Monday, March 19, 2012

This blog has been discontinued by the author. Please visit his website at for new content.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The End of the Too XYZ Blog

It is with no small amount of irony that less than a week after the (unobserved) two your anniversary of the launch of this blog I should post this to announce what I alluded to months ago; I will be discontinuing Too XYZ. This will be, for all intents and purposes, the last post I make on it.

When I first created this blog in February of 2010, I was no stranger to blogging. My other blog, (which will remain unchanged) called Always Off Book has been a place to share my theatre related adventures, experiences, plans and opinions since October of 2005. Yet during the fall of 2009, as I began to gain an all too temporary and transient esteem from some of the folks at Brazen Careerist, it became clear to me that I may in fact have something to say about things other than community theatre. Things that could help others, make people think, and start conversations.

The glut of self-help and opinion based blogs was obvious to me. Obvious due in no small part to the fact that just about all of them were advising things that were contrary to my natural state. The modes operandi of many blogs then, as now, seems to be, "Shut up, suck it up, smile, and accept the fact that everything in the universe is either under your control, or is entirely your fault. Get on the right side of this fence today."

Not only was that sort of militant "positive" thinking not enough for me and usually ineffective as presented, it bordered on the offensive. Who exactly are these blogosphere drones to tell me that there is one, and only one way to do shit? One way by which to get out of a funk, fix a career, gain money, get published, find a relationship, garner respect, start a business. You name it, and the vast majority of blogs and articles out there insisted upon the same worn out, cookie cutter, "go out there and get it" solutions, all predicated on the idea that luck, privilege and assistance have never and will never contribute to the success or failure of any human being. (And certainly not to their own.)

I wasn't buying that bumper sticker. I knew, from a life filled with disappointment, struggles, failures, limited resources, and at times stupefying bad-timing and bad luck that there was more to the picture than simply wanting it enough. That there had to be something else to be offered to people like me besides, "Want it more! Work harder!". And I felt, in a place deep inside me, that there were others like me who, for reasons they could not quantify, had found themselves unable to catch a break. Unable to get ahead. Unable to even kick open a door, let alone get their foot into same. An entire demographic of people who, like myself, were left always exhausted as well as exasperated by the enormous amounts of energy they spent spinning their tires, and making little to no progress in the world. And even the successful people had to feel this way sometimes, beyond a certain point.

It was those people I wanted to reach, with the help of my Brazen Careerist platform and connections. So I began to plan out a second blog. One dedicated to expressing both how I was too...something, and reaching out to others who were too...something. I wanted a blog wherein I could explore, with other like minded people, why everyone thought we were too poor, too old, too cautious, too shy, too introverted, too, unconventional. A place to explore why we were always far "too"...something. Fill in the blank, I thought. Too XYZ was born.

This was before I was on Twitter, and therefore my blog, and my activity on Brazen Careerist was my key to reaching people. And reach them, I did. For a time. Mentioning my blog posts at BC made me a frequent recipient of the "Featured Post" honor. Comments would come, and conversations would start. It started out well.

But then other things began to happen. Those who enjoyed my candid, zero-bullshit approach when they agreed with what I was saying suddenly became abrasive when I applied it to things with which they did not agree. When I applied my at times acerbic commentary towards my own life, people got testy. I gained and lost several "friends" after the first year of Too XYZ. (Thankfully, I have kept most of them.) My content began to be seen, I imagine, as more of a crusade against the status quo. (Which it was.)

Yet I think a certain demographic of people expected that I was trying to be the next Seth Godin (god forbid that vapid future), and document some kind of personal journey into fame and wealth which I too would enter by kicking doors open and taking the world by storm, as all of their other blogging heroes had done. I theorize many of my initial, enthusiastic reader expected me to adhere to conventional gurudom, monetize my blog, write some damned e-book or another, sell it, talk about it all the time, make money, and polish the all important "personal brand". A brand which would, in essence, be built around the idea of being Too XYZ in a way that was more marketable and conventional. (Even Dan Schawabel shared one of my early blog posts once, which is apparently a big deal.)

This didn't happen. My goal wasn't to be king of the blogosphere. My idea was to start conversations and meet people.

