Monthly Archives: April 2014

The Book – Intro

As promised, I’ve started my book. I suppose this is a rough draft because if this week was any indication, I’m going to have to re-write these chapters over and over again. Is that what writers do?? Ughhh…. too much work. Anyways…… Hope you enjoy!


Before we get started, I need to explain how you should handle owning this book. This is a self-help book of sorts, but not a coffee table book. In fact, it’s best that nobody knows you own it. One of the cool rules is that you must never let the world know that you’re trying to be cool. It’s probably the hardest thing to pull off. If you’ve invested in this book, you are either a friend or relative of mine, but in the event that you are actually part of my target market (people trying to find a way to increase their cool), then you should really keep this book a secret. That doesn’t help my marketing at all, but for you it’s crucial. Trying to be cool without appearing to be trying to be cool is the trick to this whole thing. It’s a hard enough thing to do, but if someone in your circle finds out that you bought a book to help your cause, your cool factor will decrease dramatically. Plus the relentless teasing!! Counter intuitive, right?? Don’t worry, I’ll guide you through it, but rule number one is to keep your ownership of this book discreet. It’s like rule #1 of Fight Club.

I’ve had the idea to write this book for a long time. Ultimately whether we’re prepared to admit it or not, we devote a good chunk of our lives to the pursuit of being cool, or accepted among our peers. For something that so many people aspire to, I’ve always been surprised by how few resources were available to actually make this happen. This book (if executed properly) is designed to be a manual of sorts to increase your ‘Cool Factor’. You’ll hear me refer to this many times over the course of the book. What I’m referring to is the idea that your coolness is a sliding scale and can increase or decrease with just about every move or decision you make. Not every last one of these ideas will strike a chord with you, and nobody can be expected to execute every idea in this book all of the time. I do believe however, that no matter how cool you think you are, or how cool you’d like to be, that there is something here to be learned or perhaps reminded of. My mission here is to pull together a few relatively tangible suggestions that could be helpful to your Cool Factor no matter who you are. There is no perfectly cool person in the world, so there is no perfectly written book that could ever make you that person. We are pursuing excellence, not perfection.

What is cool? It’s a moving target for sure. There’s no real definition, other than it might be the most time-tested slang word for describing your approval of something. Approval can be very important for members of society, yet overtly seeking approval is actually not considered cool which can be very confusing. It’s not conventionally cool to admit how badly you want to be cool, and the irony is not lost on me that purchasing this book might not qualify as cool either. If you watch movies involving teenagers, especially from the 80s, the beginning of the movie usually has the jocks, or the rich kids representing cool, but as the movie wears on, the nerdy main character always ends up being the cool one. That transference of cool is arguably the driving theme behind most teen movies. Teens do tend to have the biggest desire for acceptance, but I would argue that it never really goes away completely. It often just gets buried among life’s other priorities. Adult cool and kid cool take on different forms, but they both stem from the same desire for acceptance. Perhaps kids are more keenly aware of cool, but adults who think it no longer matters are likely experiencing some sort of denial. We evolve somewhat, but at the end of the day, no matter how many kids you have, or how great your job is, or how distracted you become with the real stresses of your life, social anxiety never goes away completely. A lot of people think that we should grow out of that stuff, and that it no longer matters in the real world. I would argue that it matters even more in the real world, but the standards do change.
Cool means different things to different people. The standards of cool to a teenager vary greatly from those of a 45-year-old. Regionally and culturally there will be different behavioural expectations as well. Every individual has a different list of things that they value. For me to be able to tackle this project, and say that there’s a single path to cool that everyone can follow and have success with is impossible. What I think is possible is to come up with some ideas that are designed as action items to increase your cool factor. I can’t change whatever ‘cool tools’ you brought to the table. If you’re rich and good-looking at the time that you’re reading this, then you have some building blocks to work with. It may be a longer path for others. What I can hopefully do is help you walk the path toward cool. I can’t guarantee that the girl of your dreams will fall for you after this, or that you’ll get that promotion at work that you’ve desired. I think if you are able to use some of these concepts, that you can definitely get cooler. Will I give you your money back if not? It’s totally not cool for you to ask for your money back.

