• Glue

    Glue

    Brady would be mortified if he knew I were writing this so if you see him in the street, please keep this particular post on the down-low.

    He deserves all the attention that we could possibly ever give him, but the last thing he wants is the praise and limelight. I’m hoping he’ll appreciate this someday, but he’d die of embarrassment if he were to see it today.

    Brady is glue.

    He’s always quietly holding things together behind the scenes. He never asks for recognition, and would always prefer a quiet thank you over any kind of fanfare.

    Brady had his 11th birthday yesterday and I can’t let another day go by without expressing my gratitude for the amazing human that I get to call my son.

    So why exactly is Brady glue?

    I’m glad you asked. Because on the surface it probably feels a bit strange for a parent to compare their offspring to a household adhesive, but believe me, Brady is glue.

    Glues Allows the Bonding of Dissimilar Materials

    To understand one way that Brady is glue, you need to understand the dynamics of my family, at least a little bit. Brady has two brothers with autism, two neurotypical (mostly) parents, and a 140 pound Newfie Lab. We’re like the 2019 iteration of the Brady Bunch except for instead of blending two families, we’re blending a cocktail of complex behaviors and neuroses.

    You’re every-day-run-of-the-mill ten eleven-year-old is going to buckle under the pressure of the cement mixer of everyday life in this type of environment. I know I would have (I still do). But not only does Brady survive in the heat of the kiln, he somehow brings all of the pieces together and melds them into a beautiful sum of parts. He creates art from scrap.

    Brady is glue.

    Glue is Flexible

    Any good structural engineer will tell you that rigidity and brittleness are the enemy of sound structures. The earth moves every single day. An edifice with high tensile strength but no flexibility is going to buckle with even the slightest shift in its foundation.

    Lucky for me this family is held together with one of the most impressive materials ever conceived. Brady’s ability to “go with the flow” is astounding to me. I watch in awe as he accommodates the needs of everyone in the family at the expense of his own interests. And he does it all with a thumbs-up readily available and a Cowabunga attitude. It’s remarkable.

    And to be clear, we really go out of our way to give Brady the most “normal” childhood we know how. We try not to ask too much. He simply has a unique ability to sense when the structure is on the verge of collapse, and his flexibility will help us reset to fight another day.

    He’s done everything from canceling events we know he was looking forward to, volunteering to stay with his brothers while mom and dad take a much-needed five to refuel with Diet Coke, all the way up to volunteering his allowance money to pay for a treat when Collin is inconsolable.

    Brady is glue.

    Glue Becomes Stronger Under Heat and Pressure

    We all have hard days. And my definition of hard is different from your definition of hard. But we all have days where we feel the need to throw our hands in the air and give up.

    It’s in these moment’s that Brady’s strength becomes the most fierce.

    I’ll never forget the time that he turned down an iPhone because he was worried about how it might make his friends feel. At 10, had I been presented with one of the most impressive technological devices on the planet, my friends probably wouldn’t have ever seen me again.

    And I’ll also never forget about the time that Collin and Patrick were both completely distraught at the same time. Kicking, screaming, the works. None of us knew what to do or how to cope. And as I rounded the corner into the living room, I found our ten year old on his knees, supplicating to the Lord that “Collin and Patrick can be happy again.”

    In a moment where breaking down would have been totally understandable, and frankly, was how I reacted, Brady reached for the most powerful tool in his arsenal and brought us all back together in an instant.

    Brady is glue.

    Happy Birthday, Brady. I hope you read this someday. But not today. I just want you to be happy today. I love you, buddy.


  • Apps That I Use Every Single Day

    Apps That I Use Every Single Day
    I keep my most-used apps on the lower half of my home screen so they’re easier to get to.

    Curating a list of apps that I use every single day was harder than I thought it was going to be. There are many many apps that I use almost every single day, but there are exactly ten that I can say I use literally every single day.

    And so I don’t perjure myself in the event this blog post is ever presented as evidence in an iPhone-usage court of law, I ultimately used the criteria that in the last 30 days I’ve used the apps listed below at least 29 times.

    And just so this isn’t another random listicle polluting the internet, I’ve also included links to some helpful guides I’ve personally used to really get the most out of each one of these apps. Enjoy!

    1Password

    My master password is 👆🖨. Get it?

