PoolPro and SpaRetailer magazines have been using the services of yours truly!
PoolPro and SpaRetailer are print and online magazines marketed towards pool professionals and spa retailers, respectively. I have been fortunate enough to be commissioned as a freelancer to write several pieces for each.
At the time of this post, three of my articles have been published with a few more waiting in the wing. Check the below link to see the published articles:
As you can imagine, I do not necessarily know that much about pools or spas. That said, the articles lean heavily on interviews that I conduct with business owners and professionals, so most of the work happens through those interviews by phone or email and making sure I am asking the right questions.
The writing is strictly AP style, which has been excellent for me in terms of gaining experience with professional, reporting-type work. I have also made some good contacts through these assignments.
The content linked above is not necessarily for everyone, but I just wanted to show off some interesting new experience in my portfolio that shows I can do more than sports writing or lighthearted blogging.
My personal blog continues to be a bit stagnant, but thank you for checking in! Also, if you or anyone you know needs some professional writing done, you know who to contact. Thank you!
Greatest blog post ever written? To be determined I guess. Feeling good about it though. I love Star Wars and can therefore find things to love about even the weakest movies, shows, books, games, etc. I have decided to undertake the tough task of ranking the theatrical films.
Everyone that has seen the movies is going to like some more than others. They are tough for me to rank because I genuinely like them all. This could vary a bit for me from time to time because it is so close. Lets start at the bottom:
#11: The Last Jedi (Episode 8)
The amount of online hate for this one is real. It certainly is not detestable, but though I enjoyed it the first time, I do appreciate it less with each viewing. There was a different director for this one, who poo-pooed all over the trajectory of the prior film, making for a disjointed feel to the whole sequel trilogy. Some nice action and a cool Luke/Yoda interaction, but overall a bit of a letdown.
#10: Attack of the Clones (Episode 2)
Crazy part first: I love this movie. Here we are at the bottom of the list and I’m throwing out the “L” word – that should tell you what you need to know about how I feel about this galaxy far, far away. This one hosted a cringy and forced romance between Anakin and Padme. That was a major theme, but we also got the start on the Clone War that spawned a fantastic animated series, tons of Jedi, cool new bounty hunters, and the first Yoda-in-battle scene. Epic.
#9: Solo: A Star Wars Story
I had reservations about the casting of a young Han Solo. I’d seen it go wrong before with the young Indiana Jones movies. Harrison Ford is tough to duplicate. I went in with tempered expectations and came out with a big grin. This one works excellently as a standalone film and gives me hope for future Star Wars Stories such as Kenobi or Boba Fett films. Fast-paced action, humor, and distinct Star Wars feel.
#8: Rouge One: A Star Wars Story
The first theatrical Star Wars film that wasn’t technically part of the Skywalker Saga, Rogue One delivered on all promises. Some say this is the best thing Disney has done with Star Wars. I don’t know about that. I loved it, but it was a little long and many characters were more bland than Star Wars usually has. That said, the droid K2SO made up for everyone else and this movie has my favorite scene in cinema history.
#7: The Force Awakens (Episode 7)
This was the first Disney-made Star Wars movie and the beginning of the sequel trilogy that concludes the nine movie Skywalker Saga. In order to introduce Star Wars to a new generation fans, it mirrored the first Star Wars movie (Episode 4 in 1977) in numerous ways. Almost too many. It was weird. That said, the characters were likable, Star Wars was back, and the First Order is cool. Stinks that they killed one of my childhood heroes though.
#6: Rise of Skywalker (Episode 9)
RoS receives about as much hate as The Last Jedi, which is unfair. As I mentioned earlier, a new director took things in a strange direction in the eighth movie. JJ Abrams, who directed episode seven took the reigns once more for episode nine. The trilogy was going to be disjointed no-matter what, so I believe he wrapped things up as well as possible. RIP Sith.
#5: The Phantom Menace (Episode 1)
People are funny. They did not like the prequel trilogy until the sequels came along. Most Star Wars fans are apparently difficult to please. This movie was and is very good. It sets the stage for the Skywalker Saga nicely, expanded on the existing universe in a big way, and introduced Darth Maul and podracing. Jar Jar wasn’t that bad, yo.
