Coping: Expanding Your “Personal Variance”

Which is what, exactly?

It’s your rut.

See, people get into ruts all the time.  They habitually do the same thing, over and over again, without ever pausing to ask the few questions that really matter:

  • What am I doing?
  • It it part of (or does it move me toward) my long term objectives?
  • If this the most effective use of my time?
  • It is there a more efficient way to do this?
    • Do a need a new approach?
    • Can I hire it out?
    • Can I rent the outcome?
    • Is what I’m doing “permanent?”
  • Can I do it cheaper?
  • Do I know all I need to know to reach an ideal outcome?

Personal variance goes much further than these basic questions we should all be asking.  It’s looking at the Smorgasbord of Life and consciously deciding to try something different.  (We don’t recommend the herring eyeballs and sour cream, however.  We’ll leave that to the lutefiskers.)

Take something you do all the time:  Driving.

Most people settle down into a very narrow operating range.

Oh, sure, they may kick-it and actually drive somewhere without being in a hurry – the Sunday Drive – but for the most part, when people get behind the wheel they don’t consciously consider their options.

Here are a couple of ways to increase your personal variance when driving:

  • Drive with an open cup of coffee.  Goal:  Drive without spilling a drop.  Objective:  This is how you learn to drive a limousine.   People don’t want the bubbly they are sipping on to be splashed all over.  A slightly less careful drive will be appreciated by your passengers.  Elaine, on occasion, has to remind me: “I don’t have a steering wheel to hold onto…”  I’m looking at kiddie steering wheels on Amazon.  But, I also take hints well.
  • Drive several routes to work, several times, logging the time required for each.  Objective:  Route optimization.  There are usually any number of ways to get somewhere and you do have a choice.  Which one is best?  One of my daughters just changed jobs and she’s going through the “ideal route-seeking” now.  So far, she’s added the one that goes by several favored stores – and her gym – and that seems to be her pick (for now).
  • Drive without breaking the law, but see if you can set some personal benchmarks without getting into road rage confrontations.  Objective:  Finding out what the likely time in-transit will be under optimal (and terrible) conditions.  Do you know the different (down to seconds) between commute time on a rainy day versus a clear sunny day?

See what’s happened to driving when you do these things?  You have pushed out your envelope a bit at either end.

Want to expand your envelope even more?

It’s easy to do.

Take a commercial chauffeur course.  Some cost money, some don’t.  I’d bet, though, that you didn’t even know there was a Chauffeur Limousine Academy, did you?

So much for the polite driving.  Now let’s move into the real stuff.

Skip Barber racing schools are held all over the country. The typical performance driving school begins with “chalk talks” (most people don’t know heel-and-toe technique or finding the perfect line through a corner).  After that, into vehicles – in some courses even starting in 60 MPH go-karts when I went through.  And then (depending on course) onto a real track in a real race car.  Yeah, the braking pylons mean something.

But, we’re not done yet.

How many people have ever even opened the manual on how to drive an 18-wheeler?  Know how to attempt recovery from the beginnings of a jackknife?

What does all this boil down to – and why to I call it personal variance?

Because, my friend, most of Life is lived between the lines.  In order to live a more exciting, stimulating, and enjoyable life, the easiest way to “get there” is to redraw the lines that “contain” your range-of-motion, if I can borrow the terms from sports physiology.

The fact is, the more things you can do under a simple category-heading (like “driving”) the more you can enjoy life.

Then it’s merely a matter of listing as many daily functions of living you can and then going shopping for the Peak Experiences.  Once you’ve done that, your “lines you color between” are considerably widened.

And the reason to do this is not so you can become a Sterling Moss or an OTR Trucker.  It’s so you will learn (at each experience) to think a little differently.  The more personal variance you have, the more interesting your answers to all the daily task basis questions becomes.

We’re mentioning it because a period like the 9-days beginning at Miller Time today is ideal for “Peak Experience” collecting.  Sadly, few will do so…but don’t let new experiences pass you by!

Prepping for the Fourth

Yeah, sure.  Sounds idiotic on the surface, but believe me, it’s not.

From the top:

