I just had to start another blog…

Yep, it happened. I started another blog. Yeah, yeah — keep your eye rolling to a minimum.

As we saw in my last post, I’m terrible at sticking to plans and have to take baby steps. While I was mindlessly flipping through a magazine in a waiting room, there was one sentence that jumped out at me. It was some article about the best way to achieve fitness goals, and it said “make your progress public”.

I’m not usually one to boast about my fitness achievements — in fact, I normally judge people who do. However, I recently started running after feeling inspired by my coworkers. Running is something that I don’t want to stop doing. I already go through weeks where I choose laying on the couch over lacing up my shoes. I decided to hold myself accountable I would start blogging about it. Who knows, maybe I’ll inspire some other lazy piece of expletives to get up and run too.

Read the full back story and follow the journey: http://kelseyrunning.tumblr.com/

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Coping with Jokes

“You need more writing pieces,” they said. “Something that really shows who you are, and what your writing style is like.”

I smiled, nodded, and excused myself to go slam my head against a hard concrete surface somewhere.

I’ve written many poems, short stories, and dumb essays discussing the symbolism in Holden Caufield’s red hat. But I’m far too self-conscious to ever showcase my personal writing (well, aside from this blog when I actually have a purpose).

“No one would ever want to read my emo poems or strange short stories that make no sense,” self-conscious me said to myself.

So, I created a solution.

A wise, drug-induced character from a movie once said:
“Never take it seriously. If you never take it seriously, you never get hurt. If you never get hurt, you always have fun.”

Similarly, I cope with my feelings by making everything into a joke. And thus, a blog was born.

Check out my new blog Coping with Jokes: Sarcastic Poems of the Self-Conscious.

You’ll probably hate it, but I don’t care (actually I do…). Just kidding, I dont! (I do).

Rollin’ with the Gnomies

This week I have the fortunate experience of spending my time in New York City with the University of Oregon advertising program for Creative Week. I figured most of my networking would come from various agency tours, presentations, and Q&A sessions. I never expected what happened to me tonight.

A few of us decided to mix business with pleasure, and go to a Yankees baseball game. As we approached the stadium, a crowd aggressively gathered in a circle. It was a hectic clump of chaos while people desperately clawed for their free giveaway.

Lawn gnomes. Of all things, they were giving away free Yankee lawn gnomes. If I had any shred of logic in my brain, I would have thought to myself, “What will I ever do with this? I don’t even have a garden…Or any miniscule area of grass for that matter”.

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But of course, I have no reasoning skills whatsoever, and my inner hoarder won. I yearned to own one because everyone else was getting them. Humans are so weird.

The game ended, and the Yankees lost. I couldn’t be sad though, I got a free gnome!

After leaving our seats, I happily carried my new, worthless lawn gnome to the subway. While we took our spot, a lady next to us offered us some cookies because she was in a suite and she (like me) was a hoarder, and took an excessive amount. I declined because I’ve seen too many late night television shows and assumed it was laced with methamphetamines. However, my friend Megan accepted. Once I saw that she wasn’t foaming at the mouth, I obliged (I know, I’m such a good friend…)

I thought the story ended there, until the woman asked me about my lawn gnome. She arrived to the game late and didn’t know that they had a giveaway. Since my hoarding side was fulfilled, the frontal lobes finally kicked in. I offered my gnome to her because realistically, I had no room for it in my suitcase (and no yard for my gnome to thrive in).

At first she wouldn’t accept because she felt cookies weren’t a valid exchange for a lawn gnome. I reassured her that TSA would probably confiscate it, and it deserved a happy life of freedom in her garden abyss. We talked about my trip for Creative Week, and low and behold it turns out she works at ABC in advertising! She was so pleased with my gesture of giving her a lawn gnome that she gave me her business card. We parted ways as she yelled out the subway door, “I’ll never forget you, garden gnome girl!”

Networking can happen in the most unexpected of places. It’s crazy to think about all of the strangers in public places that you never talk to, and the stories that can surface from simple gestures. There are so many opportunities that are lost if you don’t take chances. It’s up to you to break the ice, and take the cookie (well, as long as it’s not tampered with).

In the end, I’d say that a lawn gnome is a fair trade for a cookie, a business card, and a subway ride I’ll never forget.

All Work and No Play Makes Kelsey A Dull Girl…Until Now!

