Writing in my Journal, Writing in General

journal writing work ethicWrite More, Do More

I was just writing a quick page in my journal, I’m trying to write at least a page in there each day to build the habit and just get random ideas on paper. I finished the page by saying maybe I’ll try my hand at some video editing and production, but the writing with help with that planning, so I should write first and make some video if I get inspired. I followed that up with a statement up the side of the page, inspiration is work ethic. It stuck out to me. I wrote it over. I’m still thinking about it. Continue reading “Writing in my Journal, Writing in General”

Creators in my Youth and Now

space ghost coast to coast and c martin croker

Space Ghost Coast to Coast’s Influence

Earlier this week I found out that one of the people who was largely responsible for the creation of Space Ghost Coast to Coast passed away. C. Martin Croker voiced Zorak and Moltar, two of the four pillars of the show along with Brak and Space Ghost himself. I’ve been thinking for the last few days about how much of an influence that show had on me in my youth, even though I probably didn’t get most of the humor, and how interesting the world of creators is today as compared to in my youth.

I remember watching a ton of the original Space Ghost show when I was younger, along with the likes of Thundarr the Barbarian, and how they captivated my imagination. The space setting of Space Ghost and the dark fantasy setting of Thundarr were still new and intriguing to me, especially in cartoons. They could do anything on the screen, where live action media was limited by real life. Then, likely years after Space Ghost and the like had lost their appeal to me, I found something with the same cast of characters but in a late night talk show format. They interviewed real people and pulled shenanigans on each other, all the while introducing me to a new form and level of humor. The show had a tremendous impact on me and is probably the reason I’m still so interested in animation today. I was not a super fan by any means, but it still saddened me that I had never even heard Croker’s name before.

Our Relationships with the Creators We Love

That brought up the contrast of now and then in context. Back then, between the state of tech and my age, I would’ve had no idea how to even begin to be any sort of devoted fan. Croker had a hand in a bunch of shows that I love, but I had no clue. I was too young to work on finding out more about the crew and probably barely comprehended that there was a team behind its creation. I don’t know if it was just my youth or the lack of available information at the time, but looking into the creators never crossed my mind. I just knew the characters.

Now spin up to 2016, the internet and social media may have their issues, but creators and their fans are able to connect on many levels besides a single piece of art. I look up information about anything that piques my interest. I can look at that creator’s past and see what they’re up to now, even get book recommendations and little quips from them on Twitter. Unfortunately, the public nature of creators now has two sides and is often abused by people who are mad at the world for whatever reason. On a more optimistic note, if Space Ghosts Coast to Coast was on today, I’m confident I would’ve been more familiar with C. Martin Croker and his work. I like that idea.

I’ve matured in the time between now and then. Now I realize there are some amazingly people behind the art that I love and has shaped who I am. Whether a writer, comedian, journalist, voice actor, or animator, I am gracious for my contemporary ability to send some kudos their way and directly let them know that they’re kicking ass.  Too many people let the art that they enjoy just slip by. In the digital age, we have to ability to do so much more, as shown by Patreon and similar services. Let creators know when you appreciate them and the way they’ve influenced you, I like to think that gratitude and can to influence them just as much as they help to shape us. At the very least, I hope it keeps them motivated and hungry.

Everyone can use a little word of thanks from time to time, like a gracious kick in the ass.

Image credit goes to Gizmodo

Working Toward a Minimalist Life

I’ve never been much into possessions beyond the essentials and I am fascinated by efficiency, so a minimalist approach to life is definitely appealing. I’ve been experimenting for quite some time on implementing a more minimal lifestyle.

I’ve got quite a few ideas that I’m working on right now in regard to limiting my acquisition of things. The idea is to cut out anything that just sits around and cut out things that I already have sitting around. My basic approach is to keep track of what I’m using and how frequently I am using it. If I get a large amount of use out of an item and always remember the last time I used it, it seems worth having around to me. I also keep track of stuff that I never use and make a mental note to get some use out of it. If acknowledging it and consciously trying to get some use out of it doesn’t get me to value an object, then I sell it on Craig’s List.

I love selling things on Craig’s List. What you’re selling doesn’t have to have that much value or prestige attached to it, selling something less appealing can be more fulfilling, you really have to showcase it for what it is and it’s appeal and wait for the perfect buyer to come along. In most cases, the things I’ve had listed for the longest have had the most enthusiastic buyers. They’ve thought about the type of item for awhile and suddenly stumbled upon it online and in their area. It can be a pretty cool experience.

