Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Interview with Josh of Josh's World

Back in the heyday of blogs, it was fun finding new blogs, commenting on their posts, and then asking to exchange links. At some point (at least 8 years ago!), either I discovered Josh's World (not the original name) or Josh discovered my blog. I've followed Josh's blog over the years as he's gone from a single guy to now married with a daughter. While Josh writes about his personal life, he also regularly writes about sports, books, movies, and even politics. I'm always amazed by how prolific a writer he is. While I write fewer and fewer posts each year, Josh continues to put out high quality (and quantity) posts. In honor of this accomplishment, I bestowed Josh's World the Best Blog of 2016.

I thought it would be fun to interview Josh about his blog, how he became a blogger and more. Enjoy!

What inspired you to start writing a blog?

AOL Instant Message (RIP!)...I used to write really long Away Messages. Sometimes they would be multi-part rants, which led me to starting a livejournal. Unfortunately that turned into just me complaining about work and people I knew. I discovered that I actually enjoyed writing, but I hated the format of LJ and the direction most of my posts took. I decided to give blogger a shot and well, that was almost 12 years ago.

How do you find time to write so much?

I ignore my wife and kid. Okay, just kidding. Blogging is a hobby, so I like to write once Payton goes to sleep (and my wife usually falls asleep about the same time). Even when I work very early, I cannot go to sleep that early, so I tend to watch something on TV and write for a bit. Obviously my posting level has decreased the last few years, but I still try to find time to write whenever I can.

You write about a wide variety of topics, some of which may be considered controversial. (Basically, some of your political posts.) What type of feedback have you received from some of these posts?

Usually the feedback is positive. However, I think some of my political posts have put a strain on familial relationships. Many of my relatives believe I hate them for their political beliefs (or that I am an idiot for being on the opposite side). My one cousin will not speak to me anymore over it. Kind of sad, I never meant for anyone to take offense, nor were those posts aimed at any specific person. I post my opinion, I try to explain why I believe a certain thing, but I guess some people think I am being condescending.

You shared many personal posts about topics like your wedding, the birth of your daughter, and her experiences growing up. Are there topics that you consciously decided not to write about?

Honestly, I never really consider anything out of bounds. I suppose that since only my friends and family really read my blog that it makes it a bit easier to be free. I have learned over the years to make sure people are okay with me writing about them. I also realize that as Payton gets older, she may not appreciate me writing about her. I guess I will cross that bridge when we get to it.

Do you have a favorite post or subject during the history of Josh's World?

The post I wrote about my dad is probably the one I consider to be my best. My story about Payton's birth is also great. The posts about our wedding were also so much fun to write, especially the one about all the craft projects we did and the work we put in to make the day perfect. However my favorite posts are some of the larger projects, particularly my baseball posts. I put a ton of research into them and then write like 3000 words before I realize that like three people will probably read the post. Oh, and my silly post about Albania, which has some fairly interesting comments from Albanians who took offense.

Finally, we have been in several fantasy leagues together over the years. Does it get tiring losing to me so often?

Hmm, I don't know...I will let you know if I ever actually lose to you.

For the record, You've also lost to me in fantasy sports many times!

And oh yeah, you beat me one time back in 2012. Hahaha

Make sure you check out Josh's World and you can follow him on Twitter here.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Friday Video: One Foot

You remember Walk The Moon, right? They had the monster hit "Shut Up and Dance" a few years ago. They also have a great song "Anna Sun" from their first album. Well, Walk the Moon is back with their third album.

Here is their first song from the new album, One Foot:

I don't really get the video, but I dig this song. Plus, I'm always for having "They can't flex with us" as part of the lyrics!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Zone, The Anthem, & More (Random Ramblings)

To celebrate Presidents' Day, I had the opportunity to take The Moose (age 6) and Pedro Tulo (age 3) to The Zone in Ashburn. I saw that The Zone tweeted this prior to the event:

I truly am honored to be part of the area's top MOM BLOGGERS!

