel weak, and crazy.
  2. It’s extremely hard to explain. The words we use for this stuff—anxiety, panic, etc.—do a terrible job summarizing what you actually feel. When I hear “anxiety,” I think, “oh that person must be worried about something.” At least I did, before this shit started happening to me.