I’ve got another approach in mind as well, it’s way more about instant gratification though. Keeping track of possessions and use cases can be a pain in the ass and sometimes it’s pretty obvious what the end result of a certain possessions evaluation will be. I heard about an idea not too long ago that I really liked, and recently found out that Derek Sivers originated it. The basic idea is that whenever you need to make a yes or no decision, just think of it as a Hell Yes! or no decision. This is a quick way to measure your enthusiasm for the subject, if its borderline and you’re not really into the idea, it’s a no. Why even bother with something if it’s a lukewarm yes, life is too short.

The same idea can be applied to everything you own. Simply look at it and decide, do you want to keep it? Hell yeah or no. That’s it, anything that you aren’t enthusiastic about I can almost guarantee you aren’t using much and can either be sold or donated.

I also look a certain way at anything that I want to purchase. In most cases, I’m replacing something that I already have and use.This is a bit extreme for some people, but I’ve paid for a ton of stuff by selling whatever I’m replacing it with prior to or after the purchase. Even just considering these options makes me put more value in every buying decision that I make and I make many fewer frivolous purchases. I’ve convinced myself away from purchases many times by avoiding what would otherwise be an impulse buy.

Generally for me, I just find stuff to be distractions unless it has a genuine use. I’m not completely utilitarian though, some of my stuff I just look at and reflect on pretty regularly, that’s a use to me as long as it’s offering me value. There’s also my fiancée to consider, she’s into the idea but maybe not as much as I am. We’re working on it together though.

Have you ever thought about cutting down on your physical possessions before or have you already? What’re your thoughts and how did you get rid of everything, a simple donation or did you have some fun selling it? Let me know in the comments below!

Buying a PS4 to Play Exclusives in the Most Efficient Way Possible, Then Getting Out of It

I bought a PS4 not too long ago off Craig’s List from a guy who turned out to live just down the street. I had one prime reason motivating me to pick it up. As you saw from my last post, I’m into the Dark Souls series and it was worth it for me just to check out Bloodborne. I absolutely loved Bloodborne and it in itself made the system worth it, but I also got  ton more value out of the system while I had it.

My main motivation for getting a PS4 was to play Bloodborne, yes, but I had also heard that a huge amount of Xbox 360 owners had swapped them for PS4s this console generation. I’m a hug fan of the 360, as a lot of you probably are, and I was curious about what the draw was for so many people to move away from Microsoft and th Xbox one and embrace the Sony side. I started looking on Craig’s List or PS4s that were for sale in my area. I did get a little more antsy than I prefer on this search once I budgeted the money, but I found a good deal on a PS4 in excellent condition with all the starting gear, an extra controller and 5 somewhat appealing games for $330. In the brief time I was looking, this was the best deal and ended up only being about a half mile from my apartment.

I took some of the games that came with the system for a brief spin , specifically Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, and had a pretty good time, but I  had to get my hands on a copy of Bloodborne ASAP. Aside from Bloodborne, I got some other perks with my new system, namely a free 14 day PS Plus membership and a week of free Playstation Now. I love these trial because, coming from Xbox 360, I was curious what these services would offer in comparison.

I waited a few days to activate my free 2 weeks with Playstation PLus in order to get the free games of 2 separate months, boy did I get lucky with that timing.  I immediately got a copy of Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeros, and extended demo of the Fox Engine that I had been very curious about but didn’t want to try out on the last generation, and then I hit the jackpot and scored about 10 days with Rocket League. Metal Gear Solid was great, if a little short lived, but rocket League is a boatload of fun and a huge thing missing from my current Xbox One experience. I managed to get hooked on Rocket League enough during the remainder of my 2 week trial of PS Plus that I now still google “Rocket League Xbox one” every few days.

With my other trial perk, Playstation Now, I waited until after finishing Bloodorne to activate it so there would be no distractions. I have heard for years that “The Last of Us” is a prime example of an argument for video games as art for mainstream consumers and I was excited t give it a spin. The games relatively short length also made it a prime candidate for a game that I could start and finish during a 7 day trial of PS Now. I’ll get to my deeper thoughts about “The Last of Us” in another post, but it was a perfect use of the subscription and an incredible experience by the ed of it, to say the least.

After sucking all of that value out of my Soy PS4 over the course of about a month, I sold it on Craig’s List and made $20 more than I had invested in the PS4 bunde and my copy of Bloodborne, nt a significant profit but still nice given how I did everything that I wanted with a PS4. Anyone can give something a trial period by searching for a deal on Craig’s List and being open to selling it if it doesn’t pan out. Most of the time you can at least break even with electronics if you do your research and sometimes you can make a decent profit, like I did when I bought a Nintendo 3DS bundle for $45 and then sold it for $120.