    I feel like I’ve gushed at length about 1Password but it’s become an integral part of my life. Full stop. It’s important for maintaining secure and unique passwords, and it’s an incredible tool for that purpose. Where 1Password truly become daily game-changing software for me, was when I started tapping into features like one-time passwords, storing numbers like SSNs and birthdays, and even tracking details like expiration dates for memberships, passports and driver licenses. There’s a bunch of other non-password stuff you can do with it too.

    1Password Resources

    Safari

    This search engine of choice is a blog post for another day.

    I surf the web every day 🏄‍♂️. And I use Safari for that. I wrote an entire post about some of the reasons I use Safari and some tips for getting started if you’re using another browser right now.

    Safari Resources

    Drafts

    This blog post started in Drafts before I knew it was gonna be a blog post. Initially, I started making a little list in Drafts about apps I really love and enjoy using every day. And now we’re here. Basically, I capture everything from my entire brain in Drafts and then see where it goes from there. Sometimes my drafts get deleted, and sometimes they evolve into something useful or dare I say, important? Drafts has become an every day must-use app for me.

    Drafts Resources

    Bear

    I love the little icons I can choose for every tag. Look at that Cobalt color scheme too 😍

    The best way I can describe Bear is that it’s sort of like Evernote? It’s a system for storing notes and text in Markdown. I can add pdfs and stuff like that to it too, but that’s a more rare use case for me. Some example entries include “Stuff I Want to Get for our Kitchen” and “Printer Cartridge Models”. I’ll also use Bear to draft important emails occasionally. The search within Bear is nice and quick, and it has a useful tagging system to keep things organized too.

    And while it might seem contradictory to use Drafts and Bear together, lots of my Drafts end up as notes in Bear eventually. Bear is where I keep reference material that I want to keep around and check back on often.

    Day One

    I clearly don’t get out much

    Day One might be the most beautifully-crafted software I’ve ever owned. I mean it. I genuinely love using it every day. And I think if I didn’t enjoy using the app so much, I never would have established a daily journaling habit that’s lasted for a full year now. The app just gets out of the way in an extremely elegant way.

    Every day I find a new little delightful surprise when I use the app, like the ability to automatically import my instagram posts, or something more subtle like looking at all of my blog post entries on a map. I look forward to adding whatever’s on my mind into Day One each day.

    Day One Resources

    • Day One in Depth – This is a course that I took that’s really well done. It’s $29 and while the video overviews of the software are nice, I could have figured all that out on my own. The most helpful takeaway from the course for me was all the different ways and ideas for using Day One each day. I’d definitely recommend it. [The Sweet Setup]
    • Day One Journal Series – [Day One website]

    Reminders

    Yes I lay out my clothes for the following day every single night. Leave me alone.

    I use Reminders to remind me to do things. That may sound pretty obvious, but Reminders isn’t a Todo app for me. I literally tell Siri to “remind me to tell Jackie about what happened at work today” or “Remind me to change the laundry in 45 minutes”. It’s a little utility to remind me to do things that won’t take long to do, or I can’t do right now, and that I also don’t want to forget. I use Reminders to remind. Imagine that.

    I haven’t taken a deep dive into the new iOS 13 Reminders app yet, but I’m not sure a lot of the extra stuff that’s been added will be for me. Some of it even seems ahem … heavily inspired 😒 … by my next favorite daily app.

    Reminders Resources

    Things

    Things is my actual Todo app. It’s also very good software and feels incredibly solidly built. I’m pretty sure I’ve used every todo app on the planet. Yes, even that one. And while there are many apps that have way more features than Things, and are seemingly more powerful, the relative simplicity of it is what I like most about it.

    Things is powerful in all the right places, and beautifully basic everywhere else. Omnifocus felt like sitting in the cockpit of a helicopter. Google Keep was like riding a unicycle. And Things feels like a finely tuned supercar. I can get in and “just drive”.

    • All The Things – Productivity Course – This is another course that I purchased and can highly recommend. There are a few parts of Things that I had a hard time matching to exactly the way I work, and this course helped me figure out some ways to make the app work similarly to the way that I do. [The Sweet Setup]
    • Creating Repeating Todos – This wasn’t terribly intuitive to me at first, but now that I understand it I love the way repeating tasks work in Things. [Things website]
    • Keyboard Shortcuts for Mac – A major selling points for me on Things is that I can control the entire app without touching my trackpad or mouse. Woohoo!

