Short On Beer

A site by Josh Short

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The Gangrenous Finger

Dan Carlin on his Common Sense podcast has a saying he uses quite often. It goes something to the effect of the gangrenous finger will destroy the body if left untreated. Basically what he means is that if there’s a small but serious problem and one (or a country) continues to ignore it or let it run wild, it will eventually cause havoc and kill the host. The point I want to get at isn’t political. It’s rather quite trivial. My point is that I need new socks.

Yes, new socks.

I’m one of those kinds of people that’ll wear clothes until they are rags (or my wife makes me throw them away). I get good use out of my clothes. It’s something I take pride in. My “nice” work shoes I’ve had for over a decade. However I’ve let gangrene take over part of my wardrobe in the form of my socks and it’s causing problems.

Today me and a friend went for a walk. It was over 4 miles. Internally I’m fine. Feel great actually. No shin splints or anything. However my feet are destroyed!

When I went to Disney last month I blamed my new shoes. It had to be them, right? However I’m starting to think it wasn’t the shoes’ fault. I wore one of my better pairs of socks. A set of puma socks I’ve had for probably a year. They fit well and don’t slide. However I didn’t notice until today that they’re actually really thin in a lot of places along the bottom now. And the same with some other of my “good pairs”. Hmm. The gangrenous finger will destroy the body if left untreated.

With the remaining hour or so left in today I’ll be headed over to Amazon to purchase some new socks and take care of this issue. Didn’t think I’d be fighting gangrene today.

– Josh

Wanted: Fellow Beginner Vietnamese Language Learners

I’ve reached a point in my Vietnamese studies that I’m ready to start openingly talking about it (more so than merely writing on this site that I’m unsure if anyone will ever read). I’ve reached a point where I’m ready to start connecting with other beginner Vietnamese learners.

Why do I want to connect with other learners? Three reasons. First, share resources. There has to be plenty of resources out there that I don’t know about. I learned about Mango in some weird, freak way. I’m positive there are other resources out there like this that I don’t know about. And I’m positive I can share my experience with another learner with Mango and help him or her out.

Second, I want someone or someones to be able to talk about my struggles with learning Vietnamese with. It’s tough to go through this alone, like in most things. I’d usually use for something like this but the Vietnamese habit in it has next to no users.

And third, accountability. I want someone who is also learning to keep me accountable. In return I’d do the same. It’s like my mastermind partner with EVF. She keeps me accountable and is someone I can bounce ideas off of in a judgement-free way and I’d love to have someone learning Vietnamese that I can think of similarly.

How will I do this? That’s for another post.

– Josh

Scrubbin’ the Weekend Away

Oh hey there, Sunday evening. We meet yet again. This day has flown by.

My sister and her clan left before Ph and I woke up this morning. We went out to our favorite weekend breakfast spot. I got my breakfast burrito with home fries and downed a cup and a half of coffee. That coffee got me going and after grocery shopping I went to town cleaning my house.

The next several hours I wiped, scrubbed, and decluttered our main level. And tackled a couple baskets of laundry. It felt darn good. I also squeezed in a Vietnamese lesson on Mango. Today’s lesson was tough. I had taken the last two days off so that might have contributed to it. However this lesson added close to ten new words. Most lessons add about five words. Is this a taste of what’s to come?!

The past few weeks I’ve been staring at this week on my calendar. It’s the week that things are supposed to finally calm down. No house guests. No crazy work projects. Nothing like how the past month or so has been. I’m even planning on publishing a new EVF post!

Alright. I think that’s it for this post. With a about two more hours left in my weekend I want to go chill out with my book.

– Josh

Things. Caps. Etc.

Getting sleepy. On the couch trying to watch Game 2 of the Caps playoff series. However my 8-year-old niece is giving dance stretching lessons to her dad, my brother-in-law, in front of the tv. To be fair, it’s quite entertaining.

I want to write more but TBH I’m beat. I’m feeling the past few weeks of nonstop things take its toll on me. I haven’t been able to meditate outside of a handful of times. In March I killed it and felt the benefits. Now in April I’m sputtering but know what I’m missing out on. It’s just one of several habits I’m working on improving recently.

Alright. I need to call it quits and hit the sack.

– Josh


Quick post today.

After an editing session with my client for the comedy show I grabbed lunch with my buddy Bryan who was in town from North Carolina. He made friends with the guys from Aslin Brewing in Herndon, one of the top breweries (if not THE top brewery) in the area. However being from NC he hasn’t been to the facility before. It just so happens Herndon is in my neck of the woods so he asked if I wanted to join him for a tour. Heck yes!

Kai, Andrew and the rest of the team showed us around their small industrial park brewery. I have been there twice before when their taproom was open. However now their taproom is closed and they just do cans and growlers a few days a week. Demand is so high that’s all they have to do and they commonly sell out on any given day.

We got to sample a few of their beers which, obviously, were outstanding. And I was able to take home a couple cans of what I believe is their most popular beer — A Small Town in Ontario — and their Special Drops: Bringo! beer. I had one of each tonight with my brother-in-law. They were canned two days ago. As you’d expect, fantastic.

I’m going to have to start dropping by on my way home in Fridays to grab more cans. This could become a problem.

– Josh

Quizlet [Mini Review]

The other night I was laying in bed thinking about how I could keep practicing Vietnamese when I 1) didn’t want to take a Mango less, 2) didn’t want to watch a YouTube video and 3) was feeling lazy (like laying in bed about to fall asleep). Then I remembered about this free app/service I used to use when I was attempting to learn Korean and Japanese called Quizlet.