If you’re curious about a product, give it a quick search on Craig’s List or eBay, figure out the average sale price and try to find something in  good condition for less than that. That way, if you decide t keep it you got a good deal and if you want  to sell it, odds are you can get your money back. I’ve done this time and time again to check out products, mostly electronics. Electronics remain pretty liquid if you’re in an area that embraces them, most of which do currently.

I  bought my PS4 bundle for $330 and then spent another $30 on Bloodborne, $360 total spend. I sold it within a few days of listing it for $380, so I got everything I anted out of it an still made $20 off the experience. That may not be too significant, but it’s a pretty good deal in my book.

3 Functional Features You Should Look for in a Beer Glass

tulip glass craft beer

Craft Beer Glassware Has Been Proven to Enhance Your Drinking Experience

Craft beer is a growing rapidly in the U.S. and worldwide with over 15% of the beer market that has long been dominated by the macro breweries like Anheuser Busch and Miller-Coors. Along with the growth of America’s taste for craft beer, so has the appeal of glassware specifically designed to accentuate the flavor and aroma of your favorite beers. Many people think that beer specific glassware is all about the marketing, brands want you to be seen with a glass bearing their logo, that’s true in some circumstances. Pint glasses are incredibly popular because they’re cheap and durable, but they’re meant for water not beer. A ton of brands choose to brand pint glasses for the same reasons, but pint glasses have none of the glassware features that can enhance your drinking experience. Here’s a breakdown of the features that will optimize your beer drinking experience.

1. The Stem

Stems aren’t just for wine glasses! You wouldn’t believe how much heat is transferred from the palm of your hand into your beer when you’re using a pint glass, stem in glassware allow you to either hold the beer or the stem so you can mange its temperature accordingly. Stems don’t have to be dainty and impossibly thin glass components, they can be any part of a glass that narrows so that as much of your beer is protected from your hot hands as possible. This makes glasses with stems even more important fro summer day drinking.

2. The Bulb

The part of the above tulip glass that looks like a light bulb. It protects the flavor and the aroma of your brew and aims it right wear you want it. A bulb directs a beers signature aroma out of the center of the top of the glass right where your nose is while you drink so that fully experience its aroma. The narrow top of a bulb has been proven by Japanese researchers to catch ethanol vapor around the rim of the glass to keep it as part of the flavor and prevent it from interfering with the beers proper aroma. 

3. A Narrow Mouth

Head is an exceedingly important part of your beer, that’s why a perfect pour still has a healthy head on top. The head of a beer protects the flavor and aroma from air and oxygen after its been poured out of the bottle or can. A narrow mouth on a beer glass promotes the perfect head on every pour and helps to keep it around for longer after its initial pour. This keeps your beer tasting fresh for as long as possible, which is just great.
 
 These 3 simple features allow you to get the most out of every beer you drink, whether it’s Pliny the Elder or Miller High Life. And, despite all the benefits for your favorite beer, these glasses are barely more expensive than the branded pint glasses you were about to pick up and there’s actually functional reasons to spring for them. Most people don’t want to get a glass for every beer variety, and for most of us that isn’t at all necessary. A nice tulip glass will complement every beer variety with each of the features listed above. 
 
Keep you pint glasses for water and soda, but when you’re enjoying a beverage that real work and craftsmanship when into, get a glass that can handle the responsibility. Let me know what you think in the comments below!

 

Beer or Cars? He Asked…

Beer vs cars

Choosing Between Passions Based on Culture

I recently got an amazing opportunity to take on an internship at the Brewers Association in Boulder working on and writing about promoting craft beer through the great avenue of CraftBeer.com. I was honestly ecstatic at the opportunity and jumped through some hurdles to take advantage of it. My previous full-time job, which I’m still working at part time, is marketing and promotion for a local car dealership. Now, I honestly am fascinated with cars, but content creation and marketing for a car dealership isn’t exactly a position at Jalopnik, and car dealerships don’t have much their allowed to say that’s at all interesting. I’m not saying that it hasn’t been a fantastic opportunity, it getting more and more difficult to get into an actual marketing job, and it very well may have paved the way for great things to come. But anyway, when I was talking to my supervisor about starting an internship in the craft beer world, he said something along the lines of, “I guess you just like beer more than car…” and I’ve been thinking about it ever since, its a good question.

The Cultures We Can Work In

They’re obviously not very comparable in many ways beyond being topics that interest a large number of people, but I’m going to give it a shot to break down my thoughts.