  • Consider mowing the lawn in the next few days.  In case some ignorant SOB (for equal time DOB) sets off fireworks and it lights a grass fire off… shorter grass is less fuel, therefore an easier fire to put out/contain.
  • In a rural setting (ahem…us!) it’s time to get on  the tractor and bush hog.  The fire lines that isolate us (somewhat) from potential wildfires are knee-high now.  They need to be shortened.
  • Check your hoses.  Set them up at diagonal corners of the house if you have the outlets.  This is one on my list today Saturday.  We like to have 75-feet of hose at either end of the house so that we can basically get two streams of water on any part of the house if we need to.  What could occasion such an event?  Remember the ignorant SOB/.DOB I mentioned?
  • Bathe your pet.  Zeus-the-Cat will be getting a bath on Tuesday.  As an inside-outside cat, in the summer he’d generally outdoors.  Favorite pastimes?  Other than eating lizards and chasing off other cats?  Rolling on the ground.  Where he picks up ticks, chiggers, mites…just about everything you don’t want in the house.  So he gets a bath, maybe Wednesday morning, and then he’ll be suitable to have in the house on the Fourth which (as you might guess) sounds like the Tet Offensive here in East Texas.
  • This is when I “service” the fire extinguishers.  Not hard to do and it only takes a rubber mallet.  Dry chemical extinguishers should be checked a couple of times a year.  Going into the Fourth and when a Christmas tree goes up.  High risk times.  Service we do is simple:  a) check the pressure which should show “in the green.”  Then b) turn the (dry chemical only) extinguisher upside down and give it a few really solid whacks with the rubber mallet.  The dry chemicals tend to ‘settle’ over time and if you don’t shake ’em up good, they can cake, rendering the extinguisher non-op.  The time to discover this (and check pressure) is before you need them.
  • First aid, burn kit check.  I need to pick up some fresh vanilla.  Good stuff to put on burns.  Don’t get near flame – most of it has plenty of alcohol in it.  Best burn treatment?  Ice and lots of it.  So a full ice bin, lots of wash clothes, and anti-bacterial at the ready (Neosporin).  If you have a prepping-oriented doc, triamcinalone ointment is a fair burn med.
  • Safety glasses.  Anyone going near fireworks ought to have them on.  No, I didn’t wear them as a kid, but I was lucky.

Yeah, I know – who would have thought there would be prepping for a the Fourth of July, for heaven’s sake?  But there you go, everything in life can be prepped for.  All the way from birthing to dying and holidays are just one of the bumps in-between.

The 4th and Reductionism

The fact that the Fourth this year falls smack in the middle of a week shows the problem with reductionism.

Reductionism like to reduce everything to a “hard number” of “fact.”

However, note how the Chinese and other nations hand “holidays” and what we’ve already done with President’s Day?

We made them soft.  Presidents DAY can appear on a fair number of DATES.  And that all fits in with the three-day weekend concept nicely.

When we have an outlier – like  next week’s holiday stuck out there all by itself in the middle of the week, why that just offends the generalist in me.  We get two useless (not quite, but go with me on this) regular weekends.  But the LONE DATE has no doubt caused pain, aggravation, and suffering for HR departments and everyone else involved in personnel scheduling.

If we’re really going to Make America Great Again, maybe we could start by changing over to Holidays within a date-RANGE rather than a hard number.

Even better, why not something tangible/useful out of the United Nations, for a change:  Global Lunar Calendars?  Lookie here:

Chinese New Year, known in China as the Spring Festival and in Singapore as the Lunar New Year, is a holiday on and around the new moon on the first day of the year in the traditional Chinese calendar. … Because of this, Chinese New Year is never on January 1. It moves around between January 21 and February 20.

OK, so the Chinese might roll with it.  Traditional Jews will, too, since the Jewish calendar is lunar-centric.  And, the tides all play along because they are based on lunar motion.  And everyone who works outdoors can tell the holiday by looking for the last (or first) sliver of the moon, right?

Besides, if we’re going to be run by Globalists, the least they could do is arrange a planetary calendar and get it worked out ahead of time.  No point giving them a global climate tax if they can’t even agree on what days are important, as we figure it.

We’d point out other such “training opportunities” for the megalomaniacs with the money.  But, of course, who am I but Comandante Ure of the People’s-Non-Partisan Brigade (PNPB) during the American Webolution?

Write when you get rich,

13 thoughts on “Coping: Expanding Your “Personal Variance””

  1. Hey George, If you want a real first class burn treatment get a product called Water Gel it is a topical ointment and it works great! I first found it at the welding supply shop (go figure) it puts the pain and burn out now!

  2. Your personal variance idea has been taken to another level in big cities. Going out of your comfort zone and expanding your envelope is a way of life here in the Bay Area.

    I know several young and old people alike that make money on their commute to work by signing up as a Uber or Lyft driver and then activating their Uber or Lyft apps on their way to and from work. Talk about a side hustle..some kids make an additional $200 a day on their commute to and from the city..and by taking a few extra rides on the way home from work. There are apps that allows you to rent out your bike for a few hours, your lawnmower, your weed whacker etc. Of course just about every young millennial gets their entire vacation paid for by renting out their apartment for over $150-$300 a night…depending on the size of the place on Airbnb while they are gone. We are a tourist town and there is always a demand for vacation rentals. A retired engineer/neighbor of mine does all of these things. He also owns a place up in Tahoe. When he lives here, he is renting his place to someone else in Tahoe for $200 a night…when he decides to get away from it all and live in Tahoe for a few weeks, he rents out his 3 bedroom home with views for $600 a night. When he is bored, he is an Uber driver…He also rents out his lawnmower and bikes…The point is…there is never a waking hour when there isn’t cash flowing in…he is always making money…That’s expanding your envelope to the max.

