Ocean Thoughts

The ocean is infinite– infinite energy, power, waves… forever into the distance:

Only Slaves Use Phones

Creating the most sublime human body?

A turbo thought about phones —

Only slaves use phones?

Vietnam experiences

Probably the big takeaway point I got from Vietnam, living in Vietnam without a phone, only iPad is this: 

You don’t need a phone.

In fact, let us consider… If you’re walking around in the real world, looking at how big it is, it is such a great tragedy that so much of our human existence is centered around a tiny 4.5 inch screen.

Also, the problem with phones, you can’t be that productive with phones. Most people text with their thumbs, which is maybe 40 words per minute at best. Very slow. On the laptop I can type close to 140 words per minute, and now using iPad Pro with voice dictation, maybe 200 words per minute. 

I think perhaps what is exciting about the new Apple intelligence and AI in the future, is actually ironically not the AI generating text, or giving me information, but the simple thing, which is actually centered more around accurately representing the words I actually want to voice dictate.

For example, often when I’m doing voice dictation with the iPad Pro, the built-in keyboard, the little microphone button… the big issue I have here is that a lot of the typos certain words in the English language which sound like something else, but are not.

Consequence, perhaps the greatest upside of artificial intelligence would be quickly scanning the nuance of the whole sentence, while I am actively voice dictating, and through this process, discover what I am really trying to say. 

AI & photo curation

Another interesting use case for artificial intelligence is simply being able to help me curate my images, help me go through them quicker.

For example, I have lots of visions for image curation; the big issue we are having in todays world is we shoot too many images, too quickly, and we haven’t the time the techniques or the skills to view them quickly enough. 

For example, currently I average 1000 to 2000 photos a day. I think this is generally a good thing, because it signals that I am living a grand life. However the downside is that I seem to have a difficult time finding the opportunity or the time or the chance to review these many photos a day.

The basic person might say, “Shoot less“; but I find this to be too flaccid of a solution. What we need instead is more effective image creation tools, devices, or things.

More convenient film developing, processing etc?

Also as a random nuance, now that Pentax just put out that new film camera, wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was either a free or practically free solution to image processing, etc.?

Or, the upside of film without the downside; perhaps this is the main upside or the intrigue with the new Ricoh HDF camera ? The idea that your digital photos could look like film photos without the hassle of developing film photos? 

Why film?

For example, there is no doubt that film photos, especially color film photos, are far more aesthetically beautiful than the often too perfect digital photos. Yet, at the end of day, the inconvenience of shooting film is what makes it the loser. Sooner or later, no matter how dedicated of a film photographer you are, it still seems that the tide eventually makes its way back into digital. 

Some nuances:

First, if you perhaps live in Vietnam or some sort of developing country, where labor costs are cheap in which you could just give somebody else your film photos, and have them cheaply develop process and scan it for you. However it seems that now in America with the $20 an hour minimum wage at McDonald’s, labor costs in America are too prohibitive.

As an example I remember when living in Hanoi, there were some scrappy kids who would develop a rule of film, and also scan it for you for only five dollars a roll! In America this is almost $20-$30 a roll. 

Convenience is key

Even if you’re stupid rich, millionaire or billionaire level, then once again, the inconvenience is what makes it bad. For example, I still have about 50 rolls of Kodak PORTRA 400, and Kodak Trix which I shot maybe three or four years ago, which I still haven’t yet had the impetus to send it off to go process it, even though I could easily afford it. I just got too many other things on my plate at the moment.

Therefore a consequence, the realization is once you’re very wealthy, costs no longer become a problem, it is more of a time energy mental space, time space thing. 


For example, if you’re Elon Musk, do you have the time convenience or the leisure to simply stroll into a Costco, browse the products, and spend about three or four hours checking out? No.

I think this is where Amazon and Amazon prime is so great for people both rich and poor alike; rich people still use Amazon prime because it is so convenient. Once you’re rich, a lot of people don’t have time to go places or to physically purchase the products. They would prefer to order it in just a few seconds from their phone. And then poor people like Amazon prime because they get prices; and end up “saving” money.

Visions for the future

Some simple visions:

First, a phone free future. I think one thing that really annoys me about a lot of these new modern cars is that you somehow need a phone in order to unlock it, to open the door of your car, access it, etc. I think with Tesla cars, as long as you have your Tesla phone in your pocket, you could access your car, but also you could access it if you have the Tesla valet key thing.

