People come and people go.

My life is full of transgressions, caused by lofty rules of which I can never fully abide. These rules have made me the man I am today. I fear, daily, I may become a narcissist through omission. 

One could argue it is more than self-governed rules that I choose not to celebrate my birthday, keeping the date off calendars and changing the subject when asked.  The truth is I would rather celebrate people. Using my birthdate as a cultural juncture, one in which people are apt and often classically conditioned to celebrate, every year I schedule a series of events.  These events are used as a celebration in people. It is my belief that joining people together, even under the guise of a birthday, is one of the most important things for our society. 

My lifestyle is always burdened with the possibility of relocation. In my last 10 years, I have taken residence in five different cities. I understand new relationships, retaining old friends, missing family, burning bridges, and avoiding love. Goodbyes are still so very, very hard.  Throughout all of this, and more to come, I always want to celebrate people. I want to thank all of the people who celebrated these last four days with me, even those who were unable to, or non-responsive to my invites. I appreciate it all. Every year it reaffirms my belief that life relationships can be modeled from social events.

People will be there, even if they are not necessarily your first choice. People will want to be there, but life keeps them away. People will forget you, whether happily or accidental. You will meet new people. People will leave too early and stay too late. 

People will come and people will go.


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Turkey Day Takeover by Two Holiday Giants

PHOENIX, Ariz. – The Board of Pilgrims accepts a buyout offer of 3.4 trillion dollars for the nearly 400 year-old American tradition of Thanksgiving, officials announced Sunday, November 4.  The deal involves joint funds from the Halloween Industrial Corp. and, Global Holiday Giant, Christmas International.

Understanding the consumer pressure of the gift giving season and the burgeoning culture of slutty Halloween costumes, it is believed that the time Thanksgiving typically represented will be split 30/70 between the Halloween and Christmas holidays.

Christopher Jones of Mayflower Consulting, a member of the Board of Pilgrims stated, “We have great respect for all of the Christmas and Halloween brands, heritage, and people.”

“Liquor and Turkey sales will drop drastically in late November, the National Turkey Federation will be the hardest hit.” Dr. John Smith, Professor of Urban Sociology at Yuma State Community College commenting on the economic effects concerning the loss of Thanksgiving, a celebration in America since 1621.

It is believed that the traditional shopping days following Thanksgiving of “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” will be combined into a weeklong event. Rumors have  come forward that online retail giant Amazon.com and Wal-Mart are in a bidding war for naming rights.

It is unknown how many jobs losses will occur with the takeover of Thanksgiving.  Multiple unsuccessful attempts were made to reach Christmas International CEO and President Santa Claus and COO of Halloween Industrial, Jack O’Lantern.

Christmas’s number one stockholder, Jesus Christ, wrote on his blog about the Thanksgivings buyout “significant strategic value” for “a variety of significantly larger companies that are engaging in more direct competition with one another due to the evolution of the buyers market.”


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Fanciful Internal Conceptualization™ or: Let’s Get Visual

A couple years back I read an article about a mathematician who saw numbers as different colored shapes.  He’d see a nine as a red fuzzy sphere or a zero as a keen-edged pyramid.  These images allowed him to build upon his ideas and accurately compute in his head. Along with blowing my mind, this example helped me to strengthen my own thought processes through what I would call visual thinking.

Visual Thinking is a hard fit for what I’m trying to describe.  Visual Thinking is a concept already linked to disorders like Autism and Dyslexia, based on “picture thinking” and spatial skills exhibited by those who are Autistic or Dyslexic.  What I have experienced, or in the case of the mathematician read of others experiencing, seems so natural that its hard for me to link it to any kind of mental disorder.

Visual thinking also has close ties to Eidetic Memory. In no way am I advocating I have a superior “elephant” like memory. My memory is a unique animal in its own right. I can often remember ridiculous stats and facts that make me a master at Trivial Pursuit, but I routinely did (and would still) get my recognitive ass handed to me in a game of Memory by anyone ages 4 and up.

Memory is not centric to my interpretation of whats going on in my noggin. However I’d never rule out improved memory as a result of fanciful internal conceptualization. Can I trademark that phrase? (I should trademark that phrase)

Flow charts. Expansive, colorful, animated, funky flow charts are what I see in my head.  I cannot conjure up a better way to describe the imagery in my mind during brainstorming sessions.  If there is a hole or flaw in my thinking, which there often is (and I have no shortage of people to tell me so, M.P.) I see what resembles a white or grey cloud. When working on a project where I have my ideas developed and methods laid out, I’ll think in same composition of the application or software I’m using.  Which I’m sure Microsoft, Google, Apple, and Adobe are all working on copywriting.  These are just two ways in which I think visually, I’m quite sure there are many more.

There is no doubt in my mind that everyone has the ability to, or already does think in a manner that incorporates imagery into thought processes. I’ve just never heard anyone talk about it, except that one time with super smart math guy…or maybe he was a physicist.


– Have you ever had an idea come to mind so suddenly that blurred your thought completely?

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Blogistentialism: Struggling for Nothing

Battling a little bit of writers block after my last post, I turned to a nice little app called SimpleMind+ for my iPhone.  I downloaded it to help me brainstorm ideas for blogs or at the very least help me develop a richer amount of content for preexisting blog ideas.

Just now, as I’m watching Sherlock on the interwebs and waiting for my third fantasy football mock draft to start, I realized my next blog topic shouldn’t be an internal debate over naming my future son after a super villain or my father’s fashion sense and what he did or did not pass along. This blog should be about the almost existential process of wanting to write a blog, struggling to conjure up good content, delivering a somewhat decent message and then in the end, writing about the authentic experience rather than an actual predetermined subject.

