How to Kick Ass When Coloring with a Child

If you have to color with a kid, you might as well crush it. Because once you start, you will want to dominate. You know it, admit it, coloring is not just a fun bonding project with a kid; it’s a chance to prove your value to the child and your worth to the world. So if you screw it up, you’ll be pissed.

So don’t. Don’t screw it up. Focus. Plan. Know what to do, and how to do it. Read this blog post and be prepared to amaze yourself, your friends, your family, and most importantly, this child of yours who’s expecting you to be a leader. There’s room on that fridge for both pics.

1. Use the right products

Use quality crayons. Never. I mean never, buy generic. Don’t price shop, and don’t visit the dollar store. Just make a b-line to the name brand crayons. Generic colors leave behind thick chunks of wax. They also break in half just by hearing your voice. And some don’t even include the name of the color on the paper wrap!

Don’t use just any old coloring book. Choose the book, and the page, carefully. Avoid those narrow lines that are too easy to color outside of. And choose pages without micro-sized areas like dots on dresses or lemon slices in cups. Keep it simple. Keep it large. You want to color well, but you should NOT be spending enough time practicing to be able to perfect the narrow lines on Strawberry Shortcake’s tights. So, instead of coloring her whole outfit, choose to color the page with that one big-ass strawberry. Now that’s more like it.

2. Protect your work

The two-year-old in your life will aim to destroy your masterpiece. So distance yourself. Put her on the opposite end of the table. Or better yet, play hide-and-seek color-time; place her in the kitchen, and you in the living room. If you want to spend this time bonding, do so at your own risk! But, you can attempt to put a box of colors as a border wall between you. Or you can use books as the barrier. Whatever it takes, make it impossible for those foot-long arms of hers to touch your shit, or her rainbow scribbles will slice through the eyes of your brilliant Elmo art.

Also: occupy her. Assuming she’s coloring with you, close her coloring book before handing it to her. Make her open and look through that shit. This will buy you at least a minute. Then, be prepared to also nod your had and mumble when she yaps at you. You’re old now, you should totally have the advantage over this Toddler when it comes to faking conversation. Also: Stickers. Get this girl a sheet of stickers and you will have the most privacy you’ve had since her last nap. WARNING: if you have no barrier between you and the kid, prepare to see those stickers land squarely on your work.

3. Stay in the lines

“Yeah, no shit,” you say. Well, it’s easier said than done. You must plan. See Tip #1 above and start with a thick-lined coloring book — or at least a thick-lined page within the book. Swallow your pride, for God’s sake. We’re looking for something hangable here, we’re not aiming to build up some sort of internal bravado. No one will call you out for using a thick-lined page. They won’t know you put this much thought into it.


4. Don’t use white crayons

The color white shouldn’t even be included in the coloring box. Who’s idea was that? Surely they’ve been fired by now. It’s obvious that white does not contrast enough with the color of the paper, yet it frustratingly contrasts too much with the black lines. There is no way to use white and win. Avoid it, like some sort reverse racist coloring Nazi.

5. Use white

Stick with me here. It’s the perfect way to add a different tone to the same color on the same object from a different angle. For instance, boots. Or 3D buttons. Or lion noses.


6. Never use a color sharpener

Seriously. If you do, you’ll never be able to properly color those seemingly easy, large areas. They’ll never be consistent shades if you use a sharpened crayon. And that’s the second most obvious way to fail at this task of crushing your coloring job (it’s second only to coloring outside the lines). To ensure consistent coloring of large areas, it’s up to you: you must manually angle your crayons’ tips while coloring or scribbling on a meaningless separate page. Be meticulous with this. The angling of the color tip is the most under-rated coloring advice you’ll ever receive. Since you must avoid sharpening with a sharpener, but keep the color sharp, you must proactively and continuously angle the color tip so there’s a large area to color large areas. And then by default there will be a sharp tip for the small areas.

7. Sign it

You worked your ass off. You read this blog post, twice. You even printed or bookmarked it. So get your credit. Teach your daughter that quality matters. Show the family who the boss is. Don’t be forgotten, and beam with pride when you notice your masterpiece each time you grab yourself a beer.

