Original, poetry, writing

I tried to write a sonnet: A sonnet by Mike Cole

I tried to write a sonnet

I tried to write a sonnet, I really did.

Hours I worked, yet nothing truly clever.

Iambic pentameter brought that to a skid.

I realize now, a fruitless endeavor.

 

Stressed and unstressed can be tough, what to do?

My first poem never saw the light of day.

I watched the clock and time accrued.

Shakespeare was brilliant, what can I say?

 

If I had my way, every line would rhyme,

Yet I’m committed, this sonnet will be done.

The point of no return has arrived, climb!

All this time spent… I could’ve been seeing sun!

 

Alas, no more shall come of this sad affair.

Awake! Awake now! Wake from this nightmare.


So, if you follow my blog, you’ll be aware that over the last few months I’ve been playing around. Trying out different forms of poetry, starting with free form, then writing limericks, and now a sonnet. If you follow my twitter, I’ve also tried my hands at haiku’s. And I have to say, it’s been fun. With that said, the sonnet sounds easy on paper but is extremely difficult to execute. I wrote and rewrote this multiple times, until I threw up my hands and went from a serious sonnet to a humorous one. I might try again down the road, however, I am content with just writing poetry as I see fit; my research has concluded and I’m excited to officially bring poetry back to my blog. If you’ve been here since the beginning, you might remember ‘Fruitful Fridays’ where I analyzed a poem every week; well, it’s back (not every week, but hopefully at least once a month), except I’m doing the writing and you get to analyze! And as always, let me know what you think. My blog is designed for discussion and I always love hearing your comments!

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Germany, hygiene, life, Mystery

Mike Cole’s deep dark secret: What I did cannot be undone

It started with a simple idea, a comment made by a friend, jokingly. She was talking about her trip to Ireland and made the odd remark, “I only date men who shave their armpits”. For the sake of accuracy, I must confess, this was almost 4 years ago, when I was but a Freshman in College. And it could very well have been another friend telling the story. Regardless, that’s besides the point, the idea remained. An idea long forgotten until I traveled to Germany for my last great college adventure and went to the store for the first time…

At the store, I decided to buy deodorant as any clean, well kempt man should do. To my horror, the deodorant was tiny! This simple difference changed the course of my German experience forever as I was haunted by the question, “why”? The argument can be made that everything is bigger and better in America, so we simply get more, yet, somehow, I found that answer to be less than satisfying. So I dug deeper and 2 months later I found my answer; it wasn’t just Germany, it was Europe. Everywhere I went the deodorant was tiny! At this moment, I knew I was onto something big.

At this point in my journey I had traveled all across Europe, blending in as I said “Ich bin ein Genie” and “Ich bin müde”, two of my favorite phrases. But none of this got me any closer to an answer. Until one day, when one of the German students was repulsed after seeing armpit hair on an American. The dots began to connect and it all made sense. Europeans shave their armpits. Men and Women alike. And just like that, the mystery was solved. Less armpit hair means less deodorant and quite honestly means people in Europe as a whole smell nicer. That night I slept like a baby and didn’t think much of it; yet my tale does not end there.

Many believe that there was only New Hair, New Mike; a rebirth of a person as he chopped his mop and become the product of envy among men and the epitome of desire for women [insert winky face here]. Yet I was curious. Driven to the brink of insanity towards the end of my 4 months, I did the unthinkable. I took my dull razor (worn thin from months of shaving my hefty beard) and went straight for my armpits. Yes, I, Mike Cole, in an effort to be fully immersed in European culture, shaved my armpits. And worse? I liked it. I felt clean and free much like when I shaved my hair for the first time. And then I got a rash… Fun fact, armpits are fairly sensitive, so don’t use a dull razor blade. Fast forward to present day. The year is 2018 and I’ve perfected my technique. Electric trimmer, shaving cream, then razor and you’re done! Note, if your skin is extra sensitive, use skin lotion after shaving to prevent irritation. Ahem, anyways…

It’s been done; a secret I thought I would carry to my grave, a sin now to be judged by my fellow American (and my lovely international audience). So why talk about it? Is it because I am currently reworking how I write and needed something to post? Partly! But more than that, armpit hair is actually disgusting when you think about it. It catches sweat and even if we slather on deodorant, it still drips and is absolutely gross. Shaving fixes this problem and you get to use less deodorant (which means you save money!), so go ahead, don’t be shy; shave and watch a miracle happen.


Thanks for reading! A quick announcement; I am a recent college grad or aka a broke person. As such I created a Patreon to help support myself. A dollar a month means I can buy a lot of rice and perhaps not starve to death. And thank you to my first donor, who pledged $5 per month; it means a lot and it’ll be exciting to expand the blog with the money.

