Wednesday, November 27, 2019

LA Area Tap Water Hasn't Been Helping My Asthma. Here's What I Drink Now

So...I don't generally have a problem with asthma. It's something that I really stopped suffering from in high school. But about two months ago, my Brita water-filtering pitcher was empty, and I decided to get some water from the tap directly. It tasted a little off, but I didn't think that much of it, since I didn't know what our unfiltered tap water tasted like.

A short while later, my asthma had me breathing with a bit of difficulty. I didn't make a connection though. Numerous things can cause flare ups.

In the next couple weeks, I would start making daily smoothies with ice from the refrigerator, and within a couple days, I noticed a SERIOUS change in effects on my breathing. For days, I tested all of the ingredients I was using for possible reactions: kale, sweet potato, banana, ginger, etc. Those seemed to have no negative effects on my breathing. I was clueless.

The only adjusted factor I could think of was...the ice? While breathing heavily, I stared at the refrigerator and wondered if this was really the source of my problems. I grabbed a glass and tasted the water from the refrigerator dispenser. It was a bit off, just like it was when the Brita filter was empty, but would I have an asthma attack from the water? Nothing else was out of the ordinary. I dumped the rest of the water out and started making smoothies without the ice.

Hmmm...I felt better the day after. But was this just a coincidence?  I made another smoothie with ice from the fridge. Bingo. About a day later my lungs were tired and I had a slight headache.

Final test.

I drove to Sprouts and picked up several bottles of spring water (specifically not a filtered brand). For the next month, the only water I would drink from and cook with was from Arrowhead. After a month of testing, I can safely say that I breathe A LOT easier by drinking the bottled spring water.

In fact, the Brita-filtered water was holding me back from really knowing how weak my breathing was. It took the ice test to make me realize it. Now I'll have to get our water tested to see what the hell is coming through the pipes in this area. I've been in this area for about three years and it's never been much of a thought.

So I'm doing great now. I breathe better, sleep better, and generally feel better.
Not sure of what to do about ice when the summer rolls around again though.

Monday, November 25, 2019

People Aren't Talking About THIS THING When They Probably Should Be

I'm in the midst of some discussions, I realized that some people just ask questions to talk and waste time with a bunch of back and forth. Actual conclusions and solutions are just not important to many.

As someone put it, "It's not so much about THE THING, but about the discussion about THE THING."

Currently thinking of ways to keep focused on discussions that move my life forward and make me happy while I'm doing my thing.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Quantity Is The New Quality? I Squint At This.

Between Daymond Johns, GaryVee, Grant Cardone, and a bunch of other people I can't think about right now are all about jamming the social media system with tons of content that gets engagement. I can't really say that it doesn't work, but obviously isn't natural for everyone.

Spamming people basically works at the moment (bad content spammers beware), but I'm wondering where this all goes. Does the future have everyone just have some sort of media channel(s) where they brand themselves and talk shit? I suppose we're already there to a degree? Hmmm....

Oh yeah, my podcast will be launching soon where I talk shit and brand my art presence. Stay up on it at

Monday, November 18, 2019

Just Started "Friends of Benja"

Sometimes I don't like taking the time to search for the links to my friends online real estate, so I'm bringing back the idea of a linked list of friends that I had a while back.

With all of the social media nonsense going on, I want to have something a little more customized to my tastes that isn't dependent on whatever the social platform deems is appropriate. Just like the rest of this site, I plan to keep updating it as time goes on.

Check it out HERE.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

The Design of Tools of Titans

NOTE: This is not meant to be a review, but it kinda sounds like one. I just liked the design and started typing about it.

Tim Ferriss created Tools of Titans, and we decided to start a little group to discuss it. It was offered free on Amazon for Prime subscribers, but I decided to go ahead and purchase the book when it came in (see the size of the book in this blog post).

This was great timing because I had been thinking about tools for titans-in-progress, like myself.

The thing that I first noticed about the book was the way it was designed.

It's like...a toolbox. That's a genius way to go about constructing a book and what I assume Ferriss was going for with the way it was all compiled.

Starting there, here are some things that I noticed:

The Toolbox Format:
Yo. This thing is a big box full of tools. It's like a...toolbox? Huh. Okay. I'm intrigued.

