Podcast Update

Podcast Update

This podcast endeavor has been more fun than I could have imagined when I started. So far I have published conversations with two of my favorite men – Illimitable Man and Dennis Mangan.

What about Episode 1? Well, that was a quick recording that I made while driving to work one morning. It made its appearance on PodBean for a brief time and garnered about 100 listens. I may publish it someday, but then again I might just leave it out as the “mysterious missing episode.”

Tonight I recorded a great show with Kyle Trouble. We talked a great deal about online business and how guys can escape the rat race. We also covered his experiences in Eastern Europe and what the future of dating looks like in America. Great time. Look for that show to post on Sunday (January 22).

Next Wednesday (January 25) I will be recording a show with Jack Murphy. As fellow divorced single fathers I am certain there will be much to talk about. Can’t wait to hear more about his journey.

Next Saturday (January 28) is a big day of recording. I will be hosting a conversation with two greats in the online community. The “Godfather of the sphere” and red pill legend Rollo Tomassi will join heavyweight boxing physicist Ed Latimore for an incredible show.

Then, later that same day, I will be interviewing popular finance blogger Financial Samurai. I am huge fan of Sam’s blog and look forward to a great convo about money. Proper management is so important to a man’s well-being and Sam covers it all.

Finally, on Sunday (January 29) Michael Sebastian will be joining me to talk about the future of Western Civilization (a favorite topic of mine), pundithots, and much more.

I have submitted the show to iTunes for approval. Keep an eye out for that. In the meantime, if you want to add the show manually to iTunes you can do so by clicking File – Subscribe to Podcast within iTunes then entering the RSS feed here:

http://feeds.soundcloud.com/users/soundcloud:users:276934783/sounds.rss

Shows will be released on Sundays. I may double up and release two shows at once to coincide with the launch on iTunes and to alleviate the backlog of these great shows coming back to back to back.

If you enjoy these shows please consider contributing to my Patreon account. I have invested my time and money into spreading the truth that is essential to helping men help themselves. This has never been about the money, but a little loot goes a long way when raising three kids.

My February line-up is taking shape as well. Confirmed guests include Pat Stedman, Alex Forrest (aka Train Twitter), and Quintus Curtius.

Stay tuned for more announcements as plans are finalized. Other confirmed guests include This Dad Does, Dean Abbott, The Family Alpha, Black Label Logic, Artful Man, and Jay Campbell. I am also planning a “forum” on porn that’ll be a group discussion including Brohoshaphat.

Thanks for listening!

 

The Mark Baxter Podcast Episode 3 – P.D. Mangan

The Mark Baxter Podcast Episode 3 – P.D. Mangan

This week I had the pleasure of interviewing my good friend Dennis Mangan for the podcast. His recent work on publicizing the ill effects of iron overload has really picked up steam, receiving endorsements from people within the medical community.

Dennis can be found at http://roguehealthandfitness.com/ where I highly recommend you pick up his two latest books, Dumping Iron and Muscle Up.

In this interview we focus on three main topics:

  1. Iron overload and what to do about it
  2. High intensity weigh training
  3. Supplementation

Dennis talks about how vital these three things are to any man’s health and what we can do to maximize each area.

Note: I goofed on the audio as I forgot to turn on my new microphone, so we ended up recording over the phone. Despite that, Dennis sounds great, and that’s all that matters. Enjoy!

Frugability

Frugability

That’s not a typo. I just made up a word – Frugability. It may sound a bit corny, but it makes my point perfectly. I cannot think of a better linguistic way describe my financial philosophy.

Frugabilitythe measure of one’s ability to be frugal if the need arises. A form of being financially anti-fragile. One’s minimum level of living expenses.

I measure my frugability by how little money I could live on if the need arises. If I were to lose my job tomorrow, how cheaply could I live? How low could I make my living expenses? How frugal could I be?

I am just making all of this up as I go along, but I like that idea. I have wanted to write about personal finance for some time and may have just stumbled upon my angle.

No one likes to be frugal, well almost no one, I actually enjoy the challenge of seeing how little resources I need to survive and thrive. That being said, I don’t live a wildly frugal life, but I do like to make it possible to be frugal at a moment’s notice if the need were to arise – Frugability.

I enjoy things like dropbox and netflix subscriptions, I don’t make my own laundry detergent, I hire a cleaning lady, and spend too much on booze. But I could easily change all of that if the need came about – frugability.