You may have noticed that I’ve been missing in action for the past few weeks. And by “you” I’m referring to my parents — the only people that actually read this blog (thanks Mom and Dad). Against all advice from social media know-it-alls, my blog has been in hiatus since March.

Why? Because I’ve spent the past few weeks fine-tuning my portfolio, breaking all socially acceptable hygiene guidelines, and resisting the urge to poke my eyes out while I wait for video files to render. As I pour myself another cup of coffee at 4 a.m, I think to myself “this is my life” and then go back to slaving away with the other advertising students who brought sleeping bags to the computer labs.

Yet aside from the “woe is me” sagas I tend to dramatize, it will all be worth it soon. Tomorrow, I’m headed for the Big Apple to participate in Creative Week. 60 University of Oregon advertising kids and three faculty members will join me. Luckily for you, this means less cynical posts about insomnia, and more uplifting blog posts about my experience. So, you’ve got the glass half-full to look forward to!

Our incredible professors managed to get us three pages worth of itinerary, and I couldn’t be more excited. I’m visiting DDB, Big Spaceship, McGarry Bowen, Strawberry Frog, JWT, Wieden+Kennedy, Jet Blue, and MediaVest to get a taste of agency culture. We’ll also participate in the Student Exhibit, unConference, and hopefully kick some arse in the ping pong tournament. I can’t express how blessed and thankful I am for this opportunity.

While I’m there, the other students and I will be documenting our experience via the UONYC Blog and also on Twitter. Be sure to follow the hashtag #UONYC12 for updates!

Until then, I’ll be scouring the subways, trying to find the Cash Cab, and eating questionable street hot dogs!

Check out that nerd…At least this New York trip I won’t have to wear a dorky outfit paired with a lanyard.

Sharing is Caring? My First (Public) Short Story: The Bus Stop

PREFACE:

I’ve always been shy. Sometimes people find my shyness hard to believe because I have moments where I seem very confident in myself. But when I was younger, adults would ask me questions like “How old are you?” and I would run away without giving them an answer. I’d spend the next few hours breathing heavily and nervously wringing my hands. When cars drove past my house while I played outside, I would run and hide in my garage until they were gone.

One time, my sister asked me to buy her candy at the store. She gave me exact change, and I counted it hundreds of times to make sure that I had the correct amount. I walked confidently up to the register, only to hear the words: “you’re three cents short”.

I knew for a fact that I had enough money. I saw the lady count it, and she obviously made a mistake by adding it wrong. I panicked, and ran away (as usual). Candy-less and money-less, my sister made me go back into the store and get what was ours. I’ll never forget the amount of sweat that formulated under my armpits that day.

Not much has changed. I’m still absolutely terrified of public speaking. My face usually turns bright red and I stumble over my words. It’s pretty painful, like watching a dog try to play a video game. You know it’s not possible because the dog doesn’t have opposable thumbs, but you just don’t have the heart to tell him that he should give up because he is embarrassing himself (and it’s kind of entertaining for you to watch).

The truth is, we’re all self-conscious — especially if it’s about something personal to us. We’re all afraid of the judgement that will follow after we share something with the world.

This morning, I read an inspiring blog post from my friend Allison Francis. She talks about how we should let go of our fears and share it anyway. You should definitely take the time to read the post in it’s entirety (especially if you are in a creative field). Her last paragraph is my favorite:

Let go of your insecurities. Get out of your head and into your soul. Answer the call to art and become a part of something bigger than you; embrace a power inaccessible to lone individuals. Create, create, create, and help make the world an inspiring place to live.

This term, I’m taking a creative writing class. We spend some time writing short entries, and sometimes that writing turns into something I’d like to continue with. I’ll probably never be able to give a speech without a red face, but here is to small steps…I’m going to start sharing some of my short stories on my blog under the category “Short Stories”  (very creative title, I know…).

Even if the stories suck, maybe you can laugh at my pathetic attempts at writing. Or, if there is a miracle worker out there, maybe you will watch my writing improve as the class progresses. Feedback is always welcome – it’s the only way I can improve!

p.s. Today’s writing prompt was Objective Correlative, which means we had to “use a symbolic article used to provide explicit, rather than implicit, access to such traditionally inexplicable concepts as emotion or color”. I don’t even know if I did this correctly, but heck, here goes nothing…

The Bus Stop

Dan sifted the dirt underneath his leather shoes, and waited for the next bus to arrive.