#4: Return of the Jedi (Episode 6)
I am guilty of over-hyping this one in my mind, but I am not alone. The complaints people have with the new movies should really be put into perspective, because those people hold this movie in reverence. Spending like 40 minutes at Jabba’s palace was unnecessary and teddy bears saved the galaxy. The Luke and Vader dynamic is what keeps this one on the pedestal.
#3: Empire Strikes Back (Episode 5)
Accepted by many as the greatest of the Star Wars films, Empire has a bit of everything. The Hoth arc was fantastic, we got to meet Yoda, Boba Fett, and Lando, and we really saw Luke take leaps and bounds as a Jedi on his journey to confronting Darth Vader. This is the one with the epic “I am your Father” plot-twist also. Other movies stink. Star Wars is great.
#2: Revenge of the Sith (Episode 3)
Revenge of the Sith completed the prequel trio, bringing the highly anticipated conclusion of Anakin Skywalker’s fall the to dark side. This one was a visual feast and introduced General Grievous to the universe. After the lackluster romantic development of Episode 2, this one fully delivered on Anakin’s (and ultimately Vader’s) character. The dual between Vader and Obi-Wan was an all-time great Star Wars moment.
#1: A New Hope (Episode 4)
Growing up, Empire Strikes Back was my favorite. Having seen all the movies numerous times and having given nostalgia time to develop, the original Star Wars story takes the title. The introduction to the universe – the force, lightsabers, light vs. dark side, Darth Vader (my favorite movie character ever), the Death Star, lightspeed, the Millennium Falcon, Han and Chewie, a plethora of droids… This is where it all began. In my opinion this one works well as a standalone as well as the catalyst that begins the series. If I just got to watch one Star Wars ever again, it would be this one.
Men have had a good run but the secret is out; they can change diapers too.
I hate to be the narc here, but it only seems fair that everyone knows the dirty secret about dads and men in general; men can change diapers. This is obvious to many of you, but somehow a completely foreign concept to others.
When we first had our son, I was spooked because I had never changed a diaper in my life. The first few times I saw my wife change my son, I was prepared to study very closely and take mental notes on this intimidating process. Then, I remember asking, “That’s it?”
Changing diapers is easy. Remove diaper, wipe up any waste, apply new diaper, crack a cold one (optional).
Sure, there is the occasional stray urine stream, a bad smell, or intense squirming sometimes when they get older, but overall, the most daunting aspect is frequency. The frequency becomes a non-issue if the duty is split instead of being unnecessarily forced on just one person/gender.
I understand generally how society arrived here, but not so much why it would continue in 2020. Fellas, you’re not so worn out from hunting and gathering that you can’t take the time to be a 50/50 partner in parenting. That especially goes if you and your partner both work.
As a stay-at-home writer and dad, I am aware that my circumstance may be unique (less so all the time though). During the week, I probably change five diapers to every one my wife changes. On the weekends however, those figures swap. Not because she is home and it defaults to her womanly duty, but because she wants to give me a break.
Our household dynamic may be a bit unconventional, but it isn’t because we full-on deny gender roles. I open doors, kill spiders, and investigate noises at night. I don’t mind those things. She does most of the cooking – I don’t like to cook and she doesn’t mind.
I will even grant you that there is a bond between a mother and child that is intangible and unique. It is a subtle difference between a man and woman that I cannot deny. However, I went into this parenthood thing as a willing participant and as a equal partner with my wife regardless.
Changing a diaper is simple, but being an parent isn’t always easy. Even if you stick with a designated diaper changer in your house, make sure that everyone wants it that way and that you are balancing parent duties as much as possible.
Sorry to rat you out guys, but I’m just saying, men can change diapers too.
As a nerdy fellow, I am a part of multiple fandoms. So naturally, I must rank them.
Wait, “nerdy fellow,” what is a fandom? Well, un-hip person, Merriam Webster defines a fandom first as a “state or condition of being a fan of something.” Boring. Secondly, they describe it as “the fans of a particular person, team, fictional series, etc. regarded collectively as a community or subculture.” Better.
For the individual, a fandom is important. It is something that almost never matters in the grand scheme of life, but it brings you happiness and involvement. It can be a shared experience or something that you indulge in alone.
