Posts by Eric Melchor

The Secret to Success Has Nothing to Do with Bullshit Like “Passion”

Success cannot outrun you once you decide to be committed.

Texican Grit

Eat fewer calories every day, you’ll lose weight.

Write down your goals, set a plan, work on them and you’ll grow as a person. (Hello, BestSelf Journal!)

Be persistent in sending out media pitches, get on TV. (No, fucking really). See my interview on Great Day Houston here.)

Prepare for an interview the right way, get a job offer.

So much of success comes down to cause + effect. We like to have these American Idol notions of FATE and THE STARS WERE ALIGNED!, but the reality is far from the truth. I know no one likes to hear that because it makes us sound less talented. Simply sitting down, focusing, and having the grit (the TexicanGrit kind) of doing the work every single day implies that maybe we aren’t so special after all – that maybe putting in the time is the real reason for success.

And yes, putting in the time is non-negotiable. You have to give it. As simple as that sounds, most people won’t put in the time. They know they should, but binge watching on Netflix or sleeping in late wins. The truth is, the secret to success is believing that it will show up if you do – day after day. There’s a motivational quote for you: don’t stop, even when it feels like progress is moving at a snail’s pace.

Because there will come a time, when success can’t outrun you anymore. Not when you’re moving toward it with the end goal in mind. The odds aren’t about luck: it’s about grit and putting in the time. The grit to keep going, even when the passion has gone away.

 

 

 

Best app that Helps You Save Money

Like This!

Digit is the easiest and funnest way to save money without hurting your wallet.

Best App to Save Money

 

More exciting than a roller coaster ride. More delicious than a scoop of mint chocolate chip ice scream. Ok, chillax. But seriously, this is one of my top 3 apps because it helps you save money without even noticing you are saving money! And the team at Digit throw some of the most humorous gifs at you that you are excited to receive sms notifications from them. Man I luv this app.

In just two months I’ve saved $300 using Digit. It’s easy to start by just downloading the app. Though most of your Digit transactions can be done via text messaging. After you link your checking account, Digit will open a savings account for you with one of it partner banks. Then, every few days Digit will save money for you passively – 3, 4, 7 dollars here and there. The idea is for you to hardly notice the money is leaving your checking account, but over time you will end up accumulating a lot of savings in the long run. Don’t want to spurge on the Ferragamo shoes or Reiss suit all at once? Use Digit and you’ll have money saved in no time!

See the Digit video and learn more about Digit. Have fun!

 

 

Cards Against Matrimony – A Hilarious Wedding Game

Like This!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Trying to think of a way to spice up your wedding reception? Create your own Cards Against Matrimony game.

cards against matrimony

When planning our wedding this year, I knew our emcee was going to get people on the dance floor and ensure everyone had fun doing the wobble (I still can’t do that dance properly), but what about during the dinner portion? At most weddings, this time is a little awkward. The wedding party is at their exclusive table eating while all eyes are upon them and there is nothing really going on. So my wife and I decided to spice up this part of the evening with a game. I looked around online for ideas and at first considered mad libs or questions to put on the table like ‘what should we name our first child? Then one morning while jogging, it hit me.

 

fun game for wedding reception

fun wedding game, cards against matrimony

Cards Against Matrimony!

No it’s not a game, it’s an idea based off the hilarious game Cards Against Humanity. Unlike most of the party games you’ve played before, Cards Against Humanity is simple. Each round, one player asks a question from a black card, and everyone else answers with their funniest white card. If you haven’t played it yet, what planet do you live on? It makes for a great night filled with lots of laughs with 6 – 12 friends.

So, the twist is…. you can create your own version of the game by having lots of cards with different questions (as you can see above, players need to fill in the blank), and have someone at your wedding collect the cards and select a few winners (cards with the funniest answers). At our wedding, the winners received a prize – a group photo with us, the Bride and Groom : )

cards against matrimony

cards against humanity wedding game

The best part of planning your wedding reception!

