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It’s currently 9pm in Hawaii and everyone else in my family (all 12 of them) are asleep, but because I’m a college student and dead week and finals completely changed my sleep schedule (and not to mention the few days of break I’ve had) there is no way I’m going to bed now. Which is perfectly fine with me because it finally gives me time to get some thoughts onto some metaphorical paper.

With the closing of 2010, it’s only natural to think about what has happened in the whirlwind of 12 months that are now almost completely behind us. I’ve always been kind of a sentimental guy; no clue why, but I am. 2010 was one of the craziest years of my life, which seems just about right for where I am in life. I mean, I’m 21 now, shouldn’t life start to get kind of crazy? As much as parts of it hurt, the healing that took place, and the ways that it took place made this year one of my favorites.

There is no doubt in my mind that God used 2010 to pull me closer to him and help me refocus my life. For the first time in my life I’m really not sure where I want to take my career. I do know that I’m ok with that. I figure it will all play out in front of me pretty soon, and I’ve got to know that God is in charge of that.

I think the biggest thing I’ve learned in 2010 is just how blessed I am to have the friends that I have. A good amount of my closest friends weren’t really my friends until February. 10 months and I already can’t imagine life without them. Sometimes people just come along and they push you in all the right ways and they provide something that you really need in your life. I was lucky enough to have several of them come into my life. I owe a lot to these friends and I hope that they understand just how much they mean to me. It’s my goal to treat them in such a way that they will always know that. I’m really looking forward to growing my friendships in 2011.

As far as 2011 is concerned, I’m looking forward to doing something big. I don’t know what that really means, but I feel like it is out there for me. I’ve tossed around a few ideas with some people and I think there is an opportunity out there. I’ve found myself drawing inspiration from Jamie Tworkowski (found of To Write Love on Her Arms), Jon Foreman (lead singer of Switchfoot) and Donald Miller (author of ‘Blue Like Jazz’) recently. They are all people who have accomplished great things but they are transparent that they are human; they have vices and struggles. I just want to continue to grow and make an impact on those around me.

I might get around to posting a “my favorites of 2010” post, but then again I’m not sure many people actually care. If anything it will give me something to do when everyone else is asleep. I hope that you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Know that you are loved.

I’ve been thinking about a few things for a little while and I figured I might as well put them down somewhere so I can stop just going over them in my head.

For a little while now I’ve been really considering if I want to go into sports broadcasting (working for a college or pro team, nothing to do with news) for a career or not. I feel like I want to do something that I know has a bigger impact. I want to know that my work is helping people or making a difference somehow. When I’ve thought about how to do this I’ve seen me working for a church or non-profit of some sort. There is an energy in that community that I love. I’ve been looking at an internship with To Write Love on Her Arms for a while now, and while I don’t think I have much of a shot at it, I’m going to apply. What do I have to lose?

Over the past month I’ve felt a tug to get closer to God and live a life more pleasing to him. It started when my good friend, Jeff Slobotski, tweeted a link to Psalm 37:5 “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will act.” For some reason that really just struck something with me. I just need to do everything I do for Him. Shortly after that I saw something on tumblr that I found really cool.

Isn’t life about loving and helping people? That’s what I want to do. Someone asked me to go to church with them and I knew when she said it that I need to go, so I did, and now I’ve decided to make that my church in Lincoln and make an effort to go as much as possible. It’s just something that I know I need.

On a separate note: I’ve wanted to get a tattoo for some time now. I’ve been dead set on a design since mid-summer and would get it in a heartbeat. There’s one problem: my grandma HATES tattoos. She’s always said if you get a tattoo you lose your inheritance. That’s a problem because she’s helping me pay for my new car until I graduate. I finally decided that I needed to ask my grandma about it. This past weekend I was in Iowa celebrating my grandma’s 80th birthday when we got on the subject of tattoos. To my surprise (and delight), I found out my cousin also wants to get a tattoo. The discussion quickly turned to an argument with my cousin and myself pitted against my aunt, my grandma and my mom. They started with the biblical arguments about it which I’ve heard so I could dispute and they gave up on that. It turned to personal choice; they just don’t like tattoos, and, in a way I guess, they were saying if I got a tattoo they wouldn’t like me. Now I know that isn’t true, but it does seem like what they are saying would classify their love as conditional. It’s frustrating. The tattoo that I want is to remind me of 1)God’s great love for me and 2)how I should love others. It means a lot to me, but that doesn’t matter to them. They hear tattoo and can only think of the ugly ones they see or the ones they say people “regret.” Isn’t it my choice to find out if I regret it over time? I still want my tattoo, in fact my wanting of it grows everyday. But I know that right now I can’t afford to polarize my family like that.

