You’re never too old to learn

There’s a perception that older folks are stubborn and stuck in their old ways, refusing to acknowledge the shift towards cloud computing and emoji-based punctuation. While that stereotype exists for a reason (and you’re part of the reason, mom), I’ve worked with plenty of older people who are the complete opposite.

During my stint in visual effects over at Industrial Light and Magic, the veteran VFX artists were revered by the younger artists. Not just because they were the ones who built the original plastic models of the Death Star and the giant AT-AT walkers and figured out how to composite these creations onto live-action footage, but because they continually push VFX boundaries with new ideas.


When I was in advertising, my boss was probably the oldest person on the team but she displayed a voracious appetite for learning matched only by my 4 year old daughter and her classmates in play school. I’ve never met anyone who spends so much time consuming information about new tools and consumer trends and figuring out ways to apply them to our campaigns.

I was as comfortable talking to her about Snapchat and Instagram demographics and user behavior as I was with my Gen Y peers; I didn’t have to downshift my vernacular or anything.


Sure you’ll meet plenty of older workers who will use their “years of experience” and prior success as a defense mechanism to mask a complete drought of new ideas, but let’s be honest here: there are plenty of younger workers who display an equal level of inflexibility.

1msf4vCan anyone not name an intern or junior exec they’ve worked with who will tenaciously insist that their microscopic experience of life and insular world view somehow supersedes generations of learning and development?

Pro-tip: You can’t disrupt what you don’t understand just because you watched a few YouTube videos.

I’m constantly inspired by the humility displayed by my seniors who are constantly reinventing themselves and their work, and you should be too. If we don’t learn anything else from them, we should learn this: you should never stop learning and improving. As the founders in my current workplace love to say: “We’re always less than 1% done.”

So before you write off that older colleague as a has-been complaining about those rascals on their front lawn, talk to them. If you find that they’re open to new ideas, it will serve you well to put on your listening cap too.

In the meantime, here’s a song that’s only ever sung by really old people like my dad: The Young Ones by Cliff Richard and the Shadows.


Don’t taint someone’s achievement with your cynicism

Recently I saw an article on Kotaku about a World of Warcraft player who leveled their neutral Pandaren to the maximum level cap of 90. This means he never left the starting zone (meant to go up to level 15 only) and had to slowly gain xp from collecting plants; a tedious process that took him over half a year.

Now it’s not something I would’ve done myself, but I still found myself feeling really offended when all these people started giving him crap for wasting his time and not doing something more productive… As if shoving your hate at someone on the Internet is productive!


Yes, this really achieved nothing of consequence, but this person had an idea and a goal, and he stuck to it. The regular game can get quite grindy and repetitive as it is, but he stuck to the same bottom level stuff for half a year to achieve his goal. He or she did something that made him/her happy, and it was something that was of no harm to anybody.

Besides, when was the last time you stuck to an ideal and didn’t give up?

As I write this, I freely admit that I missed a morning run that I set for myself because I slept in. How many goals have you given up on because you decided you had something else better to do or just plain wussed out on?

Achievement are personal. I don’t care if it’s unlocking all the achievements in Arkham City or stacking plastic cups really quickly; it doesn’t matter what you want to do as long as you set out to do it and see it to the end.

Don’t let some quitter on the Internet tell you otherwise. Haters gonna hate.

PS My infant daughter just figured out how to properly stack the rings on her toy stacker and would happily cheer after she does it. If anyone tries to downplay her joy with their negativity, I’ll shove the stacker in their ass and make them eat the rings until they solve it in their stomach.

The job application process illustrated by pop music.

The job hunting process is an emotional roller-coaster, filled with many ups and downs – much like dating, really. So I thought I’d try to chart the process using pop music!

Finding that perfect job

“Why can’t I breathe whenever I think about you
Why can’t I speak whenever I talk about you”
– Liz Phair, “Why Can’t I?”

Every now and then, you’ll stumble across a job opening that is absolutely just perfect for you. You know that deep down inside, you would be the best person for this role because you can’t think of anyone else that can do it better. Except maybe Ben Affleck, because that guy can do no wrong (except that whole J’Lo thing).

You apply for the job, and find yourself thinking about it all the time, just waiting for them to call back.

