Category Archives: Goals

Bloguary 2012!

Hey party people, you can stop holding your breath… I’m here to let you know that the rumors are true – it’s bloguary 2012!

January is going to be a massive moderate blogfest that will blow your my mind, and help us figure out what this is all really about.  I know this site is a side effect of kicking ass, but what is it?  Is it a personal blog – a place for me to record my life happenings for my family and friends?  A way for me to share my (incredibly scientific) research on random topics?  Will it be entertaining, thoughtful, inspirational, or new age-y?  Or perhaps it’s just a means for me to practice my writing?

Up till now, I’ve been shooting for approximately 1 post per week.  Just for this month, I’m going to amp that up, like woah.  By forcing myself to write early and often, I’m hoping a pattern will emerge and we’ll see what the universe/force/destiny has in store for MadEyeMaryann.

Either that, or we’ll end up with a series of tweet sized posts linking to funny videos like this one, this one, or this one.


In no particular order, here are some topics you might see from me in Bloguary:

  • Personal finance for dummies by dummies
  • Tricks to fitting your workout into the morning
  • How to make an edible Christmas tree: A Case Study
  • The 5 essential elements of the Perfect Brownie Sundae
  • Personal Hero Profile Series (Fictional): Elizabeth Bennett
  • Personal Hero Profile Series (Non-fictional): TBD
  • Dream Sequence: Things I write down when I wake up in the middle of the night
  • This Day in History: Things I wrote in the nineties
  • This has all happened before, and it will all happen again: How we are reincarnating all the time
  • Nutritious and Delicious: Adventures in Foodland
Till next time tomorrow!

KATN – 2 week check-in

2 weeks and 1 day ago today I woke up determined to kick ass and take names, all the time. So how have I been doing?


Start a business:
  • I have a product-based business idea that I’ve gotten stuck on, so contacted San Francisco SCORE and got a mentor. I meet her next Monday, so hopefully that will help me get rolling on the next steps.
  • Been consuming all info within my grasp regarding starting a freelance consulting business. Decided on an idea and finally posted a craiglist ad up today for a mock tech interview service. Goal is to get one paying client by next week. #quickwins
  • Going around in psychological circles: “Yes-I can totally work for myself-I’ve got tons to offer” to “Nobody is ever going to pay you-You crazy hyped up little lady-Just go get a job like a sane person”. Honestly, this is the biggest challenge/time suck of them all
Front a band:
  • Researched singing teachers and set up an audition with one on Sunday. This is only indirectly related to starting a band, but it’s a first step into the musician community.
Organize social events:
  • Contacted a friend and had brunch over the weekend. Baby steps, people.
Conversational superstar:
  • Realized that if this goal is the only thing I accomplish in the next year, it will probably be the best spent year of my life thus far.
  • Attended a Halloween party and tested out variations of answers to “What do you do?”.  Spent rest of night failing on pretty much all other conversational fronts.


  • Applied “small talk” tricks from above-mentionned awesome book on 4-5 strangers on 2 separate occasions.
  • Went to first Toastmasters meeting and gave extemporaneous 2:03 speech on “my creative outlet”.  Singlehandedly took 10 years off the group’s average age :)
Author inspirational and useful blog:
  • Does this one count?
Microfinance lending:
  • Nada

Over time, I’ve started to lose that extra oomph I felt in the morning 2 weeks ago.  Maybe it’s time to paint my mantra on the ceiling?  Set my alarm to play my theme song (TBD)?  How do you keep the passion alive?!?

How to work a party even though you’re scared, Step 1

If you are anything like me, you dread parties of the wine-cheese-mingle variety, especially when you don’t know many people there.  You avoid eye contact with strangers and slither around the room hoping to look busy, avoid notice, and make it out of there in one piece.  If you are lucky, you’ll find a slightly boisterous group of 4 or more people that you can latch on to without ever having to introduce yourself.

Oddly enough, you have no problem whatsoever with dance parties or public speaking.  So it seems your shyness paralysis is limited to unrehearsed conversation.

As I mentioned last time, one of my primary goals is to become a conversational superstar.  I was heading to a Halloween party this weekend – my first in the KATN era – and realized I had a big opportunity here.  I thought about what made parties and strangers so bad, and I realized it came down to these 2 questions:

1) What do you do?
2) What’s been happening?

I dread this line of small talk because I never feel great about my stammering answers and it makes me feel like the most boring person alive or dead.  I see people yucking it up all around me, but my conversations always seem to start with these duds and then die.  What’s a girl to do?

As much as you might like to avoid these questions (by slithering around the room, etc.), you know they are coming so you may as well be prepared.  I went scientific this weekend and started varying my answers and observing the results.  “I’m a software engineer/software developer/computer programmer” = instant snoozefest.  “I’m a software person and I create websites” – much better response and recovery on to the next topic (this was a group of non-techies).  Next time I’ll try something like “I write software and I’m training for a half marathon/starting a blog/working on kicking ass all the time”.  I’m guessing that once I’ve mastered answering these questions through deliberate testing, parties will be at least 82% better.

I actually had a number of these at the ready in college, but at some point I stopped refreshing them and forgot this principle entirely.  Somehow, “Do you or do you not think Ludacris is a lyrical genius” doesn’t belong in this decade, and I’ve also outgrown “Hey, so did you actually enjoy your senior prom?”  But it shouldn’t be too hard to come up with 4 or 5 topics that interest you and that anyone can discuss.  Potentials include

  •  interesting recent news
  • weather (but be prepared to move to the next topic quickly)
  • viral videos (read your audience first)
  • admiring Halloween costumes, plus story about best/funniest/worst one you’ve ever seen (timely)
  • funny, SHORT anecdotes (short because we are only on How to Work a Party: Step 1, and stand-up comedy is at least step 4)

If you are ready with enough topics that you can confidently discuss, you’ll likely be able to fill the time and hedge against entering unrehearsed territory.  Heck, maybe you’ll even enjoy yourself.

I haven’t yet managed to gracefully extract myself from a conversation, but I see it being done all the time.  Must try testing out “I’m gonna get a drink/refill, want anything?”, or even just a simple “be right back”.  I’d recommend coming up with at least 4 exit strategies so you can always leave on a high note.

Goals for November: Prepare answers, conversation starters, and exit strategies.  Rock em with at least 1 stranger.  Report back.

Kicking Ass and Taking Names

Two days ago, I woke up with a rallying cry in my head. Later that evening I sent out this email:


Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011
Dear Trusted Personal Advisors:

As of today, my personal mantra is this: kick ass and take names, all the time.


Here are some of the projects involved in kicking ass and taking names:

    ·         Start a business (preferably successful)
    ·         Front a band
     ·         Organize more social events (alternative: embrace hermit nature and create tantalizing shroud of mystery)
     ·         Become conversational superstar (kill social anxiety)
     ·         Author inspirational and useful blog
     ·         Become involved in microfinance lending


     ·         Join Toastmasters
      ·         Stop watching bad TV (why oh why did I watch Felicity on Netflix)
      ·         Write more


Maryann “Will She Or Won’t She Go to a Toastmasters Meeting Tonight” Vellanikaran


I’m taking this vision global with this site, so watch out people.