I don’t really know what to call Quizlet as a whole. From what I can tell it’s a crowd-sourced learning app (or website). You can learn just about darn near anything. I’ve found it helpful learning vocabulary for foreign languages. I learned how to count and basic phrases for both Korean and Japanese through Quizlet. You learn by joining “study sets.” Each study set contains lists of whatever you want to learn. Think flashcards (which is one learning feature). For foreign languages it’ll say something like “giỏi” on the Vietnamese side and “well” on the English side.

However since it’s crowd-sourced there are a few issues. First, you don’t know if it’s correct. And it being a foreign language you are kinda banking on the fact that it’s correct because it’s really difficult to know. There isn’t a review system or anything either.

Second is that you have no idea what’s available. There are dozens of pages when you search “Vietnamese Common Words.” You just have to choose based on what you see. This is difficult when you have a ton of choices. I just pick one or two and move on.

The third issue is that nothing is standard. This piggybacks on my last point. Some will list English first and some will list Vietnamese first. Some will have audio files attached with each word. Some will have pictures and other won’t. And this is all in the same study set.

The pros though greatly outweigh the cons. It’s free. It takes a little bit of digging but you can find some study sets that are true gems. They are well put together and thorough. Anddd the learning features are solid. There are flashcards, learning exercises, games, matching games, quizzes and more.

So now when I’m laying in bed staring at a bright screen with all of the world’s knowledge in it, instead of sleeping or scrolling through Twitter I can go through my Quizlet study sets and work on my Vietnamese.

– Josh

Why I’m Learning Vietnamese

Why am I learning Vietnamese? I think that’s an important question I need to keep coming back to in order to “keep my eye on the prize.”

First off, I’m learning Vietnamese because my wife and I will want our kid to learn it. And it’s no fun being the only one in the room not speaking the language. I know I’ll especially be bitter when my kid is speaking it and I’m not. So my first reason is to get a leg up on my kid who will in all likelihood be smarter than me.

Second is because I think it’s “cool.” Is that weird? Being fluent in another language that isn’t Spanish seems cool to me. Exotic might be a better word? Or, smart+cool+exotic all mixed together? Is there a word for that?

Third is for business opportunity. I was thinking about EVF last night. I was thinking about affiliate links and YouTube revenue and all those online business-y things. And realized that it will eventually all go away or transform into something else. That’ll probably happen sooner rather than later. Affiliate links and the like are much different (and from what I can tell perform much worse) than a couple of years ago. Why put all my eggs into that basket? Yes I will adapt with the times but I’ll have to adapt. Do you know what I won’t have to adapt? Language skills.

Language skills transcend time and market trends. It’s a classic skill that won’t ever lose value. In fact, as Vietnam’s economy continues to grow and become a major world player I believe it’s going to be a huge opportunity for those who speak both Vietnamese and English fluently.

I’m not thinking 10 months from now with this, I’m thinking 10 years from now. Hopefully this gamble will pay off. If it doesn’t, well, at least I’ll have a leg up on my kid and still be cool.

– Josh


The Nats game is streaming on my phone. My wrists and elbows are sticking to my wooden desk. I just got done washing the dishes. The steam from the hot water has me sweating on this warm mid-April night. Before the dishes I took my second Vietnamese lesson on Mango of the day!

Tackling two lessons in a day, one during the day and one at night, is a major milestone IMO. If exposure once a day is important, than twice a day has to be twice as beneficial. Tonight’s lesson, among other words/phrases, were the words for Mr. (Ông) and Mrs. (Bà). To my surprise, I already knew these! The exposure to Vietnamese over past decade+ around my wife and her parents and her parents’ friends taught me these words.

Little things like this are why I think this whole exposure thing is so crucial to learning a language. I’m still a rookie language learner. Outside of a couple Tim Ferriss blog posts I don’t know much about “optimizing how to learn a language.” I’m just doing what makes sense to me and so far it’s working.

– Josh

In A Groove

Ya know, it’s so simple. If you want to get better at something work on it a little bit at a time in a low-stress way as many days as you can. That’s basically what this whole site has been about since day one. I started with the discipline of writing and shipping something everyday. I feel like I’ve crushed that one and feel like I can just about darn near write about anything and publish it a week later. Now I’m turning my attention to Vietnamese.

If you want to get better at something work on it a little bit at a time in a low-stress way as many days as you can.

I’m starting to feel in a groove with Vietnamese. Today I took another Mango lesson. I finished up all the lessons in Chapter 2. Tomorrow I’ll take the Chapter 2 review. Today I also watched a lesson from that Southern Vietnamese YouTuber I mentioned about a week ago.

The combination of the two, learning legit basics from one and hearing how native speakers actually talk in the other, seem to be a mighty team. My Mango lesson was the very first thing I did after getting home and walking Peyt. It’s now something I look forward to everyday.

This is how forming habits should be. It should be fun. It should be in small increments. It should be something you look forward to each day.

– Josh


Another weekend is in the books. Tomorrow is the start of a new workweek. All my clients were invoiced tonight. I’ll do all my invoicing again in another two weeks.

While a lot of my work is the exact same I was doing while I was a full-time employee, there’s a shift in mindset when you bill for your work. Instead of just getting a direct deposit and some online pay stub you can look at but never do, you are creating your pay stub and saying, “pay me for my work!” It’s different because as an employee, at least I found, you don’t think like that. It’s more like, “here’s my reward for my penance.”

What you get to say each week or every other week or whenever you finish a project is, “I did my work. I completed my tasks. It’s time to earn what’s mine.” And it’s a gosh darn good feeling.

Yeah some months are better than others. Yeah there is no such thing as paid time off. Yeah I worked for a couple hours on my Sunday today. But to me, it’s so darn worth it.

– Josh