In Latvia, a massive building collapse at a supermarket in the country’s capitol, Riva, has killed at least 51. Dozens more remain trapped in the rubble. “There were torrents of water coming down off the roof. We headed into the back of the supermarket, the aisles were covered in produce and…
I worked at CVS for five years.
I worked initially as a front store clerk, then I spent the next few years as a pharmacy technician. I recently quit because I got a wonderful new job at a local sports radio station.
CVS was my first job and I have a lot of friends there, so despite being a job I disliked, it was not exactly easy for me to pull the plug on it, even when everything was pointing toward that being my best bet.
Fast forward four months to today when I shopped in a Walgreens for the first time in just about five years.
Don’t mistake me for some sort of super loyal CVS employee that refused to shop elsewhere.
Do mistake me, however, for being super cheap, because I refused to shop anywhere else but CVS so that I could use my discount card. I didn’t exactly feel the reality of no longer being a CVS employee until after my discount card was inactivated.
And I have to admit, to my own chagrin, that weeks removed from losing my discount card rights I felt - what was it…nostalgia? - when shopping at Walgreens. I saw a girl going up and down the aisles “facing”, or making sure all the products were aligned properly on the shelves.
Then, I saw a small Christmas display, and my mind immediately went to the previous six Christmases where I was a part of the rush to decorate my store in time for the Holiday season. As unnecessarily stressful it was, there was a very specific psychological feeling connected to setting up, and ultimately dismantling displays with seasonal items.
Somewhere, in the recesses of my mind, there are fond memories of working during the winter months and dealing with the endless lines of customers with carts as tightly packed with nonsense as their coats with down feathers and scarves.
I love my job very much now, and look forward to never returning to retail work for a long, long time, if not forever. But there were parts of working in a convenience store that were unique - and those experiences and feelings are ones that I have completely left behind.
A few months removed from the breakup, after all the emotions have evened out, I can look back and say that it wasn’t all bad. And maybe - just maybe - I’ll miss it. A little bit.
Written by Justin J. Milliner, who won’t miss it.
Our lives are dependent on social media. They aren’t, but a lot of people act like they do.
One of the major reasons why we compulsively look at Facebook is for the instant gratification it provides that was non-existent in human interaction prior. In English, we like to see people like our stuff.
But it isn’t that simple anymore! “Liking” something can mean dozens of things and we’ve created an entire new language of liking and unliking and friending and unfriending as well as creating those last three words. There are rules.
We’ve created “digital compliments”. Here are a couple and what they mean to the user they are given to.
They are largely meaningless individually. We collect likes in bulk, with the only exception being if we are looking to reach one person. In that instance, we are looking for that specific person to react to it - other likes are inconsequential.
But likes in most circumstances mean the most in double digits. This is a relatively new phenomenon, brought on by Instagram. In a bit of a reversal of past behavior, it is considered a reward when we CANNOT see individual names, but only see a number of likes. Likes are anonymous.
Retweets and shares of content created by another is the utmost social media compliment. It means that not only you agree with and like the content, but you are willing to give the content an expanded audience. Shares hold the meaning that a like used to hold in the pre-Instagram age.
These are the bastard stepchild of likes. They mean literally nothing, particularly given which platforms they’re used on. On blogs and Twitter (which is essentially a blog), favorites do nothing for the creator of the content.
In that statement, we reveal the true meaning of digital compliments and where they differ from real life compliments.
A digital compliment is the equivalent of me interrupting a television show to tell everyone that I like Lucinda’s scarf. It’s not enough for me to walk up to Lucinda and personally tell her that the scarf she’s wearing is all kinds of groovy. No, no. In the logic of social media complimenting, the compliment must publicly accessible to be meaningful.
I’ve been confronted by several people close to me about not “liking” their content. For me to tell them in person that I liked something is not nearly good enough. Once I tell them that I liked it in person, it is expected that in my next convenience (which is the next time I pull out my phone) I log onto whatever and like their whatever.
But I just told you I liked it. With my mouth and I even looked at you while I said it. We were in the same room! Eating cookies and shit! Nope, not good enough.
I had one person go as far as to question my artistic aptitude because I didn’t like one of their pictures on Instagram.
Social media is a cruel and unforgiving place. So, tow the line, folks.
Written by Justin J. Milliner, who would appreciate if you would like or share this blog with your friends.
Manha-manha. The original incarnation.
