Friday, January 27, 2012

Male Dating Advice: 5 Tips to Swoon Your Sweetheart

I wrote the following piece my sophomore year of college, and it was originally published as a part of St. Norbert College's Literary Magazine in 2009. I thought I would re-share my go to suggestions when friends come to me with women problems. Enjoy, kids.


Male Dating Advice: 5 Tips to Swoon Your Sweetheart

It's an undisputed fact nearly every guy at some point or another has been terrified to be in the company of a girl in a one-on-one setting. Whether it's a date, hanging out, throwing up or studying, most men always feel they need to be somewhat prepared for the event to ensure their first impression is a swell one. Although I believe you can work past a poopy first encounter, it's better to be safe than sorry.

Believe it or not, even I've been placed my feet in these sweaty palm shoes before. I've basically wet my diaper just thinking about how I'm going to act or what I should bring up in conversation. The truth is to just be you...except that's easier said than done.

Since I have such a vast knowledge of women, interpersonal communication and cute girl kissing alike, I thought I'd provide the "lady-killers-in-training" out there with some helpful tips on how to swoon them girls.

1.) It's ALL about the mustache

This isn't a joke. A mustache is the key to any girl's heart. When a man braces a furry caterpillar under his nose, he is telling his date that "I'm a man. A man with authority and one that has been around the puberty block a few times." Other men will find your mustache very intimidating. She'll notice their nervousness and realize she is in good care. Plus, it'll tickle her when you make-out.

If she makes a comment regarding your mustache being a little too much for her, consider saying something such as, "Don't be scared, baby. It won't bite," or try, "Wanna touch it? 'Cause it's real."

(Don't forget, gel never hurts it you're a man who likes a crisp, gooey upper lip.)

2.) Tell her every manly thing you can think of

"I installed a shit ton of drywall before I picked you up," is a classic one liner.

Girls love it when they know they are with a guy who isn't afraid to get his hands a little dirty. I've swooned thousands of girls just by mentioning small facts such as:

"I can probably bench the table we are at."

"When I was in high school, I kicked kids in the teeth like it was my job."

"I haven't pooped in weeks."

All of those are very impressive statements.

3.) Don't be afraid to take your shirt off

Many guys will wait to do this until they are back at her apartment, your tent or whenever to end up after the date. From experience, I can tell you that you should remove your shirt immediately. Perhaps when you are getting food you could take it off when she is looking down at her soup. When she looks up she will be a little frightened but very flattered. She'll most likely respond by making-out with you for 6-15 hours.

4.) If you have to fart, just cough to cover it

Let me tell you, this one is a life-saver, but it takes some practice. It's key to not fart before or after the cough but simultaneously. Beginners will usually get the fart-cough-cough order. Others may get the early cough followed by the fart, which is very funny but not effective.

I suggest practicing frequently. After 13 or 20 tries, you'll already be getting the cough-cough-end of fart. Once this art is mastered, you can just blame the odor on her. She'll probably believe you based on the success of your performance.

5.) Bring an interesting conversational piece

I'm not just talking about an elegant, thought-provoking topic such as masturbation but an actual object you and your date can use as a subject to discuss.

Consider these two situations:

You place a delicate, hand-made, polished, dark down vase on the dinner table. Your date's eyes are immediately drawn to it. As she is still staring at it, she asks you, "What's that?" At first, you play is cool and don't respond. Then with a sudden realization of what she is asking about you reply, "Oh, that? That's my grandma's ashes."

Your date returns to the dinner table after using the restroom and sees a large bowl of hair in the middle of the table. Her eyes gaze on it with strong curiosity. She doesn't say anything but her face expresses much confusion. So, you initiate, "Do you like it?" She responds, " that hair?" You unveil a gentle smile and say, "Yes, it's yours."

Other fantastic conversational pieces could be fingernail clippings, a baby (don't tell her whose), over-sized combs, button money, a lot of tree branches you found outside or a stack of fliers for a missing person but it's a picture of a kitten.

I'm going to assume all these tips will treat you well, and you'll soon be on your way to paying federal income taxes with her in no time...or owning too many cats to make up for your lack of ability to produce children. I will leave you with an appropriate quote...

"All of a sudden you're like the Bin Laden of America. Osama Bin Laden is the only one who knows what I'm going through." - R. Kelly

Monday, January 23, 2012

Death of Salesman: Avoiding Being a Willy Loman

I've recently been reflecting on my current life status, ultimate goals as well as how one's life often innately restricts a person's ambitions.

