Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Frank's Apartment - The Mourning Of?

Waking up in his apartment was always a bitch.

No matter how much Frank danced with Mary Jane the night before, the vodka would always remind himn that he was mortal.

So, very, very mortal.

In addition to feeling particularly vulnerable on a Friday morning, Frank got a text message from his parents.

His older brother, the one who gave him the brown recliner, tried to commit suicide the night before.

"Who the fuck DOES THAT?"

Not commit suicide. But TELL someone their brother TRIED to commit suicide by way of a FUCKING TEXT MESSAGE?

Frank was outraged with no real outlet; same situation, different day.

The red LED clock burned a crisp "7:42 A.M." into Frank's skull as his fingers trembled to find the familiar pipe he's kissed for comfort a million times before. "WHERE THE FUCK IS THAT THING?!"

Nervously shaking, Frank lit his pipe. "Fuck, it's not even noon yet. What the FUCK is wrong with me?! Is it too early? Is there such thing as "too early" anymore? Does anything even matter anymore," he wondered.

Fuck it. Frank felt more alone now than he ever had before. At this point in life he realized if you don't make your own rules, someone else will.

It was still just a little before noon, but things like this didn't matter anymore. Frank did his best to get a few shots of whiskey down and find himself two bowls deep before accidentally dropping his pipe on the linoleum floor of his apartment and shattering the only lady he'd ever truly loved, his "Glass Goddess".

Just because a coffin wasn't needed this time, didn't mean the irony of having a shattered family was lost on Frank.

Why'd he check his texts? Why'd he leave his beautiful, brown chair in his apartment? Why'd he have to do anything he didn't want to do today? Worthless, no good day.

Things were so much easier hours ago. Can they ever go back to being that way again?

As he light a hand-rolled cigarette, the smoke engulfed his glasses and he gently set the Hi-Fi needle onto a particular vinyl album that spoke to his damaged heart only the way music could.

Maybe it's time to clear some things up and call his family tomorrow to talk about it all...maybe...

The Writing Process At Night

Psst...psst...are you awake?

You're in your warm bed and it's freezing cold outside. There's a soft glow reflecting from your ceiling; it's coming from your phone and a strange feeling of acceptance and empowerment washes over you. You try to shut your eyes tight, count sheep or think about tomorrow's work; but nothing's working because now you have ideas burning through your skull that have to leave before you can find peace in a deep slumber.

It's ALL you can focus on. It's ALL you can think about. No matter how important or how trivial your ideas are, they have to be expelled from your head immediately.

How many hours have you already lost thinking about writing iterations of ingenious philosophical passages over and over again. How many hours have you wasted re-analyzing those "philosophical passages" only to realize they aren't actually anything special because all you really did in college was take a few journalism courses and listen to a few Indie bands before your friends did? How much of your original content "feels" original but is a complete ripoff? And more importantly, how much of your original content is actually fresh? And how much of what you write will be a HUGE failure in the minds of many; and are you confident enough in your writing to share what you have to offer in hopes that SOMEONE, ANYONE will LIKE what you have to say before your words are destroyed and set on fire forever?

In all reality, sometimes inspiration comes to those who wait. Sometimes, it shows itself to the "go-getters"; those who are a little TOO ambitious. But more often than not, the magical parts of writing appear like the Tooth Fairy, in the night, when the writer least expects them to arrive. It's a once-in-a-lifetime (or once-in-a-nighttime) moment that a writer must seize; must get on paper (or computer) before falling asleep again and losing it forever.

There's something to be said about finding a dark room to write in. A truly dark room to empty out your ideas; your thoughts; your words and your once-in-a-moment emotions---and sometimes that room is your own bedroom at 3:13 a.m.

And you write all of this to ultimately realize that if you write from your heart you can NEVER write the wrong thing

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Frank's Apartment - After Work

Frank returned home from work at 5:43. He doesn't have his own car, he has to rely on mass transit. Fuckin' buses.

He finds an old friend in his brown recliner as he meticulously rolls a zig-zag and sprinkles it with green to take the edge off from the day's work.

It's only after grabbing his black phone on the wooden night stand next to him that he realizes he hasn't talked to anyone for several days. Frank turns his phone off, then on again just to make sure that technology hasn't gotten the better of him. He's always been speculative of things like this ever since he was a kid.

He's turning 30 soon. But that's no special occasion for the phone that gives Frank the same soft glow against his glasses as it has in years past. Nothing new is happening.

Frank wants an animal...anything for companionship. But he asks himself, "what can I take care of that won't die?"...and each time he can't find the answer. That's because in Frank's mind everything dies, no matter how pure or beautiful, or important it is...everything dies.

Frank has never bought into the whole "nurturing others" idea. He has to focus on taking care of himself first, and that's day-to-day at best.

Nothing is certain. It never has been. But Frank has to get the fuck out of this apartment. Things need to change. What have his old friends been up to and why aren't they calling?

Frank's Apartment - The Next Morning

Frank woke up in his classic brown recliner. It was a hand me down from his older brother. They used to be best friends, but they haven't talked in years.

His eyes pan from left to right in a disoriented gaze to try to find the clock on the wall. It's only 8 a.m., this is an early wake up for Frank. He tilts his head back in relief and exhales.

Is today the day he is going to change his life forever? The day he's dreamed about for so many years. He thinks he's doing well enough because he recently moved out of his parent's house. And in Frank's mind, that's quite the accomplishment. He saved thousands of dollars by living with them...thousands to buy a home...and start a family...all the shit he told them that he'd do that he never had a pure intention of actually doing. Instead he wasted a good part of the cash on weed and cheap booze.

Frank's a great liar.

