Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What's up with that?

Death. It's something that's been on my mind lately. My Grandma has been battling cancer for less than a year now and it is finally taking over. She had radiation and chemotherapy and when you're in your mid 80's it takes a lot longer to heal mentality and physically. She went through two stages of the treatment and now she's caught pneumonia, which will ultimately be the cause of her death. Now why my Grandmother got treated with radiation and chemotherapy, at the age of 85 is beyond me. I'm disappointed with the doctors and how they handled the situation. As a simple layman I don't know the full situation - or have the privy to understand an oncologist's decision tree when it comes to viable treatments - I'm just a bystander. I AM also not sure if my grandparents were swayed to make the decision, but paying for treatments that cost over $50,000 to have a 1 in 20th chance of survival at the age of 85? REGARDLESS, my Grandma had the final say on the matter and she made a decision to say fuck you to cancer and I will always appreciate how she confronted it with such conviction. One day, I hope to be fearless like that. My Grandma was and is a fighter: beating cancer before and giving an earnest effort to beat it now. But, this process and the last couple of months have just seemed like a legal way of assisted suicide. You may not agree with me at all. I don't condemn that. Each situation is different and our direct and indirect battles with illness shape our opinions and who we are.

Maybe this problem/debate stems from the fact that people in today's modern society, at their core, feel that doctors have all the answers. That there is always a cure or at least a chance for survival. We all want to hear that. But, at what point does an action not justify its means. Frankly, in my opinion, it can be summed up by the auditing principle of materiality. In other words, does the economic cost outweigh the economic benefit. It's a tough debate and the world isn't perfect. I'm just a little upset right now, as one can tell. If one want a deeper analysis into this, check out this documentary and it might help to uncover what might incentive people to treat an 85 with terminal cancer throughout their entire body.

For most of my teenage years, as a young adult, and through all of the shit that is happening now, death has been on my mind. It's not one of those things I grapple with day in and day out. And in doing so, it opens up another can of worms such as what is the meaning of life and all that good stuff. No no, it doesn't haunt me. It just bubbles to the surface when I hear about horrific deaths, people being cut short of living fruitful lives, and/or the thought of losing someone close to me. Death is something that I cannot define, and when I try and define it, it's so elusive that my definitions have changed throughout all stages of my life. It's one of those weird attributes of human life that is certainly going to be with you and around you. How we define death is like trying to define love. If you ask a 5 year about love (about loving their blanket or teddybear) it's going to be immensely different from answer you get from a 70 year old (about devotion to their spouse, about loving their children/grandchildren unconditionally). It's important to understand that each will explain love with a strong conviction and certainty no one can deny. No one has a right to tell them they are wrong. And even if they are in one's eyes, they aren't.

Same with death. It's the equalizer that doesn't seem to equate to what we think it should be. Knowing that we have a finite time on Earth with our friends and family is hard to comprehend and therefore it isn't given much attention until it's too late. It's hard for me, especially surrounding the relationship I have with my parents. When I was younger they were enforcers. When I was in high school and college they were enablers. Now, as I grow older, they are some of my closest friends. The hard thing is dealing with knowing that you have a limited time with them. The same goes for my brother and sister. For me, when I first went off to college, it was hard to come to the realization that I had lived with my parents for 18 years and then with my siblings for 15 of them. And now after college, I'm in Minneapolis. Still close to Milwaukee, but by all means not across the street or down the hall in our house. I think there is something to be said how different developed nations are from undeveloped nations and the mentality we have towards family life. When we deem the time is right, we move away from living in a nuclear family setting to create our own, to be independent, to make careers, to explore our own desires. While that is fantastic and unique, I just don't know how healthy it is. It causes people to grow apart unless they are dedicated to one another. It's a phenomenon that I just can't wrap my brain around.

Call me hypocritical. It's just hard to reify something like that. Connections between a family can be so indicative of one's innermost nature. It's just hard to break the bonds, let along the togetherness of a singular unit. Now, I'm blessed with a fantastic family and I know that ia not the case for everyone. Even if that is the case, it is hard to say that different personalities in your own household when we were growing up did not shape the person you are today. Even if they are in the smallest capacity today, who knows. Twenty years from now, those small characteristics might blossom and define the person you are or strive to be. They may be the highlights in your own legacy.

Ranting and raving. That's what this blogging thing is all about, I guess. I just wanted to make people question it more and appreciate the fortunate lives we are all given. I'm not trying to be sentimental. I'm just trying to figure out the relationship we all have with death and furthermore the meaning of life. This is a philosophical question that I've tried to read/learn about for myself. Whether it be texts such as Tuesdays with MorrieDeath of Ivan Ilych, or Myth of Sisyphus.

It's hard to wrap my head around it. I would just like to know of it and to see if there is something beyond it. Is nirvana possible, is there a heaven, is there a Shangri-La? But as anyone tries to decipher any of these questions, it's important to genuinely appreciate our relationships and the time we spend with people. In doing so, maybe I just answered all those questions right there. Maybe not.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Caffé Espresso: A Green Bay Gem

I noticed while in college many of my fellow students never thought too highly of the greater Green Bay, WI dining options. Outside of your standard Texas Roadhouse, Noodles and Company, Olive Garden and Applebee's (if you've been to Applebee's you've also been to Chili's and T.G.I. Friday's), I doubt many people, even those from Green Bay, know of some of the phenomenal places to dine. You have to converse with locals to usually find these places. However, I can recall one Green Bay native once telling me their favorite place in GB to grab drinks was Applebee's, and I couldn't believe they admitted that self-belittling fact -- I felt embarrassed for them. I mean, I guess I moderately understand what they are saying; I refuse to ever go to Applebee's again unless I'm inappropriately intoxicated. Regardless, Green Bay has a few establishments I can recommend.