I have a very small mortgage payment with a low interest rate, I can’t do much about that, but otherwise nearly every expense I have can be lowered or eliminated if I were to choose to do so.

My car is nearly paid off and I could sell it to pay off the note, dropping insurance as well. My cell phone bill is under $50 a month and serves as my only phone, nothing to move there.

My high-speed internet could go ($60 a month) and I could walk up to the library to get online. I could drop my budget for vacations and home improvements to zero. I could easily cut my own hair (it’s just a buzz cut).

I’m just thinking out loud here, how low could I go? Do I always eat the cheapest way possible? Of course not, but I could easily live on eggs ($0.88 a dozen at Sam’s), almonds, and coffee.

I’ve got a used squat rack with weights in my basement, my gym costs could be zero without the batting of an eye.

A quick look at my budget says I could likely live on around $2,000 – $2,500 a month quite easily. If I were to find myself only making that amount of money my tax bill would be about zero as well.

In future posts, or on the new domain I just purchased, frugability.com, I will go into much more detail, I really want to know how low I could go.

A theme on my site and podcast is how can men break free from the “ways of the world” that plague them in mediocrity and destroy their spirit. I believe financial health is a major key to that freedom.

If you’d like to see me delve deeper into the world personal finance, and share more details of my own journey, please leave a comment below and let me know.

 

 

 

The Mark Baxter Podcast Episode 2 – Illimitable Man

The Mark Baxter Podcast Episode 2 – Illimitable Man

I had the distinct privilege of welcoming Illimitable Man to the show this weekend. We had an excellent, wide-ranging conversation that spanned over two hours. We covered everything from South African politics to whether a man should get married. Listen and enjoy!

I will host these podcasts on archive.org for the time being, however, as my Patreon grows I will move it SoundCloud and then work towards iTunes so we can spread the show to even more listeners. If you enjoyed this show, please consider a contribution.

Edit: The show is now on SoundCloud!

Swim Raft Summers

Swim Raft Summers

As I book my family vacation for next summer I am reminded, once again, about the passage of time.

Eight years ago we had our first Northern Michigan vacation, my youngest son had yet to be born.

Nearly every summer since then the highlight of vacation for my kids has been the swim raft floating a few dozen yards from shore.

The idle wooden platform has provided more entertainment for my children than any expensive excursion ever could.

It is the most talked about memory from each and every family vacation. This last summer’s was disappointing because the swim raft was difficult to access and our cottage was not directly on the lake.

This tradition has carried over into our post divorce lives, a gentle reminder that while much has changed, many things have stayed the same.

Now, as I get ready to send in my deposit for a new rental for the summer of 2017 I am reminded that there are only so many swim raft summers remaining.

The man renting the cabin to me noted that my kids are the perfect age for the swim raft. His comment jolted me awake.

As my kids approach puberty they will inevitably lose interest in such a basic activity, I see other kids stop joining the fun around 12 or 13.

This means I’ve only got a couple of more years left of these most cherished swim raft summers.

The vision of my children jumping playfully from that raft on a warm sunny day in July warms me as I sit in this florescent lit cubicle, as physically and metaphorically removed from that moment as possible.

It will be replaced by other, grander adventures, but we will always look fondly upon those simple days when a lake and sunshine were enough, more than enough.

Pearl Harbor, WWII, Fate, and Time

Pearl Harbor, WWII, Fate, and Time

My grandfather was on a ladder painting the outside of some old barracks on this day 75 years ago. A single man, 20 years old, enjoying the Hawaiian sunshine when the drone of aircraft engines grew louder and louder until the moment he realized that life would never be the same.

In Canada, just on the other side of the river from Detroit, my grandmother anxiously awaited the news of her fiance’s fate. With Canada joining the conflict a few years before the USA, his Canadian Army unit was already deployed to Europe where the conflict was raging.

Over the next four years my grandmother would receive two devastating telegrams, both  her fiance and brother wouldn’t be coming back from Europe.

My grandparents would ultimately meet a few years later and build a great family with four children. But how different things looked just a few years earlier?

This date always gets me thinking about fate. How things would be so different had my grandmother’s fiance not died in the war. How we don’t see the things that don’t happen, only those that do. Some other future family tree was wiped out by those bombs in Europe, while another was created the same day.

Today is a great example of fate on a smaller scale. I am at home typing this because there was a power outage at my office. These thoughts would never have made it onto the screen had that not happened, and perhaps these thoughts will resonate with someone else and change their course.