Who am I, and what makes me cool enough to write a book about being cool? That’s a very good question. I’m not really qualified to write a book like this in any way, but who is? I’m not an author, I can’t even really sit here and tell you for sure that I in fact am cool. It’s very subjective. If you asked 100 people who know me if they thought I was cool, I feel confident that 70 of them would say yes with a straight face, and if that’s not true, I’d rather not know. Who said I have to be cool to tell you how to be cool? Does a professional sports coach have to be a good player to be a good coach? I think most of the great coaches weren’t the most gifted players, but they paid attention to the details, and made the most of their talents as players. Then they were respected enough to get coaching jobs later. So I feel like I could be a good cool coach even though I might not be one of the coolest people you’ve met. In order to figure out how to be cool, I think it’s important to understand what it’s like to feel like you’re not cool. It allows you time to actually try to think these concepts up. If cool comes very naturally to you like it does for some, then you probably don’t need to think about it as much, therefore making you less qualified to write a book about it. See? I basically just told you that I wasn’t always cool, and if I am now, it’s because I worked at it.

I didn’t go to school for this. I’m not aware of any school for this. There should be one, but again, it wouldn’t be cool for you to go to it. I think like any writer, I’m a people watcher. Like any kid I wanted to be one of the cool ones, but I always felt like I was in the middle of the pack somewhere. I definitely wanted to increase my own cool factor as a kid, but didn’t necessarily know how to do it. The information wasn’t conveniently in one place. I had to try a few things. Some worked, and some didn’t. Is it as simple as buying that shirt, watching that TV show, or using that slang? I used to watch cool people, and try to pick up things, and implement them. Was that a good approach? Or is it as simple as just being yourself and letting the cool come to you? The truth is that those approaches might work, and they might not. Cool is an elusive lady. If you want to spend some time with her, you’re going to have to treat her with respect.

I have one last thought before we start to drill down. Try to remember that cool is not an absolute. It’s fairly temporary in nature. You’re only as cool as your most recent expression of cool, unless you are able to demonstrate a consistency of cool, at which point you will be considered cool. Clear? Remember integers in math? It was simple addition and subtraction using positive and negative values. If you think of a straight line and have zero plotted in the middle, with positive 1-100 on the right, and negative 1-100 on the left, that is what I think of as a cool factor. Your cool factor can move up and down. The closer you are to zero, the more likely that you can go from cool to not cool very easily. If you build up enough cool points, then you can still do a few uncool things without affecting your overall rating. Now picture every act in your life as having an either positive, negative, or even a neutral effect on your cool factor. Now for all you nerds that think I’m about to assign a point system to this, I’m not. I just wanted you to understand that cool moves in positive and negative directions. I don’t find unnecessary math to be cool, so I’m going to shut this concept down right here. No drawings, no point systems. I basically just wanted you to know what I picture in my head when I refer to a cool factor, which I will do ad nauseam.

Are you ready to increase your cool factor?? Good! Let’s do this!!

OK, So I’m Gonna Write A Book….. Here…… Now

I was in a crazy old German restaurant today, eating Schnitzel and catching up with a friend. The same friend who I blogged about who is an aspiring filmmaker, and I’m aspiring to become part of his entourage when he’s rich and successful. As of today, he’s still not rich, so I realized I can’t hold out for that, and I might actually have to get rich on my own. My education doesn’t lend itself to netting high paying jobs, so I realize that if I’m ever to reach lofty heights, I’m going to have to do a better job tapping into my creative abilities. At lunch we were talking about existing with moderate to considerable creative talents, and how it’s actually a real privilege, and shouldn’t be pissed away with laziness and fear. He’s made a few great short films recently, but he’d like to be able to make a full length film. I write a blog every week, but would love to some day write a book. We share these common desires to ‘live the dream’, which is a common thread that makes us great at motivating each other. I have a book idea, and I’ve even got it organized into separate ideas or chapters. It’s been sitting like that for years. He was a bit appalled that I’d come that far, but haven’t bothered writing it. He’s right. It’s just stupid.

