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!

Same First Name

During my childhood there was a point where my best friend and I shared the same name. The weird part is we not only shared the same first name, “Fernando,” we also had the same last name “Rodriguez.”

It was fine though because he went by “Nando” and I went by “Ferdi” (as you know because of the name of this site). We also had different middle names, so no big deal (NBD).

Sometimes when two people meet with the same first name, someone stupid might say something like, “Oh, which one is the better one.” — and by “someone stupid” I mean ME, because I always say there’s a Good Rick and a Bad Rick in my life, and those two Ricks know which is which.

Unless one of the two people with the same first name refers to themself in the third person during day-to-day tasks (like The Rock used to) there should be no problem. It’s not a problem until someone else shows up.

Think about it. How many times a day do you call yourself by your own name — only if you’re introducing yourself to someone new, telling a telemarketer that you are yourself over the phone or ordering a Starbucks drink (but most people use a fake name at Starbucks anyways).

The problem comes when other people are around. When other non-[your name] people are around they are going to refer to you and the other person by that same name. Of course, there are always nicknames, last names, initials and other ways to refer to people other than by their first name.

I rarely call anyone I know by their true first name. I’ve always made up nicknames so that I don’t forget people’s real names and make them feel forgettable. I don’t even call my own sister by her real name.

I feel like this name problem may be sort of the same as being a twin. Twins know that they aren’t the other twin, the only problem is when other people are around and they start getting confused as to which twin is which. Also, twins are tricky and can always pull the old switch-a-roo on you, so be careful with twins (we all know about the Switch-a-roo thanks to Tia and Tamera from Sister, Sister).

In middle school we had three Danielas in my class. Three Danielas who were all friends. We collectively decided that they would go by Dani A, Dani B and Dani E (based on their last names).

Just don’t ever be a triplet or more than that because that would just get down right confusing for the entire world.

And now I leave you with this to explain the picture I chose for this article, in case you don’t get it…

Why 3D Movies?

There was a time, back in the late 00s (if that’s what you call the time between 2005-2010?) that some movies were also being released in 3D. And for some reason, I chose to watch many of these movies in 3D. It wasn’t until James Cameron’s Avatar was released that we learned what 3D could be. I watched Avatar in theaters at least three times (once in IMAX 3D).

I’m going to break up this post into two distinct periods of 3D:
Pre-Avatar (before December 18th, 2009)
and Post-Avatar (after December 18th, 2009).

Pre-Avatar: Watching 3D movies was great. Back when I was a kid some movies were released in “3D Vision,” which meant wearing some goofy red and blue glasses. Most of these usually featured some type of gag where a character might throw something at the audience (as seen in Muppet Vision 3D at Walt Disney World, multiple times).

In the year 2005, we saw the beginning of the 3D BOOM! In 2005, the number of 3D movie releases wasn’t that crazy, but each year it continued to grow — exponentially. By 2009, most of the big box office releases were converted into 3D — most likely for bigger box office revenue (3D tickets cost a few dollars more). People were watching these movies in 3D because we didn’t know any better.

Welcome to Pandora

Post-Avatar: At the very end of 2009, Avatar was released. The 3D in Avatar was a totally different type of 3D. James Cameron created some new future-Japan cameras that would create an immersive experience (especially in IMAX theaters). Whether the movie Avatar was good or not, it definitely pushed 3D technology forward. (The world is still waiting on that James Cameron Aquaman movie, starring Vinny Chase — #ReleaseTheCameronCut!).

From that point on most studio movies were released in 3D. 3D televisions became a thing in people’s homes — people were sitting on their couch with goofy 3D glasses on while watching TV. 3D versions of Blu-rays were being sold. And of course, every Marvel movie had a 3D option.


For a while I thought, I guess I have to watch everything in 3D now. But at some point it was too much, I made a choice. I had decided to only watch movies in 3D if they were filmed specifically for 3D — not converted to 3D in post-production as an afterthought. I also began thinking this way of IMAX movies, Was it filmed with IMAX cameras? Anything Christopher Nolan is usually filmed with IMAX cameras.