Funny enough, one of the upsides of my glorious 2010 Prius is that it still has the key fob; which means when I go to the park with Seneca, I could just lock up my phone inside my glove compartment, just take my keys and Prius car with me, and lock up my car. 

New productivity?

I have some radical new ideas for productivity:

First, it seems like a very very very simple one is ironically “via negativa” approaches and technology. 

For example, ironically one of the best ways you could be more productive is by not having a Wi-Fi enabled device. For example, maybe if you’d like the smaller form factor of an iPhone, just have two phones; one with Internet cellular data, the other as a Wi-Fi only device. Maybe this would be a good idea for who just prefer shooting photos using an iPhone, but don’t like getting interrupted by text messages.

I think the reason why this is such a good idea in Asia, and a lot of the world… many people have multiple devices with them at once. For example my friend Chu Viet Ha, because he is often testing out so many new phones and phone cameras, often has five or six phones with him.

The hybrid approach

In fact, if you really wanted to be the ultimately productive person, having the best world of both android and iPhone iOS is a good idea. 

For example, my friend Darren Wong — impressed me when he had both a Google pixel and an iPhone in each of his front two pockets. Truth be told, almost every single iPhone user I know has a Gmail account. And Gmail works for better on android in Google pixel then on iOS. As a consequence, using a Google pixel, which is the ultimate expression of android, should be optimal for doing Google related things; Google calendar, Gmail etc. Even Google maps.

What is iPhone, iOS good for? FaceTime, iMessage, Apple photos, iA Writer, etc.

Road trip down to San Diego

This weekend had a quick trip to San Diego, and something that was so impressive to me was the upside of having a Prius and a hybrid car:

First, driving from LA to San Diego, only consumed about 3 ticks of gasoline. And the other day we spent all day driving around, going to Torrey Pines and the beach, seeing the ocean and the waves etc.… and in total we have only consumed about 40 to 50% of gas. We’re going to head out later today, and technically I still have half tank of gas and I could make it all the way back to LA if I wanted to.

However if I had a Tesla or a long range Tesla or electric vehicle, maybe even a cyber truck, I would probably have to stop by a supercharger somewhere along the line, or find a supercharger back home in LA… given that my apartment doesn’t have an electric charging port station, so the moral the story is simple:

If you truly do want to live a more adventurous life, Prius and Hybrid is the way. 

Autopilot is the killer app

The only thing I really wished on the drive down is having some sort of auto pilot or at least lane keeping assist distance being; some sort of super basic self driving thing. The future which allows you or allows your car to cruise control itself, but also maintaining the distance with a car in front of it, and also staying within the lane. And the optimal strategy is just having your car drive itself down from LA to San Diego, while staying in the second to left lane. 

I don’t know yet… but certainly there must be gasoline or hybrid cars that already allow this? 

The upside of movement

So I’m about eight months in living in Los Angeles, kind of figuring out how to live there. But still not 100% settled yet.

Hitting the road again, just going on a road trip down to San Diego has been great; walking along the downtown San Diego waterfront, going to Torrey Pines State Beach and dipping my legs in the water with Seneca, and staring into the deep ocean, having the waves crashed directly towards me, has been extremely inspiring.

Also even checking out some parts of old San Diego has been super inspirational because it taught me and show me that there is still so much of the world left to explore.

I think this is where I am inspired by my friend Tim Flanagan — he is still traveling the world, nomadically, South America, Asia and beyond; did the wise and brave thing of taking an early retirement. People often tell him that “I wish I could do that, but I cannot because XYZ”. Tim is a good example, because he already has two grown sons, a handful of grandchildren, and some obligations back here in the states, but still… is doing the courageous and wise thing of traveling the globe.

I also think a lot of people often say is that I need more money in order to do that. But Tim, choosing an early retirement certainly does not have a fat pension like a lot of other teachers or administrators; but still… perhaps the best way to travel the world in the globe is through this intelligent frugality time and money leveraging; the wise, hard spartan approach.

Capital thoughts 

I think one of the hardest things that people have to do is to think about cyberspace because it is so intangible.

For example, I’m currently 36 years old, and I think most of my technological beliefs have been embedded into me ever since I was 18 years old, maybe 21 years old. So assuming that I graduated from college around 15 years ago, I’m almost 2 decades in the game.

First, maybe this is where I am such a wise bitcoin investor. I know how to think in terms of bitcoin and digital and cyber things, because technically I started all of my capital in my website, which is a cyber digital commodity. Or cyber real estate.