My excuses are many, but my good excuses are few. I work full-time, I have a family, and I really enjoy sitting on the couch and watching a game, or listening to music. That’s how I unwind. When I do feel creative, I’ve always got a blog entry due, so I usually just pour whatever I’ve got into that. Which is cool, don’t get me wrong. Just not quite as awesome as writing a book. I haven’t written a book yet because I don’t have the discipline to do it. WordPress just sent me a reminder that I started this blog 2 years ago. I’ve made a commitment to this. Every week I’ve provided a blog entry. Even if it was a bullshit entry, I still did it. If I put that same time and energy into writing a book, I’d have long since finished it.

That’s when it finally occurred to me. Why don’t I write the book in my blog? I write the blog anyways. I’m always complaining about not being able to come up with topics. If I can write 20 chapters or so, I’ll have topics for the next 20 weeks. Then, I’ll have fulfilled my blog commitment AND have a book finished. I don’t want to go as far as calling this genius because it wouldn’t have taken a genius 2 years to figure this out, but it is pretty smart by my standards.

So….. Starting next week, I will write a book. One chapter at a time, and post it here on my blog. Can you wait until next week to find out what it’s about? No?? Okay, I need a few more words to get up to 500, so I’ll give you the concept.

I don’t really have a working title for this, but it’s meant to be a self-help book. An instruction manual on being ‘cool’. I know that sounds nuts (and how arrogant am I that I think I could be the person to write it?), but I think this is an important thing for everybody in life. I’ve always been fascinated by ‘cool’. How easily it comes to some, and how elusive it is for others. Impossible to define, and almost more impossible to achieve through conventional means. Some people dismiss it as a high school thing, but I believe that there is an ‘adult cool’ as well, whether it’s ‘water cooler cool’ or ‘hockey dad cool’, society has its pecking order of social acceptance, and it’s not to be escaped, so if there were a few easy steps to follow to improve your ‘cool factor’, why wouldn’t you? What are the qualities of cool that can be used no matter what your age or situation? Where’s the ‘How To Guide’? I am (right now) committing to write 20 chapters of ‘cool tools’ to help you in your journey to cool. Hopefully along the way I can help you understand why you might even want to bother being on a journey to cool, and most importantly helping you stay off that train that is headed in the exact opposite direction. A book for all ages, but written from the male perspective, but hopefully having enough universal concepts so females will enjoy it just as much. Perhaps by finally getting off my ass and writing a book, I could even increase my own level of cool.

Would you read this book? Well now is your chance! The foreword will be posted next week! Until then my lovelies, enjoy the holiday weekend! (Yes I just called you my lovelies….. how cool is that???)

The Anti-Bucket List

The greatest thing just happened to my writers block! I have to confess to you faithful readers that sometimes even I have absolutely nothing to say to anyone about anything. In the mornings when I sit here with my coffee, I manage to come up with something as I become more awake. In the evenings when I sit here with my wine, it just doesn’t come easy. So tonight, (and this isn’t the first time I tried this) I went to google to try to find generic blog ideas that I could effectively steal, and make my own for the sake of fulfilling this dreaded self imposed blog quota of one per week. You would be amazed to find out how completely useless this exercise is. It’s bloggers giving other bloggers ideas, but they’re not really ideas, they’re just a shitty set of suggestions about how to blog like….”Write about what you know”…. and…. “Talk about what you’re passionate about”….. I know that assholes!!!! I need a specific concrete idea like “Write about the time a seagull pooped on your shoulder”.

Then I found an actual blog that had actual blog ideas. 50 of them. Some of them weren’t half bad. I chose the Anti-Bucket list which is things I would never do in my lifetime. That’s easy. There’s lots of those, but how do I narrow it down to the most important or interesting ones? I went to so that I could find out what some of the most popular bucket list items are, and now I’m going to spend the rest of the evening discrediting them and making fun of them.

1. Learn Archery

At first I thought this said Learn Anarchy which I thought would be fun, but I don’t think I will ever learn archery. I tried it in high school one time. I just remember my gym teacher saying “Keep your elbow straight”, and me saying “IT IS STRAIGHT!!!!!” It went on and on like that.

2. Buy the person behind me a coffee.

One of my pet peeves is people who use the phrase ‘Pay it forward’. They blog about it, they use it in their Facebook updates, they love to be in love with the idea of making the world a better place. Here’s an idea…. Just do what you’re supposed to do in each situation. No more, no less. If everyone does that, the universe will all fall into place. While you’re inside buying a stranger coffee, you’re probably double parked outside. Get a grip.