One last thing (this is already much longer than I anticipated). I am now 24 days into No Shave November. Those of you that have seen me know just how, um, “unique” my beard looks. Those of you who have not seen me, be thankful. I knew I’d get a lot of comments on it when I saw my family but I really got tired of their typical response: “You’ll never get a girlfriend with that!” Now I know it’s essentially a harmless, joking phrase but after you hear it so many times it starts to wear on you. Couple that with the fact it seems like every time I talk to someone in my family they always have to ask if I have a girlfriend. It’s almost like my family needs me to have one. I don’t know why, but they do. Now I’m not against having a girlfriend at all, actually the opposite, but I’m not going to just go out and find a girl because I want one. I’m going to live my life and let it happen.

That was probably just a lot of me ranting, but hopefully there was something good in there. I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving. Make sure you take time to be thankful for what you have, we don’t do it enough.

My tattoo design:

 

I’ve mentioned Tim Halperin on here a few times. I met Tim through show choir in high school and was amazed by his musical talents. I watched him in The Few and Far Between (probably saw them play at least 8 times during my freshman year). I always knew that Tim would create some great music of his own but what he is doing now is absolutely amazing.

Yesterday Tim released his first full-length music video, and dang, did he do it right. The video for “She Runs” is a continuous shot video which he produced with the help of a lot of his friends and fans. It is a perfect compliment for this great song. It is the official song of my summer and the video just makes me love the song even more.

Do yourself a favor and watch the video right now. Then head to noisetrade.com and download his “Make or Break” EP for FREE. Once you’ve done those steps it becomes really simple: listen and repeat. You’ll thank me when you’re hearing Tim on national radio and seeing him tour with some big names. It’s going to happen. And no one deserves it more than Tim.

Tim Halperin's music video for "She Runs"

Tim Halperin's music video for "She Runs"

Please excuse this outburst of blog posts. I’ve been writing them in my head for days and I decided I’d take advantage of this day off from my job to actually type them out.

This idea popped into my head on Saturday and I really want to make it happen. The idea was motivated by all of the free shirts I received this weekend from Storenvy at BigOmaha. Not only do the shirts publicize Storenvy, but they are brilliantly designed which makes me want to wear them so much more. This lead me to ask myself, “could I get companies to give me their shirts to wear as free advertising for them?” I think I can, I just don’t really know how to get companies to give me their shirts. I figured I could blog about the shirts that I get and the story behind that company. Since I’m a video person I could create a video interview or profile of the company. And at the suggestion of Christine, whenever someone asks me about my shirt, I’d take a picture of them and explain to them what the company is and what my goal is. I’m also throwing out the idea of a public, online database where I could inventory my shirts and when I wear them and anyone who cared could see the details.

I’d love to make this happen and I’d love for everyone’s help. If you have an idea for how I can make this happen, let me know! If you work for a company that wants to give me a shirt, perfect! If you think I’m stupid and should give up, let me know that too. Just be nice, I’m fragile.

On Sunday, Craig and I loaded up in my dad’s Honda and sped off (more on that later) to KC to witness the one and only Conan O’Brien live in concert. The quest to see Conan live started in the fall of 07. My parents told me they were taking me to NYC as part of my graduation present so I immediately said we’d have to see Conan. Long story short: Conan was taping the week we were there. So when I read that Conan was going to KC on my blackberry during class I freaked and ran to the closest computer after class. I bought two tickets just assuming someone would want to come along.

After killing time at the Plaza, we hit up Jack Stack for some great KC style BBQ. And it was definitely delicious and highly recommended.

Conan was everything I hoped he’d be. It was a perfect blend of comedy and music which really helped the show feel like an experience. Conan said that he hoped it would feel like “an evening with Conan O’Brien” and I’d say he definitely accomplished that. From cracking jokes at the clauses in his contract with NBC to well-crafted videos to a guest appearance by Jason Sudeikis to pull the “Chuck Norris Rural Cop Handle” the night was fantastic. It was just one of those nights I can’t really explain but I know I’ll always remember, which obviously translates well to a blog post (sarcasm).

The night was topped off my first Waffle House experience. At one point I thought I was going to die, and I think that is what the Waffle House experience is all about anyway. Some sheriff decided to rain on our parade and give me a nice $133 speeding ticket which will definitely leave a dent in my account. Oh well, I’d say it was definitely worth the experience.

We all know how concert photos turn out

@craig_nash slapping me for the camera

Photo courtesy of Malone & Co.

So BigOmaha was almost a week ago and I’m still processing some of what I learned. That’s probably a good thing actually. But I figured I’d do my best to put some of what I learned to this digital paper and see what comes of it:

First off, BigOmaha was a freakin’ blast! Last year it was cool to go and hear all the speakers but this year it was at least 100x better being a volunteer.  I worked the merch table both days which I actually really enjoyed. It’s always been a dream of mine to work at the Apple Store (weird dream, I know) and fir two days I got to kind of get that feeling. It didn’t hurt that I was using an iPad and a square to do all the credit  card transactions, which consequently made me the most popular guy in the room at times. It was also really cool to talk to some people who had come from all over the US to be at BigOmaha. I had to enter a lot of S.F. zip codes.