Believe me, I don’t gain much from the process other than a tiny amount of self-worth and general acknowledgement that someone, most likely from my immediate family, has read my words.  So my struggle is minuscule to the poor bastards who do this for a living.

I don’t prep for these writings, but I feel they get more attention then they deserve especially after a full days work. That conflict conjures up this question “Is the process of writing blog a meaningful experience?”  Obviously I can only answer this question for myself, but I hypothesize the importance is not the answer to the question, it is the derivation.

As I take time away from WordPress and The Surly Otter to brainstorm the derivation of the answer to the question above, I’ll leave you with how I believe I’ll get from point A to B.

1) Once I’ve come to terms with what I’m actually trying to accomplish here at The Surly Otter I’ll need to know: What does it mean to write this type of blog?  I haven’t defined what I’m doing here and probably will never truly know.

However, if this blog is just a stream of my consciousness (It is) and does not pertain often enough to the lives  of others (It doesn’t) then it will never be limited by any descriptor. In other words: If a tree falls in the forest, does anyone read my blog?

2)  Strive to understand if I have a motivation to write and where it comes from (if no one is reading). Does expectation play a part, and if so is it intrinsic or extrinsic?

3) Embrace the randomness, much like a hipster might. Just don’t embrace hipsters.

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We All Look Good On Paper

Happily and without hesitation I am helping a good friend of mine through the job search process. Cover letter, resumes, and what have you. To be honest with you, I kind of miss it. Sure it was exhausting, time-consuming, and stressful. At the same time it was fascinating to see just how different each organization was or was not, especially those in the same industry. It was fun, or at least challenging, to see what organizations wanted in a candidate (or thought they wanted). Many of the job descriptions I read were written for the optimal candidate, which I believe can hurt the job search. We can all look good on paper, how do you look after six months on the job?

Often I wondered “did I use the right keywords?,” “did I portray myself as the right person?” Truth be told a resume is just a piece of paper and you can put anything on a piece of paper. Somewhere along the line the Cover Letter replaced the hand shake and face to face introductions. The term “cover letter” leads people to believe if its read at all, it’s before the resume. Hardly. Could you imagine going to a job interview and formally introducing yourself after you have listed your experiences and accolades aloud? No? Good. Because that is ludicrous.

Most are cynical about the process, stating “Its all about who you know.” I always chime in after they’ve released this cliché and add “No, It’s more like who knows YOU.” Who is likely to reference you? Who is ready to battle for you? And with that, you have every reason to build a good network. Sure some people get picked because their dad is golf buddies with a VP, and you know what? That kid is probably going to be halfway decent at his job. He also probably had a Firebird in high school that ran on broken hearts and pheromones, AND it had T-tops! Sorry you had a gold Buick Somerset. It happens, move on.

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Holiday Rant No. 1.

From observing social media (“friendly, inadvertent stalking”) around the holidays the last couple years I have noticed a significant amount of people in my social circles celebrate multiple Thanksgivings and Christmases per year. Whether that comes from divorces, new relationships, and celebrating with specific groups (friends, co-workers, etc…).  Now if you ever met me or read any of my rants, you have more than likely deduced that I am a bit alternative. So it is probably not surprising that I have never celebrated a holiday multiple times in one year.

Obligatory turkey dinner picture

I have always been lucky enough (blessed really) to have large holiday gatherings.  Growing up my family was always willing and ready to incorporate anyone important to our friends and family into our holiday celebrations. Often eliminating the need for multiple events.  I’m not really up in arms about multiple holiday celebrations, it just does not seem that enjoyable to me*. You could say I was raised to believe holidays are so special and unique they are to be celebrated on the specific days in which they appear on the calendar**.  Believe me, I am not trying to sound sententious. (Or am I by using sententious instead of preachy or self-righteous?).

It should be noted I actively avoid weddings (of auxiliary individuals) and never went to prom. However I do describe myself as a social person. In fact sitting in my apartment all day today is sort of killing me, but a man can only eat out so many time by himself before he starts to feel awkward.

Perhaps the point that is taking so long to make is for people to openly embrace the reason for the season and open your homes and celebrations, even more, to family of family and friends of friends.

* The food is most likely delicious and seeing loved ones is always a plus, I understand these and other pleasurable experiences may exist.

**Really the build up to holidays has gotten a bit ridiculous. It seems there are more people telling me the feel the same, yet we still see Christmas trees weeks before

Thanksgiving.  As stated above, I’m a firm believer that everything has it’s time and place.  Often when I see a Christmas tree or the hear of Christmas music well before I am mentally prepared for the season I find it a bit unnerving. This is true for every holiday, except Flag Day***, I only use Christmas because it is easily the most flagrant offender.

***Flag day can never be celebrated enough.

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Three things.

I have come to the conclusion that it is virtually impossible for me to startup a conversation with a woman in a public place. Unless of course we are “pre-familiar” with each other.  I am not referring to picking up women, that is a pipe dream.  Basically there is no way for me to relate to women 21 – 28 years of age.

In fact there are only three things I know about that demographic. 1) They love answering questions about themselves 2) If they drink beer, they will drink bud light. They always drink vodka, everyone always drinks vodka. Vodka is step one of an endless stair case of liquid vices. and 3) They all love Taco Bell.  You could throw a point in there about reality tv and shopping, but that may be stretching it a bit.

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