The 11 Reasons it’s Good to be Short

Short people get a bad rap. Short jokes are a dime a dozen, and all the research shows that short people aren’t as successful, rich, high-achieving or influential as their taller counterparts.

But I’ve been short all my life, and I’m here to tell you that it is not all doom-and-gloom for my short brethren. For 25 years of my life I’ve been writing down the reasons I am grateful to be short. I started this list because this miraculous group of short people absolutely needs support—yet there are absolutely no support groups for short people.

So, short people: take a read and be inspired.

Tall people: read this and weep.

11. Short people more easily tolerate rainy days

When walking in the rain next to people with umbrellas, short people don’t get poked in the head and eyes as easily as tall people do. If you’re from the less-crowded Middle America this may not seem like that big of a deal. But in crowded, pedestrian-driven cities like New York, tall people have to deal with thousands of umbrella-wielding, hurried commuters swinging the sharp umbrella edges at eye level. Short people’s eyes are at a safe height below umbrella-poking level.

BONUS: Short people can sneak underneath the umbrellas of the tall masses and receive extra coverage from the rain.

10. Short people are better for the environment

We use less fabric in our clothing, we probably eat much less, and we just typically don’t need as much stuff. Therefore the environmental footprint of a short person is much less overbearing than that of a tall person. And if you haven’t noticed, the health of our environment is quite important, and I would argue that it’s the tall people who are leading the way to the beginning of the end.

9. Short people pay less for clothing

Sometimes you can fit in kids clothes, which are always cheaper. Also, you are NEVER charged for extra fabric needed in manufacturing. XXXL-sized shirt-wearers not only have to pay that extra $3 per t-shirt at racing events, but they actually require entire dedicated wings in clothing stores and even entire stores!

An industry standard example of product size charts. Big and tall people just pay more for clothing, it’s that simple. [Image Credit: Drunk Cyclist]

8. Short people befriend children more easily

If you haven’t noticed yet, you will now. Short people have an immediate and special bond with children of all ages. (And if we were going to be honest as adults, we all secretly would prefer to be sitting at the children’s table.)

Kids keep us young. They remind us to appreciate everyday life occurrences we typically take for granted — like playing in the park, listening to the sound of a bird chirping, or installing the latest Clash of Clans update.

Therefore, this advantage for short people is quite monumental. Just by default, the most appreciative and least jaded humans on earth — children — prefer short people over tall people.

But why?

Short people look more like kids

Short adults are only slightly taller than children, which makes short adults less intimidating and more unique.

Children expect grown-ups to be much taller than them. When children see short adults, they are immediately intrigued by this uniqueness. Short adults stick out to children, kind of like Barney, Doc McStuffins, and Elmo.

Short people can easily empathize with kids

Short people are able to share with children their similar issues with being short. Together the two can talk about getting shots blocked and not being able to reach the top shelf. It’s an immediate conversation-starter.

Short people have an advantage over tall people when communicating and empathizing with children [Image Credit: WASHINGTON STATE DEPARTMENT’S CHILDREN’S ADMINISTRATION OFFICE OF CHILD CARE POLICY]

But more importantly it’s easier for a short person to drop to eye level to talk to a child. This allows a short person to quickly appear more empathetic to the dramatic plight of a child. In fact, to quote the Children’s Administration Office of Child Care:

Eye contact improves communication. You may have to stoop or sit to be eye-to-eye with young children, but the results will justify your effort … In the eyes of a child, you may be a giant. Whatever you can do to minimize the distance and the difference in size will help improve your communications.

Short people are amazing at Hide-&-Seek

This may be the least debatable and most valuable advantage of being short. Mainly because beating a child at Hide-&-Seek is a surefire way to build grade school street cred.

Tall people are so limited in their hiding options that it’s almost comical. Short people can hide under more beds, fit behind doors more easily, and squeeze into dog houses, clothing dryers, trunks of cars — and this is just the short list (pun not necessarily intended).

Check the archives: you have never seen a Hide-&-Seek Champion over 5’6″.

7. Short people are more comfortable when flying

This needs very little explanation, and of course extends to all other types of transportation: small or crowded cars, cross country train rides, public buses, school buses, urban subways.

