Wednesday, March 11, 2015

On being cool

At the risk of repeating myself, yet again, I've been thinking about being cool. I wrote about it several years ago in a post called "Way Past Cool." And I made it pretty clear that I don't think it is possible to be cool by design. But I have always wanted to be cool.

I grew up in Idaho in a lower-income, working-class family. Neither of my parents had gone to college. We lived in a small rambler build in the early 1950s. I had two brothers. Although I wasn't aware of it at the time, there wasn't a great deal of discretionary income. My father worked in a  hardware company warehouse and my mother juggled a variety of jobs over the years (school lunch cook, house cleaner, convenience store clerk and several years working at a company that produced plywood panels for mobile homes).

Friday, February 20, 2015

Ten things never to say or do in an elevator

I have made it clear on many occasions that I am not big on small talk. I tolerate basic courtesies such as saying hello and asking someone how they are doing (provided they don'take this as open-ended invitation to actually tell me how they are doing). But that's pretty much where I draw the line.

 Unless there is a hurricane or tornado headed my direction, I don't want to talk about the weather. And after the Superbowl, I don't want to talk about the Seahawks for several months.

 But it is in an elevator that I really don't want to engage in small or large talk, especially with strangers. The only worst places I can think to strike up a conversation with a stranger is when you are sitting in a toilet stall or changing your clothes in a locker room at the gym.

An elevator is a small, enclosed space that is intended for vertical transportation, not conversation.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Write like there's no one reading and other tips to achieving obscurity

Since my forays into social media began, I have woefully found myself pandering to the trends and topics that I thought might increase my followers, likers, friends, readers, pokers (which is a bit disturbing) and whatever else you call strangers who interact with you on the Web. I have done so thinking I would engage the masses and become THE next blipping hashtag trend. And I have failed miserably.

Maybe it's because I am a Baby Boomer and not a Millennial. Though according to a quiz I took on Facebook, I am more Millennial than Millennial's are. Or maybe I came to the social media party late with a box of wine. More likely, I think it is that I have begun thinking of my blog posts as content versus me just writing whatever the hell I feel like and not caring whether anyone reads it or not.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Magic moments

"This moment isn't going to define this team."
--Pete Caroll, Head Coach of the Seattle Seahawks
Not to belabor the fated final call of the Seahawks on Superbowl Sunday, but I was struck that both Pete Caroll and Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson have made public statements that they weren't going to let their lives, futures, or careers be defined by that one moment when they passed instead of running the ball. Pete Caroll even went so far as to state that it wasn't a bad play call, just a bad result (i.e. the ball was intercepted and they lost the Superbowl).

You've got to love that kind of point of view. As Caroll pointed out, if the pass had been successful, no one would have given it another thought. The Superbowl would have been won. The Patriots would have slunk away whining about them being the better team anyway and we wouldn't have to rehash that one moment over and over. And if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

Monday, February 02, 2015

This too shall pass (even if they shouldn't have)

In the grand scheme of things, the Superbowl is just a blip on the cosmic radar. Despite all the hype, it is really just a game and an opportunity to see major (and some not so major) companies' advertising budgets go up in smoke for a 30-second spot. But I couldn't help but take it a bit like a kick in the stomach (or parts south of it), when the Seahawks lost the Superbowl in the last 30 seconds or so because of a bizarre decision to pass the ball when they were on one-yard line with major momentum behind them.

But that would be second guessing a coach who has much more experience at these things than I do. I am pretty sure he was probably thinking they weren't expecting them to pass. They were very likely expecting Beastmode to pop some Skittles, grab the ball and try to avoid getting got (which I'm betting would have been successful and I'd be writing a completely different post here).

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Buttered rolls and responsibilities

It is not often that I am able to spout an original pun. I've whined before about Googling my original ideas only to find out hundreds if not thousands of people have already had them. But I am proud to say that I think I am the first one to use the pun, "rolls and responsibilities" on purpose. I think it would make one bitchin' name for a socially responsible bakery.

I am staking claim to this pun after a Google search that turned up 73,900 references to "rolls and responsibilities." Now I didn't scroll through all 73,900, but after going through the first three or so pages that all of the uses of "rolls and responsibilities" were made by people whose intentions were to refer to "roles and responsibilities." Of particular note were pages by firearm safety program supported by the NRA and one called "Rolls and Responsibilities of Academy Governors" out of the UK prepared by education advisor consultants (who might want to rethink their career paths).