    Streaks

    I’ve used Streaks off and on for a number of years and have recently added it back to my arsenal. I’ve always liked the idea and implementation of the app. It’s like a habit tracker where you log certain activities that you want to do on a regular basis. In the past the app has been overwhelming to use because any day I’d break a streak and have to start over at zero again, I’d feel a major sense of failure.

    The good news is that recently (in the last six months or so) something clicked and I realized that every time I started to use Streaks in the past, I’d also add 5 new habits that I wanted to add to my life. This time I’ve started with some basic habits that are high on my priority list and I don’t intend to add anything new until everything I’m tracking now is routinely happening every single day without question.

    I have Streaks for brushing my teeth twice per day, not eating after 8:00pm, weighing myself, writing, and praying. Nothing major, but they’re all little things that I know will have a very positive impact on my life over time. This time around Streaks has “stuck” much better and doesn’t have the attached guilt if I need to start over sometimes.

    Fitbit

    I know that Apple Watches are all the rage these days. I’ve owned two of them, and from a technological and fashion perspective they’re far superior to anything that Fitbit makes. BUT, and this is a very personal but, I really do like the simplicity of FitBit.

    I own the Fitbit Flex 2 and unfortunately, it doesn’t look like Fitbit makes it anymore. WHAT A SHAME. I love it because it doesn’t even have a screen. At the time I bought it I paid around 60 bucks. It tracks all my activity and sleep, but doesn’t have the ability to interrupt my day with notifications.

    Also, if it breaks at some point, it was inexpensive enough that I’m not going to be bent out of shape about it. The fact that it doesn’t have a screen makes it almost indestructible though. And sure, there are tradeoffs, and again, if my biggest priority were “best tech gadget” then the Apple Watch would win by a country mile, but there’s still something really charming about the simplicity of FitBit which is why I haven’t given it up quite yet.

    MAKE ANOTHER SCREENLESS FIT BIT, YOU COWARDS!!

    That’s It. That’s the List.

    What are the apps that you use every single day? What can add to my future app list that I haven’t already? FEED MY APP HUNGER.


  • Death by 1,000 Little TV Subscriptions

    Death by 1,000 Little TV Subscriptions

    With the internet we would finally get rid of the monopolistic stronghold from our Cable and Satellite providers! We were going to be Julie Andrews in a Swiss meadow of endless DRM-free on-demand content, and our only cost would be the pipe that would bring it directly into our living room set top box.

    It was a day that couch potatoes everywhere revered. 12,000 content buckets streaming 24/7. Never again were we going to ask “is anything good on?” We’d be deliberately ignoring our screaming children to choose which of all the incredible things we’d watch. We’d have to prioritize our content into formal queues.

    “No no, Emmy-award-winning show, I’ll get to you when I feel like it. You don’t tell me when you’re on. I summon you when I’m good and ready. In fact, I know it took you three years to make this TV show, but I’m still gonna watch every single episode in one night because I’m a monster and I can.”

    In many ways we’ve achieved this Xanadu fantasy status, but there’s a catch.

    Narrator: I’ve been saying all along there’d be a catch.

    Me: Dude, no one likes it when you’re smug, Mr. Narrator.

    Narrator: The year is 1992 and Ryan is alone in his Grandmother’s basement with an entire box of Twinkies…

    Me: OK WOW chill out, man. I’ll let the smugness go this time. Can we get back to the catch?

    So the catch is this — We’re slowly moving away from the two provider duopoly (sorry, Dish Network, you were never really a player) into the Wild West of internet streaming services.

    Instead of giving one financial offering to our content gods each month, we’re now at the mercy for a whole bevy of providers. No one really knows how much to charge for this stuff yet. It’s a mad dash for subscriber acquisition but you can rest assured that as the market matures and content farms grow their respective TV crop, the price on these services will inevitably go up over time.

    Breaking Down the Numbers

    DirectTV believes in very accurate pricing?

    If I sign up for DirecTV Premier+ today, I receive 330+ channels and every single Premium channel (HBO, Starz, Showtime, etc) for $139.99 per month. That sounds like a lot (and it is!) but for all intents and purposes this appears to be every English and Spanish channel available to consumers, and hey, they’ll throw in a massive DVR to record it all to watch at your leisure if you sign up today.

