Category Archives: Personal

This is the “Me” stuff. The John Tsangaris stuff. No doubt there will be little insight, wit, or wisdom in these posts, but I have to throw my thoughts somewhere!


Fighting Dominoes

Driving my dogs to the groomers had an obvious affect of making me think about fighting dominoes…

This is an unedited post… stop judging the uneditedness of it. I’ll get to it one day.

Of course it did. That’s how thoughts work. One thought leads to another and we end up thinking about something wildly different.

Why is fighting dominoes word the effort to write about? Because every reflection I have that creates a framework gets documented. Or, it should at least. I’ll work on that. But let’s dive in…

Most of us are aware of something called the domino effect, where one domino falling causes the next domino to fall, and so on. And I don’t think that’s it’s any Revelation that life is sometimes similar to a domino effect. When one thing knocks a domino down there seems to be a subsequent series of other dominoes that also get knocked down. Recently I’ve been focused on the concept of hyp er performance in hyper achievement. Setting audacious goals and considering standards that are marked by words such as preternatural mastery or world class. Achieving goals that use such words feels like I’m constantly fighting the domino effect in my life. You see, once a handful of Domino’s fall down, things become much harder. Take any Random 5 minute task that we can categorize as an easy one. Not a task you are putting off because you don’t like doing it or because it’s difficult, but one on any given day you could knock out with your eyes closed. Now bury that 5 minute easy task under a series of 10 tasks that are also not necessarily difficult in and of themselves.

But when you look at that series of 10 tasks, you know you’re not going to be able to get to all of them today. Now that 5 minute easy task starts getting a little more difficult to accomplish when you have other tasks to deal with. Let’s just say that those 10 tasks plus your 5-minute task is doable On Any Given day. But what happens when task number one slips? Or you think, I can do that task later? It causes abdominal effect. There’s a consequence to putting off these things. One domino falling down leads to another domino falling down. A series of five easily doable tasks becomes increasingly difficult to accomplish, even though they started off as really easy. Because the thing about tasks is that they don’t stop coming.

Five easily accomplishable tasks will eventually become 20 easily accomplishable tasks. Which will eventually become 50 easily accomplishable tasks. And you can see how the domino effect causes an exponential increase in difficulty. Well any given task may be super simple to complete, when you wake up and you have a pile of backlog tasks that you have to catch up on, doing any given task now becomes that much harder because of the weight of your backlog. This domino effect is a killer for anything or anyone that wants to achieve audacious goals. While doing five easy 5 minute tasks should be accomplishable in 30 minutes. Accomplishing five easy five minute tasks under the weight of a 50 task backlog may not take you several hours. Or perhaps you need longer breaks between the tasks in order to recover from continued sprints.

This domino effect crushes your velocity.

And now you can see why fighting dominoes is a very understandable destination for my brain to have arrived to. Because in order for me to achieve what I’m trying to I constantly have to fight these dominoes. There are times some Domino’s fall and I have to spend extra effort trying to pick them up and prevent any more from falling. And there are times when so many dominoes have fallen that I consider wiping all the dominoes off the table and just starting again. This has a significant consequence of completely preventing you from accomplishing any significant goals, because when you have to start at the beginning again, you’re not arriving at the destination.

I promised you a framework to fight Domino’s didn’t i? Well here it comes. There are 6things I think you need in order to fight Dominoes that I’ve acronymed vdad-rr.

What does vdad-rr look like or represent? It represents the 6 principles that you need to adopt in order to fight the Domino’s.

Firstly, is Vigilance. In order to fight Domino’s you have to be constantly vigilant about the effect of what happens when the first Domino drops. It’s very rare that we can do a controlled Domino drop and recover from that. When you procrastinate any given task it almost always has the unintended consequence of other Domino’s dropping, no matter how much we intend on only letting one specific Domino drop. We have to be vigilant and not letting any one of these Domino’s drop.

