PRODUCTIVITY WINGMAN: THE SCIENCE BEHIND WORKING SMARTER, NOT HARDER

Sometimes, Miss Wingman bangs out a post in record time and has it uploaded bright and early. Fine, by “sometimes” I mean “on rare occasion.” Whatever.

And sometimes getting everything done is an excruciating process, a sentiment to which I think we can all relate. We dillydally, we procrastinate, we start things and don’t get around to finis…

You get the idea. Well if you’ve ever wondered if your will power and focus can run out (they can!) or whether multi-tasking is a good idea (it isn’t!), the smartypants folks at AsapSCIENCE have gotten to the bottom of it. This quickie clip breaks down in three minutes what it’s taken me a lifetime of thumb-twiddling, Post-It list writing and ‘Net surfing to sort out: why my productivity is so inconstant.

As much as I’d like to think that a fair amount of your day is spent figuring out ways to polish your behavior to snag women or generally be better boyfriends/husbands, who are we kidding? Much of it is spent chipping away at a mountain of work, while still trying to preserve some quality of life. Or if you’re like me, procrastinating on Facebook and sites like mine. Yay for mindless diversions!

But if you’re looking for ways to maximize your focus, it’s appropriate that I share with you this handy tutorial – for the betterment of Type A (and lazy) men everywhere.

Once you figure out the mechanisms that make us more productive, you can adjust your practices accordingly to make improvements. You might still have trouble getting started on these tips (damn you, Zeigarnik Effect!), but at least you’ll understand the factors at play.

And if the folks at Gizmodo and Lifehacker’s endorsements aren’t enough for you, or you just don’t think science should be used in such nerd-tastic ways, you can always check out some of their other clips on YouTube. Like the science of orgasms, or how to really cure a hangover. I think if they’d taught us some of these topics in school, there would’ve been a lot more people pulling A’s in chemistry class.

Here’s hoping your day is productive, boys. So you can give us your undivided attention when you’re done. Work smarter, work shorter, and remember to always love what you do.GEEK WINGMAN

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FORESHADOWING WINGMAN: WHAT ONE MAN DID FOR (IMAGINARY) LOVE

Peter O’Sullivan gives new meaning to the phrase, “If you build it, she will come.”

While perusing the web, I stumbled across this story about a guy who, though he was single, decided that he was ready to settle down. So he did what any reasonable man would do (pshhht, right?) and custom-built a home to suit the needs of his wife and children – a wife and children he didn’t have yet.

O’Sullivan, the 44-year-old optimist-slash-visionary in question even estimated his hypothetical wife’s height to be around 5-foot-7, and therefore had the cabinetry accommodate a woman of that stature. He built kids’ rooms with lots of play space and bins for toys. He scoured the country for the perfect furnishings, worked with the finest architects, and took his time on the project. It was completed in 2008.

Photo Courtesy: Wall Street Journal

Right about now, if you were like me you’re wondering two things: A) Is this guy crazy or just really practical? and B) So did he meet a wife or what?

The answer to the latter, luckily for O’Sullivan, is yes. He met a woman named Nava Gabbay when the project was nearly finished, they got married and now have at least one child to play house with until the rest of his family blueprint is complete. The answer to the former? Well, that one’s not as simple, I’m afraid.

After reading his wife’s reaction to O’Sullivan’s project upon first meeting him, I couldn’t help but get stuck on the thought that there was a huge double standard at play here.

If a woman meets a man who seems mature enough and confident in what he wants out of life to actually gut renovate and create the perfect family home – more or less from scratch – then she’s impressed by him. But if it were a woman who did the same thing and partnered up with an architect to build her imaginary family home, any man she met who saw the same detail and forethought would think she was absolutely, certifiably crazy.

She’d be labeled desperate, a psycho, and he would immediately run and tell his friends about the Stage 4 clinger he just met who’s trying to will her ideal family into fruition. Am I wrong?

There are a million things that can be said about this story. Right down to the whole “self-fulfilling prophecy” thing and how, if we just make room for things in our lives and “act as if” we can force them into reality. People who believe in the Law of Attraction could have a field day with this one. But even though I think there’s merit in taking chances, it doesn’t change the fact that we have different views of a man who takes ownership of the life he wants and a woman who does the same.

Look no further than the excerpt, “In his master bedroom closet he created spaces for high-heeled shoes; in the master bath he made velvet-lined makeup and jewelry drawers, going so far as to wonder whether his future wife would wear hoop earrings or bracelets.”