    This is another reason why the big city life is and can be a lot more profitable than small cities. It would be hard to do all of that in a rural setting…

    • Arm length welding gloves and hold the black cat in the sun for a few minutes. An accommodation is possible. Takes work, but I’d rather deal with Zeus than North Korea, for example.

    • One of the oddest things I have seen was the ability of a black cat (Merlin – as in the character in ‘Excalibur’), who upon being thrown in the bathtub to at least get some dust off – BOUNCED off the bottom, evacuating the water everywhere BUT on said cat (except his foot pads).

      Totally dry – WTH!

  3. Good info on the fire extinguishers and meds. I’ll be checking them twice. It’s been too dry here to worry about bush hogging(so far).

    Regarding the imminent jackknife – hammer it! Of course, that doesn’t work when a four wheeler cuts right in front of you and brakes for the exit. I’m sure Andy could add to this.

    FWIW, which weekend are we supposed to be celebrating on? This one or the next one?

  4. Absolutely everything is a business model. Ways to make money on your daily commute.
    instead of renting out or taking a traveler that could be dangerous since the cities are a dangerous place today.. giving that some thought how many of us drive and see a dead animal along the road.. scrape it up toss it in the trunk.. at forty dollars per animal 1800 dead critters will get you an extra seventy grand a year income on your daily commute..
    the one I wanted.. was the hazardous waste specialist.. we had a huge spill gave this guy a call.. he came out all upset because we interrupted his daily television program in his jammies and bunny slippers.. to which he said pointing at the book.. I want you to have this cleaned up according to federal guidelines .. and left.. LOL LOL LOL the other one was the weed guy.. literally had a four wheel drive pickup where he picks an area to be covered. drives around in the ditches with a sprayer on the back of an ATV and says.. heres a weed and squirts it LOL LOL LOL
    I won’t say crime scene cleaner.. because one of my many hats was taking pictures at crime scenes when I was a younger man with a passion for photography.. not a good job.. quite heart breaking to be totally frank.. the road kill one is definitely profitable.. I use to scrape the fat off of the skins so that they could be made into products and the meat was sold for other products.. the smell comes back just thinking about it LOL
    If my wife would let me.. I would love to be a professional snuggler.. LOL sixty bucks an hour..
    NOW for a good DIY burn cream.. Honey mixed with a cream.. .. to ease the pain from sunburn or arc sunburn vinegar..
    First, wet the washcloth with cold water, then splash on a little apple cider vinegar to the cloth I I have a thought that lemon juice will work to ). Dab the wet cloth onto your sunburn, soaking the skin. You should notice instant relief from any stinging! After a few minutes, your skin should be dry.
    Now, liberally rub on some coconut oil to the area or you can make a quick burn pain jell easy enough also.. by Thickening of hydrophilic/lipophilic and lipophilic/hydrophilic microemulsions OR.. rather than get technical here.. mix some vinegar (acetic acid) and mix it with an aquifying agent 5% to 50% acetic acid .. ( KY Jelly will work as an aquifying agent.. you can make a paste to using salt and acetic acid..) LOL… for an april fools prank I always mix alcohol with ky.. and give out a few of the pocket hand sanitizers to nurses on the floor LOL LOL LOL I grabbed one out of my box and went to use it the other day.. and realized it was one of the joke units after it took a half hour to get it to dry LOL..

    • I’d do the professional snuggler thing too, for female clients only, of course. Unfortunately, every professional snuggler I’ve seen advertised is female and all their clients are male, so there’s probably no market. Women hug each other all the time anyway and their levels of oxytocin are already many times higher than that of guys.

  5. There are days (weeks?) when the work/sleep rut feels like the canyon run on the Death Star, but I’ve got no Proton torpedoes nor Force to guide them. And the Turbo lasers keep firing and the Tie fighters keep following. :)

    That said, the house is summer-prepped, the AC serviced, the party preps for the PCA members here tonight well in hand (a car show in my front yard!), and I just flew out of said work rut until the 17th. I’ll be doing anything But rut-stuff for the next couple of weeks, the gods willing. Yay! Will be doing one of our road trips up to Osage Beach, MO and the Tan-Tara resort too, along with several hundred other P-cars. Only work in that is rowing that six-speed up there, all around and back again. Going to fit some early morning fishing in and some serious goofing off too.

    Funny how the canyons and lasers in life are there of our own choosing, and we tend to leave the safety of the base and leap into battle with the wrong ammo. Or, are we just choosing the wrong battles? It’s when I escape the canyon that I look back and wonder at the “why” I just did all that. Then, I look forward, and go, “Oh yeah, that’s why.” It’s hard to do all that, and remember to be Here and Now.

    As a by-the-way, since I drive my Jeep Wrangler as a daily, I get to practice my relaxed Sunday driving on almost a daily basis. Quite a leap from the 911 to the Jeep, but I love it!

    Enjoy your summer, George. You’ve earned it. :)

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