Believe it or not, Downtown GB holds some found-in-a-diaper-gold eateries. Outside of the high and low bar scene, cleverly weaved around crap joints like Kittner's and amazing places like St. Berndan's Inn, there is my favorite restaurant of the city -- Caffé Espresso.

I was introduced to Caffé Espresso by my father, and since then I never turn down an opportunity to step into the restaurant's doors. If you are looking for a good cup of coffee, solid alcohol beverages, a fantastic meal or just a place to have a conversation; check Caffé Espresso out. When I interned only a few blocks away I tried to make a weekly trip there. I'm still astounded such an establishment exists next to the poopy country bar, Stir-Ups.

Caffé Espresso draws an extremely diverse crowd along with with an unbeatable, unique experience between a "let your hair down" atmosphere and a supper club setting. The dark and jazzy lighting throughout the small bar/lounge and dining area has a Dinkytown presence.

I have trouble recommending what to get for food, since I've never had anything there I didn't love. My personal favorites are the impressive CCQ and Sicilian Steak Sandwich. The first time I had that sandwich I didn't realize food could taste that good. Nonetheless, Caffé Espresso's menu has assorted Greek and Mexican options -- all extraordinary amazing. Price range? I would say you could get a full meal for roughly $13.00 (including meal and coffee). Not cheap but nothing outrageous. In addition, for those of you into coffee-liquor drinks - prepare to be blown away.

I'm not knocking on you haters who live for Red Robin or Subway, but I want to introduce people to a privately owned, well-run and underrated place to eat. Like many, I'm big into the counter culture businesses. Caffé Espresso is my favorite place to court girls on dates, catch up with a friend or conduct some business logistics. Hit it up!

Their website --

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Weather in Minneapolis

The weather here in Minneapolis has been unseasonably warm the past couple of days. It's been misting on and off tonight and it really is beginning to feel like Mother Nature is just being a wolf dressed in sheep's clothing. I was in Green Bay last weekend and it was much of the same. It's got the feel of a string of spring days that rise up and overpower the winter weather with gusto. But, alas it's just the beginning of winter and before things get better they have to get worse. The agony and deceit - Mother Nature, you B.

If you're located anywhere in the upper midwest and looking for a reliable source for getting a good guesstimate on how much snow a winter storm might bring I use For me, the highlight of the site is the forecast graphic.

I just wish it snowed already, because Mother Nature's gimmicks are getting the better of me.  If there is one thing I'm looking forward to with the snow that is coming sooner or later - it is skiing.


-Gossip Girl

Monday, December 12, 2011

Retail Shoppers Are A Strange Breed

If a cultural anthropologist has never done a case study on retail shoppers, I highly suggest they should. I recently took a trip to the Bay Park Square Mall in Green Bay, WI before I headed into work. Other than being slightly stir-crazy at home, I'm not sure why I went. I obviously didn't have enough money to purchase anything, but perhaps I enjoyed pretending I was interested in buying a cruddy cell phone case or a picture with Santa. And let me set the floor straight - Bay Park is not the greatest shopping mall. If you compare it to what you find in Chicago, Milwaukee or Minneapolis, it's very average. Bay Park Square has your basic shops but is quite small, which actually works in favor of many of the stereotypical but often true and embarrassing shoppers from Green Bay. Due to the mall's small setting, the fat and lethargic thrive in this building. It's only a three minute electric scooter trip from A&W to Payless Shoes!

So, I walked in, saw a man spit on the ground, and I proceeded to browse the stores. After roughly 15 minutes, I had enough but wanted to grab food before I left and decided to go eat in the sticky, packed and loud cafeteria. However, somewhere in-between Mrs. Field's Cookies, the obscene number of single mothers, Hot Topic and outrageous amount of un-bathed people, I lost hope for humanity. Witnessing the 50+ year-old man wiping down tables and the fully uniformed mall cops meandering around the teenagers making-out by Gloria Jean's made me fairly depressed. Was this going to be me someday if I don't get my act together? Cleaning after sloppy eaters and telling tweens to stop kissing? Regardless, you should all try seeing it from the other end -- the worker's end.

75% of the individuals who walk into where I work are mindless people with no idea what they are looking to buy. I'm convinced the florescent lighting and overhead music creates a dream-like state for these people. I should get paid extra for every time I ask a costumer if I can grab a shoe size for them, they respond with, "Oh, no. I'm not buying anything today. Just browsing your selection," I go to do another task or help someone else for a few minutes and the same person comes up to me holding a shoe and says, "Where did you go? I wanted to try a bunch of these on." That story is tame in comparison to others I can tell you.

You'd be shocked how enraged people are when an item isn't in stock or how often customers don't believe me when I tell them we don't have a particular product in their size. I always offer to order the item for them or have it transferred in, however, they don't listen. Take this conversation for example:

Me: I'm sorry, sir. We only have displays for the football cleats in colors and have all the sizes only in black. However, I can size-up your son with the same shoe in black and then we can special order the specific size and color for no extra cost.
Customer Fart: So, you don't have that in a size 10 in the yellow?
Me: No, sir. But like I said, I'd be happy to figure out your son's size and order the cleat for you. You don't have to buy it either, we will order it in regardless so he can try it on. That's how Nike (or any brand) wanted to do it.
Customer Fart: Well, what about that one? (he points to the same cleat but in blue)
Me: Um, no, like I said, those are just displays, we order in the colors and sizes.
Customer Fart: Well, I mean..We really want that yellow one right now...

This conversation will continue you for another 5-10 minutes as he implies they REALLY want a size 10 in the yellow, as if I'm hiding it in the back from him in a secret vault. The customer is just waiting for me to say. "Ohhh, so you DID hear about the secret shoe vault in the back! Alright, since you know about the vault, I'll go grab that size 10 in the yellow for you!"