Tall people just can’t get comfortable when traveling. [Image credit:Dave DuCille, a tall, successful Realtor in Tampa Bay, Florida]

In airplanes, short people’s knees don’t bang against the seat in front of them like tall people’s knees do. This extra space doesn’t just feel better, but it’s also extremely practical: it allows more room for carry-on items, including backpacks, electronics, luggage, and other short people.

Short people are also more comfortable using hotel shower heads, lying on loveseats. Damn it feels good to be a shortie.

6. Short people can, in effect, read people’s minds

Let’s face it: being short is obvious. In fact, it’s impossible for someone to NOT notice that a short person is short. Being short in a tall-loving world ensures that everyone a short person meets or speaks to notices that the short person is short.

This is a Jedi mind trick advantage for short people. Ironically, it makes speech-making and conversation-starting much less stressful.

In all of life’s conversations, you achieve a significant increase in confidence if you know what the other person is thinking.

Short people can earn immediate respect in just a few self-deprecating words

Everybody appreciates another person’s self-deprecation. It earns coolness points. Tall and short people alike appreciate someone who can laugh at themselves and who isn’t in denial about their supposed deficiencies.

Napolean actually did short people a huge favor. Now, all short people have to do is not be assholes, throw in a pinch of humbleness, and then magically you’re liked!

5. Short people have nothing to lose in the pick-up scene

Being short can be a pick-up artist’s secret weapon

Short people have their height as default peacocking — the act of wearing something or achieving a unique appearance that receives attention by potential mates.

Short people have an ironic advantage when starting conversations and picking up members of the opposite sex. [Image Credit:]

Short people know that potential mates prefer tall people. And when starting at the back of the line, the only way to go is forward.

The only way to go is up.

This is the situation for short people at the beginning of the courting process. Knowing this is a huge advantage over taller competition. Literally having nothing to lose is the most freeing and confidence-building situation possible.

Short people are able to live like they were dying.


Or, less dramatically, flirt like it can’t get worse!

4. Short people have an advantage in many competitive sports

Weight lifting. Gymnastics. Baseball. Professional tree-climbing. The aforementioned professional Hide-&-Seek playing. And much more. The lower center of gravity, shorter distance to extension, and overall smaller body type is a huge and consistent advantage across numerous athletic competitions.

Short baseball players have smaller strike zones

Smaller strike zones make it more difficult for pitchers, who are typically tall, to throw strikes to short hitters. In fact, read up on Eddie Gaedel, the shortest baseball player in history, at 3’7″, who only had one at-bat. He walked.

[Image Credit: Wikipedia]

Short running backs (RB) are harder to tackle

Being shorter than everyone else on the field ensures that defensive players are much more challenged in finding and tackling you — a HUGE advantage for a running back. To quote BJ Kissel from Bleacher Report:

You don’t want the player (running back) to stand too tall in the backfield because it makes him easier to find for the defensive players. Shorter players can “hide” behind the taller offensive linemen. You also want to have a low center of gravity and make it easier to get underneath the pads of defenders looking to make a tackle.

In fact, being short has become such an advantage for NFL Running Backs that the average RB height decreased nearly a full inch between 2002 and 2012.

NFL RBs are getting shorter. h/t to Alex Burwasser from BS Sports Stats Insights

Only short people can be jockeys

And of course we all know that only short people can even consider riding horses for a living. Fast Fact: In the U.S the minimum riding weight is 53kg — around the average size of a 14 to 15-year-old boy (CNN).

Olympic Gymnasts benefit from being short

Gymnastic events would be extremely challenging for tall athletes. We’ll just have to assume this, though, BECAUSE NO TALL PEOPLE ARE GYMNASTS! Whipping that body around bars, balancing on beams and turning flips require a compact base and an unparalleled physique that only the short can offer.

Fast Fact: the average height of the U.S. Olympic Men’s Gymnastics Team in 2010 was 5’6″. That’s 4.5 inches shorter than the average U.S. Male.

3. Short people make better entrepreneurs

You heard it here first, folks. (Or maybe you didn’t, because Inc. Magazine covered it months ago.) But for short people with a chip on their shoulder, this makes total sense.

Consider this quote from fellow short person and author John Warrilow, who sprang into entrepreneurship after being rejected by a hiring agent, in part due to his height:

Shortly after the interview I was turned down. I was told something about “not being ready.”