Gents, this will be the most fun you’ll have planning your wedding (like we really partake in the planning anyway). Coming up with the questions was absolutely hilarious. My fiance, now wife, had so much fun in thinking of questions to display on the cards. At some point we realized that we didn’t want to have too many, so we decided on roughly twelve questions for the game. Instead of having a simple black cover for the other side of the card, we included some fun pics of us, with our family, and pics we had taken over time with friends.

hilarious wedding game, better than cards against humanity

fun game for wedding reception

How do I create my own version of Cards Against Matrimony?

First, grab your fiance and spend some time brainstorming fun questions you can display on the cards. Take a few days and hilarious ideas will come to you naturally. Then select the pictures of you and your fiance which you’d like to use for your deck. Once you have the questions and pictures, you can make your own version at Make Playing Cards. Want to receive 5% discount on your entire purchase?  Use coupon code Ericmpc5off. 

Receive 5% off your entire order with coupon code Ericmpc5off

When you are on the site, choose the ‘Design your own game card’ option. Each card can be customized individually both front and back. As for the card dimensions and card stock, I chose the standard poker size and card stock (63.5 x 88.9mm & 300gsm). Since we planned on having one deck of Cards Against Matrimony on each table, and there were approximately 30 tables at the receptions, we created 36 cards for each question.

make playing cards for wedding reception

On the 2nd step, choose ‘Same Image’ under Step 2 where you then will be able to upload one of your pictures.

 

how to create cards against matrimony

After uploading the picture, you can choose to add text on top of the image (we chose to skip this). The next step is to add text on the other side of the card which will be one of your questions. After you finish with one card, click ‘Add to Cart’ and proceed with the next card.

create cards against matrimony

You can even purchase boxes to put your cards in at MakePlayingCards.com. And don’t forget, you can get 5% off your entire order by entering coupon code Ericmpc5off.

card box for cards against matrimony

Your wedding guests will be very impressed with your own version of Cards Against Matrimony. Have fun creating your own version and feel free to leave any comments or fun questions you came up with! Cheers – Eric Melchor.

create own version of cards against matrimony

An account of two Attitudes towards Richard Martinez

Like This!

On Friday, May 23, Elliot Rodger killed six and wounded 13 innocent people near the University of California, Santa Barbara. On May 24, the father of victim Chris Martinez said the following – “Our family has a message for every family out there. You don’t think it will happen to your child, until it does.” Choking on tears, he added, “His death has left our family lost and broken. Chris died because of craven, irresponsible politicians and the NRA. They talk about gun rights. What about Chris’ right to live? When will this insanity stop? When will enough people say stop this madness. We should say to ourselves, not one more,” before he collapsed in tears and walked off.

In response to Mr. Martinez’ comments, there were two vastly different attitudes that came forth.

 

Mark Barden, Richard Martinez

Mark Barden, Richard Martinez

The first one came from Mark Barden who lost his 7-year-old son, Daniel, in the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting. He wrote the following: “We have not met, but you are now part of our extended family. It is not a family we chose, but a family born from the horrible circumstance of losing a child to gun violence – one that’s growing steadily. My heart breaks for you because I know just a little about the long road ahead of you. We have reached out to you privately but publicly we wanted to say to you and those feeling the sorrow, anger and frustration of this weeks’ shooting, you are not along,” Barden wrote in a letter to Richard Martinez.

The second response came from Samuel Wurzelbacher, aka ‘Joe the Plumber’.

Joe the Plumber

Joe the Plumber

“I am sorry you lost your child. I myself have a son and daughter and the one thing I never want to go through, is what you are going through now. But: As harsh as this sounds – your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights… We still have the Right to Bear Arms and I intend to continue to speak out for that right, and against those who would restrict it – even in the face of this horrible incident by this sad and insane individual. I almost said “Obama Voter” but I’m waiting for it to be official…I cannot begin to imagine the pain you are going through, having had your child taken away from you. However, any feelings you have toward my rights being taken away from me, lose those.”

Mark Barden’s attitude is filled with kindness, love, humility, benevolence, generosity, compassion and empathy. Joe the Plumber’s attitude is filled with greed, arrogance, ego, superiority, antipathy, ‘his right’ and ideology.