    Now let’s take a look at the streaming landscape. I’m going to include the no-Ad “upgrade” for every service because with a DVR and traditional TV, you can mostly recreate the ad-free experience by smashing your fast forward button.

    Author Note: All of these services love offering a free trial and hate telling you how much their service actually costs. Many of the links below were really tough to come by, so… you’re welcome.

    • Netflix – $15.99 per month
    • Disney+ (soon to be released) – $6.99 per month
    • Hulu (no Ads but they still show Ads) – $11.99 per month
    • CBS All-Access (commercial-free) – $9.99 per month
    • Peacock – They haven’t announced pricing for this yet but I had to include it because it’s clear they didn’t ask one person under the age of 40 about whether or not this was a good name for a streaming service.
    • HBO – $14.99 per month
    • Starz – $8.99 per month
    • Showtime – $10.99 per month
    • AppleTV+ – $4.99 per month
    • YouTubeTV – $49.99 per month – I figured you’d want at least one live streaming service with sports available.
    • Amazon Prime Video – $8.99 per month (also available with an annual Prime subscription with loads of other benefits for $119

    Drumroll please…. $143.90 per month

    And while streaming can be as much (or more expensive!) than traditional TV, there are some convenience benefits that might warrant that kind of trade-off. But we won’t get into that discussion today.

    And, of course, it’s much easier to cancel one of these services than it is your TV contract (godspeed if that’s something in your near future).

    The cost today isn’t what’s that interesting to me. The fact that we can easily be subject to a dozen different content providers is the part that’s equally interesting and terrifying to me.

    Like I said before, this is just the beginning. As media groups invest more and more in original content, their pricing for these services can’t be a race to the bottom. The prices for these services has to go up.

    So what’s our breaking point? Do we just continue to pay the digital content overlords their juice forever? Do we become one car families to support our media habits? Do we employ a judicious cancel/subscribe regimen based on the content we want to watch today? What say you?

    P.S. I’m making this a P.S. because very few people care about this but even if I pay $143.90 per month for streaming I still can’t watch my beloved Utah Jazz. Even with an NBATV subscription the games are subject to regional blackouts. The Jazz are locked into a pretty bad TV contract with Rocky Mountain Sports Net so literally the only way I can watch Jazz games on TV is by having a DirectTV package. So right now I’m stuck somewhere in limbo. Thank you for reading this P.S.


  • The Problem With Trying to Eat an Elephant

    The Problem With Trying to Eat an Elephant

    I don’t want to oversell it but it’s the first thing I’ve picked up from a book that I’m still thinking about almost hourly even 3 months after completing the book.

    The secret I learned is being reflected in my everyday outcomes to the point where my marriage is improved, my employer is complimenting me about the amount and quality of work that I’m able to complete, and I feel less anxiety. I’ll even go as far as to say I’m more present when I’m spending time with my kids.

    And the secret on its own isn’t particularly life-shattering. I think I’ve probably received the same advice in lots of different ways in the past, but the specific way that David Allen presented the concept in his book Getting Thing Done made it stick with me in a way that no other method or approach ever could before.

    How do you eat an elephant?

    First of all, please don’t eat elephants.

    Second of all, if you really must, the prevailing knowledge is that the only way to ever eat an elephant is one bite at a time.

    And we all remember my good friend, Bob Wiley of What About Bob? fame. And do you remember what a fan he was of Dr. Leo Marvin’s book, Baby Steps?

    What-About-Bob-Baby-Steps-700x525.png

    And lastly, E.L. Doctorow shared the following:

    Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as the your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.

    And I think the gist of what all these people are saying is roughly the same. “Don’t get overwhelmed. Take things one step or one day at a time.

    The problem is that there’s nothing actionable with any of those. To not do something (get overwhelmed) is pretty much impossible to execute, especially for someone who has a tendency of getting overwhelmed.

    It’s all passive. So instead of taking things in stride and being less overwhelmed because it’s all about “one moment or one day at a time”, what’s always happened for me in the past is that I ended up feeling even more overwhelmed by big projects or unknowns because not only was I not making progress on them, I was also feeling constantly overwhelmed because I “should just be taking this one day at a time.”

