I had an interesting experience in taking my daughter to a little video arcade recently (in a mall). For the first time ever, I was patroning a completely automated arcade. I was fascinated at the idea. There was not an employee/associate in the entire place.

Like many arcades, it had a currency system by which players of the games earn tickets that they could trade in later for prizes. However when we desired to do just that, the prizes were kept in a sorta vending machine, at which we would enter the tickets in a slot and then key in the prize slot ID we desired (ya know …. like a vending machine).

I appreciated the efficiency of it. Perfect minimization. As much as I am a proponent of human interaction/connection, I appreciated the efficiency of this system. It never occurred to me before, but an arcade is the perfect “walk-in” business to be neigh staff-less. All that is required is an owner to come in after close, clean up, maintain, collect the profits, do the books, ……… and that’s about it. On occasion he may need to call a technician to fix a machine or two.

……… Then something happened. Two things actually. First, my daughter won 100 TICKETS playing one of the games, but before the game dispensed said tickets, it froze. We were stiffed. THEN later, when we went to the prize machine to cash in all the tickets she earned, the machines mechanics stalled, thus robbing her of the prize. Of course those tickets/points were still deducted from her total anyway …….. stiffed again. And remember, there are NO EMPLOYEES, so there was no-one we could even go to about these issues. I suppose we could have complained at the mall front desk and eventually got redemption if we pushed the matter, but it’s just not worth it.

So it is, that even in a seemingly clear case of “perfect full automation”, human interaction is required. In this day and age, we still need at least one human person there supervising an arcade to help customers.

And you know what ………..I appreciate that too.

Big Living Space = Small World


We humans almost instinctively feel the need to bring that which gives us pleasure, joy, closer to us. It is the reason why we expand our living space, our home. We want to bring all the things we like together in one place, in a controlled environment. A safe environment.

  • Want to go swimming? Instead of a lake/beach trip, get a pool.
  • Want to have a cookout? Forget the local park, put a grill in the backyard.
  • Like to play games? Forget the local arcade, pool hall, and bowling alley. Bring games to the home in the form of video game consoles, pool table, ……. there is a home version of everything.
  • Exercise? ….. meh. We’ve got a treadmill at home.

Having all the things you like to do in one controlled place is convenient, …. so yeah ….. I get that. Is it safer?…… of course it is, because it’s in a controlled environment.

The problem with a controlled environment however, is that nothing new ever happens. Everything happens exactly as we planned, and we are not exposed to anything new. The experiences are always the same. How long can we expect to have the same cookout, in the same environment, with the same people, and continue to grow as people. We want everything we do to be in a safe, controlled environment (controlled by us), but expect to become more cultured, more rounded people. This is a contradiction, clearly.

So the price we pay for convenience, control, and security, is lack of exposure. Which in the end means lack of growth.

If we are to grow as people we need to get out of the house, try new things, have new experiences, meet new people. The stranger and more awkward for us, the better, as there is much more learning potential outside our comfort zone.

A Minimalist feels no desire for a big backyard, because a Minimalist is open enough to new adventures, new experiences, to believe that the entire world IS their backyard. Limiting ones self to the experiences they can fit in their personal plot of land is small minded thinking, and perhaps a tad bit paranoid.

Big property -> small mind.

Small property -> open mind.

We can never have much growth being exposed only to what we permit in our backyards just because IT IS CONTROLLED BY US. We can only grow as people when we are in situations where we DON’T have control of our situation. It’s the only time we are learning anything new.

Never Stop Chasing Her

This post goes out to all the married gentlemen out there with long relationships. The advice still may apply to women as well, and even LBGTQ folk, but I can only speak for strait men.

For many of us, we get into a rut in life where the romance is dead and our wife no longer seems interested in us anymore. This doesn’t happen all of a sudden of course, but slowly over the long course of our relationship as life changes and we take on new roles, new responsibilities. When this happens, we are so quick to blame the uninterested party, ….. our wives. We say “She doesn’t care anymore. She’s not the same woman I married. And when I initiate any affection or romance, I am tossed aside, rejected, and it makes me feel like I am in the wrong for desiring her.”

Let me start by saying that there is absolutely nothing wrong with desiring your spouse. There is nothing wrong with wanting romance in your relationship. Romance is the way it’s supposed to be. Intimacy, affection, humor, and playfulness are necessary components in all marriages.

She may not be exactly the same person we married, but are we the same person she married? Really? Are we still the dashingly handsome man she fell in love with all those years ago? The man who would do those little extras to win her affection? The confident man who would make the assertive gestures to win her over, and not care about the repercussions if they were rejections, because we were confident in our worth?

OR, have we let ourselves go? Have we relaxed a bit as we have aged, secure in the belief that “I’m married now, so this relationship is on lock. Relationship maintenance is no longer required.”?

Now don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that it is OUR fault. Every situation is unique, and there are nuances and subtleties in every situation that make the responsibility for the “death of romance” to fall more on one party than the other. But I DO know one thing:

It’s of little importance WHO is responsible for causing it. Both parties are responsible for remedying it. And it MUST BE REMEDIED.

(Just because we did not cause a problem, doesn’t mean we are not responsible for solving the problem)

So rather than focusing on our wives, and trying to figure out how we can change them, so that they may be “interested in us” again, lets focus on ourselves to determine how we can start making ourselves interesting again. In the end, we can’t change others anyway, we can only change ourselves.

Instead of being so easily discouraged, have the confidence again (and dare I say it ….. arrogance) to brush off rejections (don’t take them so close to heart) and keep trying.

The key to keeping the romance alive in our marriage is to never stop dating. Never stop doing the things we needed to do when we were younger to win her over. Never stop chasing her. She wants to be chased. We thought that when we got married, the game was over. Sorry bucko, the game never ended. We’ve just been failing it since your vows.

DO THIS, and she will come around. She will do her part in keeping the romance alive instinctually, automatically. And if she doesn’t ……. Then the problem is even bigger than the romance dying in our relationships.