Category Archives: Blogging

Side Blogging

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Well, I’ve failed at posting more regularly on this blog but I feel like I have a good excuse: I’ve been blogging for the Wash U Olin Business School. Sure, it’s only been two posts to date but those are two posts that could have been used for “That Guy.” So, I’m going to keep this short and tell you to check out my blog reel from time to time. And if you’re interested in the happenings of a place that I spend 10+ hours a week in, find the full blog here.

Now, here’s to Thanksgiving break and not having any class! For a second, I thought I was back in undergrad until I remembered that I have to work Monday – Wednesday …

Image: Moore Ruble Yudell

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The Blog Lives!

Something prompted me today to revive this blog so here it is – a post! I can’t pinpoint exactly why I stopped blogging in the first place but here are potentially a few reasons:

  • I got a new job
  • I went on vacation for two weeks
  • I moved
  • Summer

Some of you might be confused at the notion that summer could totally derail a habit or routine but, if you live in Chicago, you completely understand. Patios open up, Cubs games become a staple and street fairs invade the city. There is just no time for anything else. Throw in a new job and apartment and you have the recipe for a blog that is shoved in the corner and forgotten until cold weather rolls in and you decide to dust it back off.

Instead of recounting all my experiences from the past five months, I thought I would illustrate them through the goodness that is Instagram. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so consider these next 6,000 words an official update on what I’ve been up to.

Anything I didn’t touch on? Post your questions below!

Ladies and gentlemen, the Golden Gate bridge herself.

I explored San Francisco’s backyard: Napa Valley.

Mandatory Cubs watching during the hot summer months.

Katherine, the little sis, moved to Virginia Tech with the help of Yours Truly.

Football season started back up, which means a couple of trips down to Columbia, MO, with the crew.

I was reunited with this beauty in Madison, WI, for a weekend.

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Me, My Screen and My Screen.

Did you know that Facebook bought Instagram today for $1 billion?

So I knew that if I wanted to keep up my blogging momentum I had to find a topic. Stat. Lo and behold, before the end of the day, life gave me three topics to blog about! They were:

  • The “Go make a life, not a living” quote that popped up on my Instagram feed courtesy of @daniellesmyname.
  • The Skinnygirl Spirits article that made me do a double-take.
  • The small blurb in the Red Eye discussing how 86 percent of Americans use their smart-phones while watching TV.

I’d try and make you guess which one I extrapolate on below but to save you time, I’ll just give you the reasons why I didn’t choose the first two options: that quote is way too deep for me right now (but not off the table for a later post) and I don’t want to give Bethenny Frankel any more publicity than she already has. With that, let’s talk about how our brains are rotting away because of too much screen time.

“You probably do it now without event thinking about it, and that makes you part of the 86 percent. That’s the percentage of smart-phone owners in the US who are split-screening – using the device while watching TV – at least once a month, according to Nielsen.” 

Some might find this surprising but as someone who does it ALL THE TIME, I’m completely unfazed and consider it normal for me to multi-task while I’m watching TV. In fact, the only time I’m not on one screen while watching another is when I’m at the movies and I shut my phone off completely a.k.a. I turn it on vibrate because I can’t imagine not being connected to the world. I credit this behavior to two things that I think also permeate pop culture and my generation:

  • We have a hard time staying focused: My life moves by at an incredible speed. I’m constantly doing something and the only time my brain isn’t in sensory overload is when I’m sleeping, and even that is debatable. It’s said that people see/hear up to 5,000 advertising messages a day, so how can we not be flitting from one screen to another? It’s because of this constant demand for my attention that the moment there is a slow scene during a movie or an uninteresting TV segment that I immediately grab my phone or computer. “I can totally be doing something else right now and watching TV at the same time. I’m getting more done that way,” I tell myself. It’s because of the need to not be bored that I multi-task or, in this instance, “multi-entertain” myself.
  • We need to be in-the-know all the time: There’s a certain satisfaction with being the first to know something. If you’re in on a secret before anyone else, you get the pleasure of seeing the reaction on their face, the surprise in their voice and the domino effect of them telling their own acquaintances. The way my generation does this is through social media and the only way we access that forum is through screens. Marketers are fully aware of this too, which is why you’re slowly seeing hashtags used during TV shows to aggregate the online conversation and rally a community around a particular cause or outlet. I’m not complaining. In fact, I’m guilty of using every single one of the hashtags and taking to Twitter immediately to see what the general reaction to a scene is. And while this forces me to split my attention, I’m perfectly OK doing it for the connectedness and in-the-know feeling I get when I do.

It’s possible that this behavior is slowly screwing with my brain, causing me to develop cancer or simply training me to do multiple things at once. Either way, I enjoy the feeling of knowing a lot of small facts and news bites that help me build conversations and get to know people. Yes, you compromise on the depth but you capitalize on the range, which means it’s a balancing act to know when one is needed over the other. It works for some people and it’s catastrophic for others but apparently, 86 percent of smart-phone users agree with me.

What do you think is responsible for the multi-tasking behavior? Do you think it’s detrimental to people or relationships? Do you think I’m completely off-track in my thinking? Discuss in the comments below, while watching TV of course.

How to Be Creative

I came across this video the other day as I was surfing the internet at work during my down time. Being in a creative industry, I was immediately curious as to the advice one person would give another on how to stay creative in the fast-paced world that we live in.

I started putting down my thoughts for each of the 29 items but quickly ran out of patience and realized that I couldn’t get behind most of them, such as “drinking coffee.” How is that supposed to make you creative? Maybe the caffeine jitters help set your mind on creative overdrive …

Instead, I thought I would put my little brain to work and come up with a (much shorter) list of my own. Now keep in mind that these are what work for me. It’s up to you to be alert as to what triggers your creativity and come up with a list of your own.