Some would say I failed to achieve my blogging goals because I didn't capitalize on the excellent notoriety and platform I was building. Many left my readership as well as my "friendship" because I failed to seize what they felt needed seizing. I wasn't doing what Gen-Y has been bred almost to the genetic level to do...take what I had built, draw blood with it, and double it every eight weeks. In short, many expected me to become "Ty, Inc." This notion made my skin crawl. I enjoyed posting about and responding to Gen-Y career-related content, yes, because I believe I offered a view that nobody else was considering. But my point was to express that view, and encourage others to express that view in order to make a hole for those of us who know that by and large the Seth Godin and CopyBlogger way is mostly bullshit. I didn't want to use my statements against such things in order to become such things. And I think a lot of my early readers couldn't grasp that. Kicking ass is kicking ass, after all, right?

So I backed away from the "Gen-Y" "How to succeed at your career", type of posts, and moved more into the nature of being Too XYZ in a world that doesn't want to deal with such variables. (The blog's reason for being in the first place.) I initially thought that my success at BC would carry me through in this regard as well. It didn't. I don't want to get into a bashing fest, but suffice to say that like so many other good ideas before it, Brazen Careerist over the course of the next year became anything but Brazen. The same tired, cookie cutter responses, sullied by corporate interest and editorial interference by new employees beholden to same. The sense of exploring the whole person with which the platform was founded, and under which I thrived, vanished in favor of exposure and perks for the already privileged. The elite. The ones with mile long resumes and the connections to rub golden elbows.

In short, I was now Too XYZ for Brazen Careerist. And when the final indignity of being treated like a total newb by one of the so called "editors" took place, I bid my farewells to the place, after gaining 400 followers, (most of which never responded to my private much for networking) and being labeled a "Top User".

But this blog remained, in hopes that I would still reach that same disenfranchised group of people, while at the same time offering an example of my writing skills to those who wished to observe same. By now I had started on Twitter, and was getting the hang of that; I never really adopted it as most others have, but have learned to use it to some small advantage in the networking department. I'd continue to blog on topics of Too XYZ, while also tweeting about same. Only with a more philosophical bent, as opposed to the analytic and critical approach from earlier in the blog's life.

The readership changed somewhat. It remained steady, though quiet. I won't get into numbers here, but most posts didn't match the numbers of some of my early posts from the career-oriented days of BC. There were some exceptions; people on Twitter were eating up my posts on introversion. As well as my occasional posts on my writing. I began to think that if I could somehow meld my views on being an introvert into being Too XYZ, I could perhaps reach those who were both. And if I could share those experiences through the lens of being a writer, all the better. So I tried to do that with my posts. I succeeded somewhat, but the writing was on the wall; the mission of my online content had changed, and this blog, as it was, no longer quite fit that mission.

I was losing the desire to create this "otherness" about what I am. I maintain that there is something different about me, and that solving my problems is not as simple as most people think that it is. But as my posts began to lean more towards introspection, I came to a conclusion, expressed in this post, that I wasn't serving either myself, nor other people that are Too XYZ very well at all. I was conceptualizing the state of being "Too XYZ", and trying to write and discuss that, when what I should have been doing was sharing myself with the individual man who happens also to be, in some areas, Too XYZ. Let people get to know me and what makes me tick, and not just my existential proclivities. (After all, not all of me is Too XYZ believe it or not. I can be damn practical too.)

My research and work over the last few months has been pursuant of this realignment. And by Easter, a brand new website and blog will be the culmination of this perceptual shift.

My new site will still be dominated by a blogging component, but the content will vary a bit more. Instead of posts about being Too XYZ, you will find posts about being me. Not confined to mere navel-gazing, I'll be posting thoughts, experiences, advice, observations, questions and links pertaining to such topics as writing, introversion, daily life, and yes, being Too XYZ. That aspect of my blogging will not vanish, and indeed, 100% of the content from this blog will be folded into the new one, to be categorized appropriately as per the new broader, Ty-Based approach.