I hold very high expectations for myself, and I've come out of college miles away from where I anticipated I would be at this point in my life. There are not many post-graduates who set the bar low on their desire for success. However, "success" varies from person to person. "Success" could be starting a family, hitting grad school or landing a solid job. I also find it easy to judge friends or acquaintances on where they are in their life, and, usually, I never take the time to factor in determinants holding people back from their goals.

My goals, like many, are very high and probably unrealistic. I'm held back from taking my first, ample step in this direction due to a lack of financial backing. The lack of substantial capital is only one factor that can hold a person back from success. Some people are stuck where they are geographically for reasons such as taking care of a sick family member. Others may feel obliged to stay where they are because of a phenomenal relationship with a significant other. Deciding on what's more important, your ultimate life goals or a realistic living, never comes easy.

For example, let's say I stay in Wisconsin for the rest of my life. I marry someone I truly love, I finally land a respectable job with substantial compensation and start a family. This scenario sounds great, right? But what if I had a goal of working for ESPN or as a big time sports analyst, and instead of ever attempting to have more audacity against my life restrictions I'm 37-years-old wondering what I could have been.

What's the better path? You can only hope there is a balance between both. It's not necessarily that a significant other or your family wouldn't be supportive of your dreams, there are just often convincing life factors which create probable road blocks.

I'm often extremely jealous of people who have a much more simple life due to a lower scale of expectations. I currently work with an extremely polite, quiet and rather simple minded individual. This person and I recently had the following conversation:

Co-worker: Boy, I had quite the adventure last night.
Me: Oh, really? What did you do?
Co-worker: Well, a few of my friends and I started out by grabbing a drink at [insert random establishment I've never heard of].
(I begin to think to myself, "Okay, I could see this going somewhere." My co-worker continues their story...)
Co-worker: So, eventually we decide to go grab some food at Kroll's. And...
(My co-worker begins laughing so hard they cannot even finish the story. Yet, they rebuttal...)
Co-worker: Well, (they laugh again), the group of other friends we were just talking about walked right in the door as we were talking about them!
(My co-worker continued to laugh outrageously hard as I sat there)

No, this person didn't get in a car accident, one of their friends didn't get so intoxicated they decided to place that person naked in a corn field...rather, a minimal, coincidental situation occurred, which was high enough on their scale of excitement to be labeled "an adventure." And part of me is outrageously envious of this person. I feel one of my average nights out on the town would blow their mind. I'm not saying my co-worker's life expectations are lower than mine, but rather I'm extremely intrigued how their course to happiness is much more achievable.

As elementary as it is to negatively assess a person's success compared to yours, not everyone is looking for the same thing. Everyone is looking to live, and that definition will vary for everyone. My current life goals are at a disheartening, significant halt, and for the first time in my life I'm fairly embarrassed about who I am and what I'm doing. I'm even more impressed with my friends who are finding instant success out of college. Their accomplishments only make me want to reach mine quicker.

Many people who end up successful took some sort of risk to get to where they are, which likely required significant ambition. However, an equal amount of individuals took a step away from their perhaps far-fetched dreams to live a happy and more realistic life. Our goals can change as time goes on. You can only hope that 50 years down the road you aren't the strange person at the bar saying "I could have" statements to random strangers. We all want to be someone, we all want to be remembered.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Cabin Porn

I'm about to hop on an airplane. But, I wanted to share this with people. I've always wanted to have a cabin on a plot of acreage to call my own. This site helps move along the inspiration for what that cabin might look like...

...along with the inspiration from my Uncle's cabin up in Minocqua, WI.

This link is safe for work:

Monday, January 16, 2012

I've Been Spoiled as a Wisconsin Sports Fan

Being born and raised in Wisconsin, especially Green Bay, Wis., I find it difficult to not become fully invested in the sports world. Wisconsin sports pride is all around you from high school to professional affiliations. The people I know who are not as indulged into the sports atmosphere always tend to have fairly awkward moments when it comes to a big Wisconsin v. Nebraska football game or the Green Bay Packers facing off against the Chicago Bears. Nearly everyone around you has a general understanding and excitement for the game, and there you are unsure why you are even wearing a UW t-shirt. Regardless, we appreciate the support.