In recent years, I thought 3D movies had mostly gone away — or maybe I had been avoiding them? Then of course, the theaters shut down for most of 2020 and some of 2021 (thanks to the pandemic). The other day when picking out tickets for Black Widow and the return of the MCU to the big screen I noticed they had a 3D showing. We went with IMAX (non-3D), but it was weird that the 3D was in a normal, small theater.

We’re now at a point where it’s not about 3D, it’s about IMAX, DOLBY VISION and DOLBY ATMOS (big sound). However, James Cameron is back in his movie lab creating the next two big Pandoran Adventures, Avatar 2 and Avatar 3. And when these come out, in an even more immersive 3D I feel like the film industry is going to go through another 3D renaissance, but let’s hope that’s not the case.

I feel like a 3D experience is a fun treat when it’s a rare treat. When watching content in 3D becomes a normal occurrence you barely even notice it. That’s what made Muppet Vision 3D at Walt Disney World so special for all of those years (they even have the added 4D parts where they spray you with water, plus the theater gets wrecked throughout the movie). When everything is in 3D then a ride on Star Tours becomes less special.

So, let’s keep 3D movies to special occasions. Christopher Nolan has his IMAX movies and let’s give James Cameron 3D and cool ocean documentaries.

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).

THE GREAT DEBATE(S)

Ever since the late 1950’s, there has been an ongoing debate. According to my very quick internet research, that’s about the time the three point seat belt was created. We all know that seat belts save lives, however, a large amount of the population still chooses not to wear them.

Sure, they’re not very comfortable. They hurt your gut. Maybe you think you’re too cool for school (Well, I’ve got a newsflash for you, Walter Cronkite… You Aren’t!***). Guess what fools! It’s the law (in Florida and I’m guessing in some other states too. Because Florida is always way behind on the times.) 

That’s the clever slogan around here

The new version of the great seat belt debate is whether to wear a mask or not during the current pandemic. A mask is like a seat belt (for your face). Wearing one (when in public) can save your life (as well as others), but some people are fools or they just don’t care. Maybe they don’t believe the virus is real (It is very real. Just ask Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson). Maybe they just love the current president and think “that [idiot] doesn’t wear a mask, so I don’t have to either?”

Here’s a new slogan for you, “Wear a mask, you stupid idiot!”

By now every person should own at least one mask, so put it on your face. If you don’t own a mask that’s a different story, you should just stay in your home until you find one.

Another problem is that some people are carrying around a mask, but don’t know how to properly wear them. I’ve created a series of drawings so we could all learn together HOW TO and HOW NOT TO wear our masks when in public or crowded spaces.

CORRECT!
I wear my mask/seat belt. I care about my safety and the safety of others.

How to properly wear a mask. Cover both your mouth and nose holes, because these are the two places you can breathe from (Unless you are some sort of fish/human hybrid with gills. You would need an entirely different type of mask with gill covers, possibly two separate types of masks?)

WRONG!!
I only wear half of my mask/seat belt.

People wearing a mask with their nose out are wrong. It’s like wearing just the top or bottom part of your seat belt. It doesn’t count unless you’re wearing the whole thing. Did you know that you can breath out of your nose as well as your mouth? Even if you are predominantly a mouth breather, you still need to cover those two nose holes.

THE MOST WRONG!!!
Hey, look at my mask/seat belt. No, I will not wear it.

These are the worst kind of people. They have a mask on their person, but still choose not to wear it. If you need to take off your mask for some reason, get away from everyone and do it, then come back when you’re ready to be a member of society.

If you have your mask hanging around your neck or off your ear. That’s like driving drunk, you shouldn’t even be here. You’re unqualified to be in public. Who invited you to the party?

So, I guess the point of this week’s learning is WEAR YOUR MASK! And if you have been wearing your mask I tell you this, “Great job! Keep up the good work.”

Congratulations! You get a virtual internet high five! (or two because I couldn’t decide which one I liked more)

***Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) said this in the 2001 box office hit ZOOLANDER.

SPIDERWEBS ARE BEAUTIFUL (BUT ALSO GROSS)

Spiderwebs are one of the true wonders of nature. They are so beautiful to see — in photos. However, one of the worst things that could happen to you in life is walking through a spiderweb.

