Monthly Archives: March 2014

10000 steps a day for free. Fuck Nike+ Fuelband. Quest for 27.

Reading this title, you’re probably saying, “this nigga must have ADD.”

Unless you’re white, at which point you were thinking “this negro must have ADD,” because you would never actually say “nigga.”

Even if you had a pass from Black people, or grew up with Black people and feel like you’ve earned the right to say ” nigga,” you’d probably still think “nigga” but say “negro.”

At least in mixed company.

Who knows?

I am so off message right now.

The point is that you’re confused by this title.

But you can relax.

I do not have ADD.

And a group of militant Blacks isn’t waiting outside your door (white person) ready to bust that ass for thinking about using the N word.

Let me elucidate.

I’ve been all intrigued by this whole Nike+ Fuelband movement.

Nike-FuelBand-SE-Rose-Gold-WM0114_006_A

If you’re not up on the Nike+ Fuelband, allow me to enlighten you.

The Nike+ FuelBand is an activity tracker that’s worn on the wrist and used with an Apple iPhone or iPad device to track your workouts.

Per Wikipedia,

“the FuelBand allows its wearers to track their physical activity, steps taken daily, and amount of calories burned. The information from the wristband is integrated into the Nike+ online community and phone application, allowing wearers to set their own fitness goals, monitor their progression, and compare themselves to others part of the community. Nike+ relies on the gamification of fitness activities turning all tracked movement into NikeFuel points, which can unlock achievements, can be shared with friends, or can be used to engage others in competition.”

In short, wear the Nike+ Fuelband and track your fitness progress.

But see, the thing about the Nike+ Fuelband is that it costs $149!

A hundred and fifty bucks to track my workout progress with some stupid rubber band?

Suck a dick.

You’re not getting my money bitches.

But I dig the whole Nike+ FuelBand concept.

Wait.

I missed a critical point.

And no, this nigga does not have ADD.

Patience, Padawan.

Ok, so a few months ago, my little brother posted a picture of the 27 year old me, all cut and Adonis-like on Facebook.

Along with the caption, “Back in the day when I was young. I’m not a kid anymore, but some days I think I wish I was a kid again.”

Damn! I'm cut.

Damn! I’m cut.

Clearly alluding to the fact that, physically, I was no longer my 27 year old self.

And, by implication, challenging the new me to get back into the old me shape.

I’m not even going to talk about Dede Mays, the mother of one of my friends, who maligned me suggesting that the body I once possessed was a thing of the past.

Undaunted, I vowed to show them all.

But how?

I’m about to turn 44…carry the 1 and that means that picture was taken 17 years ago.

17 years ago!

When my testosterone was at it’s peak.

When I just thought the word “gym” and muscles would appear on my body.

When metabolism occurred in my sleep.

How could I prove my naysayers wrong?

And show them all that I could, in fact, reclaim my former Adonis glory?

Well for one, I’d have to hit the gym.

Hard.

Work out like a beast.

Cut back on the carbs.

Avoid junk food.

Yeah, that’s the ticket.

But that wouldn’t be enough.

I needed an edge.

Something that would put me over the top.

That would allow me to track my progress all day every day – not just when I was in the gym.

Nike+ Fuelband was the answer.

Slap on the band, and I’d become a exercise tracking machine.

Right?

Wrong!

I was not about the shell out 150 smackaroos to get in shape.

There had to be a better alternative.

So I started checking out fitness apps to see what the competition had to offer – for free.

And I found it.

It’s called Pedometer++ and it’s great.

Pedometer++ is an app that tracks how many steps you take daily.

Simply keep your iOS device on you, and the app tracks every single step you take and displays your step count right on the Pedometer++ app icon.

Today, I walked 6.4 miles or 12,953 steps.

Pedometer++

I’ve only been using the app for three days, but it has tracked all the steps I took in the days prior to downloading the app.

And presently, I’m at 93% of my goal.

I wasn’t even aware that I set a goal!

But, needless to say, I’m getting my old ass in shape.

Peep these shots I’ve been taking on my journey to 27.

Good. Better. Best.

Good. Better. Best. Ladies, calm down.

As you may (or may not) be able to tell, I’m getting there.

Anthony Weiner selfies aside, I’ve been able to track my progress with Pedometer++ for free.

Sure, it’s no simple wristband, and I’ve got to keep my mobile phone on my person to have the app track my steps, but for me, it’s been worth it.

27 here I come!

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STFU! And other useful tips to help you keep your sanity.

Keep Calm and STFU

I got a call the other day from a friend looking to vent.

Apparently, he’d been working on a project for a hot minute, which had gone through an extensive planning and discovery cycle, multiple design iterations and painful concessions on both sides.

