The One That Got Away

You bump into an ex-lover on Valentine’s Day—the one whom you often call “The One
That Got Away.”

What happens?

The fight or flight instinct is unleashed.

My body locks and tense pangs of adrenaline tremble through my veins as I rear my head toward the far end of the bar illuminated by a blue Bud Light sign and peer through the curtains of humanity littered throughout the downtown establishment situated among revelers inching their way through a pub crawl before I trade glances with her … “The One That Got Away.”

What do I do? What do I say? What would she do? What would she say? Would she remember me? Is she still mad at me?

Low self-esteem manifests itself in the fear of rejection, recalling several past incidents where I was embarrassed after hearing a ‘No,’ beat red after imbibing too much or feel left out after not having the courage to attempt to spark up a conversation with an attractive member of the opposite sex.

The negativity seeps into my brain and I bail … Home to my apartment for a night of solo drinking, junk food and remembering what could have been.

 

Dear Writer’s Block …

I have been telling myself and others that wanted to start writing for years now so today I just dug up the Writer’s Digest Writing Prompt Boot Camp to spur on two weeks of craft, creativity and discipline. I am excited to get this going …

As part of Day 1 in the document, writers are instructed to craft a letter to “break up” with writer’s block and initiate the habit of writing every day. In an ironic twist of fate just one day after Gordon Hayward released a letter to Utah Jazz fans after signing as a free agent with his mentor Brad Stevens and the Boston Celtics, this passage will shed some light on why it has taken so long to make a full commitment to “The Process.”

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The instructions suggest picking a time each day to write so I think I’ll write each evening after 7 p.m. CT. This will give me time to unwind from the day (I usually leave the office by 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday), eat a “meal of food” (Shoutout to Frank Ricard!) and get set up to start writing.

So without further ado, here’s my crack at Day 1 …

Day 1: Breaking Up With Writer’s Block

It’s time for you and Writer’s Block to part ways. Write a letter breaking up with Writer’s Block, starting out with, “Dear Writer’s Block, it’s not you, it’s me …”

Dear Writer’s Block,

It’s not you, it’s me … I am an introvert.

There are times when I need my privacy and being upfront with opinions is not always easy for me. Despite the sometime negative connotation, I do enjoy spending time with people I care about as well as building teamwork and camaraderie. However, opening myself up and interacting with a lot of people while sharing with others for extended periods of time drains my emotional and physical energy. My body functions like a battery that is recharged only with solitude and hobbies like reading, following my favorite sports teams, listening to music, etc.

I hate confrontation. I do my best to make sure I am contributing to a positive collaborative environment where each member of the group gets along with one another and everyone is as happy as possible. I feed off the energy of other people so sometimes this leads to me penning up my opinions to avoid conflict in the name of preserving upbeat morale. There have been times when even if I feel that my ideas can improve a project, I won’t voice them out of fear of contradicting one of my colleagues. I know in the long run, this may hurt the final product but I only have the best intentions for the group at heart. It’s something I have improved upon throughout my life and will strive to improve in the future.

These ‘blocks’ in my writing has kept me from ever even starting a serious attempt to build a portfolio. Most of my writing in my professional pursuits were either event recaps, press releases, game notes, etc., but I know I have to put myself out there and type my thoughts down on this blog.

Coming to grips with how my introverted persona and preference to avoid showdowns are often perceived as a lack of self-confidence was a hurdle I was happy to clear. I will continue to work to improve in these areas, but in general, I appreciate how I operate and am comfortable in my approach to the creative process.

Circling back to the task at hand, I know I’m a talented writer. Sitting down with my laptop and confronting myself during periods of introspection for the Writer’s Digest Writing Prompt Boot Camp will force me to formulate my true opinions and throw my thoughts out into the open. It will be a true exercise in expressing myself and engaging with my mind on a daily basis. My goal is to build these drills into a habit so I can put my capabilities to good use.

Despite how crazy my ideas may be, my fear of being criticized behind my back or judged without my knowledge cannot, and will not, hold me back any longer.

Sincerely,

Mike

Top Opening Guitar Riffs

It’s undeniable. Your brain wastes no time in sending an ‘Oh #$*%!’ surge of adrenaline through your limbs. You can’t help by pick the cords on your imaginary axe and groove along.

A spine-shivering guitar solo to open a song, however brief it may be, can burn its way into your conscious and become an immediate withdrawal from your memory bank like receiving your first kiss on the playground or learning about your first promotion in your cubicle.