One is never prepared to walk through a spiderweb. And the worst part is, you never know if the spider is home or not. What if some other creepy critter (“The Captured”) is around waiting to be dinner? Now they’re your problem.

The other day I walked through a spiderweb and it was not (and never is) a pleasant experience. I flailed my arms and it somehow always feels like some of the web is in your mouth. 

This event sparked multiple questions into my mind, but the main one was, “Where do spiderwebs come from?” 

Spiders! Of course, but how? 

How does something so tiny and spooky create such a marvelous work of art? The short answer (from Google) is using proteins to make silk. Wow, what a crazy world we live in.

A MILLION WRONG WAYS TO HIT A GOLF BALL

GolfFL title

Just as there is no wrong way to eat a Reese’s, there is no “right way” to hit a golf ball. This is something I’ve learned after years and years of hitting golf balls (notice I did not say “years and years of playing golf,” because most of my time golfing is spent on the shooting range, hitting balls and doing some chippy-putty afterwards).

In all these years of golf club swinging, I’ve figured out that there is no one “correct way” to hit a golf ball, but there are definitely millions of things that you can be and are doing wrong. I know this because every person who has ever tried to “improve my golf swing” with some hot tip or quick lesson has told me something different that I am doing wrong (and there’s a whole lotta wrong with my golf swing).

My golf career started back in high school. At first I would go to the shooting range with my golfer buddy and hit balls with his clubs. One day, my other “golf buddy” was getting new golf clubs the next day and offered to give me his old clubs. I offered him all of the money in my wallet at the time (which was ten dollars) and my fake Rolex (which I happened to be wearing at the time). I’m sure it stopped working very soon after. It was a great deal (for me).

To this day, these are still my current golf clubs. I did pick up some others along the way, which were also given to me. I added a putter and some woods to my collection, but never a driver. I picked up a sweet golf bag of holding, as well.

Golf lessons are a bigger sham than the McDonald’s Monopoly game back in the 1900’s. If you took a one hour golf lesson with five different people, I’m sure you’d have five totally different critiques on your golf game. Swinging a golf club is like jazz music, it’s not about the things you’re doing right, it’s about all the things you’re not doing at all (that may not make any sense, but maybe it does to a few people who like jazz music).

I think golf can probably be a relaxing activity, if you know what you’re doing (but I would never call golf a sport). Most people drive around in a little cart instead of doing the one part that can be considered a sport — walking. Pros have a bag boy who carries their stuff and tells them exactly what to do. Fans are told to be quiet (in a basketball game, I’m allowed to scream as someone tries to make a free throw, but in golf I can’t make any sound while someone is swinging their club?) There’s a fancy dress code. Sports don’t have fancy dress codes.

There is so much to think about when swinging any golf club, but once you’re actually playing nine or eighteen holes, you need to drop all the thinking and be able to rely on your muscle memory. I haven’t learned how to do that yet, so I will continue to whack balls at the shooting range and play chippy-putty afterwards.

YOU LOOK GREAT!

fast foodFL title

I recently learned that anytime someone tells me I look like I’ve lost weight, or any compliments about my body, I end up using that information as a reason to eat whatever I want. This usually happens when I’m dressed nice for a wedding or a fancy event. I think fancy clothes makes me look better than I normally look, but I will stick to my normal clothes because I will always choose comfort over fashion (if it’s cold enough I will wear my fancy sweatpants to your fancy party).

I received multiple compliments on looking “skinnier” in 2019 (before the holidays), although I’m pretty sure I was stuck at around the same weight for most of the year. I haven’t been eating lots of fast food lately, but I also haven’t been eating that much “healthy” food either. I’ve struck a balance of good and bad food choices and enough exercise to stay at my current weight.

Of course, when a few people told me I looked good at a wedding, I decided to visit Burger King on my way home. There was pizza, garlic rolls, pasta, cake and a full-service ice cream bar at the wedding (which I totally ate), however I still found the need to get some BK, way later in the evening. I did eat all of those things pretty early, and by the time I went to BK it was already tomorrow (past midnight). I’m pretty sure I had only eaten two meals that day before BK — (1) a late breakfast and (2) the pizza, ice cream bar and all of those other goodies. So, I still kept it to the traditional three meals in a day.