Although there was a consensus on the approach and planned deliverable, it was not his recommendation, as the proposed final solution fell short of the work he knew his company was capable of, and well below the client’s original expectation for the project.

During discovery, he painstakingly outlined all the options with his client, detailing the pros and cons of each approach, including costs, timing, and end-user experience.

He believed that his company was setting itself up to develop a substandard product, which the client would not be happy with and his company would end up having to re-do at the 11th hour to satisfy them.

Despite his best efforts, no one would listen.

Heading into development, he repeatedly expressed his mis-givings about the selected approach, warning all who would listen that it fell short of the standards typically applied to projects of this type and other products in the market.

Again, no one would listen.

Today, the client saw the project – and hated it.

Calls were made and he was back at square one – and bitching vociferously – to me.

What, pray tell, did I tell my friend when he was done ranting?

STFU.

That’s right.

I told him to shut the f*ck up.

Compassion is not my strong suit.

But bear with me.

You see, I’ve been here before.

No. Not ranting to a colleague about my job.

I am the consummate professional and handle all my shit with aplomb.

But I’ve seen many a colleague get off a call or emerge from a meeting flustered and frustrated.

Fussin’ and cussin and clearly out of sorts.

The source of their frustration was often valid: they had suggested a course of action – that was shot down – only to later find themselves in the unenviable position of cleaning up a mess that the failure to adhere to their recommended course of action has caused.

How often does it happen?

Enough to be a post on my lil’ blog, that’s how often!

But I digress.

As a consultant, project manager, aide or assistant, you’re often in a position where you possess superior information to the people you’re called upon to support.

While you may be the ‘low man on the totem pole’ you usually have access to information that makes your’s an informed perspective.

Worthy of a fair degree of weight, deference or consideration.

But because you’re not the HNIC, your opinion holds little weight when it comes down to decision-making time.

And despite the fact that you know what the fuck you’re talking about, you lack sufficient authority to force the right course of action on the parties or powers that be.

And therein lies the problem.

Time and time again, you find yourself on the wrong end of a fiasco – not of your doing – but which you have to resolve post haste.

So what to do?

Here are four fool-proof ways to help you manage problems (before they start) and be more effective at getting shit done.

1. Keep calm.

One surefire way of making a bad situation worse, is panicking.

So, as a matter of course, I never do.

When I was pledging my fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., we had to memorize the poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling.

When shit got rough, we’d recite the poem and it brought the most tremendous sense of calm.

There was one line that resonated deeply with me, and is apropos for our little lesson today:

“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing their’s and blaming it on you.”

There is no greater skill, when facing adversity, than the ability to remain calm.

This is especially true if you’re the fall guy in a position of authority, with other people looking to you for answers.

2. STFU and stop complaining.

Sure, you’re frustrated – if only they had listened to you, the shit storm you’re  facing could have been avoided.

But they didn’t.

So fucking what?

Hindsight is 20/20.

Complaining is for babies and bitches and never helped anything.

And once you’re ‘that dude’ – mumbling to yourself about how shit’s always going wrong – you’ll find that your life becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy of failure.

You’re in a jam, and you’ve got to get out of it.

So stop bitchin’ and man up.

And that does not mean bend over and take it with no vaseline, sweet-nothings or money on the dresser when it’s all said and done.

Not at all.

It means that you’ve got to figure out how to be more effective at managing your shit so that you find yourself less frequently on the wrong end of problems.

3. Document everything.

If your shit is starting to feel like Groundhog Day, and you’re reliving an endless loop of Hades, perhaps it makes sense to document what you’re doing so that you can figure your way out.

Rather than rely upon your recollection, maintain documents, email threads, meeting notes – anything that you can refer to in the future and use to show others (read clients, managers, developers) the error of their ways.

When a similar issue rears it’s ugly head in the future, you’ll be prepared with your case studies, post mortems and RCAs to provide empirical support to the positions you take.

More importantly, if anyone ever says “why didn’t you tell us that sooner?” or “why didn’t you give us any alternatives?” you can refer to the email, memo or note, which shows that you did.

4. Always have a Plan B.

If you’re so sure that a particular course of action is going to result in failure, you should have a contingency plan in place.

Preparing for the unexpected is a sign of an insightful individual.

But preparing for the known is just common sense.

If you find yourself confronted with a situation you foresaw, and you’re bitching and moaning – as opposed to implementing your Plan B – you’re a fool who deserves what you’re getting.

To summarize, when a project you’re working on starts to go south:

(i) keep calm – cooler heads always prevail; 

(ii) shut the fuck up – no one wants to hear your bitchin’; 

(iii) document everything – CYA is the order of the day; and

(iv) always have a Plan B – for “Bitch please!”

Class dismissed.

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K-Pop. Really? No seriously.

mnet_logo

I don’t know when it happened.