Below is a ranked sampling of my top-5 personal fandoms:
Kansas City Chiefs
I have already discussed why I love Star Wars on this site. What helps it take top billing is how deeply you can dive in once you love it. There are of course movies, but the TV shows, books, video games, and lore make it easy to maintain as an obsession.
My love for the NBA is also spelled out on here. Though I claim the OKC Thunder if I must pick a favorite, I really just enjoy the league as a whole, which means I get to enjoy so much content. Every team plays 82 games, then there is the postseason, All-Star events, trades, drama… it is easy to get sucked in.
I haven’t been waiting 50 years for the Kansas City Chiefs to win a Superbowl. My Dad always liked them, but we didn’t watch as a family growing up. I got sucked into football around probably 2007 or so since my wife’s (girlfriend at the time) family liked it. Fantasy hooked me as much as anything, but the Chiefs have easily been my favorite sports team. How ’bout them?
The next two highlight how varied fandoms can be for a person. Video games in general is too vague, but Halo easily works here. Aside from pre-ordering every game that comes out, I’ve read about half a dozen Halo books and own all video snippits that have ever happened on Blu-Ray. I suppose Xbox in general could work somewhere in here as well.
The Bachelor/Bachelorette is definitely a unique fandom for me. I am part of #BachelorNation because it is a guilty pleasure that my wife and I share. Some people dread Mondays, but snuggling your wife while you drink a Sam’s Club-sized bottle of wine and watch people humiliate themselves on TV? Don’t miss out on this, people.
The above five are certainly not the only fandoms I am a part of. Pokemon, Blake Griffin, Lord of the Rings, Nintendo, Missouri State University, Postseason StL Cardinals (yes, I’m a fair-weather fan), Dragon Ball Z, video game series I will pre-order no-matter what (Elder Scrolls, Borderlands, Soul Caliber, Fable, Red Dead, and more), Marvel… and that is just off the top off my head.
It is a bit of a blessing and a curse to be into so many things. There is always something to watch, play, or read about, which is awesome. On the other hand, there is always something to watch, play, or read about, so I have to be careful how I spend my time.
For example, I played a phone game called Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes for a couple years. It was a fun way to always have some Star Wars in my pocket. I realized though that it became more of an addiction than an occasional distraction and I did not want to be on my phone too much with my son watching my every action and learning accordingly.
I am on a hiatus from the game and it feels good. There are always ways to get my Star Wars fix through books, TV shows, and more. The game was a bit excessive. Balance is important and I hope to teach my son that lesson too!
So that is a quick rundown of my fandoms. If I am silly for any of them, I REFUSE TO APOLOGIZE. Everyone is different, everyone deserves to pursue what makes them happy, and everyone who’s list doesn’t exactly match mine is wrong.
A favorite quote that hits close: “There is not enough time to do all the nothing we want to do.”
Bill Watterson is the genius behind the Calvin & Hobbes comic strips. Growing up, these comics had an inordinate amount of influence on me. I liked most comic strips out of the paper, but Calvin and Hobbes stood out as being relatable, hilarious, and deep. Also, I constantly had to ask my parents what many of the words meant, and I now have a decent enough vocabulary to beat most children at Scrabble.
“Deep” is a word that would not often be associated with a three or four block comic strip. Through the eyes of Calvin and his imaginary friend/stuffed tiger Hobbes, Watterson turned simple situations into philosophical conundrums, quips, and reflective moments.
One of my favorite quotes came from a strip in which Calvin and his pal were reflecting on the end of summer. “There is not enough time to do all the nothing we want to do” could be my daily Twitter update.
I’m not looking to get philosophical here myself, or even complain about the lack of time in the day. I just relate to this line; it is a small window into who I am. I like to do nothing. Not sit on the couch and glaze over watching the wall – I mean watch a movie, play video games, window shop with my family, drive around, walk in the woods, read, and so on.
Accomplishing things is great, I do it quite a bit. Most of the time even. Luckily, the stay-at-home parent thing lends itself well to this. Playing with toys, telling made-up stories, and chasing my son around the house feels like goofing off, but it is definitely accomplishing something.