The Color: 
The book is traffic cone orange, safety vest yellow, and a workshop black. These colors are all classic visuals used by hardware stores and brands like Home Depot and Black & Decker. This not only sticks out, but it makes a natural statement about what the book is for.

The Size:
It's a big book; definitely bigger than most business or self-improvement books.

The Cover Font:
The text is an Impact style font meant to be seen as standing tall and strong, literally what the Impact font is for. And if you don't know what the Impact font is, they use it for memes so they can get a

I even made a painting once called 900 Point Impact. I'm still mad because that title is lost on most people. I'll make a note to revisit that idea.

The Cover Icon:
For simplicity and focus, there is one, singular tool on the front.

Also, it's not a hammer, a screwdriver, hardhat, or drill, but a racketing wrench. A racket wrench isn't the most visually iconic tool to use, but it works in a lot of business metaphors. It also subtly references how one would tighten/loosen the "nuts and bolts" of an operation. Combine that with it's simple and straight-forward design, and you have a beautifully constructed focal point for the cover.

For contrast, consider the different approach and effect that you get from a book like "Visual Hammer" by Laura Ries.

The Forward:
Arnold Schwarzenegger lays out the idea in the forward that people need tools to build the life that they want. This is appropriate to the book is going for. Arnold is definitely a titan to start this off as well. He's also got the vibe that would fit for a heavy ass toolbox of a book.

The Table of Contents:
This table of contents isn't so much a table as it is a set of shelves in a toolbox. Reminds me of opening up a toolbox and seeing different sets of tools that I can rummage through and get what I need. Pretty much how the contents were laid out here.

The Instruction Manual:
Tools of any appreciable complexity or with a certain presentation will contain usage manuals. This book is no different, and Ferriss does a good job of putting you in the mindset of how to work with this book.

In fact, before I read the instructions, I started using the book like any tinkerer would: by grabbing a few tools and seeing how they operate and what they can do. Amazingly, that's EXACTLY what people that make instruction manuals assume: many people will just jump right into the book.

This seems to be a well-designed book that's going to fit my needs. The writing is a separate thing altogether, and I'm enjoying the nuggets. But you can't go too wrong with the resources he's gathered and the structure that he's built. So I'm all in for this one.

Have you read this or are interested in it? Let me know in the comments.

- Benja -

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Tools of Titans Has A Bigger Design Than I Expected

A group of friends and I are now reading through (flipping through) Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss. I got the ebook free on Amazon, but decided to get a hardback version at well because it's one of those things that I want to flip through and use like a...toolbox.

Which brings me to the point of this post. I like the design of the book. It's big, heavy, and colored in orange, yellow, and black, just like a physical Black and Decker or Home Depot toolbox. The book is also written as a set of tools that are meant to be rummaged through while you look for just the right tool. It's organized decently well too.

I'll let you know what I've selected as my hammer, pliers, and 12-spline flange socket driver.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Knocking Off The Podcast Rust

Recording a podcast is work for me, but it's something that needed to be done for The 8BitCubist. I'm not exactly sure what to call the format that I'm putting together, but it's getting there.

The interesting (I won't call it 'fun') part of recording was noticing how many mistakes, stumbles, and logical errors I made. I haven't done this sort of thing in a while, so it took a second to get used to again. And since people expect a certain amount of quality from me on this, I couldn't just start off half-cocked. I had to knock the rust off and get to work.

Good thing that I'm an introvert that can just mull around all the thoughts in my head and put them out in a coherent manner though. Otherwise this thing would never get off the ground.

The podcast will get put out there along with my 2020 art plan.
I'll basically be centering around the 8BitCubist philosophy, which is "Life Imitating Game, Imitating Life".

Let me know what you'd like to hear me cover in the next couple weeks.

- Mr Benja -

Saturday, November 2, 2019

The Podcast Is Returning

After almost a year of working through different angles and options, it's become apparent that The 8BitCubist podcast needs to come back for 2020 and beyond.

I've spent the past several weeks testing and figuring out a plan that would work for the audience. There were a few versions I tried, but didn't work out. Those will never see the light of day. I've finally got what I was looking for though: something that matches the art, entertains, and educates. I think the listeners of the previous podcast would appreciate that. Watch the website and 8Bit Cubist on social media for release information.

- Mr Benja -

Contact Mr Benja


Email *

Message *