two visionaries visualizing.

A brief glimpse into the lives of two extraordinarily average individuals suffering from Non-Sequititis  

Follow the TwoVisionaries    

Quarter Life Crisis

You just graduated from college. For the first time in your life, there is no plan. It’s now entirely up to you what you do and for how long. Yikes! Depending on the day, you will feel either encouraged and excited, or flat out adject fear of the future.

Being an adult is a daunting task. It’s not like you can choose NOT to be an adult. Once you step out of school, you’re an adult whether you like it or not. And you will have to do adult things. What’s next? When do you move out and where do you move to? What kind of job do you need? Those are questions that every generation of twenty-somethings have had to face, but now the landscape of the world is completely changing.

The advice of your parents and their experiences are being increasingly irrelevant and antiquated. Blue collar jobs; old stand-by industries that generations upon generations have been able to fall back on, like getting a job in the postal service are now as uncertain as any other industry, victims of political red-tape and an economy that’s unsure of itself. New technologies and opportunities are cropping up, but don’t offer the stability or the money that you need. In almost any direction you turn in, there are more questions than answers. And that’s just getting any job. Forget about forging a career. You go to school for four years (at least) in the hopes that you’ll graduate into a job that will set you on the path to the career you worked hard in school to be in. But not so fast! Very often, newly grads simply can’t get a job in their industries. How long is too long to wait for something to open up before taking your life in a new direction?

I know a lot of people that have been out of school and either working unrelated jobs to their schooling, or are out of work entirely and searching. Is it stubborn to hold out and wait for a job in your career? And should you take an entry level, low paying job in your industry over a better paying and more stable job outside of your industry? Even if doing so means you’ll be living with your folks longer? And even if there aren’t any guarantees that the entry level gig will do anything for you in the future? Oh, God, my chest hurts writing this. I don’t know if it’s anxiety or I’m actually having a heart attack. Whatever it is, it’ll have to just resolve itself because my insurance is up in the air between my parent’s plan (that, despite Obamacare, still leaves me with limited coverage after leaving school) and whatever rinky-dink insurance I can get my way into. Adject fear. Terror. What am I to do?

First thing’s first - get a beer and find a friend to vent to. Chances are, they’re going through the same thing. Eventually, you’ll open up Facebook (or Twitter, or Instagram…) and you see a few posts from your friends. One guy is living out in the city, working (seemingly) happily in a new tech startup. Damn, he’s doing big things. Another guy is building a legitimate following in the increasingly legitimate field of blogging. Good for him! Yet another guy is snapping pictures of expensive looking drinks that he can afford. Wow!

Seeing all this, you can’t help but pick yourself up. Come on, if they can do it, so can you! You’re a part of the new generation. Yes, all hell is breaking loose and nothing is promised, but you’re young, smart and you have a degree and friends with connections all over the place. You can make things happen! Something no one has thought of before, just like your buddies on Instagram. You give yourself a pep talk and straighten out your resume. You revise your life’s plan and get yourself out there to do some interviews. You’re locked and loaded, with a fresh haircut to boot. You’ve gone from a little worry-wart, to Bruce Wayne suiting up to fight crime as Batman. All you need to do is latch your utility belt on and start up the Batmobile. You’ve replaced all that fear with ambition! Unbridled ambition and determination. You’re the next Steve Jobs. But also, Batman.

Whew, that was exhausting, though. Writing a resume in the right format and pretending you’re Batman really take a lot out of you. Plus, do you really want to lock up your young twenties with a nine-to-five job? Yuck. No one wants a nine-to-five. I definitely have nine-to-five-ophobia, which is a made up condition where you have a paranoid fear of committing yourself to a full time, day job.

So you cool it a little, keep trudging along until something, like getting another wedding invitation in the mail, triggers the anxiety to start again. It’s a cycle, that won’t end until you finally have a breakthrough, which could be instantaneous, but will probably take many years and hard work to develop. This cycle of fear and ambition is what I think we’ll eventually discover is a new, premature version of a midlife crisis. It’s an existential meltdown that I call “The Quarter Life Crisis.” And right now, the only known cure is happy hour. Who’s down for some two-fers?

