To Hell With Growing Up – What Keeps You Young?

Music is really one of the few things that I can consistently enjoy no matter what’s going on in my life. No matter how busy I am, where I am or what I’m doing, music really keeps me in touch with my humanity and creativity.

Those of you who’ve known me for a while know I’m that loner dude who shows up at hip hop and rock shows rolling dolo just because I’ll be damned to miss a good concert because none of my friends like the same stuff as me.

This Friday I’m going to see MF DOOM and Mos Def in Chicago. These two emcees are two of the BEST rappers in hip hop. Period. If you care to debate that, get at me.

Anyhow, I’m rolling solo and I’m super excited about it. I feel like it’s the first time I’ve really ventured out of Madison for something interesting since I’ve been here. I love Chicago too, so I’m hoping to meet some new friends when I get there and hopefully link up with some old ones.

If you think you might be in Madison or Chicago area come this Friday, January 29, let me know. I’m down for having a concert buddy.

So, I ask you… what keeps you from becoming just another statistic of cubicle living? What keeps you feeling young, creative and excited?

Also, enjoy these two clips from MF DOOM and Mos Def:

MF DOOM in Madvillian “Accordion”

Mos Def – Auditorium (Feat. Slick Rick)

“I’ll bet a million dollars on MF DOOM against Lil’ Wayne”~Mos Def

A MUST LISTEN (click through link to listen to/dl the track)

Mos Def and a backup jazz quartet Covers Kanye West’s “Say You Will” followed up by “U R The One”

Missed Connections Aren’t So Bad, Are They?

Do you ever kick yourself when you miss out on an opportunity to connect? This happens to me in airports all the time. I’ll strike up a convo with a beautiful foreign woman, or an interesting business person from my ideal metropolis and I simply enjoy the moment, talk to them and part ways as we grab our bags and head on our way. I think, geez, what if something could have come of that? A storied relationship, a business partnership, some sort of bond that is lacking in my life.

I dream up all sorts of scenarios than seem cooler than my own life. None of these are really valid, realistic or conducive to anything. At best, they’ll encourage me to blurt out over-bearing questions the next time I meet someone if I have the courage, or force my business card on them in hopes I’ll get an email stating how glad they are that I decided to say hello.

I’ve heard a common sentiment lately as people reminisce about how people change or reveal their true selves over time. I’ve heard couples confide that they wouldn’t fall in love with their current significant other that they’ve been with for several years if they had met today. I’ve said aloud and to myself that I may not have become friends or developed affection for certain people right now compared to where I was at years ago.

It’s really a terrible sentiment isn’t it? Like, you’re lucky we agreed to love and care about each other back then because well… you kind of suck now.

You’ve gotten overweight, more conservative, more paranoid, more arrogant, more vulgar and you’re simply not the model of what I need in my life anymore.

Am I ditching you? No, not yet. I’m comfortable… kind of. I’m afraid of how much I’ve changed, how much I’ve gotten worse compared to the amazing quality person I once was.

No, we cannot find common ground in the fact that people change and that we’ve changed together. No we cannot become more whole together as we shed parts of our solo-driven hard shells.

I’ve become obsessed with missed connections because their absence in my life equals immortality in my imagination. The missed connections fulfill me in ways that you as my lover, my friend or my family member cannot.

I’m sorry, but I must leave you and this imperfect world of what we have together, what we’ve built and what we’ve fucked up for the pursuit of a fulfilled missed connection. I strive to fill my void with what cannot ever be in and of itself.

The Career Mosaic [Guest Post]

Economists have dropped the bleariest of statistics to herald the coming of a lost generation – the decline of the American worker. The nature of work has changed.

Enter the rise of the career mosaic. Careers are no longer functioning in a linear spectrum that’s defined by chunks of time at a series of jobs.

The average worker is leaning toward reinvention, which encourages parallel learning. In short, workers will concentrate on the three things they are doing now instead the one thing they will be doing next.