So now I hereby claim "Rolls and Responsibilities" as my sole pun. No other shall be the first.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Talking trash and Sisyphean tasks

Garbage Man (sung to the tune of Rocket Man by Elton John)
I filled my trash bags up last night, alright.
Pick-up hour, six a.m.
But the Garbage truck won't be by 'til ten.
I hate taking trash out so much, just ask my wife
I carry it out at a snails pace
Cause the bag ain't light. 
And I think it's gonna be a long, long, time
'Til trash time brings me 'round again to find
I can't believe all the garbage we produce at home
Oh, no no no...I'm a garbage man
Garbage man taking out the trash out here alone 
Can't believe all the waste you generate when you have kids
In fact it really starts to smell
And no one would pick it up, if you didn't.
And it's recycling, I don't understand
Why don't they pick it up, every week?
A garbage man, a garbage man 
And I think it's gonna be a long, long, time
'Til trash time brings me 'round again to find
I can't believe all the garbage we produce at home
Oh, no no no...I'm a garbage man
Garbage man taking out the trash out here alone 
And I think it's gonna be a long, long, time
'Til trash time brings me 'round again to find
I can't believe all the garbage we produce at home
Oh, no no no...I'm a garbage man
Garbage man taking out the trash tryin' not to bitch and moan. 
Now, I think it's gonna be a long long time
And I think it's gonna be a long long time
And I think it's gonna be a long long time
And I think it's gonna be a long long time
This song came to me the other night when I was taking the trash out on a cold and rainy night. I seem to make an inordinate number of trips to the trash can with bags of trash. This is even after the even more inordinate number of trips to the recycling bin. Trips to the yard waste receptacle have subsided with the advent of winter.

Friday, January 09, 2015

Twitter me this, Twitter me that

A few year's ago, I wrote about Dan Zarrella's book about contagious ideas. In his book he reveals a list of words and phrases that analytics have shown get the most retweets on Twitter:

"you, twitter, post, blog, social, free, media, help, please retweet, great, social media, 10, follow, how to, top, blog post, check out, new blog post"

I kind of poo-pooed the book, but ironically my post about it is probably my most read. So maybe Zarrella was onto something.

At the time I read Zarrella's book, I wasn't really actively using Twitter. But my day job forced me kicking and screaming into the land of 140 characters and I've recently immersed myself in the fire hose of tweets that spew through my feed each day. In the process I have tried to figure out what grabs people's attention enough that they will either follow me, retweet me or favorite one of my Tweets.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

So funny I forgot to laugh

I read this article on Gawker (one of those blogs that isn't supposed to suck) the other day call Time to Retire, Dave Barry. It was written by Hamilton Nolan, a writer I've never heard of writing about a writer I'd grown up wanting to write like. And the bold statement Nolan makes about Barry is that he is no longer funny.

Okay, normally I would just shrug and say, "Whatever," after reading someone's critique of a relatively famous person. I am sure it isn't the first time Dave Barry has been told he wasn't funny. Humor, after all, is a very subjective thing. We all laugh to the beat of a different drummer.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Top ten reasons to ignore top ten lists

As someone who grew up in an era when journalism required you actually had to write about something based on facts and research, I've become increasingly appalled that news has been reduced to what you can fit into 140 characters with a link to a list that usually contains some version of a ten ranked items.

So I've come up with my own list of reasons why you should ignore any top ten list someone tries to lure you in to read (including this one):

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


There is nothing more depressing than a pile of post-Christmas morning, unwrapped gifts. This is largely due to my belief that there is a Schrödinger's cat quality to wrapped gifts. They hold so much more promise wrapped than they do unwrapped. It's not that I'm not happy with the gifts themselves once they are unwrapped. It is more the excitement they hold before you unwrap them and lose the mystery.

I think most of life is like that. The promise is always more intriguing than the ultimate reality.

But I am just wallowing in the after the holiday blues. It's the seam between Christmas and the New Year that gets me the most. The old year is crawling out the door and the New Year is smacking it on the butt screaming, "WooWoo, it's my turn!" Little does it know that it's time to whoop it up is going to be briefer than it can imagine.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Where have all the bloggers gone?

As I sift through over my posts of the past in an effort find relevant content to share on Twitter (part of an experiment I'm engaged in with trying to understand social media), I've grown nostalgic reading all of the comments I used to get from fellow bloggers. Most are from my early years in blogging...2006 and 2007 were my peak years. And I've grown a bit melancholy wondering where did all the bloggers go?

I know I've harped on this topic off and on for years, but it still nags at me. It's one of those mysteries like why pods of whales beach themselves or what happened to the Roanoke Colony. Why did my little band of fellow bloggers who used to comment regularly vanish?