 

There are a lot of unexplained things in life. Sometimes it’s easy to just blame them on the Illuminati or Tom Cruise. But I usually don’t go in for conspiracies. There has to be some concrete explanation and a lot of times it’s just a matter of digging deep enough.

Except with bank fees. For the past couple of months, I’ve sporatically been charged a $6 “maintenance fee” by Chase. I wouldn’t consider myself financially sound, but I can afford to write off six bucks. Plus, I worked in retail for a while, and was always appalled by what great lengths people would go through for such little money. So I let it slide for a while.

But last month, I decided that if I’m going to be spending $6, I might as well know what it is I’m spending it on. Chase is well within their right to charge me whatever fee they’d like. If I don’t like it, then I can just bank somewhere else, right? All I have to do is watch half an hour of television, and I’ll see at least three banks advertising “no fees” and something about convenience.

So after searching around the website and looking through my account history for the answer to my $6 question, I decided to call Chase and I spoke to a pretty sounding girl I’ll call Ms. Chase Employee.

"Thanks for taking my call, Ms. Chase Employee. I hope you’re well. I hate to be a bother, but I’ve noticed that I’m being charged $6 every so often in maintenance fees and I’m wondering what exactly it’s for and if there’s anything I could do to avoid it."

After about fifteen minutes of telling stupid jokes while answering Ms. Chase Employee’s questions, alternating between listening to hold music/advertising and listening to Ms. Chase Employee breathe and type things, we reached two conclusions.

A) There was no straight answer as to what I did to incur a $6 fee and why it isn’t every month, but

B) Ms. Chase Employee was more than happy to reverse the fee as a courtesy to me.

Oh, good. I got my $6 back.

This isn’t the first time something like this has happened to me or someone else I know. I’m beginning to think that large companies have a department of people whose job it is to come up with fees. A fee coordination department.

I wouldn’t mind being one of those guys. 

I think it’s about soccer. I’m not sure, but it looks very cool. 

(Source: piqueque)

The Trip.

Everyone has an idealized version of how they want to present themselves to others. For me, it’s a cross between Sean Connery as James Bond, Johnny Carson and a turtle. Either way, even for a guy like me that prides himself on being funny, it is hardwired into my brain to avoid tripping at all costs - unless it’s on purpose. 

The other day, I tripped devastatingly up a short flight of stairs. I was in a large group of people, and walking away after saying my goodbyes. So picture this - I’m in the stereotypical “waving-bye-while-walking-away-pose”, when unexpectedly a flight of stairs shows up. 

My first thought: “Oh, jeeze. I almost forgot about these stairs I need to walk up. Better make sure I don’t trip.”

Now, with a first thought like that, you would think that I put myself in position NOT to trip, right? If there is any anti-tripping thought you can have, that one is it. I was aware of tripping potential and I understood what needed to be done to avoid the tripping. 

Alright, so here’s what happens next. I trip. But I trip in a very understandable way. The building I was in was constructed in a hilly area, so every so often, there are these little flights of stairs as you enter a portion of the building that’s a little higher than the other. I’d say it’s no more than six short steps. 

At any point, I could have simply stopped moving and reassessed my situation. But, would Sean Connery as James Bond do that? Nope. 

The steps are shorter than what you’d assume to be step height, so, with my left foot - my leading foot - I completely miss one step and stub my foot on the next step up. Okay, that’s (relatively) normal. What happens next is that you fall forward a little and catch yourself with outstretched arms. 

HOWEVER - this is when things took a turn for the worse. In order to fall forward and be able to catch yourself you need:

a) two functioning arms

b) the awareness that you are falling so that you outstretch the aforementioned arms, and, 

c) a foot on the ground. 

So if you’re tripping with your left foot, you need your right foot on the ground in order to catch yourself from face planting. 

Let’s recap. I wasn’t paying attention to where I was walking, so some stairs came up sooner than I thought. I think I’m Sean Connery as James Bond, so I start waltzing up the steps without looking. I trip on my first attempt to land on a step. I start falling forward, expecting to catch myself.