In addition to the blogging, I will provide informational pages about me, how to hire me, writing samples, how to contact me, current projects and more. It will not be the fanciest, plug-in crazy website you will find. It will not be dripping with fancy code and all of the latest widgets. It will be, as this site has been, minimalist in presentation. Clean. Clear. Direct. The depth of content, however will hopefully be up to what you have come to expect from me and my writing. Indeed I hope to continue to improve and expand my content as I give a better idea of not only who I am, but what I can do.

If all goes as planned, I'll be engaging to more people. The site will be place where you can come and get to know either one single aspect of me, such as my writing, or multiple aspects of who I am, and what I do and want. Simple at first where content is king, and perhaps later on, if thing goes well, somewhat more fancy, where, you guessed it, content is still king.

The true work on that site begins this very week. And while I could continue to post here as I set up the new place, (or at least continue to repost Too XYZ Classics), I have decided that now is a good time to make the break and concentrate more fully on making the new site. Which is why I'll not be blogging again until the new place is up and running. When the address and domain are set-up I will probably post one more entry here announcing where to find me in case any stragglers show up and read the blog. But for all intents and purposes this is, as I said, the final entry of any substance for Too XYZ.

I want to thank all of you who have read, commented on, and subscribed to this blog over the last two years. Some of you I know, but most of you have remained in the shadows, leaving no contact information with which I can thank you personally. I hope that if you have been a regular reader of Too XYZ, you will make the switch and come on over to read and subscribe to the new place, once it's all ready. In the mean time, if you don't already, do follow me on Twitter @TyUnglebower. I'll be posting site updates and other things there as well. If not, check back here periodically next month for the official address once I create it.

This blog in this space will remain up for the foreseeable future, both for archival purposes and so that I can respond to any comments I might get on any posts. (Yes, I will still engage in conversations about any of the topics I have brought up over the last two years.) But for now, my short blogging hiatus begins. I hope to see you all on the other side of it. Until then, remember we're all a little Too XYZ sometimes, and that is okay.

sincerely, Ty Unglebower

Monday, January 30, 2012

Too XYZ Classic: Optimizing Optimism

In one of my first ever posts on this blog, published on February 22, 2010, I spoke of optimism.

I have had a love-hate relationship with the concept of optimism for all of my life. Perhaps it is better described as a like-hate. I have been through resentment of optimists, confusion of them. I have been briefly intrigued by them, and for an even briefer period of time, tried to become one. Currently, I have an uneasy alliance with the concept and its disciples. I accept it in just about the same proportions that I accept the fact I am no and cannot be an optimist myself. Not when defined by a life long, ubiquitous sense of seeing the silver lining.

I came to that conclusion not long before starting this blog. In fact, knowing I was not an optimist is one of the components that led me to conclude I was Too XYZ for most people.

The good news is, psychiatry is starting to catch up to the idea that I have espoused for so long; Unchecked, universal optimism is not much healthier than is incessant pessimism. Indeed, a recent edition of Psychology Today contains an article addressing this very subject. An article that encourages the tempering of optimistic expectations. It was quite a satisfying read for someone like myself. (Paul, Annie Murphy. "The Uses and Abuses of Optimism (And Pessimism)" Psychology Today Dec. 2011: 56-62)

Since writing this post, as I said, I have a more diplomatic approach to optimism. One that has it seeds in the classic post I am directing you to now. Optimism focused upon a specific project or moment in time, and not applied as a life philosophy has sometimes kept me from going crazy. Perhaps it will help you as well.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Too XYZ Classic: Screw Cartography

Just over a year ago, I published this post, decrying the rampant need for people, organizations and institutions to put themselves "on the map".

Success, and even fame are one thing. But they ought to be the result of working towards a mission. That mission, I said a year ago, and maintain today, cannot be fame and notoriety in its own right. If being  "put on the map" if the underlying impetus for everything you do, you aren't doing much.

Since I published this I have announced the start of my own theatre company, The Parapet Players. I am currently in the midst of building a new website. I am revising my first novel, and outlining a second. I seek my freelance writing work. And yet in each of these cases my goal is to create a quality product, not to "get on the map".

I'd like to be on the map someday in any and all of these endeavors, of course. But I simply won't rearrange what I have in order to go right for the map. I should get on the map because of what I have done, not because I have pursued a course of action designed to do so.

