Monthly Archives: December 2007

SHANE & PETER ARE MY HOMEBOYZ

Over at Shane and Peter‘s blog they have these questions that they are asking entrepeneurs. Shane left me a comment reminding me that I had to answer it, I warned him that my answers would not be helpful or very insightful, but here they are anyways. Checkout everyone else’s responses, there’s a lot of good shit out there.

What’s your personal mission statement?

Don’t fuck up! I am staring at a sticky note on my Mac right now that says that and I am thinking about putting a note on my wife too (and maybe the children, but probably to late for that).

Biggest mess you dealt with this year?

Potty training Anthony (2 year old) right now, not going to well. Getting fired and creating my own job is a close second.

What current entrepreneurial efforts consume your time?

a) I am starting a Branding/Marketing company that deals with small businesses that are almost ready to throw in the towel. I like taking a piece of shit and molding it into a better looking piece of shit.

b) I have rental property.

c) Looking at opening up a franchise (more info on that later)

d) Helping my wife get her business (custom made baked goods and special order cakes) off the ground.

Why do you do what you do? What inspires you? When do you get most excited?

Some days I don’t know. It grew from a passion for art. When I realized that there was no money in creating art I desperately searched for a way to make a living. Graphic Design…sounds good to me, I like pretty stuff.

What inspires me and gets me excited are the same thing (boobies), good, inovative, fresh design and advertising.

Boxers or Briefs? or as Naomi says, Bikini or Thong, duh?!?

My wife’s thongs. I love the silky feel on my man junk.

What do you do when you’re not [designing | programming | managing | writing | toiling for the wo/man]?

I do the family thing (think of new ways to torment the children), lift weights, listen to really obscure underground hip hop music, and watch mostly crappy movies. I also like to paint, but don’t do too much of that anymore.

What one thing made the biggest difference when getting started?

Ask me in a year, still just getting started.

What’s your exit strategy?

I’m just going to go out for cigarettes (and then you’ll see my face on milk cartons).

What is the last thing that made you belly laugh?

A family friend asked “when are you going to get Anthony baptized?” I responded “when I have proof of god’s exsistense or when he decides that he would like to spend his sunday mornings listening to some guy tell him why he was going to hell”, she responded “our very existence is proof that there is a god”. Man did I laugh, then I sold her some magic beans.

Have you ever been in business before?

Legal…no.

At what point do you consider yourself successful?

When I can remove myself from the business and still collect a paycheck.

What was your first experience with a computer?

Grade school, one of those old apples playing Oregon Trail.

Steve Jobs vs Bill Gates in a jello wrestling match, where’s your money?

In my wallet, I only gamble on dogfights and only if Michael Vick is fighting.

Where do you do your best thinking?

In bed, that stage between being awake and sleep, thats where all my good ideas come from…unfortunately I never remember them, but when I do you are all screwed.

What does your average daily work / life balance look like? How much time do you work, play and sleep?

I am always working. I don’t have to be at a desk, but my mind is always going, thinking of a better way, smarter design, whatever. I even dream about work. I sit at my work area for about 7 hours a day (except weekend), sleep about 5 hours and play with whatever time is left over (I hate math, so don’t ask me).

If I could introduce you to anyone, who would it be?

Paul Rand.

What stops you from giving up when you are frustrated?

Anthony. I’m not saying that I do it for him, what I mean is Anthony wants something, his two year old brain doesn’t fully comprehend no, so he keeps at it and he will do anything it takes to get it.

If Chuck Norris and Steven Hawking had a baby (hey it’s my damn interview), would you vote for her for president?

Good thing I will never have to make that decision, I’m Canadian.

If you drop a cat, how do you make it land on its back?

Lots of ways to do this, but easiest way I can think of is spreading a little peanut butter on it’s back before you drop it.

Thanks Shane and Peter, I have learned a lot about myself. PEACE!

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SPEC WORK: YOU HAVE NOTHING BETTER TO DO!

This is a conversation I had with some douchebag that was “interested” in having me develop a logo and identity for his company.

Douchebag: I like your work. I would like to see what you could do for me and my company.

Me: Sounds good. I’ll send you a questionaire and a contract and we’ll go from there.

