Empty Calories

Everything in the universe requires energy. We humans get energy for our body through calories. My personal preference in method is consuming good saturated fats from grass-fed beef, or venison from a deer my family shot, but to each their own. You may prefer Nonna’s pasta alfredo. Speaking of which, many of us tend to take in a large amount of “empty calories.” My personal preference is probably somewhere between raw cookie dough and doughy bread with ungodly amounts of Grandmother’s jam. As I said, to each their own.

Empty calories don’t help us. Empty calories usually equates comfort food. We eat it when we’re bored, or sad, or both. Going through break up? Get a carton of your favorite ice cream (feel free to try Dulce de leche– it’s a South American thing, you should look into it). The point is, we all have that favorite food or drink that helps us get through the day, hour, or minute, whatever the reason.

Our minds have the same thing. As the writer James Altucher would put it, our brains are an “Idea Machine.” This powerful tool has atrophied like an unused muscle? Because you can’t use something very well if you only feed it junk good.

Maybe you are one of those who binge-watched through their favorite TV shows and movies Netflix, Hulu, or some possibly-less-than-legal-service. Do you take the time to read books, or write a journal, or do you only scroll down websites like Reddit, Imgur, or 9gag? Sure, I accept and even proclaim that video games can be a work of art (Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us comes to mind), but playing video games cannot take the place of creating something. Exercising your “idea muscle,” to quote James Altucher again. Really, just get his new book, Choose Yourself

Who wins? The one you feed.

There’s this old (supposed) Cherokee proverb when a boy asks is listening to wise old man. The man says inside of us all are two wolves. One is evil, one is good. The boy asks who wins. The old man replies, “The one you feed.”

Now that’s a bit melodramatic for our current topic, but the premise holds: There are two sides to you. Lazy, unfilled, unsatisfied, or productive, creative, compelled. Which side are you going to feed?

Raw cookie dough is great. But it isn’t a meal plan. So don’t change your brain’s diet, but lifestyle. Sure, you can still watch Castle marathons, or maybe even finally catch up on Game of Thrones (beware the Red Wedding), but it shouldn’t be your outlet. Learn to express yourself. Write a song. Learn an instrument. Learn a language. Read a book. Write a book. Write a blog. Don’t surf Facebook for the 10th time, write in a journal.

*My brother Kyle had is right when he wrote this:

“So we can choose to take pleasure secondhand in others’ ideas or experience bliss firsthand in out own compositions. Both are enjoyable. But happiness comes from making a difference, not just being exposed to one.”

Want to make a difference? Limit your empty calories.

*Adding my dear brother’s quote made this slightly over 500 words. 

Here’s to PBandJterm

The world keeps turning. It is spinning 1000 miles per hour, yet we don’t feel it. Instead, we have different sense of time passing quickly; perhaps it’s all on our head. But does that make it any less real? The past three weeks of “PBandJterm” have flown by faster than the world turns, even though that only takes 24 hours. Paradoxes everywhere.

We started off the week with a visit from Lindenwood’s social media guru, Ryan Griffin. He gave us the rundown on how he handles all of Lindenwood’s social media pages. This included how Lindenwood monitors athletes on twitter, how he treats people on Facebook, and more. I had Ryan previously in my Applied Public Relations class, where he sometimes filled in. The most interesting thing about Ryan was his own endeavor, NutSocial. We had the pleasure of seeing Pickle the crack addict squirrel (look just under his eyes, seriously). Seeing Ryan slowly, but surely practicing his social media skills for himself was encouraging.

One of the better parts of the week (and all of PBandJterm) was chatting with Tara Joyce of ElasticMind. She was very personable, polite, and

Tara Joyce's Elastic mind

Tara Joyce’s Elastic mind

knowledgable. She even followed me back on twitter. I definitely plan on scouring her website and paying attention to what she had to say. We used Google+ Hangout to chat with her, and I was impressed by that before. I had experienced a bit of the hangout previously, but only watched a political debate between people on YouTube. Using the software left a favorable impression.

One of the things that was hammered into our impressionable minds was the importance of an authentic About Me page. Tara Joyce and Jill spoke of it over and over again. Accordingly, the last week or so of class, we also updated our About me pages. I still need to tweak mine (we all evolve and grow), but it’s welcoming and unique at the moment.