I had another customer grab me as a walked buy to ask for the price on a backpack:

Me: All the backpacks are $59.99.
Customer Diaper: What?? $59.99?? Do you people realize what economical times we are in??
(I wanted to say, "Sir, I have a college degree, and I'm working in retail. I'm very aware.")

What concerns me the most is how worked up, angry and confused customers are regarding merchandise. I question what some customer's lives are like when they are excessively calling and coming into the store looking for a size medium in a specific sock, which I have explained we don't get in -- this has been going on for over a month now with a married couple.

I had one customer who I went and grabbed a shoe for, but when I returned he looked outrageously baffled. Hand on face, mumbling to himself, eyebrows flexed in disbelief..

Me: Is something wrong, sir? I have that pair of shoes for you.
(The gentleman begins to try to speak but nearly nothing comes out. I wait a few moments and he eventually says...)
Customer Poopyface: Why would....I mean, you have...You have two shoes up here...and they are the same???
Me: Oh, yes. We have to keep all the spots on the wall filled, and in order to keep it full it's usually necessary to have duplicates on display.
(Honestly, a standard question we get, but never has someone been this concerned about it before...)
Customer Poopyface: But, I mean, WHY would you have TWO of the same shoes up here?? (as we throws his hands in the air)
(I wanted to respond with, "You know, I explained why, but I can go get you an Advil and you can sit down for a bit if you need to, okay?"

I could rant off story after story of these happenings. These people and their mind-sets are outrageous. For a person to go into a store wanting an obscure item, being fairly aware we won't have the product and then proceeding to yell at me over not having it is fairly ridiculous. Employees are not hiding what you're looking for and they don't control the stock; all employees can do is facilitate the product that is in stock with the customers. These unpleasant customers go hand-in-hand with the shoppers who spend four hours in our store, the people who are waiting to get in at 9 a.m. to purchase roller blades on a Monday and the other individuals who come to the shoe department to ask me about the hunting rifles.

People's IQs drop the instant they step into retail stores. Don't believe me? On my way out of the Bay Park Square Mall I noticed a man painfully deciding on what gumball to purchase from the machines with his wife.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

FYI - Podcast might be coming soon

Steve and I might be doing phone calls with each other, recording them and then posting them on the blog. We're still figuring out the logistics but we hope to do it soon. The purpose being just talking about random stuff and then letting other people listen. If it goes well we might have 3-way calling or Steve and I talk with other people besides just talking to each other.

Hopefully it will be more successful than our freshman year at St. Norbert where we were kicked off the school radio indefinitely.

More to come.

Shane Smith: Vice Magazine

If you haven't heard of Shane Smith, you should definitely check him out. Put it simply, he's a wild guy that is an amazing story teller, two things that are rarely found running alongside each other in the world today. He got on my radar when my buddy Marcus told me about his Vice Guide to Travel on Netflix (not sure if it is still up on streaming). If it is still up on streaming I would definitely check out his Liberia visit. It's pretty eye-opening.

There is a great article in the New York Times about him dealing with aging and it gives a quick snapshot into his world. He's like the evil twin of Richard Branson, instead of doing wild stuff for himself, he does video journalism on wild things that mainstream media can't touch (or doesn't want to). Great journalist that brings absolutely shocking stories to the surface in a really unique and raw way.

Here's the article:

Also, he was recently on Joe Rogan's podcast. Rogan really enjoyed his talk with him and if you follow Joe Rogan's podcasts, you know its good when Joe Rogan is totally engrossed with the guest (I was too).

Podcast download found here:

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Some things on TV I like and dislike

I try to watch as much TV as possible. I don't really like those individuals who say, "Oh, well I don't really watch TV," or, "My family doesn't watch very much TV," because those people aren't being honest. Whenever I confront a person who says a false statement along those lines I respond with, "Oh, well my family watches A LOT of TV. It's ALWAYS on. We try to have a TV in every room of the house." With that being said, there have been some things on television I've either really liked recently or have been unnecessarily angry about. Take a look, kids....

The Lady from the Target 2day Sale Commercials
Evaluation: Terrible.
It troubles me what market of people these commercials appeal to. I'm even more bothered by the fact these commercials were ran and approved by high members of Target's advertising group. You would think any normal person in on that board meeting would view one of those commercials and say, "Uh, hey, this is really bad." The lady is extremely annoying, not funny and only furthers my hate for Black Friday shopping. Ideally I never see her again.

Joe Buck and Troy Toy
Evaluation: High Level of Hate
Perhaps the worst sports casting duo in recent history, Joe Buck and Troy Aikman need to be split up and have their casting careers ended. For whatever reason, they undoubtedly don't like the Green Bay Packers. Troy has looked for every way to not compliment a Packer QB since Favre -- as if praising another quarterback would take away from his career. In addition, Joe Buck simply sucks and leaves nothing on the table in terms of professional analysis. But don't forget, the team is complemented by the useless Pam Oliver on the sidelines. Her involvement makes me curious who's granddaughter she was to get that job. Regardless, Buck and Troy Toy should never cover a Green Bay game again; it's what's best for everyone.

Above the Influence Commercial of Girl Throwing-up Pictures and Trophies
Evaluation: Hilarious, love it.
These commercials are always a personal favorite. The creators have been filling me with smiles and laughter for years. In a recent one, there is a girl at a party who runs into the bathroom and begins to vomit out frames of herself and friends, awards and other objects into the toilet. It's pretty great. I continually can count on Above the Influence to get me in a good mood before I go out.

