Things I Don’t Do: Exercise; Watch Movies

Can you believe it’s been nearly 4 entire months since I jogged, ran, climbed stairs, rode a bike, lifted weights, swam, or lifted anything heavier than 7 pounds? And yet, because of the 4-Hour Body diet, I’ve hardly put on any weight (just don’t ask me about my cholesterol).

So, like the rest of everyone, I’m resolving to exercise more in the New Year. My lungs have been feeling GREAT lately, so I’m thinking it’s about time I push their capacity a bit. I’m going to start with some brisk walking at the track inside a church by my house. It will be me and a dozen old people – I guess I could also try speed-walking at the mall if I find I really like talking about Medicare, Medicaid, and whether or not Tom Bosley or Wilford Brimley is a better product pitch man. Don’t laugh …brisk walking is where I’ll start. I’m not proud of it …I used to run miles at a time, and charge up hills and stair cases, and I’d mix in push-ups and down-ups, and deep knee bends and sit-ups and push-ups …hey …I’m gonna start slow and see how my lungs react. Maybe someday I’ll be Superman, again.

Also, I was going to make a “Top-10 Movies of 2011” list for spunkybean, and then I realized I only watched 6 movies for the entire year. Yes, I’m sure I watched some Disney Channel originals about talking dogs, hamsters, or chipmunks, but I’m not going to count those. Six movies! That’s it! I blame Obama …or possibly the Republican controlled Congress. Somebody is sabotaging all my time.

It’s funny, actually …before I had kids, I had all sorts of time and what did I do with that time? I guess I watched alotta TV and movies. Now, the cinema (be it the big movie-plex or the home theater) is a novelty and something I never do. The movie industry said 2011 yielded the lowest theater attendance in almost 20 years and they pointed to many possible factors, but my theory is this: Gen X was the “greatest generation” for movie makers and production companies. If we had time to kill, “watch movies” was always at the top of our list. And now that all us Gen Xrs are having kids, coaching soccer, working (something experts said Gen X would never do), and picking up hobbies, and because we don’t have any sustainable, increasing, or expendable income …we’ve stopped going to the movies.

You might ask …what about the Boomers and Millenials, who’s numbers nearly quadruple the Gen X numbers? Well …sorry to tell you …those generations aren’t “movie goers” in the same way we were. Boomers gave up on movies long, long ago. Sure, they’ll see the occasional blockbuster, but mostly there’s “nothing at the movies” they want to see. They’re picky and fickle. Millenials are connected and texting and Tweeting and they don’t see the point of sitting somewhere for 2 hours and not using their cell phones. We Gen Xrs, we watched anything that would make a screen glow and we still would …if we had the time and money.

But worry not, Hollywood …in about a decade, you’re going to see an inexplicable bump in movie going again and you’ll wonder why? It will be because Gen X sent their kids off to college and we’ll get back to the movie theaters, and back to the foodcourts in the mall, and we’ll get you back in shape.

Wow, Don’s blog. What was this all about, anyway? Just ranting. Anything to keep me from having to exercise. And guess what …tomorrow I’ll tell you all about my burr type coffee grinder.

Things I Love: My Logitech Wave MK550 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse

This blog entry has two purposes (three, actually). First, it’s a love letter to my new Logitech keyboard and mouse combo. Second, it’s an experiment to see if I can blog on the WordPress iPad app and include links and pictures, and then quickly post it to my blog. And third, a thank-you note to my Uncle for always having well reasoned and well-researched advice.

Let’s talk about the Logitech Wireless Wave MK550 Keyboard and Mouse combination. I’m writing a ton of stuff. Multiple blogs, a book (two books, actually), Twitter and Facebook posts, and all the emails that accompany those things. I’m at about 20,000 words per week and with the new book deal, and the end-of-January deadline, I’m going to push it towards 100,000 words before the end of the month. If you write quite a bit …get this keyboard. The angled keyboard is vastly superior to the over-angled keyboards from a few years ago, the wrist-wrest is comfortable, and what’s really amazing is the spring action keys and the keys are higher and lower based on the length of your fingers.

Everyone who writes should have this keyboard. I’m going to recommend this to Scott Westerman. He writes alot. Much of his writing is done while traveling, it seems …but truly …the man should love his typing instrument at least half as much as he loves his timekeeping devices.

