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Music Monday

I’ll admit, I’m not crazy about this song – I just dig this guy’s look

There’s a playlist for these here.

And a playlist for all the Music Mondays here.

Only YOU Can Prevent a Social Life

Toastmasters speech number nine, Persuade with Power, is a speech where you focus on persuading the audience of something or getting them jazzed about some call to action. For my speech, I decided to persuade the audience they could sit around and do nothing, completely clearing their life of social obligations, by being an absolute weirdo which would lead to no more invites.

 

Picture this! You are a little more awake than you feel at this moment and you are beginning to let your mind skip ahead to the weekend. Your weekend … is free. No plans at all. And you are feeling pretty ambitious.

A friend texts, hike Saturday morning? Heck yes.

You bump into another friend, dinner Friday night? Sounds great!

There’s something you’re on the fence about for Saturday afternoon but you know what … yeah, let’s do it.

And then you get a reminder – don’t forget, you’ve got that thing going on Sunday night.

And now we fast forward to Monday morning and you’ve hit your alarm … where did the weekend go? How was it so go-go-go? This coming weekend, yes, this coming weekend I’ll just wake up and do … nothing. Sweet, glorious nothing.

But … those DANG social graces of yours. You’re probably thinking to yourself, ‘of course I’m getting invited out Brad. It’s my natural charisma. I’ll admit, I have smiled when passing the mirror and swooned. How can I possibly keep from having a full calendar?’

Have no fears. By the end of my speech you will leave here CONFIDENT that you will soon have a free weekend. My tricks will have you failing to impress at a cocktail party, or any number of social gatherings, in no time.

But who am I to give such a fool proof plan on failing to impress? What books have I read to teach me this? What training have I taken? (Fake chuckle) Don’t worry, been there, done that, haven’t been invited back.

For the purposes of this speech I will divide the world into four categories of people. There are the youth, the ‘surly folks’ (I’ll define that later), people you want desperately to impress, and your peers.

I

Let’s start with the youth.

For this group you may want to do some research. You want to have enough of an awareness of slang to really pain them when you use it. If your slang is outdated, then you’ve accidentally just impressed them because they’ll be so unaware of that slang that they’ll now claim your outdated slang as some cool new thing.

I’ll admit, my slang is already outdated. But I might try something like this:

Hey kids! Woah, look at those jeans, someone is looking rather fleekish. And it looks like somebody here has a few tomatoes on their little plate of snacks! Now that’s what I call YOLO! Because guys, really, you only live once, so eat a well-balanced diet. Ok, now, everyone tell me your favorite subject in school!

Overall, this category of people isn’t difficult, just try really hard to make them think you’re ‘cool’ and you’re guaranteed to fail to impress.

II

Let’s move on. The ‘surly types.’

These are the people that have a disposition that would make you think life is one giant waiting line at the DMV. They might come across as, at best, stoic, and at worst, openly disgusted.

Really, we could skip this section – the fact that you’re there, at all? You’ve already failed to impress them. But are we the type to merely content ourselves with success? No, I think we need to overwhelm them with a failure to impress.

I’ve got good news, and I’ve got better news. The good news is that this is an EASY group to fail to impress. The better news is that you’re about to learn some magic tricks.

Because you know what this group doesn’t like? Magic.

I want you to picture the person that comes to mind for this unbending, unhappy, lip-practically-curled-in-disgust-at-all-times person in your life – and visualize how they’ll react to the following magic trick.

(Two fingers bouncing back and forth and then lose one behind someone’s ear)

Remember, it’s not important if you get the magic trick exactly right or not, what is important is being a bother.

III

Next – people you want to impress. You might think failing to impress them could come naturally, but I have a counter example.

After college I was visiting a friend of mine and I met his boyfriend for the first time. We were having dinner and drinks and we’re out at a restaurant. One of my friends was trying to convince me to talk to a girl and I explained my disinterest in my own way, and the boyfriend piped up – ‘ohhhh! You’re BRAD! The non-game game!’

‘What?’ I asked.

‘Like, your absolute lack of game is … your game.’

This was a little insulting, but VERY accurate. But here’s the crazy thing, I’m married. CLEARLY there are people into the non-game game.

For this group, try being painfully aware of your body and every physical movement you do.

Picture two people up here talking, and I’ll show my interest in being a part of their conversation.

