Things That Make Me Immediately Like You

DSC01735As I drove to work the other day, I noticed that the car driving alongside me had purple fuzzy dice hanging from the rear-view mirror. Now, that isn’t unheard of, but neither is it common. On my own dashboard, I have a plastic triceratops. Why? Because I like it. No other reason.

That got me thinking, if I got into someone’s car and they had a plastic dinosaur on their dash, I would find myself a little more drawn to them. I followed that thought with the question: What other things about a person would make me immediately more disposed toward them?

So I started a list.

  • If they’ve read and enjoyed books by Terry Pratchett, Kurt Vonnegut, or Jasper Fforde.
  • If they ask me some off-the-wall-but-not-too-personal question about myself.
  • If they know obscure trivia.
  • If they smile often (but not in a creepy way).
  • If they say nice things about my loved ones.
  • If they are polite, patient, and humble.

Around this point in my list, I realized something. I was basically describing the best version of myself, the person I aspire to be. How selfish is it that the person I would like best would be just like me, only better at the stuff in which I fail? Really, I just saying that I really like me.

I guess it is healthy to like yourself, but is that all this is?

I’m going to be hopeful and say that there is more to my list than pure selfishness. I think my list shows a desire for common ground. If I have something in common with someone, I have something to talk about while I develop an appreciation for the ways in which we differ.

After all, it may be the similarities that open the dialogue, but it is the differences that bring value to our discussion. If I always agreed with someone, we wouldn’t’ have to talk for long before we’d be bored with each other.

So if you are reading this and you want me to like you, here’s a tip. Like the things I like, but do so in a way that is uniquely different from how I like them. In return, I’ll ask about the things that you like, and maybe I’ll learn to like them too.


I am 32 – or – 32 Things I’ve Learned in 32 Years

You don’t have to take my advice. That’s fine. Feel free to learn these things the hard way.

  1. Go to the bathroom when you have a chance. You don’t know when your next chance will be.
  2. Read the directions all the way through before beginning anything.
  3. Pay down as much as possible on any debt you have and you’ll end up paying a lot less money overall.
  4. If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it.
  5. Be nice.
  6. If you don’t know if something is okay to say aloud, don’t.
  7. When your waiter comes to collect your bill, ask for a drink in a to-go cup to take with you.
  8. Read a lot of books.
  9. Never lend your signature to a document that you don’t understand.
  10. If you don’t know something, ask.
  11. Always threaten to cancel your internet service when your provider hikes your rate.
  12. Never gamble on a fart.
  13. Find someone you trust and talk out your problems regularly.
  14. Set aside time every day to do something that fills you.
  15. Think long and hard when you are considering a pet if you really want a pet for their whole lifespan (complete with all the vet bills when they are old).
  16. If someone offers you a mint, accept it.
  17. Do your research before any major purchase.
  18. Compliment your spouse in public and in private.
  19. “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” – Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night
  20. Never stop learning.
  21. Libraries are wonderful places. Visit libraries as often as possible.
  22. Accept gifts gracefully. Refusing a gift makes the giver feel bad.
  23. Respect the people over you and they’ll likely return it.
  24. Don’t be afraid to make a fool of yourself from time to time.
  25. If you are going to have a vice, make it an inexpensive one (like reading).
  26. A baby’s first filled diaper is a terrifying thing, but it is completely normal. Don’t freak out.
  27. Never ask a woman about her pregnancy unless you are 110% sure that she is pregnant. And even then, it’s probably not a good idea. Maybe if you are the baby’s father. Maybe.
  28. Don’t spend all of your time staring at screens.
  29. If something angers you, walk away from it until you calm down.
  30. Say thank you.
  31. You are never as alone as you imagine yourself to be.
  32. You can never say “I love you” too much.

Friday 5 | Click-worthy Links

Wireless Computer Mouse with Wheel

Here are 5 more places online worth checking out:

  1. The public library is better than Amazon. At least for e-books, and at least for now.
  2. I’m officially adding the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library to my list of places to visit before I die. Also on the list, The Dr Pepper Bottling Plant in Dublin, Texas.
  3. Book titles have come a long way since the 18th Century. Here are 100 examples of some great old titles. My favorite is probably this: “The Egg, Or The Memoirs Of Gregory Giddy, Esq: With The Lucubrations Of Messrs. Francis Flimsy, Frederick Florid, And Ben Bombast. To Which Are Added, The Private Opinions Of Patty Pout, Lucy Luscious, And Priscilla Positive. Also The Memoirs Of A Right Honourable Puppy. Conceived By A Celebrated Hen, And Laid Before The Public By A Famous Cock-Feeder.” That’s one title.
  4. Need to give a romantic card, but worried that your partner will buy you the same one? Try one of these.
  5. Back when priests were the copy machines of the day, Bibles were a lot more entertaining. I’d love to see one of these illuminated (illustrated) manuscripts reprinted by a modern Bible publisher, complete with farting monks.


Being normal is cool. *Superhero Edition*

Yesterday, I talked about how people like actors and actresses who are just as lazy and hungry as we are. Today, I’d like to cover a superhero version of the discussion.

Comic_Art_-_Batman_by_Jim_Lee_(2002)Ask anyone in the world who the top three superheroes are and you are likely to have Batman listed (along Superman and Josh Mosey). But aside from his genius intellect and deep wallet, Batman is just a normal guy. He has no superpowers. Everything he does, he is able to do thanks to technology and sheer grit. But everyone knows Batman, so I probably didn’t even need to mention him.

