Doing Too Much

A Short Story:

Back when I was a student at the Miami Ad School, they’d bring in a weekly “Industry Hero” (someone working in advertising or something adjacent) to do a sort of Ted Talk for the student body. Afterwards, the person would stick around to teach the “Heroes” class, where they’d assign a week-long project based on their specific area of expertise. Most of these “Heroes” were former Ad School alum.

We had a few professional photographers as guest “Heroes.” I noticed that most of them used Canon cameras and products, and so did most of the students. I had a Nikon. The Miami Ad School was sort of like going to Hogwarts, but instead of visiting Diagon Alley for a wand, animal companion and magical broomstick, you’d instead go to Best Buy for a MacBook, Adobe Suite and a DSLR camera.

Back to the point, there was one “Hero” photographer who was an older gentleman one week and he happened to use Nikon products. One student asked, “Why do you use Nikon over Canon?” As if he were using the wrong camera. His answer was great, he said, “Nikon makes lenses and telescopes. Canon makes printers. Would you rather take pictures with a telescope or a printer?” As a fellow Nikon-user I thought that was a pretty sweet answer. All of the Canon folks thought the guy was a big D-hole.

I chose Nikon because (years earlier) looking at DSLR cameras with my friend we asked, “What’s the difference?” We were told, “Nikon is better for photos of stuff, while Canon is better for people.” Is that true? I don’t know, but I do know that I prefer to take photos of stuff (mountains, outdoors, oceans and cities), because any time you take a picture of a person they immediately say, “Let me see,” and “Uh, I hate it!”

Animals and babies are cool to take pictures of because they don’t do that. So, why am I telling you this story? I started thinking about companies and brands that work in multiple industries, and how it always seems weird when seeing a company’s name on some product knowing what unrelated product they also create.

Too Many Things:

For example, Yamaha makes musical instruments, but also motor vehicles*. When I was a kid there was a car company named Daewoo, at the same time my friend’s TV in his room was made by Daewoo. Dove makes chocolates and soaps — ok, I googled it and those are two different Doves, but it’s still confusing — it would be odd if one Dove product went inside and one went outside of your body, right?

*After some more googling I found out that Yamaha Music and Motors are two separate companies, but originated and are owned from the same mothership.

At the movie theater the other day I noticed the urinal pad read “Royal Company” and I thought I hope that’s not what RC in RC Cola stands for, because I don’t want my urinal pads coming from the same factory as my soda. I don’t drink RC Cola, but if I did and this were true it would have most definitely changed my soda drinking habits.

There are companies like Sony and Microsoft that have gaming consoles, computers, TVs and all types of divisions. Samsung makes TVs, appliances and all sorts of electronics. These are all in the same sector so that doesn’t really bother me.

I started thinking of people I know, especially fellow castmates from my improv theater. We all have different jobs and backgrounds, but that’s what makes us funny when we’re put on stage together to make stuff up. We have lawyers, accountants, bankers, firefighters, teachers, designers, writers and more… No Doctors though, doctors are never funny. If you have a funny doctor, you need a new doctor. Ken Jeong (aka Mr Chang – Community and Leslie Chow – The Hangover movies) was a funny doctor once and he had to leave that profession behind to become a successful actor/comedian instead.

I for one wear many different hats each day. I work as an accountant during the day, I freelance as a writer, copywriter, photographer and graphic designer sometimes. I write and create content for my two blog/sites (this one and myVGBC.com) each week. I also sometimes make ice cream, banana pudding and sweet treats to sell to people (Ferdi’s Ice Cream — returning soon?). You can also catch me on stage at Just the Funny making people laugh every once in a while. Do any of these take away from the others? I don’t think so.

While multiple separate companies can be owned by one singular brand/company, that doesn’t mean the same two people are working on each product. It just means that the executives (aka Overlords) running the show are watching over everything. These smaller companies are just operating under one bigger umbrella, but separately. As long as you trust one of those companies, I’m pretty sure you can give the others a chance. At least until they prove you wrong. We are all more than just one thing, and I guess companies and brands can be too.