Yesterday, as I sat in my chilled seat at Lambeau Field and watched what was hoped to be one of the most epic seasons in Green Bay Packers' history painfully taken away, a surreal and somber wind hit me. I stood there with three of my best friends, sick to my stomach, our arms crossed, silent -- we took in the anticlimactic season as the stadium quickly emptied. The Packers weren't out-gunned by Drew Brees, they played uncharacteristic Green Bay football and a brutal game with big time mistakes to a team which made this moment feel all too familiar.

Instead of yelling, celebrating and joining other green and gold fans in the expected post-party, many of us retired home in disbelief. However, the current, disappointing feeling of having an unreal season abruptly end is so hard to take in because it's a feeling we are not used to. Since last season, the Green Bay Packer's NFC Championship and Super Bowl winning season, I feel I've been spoiled as a Wisconsin Sports fan.

Last year, Green Bay made an outstanding playoff run to take home the Lombardi Trophy. Packer fans were able to thrive in the glory. This utopia continued as the Packers pulled off 15-1 season. Talks from ESPN about an undefeated season, outrageous big plays and domination on the field cloaked over us. No one was saying the Packers didn't have their flaws, but I found it difficult to not roll around in the greatness of Green Bay. In addition, before the 15-1 season even began, a team many expected less out of became "the little engine that could" in MLB.

The Milwaukee Brewers, a team fans have painfully followed in recent years finally got it together. The Brewers are usually a heartbreaking team. They will play amazing baseball in the first half of the season, and then, suddenly, the clock strikes midnight and the Brew Crew turns back into a pumpkin and lets everyone down. However, last season the Brewers amounted a playoff birth and small post-season run. Much more then I ever would have expected out of them. The Brewers' success coupled with the Green Bay Packers' was euphoric. In addition, although not ending positively either, the Wisconsin Badgers football team made it to the past two Rose Bowl games. Many great things were turning up Wisconsin.

In my 23 years in Wisconsin, I cannot say there has been any other time I have had this much fun following Wisco sports. Now, that much of it is over, I will cling to my heavy devotion for the Marquette Golden Eagles Men's basketball season (Sorry Bucky, it's not that I dislike you, I'm just MU all the way). The hangover from yesterday's loss at Lambeau will likely take a while to recover from as I avoid ESPN for an extended period of time. Regardless, I was lucky enough to witness a Super Bowl win, 15-1 season, an epic NLDS series win and two trips to the Rose Bowl.

If Wisconsin had taken home a second Super Bowl, a World Series Championship and two wins in Pasadena, Wisco and all its flannel would be wilding out for the next year.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Reading List - Early January

Caitlin was being an awesome girlfriend, as she always is, and got me an Amazon Kindle Fire for my birthday/christmas. Having gotten it, I decided to buy a $39/year student membership to Amazon Prime. Along with having access to movies and tv shows (the content is good but not as robust as Netflix) I get access to Kindle Owner's Library and free two-day shipping on any material purchases I make on Amazon. The cool thing about the Owner's Lending library is it allows me to borrow a book a month. The list of books I have the ability to borrow is actually pretty expansive. For my first borrow, I went down the list of best sellers and saw Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond. It's a Pulitzer Prize winner, so it can't be too bad. I just started reading it on the bus today so I will update you guys more as I get deeper into the content of the book.

I have gotten about halfway through the Autobiography of Malcolm X and had to put it aside. I know, I know it's the same thing with Atlas Shrugged, but I'm just not feeling it right now. All he has been talking about is the "hustle" and "jungle fever". Just from his testimony about his young adult life, you can tell that he was a deeply intense person and never half-assed anything. I just got bored with all the drug talk. I'll get back into it sooner or later because I know it gets better.

Over Christmas break, after receiving the Kindle Fire, I ordered the graphic novel Watchmen. A lot of people will recognize the name from Zack Snyder's Watchmen movie in 2009. Everyone was still hung over from the movie 300 three years earlier and we all wanted this to be the morning bloody mary to get back into the swing of things when it came to the ultra-violent, stylized CG genre. It was good. I thought it was good. But after reading the graphic novel itself, the movie's rendition of the actual story is just outright limited in its scope. I'm not into comics, but the storyline coupled with the illustrations is just awesome. This is especially accentuated by the bright, clear screen of the Kindle Fire.

A comment on the characters and storyline: Dr. Manhattan is one of the coolest god-like characters in any story that I've read (I can't think of any other comparisons at this time because he is literally God in the book - the only difference is he isn't worshipped and he doesn't know if he has/wants a stake in human life). His episode on Mars is just wild. The other main characters get their exposure through the main plot in addition to random articles of their own writings, newspaper articles, somewhat untidy writings that end most of the chapters in the book.

