Archive for October, 2010

The day is finally here, my 25th birthday. Finally my car insurance will go down… Oh wait, I don’t have a car in Chicago.

Me during my police themed birthday party. (I got a real Milwaukee PD shirt as a b-day gift.)

Well at least I have a good excuse to crack open a beer, smoke a cigar and maybe throw back some whiskey. I love birthdays, mine and others, because like wedding invites, they are a chance to reflect on the past year, celebrate accomplishments and make plans for the future.

Normally, I start my goals on January 1st, but this year I’m hopping on the trend of creating a goal for each year I’ve been alive. Some of these goals might evolve throughout the year, but the spirit of each goal won’t change. One of the themes you might notice is an emphasis on Chicago, I’ve found that it’s tough to be a tourist in my own city and as someone that has lived here over two years, it’s time I truly embrace the city and everything it offers.

1)      Visit the Willis (Sears) Tower Observation Deck 1/3/11

2)      Spend a afternoon on the John Hancock Observation Deck 12/27/10 (Edited – During a recent visit to the JH I learned that they outdoor part is covered and blocked by mesh, which defeats the original purpose of this goal.)

3)      Run ten 5k races (My first is this weekend – you should join me!)

4)      Watch my older sister run a marathon (In April she is running the Boston Marathon!)

5)      Spend a weekend with each of my sisters in the city they live (St. Louis and Phoenix)

6)      Spend a week in New York City (Jan. 8 – Jan. 13, 2011 – Technically this isn’t a full week but 6 days is close enough.)

7)      Call my grandma at least once a month

8)      Visit the Chicago Field Museum, The Art Institute of Chicago (1/3/11), Adler Planetarium, and Shedd Aquarium (1/16/11)

9)      Go to a downtown club and order bottle service (Only once)

10)   Try a new recipe once a month

Earlier today at the Widmer Brothers Brewery in Portland, Ore.

11)   Travel to Europe (or schedule my trip)

12)   Learn to drive stick shift

13)   Re-learn how to ride a motorcycle

14)   Ride to Sturgis, South Dakota with my dad

15)   Attend every Kitten Kall meeting

16)   Take a girl out on a date every month

17)   Spend more time blogging / writing about food

18)   Spend a weekend with my parents that isn’t attached to an activity I already plan on doing

19)   Attend 10 Major League Baseball games

20)   Get a Chicago library card (1/3/11) and read one book a month

21)   Once a week go for a walk outside

22)   Volunteer somewhere for at least one month

23)   Do something that scares me (1/8/11 – Details to come.)

24)   Meet Victoria Secret supermodel Marisa Miller and or attend the Maxim Hot 100 Party

25)   Move somewhere new

Some of these goals will be easy and some of these will be tougher. Unfortunately, money might hinder my ability to accomplish all of these goals but that just means I have to look at my decisions seriously, plan appropriately and occasionally pass on other opportunities.

In addition to being a tourist in my own city, another theme throughout these goals is my family. As my sisters and I continue to create our own paths in life, maintaining a strong connection to them is extremely important to me. If everything works out, I’ll turn 26 with stronger friendships and a slew of stories to share. I hope you’ll join me on some of these adventures.

If you’ve ever created a list like this, I’d love to hear your advice.




Attacking 25 (On Foot)

Posted: October 26, 2010 in Joe's Life
Tags: , ,

Tomorrow is my 25th birthday and as I write my goals for the upcoming year, I’m excited to share one with you prematurely…

I’m going to run ten 5k races.

To some of you this might be nothing. You might look at this goal and say “Wow, you’re going to run 10 three mile jogs. That’s less than 5 hours of running for the whole year. Way to really ‘push’ yourself.”

Most of my athletic career I’ve been a sprinter. As a high school swimmer, I excelled at the short bursts needed for a 50 year sprint or a relay race. When I would attempt a longer sprinting race like a 200 yard freestyle event, I was normally winded and ready for a nap.

My sister, our friends and me after Disney's Halloween 13K (October 2007)

The same is true for my long distance running attempts. In college, I ran for the St. Louis half marathon but hit a hiccup 4 weeks before the race. Whenever I ran I glided down the sidewalk with ease, but during my downtime I struggled to go up a flight of steps. Thankfully SLU has a great physical therapy department and I made an appointment with the St. Louis Cardinals physical therapist. Having gone through a similar stumbling block, he sympathized with my situation and broke the news to me that I’ll never be a marathon runner. After supplying me with enough anti-inflammatory and pain meds to complete the race, I decided that the 2007 St. Louis Half Marathon would be my first and last half marathon.

My knee still acts up when I push myself on runs longer than five miles, which is why a 5k is perfect for me.  To kick-off my 25th year alive, I’m going to run the Chicago Monster Dash! It’s a new race for Chicago and I’ve heard from a couple “run nerds” that the race organizers do a great job executing a similar race in Minneapolis.

The awesome "medal" half marathon finishers receive.

If you’re in the Chicago area this Sunday, Halloween, I hope you’re able to join me! If you aren’t able to join me for the race, I haven’t finalized my goals for 25 and would love for you to leave a couple suggestions in the comments section.

I am a huge flirt. Flirting is fun and exciting but sometimes it can get you in hot water.  I’ve known the love of my life for as long as I can remember but in February the dynamic of our relationship changed and I struggled to find the best way to move forward.

The first time I saw her, the only word I could muster was a slightly muted “Wow.” She’s stylish with a sleek body, she carries a freedom that can’t be replicated and when she goes out no man can resist staring. If you’ve meet me in real life chances are pretty good that you know that I’m not talking about a girl, I’m talking about a motorcycle.