The main thing though is to definitely keep the toilet stuff and food stuff separate. Urinal pad and soda manufacturing don’t belong in the same building, warehouse, city or even state… Ever!

I am not a Robot… }o; I think

There’s one main reason why I prefer using my MacBook Pro over my PC for most of my “internet surfing.” People still call it surfin’ the internet, right?

Anytime I buy something or create a username for any website I come across a CAPTCHA quiz where my computer gets to decide whether or not I am a human. What’s with all of the pop quizzes, internet?

Old School Time Vortex of Words Captcha

These quizzes used to consist of strange combinations of letters and numbers that have passed through some wild time vortex. Those were easier than the visual ones of today. Anytime I am forced to choose which boxes contain [the secret item of the day] I’m only about 50% sure I’m right.

Is the pole part of the traffic light? Do jetskis count as boats? Is a boat still a boat if it’s on a trailer and not in the water? If most humans wouldn’t eat it, is it still considered food?

I didn’t know I had to go through an existential crisis to sign up for Bed, Bath and Beyond’s email list, or to buy concert tickets. Why are all of these robots wasting their time buying concert tickets and joining mailing lists? Who programmed them to do this?

They also never flat out tell you when you’re wrong, instead they move on to a new word. Maybe you’re just a dumb dumb, try again to convince me you are not a robot.

Why MacBook over PC:

Back to my main point: On my PC I have to actually choose which pictures are boats, roads, crosswalks or whatever they’re asking for. My MacBook (most of the time) assumes it’s still me and not a robot hijacking my Mac. So, it rarely goes into the guessing game. Instead I check the box I am not a robot (checkmark), and I continue with my purchase or whatever it is I’m doing.

So, although Macs are more expensive than your normal everyday PC, it’s definitely worth paying that extra money, just because your MacBook will remember that you are not a robot. If you don’t mind your computer accusing you of being a robot time and time again, then go ahead and get that DELL (or HP, or whatever Windows PC).

HORRIBLE JOB(S)

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Earlier this year, I learned that someone’s actual job at Target is to collect the items that crappy customers leave out of place, returning them to their actual spot. I guess I always knew this was a job at most retail stores, but it wasn’t until I saw the guy doing it that I felt bad for him. I especially felt bad because I was with my friend who had just left an item two aisles away from where she got it when we ran into the guy.

It was kind of sad and happy at the same time, because her leaving the item meant he had to find it and figure out where it belonged, but it also gave him something to do. Imagine if he just cruised the aisles each day never to find anything out of place, what a boring job. What makes his job fun is that he’s like a pirate searching for a treasure, but once he finds this treasure he has to go on a new adventure to find it’s true home.

So, maybe that’s not such a crappy job, but I did think of something way worse now…

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A few months ago I went to Dadeland Mall to kill time between work and going to the movies. I don’t remember exactly where I went in the mall to kill time, but that’s not important. The important thing is that once I arrived at the mall I really had to make a pee pee. I walked in through Nordstrom because I thought, Nordstrom should have a clean bathroom, right? WRONG! I was way, way wrong.

When I head into any public restroom (is it a restroom or bathroom? I’ll keep restroom, because there’s no bathtub), I usually head into the handicapped stall. And that’s for one reason — there’s way more room in there. Regular stalls are so small today, you can barely close the door without standing on the toilet (and it’s usually quite a dirty toilet). Also, in my mind, the handicapped stall is used less, because there are less handicapped people than non-handicapped people in the world (although I’m sure most non-handicapped people use this stall when no one else is around — I mean I do it).

In case a handicapped person ever does catch me in their stall I already have my story. I’ll tell them this, “Sorry, I’m Claustrophobic and these other stalls are so small that I freak out in there,” I think it’s believable. And if it’s not believable that’s fine, you can wait a few minutes for me, I’m sure I’ve waited behind you in plenty of lines in my life.