    Action-paralysis paired with guilt is a hell of a cocktail.

    The good, no, the great news is that David Allen put a similar process in an entirely different way that really clicked for me. Here’s what he said:

    You don’t actually do a project; you can only do action steps related to it. When enough of the right action steps have been taken, some situation will have been created that matches your initial picture of the outcome closely enough that you can call it “done.”

    He has full chapters in his book about this and goes much deeper than I ever could, but my interpretation has been that rather than trying to build a detailed roadmap and trying to strategize if I should start at the trunk or the tail first, instead I ask myself a very simple question.

    “What’s the next physical action I can take to move this forward?”

    And sometimes it’s as simple as writing an outreach email.

    And other times the next action I can take is planning some research time.

    Putting the next action into practice

    Here’s a video of David talking about next actions, taking control, and creating space. It’s phenomal.

    Looking at almost everything in my life with this “next action” mindset has given me such a gift. It’s helped me feel a sense of control that I’ve been missing for a very long time.

    Let me show you how it works:

    Goal: I want to spend more time with Brady. I don’t want him to get lost in the shuffle.

    Next action: Text Jackie right now and tell her that you’ll take Brady home after his football game so the two of us can share an ice cream.

    That’s it. See how easy that is? And sure, on the surface that seems simple enough, and maybe even borderline obvious, but it isn’t.

    Let me show you another example:

    Goal: I want to run a 5K next Spring*

    Next action: Go to my calendar and block out three times I’ll go to the gym this week. Make it an appointment. Plan to alternate walking and jogging in 3 minute intervals.

    I didn’t have to download an app. I didn’t have to do hours of research on the best approach. I didn’t have to buy new running shoes or hire a personal trainer.

    All of those things would have 100% been my first steps/actions before, but what I’ve learned about myself is that those are all distractions or ways of deferring the work. I have a special talent for procrastination, and I’ve found that anything beyond moving forward is likely a way of me subconsciously keeping myself away from the actual work that needs to be done.

    Not to mention that this deferrment tactic compounds on itself. Let’s say I do buy the best app, buy the new running shoes, and hire that trainer. And then a month later when I decide to quit my training, not only do I feel bad about but I’m also out 300 bucks, so I beat myself up even more.

    And don’t get me wrong. I’ll nerd out on finding the best app to help me run a 5K*, but that can be a casual thing I do in parallel to the actual training later on. It’s not a thing that actually gets me closer to the end goal, ya know what I mean?

    I know I’ll need to write more about this later on. Because this Next Action concept has truly been a life changing (I really hesitate to use that phrasing because it’s so overdone but I sincerely mean that this philosophy has made my life and my mental health better in measurable ways) approach to help improve my relationships, my daily output, and to finally help quiet those voices in my head telling me that “elephant probably tastes terrible anyway, dude”.

    *I have no plans of a running a 5K

    **No elephants were harmed in the creation of this post.


  • Working with the Gravity Forms Hubspot Add-on

    Working with the Gravity Forms Hubspot Add-on

    Note: I know this post will only be for a select few of the people who read this blog. If this title means nothing to you, I won’t be offended if you move right along. I’m trying to share more useful knowledge these days so we’ll probably continue to have a mix of fun writing and stuff like this. The more I try and “focus” the content I make, the more I realize the mixed bag is a much better reflection of who I am. So as the kids say “it is what it is”. (I understand no kid has ever said that).

    Last month Gravity Forms released an official Hubspot add-on which was a welcomed addition.

    It’s no secret that I’m a big Gravity Forms fan, so any time I see a new integration with third-parties I throw a tiny party for one at my desk because I know it’s something I’ll be able to rely on and recommend to clients.

    Clients have been looking for this add-on because lots of their existing Gravity Forms would trigger other actions or notifications, or they were really happy with the current forms workflow, or loved the styling of their forms and didn’t want to have them recreated, but they also needed their data passed into Hubspot.

    There were hacks and ways around it with Gravity Forms previously, and a few solutions from sources I wasn’t crazy about. The officialness of this new add-on is exactly what I’ve been looking for.

    We had a client who was ready to use the new add-on right away so I got right to it.