Today I also reflect on how the passage of time ultimately leaves everyone forgotten. My grandfather passed away 20 years ago, my kids never met him, they will never remember. My grandmother’s first fiance and her brother will pass from memory when she perishes in her nursing home.

Who will be left to remember any of us? Given enough time we will all be forgotten. We worry about legacies and leaving things behind, but deep down we know it will all be forgotten someday. Even those who fought valiantly for freedom are soon forgotten.

Then what matters? Is it simply the experiences that each of us go through that shapes our souls? I go to church on Sundays, but only occasionally does anything there resonate to my core. I’d like to say I see the truth, but that would be a lie, and if most others were honest they’d say the same.

But today, on Pearl Harbor Day, I most often ponder the passage of time. As I watch my children grow, and I reminisce about how much they’ve changed in a few short years, I can’t help but think about 100 years from now when only a handful of people will remember me, at best, and ponder exactly what I should do with this knowledge.

I certainly don’t have all the answers. Trying to hang on to time is like trying to scoop sand with a tennis racket. I am deeply aware of this passage of time, yet powerless to change it, and uncertain about what to do with the finite amount of it I’ve been given.

I’ll sometimes ignore it, or distract myself with pleasures of the flesh, but the question always remains, “what should I do next?”

This is why one of my favorite books to read to my children is The Three Questions. In the story inspired by Leo Tolstoy, a young boy has reached an age where he wants to know the answer to three existential questions:

When is the best time to do things?

Who is the most important one?

What is the right thing to do?

Upon seeking the counsel of a wise old turtle, the young boy discovers that the answer to these questions is:

Remember then that there is only one important time, and that time is now. The most important one is always the one you are with. And the most important thing is to do good for the one who is standing at your side.

I would say the adult version of this book is The Power of Now, but I find The Three Questions to be just as effective and it takes a mere minutes to read.

I have a million things I could be doing right now with my time. I could be painting rooms that are long overdue for a new coat, I could be measuring the house for the new floors I’ll be putting in, or I could be filling out Christmas cards, but I’m not.

I have chosen to give this hour to this rambling essay. A look into my consciousness that is therapeutic for me and perhaps helpful for you. You are the one I am with right now, and I am doing all that I know how to enhance the your life at this time.

I certainly hope my grandparents didn’t spend much time wondering “What might have been?” and rather lived in their moment, despite all they saw and experienced. I know I am doing my best focus on those by my side and not waste a second of this precious time wondering, “What if?”

Should I Teach My Son To Masturbate?

Should I teach my son to masturbate?

These are the types of questions not answered in the parenting books or talked about at the church men’s group. I am going to start talking about them here, I suppose no one reading my blog will be offended by such.

My son has hit that point where masturbation is an intriguing option for him. He is getting erections and having nocturnal emissions. The hormones and sexual desire have arrived in full for him.

For the first time this week I found him staring intently at the scene in Christmas Vacation where Nicolette Scorsese (I had to google that) is stripping her swimsuit in Clark’s dream about his pool. My boy was in a trance as he stared, hoping she’d emerge from the water and he’d catch a glimpse of breast, only to have the scene cut away just as the top of her breasts entered the screen.

Such disappointment. I remember watching that scene when I was about 13 thinking the same thing he was. My imagination would run wild.

I remember the first sexual sensations quite well, I had these powerful urges and feelings but little understanding of what they meant or what I should do about them. I was never taught what masturbation is nor if I should or should not do it. I found it naturally over many years of confusion. Now I find myself wondering:

Should I teach my son to masturbate?

He wakes up in the morning wondering what that strangely enjoyable sensation was that led to his underwear being wet. He finds himself trying to recreate it while simultaneously holding on to the innocence of his childhood.

I have watched him change dramatically in just a matter of weeks. His young mind can’t keep up with the body changes he’s experiencing.

Should I help him?

I have already explained to him that there is a time and place for that sort of activity. In his room, alone, is the only time he should be touching himself. That much he now understands.

But should I teach him more, I wonder? Should I give him instructions on clean up and discretion? Should I talk to him about the dangers of porn?

These are the things they don’t teach you in parenting books. The real life conversations and situations that matter a great deal to the confidence of a young boy.

My plan right now is to steer him as necessary, let him discover some things on his own, and correct him when it seems appropriate.

I think part of his youthful sexual growth is working through it on his own, I don’t want to demystify things too quickly for him, too much information too early can be detrimental. So long as he isn’t doing anything socially inappropriate, or spending hours in the shower, I think I will let him be for now.