Successfully getting past the first few rounds of interviews

“Such a feeling’s coming over me.
There is wonder in most every thing I see.
Not a cloud in the sky, got the sun in my eyes
And I won’t be surprised if it’s a dream.”
– The Carpenters, “Top of the World” (but I like the more upbeat Shonen Knife cover)

You’ve now successfully gone through a few rounds of interviews, and you’ve been charming the interviewers every time with your thorough preparations and enthusiasm. Right now, it really seems like it’s in the bag, and all you have to do is wait for the paperwork to be drawn up. Your dream job is about to come true!

The long wait 

“What I wanna know baby
If what we had was good
How come you don’t call me anymore.”
– Prince, “How come you don’t call me” (but I like the Alicia Keys version because she’s prettier than Prince)

Just when everything seems to be going smoothly, the phone calls and emails stop coming. The weekly updates drag, and suddenly it’s a month since you’ve last heard from them. You inquire, and you get polite excuses about some obscure matters that need to be resolved but that you’ll hear from them immediately should they have any updates.

The rejection

“You were everything, everything that I wanted.
We were meant to be, supposed to be but we lost it.”
– Avril Lavigne, “My Happy Ending”

One day, just when you thought you couldn’t possibly wait any longer and that you’d pass out from holding your breath, you get a message and sadly it’s not what you wanted to hear. You contemplate protesting and asking for second chances, but you keep your cool and walk away.

Anger and resentment

“I didn’t give a damn what you say to me
I don’t really care what you think of me
Cause either way you’re gonna think what you believe
There’s nothing you could say that would hurt me.”
– Avril Lavigne, “I Can Do Better”

When the initial shock of the rejection dies down, you end up feeling angry that you’ve been led along so far, and absolutely reject the notion that someone else was deemed to be better than you. Denial kicks in and you refuse to allow anyone to make you feel like second best, and your wounded pride ignites a fire under your ass and inspires you to write a silly post on your blog that references not one but two Avril Lavigne songs.

Depression sets in again

“Why don’t you want to win me now?
Why don’t you want to show me off?
Tell me why you couldn’t try,
Couldn’t try and keep me here.”
– Tegan and Sara, “How Come You Don’t Want Me”

Your anger burns out, and before long you’re sitting in a corner with your face in your hands, and every rejection and failure in your life resurfaces to crush you beneath their weight.

Why doesn’t anyone recognize the talent and passion inside you? How come nobody ever wants to take a chance on you? Why can’t you find someone to take that leap of faith with you?

Still more regret

“If only I’d thought of the right words
I could have held on to your heart.”
– The Cure, “Pictures of You”

A month later, and things are pretty much back to normal… Life goes on! But every now and then when things are quiet, you’ll have a moment of relapse and you’ll repeat the scenarios over and over again in your head, wondering where you went wrong and how you could’ve done things differently if you had a second chance.

Closure and renewed confidence

“You don’t have to feel like a wasted space
You’re original, cannot be replaced
If you only knew what the future holds
After a hurricane comes a rainbow.”
– Katy Perry, “Firework”

One day, after listening to Katy Perry songs over and over again during your commute to work, you realize that you’re probably not a worthless piece of crap after all. You throw yourself back into kicking ass at work, and computer-generated sparks erupt from your chest when you decide to skateboard to the office even though you’re dressed like an corporate drone.

And someday, all the people that rejected you in the past will turn on their TVs and see you rocking up MTV.

Ovation: Presidential Proclamation – June 2014 is LGBT Pride Month.

Definitely a time to celebrate!





As progress spreads from State to State, as justice is delivered in the courtroom, and as more of our fellow Americans are treated with dignity and respect — our Nation becomes not only more accepting, but more equal as well. During Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, we celebrate victories that have affirmed freedom and fairness, and we recommit ourselves to completing the work that remains.

Last year, supporters of equality celebrated the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act, a ruling which, at long last, gave loving, committed families the respect and legal protections they deserve. In keeping with this decision, my Administration is extending family and spousal benefits — from immigration benefits to military family benefits — to legally married same-sex couples.

My Administration proudly stands alongside…

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Nobody likes to but I really like to cry

It’s no secret that writing is most effective when you’re channeling some kind of emotion. Whether it’s joy, anxiety, or pain, words have more impact when they’re powered by a strong underlying feeling.