That’s why I feel like this transition has been easy on me. Little kids “work” by playing, exploring, and experiencing. These are a few of my favorite things! To have a tiny partner to do nothing with brings out the kid in me. Even though we have our tough moments like every parent and child, everyday still feels like summer vacation, which is definitely good for my soul.
There is never enough time to do all the nothing because I am writing during naps instead of watching a movie. I’m doing dishes and laundry instead of playing video games. I’m trying to feed my kid broccoli for and hour instead of reading. So yeah, you could say there isn’t enough time, but who actually has that much time that isn’t also headed for the Dr. Phil show because they won’t leave their parent’s basement?
Moral to this story, I have it made. Anyone can put a positive spin on their daily life if they really try, but I believe I am genuinely in a great fit for how I am built as a person.
Everyday we go to the park to swing, stroll, and climb (or bonk our head on) the jungle gym. It doesn’t get better than that. I look around the park and see moms frustrated with kids over little things, which helps me put in perspective what my day looks like. Your kid tried to eat a worm because you’re at the park at 2:00pm on a Tuesday, Sharon, soak it up.
There will never be quite enough time, but we make SO much time to do nothing and I couldn’t be more pleased. Life is good.
When envisioning fatherhood, it isn’t a stretch to say that guys like to imagine being a fun dad.
In public, you come across many different kinds of parents. Some of the seemingly happiest are the ones that are carefree, playful, and forgiving. Everyone is different, but I would imagine that when many young men imagine fatherhood for themselves, they do so by envisioning tossing their baby in the air, playing catch out back, and razzing their kids about girls/boys.
As it often is, reality is a bit different than what you may see out and about or imagine in your mind. Renown philosopher and boxer, Mike Tyson once said something along the lines of “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” In parenting, the punch in the face is more like: getting vomited on, being up all night, and foregoing fun activities.
You can’t just be a “fun dad” 24/7 – that just isn’t realistic. You will need to get your hands dirty, dive in on chores and blown-out diapers, console worn-out kids and/or their mom, and (in my experience) sweat at all hours of the day. So much sweat. All the sweat.
So being just the fun dad at all times is probably just not going to happen. Every literal second won’t always be fun.
What a downer right? Don’t worry, I’ve found that as a dad, there is so much silver lining lying around that you could probably use it all to make a good 25 to 30 swords. Those may not be useful in this day and age, but would still be pretty dope.
The good (great, actually) news is that though there are so many ways to remain a fun dad in all situations, even if every single moment is a stretch. The biggest key is to smile. Happiness and humor are applicable in almost all situations. Humor less-so, as sometimes s*** can get pretty real/devastating, but you know what I’m getting at.
Discipline is admittedly something with which I have little experience, as my son only just turned one. Those times aren’t “fun dad” times, but teaching opportunities, which are much more important. Being an ally for your child is a better goal than being their friend. I mean, you can still be their friend too. I’m just saying. Priorities.
Positivity is important, because your kids are always looking at you and learning. Even when things aren’t fun, be positive, encouraging, and understanding.
Those parents that always seem upbeat, laid-back, and fun are having tough times too that you don’t always see. Kids are hard, but also rewarding, and yes, a ton of fun. A fun dad that is also a good dad is being positive and energetic with his kids, but also helpful, constructive, and serious when need be.
If you are a good dad, then you are already interacting in positive ways with your kids daily, so you will be a fun dad too. So, don’t focus on being carefree and fun; focus on being the involved, well-rounded good dad that your kids need.
Good luck with that, the vomit, and the sweating. So much sweating.
There has been a lot of online talk recently about Star Wars fatigue with all the movies coming out. Do I have it?
Let’s preface this by saying: there is a lot of online talk about everything. Most of the “voices” involved in such things are haters. Why the internet is such a hateful, negative place is a question for another time.
Star Wars fatigue is a legitimate issue though (as legitimate an “issue” as something like this can be anyway (first-world problems)). The same questions arise in other places too, like the Marvel movies, Call of Duty, and other things that keep churning out like clockwork.
So is Star Wars fatigue real? Yes. Have I experienced it?
If you can’t view media or listen to the above video: I said no. No, I have not experienced Star Wars fatigue.