“Well, screw you,” I thought. “I am ready and I’ll prove it.” So I started a company and have never worked for anyone since.

Realize that descriptive terms like “tenacity” and “perseverance” appear on all lists of necessary traits for an entrepreneur. Short people typically spend their entire lives, from childhood to adulthood, working harder than tall people for what they achieve. In adulthood short people have a harder time capturing the attention and respect of followers like staff and Board members. There is simply a proven prejudice against short people in leadership positions.

A few years ago I had a female friend tell me her theory that beautiful women weren’t pressured to use their brains as much as their less-attractive counterparts. Surely tall people, male or female, also fit this mold.

2. Short people are more likely to over-achieve

The general population (see: average height and tall people) expects less from short people. Short people, therefore, can easily take advantage of these lower expectations — simply by not sucking.

When a short person succeeds at anything, they surprise the masses by exceeding the lower expectations already set for short people. Virtually any time a short person simply succeeds, he or she is hailed as an OVER-achiever.

Exhibit A:


No place else is this ease at over-achieving more obvious than in the aforementioned world of sports. You will rarely see “Tall Athlete’s Succeed” lists. But lists like “Top 5 Short MLB Pitchers” are all over the web.

Spud Webb’s victorious Slam Dunk competition is a prime example of this over-achieving bias. Dominique Wilkens would have NEVER won the 1986 NBA Slam Dunk Competition with as simple of a dunk as Spud Webb’s (shown below); regardless, no one will ever think less of the 5′ 7″ Spud, and he will remain historic in his success.


Acting is another great example. To quote Zach Galifianakis about Bradley Cooper “basically carrying the hangover movies.”:

Yeah, everybody loves Bradley. Good for him.

Being like that in Hollywood? That’s easy. Tall, handsome: that’s easy. Be short, fat and smell like Dorito’s and try to make it in Hollywood.

Skip to 1:58:

In any pursuit, if you start at the bottom, you only need to approach the top to earn respect.

I serve as one example. I grew up a decent athlete. I made all the All-Star teams in Little League baseball and youth basketball, and often my teams won Championships and set records.

I even received personal awards in high school, twice winning “Mr. Hustle,” and being voted to the All-Conference and All-District football teams as a defensive back. Not to mention that I won the game ball on my adult wood-bat baseball team after a tournament in Cooperstown, NY.

But wanna know a secret? I was never better than the players around me. I was only shorter.

And yes, I did have a Spud Webb poster in my bedroom as a child.

1. Short people get less cancer

Breaking news: being tall is hazardous to your health. Cancer, specifically, seems to prefer tall people. Full disclosure: I didn’t (want to) read the stingy details of the studies; The headlines were just too good to pass up.

Surely causation could someday be found here. But for now correlation works for me. (I’m writing a Short Person listicle here!)

But one thing’s for sure: tall people just have more body. They have more skin, larger body organs, and just overall more places that cancer can reside.

[Image Credit:]

Short people: rejoice. Ignore the masses, and appreciate your stature.

WARNING & DISCLOSURE: as a marketing consultant advising full transparency in business communications, and as a pseudo-journalist with a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri School of Journalism, I highly recommend you ignore all headlines and instead skip to the article’s details—especially the articles you read online.

It’s the end of the world as we know it. But we’ll be fine.

If you missed it this week, the scientific community announced an ironic pair of headlines: Earth will soon be destroyed, yet humans will live forever.

A group of  “22 internationally known” UC Berkeley scientists state that the world is totally screwed, as we approach half our land becoming industrialized: “Scientists uncover evidence of impending tipping point for Earth.”

However, not to be outdone, Ray Kurzweil, an inductee into the Inventors Hall of Fame with 18 Doctorates and a Lifetime Achievement Award as an inventor of computer technology, believes that, in just a few more generations, we humans won’t be able to tell the difference between our wives and robots–and that we will soon be invincible! “Immortality Possible in Just 30 Years?” (Inc.)

Now I’d hate to take sides on something I’m completely unqualified to even discuss–however, everybody’s doing it–it’s an election year! So let me just say that I prefer the “live forever” point of view.