Not to give you a spoiler or anything....but...the climax of the book is touched upon in the second half of the Peter Joseph interview on Joe Rogan's podcast. All things aside, that podcast is pretty interesting covering the Zeitgeist movement. Ah, I digress.

All in all, check out the book. It's a graphic novel/extended comic so it is not intended for readers under 16!

I also read The Stranger on a Megabus on my ride home for Christmas break. It was a good, short novella. Came to an abrupt end, but nevertheless it's a good look into the world of absurdity.

I'm going to get back to reading Guns, Germs, and Steel. I'll comment on it once I'm all good and done. And can someone please score a touchdown in this National Championship game!



Thursday, January 5, 2012

Mason's Schedule

I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays. Turning the page over to another year, I just want to give a break down on some trips that I have planned for the first half of the year. They are as followed:

1. Driving up to the UP for a day of skiing at Blackjack and then down to Green Bay, WI for a playoff game (GB vs. ATL/NY). Head back to the Twin Cities late that Sunday or early Monday morning. Should be a wild commute, but well worth it.

2. Flying Omaha, NE for work. I am hoping that the Packers will get into the NFC championship and I will be able to enjoy watching the game, loud and proud, somewhere in a bar in downtown Omaha. Later on in the first half of the year I'll fly to New York, NY for a business trip, also.

3. Shipping off for a skiing excursion to Denver, CO. Skiing at Copper Mountain/Vail/Beaver Creek. I'm really looking forward to this one. I get to ski with some really fun, great people and hopefully the weather will be terrific.

4. Flying to Grand Caymen for a vacation with the Carrigans. Looking forward to hanging out on the Seven Mile Beach and enjoying the warm weather.

I got to try and keep this going for the latter half of the year...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Another Ode to Coffee Shops

In November, Mason wrote an entry regarding coffee shops, and the on-going debate between anti-corporate, Starbucks and other competitors. Like many people, I'm along with Mason in hitting these "let your hair down" locations. However, coming into any coffee joint has never been easy for me.

I'm currently sitting in Luna Cafe, a phenomenal coffee shop in De Pere, Wis., which is a short walk from St.Norbert College. Luna is a must among students and the greater college community. I never went to Luna very often until my senior year, and I say the same for corporate coffee establishments. Something about sitting on a laptop, composing a journal entry about your dead dog "Kyle," ordering an outrageously specific coffee drink in an obscurely "hip" setting never appealed to me. Yet, here I am, blending in with the old douche-bags pretending to be young as they jot down notes and attempt to hit on the posh, possibly attractive girls dressed like they grew up in a thrift store near the forest. These epicenters of counter-culture and caffeinated drinks have gradually grown on me.

My love for coffee is embedded in my DNA down to my toenails. I prefer coffee black and often. I like my coffee how I like my women; strong and from Denny's. My friends have always been rattled when I order a coffee post dinner or how my family of six downed six pots of coffee respectfully on Christmas morning. As blue is to Babe the Ox, coffee is to me. I know my good coffee, but that doesn't mean I won't settle for swept up grounds off a shop floor. However, small coffee shops like Luna and even your over-priced corporate shops make some amazing brew. So, the quality of coffee from niche joints was the first hook to keep drawing me back. What began to reel me in further was my innate frugal traits.

Luna, for example, is very responsibly priced. If you sit down for a simple cup of coffee, it's one dollar for the initial mug and only twenty-five cents for refills. If you bring five dollars with you, you'll have had enough mild laxative to poop out your colon. In addition, these groovy settings bring in an outrageous crowd. Sad women reading newspapers, exchange students playing Farmville, unemployed uncles wearing scarves -- the list goes on. If you are seated in a proper position, coffee shops are ideal for people watching.

Like a retail store, coffee joints morph their customer's state of minds. In many cases, some of my best writing has been done at Luna, but this doesn't discredit the fact many individuals are still going to Starbucks with their laptop to let everyone know they are writing, studying or being productive. It's sad individuals reach a point where they need the sensual recognition from strangers to gain self worth in their daily tasks. Regardless, through time you eventually get over the hump off the "touch of the world" crowd around you.

At one point I realized these strange people are doing what makes them happy. Whether it's having a latte and thinking about their dad or catching up with a friend, this easy to judge crowd is just like you; enjoying the free time they have.