You wouldn't believe how many times I've seen something that is established go to pot because the decide they need to "expand" and get on this map. And don't even get me started on placed that aren't even established, who decide the answer is to shoot for the map right away.

And my old high school? Their plans to build a new facility which I mentioned in the original post? They have now been totally abandoned. They will instead take over the facility of middle school that has moved out of the area. That just about sums it up as far as they and their "map" are concerned.

How important is "getting on the map" to you?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Too XYZ Classic: Why Introverts Hate Small Talk

This post was only published back in June, so I don't know if it's truly old enough to be a "classic". But just this weekend I got two more fresh comments on small talk from two different people. (One of whom actually Googled "I hate small talk".) So given it's initial popularity and the continued interest people have on the topic, it has attained Too XYZ Classic status.

My thoughts on the nature of small talk have not changed much in a mere seven months, of course. It is still tedious, still pointless, and still grates my nerves. The world still expects it and in general I still refuse to yield to that expectation.

There are over 25 comments on the comment section of this post though, and each of them makes an excellent point in a way I didn't cover, or otherwise shares a personal anecdote that I feel enlightens the subject even further.

In other words, those commenting on the post are not engaging in mere small talk.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Too XYZ Classic: Sculpting Relationships

Back on March 16, 2011, I posted this somewhat lengthy but quite satisfying piece about how I think we can forge and strengthen our relationships with people. The advice within the post came about as I pondered the things I found most lacking in my own relationships that were also the things for which I most yearned. In a few cases these tips were, I admit, also the things I myself found most difficult.

I don't know how successful I have been in implementing all of these things. And I know that the state of my relationships since I wrote this is roughly the same, overall. Some of my relationships I have only recently concluded are actually never going to be any good for me. Others are just starting out, relationships that didn't even exist when I originally published this post. So perhaps it will be easier for me to follow my own advice with new relationships than it is in regards to old ones?

That isn't to say I have not followed any of my own advice already. And when I have it has been advantageous more often than not. I really have felt closer to certain people since putting a few of these things into practice here and there.

The one that tragically remains the least utilized among my friends is "always apologize." I literally have been hurt many times by certain people, and those people have never once thought to apologize. I have even been shut out, and told that the conversation is "over" when I attempt to equalize the bad feelings. The hurt over people who behave this way continues. But as I said, at least I am starting to see the true nature of some of my so called friends. Maybe, in part, due to my greater focus on the concepts mentioned in this piece.

Would you add any other actions or perceptions to my list?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Too XYZ Classic: Five Ways to Make Networking Events Introvert Friendly

Despite popular belief, we're allowed to enjoy and even love our own work. And for my part, I love this post I wrote back in October of 2010. I really feel I captured the most potent reasons that standard networking events, (such as business card exchanges) are such anathema to the average introvert.

Further, I am proud of how well I articulated just exactly what needs to be present at a network event if anyone ever wants to spearhead an introvert-oriented meet and greet. Not that anybody has jumped at the idea to do this.

Yet they should. They should indeed. Introvert creativity is some of the most forward thinking and inspiring you can come across. No offense to extroverts out there of course, but the predominance of your kind in the design of office space, loathsome "team projects", brainstorming sessions, and the previously mention networking events all do a disservice not just to introverts, but to organizations that execute such strategies. Yet the sad truth is, business is becoming more and more an extroverted affair. That is as unfair as it is unwise.

Yet, as I said there is some hope. I have yet to encounter a networking event that incorporated some or all of these five elements I mentioned. But if I did, I'd be happy to attend. Introverts need help too after all.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Too XYZ Classic: 8 Reasons Volunteering Sucks

On April 20, 2010 I wrote this piece on volunteerism. It has been either first or second on Google searches for the phrase "Volunteering Sucks" for most of the time since. Which means more than a few people must punch in that phrase. And if the many comments on this post are any indication, quite a few of those Googling the phrase have recently been burned by volunteering their time to some cause or another.

Let's face it, volunteering isn't really all it is cracked up to be as a concept. Sure, we want to help people who need it, and there are for many people lots of opportunity to make use of our talents to assist others for free. Yet if we are not lucky enough to land the perfect volunteer position? Let's just say that the pre-packaged notion that volunteering is it's own reward was never vetted by offended and unappreciated former volunteers such as myself and those who read this post originally.