In Scott’s blog today he mentions expressing gratitude. Well, in 2011 I’m grateful that through my friend Jeff Smith, I was lucky enough to meet Scott Westerman’s blog, his Facebook updates, and his Twitter feeds. Scott heads up the Michigan State University Alumni Association and he’s a masterful communicator and he expertly puts pieces of pop-culture together with business ideals and concepts, and writes in a way that makes you feel like he’s just riffin’ from his dorm room (not that a man his age or of his stature would be living in a dorm room …I’m just sayin’ he seems very accessible). He’s made me think, and think again, a few times and I think he’s made me a better alumni, better employee where I work, and better at this new writing hobby/side job I’m pursuing.

I hope he reads this. Hi, Scott.

Second, if you’re reading this and the comment section has a “Yay!” written there, I blogged quickly and efficiently from my iPad’s WordPress app. If you see “Boo, hiss!” you know it didn’t work. If you see a picture at the top of the Logitech Wireless Wave MK550, again, it worked. If you don’t …well, I likely just threw something across the room and people nearby might’ve heard an audible curse word.

And lastly, I have that keyboard because of my Uncle Jerry and because he said, even with a laptop, I should have a wrist friendly keyboard and by golly ….he was right. Now I’m thinking I need a 23″ monitor on my desk at home so when I’m at home, writing, I will have a big screen to look at, and a Cadillac keyboard at which I can sit and write.

I blogged something. I recommended something. I mentioned two people within the blog post which means it’s possible this entry will have a minimum of TWO readers.

Blot atcha tomorrow, ya’ll.


Things I Make: Don’s 2011 Christmas List, Updated

As far as me blogging about things I want and things I’m getting, this Christmas season has been a failure. I mean, I’m still getting gifts (which is awesome), but I’m not blogging as much as I wanted to. Fingers crossed, of course, that while America is spending record amounts of money on retail that some of those billions (or is it trillions) are being spent on me.

You might think blogging about and posting one’s Christmas wish-list is selfish and doesn’t represent the spirit of the holiday, but I have a brand new umbrella and a cool baseball cap to prove you wrong.

This morning, the kids whom I drive to school every morning (along with my own kids …I don’t want you to think I’m just picking up kids and driving them to school) gave me an umbrella (a really nice MSU umbrella) and a baseball cap that says “A Good Run.” This was completely unnecessary and unexpected, but made my day. I only wish today wasn’t sunny so I could try out this umbrella. And the hat? Well, I almost take it as a sign …I need to start running again. I need to start exercising again. I’ve given my lungs 4 solid months of nothing and they’re feeling pretty good. Time to take ’em out running again and see what happens.

So, I’ve taken off the hat and umbrella from my list, added a few things, and you can still get me something for Christmas – only 8 days remain.

  • cast iron skillet
  • J. Crew Essential Chino (32 waist)
  • new cologne
  • New! Adidas barefoot running shoes
  • New! another Aeropress (for work)
  • New! $20 iTunes gift card (so I can buy iPad apps)
  • starter guitar and lessons (well, mostly lessons …someone has offered
  • coffee from Chazzanno
  • Casio watch (G-Shock …$35 or $50 price range)
  • Burr type coffee bean grinder
  • small desk lamp
  • full exterior body detailing from Classic Appreciation
  • 24 ounce thermos
  • slippers (though I really like these sock/slippers I got when I was in the hospital)
  • board game: Wits n Wagers

Things I Think: This is Clever

A friend sent this to me and I’ve read it at least a hundred times to try and detect what sort of political propaganda is being hidden in the message, and for a change, my friend actually sent me something without a hidden agenda. I thought it was pretty good …but, if you read it and think this is some sorta Democrepublitea hate speak, leave a comment.

A pencil maker tells all his pencils 5 important lessons before putting each in their box:

1. Everything you do will always leave a mark.

2. You can always correct the mistakes you make.

3. What is important is inside of you.

4. In life, you will undergo painful sharpenings, which will only make you better.

5. To be the best pencil, you must allow yourself to be held and guided by the hand that holds you.

And now, some AMAZING pencil art.

Things I Love: This Little Light of Mine

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.