The last few times I ate fast food, I was “forced” to by outside circumstances: (1) I went to a late movie and the concessions were closed when I got there, cancelling my popcorn and Buncha Crunch dinner. This left me starving when I got out of the movie, which led to a stop at Wendy’s. (2) We drove to Disney for Food & Wine and Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge for one day, after about 8 hours of driving and 10 hours of food, wine and traveling the world (plus, going off-planet) I had to stop for some Taco Bell on my way home. (3) At that wedding where three to four people (who hadn’t seen me in a while, so maybe they forgot what I looked like) told me I looked like I had lost weight, so I stopped at Burger King on my way home.

Maybe it’s a self-sabotage thing, or maybe my brain doesn’t enjoy compliments. I’m not really sure what it is, but for 2020 I’m going to try to make better choices when it comes to food late at night. Instead of eating fried chicken or pizza at midnight, I can try a soup instead, maybe even a salad (No one has ever chosen to eat a salad past midnight, and I don’t think I will be the first person to). 

I can’t make the right choice every time of course, because once it’s that late and you haven’t eaten dinner, the only thing you want to eat is the most unhealthy thing you can find on the menu. Tacos are an acceptable late night food choice, you get your veggies and meats and sometimes some cheese, too. Breakfast food late at night is also a good choice, that way you can skip breakfast in the morning since you had it before bed.

So, please stop telling me I look like I’ve lost weight or it will be your fault when I end up in the drive-thru line at Taco Bell later on that night.

NOT TODAY…

FL title

I have an important announcement to make. I was very busy this week and am very busy today, so there will be no learning today.

Maybe there will be one this weekend, or on Monday. Maybe I will count this as one and you’ll just have to wait until next Friday?

Who knows? Maybe there won’t even be one next Friday.

Time to go back to work. See you all later.

To celebrate the release of the new Harry Potter book, and Harry Potter’s birthday, here’s a thing…

 

“Lost Learnings” Coming soon…

AppleBooksDharmaLogo

FL title

A few weeks ago I found a book. A small note book. On the cover of this book are the words, “The Book.” Where did this book come from? I’ll tell you.

Back in High School, or probably College, I bought this tiny, fat notebook at an Office Depot. I began writing what I thought were going to one day become jokes, but they ended up being mostly joke titles for my future comedy album. Some titles were accompanied by a few meaningless bullet points to “explain” the premise. Reading through most of these I realized either (a) I have no idea what I was talking about anymore, or (b) I never had any idea what I was talking about when I wrote some of these. There are some that make a little sense to me. Others can be workshopped or made better.

Some of these are things I believe, things I’ve talked about to people in the past. Others are things I don’t really care for, but I thought might be funny so I wrote them down anyways. Some are rude and racist, and others are stupid and pointless. But I’m sure about 60% of these can be made into funny posts, somehow.

This notebook was filled out before I ever had an iPhone, because once I got an iPhone “Notes” took over for this book. Luckily, I filled it out completely before the iPhone was ever invented. So, now I have this whole book to go through, and once I’m done maybe I’ll go through my “Notes.” Why would I carry a fat notebook in my pocket all day, when I could just write anything on my iPhone and even send it to the internet for everyone to see instantly. Notebooks get lost, the internet is everywhere!

So, why am I telling you about this notebook? I’m going to start a second type of blog post called “Lost Learnings” which will consist of me reading everything on one page from the book (which will only take about < 1 minute) and trying to decipher some meaning behind what I read.

Ideally, I would like to do these “Lost Learnings” sometime during the beginning of the week and my “Original Learnings” on Fridays, like I’ve been doing.

I guess today’s Learning doesn’t really count as a “Learning,” but rather more of a “Finding,” since I found my lost notebook. (“Ferdi’s Findings” sounds cooler than “Ferdi’s Learnings” right? Oh well, too late. The blog, twitter, facebook page and everything else have already been named…)

So, since I didn’t really teach you anything, here’s my first stand-up special again from a few

years ago, in case you missed it. Look how stupid my hair looks! (Also, just trying to get some more video views).

Thanks, see you next week. Hopefully in the beginning of the week with a “Lost Learning.”