REBLOG: Yes, Person who Sees Sharp Theets: You ARE an Alien.

Good times.

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One of the more enjoyable features of the WordPress stats page is the “Search Terms” section, where you can see what search engine terms brought people to your site. It’s obviously a highly useful feature in regard to tagging posts, but it’s also a lot of fun: some rather bizarre searches have brought people to my page.

Recently, I was scanning the Search Terms box, and perhaps the oddest search  yet appeared there — a dark, desperate plea from the anonymous abyss, from a person whom no doubt was scouring the internet to answer questions beyond the capability of man.

Yes, somehow, the following search term brought this curious unknown person to my page:

“why can i see sharp theets am i a alien”

After seeing this, I knew that I had to respond. To not respond to such a unique question would be immoral, thoughtless. And so to you, person who sees these “sharp theets,” I…

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Why I Wear Hawaiian Shirts

Really, if there’s one comment I hear more often than anything else, it tends to be, “Wow, man. You wear a lot of Hawaiian shirts.”

This habit has, whether fortunately or unfortunately, been one I’ve engaged in for most of my life. It seems like my tendency to wear these bright and colorful shirts is a source of curiosity, since it often elicits comments, both positive and negative — but always entertaining. I’ve received many questions about why I wear them: if there’s a deeper reason, a cause, a role, whether I lost a lifetime bet, and so on. You get the idea.

Well, actually, there is a deeper reason. A few, actually. So, why? Well…

Reason #1: Sentimental Reasons

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Basically, when I was a kid, my father often wore Hawaiian shirts. He enjoyed the look and feel of them, and like most sons, I liked the idea of being a little more like him, so I picked up the habit.

As longtime readers know, he died when I was 17; though I was already wearing Hawaiian shirts by that time, after his death, they took on a new significance for me. Continuing to wear them felt like a way of celebrating his legacy, a tribute to who he was.

Reason #2: Catharsis

jamaica_coffee

When I was younger, I had a lot of social anxiety, difficulty fitting in; you know the story, and many of you experienced your own version of it. Anyway, this all came to a head in high school, where at first, all I wanted to do was disappear into the background. I wanted to seem normal. Quiet. Nondescript. I felt horribly eccentric, incredibly weird, like I couldn’t fit in anywhere.

Then, I changed my mind about trying to fit in, and instead, I decided to wear my eccentricity on my sleeve.

During the summer, like many teenagers in the past and many teenagers in the future, I grew my hair out long. I grew a beard. And, of course, I decided to ditch the bland, basic, flat-colored t-shirts of the past, and make Hawaiian shirts my personal trademark.

Immediately, I started feeling more comfortable socially. I grew out of my shell. I became more confident. I started walking out there a bit more boldly, stating my thoughts aloud, openly being who I was on the outside as well as the inside. Ever since those days, I’ve never stopped wearing the shirts, nor would I ever want to.

Reason #3: Because Yeah, You Know What? Hawaiian Shirts Are Awesome

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Honestly? Hawaiian shirts are just really fucking cool.

Seriously. It’s not always easy to wear something so bright and colorful everyday, turning yourself into a walking billboard for a Caribbean vacation company. But Hawaiian shirts are fun, enjoyable, and people who wear them tend to make great company. A good aloha shirt is comfortable, iconic, timeless. They look great, and feel great. Why would I not want to wear them?

Nicholas Conley Bangkok Thailand

Really, this is probably what it comes down to, in the end: I just like Hawaiian shirts.

I like the way they look, and how they feel. I like the fact that they instill an automatic trust in a person, a sense that no matter how serious that person is, they know how to enjoy life and see the good in things, at least on some level. I have yet to meet a bad person wearing a Hawaiian shirt, and I hope I never do.

REBLOG: Why the United States Should Have Universal Healthcare

I originally wrote this last year, but still relevant today:

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(Note: I originally posted this on Medium)
In the United States, healthcare has been one of the biggest political battles of the decade. As a healthcare worker myself, it’s an issue that strikes close to home. My years of experience caring for people with dementia, traumatic brain injuries, tetraplegia, cancer, and more has given me a firsthand look into what our healthcare system is like at the ground level, and it’s a different world from the vague concepts that politicians volley back and forth at each other.
Healthcare shouldn’t be a messy political fight to begin with: it’s an issue of basic human rights. And what all too often gets lost in these scuffles are the people most in need.
Our police forces, fire departments, libraries, and even our military are all socialist institutions. Few people would argue for the idea of a private fire department that refuses to…

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Coffee

Look Back: Top 5 Coffee Moments™

I just brewed a pour over coffee, and as I’m enjoying it, I thought I’d look back on one of my favorite blog posts from back in 2015. I’ll probably list some new moments one of these days, since there’s been quite a few in the last two years.

But what about all of you? What are your top Coffee Moments?™

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Nicholas Conley's mysterious coffee obsession.

Before we begin, I should probably answer the obvious question:  what in Sam Hill are these so-called Coffee Moments™?

And to that, my reply is this: Coffee Moments™ are those special experiences, those memorable stories from our past, that will always contain the line “and as it all happened, I was drinking a cup of coffee.”

Coffee Moments™ can be thrilling, sentimental, scary and/or victorious.  Maybe your favorite Coffee Moment™ was sitting in that diner with your future spouse, on your first date.  Maybe it was the coffee you took with you to that interview where you finally landed your dream job.  Maybe it was the coffee you drank when you finally got into the college you most wanted to get into.  Perhaps it was even a cup you sipped while fixing up your first car.

Coffee Moments™ can be anything, to anyone, as long as these moments contain…

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My Writing Space

As any creative professional knows, the zone where you create things is your castle. Some people have roaming workstations, while others need a specific spot at a specific time, but there’s always a place where the magic happens — whether it’s a physical location, a psychological one, or (most likely) both. It’s the same for all forms of creative passion: we all have our desks, our studios, our work tables, or whatever else we may need.

For me, while I do enjoy getting some work done in local coffee shops every so often, the primary place where the writing happens is in my office, at home. Whenever I sit down here, as I am now, I feel a sense of purpose, belonging, a focus. With a mug of coffee in hand, I feel ready to conquer the next manuscript before me.

Longtime readers will recognize little touches like the Spider-Man poster and the coffee mug; the desk is never complete without that mug there and filled with hot coffee, as you might imagine. The dinosaur is an old childhood relic that reminds me of my father, and which has been on my desk for over 10 years. It has taken on increasing importance over the years, as childhood relics tend to do. As for those “slugs” roaming around the plant… well, those are the marvelous creation of my endlessly creative wife Veronica, and readers of Pale Highway will know why they’re there.

But let’s not stop with me. What about you guys? What sort of creative workstation/s do you have? Let’s hear about ’em!