WLUK Fox 11's Good Day Wisconsin
Evaluation: Embarrassing
When I catch glimpses of this broadcast in the morning I cringe. The show's personality talent and topics display the low quality TV news expected by a Green Bay, WI market. If a staff member of a New York news team ever witnesses this show they will be in shock, because the show is embarrassing for me as a citizen of Wisconsin. Good Day Wisconsin is painful to view. In an early morning haze, I'm sometimes not sure if what I'm watching is real. Every individual on the show has an over inflated view of themselves and is under qualified in what they do. Pete Petoniak, their big bad weather man, acts as one of the morning hosts with Rachel Manek. Their conversations are so awkward a woman could miscarry a child. Take a watch tomorrow morning and if the first words out of Angela Kelly's annoying mouth from the field are not, "Hi, guys!" I will buy you a hot dog. The issue is these three anchors are trying to be morning hosts for entertainment when they should stick to the little they are mildly good at - reporting news and weather, not commenting or creating conversation. In addition, the entire station talks with a "sing-song" tone to EVERYTHING. Listen to NPR, Fox 11 staff, they never do this. And Don't even get me started on sports reporter Drew Smith...

Justin Bieber Perfume Commercials
Evaluation: Stop it.
I was sick over the last few days, and I had the displeasure of viewing one of Justin Bieber's Someday perfume commercials. Obviously I was extremely upset after it was over. However, I kind of want to buy this for a lot of girls I know and see if they ever use it. When they don't I'll keep asking, "Hey! How's that perfume?? Do you like it?? Ugh, it just turns me on when I smell it!" Please stop it, Bieber. I don't dislike you, I just don't really want to have to see or hear you at all anymore. Can't we replace him with an older child star like the vampire kid from the Munsters? Now that's how you sell a product.

New Seasons of Dexter and The Walking Dead
Evaluation: Amazing.
Not much to say. I'm a big fan. Dexter to me is Sex and the City to almost any girl. The Walking Dead is really good too, not as good as Dexter, but still a fun show to watch. I didn't know you could create a drama based off of zombies so good. Thanks, AMC.

Golden Corral Chocolate Fondue Advertisement
Evaluation: Gross.
Nothing sounds most disgusting to me than sharing fondue with a crowd of people at Golden Corral. Can you imagine the types of individuals sticking their dirty hands in that and double-dipping? Based off of how sticky the salt shakers are there, I'm not going near that thing.

ITT Tech Commercials
Evaluation: No more, please.
These just need to stop. I hate them. The stories they tell don't make me feel very good. Almost every time ITT Tech tells a story about a minority citizen who now has an entry-level job after working at Golden Corral for 9 years (better than me I guess...) Then they show the wife and she says something like, "Before, we were going pay check to pay check, and now we do okay." I'm done with these.

Regular Show - Cartoon Network
Evaluation: Good stuff.
Watch it, seriously. One of the better children cartoons I've seen in years. Seriously, watch it. Try this clip out for size -

Monday, November 21, 2011

Post-College Job Search: The Horrific, Painful and Grey Area

My entire college career I heard stories regarding the job market struggle. I've had relatives, friends and work professionals fail to find anything. My analyzation of these situations was condescending. I assumed these people weren't trying hard enough; they weren't smart enough; they didn't prepare themselves well enough coming out of college. I was extremely blessed to have had three distinctly different but valuable, professional internships since my freshman year of college. One with a successful, privately owned but multi-national company, another with a professional sports team and a third with my own college. I had outrageous leadership experience; I was an NCAA college athlete; I wrote for the college paper; I did service work and was a Dean's List student. I thought I had fully taken advantage of my four years in college. As graduation approached, I had very high hopes. I assumed I would easily land a job. However, my attitude quickly changed. My plans to move and be successful kept getting pushed back. My once arrogant view of the unemployed became a reality; it was gradual karma.

I'm 23-years-old with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication - Media Studies with an English minor. I'm enthusiastic, experienced and driven. None of these characteristics seem to help. Instead of progressing in my professional career, I work roughly 30 hours per week in retail. All my accomplishments are rounding-up to selling over-priced shoes to unpleasant people with plantar fasciitis. It's not that my current situation is extremely depressing, although it may not be motivating. It's that my situation and the application process is confusing for someone who assumed they were ahead of most individuals their age. But I was wrong. I see "less qualified" individuals with jobs, and I see other friends already being promoted. So, what do you do? HOW do you get a job? If I had these answers I wouldn't be writing this entry. However, I may have some insight.

I've read it all. I've listened to career advisers, utilized my college's resources, networked, wrote unique
cover letters, crafted my resume towards every job I applied for and had so many people attempt to stick their head out for me to help me obtain a job I've lost count. You name the strategy, I've tried it. I don't just utilize generic job searches, I find specific ones. I look through company after company in cities all over the United States. I've now applied for more than 100 positions since April 2011. Through the process I've had three phone interviews and one face-to-face interview. Since Sept. 12, 2011, I've applied for 45 jobs with a result of two phone interviews, one face-to-face interview and denied by nine others. Where the hell is the other 76% not saying a word back to me?

To be blunt, the hiring process is pretty f***ed up. There has only been a few positions I've applied for where I wasn't completely qualified. Organizations don't hire like they used to. Instead, they bring in HR consultants who tell them how to hire instead of using their human instincts to judge a person based on their experience and capabilities. I went through an hour and a half behavioral interview -- beyond brutal to say the least. I OVERLY prepare for my interviews. I'm ready for any questions, I cover all my bases and weaknesses. And here I am, 23 and working in retail.

I'm not sure you'll find tons of answers from me, but I can tell you what it's like looking for a job and having six months of no success.