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Original, poetry, writing

An ode to coffee: A limerick by Mike Cole

An Ode to Coffee

Oh, coffee, so bitter and sweet

A hero, to rescue those in defeat

When dreams end, you are there

You are a drink, most fair

But you shall be warned, never reheat.


My second attempt at a poem. I’m currently playing around with different formats and seeing what I like most; as they say, practice makes perfect! I also want to try writing more fiction, however, I am currently researching how to write stories, so it’ll be a bit before I try my hands at it again; it also makes me feel a little awkward and dorky, but hey, nothing wrong with being a dork. Next week I should have another post (it’s at 400 words right now) and I’m keeping it a secret as to not spoil the surprise. I also have a Patreon now, so feel free to support a recent college grad if you can spare a dollar a month. If not, that’s ok, I can still afford rice and potatoes.

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Business, Call to Action, Opinion, Professional, United States

Is the resume out of date?

The resume was created 500 years ago. That is old. As far as I can tell, over these 500 years not a lot of people have stopped and asked the question “is the resume out of date; is it time for an upgrade?” The consequence is evident. Instead of innovation we have simply worked our systems around the underlying fact, that, the resume is terribly inefficient and far from perfect.

Those born in the 1960’s or earlier never saw this consequence (when first applying for jobs). When my parents were applying for jobs, their interactions were almost always face-to-face. And then came the internet. When I was a child, the internet was a tool. Then came Myspace, Microsoft office, Facebook, then… You get the idea. Instead of a luxury, the internet has more or less become a necessity. More and more became digitized over a fairly short period of time; a tragedy of innovation is the resume ultimately got left behind.

And more so, populations have grown exponentially. Where once a high school diploma was enough, and achieving one was a sense of pride, a high school diploma is now a prerequisite. And while a College diploma is better, it is still not enough. The problem is not a lack of jobs but rather unrealistic criteria that employers have come to expect of newly graduated students. Everyone is supposed to be a leader, have excellent communication skills, be a 4.0 student, be involved on campus, and have someone who can vouch for them that A) either works for the company or B) Has a prestigious title. What’s more, employers want cheap. Instead of proper training programs, companies look to cut costs by having overly simplistic programs and simply choose the lucky few who do not require initial training.

That’s not to say all companies do this but after interviewing with a handful of companies and declining a few offers, the trend is alarming. What’s more is a lot of the more “prestigious” companies don’t take the time of day to look at your resume. We are keyword searches to some. The process has nothing to do with qualification but rather who can write well and use the best buzzwords. It’s an absolute tragedy. Is a text the same as an email? Is a phone call the same as talking to someone face-to-face? No. And many would agree. Does a page of paper tell the story of a person? Do a few sentences and a few bullets points show a persons charisma? Does it show their grit, how well they’ve dealt with adversity? No. And yet, with so many applicants, what is a company to do?

The best innovation, after centuries of having the resume, is the the Curriculum Vitae. What is it? The crude definition is a two-page resume. That’s it. If employers barely have time to read over a 1 page resume, who had the bright idea of “innovating” so that the resume is now two pages?

What can we do?

Call it naive, but I want to solve this problem. The resume has become a norm when it should’ve been discarded decades ago. We need a better standard to use. If we continue to perpetuate the problem by continuing to use the resume, imagine how much talent will be lost. Too many people have to ask the question “if I could only get my foot in the door…” Imagine a world with an open door policy. The question is how…

What’s being done

LinkedIn –

LinkedIn has done a phenomenal job of shifting the process towards the future. It’s created a community of professionals where people need not be afraid to share their stories and play with their professional identity. Easy apply takes the job search process and makes it a one-click, stress free hassle. I can write all my experiences on LinkedIn, employers can see what skills I have, and I can requests recommendations so employers don’t have to.

Staffing Agencies-

Staffing agencies have become increasingly relevant over the last decade. Staffing agencies work much like a middleman. If companies are feeling cheap, they can hire a staffing agency and essentially outsource their recruiting. These are professionals trained to sniff out potential. It’s a way to reach almost everyone and while not perfect, more often than not you will get an interview with a company that is a proper person-fit.

New Power School of thought-

New Power is the idea that information should be shared rather than withheld; blogging is an example of ‘New Power’. This is not so much a system or institution but rather an emerging social trend (as well as a new way of thinking) that is beyond exciting. Old Power is a system where seniority and title take precedence. As I’ve come to believe and see, this school of thought (old power) is on it’s death spiral. With the emergence of the internet, the potential employee is equipped with knowledge at their finger tip. Sites like Glassdoor have capitalized on this new school of thought and have brought a level of employer-employee transparency the likes we have never seen. While ‘old power’ still exists, I imagine it will be almost unheard of in the next decade or so.