    Getting Started with Gravity Forms and Hubspot

    The setup flow is about what you’d expect, after installing the add-on (which is available on their Basic add-on list, which is wild to me) and activating it, you can navigate to the Hubspot settings screen and connect to your Hubspot account. If you’re doing this on behalf of a client, you’ll need to have access to Hubspot, or the client will need to perform the authorization piece.

    Granting Access to Gravity Forms

    After granting access to Hubspot, you go about setting up a feed just like any other third party integration.

    1. Set a Name for the Feed – This is for internal use only, so whatever will help you or your client best remember what this feed is doing is good enough.
    2. Set the Hubspot Form Name ID – This name does have to be unique for your Hubspot account. In other words, you can’t have two Gravity Forms feeds with the same Hubspot Form Name ID. When you create the feed, it creates a corresponding Hubspot Form for you automatically. Having multiple forms with the same name will cross streams, which can have unexpected results.
    3. Assign the Lead Status – You can choose any lead status that you have configured in your Hubspot account, including custom statuses.
    4. Assign the Lifecycle Stage – Assign where leads from this form should end up in your Lifecycle. If this is a sign up form for a service you offer, you could set the contact status to “Customer”. Otherwise, choose the appropriate place in your marketing pipeline for the lead.
    5. Assign the Contact Owner – Hubspot allows Contacts to be assigned to individuals within your organization. You can assign all the leads from a form to an individual, or conditionally assign them depending on options selected by the person completing the form.
    6. Map the form fields to Hubspot Contact details – By default you can assign Name, First Name, and Last Name to the new Hubspot contact that gets created.
    7. Assign additional contact details – You can also map any other form field to other contact details in your CRM (screenshot below).

    Testing Your Newly Created Gravity Forms (ie. What I Learned)

    In testing we kept having a really strange issue where our submissions would be sporadically rejected by the Hubspot API. We couldn’t figure out what was happening or why. Configurations weren’t changing at all, but one submission would go through fine, and then the next submission, two out of four contact creations would fail.

    I reached out to Hubspot and they had an answer that made perfect sense for why the Hubspot API was rejecting the new contacts.

    This is because an attempt was done to send a Marketing Email from HubSpot to that address, and the domain of this address was not found, therefore it was suppressed. When this happens, we “blacklist” this email address domain, and the behavior described above will occur. The result you are seeing in your API is the “translation” of this behavior.

    In less formal terms, because we were using dummy data in our test submissions, Hubspot could detect that and refused to create a contact with a fake email.

    This is one of those rare cases where I actually believe it’s a feature and not a bug, even though it really felt like a bug at first.


  • On Slowing Down

    On Slowing Down

    A large platter will hold a surprising amount of vomit. Like, at first you’d think it’s going to automatically spill over the edges, but when you start to factor in the viscosity of the regurgitate, the rotundity of the dish, and the overall surface area, you’d really be surprised at how much puke will fit on a single plate.

    It’s like that 8th grade science experiment where you filled the water glass to the very top, and then you filled it up some more. Everything in our lizard brains told us that the water should be spilling over the sides, but then physics kicks in and everything we thought we knew went right out the door.

    THE SHED (yes that’s the actual name I swear on my life) wasn’t just an all-you-can-eat buffet. They chose to have all-you-can-eat steak and fried chicken. For $19.95 you could sit in a booth and have a waiter bring you sirloin followed by two thighs followed by your own mix-n-match steak and chicken bucket.

    And this wasn’t one of those Brazilian Grill jam-ups either where you turn your meat wand to green and then 20 minutes later a hipster shows up with their cell phone in one hand and a skewer of pineapple-stuffed pork in the other. And then they proceed to shave off a translucent tennis-ball-sized protein.

    At THE SHED you signaled to the waiter that you were ready for 4 more pieces of deep fried American hormone-filled poultry and an entire fried chicken magically appeared on your plate.

    THE SHED was a Shangri-La of the working class, and heaven on earth for a husky twelve year old.

    Modern thinking says that a strip club is where a teenage boy goes to “become a man,” but one cold October evening in 1993 I found my thrill on slop feast hill.

    There was a lot more sweat than I anticipated. I’ve run a few 5Ks in my life that were less physically taxing that what I put my body through that night. To this day I respect the Kobayashis and Joey Chestnuts of the world for their ability and sheer willpower, and at the same time I’m almost certain I could have gone leg for leg and steak for steak with any of them.

