The Tao of Peggy Olson

With AMC’s Mad Men having recently poured its final glass of 9am bourbon, neat, I am left with a moment to reflect on the show whose legacy was always a little bit grander than its reality. And really, isn’t that sort of what we’re all aiming for in life? You’ll see a hundred op/ed pieces on the technical hits or misses of the show, but for me, even though the show was centered around Don Draper, the true protagonist of the series was Peggy Olson. Don’s was a journey that was focused on discovery on self (and probably more than a couple of STDs as well), but Peggy’s was a true battle. A David vs. Goliath struggle where sometimes her Goliath was the ultra-misogynistic corporate workplace of the 1960s and /70s, and sometimes her Goliath was herself. With that in mind, I present a handful of moments that Peggy brought us that will stick with me much longer than Don’s loose views on fidelity and identity theft. And so I present to you:


“When I was little, my mom would take a twin pop and break it in half and give one to me and one to my sister. We were completely equal in her eyes. Beloved. Everyone does this with Popsicles, but they may not realize what it means. It has nothing to do with an ice cream truck on a hot summer day. Or the flavor. Or the color. It’s a ritual. You take it, break it, share it, and love it.” —Season 2, Episode 12
• A central theme for Peggy throughout the Mad Men series was that of love. Not just romantic love, but familial love, love in friendship, love in a professional environment, and love of self (or at least learning to accept yourself for who you are). This mini monologue (minilogue?) is a great example of Peggy romanticizing her own past (to a fault, at times) for the sake of remembering the good and the love that surrounded her, rather than focusing on the negative aspects of life. Classic Peggy.

“Every time something good happens, something bad happens.”  —s4,e11
• Peggy’s strength as a character (and as a person) isn’t that she’s blindly naive and ignorantly optimistic, it’s that she sees the world for the crappy, run down mess that it is…but chooses to hope anyway. Anyone can live a sheltered life and think the world a perfectly pleasant place, the real challenge is to continue to seek after your ideals in spite of adversity. If Peggy was a pro boxer, she wouldn’t be a one-punch wonder, she’d be the sort of marathon fighter who wears you out by taking hit after hit for twelve rounds and staying on her feet till the final bell. And in life you’re going to have a lot more knockdown, drag-out fights to endure than quick, Muhammad Ali-esque 15-second KO’s. Be built for the full twelve.

“Well, I’m fun! And I love to have…fun.” —s3,e4
• For the pitch perfect pitchman she became (pitchwoman? Pitchperson?), Peggy was always a little too humble to really sell herself, and we see that here in her awkward attempt to sound…well, fun, on a first date. Even though she struggles to really sell herself for the great gal she is in this particular instance, she manages to get to the heart of “free time Peggy,” which is that even though her work/life balance might have been a little uneven at times, at her core she’s still just a girl who wants to have fun, and be fun to be around to others. Despite how intense her career focus could be at times, you still get the idea that she found fun in her work, and wanted others to find the fun in theirs as well (as long as it didn’t compromise the quality of the final product). Remember kids: Be fun, have fun. It’s what Peggy would want.

“Don Draper: That’s how this works. I pay you for ideas.
Peggy Olson: You never say ‘Thank you.’
Don Draper: That’s what the money is for!” —s4,e7
• Despite her eventual rise to the top creative ranks in the ad agency world, Peggy was never in it for the money or the power or even the acclaim…she was in it for the respect that she knew she deserved and the recognition of her talent in a world that tried repeatedly to write her off. A recurring theme throughout the series is Peggy working out her daddy issues through Don (sometimes effectively, sometimes not), and ultimately having the revelation that we all need to have: someone else’s approval is never going to replace or validate our own self worth. I know a lot of us feel under-appreciated and even unloved in our professional and/or personal lives, but the moral of the story is that it’s up to us to know that we have value, rather than waiting for the accolades of the outside world that may or may not ever arrive. Easier said than done, perhaps, but worth the effort nonetheless.