Apply, apply, rest and then apply some more

You need to be relentless. Now that I no longer am a college athlete, I don't have class nor am I a president of a student organization -- I have a lot more free time. Applying for jobs has joylessly become a hobby. If you aren't finding a job, you
need to make it your hobby. Even if you just had a phone interview -- KEEP LOOKING! Don't assume you'll get a job since you were referred -- I did and wasted valuable time where I could have looked for other positions. Applying will ware you out, and eventually you'll feel you've overused your resources; take a break when that happens, have a beer and then get right back to it.

Where do I look for jobs? Eh...

You could use a generic search like, but those ad affiliated/driven sites only bring you so far. They post "available" jobs which have been filled weeks ago, and you may waste time applying for those. You'll soon get countless emails from insurance companies asking you to work for them in sales even though they have never met you. And yes, you need to utilize some sites like that, such as Regardless, find smaller, unique ones towards your field. For example, I use, which is specific to the mid-west my my career interests. In addition, you'll have to just look at company's websites. Not all positions are posted all over the place. Get creative.

Resume/Cover Letter: Should you be unique? I'm not quite sure

I've applied for a lot of positions with fairly mundane cover letters, and I've also applied to some much more creatively -- which most people suggest you should do. I can't say either way is better than the other. My "boring" cover letters have ended up working better. The biggest key is to make it all concise, consistent and render each letter or resume to the specific job and hit the key points the posting is seeking. I feel companies shouldn't put huge weight into cover letters (depending on the job), and I'm not sure if they really do. As long as your cover letter is well written, not too long and without errors, you've done the necessities.

Networking? You can try...

One of the main reasons I was so involved in different activities in college was for networking. As I previously stated, I've had former supervisors, co-workers and friends attempt to help me -- not one has been successful. However, I have friends who have been hired by various organizations without a job posting -- all three of my internships were that way. Knowing people is eventually what will help you, whether it's your first job or a career advancement later on.
My suggestion is to join some groups, kiss some girls and get to know people -- you never know when you'll need a favor.

Follow up after applying...if you can...

Yes, you should always follow up after applying, but that's not as easy as it seems. I actually get pissed off when people tell me to do this as if I'm a moron. Big problem with this tactic...sometimes you can't. There will be no email listed, no phone number and some jobs specifically tell you not to contact them until they contact you. This all depends on the organization, job etc, but the truth is a lot of times there is nothing you can do but apply.

Work part-time while you search, even if it's horrible

All my interviews have asked me if I was currently working, and I noticed for all the interviews not being currently employed was a pretty big red flag in the process. You need to have some sort of income. The advantage to working a cruddy, part-time job is those employers are used to turn-over. If you work there three weeks and suddenly have an opportunity work-out, no quite as hard of feelings. Working part-time will also remind you of why you received a degree.

Perhaps finding a job needs a handful of luck and farts

Luck does have a lot to do with it. There are many factors you can't control. Landing an interview can depend on the mood of the recruiter, timing of when you apply and who else is applying. Just take care of what you can control and hope for the best. Every company looks for different aspects in an application (i.e. did you spray perfume on the envelope?)

I may be in a uniquely bad position, but I also see the pain and struggle with other friends. It's embarrassing to tell people I see out on the weekends I'm still looking for a job. I hate it, but at this point all someone in a position like mine can do is to continue to aggressively search. Apply, search, apply and network until you puke. If you are worried or struggling over where your life is headed, you're not alone. Just do what you can to put yourself ahead of others -- even if it's grad school.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Hemingway - You drunken genius.

I got through A Farewell to Arms and finished The Sun Also Rises.

If you ever want to feel like a man... a man who drinks, loves, and fights - read a little Hemingway. You won't regret it. Short and to the point, his prose (I've said it before) is not fluffy and warms you up inside. There is no coddling, hand holding. Just strap in and feel the pain and suffering of a man and gasp at the sheer amount of boozing a human can tolerate. But, emphasis on a man. I think the most interesting man in the world commercials from Dos Equis are based off of Hemingway. Just wiki Hemingway and read about him a little. The man lived a wild, painful life and it's been reflected in his pieces of literature. See the resemblance?

Memorial Love

I thought I'd share a piece I composed my sophomore of college for a poetry class. We were assigned to write an erotic poem, and I was one of the individuals chosen to share theirs with the class. As a result, I was fairly proud of myself. I'm no Henry David Thoreau, but I think I present a decent narrative of American forest fornication.

Memorial Love

I want to relive that humid evening
On a lover’s hike through the Black Hills.
Our bodies lethargic and gritty
From the dirt trails and damp woods.
We made love so vigorous
Under the gaze of our four founding fathers,
Their granite faces moist
From the steamy democracy
Contrived by our body’s friction.

Your heavy breathing electrified my bones
As I penetrated your beauty in view
Of the pair of turkey vultures
Indulging in a meal of chipmunk and raccoon.
Our eyes met theirs in a feverish frenzy.
We graced their courtship with our glistening bodies.
The rock-face had torn our clothes from us
Like bark from a ponderosa pine.

You whispered hungry words
Muffled by my unclean cries
Of passionate love making
Which were so uproarious
You could have sworn it was
Crazy Horse himself riding off in the distance.
As our echoes trailed off into coniferous air
They reverberated off the cliff face into the clearing.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Movie Recommendation

For the last week I debated on composing something about the entire Sandusky/Paterno scandal. The coverage is on ESPN, NPR and any other semi-news oriented media outlet. After I let the cheese cool and further thought, I realized the situation is fairly black and white. No need to speak my opinion in extreme depth. The individuals defending Penn State, Paterno or any of the administration staff are very off target. Think harder if you are defending the glaringly incorrect. Pretend one of those individuals was your child or sibling. I feel we all draw the friendship line when our friends are showering with children 50+ years younger than themselves. It's difficult to see our idols and heroes in disturbing situations but everyone is human. It's tragic to see a legend's career end this way, but what happened has happened.