I don’t know about you guys, but my go-to emotion is sadness… Maybe because I listened to the Cure a lot when I was younger. But it’s definitely my go-to emotion as a lot of my writing is fueled by feelings of despair and regret.


When I was young, my emo fuel came from my feelings of isolation in school, the alienation of not completely fitting into either of the two countries I was raised in, and of course, the epic heartache from The One That Got Away. These days, it comes from the turmoil of giving up animation, the helplessness when I was unemployed with a baby on the way, and the clichéd feelings of abandonment due to an inattentive parent.

I really believe in this too. When I started writing as a kid, I wrote screenplays driven by what I thought movies were supposed to be about. It was the action and drama of saving the world, based on clichés and other stuff I’ve seen in other movies. Quite frankly, I didn’t have anything worth saying so needless to say, my writing was really shallow and boring.

Over time, as I had more life experiences, I found that I had more things to express, like deeper feelings of regret and loneliness. I started channeling this into my writing, and my work had more substance because of it. The sadder I was, the more I wanted to write.

I kept diaries back then (sadness made me write more, remember?), and whenever I needed to get into that emo zone these days I would read back and borrow and paraphrase the raw emotional words into whatever I need to write. Of course, I’d probably listen to The Cure a lot too.

Pain and sadness is my fuel, but I’m sure you guys have other emotions that you call upon to. Please share, and let me know what inspires you to write. I’d especially like to hear from someone who’s power emotion is happiness, the polar opposite of mine!

Why do you write?

I remember when I started writing in high school, it was because I wanted to be a film maker and make blockbuster action movies. Well, that was the surface reason. If I were to be really honest with myself, I think I was an angry little kid and had a lot to bitch about, and my screenplays gave me a creative outlet to do that and a reason to get people to hear my desperate cries for attention.


These days, I honestly don’t feel that I write to vent anymore. I mean, I still write bitchy stuff, but I think I channel my old anger more for comedic effect than any real sense of frustration. Entertaining friends then became the new reason I wrote, and I had tons and tons of mass-emails that resulted from that (this was before blogs came about).

So what’s my drive now? Why do I keep writing? Well, money is a good motivator, which would explain all the writing gigs I take up and my careers in magazines and social media. 

But what about my personal writing, like this blog for example. I guess I still want to entertain people, but deep down inside I want to write something that resonates with someone. Something that makes you pause for a moment and think: “Yeah, I know exactly how that guy feels.”

I was listening to Tegan and Sara today, and one particular song hit me hard.

Why don’t you want to win me now?
Why don’t you want to show me off?
Tell me why you couldn’t try,
Couldn’t try to keep me here.

Someday soon, I won’t be the one who waits for you.

It was like Sara took a bit of my soul and put it into her song because these lyrics just make so much sense to me. And I guess it is great to hear someone else echo your thoughts in such detail, because it reduces your sense of isolation. I’m not alone in the way I feel (or in this case, have felt), so I can take comfort in that.

Have I ever written something that has resonated with someone? Probably. I certainly hope so. Definitely not those silly screenplays I wrote as an angry teen… but there is one particular screenplay that means a lot to me.

I called it Idle Dreams and it was about two people who yearned to be able to pursue their dreams, yet couldn’t bring themselves to do it for various reasons like financial fears, other commitments, and the dreaded lack of self-confidence. I’m pretty certain that I can’t be the only person in the world who has felt like this.

It’s my most personal screenplay ever, and I really wanted to produce it into an indie film. I had even gotten a couple of actors together and we had begun production on it.


I lost steam and confidence halfway through, so it exists solely as a screenplay these days, along with some stills and recorded dialogue. My inability to finish it remains one of my biggest failures in my life (a fact that resurfaced recently when I got hit by the job interview question “What do you consider to be your biggest failure?”).

Anyway, I still harbor that hope that I will write something that makes a deep level of sense someday, that will so perfectly condense into words that describe the purity of a feeling or experience, so I’ll keep writing until that happens.

Well, that’s my reason. I’m sure you guys have your own reasons, and I think it’d be awesome if you shared them. Maybe it might be nice to find out that someone else writes for the same reason.