250px-NickfuryshieldLet’s talk about my very favorite superhero for a moment: Nick Fury. I’m tempted to make a t-shirt that says “I liked Nick Fury when he was white” but that would probably come off as more racist and less hipster than I would intend. The truth is that until Samuel L. Jackson became the new face of Nick Fury, the Colonel was traditionally portrayed as a white guy with brown hair (with streaks of white at his temples), though both of them have a cigar in their mouths at all times, so that’s okay.

Before Fury emerged as the beautiful black butterfly who orders other superheroes around, he was a soldier and master spy, closer to James Bond than the character than… well… Samuel L. Jackson (I say this because Jackson seems to play pretty much the same type of character in every film in which I’ve seen him). Anyway, Nick Fury technically does have one power, given to him by something called the Infinity Serum: he ages really slowly, enabling him to have been around since WWI and ensuring that he’ll be around for whatever the next big conflict is.

macgyverSo maybe Fury is a bit of a cheat (given the slow aging thing). Let’s get to a superhero that stands independent from DC and Marvel altogether. I think we can all agree that MacGyver belongs on this list. The man was a secret agent scientist who could do inhuman things with duct tape and a Swiss army knife. You can’t tell me that he wasn’t a superhero. And that mullet! I’m fairly certain that if MacGyver had to have a vulnerability, it would have been scissors, which is kind of strange, since I think most Swiss army knives have little scissors on them.

Anyway, the beautiful thing about these three examples is that they are all normal people, more or less. Sure, they’ve been given superhero status, but all of them could exist in our world as real people. Perhaps they already do. Or perhaps you could become one of them. Maybe even all of them. That would be one kick-butt superhero.

So get out there and be a superhero today! You don’t need superpowers to do it. Just be yourself.


Being normal is cool.

I’ve come to realize recently that the coolest thing you can be on the internet right now is normal. Or, at least, that’s how I’m going to interpret the wild fandom and celebrity worship of Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence.

You see, Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy, Parks & Rec, Her, etc.) and Jennifer Lawrence (Hunger Games, X-Men, Silver Linings Playbook, etc.) are just like you and me. Only richer and probably nicer.

Example A:



I love the way Chris Pratt thinks.

Also, Jennifer Lawrence is well-known for her bucking Hollywood purging trends.

Example B:


I’m going to take these two celebrities as proof that I shouldn’t bother following what’s popular. They got popular because they didn’t pretend to be someone else. I mean, sure, the very nature of acting is pretending to be someone else, but you know what I mean.

They like who they are and it shows. I like who I am. I think. If nothing else, my wife likes who I am and that’s good enough for me.

Be normal. It’s cooler than you think.


My Sister-In-Law, The Photographer

I’ve lived with myself for long enough to know the things I do not do well.

I’m a messy person. I could probably eat better and exercise more. And I stink at taking pictures.

For that last one, I am super thankful for my sister-in-law, Dawn Cazier, who is likely the only reason that my children will know what they looked like as children after they are all grown up. And even better, she’s a super photographer!

So if you need a photographer in North Carolina (during the school year) or in Michigan (during the summer), check out Dawn’s photography business, 191 Photography, and make an appointment.

As proof of her skills, enjoy some pictures of my family.


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I am thinking of taking up carpentry.

In less than a week, I turn 32 years old. Is it possible to still achieve greatness?

According to the life of actor, Harrison Ford, it is.

harrison_fordHarrison Ford is a household name. In 1997, he was ranked No. 1 in Empire‘s “The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time” list. He’s been in some of the most iconic films of all time: Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Blade Runner, Air Force One, and more.

But he took a long time to land a credited role in a film. Even then, the roles he played in his 20’s were so small that he became a self-taught carpenter in order to make ends meet for his wife and two small kids. It was as a carpenter that he was hired to build cabinets for George Lucas. Lucas cast him in American Graffiti when Ford was 31 years old, and then as Han Solo in Star Wars a few years later.

The rest is history.

There are a few bits of inspiration that I’d like to pull out here. Harrison Ford didn’t give up on his dream of acting, but he did what he had to in order to take care of his family. And it was while he was a carpenter, not an actor, that he made his major break into Hollywood.

As of yet, I have not made any significant contributions to the publishing world. I work a full-time job at a bookstore. I love being married to my beautiful wife and being a dad to my two small kids. I feel like I’m doing what I need to in order to take care of my family. And I haven’t given up on my dream.

So, as I set out on my 32nd trip around the sun, I am encouraged to stay the course and keep my eyes open for opportunities that come my way. I only hope that I can make of those opportunities what Harrison Ford did with George Lucas’ cabinets.

Friday 5 | Click-worthy Links

Wireless Computer Mouse with Wheel

Here are 5 more places online worth checking out:

  1. There are reasons why I have a bit of a man crush on Tom Hanks. It is comforting to know that I’m not alone.
  2. Are you looking for a slightly terrifying video spoof of Sesame Street? No? Oops.
  3. My wife and I have been reading Matilda by Roald Dahl to our girls at night. I like Roald Dahl. Others do too. So I can’t see why his publisher has done this to one of his books.
  4. I was first introduced to the music of Nick Drake by a VW commercial whose soundtrack was an earworm for me. After I heard his other songs, I was hooked. Now, his estate has authorized a biography of his life. I thought, since he is awesome and all, that you might like to know about that too.
  5. And for a bit of lighthearted fun (because Nick Drake committed suicide, which is rather dark, but maybe you didn’t know that, so I’m sorry), here’s a refreshing take on that old conversation game, “Would you rather?”