Inspired by the Pardon My Take boys, @barstoolbigcat, @pftcommenter and @hen_ease, here is my Mount Rushmore (plus one) for guitar-only openers. I’m sure there are many that I forgot so let me know what you think. #EmbraceDebate

Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
Jimi Hendrix

I mean, really?, is there anything cooler than that first 20 seconds that Jimi jams out those magical notes? There’s a reason @joerogan calls the tune the ultimate landing song at the end of any flight.

Bonus Mount Rushmore points for Jimi because he inspired this great exchange from White Men Can’t Jump.

Welcome to the Jungle
Guns ‘n Roses

If you went to a sporting event in the 80’s or 90’s, there was a good chance you heard the first eight seconds of Slash’s masterpiece reverberating through the sound system of your local stadium or arena. Aside from the internal rush you feed off when you hear GNR’s call to action, there is a palpable, tribal and communal charge that you can feel with the rest of the crowd.

Smells Like Teen Spirit
Nirvana

Kobain changed the game for 90’s kids like myself. When that opening sequence came on the radio, you kept it locked on that station for the next five minutes.

Stranglehold
Ted Nugent

Despite the violent imagery supplied by the moniker, this is the most mellow song on this list. The trippy bass line is tremendous. You know The Nuge has a classic on his hands after the first couple seconds.

Smoke on the Water
Deep Purple

The first lick is a banger, but the rest of the song loses me so that’s why I have to slide it down the Mount Rushmore scale.

Keep on rockin’ in the USA, ya’ll. Happy Fourth!

https://giphy.com/gifs/america-hulk-hogan-fourth-of-july-uKwa2KiBA0rTy/embed

 

 

First Day

Blocking the accomplishments and failures of his past that now seem more like out of body experiences described by Joyce Meyer than memories of his, he is solely focused on the ‘now.’

The grip of the steering wheel. The tight grip of the elastic at the top of his black dress lining around his calves. A silver watch he wore only on special occasions latched onto his left wrist.

Am I going the right way? What’s going to happen? Urges to question what he can’t control creep into his mind while driving to the outpost where the uninitiated are put through their paces. A rush of nervous adrenaline jolts him out of the car.

The syncopation from each step in his size 14 black dress shoe echo off the parking lot pavement to signal a new member waiting to inhabit the sanctuaries of education placed among the lagoons and avenues of the sleepy collegial society.

Forgetting a section of his required paper work brings him back to the present tense in a snap.

A band of sweat sprouts up along his forehead, the curse of an anxious introvert. The white dug rag with black trig that should belong to someone who owns a Harley-Davidson acts as a shock absorber as he glances to his left and notices he still has 32 minutes before his initial commitment begins. Another first-day crisis averted.

 

Three Elements for Effective Organizational Communication

Members of a community welcoming a new member.The three most important points to consider for effective organizational communication is built upon an emphasis on creativity, consistency and trust.

All members of your organization must recognize that each of these components are essential to constructing and distributing powerful messages about the free and equitable access to educational and cultural content.

To set your organization apart and show its unique nature, it is necessary to cultivate an atmosphere where creativity regardless of media platform fuels a passion for libraries and an ability to harness imagination into vivid presentations using graphic design software programs.

My expertise in operating professional social media platforms that will translate into increased interaction for printed marketing collateral, email campaigns or on the Facebook and Twitter along with all other emerging networks.

While illustrating the flare that sets your organization apart is essential to grabbing the attention of the public, it is equally as important to build a brand that people will recognize. Consistency is constructed by vivid yet cohesive campaigns on all media platforms. I will develop a base of communications best practices and principles that will inspire all members of the organization to share the vision of your organization. I will unleash my ingenuity in written content and through graphic design to originate and maintain online compositions using a variety of content management systems.

A bond of trust between all associates is necessary for the concepts detailed above to take place to promote racial equity and social justice with a sensitive outlook.

Creativity, consistency and trust are necessary to bolster an environment where patrons can learn state-of-the-art ideas and exchange innovative thoughts.

 

What kind of communicator am I?

 

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I consider myself a personal communicator because I view listening as the most important element of communication in a professional setting.

Regardless of the strength of my preconceived notions, I forge emotional connections with my colleagues by considering all offered opinions during collaborations with my cohorts. I realize that everyone wants their voice to be valued so I make a concerted effort to recognize the contributions of others. I enjoy serving as a resource that my associates can use to vocalize their thoughts, feelings and assessments on a variety of issues.