Douchebag: Whoa, wait a minute. I don’t think you understand. I am asking for you to submit a logo and then I would choose from a group of submissions from other designers. Feel free to send more then one submission.

Me: Oh I see. So basically what you want me to do is spend my billable hours working on a logo for you, which I may or may not get paid for. Sounds like a great idea! How many other stupid designers did you get to agree to this?

Douchebag: I can sense your sarcasm. Hey, don’t do me any favors. I was simply providing you an opportunity to do some work, get paid, get exposure, expand your portfolio and potentially work with us on future projects, but if you don’t need the money that fine with us.

Me: Wow I never thought of it that way…FUCK OFF!

I am a huge believer in burning bridges, that way assholes like this can’t get back to you. Better yet, burn the bridge with this guy on it.

Spec work

Spec work is when you do work for a client. That client has other designers doing the same thing. He then chooses from a number of logos and that one person is the lucky one, the only person that will get paid for their work. If this sounds good too you then you will love this post, 5 reasons why you should do spec work.

1) Exposure Exposure Exposure

If your design is choosen think of all that exposure you will get. Everyone (soccer mom to corporate ceo) knows who the designer is. Like that guy who designed the home depot logo or those guys who did the starbucks marketing, they’re practically household names.

2) Get paid for what you like doing

…but only if the design is choosen. Look on the bright side though, if the design isn’t chosen all that time you spent on research and design is like personal development time. You’re sharpening your skills. I have a dentist who is homeless, he is so passionate about his job that he refuses to accept money for his hard work.

3) Expand your portfolio

This is a great way to get more work in your portfolio. Clients love seeing work that was never used and when you tell them that you did it for free, you may just score that new client, but the bad news is they can’t pay you, good news, at least you’ll have a portfolio piece.

4) Future Work

So you do this work for a client, they love it, you’re the only designer out of a group that gets paid for it. Now the client needs something else and guess who they call? That’s right, you get another opportunity to submit a design for their approval, which you may or may not get paid for.

5) You get to work with douchebags with high expectations and tight wallets

This is the best part. You get to work with people that have these extremely high expectations and will occupy most of your time. I don’t know about you, but I love spending time doing stuff that I most likely willl not get paid for.

Conclusion

Spec sucks! Don’t forget to subscribe because I drop knowledge like gravity be dropping apples. PEACE!

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keeping it simple = success

Sorry about the gay title (flinstones gay and not that other morally wrong gay), but I am a loser and also the writer so too bad.

In my previous post, Stop Being Fat, you learn that I was fat and now I am less fat. I also promised that I would let you in on my secret (it’s a good one, not like that crap you read in The Secret). I knew that in order for me to be successful at this I had to keep it as simple as possible, so I looked (and researched) methods to lose fat (not weight), that would not require me spending hours in the gym, hating everything that I put into my mouth, and it had to be easy. After doing a bit of research I came to the conclusion that I would have to alter my diet, become more active and learn to manage my time better, which just happen to be my 3 least favorite things.

Diet

This can get pretty confussing and there are a lot of opinions out there about what ‘diet’ is best. My decision was based on calories. bottom line is you eat more energy then you need, that energy is stored as fat, eat less energy then your body requires, your body uses the fat reserves as energy. Got it?

Calories count…so count calories

I read that to maintain a calorie balance you should consume 12 calories for every pound you weigh, so that put me at 2500. I tried this for two weeks, but realized I needed to go lower so I dropped it to 2000. I divided my calories equally throughout my 5 daily meals so I was eating 400 calories per meal.

Because 2000 calories isn’t much I knew that I would have to eat ‘good’ foods in order to fill myself up and not crave that bucket of ice cream that my wife was eating (she was 8 months pregnant) while we sat there watching The Biggest Loser. ‘Good’ foods consist of nutrient dense, low calorie foods like green vegetables, lean meats, fish and beans.

Gain weight to lose fat

I was focused on building lean muscle tissue because extra muscle causes the body to boost it’s metabolism, so I was eating 1 gram of protien for every pound I weighed. Approximately 200 grams of protien per day, equals about 800 calories which was a little less then half my daily calories. The rest of my calories came from vegetables and complex carbohydrates (avoid processed foods).