America, which attitude will you choose?

Holy Crap! College Recruiters Look at my Instagram Page?

Like This!

Houston Hispanic College and Career Day

Recruiters look at my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook page

Times have changed. No longer do college recruiters just look at your high school grades and college application. Today, they look at your online profile and behavior. Your tweets, Facebook pics, Instagram pictures, Youtube videos and blog comments now all play a part in your college application. Don’t take it from me here is what a few admission officers have to say:

college applicants

College Recruiters check out social media pages

College Recruiters check out Instagram pages

College Recruiters check out Instagram pages

Here is a story that the NY Times published about a high school senior who attended a college campus information session. During the presentation, she posted offensive comments on Twitter about fellow attendees, repeatedly using a profane word. “It was incredibly unusual and foolish of her to do that. We would have wondered about the judgment of someone who spends their time on their mobile phone and makes such awful remarks,” – the dean of admissions and financial aid.” The college ultimately denied the student admission.

So, with that said, if you are applying to college or a job, here are a few things you should do right now to clean up your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles.

#1 Use SimpleWash

simplewash

SimpleWash is a simple, if slightly imperfect, free tool that helps you find inappropriate content on your Facebook account (it also works on Twitter). It scours your account and compares all the text it finds, including photo captions and comments from other people on your Facebook account, against a list of bad words. The list goes well behind the dirty words not allowed on network television and includes things like “beer” and “sexy.” Once Simplewa.sh finds the content, it helps you edit or remove it by directing you to the page or post where it lives—you still have to manually hide or delete it.

#2 Control your Facebook Privacy Settings

According to a recent survey Kaplan survey, 29% of admission officers use Google and look at Facebook profiles to screen applicants. SimpleWash probably did a good job at cleaning up a lot of the offensive language and inappropriate photos on Facebook and Twitter, but that doesn’t mean that ‘Facebook friends’ can’t tag you in any future embarrassing public photos or posts. Here are a few tips to help prevent that from occurring:

Only allow people you ‘friend to view your page. Click on the arrow tab near “home” at the top of the page>scroll down to privacy settings>control your default settings>switch from “public” to “friends”.

Facebook Settings

Set your profile up so that you can review posts ‘friends’ tag you in before they appear on your timeline. This will help control any inappropriate photo-tagging mix ups. Under the Privacy Settings go to Timeline and Tagging>Edit Settings>Review Posts Friends Tag You in Before They Appear on Your Timeline>On.

Review TagsReview your Facebook application permissions and remove anything that you are not actively using anymore. Go to Settings > Account Settings > Apps. Be sure to click “Show all apps” at the bottom of the listing.

Facebook applicationsReview your activity log. You can hand-pick through your content easiest using the Activity Log, which you can find on your profile page. The Activity Log lets you drill down by content type, such as photo, photos of you, tagged photos, and so forth, so you can focus on one area of your Facebook account at a time while finding images to delete or hide.

Facebook Activity

If you want, you can make it difficult for people to find you on the social media site. After all, the harder it is to locate your profile the less chances an admission officer has of finding anything to hinder your acceptance.  To do this go to Privacy Settings>Apps, Games, Website>Public Search>Edit Settings> Disable Public Search.

Last but not least, view your profile as how the public would see it. Clean up poor grammar, offensive language, any racial slurs. Remove and delete photos with inappropriate clothing.  Check out your Likes – remove any unnecessary pages. And don’t allow yourself to be tagged in public photos that show you as anything but a fine, upstanding young citizen!

#3 Clean up your Tweets

Twitter doesn’t give you nearly as many features as Facebook does for assessing your data. The first third party tool you should make ample use of is AllMyTweets. This simple site quickly generates a page of – you guessed it – all your tweets. Actually, that’s false … just your last 3,200 tweets, which is the limit Twitter will return. If you want or need the real thing, you can request your Twitter archive. Head to settings, and hit the archive link. It will be email to you for download.