Since publishing this piece, I have yet to look for, and hence have yet to find, any rewarding volunteer services to provide my community. So my thoughts remain in large part the same as they did when I wrote this.

Do you volunteer anywhere? Have you noticed any of these things?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Too XYZ Classic: I Hate Dating

In some ways, this post from June 10, 2010 is one of the most "Ty" posts in this entire blog. Few things in life have been as consistent for me as a hatred of the whole dating scene. In the 18 months or so since I originally published this, my views have not been tempered much. That is to say I may find myself able to enjoy one or two standard "getting to know you dates" in the course of an entire year. And that is only a maybe. Yet the lion's share of this post's sentiments remain in tact. I still despise conventional dating. The games. The unfair judgement. The standards for a partner so lofty they border on indecent. The hoops of fire through which I am to jump in order to make the "correct" impression on the drill sergeant that is my date. (Assuming I haven't scorched my manhood during said leap and lost all interest in such things by that point.)

Until dating changes, or until women who run the dating circuit like it's an Olympic event become less dismissive of guys like myself, (not rich, not tall, average looks) I will stick to actually relating to people, and making sure people relate to the real me. Not the "dating me".

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Too XYZ Classic: Look Before You Melee

In this post, originally published here on the blog on March 18, 2010, I used video game playing as a metaphor. I did so to show how effective it can be at times to go slow and finesse one's way to success. I have to say that in the intervening time since I wrote the post I have become more adept at strategic approaches to certain things. The temptation and inclination to melee, however, is still present. It's something of which I have to remain aware as I go forward with my plans. (Though I still have gone to melee, not without some success, in the nearly two years since I wrote this piece.

What I didn't specifically mention in the post, but which I nonetheless find applicable to same is the notion some people have to be always moving. Always changing. Always rushing into the next big thing. Brand changing, loyalty changing, spend two years creating something only to drop it 4 days after it's official, and move on to something else to build. For something that is "keeping it fresh". To me that is but another form of ill advised melee attack. Blasting your way through life for the sake of blasting and getting to the top of...whatever.

I didn't have a huge readership the first time, and as you can see, little commentary. But I count it as one of my favorite posts because it illuminates one of my favorite lessons over the last few years. A lesson I try to apply each day in some way.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Online Plans for 2012

Whew. After a month of posting daily as part of the fabulous and enlightening Reverb11, I have taken a few days off of blogging before starting up again.

And even now, it is just a brief stay so I can lay out a few things for those of you who follow me.

To begin with, as I said, Reverb11 brought out a rather copious amount of new material to the blog in a short amount of time. I am proud of myself, and I don't regret the decision. Please go back and read everything I wrote in December to get a great idea of what I am about, and plan to be about in the near future.

However despite the fact that I could create some more original content, I am going to give that portion of my brain a rest for at least January. But I don't want to go dark for that time, so I will be posting "Too XYZ Classics". Throughout this month I will be re-posting what I think have been some of my favorite, most successful, most controversial and most commented upon posts of the last two years. If you haven't had a chance to read them, and haven't explored my archive yet, here will be your chance.

Perhaps they will kick up some conversations all over again. I'll still be responding to any comments, so feel free to offer up your thoughts on what you read. I will also up a brief overview of the post, and some thoughts on what if any conversation came about the first time it was posted.

Also now is as good a time as any to remind you all that this year my online presence will change. Too XYZ as you know it today will cease to exist, as I design and build a more all purpose website. It will be a place to learn about me, read samples of my writing, get information on hiring me, and, naturally, blogging. (On more than one topic.) It's all part of rebuilding and strengthening my freelance business.

All of the posts for Too XYZ will be, ideally, folded into this new site, so all of these old posts will remain accessible for you to read and comment upon. I will keep you posted on the progress of that project periodically by posting about it here. I may even need your advice as time goes on.

The goal is to have the new site up and running no later than Easter Sunday. So stay tuned for that.

In the mean time, I hope you will continue to check back here to the blog for the Too XYZ Classics, starting later this week.