“I should have gotten a shoe shine,” he grumbled to himself.   “Hell, I didn’t even shave this morning,” he said, as his cold fingers stroked the graying stubble growth. “I guess it doesn’t really matter anymore…”

He mused to no one in particular, not even himself. Not a soul was even within earshot. That was just it; no one was there.

The bus stop taunted him with emptiness. After all, where would anyone want to go? Why would anyone have anywhere to be at 2 p.m. on a bleak Tuesday afternoon? Most people were busy shuffling about on their daily endeavors. Children were lacing up their shoes on the playground. Fathers were at work, furiously scratching away on yellow lined notepads. Mothers were sewing patches on the broken seams of the living room pillows.

Dan didn’t fit that lifestyle anymore. Instead, he was watching the rain drops slowly drip into larger formations of nothingness on the side of the bus stop at 2 p.m. on a Tuesday.

He recalled the last time that he was on a bus. A blue Dodgers cap had covered his slightly tousled hair – more hair than he has nowadays. He frantically checked his watch, each tick determining whether or not he would make it to the game on time. If it wasn’t for Jack, who felt the annoying urge to pick up every single stick along the way to the bus, they would already be cheering in the stadium.

“Hurry it up, Jack! We’re gonna be late,” Dan had told him, as he hustled him along by the arm. “I paid a lot of money for these tickets! The sticks will be there when you get back.”

The rumbling of the bus awoke Dan from his daydream, and he boarded the bus headed for Marisville Cemetery. He took a seat near the back, even though he was the only passenger on the bus. This time, he wasn’t wearing a baseball cap or checking his watch. Instead, he gazed out the window, and wished that he would have spent more time picking up sticks alongside of his son.

Winter Break Woes: A Lifestyle Study of Lazy College Students

…And Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again!

(This post is best read in an English or Australian accent…Or, the voice of Morgan Freeman)

Similar to the migration patterns of birds to warmer areas during the winter solstice, it is one of nature’s mysterious occurrences that happens each year: college students return home for winter break.

The spectacle begins as we slam our heads against the shelves of books in the library and curse the world for our failure to study until the night before the exam.

“WHY CAN’T IT BE WINTER BREAK ALREADY!?” we repeatedly shout together in a war cry that reinforces our solidarity against schoolwork. Our fists clench in a psychotic fury resulting from the 18+ hours spent in florescent lighting and caffeine-induced crazy.

Then, miraculously all of our previous anguish is instantly obliterated. Finals finish, we prance around like blissful elves the day after Christmas, and race home to get to all of the INCREDIBLY important plans we have for winter break (i.e. sitting on the couch). Very peculiar specimens, we are.

This pure happiness lasts for about two days, and then the realization of how boring it is to sit at home all day sets in, and we crave to go back to school. Isn’t that ironic…

Yes, the college student is indeed a fascinating species. We have a complex combination of eagerness to learn mixed with inescapable laziness. An utterly confusing hybrid of pretending we’re mature adults, yet still acting like children.

So, for all of you scientists out there dying to study the nature of undergraduates everywhere, I’ll make it easy for you. From here on out, I shall refer to us as The Lazy College Student (LCS). The following is a lifestyle study on how we spend our winter break:

Leeching

While some groan at the thought of leaving our independent lifestyles and begrudgingly return to living with our parents, I welcome this opportunity with open arms. Although coping with the frequent parental nagging of “PUT AWAY YOUR DISHES” and “HOW CAN YOU LIVE IN THIS PIG-STY OF A ROOM” is arguably the most difficult feat of surviving winter break, living at home also translates to everything is free.

Free movies. Free laundry. And best of all, FREE FOOD! As a result, the LCS spends its winter break leeching. We feed off of the completely stocked pantry supply. We drive our family vehicles so that we don’t use our own gas. We suck the life out of your wallets under the guise of family bonding. The LCS will do sick, twisted things if it means free stuff is a looming possibility.

Third-Wheeling

Leeching then evolves into the phenomenon known as “third-wheeling”. As a result of our inability to resist free things combined with our exponential boredom, the LCS will frequently invite themselves everywhere. Even if you were planning on a quiet evening alone, this will not phase the LCS, as they are programmed to think that their plans are automatically more important than yours.