Except, I still haven’t really looked at the steps, so I still don’t know how tall they are. My right foot swings and misses at a lower step, completely missing everything. It sort of reminded me of when I played baseball. I now have no choice but to allow my entire body to land flat on the stairs. And I start sliding down, belly first. 

At this point, I’m in pure panic mode. I haven’t had a chance (since I’m Sean Connery as James Bond) to stop and think about what’s happening to me. My mind races with possible explanations for why my entire body is sprawled across steps and sliding down. Sinkhole? Tumor? Bear attack? All of it is possible. 

I feebly yell, “Oh my God!” since that’s an acceptable response to learning of either a sinkhole, a tumor or a bear attack. 

I land at the bottom of the stairs and roll a little. My Sean Connery as James Bond senses kick in, and I figure I have to try to roll. This doesn’t make sense. 

I start saying something else, probably the beginning to The Lord’s Prayer. 

Incredibly, I stand up to realize that not one person had realized the catastrophe that had befallen me. So, I walk up the stairs and decide to write this blog post.

Firstly - I’d like to apologize for not keeping up to date for a while.

Secondly - I’d like to introduce you to Grant Green; a very talented and very underrated guitarist. I’m not sure exactly why he isn’t as well known as other contemporaries, whose careers he overlapped (like Wes Montgomery before him and George Benson after him) though that might be the reason in and of itself. 

He was a very gifted, but straightforward player that tended to adhere closely to melodies and keep away from complex chromatic solos. This resulted in songs that were infectiously funky with melodies that grabbed you - or in this case, ballads that spoke sincerely. Less is more with Grant Green. 

Take a listen to this whole album - it’s a nice one called “Alive” and it was recorded live at a club in New Jersey. You can feel the energy of the atmosphere in every note. 

More from us soon, I promise. 

You can find this on Long Island. #beach #sunset #rocks #clouds

You can find this on Long Island. #beach #sunset #rocks #clouds

Zen-day.

It’s Sunday. Sunday is a day for relaxation. Sunday is a day not to wear any socks. 

I spent most of the last few years in college running around in a high speed chase through life. Every waking moment of mine I was trying to figure out how to get to the next step. There were papers to write in school and tests and then there was my part time job that was measly in terms of my life, but vitally important for me to have while I had it. 

Now that I’m out of school, things have slowed down just a touch. Still, I can’t help but get caught up in doing this or doing that. But then there’s Sunday. 

There’s Zen Day. That’s the day you can sleep late, drink cheap beer and watch movies. Sunday is the day to calm down. 

It’s hard to calm down when you need money to live. Earning money means not being calm. But then there’s Sunday. Zen Day. That’s the day where you wear pink sweatshirts and make a conscious decision not to wear deodorant. 

So chill out and enjoy your Zen Day. Remember to remember that you’re alive, and that’s really good. 

Until next time - I’m Justin. And I’m not wearing socks. 

It’s raining. #rain #relax #nyc

It’s raining. #rain #relax #nyc

#Phones.  #red #white #blue

#Phones. #red #white #blue

#Exit

#Exit

#Walking

#Walking

Pharrell, a longtime favorite producer of mine, is releasing a new album tomorrow, entitled G I R L. 

It’s release is similar to his last solo release, 2006’s IN MY MIND which could easily have ended any hopes of a sustainable solo career for Pharrell. It started with a surprise, unintentional hit. As a part of a compilation album he made as a part of his production group, The Neptunes, Pharrell dropped “Frontin” as a single, his first release as a solo artist. The song soared up the charts and became a summer hit, buoyed by the characteristics of the then popular sparse brand of space-funk he was producing for other pop artists (think Kelis’ “Milkshake”). 

The past year, as a part of his work for DESPICABLE ME 2, Pharrell released “Happy” as a single. The song soared up the charts and claimed the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100, buoyed by the characteristics of the now popular melodic brand of retro-soul he was producing for other pop artists (think Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”). 

The problem with IN MY MIND was that it was overly sexual and juvenile and that the production was careful and uninspired. It was a very personal sounding album, to a fault. It was inaccessible, especially compared with his well known work for other artists. So far, looking at early reviews of G I R L, it has many of the same problems. But I have a feeling that this album will be successful, at least commercially. Even if it’s largely the same caliber of work as IN MY MIND. 