I like it because it doesn’t require that we freeze ourselves and come back to life like Encino Man. Nor does it necessitate that we be the sole survivors of the already-begun zombie apocalypse (like Will Smith and his pooch). Also, let’s face it, it’s just more convenient to sit back and allow geniuses to invent stuff that fixes our problems. Having a different set of geniuses tell us that WE need to fix our OWN problems is just too emotionally jarring.

And I love technology! You, too, right?

Aren’t you as excited as a 12-yr-old boy at Comic-Con when you think of all the cool keep-us-alive technology we’ll get to play with? If you think digital music and Farmville are fun, wait until you don’t even need to think to eat!

Just imagine being able to program your entire upcoming week during halftime of Monday Night Football.

And speaking of football! Don’t even get me started on the amazing games and plays we’ll be able to witness when robots replace that old school technology of human beings on the gridiron. Sorry Janikowski, Elam and Dempsey, you can still have that tie for the longest “human” field goal of all time, but that measly 63-yards of yours will be toast when C-3PO’s offspring steps foot on the turf of Galactica Stadium.

And who wouldn’t want to see an automated version of Cirque du Soleil with absolutely no human interaction!? Real human emotions like fear and pride just get in the way, anyway.

So focus on future fun, not past transgressions. Look forward to the gradual elimination of nature and the uprising of programmed automation! It’s easier to deal with–for now. I mean, seriously, who needs a bunch of Debbie Downer scientists interfering with progress toward the elimination of the human process.

PandoDaily and AdAge Both Fib

About a month ago, PandoDaily received decent coverage from AdAge, which not only touted PandoDaily’s quality investors, but most importantly AdAge emphasized why PandoDaily was unique in the marketplace. Reading more like a press release for PandoDaily, AdAge stated:

So how will PandoDaily stand out in a crowded tech-news landscape? For one, the focus will be exclusively on startups. So don’t expect a ton of coverage of big tech companies such as Google or Microsoft, unless the news directly affects the startup world.

Although this statement was quite noncommittal and passive, it still provided what seemed to be a fair assessment of how PandoDaily truly could separate itself from TechCrunch, Wired, Gizmodo, Engadget, CNET, ZDNet, and your friends’ twitter and Facebook feeds.

But below you will see a recent (just after 4pm CST on February 11th, 2011) image capture of PandoDaily’s home page. The first thing you might notice is the extremely prominent inclusion of little startups like Google and it’s Gmail service, a new and struggling company called Amazon, and another small fish called Oracle.

PandoDaily Only Covers Startups
PandoDaily Only Covers Startups

Sarah, if you’re out there, did you give up already, or is there another explanation?

AdAge, if you’re listening, did you happen to consider delving more into PandoDaily’s real uniqueness?

Joplin MealWatch: Fail (Warnings Before Committing to a Food Journal)

It's rude to have your phone out at every meal
It's rude to have your phone out at every meal

An experiment failed. What was known as “Joplin MealWatch” was founded in logic, and had even been witnessed as effective. But, what was meant to motivate and inspire, actually turned out to be complex and outright rude.

No matter how easy the WordPress tools made it to capture a quick picture of my food and post it (two clicks on my phone and a few words in the app), I still found myself easily forgetting. A few posts I even had to catch up with later to add unofficial stock photos–or worse yet, no photos at all!

It became intolerably rude when I would have to whip out my phone as we received our food either at a restaurant or at the dinner table, often interrupting conversation and blocking others’ path to the shared food or condiments. Imagine being that guy at a nice family Thanksgiving dinner who infuriates grumpy grandparents and annoys caring wives.

So there you go. Try at your own risk; you’ve been warned. Lesson learned, though: it’s not the tools that matter, it’s the awareness. MealWatch did serve it’s purpose in ensuring my cognizance of the issues I will have living back in Joplin, with less metabolism than I had in high school. And my dedication to the gym, bicycle riding, and yes, more apples and Kashi GoLean instead of Takis and four-course Italian meals from chain restaurants.


Jim Harbaugh summons his inner Steve Martin to be The Jerk

Jim Harbaugh & The Jerk Press Conference
Jim Harbaugh & The Jerk Press Conference

Who would’ve thunk Jim Harbaugh, coach of the San Francisco 49ers, and Steve Martin, yeah, that one, would cross paths. Well, today they did. Journalists pressed Jim Harbaugh about days. Practice days. Preparation days. And all the other highly-important days that sports journalists and die hard fans pretend to care about.

