Five-Minute Betterment: “Ah, how good it feels! The hand of an old friend.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Old friends.

Most of my friends are old friends.

Or not my friend anymore.

I admittedly have a hard time keeping up with other people.  Especially lately, it just seems like there are so many other things going on in the Glass House that the days slip by weeks and months at a time and I can’t remember the last time I checked in with people.  I only really have a handful a friends: one lives in town, one lives an hour away, one lives three hours away, one lives 600 miles away, and the other one lives 1200 miles away.  I used to consider a lot of people friends but, hey, we all make mistakes and so often my mistake was thinking that a lot of those people were worth a damn.

Chill, man.

Alright.  What I want this FMB to be about is maintaining relationships by keeping in touch with friends.  I want you to take a few minutes out of your day to let someone know you’re thinking about them.  In my mind, this person isn’t someone you haven’t talked to in ten years.  I would encourage you to make that phone call or send that letter/text/e-mail when you have more than five minutes to put into it.  And I’m not talking about liking a picture someone posted or whatever.  Ideally, it would fall somewhere in the middle of that.

Like I said, it’s not going to be a huge thing.  It should only take about five minutes.  But imagine being on the receiving end of a random text of kindness.  It’s a really good feeling and it helps to keep the friendship alive.

Human beings are social creatures.  According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Love and Belonging are the needs that follow physiological and safety related concerns.  So if we’ve got our water, food, and physical safety covered, the next thing we need would be human companionship.  Even the more misanthropic of us (myself included) are benefited by sort degree of human contact.  In fact, I dislike other people(‘s behavior) so much that it makes me really enjoy the company of my handful of friends!  It also makes it really special to hear from them or see them, as it doesn’t happen very often.  If you’ve streamlined your group of friends to a select few, then more power to you.  Just make sure you’re taking a few minutes every now and then to check in on them and see how they’re doing.  It’ll do you both some good.

Your friend,

David Glass

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“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” – Ernest Hemingway

Truth!

I am going to turn 31 in just under 30 days.  I feel time kind of picking up speed as the months as years go back and a lot of time and focus go into a job that I don’t really care for.  I feel like I’m a good husband and a good dad, but, like a lot of people I know, I feel like I am not quite where I want to be as a man.  It has been kind of a rough year this past year so as way to ensure that this coming year starts off better, I am going to do the Be a Better Man in 30 Days project from Art of Manliness.  This entails the completion of daily tasks that are targeted toward your overall improvement as a man.  I did it before last summer but I think it’s a good thing to revisit every now and then, and I’ll be posting every few days with updates on my progress.  I would really like you, Dear Reader, to join me on this adventure and I hope that you will get as much out of this experience as I did and hopefully will this time around.  I strongly encourage you to click through and read the articles that are associated with each task as they give not only directions for completion but also insight and wisdom for achieving the full experience.  So, here we go.

The tasks for Day One and Day Two are to Define Your Core Values and Shine Your Shoes respectively.

My core values are pretty much the same as last time.  I went through the process of thinking through them again and reworded some stuff, but the end result was very similar.  They are, somewhat in order:

DH&M – The Family Glass: Me, my wife, and our daughter.  This is how we most commonly refer to our family unit. 

TCOB – Taking Care of Business.  Enough said.

Betterment – Always striving to be a better person in a better world.

Creation – This covers just about everything that I take and make into something else, i.e. music, cooking, salvaging

I oiled my Chippewas and my wife’s Steve Madden boots a week or two ago, and I did my Clark’s and my dress shoes today.  It’s nice to know that they’re all waterproof and looking good and my wife especially appreciated me doing hers as well.

Again, I hope you take the time to join me in this and feel free to comment with progress or questions.

Best,

D. Glass

#secondhandsunday

[Hello again, Dear Reader!  Let me start with a little self-deprecation and tell you how worthless I feel looking back and seeing that the last time I posted a substantial post was last week.  I have about three other major ones in the works that I will hopefully have done this week, so hopefully I can get my former pace back up.  Anyway, let’s continue..]

Today’s featured Secondhand Sunday item is a very special one to me.  I have a collection of four typewriters that I have gathered over the years, but this one take the cake.  It is a portable manual Smith-Corona Classic 12 and it’s in extremely good condition.  I got it from my parents for my birthday in 2013 and while that’s cool and all, it gives me a chance  to take a moment and highlight the original owner of this typewriter.

My ‘Aunt’ Marlene was an elementary school teacher for 30+ years and she remained one of the sweetest and most caring people I have ever met.  She truly adored her students and they, in turn, cherished her.  Marlene and my mom worked together at the same school for a number of years and bonded over quilting, cooking, and (although by marriage on my mom’s account) a common Czechoslovakian heritage.  She tragically passed away several years ago now, but her family didn’t have an estate sale until a couple of years ago.  My parents had attended and found this typewriter, which has now made its way to me and it is my most prized typewriter and one of the finest things I own.

I will always miss Aunt Marlene.  She was a great lady and the world was lucky to have her.

Fondly,

D. Glass

Secondhand Sunday

#secondhandsunday

Today’s SHS post features a pretty sweet tweed briefcase and a ‘golden’ frame that Mrs. Glass and I found at an estate sale in San Antonio, TX.  The briefcase has three accordion-style sleeves and a couple of pockets on the inside.  It’s lined with suede (maybe) and has a numeric combination lock.

The frame is a 8×10 and is just overall awesome.  Thanks for stopping by.