Regardless, I have a film to recommend for the five people who will read this. "The Trotsky" has been sitting in my "Instant Queue" on Netflix for a few months. Before I hit "x" on my XBOX and deleted it to never be watched again, I selected to view the movie. Needless to say, watching the "The Trotsky" was once of the better decisions I've made since I graduated.

Quick Summary - The film is about 17-year-old Leon Bronstein (Jay Baruchel) who thinks he is the reincarnation of Russian Revolution leader Leon Trotsky. After staging a strike at his father's (Saul Rubinek) factory, he is sent to a public school as punishment. Leon quickly lends new meaning to the term 'student union', determined as he is to live out his pre-ordained destiny to the fullest and change the world.

I promise the movie is better than my summary. I'm not sure how I initially thought I would like the film, but I understand now why I enjoyed it so much. Although not on the same level as Wes Anderson, "The Trotsky" provides a "Rushmore" feel. The film is off-beat, unique and smart. Technically, you could categorize the movie as an "Indie teen film," but the Russian revolutionary references/jokes probably fly over most teen's heads. I wouldn't expect too many 16-year-olds to pick-up on the silent film reference to "The Battleship Potemkin" with the baby in the carriage rolling down the Odessa Steps. However, you don't need to understand all the history references to enjoy the film; it only makes the movie a richer experience -- but being super stupid would be a difficult variable to overcome to enjoy this film.

Critic Liz Braun says the movie at times "flirts with greatness, and those times are courtesy on Jay Baruchel's performance." Braun is dead-on. The entire cast is good -- very good, but Baruchel's performance and comedic delivery is phenomenal. He simply drives the film. Baruchel and the script provoke hilarious moments, thought provoking ones and awkward but good scenes. I'm a sucker for any movie with a romantic-comedy feel, but this film's history background makes it something deeper.

I'm not saying this is an Academy Award nominee, but it's worth your time. Once again, you shouldn't be super stupid if you decide to watch it -- just sayin'. I like history, referendums, laughing and distinctiveness. If you don't like any of those things, then I'm sorry for wasting your time.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Fall Weather Music

One of the best parts about living in Wisconsin is having all four seasons. I feel those individuals who live in the southern portion of the United States are deprived of some of the most simple but enjoyable experiences in life. I mean, sure, winters can be more brutal than a Nickelback playing at an abortion clinic, but for those who have never seen a first, true snowfall --- you're missing out on something amazing. Regardless, winter isn't my cup of cream corn. I'm more interested in the best season of all; fall.

Fall whether is tremendous for a person like me. I get very hot in even mildly warm temperatures, and I'm a big sweater. When the Fall climate sets in I get so excited I could puke. That being said, there are certain necessities which correctly complement fall. Football and flannel are big ones. Green Bay Packer games at Lambeau Field in October should be on everyone's bucket list. However, my sophomore year of college as I walked to class and listened to my iPod, I realized there is correct music to make those fall drives, walks and chill moments even better.

I'm going to provide everyone with a list of phenomenal fall music. It doesn't include everything,
but rather my list will provide you with a place to make your own. I've compiled the list from various movies, Pandora sessions and innate curiosity. Enjoy.

"Over and Done With" by The Proclaimers
"This Time Tomorrow" by The Kinks
"Cinnamon" by The Long Winters
"Fly" by Nick Drake
"One of these Things First" by Nick Drake
"Something Good This Way Comes" by Jakob Dylan
"Here Comes my Baby" by Cat Stevens
"The Wind" by Cat Stevens
"(Ummm, Oh Yeah) Dearest" by Buddy Holly
"It Makes No Difference" by My Morning Jacket -- The Band cover
"Look at Me" by John Lennon
"Oh, Yoko!" by John Lennon
"Watching the Wheels" by John Lennon -- Acoustic version specifically
"Into the Mystic" by Van Morrison
"These Days" by Nico
"Stephanie Says" by The Velvet Underground
"If She Wants Me" by Belle & Sebastian
"She Caught the Katy" by The Blues Brothers -- Taj Mahal and James Rachelle cover
"Early Morning Rain" by The Grateful Dead -- Gordon Lightfoot cover
"All the Young Dudes" by Mott the Hoople -- David Bowie Cover
"Whispering Pines" by Jakob Dylan -- The Band cover
"Strangers" by the Kinks
"One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later" by Bob Dylan
"Solsburry Hill" Peter Gabriel
"I Shall Be Released" by Jeff Buckley -- Bob Dylan Cover
"Gray or Blue" by Jaymay

I'm aware fall is well underway and it may be a little late, but it never hurts to try some new music. All these artists have many songs that could be thrown under the "fall" category, but these are just some personal favorites.

I felt the need for this post since I already noticed Christmas music floating around area stores and radio stations. Winter music will forever be classified under "Christmas music," which for many is hard to bare. I'll make sure to create a list of good winter music when the time is right. Until then, embrace what I have given you. Fall - make it reality.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Coffee shops - Not just a fad?

I'm on my day off of work and I decided to go over to the local Caribou Coffee shop to pass the time. I walked in off the street and it looked like a start-up company set up shop in here! I immediately grab a corner table and post up, a perfect spot for people watching. Needless to say, the place is buzzing right now. People have their laptops out (including me), meetings are being held, textbooks are being read. I guess I never utilized a coffee shop as a place to get my stuff done. I am obviously not the 99% (#occupycoffeeshops).