(Stand apart and stare – fake laughing sometimes, raising my hand at one point, whispering to myself … etc)

This one is tough. To fail to impress people with just nonverbal communication is an impressive feat, but I have confidence that, with time and practice, all of you can be creepy strangers.

IV

Last, but certainly not least, are your peers.

Your peers might be just as out of the loop about slang as you, and mistakenly think your bad use of slang is ‘cool’, your peers might actually think ‘magic’ tricks are enjoyable, and worst of all – you may end up in an uncomfortable stare-off with a peer before you realize it, and end up leaving the party having failed to not impress a single soul.

This is a difficult group to fail to impress, because if you don’t want to be there, they probably don’t either. They’re going to be forgiving of you being odd because they get it, too. For this group, you’re going to need to be confident, and I want there to be music playing in your head that doesn’t match any music that may happen to be playing in the room.

When all else fails, a good pun will do.

‘What is this, pâté? More like pâté-plus!’ (Self-high five.)

Conclusion

Social obligations are a part of life. Sometimes you’re going to be invited to something, and feel compelled to be there. Or, your ambitious self will make weekend plans only to later regret it.

You want people to think about their upcoming social event to consider you, exchange looks and say, ‘mmm … I don’t know if he’ll mesh with everyone else.’

If you remember nothing else about my speech today, remember I believe in you. I know that you can overcome the odds and truly fail to impress not just one person, but a WHOLE party of people gathered at a restaurant, a wedding, a house, even your own home.

Remember, only YOU can prevent a social life.

Music Monday

Tove Styrke – Say My Name

Big Wild – Aftergold feat. Tove Styrke

Kiesza – Hideaway (I dig the one shot nature of the video)

The Avalanches – Because I’m Me

P.S. See a playlist for this … here.

P.P.S. See a playlist for all Music Mondays … here.

April Haiku

April 1 (Saturday)
Max Colorado:
Making some granola bars
For Sunday trail jog

April 2 (Sunday)
Sunday errands done
Time to kick back, relax, and
Try hard not to nap

April 3 (Monday)
Bball done this year.
Oh yeah, there’s the NBA.
Eh. Basketball’s done.

April 4 (Tuesday)
Are the masters soon?
The whispering, the soft clap
The greatest nap track

April 5 (Wednesday)
Days of frustration
Before learning easy fix
Code drives me batty

April 6 (Thursday)
Wife hosting book club
I come downstairs to say hi,
Envy the snack tray

April 7 (Friday)
Friday night hijinks
Bingo hall with some buddies
My wife won a game!!

April 8 (Saturday)
Spotted on trail jog:
Friendly hikers, deer, llamas.
One of those … seems odd.

April 9 (Sunday)
Sunday starts with a …
Whimper? Some soft crying sounds?
Hurting from my jog

April 10 (Monday)
Canadian geese
Aren’t they supposed to migrate?
Ones here just loiter

April 11 (Tuesday)
Ran with a backpack on
Not only looked like a dork
But felt like one too

April 12 (Wednesday)
Work dinner tonight
Spouses are invited too
Fingers crossed they’re weird

April 13 (Thursday)
Friendos, life is good:
Frosted animal crackers,
And a glass of milk

April 14 (Friday)
Left work feeling good
Leaving like that on Fridays?
It’s hard to beat that

April 15 (Saturday)
Nearly done with jog
Misstep and roll my ankle
<This line censored out>

April 16 (Sunday)
Happy Easter, all
Big day for adults (message)
And for kids (candy)

April 17 (Monday)
Traffic reporters
Laughs while traffic pains described
Ah, schaudenfreude

April 18 (Tuesday)
Duolingo fun
Still trying to learn German
King of weird phrases

#IAmNotAPotato #IchNichtEinKartoffel

April 19 (Wednesday)
MY WIFE IS PREGNANT
Other stuff’s happening too …
But who cares? PREGNANT!

April 20 (Thursday)
National pot day
Time to get out there, potheads!
And then sit around!

April 21 (Friday)
Some friends visiting
Calls for RMNP trip
Seeing ALL the elk!!