Why? We’re in the middle of Comeback Season. As touched on by this Forbes article, some of the biggest hits of the past year have come from artists either making a comeback, or entering a second (or in some cases, third) phases of their careers. 

It started with Justin Timberlake. Like Pharrell, his last solo release was in 2006. He spent 2013 dropping an epic double album, released in two parts, paired with instantly viral television appearances (which should continue, now that his TV buddy is host of The Tonight Show) winning awards and going on expansive tours.

The first tour was a stadium tour with hip hop buddy, Jay Z, who spent this year dropping a massive album of his own, releasing it essentially for free for Samsung users, setting new precedents for modern content distribution. This was from a rapper that, about ten years ago, declared that he has “retired” from music. His protege, Kanye West, also released a major album, his second release after his self imposed hiatus after Swift-gate - this album taking a decidedly new tone. 

Jay Z’s wife released a secret album after a few years without new material. 

Daft Punk returned to the top of the pop charts with RANDOM ACCESS MEMORIES, and Robin Thicke, longtime second fiddle to Justin Timberlake in the blue-eyed soul genre, finally scored a major crossover hit. 

All of these artists made their bones in the pop music world during the late 90s. All of them, to varying degrees and reasoning, had departed from the music. Timberlake wanted to pursue acting. Jay Z wanted to pursue business. Beyonce had a baby. Robin Thicke never really left music, but struggled to find his niche with a few middling smooth R&B releases. 

Kanye West had Swift-gate and Daft Punk’s career faltered in the tail end of the 2000s. 

A combination of nostalgia for their past work and the excitement generated from new material from a familiar and trusted source served as a the secret sauce behind the tremendously successful 2013’s that Daft Punk and Timberlake enjoyed. Superstar status and arrogance made Beyonce’s and Jay Z’s efforts this year important.

I feel Thicke scored a hit largely because of our newly found appetite for pop-soul crooning, awoken by Timberlake in the winter and aided by his inability to craft a genuine summer dance jam. 

And now we have 2014 and Pharrell, another respected member of the old guard - coincidentally, he played a major role in every one of those artist’s early careers. He produced hits for Jay Z and Beyonce and was the driving force behind both Thicke and Timberlake’s first major label releases. He worked closely with West and Daft Punk. 

In 2013, it seemed like 2003 happened again in pop music. And in 2003, there was no better time for Pharrell to establish himself as a solo artist. The ball is in his court again. 

Written by Justin J. Milliner

John Doe Spotted

Earlier this morning, John Doe made his in-flesh appearance at a supermarket with a carton of brown eggs in his hand.

"He just walked on in and picked up a carton of brown eggs," Says Martha, a Tuna specialist and 12 year employee of "Maxi’s Market" on the corner of Ensure Avenue and Poise Court.

"He threw all the eggs at my face,"

Martha’s Lawyer has not released a statement because she does not have one.

More to come, stay tuned

Wine-ache.

I drink pretty often, but I almost never drink enough to be hungover. I’m of the belief that a hangover is less of a product of how much you drink as it is a manifestation of you not drinking the right way. Hangover avoidance is easy. Just make sure you’re hydrated before you drink and before you hit the hay after drinking,

But this method, though tried and true for beer drinking, never quite works for wine drinking. Whenever I drink enough wine to pass the line between sober and tipsy, I almost always wake up with a slight headache. It’s the wine-ache. 

I don’t know what causes it (I do, but I don’t feel like writing about it), but it is extremely hard for me to avoid the wine-ache. It’s a very distinct, nagging headache that isn’t bad enough to bother you but is bad enough for you to notice it every so often. 

The wine-ache. 

There is only one known cure for the wine-ache and it’s a carefully timed combination of a warm shower, a cup of coffee and a glass of water to wash down one ibuprofen tablet. 

The wine-ache. 

Until next time - Justin J. Milliner

From the Archives: The Sport of Staggered Text Messaging

twovisionaries:

We’ve all succumb to the bizzare act of staggered text messaging.

You send your friend a text, asking them out on a date.

You realize after you sent the text that you’ve just asked someone out via text message.

So you immediately send another text apologizing for your belligerence.

By the time…