Tag Archives: Netflix

A Quick Note About Stuff and Things 5-31-2016

stuff and things


Hey guys.

I had an unusually busy and not-super-fun weekend at a car dealership. I’ve decided that buying cars is one of my least favorite things.

I wanted to write a post today, but Time is being an inconsiderate jerkface, so I’m unable to. I’m writing this fake post instead just to say hi, and tell you random things you might not care about.

1. Read ‘Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person’

Alain de Botton wrote this extremely thought-provoking piece which ran in the New York Times Sunday, and I thought it was really interesting. Also, several people I know in real life or through the blog shared it with me, so it clearly has appeal with the kinds of people who read things here.

British author de Botton is the founder of the London-based School of Life which is dedicated to All The Things we discuss here, and is geared toward helping people “Develop Emotional Intelligence.” Frankly, I’m embarrassed I didn’t know about The School of Life before this past weekend, because it only took watching the 90-second intro video for me to realize their mission to help people with all the life stuff we don’t learn formally or informally as children is something easy for me to get behind.

2. Reader Lynda asks: ‘What Are You Going to Say to Your Son?’

What we teach our children about healthy relationships is THE key to changing the world RE: How to stop having crappy, dysfunctional relationships, and keep couples and families together.

Her specific question was this: “My question for you is what are you going to say to your son to teach him how to have a healthy relationship as he grows up? What seeds are you going to plant to help break the cycle? I have only a few years left with my boys under my roof to teach them what they need to know, and I don’t want to feel like they are doomed, given the family history. What are your thoughts?”

It’s a great question, and will be a post in the near future.

3. How Do We Rank Living Things?

You probably heard about the gorilla that was shot and killed by zoo workers this past weekend at the Cincinnati Zoo while rescuing a 4-year-old boy who crawled under a fence and fell into the gorilla exhibit while his mother’s back was turned.

The internet lost its mind, and after watching a minute or two of video on Facebook, everyone suddenly became experts on gorilla behavior with small human children.

Harambe, a 17-year-old, 419-pound male western lowland silverback gorilla died tragically having done no wrong. You’ll read no heartless commentary from me on his passing.

Animal lovers globally were weighing in on whether the gorilla should have been shot or tranquilized, and questioned whether the life of one human of which there are 7.4 billion should be valued over the life of a rare and endangered silverback gorilla.

I have a variety of thoughts on the matter, but there’s really just ONE question I’m most interested in exploring: How do we rank the value of life?

Are we wrong to automatically rank humans over animals? What about certain animals over others? What about certain people over others?

We must, and will, discuss.

4. Do Women Complain More Than Men?

I might be misremembering, but I think I read MBTTTR commenter Linbo ask this over the weekend, in the spirit of: “Are wives sometimes too demanding of their husbands? Are women more likely to complain about something than men? If so, why?”

I think that’s another post and discussion to be had.

5. Try Brain Surfing. It’s Fun.

This month, I had the good fortune to cross digital paths with author and brand strategist Heather LeFevre. She wrote a kick-ass marketing strategy-travelogue hybrid book called Brain Surfing The Top Marketing Strategy Minds in the World” which I’m in the middle of and liking very much. If you’re in the marketing world and/or are passionate about international travel, you’ll like it because it’s exceptionally creative and offers crucial insight to business owners and marketers about brand empathy, community building and storytelling. 

6. Please Root for the Cleveland Cavaliers to Win the NBA Finals

Pretty please, and thank you.

7. Watch ‘Bloodline’ if You Have Netflix

I’m serious. Season 2 just recently released. That’s just a good life tip you can thank me for later. Check it out here.

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We Write the Stories

Don Draper (portrayed by actor Jon Hamm) from AMC's Mad Men.

Don Draper (portrayed by actor Jon Hamm) from AMC’s Mad Men.

“People tell you who they are. But we ignore it because we want them to be who we want them to be.” – Don Draper, Mad Men

I sabotaged the last serious relationship I had prior to dating my ex-wife because I didn’t think my girlfriend was good “wife material.”