Inside that amazing #secondhandsunday briefcase

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“Now did the Lord say that machines ought to take place of the livin’? And what’s a substitute for bread and beans? I ain’t seen it! Do engines get rewarded for their steam?” – Johnny Cash

[Gotta love Johnny Cash]

I read an article LinkedIn the other day that talked about how cell phones are the new cigarette.  The author compared the once-popular “got a light?” icebreaker to our tendency to pull out our phones when we have a spare moment or when we are in an environment that may be new or intimidating.  It’s kind of interesting to look around and see everyone staring down at their phones, focusing their attention on the virtual instead of the actual.

A quick story:  At the end of September 2012, after almost seven months of being unable to find a job and unable to pay phone bill, my phone got cut off.  As tragic as it was at the time, I really feel like it was a blessing in disguise.  I had had whichever iPhone was new at the time (I think a 4S), and I was very much accustomed to being on it.  A lot.  I would be on it at work, either playing mindless games or writing and I would do a lot of the same when I would get home at night.  It was beginning to have a negative effect on my relationship with my wife and infant daughter.  So, like I said, it got shut off and I wound up spending the next two years without a cell phone.

[Once I got a job, we could’ve afforded one, but we lived so close to where I was working and I was always either at home or at work, that it wasn’t Incredibly necessary.  I have a phone now because I work farther away and we’re in a much bigger city, but I have a flip phone so it’s pretty much for calling and texting.]

I pay a lot more attention to the world around me and it’s an amazing feeling.  My wife and I have always been adventurers but not being buried in my phone has opened the door for more spontaneous sidetracking.  My mind is clearer and I feel like I’m more focused when I get going on a project.  I also fell out of touch with a lot of the websites I would spend a bunch of time on, so that time was spent on my family or my work.  Definitely a good feeling.

Mrs. Glass and I are really big fans of the TV show Parks and Recreation and particularly of Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman, respectively.  We recently watched Offerman’s American Ham comedy special on Netflix and it was pretty damn good.  There’s a part in there where he talks about how foolish all of this disconnected connectivity (my words, not his) is and how it really takes the life out of situations, even those like shoving your way through busy New York streets, that really make up the human experience.  We have to put down the screens and pay attention to what’s happening around us.

[We also recently started watching a lot of Grounded For Life on Netflix which is a really nice middle-of-the-road sitcom if you need something light to binge on.  In one episode, the dad’s vexation towards cell phones, especially when they are being used in public places.  They flashback to a time in a restaurant where the dad has a really over-the-top fake conversation to mock a guy at an adjacent table who is eating alone but talking loudly on the phone.  Good stuff.]

This goes much deeper.

I don’t want to get all Terminator here, but our reliance on technology has some pretty menacing implications.  Automation is king these days and it eliminates the need for human employees in a lot of industries.  I saw something else recently that said it takes six weeks to make a Rolls Royce and a few hours to make a Toyota.  It was meant to be inspirational because quality takes time and everything, but it kind of freaked me out.

Why should it only take a few hours to make a car?  Where is the attention to detail or even just the human element in all of this?  I don’t mean who’s manning the machines.  I mean which person is getting their hands dirty building the car or growing the food that is going to maintain the well-being of the individual.  Machines are supposed to be tools and tools are meant to be extensions of the person, but there are millions of machines out there replacing  human in the workforce.  You can train one of those people to maintain the machines, but the math doesn’t work on that.

Look:

Let’s say a ballpoint pen factory (whatever; I’m just using what’s around me) has ten workers who assemble the pen parts into the finished product.  If they are each replaced by one machine, then there are now ten machines with maybe one or two of those original people to maintain them.  In order to completely counterbalance the unemployment of the remaining eight or nine people, you would need forty or ninety new machines!  To make pens! Who is going to use all of the pens that these machines are cranking out?  And who is going to make the machines that make the pen-making machines??  It’s too much!

Sorry.

I’ll take a deep breath and we’ll continue.

My ultimate concern is that 5.5% of Americans (8.6 million people) are unemployed as of last month and these numbers haven’t changed much from previous months.  If we could take a bilateral approach and create jobs AND reduce the number of jobs that are eliminated by technology or outsourcing or whatever and get everyone squared away, I think that inherent increase in production costs would most likely be diluted and would make for a higher quality product as well as less waste from inferior products.

So.  We need to get away from our screens, look at the world around us, and demand more from it.  There is hope out there.  And it’s handcrafted, made not machine-made.

Productively,

David Glass

P.S. – If you’re looking for a good read, try Kurt Vonnegut’s Player Piano.  It really delves into the notion of machines replacing humans and the resulting social and psychological implications.

P.P.S – Here’s a picture of my old school flip phone and the other rather high-quality/low-tech items I carry around everyday.

Every single day. #everydaycarry #carry #gerber

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Secondhand Sunday!

#secondhandsunday

[check out the Manstagram @thatmanglass ]

Today I’m combining finds from a couple of estate sales. These were all really amazing deals. The Walt Whitman book (mine) and the glasses (Mrs. Glass’) were two bucks total. The baseball bat, an original Louisville Slugger, was a quarter at another sale and the Rand McNally road map book was I think ten cents.

The Rand McNally book is awesome and has this amazing red and blue graphic for the roads inside.

The Slugger is a beast.

And Mrs. Glass looks super cute in those glasses.

More to come.

Eyes peeled,

D. Glass