But somehow, K-Pop has taken over my home.

What’s K-Pop?

What indeed!

K-Pop is short for Korean pop.

No. I’m not Korean.

Why, then, has K-pop taken over your home, you ask?

I have no idea.

One day it wasn’t there, and the next it was.

I come home and K-Pop Tasty Road, or KCon (the K-Pop conference), or some other inane candy-colored show is on my beautiful 42″ Samsung.

Is that a Korean set? Hmmm…

Thinking back, K-pop has been creeping insidiously into my life for a minute.

It started with Iron Chef.

And then Smile Again Donghae.

Soon Tasty Road and Hello Pop were added to the mix.

Then came Mnet.

And my demise.

Mnet is everything K-pop.

Even though they play the same things over and over in an endless loop of dancing robotic young Asians, somehow I can’t seem to break its hypnotic grip.

I can’t tell one boy group from another.

GOT7, BTOB, TOPPDOGG, LunaFly, FT Island…

A bunch of androgynous boys clad in tight-fitting leather.

Very Boy George, the lot of them.

Girl groups are no different.

RunDevilRun, 2NE1, Girls Generation, Lip Service, 4Minute…

A stage full of six or seven gyrating automatons.

Singing or rapping their little hearts out.

I don’t get it.

Perhaps if I were a young Asian girl, I’d be all in.

But I’m not.

So I’m not.

I blame the wife.

She’s all into the crisp clean lines and manicured…well, everything.

There is something to be said about the highly stylized nature of K-pop content.

But the homogeneousness of it all makes it monotonous, quickly.

And since you really can’t tell one group member (much less one group) from another, I don’t get it.

Clearly though, there are millions that do.

Whatev.

Hopefully the kids will pick up Korean the way foreigners pick up English from watching tv.

I doubt it, but who knows.

What I do know is that since I’ve been paying attention, there are a number of new programs out there.

Far more than there were a year ago.

And this trend tells me that Kpop is here to stay.

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Status update: 10 signs that you’re a social media addict.

Social media addictAs I was riding the train yesterday, I look across the aisle to see the faces of five of my fellow passengers – an entire row of people – buried in their mobile devices.

For the whole ride from Montclair to New York Penn Station, they remain transfixed to the little screens of their “i” devices.

Social media addicts, the lot of them.

Social media addicts, the lot of them.

No small talk.

No exchanged glances.

No pleasantries.

Nada.

Expressionless faces peering into the void.

Looking around the train car, I noted that virtually everyone was on something.

With the exception of one couple deep in a conversation, everyone else – literally everyone else – was on some form of electronic device.

The lady to my left was ensconced in her Facebook feed.

The dude next to her was scrolling through Instagram.

Not to be the odd man out, I whipped out my iPhone, dialed up my Facebook app and began mindlessly “liking” updates in my News Feed.

Like a zombie, I stared blankly into my iPhone’s screen waiting for that thing – that visceral feeling – that made me ‘thumbs up’ one inane item or another posted by my friends.

And in that moment, I realized that I was addicted to social media.

Somehow, I had transformed from someone who thrived on human connections, to one subsisting on virtual interactions.

I knew something was amiss.

I also knew that I wasn’t alone.

Like the passengers on the train, there are probably millions out there, similarly addicted.

Today’s post is devoted to helping you figure out if you too, are an addict.

So here are the top 10 signs that you’re addicted to social media.

1. The first thing and last thing you do every day is check out your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram feed.

2. You ask people for life advice on Facebook. “Hey FB, am I addicted to FB?”

3. You’re always taking and posting selfies.

No, wait. I've got it. Hold on...just one more. No. That's not quite right. Just one more. Umm...

No, wait. I’ve got it. Hold on…just one more. No. That’s not quite right. Just one more. Umm…

4. You talk in acronyms. OMG! I’m a SM addict! SMH LMFAO

5. You constantly use hashtags. #youreaddicted #toptenlist #stephenchukumbarocks

Am I really going to search "#24yearsold"? Get your hashtag game right Maureen!

Am I really going to search “#24yearsold”? Get your hashtag game right Maureen!

6. You threaten to “unfriend” or “unfollow” people.

7. You get offended when people don’t accept your friend request or follow you back.

8. You experience the “phantom buzz” even when you don’t have your phone on you.

9. You check your phone impulsively and at the most inappropriate times.

10. You start or end you day with a greeting to your “Facebook family.”

Are we really your family, Judith? Really?

Are we really your family, Judith? Really?

If you exhibit any of these signs, put down your phone or tablet device, and get help immediately.

You could be suffering social media addiction.

If you don’t seek treatment right away, you may find yourself incapable of holding regular conversations and social interactions may become increasingly awkward.

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