“Don’t do anything stupid.” —s6,e5
• At the end of the day (one of my all-time most hated clichés, but gets the point across), we almost always know the right thing we should say or do or not do in a given situation, but the real test of mettle is whether or not we can act on that knowledge, to resist the easy path in favor of the more difficult one, even if it’s less rewarding or we won’t get any recognition for doing so. How many times in your life have you looked back on something you regret and thought, “Geez, that was stupid…I knew better”? And you’re right, you did! The difficulty lies in having the willpower to not do the stupid thing in front of you, no matter how appealing it might be in the moment. A daily battle for most of us (or at least me), but a battle worth fighting, even if the victories are more infrequent than the failures. But just know that in spite of your past mistakes, you have ability to make the right choice the next time. And the next time. And the time after that. I’m pulling for you. And so is Peggy Olson. I’ll even buy you a shot of bourbon when you get there. Good luck and God bless.
Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 2.59.45 AM

Play on,

…Want more Mind Bullets? New posts go up every other Wednesday at noon PST (or as close to that as I feel like), and you can subscribe if you want them delivered right to your inbox! …Or if you’re too impatient to wait that long you can follow me on twitter, instagramyoutube (new videos every Monday), and my boring personal website. Whew, that’s a lot of self promotion…even I don’t like me enough to keep up with all that.

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My Week with Apple Watch

The absence of a house, spouse, child, or discernible adult responsibilities of any sort in my life have left me with enough extra income to purchase Apple’s latest gadget, The Apple Watch. (Anyone who calls it the iWatch might as well stop reading now and save both of us the hassle). The following is a day-by-day account of my first week with The  Watch, journaled for posterity so that when the robots have taken over in the semi-distant future, we will have a better idea of where we went wrong.

Apple Watch Sporty Spice

Apple Watch Sporty Spice

April 30, 2015

Day 1 — The Apple Watch is definitely a solid device, meeting or exceeding all my expectations. Big takeaways so far are that battery life is way better than advertised, it’s more water-resistant than I realized, and I’m finding nuanced little features I hadn’t heard about before all the time (i.e. using the watch as a remote control for my AppleTV, using it to take pictures with my phone, checking into my gym with it, etc.)

Day 2 — Really dug into some of the fitness features today. The Apple Watch has a different workout setting for most of the common cardio exercises; really cool to see my heartbeat and calories burned in real time. I sprinted a mile as part of my workout and felt myself pretty out of breath…hm, weird, I would’ve thought Apple Watch would’ve fixed that. Apple Watch also failed to add ANY weight to my max bench press. Odd. Might have to make a Genius Bar appointment to make sure I didn’t get a defective unit.

Day 3 — Despite owning the Apple Watch for almost half a week, didn’t get to see Avengers 2 yet. Weird, because I know I really wanna see Avengers 2, and Apple Watch is supposed to be the more personal and effective device ever and yet here I am, still not having seen a single second of what my girlfriend has called the “I will break up with you” movie of the summer. Instead spent the day reading Shakespeare’s King Lear on my Apple Watch. Eyes were pretty strained after the first two hours, blacked out from a migraine for a little bit, but felt way better after I woke up. Thanks, Apple Watch!

Day 4 — Got fired at work for physically assaulting my boss when he said he thought the Apple Watch “wasn’t for everyone,” definitely didn’t see “getting fired” as a side effect of the Apple Watch, but it’s still a pretty new device so they’re still working out some of the bugs. Hopefully future versions will be less likely to get their owners fired. Getting pretty good at drawing dicks on the Apple Watch screen and sending them to my friends.

Day 5 — Well my girlfriend left me (out of nowhere!), and despite me REPEATEDLY sending her my heartbeat via Apple Watch, she still hasn’t come to her senses and begged me to take her back yet. And my heart was beating extra fast today, too! (It always does when I’m taking her cute best friend out to dinner). Really need to make that Genius bar appointment to make sure I don’t have a bum unit. Maybe her cute best friend will go with me, and we can see a movie and take a moonlit walk on the beach afterwards under the stars. I have a sneaking suspicion that Apple Watch is altering my perception of time to better fit in with its own battery cycle, as I’ve been up for 51 hours but Apple Watch keeps saying it’s still Tuesday. Which is a pretty cool feature, if you ask me.

Day 6 — At this point I’ve had the Apple Watch for almost a week, yet that STILL didn’t stop the bank from foreclosing on my condo today, something about 18 months of back-payments and overdue property taxes. I don’t know, I didn’t get any reminders about anything like that from my Apple Watch, so it must be some sort of clerical error. Clerical Error would be a great name for like a speed-metal band. Oh also my (now ex) girlfriend finally texted me back today and told me she was pregnant, but said she won’t let me near the kids, which is a terrible Apple Watch feature that I hope they fix in the next beta.