April 22 (Saturday)
Hike to start the day
Eerie mist on the way up
Clear skies coming down

April 23 (Sunday)
Friends depart today
Quiet house, bloated belly
(We ate out a lot)

April 24 (Monday)
Social weekend done
Wonderful to hang out, now:
Hermit mode engaged

April 25 (Tuesday)
Life’s comprised of countdowns
Kid: summer break, Christmas, birthday
Now: three day weekends

April 26 (Wednesday)
“ECHOOOOO” she yelled out
Sass Canyon replied slowly
“Unnn-or-ig-in-allllll”

April 27 (Thursday)
Dog’s extra needy
Like a tiny, four-legged,
Smell making machine

April 28 (Friday)
Sometimes I wonder
Is a haiku too succinct
To allow me to

April 29 (Saturday)
It is impressive
How little I can get done
It just takes effort

April 30 (Sunday)
Snow is melting now
But, snow, please hang out some more
I don’t want to mow

Music Monday

This time I have a theme – French speaking artists. I really like the first three music videos (the songs and the videos themselves) … The last one is just because I always do four songs for these posts. I’m not saying you shouldn’t watch the video, it’s just entertaining in a laughing-at-you-not-with-you kind of way.

 

 

 

 

Toastmasters Speech #7 – Research Your Topic

Trash

Raise your hand if you know when you need to put your trash out for it to be collected? Raise your hand if you know how many pounds of trash you are throwing out each week?

It’s a testament to the efficiency and the management of trash that we don’t often know how much trash we are generating. We don’t need to, and there is no visible reason that seems to indicate we should know.

I’d like to talk a bit about trash though, because I think it is something that is worth having more attention.

There are going to be quite a few numbers, and overall it’s kind of depressing to think about – but I’ll give one example which will hopefully shed a light of good.

It’s not all bad news, but at the end of this, if there’s one thing I want you to leave knowing – it’s that we are generating a lot of trash.

 

Let’s get to the numbers, those exciting, fascinating, can’t get enough numbers.

According to the EPA, in 2014 there were 258 million tons of municipal solid waste generated.

That’s a lot – but it breaks down a little.

Almost 13% of that is combusted, which is defined as the conversion of non-recyclable waste materials into usable heat, electricity or fuel. It’s garbage, but it’s usable garbage.

About 34% of that is recyclable, so it is garbage that will live to see another day.

But, the remaining amount, about 52% … is going to landfills. The largest slice of this pie is ending up in a landfill.

 

The United States population in 2014 was put at 318.9 million people. Using the amount of trash and a little simple division, we can look at how much trash each American is contributing.

Over the course of a year each person creates 1,618 pounds of trash. For comparison, that’s about the weight of 5 NFL offensive linemen. Or, five of these guys. Those are big fellas.

 

If you don’t ordinarily measure things in terms of offensive linemen, then another measure which I imagine most people are familiar with is 50 pounds. Fifty pounds, for you savvy travelers, is what you can get away with for a checked bag before you have to pay extra money.

The portion of trash that we, yes, every single one of us, generates each year that goes directly to a landfill is 853 pounds.

That’s not 1, not 2, but 17 fully packed suitcases worth of weight that is trash. Trash that we are burying in the Earth.

 

I’m going to drill this point home one more time, and then we can move on.

If you look at the number of 1,618 pounds of trash every American generates every year, then what happens if we project that out into the future?

In 10 years, that’s 16,180 pounds. That’s a lot.

And, obviously, that goes up, and up, and up the more years you think ahead. If you look out 40 years ahead, I have a bit of great news from the department of irony – you will have generated about 64,000 pounds of trash which is what a dump truck weighs! Woah! How great!

 

That’s an awful lot of talk about how much trash we are generating.

The good news is that you can have an impact on this. Consider how much effort you are currently putting into reducing the waste you generate. Do you take a mental log of what you are putting into your trash can? Do you think about how you could make a few small changes to reduce that amount? Even something as simple as just beginning to think about this can make a difference.

I’ll give you an example of a small change that some of you may be able to make starting today.

When you go to a public bathroom that has hand towels, how many do you take? It’s trivial, but it adds up.

Let’s say you use a public bathroom where you are using a disposable hand towel four times a day.

Over the course of one year, if you use one hand towel … that’s 1,460 hand towels.

If you use two hand towels each time … double that.

I’m going to pretend no one here uses three because I’m neurotic and weird and I stare at people who use three thinking ‘who do you think you are? Your hands aren’t that big, pal, nor are they that wet. COME ON.’

And … In case you don’t know this – channel your inner Taylor Swift, shake it off, and now you only need one hand towel.