Back to Nordstrom. The first thing I noticed was that the women had a “lounge,” not a “bathroom” or “restroom.” Even though the men still only had a restroom and not a lounge, I still thought I was pretty safe in choosing the cleanest bathroom in the mall (which I said before. Just wanted to make sure you’re still paying attention). Well, don’t ever judge a bathroom by it’s store (as some people say…). I walked into the men’s restroom to find loose turds everywhere. There was one on the toilet seat, which I can kind of understand kind of, but also not really. How does someone make it all the way to the toilet and still not make it a swoosh? That hole is pretty big, even when the seat’s down.

There was also poop on the floor almost by the front door. When I saw this I turned on my detective mode in my brain. This means someone either pulled their pants down as they walked in because they couldn’t hold it in anymore and poop just started coming out, like a frogurt machine, since the moment they entered the restroom. Maybe they thought they were done and started leaving the bathroom but were surprised by one last turd that hadn’t made it’s way out yet.

Either way, who’s the sick person who couldn’t clean up their own poop? And how did this person poop all over the floor and toilet seat of a bathroom and go on with their day? Someone has to clean shit that up, literally. Apparently, in Nordstrom it’s someone very lazy, because it hadn’t been picked up yet. Or maybe the person walked in right before me, saw what I saw and quit right on the spot, never telling a soul.

I didn’t even make my pee pee in Nordstrom. I just left in search of a new bathroom. Dadeland has a new wing, so I decided to make my way over there. New wing = new, clean bathrooms, right? Maybe not so right. I practically speed walked over to the bathroom, because I could barely hold my pee pee anymore.

I finally made it to the bathroom and some stupid foreigner was standing in the entrance, playing on his phone. MOVE YOUR SHIT! Is what I yelled in my head, but I just kind of knocked him out of the way with my shoulder, instead. What I found in this bathroom was not as gross, but very confusing. I walked into the first stall I found, because the pee pee was about to come out.

As I finally began peeing, I noticed a mountain of toilet paper on the ground to the left of the toilet. It was almost two feet high, but created out of clean toilet paper (which is much better than dirty toilet paper). Detective mode back on! Did someone come in with a baby, but no stroller, so they created this makeshift baby changing station out of soft-sandpapery, public restroom toilet paper? Or was a stupid kid in here who just wanted to unroll all the TP, but had nowhere to put it? Either way whatever had happened in there was much better than the Nordstrom situation, but I still find myself thinking about it now and this happened months ago.

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is, if you’re a Public Bathroom Terrorist and you’re reading this, clean your shit up! But if you are a Public Bathroom Terrorist, then you are probably not reading this, because if you don’t know how to poop into a toilet, or clean up after yourself in a bathroom then you probably can’t read either.

Have a happy day and don’t forget to clean up after yourselves…

‘LIKE’ IF YOU READ THESE

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I’ve been writing these things for some time now, and I don’t really know how many people are actually reading them. Facebook tells me that my posts reach anywhere from a few hundred to a thousand people, but that’s just people seeing the post I share, and what I learned from my job in advertising is that only about 1% of those people actually click on what you’re sharing.

I came up with a test. If you actually clicked on the link from Facebook, Twitter or anywhere else and proceeded to read this thing, “Like” the article. This way I can see how many people actually read this. Remember, this is a science experiment, and I don’t think it tells me who likes each post. I won’t know who liked it. I’ll only know that a person liked it, if that makes you sad then you can always write in the comments. Maybe something like, “I liked this.”

That’s all I have for today, it’s Memorial day and I got stuff to do, and by stuff I mean nothing. I got nothing to do. Watch some Netflix, play some games, do some work before tomorrow morning.

A few people have told me they love the Learnings. So, from those “real life reviews” I would say about 4 to 5 people are actually reading all or most of these. That’s pretty cool, but I’m trying to find out if there’s more. If I have a good amount of readers maybe I should start posting more, maybe a learning a week but also something else. I’m trying to change the world here with these learnings, so keep reading.

Stoner Tendencies

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Last night, I went to see Disney’s Zootopia with my BEARica. We walked into the dark theater and it was filled with moms and their horrible children. How do I know these children were horrible? The one behind me kicked my seat a few times and even started to yell and cry.

We were the only two non-parent, “young” adults (I guess I’m now classified as an adult? 30 years old is an adult, right?).