Niches are a Nitch, if you catch my drift

Writing about my niche became one of the larger battles of PBandJterm. The assignment itself was not so difficult, but it was provoking. If I’m trying to write about my future, I want to write about my future, and not just say something that will make Jill happy. Though I think my niche blog did. After toiling in my brain (before the very computer I write on now), I finally just decided to write about the Primal lifestyle. It is something I am interested in, know some about, and also am in the transition to living.

The niche Prezi we had to make for our final day in class was tougher. With the idea that I am a story-teller, I wanted to tell a story or two (or three). Not just any story, but an epic one. After brainstorming and jotting notes for literally hours (Both Tuesday and Wednesday nights), I decided to the story about Antarctic explorers. It did connect back, in someway, to my niche blog, but I plan on writing a blog and making a presentation about Willpower later on (if you read the epic story above, you’ll understand why). Instead, I made a more-or-less basic Prezi and it turned out like this:

Travel as My Niche

Travel as My Niche

The Prezi turned out all right. I made some last-minute alterations before I spoke, and I surprisingly came up with more interesting stuff to say than I thought. Perhaps I was a bit doubtful because I stayed up until 4:30 in the morning constructing it (I didn’t give up on the other idea until 2:30).

Of course, I didn’t mention out frield trip to Switch, guided by the welcoming Andrew Mullins and the talented Jessica Leitch of City in a Jar fame. I was throughly impressed by the size, scope, and manner of Switch. The people there were laid back, but definitely passionate about what they were doing. Plus, like I said, the place was huge. The Q&A with Andrew was worth listening to. Also, Jessica gave us plenty of good tips and providing me with some much-needed inspirations. I’ll be following her blog with interest- she seems to be going places.

In the end, I got a lot out of this week, I wasn’t late for anything, and as for the whole class, I loved it. It was one of the best classes I have taken at Lindenwood, in terms of enjoyment and in what I have learned. It helped prove to me that most classes, especially in the communication field, should be short, focused, and intensive. It’s practice that makes perfect, and it’s better not to spread it out over a whole semester. In preparation for this final blog, I looked up “toasting.” Here’s one to our class:

Here’s to Personal branding

content curation, and a small bit of bit of frustration

Now raise your glasses to the good times

to tweeters, bloggers, and elastic minds.

to building proof, having a Hoot,

Oh PBandJterm, we’ll miss your milk.

Your Inner Grok

You stand beneath starry skies, roaming over nature’s sprawling vistas in search of food, a place to sleep, and opportunity to live life. Perhaps you’ve never done that, but everyone has an inner caveman. Lets call this hunter-gatherer being Grok, a sort of Everyman representation of the proverbial “caveman.” Grok likes to live life to the fullest, when he (or she) isn’t fending off the elements or saber-tooth tigers. And he’s in you. In your DNA. Mark Sisson, writer of Mark’s Daily Apple, wants you to realize this, and remember who you are.

Mark Sisson is the neanderthal behind The Primal Blueprint, which, according Mark, is “a set of principles to live by.” The Primal Blueprint isn’t about the latest fad diet (paleo-ish or not) or get-in-shape-quick scheme. It is truly a way of life. Living primally is getting in touch with your Inner Grok.  So what does it mean to be Primal?

Nutrition

Marks Daily Appe Site- Remember, Play is important to fitness

The Primal Blueprint calls for a unique “diet”- as in the standard way of eating for life, not a quick 90 day diet to lose weight you gain right back.” The diet is inspired by what your ancestors (like Grok) would have available to them. What does this means? If you get down to it, no grains. More Fat.

As in saturated fat. This means bacon, beef, olive oil, coconut butter, etc. Why not grains? Because they’re not good for you. Grok was kickin’ mammoth and taking names far before the Agricultural Revolution (but that isn’t the reason why you should listen to me).

Of course, it means fruits and vegetables (and nuts).  If you really need starches, sweet Potatoes/yams are the way to go. But that wheat Asiago bagel you love so much from Panera? Nope.