Put down that can of Coke

Don’t drink your calories. A can of Coke has about 160 calories, you can have a can a tuna for that many calories (not as fizzy, but like a hundred times fishier). Which would fill you up? I only drink water and I drink 4 litres a day. It is important to keep your body hydrated.

Online calorie counter

How do you know how many calories your food has? Well you can get a calorie book and check the labels (goes against my principle of keeping it simple so don’t do this, it’s stupid) of everything you consume OR you can go to fitday, setup a free account and start a nutrition journal. In order to be successful I think it is important to keep a journal, this way you can see what works, what doesn’t and what changes need to be made to reach your goals.

Tune in tommorow for information on training, you will not be disappointed (unless your expectations are to high, then you probably will be disappointed, sorry). I just realized that I didn’t use the words fuck or shit. Wow, how professional of me or am I just becoming a pussy? Subscribe to my blog to find out.

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STOP BEING FAT!

This is what my wife told me when she was 8 months pregnant with Isabelle (our youngest). Have you ever been kicked in the balls (if you haven’t, it really hurts)? To have a loved one say that to you hurts. So I moped around for a bit making excuses like no time, I already don’t see my family enough, and I just don’t want to.

May 30th, 2007 Isabelle is born. Oh shit! It’s a girl! Now what the fuck do I do? I held her tight and 100 (or so) thoughts ran through my head, but the one that came through crystal clear was ‘when she is older and dating, will I be able to put the fear of god into the boy she invites over to meet me for the first time?’ Would I respect myself in my current state? No. Another kick to the nuts.

So, now what?

I realized that I had to address the excuses that I was making in order for me to succeed, I needed to choose a fitness and diet that I would stick to, and I also needed some short term goals and at least one long term goal. I took out a paper and pen, went to my computer and started researching and writing.

Excuses are like bellybuttons, everyone has them!

1) No Time

Biggest bullshit excuse most people make. I knew that I only needed an hour a day to implement a training routine. I spent more time watching re-runs of Seinfeld then an hour, if I cut this back I could make enough time (but it’s Seinfeld). I started waking up at the bum crack of dawn and I would drag my tired ass to the gym. I did this because everyone would still be sleeping at home (don’t miss any valuable time with the fam, even though they do piss me off sometimes), the gym would be dead in the morning, and I didn’t get a chance to make an excuse (ahhh look at all this work I have to do, I definitely cannot work out).

2.) Rather spend time with family

So I don’t sleep in anymore. Workout while the family is sleeping, get home, start making breakfast, and enjoy a conversation with my loved ones (I really do love them, sometimes) before I start my day. If I can’t make it in the morning then I plan an activity the whole family could do in the afternoon.

3.) I just don’t want to

It is hard work to change your patterns and routines. It is also hard work to stick to a training program and diet. I had to make it enjoyable if I was going to be successful. So I picked an activity I enjoy (weightlifting) and a diet that I could tolerate (meat eaters special) and I gradually implemented the changes. I also had goals now (written on paper), that I could look at everyday and ask myself how I was going to accomplish that goal.

Goals, not just for soccer players anymore.

I don’t think I would have been able to accomplish anything without having these written down. They kept me focused and on track. I could evaluate my results weekly and make the necessary changes in order to accomplish these goals quicker. I set up short term goals that I could cross off the list when done (very satisfying feeling) and I have a long term goal that will someday be crossed off the list.

Results

I weighed 215 lbs on my 5′ 10″ frame. After 2 months of training and diet I was down to 195 lbs (and I am staying around this weight for now). I am looking a lot better, I am a lot healthier and a somewhat happier person. I have a goal of reaching 185 lbs (but not until after the holidays) and increasing my strength so that I could build lean muscle.

Great! How the fuck did you do it?

This week will be fitness week (yay). So to find out how I did this (really simple, i only spend 4.5 hours in the gym a week), you will have to tune in tomorrow and don’t forget to subscribe or you might just miss out.

PEACE!

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WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE AN ALTEREGO, PART 2

Shane left a comment in part 1 that had me thinking a little. Go read his comment then come right back, I’ll wait. Done? Good. Creating an alterego and modeling are two different things (in my opinion, but you will quickly realize that it’s not worth much).