Anyway, The Zone is like Dave & Busters but on a smaller scale. They have plenty of video games and good food (more on this momentarily), but unlike Dave and Busters, The Zone has four bowling lanes, laser tag, and a virtual reality area. My kids were a little young for these activities (though the staff was gracious enough to let them try on the VR gear), so we mostly played air hockey, Space Invaders, and Skee-Ball. This is Pedro Tulo from when he was about 1 & 1/2.

This is Pedro Tulo from Monday at almost 4.

I hope I don't take another picture like this when he's 6 or 7.

The food was definitely a highlight for the boys. The Moose went to town enjoying pizza, chicken fingers, sliders, fries, and a cookie. Pedro Tulo only seemed to want fruit (and a cookie, of course).

I'll go back, though it may be when they are a little older when they can enjoy all of the games and activities available.

Thanks to The Zone and Andrea of Northern Virginia Housewives for hosting us!

- While The Moose seems to doing well reading at school, he has little interest in doing this at home. It's been a battle the last few weeks trying to get him to read to us. Any suggestions on how to make this situation better for everyone? It has been really frustrating for all of us.

- On Sunday, I visited The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in DC and saw the flag which inspired Francis Scott Key to write the Star-Spangled Banner. On Sunday night nearly 200 years after he wrote the famous lyrics, Fergie had a, well, interesting version of the tune.

U-S-A! U-S-A!

- Your TMI for the day. After getting a vasectomy a few months ago, it's now official. My boys can, um, no longer swim.

- Ziggy knocked the Brita off of the counter causing the water pitcher to crack. I guess it's time to get a new one.

- Finally, one of the worst things about my dislocated wrist is that I can't bite the fingernails on my right hand. I know that biting your nails is a terrible habit, but there a way worse vices. (I'll stick with this as a rationale.)

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Interview With Shannon Gregg

Writing a book is tough. I mean, I don't know from experience, but this is something I would love to do someday. Therefore, anytime a friend writes a book, I want to support them (see below).

Shannon Gregg and I graduated together from high school, um, several years ago and also performed together in Lil' Abner. Shannon is a Trainer, Speaker, and Sales Productivity Expert and recently wrote It's About Time: How to Do More of What Matters in the Time You Have for professionals of all career levels with Shawn McBride. As Shannon wrote on her website, "This book will benefit you and dramatically transform your approach to productivity and time management.  Written based off of years of experience at hustling time, the information in this book was provided by absolute experts who have launched businesses, had full-time families and careers, and have found ways to achieve and surpassed their goals by focusing on total time management."

Shannon was gracious enough to take some time (see what I did there?) to answer a few questions.

Can you tell me (and everyone reading this) about the book?

For sure!  For starters - it's short.  Intentionally.  If you're reading a book about time management, it's not because you have leisurely time to spend on things like reading!  I co-authored the book with R. Shawn McBride, whom I met when we were booked to speak at a large radio convention together.  We brought our perspectives on managing time, based on running full time jobs and side hustles, together to give a simple, based-on-you approach to time management. 

While I'm sure this is in the book, what is the best way you have found for yourself to manage your time?

The book is really you-based, so it's not prescriptive on how to manage time based on mine or Shawn's best practices - but man, I could NOT live without Google calendar!  Everything goes in it - dinner with friends, Luke's bike trips, mom jazz dance class on Sunday nights - so I know at all times where I am supposed to be.  Those blank spaces, I fill them on up (I've got a blank space, baby, and I'll write...something to do in it).  Denis Waitley has a quote that basically asks you to consider whether your activities are tension-relieving or goal-achieving, and I mentally categorize those things to make sure that they are in some sort of balance for me.

What advice and best practices do you have regarding time management and productivity for someone (um, like me) with a new child?