Usually, this third-wheeling takes form in “suggesting” family activities. Beware: “suggesting” is merely a pseudonym for “free activities for the LCS” (refer to Leeching). The social suicide of being seen with your parents in a public place is a small price to pay for what would have been a $14 movie experience (but you got it for free since you tagged along with your parents…muahaha!). Mom and Dad are eating at a fancy-schmancy restaurant for dinner? Don’t mind if I do…

Working

For the lucky few, winter break means extra seasonal hours at previous workplaces. It means holiday parties where parents are desperate to find those last minute babysitters. A common trait of the LCS is that we are always cash-hungry. What other age group asks for strictly gift cards or money during the holiday season? Similar to our leeching abilities, typically the LCS will do almost anything for payment. Use this to your benefit, older generations.

“Catching Up”

Depending on the varying level of extroversion, “catching up” can have many different definitions amongst the LCS. For some, it means catching up with old friends, and rekindling those forgotten relationships. For myself, it means catching up on 14 days of uneaten advent calendar chocolate and spending hours watching TV shows that deplete all forms of previous academia from my brain. Bring it on, Kardashians.

Hibernation

Like most marsupials, the LCS is also dependent on hibernation throughout the winter season. It is not suggested to wake them during resting periods, as it may result in a dangerously dramatic tantrum. If you value your life, allow them to press the snooze button.

Make-Shift Vacations

After becoming restless from our rough lives of waking up after twelve, watching TV all day, and occasionally getting up to eat (god forbid exercise or natural lighting), we ultimately decide we need a vacation from these hardships. The LCS will get together with a group of friends and decide on a whim that it will be a good idea to road trip for 13 hours and somehow fit 30 people in a room designed for 6. This will all be fine and dandy, until we reach the unfortunate realization that vacations without our parents means we have to pay for everything ourselves (refer back to leeching). Ahh, financial dependency. It ruins everything.

Spending an Ungodly Amount of Time On the Computer

Our increased amount of free time combined with an innate necessity to know what our friends are doing at all times (this common disease is also known as F.O.M.O — “Fear of Missing Out”) results in the LCS spending a ridiculous amount of time on the computer. If there is a Facebook status to be updated, we will update it. If there is a tweet to be sent, we will tweet it. If there is a cat video to be watched, we will watch it. Fear not, social media moguls — we shall keep you in business forever with our important conversations of:
“What are you doing?” // “Nothing, what about you?” // “Same here.”

Not Being Productive 

All of these characteristics lead us into our final phase of the LCS during winter break: counter-productivity.

“I’m going to start working on my porfolio”

“I’ll start my job hunt for after graduation”

“I’ll get my Christmas shopping done early this year”

“I really am going to clean my room”

Nope. These are all just broken promises that we make to trick ourselves into thinking we could be productive when in reality, we can barely manage to get out of bed before 2pm. There are just sooo many other things we would rather be doing — like spending hours on the computer, feeding off of our parents food supply, or watching reality TV shows. As hard as we try, we fall victim to wasting our time and doing absolutely nothing.

Yes, in conclusion, winter break for the LCS really just means we are an overall waste to society for three to four weeks. It is an eternal battle with the endless cycle of pure laziness. Until our winter break woes are fulfilled, parents may look forward to the LCS’s lack of any contribution to a meaningful life. Enjoy yourselves — it’s going to be a looong few weeks.


20. Experience: Autzen

I felt an overwhelming sense of sadness this Sunday. My typical Sunday routine consists of waking up late, finishing homework, and logging onto GoDucks.com at 5pm to ensure that I am in the online ticketing system to get a student ticket at 7pm. Those two hours of waiting usually mean moving my mouse so my computer screen doesn’t go blank and pulling out my hair as I complain about how stressful it is waiting for Duck football tickets. If the cards don’t fall my way, I usually spend the next few days in uproar over the injustice of an online system and go on rants about how I am a true, dedicated, fan that deserves a ticket. Then, I do it all over again the following Sunday.

This Sunday, I realized that those days of biting my nails and sweaty keyboards are over. For my entire life, I have been an avid duck fan. I remember dressing up in yellow and green before I learned how to tie my own shoes. For years, I have walked through those gates, anticipating the adrenaline of Autzen as I get ready to cheer for my team. I’ve stayed until the last seconds of a game while drenched in rain. I’ve lost my voice on multiple occasions. I’ve been ridiculed for the “O” tan-line on my face that remained after wearing a face tattoo on a sunny day.

When I saw the “Experience: Autzen” video, I couldn’t help but get a little bit emotional. That’s why people love sports — it’s emotional. There’s so much drama and intensity involved in sports. You never know if you’re going to get lucky or not. There’s also a lot of nostalgia that surrounds a team you’ve grown up with. I love this video because it truly captures the experience of a football game at Autzen stadium; an experience like no other.