Modeling: this is when you copy the actions and traits of people that you admire and would like to become. It’s a great way to develop yourself and to push yourself to do things that make you feel uncomfortable. I model myself after people all the time, but so does Bobby.

Alterego: is a character that you create to help you cope with an uncomfortable situation. Your alterego could (and most likely is) modeled after someone you know. The big difference here is that the alterego is separate from your values and beliefs. you could turn it off and on (sometimes not in your control).

What the fuck are you talking about?

Let me give you an example. Chuck ‘The Iceman’ Liddell is a an Ultimate Fighter (if your not familiar with this type of fighting, google it, but wait until after you read this post). I don’t know Mr. Liddell (be polite, this guy can kick the shit out of me), but I assume that he is a pretty good guy. I assume that he has close family and friends that he truly loves and they probably love him too. But wait a minute, this guy is a vicious fighter! He goes into the octagon to seriously hurt people, this is his job. Really? Is Mr. Liddell (seriously, please don’t come after me, i’m scared of you) a monster? No, I don’t think so. I know that I would never ever want to meet ‘The Iceman’, not even in a crowded mall, in broad daylight, with a can of mace and my rape whistle. Mr. Liddell (don’t hurt me, I only have good things to say about you) I would meet. I would introduce him to my wife and children, we could even go out for beers (my treat of course).

Not just marketing

All you marketing gurus out there (you know who you are) are probably saying to yourselves, ‘you’re a fucking idiot‘. I do understand that ‘The Iceman’ is a lot more marketable then Chuck Liddell, I’m not kidding myself, but do you think that matters to Mr. Liddell? When Mr. Liddell (hi, I have two young kids, they need a father, please don’t hurt me) steps into the octagon in his mind he switches to ‘The Iceman’, a guy who’s only goal is to inflict pain on whoever is placed in front of him.

Parents don’t raise there children to be murderers, pornstars, or stippers (I hope), but we still get these in society. If you look at gangs, the members rarely use there real names, they have nicknames. Skinny G on the corner is a killer, but John Smith is a 15 year old fatherless child who still gets grounded by mom. I think you get the point.

Michael Brito and Bobby Street

Here is an example from my life. When I was a student at Red River College (grafuck design), I entered the program as Michael Brito because this is what I thought I needed to do to be successful. Michael Brito is a hard worker, he is dedicated, and he’s not a quitter. Sounds like a winning formula, right? Well, Michael Brito did not do so good in the first semester. I was frustrated. How was I going to get everyone’s fucking attention?

Second semester starts, we are given our first assignment and Michael Brito starts working on it. Then I got up, took a deep breath, and decided that if I wanted a different result than first semester that something had to change.

Introducing Bobby Street

I became Bobby Street (well, I didn’t just become Bobby Street, he has been around for awhile, but he decided to make an appearance). The moment I did everything changed. I became more popular (even though I was brutally honest and offensive at times), I was a lot more confident and because of that my work improved. I stopped looking at what others were doing and did my own thing, good or bad I knew that people would talk and I was happy that they were talking about me.

So you liked this post, now what? Well you could subscribe. Everyone else is doing it and if you learned anything from this post it is that you should do what I tell you, because you want to.

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WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE AN ALTEREGO, PART 1

My intentions for today was to write a post about marriage, or how to stay married, but Naomi Dunford over at IttyBiz has a post that has inspired me. Before you read this post, you should go over to ittybiz and read Go Big Or Suck. Why? Because (I said so, now quit asking stupid questions, what are you? My son?) it’s a really good post, she mentions me (and me), and what I have to say sort of relates to that post (while there read her other posts, she’s the awesomest).

Back in the late 90’s I was at the University of Winnipeg taking psychology (and criminal justice, can’t beat them, join them) and when we got to personality, specifically Freud, I had an aha moment. We were discussing id, ego, and superego and while people in the class had a look of confusion (or boredom) on their faces, I came to the realization that I was aware of this presence, even though I didn’t know what it was called. If your not familiar with Freud here is the dummies version.

id: this is the part of the brain that is only interested in achieving pleasure. You’re hungry you eat, you’re horny you fuck. Get it?

superego: is the ying to the id yang (or yang to ying?). It is the opposite of the id. People refer to it as a conscience, but basically if your horny id tells you club that chick over the head and fuck, superego says no.

ego:  is the mediator, or problem solver so your horny id tells you club that chick over the head and fuck, superego says no, ego says go home and nibble on you wife’s earlobe.