Sean, it's almost as if I asked you to ask this question (I didn't!).  This is the number one issue that people are asking Shawn and I about: time management as a working parent.  We are working on a publication for 2018 to address exactly that!  But, my advice to parents is first psychological:  lose the guilt.  Lose it.  We live in an era of insta-fabulousness, where all parents seem to have it together and are pinteresting the best memories for their kids and making Tate Museum-quality art sandwiches, and the "mompetition" of it all will make you lose your mind.  Stop it.  Give yourself permission to spend some time on yourself!  That seems to be the toughest part for parents trying to juggle their personal and professional time.   

How did our time at Junior Achievement in high school help you with the book?

YES!  I refer to JA all of the time, Sean!  In working with salespeople, I am always looking for ways for them to be efficient so that they can sell more in less time by being process-driven and scalable, and that is DEFINITELY thanks to those assembly line cookie sheets we made.  No joke.  When I first learned Six Sigma, I was the only one in the room laughing when I said, "Ohhhhh, so JA for working adults."  YES.  I think I need to actually write a check to Junior Achievement right now.  BRB. 

Are you concerned that people will confuse your book with the 2005 book, It's About Time?

Well, it was definitely something we considered when we were finalizing the name of the book.  It's a pretty common combination of words - which can be good, as someone might stumble upon the book accidentally.  I was masterminding with my friend Jason Anthony, and I told him that we had everything settled but the title:  content, illustrations, cover designer, foreword.  He said, "Well, it's about time."  So, it stuck.  (Thanks, Jason!)

Your website shows an offer of a "Creativity Session" with you or your co-author. What does this entail?

I'll tell you in exchange for a few drops of blood or some bitcoin, your choice!  :)  It's highly interactive, and again, you-driven, where we apply a Five-Whys exercise to get to the root of your challenges, to help you to identify precisely what the cause is to help you decide how to solve it.  It's fun, and typically people walk away with some new and fresh ideas on what their issues actually are (and not the surface ones that they first suspected).  We are launching a new website based on this system, www.timemagicment.com - which will have assessments and resources to help continue to drive the exploration. 

Thanks again to Shannon for answering my questions. You can learn more about Shannon's book and work at ShannonGregg.com.

You can also check out some other interviews with friends/writers:

- Sarah Wendell (here and here).
- Laurie Koozer (here)
- Ron Lippock (here)

Monday, February 12, 2018

Annyeong Haseyo! (That's Hello in Korean)

As you may have read (and read again), I'm not quite 100% right now. Therefore, I'm excited that several friends have been willing to write some guest posts. I've known Christine since our first year in college, um, several years ago, and over about an 18-month period, she chronicled her experience living in South Korea. You see where I'm going here with the Winter Olympics being in Pyeongchang, right? Here's Christine:

With the start of the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, I’ve found myself feeling a bit “homesick” for Seoul. For one military assignment, our family spent a great year and a half exploring South Korea, enjoying the food, and falling in love with the culture. I visited museums and palaces, attended markets and festivals, and attended many different concerts (who’s up for some K-Pop, Pansori, or Korean heavy metal?). It is a country that embraces tradition while moving full steam into the future, having rebuilt itself after the horrible conflict with the north. We are always asked if we felt safe there - my answer: it’s the safest place I’ve ever lived, with little crime and welcoming people.

When Sean asked me to write a guest blog post, I happily dusted off my keyboard and revisited my Korea blog for some inspiration. One post that immediately came to mind was our visit to the 1998 Summer Olympics site in Seoul - you can check out all of the pictures here (there are a bunch).

Knowing how the Koreans have revamped that space into a bustling part of the city and event venue, I’m sure they will make great use of the new site in the future. I did actually get to visit Pyeongchang for a snow tubing festival ahead of the games - even in 2015, preparations were well underway and the Koreans were gearing up for the games. If they ever add a snow tubing event at the Olympics, I am ready to represent!