We couldn’t make it because we were too philosophically different.

We couldn’t make it because we had different ideas about how to raise children.

We couldn’t make it because I was too scared of what my family would say.

In other words, I was a know-nothing asshole.

I was 20 and 21 years old and knew as much as my five-year-old son about taking responsibility for my choices and what it means to be an adult.

She was brilliant. Thoughtful. Liked (maybe even loved) and respected me. We never ran out of things to discuss. We were both passionate about writing. She used to credit me for teaching her how to write news stories even though she’s always been more talented, and to prove it she’s been writing for one of the five largest U.S. daily newspapers for nearly a decade.

Most importantly, she was cool under fire. During challenging times (me being a dick), she was always kind.

If good communication is the key to making a relationship work, she gave me every opportunity.

Despite being nearly three years younger than me, she was almost always more adult.

Because I was scared of my family rejecting us for being together; and because I was “right” and she was “wrong” about certain things, and thus, could never be the mother of my children (I believed), I used a summer apart during college to break up with her like a coward.

Two months later, I entered a relationship with the girl of my dreams.

The perfect partner.

Three years later, we were married.

How’d that work out for everybody?

People tell you who they are. But we ignore it because we want them to be who we want them to be.

We believe the stories we’re told (or that we tell ourselves) because we want to believe them.

We don’t believe the stories that make us uncomfortable because they don’t align with our deeply held cultural beliefs.

It’s why some people believe in God and others do not.

It’s why supporters of President Obama believe he’s a messiah while his detractors call him a terrorist.

It’s why same-sex marriage is both loved and hated.

It’s why one mother’s beloved unborn child can be considered an inconvenient parasitic fetus by another.

Otherwise sane and reasonable people can lose both sanity and reason debating these things—both sides equally convinced they’re correct.

Opposing viewpoints sometimes make us uncomfortable. They challenge our deeply held beliefs. Frighten us.

So we believe what we want to believe. To feel less scared. To feel more safe.

No matter what the truth is.

The Storytellers

I have a bad case of strep throat. This is my third day on antibiotics which is the only reason I’m among the living.

I think I may have written this same thing in January when I had a much milder case of strep, but it bears repeating: you never feel quite as alone as you do when you’re sick in a house by yourself.

It forces you to think and think and think and think, and if you don’t want to think—you watch television because your brain doesn’t work well enough to read.

So, I binged on Mad Men on Netflix for two straight days—consuming more television than I ever have in a two-day window. It was simultaneously awesome and pathetic.

Only Tony Soprano and Walter White (Breaking Bad) are more interesting characters than Don Draper, and Draper pulls it off without being part of organized crime. Amazing show, particularly for those (like me) who work in marketing and advertising.

Aspects of Draper’s personal life are applicable to mine, especially in the middle of the show’s story arc where I am now.

To deal with what’s going on his life (in 1965-ish) Draper has begun keeping a journal with pen and paper. He was reflecting on all of the messiness and complications in our lives when he wrote: “People tell you who they are. But we ignore it because we want them to be who we want them to be.”

It felt important.

And I believe it’s true.

We choose where to eat, shop, party and worship.

We choose what to drive, wear, do and believe.

We choose who to listen to, spend time with, kiss and love.

We choose all of these things based on the stories we believe about the life we perceive happening around us.

The same life that looks and feels different to each one of us.

And I wonder about the stories people believe about me.

My family.

My friends.

My son.

My ex-wife.

My co-workers.

In the end, everyone believes what they want to believe.

Maybe being more mindful can protect our hearts from those who want to hurt us because they want and need to believe the stories they tell themselves.

Maybe being more mindful can keep us from hurting or alienating others who aren’t who we believe they are.

Maybe we grow with each mistake.

And maybe with enough growth we start telling authentic new stories.

The truth and a bit of kindness is an effective form of persuasion.

When we’re alone with our reflection, our eyes tell us who we are.

But we ignore it because we want the person in the mirror to be whoever we want them to be. Who we need them to be.

And that’s good news.

Because that’s the one story we get to write.

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