If you reduce your hand towel usage each time by one, and you do this for the next forty years, that only amounts to either 1.41 pounds less trash. All that extra effort, the hand flicking, the possibility of slightly damp hands … is it worth it?

Let’s revisit that there are 318.9 million people in the United States.

If ALL of us in the United States went from two hand towels to one, that’s about 448 MILLION POUNDS OF TRASH. Gone. Just like that. From one small, little change. 448 million pounds.

If you prefer smaller numbers, that’s 2.2 aircraft carriers.

 

As I said at the beginning of my speech – my main objective was to have everyone leave here knowing that we generate a lot of trash. Every single person, all 318.9 million US citizens, every single day.

Every week you put out your trash, you come home from work, and you push the empty bin back inside to be filled up again. It’s like magic.

But, that trash isn’t disappearing. It’s all going somewhere.

The good news is that we can improve things. Small changes, start small, look for little ways you can reduce the amount of trash you generate … And then, be proud of that, brag about it, make it something you want to tell your friends about, so that more and more of those 318.9 million trash generators will want to reduce their waste just like you.

 

Sources

https://www.epa.gov/smm/energy-recovery-combustion-municipal-solid-waste-msw

https://www.epa.gov/smm/advancing-sustainable-materials-management-facts-and-figures

https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-11/documents/2014_smmfactsheet_508.pdf

https://www.reference.com/vehicles/much-garbage-truck-weigh-17dc33699c400aab

 

Meryl Streep, Meghan McCain, and Another Unasked for Opinion

Last night Meryl Streep gave a speech that called President-Elect Trump to task for some things he has said and done, and it generated a lot of noise as a result. One bit of noise came from Meghan McCain’s Twitter account, where she said,

I agree with Meghan. She got a LOT of negative responses, so I’ll explain why I agree.

I think part of the Trump victory is due to a lot of people seeing him as a rejection of a PC-movement which they didn’t like. People going to corporate training to learn about ‘microagressions’ and how they can’t make jokes like this or that, and they were sick of it. Trump represents an absolute and loud rejection of any notion of being PC.

Personally, I think that’s bad. But I get why some people like that.

Sometimes people post something on social media talking about a situation where someone was racist, or sexist, or xenophobic, or any number of words that seem to be much more a part of today’s lexicon than they were 10 years ago (or perhaps that is my imagination). And people, who liked how things were and were comfortable and ok with it, didn’t like being told what once was normal is now considered offensive.

That makes sense to me – someone coming in and telling you that what you are doing is wrong is frustrating. Especially if that person is pointing this out to you as though you’re dumb or awful.

There are times that I have read a post and thought, ‘nuh uh, you’re just being dramatic.’ But then, ideally, someone has further explained what they were saying. WHY is this sexist? HOW is that statement that seems normal to me actually subtly racist? And the best is when I can observe this, question it, and learn without judgement. This is difficult to achieve – it takes a patient teacher AND student to tackle socially embarrassing and difficult topics like racism, sexism, and xenophobia.

People on both sides are making mistakes. Too many people point out wrongs of others in harsh and unforgiving terms. This makes it easy to reject any future conversations around the same topic. Someone who is more conservative who has been called narrow-minded and idiotic will have to summon even more patience to then hear a rational explanation of why their words, which they may have said without being aware that they could be perceived negatively, were actually offensive. And someone who has been called a libtard and gay for expressing frustration with Donald Trump will have a harder time explaining calmly why they are feeling frustrated.

Meghan McCain added to this, by writing a statement that had some truth to it but seemed intended more to get attention and rile people (she’s in the media, the media digs clicks, bingo, bango, bongo). But she’s kind of right – a rich, elite, liberal person saying that Trump represents some awful ideas? … That’s just going to have some people hunker down in their opinion that anyone speaking ill of him is actually wrong.

That said, I thought Streep voiced her opinion well and the people that will further embrace Trump after listening to her were maybe those who are unlikely to see another point of view at all anyhow (too steeped in their own opinion).

What’s my point? Calm down, listen, ask questions, try to understand the other side. It’s a much more interesting and good use of your brain to think about something you haven’t thought of – and who better to introduce you to such notions than someone on the other side of this far too divided us vs them climate we’re now in the abominable pleasure of living in.

 

Google searches of the word ‘racist’ from 2004 – present day

Google searches of the word ‘sexist’ from 2004 – present day (a marked increase)

Google searches of the word ‘xenophobic’ from 2004 – present day

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