“What do you like to write about? “

Posted: November 6th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on “What do you like to write about? “


Whenever I tell people that I have a blog, or that I want to be a writer, that’s usually the first question they ask. Well, that or “Really? You think you’re that good?”. Very supportive cast, I know.

Most recently, NaNoWriMo has everyone talking about their progress or ideas for novel writing, and it’s inspired me to take action as well. Instead of attempting a masterpiece of fiction that I was reasonably certain I would not complete, I put out an offer to guest-post on anyone’s blog, thinking it might be particularly helpful to those making their own NaNo attempts,

Right away I received responses asking me what I want to write about. So far I don’t have an answer.

I mean, I previously wrote about the blogs I read, and what that says about me. I’ve written about my interests, but that’s just my wanting to say something and hopefully you not beeing too awfully bored with it.

True, I have certain topics that I write about more frequently (movies, comic-books, dude stuff) or more passionately (urbanism, neighborhoods, sports), but given an entirely blank page, what would I choose to fill it with? Especially if I was given only one chance.

::yes, feel free to queue the Eminem music now::

See, the thing is, I usually write about whatever seems interesting to me in that moment. If something is irritating me, or inspiring me, or confusing me, I’ll write about it to figure it out. It’s not a math problem, I don’t have to know the answer, but I do like to show my work.

Back in January I made myself a list of things I wanted to improve with this site in 2010. The top of that list was items like:

more regular features (failed)
more community (nope, not making good progress there)
don’t be afraid of long posts
more relevant

Well, hopefully I’m doing pretty good on that last one, otherwise I need to go back and kick my own ass for being a slacker this year.

However, never once did I tell myself that I wanted to become a topical blog, mostly because I know that I like to talk about anything under the sun, and limiting myself here only seemed like it would lead to having to create separate blogs for each topic I wanted to contribute to.

I guess, a lot like this blog overall, my post today doesn’t really have a topic, other than to be a mea culpa. Yes, I ramble. Yes, I’m random. Yes, I tend to find an idea and work on it right away, then not go back to it. But hopefully at least I’ve entertained and maybe inspired people along the way as well.

What does your RSS Reader say about You?

Posted: March 30th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

I’ve recently had a few conversations about RSS feeds, how many blogs is a standard number to subscribe to, self-promotion overkill and 1 really gigantic “subscribe to me” button.

So this morning, as I was thinking of what to read, and absent mindedly scrolling through my reader, I pondered, what does this list say about me.

Does someone’s blog reader hold the same window into their mind as their Bookshelf does?  How about their cd/dvd collections?

Well, let’s take a look at how I spend my blog-reading time:

  • Culture/Entertainment Blogs:  2
  • Funny Pictures: 1
  • Computer Blogs: 1
  • People I know or met IRL:  3
  • Cool Phoenix People I haven’t met: 4
  • Poker Blogs:  2
  • Design Blogs:  3
  • Video Game Blogs: 3
  • Random Personal Blogs Someone Recommended: 3
  • Blogs about Blogging: 3
  • Flickr Feed: 1

Having made that list, one thought is to summarize me as someone who’s “nerdy”, “environmentalist”, and into gaming, reading, and blogging.  And clearly I’m interested in the view points of people who live near me.  And you wouldn’t be wrong.

But then I looked at the categories that only had 1 blog, and those are honestly the ones where I find the most stimulating content, and/or have followed for the longest time.  Perhaps I only follow 1 blog in that genre because the 1 I follow does it well and there’s no need for more….

(This is Day 7 of the 30 Day Blog Challenge, be sure to check out the other participants at #30DayBC)

Blog Challenge To Do List

Posted: March 27th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

As I’ve mentioned at the bottoms of my last two blogs, I’m accepted @iaagustin‘s 30-Day Blog Challenge.  So now I figured I might want to do a little bit of organizing, so that I’m not just sitting her thinking, “crap, I HAVE to blog SOMETHING, what can I think up on the fly?”.

(between you & me, I’m pretty great at thinking things up on the fly, but you never want to exhaust your powers, right?)

Ok, so here’s a list of what I figure I’ll do to fill the days.

Day 1: done
Day 2: done
Day 3: also done
Day 4: this baby right here
Day 5: well…. what do ya got?

Okay, so I’m not good enough at planning to know day by day what will inspire me, but I definately have some topics I want to explore. Here we go:

  • Finish off the drafts I never finished   (7 Posts)
  • Baseball Season Starting    (3-5 Posts)
  • Green/Urban/Environmental/Sustainable Topics  (3-5 Posts)
  • Why I Like Comics   (1-3 Posts)
  • News & World Events (1-3 Posts)
  • Weekly 5 Things (4 Posts)
  • Dear Ryan Weekly (4 Posts)
  • Review the Challenge Post

There we go; that comes out to just about 30 posts or more.

Hopefully over the next month I can make some discoveries as I force myself to write consistently.

Hopefully I can also entertain while I do it.