Day 7 — The IRS is auditing me totally out of the blue, despite the fact that I literally just filed my taxes four years ago. Sounds like an Apple Watch bug. There’s just a sinkhole where my condominium complex used to be, although I’m told the bank can still foreclose on my condo even if it’s three stories underground now. As if that wasn’t enough of a bummer about the Apple Watch, my neighborhood has been hit hard with an intense breakout of tornadoes, famine, tsunamis, freshwater drought and a plague of toa-locusts (a genetic hybrid of toads and locusts), but I think that last one is because my next door neighbor bought a Samsung Galaxy Gear from one of those resellers on the Venice Beach Boardwalk. Having some real difficulty finding a virgin for sacrificial purposes (that’s Los Angeles for you I guess), DESPITE using Apple Watch’s Siri integration. Even though I’ve been charging it every single day, Apple Watch has yet to repair the estranged relationship between me and my father. Maybe I should’ve sprung for the solid-gold “Edition” version of the Apple Watch.

Day 8 — Returned my Apple Watch today. Honestly, I liked it a lot, but having to deal with all of the other side effects just wasn’t worth it. Maybe I’ll pick up a future version, but for now I’m happy to be a little more low-tech than the next guy.

Day 9 — Everything is back to normal now…I guess maybe it isn’t for everyone, after all. Looks like my boss was right on that one…but don’t tell HIM that ;) (Rest in peace, Mr. Johnston).

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…Want more Mind Bullets? New posts go up every Wednesday at noon PST (or as close to that as I feel like), and you can subscribe if you want them delivered right to your inbox! …Or if you’re too impatient to wait that long you can follow me on twitter, instagramyoutube (new videos every Monday), and my boring personal website. Whew, that’s a lot of self promotion…even I don’t like me enough to keep up with all that.

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American Idol Season 14 Changes

As you may have seen on television (that thing that kills time while your phone is charging), American Idol is about to enter its FOURTEENTH season (another year and it can get its learners driving permit), and like any show that has been on for so long, the team at Idol is implementing some changes to help attract new viewers and keep the old ones. Using my top-secret entertainment industry connections I was able to obtain a list of these changes for you, my loyal readers.

American Idol Season 14 Changes:

• American Idol’s infamously rotating cast of celebrity judges will bump up from rotating every season to now rotating every 15 minutes. Things get especially dramatic when Mark McGrath gives the approving vote to put a contestant through to Hollywood only to have the “rotate judge” alarm go off, with replacement judge Kevin Federline voting the other way for the unlucky contestant.

• In addition to searching for talent in New Orleans, Nashville, San Francisco, Minneapolis, and New York City; the show will also be holding its trademark ten-thousand-person auditions in Metropolis, Atlantis, The Emerald City, Mount Olympus, The Alternate 1985 timeline from Back to the Future 2, and The Negaverse from Sailor Moon.

• In an effort to boost ratings, American Idol will declare every show day also Opposite Day, turning their 1.7 into a 7.1 and “a 25% decrease” into “a 25% increase” and “beating a dead horse” into “entertainment.”

• Keith Urban has agreed to a cross-promotion with a hip, young clothing store, legally changing his name to Keith Urban Outfitters.

• Going to just start referring to itself in all graphics, conversations, and materials as “The Voice” and see if anyone notices.

• Taking its well-known list of mentors like Randy Jackson and Scott Borchetta and adding other legendary mentors such as The P90X Guy, Mister Miyagi, Mother Teresa, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Professor Dumbledore, Your High School English Teacher, Dina Lohan, Rafiki from Lion King, and Gandalf the Grey.

• End every show with one uncut five-minute block of lemmings mindlessly walking to their demise by the ton and see if even a single viewer picks up on the irony.

• Putting Carrie Underwood, Clay Aiken, and Taylor Hicks in fake Groucho disguise mustache-glasses and sneaking them back into the competition.

• Following up all eliminations with on-air, real-time executions of whoever is voted off that week.

• Brian Dunkleman.

• Do a Mythbusters-style special on whether or not Ryan Seacrest has ever said anything sincere with all that feigned enthusiasm in the past 13 years.

• Airing all episodes at once, Netflix style, to help induce binge watching like the kiddies enjoy so much these days.

• Regardless of what the votes say, just declaring Ruben Studdard the winner anyway.

…Should be a fun season!

Play on,

casual pic of Brian Dunkleman, Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson

casual pic of Brian Dunkleman, Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson

…Want more Mind Bullets? New posts go up every Wednesday at noon PST (or as close to that as I feel like), and you can subscribe if you want them delivered right to your inbox! …Or if you’re too impatient to wait that long you can follow me on twitter, instagramyoutube (new videos every Monday), and my boring personal website. Whew, that’s a lot of self promotion…even I don’t like me enough to keep up with all that.