  1. Read: I don’t think I can stress this enough. To the risk at sounding cheesy, there are complete other worlds trapped in books waiting for you to explore them. Huddled up in your apartment because of the raging snow storm outside your window? Grab a book and let your mind sail away to some warmer climate. (That will be me tomorrow as 8″ of snow fall on Chicago and catch me reading my book about a fictional Spanish writer.) Tired of non-eventful days at work? Try this incredible series that is sure to last you most of the fiscal year. I guess what I’m trying to get at is that by experiencing things that you normally wouldn’t, you increase your chances of being able to come up with that one brilliant, never-before-heard-of idea. (This could also be interpreted as watch TV or movies but let’s be honest, you won’t become a better writer that way)
  2. Surf the internet: Now I know that some parents lay down strict rules about computer use with their kids but truth be told, there is a lot to learn on the internet that can open up your mind. Take the popular “Sh*t Girls Say” viral sensation that has spawned an incomparable number of spin-offs (“Sh*t White Girls Say to Black Girls,” “Sh*t Gay Guys Say,” “Shit Nobody Says” to name a few). Without that first catalyst, we wouldn’t have hours worth of material making fun of everyone.
  3. Take a walk: The world is a big place (even in Gardner, KS, where my parents live), which means that there is a lot to see and assimilate. One of my favorite things to do is to people watch. Back in the day when my family would travel, we would look at people and try and figure out what we thought their history was. Before you knew it, you were in the presence of a Hungarian refugee who was a double agent for the CIA, running from their evil step brother that had unmasked them and put a bounty on their heads. Oh, and they loved pistachio ice cream. Just walk and let your mind wander. I’m sure you’ll be surprised at what you come up with.
  4. Write things down: I’m not always good with this one but it’s something that I’m trying to rectify. Some people will tell you to always carry a notebook but, for most guys, that’s pretty difficult since we only have so many pockets to use. However, with the fancy new smartphones that I know most of you own, you really have no excuse to not write down a few ideas that pop into your head. I have a running list of thoughts on my own phone that usually result in blog posts. Success!

I wanted to think of one last nugget of wisdom to give you, since a list is most well rounded when it’s an even number, but I couldn’t come up with anything else. Maybe it’s time for me to put my money where my mouth is and practice some of the above.

What would you include in your own list? Do you agree with mine?

A New Year. A New Beginning.

Alright, folks. As you know, it’s that time of year when people take a hard look at their lives and figure out what they want to change. As much as I like to think I’m unique and special, I’m not and end up succumbing to the same whims as everyone else. So here I am, ready to declare what I would like to see happen over the next year! All of these are personal, since of course you can’t write about work because you never know who’s reading … Hey work friends!

  • Numero uno – Blog more! Shocker, I know. I keep saying this but one day I will actually make it happen. I think the hardest part, besides trying to find time, is thinking of things to write about. I’m not passionate enough about one thing and I think that at the end of the day, if I were to narrow my scope to one particular topic, you and I would get bored. Can’t have that!
  • Numero dos – Write more! I know what you’re thinking: how is that different than numero uno? Well, I have 20 pages to a novel that I’m hoping to turn into 500. It’s a difficult endeavor that is going to take a lot of discipline on my part but I think I’m up for the challenge and am trying to make you myself believe that I can do whatever I set my mind to.
  • Numero tres – Work out more! God, I’m so original. Luckily for me, this has been happening fairly well for the past month and half. I’m just putting it down on paper keyboard to keep myself accountable, because that’s worked so well for me in the past. #sarcasm
  • Numero quatro – Figure out what I want to do with my life! This is more of a life goal than a 2012 goal. Although, the sooner it happens, the happier I will be. I don’t have too high of expectations for this one because, let’s be honest, how else do you grow unless you’re trying out new things? No need to get too comfortable.

There you have it! My four goals for 2012 and abundance of exclamation points. What have you decided to accomplish this year? My current short-term goals tonight include finishing “Night Circus” while sipping on cranberry juice, the only beverage left in my apartment that isn’t beer.

PS: You know a company has successfully branded itself when you Google image search “target” and only come up with logos and store pictures.

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And so we begin.

A new day, a new blog.

For the handful of you that I’ve talked about this with, you realize this is my fifth attempt at starting a blog. I’m pretty sure the longest one lasted four months, and that’s because I was on an incredible adventure worth recounting, until I was overwhelmed by how much time it took to tell.

Now, I find myself on a slightly less thrilling ride but still looking for an outlet to write that doesn’t involve work, my old client, or new client. With that in mind, I’m tackling this blogging endeavor once more to see where it takes me and this time I’m determined to make it last by setting a goal for myself:

  • Write a post at least once a week – This probably doesn’t sound like a lot, but I know from experience that even one post a week doesn’t happen all the time or on a regular enough basis.

Yes, this is my only goal a.k.a. I’ve set the bar low and can only exceed expectations. I’m keeping the range of topics pretty broad so as to not constrict myself. If there’s anything in particular you want to hear about, definitely let me know!

Now you’re probably wondering where the name of this blog comes from? Well, I was trying to find a common thread to the experiences of my life and realized that most of the time I’m holding some sort of beverage: a glass of tea at work, a hot chocolate in a coffee shop, a Diet Coke at the movies, a beer while watching the game or a cocktail at the bar. And yes, no coffee. Don’t worry, you’re not the only one to have gasped at this. Matt Witthaus and Ryland Devero give me enough flack as it is.

Until next time, have any of you tried to start a blog? How do you keep yourself motivated?
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