I don’t typically use my blog to talk about my kids or to talk about anything but me, really. I usually figure nobody wants to hear about my kids and, out of respect, they’ve never really given me permission to use their likeness to promote my brand. But I gotta spend a moment talking about my li’l 5-year-old. It seems she REALLY wishes she had a baby sister or brother, so much so, she’s invented one. For years she’s wished her own name was Riley (instead of the name we gave her). When my 5-year-old plays with her stuffed animals, one of them is always named Riley.

She loves the name Riley.

Sadly, my 5-year-old is our third born, and she’ll always be the youngest – except in her mind. My daughter doesn’t have an imaginary friend – she has an imaginary little sister …named Riley. And at school when she recently drew a picture of our family, Riley was included and she told everyone about Riley, and she was so convincing, her teacher had to ask my wife, “do you have another daughter?”

She’s a born salesman, and like all good salesmen, she’s first convinced herself so it makes it easier to convince others.

In her mind, she’s a Dog Trainer, as well. And if you ask my Dad, according to my daughter, we don’t brush our teeth during the day at our house and Mom let’s her wear jewelry (Mom’s jewelry) to school.

My Dad always tells me, and has told me for years, that we’ll have our hands full with our little one, and it seems like he’s going to be right. And sadly, it’s nothing new …and he’s probably right.

Things I Make: Don’s 2011 Christmas List

Usually I like to make my Christmas wish-list public by Black Friday so my friends, family, and fans can take advantage of the deals and savings. I’m off to a late start and if you’ve already bought me something, I’m sure I’ll love it. Afterall, there were quite a few things that didn’t get purchased off my 2010 Christmas list or my 38th Birthday “I Love Don Week” wish-list. I’m still accepting any gifts listed there, as well.

But without further ado, here is my 2011 Christmas Wish-List. It’s just the starter list, and I’m still rounding out some other items and I think I forgot a few things that I wanted, but my wish-list is an ever-evolving work of greed – so keep checking back.

  • Pro Combat MSU baseball cap
  • Spartan or Cadillac umbrella
  • cast iron skillet
  • J. CrewEssential Chino (32 waist)
  • new cologne
  • coffee from Chazzanno
  • Casio watch (G-Shock …$35 or $50 price range)
  • Burr type coffee bean grinder
  • small desk lamp
  • full exterior body detailing from Classic Appreciation
  • 24 ounce thermos
  • slippers (though I really like these sock/slippers I got when I was in the hospital)
  • board game: Wits n Wagers

I think that’s it for now. I’m sure I’ll have quite a bit more to add and if you have a great idea that you’ve been thinking, like, “ya know, Don would really like such-and-such,” …be my guest and buy me whatever you want. I trust you all to know how to spoil me.

Merry Christmas.

There’s No Place Like Home (for the holidays?). Win a $100 EyeToons Card.

Note: This is NOT a real blog entry and NOT a real company. This is just a pretend blog entry written for someone else – written for one of my writing clients. I’m NOT giving away a $100 of anything.

Have you noticed there are fewer and fewer days remaining in November? It won’t stop. It’s inevitable. December will be here before you know it and cold weather will come along with it.

The only good thing about cold weather is that it gives us a great reason to light a fire, flick on the gas longs, put on a robe, have a cup of cocoa, and don the fuzzy bunny slippers. You have fuzzy bunny slippers, right? Well …slippers are slippers and warming your feet in front of the fire is one of the great things about winter.

At Zenith Homes, cozy fireplaces come standard.

So, let’s see your cozy fireplace and your cozy slippers. Send us your best cozy fireplace shot featuring your cozy slippers and  you’ll be entered to win a $100 EyeTunes card from Zenith Homes. Bonus points if you work a cup of cocoa into the shot. Have fun. Stay warm.


Why We Build the Homes we Build

As the holidays approach, we all give thanks for the things we have. Here at Zenith Homes, we are thankful for all our wonderful employees, the many talented contractors and skilled trades people that help make our homes so wonderful, and especially for our customers.

We recently came across a print of Norman Rockwell’s classic Saturday Evening Post painting, “Freedom from Want”. This picture is what we all want our holidays to look, smell, and feel like. In a way, it’s the inspiration behind what we do and what we build at Zenith Homes. Our designs start with a cozy kitchen in mind, or a roaring fire in the fireplace, or a lively and welcoming family meal. Then we build around that idea and make a home fitting of a Normal Rockwell painting.