Watching the opening ceremonies brought back many memories, including my classes in Korean drumming. The large opening number featured women dressed in white playing in unison on the janggu. It is a Korean, hourglass-shaped drum, and I brought one back to the states with me. As a music teacher, it was fun learning a new instrument and we got to wear the traditional colored dress for our concert. The five children featured throughout the opening ceremony wore those colors: red for fire, blue for wood, yellow for earth, white for metal, and black for water.

Nostalgia also had me visiting the local Korean market to stock up on some favorite items. We LOVE eating Korean food, although we tend toward the less spicy end of the spectrum. If it’s red - beware! If I could have my own Korean BBQ grill inside the house at all times, I’d be a happy girl. One website I use for Korean recipes is written by Maangchi:  www.maangchi.com

Some of our favorites for you to consider trying:

Bibimbap (비빔밥) - rice mixed with vegetables, meat, egg, and chili pepper paste
Jjajangmyeon (짜장면) - noodles with black bean sauce
Samgyetang (삼계탕) - ginseng chicken soup
Hotteok (호떡) - sweet pancakes filled with brown sugar (Sean's note: This sounds delicious!)

So for the next few weeks, you can most likely find me watching all of the events in Pyeongchang with a milkis in hand (yes, milk flavored soda - so good!), cheering on our US athletes and smiling at all of the things that make Korea….well, Korea!

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Baby Bird

As a first-grader, The Moose brings home several books from school each night to read, and he brought this particular book home earlier this week:

Full disclosure: I did not read this book. I only know what my wife told me and the following summary:

Derek finds a wounded baby bird. He brings it home and gives it water and food. Grandpa cautions him that the baby bird probably won't live, but Derek is hopeful. When the bird dies during the night, Grandpa assures Derek he did his best and comforts him with a big hug.

My first response is what the heck kind of book is this for a first grader? Oh what a cute book about a boy caring for an injured bird. I'm sure this will have a happy ending. Wait, the bird died!?!?

Let me go back here. When my son was about to get his adenoids out, we got several kids books about going to the hospital. Therefore, I'm sure there are plenty of books about death geared towards kids, particularly about the loss of a pet. In the case of the hospital books, that was something we sought out to read to him. Maybe my issue here is that this book seems really sad and not all that appropriate as a general reading book. Actually, maybe it is appropriate. What do I know? My outrage has certainly decreased significantly since I started writing this post!

So with all of this written, um, if you're looking for a book about a dead bird to read to your kid or have him/her read to you, Baby Bird by Beth Johnson is it!

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Wrist and Blog Updates

As of Friday, I am in this brand new black cast.

Unfortunately, a black and yellow/gold cast was not an option. I will now wear this cast until early March, and then the doctor will remove the two pins currently in my wrist. (I've included the complete medical information below if you're truly interested in the specifics about the procedure.) I'll start physical therapy two days after getting the pins out, but it will still be some time until my wrist is back to normal.

I'm sure that you're all concerned about the status of this blog while I'm on the DL (and my wrist too!). I can still type with one hand, so I plan on continuing to write. However, I'm looking for people who are interested in writing a guest blog post. I'm also hoping to have some interviews since it's much easier to type a few questions and let the responses be the centerpiece of the post. If you're interested in writing a guest post or know someone who would be available for an interview about an interesting topic, please let me know.


Pre and Post-Operative Diagnosis: Volar dislocation, distal ulna, right wrist.

Procedure: Closed reduction and percutaneous pinning of closed volar dislocation, distal ulna, right wrist.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Emotional Support Needed

Using only one hand has been quite difficult. While I can type and drive with only my left hand, it's the little things that are bothering me. I cut myself shaving four times yesterday. I can't tie my shoes or put in my contact lenses. Opening Ziploc bags are also tough. Putting toothpaste on a toothbrush is impossible. And of course, I'm not going to be able to pick up 4 month-old Luigi for many weeks.

Through this all, I've decided that I need an emotional support animal. Ziggy is great, but he can't be with me outside the house, especially on the Metro. Therefore, I'm going to get a peacock. Seems like this shouldn't be a problem as long as I'm not taking the peacock on an airplane!