Honestly, it is understandable that some individuals may be getting a bit tired of Star Wars. A movie per year, video games, books, toys – Disney is really milking this multi-billion dollar purchase. Wouldn’t you if you made a multi-billion dollar purchase?
Why was the franchise so expensive to buy in the first place? People love it. Millions of people love it.
So, many will get fatigued by the influx of new stuff. Particularly old heads that think there hasn’t been a good Star Wars movie since 1983. These sour people are unfortunately blinded by nostalgia and cannot be convinced otherwise. You still know they’re shelling out to go see each movie, even if only to complain about it later in some comment section somewhere.
These are the same people that will say Michael Jordan is the unquestioned greatest even if LeBron averages 60 points this year.
Disney has even reportedly nixed some new movie ideas or at least put them off because of less-than-ideal receptions to The Last Jedi and Solo. A crying shame I say.
For me, there will never be enough Star Wars. I was first exposed to the originals, grew up with the prequels, and was thrilled when the sequels started coming out recently. The spin-offs and side-stories like Rogue One and Solo are just what the doctor ordered as well.
Even with The Last Jedi, which took things in some odd directions, I was able to compartmentalize and appreciate any fan-service, lightsaber action, and Chewbacca sightings I could get.
Expectations shouldn’t be for each movie to be better than the last, but for there to be dramatic conflicts, fantastic locals, droids aplenty, and some magic via the force.
I am confident in each movie delivering that, so I say bring it on. A movie each year, more books than I could ever read, Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes on my phone, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order on Xbox later this year… I’m soaking it up as every fan should be.
Get on board nerds! It is going to be a long ride, so please enjoy it with me!
I’ve only been a dad for 10 months or so, but I’m afraid I already have the look.
I wasn’t sure what fatherhood would look like for me, but that’s probably because I needed glasses. Yes, after 27 years of seeing scenic Missouri and beyond unaided by a lens, I now have specs.
It turns out I am near-sighted – something I have been slowly realizing over the past six months or so. After struggling to see street signs while trying to Uber people back to their homes, I realized that it was time to get checked out.
The “aha” moment had already happened when I tried on a near-sighted friend’s pair of glasses and could suddenly read the digital clock on the microwave. The true final straw was getting tucked in a corner table at Buffalo Wild Wings and not being able to read the score of an NBA playoff game.
As a basic white boy, no one messes with my beer/wings/sports trifecta at BWWs; not even my own eyes.
I opted to forgo the frames and lenses at the optomostrist’s office and was glad I did, nabbing a pair for a third the price at Sam’s Club. I’m still getting used to them, but it is certainly a marked quality of life improvement.
The dad look
Glasses are really just the icing on the cake as I continue to round out my classic dad look. My dad bod is in full form, with a beer belly that hangs over the waist of my pants and a tan line that screams “I mow and grill, but that’s about it.”
I feel like I still look college age, though that gets thrown in my face often when I see college-age adults. They look like wee babies.
My wife and I have a guilty pleasure of watching the Bachelor/Bachelorette every Monday. The participants usually cap in age around their low 30’s. The ones my age look like old people and the ones that are younger than me look like they aren’t ready for marriage.
Most of the viewership of that show probably say things like: “UGH I hate her – she is SO skinny.” In my case, it is: “How TF does he still have so much hair?? Screw that guy.”
Aging happens to everyone and I acknowledge that I am super lucky that I got 27 glasses-free years under my belt. Still, it is an interesting thing changing into a full-fledged adult and father. Now all I need are some nice white New Balances to mow that yard in. Then I can completely become a fatherly spectacle.
The Golden State Warriors – I do not like them here or there, I do not like them anywhere.
Could I root for them in a house? Could I root for them if I was a louse? Maybe. A louse seems like it could really relate to Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins.
There was a time when I was absolutely rooting for Golden State. Stephen Curry was finally consistently healthy and pairing nicely with fellow sharpshooter, Klay Thompson. The Warriors built that team through the draft, including Draymond Green, who had not yet blossomed into such an obvious buffoon.
The threes, the ball movement, the impossible-made-possible by Steph Curry – it made for one of the most exciting basketball teams in the NBA. I am a big fan of parity in the association, so for this organic squad to rise to the top in the absence of Kobe Bryant and the Big-3 era Celtics was a blast for me.
