* When I was a child, I had these bouts of conscience where I confessed my sins to my step-mom. This began my life-long habit of confessing, which has repaired many a relationship. For the last 16 years, I’ve done much of this confessing with my blogging. No matter how awful I’ve behaved since childhood, my redeeming quality of coming clean has served me well. If you’re open and honest with people, they’ll put up with a lot.
* In the fall of 1986, a year into Sierra College, I dropped all of my classes but two to work full-time in landscaping. I didn’t mind working in the heat but found I hated working in the cold. When I returned to school full-time in the Spring semester of 1987, I was a serious student. In my first year of college, I got just better than a B average. From here on, I got nearly straight As and took my education with great seriousness. It didn’t happen until I was 20 but from here on I was dedicated.
* In my Senior year of high school, I decided to go to college at Cal-State Fullerton and major in Journalism. Later in that school year, I decided to take a year off after high school, return to Australia, live with my brother and work. I decided that when I returned I would go to Sierra Community College and then transfer to a four-year school for my BA, which, by 1985, I decided would be in Economics. I planned to go to Sac State until one day in 1986, I think, I mentioned my plan to my friend Kevin McKee’s dad, Bob, and he said, “You know what they say about Sac State, don’t you?” “No,” I said. “Somebody’s got to go there,” he said. I was so stung, I decided I would transfer to UC Davis instead. I still planned to major in Economics.
Then, in the fall of 1987, as I was dead-serious in my studies, I was deciding between UC Berkeley and UCLA. My advisor recommended UCLA to me, a little less serious and mathematical. I decided to go to UCLA. That changed my life because in Los Angeles, I encountered Dennis Prager and Russell Roberts and they turned me on to Judaism.
* In the summer of 1987, I decided to quit working at the radio station and devote myself completely to my studies (and to landscaping in my spare hours). That fall, I got straight As for the only time in my life.
* In the summer of 1988, a few months into a confusing disease later diagnosed as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), I decided I would transfer anyway to UCLA and hope for help in the south. If I had not transferred, despite my illness, I would not have encountered Dennis Prager and Judaism. I only finished three classes that school year at UCLA (1988-1989), but those nine months changed my life through my exposure to Jews (for the first time in my life).
* In the summer of 1986, I started working construction for $3.50 an hour, a fourth of what I made in Australia 1984-1985. Despite the low wage, later raised to $4.50 and eventually $5.50 an hour, I fell in love with the work and often put in 90-hour weeks. On the one hand, the hours I put at this low-paying drudgery over the course of more than two years was absurd. On the other hand, the wages I got allowed me to pick up a decent disability check for about seven years when Chronic Fatigue Syndrome kicked my butt (1988-1995).
* Living in a secular environment in Tannum Sands in December of 1989, I decided to convert to Judaism.
* In 1992, I was living with my parents in lonely Newcastle, 95658. After many years of CFS, I became convinced that if I stayed where I was, I would never get well. I had to get away. I had to connect and that the best way for me to do this was by placing and answering singles ads. I believed that about 1% of women in my demographic would find me mesmerizing and through connecting with one of them, she’d find a way for me to get out of my illness. This is what happened. Sleeping around is not blessed by any religion, and certainly not by my family and my religious friends, but using women to get well enabled me to find the woman who’d connect me with a great psychiatrist, get me out of my parent’s home, force me to stand on my own two feet, though sick, and get me the medication (nardil) that would turn my life around, even though I quickly left behind all the women who made my recovery possible (one of them, nine years older, said she’d have to hit the lottery to get me to stay with her).
* I returned to Los Angeles in March of 1994 at about two-thirds of normal health. I feared returning to UCLA in my weakened condition and instead pursued acting and modeling work for 15 months until I realized I was not cut-out for collaborative endeavors and tried to make a documentary (What Women Want). My technical skills doomed that and so I got to work on a book. Writing became my main work, source of income and prestige after the fall of 1995.
* In December, against the wishes of my friends, I began work on an unauthorized biography of Dennis Prager. Though the price was heavy in lost friends, I became free of things holding me back. In Freudian terms, I slew my adopted father.
Every time I’ve made a major change in my life, I’ve had to leave behind friends (of whom I’ve never had a surplus).
* For my 40th birthday, I got Neil Strauss’s book The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists. Two years later, for my 42nd birthday, I used an Amazon gift certificate to purchase Neil’s sequel, Rules of the Game. This book had one sentence on the Alexander Technique. It said that women prefer guys with good posture. I was intrigued, read up on the Technique, took 30 lessons in the fall, and began three years of teacher training in January of 2009.
* After getting asked to leave a shul in September of 2008 (or shutting down my blog and submitting to the elders my new blog entries), I sought out two sessions a week of psycho-therapy, which I’ve been in since then. This therapeutic work led me in 2011 to start 12-stepping for love and fantasy addiction.
* I have a hard time submitting myself to authority, but I swallowed my pride and successfully enrolled in conversion to Judaism programs in 1993 (Reform) and 2008 (Orthodox), and in Alexander Technique teacher training in 2009-2011. To pay for my training, I swallowed my pride and kept asking my family for financial help (for the first time in my life) and they got me through.
* In 2008 and 2009, various Orthodox rabbis in a position to hurt me almost cowed me into shutting down my blogging and placing my future writing under the supervision of the rabbis. In the end, I did not cave, and nobody tries to intimidate me in this way any more. When you fight back hard enough against bullies, you eventually become free.
* In September of 2012, I began a five-month class to create a one-man play. Mine was on eroticized rage.
* In June of 2013, after more than four years off all medication (previously I was on lithium, clonidine and clonazepam for about eight years), I read about modafinil, became intrigued, saw a psychiatrist and got a prescription that dramatically improved the quality of my life.
* In 2012, I adopted the phrases, “I have no opinion” and “I try to stay out of fights.”