Next, you should take stock of who you’re following – anyone done anything super messed up recently? Cut ‘em lose. And if you’re just generally a little scared of what might be in your personal stream of tweets, sign up for TweetEraser and you can mass delete using its filter feature. Last but definitely not least, head over to your settings and check out what apps you’ve given permission to – and make sure you’re OK with what you see.

#4 Clean Up Your Instagram Profile

Instagram

The risk of posting or sharing a photo that will damage your online reputation continues to grow every time you add a new photo to Instagram. Here are some tips for cleaning up your Instagram profile and preventing reputation damage:

Delete Unprofessional Comments and Likes. The individuals you associate with could impact how you are perceived online. An unprofessional comment with profanity or a politically incorrect joke could reflect poorly on your character. Similarly, liking photos of strangers in provocative poses or of friends breaking the law could be interpreted as an endorsement of these activities.

Remove Unprofessional Photos. When deciding whether or not to delete a photo, a good rule of thumb is to ask yourself how you would feel if college admissions officers, hiring managers, family members, or your boss saw the photo. Any images showing underage drinking, binge drinking, drug use, obscene gestures, and partial undress (think swimsuit photos) are best left off of your profile. Reputation911.com shares some more good tips about cleaning up your Instagram profile here.

In conclusion, there’s no shame in having had posted an embarrassing photo, comment or tweet. We’ve all done it before. That’s the great thing about living in the digital age: It’s all easily recorded. And this means that like the attic full of memories and mementos, sometimes you have to clean out the junk.

Learn more Interview Preparation Tips for the Rest of Us here. (If I didn’t follow these tips, I’d be waking up every morning going to some dead-end job).

I am a first generation college graduate. I also have an MBA and am a Manager at a major electricity company. In my spare time, I teach at University of Houston Downtown, where I educate students not only on the subject I am teaching, but also on self-motivation and teaching them that their background does not dictate your future.

Confessions of a Police Ride Along with the Houston Police Department

Like This!

Ride Along with Houston Police Department

Ride Along with Officer Martinez from the Houston Police Department

Have you ever done a ride along? Would you? I had no idea what to expect when I signed up for a Houston Police Department ride along. I knew who I would be riding with – Officer Martinez, but that’s about it. Officer Martinez and I met weeks earlier when he was called to a scene in the Heights neighborhood where three men were beating up one man severely. My fiancé had made the 911 call while I intervened to stop the beating. Luckily, those men fled. Since I always had this curiosity and desire to do a police ride along, I stayed in touch with Martinez.

So, the day of the ride along arrived and a part of me was hoping that we’d be involved in some sort of high speed car chase or busting a large illegal drug operation. (My fiancé was just hoping that we’d spend the night just pulling people over for expired tags).

Over the course of seven hours, my Officer Martinez:

• Ran several license plates. The police can do this from inside their car, using a computer. So if an HPD cop is behind you at a stoplight, it’s very possible that they’re putting your license plate number through their system as you change radio stations. After the license plate number is entered, the technology will confirm things like “Valid License”, “Cancelled License”, “Sex Offender”, etc.

• Pulled over a guy who was driving around with two license plate numbers. Once was posted on the back windshield. Martinez spent an inordinate amount of time looking up records in the computer. Since the driver was cooperative, Martinez decided to give him a warning rather than give him a ticket.

• Assist two other HPD Officers who were arresting a Hispanic young male who was being charged for theft. The parents of the suspect had arrived at the scene and did not speak English. This is where Martinez’s bilingual skills came in handy and he was happy to oblige.

• Patrol and drive around several neighborhoods within his district such as Washington Heights, Heights, North Side and Garden Oaks looking for mischief and any illegal activity

So, the ride along did not end up being like the movie Training Day and I did not see any real action, but it was still interesting. Overall, it was a slow day, but still interesting even without any car chases. I think that everyone should go through a ride along program at least once in their lifetimes. It could be a ride along with your local police department, and I guarantee it will change the way you think about crime and the police.

How a Rusty Monkey Wrench took down a U.S. Fleet

Like This!

Any individual, business, or government can throw money at initiatives, but when the real test comes, only smart creative thinking will make true breakthroughs.