After pooling all gathered information in my mind, I pause to perform a thorough revision of my initial reasoning and opinions before expressing them. Taking this moment to collect my thoughts ensures that this interaction leads to a positive outcome where practical ideas are generated and a negotiation ensues until an agreed upon solution is reached and a course of action is determined.

Following through and executing the formulated ideas is the most important phase. I guarantee that all individuals that I communicate with will be assigned a clear list of action items with accompanying deadlines to make sure that your organization achieves its goals.

My ability to listen, generate ideas and execute skills will prove to be efficient and effective. I will facilitate an environment where everyone involved can learn, share and create ideas in a free-flowing manner.

The three most important points to consider for effective organizational communication is built upon an emphasis on creativity, consistency and trust. All members must recognize that these components are essential to constructing and distributing powerful messages about the free and equitable access to educational and cultural content.

To set your organization apart and show its unique nature, it is necessary to cultivate an atmosphere where creativity regardless of media platform fuels a passion and an ability to harness imagination into vivid presentations using graphic design software programs.

My expertise in operating professional social media platforms that will translate into increased interaction for printed marketing collateral, email campaigns or social media platforms like on Facebook and Twitter along with all other emerging networks.

While illustrating the flare that sets your organization apart is essential to grabbing the attention of the public, it is equally as important to build a brand that people will recognize. Consistency is constructed by vivid yet cohesive campaigns on all media platforms. I will develop a base of best practices and principles that will inspire my colleagues to share the vision of your organization. My ingenuity in written content and through graphic design to originate and maintain synchronized online compositions using a variety of content management systems.

A bond of trust between all associates and members of the community is necessary to present unified and potent messaging that will promote racial equity and social justice with a sensitive outlook.

Creativity, consistency and trust are necessary to bolster an environment where patrons can learn state-of-the-art ideas and exchange innovative thoughts.

 

Little Steps to Big Resolutions

I see a lot of people making fun of New Year’s resolutions, but I think the concept is valuable if taken seriously.

So with another year of resolutions on the verge of being splattered across the internet (mine included), an important element that I’m going to try to implement in order to achieve my goals is to set small goals.

In past years, I know I’ve been bogged down and overwhelmed by setting too many resolutions and getting ahead of myself in the big picture — the proverbial act of biting off more than I can chew.

Instead of ordering that 16-ounce porterhouse steak, I’ll settle for an 8-ounce Outback Special. I’m going to zone in on specific actions that will help me accomplish the ambitions that I have for my ultimate future, not just in 2017.

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Music and Memory

On my old iPod, I had playlists organized by the location where I had lived to that point in my life: Wisconsin, Chicago and Virginia Tech.

A catchy chorus with a slick chorus can pull an image to the forefront of your memory bank and evoke a rush  of emotion — sadness, adrenaline.

Forever in my mind, House of Pain’s Jump Around will only mean the break between the third and fourth quarters at Camp Randall Stadium. And I’m not going to lie, I get a little annoyed when played in other venues like it’s almost sacriligous. As irrational as it may be, I feel in my heart that Wisconsin has earned exclusive access to the anthem.

Regulators will always be the theme of my senior class’s Homecoming theme.

Not really much else to say, but what songs are stuck in your head and associated with certain events in your life?

Just For Fun Week 15 NFL Picks

Just For Fun Week 15 Picks
Periscope

Went 8-7 last week.
Los Angeles at Seattle
Green Bay
at Chicago
Jacksonville at Houston
Cleveland at Buffalo
Philadelphia at Baltimore
Tennessee at Kansas City
Detroit at New York Giants
Indianapolis at Minnesota
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati
New Orleans at Arizona
San Francisco at Atlanta
New England
at Denver
Oakland at San Diego
Tampa Bay at Dallas
Carolina at Washington

The most wonderful time of the year

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. That’s right, folks … college football bowl season.

To make it a little more interesting (for myself at least), here are my just for fun picks for today’s games so you can make fun of me later. Ridicule all of picks at http://games.espn.com/college-bowl-mania/2016/en/entry?entryID=506923.

Without further ado, here are today’s picks …

New Mexico vs. Texas-San Antonio
UCF Knights
vs. Arkansas State
Houston vs. San Diego State
Southern Mississippi vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
Appalachian State vs. Toledo Rockets
North Carolina Central vs. Grambling State