And his resulting response couldn’t help but remind Steve Martin fans of perhaps the least romantic love scene in all of Hollywood.

Skip to 2:00 in today’s Jim Harbaugh press conference video.

And if you haven’t seen The Jerk for a few years, skip to 0:40 in this video for a reminder. (And if you’ve NEVER seen The Jerk, get it now. Heck, even Jim Harbaugh loves it).

Elevators and Living Costs: Today’s NYC-Joplin, Missouri Comparison

Today’s victor: Joplin

Joplin wins Today's match
Joplin wins today’s match

As some very sad news came out today–and it could not happen in Joplin: an elevator malfunction kills one and injures two more. And the victims worked at one of the most prominent ad agencies in the city, which was housed in that building. I worked at comparative agencies during my agency tenure in Manhattan, and it’s virtually impossible to work on the first floor in NYC.

Every day, you are in an elevator at least six times: down to your apartment lobby; up from your office lobby; back-and-forth in your office building for lunch; repeat. And although today’s accident was a rare, freak accident, imagine being one of those New Yorkers who was in their office building when hearing the news. Imagine being a co-worker of the victims. You will then understand how much of a relief it was hearing this news and NOT being on the 20th floor of an office building just blocks away from the incident. A great sigh of relief came over me as I nestled here in my one story home-office in Joplin.

And just minute later, what did I read? Additional validation, continual confirmation, and damning details proving that New York City is the most expensive place to live in the U.S., including three of the five boroughs in the top five most expensive areas in the country.

Training Microsoft’s Speech Recognition Software

Microsoft's Speech Recognition Ain't Perfect
Microsoft’s Speech Recognition Ain’t Perfect

Before spending $500 on speech recognition or speech-to-text software, try out Microsoft’s free speech recognition software that comes with almost any PC purchased since 2008. If you can’t find it, try accessing your computer’s “Control Panel,” and then “Speech Recognition.”

Tips when trying it out (many of these come straight from the program itself while using it):

  • Train it: Go through the recommended training: takes about 15 minutes
  • Articulate: For instance, when I was training the program I started off articulating very well. But then I realized that I might actually be training the program to recognize a much different voice of mine. However, not only does the program recommend we articulate well, but articulating better is actually a great lesson for life. If you’ve been known to mumble a bit, if people often ask you to repeat what you said, or if you simply want to work on your accent or pronunciations for your future broadcasting career, then you can look at improving your articulation as getting two birds with one stone. In fact, the training session itself recommends that you, “consider speaking like a newscaster.”
  • Positioning: Whether you use an external or embedded microphone, make sure you properly position the microphone. If you have an external microphone, Microsoft recommends your mouth be as close as an inch from it!
  • Avoid “PEBCAK Errors”: Known in many circles as the “Problem Exists Between Chair and Keyboard,” any issue that is your fault, not the programs, is a PEBCAK Error. Improper positioning of you and the hardware, mumbling like an ogre, or having too much background noise are just a few examples. But also, not taking the time to set up the machine properly … these are issues that could easily be avoided.
  • Use good technology:If your mic sucks, replace it. If your computer is old, get a new one. If you ask me, proper and timely technology upgrades give the best ROI in business and personal life

    PEBCAK Error T-Shirt on Amazon
    PEBCAK Error T-Shirt on Amazon
  • “Correct” your mistakes–literally: There’s dialog for that. Use it. Learn the proper “correction” terminology and use it early and often. The proper dictation is, “Correct  (insert word to correct) .” This will prompt a list of words as options to replace the mistaken word. 90% of the time, the correct work will appear.
  • “Spell” out the word–literally: If after you use the “Correct ____” command, you still do not see the proper word, simply say “Spell”
  • Practice: Once again, use the dictation early and often. It may take a while, but let’s hope it will be well worth it. Over time, the basic commands will become natural to you. At the same time, you will learn the advanced commands that make voice recognition software tremendous.

“And this is my first official sentence using Microsoft’s speech recognition program.”

^The above sentence actually took more than three minutes. I sure hope it gets better with time.