A few closing thoughts

While the current trends are promising, if you’re unemployed, it’s still a tough grind and can seem impossible to get noticed. And that’s a shame. As far as innovating the resume, my idea is that innovation will come in the form of an App or perhaps a more visual format. Imagine if the resume was designed around telling a story. Instead of writing buzzwords on a piece a paper, imagine creating a five minute video where you didn’t feel pressure to say exactly what the employer wants to hear. The job searching (and application) process shouldn’t be a chore, it should be fun! And that comes only from employers and potential employees finding common ground. Especially in the realm of business, we need systems that reflect and encourage creativity, not ones that encourage cookie cutter attempts to impress employers.

A Call to Action

If you have ideas, don’t be afraid to express them. Nothing changes if we do what already has been done. Play around, discuss with friends and start creating the new normal. Try using your idea with an employer. If it fails, try again. And do not be afraid to share; sharing gives us a new perspective and helps an idea grow.


Thanks for reading! I’ve been wanting to talk about the resume for quite a few years now. However, each time I approached the topic it never felt quite right. It’s a sensitive topic and must be handled with grace. I hope this helps and feel free to comment below if you have ideas or simply want to point out what I might of missed.

For Beginners, new perspective, Recommendation, Review, Video Games

Gaming for Beginners: Stardew Valley

To continue with the trend as of late, I’m going to try another series. As you can imagine by the title, this series will be about gaming. I realized that if someone says video games are “a waste of time” they either 1) Have not played video games or 2) they tried video games, didn’t understand what was going on, got frustrated, and decided video games were stupid. So here I am to help. To remedy the issue, instead of writing reviews geared for those who already play games, I am hand picking games that provide a challenge, have depth, and are easy enough to jump into and enjoy for ANYONE.

Story

So let’s start with stardew valley. The story of Stardew Valley starts out simple enough. You’ve sold your soul to Corporate America and are working at a job you hate just to make ends meet. Sound familiar? Yes, it’s the story of the American Dream! While at the office you remember a letter your grandfather gave you before he died and him saying “open this when life has you in a tizzy”. In the letter, is the deed to the family farm. And thus begins your journey to Stardew Valley.

Gameplay

When you arrive, the farm is a mess. Weeds run rampant and you only have enough money to buy a few crops. Thus begins your first season. You clear land, meet villagers, and tend to your harvest in the hope of having a bigger yield next season to build a farm that Grandpa would be proud of. If you’ve ever fantasized about being a lumberjack, now’s your chance. Instead of growing thousands of pumpkins, plant a thousand trees; once they’re fully grown, chop them down. Want to spend most of your time fishing, use your rod and buy a few crabbing pots along with some bait. Want to hunt monsters all day and be a miner? Buy a sword and grab your pickaxe.

What did I do? Who was/is farmer Mike? I grew bored of planting crops, so instead I built a coop and a barn and had my sheep Ann and my chicken Lucy to keep me company. Then as months turned to years, I built a wine cellar, built a greenhouse (coffee all year round!!!), and grew wheat and hops to make beer. Then I met a villager, fell in love and accomplished what I’ve never been able to do in real life; settle down!

Time

So as you can imagine, this game is quite involved. I failed my marketing final because I had the brilliant idea of buying this game a week before (still got an A in the class). However, this is a game that you could play for 30 minutes, stop, and continue when you have more time. It’s beyond addicting. It has catchy music, beautiful sound effects, a rewarding progress system, and better conversations than you have with your friends in real life. It is a game where you could start playing in the morning, look out the window and realize that the sun has already set, then keep playing till the sun rises again. What’s more, it was developed by one individual during his free time. If you spend money ($15) you’ll be supporting one man who pursued his dreams and made a beautiful piece of art.

Verdict

This game is fun for everyone. If you’re looking for a new hobby, this game is a great starting point. If you’re trying to understand why all your nerd friends would rather sit inside all day than talk to your lovely face, just give this a try. I give this game:

5 out of 5 ripe potatoes: A must play


So there you have it! My first ever video game review! It was a lot of fun to write and hope you enjoyed it as well. I plan to do more in the future and think it’ll be a nice addition to my book and movie reviews. And with any luck, I might even make a game connoisseur out of you yet! As always, thanks for reading! I’ll post a link to the trailer for “Stardew Valley” below and feel free to comment if you have questions!