He slowly straightens his black rimmed glasses on his face and runs his hand through his black hair. He smells his hand's musty, but still not rotten enough to warrant a shower.

He has 30 minutes to get ready. It's time to punch the clock and get to his nine to five in at the office supply store that he works at as a cashier. It's enough time to fit in a shot of vodka and a wake 'n' bake. He fucking hates his job. It barely pays the bills and he stares at the clock for seven of the eight hours of the day.

But, there's this one girl who Frank thinks could be his type. Maybe he'll get the balls to talk to her today. He wonders if girls still like's been so long since he's been on a date, he doesn't even know how the hell to approach her. What would he say that could interest her?

Frank has an hour to figure it out...and if it isn't done today? There's always tomorrow...always tomorrow...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Can the BCS help formulate college football playoffs? Yes.

Can the BCS and college football playoffs exist simultaneously? I think so.

Before we get too far down this road, I want you to take a moment and visualize the playoff chart I created. Can you imagine how fun it would be to watch those games this year?!

Done visualizing? Now, let's get on with the massive amounts of logic and creativity I am about to bestow upon you.

Let's face it: the BCS isn't going least any time soon. So what if we use the BCS to determine which teams make the playoffs? Take the top 8 teams (see the chart of 2010 teams above) and have them square off.

Worried about bowl games? Don't be. Take the current BCS bowls and attribute one to each playoff game. For instance, the TCU vs. Ohio State game would be the Capital One bowl, the Oregon vs. Oklahoma game would be the Fiesta Bowl, the Auburn vs. Arkansas game would be the Sugar bowl, and the Stanford vs. Wisconsin game would be the Cotton bowl.

Then, after four teams win, they advance onto the next round of playoffs (obviously) and new bowl games too! The remaining two bowl games (and the last two rounds of playoffs) would be the Rose bowl and the Orange bowl. The National Championship game could either be how it is now (the BCS Championship) or it could go to the highest paying sponsor...Cialis Championship Bowl anyone?

This way the main bowls are still preserved and they are even MORE prestigious than ever before because in order to get to the Orange bowl or the Rose bowl, a team has to win a playoff game first.

Don't feel bad for the other 62 bowl eligible teams...we can still keep the exact same structure we have now with the exact same bowl names. These bowl games are more for the fans and they'll do nicely to serve as a teaser for the main action (the BCS playoffs).

The playoff games should start on the Saturday before the New Year. That way it's even more intense to see if your team gets to play "next year" or if they'll be left behind. The broadcasters, media, and raucous fans would all have fun with that. Then, the second round of playoff games would be played the week after that. Finally, the remaining two teams will each have a bye week to rest and prepare for the title game before squaring off.

While this solution doesn't get rid of the BCS, it does utilize the system to rank and place teams for the playoff. The system is nowhere near perfect and people will still bitch about how their team was screwed from making the Top 8. By taking eight teams instead of two to play for the title, there is much less pressure on the BCS and the voters to "get it right" year after year.

What does my system mean for you as a fan? Well, you will realistically be looking at the potential for a two (maybe three) loss season and your team could still have a shot to sneak in the Top 8 BCS rankings.

So yes, the BCS and college football playoffs can work together to give (most) everyone what they want. It's just a matter of time until this whole damn thing gets reformatted anyway...why not use the model I'm proposing?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Reason for the Season

Let my Christmas present to you be the ability to answer one of the world's foremost million dollar questions: "Who buys cars for other people as a Christmas gift?"

We all see the car commercials set to some cheesy music and they all end the same: with a shiny new car pulled in a driveway with a humongous red bow on top. Everyone in the ad industry, and elsewhere for that matter, wonders the same thing..."who the hell buys a car for someone as a Christmas gift?"

The answer: no one.

Car companies know they're selling a specialty good, and the brands that tout premium quality (Volvo, Lexus, BMW, Mercedes, etc.) have a brand reputation to uphold. That being said, the point of these car commercials isn't to entice you to purchase a dazzling new car. These ads are ran to maintain brand prestige because the people that CAN afford these cars buy them just as much for status as they do for the functionality.

You don't see holiday commercials for a Ford Fiesta, that would be laughable. Only the big dogs come to play on the Mother of all Material Holidays.

The car companies know what they're doing. They're selling two things with holiday commercials like these: 1) Brand prestige to prospective buyers, 2) The American dream that one day someone in the middle class (such as myself or perhaps you) will be able to afford a car as a Christmas gift to loved one(s).

So my friends, that is why you see these ads. It isn't because people are buying these cars, it's because people are paying attention to brands.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Best Brand You'll Ever Work On

Advertising is a wonderful thing. Where else can you be as creative with such a large microphone? By microphone, of course, I'm referring to the whatever medium is used to get your message across. Also, where else can you promote absurd product advantages...things like "drinkability"?

Some people in the industry are perfectly content doing work for local non-profit accounts. Others head to the big cities with the big buildings, aspiring to work on the largest mega-brands in the world.

But I'll let you in on a little secret that most advertising people don't know: the biggest and best brand that you will ever work on during your career is yourself. Think about it. It's the only brand that you have complete control of. You are your own media planner, account director, copywriter, public relations specialist, and owner. You are an agency of one.

Everything you do, from office hallway interactions with colleagues to e-mailing your friends and family, define your personal brand in some way. Every one of your actions influences the public perception of who you are as a person and as a brand.

Some personal brands go through re-branding, and that's okay. Sometimes you need to freshen your look or personal philosophy (think tagline). Just keep your focus on the things you can do today to strengthen your personal brand. Make yourself memorable and make yourself indispensable. But above all else, make sure that at the end of the day you can easily buy into what you're selling to others.