Monday, October 24, 2011

Why I Can't Keep Writing About Using a Drain/Pipe Cleaning Instrument to Rid Myself of Mild Constipation

I'm aware writing about this topic is in high demand, and America is a supply-demand kind of playground. We witness this subject matter and I analyzed on CNN day in and day out, as well as a weekly topic on NPR's "Fresh Air." However, I have to set my limits. I'm not just a community editorial condom blog to be rinsed-out and tossed around from frat boy to frat boy. I have the right to choose what I want to compose when I want to, regardless of all the cute looks I get from local girls down at Walgreens. I feel used and disgusting, like a bag of used, disgusting diapers. As a result, this is why I can't keep writing about using a drain/pipe cleaning instrument to rid myself of mild constipation.

At first, yeah, it was a big hit. The fact that I discovered a slightly painful/sensual way to get through a bodily clog was the Johnny Depp of the reading world. I was the Blue Collar Comedy Tour but less fat. I had sold out show after sold out show. Signing autographs until I was constipated, which I'm now aware was planned action by the public in order to get me to write about it again. I was shooting lines with the Beatles and shaking hands with Charles de Gaulle. Yet, like Adam West and the original TV series "Batman," if I don't change things up soon, I'll be rustled into being a one trick pony.

I have SO MUCH more to offer. Even though you all didn't like the entry about when I used the poop-pipe-cleaner to clean my ears, I know how to write about lots of other stuff! I have a college degree; did you know that? I could write about the time I had to leave class, because I forgot to put on deodorant. What about the time I wondered onto the set of the ride for The Carousel of Progress at Disney World after getting drunk at Universal Studios? Is that doing anything for you? I even was banished from the Magic Kingdom but still find my way in there so I can have margaritas with the Hall of Presidents. Those are some quality stories.

I'll even be honest; I don't know how to keep writing about using a drain/pipe cleaning instrument to rid myself of mild constipation. There are only so many ways one way equidistantly describe the process of eating 4 pounds of cheese, having no movement for a few days and then inserting an incorrect instrument for the situation into my butt with fabulous results. My creativeness has only so much to offer.

So, I apologize to everyone, but I no longer will be able to tickle your pipe-cleaner, laxative fancy anymore. Maybe you should look into another member of the writing community...I hear Stephen King has some life left in him, and I'm sure Andy Dick is looking for work....but for me...I will ride my little pony into the wind so I may branch off onto another ranch. What will I write about now? Who knows? Maybe I'll write about a monkey washing a cat in a kitchen sink, or about how I keep getting convinced to have my eyebrows waxed; we will just have to see.

This may be the end of my time on the top, but I will rise again.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What’s Stephen Reading?? LOL

I noticed Mason wrote an entry regarding "books" he’s been "reading." I’d like everyone to know Mason cannot read – well, at least not very well. Mason’s reading skills are barely past Hop on Pop. His claim to be into Russian literature and satirical novels is a verbatim conversation he recorded of me when I was interviewed by the New York Post, which he now claims to be his own. Regardless, I forgive him. No one would be interested in hearing a 7th grade evaluation of Little Critter’s first trip to the dentist. Stealing my ideas is all the poor guy had left to do.

Furthermore, I decided to give this Midwest blog a little college educated vibe by letting all you kids and younger women who read this blog know what I’ve been reading lately.

My Custom Van – And 52 Other Mind-Blowing Essays That Will Blow Your Mind All Over Your Face by Michael Ian Black

I purchased this book after viewing the following youtube video regarding a taco party: The hilarity and compelling essays Black composed will likely make you put down the book (or Kindle) and vomit heavily from laughter. Soon thereafter, you will discover blood in your puke and be brought to the hospital. After about two weeks of testing, you’ll return home to find out it was nothing. Once you’re home again, you’ll pick the book (or Kindle) right back up from the blood puke stained carpet. Personal favorites of his essays are "Erotic Fiction: The Elevator," "This Is How I Party," and "A Series of Letters to the First Girl I Ever Fingered."

The anthology is made with love. If you know Micahel Ian Black from his comedy group Stella, Sierra Mist Commercials or cult-classic film Wet Hot American Summer – you’ll recognize his comedic wit immediately. He has excellent, unique writing skills coupled with perfect comedic timing. I recommend this book to anyone but my parents.

Eating Animals – Jonathan Safran Foer

Jonathan Safran Foer may be the best living author in the entire world, and I say that with extreme confidence. After reading Everything’s Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, I purchased Eating Animals without question. However, the book is different than what you might expect but a phenomenal read nonetheless.

The novel is a brilliant memoir-investigation about his struggle with vegetarianism. He looks into the intelligence behind the meat industry and organic farming, the economic reasoning behind commercial farming as well as the horrors of it all. The book glued me in when the meat industries terrifying procedures were explained but then backed up by true facts, which rightfully explain why those farmers do what they do. The book isn’t written towards strict vegetarians or only meat lovers, but rather, the book lays it all down in front of you for your interpretation.

The Sims 2 (MAC Computer Game) by EA Games

If you counted the hours I’ve played The Sims and published the statistic in a newspaper, I likely would never have a girl interested in me ever again. Regardless, I was looking for my German military jacket in a box in my garage when I found the box to this computer game. Sadly, the disc was not in it. This left me with two options: 1.) Pee on the box and then burn it. 2.) Read the box. I went with number two.

Issue one with this novel – There are ZERO compound sentences and really just a bunch of sentence fragments stringed together on the back of the box. If you like computer generated people pictures, you’ll like this book. However, The Sims 2 is not my cup of popcorn. I was done reading it after about 30 seconds, and the character development was terrible. After reading EA Game’s Of Mice and Men, I assumed there would be a more linear narration, but I grasped nothing of the sort from this crappy attempt at literature. But, hey, if someone finds the disc – let me know.