Ambitious and focused people like it that way. According to Wall Street Journal columnist, Alexandra Levit, predicting future work trends requires more than just understanding the reimagination of work (emphasis mine):

“…the ideals of job security and employee loyalty no longer apply. In the knowledge-driven economy of the future, large organizations won’t be needed to create value and our livelihood won’t be connected to a single corporation. We’ll work for much smaller organizations that outsource everything but the business’s core area of expertise and more than half of us will eventually become contingent workers, employed part time or as freelancers or consultants.

Our future workplace will be one of constant change, innovation, and skill upgrading. Work projects will begin with one set of goals, but will reinvent themselves over and over again, so we’ll be forced to think on the fly…

The Futurist, 2009

Mosaic workers know and expect a career of flux. This expectation will be a permanent fixture within the structures of work and career in spite of the economy’s eventual upturn.

This is especially true among the professional development of Millennials. The mosaic career is not for the fickle – in fact, it is for the exact opposite.

You can at once be free-spirited entrepreneur, corporate employee, paid hobbyist and perhaps, even, volunteer extraordinaire (in your spare time). Becoming quickly adept is not just a skill for overly ambitious multitaskers and job hoppers; it is the (required) skill of a new generation of knowledge workers. The work of the future is the reality of work right now.

**Raven Moore blogs about writing, design, and culture at The Writerbabe Series.

http://www.thewriterbabeseries.com/

Why I’m Probably Checking Out Your Backside

*This is a semi-rant, personal story, stream of consciousness about past weight loss, my vices and how much I don’t like most media post Read at your own risk.

I don’t know what’s sexier– the backside of a jar of almond butter or the back of a CocaCola can. What about the backside of Bill O’Reilly or Keith Olbermann, er Kaitie Couric … oh wait, don’t answer that…

Do you look at the labels of the food you eat? Do you know the calories, sugars, fiber, protein and various chemicals that you put into your body? Probably to an extent, huh? Sometimes, but only if you’re trying to lose weight and you look for certain things as being wrong but accept the rest… Are you the same way with the information you consume?

I’m guilty of this lackadaisical attitude towards information AND food when times get hectic and I let my guard down. If you put enough junk food in front of someone who’s bored or even hungry, they’ll probably eat it regardless of what the ingredients say on the back of the package. Life gets busy, yet we’re still probably bored with a big chunk of our day, so we’ll often entertain ourselves with drivel.

When I was 20 years old, I was way overweight. I’m still a big dude, but I’m talking WAY overweight to the point where I could barely do a push up or jog a mile. It was too much reality too soon and I basically cut all junk food out of my diet and started exercising regularly by riding my bike to work. One of the most profound memories I have about that period of time was giving up soda all together and alchohol for 5 months. I drank lots of Coca Cola and Pepsi on a regular basis and I liked it. I liked it with rum, whiskey, vodka, by itself, whatever…

Quitting drinking was tough because it was the summer and giving up junkfood and soda was tough too because I loved it as a comfort food. However, I quickly learned that there was an entire world outside of food and culinary goodies and I became distracted with a lot of things my life was missing out on before that.

After I lost 50 lbs–which is where I lie at my current weight contemplating another run at another 50 lbs– I remember grabbing a can of CocaCola, greedily grasping the can, cracking it open and putting it to my lips taking 3 long, hard guzzles… then something happened. I felt my teeth grit, I felt my tongue get sticky and tingle and I spit what I hadn’t swallowed up on the ground.

Something so simple and what I thought to be good, was completely gross to me after depriving myself of it for a period of time. I became aware of vitamins, minerals, veggies, lean protein, pushups and other cool things about becoming healthy again and I had no room in my life for this water flavored with corn sugar syrup and lord knows whatever else they put in that stuff.

I cut the cord on watching television in the same dramatic fashion, traveled the world a little, learned about some injustices, heroes, made some bad and great choices and realized that life had very little to do with the pre-packaged bullshit that you get throughout television channels, newspapers, magazines and whatnot.

This title obviously sounded better when it popped in my mind than it does now, but I’m going to keep it up there. This post took an expected turn towards a personal story, but either way, my main point is that people, including myself, tend to do a lot of self-destructive things. Some of those things are more socially acceptable than others, but at the end of the day, they’re still killing us, lowering our quality of life or keeping us dumber than should be allowed during this short time on earth.

