Posts in You're Doing It Wrong
Creative Procrastination: How to Stop Putting It Off & Create Awesome Shit

I am a professional procrastinator. Well, I would be a professional procrastinator if I ever got around to turning it into an income source. I’ll do that tomorrow, but for now I’ll write about the pervasive problem of avoidance in our creative work.

You may be one of those gifted people with a preternatural ability to focus, never succumbing to distractions. Maybe you don’t have any sort of attention deficit and aren't prone to wasting large chunks of your day accomplishing jack shit because why not the Internet exists. Well congratu-friggin'-lations, you’re way better at adulting than I am. You can stop here and hang your valedictorian certificate on the wall after reading all of Infinite Jest in a single sitting. I’ll meet back up with you in my next post.

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How To Use "Ironic" Properly: A Public Service Announcement

Irony is one of the most consistently misunderstood terms in the English language. I can't claim that I've always used the word properly myself in the past; in fact, I once had a friend call me out on misusing it in a Facebook comment. I then channeled the extreme pain I felt from that public grammar shaming into an intense study session to learn the true definition of irony. 

That study session lasted about three minutes. It also made me hypothesize that one of the reasons for the word's rampant bastardization of this fairly straightforward term is that the true definition is so simple, it seems like it should have a more nuanced meaning. But for the most part, true irony is about as nuanced as a Nickelback song. In case you were wondering, that's totally not nuanced in the slightest bit. Bonus points for working a Nickelback burn into a blog post about English!

I was generally satisfied with knowing the true definition of irony for myself until I read legendary sports announcer Al Michaels’ autobiography. Somehow, despite the stated presence of a Sports Illustrated co-writer (and presumably a grammar-savvy editor of some sort), Michaels repeatedly misuses the word “ironic” when he means “coincidentally" throughout the book.

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6 Major Pitfalls for Guys to Avoid When Online Dating

They say you learn more from failing at something than from succeeding. If that’s the case, I’ve learned quite a bit about the online dating world over the years. Still, you’ve only really learned from your failures if you can adjust your actions to achieve some success, so a 100% failure rate doesn’t make you an expert so much as an idiot who refuses to take a hint. To that end, I’ve also had some successmore as time went on, in fact. So while I’m obviously not claiming that I’m the greatest online dating expert of all time, I can confidently say I have learned some useful and important truths when it comes to making it work.

Even though I wouldn’t win any dick-measuring contests about how many girls I’ve gone out with from dating websites, I have some legitimate insights into what works and what doesn’t work because I had to put a lot of effort, trial and error into figuring it out. And while none of this is an exact science—you just can’t predict what any one person is going to respond to—the following bits of advice are things that I’ve come to realize are particularly important in having online dating success.

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You’re Doing It Wrong: Happiness

Ah, the pursuit if happiness, an American institution so beloved it’s scribbled on a little piece of our country’s history we call the Declaration of Independence. Surely a man from Philadelphia, the very town in which that historic document was signed, would never dare to criticize such a hallowed phrase.

Of course I would, because this is the Internet and I have the power to tell an adoring public my self-important opinions. I’m going to wield that power like crazy right now, because this one’s a doozy: happiness is a lie, and contentment is overrated.

 

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How To Never Be Bored and Always Have Fun

Boredom is a part of life, you might say. You can’t have fun all the time. Sometimes things are slow and there’s nothing you can do about it. Being bored is an unfortunate but inevitable reality.

Except that isn’t exactly true. Boredom left unchecked often means we’re just not trying hard enough. In fact, I’d argue that boredom is not only good, it’s necessary.

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4 Songs That Don't Mean What You Think They Mean

Despite the contingent of hardcore fans who think I'm infallible, I am but a human being who puts his pants on two legs at a time and occasionally makes mistakes. For example, there have been several times where I've wildly misinterpreted the meaning of a song. It happens to the best of us.

Even though the beauty of art means we can each create our own personal meanings, there are times when people are straight up wrong in what they think a song is about. Sometimes it’s an understated detail they’ve glossed over, other times it’s something so glaringly obvious one can't help but wonder if English is their first, second or third language.

I’m singling out four oft-misunderstood songs in this post, plus a bonus song for people who like getting an extra free thing along with their other, already-free things. Here are some songs that you may never look at the same way again.

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You're Doing It Wrong: Manliness

I remember it like it was yesterday: The Bangles’ “Walk Like an Egyptian” came on TV, I saw those ladies rocking out and said, matter-of-factly and with all the conviction a 7-year-old can have, “Girls can’t play guitar.” My mom and sister set me straight very quickly, but it’s indicative of something in men that starts in us extremely young and then gets so ingrained that it winds up feeling like an objective truth by the time we’re adults. There are many little slights we men make toward women without thinking twice during our lives, but that’s not what inspired me to write this post. It was actually as I was strolling through the campgrounds of the Coachella music festival, noticing the particularly high population of that certain type of alpha-fratboy that, while luckily posing no real problem in this instance, has an incredible ability to ruin a good thing.

You know what I’m talking about: when an event that's highlighted by camaraderie and celebration turns into an excuse to just party hard, then someone gets a little too drunk, throws a punch, and before you know it cops have flooded the premises and the reveling masses are brought down to an angry, drunken mob level. It’s not the people that ruin these things, mind you, it’s the mentality. The macho-frat-alpha-caveman-douchebag mentality that is far too pervasive amongst the male population (myself included sometimes). And while I recognize that people of all genders, races, shapes, sizes and aromas are perfectly capable of screwing things up for the rest of us, it’s this distinctly macho male tendency that rears its ugly head all-too-often when we use the phrase, “It was all going just fine until…”

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Art Defined for the Non-Pretentious, Aggressively Realistic, Grounded Human

"Running the ball is a good parallel with art. You put your whole self into it and if you're really good at it, people are moved by it. They admire it and they're awed by it. Who's the best is tough to say. It's like art. It's all a preference. It's what looks good to you."  Barry Sanders

I talk about art a lot in this blog, but it wasn't until fairly recently that I stopped having a genuine aversion to using the word to describe anything other than paintings hung in museums. Every time I heard someone talk about art or being an artist, they just sounded pretentious to me. Stop acting high and mighty, like you're changing the world because being an artist is such an important and interesting thing, I would say to myself regularly in between writing rock songs and blog posts that obviously weren't "high art." The worst was when someone claimed they had created art when it just looked to me like they were being intentionally eccentric or opaque. I just didn't get it, and I distanced myself from the term accordingly.

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Just F#%*ing Do It

A lot of people, myself included, seem to lack motivation sometimes.

They procrastinate, make excuses, waste time, feel the need to find inspirational quotes online to spur them forward. (And by "they" I mean "me," obviously.)

I say screw that.

When it comes down to it, just about every fork in the road, every moment when we have the option to do anything, we are making one single decision: do it or don’t do it. Over and over. Every time.

So here’s the only motivational quote you need right now: Just F#%*ing Do It.

Apply it to everything. Here are a few examples:

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You're Doing It Wrong: Do What You Love

We’ve all seen our fair share of reality singing competitions over the past ten years or so, for better or for worse. There are many different personality types on these shows, but there’s one in particular that started bothering me: the person who truly believes that the world owes it to them to make them famous, because their voice is a golden gift that everyone on Earth deserves to hear since it will change life as we know it for the better. The audition is life-or-death, because music is what they love most in the world and they couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

These are people who feel completely entitled to fame because it’s only fair that their formidable talents be heard by as many people as possible. These are people who, if they wrote up their resumé, would probably include their singing gigs as volunteer hours since their voices are charity to the world's ears.

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