Also, conservation of time energy space and power.

Life leverage

I didn’t the reason why I quit email is because it doesn’t scale well.

For example, now that I am such a notable and famous entity… I simply do not have enough time units in a day or a lifetime to respond or continue any sort of conversations of anything that comes in my inbox.

I also suppose this issue is with generative AI… It is kind of impossible to know whether the email you are receiving is from a real human being or not.

Maybe this could be a great filter in brave new digital world; some sort of “orange check” from a given email address, to prove humanity. A simple thing or more radical thing… Have an email address verified by a certain bitcoin wallet or balance, some sort of cyber digital ation, which could prove that is a human being, and how much worth they have. 

Public bitcoin balances?

Imagine this cyber future world in which you could meet people glance at people, or maybe even ask… making it socially acceptable to ask people how many bitcoins they own. And from this information you could tell how wealthy they really are.

For example, the shortcut we have about this is maybe the car people drive, where they live, their clothes accessories etc. But technically this is not a very good indicator, because every dime you spend on material things is actually capital and money you have invested in something else, or more bitcoins.

For example if I had any financial advice to young rappers, is for them not to buy any car just Uber around everywhere… And all that money they would blow at the strip club or on cars, just buy bitcoin.

Also, instead of them blowing all that money on jewelry, buying bitcoin instead. I wonder if in the near future, instead of wearing diamond chains and necklaces… Young rappers will simply have bitcoin icons tattooed into their body?

Bitcoin on wheels?

For example, whenever you some see somebody pull up in a cybertruck, a Lamborghini Ferrari or Porsche or whatever… Let us say the car is worth $200,000 — irregardless of how rich you are,  assuming you could have 10x’d, 100x’d or even 1,000x’d that money …. anybody who invests money into things which will not accrue and value over time is a fool.

For example, that $200,000 car could be a $2 million investment vehicle, a $20 million investment vehicle, or $200 million investment vehicle. Something that appreciates in time forever!

The true investor and capitalist is actually very frugal and economical?

Once again, if I told you with 100 precision today that any money you put into bitcoin would multiply itself by a factor of 1000… wouldn’t this change your purchasing behaviors today?

Of course! Even if you time-discount things, if you knew your money would 10 X, 100 X, 500 X  within a year, two years, five years, 10 years or 20 years… the most rational or wise people would just put all of that money US dollars or fiat currency into bitcoin. 

For example, if you knew that your $1000 invested in that thing you purchased today might be worth $100,000 10 years from now… then make that decision–

“Is it really that worth it to you?”

Now what?

I still believe Zack Snyder‘s magnum opus thus far has been the movie 300. This is when he was still a young scrappy director, still with a limited budget, and made one of the best films of all time. I think in terms of courage, manliness, and overall valor, this film has not yet been reached by any other film. Not even the steroid infused Rock comes close. 

Re-watching the film, now as a 36 year-old adult with a 3 1/2 year-old son,  similar to the fictitious age of King Leonidas, and the movie… some interesting observations: 

  1. One of the greatest blessings of man is to beget a son. If you have birth your first born child as a son, consider yourself infinitely blessed. The greatest blessing that reality could bestow you with. For the most part, I think the more kids, the jollier the better. In fact, nowadays whenever I see families with 3 kids, 4 kids, 5 kids… I think “Wow… that family is grand”. Then what that signals is not that the family is “rich“ in the traditional sense, but has their priority in their future generations, and cares more about begetting children than their “career”.
  2. The best clothing is no or minimal clothing. The whole film, all of the actors and the Spartan hoplites and King Leonidas are simply wearing loincloths, or reinforced speedo’s. Therefore, the best pants are short shorts. And the best shirt or top is bare chested, no shirt. I suppose the nuance is back then, they wore a cape– a crimson cape. Is there such thing as a modern day cape?
  3. Ultimately, it comes down to physical valor and courage. Note, in movie 300… all the Spartan hoplites what they had — their muscles, their courage, their helmets, their sword spear and shield. No vehicles.

The Spartan way

I then suppose if you want to become a true Spartan, have at least one son, to carry on your name. In the movie 300, king Leonidas confirms with all of his 300 Spartan hoplites whether they had at least one son to carry on their name, because they all essentially knew that it would die in combat.

