The Perks of Being A 10 (And how to do it)

“I’m sorry, we cannot give you the tickets now. It is impossible.”

Even though she’s speaking english as her second language, hearing ‘impossible’ is not a promising sign.

“You were supposed to check in 2 hours before your flight.”
“Even though it was delayed by 4 hours? How could we know that?!”
“It’s okay, let’s just relax. We need to get on this plane before it leaves, so how else can you help us?”

My traveling companion is getting heated and almost just yelled at the RyanAir service desk employee. Doing that would get us nowhere, so I appeal to her for help in our situation.

If I said that the same thing could get you discounts, preferential treatment at bars and restaurants, help you make more friends, do better at business, and get free stuff, would you want it?

If it were free to learn and practice, and would make you a happier person, would you do it? Continue reading “The Perks of Being A 10 (And how to do it)”

Vannes Is Better Than Paris? Have The Most Fun In Brittany

I believe that taking trips makes you learn things about yourself, especially when traveling solo. For instance, on this trip, I fully realized how much I like being in huge cities—New York, Paris, Barcelona… the culture is fascinating and I get a kick out of how some things are the same wherever you are. For instance: the attitude of a big-city-dweller seems quite similar from NYC to Paris.

That said, I think that Vannes provided a more authentic experience.

(Vannes’ population is around 55,000)

Little towns have their own culture, history, and way of life. It’s a far cry from the hustle of visiting one of the aforementioned cities!

So then, here’s how to have the most fun while you’re there:

  • Go find the park
    Being out in the sun makes me really happy. One of my first days in Vannes, I just walked around and ended up finding a duck pond and surrounding walking trail. I was able to sit there and see people passing by, and watch the birds flying around. It felt great—sitting there and writing in my journal, having basically no desires and no agenda. Ahhh, relaxation.

5 Cheap Ways To Cope In A New City

Let’s recap: It’s my first day in France and I’ve finally met up with my CouchSurfing host, Raphael. He graciously took me to his apartment to drop off my bags, and now I’ve been kicked out and must entertain myself until tonight when we meet up again.

1. Walk around until you are lost, and then find your way back

This serves a few purposes—you’ll better acquaint yourself with the neighborhood and you will develop more of a sense of direction for the future. Also, you’ll find numerous useful things: metro stops, bars/cafes/tobacco shops, cool stores, parks… If the place you spy is open, go in and check it out! If not, just take note of where it is and come back later.

Design Bookstore!

This was an awesome store that I found in Paris, right by the Canal. The name was exactly what it was—a store devoted exclusively to design books! If I lived near here, I’m sure that place would become a very expensive habit; all the books they stocked were awesome! There was an entire section devoted to books on typography and another exclusively about color. I browsed this tiny store for about an hour.

When you get tired of walking and browsing, it’s time to take a break. Continue reading “5 Cheap Ways To Cope In A New City”

12 Sites I Use to Get More Awesomeness From Life

(also: My Quest for Maximum Awesome)

Note: This is a post from my old blog! I’ve resurrected it through the magic of Be aware that some links and things may be broken, and I hope you enjoy reading it.

“League of Awesomeness” graphic stolen from

So, I’ve embarked on what I like to call my “Quest for Awesomeness”. I think it started a few years ago when I was nicknamed “Awesomer Alex” by my friend Boxy… but that’s another story.

Since then there have been many developments in this Quest. One notable point was when I found out about GTD. My friends and family thought it weird that I was reading books on personal productivity… them thinking this would become a running theme which still exists.

Okay, before I get ahead of myself, here’s the list:

  1. The Blog of Tim Ferriss — Tim wrote “The 4-Hour Work Week” which is one of the best books I’ve read in a long while. In fact, I was so impressed after reading a friend’s copy that I actually went out and bought it. He posts here strategies for designing your lifestyle in order to achieve maximum enjoyment.
  2. Steve “Personal Development for Smart People” — I’m pretty sure I found this site through Lifehacker. Steve has a lot of awesome articles here which center around personal development. I highly recommend checking out some of the value-assessment exercises he has, they’re great for finding out what is really important to you.
  3. Lifehacker — No way could I ignore this behemoth of life-hackery. A multi-author blog, Lifehacker focuses on tips and tweaks that help you get through the day. They also review and create software, and thoroughly categorize everything. If you want to subscribe to their RSS feed, I highly recommend using their RSS feed filters
  4. 43 Folders — One of the original GTD-centric sites, 43 Folders has gotten an overhaul and is now a multi-user project. Anyone can join and contribute, but only the best make it to the front page. Great tips and great community started by Merlin Mann.

Each one of these sites is a treasure trove of valuable materials—exercises, strategies, challenges, and inspiration. I’m subscribed to all of their RSS feeds and read them all.

Another important moment in my development was when I read The Game by Neil Strauss. People seem to have mixed opinions about the material he presents in this book, and with good reason. Understanding social dynamics and using them to your advantage is controversial in itself, and Strauss presents a cross-section of this subject.

I can understand why people don’t like it: lots of guys in this Community are sketchy and have less-than savory motives. However, if you read Strauss’ excellent narrative, it ends on a very good note—that the purpose of “The Game” in the first place is to better yourself and get what you want from life. That said, here are my favorite 4 pickup-related sites: Continue reading “12 Sites I Use to Get More Awesomeness From Life”

Huge Zombie Botnet Threatens the Internet!

Holy crap, This is the scariest article I’ve read in months! Apparently, there is an enormous botnet created by a worm/malware called Storm. This one is particularly interesting because it’s actually attacking the researchers trying to figure it out! Attacking, in this case, is overloading their computers with so much spam and network traffic that they SHUT DOWN. Crazy!
Link to article.

Give and get items in your community with Gigoit


A little bit Craigslist, a little bit Freecycle, Gigoit helps you unload unwanted items and find wanted items, all within your local area.

Basically a fancy classified-ads site, Gigoit lets you post items you want to give away (with up to three photos) and search for available items in your area. No money changes hands; this is all about free stuff. The site stands out by offering RSS feeds, a Google Gadget, Google Earth views and an attractive, simple, Web 2.0-style interface.

Like so many community-driven sites (Parentography comes to mind), Gigoit will either succeed or fail depending on how many users join up and participate. (I found all of four items up for grabs within 50 miles.) Can it take on the likes of Craigslist and Freecycle? Share (or give away) your two cents in the comments. — Rick Broida