All the mothers’ eyes were staring at the two of us as we entered. I knew they all had the same thought on their minds, look at these silly stoners, coming in here to ruin our family-friendly, movie-experience.

First off, I am not a stoner. I just happen to love animated films. Especially those films created by Disney and/or Pixar (but also those created by Dreamworks and anyone else). Of course, it didn’t help that we walked in with a giant oversized soda, some popcorn, a hot dog, chicken fingers and an order of fries. We had so much food the food concierge gave me a cardboard platter to carry it all.

With the movie taking place during my dinner time (7:30-9:30), you better believe I brought a full meal in there with me. I would have snuck in some candy too, if I had more time before the movie. Movie candy is way too expensive. Movie everything is way too expensive. Only at sporting events, movie theaters, theme parks and Manhattan will people not question paying $12 for a soda.

This isn’t a movie review article, but Zootopia was totes awesome sauce! Just like every other Disney or Disney/Pixar movie ever made.

I guess what I’m saying is that although I am no stoner, I do have a few (or even more than just a few) stoner tendencies. And, I know that anytime I perform any of these stoner-type activities, people are always watching and judging. Do I care? No, not really. But, I can feel their thoughts and that’s enough to make me write about it (plus, I didn’t learn anything else this week).

Here are a few other stoner-ish pastimes I have been known take part in:

[1]
I will go to CVS or 7-11 past midnight just to buy a candy bar. And when I get there I will end up buying 2 to 3 candy bars when I notice that it’s buy two, get one FREE. I also will go to CVS at midnight or the next day after any “big candy” holiday. You have your Day after Valentine’s Day sale, your Easter Monday sale, your All Saints Day sale, and of course the big After-Christmas Clearance! My freshman year of college I had no car in Tallahassee and my birthday was Easter Monday, so as a birthday gift I made a friend drive me to CVS for cheap Easter candy.

[2]
I may also end up at Winn-Dixie 10 minutes before they close to buy ice cream making ingredients. To a stranger, it may look as if I’m going to throw a bunch of candy and sweet things in a blender with milk and heavy cream and drink away my sorrows. I mainly go to Winn-Dixie right around closing time to avoid the unwanted conversations with people I don’t want to run into.

[3]
I may end up at a FroGurt store, filling my bucket to the point where the scale can’t even read it. And I may be there with a friend. Also, we may be giggling like idiots at something stupid. But, trust me, we are not on drugs, we’re just hungry for some delicious sweetness.

We used to go to Cold Stone, but now it cost more than a normal meal. So, let me get this straight Cold Stone? You expect me to pay the same amount of cash as I just paid for a burger, fries and a beer? No thank you. I’m headed to FroGurtland or Gelatotown instead.

 

So, if you see me out and suspect me of being high on drugs, just remember, I’m not on drugs. I’m just fat, and love sweets and animated films, but I also love live-action films and regular food too.

So deal with it.

 

[Also, you should share this with people, so they can learn it’s ok to enjoy sweets and things without being on drugs.]

BIRTHDAYS ARE WEIRD, RIGHT?

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This past Monday was my 30th birthday and if you didn’t say “Happy Birthday” by now, you’re already too late. I don’t care. Birthday’s are weird, right? Especially since the creation of the Facebook. I think Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook so he could have a database of all his friends’ birthdays. That’s not true. Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook because he had no friends and thought it would help, or was it because of his ex-girlfriend, Rooney Mara? It doesn’t matter why he did it, what matters is that he ruined birthdays.

Remember a time before Facebook? I’m talking pre-2004. When people had to remember their friends’ birthdays in their brain, or on a calendar. You would have to call your closest friends at 12:01 on their birthday, which later became a text anytime between 12:01 and 12:15. When you remembered someone’s birthday it was sweet, it could’ve even been enough to get someone to like you (not Facebook ‘Like,’ but like a real-life LIKE).