Making a case that red meat is actually good for you is difficult with on a post of this size, but I’ll add some caveats. When it comes to eating meat, grass-fed beef (or whatever) is much better for you than anything that is grain-fed. Also, over the summer I ate lots of bacon, and it actually helped with my weight.

Fitness

A feasible lifestyle that you can maintain for the rest of your life. That’s part of what living primally is all about. Thus, your fitness regime shouldn’t be killing ya for weeks and weeks (or months, or years) on end. WWGD? What would Grok Do? He sure went hunting a lot. He hauled meat to camp. H climbed and chased game. Grok lived an active lifestyle. But what can you do in the 21st century?

Instead of taking down mammoths, we can do some lifting. Fitness would be best, however, if it was centered around Functionality (another idea that Mark Sisson harps on). Using artificial weights is better than nothing, but you know what’s better? Lifting heavy things around the yard. Pick up a log. Or a boulder. Or a bucket of water. For all you hunters out there, a deer carcass may be in order.

You should Play. Set up a game of ultimate frisbee. Having fun is important to fitness and your well-being. What else? Get more sleep. Install programs like F.Lux onto your computer, so the blue light from you screen (which resembles sunlight) turns warmer, so it doesn’t trick your brain that it’s still daylight outside.

Most of this stuff is likely new to you. It can seem far-fetched, misguided, or just plain crazy. Saturated Fats are good for you? Cavemen? You may feel that way. My focus in this humble blog was introducing you to the Primal Blueprint, but anything Paleo is going in the right direction. I haven’t fully made the transition to the anything paleo/Primal. I am at a school that makes a bit impossible to eat constant amounts of grass-fed (or even grain-fed) meat. I do well on the weekends, and during the weeks I do eat a lot of salad. But the primal way is about more than diet, it’s a lifestyle. So, look into it.

You may find you have been missing your healthier, and happier, Primal self for all along.

Whoever has Ears, Let Him Hear.

There is a saying in my family that we are responsible for what we hear. This sentiment has been heard outside of my familial conversations yet it is a somewhat common thing for a parent or relative in my family to say. This week, I have heard many things, and now I am responsible.

One of the more intensive topics PBandJterm covered was our individual LinkedIn pages. Two excellent guest speakers treated the class to their expertise in all things LinkedIn: Nick Gilham of A Branded You,  and Josh B Turner of Linked University.

Take a moment and just dance with Josh Turner. 

Besides the feedback that Josh Turner gave me on individual LinkedIn profile, they provided a lot of basic LinkedIn Tips. I learned how to add videos to my profile, and the importance of filling out the Skills & Expertise section of your profile. This acts as a sort of recommendation, in addition to actual recommendations you can get from your connections on LinkedIn. So far all I have added are Blogging and Video Production. There will be more to come!

The fun didn’t stop there. I braved the murky, confusing waters of twitter and valiantly made Lists. This actually proved to be genius, and  helped me understand the usefulness of twitter even more than I learned last week. By following certain lists, you don’t have to follow individuals, just lists. Aaahh, how fantastic. We also set up our RSS feeds. This was a first time for me, but with the help of Google Reader, it was easy to set up. I get the feeling that my new addiction has arrived.

Then the class had to make a HootSuite account. The good news was that I already had one. I had sparingly used it since I created it for a certain class with a certain Jill Falk in the Fall semester of 2010. The bad news is that I barely remembered anything. Yet my woes were short-lived. I soon added various social networks, and my tumblr blog to my HootSuite, so I have a ‘Control Center” on one screen on my laptop. It ’twas spiffy.

The rest of the week had its highs and lows. The low was probably when I showed up late to class where guest speaker Derek Mabie was speaking. It was a class I had wanted to show up, and I did what I rarely do and slept in that day. However, I still got a lot out of the class. He said several things I really enjoyed.

“Build Proof, not a Resume.”

Thank you, Mr. Mabie, for concisely saying what I had been thinking in recent days. I keep hearing from highly successfully entrepreneurs that they don’t care about resumes, they care about accomplishments. The extra drive, the ability to think outside of the box, the willingness to take the risk; these are all qualities I am trying to build in myself, and it seems that people like Derek Mabie would be looking for them as well.