With the addition of Andre Iguodala and a solid supporting cast, they transformed into one of the greatest teams in history. During the 2015-16 season, they won a record 73 games, but somehow proved mortal, falling into a 3-1 hole against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Finals. They still managed to claw back, but did lose to LeBron James and his over-performing Cleveland Cavaliers.
Then, something terrible happened.
After losing those Finals, Draymond Green immediately text the best scorer in the NBA, OKC Thunder forward, Kevin Durant in an attempt to recruit him. What do you do if you’re KD? The Thunder were one game from beating the top team in regular season history and advancing to the Finals with the team that drafted you, playing for a city that completely embraced you.
Well, if you can’t beat ’em… or even if you could beat ’em but just blew it, apparently, you join ’em. From a competitive standpoint: what an a-hole.
I love the NBA as a whole more than I love any individual team. That said, I would claim the OKC Thunder as my favorite if you were making me choose. You would think that would make me biased, but the consensus of basketball fandom seems to agree that this was a cowardly move by Durant.
Wil Harrington could have joined Golden State instead of Durant and won a title that following season. That’s how meaningless his championship ring is. The cowardliness of joining the team that beat his will forever outweigh any accomplishments he has with them once it’s said and done.
As for the rest of the team, my issue is fatigue. Like I mentioned, I appreciate parity, so for one team to be on top so long has worn on me.
Draymond Green is a groin-kicking pissy-pants that is just in the right situation on a great team. Klay Thompson is an incredible shooter, but he is so wooden that when he celebrates or pretends to be fired-up it is just awkward for everyone.
I still love Steph Curry, but all the shoulder-shimmying and cutsie stuff isn’t as likeable when you are such a front runner. At that point, it is just showboating. Keep your mouth-guard in your mouth, Steph. Oh, and his Under Armour shoe line looks like it would be purchased only by old men that would pronounce his name “Steven.”
DeMarcus Cousins mostly speaks for himself. He is a hot-head superstar that left a decent situation to sign for minimum money to get a ring. When healthy, he may be a top-3 center in the NBA. He has been hurt most of the year and hasn’t had time to mesh well anyway.
Sounds like a bunch of sour grapes right? Yup. I won’t argue that I am a complaining complainer who complains when it comes to these guys. I’m not usually one to so staunchly root against a team, but things are different with this squad.
I was bummed to see Kevin Durant’s achilles injury. I was hoping he could be on the floor AND lose to the Toronto Raptors in these Finals. Though I like the Warriors more without him, I’ll still be rooting for their downfall as the current series concludes.
Hopefully they blow up over the offseason and I can start rooting for a few of these guys again. Not you though, Draymond. Go Raptors! #WeTheNorth
If you or someone you know is in need of concise, engaging content, look no further! (Well, keep reading at least)
This site has been a fun way for me to practice writing while establishing myself as a freelance writer. Through added experience with Grown Gaming and Thunderous Intentions, my practice and growth has paid off. I have now gained footing as a freelancer and social media manager.
Propelled by my passion for sports, I have been able to grow in the world of online content creation through The Basketball Movement and Yanders Law. I have authored over 200 blog posts, taken the reigns of Facebook and Twitter for both organizations, interviewed athletes from local schools to the pro level, and sprinkled in some email marketing as well.
As much as I love basketball and sports in general, it should also be noted that I do not intend to limit myself to this lane of content creation.
But enough about me!
Actually, wait a second… Here is a bit more about me.
My degree in general business and background in financial analysis aid in my ability to write for organizations or brands in any field. I would love to provide sample blog or social media posts to demonstrate the positive light I can shine on your business or brand!
Being a remote independent contractor, I can work with anyone. I still love that the organizations I currently work with are native to Southwest Missouri. I have a community-centered mentality in all of my work. Whether online-only or locally, I enjoy building relationships with clients from all walks of life.
My work is primarily conducted remotely, though I can be available to travel for interviews, events, or anything else you would like me to write about. I think you will find me wildly pleasant in person. Fingers crossed.
If you or someone you know has a business of any size that could use a more engaging website or dynamic social presence, email me at email@example.com and we can discuss the benefits I could provide.