420 piped sneakers by Radii Footwear

I was browsing for Halloween costume accessories when I stumbled upon this non-fiction sneaker novel. Pretty fly, huh? Unlike The Sims 2, these sneakers have unparalleled word flow, which just bounces off the velcro straps. Do these sneakers have man-made materials and leather upper? Yes. Hi-top design? Yes. Padded ankle upper? Hell yes. Like other Raddi Footwear reading materials, there are always issues. Only sizes 9 and 9.5? What? Are we all little children? I give it 3/5 stars.

Velveeta Shells Cheese - 5/12oz. Packs by Kraft

A more difficult read than you’d expect. Kraft’s plot development was a big cluster of poop. On my first read, I never strained the noodles and ended up with a big pot of cheese water and fuck. Don’t buy this.

I’ll close with a quote from Uncle Buck

Buck Russell: You should see the toast. I couldn't even get it through the door.

Norman Rockwell Paintings

I've heard of Norman Rockwell, but I have never taken the time to look at some of his paintings, besides his famous self-portrait. The spectrum of topics he paints about is a lot larger than I imagined. Here are some of my favorites so far:

"Complete" Albums List

I just wanted to take a break in the day to talk about the best complete albums that I can think of off the top of my head. Nowadays, it's hard to find a group that can put together a solid album that is great to listen to from front to back. The whole driver behind releasing an album is to get a specific single out. Back in the day, hit singles were still really popular, but more weight was put on the composition of the album - it was a more holistic approach.

To prove a point that that way of thinking in the record industry isn't dead I've included some albums that I believe merit recognition because of their overall composition. These are not in any particular order:

  1. Amplified Heart by Everything But the Girl - An english boy/girl duo that performed in the 80s and 90s, this album was considered the last focused attempt towards an acoustic-driven set before they turned mostly electronica/house in the early to mid 90's. While always having consistently high quality, this album put them on the "mainstream music" map with the track entitled "Missing". The album is my favorite album of all time. It's good for a Saturday/Sunday morning when you feel like mosing around or going on a brisk, fall walk in the park. The lyrics are rich, content beautifully put together. I've listened to it so many times that it really has grown on me. I think it's a diamond in the rough - not sure if everyone would agree with me. Full disclosure: my parents listened to this album a lot when I was growing up. There is no doubt in my mind that it is one of the reasons I like it so much.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What's Mason reading?

I just want to take a moment to discuss what books I have read recently and what books are in the queue coming up. I'm not trying to review these books for you. Just trying to let you know what I'm reading on the Metro and see if they grab your attention or get your on radar...

Where you can find some pretty good popcorn

The American public craves popcorn. Popped kernels are considered such an extreme American delicacy that popcorn was recently listed as No. 7 on “The Top 20 Reasons Latinos Visit America” in USA Today. As a result, Popcorn has taken on a life of its own. We now hear new baby names such as “Kettle Corn” and “Unpopped Corn-Chris.” Snoop Dogg has used popcorn in 17 different verses over his music career. Needless to say, the corn has popped America’s kernel cherry since its arrival in the 1950s.

With popcorn at the height of it’s popularity and with a weak market, I’m sure average citizens are all asking, “Where can I get this stuff??” Tough question to answer but I think I can help. Although difficult to find outside of LA night clubs and New York operas, I have discovered some prime locations in the Midwest where you’ll be able to grab some pretty good p-corn. However, if you’re looking for Jiffy Pop - it doesn’t exist anymore. Just stop reading now, please.

The Zoo
Have you ever really looked into those gumball machines full of so-called “animal feed?” The label is false; it’s popcorn – rare and sought after Brazilian popcorn. Don’t be alarmed when it looks very grainy and a lot like owl poop, even if you find a skeleton of a small mole or mouse in it. The skeletons are not only good luck, but also mean you have some good kerns. The brown and dry texture comes from how it’s grown off of Brazil nut trees and plucked from deep within the bark. This type of popcorn is better eaten dry. You may microwave it but DO NOT put more than two kernels in at one time, because Brazilian popcorn has marshmallow-expanding qualities. In terms of price, usually one pays around $0.25/handful if you can get a good twist on the knob. Good luck getting out with it though, because zoo workers can smell it and will pad down your pockets when you leave.

Private Gardens
Local residents are never vocal about the amounts of popcorn they grow in their own backyards. In roughly 2 x 23 square feet, one small man can grow up to 7,000 kerns per day. However, without proper BB gun accuracy the rabbits will eat over half of that. Take a good look at rabbit poop, because it looks a lot like Brazilian popcorn but tastes a lot more like poop. Obtaining the popcorn from these gardeners is another story. You’ll need to know the password, which is “rabbit poop.” You’ll also need to know the online discount code, which is “Halo 3.” You also must be a pretty decent kisser, which I can’t describe on here without giving away all my secret moves (a-wink). In terms of price, you’re looking at $7 per 94 kerns.

The Store
Seriously, I just figured this out yesterday. I found literally BOXES of it at several grocery stores. The only issue with purchasing it from a local grocer is that it’s “powdered popcorn.” So, without water, you’re screwed.

Hot Topic
You normally wouldn’t want to be found dead near a Hot Topic with all those 50 year old plus parents in there, but the popcorn is worth the trip. This vendor is crafty. Hot Topic hides the p-corn in the pants they sell (both popped and still in kern form). In fact, they even keep creamed corn in the hats. Rumor has it Jiffy Pop bought out Hot Topic in order to combine their t-shirt line with corn. This buy is pretty easy, because Hot Topic sells extremely unattractive pants which no one purchases. Pants be a-hot for the pickin’. I have no idea on prices, sorry. I’m not allowed near there.

Enjoy my popcorn secrets and be safe.