by Niall Doherty


I’m becoming a science and logic geek. I find myself watching more and more science talks on YouTube. Lawrence Krauss, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Phil Plait. I just finished a book by Plait and up next is Richard Dawkins. At the same time I find myself gaining logical fluency, understanding such concepts as burden of proof, straw man argument, non sequitur. To paraphrase Charlie Munger: You don’t have to be smart, you just have to train yourself to think better.


I take issue with Gatsby. All his drive, all his hope, all his success, was to win the heart of a woman. And not just any woman. We’re talking about a woman who never appears to have anything going for her but her looks. If he wanted to marry and spend lots of money on a pretty girl he couldn’t really communicate with, he should have just moved to Thailand 😛


Last night I was at Cheap Charlie’s when an elderly lady stumbled by and fell over. Her wig fell off and she peed herself right there in front of everybody. I wasn’t among the concerned crowd that gathered around. Riding home today I heard a screech and crunch behind me. Pretty sure it was the couple who shone me smiles at the lights. I kept driving. I wish the best for people, but I figure my standing by does nothing to ease suffering.


I’m sitting on her couch. We’ve spent another whole weekend together, different from the last but no less fulfilling. We haven’t had the conversation yet, the one where we decide what label to stick on our relationship. I’m all for leaving it unlabelled. But still, I know we should talk about it. I know because I get nervous when I think to bring it up. That might be thunder I’m hearing outside. Good a time as any.


Die tomorrow or live forever, which would you choose? An early death would probably be the smart choice. If Anne Rice taught us anything, it’s that immortality ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. And yet I can’t help but be tempted by the latter option. I think about all the books my mortal self will never get to read, all the places I’ll never get to see, all the cool people I’ll never get to meet… Bite me, Lestat.

Night falls on Benjakiti Park

Night falls on Benjakiti Park


Here’s a habit I’m trying to build: Asking for feedback. The Parkour guys solicited me to do a quick interview tonight, as a student talking about my experience. Pretty sure I came across dry and boring. I knew I could have done better, and I knew that if I asked for honest feedback and got it, that we’d likely shoot it all again. Instead I chickened out and never asked. That was the easy option, and I’m disappointed I took it.


When we first met in Kathmandu he was a shy-but-excitable 22 year old. He was terrified to even approach a pretty girl on the street. I helped him get over that by sharing what little I knew, and then there was no stopping him. He improved so much so fast that I soon became the student in the relationship. Hadn’t heard from him for a few months until an email just now. He met a British girl in February and they’re getting married next week.


You develop confidence by taking action, especially scary action. This week I’ve busted through some limiting beliefs, beaten back procrastination, and gotten a lot of important shit done. As such, today I found myself easily chatting away to the owner of the little restaurant I go to for lunch. Later I was smiling at strangers and flowing through the supermarket with a skip in my step. I almost let myself dance on the escalator.


I leave the gym with legs still sore, but glad I made myself do it. I’m supposed to meet up with a reader for lunch but turns out he can’t make it. I eat three meals in the company of words from Dan Ariely, then hunt around for a coffee shop. The next 4.5 hours are spent in a blur of productivity, stretching out a single iced cappuccino and calling it a day only when my battery threatens death. Up next: date night. How I love my life 🙂


Nobody has ever broken up with me. I’ve always been the one to call it a day, or at least set the wheels in motion. I’m not proud of this. It means I’m usually the one disappointing. I wonder do I compensate by holding back, worried they’ll get too deep, that I might make a promise I’ll later not want to keep. I realize I’m not an easy guy to be in a relationship with. The me she met last month isn’t the me she’ll meet next.

Quiet time at the gym

Quiet time at the gym


Two African chaps are also waiting to be swiped out, so I strike up a conversation. The taller one tells me they’re from Algeria, there on business. “What kind of business?” I ask, and get back nothing but a strange smile. I feel I should just smile back and keep quiet, but the silence gets the best of me and I move the conversation on to other things. Twenty seconds later a resident comes by and releases us into the heavy afternoon heat.


A lot of it is to do with luck, he tells me. Be in the right place at the right time and play to your strengths. If you get good, expect one in every three investments to fail, one to break even, and one to make you some money. It gets harder with age. When you’re young you have less to lose, so it’s fine to be reckless and take on riskier projects. Oh, and if you don’t make it by the time you’re 45, you probably never will.


Mr. Pan isn’t the most talkative chap. I wonder why he agreed to take my call in the first place. But I soldier on, trying to keep my mouth shut and allow him the opportunity to speak. I remind myself that awkward silences aren’t always felt on both sides, that he may be perfectly at ease in the gaps. Sure enough, with room to breathe his words gather steam. Our call lasts 27 minutes. I hang up with two new leads. Good man, Mr. Pan.


I still get intimidated by beauty. Completely illogical, but I still let it happen. Waiting for a workout session today I struck up conversation with the average-looking middle-aged lady on her way out, but not with the young hot chick who arrived a minute later. What was I afraid of? I’m dating an amazing girl here as it is, so the possibility of rejection shouldn’t matter. May be old habits dying hard.


I almost convince myself that I could do with a nap, but instead I suck it up and get started. I’ve been meaning to write about this topic for months, but never allowed myself ample time to tackle it. My goal is to do just ninety minutes. Of course, once I get into the flow time melts away. I come out of the trance a good four hours and two thousand words later. It’s never as bad as you think it will be. Sometimes it’s the exact opposite.


I check Facebook as I wait. A few dozen comments already, most of them calling for my head. One person hopes I die in a traffic accident, another calls me a bigot. Several people say my arguments are stupid and illogical, but offer no explanations as to why. I wonder where all that vegan compassion has disappeared to. I asked for this though, made sure they would see what I wrote. And it’s fine. I can handle this.

Amongst the pigeons at Benjasiri Park in Bangkok

Amongst the pigeons at Benjasiri Park in Bangkok

In the comments below, let me know which of the above is your favorite. Which can you relate to?

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