Stardew Valley Trailer

Creative, Original, Quote, story

A thought experiment: Reaching into the void

So I had this idea late at night, went to bed, and still thought it was a great idea when I woke up. Does that make it a great idea? Not at all, but let’s give it a try. So for the last few months I’ve wrote quite a bit but believe it or not, many of my posts have not seen the light of day. So instead of simply discarding the drafts into the trash, I wanted to make a post instead. I took the best lines from each and simply posted them. A few snips here and there and we have a glimpse into my mysterious mind. This is very much what you make of it. The quotes are posted in reverse chronological order so if you want this to be a story, it can. Read it bottom-up or top-down. Or do you find it to be more poetry than story? Really, it’s up to you to decide. I personally am very pleased with how this turned out. so without further ado, enjoy.


As I said earlier, my last week has been nothing but Netflix and chilling. Usually at this point cabin fever starts to set in and the sane start to become insane.  People get guilt tripped into thinking they’re wasting their time. While some experiences may be a waste of time, it all comes down to perspective and how we draw information.

So I’ve been doing some soul searching for the last few months. A lot of big questions with few answers. This idea of knowing who we are, who we will be.

Time. Once gone, it cannot be replaced. No amount of money in the world will buy you more time, another day on this planet. From the day we are born till the day we die we are racing against time.

This is a post about fear, vulnerability, and the future. I am currently unemployed, alone, and still searching for happiness. Happiness can come from fulfilling work, meaningful relationships or any reason in-between.

When I was growing up, the portable cellphone was a novelty and house phones were all too common. That was 1993. Remember floppy disks, then the Walkman, then Zune? The birth of CD’s, the internet as a source of entertainment? Hard to believe that’s all been within the two decades that I’ve been alive.

So I’ve been stumped about a topic for the last week. I keep writing drafts and then shelving those ideas to continue my Netflix spree. I have been home for the last two weeks and forget that my brother and I are yin and yang.

For most of my life it has felt as though something has been missing and every once in a while I’ll get a taste, a flutter of the heart and then an emptiness as the moment passes.

I was terrified of almost everything. Perhaps most so, my future. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what we fear and in the end, how much of a relief it is to face them. I spent a lifetime running from my fears. The one emotion I haven’t been able to conquer is love. Relationships are messy, complicated, and to be honest, don’t seem to be worth the hassle. People are terrified. Do people love because they care or because they are afraid of dying alone?

It’s time to talk about the voice inside the back of our head. The one that leaves words unsaid and gives doubt a field day. Yes, I’m talking about ourselves! As the old adage goes, we are our own worst enemies. We can spend years perfecting who we are only to have our little voice tell us our work isn’t good enough.

Life is made up of little moments and it is in these little moments that we hold our future.

As much as I like to think of myself as a man who has freed himself of his problems, that I have not. For some reason, when life is good, I simply can’t appreciate it. This year I learned to live in the present moment, to appreciate life as it comes. I wanted to be better, so I worked on being vulnerable.

A man of two worlds; the old and the new.


If you like what I write, feel free to share with your friends. And please let me know what you think! The last few months I’ve been playing around with lots of different ideas and so far the reception has been overwhelmingly positive! If you have an idea, comment! And who knows, I might write a post about it. As always, thanks for reading!

dp challenge, Fiction, Original, writing

Fiction or not: The Forsaken

So it’s time again for a new series. This time, I’m trying my hand at writing fiction. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do but have kept putting aside until now. My idea with this series is to either write isolated, short stories or, depending on feedback and my preference, continuing stories if people want to know more about the worlds I create. Without further ado, enjoy.


It took him a lifetime but he finally realized the mistakes he had made, the moments lost. When his future was in front of him, he turned his back. He thought, “surely the future can wait if not for a bit longer.” Days turned to years and the once young man was now old.

When he finally did make his choice, years ago, it was with little thought. He was living for himself and the pay was good. He was a fisherman of the Western Province, where the fish were some 30 feet long <and these were just the babies.>

It was dangerous work to say the least and the world was not a kind one. The Ocean was a tempest from when Orak, the Giant Squid, was slain. When Orak died, it is said the heavens cried and the Earth grew cold. You see, Orak was a guardian of The Old.

The Western Sea was only referenced as The Untamed, its name of old lost during the Great Fire that engulfed the world in flames. What had once been, no one could remember except for The Wanderers, who some say have lived for hundreds of years.

This did not concern him, however. For he was a Forsaken and life was hard enough on its own.


Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment below if you have any ideas for future “fiction or not” entries. Let me know what you think and feel free to share this post!

Dailypost Challenge word: Tame