Being a volunteer also gave me the opportunity to connect with the other volunteers, who were some of the coolest people I’ve met in a while. While I don’t know where I fit in with the start-up and tech communities, I do know one thing: something cool is happening in those communities and I want to being around that. The whole reason behind BigOmaha is to help foster the amazing environment Omaha has for businesses and that is definitely seen all across the conference.

I only got to watch a few of the speakers which was fine with me considering that the videos will be online shortly and the fact that sometimes I get speaker-ADD causing me to just tune out what they are saying. What I did see of the speakers, I loved. Here’s a rundown of what I saw and what I learned:

  • Scott Belskey of Behance – The portion I saw of Scott’s talked focused on how to make your creative ideas happen. He stressed the importance of organization with you creativity. This is definitely something that I want to implement more from writing down a lot more of my ideas to following through and making them happen. I think I’ll start with Sojourner Shows, which hopefully you will all know about soon!
  • Scott Harrison of charity: water – This was definitely the talk I will remember, mainly due to the subject of it. From now on I will do my best to support charity: water and it’s goals. I just think that everything they do, from having two different accounts for running the business side of the charity and the charity side to their use of geo-location is amazing. It just seems like charity: water is set-up in the right way to make a positive impact and they are focused on making that impact day in and day out.
  • Matt Mullenweg of WordPress – So what I saw of this talk was very techy so I didn’t quite follow everything that was going on. But hey, he created this website and I’d say it’s going pretty well and I appreciate what he does. Plus, the interview set-up was cool.
  • Gary Vaynerchuk of WineLibraryTV – Gary is one of my favorites. Even though I’ve never had a slip of wine outside of communion I really admire what he is doing. I could watch videos of his keynotes on YouTube all day. He’s just so engaging and motivating but at the same time hilarious. The most important thing I got out of Gary’s was building a brand. I want to build the brand of Jordan Johnson (or maybe people will only know my twitter handle and it’ll be the brand of jordanjohnson23). If I position myself with people who I meet or who read my stuff online as a guy who is genuine and caring then when I move into the business world (or whatever my career is) I’m more likely to get their support. So this is my daily goal now, to grow my brand in all the right ways. Also, it was awesome to meet Gary and talk to him briefly, as well as get a tweet from him.
  • Speaker Q&A – Last year, the impromptu Q&A was a highlight and this year the Q&A was great again. It was just really cool to see 5 speakers share their different ideas on one question and see how they were similar and how they were different. It also allowed the attendees to get a better sense of the speaker’s personalities and style by putting them on the spot.
  • Dennis Crowly of foursquare – I joined foursquare the day before Big Omaha because I figured I should since Dennis was speaking. I walked away from his talk with a much deeper appreciation for foursquare. It was really interesting to see Dennis’ progression from his early projects and the twists and turns he endured to get to foursquare. I apologize to all of those who hate my “checking in” tweets. I’m getting addicted. I just want to be the mayor somewhere.
  • Tony Hsieh of zappos – Tony’s talk was definitely a good one, and paired with Gary’s it definitely gave me more insight to building my brand. I was blown away with his stories about zappos’ customer service and everything they do to create a brand that people identify with.

So that’s a quick wrap-up of BigOmaha 2010. I’ll post a link to the videos of the talks when it is available. Trust me, you’ll want to see it. I’m excited to see where the knowledge I gained at BigOmaha takes me, and I’m excited to build some relationships that I formed as well. Thanks for stopping by. Leave a comment if you feel so inclined!

So, this spring break was not what I imagined it would be a month and a half ago. Heck, it wasn’t even what I imagined it would be two weeks ago, but you know what, it was one of the best I’ve ever had. I’ve gone through a lot in the past 5 weeks and as much as that sucks, it is also a good thing. Like people always say, “when one door closes, another opens” and I’m hoping a few more will open. Not only did I continue to become friends with a great group of new people, I took an existing friendship to a place where I hoped it would get. I think that this break was a good reminder for me to slow down and appreciate those who are going through everything with me. So to those of you who are there with me: thanks and I’m looking forward to what is ahead. Now for a list of things that made my spring break awesome (in semi-chronological order):

  • Boombox and Smash Mouth
  • Staying up till 6:15am to play XBOX
  • Belly beans, belly jeans, and jelly beans
  • Massive amounts of Grand Theft Auto
  • Seeing my life planned out for me via PowerPoint
  • Finally going to Alvarado’s
  • Seeing a couple seriously consider which film to select from the secret room at Family Video
  • Seeing Copeland play for the last time
  • Singing Party in the USA at the top of my lung driving through downtown Omaha
  • Seeing my first tweeker
  • Some good text messages
  • Ordering my halloween costume
  • Turning a birthday party into a GTA party
  • Seeing Manchester Orchestra

Unfortunately, I was thrown back to reality quickly with this week. I’m really pretty positive about what lies ahead of me. I’ll see what I can do about posting some more interesting stuff on here. Leave me some feedback if you feel like it. Thanks for stopping by.

Manchester Orchestra

Copeland

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