Just something to think about whenever I look at some sugar, alcohol, or plastic surgery laced images on the TV with the “ohhh you want this!” aura branded all around.

Just A Reminder To Live Purposefully

One of my favorite songs of all time. Slug’s verse at 1:32 of this track is amazing. I’m going to post the lyrics to that specific verse. Good stuff to think about if life seems to start rushing by you too fast. Remember who you are and keep perspective:

[Slug]
The first step was birth
Now forever cursed to analyze his self-worth
The second step was belief
He had to make that move before he even grew teeth
The third step, respect awareness
He could trip over the next step if he’s careless
That next step, number four, was love
Can’t touch it without stepping the other three above
As he froze for a moment
Ignoring the remaining ones
He was approaching, focus stolen
Looking down at his hands to see what he was holding
Nothing, empty
No choice but to keep going
The fifth step felt like a misstep
It was a re-evaluation of the first four
The anxiety, fear of what it hurts for
Caught in somewhere between the earths core
And the first floor
When he finally made it to step six
He could no longer see it for what it is
All of his views and family and life were askew
Number six had been twisted by the previous two
The last step, the seventh
Was the only thing left that kept him outside of heaven
One last breath and everything could be pleasant
Life through death, man’s final lesson

The Path That’s Deep

I want to share a music video with you all that I’ve played dozens of times. C-Rayz Walz teamed up with Abraham Inc. to perform this song called “Tweet Tweet.” I call it my Twitter anthem, but really it’s just a beautiful medley of great jazz and hip hop. Keep an eye out for the dude on piano who steps in with a few rhymes too. His name is SoCalled and is an AMAZING emcee, producer, DJ, artist etc from Montreal, Canada. His song You Are Never Alone has a really interesting video as well.

Enjoy!

Newsflash: You’re Already Good Enough, Stop Trying To Qualify

Career development has been something I’ve been pretty passionate about since I was in high school. When I discovered the possibilities of growing up to be a successful adult due to my hard work and proper educational alignment, I got really excited and motivated to do well in everything I attempted. Some would say I even got ahead of myself, trying to do too much at once. There was always an extreme of two advice perspectives that I received:

A) Be realistic, be practical, don’t take big risks and don’t expose yourself to the unknown if you can avoid it.

B) Aim high, but be sure to take every single prescribed, traditional step the people who came before took as to not take your share of the pie out of place.

Both of these perspectives are relatively useful, I suppose, however my circumstances and my desires didn’t align with either of them. My tendency was to go all out, wildly thrashing  at all points of resistance until I was either disciplined by an authority figure or disqualified from what I wanted entirely.

Nobody ever explained to me the techniques involved with looking at a problem, whether it be a person, a law, a rule, an administrative policy or a physical limitation and figure out a way to bypass it. I was one to wait in line, complaining vigorously and unattractively until I was taken aside and scolded.

I talk a lot, but I talk a lot less now than I used to. Now I spend most of my time biting my tongue when I want to complain. Instead I try to be thoughtful in the ways that I move through life and attack problems with the sort of keen focus and precision that I sailor possesses when untying a nasty snarl of knots in the rigging.

I give lots of advice to people who ask me what they should do to get a certain type of job or start a certain type of business. Rarely am I technically qualified to give specific advice about any one topic, but I do tend to offer a piece of strategic advice to anyone who will listen with at least an open mind:

If you’re smart enough to ask why you cannot do something and get pissed off about it, then you’re more than likely smart enough to figure out a way around, over, through or beneath it. Making a lot of fuss about the unfairness of the world only draws bad attention to you. Use that passion to set more audacious dreams and take what you want from life.

There is no reason to feel like you’re stuck because there are a million steps to take before you can be happy. The moment you choose to take control of your life and your circumstances, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem you will be happier! It may be stressful to lack a sense of security or belonging, but you are responsible for your own path. Waiting for things to come to you all the time is a good way to miss out on a lot of life’s best opportunties.

*Mind you, this isn’t a license to be cruel to others. I simply encourage questioning anything that you’re told to adhere to simply because of tradition or worse; because you’re simply told to do so.