So it seems to me that the logical strategy in life is to beget at least one son, and then direct all your money resources time and power to raise that son with the greatest of benefits. 

Before I had a son, before I had Seneca… I would look at all these guys who looked super rich and drove all these expensive cars as being some sort of “competition” with me. But now, they are all invisible to me. Why? a lot of them are single bachelors not even married, no kids. When they die, their whole lineage is dead. So to me I look at them like the walking (to be) dead.

Then I look at more older richer “successful“ looking parents in LA; and then I look at their kids, and I weigh Seneca against them; Seneca is much stronger, bigger, taller, more handsome, more muscular, more physically adept then them. The Spartan warrior boy who eats picanha at Fogo de Chão, with a carnivorous diet, versus all of these emaciated feeble looking children who are fed on grain and Cheerios.

So now, the only comparisons I do is looking at young boys around Seneca’s age, and looking at Seneca. Everything and everyone else is invisible to me.

The role of a father?

I think the simple role of a father is to simply raise, train, and battle ready your child. 

Simply put, I think the best strategy of raising your son is maximum time outdoors, in the direct elements, maximum time with physical activity exercise and the great outdoors, climbing, being in the water, throwing rocks in the water, eating meat etc. All this nonsense about “education” is overrated.

Just ask yourself:

What would king Leonidas do?

Howard King Leonidas raise his son?


If your kid is born in America, and has two educated parents… certainly whether you like it or not, they will learn how to be fluent in English, learn the English language, without even trying.

In fact, the ultimate education and learning happens in the real world.

I have the ultimate pride in Seneca, from a via negativa perspective:

  1. Since he was born, he has never watched any YouTube, Disney+, YouTube kids, Netflix etc.
  2. Since he was born he has never been put into preschool, daycare, “Montessori” school etc.
  3. He has never eaten candy, ice cream, desserts or cake, etc.
  4. He has never been exposed to movies films TV shows Marvel etc.

Then the irony is to privilege your kid, it isn’t about “adding“ activities or extracurricular activities for them; but rather what not to give them or what not to allow them to do.


I think the ideal life is not being employed, being self-employed and being a sole proprietor. If you see people who have to make zoom calls for a living, go to any office, or send emails for a living… they are not free. Freedom is the goal, not wealth. 

During the day, the ideal is to just be outside all day. If you are worried about the sun, just wear a lot of sunblock, wear a hat, baseball cap, or one of those funny wide brimmed hiking hats. I used to think that they were really lame, those hats which are really really big and long in the front, and really really long in the back to protect your neck. But now, I understand the rationale. And if you want to protect your body just wear long pants and long sleeves. 

An epiphany I also had about weather; even the most glorious of weather, not that the sun is in full blast in Los Angeles, the big issue is now the sun is almost too strong — even wearing SPF 60 sunblock, the UV rays of the sun feels like pins and needles on my shoulders and on top of my forehead. And also watching the Dune movie, all of the fighters of Arrakis essentially look like Middle Eastern people, all covered up, besides the eyes – Paul Atriedes at the very end, full battle gear, head and face covered besides the blue spice-infused eyes.

Then what that also means is when it is cold or the winter… Dress intelligently. Lots of layers. If you get too hot just take off layers. Just like when it is too hot, just keep taking clothes off until there are no more clothes to takeoff. 

What else?

If you have the privilege, hit the beach! Just go barefoot in the sand and the water, just dip your feet and your legs and your body into the ocean. And then just stare into the deep ocean, with the waves crashing directly into and at you.

The big epiphany I had about the ocean is this:

Infinite power and horizons, never ending … forever.

I even thought, maybe the best bitcoin mining rig would just be a mega computer in the middle of the ocean, harnessing the forever power of the ocean, gravity and the solar system.

Now what?

If you want a simple trip that is not too difficult, just go on a hike in nature, or just hit the beach! I think there is a grand connection between man his environment and nature; he spent too much time in a cramped city, I think your horizon narrows. Even the simple action of staring into the sea… You know that your future is infinite. 



Conquer the planet and beyond at upcoming ERIC KIM WORKSHOP:

  1. SF: Conquer your fears, October 26, 2024
  2. DOWNTOWN LA– the OG: Conquer your fears in street photography and beyond November 16, 2024

For the insanely bold–


Now what?

Never stop shooting!


Start here, Books, News

Also for fun —

Upload your best photos to arsbeta.com

Upload Your Photos Here >

The more you shoot, the happier you will be!