Slightly inspired after the class, and a bit miffed that I was not punctual, I looked up several things that had to do with SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. I actually found a free “guide” that I had discovered before, but had forgotten about. It is from SEOMoz.com, a website that Derek Mabie highly praised. “The Free Beginner’s Guide to SEO” has so far proved helpful to my understanding of SEO and how it works. I’ll be reading it over the weekend.

Another interesting website was alerted too over the week was HabitRPG. It turns your life into a Role-Playing Game (RPG) by giving you rewards or punishments, depending on what you did or did not accomplish during the week. I plan to set up my own goals over the weekend as well. Doh, I may get some negative points for procrastination.

The next, and sadly, final, week of PBandJterm is going to be quite interesting. I’m going to try to outdo the Twitter Queens Jennifer, Lauren and Jessica with more of my ingenious tweets. I want to scour the internet, add more relevant sits to my RSS reader, and become more proficient in tumblr. By Sunday night my header should be done for this wordpress blog, so we can all talk about how beautiful it is over the week. One thing I like to do is listen; I learn a lot from my classmates. I’ ve  started to read their blogs, and I’m going to try to read all of their entries over the weekend.

This week was full of information. It was definitely a lot to absorb at one time. Yet I have heard. I’ve even taken some of it to heart. Thus, I am responsible for my future; if I effectively utilize what I have learned this week (such as LinkedIn or the importance of being punctual), or if I let it fall by the wayside, getting choked up by the distractions in my life. Let us hope that I have sown in good soil.

Take the Leap

Content is life. I suppose I could go technical and say that to marketers, content is anything we consume, be it youtube, TV, texts, or advertisements. However, we get content through observation. The way I present myself to people is content- it’s something observable by others. Interestingly enough, that is what PBandJterm is all about. We have our own personal brand, but the only way to have a “brand” is to have content: what you say, do, live. Lifestyle, work, and all the rest: It is all content.

When we say “content” in class, I assume we are mainly thinking of the media content we produce or consume as individuals. Before this post was begun, I was perusing the blogs of my classmates out of curiosity and also searching for inspiration. Over at Jenny’s blog, she quotes a guy named Jay Baer: “Content is Fire. Social Media is Gasoline.” I liked this sentiment. Not to pull from Jenny too much, but it also has to do with something that Jill Falk (and Rift Fournier) constantly tells us: You have to consume [media] content to create it. It brought me back to quote by Mr. Baer. In order to have content, or “fire,” we have to build the fire first. You need logs, leaves, a fire-starter, whatever. Building a fire is essential. Even Wilson would agree.

Tom Hanks’ Chuck Noland could potentially be a Content Master. See what I did there?

What is the foundation to our content creation? I think consuming media sources, be in newspapers, blogs, television, or books are all great things to do, but it’s missing something. To build a good fire, you don’t just throw it together. It takes thought. It takes intention. Hark! Can you not hear the whispers of my previous post, or perhaps the echo of a certain Prezi?

This talk about consumption sort of turned me inward, to look at my own media consumption habits (not just the consumption I do through daily observation). It just so happened as I started thinking about that my Pandora radio station started playing a favorite song of mine: Eyes Wide Open, by Gotye. Press play on the video while read the rest of this blog. It’ll make my blog even more majestic than normal. However, I wouldn’t advise watching the video.

My favorite verse is about two minutes in. Just think on it.

“But it was like to stop consuming is to stop being human, You’ll want to make a change if you won’t.”

am constantly consuming content. I spend more time on facebook than I care to admit. I’m trying to come up with some spiffy name for the phenomenon of opening web browser and my fingers involuntarily start typing in facebook.comYou probably did the same thing before you got to this blog. It’s okay, this is a no judgement zone. For the moment, at least.

While I spend a large amount of time in front of screens, I do not own a smartphone. I do have an iTouch, which sort of works as a surrogate for everything except texting/calling, as long as I have wifi. The time I spend texting varies on the day or week, but I wouldn’t say more then an hour of actual texting time. However, when it comes to certain websites or blogs, I can spend large amounts of times over the course of the day, anywhere from 15 minutes to two, even three hours. The content on those are mainly philosophical, political, even sociological. Occasionally I visit sites like Taki’s Mag or Vice. You only go to those if you want to challenge your worldview, be entertained, and be offended. Usually all at the same time. However, now that I’m back in school, my consumption of these kinds of blogs is less than it was during the recent break.

I also like websites such as stumbleupon.com, various travel blogs, and to keep up with some memes, I occasionally look at 9gag. I usually do that through an application on my iPad. I’m not going to give ya link for 9gag, otherwise you’d never finish my blog.

That being said, what am I passionate about? Judging by what I’ve written here, you may think I just read a bunch of abstract political blogs and the occasional comedy or travel site, and a shameful amount of Facebook (it really isn’t as much as I made it sound). But is this true?

Passions

People. 

This is something I didn’t want to admit to myself, but it’s true. Because it general, people can kind of suck. But people can be awesome as well, and one of things I have come to learn in my few years on this planet is that life is about relationships. That means people.

Travel.

When the phrase “I love to travel” or something comes up, I sometimes wonder: what does that even mean? Do we like the act of traveling, or the experiences it brings? The sense of freedom, perhaps, or the thrill of exploring new (or sometimes familiar) places? How about all the above?

Freedom. 

Phrases such as freedom or liberty seem to have a residual political charge leftover from an overwhelmed political media landscape. But the truth is, one of my passions is freedom. Keeping what freedom I and others have, or “regaining” what has been taken, is paramount. This is not meant to be a political statement, but a core tenet of my worldview: Freedom is one of the most important things in this fallen world of ours, and the people who work against freedom, I find mostly despicable. Naturally, there are other things that are just as, or more important: God (if you have that faith), People (I said this before), and last, but not least, bacon. Never forget that.

Faith

This was not originally something I meant to share. However, after dwelling on it, it could not be ignored. Everything I do is sort of shaped by the faith I have; we don’t need to get in particulars at this time, but it is definitely more than worth a mention. Faith, Freedom… and

Food.
It deserves at least a bold-faced header.

Stories

Life is about relationships, which means people involved, and thus, there are stories. Storytelling is one of the basic things that makes life worth living. It is an essential part of life. Your story. My story. Our story. 

Me

As far as future employment or careers, my eventual goal is to have one that enables me to travel, meet people, and tell stories. A travel blogger, perhaps? I sort of envision myself as an entrepreneur, and I’m in the process of establishing my brand.

At the moment, I do not have a narrowed down niche. I’m good an politics/philosophy, but that isn’t my premiere passion. One of my ongoing goals is to find the niche I’m “comfortable” with, over the next few weeks.
I’m trying to enhance my personal brand now by continuing to blog. Consistently. I’m going to work on writing shorter blogs, but my main project will take place over the next few months. Readers may be pleased to know that I’m going to travel around the Greater St. Louis area, taking pictures of various places and the people in them, and writing my thoughts about it. I want to tell stories based on my perspective on St. Louis, while showing off the area through a unique spyglass. I’m working on the name, and readers of this blog will be the first to know.

Finally, there are some things others can learn from me. Tell it like it is. Be willing to improve, but be true to yourself. It definitely sounds cliché, but don’t let that stop you. Honesty is underrated, and courage is under-practiced. Take the leap of faith and be honest and courageous.

Links

Here are some websites I read. Remember what I said about honesty? I didn’t want to post them. Not sure why.

www.lewrockwell.com

It’ll challenge various perspectives, and it also has entertaining stuff in the blog section.

www.vice.com

I’m not a fan of everything they do, but the Vice videos are usually fantastic.

www.drudgereport.com

They say Matt Drudge has a conservative bias, but even if he does, there is a reason why this is one of the premiere “news” sites on the internet.

www.grooveshark.com

I didn’t mention my passion for music. Check out grooveshark for a bunch of free streaming stuff.

WordPress

This does not need to be explained.

marksdailyapple.com

Mark Sisson is the Primal Guru. Check him out.

Sovereign Man

Run by Simon Black, this site is full of information about other countries, opportunities, and more. It was through this website that I got accepted into “camp” or seminar in Lithuania over the summer.

Once more, in all honesty: I can’t remember all the websites I regularly visit. . And my history isn’t very helpful. Through the class I’ve become reacquainted to websites like 99u and the like, but at this moment I’m not a regular consumer.

I suppose you and I will have to be content with that.