Next we have diligence, diligence is the principal of persisting through the end. It’s it’s being dedicated to the achievement. Fighting dominoes requires diligence because as soon as you let your guard down, that’s when the first Domino drops.

Next we have accountable. Accountability is taking ownership of the action and the consequence. Well you can use various task management Frameworks in order to defer, delegate, or delete tasks, the only way to fight Domino’s is to have accountability for doing so. Nobody else can prevent you from procrastinating, nor is it anybody else’s fault. To slaughter a phrase from an old firefighting bear, only you can fight your Domino’s.

Lastly is discipline. Discipline is the dedication to the action that aligns with your goal. Our goal is to fight the Dominoes and it requires discipline, regardless of the situation or any external issues. It’s like doing your exercise, you will only achieve your goal when you consistently, and persistently execute the tasks that will accomplish that goal. We have to be disciplined in managing our tasks in order to fight the dominoes.

But wait, there’s one more thing. Fighting Dominoes is exhausting. And there are times we need a break. Sleep is a necessity to be productive during the day. But resting from hyper performance and Domino fighting is also required. If you don’t plan for that and you just assume you’re going to fight Dominoes all day everyday that is absolutely a recipe for failure. So you need to balance fighting dominoes with downtime. If you don’t plan for it, it’s going to happen anyways and you’re going to have to then react to it. And in the framework of achieving audacious goals, you never want to be in a situation where you’re reacting, you want to be in situations where you’re responding. Responding implies you expected the situation and had a plan for it. And what’s better than responding is planning. If you know your body is going to eventually just stop fighting dominoes, you might as well plan for such an event. Plan your downtime. And it may take you a few iterations of figuring out how long can you fight Domino’s before you crash, or how long of a resting period do you need between fighting dominoes. Whether this is a daily rest, or a weekly rest, or a monthly rest, what does that look like for you?

Finally, have a plan for when your plan fails. Life Is Life and will throw you curve balls that your can’t account for. But you can account for the fact that life will throw you curveballs. That is a certainty, and if it’s certain then you can at least plan for what’s going to happen when you get that curveball thrown at you. What happens when you start getting a domino effect? Do you pause everything until you catch up? Do you alter your schedule for a weekend to catch up? What’s your response plan? Failing to plan a response means you’re going to have to react to a situation. Vigilance, diligence, accountability, discipline. Recovery, response. I hope this framework works for you.


Pushing the comfort zone

I just posted a video of me playing the piano with no anxiety.

The first time I posted a video of me playing the piano was last year and I practiced for hours and hours to get the video right and my heart was in my throat.

Since then, I learned that I was an artist. I create the best art I can at the time. My responsibility is to my art, not to make the people like my art.

This belief has been a rescue boat in savage seas and has brought me nothing but peace and tranquility.

Be an artist.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail


Procrastinator Syndrome

It’s not really a syndrome, but I am a procrastinator. I recently watched a Ted talk about being inside the mind of a procrastinator. I used to fight my nature of procrastination but have since embraced it. Rather than feeling bad about how I work, I ensure that when I procrastinate, I do a controlled procrastination and make sure that I have exactly the right amount of time to accomplish what I need to accomplish.

Now Later signs

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The rinse and repeat cycle

Working on a program right now. Unfortunately, I’m dependent on the blockchain. Not just the local ganache application, but the decentralized blockchain. It takes time. The rinse and repeat cycle for developing without documentation is frustrating. Not even guaranteed that I will be successful at this because the information is packed so tight. Never give up. Never surrender.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail


June 27, 2021

Last night I was going through some stuff in storage to create a space to record some video production. I found a video of a musical (community theater) I was in 9 years ago, and I did not like how I looked. I realized that nothing had changed. I think it takes that spark to light a fire.

I’m going to change my body to what I want, which is healthy (based on performance objectives) and very agile.  I care much less about the look of it, but I realize the appearance of my body is the representation of how close I am to my objectives. And I’m not close.