What am I getting at? Bobby Street is my id (sort of) and Michael Brito is a combination of the ego and superego. Good, but what the fuck does this have to do with Naomi’s post? Naomi talks about getting noticed, but sometimes it is really hard to step out of your comfort zone. It’s easy to tell someone to drastically change their behaviour, but put yourself in their shoes, could you make that change.

I’ve mentioned before that I am the son of two immigrant parents. My parents were strict, they taught me values, a strong work ethic, and the value of a dollar. I have also mentioned that I grew up in a tough neighborhood and in order to survive I would have to do some stuff that wasn’t exactly ethical and that were contrary to what my parents taught me. I had a hard time coping with this (it’s hard living a double life). Anyways, point is I invented Bobby Street. By being Bobby, I (Michael Brito) was able to do what I had to do to survive without the internal struggle. When I would get home I would switch to Michael and everything was good, no guilty conscience (sort of).

So my advice to you is this, get noticed, do whatever it takes it trully is worth it. If you have a hard time doing that invent an alter ego (Tyler Durden) someone that you would love to be, you don’t have to like him (or her), but you should respect them. I don’t feel like I have done this topic enough justice, so I will be doing a follow up with more details.

If you enjoyed this post, agree, disagree, want my first born (I do love him, but somedays…) leave me a comment. I love hearing from you all (sort of). 

 

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5 WAYS TO KEEP THAT SHITTY JOB

or Getting Fired a Month Before Christmas is Awesome! So, here we are a couple weeks away from christmas (I hate christmas, but with two kids I have to fake it, is this what my wife feels like?) and I don’t have a job, but you know what I do have? A mortgage (well actually I have two mortgages, the house I live in and one on my rental property, which I need to find a tenant for), a car payment, and bills. So I’m doing alright.I do have a job lined up for January (and possibly another one) and it pays more then the crappy graphic design job I had before. I have also been able to take up some freelance, so the bank shouldn’t be taking back my house (maybe they’ll take one of the children instead, what do you need two kids for anyway). So I have decided to make a list of 5 ways on how not to get fired. 1) don’t be an employee 

Once you rely on someone to provide you with a paycheck you lose any power you have. You could be the shit (awesome), but if you are working for a paycheck you need to realize that it could be taken away at any time.          

2) be a yes man (or woman)

Your boss is more likely to keep you around if you kiss his/her ass. Hey, who’s willing to do some overtime this holiday season, if that’s you, congratulations, you’re the yes man.          

3) don’t ask for a decent wage 

Now this point is probably best directed at unskilled laborers  like graphic designers. Truth is you could pay me more or you could hire someone fresh out of school that is willing to work for practically nothing because they live at home still with their parents and their only expense is that $200 per week weed habit.          

4) don’t have an opinion 

Question: your boss asks you “what do you think?” do you answer a) what you really think understanding that he is asking for an opinion, therefore he can’t be upset for what you really think or b) what you know what he wants you to answer? If you answered “b”, congratulations, you still have your lousy job.          

5) be invisible 

You’ve heard it before, “the squeaky  wheel gets the grease”, the grease in this instance is a pink slip. If you ran a business would you keep someone around that kept stealing attention from you (if you answered “yes” hey I’m unemployed, hook me up)? I have learned a lot working as a graphic designer, one of those things is that this industry is filled with egos and when the owners of the company are graphic designers as well it’s probably best that you think inside their box (even if it smells like shit).          

There you have it, did I miss anything (no), sure you probably can’t come to work drunk and shooting your boss in the leg may get you a round of applause, but it’ll also get you fired. This is a list of techniques that i have read about that is supposed to help you climb the corporate ladder, but try them and lets see what happens.Do you agree, disagree (stupid), leave a comment, but don’t leave a comment if you don’t want me to respond. You should also subscribe because i will be dropping knowledge. PEACE!  

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