Now, my days as a student at the University of Oregon are almost over. My last home football game as a student is this Friday at the Pac-12 championship. I’m not sure where the next phases of my life will lead me, but wherever it is you can bet that I’ll be watching those football games.

18. Pressure Makes Diamonds

Right now, I should be writing a ten page research paper that I have not started. It’s due on Monday. So far, I completed the heading. Pathetic.

Instead, I’m blogging. Why? Because my entire life, I have been a procrastinator.

I have spent many nights (and wee hours of the morning) sweating bullets with each swipe of the keyboard, wondering if I would finish on time. Many energy drink companies owe their gross total profits to me. I checked Facebook and Twitter nine times in the past thirty minutes, even though I know that there are no new notifications or updates. What is wrong with me? I AM A MONSTER!

Just to waste more time, typically I’ll go through a never-ending procrastination guilt cycle, where I ask myself why I do this…Why do I wait until the last minute? Why do I give myself unnecessary stress when I could have easily began to work earlier? After each stressful assignment that I barely finish on time, I always make a vow to start my next project earlier. Unfortunately, it never happens.

A cartoon from my favorite blog, hyperboleandahalf.com

While the term “procrastinator” usually has a negative connotation, I think it works for me. After some reflection, I think I am someone who works best under pressure. Sometimes I need a little extra push, and each ticking of the clock provides that motivation for me.

In fact, I think that for creative work, sometimes procrastination can be beneficial. According to a post by Dustin Wax,

One reason we procrastinate is that, while we know what we want to do, we need time to let the ideas “ferment” before we are ready to sit down and put them into action.

Occasionally, I need that time (or lack of time) to let my ideas run wild.

Instead of feeling guilty for my procrastination, perhaps I should accept my working style, and use it for my own benefit. To me, procrastination only presents a problem when someone does not complete their work. Although I may procrastinate, I have never missed a deadline or turned in a project late. There is a fine line between unproductive and procrastinating. As long as I get my work completed, I don’t see a problem with my procrastination model (except for the fact that I may die young from exponential amounts of stress…).

There’s a lot that you can miss in life if you only focus on your work. Like my friend Nick Sugai says, “Pressure makes diamonds”:

Drawing by Nick Sugai

11. 11/11/11, 11:11

‎”It’s 11/11/11, not 11/11/11! Bloody Americans…” – every British person today. (via Julie Basque)

It’s funny how much of an emphasis we put on things that are out of the ordinary, such as days like 11/11/11. What is it about this simple pleasure of number homogeneity that makes us want tell everyone we know about it (just in case they haven’t figured out yet that it is indeed the day when each date format is the exact same number)?

Furthering my idiotic-11/11/11-induced-smile is that we are so fascinated by this phenomenon that it has become a part of some marketing tactics.

Today’s trending topic on Twitter is (you guessed it) #11/11/11. Why is it trending? Because KFC promoted the trend to announce their 11 herbs and spices chicken.

(Take a break to laugh)

Humans are hilarious. But we are also interesting in our reasons behind our unintentional hilarity.

After some research, I came across an interesting video about 11/11/11: The Psychology Behind Superstition. According to the video,

We all have these innate instincts to try and find patterns in the world, and to use these patterns to control and predict the world and the future, even if these patterns may not make any logical sense.

Humans fascinate me.

I can’t wait until 12/12/12…

P.S.  This post was posted on 11/11/11 at 11:11 AM. I just can’t get enough!

9. It Came In a Dream

Woke up from a dream

“Blog posts are too long,” she said.

So, I will be short.

That’s a poor attempt at a haiku.

It’s true: I just woke up from a dream that I was at a round table of advertising professionals who were critiquing my work. Each one said that my blog posts were too long.

I suppose internally I know this is true since I’m aware that most people believe blog posts should average anywhere from 200-500 words. Mine usually average 800-1000+ words.

From now on, I will do my best to stop straining your eyes, my dear reader. I always have so much to say — it just took my subconscious getting angry with me to change things.

A few nights ago, I had a dream that computers did not exist, and I was completely lost in the world without one. Imagine a world without Google or Facebook (BUM BUM BUMMM). I was forced to change my habits entirely.

Don’t expect me to alter my life to living without a computer because of a dream… For now, I’ll stick to more concise blog posts. One step at a time…

(This post is 201 words…This will be much harder than I thought).