The latest game in the Batman series looks very good. This particular teaser trailer shows Bruce Wayne in childhood and growing up as the victim of bullying on top of the bad breaks that we all know about. That’s an angle that has not been explored on in films or games to this point.
Batman: Arkham Origins will be released on the 25th.
She’s the loneliest supermodel in the world bar none. Blue-eyed, blond beauty Bar Refaeli said shes stumped by her inability to land a steady boyfriend, future husband and potential father to her children.
If you don’t recognize the name (I didn’t) or the nude looking photo that was strewn across the tabloid paper’s front page (I didn’t) - she is the super model ex-girlfriend of super star respected actor Leonardo DiCaprio.
The article is made from a “wide ranging” conversation that detailed that she’s lonely and cried after a break up. And, oh yes, it also features quotes by random men who promise they’d take good care of her. Particularly after seeing her in skin tone underwear.
Matthew Kalman, Kerry Burke and Larry McShane all contributed to the article because interviewing a single supermodel in an article about how she’s desperate looking for someone to have children with deserves AT LEAST that many men working on the project.
"Her turn-ons include self-confidence, physical fitness and generosity," the article enlightens us.
"I’m very interested in going out with someone who is big and strong and famous," is one of the powerful quotes in this piece of journalism. I think I know why she’s single.
In other news - the government is over. But, who cares? A really hot girl that makes a living taking pictures in varying degrees of undress is single and wants to mingle!
Observed by Justin J. Milliner
Nice guys finish last.
That’s true, but only when the nice guy presents himself as a doormat. The “nice guy” that this idiom refers to is a person that looks after the needs of others beyond his own to a fault. When you do that, you cause yourself to come in last. It doesn’t help that people like confidence and want to be liked by others a lot as well. When you’re constantly doing favors and being “nice”, you’re actually making other people feel subconsciously guilty.
Never thought of that, did you?
Constantly going out of your way for other people leads them to feel guilt that you do so much for them, and them so little for you. But it’s a subconscious guilt that can’t be identified. So people distance themselves from you because they fear if they grow closer to you, they’ll end up “owing” you all the nice things you’ve done for them - and the subconscious feeling of guilt makes them feel like they won’t be able to return your niceness.
That’s where the whole “I can’t date him because he’s too nice” comes from.
All that said, from another angle, being nice can at times be more important than actually being good at anything.
Another adage that I like to live by is that being decent can take your further than being talented.
In a work environment, you can teach a person the skills necessary to complete a task. But you can’t teach decency (things like reliability, loyalty, etc) and you certainly can’t teach being a pleasant individual (being nice).
In almost every circumstance I can think of, being a nice person with at least competent ability will get you further in life than being talented and a jerk.
So remember that the next time you think nice guys finish last.
Written by your favorite nice guy, Justin J. Milliner
I’ve never was into Halloweens. I think that Vampires and werewolves are off putting, and zombies and the undead or dead or whatever is creepy. But it was never really that fun for me.
When I was a kid, I was Batman for Halloween year in and year out, with maybe a year or two of Spiderman. That was when I actually went trick-or-treating. I was the strange kid that sometimes opted not to go trick-or-treating. Can you believe that? If friends didn’t approach me about going, then I wouldn’t go at all. There were at least three years where I decided to sit it out, and just sit at home eating candy instead.
That might come as a surprise to some, since I love candy so much and the whole point of trick-or-treating is to get candy. Right? So what’s all the scary business about? I think we should celebrate giving out candy more and celebrate ghosts and goblins less.
Besides, they don’t really scare me! I’m no spoiled sport (I am), but that type of stuff is not nearly as scary to me as needing a root canal, or contracting a bacterial infection.
Or what about sleep paralysis! That’s horrifying. It’s when you regain consciousness prior to awaking. The result is being able to hear and possibly see, but being unable to speak or move. Gah! The couple of times that’s happened to me have been way scarier than the couple of times I walked into a dark house with people screaming wearing face paint and makeup.
Written by Justin J. Milliner
One of my latest contributions to the “Morning Drive” on Champions Radio - a reaction to NBA point guard Chris Duhon being intentionally run down in a parking garage by a Lexus.
Watch this. It will change how you think of your interactions from here on out.
Making this album the continuation of his chart topping and critically acclaimed last work was as much of a disadvantage for Justin Timberlake as it was an advantage.
The album plays far less like a continuation, or even a sequel, and more like a chaser to the first part. It’s less Speakerboxx/The Love Below with a staggered release and more of The Fame/Fame Monster.