May you and yours have a great Thanksgiving and holiday season.

Things I Think:

I’ve often heard that a writer should read as much as he writes. I usually take this to mean a writer should we well versed in the works of Dickens, Chaucer, Twain, and various other standards. That would be classy, sure. And it would impress other writers. But, the extent of my reading these days comes in the form of reading Facebook status messages, Tweets, some of the articles linked in those Tweets, and random blogs. Hey …not my fault. If Charles Dickens and Mark Twain kept their blogs up to date, I’d read them.

I wonder what’s going to be the must-have, hot Christmas gift this year. And if I knew, would I buy a hundred of them and then start selling them for double their price on CraigsList? Yes …I would.

Every Monday I wake early to start my writing for the week, I press myself a cup of coffee, drink a large glass of water (a big glass of water drunken immediately upon waking is like WD40 for the human body  …coffee without a big glass of water will get your brain going, but you’ll still feel sluggish …trust me), and I read the latest from Scott Westerman and then Aaron Karo (in that order). Their two colums couldn’t be more different. It’s like listening to NPR and reading a Bible passage and then chasing it with Weird Al’s Greatest Hits and an old issue of Mad Magazine. Along with the coffee, the massive high-brow to low-brow diametric shift I put my brain through readies me for writing – just as soon as I ‘Like’ a few more of my friends status updates and Foursquare check-ins.

I hope I used “diametric shift” correctly in that last paragraph. I wish there was a place I could look up useless facts like that.

Oh, and by the way, Scott Westerman wrote about the Penn State tragedy and the ethics involved in every aspect of the meltdown …Aaron Karo wrote about sports on a big screen v. at-the-stadium and about the black electrical tape he used to repair his couch. See?

And finally, because if I bore you for one more moment with nonsense I know you won’t get to this next part, as a non-hunter, non-outdoorsman, I still get a thrill from seeing animals up close – especially deer. My in-laws bought a house in the woods and when we have breakfast we’re often treated to wild animals (foxes, deer, geese, raccoons, squirrels, birds of all kinds, and more) doing what they do less than 50 yards from the window in the breakfast nook. It makes going to Grandma and Grandpa’s house pretty awesome for my kids …ok, and for me. Look …DEER!

It’s the simple things. Nice blog entry, Don. And I wonder why I only get 6 readers each week and 5 of those clicks are mine from different computers. Sigh. One of these days.

Things I Don’t Do: Write Like I Should … I’m a Writer Who Sucks at Blogging Consistently

Holy crap! I call myself a writer, and then on the blog that should be easiest to fill with words and fleeting thoughts, I can’t even get that right.

Like …I bought a writing desk for my room to celebrate my newest writing client. That’s blog worthy for two reasons …I’ve been shopping for a writing desk for almost 9-months, and it’s also totally awesome that another person/company agreed that, yes, they need help creating content for their blog, Facebook, and Twitter. And this is going to be a fun client. As a ghost-writer …I can’t tell you who …but seriously, it’s going to be fun to help them build their following.

My Donnie Jalapeno Salsa empire is being held back by nothing more than my own time and energy. I can’t stop it – it’s amazing. I’m completely flattered that people are diggin’ the salsa, and I get orders like every weekend. I have repeat customers. I have people emailing and texting me that they’re addicted and can’t get enough and if I could just get my act together, get my email distribution list together, get insured, and make a few phone calls, I think things could really take off.

I did figure out what it would cost to ship and I’m going to do that next week to a few friends …well, first after I experiment with canning it so I can ship semi-fresh. I want to first see what “canning” does to the flavor.

So much to think about. And all I want to do is play more Mario Kart.

I’m also waaaaaay behind on Yelp’ing and Foursquare’ing and “checking in” all the time. I kinda use Facebook as my crutch, and I think I’m like the king of Facebook, but there’s a big giant social media world out there and I’ve barely got my toe in the water.

Mmmmm …social media water.

Well, that’s all. I shot this great video of my 5-year-old setting the dinner table and singing Christmas carols because it snowed last night and she was so inspired by the snow, she was moved to song …and to make a snow ball and put it in the freezer. I swear it …I’ll post that later.