Let me know when you think I’ve failed one of those.

(this is day 4 of the 30 day blog challenge)

Your Inner Superman

Posted: March 26th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

We all know Superman, “Mild-Mannered Reporter” Clark Kent’s alter-ego.  Beneath the surface Kent always has his super-powers at the ready, to pitch in when disaster calls.

But what about the rest of us.

Certainly we all have talents and abilities that we don’t broadcast.

Here’s my list:
– Incredible BS/Gift-of-gab ability
– Extremely powerful eyebrows and facial expressions
– near-mythical efficiency

(all adjectives are thematically exaggerated)

What’s your Superpower?  What do you have laying right below the surface?

(this is day 3 of the 30 day blog challenge)

#Zombietalk Thursday

Posted: March 25th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , | Comments Off on #Zombietalk Thursday

Pretty sure this list is borrowed from the “Zombie Apocalypse Survival Guide”.

On the brightside

Posted: March 23rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Comments Off on On the brightside

This blog was actually from 2/23.  I just forgot to hit submit back then.

All postive things that happened to me today:

– got to sleep in, including a glorious “what-time-is-it/roll-over-back-to-sleep” combo

– long hot shower

– great weather outside

– time to sit casually at the Lola Coffee and work on my blog

– great coffee & scone: acheived

– stole foursquare mayorship of my favorite coffee shop

Early Morning Connundrum

Posted: March 13th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »

Another morning and I once again find myself awake at the GF’s home, wondering what to do that won’t be invasive.

Background: Anie always sleep more than me. It’s not that she’s some kind of Slothy Sleeperson. Actually, it’s my fault. Whereas she prescribes to the as-advertised 8 hours a night, I’m awake after 5-6 hours.

As you can see, this leaves me with a rather sizable gap. When we stay at my place, it’s pretty easy to overcome. I can get up early and make coffee and watch the Today Show in the living room, I could sneak out of bed after she falls asleep and stay up until I’m actually tired.

As in any relationship, though, balance & reciprocation are a factor, and so I sometimes find myself at her place and hours of free time and no clue how to occupy myself. To that end, I’ve made to following list.

Things I Could Do at 8am in A Foreign Land

1.) fake being asleep and try to convince myself I like staying in bed
2.) read a book as the sun comes up
3.) lament not having coffee in my hand
4.) try to access her laptop and think up witty, lovable blogs
5.) consider physics equations and try to solve them in my head, without paper or pen
6.) continuously update my twitter app, hoping there’s someone up to entertain me.

Any tips on what you do when you find yourself in this situation?


Posted: January 13th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »

I know that one of my traits that drives Anie at least a little nuts is my faux-minimalism.  This usually manifests itself in my ideaology, and in my purchasing habits.  It’s not that I buy a lot less stuff than the average person; my bank account is solid evidence that I definitely stimulate the local economy.  

What I do do, however, is audit my purchases before I get to the register, asking myself if a really need/want each item more than the equivalent number of dollars it will cost.  (This has to be a habit I picked up from my mother, though I know she was doing it to make sure she could still pay for everything in the cart.) 

After spending more than enough time in the store, I will go through the cart and decide to remove a few items (sometimes the only items I contributed to the cart), and will get the “well why did we just waste the time picking that out, then” look from you-know-who.

The other probably-weird-to-outsiders manifestation is the ease with which I can part with items.  I’d like to say that this stems from a childhood of limited resources and having to get over losing things when they break/get lost, but it’s probably more likely that I have such an easy time deleting people from my life that regular old objects never stood a chance.  When I recent thought “what would be the one item I’d grab in case of a fire”, the thing I needed besides my phone is the Yankee Stadium Baseball I plan to use to teach my future-son how to patch catch with  (thank-you Anie).  Other than that, I can pretty much shrug off everything else I own. 

This, I thought, was a pretty solid accomplishment, until I ran across this guy’s blog.  Dude is living his entire life from the road, in supposedly random countries, as voted on my his blog readers.  As a necessary evil of this everyday Rick Steve’s lifestyle, one can’t carry much with them, especially with shipping/luggage costs. 

As a minimalist, it’s important that my possessions do not own me and that what I do own serves multiple purposes, is high-quality and as sustainable as possible. . .  So as part of my effort to further reduce and optimize my possessions, here is a list of everything I own and photos of those items.  Already many items on this list are on the chopping block, as I haven’t used them in the 2 months I’ve been in Buenos Aires and doubt I’ll use them for the rest of my stint in Argentina.

Seriously, 72 things.  Whoa!

That got me thinking about how much stuff I have that really could stand to organize or obliterate.  Just looking around me, here’s a list of things either on, or within 12 inches of, my desk.