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The WORST Horror Movies of All Time

It’s February, the month of love, black history, groundhogs, and awards shows (and if they ever have an award show honoring the most lovely groundhogs in all of history, you can bet that event would take place in February). With the Academy Awards and love on the brain, it seemed like the right time to countdown the worst horror movies of all time. So here they are. (I’m not big on segues).

The WORST Horror Movies of ALL TIME

The Passion of the Christ
Blood! Guts! Zombies! While this movie contains all the staples of a good horror movie, it really fails to deliver that jump-from-your-seat terror that we’ve come to expect from modern horror movies. Mel Gibson just doesn’t have the directorial chops to pull off a horror movie of this magnitude, hopefully things will look up for his career after this misstep.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
This may be a movie about a blood-thirsty alien that crashes into Earth with the intention of savagely devouring its inhabitants to slake its bloodlust, but the only thing that crashes and burns here is the idea that this alien could be a danger to anyone. Drew Barrymore as a child pulls off the screaming victim ok here, but ultimately the terror of this film just falls flat.

Toy Story 2
The much-anticipated follow-up to the terrifying legend about one boy’s dolls that come to life and terrorize an entire town, the sequel sadly doesn’t live up to the scare-levels of the original. With not nearly enough blood and gore for die-hard screamsters like myself, Toy Story 2 is at best not scary, and at worst infuriatingly tame. Some parts are even downright laughable. But in true horror movie fashion, once they get one sequel made they just start cranking them out nonstop, so don’t expect Toy Story 3 to be any better (and SHOCKER, there’s already a Toy Story 4 in the works. It’s the Saw franchise all over again).

Mary Poppins
The premise is a tried-and-true one: a supposed children’s caretaker flies into town on the wind of a dark spell and uses her evil magic powers to wreak havoc in the lives of all whom she encounters. Whether it’s trapping her young wards into mystical drawings, or imprisoning children in chimneys, this is one bad-news nanny, but that sadly doesn’t make up for a lack of scares that leave this movie feeling more like a walk in the park rather than a scream-filled fright-fest that viewers want. Even when the nanny summons her dark familiars like her demon-possessed umbrella harpy, or her chimney-sweep henchman, this movie fails to make you feel like there is ever any real danger afoot. Better luck next time, Scary Mary.

The Nightmare Before Christmas
Stop-motion animation can definitely make for some spooky movie-making, but this film about the dark lord of the netherworld rising to take-over Christmas for him and his dark minions feels more like a daydream than a true nightmare. Too many stockings, not enough stalkings for THIS horror-movie-lover.

The Little Mermaid
The well-known Hans Christian Andersen tale — about a young mermaid that wants to steal a part of a prince’s soul so she can get into Heaven but ultimately can’t bring herself to kill him, so she kills herself by throwing herself off a cliff into the craggy rocks of the seaside — FINALLY gets the big screen treatment it deserves. BUT unfortunately the Hollywood Machine does what it does best and totally ruins the source material with this horror movie. Say goodbye to Andersen’s trademark gory details about the Mermaid getting her legs split with a sword and having her tongue ripped out by the Sea Witch’s curse (and who could forget the cost of the spell, that any movement the Mermaid makes with her legs will feel like she is constantly walking on sharp knives), and instead get ready to see a Mermaid that’s so untrue to her source character that she doesn’t even commit suicide at the end. Just like the mermaids in HCA’s tale, this movie turns into sea-foam and fizzles away before we get the horror movie we wanted!

…Hope you got some ointment for those BURNS, would-be horror movies, maybe next time you won’t short us on the scares that we crave! ;) On the upside, I finally got my hands on the film adaptation of the famous Brothers Grimm’s scary story, Snow White, so I’m excited to let that one scream me to new heights of scariness (I’m especially excited to see how they depict the scene where Snow White and her prince force the Evil Queen into a pair of glowing-hot iron shoes and force her to dance until she drops dead as punishment for her attempted murders).

Play on,

I haven't seen this horror movie yet, but I imagine it's a lot like Taken.

I haven’t seen this horror movie yet, but I imagine it’s a lot like Taken.

…Want more Mind Bullets? New posts go up every Wednesday at noon PST (or as close to that as I feel like), and you can subscribe if you want them delivered right to your inbox! …Or if you’re too impatient to wait that long you can follow me on twitter, instagramyoutube (new videos every Monday), and my boring personal website. Whew, that’s a lot of self promotion…even I don’t like me enough to keep up with all that.