I have loved cars since a young age, (+1 for cars because its generally a bad thing if you love beer since a young age) and my fascination has grown and developed as I have. Like all kids, I judged cars by the look of them, then I got into the numbers and specs that come along with bigger engines and advances in technology, now I just love the feelings cars give people. You don’t have to be driving a Ferrari to have the time of your life behind the wheel, you just have to love the vehicle your driving. Although, I do think a stick shift rally help in every case.

That’s where my supervisor at the car dealership loses me, I love cars for the culture behind them, but that really has no link to the convoluted mess that is car dealerships. Working at a dealership or a service center are the most universal ideas of “cars jobs.” I naively thought that marketing for a dealership would be more along the lines of what I’m interested in, it was in some small ways but not significantly. The kind of car job that I want is hard to come by but I can work at it.

I love craft beer and homebrewing, many people do, as the craft beer movement rages as more and more people are sharing their passion with others. Beer has been at the center of many cultures and that’s no different today, but now it’s the minority in the market that getting the attention. Budweiser still dominates the majority, but you don’t hear many stories about their new products and innovations. It’s an exciting time to beer in the beer industry, and the culture surrounding it is the reason why. I love cars and business but right now, the business of beer is where I want to be. We’ll see where it leads me…

A Rabid Fan and his Newcomer Girlfriend Go See Furious 7

Furious-7 Poster

I Finally Saw Furious 7

Last Saturday night I finally got my chance to experience Furious 7! I went with my girlfriend Abby due to a condition of our relationship formed after she refused to see the 6th installment of the series with me, it was her first experience with the Fast and Furious series. She loved it! But not for nearly the same reasons as me, she was just now forming connections with the extensive cast of characters and somewhat enjoys driving but is not at all interested in cars. We both loved the movie, but for very different reasons.

I love cars, I work as a content creator and marketer for an automotive company and love researching and driving cars, mostly of the everyday driver variety, so I especially love the fantastic take on cars and driving that the Fast and Furious franchise has adopted. Anything is possible with these cars, from stunts including cars skydiving out of a plane to the incredible, out of this world, customizations that they achieve to keep the movie cars far away from anything that you could see on the road on a daily commute.  I’m a huge fan of everything Vin Diesel does, so I am heavily biased, especially toward the Fast and Furious series.
Given my fandom, I love talking about the series and get excited whenever a new one comes out, no matter what number is attached to it. But even with my tremendous excitement about the series and the record breaking amount of tickets and cashflow generated consistently by the movies, I still have friends who aren’t open to seeing a new Fast and Furious movie. Maybe they just think I’m into the movies because I have been since the beginning, but there are still installments that I’m not cray about, I’m not blindly devoted to them and  I’m somewhat picky with the movies that  even take the time to watch. So, when I told my girlfriend Abby that she had to go see the 7th movie with me when it came out the day I saw the 6th one in theaters or else we were breaking up, it was the start of my experiment to see how someone with dissimilar interests to me as to what I enjoy from the movie will think of it.

 

Since making that deal, I’ve tried a couple times to get her to watch some of the movies that lead up to furious 7 to no avail, she’s not crazy about watching movies to stat out with o it’s pretty difficult to get her to commit to anything she’s not excited about. But, she agreed to go see Furious 7, we didn’t end up going until it had already been out for a week, which actually ended up being beneficial as she looked into some reviews and scores and saw how much people (outside of me) were praising the movie. When we finally decided to go after I had been on the edge of my seat waiting for a week, she was actually pretty excited to see it and probably to get me to shut up about it.

 

I loved every second of it, which is to be expected. I’m invested in the series an love the characters and they reliably outdo themselves with the stunt work every time. Moments I loved include the insane stunt like the sky dive onto the road and the retrieval of the hacker girl and the flying Lycan in Dubai, but also that moment the second time when Vin Diesel and Jason Statham are charging each other and Dom pops a nuts torque wheelie, because I called it as soon as they lined up.

 

My Girlfriend Loved Fast and Furious 7!

Abby, while she enjoyed the stunts, loved some other parts, particularly the funny one liners from Tyrese specifically. “Can I check my email real quick?” I’ve always found Fast and Furious movies entertaining in all ways with a small comedy element included, but they were some of the instances where she responded most strongly which I found interesting. People always tell me they haven’ seen the Fast and Furious movies because they’re not as into cars as me, but this is some proof that there’s really something in them for everyone to enjoy. Though, as we were walking out, Abby said that the movie gave her a small glimpse into why I get so excited about cars. Now, I don’t know if that’s an at all accurate or healthy glimpse into my fascination, but its a start…

Bonus Video: Live Action Bambi (Because you should watch it if you haven’t)

Images and Trailer Courtesy of Universal Studios and SNL