General_PaulRiper

Remember when you played soldiers as a kid? Sometimes the kids down the street would have better toy guns than you. Maybe they had those fancy Nerf guns and all you had were simple rubber band guns. And when things weren’t going so well for one of the teams, they’d call time out and try to change the rules.

Now although I don’t play soldiers anymore because I’ve grown up, although I still eat Fruity Pebbles cereal, the military does and they call these ‘War Games’. The biggest war game was called the Millennium Challenge. It happened in 2002 and over 13,000 troops participated. These troops along with real and virtual military planes and warships were spread out across the Middle East. There were two teams – the blue team was the United States of course and the red team was the bad guys.

The blue team had new technology at their disposal. They had precision guided missiles, overhead surveillance systems, several warships including an aircraft carrier, and thousands of marines. The red team, which was led by retired marine, Lt General Paul Van Riper, appreciated that new technology, but unfortunately was not allowed to use it at his disposal. Instead, General Paul Riper was given a fleet of small and inexpensive boats and planes – most of them civilian, along with some machine guns, rockets, and small army. One could have said this was like Germany taking on the Vatican Army. Surely General Paul Riper and his army are going to get crushed. But General Riper was not frightened by the overwhelming force. He put his mind to the problem: how can I adapt and avoid this overwhelming force and yet do damage against the United States?

So after two years of planning, the Generals and Admirals who were commanding the blue team were excited to begin the Millennium Challenge. As the war game began, the U.S. fleet entered the make believe Persian Gulf determined to overwhelm General Riper’s forces. Assessing the situation, General Riper reacted and began to give orders. But he did not give orders using radio transmission – those orders might have been intercepted. Instead, he sent coded messages delivered by motorcycle messengers. He also announced these codes messages from mosques throughout the area. After the orders were received, wave after wave of those small civilian boats headed out into the Persian Gulf and began swarming the naval convoy from all directions. They fired at the U.S. fleet with rockets and machine guns. Bratatatatatat. Some boats were loaded with explosives and they crashed into the U.S. boats damaging them severely. The sheer numbers of the civilian boats and speedboats overloaded the blue team’s ability, both mentally and electronically, to handle the attack.

iranian-patrol-boats

Within 30 minutes, 16 U.S. war ships including thousands of marines were sunk. Within half an hour, General Van Riper, who did not have the latest military weapons or technology, who was only given a fleet of small and inexpensive civilian boats and airplanes, sunk 16 U.S. Navy warships and thousands of marines. If this war really had happened, it would have been the worst naval disaster since Pearl Harbor.

DN-SC-87-06412

Any individual, business, or government can throw money at problems, but when the real test comes, only smart creative thinking will make true breakthroughs. General Paul Riper illustrated a very cheap way to beat a very expensive fleet. The blue team considered themselves invincible and thought they were going to dominate the battlefield. Imagine the look on the blue team’s Generals and Admirals faces after they got their butt kicked. I bet it was Priceless.

General Paul Riper, despite having limited resources, put his mind to the problem – let’s think of a way we can adapt to the situation, avoid the overwhelming U.S forces, and yet still do damage against the opposition. When it comes to smart creative thinking, I think Robert Hughes said it best – “a determined soul will do more with a rusty monkey wrench than a loafer will accomplish with all the tools in a machine shop.”

Some people might think that this would never happen. For me, the story of General Van Riper and the Millennium Challenge reminds me of the American Revolutionary War. When the war began, the 13 colonies lacked a professional army or navy. Instead, each colony sponsored a local militia. Militiamen were lightly armed and had little training. In fact, most of them did not even have uniforms. Their units served for only a few weeks or months at a time, and they were reluctant to travel far from home and thus were unavailable for extended operations. They lacked the training and discipline of soldiers with more experience. However, if properly used, their numbers could overwhelm British forces. And guess who won that war.

13 colonies

I bet at the battle of Yorktown, the last major battle during the American Revolutionary war, the British General, Lord Cornwallis, who was commanding the British army, as he saw his enemy being defeated by these militiamen, probably wanted to call ‘time-out’ – you know, like what we used to do as kids when things weren’t going our way.