Home Is Where The “I Love You’s” Are

I’m back in Wisconsin after spending 2 weeks in Massachusetts for the holidays. I spent a bit of time in Worcester seeing friends and making new ones. Hosted an excellent Brazen Careerist Meetup in Harvard Square, met some awesome folks and tried to re-energize and reflect on the strange, at-times painful yet incredibly successful year that 2009 was and what’s going to go down in 2010 if I have any say about it.

Being home with family is nice. I got to spend a lot of time with some of the people that mean a ton to me and I definitely wish I could have spent more time with others. All I know is that I’m really grateful for all the people back home including both family and friends who have my back. I’m not sure if they know how much they fortify my will to succeed and make them proud.

I’m starting to like Madison more, but I don’t love it, yet, you know? Really, how could I love it? It’s too soon. I’ve got some pretty good friends here so far, thankfully. I’m also very satisfied with my job and how things are going with my role in the company.

I’m looking forward to making more friends, traveling a lot and continuing to make connections with others and within myself in the new year. Self-discipline is going to be a main ingredient I predict. That’s okay, a spoon full of sugar helps the pride go down.

Time to get back to work now. Cheer folks!

Call A Bubble “A Bubble”

Before this god forsaken recession started hammering out the hopes and dreams of Americans a couple years ago, I was heavily into the idea of working in sustainable technology industries. Solar energy, wind, super-insulation, etc. I was working with some cutting edge minds in Boston to talk about innovation and applicable technology to different regions of the country.

When the recession hit full bore, it took a little bit of steam out myself and my friends who were excited to transitioning into this field full-time. We were sure that the ideas and people behind these technologies were so good that there was going to be no shortage of money behind them for R&D, marketing and education to make the next great economic wave be a result of clean tech.

When money got short all over, pundits with little education and fundamental interests in maintaining the status quo starting pounding the ceiling with their dogma that climate change isn’t legit, that renewable energy is just another worthless tech bubble and that essentially we need to rape the remote lands of our country just a wee bit more to get enough petrol from our own land.

Arguing about whether climate change is real is not worth my time. Essentially those people are on the same level as racial bigots, who will contort and twist an argument anyway they can on the principal that they hate what you stand for and don’t want to talk about the facts outside of what they fabricate.

What I’m concerned about is that pundits are scaring potential investors and workers away from renewable energies because of this “next great bubble” theory. They reference the internet bubble of the 90’s where the economy was devastated due to all sorts of GDP being attributed to electronic websites that didn’t actually produce anything. Then they reference the housing bubble of recent memory where shitty loans were given to people who weren’t qualified to own homes. Then the situation was worsened by horrible financial institutions making crazy, diluted decisions about how they could profit hugely off of these bad loans.

These past bubbles were crazy and bad and we should have learned a lot about them. But renewable energy and clean tech? How can that be a bubble? Essentially it’s an infrastructure re-development across the face of the world that’s built on the principal that if the technology is good enough, we will have some level of energy continuously supplied from natural, ongoing resources like wind and sunlight. How could that possibly be a bubble?

For the first time in a LONG TIME we’d be building and maintaining a physical goods industry on American soil that could be kept here, bringing jobs. We’ve lost most other industries like that.

Sustainable technology will not be the next bubble; it will be the next step forward in quality, healthy living for people throughout the world if we can figure out how to make it happen without clinging to an antiquated petro-chemical producing and consuming society.

It’s a Dog’s Life

My friend Kim (@_kimzilla) sent this to me a while back and I thought I’d share it. She doesn’t know who wrote it and I haven’t found out yet either, but I think it’s pretty rad and pretty true to form. Enjoy and let me know what you think.

The life of a poet is a hell of a life.

It’s a dog’s life. But it’s the only one worth living.”

You suffer

more, you’re frustrated more. All the things that don’t bother other

people. But you also live so much more. You live so much more

intensely and so much more vitally and with so mch more of a sense of

meaning, of consequentiality. Of things mattering instead of nothing

mattering. This is what’s driving our whole civilization into suicide.

The fear that we are living an existence in which nothing matters very

much at all … The poet is free of that … if you’re a real poet,

you’re hooked more deeply than any narcotics addict could possibly be

hooked on heroin … Something that is a process which cannot be too

far from the process that created everything.