Um, if a woman did that we’d all – maybe even myself included – think she was a few golf clubs short of a full set, would we not? Maybe it’s a societal thing, or maybe it’s because we view unmarried men as being that way by choice, but women who are alone as spinsters. Either way, the cultural implications here are plentiful, to say the very least.

Suffice it to say that the gentleman in question had more going for him than just a house, by many women’s standards (mildly shallow women, but still). I’m sure it didn’t hurt that he could afford a few Warhols, some Lichtensteins and a multimillion dollar property in one of the cooler cities in the U.S., either. Also, he might just be a really nice guy on top of all that, who knows?

But mostly, I’m amused because where Miss Wingman lives (i.e. NYC, land of the Man-Boy), finding that type of commitment and dedication is like finding a unicorn. You’ve heard it exists, but you’ll believe it when you see it. But I suppose the same can be said for those women who aren’t in any hurry to settle down and are having a blast in the meantime (good luck finding them, boys, we’re equally hard to come across I’m afraid). In any case, it’s nice to hear about someone’s happy ending, regardless of the double standards at play.

I’m not suggesting all men go out and pull an O’Sullivan, but if you say you’re ready to settle down – and really mean it – then you never know what the universe will send your way. Also, correctly guessing the height of your future bride means you might want to consider hitting up the casino on your way home tonight, too. Good luck, boys, keep the faith, and may you all find what you’re looking for one day.GEEK WINGMAN

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LITERARY WINGMAN: A SENDAK SENDOFF

Whoever said bad things happen in threes wasn’t too far off. The world has lost another outstanding soul this week, and this one comes in the form of great literary mind and certified potty mouth Maurice Sendak.

I won’t run through a list of his books, because if you didn’t grow up romping through the pages of his handiwork, then no amount of recounting his most popular narratives could possibly replace what you’ve missed.

Any man who can write something like this should be lauded for his fun-loving spirit and genuine understanding of what purpose stories are supposed to serve. Quotes like this make me sad that there won’t be any more in the future, but happy that we were privy to them at all:

“And when he came to the place where the wild things are, they roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws till Max said, “Be still” and tamed them with the magic trick of staring into all their yellow eyes without blinking once. And they were frightened and called him the most wild thing of all and made him king of all wild things…”

Though he’s most known for being the invaluable captain who helped children navigate the waters of creativity and wonderment for generations, he was also just a fiercely entertaining – if slightly dark – man.

And though there are countless book quotes for which Sendak will be known, perhaps his most intriguing moments came when he was speaking just as Maurice, the adult, with lots of opinions on everything from popular culture to politicians.

It’s moments like this one, with Stephen Colbert earlier this year, that should be added to the Sendak legacy. So enjoy the banter between these two, and may we never grow too old to start a wild rumpus of our very own.GEEK WINGMAN

 

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CATCHING UP: THE GOOD, BAD & THE ‘HELL YES’ OF A WEEK THAT NEARLY KILLED ME

I know, I know, I’ve been conspicuously absent this week. What caused the lull in communication? Well for starters, not being able to physically communicate. As in, Miss Wingman lost her voice and was down for the count after an especially aggressive weekend burning the candle at both ends. I went from slightly raspy, to Big Ang from “Mob Wives,” to total silence – nary a whisper could be heard – inside of a few days. Still not back to normal, but I’ve got that two-pack-a-day sound going right now. Super hot (or so I keep telling myself).

But what does losing your voice have to do with not being able to type? It was accompanied by debilitating allergies (seriously, F**k you, pollen), some unexpected travel, and a spike in sports and media-related extracurriculars (hey, I can’t write about life if I don’t have one, sorry).

Now that things have calmed down a bit, I’m taking time out to cobble together what stood out this week. On a scale from Amar’e wall-punching to a Weaver no-hitter, I’d say this week has been a little of both. Where does that leave me? Somewhere in the middle, I hope. But here are my weekend lessons, in no particular order:

1) Miss Wingman can only go to swanky clubs with toxic doormen if she gets drunk enough to tolerate the crowd of people who frequent those places. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I’m a barstool girl. This point was hammered home when I ran into someone I used to babysit while at a club and was hit on by her friend…who was eight years younger than I am. Some people would take both of those facts as an indication that I was too old to be there, but I prefer to believe that a love of vodka and cheesy music knows no age limits.

2) Guys who can handle a sleeping child in one arm and a cold beer in the other hand are a hit with the ladies. This was hammered home while spending time with my mommy friends and their spouses, my favorite of whom used his daughter as a non-stop source of baby tossing/fat jiggling/silly face-making amusement. You should all aspire to be such awesomely multitasking dads one day.