3. Bungee Jump

No thanks. Plummeting to my death only to not die (providing the equipment works) does absolutely nothing for me. Pure foolishness.

4. Go on an African Lion Safari.

No thanks. Sweating it up in the jungle with a bunch of predators who may or may not eat me depending on my luck does not sound appealing. I’m happy to look at pictures.

5. Collect a jar of dirt from every State.

Then what?

6. Swim with a Whale-Shark

Ummm no.

7. Have a mud fight.

Why on earth would I want to have a mud fight? I don’t like mud, and I don’t like to fight. I would like to have the opposite of a mud fight. What is the opposite of a mud fight? I believe it is eating croissants inside.

8. Attend a Masquerade Ball

I hope I’m never invited to one. I just feel like it’s way too much effort for the way I like to party.

9. Strap a Rocket to a Merry-Go-Round

That’s just stupid.

10. Paint a Mural

You wouldn’t want to see that mural. I can’t even draw stick figures well. It would be stick figures on the mural though. They’d be doing all kinds of random things. Kindergarten kids would do a better job. I think murals are fantastic, but you won’t see me create one.

Well that was a fun exercise. I have to admit, there were some pretty good ideas on that site, and I was hard pressed to find 10 I didn’t want to do, but if there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s not wanting to do things 🙂

I’m Still Here

There are a lot of things that could have killed me by now.

My wife just showed me an article about the ‘5 second rule’. I didn’t read it because I have to write this blog, and that wouldn’t have contributed to it, but she was telling me that there is scientific evidence that actually supports the ‘5 second rule’. Her being a scientist, and me being someone who just might eat food off the floor, we have an appreciation for the fact that someone actually took the time to research this. I can’t comment on the article any further because I didn’t actually read it. My wife is the type that wouldn’t eat food off the floor, unless it was our floor, but it would take her longer than 5 seconds because I know her brain would run some sort of risk analysis before she did it. Me? I wouldn’t think twice. In my conversation with her, I confessed to eating food off restaurant tables frequently. In Diners, Fast Food restaurants, and shopping mall food courts. If a few french fries slip off my plate onto the table, I don’t hesitate. Consequences be damned. I’m still here.

Earlier this week a co-worker and I joked about being left in car parking lots as kids. My mom will read this blog and deny it, but I remember being given the option of sitting in the car when she went shopping. Not for a long time or anything, but as long as I kept the doors locked and didn’t open them for strangers, I could sometimes stay in the car and play with baseball cards. That stuff is a little more frowned upon now, but back in the day it was not a problem. The only issue with sitting in her car was that on a hot summer day, she had these horrible patterned vinyl seats. As the sun beat down on them during the day, they would heat up like a cast iron skillet, and if you were unfortunate enough to be wearing those high 80’s shorts (which in the 80’s I certainly did), you were going to get an imprint in the back of your leg, not unlike the guy in ‘Raiders Of The Lost Ark’ when he was in the burning tavern and grabbed the hot medallion, and it seared into his skin. I can almost remember the sound of burning flesh on my legs. I also remember walking around for days with the pattern of her car seat on my skin, and being able to run my fingers along it like braille. I survived.

I was transported in a baby carriage that had what I can only describe as ‘shocks’ on the bottom to absorb the uneven sidewalk. I suspect I wasn’t the first baby to be pushed around in this thing, and it was worn in. I feel like if you hit a large enough crack in the sidewalk, that you could launch a baby 20 feet into the air with those loose springs. We didn’t use bike helmets when we were kids. I don’t even think they existed. Nobody used mouth guards when they played sports, you would just get your teeth knocked out. Food allergies didn’t exist the same way they do now. I don’t ever remember anybody seeming worried about anything I ate. If something was past the expiry date, you did the smell test, and if it passed, you were good to go. I’m alive.

I’m not trying to suggest all of that was better than being prepared, and padded, and safe. Just different, that’s all. Every generation has their exaggerated stories of having to walk through 50 miles of snow up to their eyeballs to get to school. They just get less and less interesting. When you’re the kid you roll your eyes every time your parents tell you those stories. Before you know it, you’re telling them, and you can’t believe how spoiled your own kids will be. By today’s standards I’ve done some things that probably aren’t too good for my health, safety or well-being. I’m still here though.