    After five 8oz steaks and nearly a dozen pieces of fried chicken… and I know this is gonna surprise you… I wasn’t feeling too hot. The room started to spin slowly and I expected Billy Bonka to appear at any minute to take me back home to my weird grandparents who share a bed for no reason in particular.

    Aside: Billy Bonka was Willy’s estranged brother who left the family confectionary business to raise cattle and hens. Billy never starred in a feature film.

    Then I yakked.

    Right there at the dinner table. I would have been less surprised if an actual ninja appeared in the center of the table. I had zero clue I was about to make the janitor get out the sawdust bucket.

    But there it was. Right there in front of God and everyone. My dad, my uncle, and my cousin had witnessed an exorcism of meat and shame. They had also lost their appetites.

    And in case you’re wondering what happens next, or what proper social protocol is in a situation like this, the answer is that you drop a couple $100 bills on the table and get the hell out before anyone realizes what happened.

    THE SHED closed down about six months later, and as much as I’d like to take credit, I have a feeling that me tossing my cookies in the middle of the dining hall was less of a factor than the fact they were selling $100 worth of meat for $19.95 plus tax.

    So, there you have it. 26 years later and I’m still a glutton. I’ll still overeat and I’ll still binge through a full season of Breaking Bad in a Saturday. I’ll still stay up too late working because “I’m really close to the end of this project”. But I know when to say when. I know when it’s time to slow down.

    I have a voice that tells me when it’s time to engage the throttle. And maybe? Maybe I can show my boys how to discover theirs before we rush out of a crowded restaurant $300 in the hole (accounting for inflation).

    I’m working on it.


  • 77,777 Tweets

    77,777 Tweets

    I looked at my Twitter dashboard the other day, something I don’t do often, and I’ve tweeted over 77,700 times since I created my account in November 2009.

    I think that puts me firmly in the camp of addict Twitter power user.

    My curiosity got the better of me and I started trying to figure out exactly how much time that very large number represents.

    30 seconds per tweet seemed like a very conservative estimate to me, so in an effort to not make myself feel too guilty, I went with that — 30 seconds per tweet.

    • 38850 minutes
    • 647.5 hours
    • 26.98 days
    • 80.93 work days

    And then to really drive the point home I started converting these measurements of time into daily activities.

    • 648 trips to the gym
    • 324 rounds of golf
    • 12950 rounds of Mario Kart with Brady
    • 452 date nights with Jackie
    • 16900 replays of Morning Mood with Patrick
    • 370 viewings of Ratatouille with Collin

    None of this even counts the time I’ve spent consuming twitter, which is probably much higher.

    It’s absurd to think I would have replaced every single moment that I wasn’t tweeting or scanning Instagram or replying to an angry Facebook comment with these other activities, but I like to believe some of my energy would have been put into these other endeavors.

    I’m going to put myself to the test for a while.

    Social media is a great way for me to unwind and connect with people I care about, so beyond the things I’ve already mentioned, I’m also going to be putting more effort into writing on this blog, reading interesting books, sending texts, writing letters, calling friends (after I’ve received permission to call via text, of course), and anything else that gets me away from the infinity pools of social media for a while.

    This isn’t a rage quit by any means. I’ve really evolved the way I use social media over the years to be more inline with what’s important to me. My overall usage is way lower than it was when I first started discovering all of these social networks. I’ve come to enjoy social media for the most part.

    But I want to put some of this 77K tweet energy into other things for a while. I’m not entirely sure how long I’ll be away, and my blog will automatically send out new tweets when I publish something new, but the social media apps are all getting deleted from my phone, and I’ve already logged out of all of the websites on my computer.

    If you want to keep tabs on what I’m up to (and why wouldn’t you?), you can subscribe to this blog via RSS, or by email through one of the forms on this site.

    Please leave comments too! I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on comments on this blog and will reply a few times a week as they come in.


  • There’s something about this video…

    I’ve probably watched this video twice every month since it originally aired four years ago.

    After this many replays I’m still not entirely sure what it is that makes this video stand out among all the others.

    I’ve seen stronger vocalists.

    I’ve heard better pitch.

    I’ve witnessed perfect technical execution from other contestants.

    But none of them have been this… pure? Enjoy.