  1. Computer (monitor, keyboard, mouse, mouse pad, speakers, headphones)
  2. copious random papers
  3. never used candle in a jar
  4. pens
  5. envelopes & stationary
  6. random cd’s
  7. unused gift cards from x-mas
  8. several Yankees Startling Lineup action figures
  9. hookah my brother gave me for X-Mas 2008 (thanks Eggs)
  10. olde tyme wind-up alarm clock from IKEA
  11. windex  (no lie)
  12. iron
  13. empty photo frames
  14. afore-mentioned Yankee Stadium Baseball
  15. cordless drill
  16. drill bit set
  17. old computer (no longer working it seems)
  18. cushion to a chair I no longer own
  19. iPhone stand & charger
  20. vase full of corks from wine bottles I’ve drank while living here
  21. massive corkscrew (I need the one with the levers on the sides, otherwise I shred the cork)
  22. Globe-shaped liquor decanter (empty)
  23. random 3″ action figure/keychain bought at Red Hot Robot.
  24. Cigar cutter

So, 24 things within 1 foot of me, and that dude only owns 72 things on the entire planet.

This has led me to think that maybe I should institute an Items Per Room (IPR for you analytics nerds) limit to each room of my home.  I’d have to exclude artwork and books/movies, as those things should really be wall-based.  Maybe limit to 50 Items Per Room?  That sounds achieveable.  Maybe start at 75 then audit down again in a month? 

I’m going to mull this over and see what kind of numbers I can come up with.

Five Things: Random Topics Still Bounching Around in My Head

Posted: January 12th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Five Things: Random Topics Still Bounching Around in My Head

1.)  Eating better.  True, I always have a great time at the Phoenix Public Market, and have been reading the “Abs Power Diet” book from Men’s Health (can the title be any more “buns of steel”-esque?) but now it’s up to me to put this into practice.  On nights when Anie’s around, it’s pretty easy, since she does a great job motivating me to cook usually.  The challenge will be the nights when I get home from the office late and really just want a sandwich on the way home.   Add to all this the part about me & Anie watching “Food INC” last week and now feeling guilty about eating factory-meats and such. 

2.)  Calling Cards (or personal business cards).  Yes, I’ve been thinking about this since Nov 2008 and still haven’t taken action, but hopefully now I’ve found a good source (both in performance and business ethics), and can meet with my resident branding specialist to get something accomplished.

3.)  Writing.   I like to pretend that I’m a pretty decent writer and that the only thing holding me back is my lack of ambition and/or resources.  I say “like to pretend” to make it sound like less of an embarassing admission of truth.  Sorta like “oh, Jake just likes to pretend like he’s Superman and jumps off of things pretending they’re really high”, as opposed to “poor Jake, he actually thinks he’s Superman.  That body-cast has to be itchy”.  See the difference?  In truth, if I could write fulltime, be it for a magazine, blog, my own novels, random people on the street, whatever, I’d be pretty happy doing it.  I don’t know that I could enjoy the solitary hours of a writer, but I suppose there’s always Twitter for that.

4.)  My nerd-crush on Tina Fey.  Yup, that one’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

5.)  Leading by example.   This one is pretty tough to illustrate for you here, (or for myself, for that matter), but more than anything I’ve been kicking myself these last 2-3 months thinking “I really need to start leading by example”, both at work and at home.  It’s time to get up off my duff and really make things happen. 

Movies 2009; or "Yes, another damn list"

Posted: January 10th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 4 Comments »

In chronological order

Movies I saw and liked in 2009:
– Watchmen    (yes, that’s right.  I was not until March that I saw a movie that was worth $9)
– I Love You, Man
– Earth
– Ghosts of Girlfriends Past  (dude, I’m telling you, the first 20 minutes is a handbook in life)
– X-Men Origins: Wolverine

– Drag Me to Hell
– The Hangover
– (500) Days of Summer
– GI Joseph   (I went into it expecting fx & action & ninja-fights, and I got what I wanted)
– Julie & Julia    (mostly because of the brownie points it earned me)
– Jennifer’s Body
– Whip It
– Zombieland
– Couples Retreat
– 2012   (same low-expectations as GI Joe)
– It’s Complicated
– Sherlock Holmes

Movies I saw even though I should have known better:
– Underworld 3
– Taken
– He’s Just not that into You
– Adventureland
– X-Men Origins: Wolverine
– The Ugly Truth
– Funny People
– Sorority Row
– Everybody’s Fine    (I maintain that the adverts for this movie lied to people)
– Avatar/Pocahantas

Movies I rented and regretted;

– Fanboys
– The Haunting in Connecticutt
– Obsessed
– I Love you Beth Cooper   (what can I say, I’m a sucker for the cheerleader)
– Blood: The Last Vampire
– The Goods

Movies I watched because they were the only on while on a plane:
-Paul Blart

So that comes out to 17 wins, 10 losses.  If I was playing in the NFC, that’d be good enough for a first-round bye.  All together, not bad, I suppose, but I went to the movies a lot less than I did in 2007 & 2008, and there are lots of good movies that I never got to see (District 9, 9 by Tim Burton, Moon, Boondock Saints 2, Cloudy…).

– See more good movies
– Find more movie-buddies for great films Anie has no interest in watching