3) Major league baseball games should not be used to punctuate a 48-hour hangover on a Sunday afternoon, especially with dwindling vocal cord action. The same can be said for watching triple overtime hockey games until the wee hours of morning when you’re already running on two hours of sleep. After this week, I should just change my middle name to “bad decisions,” but whatever – I’ll rest when I’m dead.

Additional lessons: 1) The Rangers are to hockey as Jack White’s new album is to my ears (read: killer). Conversely, the Knicks are to New York as that lady who let her 5-year-old fake tan is to New Jersey. Nothing good going on there, I’m afraid.

2) While at a swanky gala event (hey, Miss Wingman’s not always low brow), I found myself standing in a room with one of my musical heroes. Since he was without an entourage and standing inches away, I struck up a conversation and we chewed the fat for a bit. Not only did I have no business talking to this man like he was just any old guy working at my corner bodega, but it also occurred to me that if he really was the bodega guy, I wouldn’t find him nearly as attractive as was strumming chords on his guitar. Which just reinforces the point I make repeatedly, if you want to do your son a favor one day, put a guitar in his hand at an early age. We all secretly want to be the muse of a man who pens swoon-worthy lyrics. How else do you explain John Mayer having any sex appeal?

And finally 3) Reading may be fundamental, but math just plain sucks. I stumbled upon, “What Happens When A 35-Year-Old Man Retakes The SAT?” and I haven’t laughed so hard at an article in a long time. I know I’ve talked about the role education plays in either upping your sexiness factor or squelching it altogether, and I’ve hammered home the importance of owning actual books and reading newspapers in impressing females, but the guy who wrote that gem should get a Pulitzer for his use of expletives alone. Also, he’s absolutely right about how asinine that test is – and I didn’t even get a bad score. Eight hundred is good, right?

In case you’re so inclined to read a non-academically centered piece, you might also want to check out this solid op-ed about the danger of social media in sports. It’s a thought-provoking read, and a quick one at that.

Lastly, this is the best news I’ve heard so far this week (the only thing that could possibly top it is the impending fun of a Cinco de Mayo/Kentucky Derby overlap this weekend…with a supermoon, no less. Things are going to get crazy, which is fine by me. The drunker my friends get the more things I have to write about.

So apologies again for the lapsed silence, and I hope you’ve all had a stellar week. I’ll be back tomorrow with more tales of dating-gone-awry and sarcastic musings. Until then be safe and have fun…or just pick one.GEEK WINGMAN

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BOOZY WINGMAN: A MUST-HAVE MAN ITEM

The weather is finally getting nice. We’re in playoff mode. There’s a long hot summer ahead filled with reasons to call your boys, fire up the grill and watch the games. Also, you like beer.

Need any more excuses to put on your hosting hat and get your drink on? Didn’t think so. But just in case, Miss Wingman has stumbled upon one truly awesome man-find for your entertaining enjoyment. Behold! The Ice Core Beer Pitcher.

I have no idea why it took someone this long to invent such a masterpiece, but thank heavens they did – and that it only costs $13. Pitchers haven’t looked this good since Humber went lights out.

The folks at Keg Works deserve a pat on the back, as do the nerd-savvy minds over at Gear Patrol for unearthing this badass beverage receptacle. It holds up to 60 oz of beer, and you can either put ice in the seal-off aluminum core, or water and freeze it. Science for the betterment of drinking! Can’t think of a better use.

And, just in case you needed a little refresher course on the finer points of a Pilsner vs. an IPA, here’s a fun little recap of Beer 101: What’s The Difference Between Varieties? Now you can impress your buddies by throwing around phrases like, “The malt in this brown ale makes it taste more earthy, yet still slightly hoppy…” Just be prepared for them to call you a D-bag. Repeatedly.

So bust out that Kegerator, put your feet up and raise a glass to the coolest frosty beverage aid around. I can’t guarantee that your team will win, but I can promise that your drink will stay cool well into overtime…even if you can’t say the same. Here’s ‘hop’-ing your beer heroics don’t go unnoticed. Cheers. –MWGEEK WINGMAN

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ROGUE WINGMAN: ONE MAN’S INSANE DECISION TO TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN

What happens when you score a deal with one of the biggest brands on the planet to shoot a commercial for their new campaign, you sign off on the creative, and then you toss it out the window and globetrot on their dime until the cash runs out? Ask Casey Neistat, the very director in question, because he just did exactly that.

And got away with it.