Then Facebook came along and ruined it. Now we’re bombarded daily with everyone’s birthdays and there’s no excuse to forget it. Also, you have to make a choice:

It’s Stacy’s birthday today! Hm, is Stacy a phone call friend? A text message friend? A Facebook post friend? A Facebook message friend? Do I give her a Facebook post and a text message? Do I call her at midnight, but then write on her wall tomorrow? What should I write on her wall? Just Happy Birthday? Happy Bday? Maybe just HBD, but that sounds like some weird kind of disease. Definitely not HBD. How about something more personal? Should I write a joke about that one time we kissed on the mouth? Should I make her an Instagram collage? Maybe a special tweet?

Facebook has now opened a can of birthday worms, and this can is opened daily. Some days there are like 10 birthdays, and I’m forced to choose my top 2 to 4 of them and write those people a message.

[TANGENT ALERT!] Do you know someone who gets really, really excited anytime they find out they share their birthday with someone else? Hey idiot! There are about 7.125 billion people in the world, but there’s only 365 days in each year, I think you’re going to share your birthday with a few people. Like million of them. (Also, I get excited about this too, unless it’s a shitty person).

When you think about it, birthdays shouldn’t really be that special. You didn’t do anything to be born. Birthdays are like buttholes, because everyone has one. Even Hitler had a birthday, and a butthole. So, that’s two things you now have in common with Hitler.

If anything we should give our parents gifts on our birthday, like the way Jesus does it. He sends his buddy, Scott Calvin a.k.a. Santa Claus to hand out gifts to everyone (as long as you’re a Cathy). I’m pretty sure this is how Santa got his job:

Hey Jesus! What you gonna do for your birthday?

Uh… I’m gonna give everyone presents!

Everyone?

Yup! Everyone! Well, everyone who believes in me.

Well, you better get started. You got a lot of followers.

I’m not gonna do it myself.

What? Who’s gonna give out presents for your birthday to other people?

Shoot! I’ll have that old dude that lives up North do it.

He’s got those magical deer.

You mean Old Saint Nick!

Yeah, him! What else is he gonna do on my birthday?

We don’t have to give presents to everyone for our birthday, just to our parents (but maybe not, because parents each have their own special day).

Even though birthday’s aren’t really that special I will continue to celebrate yours, mine and ours. And I will continue to post on your walls, text you, call you, Instagram collage you, and whatever new technology comes out. I’ll even WUPHF.com you if I have to. So, happy birthday to me and to everyone else this year.

THE END!

Two Week Break? (GoT)

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This weekend I learned that there will be no new Game of Thrones this Sunday. I have to wait two weeks for the next Game of Thrones episode (Thanks Memorial Day weekend!). The problem I have with this is that I forget everything that happens on Game of Thrones, and by giving me more time between episodes that gives me more time to forget important things going on.

I just remembered on Monday that “The Hound” and “The Mountain” are brothers. I only remembered this because I saw an info-graphic online that shows all the characters relations on Game of Thrones. We were watching the show at a friends house and they were like “It’s the Mountain,” and I just said “Cool!” but I had no idea what that meant (until the next day!).

Game of Thrones is one of the most confusing shows I have ever watched. I probably have no idea what is going on, even though I think I know a little bit. However, I still love this show, and will continue watching. Even if I hated this show, I would keep watching it just so that the internet wouldn’t ruin it for me every Monday.

Most times while watching this show I feel like Jon Snow, because I know nothing (also, because If I lived in the realm of Game of Thrones I would be known as “Ferdi Snow” since I was born a bastard).

If you watch Game of Thrones you have to watch it Sunday night, or you have to stay off the internet, because Game of Thrones is everyone’s favorite thing to talk about on Monday. If you are waiting for the season or series to end, so you can binge watch the whole thing, then please do yourself a favor and go live in a cave, with no internet.

I have decided to buy the books when I get my next B&N online coupon. I will attempt to read as many books as I can and maybe re-watch the seasons over the break (before season 4 or 5 or whatever comes next?). I will become a Game of Thrones expert before the next season starts, or I shall die trying!

 

(If you are also having problems understanding what is going on on Game of Thrones, watch the video below. It is funny, but it will help you remember some of the things that happened in Seasons 1-3…)