I fully support anyone that rides and most motorcycles are awesome but I have a special place in my heart for Harley-Davidson motorcycles. My “aspiration bike” is 2011 Fat Bob with a denim black scheme, blacked out engine and as little chrome as possible.  The 96 cubic inch Twin Cam can tear up the road and the seat is just big enough for an attractive female to hop on back and wrap her arms around me.


Modeling for the Fall MotorClothes catalog during the early 90s.


My love for Harleys started at a very young age because Papa Piehl works for Harley-Davidson and my immersion into the culture started before I was born. Growing up a fair number of my vacations were in the same city as a Harley event and when I was about six months old I posed for my first Fall MotorClothes catalog. My excitement for the brand strengthened with time and one of my proudest accomplishments is earning my motorcycle license before my driver’s license. If that weren’t enough, in college I spent a couple summers as a service advisor for Milwaukee Harley-Davidson.

It’s easy to see why I’m an advocate for the brand and why I’m excited to work on the Weber Shandwick account team for Harley-Davidson.* But at the same time it posed a problem for me in regards to transparency on Twitter: What is the best way to balance my love for the brand with the work I am doing for them?

Transparency is an important issue to me, the agency and the Federal Trade Commission because fake online reviews are everywhere. This made part of my answer was easy: If I’m doing something for work, tell people it’s a work project. There are a variety ways to be transparent and it’s not tough to add a disclaimer in a blog post or tag a tweet “client” or “employer.”  This is something our digital team has always told us and is a large part of our digital guidelines.


My normal going out clothes.


The challenge arrived when I wanted to share online articles regarding H-D announcements or an event Papa Piehl was attending (a.k.a. The Maxim Hot 100 Party, the annual rally in Sturgis in South Dakota, etc.). Since the company has a knack for stellar events and radical bikes, I decided the best way to navigate this gray zone is to ask the question: Would I re-tweet or talk about this if Harley-Davidson wasn’t a client?

Nine out of ten times the answer is yes because I’ll be talking about Harley-Davidson motorcycles regardless of where I work and what happens in my life. Now if only I can justify the Harley tattoo I’ve been thinking about…



p.s. As I mentioned above, there are many ways to be transparent. My dilemma was specifically related to Twitter but a tactic you can use to be transparent in multiple social media channels is to say where you work in your bio. If you say you’re the CEO of XYZ or the Marketing Assistant for ABC you will eliminate some questions when you mention your employer or one of their products.

*Sorry folks, no nepotism here. Papa Piehl does not work in the Motor Company’s Communication Department and I spent more than 16 months as a full time employee in our Corporate Affairs practice before I was offered a position to join the H-D account team.

Even if you say you don’t like weddings, you actually like weddings. This doesn’t mean every wedding is amazing and that you’ll always leave with a grin from ear to ear but the basic elements of a wedding are tough to argue with: food, booze, dancing and at least two extremely happy people (a.k.a. the bride and groom).

As someone in their mid-twenties, wedding season is in full force. All of my college friends that have been together for years are starting to settle down and create a life together, which means I have a plethora of celebrations to attend and reasons to celebrate.

This weekend is my third wedding in 2010 and it is both exciting and a relief. Exciting because some of my closest buddies are tying the knot this year and a relief because the winter months will be a chance to relax and recuperate before it starts up again next spring.

Wedding season is filled with a variety of pluses and minuses that can be argued when determining whether this time of year is blessing or a punishment. The obvious quarrels involve money vs. the ability to see friends and using vacation time for a wedding vs. using vacation time for yourself but the sleeper argument for determining if wedding season is a friend or foe is a little more personal.

What most people in a relationship don’t realize is this time of year forces a single individual to evaluate their life and try to predict where they might be several month from now. When you look at an RSVP note, like I am right now, you’re really predicting your relationship status two or three months from now.

As much as I hate glaring down at a RSVP note and thinking about my possible “plus one,” this is one of my favorite parts of wedding season. To me the process is helpful because it causes me to reflect on my life, figure out where I am and where I want to be.

I still have a more days to figure out how I’m going to RSVP to my next wedding but who knows what will happen this weekend. The wedding is in Du Quoin, IL, a farm town, and who knows maybe I’ll fall in love with a farmer’s daughter.



p.s. Another benefit of wedding season is it’s a good excuse to wear a tuxedo.

Blogging doesn’t take that much effort, right?

Maybe it doesn’t for some people but I’m the kind of guy that will write multiple drafts and look at my post two or three different times before tossing up it here, The RedEye Wrigleyville Blog, or The Local Tourist.

In an effort to stay active and share what’s going on in my life, I’m trying to write a quick post once a week highlighting what’s going well, where I’m struggling and anything else that’s dominating my time.

Sporting sweet COMBOS blazers in Boston.

The last nine days have been a whirlwind. Earlier this year, COMBOS, the baked snack and a client, released the second annual America’s Manliest City Study – a tongue-in-cheek study that looks at hundreds of metrics to rank the top 50 cities in the US. Now a couple colleagues and I are traveling to 10 different cities and creating a video profile for the COMBOS Facebook page. This week we kicked things off by talking to folks in Chicago, Milwaukee and Boston. I don’t want give too much away about the videos and what you can expect, but end result will be a 2-3 minute video that will give you a good laugh.

Traveling to different cities and talking to locals has been a blast, but it started to make other tasks, like picking up my dry cleaning, tougher to accomplish. However, I still managed to preview / write a review of Rockit Bar and Grill’s “Rocktoberfest” menu for The Local Tourist and the Wrigleyville Blog, attend a Johnnie Walker tasting and swing by “The Cell” for a White Sox game.

What was the highlight of your week?