Neistat and his camera man just took the money and ran – Nike’s money, no less – and decided that they could shoot a better representation of their “Make It Count” marketing slogan by taking the company’s words literally. And not telling them what they were doing, either. The pair hit every place Neistat had ever wanted to travel, partied, met the locals, ate scary food and generally burned the candle at both ends until their budget ran out. Ten days, to be exact.

What they returned with was more raw footage than any person could realistically sift through in their 11 day deadline, some serious jet lag, and the overwhelming fear that the company that they had essentially just flipped off (or paid tribute to, depending on how you look at it) was going to sue them, murder them, or effectively just end their careers. All together now, say it with me, “Ho-ly. Sh*t.”

And what was Nike’s reaction? Initially fear, then disbelief, and ultimately…well, here’s where I pass the buck. I’m sure I’m not doing this story adequate justice, so you’d do well to check out this interview with Neistat and a more comprehensive rundown by the folks over at FastCompany. It’s a pretty jaw-dropping read. But make sure to watch the final product from the YouTube embed below (it streams better), and watch as the viewer numbers keep rising and rising. If what Nike wanted was a viral hit, I’d say they got one…one way or another.

The takeaway from this is that this guy essentially did what every person who was ever struck with inspiration dreams of doing. Going big. I mean really, really BIG. Granted, Neistat had the benefit of a strong relationship that gave him creative freedom, a solid head start and most importantly, a gut feeling that he could just do it better.

Those among us who have the swagger, the bravery and yes – the stupidity – to do something better than everyone else are to be lauded. Or viewed as cautionary tales, depending on how the story shakes out. But in this case, not only is the ad pretty damn cool, but the (forgive me, mom) balls it took to pull it off are even more impressive. So find your passion, boys and girls, take a leap, and don’t forget to make it count.GEEK WINGMAN

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CORRESPONDENCE WINGMAN: A NOTEWORTHY LETTER (AND WEBSITE)

Every so often, when something especially interesting, or whimsical, or badass comes to my attention I pass it along to you – the Wingman faithful. Such is the case with this recently unearthed letter from an 18-year-old Keith Richards to his aunt Patty telling her about the moment he first met a guy “called Mick Jagger” since being friends in primary school.

*image courtesy Letters of Note*

This chance encounter may have seemed like any other day at first, but it begat one of the most legendary musical collaborations of all time, or so the story goes. (And if you don’t know how the story goes – or who Keith Richards is – kindly get off of my website. I’m kidding).

No I’m not.

My favorite parts of this letter include not only Richards leading off with the phrase “Exit right to deafening applause,” the clearest example of foreshadowing I’ve ever seen. But also his valedictory phrase (that’s his sign off, for the uninitiated – but click the link, it won’t disappoint) being “BIG GRIN” – in all caps, nonetheless – is just plain awesome. It is because of those two gems, and many others embedded within, that I’ll forgive him his Italian slander…maybe.

A few things also worthy of mention are that A) the website Letters of Note is, in my opinion, pretty outstanding if you’re so inclined to bookmarking. Not everything they post is share-worthy, but for a literary geek like me, every so often they find one that really knocks it out of the park.

Like this, exhibit B) a letter every man should read if he’s ever been in love, thinks he might be in love, or plans on ever falling in love. John Steinbeck’s advice to his eldest son Thom’s 1958 letter from boarding school, where the teenager spoke of Susan, a young girl with whom he believed he had fallen in love, is one of my favorite reads ever. Ev-er.

Letter writing and correspondence is a lost art. More men should write letters – or hell, emails even. And not just the ones who are away at war, either. There is something impossibly romantic about revealing who you are to someone little by little, over time. It makes for a solid foundation in a relationship, or just a friendship – but sometimes the latter leads to the former.

You never know.

Lastly, if you’re not a big Stones afficionado or aren’t particularly inclined to letter writing, if you take nothing else away from this posting, hear this: Chance encounters happen all the time, only they may not be so accidental. Whether or not you believe in happenstance (I don’t, for what it’s worth, I believe in fate, timing and preparation) it’s impossible to ignore that some things are just too divine to be coincidence.

So, whether you run into an old chum and start one of the biggest bands on the planet (wink), or you meet a girl on a regular old Wednesday, be open-minded. The possibilities are endless, and even a trifle encounter could lead to a life-altering opportunity.

Here’s to finding some inspiration in your lives, men. Here’s to finding the one day that isn’t like all the other days before it. And here’s to knowing what to do when you get there.GEEK WINGMAN

“Cheers,”  –MW

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