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2015: The Year in Review

In our speed-focused modern society it’s getting harder and harder to be the first to do anything (I’m pretty sure I was first like and first comment on Taylor Swift’s instagram the other day…if only I could’ve thought of some way to let her know that, I’m sure she’d be interested) and you people come to my blog because I bring you what the people want, when they want it, before anybody else! And also for my Twilight fan fiction! (er wait, that’s my OTHER blog…). So with that in mind, I allow me to be the FIRST to present:


The only movie released so far in 2015, at midnight January 1, EVERYONE agrees that the absolute best movie of 2015 is The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death. Critics are already calling it “the only new movie released so far in 2015” and “technically playing in theaters near you.” Presumably a story about a woman that works at Hot Topic, the sequel is notable for being the first WiB movie to not star Daniel Radcliffe.

The music of 2015 can be defined with one overwhelmingly popular genre: PARADE MUSIC. Whether it’s marching bands or pop stars you’ve never heard of lip-sycning their own tunes, 2015 was just chock full of all the music you’d expect from parades and football pre-game shows. The fans have spoken, and parade music was BIG in 2015 and it’s not going anywhere! Friends, start making your parade music mix CDs and Spotify playlists NOW, because this is one trend that will always feel SO 2015.

Whether it was headaches from the night before or still being drunk from the night before, it’s clear based on all evidence that 2015 is the year of the HANGOVER. Almost out of nowhere and universally adopted, it seems like I don’t have a single friend in 2015 that wasn’t full committed to hangover life.  That’s right, get your 64oz Gatorade, put on your sweatpants and park it on your couch with every intention of never moving and never drinking again, because that’s what 2015 is ALL ABOUT. Trouble keeping food down? No worries, nausea and inability to eat are some of the most 2015 things happening.


A GIANT trend that took the country by storm in 2015 was almost everyone no longer goes to their jobs. Oh they’re still employed all right, but THE hot move in 2015 was that almost no one had to go into work! Experts estimate that almost 90% of US workforces haven’t even gone into work ONCE so far in 2015, and it looks like that’s just fine with millions of American citizens.

Though many types of spirits were enjoyed, 2015 seemed to suddenly shift from normal drinking to almost exclusively champagne! It looks like almost everyone of legal drinking age in the US had at least one glass of champagne (if not many more ;), which marks a big shift from the usual beer, wine, and spirits diversity that American patrons usually enjoy on an average night. As far as food, it seemed like everyone was enjoying pizza and easy-to-process foods enjoyed with friends on the couch while nursing a hangover. So 2015 of them!

Whether you were throwing it back or just enjoying it like normal, it’s clear that Thursdays were THE in day for 2015! Every single day in 2015 has been a Thursday, and citizens are calling it the defining mark of the year. What will this mean for the school system and work week? One day we’ll know, and if this trend holds true, then that day will probably be a Thursday, like every day of 2015 has been thus far! Who saw that coming??

In another absolute shocker that has to be noted, 2015 brought us the trend of ALL BANKS AND FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS BEING CLOSED. That’s right, whether it’s checking, home loans, stocks, etc.; it doesn’t matter what bank or financial issue you had, because your bank was closed for every day of 2015! What will this mean for economic future? Is this tied to the new trend of employees not having to do work anymore? It looks like “banker’s hours” just became even better than they already were. ;)

Bowl games, bowl games, bowl games! Apparently not content to play out an entire season, 2015 will be remembered for every day playing several high stakes college football games! Regardless of the results, fans loved that we got right to the bigtime action and fanfare that comes with bowl games! Thanks 2015, looking forward to continuing to see bowl games every day!

WELL, there you have it! The most complete (and more importantly, FIRST) review of 2015! What trends did you like most? What ones do you miss? And what do you think it means for 2016? I don’t know, but I’m excited to find out and continue to be NUMBER ONE for you and your yearly review needs!

Play on,

2015: A Look Back

2015: A Look Back

…Want more Mind Bullets? New posts go up every Wednesday at noon PST (or as close to that as I feel like), and you can subscribe if you want them delivered right to your inbox! …Or if you’re too impatient to wait that long you can follow me on twitter, instagramyoutube (new videos every Monday), and my boring personal website. Whew, that’s a lot of self promotion…even I don’t like me enough to keep up with all that.

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