Fail often, succeed sometimes

One of the many life lessons we can learn from chess

A few weeks ago, I took Nadia to her first chess tournament. She had only been in Chess Club for a month or so, but her coach insisted she was ready. So I signed her up, and off we went to some middle school off Central Avenue (AKA, the nice part of Phoenix).

Nadia was excited to play kids her own age, since I spend at least an hour a day on and regularly beat her. Naturally, getting trounced by someone three decades older than you, even if he is your dad, sucks. Continue reading

Lurking fear


Or “Life as a professional word person”

In the world of writing, there are two poles. To the north, you have blogs, diaries and the doodle you made on a Post-It note that you’re just going to toss in the trash at the end of the day. The South Pole is where the real stuff happens – your novels, magazine articles, poems and other, legitimate forms of writing with stakes involved. In other words, someone other than you has to care about the words you’re producing.

Everywhere else on this planet is an uninhabitable hell hole. Continue reading

The Power of Positive Partying

Maybe it’s time to stop aspiring to be like Andrew WK and just go full throttle.

Man, I talk a good game about how I ooze positivity, but at the end of the day I’m really just a joyless buzzkill. Waking up on the wrong side of the bed. Sitting in rush-hour traffic. Dealing with a five-year old who refuses to take “no” for an answer. These things wear me down and harsh my mellow.

But they shouldn’t. Hey, if I can commit to writing every day for 100 days (and counting), I sure as hell can commit to be a well of positivity for that same duration. I’m going to party hard, but not for reals. It’s more like life is the party, and I have to stop being the dude who sulks in the corner.

Day one starts tomorrow.

A long day dreaming into night


That moment when you realize you can’t let your dreams be dreams, or something

My mind tends to wander. I imagine the tattoos I’ll (probably) never get. I picture myself running an ultra marathon in Death Valley or becoming the next Stephen King. I could take a vacation from reality and try to live those versions of myself in the vast recesses of my head space. But then it occurs to me that the only thing separating the person I am now from the one I daydream about is my determination to close the gap. And that’s equal parts scary and exhilarating.

The Tao of Shadi


A philosophy in 10 commandments

  1. Always keep beer in your fridge.
  2. Do something every day that makes you sweat.
  3. Wield your creativity like a garden hose, and spray it everywhere.
  4. Family comes first – unless your family sucks. Then, at least, you have an excuse for neglecting them.
  5. Pee clear. If it’s yellow, you got problems, fellow.
  6. Your coffee should be a representation of the deepest recesses of your soul. That’s why I drink mine black.
  7. Make knowledge your cocaine. Snort a line of wisdom every day.
  8. Eat lots of red meat because the cattle will overrun the planet if we don’t keep their delicious rumps in check.
  9. Get no more than six hours of rest per night. You can sleep when you’re dead.
  10. Don’t be a dick.

The slow down

Slow down

Realizing when it’s time to stop and take a deep whiff of this little thing called life

I move too fast. Maybe it’s the coffee, my obsessive compulsive tendencies, or the fact that I have the attention span of a toddler with a room full of objects to taste, but I feel like I’m always running through the forest, missing out on experiencing each tree.

Take dinner tonight, for example. We were having In N Out burger because the I-10 was a nightmare (as is tradition), and I only made it in time to pick up my daughter from her afterschool program because Apple Maps found a route that took me through a residential neighborhood and around the airport. Continue reading