Today, that changes.


Power and stuff

I have been writing a lot in notebooks lately. Normally where I’ll make checkboxes and lists I have been writing full sentences. Instead of putting “read, work out, take dogs out” as a list, I’ll write that out like this: “Today I’m going to read 10 pages from . I’m going to do my Thursday workout. And I need to take the dogs out at 10 am.” There’s something in writing in a book that connects me to the act of doing as well as the intention of doing.

It also allows me to think as I write, to process my thoughts in order to get them down. I find when I write on a computer, I’m focussed more on the writing than the thinking. I have to pause to think. That may be due to being able to type fast and without looking at the keyboard, or maybe it’s just consequent to the act of typing. I don’t know. But when I write in cursive on paper, my thought processes are much different and I’m able to think more thoughts and connect more dots than when I type.

I was explaining power to someone today (one day, I might share who that someone is – long story and beyond the scope of this post) and the morality behind it. As well as the philosophy behind power. I expressed my definition of power: Something that empowers you to do something.

Fire is power since it empowers you to cook or be warm.
Electricity is power (and we actually refer to it as power) since it empowers you to do all the things it does (too long to list here).
Money is power since it empowers you to acquire resources for your or others’ consumption and/or enjoyment.
Physical strength is power since it empowers you to help lift others up, literally, or dig them out of a tornado-struck house.

It’s the use of power that creates morality, not the existence of it. Using a horse to plow a field is power. Eating salad is power. These things empower you to do other things.

Anything that empowers is power.

I couldn’t think these thoughts while I type, only while I write.

Then I thought of contemporary uses of the term empower. When we teach, we empower. We can empower people to stand up for themselves by teaching them a perspective of the situation and themselves. We can empower people to stand up for others, again by teaching perspective and sharing insight so the compassionate will be moved to stand.

Does this make us… Power? Do we have the power to empower people?

We absolutely do.

What an incredible source of identity. To have the power to empower people. And I’ve seen that empowerment come from encouraging words, insight, perspective, instruction, a pat on the back, a hug, a cheer… so many things can empower people.

And each one of us has this power.

As they say, with great power comes great responsibility. Did you know that you have that power? If you had asked me academically yesterday, I would have said yes. But after I considered the profundity of my definition of power in relation to whether we each have power, my answer is still yes… but a wholly different yes.

Be powerful. Empower everyone whose path you cross. That’s your power.


Log: 08/16/2020

Here we are. Sunday night. Everyone’s asleep but me (and everyone playing videos, but they should go to sleep).

I bought a new laptop recently. I’m not going to say it is the fastest in the world, but it is faster than the one listed as the fastest in the world by several (no doubt branded articles) 2 months ago. It does have more cores than any laptop in the market.

I’ve not been able to do any serious development for many months as my other laptop is 1) old enough to start showing signs of keeping up with my need for processing power and 2) damaged enough that it no longer charges a battery so it’s basically an underpowered desktop. I’ll probably repurpose it as a server.

Anyways, I have so many projects to try to catch up on now. First of which is a rewrite of my task-management software. I built a version that is SUPER insecure, but the purpose was two-fold; to learn how to program in a new language and to also create a rocking task manager. I accomplished both, but I was not following any security conventions when I wrote it. Now that I work in security, when I look at it my skin crawls.

I’m rewriting to a version others can use as well. So, if you’re interested, drop my a line and I’ll add you to a beta-users list.

Once I’m done that, next “Johnny Renaissance Project” is a t-shirt store that I’ve started (on paper at least, plus some domain purchasing, etc). Trying to generate a little passive income. I have a few projects passed that but they are written in my journal which isn’t in my hand at the moment and I wrote them down so I wouldn’t have to remember them. 🙂

I am toying with the idea of working in 10 day chunks. You can follow the Decaday category for the updates.

PS. RV life rocks.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail