Work Distractions

My Love-Letter to Advertising

Like it or not, advertising is essential to our society. Without it, our lives would be very different. Without all of the money advertising brings in, we would have to drastically change how we do business. Facebook: runs on advertising. Snapchat: also runs on advertising. Anything online that’s free: advertising. It isn’t always a bad thing. PR moves, like Morgan Stanley donating to charities every quarter, are a form of advertising that helps people, even though Morgan Stanley gets a nice tax deduction from it.

When I was 10 years old, I saw a countdown of the best Super Bowl ads of all time. The first one that I saw was the Mean Joe Green Pepsi spot. Immediatly I felt like I was that kid, and that did something to me. The older I got, the more marketing started to interest me, and now here we are. I love advertising because 1) I like a decent amount of the design and creativity that goes into the good ones 2) I’m fascinated by the ones that work and 3) It’s what I’ve wanted to do for a living for years. Clever ads, the ones that make you think, the ones that make you feel something, those are the ones that make advertising worth while for me. Any asshole who got an A in English can write a shitty ad, but to make something truly great, you have to leave your head, and get into the mind of the customer. I always thought that was so cool: to learn about how other people live and the things that would make their lives better so I can make them things they want to watch, so they can buy things that could help. Now that’s an idealistic way of thinking, I know, but I want to make that a reality.

I’ve always considered myself a decent writer, but the more I write, the more I look back on the work I’ve done and think “What the fuck is this? What was the strategy here? Why would the target demo even look at this?” Maybe that’s growth, maybe it’s just looking at my work with a fresh set of eyes, maybe I do suck. I’m sure I’ll look at all of the articles and scripts I’ve written, the print ads I’ve made, and even some of the display ads, and think they’re all terrible. The point here is this: advertising, if done right, has the potential to help people, to make them feel differently, even if for a second or two. That’s powerful to me. That’s why I love advertising. That’s why I’ve always wanted to be a copywriter.

I’ve always had this fantasy of what my life in advertising would be like; working long hours on projects that challenge me creatively, working with other like-minded people my age who like to work hard and play harder, having to suck it up and deal with clients who are stuck in their ways in order to make things that stick out. I’d stumble into work at 9, pour myself a cup of coffee that I don’t have to pay for, and spend the next 4 or 5 hours writing, then going to meetings to brainstorm potential ideas for campaigns. I’ve never worked in advertising, but thinking about what it would be like is a lot more appealing than my shitty minimum wage job slinging coffee and bad food (which really could be done by a vending machine and an oven)

I’m not trying to convince anyone that advertising is an ethical, morally-conscious profession. I’m just trying to show people another way of thinking, one that might open their minds a little. I’m also hoping that if any Creative Directors see this blog, they’ll think of me next time there’s a copywriting position open.

Why Golf is the Most Underrated Sport

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What do you think of when you think of golf? Old white people talking business? Douchey frat guys blasting Dave Matthews and shotgunning Natty Lights? Here’s how I see golf; you’re outside on what’s usually a beautiful day, you’re getting a little bit of excercise (but not enough to get super sweaty and gross), you’re hanging out with your friends, talking shit when they slice one into the woods. Doesn’t sound too bad, does it? Now add a cooler filled with beer and some reefer, and you’ve got yourself a hell of a day. Then there’s the sport itself.

Golf, to me, is an escape. Whenever I’m feeling depressed and empty and can barely get out of bed, I force myself up and go to the driving range. For however long it takes, I get a couple buckets of balls, put my headphones in, take a few hits of my dab pen, and empty my mind for a little while. This is one of my favorite things in the world, and one of the few times I’m genuinely happy.

Golf is more about strategy and patience than people think. You need to know where you want to shoot, where you can go from there, which club to use to get the shot you need, and what possible ways the shot can go wrong. This all requires patience and foresight that many people don’t have. Golf is a great way to get to know people, you see how they handle setbacks, you see if they can contain anger, you see how they think, you see their adversity to risk, and you also see how they handle their drink. I totally get why executives play golf with each other. I like playing with new people, (to a point, golf also lets you know if someone’s an asshole), but there’s nothing like playing with your friends and not keeping score.

So the next time you hear people talking about golf being boring, ask them if they’ve ever played before. The answer is usually “No”

“But I’m not some richy-rich asshole, I can’t afford to golf” You might be surprised. There are things called “executive courses” that are condensed versions of full courses, meant to be played in under an hour. “But I can’t afford clubs/balls/tees!” Wrong again. I’ve maybe spent 3 dollars on tees in my 15 year golf career, you can just pick them up off the course, same with golf balls. Clubs are where the problem lies. I got my current clubs for Christmas when I was 15, and I’ve been using them ever since, so if you treat your clubs with love, they’ll keep up for years. You can get a cheap set of used clubs for around 75 dollars at a thrift shop. If you don’t have thrift shops around you, wait til winter, prices go down, people start selling them, equipment goes on sale, you can get everything you need.

Golf is more than just a game, it’s a social environment. The clubhouse at your local course is a great way to network and meet like-minded people who share at least one interest. Golf has gotten me summer jobs, it’s gotten me closer to my friends and family, it’s gotten me peace of mind, and it’s gotten me a better understanding of how people think.

I hope I’ve opened your mind a little bit, because as I get older, I realize that’s what counts: experiences you wrote off because you thought you were above it, but are actually super cool. Golf is something I wrote off as “old people shit” when I was younger, but the older I get, the more I appreciate it.

The 5 Best Fast-Food Places

Fast food is a way of life in America: that’s why we’re all fat and miserable with heart disease. There are some places that do it better than others, and that’s something to be commended. Having worked at a fast food place for a while, it takes a certain type of person to get everything right, without collapsing into an empty shell of a person. This is the A-Team of American fast food.

5. Wendy’s

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The Wendy’s Twitter alone gets them top 5 status. I’d never seen such sassy clap-backs from a brand before: Wendy’s is truly iconic. The food is lacking in some areas, but excels in others. For instance, I’ve never had a bad Baconator any of the hundreds of times I’ve been to Wendy’s. Another thing that separates Wendy’s from your Burger Kings and your McDonald’s is the environment that exists in the restaurants. You’ll never see a Worldstar video taken in a Wendy’s, they shut that shit down REAL quick. Good for you, Wendy’s.

4. Domino’s

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Yea, I said it. Domino’s is a fast food place. Any place where I can get an entire day’s worth of greasy fat and calories in less than 20 minutes is a fast food spot, and 96 Parmesan bread bites definitely fits that criteria. Domino’s is the old faithful, your first fast food love. You have (hazy) memories of ordering 2 larges for 7 dollars at 2 o’clock in the morning, and half an hour later, devouring both of them in less time than it took for them to get there. Very few people I’ve talked to have eaten Domino’s sober, but that’s not the point, the point is that when you need them, they’re there with 3 orders of cheesy bread and some lava cakes. God bless you, Domino’s.

3. Starbucks

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As an employee at Dunkin Donuts for the last 6 years, I feel qualified to pass judgement on this premium caffeinated beverage establishment. I’ve had all their fancy douche bag drinks that take 15 minutes and a consent form to make, I’m not rocking with Starbucks because of them. I go to Starbucks because the quality of workers they have. Never once have I seen a Starbucks employee make someone wait in line because they wanted to take a smoke break. Never once have I seen a Starbucks employee tell a customer they were out of something because it was too annoying to make. Never have I seen a Starbucks employee yell at a customer, although I have seen a customer yell at a barista, who took it in stride with a smile on her face. Whatever Starbucks is doing to keep quality workers in what usually is a shitty minimum-wage hellscape, they need to teach other companies. I want the customer experience of Starbucks, without paying 6 dollars for a Colombian roast.

2. Popeye’s

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“Popeye’s chicken is the shiznit” Right you are, early 90s Adam Sandler, right you are. I never really liked fried chicken, my parents didn’t make it at home because it wasn’t “healthy”, so I never really had it until I was baked at a Bullmoose music shop and saw one down the street. Upon arrival, I was captivated by choices, but what should I get? The thing that stuck out on the menu was the popcorn chicken, so that was what I ordered. After a reasonable amount of time, my golden nuggets of chicken came out, and when I took my first bite, I felt something grow inside me. It wasn’t food poisoning, (“It’s a Popeye’s, not a KFC”, I thought to myself at the time) but a taste of something fresh, something I wasn’t supposed to eat, but how could something this good be so bad for you? The answer came about 2 hours later when I googled how to make those beautiful crispy poultry bombs for myself. I don’t blame you Popeye’s, you’re just selling happiness, you’re perfect just the way you are.

1. 5 Guys

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This is it: the alpha, the omega, the reason for being. 5 Guys has perfected the fast food formula to the point where people consider it an actual restaurant. Wendy’s, BK, and McDonald’s could dip their fries in liquid heroin, and they still wouldn’t match up to the golden standard that 5 Guys has set. Every time I order fries at 5 Guys, the workers pack my bag full of fries like they’re going out of business. The burgers at 5 Guys feel like gourmet burgers, but without the exorbitant price. I have a friend who used to work at one, and he says it’s without a doubt the cleanest restaurant he’s worked in, and a fast food place being cleaner than a full service restaurant is incredible. This next dose of greasy fat and cholesterol is for you, 5 Guys, you’ve earned it.

6 Things I’d Rather Do Before Taking Calculus Again

I’ve been studying for my Calculus final for around 8 hours straight, and at this point, I’m at the “bargaining” stage of grief. There are many things I would do in order to never have to do this again, but these are the 6 that made me laugh the hardest when I thought of them.

6) Full-Body Wax

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I don’t know if my profile picture indicates exactly how much hair I have on my body, but I can tell you with full confidence that it would make Steve Carell’s performance in 40 Year-Old Virgin look like a brisk stroll down the beach, and he only got part of his chest done. The person waxing me might have to go to therapy after waxing me like a fancy pair of shoes before prom. The upside of a full body wax is 1) I get to see what I’d look like as a full-grown baby, and 2) no more radical equations.

5) Go Back to High School as an Adult

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Going back to high school as an adult would be pretty interesting, to say the least. One the one hand, I really don’t care to learn about the water cycle again, or have to deal with a bunch of children going through the beginnings of puberty, but on the other hand: I bet I could whoop their asses in gym class, and potentiality scar them for life with stories from Dunkin Donuts. The only thing I would actually be worries about is taking algebra again, which would still be easier than learning about imaginary numbers.

4) Have Nick Diaz Punch Me in the Face Once

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I’ve never really gotten too deep into the MMA stuff, but some of my friends showed me this guy knocking the bejesus out of someone who looked like Ivan Drago’s coked-out little brother. I’d like to see what type of damage this man would do to my facial bones, more out of morbid curiosity than anything else. The story alone would make never having to expand a logarithmic equation again worth it.

3) Work at Dunkin Donuts Forever

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I’ve worked at Dunkin Donuts for almost 6 years now, and I can say, with full confidence, that Calculus is worse. I’ve had to deal with crackheads trying to scam me out of food, drunks peeing on the floor before close, annoyingly entitled people who get mad when the prices aren’t the same as they were in 1976, and other less than friendly experiences, but I STILL would take all of that over having to do synthetic division without a calculator. Nothing against Dunkin Donuts though, the hashbrowns are amazing.

2) Get A Face Tattoo

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I’m not talking your average SoundCloud rapper style face tat, you know the ones I mean: teardrops under my eyes, AK-47 on my forehead, #blessed on my cheek-type deals. If I were to get a face tat, I’d keep it classy with a nice 4-leaf clover or a peace sign, you know, something that I could explain to employers if my rap career doesn’t take off. Having a permanent reminder to make smart decisions isn’t a bad trade off for not having to understand how to calculate the area under a parabola.

1) Take Pre-Calculus Again

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This is how you know that Calculus has beaten me down: I would take the prerequisite again. I got a C+ in Pre-Calc, and I’m sure I can top that, since instead of studying for one of my quizzes, I hit the local driving range and ran through 3 buckets of balls working on my short game. If Calculus is Darth Vader, Pre-Calc is that random Imperial Officer who got choked out on the Star Destroyer in Empire Strikes Back. No big deal.

IPAs and You: An Introduction to Brewing

By Evan Davis

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Brewing beer is an incredibly rewarding hobby, if you take the time to learn the process. There are many different types of beer out there, but it is always best to start off small, so I’ve decided to make a guide to making IPAs, or India Pale Ales. IPAs are more bitter than most other styles of beer due to their large amount of hopsHops are a type of wheat that is extensively used in brewing, along with barley, malt, and a wide range of possible ingredients. Now why should you listen to me? I’ve been brewing beer for about 2 years now, so while I’m far from an expert, I have done this quite a few times and I feel confident in sharing my process.

What You Will Need:

9lbs of Light liquid Malt extract (available at brewing stores) $5

0.75lbs of Crystal 20L Malt (available at brewing stores) $20

1oz 60 minute Magnum hops (available at brewing stores) <$10

1oz Simcoe hops (available at brewing stores) $10

1oz Sorachi Ace hops (available in brewing stores) $10

12g Safele US Yeast ( Available at brewing stores, Walmart) $3.99

1lb Priming sugar (available at brewing stores) ~$8

7gal kettle or bigger ( available in Walmart, cooking stores) $30

6gal fermentation bucket (available at brewing stores) $12

3-4 plastic bags (available anywhere) ~$1

1-2 mesh bags (available anywhere) ~$5

Food-Grade Sanatizer (available at cooking stores) $10

Bottles: 30 22oz, or 55 12oz (available at brewing stores, cooking stores) $0*

Heating element (available in your home)

Large container for cooling (and ice)

5gal bucket (available at Home Depot) $3.25

Thermometer (available on Amazon) $7

*I like to save the bottles from regular beer, wash them out, sanitize and reuse them, it saves around $40

After you get all of the required ingredients and supplies, we’ll be ready to begin brewing.

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The way brewing works is by basically adding all of the ingredients together, heating them up, transferring them into the 5 gallon bucket, adding the yeast, sealing up the bucket for a week, adding the priming sugar for the sugar to process into CO2.

The Brewing Process

  1. Put the Crystal Malt into the mesh bag, pour ~3 gallons of water into the pot and submerge the mesh bag into it.

  2. Turn on the heating element, while making sure the mesh bag is not touching the bottom of the pot, this could burn the malt, making your beer taste like old shoes left outside. Remove the bag after temperature hits 170 degrees F.

  3. Fill the pot the rest of the way up, slowly adding the light malt extract, constantly stirring until they completely dissolve. Put 1oz of Magnum Hops in mesh bag and put it into the pot once boil is achieved.

  4. Add 1oz  Sorachi Ace and 1oz Simcoe hops into another mesh bag. Stick in pot and boil for 60 minutes.

  5. Remove opt from heat and cover. At this point in the process, cleanliness is key, make sure you sanitize every item and wear gloves while you add ingredients. Failure to do so may result in bacteria getting into the beer, which would continue to grow as the batch ferments, leading to potential health problems upon drinking.

  6. Place the pot into the container and fill with ice. Take the pot out once the temperature reaches 70F.

  7. Pour the mixture into 5 gallon bucket, seal, and place in a cool, dark place. I prefer to use my basement, as the humidity is very low.

  8. Keep stored for around 2-3 weeks.

  9. Bottle, use the priming sugar to create carbonation. I use around 1.5oz per gallon, which leads to high carbonation, but if you don’t want to carbonate your beer as much, use anywhere between 0.5- 1oz.

  10. Try your beer. This is my favorite step for obvious reasons.

 

Attention:

  1. Brewing beer involves a delicate chemical reaction, so in order to maximize your beer’s potential, you want to ensure the cleanliness of your brewing area.

  2. I know it will be tempting to drink while you brew, but I recommend against it, at least before the batch is sealed away. There are chemicals in commercially-made beer that could lead to the yeast in your batch dying off, rendering your beer alcohol-free.

  3. Brewing beer smells quite a bit. This might be off-putting for some people, so make sure to be considerate while brewing.

  4. You will be dealing with high temperatures, so take precautions in order to prevent serious burns