Lady Gaga’s breakout year was a huge success because she followed up her big debut album with another smaller release. The EP was not a followup to The Fame and it wasn’t marketed that way. It was a companion piece.
When viewed from that perspective, Pt. 2 succeeds. It is a album of leftover tracks from the 20/20 sessions, that either didn’t match the tone or flat out were not good enough to fit on the first album - but weren’t bad enough to be shelved completely. When viewed as outtakes or as a bonus feature to the first part, the album overachieves. It has a fun pop single in “Take Back the Night”, a standout track in “Cabaret” and a few potential club hits, particularly “True Blood.”
But the problem is that this album can’t be viewed from that prism because it wasn’t released that way. It was released as a continuation to 20/20, not a companion or a bonus. And with that reality, it becomes impossible to avoid the fact that the album represents a significant change in tone and a dip in quality.
That aside, Timberlake uses the album to address a few of the qualms critics had with his first release - chiefly, that it was polished to a fault, with the genteel Timberlake at times avoiding failure more than he was seeking success. This became particularly evident when Robin Thicke’s barmstorming sexed up “Blurred Lines” topped the charts and made “Suit & Tie” look like adult contemporary fare in comparison. Timberlake’s own attempt at a summer single, “Take Back the Night” was equally subdued.
That complaint can’t be leveled against Pt. 2. Timbaland’s beats are far less refined and far more experimental. “Gimme What I Don’t Know (I Want)” sets the tone with a dark syncopated beat that echoes Timberlake’s background singing. It’s a song-long plea to let animalistic and carnal desires to rise to the surface (ironically above reservation, deliberately putting it at odds with “Suit & Tie”). Timbaland’s production, with animal sounds and tons of other assorted EDM sound effects is one of the highlights of the album. “True Blood” is a similarly themed song, with a similar approach, this time using vampires instead of animals in the extended metaphor that might have been extended a little too far.
"Cabaret" might be the most balanced track on the album - balancing the frenetic and experimental tone with a smoothness that makes it most reminiscent of the first album. It’s unique and challenges listeners while not alienating them - something songs further down the track list might be in danger of doing.
Following “Take Back the Night”, the fun nod to Michael Jackson and “TKO”, a lackluster and repetitive single, the album takes a turn back toward the sinister tone it started on, with the hip-hop influenced “Murder”. JAY Z is the highlight here as the song suffers from being a touch too long and a fistful too repetitive.
The idea I’m getting from the rest of the album is that JT wanted to pull off a “Thriller” type album that has a song for every type of audience. “Drink You Away” is a bluesy rock stomper that is interesting to listen to, but Timbaland’s beat wears thin midway through since it’s essentially a loop of eight seconds. “Only When I Walk Away” and most of “Not A Bad Thing” are plagued by the same problem. I’m not sure if it’s due to being placed in unfamiliar circumstances by Timberlake, or flat out laziness, but I think a producer of Timbaland’s caliber should be capable of much better.
Speaking of “Not A Bad Thing”, the second part of the song is far more enjoyable as an acoustic solo for Timberlake backed by some light strings (think of “Yesterday”) It’s sweet and deserved it’s own track. Tacking it onto the end of a mediocre ballad makes it hard to find and is tantamount to hiding a song that Timberlake might not be confident in, but wound up being better than anything else that precedes it.
Timberlake fits in some formulaic R&B with “You Got It On”. It’s a little spaced out, similar to, but better than his last attempt at straightforward R&B in “Spaceship Coupe.” I can’t help but feel like it was just thrown in to please R&B audiences after the rock diversions. Again, I think JT is looking to land a single on every chart here more than he’s looking to make good songs.
Ultimately, Pt. 2 is a nice album, though it pales in comparison to Pt. 1. When listened to as an entire collection, most of the songs on Pt. 2 do nothing but to weigh down the work as a whole. But there are plenty of good individual songs and ideas that perhaps in the future, JT can expand upon.
Written by Justin J. Milliner
They’re cool. Next time you watch football, look for the individual whose job it is to squeeze a bottle of water into the player’s mouth.
This person went to college to squeeze water into the mouth.
They sat though four months of calculus to squirt water into a mouth.
Think about that
The 20/20 Experience was a reintroduction to JT, with a slightly revamped and mature version of the music we’re familiar with him making. I think the second part is going to take his music in a new direction.