A Love Letter to Pixar

Okay. This is a total geek-out post that I just can’t hold in any longer.

After Inside Out totally and completely rocked my inner world and forced me to rearrange my mental furniture, I decided that Pixar Animation Studios had reached the peak of perfection. And suddenly, I didn’t care if they had another major success or not, because in my mind, their work was done. 

But the geniuses in Emeryville are just getting started, apparently. With the release of The Good Dinosaur on Thanksgiving, I thought I’d write out a little ode to show my love – and thanks. 



John, Andrew, Brad, Pete, Ed, Darla, and many many more names that encompass the greatest company ever built: Thank you.

Thank you for your courage to tell the truth in your movies. The format of your stories are kid-friendly, but the themes and messages are largely for the intellectuals, the deep thinkers, the workers, the dreamers.

You inspire the rest of us to take risks. You create role models for our kids to look up to and admire. You change the world by inspiring us to live better; to sacrifice; to explore; to not just survive, but to live!

When will other companies learn? You’ve put out several books on how to do business, how to tell stories, how to make a lasting impression. Where are the followers?

I’m one.

When I write, I constantly ask myself, “Does this live up to Pixar’s standards? … Would this live up to Brad’s or John’s expectations?”

I write to “Wow” you.

I have never visited Pixar Studios, nor met anyone from Pixar (top of my bucket list just below getting plugs), but I imagine I work for Pixar. I imagine that the people at Pixar will read every book I write. And perhaps one day they will and they’ll see talent…or at the very least, potential.

Pixar team, it’s because of each one of you I wake up each morning and dare to not give up on my dreams of becoming a bestselling author (and maybe one day writer for Pixar). To the artists who labor day in and day out on a monster’s hair flow, or the scales on a fish – your job is not to have your work noticed. Well, you are noticed, and appreciated.

You inspire me to grow old with my wife, to focus on creating joyful memories for my kids, to keep my friends close.

You make movies that matter – movies that last – and often, movies that change our perspective or even our lives.

Thank you for the thousand-and-twelf rewrites.

Thank you for changing course at the last minute.

Thank you for not accepting mediocre and always shooting for better. And then even better than that.

Thank you for the shorts that bring no financial gain to you whatsoever.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you. From my family, thank you. From my grown-up corkers whom I will eventually convince that they’re missing out on something great, thank you on their behalf that there’s something great to be found.

Hopefully I’ll get to visit soon and wander the halls and eat your cereal and pose with the Lego Woody and Buzz. Maybe one day my kids will meet one of you and when they do, I’ll tell them, “You just shook hands with a world-changer.”


32-Years of Musings For My Kids


I’m turning 32 today. When you have kids, you tend to reflect on your life with your kids in mind. So here are 32 musings I would like to pass on to them when the time’s right. 

  1. Be picky with what you watch. If nothing’s on, do something else.
  2. Wait tables. But get out fast. The experience will make you humble.
  3. Make friends with the quietest person in the room. They’re the ones who who typically have the most to say.
  4. Read at least one book a month.
  5. Always finish your homework as fast as you can. Then graduate early.
  6. Don’t ask for advice. You’ll get it anyway. Listen to it, but make your own decisions.
  7. Your best friend is not just a friend. He is a brother/she is a sister.
  8. Pursue what you want to do with every fiber of your being. People will tell you it’s impossible. That’s because they’re the ones who gave up.
  9. When you fall in love, fall hard. If it doesn’t work out, your parents will be here to catch you.
  10. But if it does work out, we’ll be here to support you.
  11. However, we won’t always be here. That’s why I’m telling you this now.
  12. Life sucks and the world is brutal. I have nothing to add here except that we’re all in this together.
  13. Sing as much as you can. In public if you’re good.
  14. Find your most favorite food in the world and make up every excuse to eat it.
  15. Don’t do drugs or get drunk. The aftermath isn’t worth it.
  16. Above all, stay away from porn. It’s the biggest thief on the planet.
  17. A thoughtful text goes a lot further than a Hallmark card. And it’s free.
  18. Discover your passion then work hard. Not the other way around.
  19. If you can’t find your passion, search hard by exploring the world.
  20. If you can’t explore the world, listen to the cries of people around you. You’ll probably find your passion there.
  21. If you’e the CEO of a company, or a boss, or a supervisor, take care of your employees first. Make them happy. This will make your job easier and the company better.
  22. If you work under any of those people, challenge them. But be nice about it. They have room to grow and you have ideas to share. If they don’t listen, it’s their loss. Find something better.
  23. Speak up. I have never seen a reason not to. But I’ve regretted every time I didn’t.
  24. You will never get a big break. Don’t ever expect it. That way, if it does come, you’ll be that much more surprised.
  25. Stay in shape so you have energy for your friends and family.
  26. Write/tweet/message every famous person you admire.
  27. Visit the great Northwest. Then Colorado. Then I dare you to chose what’s better. I still can’t decide.
  28. Always leave at least ten minutes early.
  29. Stay out of debt.
  30. Always ask yourself how you can make your life better. Then do it.
  31. To the world you will always be just a number. But to your dad you will always be Number 1.
  32. Try to avoid being cheesy. If you figure out how to do that, then teach me how.

How I’m Saving My Family


When I tell people I’m on a diet, they’re usually like, “Huh? Really? You?”

I may not look like Buddha, and my Wii Fit may tell me I’m not obese, but there’s more to it than that.

For a long time, I’ve been an absolute butt head to my family. I’m working on a couple different books at once, I’m trying to survive in a competitive environment at work with looming changes ahead, trying to keep my two toddlers happy and marginally quiet… so I’ve been overly stressed. And stress breeds anger, and anger breeds an uptight and irritable father and husband.

Stressed Man With Baby Working From Home Using Laptop

I questioned why I had no energy to play with my kids. It couldn’t be work, because I sit at a desk all day. My writing career is about to take a turn for the better, but I looked at my lunch options, and realized I am a compulsive overeater.

On my lunch breaks I would go to get not one burger but two. Spicy chicken wings were a favorite. Shakes were a daily drink. I gained 20 pounds over the summer.

And my family was suffering because I was too stressed and tired to do anything. It was the careless calorie indulging and the major lack of exercise.


Went on vacation recently and discovered, low and behold, my family is really a great group of people. My kids are well-meaning, and my wife is hilarious and a total hero for putting up with me and my moodiness.

Since I started my diet, I’m losing a tad over a pound a day. I’m determined.

I’ve cut my lunches down to half a sandwich and water. I’m running on my days off. And guess what! Everything I’ve heard is true, gosh darnit! I have more energy to play with the kids, to stay up later and talk to my wife, and I’m even gaining a splash more momentum on my book projects.

So that’s why I’m dieting. It’s to save my family. There are enough angry and stressed fathers out there, and I refuse to be one of them.

Follow my videos and dieting tips at #AndrewsAwesomeAutumn

The John Grisham Challenge: The Pelican Brief


I’ve just finished the third book in the John Grisham lineup as part of my #JohnGrishamChallenge, and holy crap, what a wild ride!

The Pelican Brief is one of those books where I (brace yourself for the cliche) literally “couldn’t put it down!” It’s a cat-and-mouse chase through and through, and the victims of the murders catch you off guard every single time.

I said there’s murders, but the book’s not scary by any stretch of the imagination. Heck, it’s hardly even a law book. It’s just about a fresh law student who happens to pin the target in an extracurricular brief she drafts up about the mystery murders of two Supreme Court Justices.

At this point through his books, I can safely say that Grisham’s books are gaining more and more momentum and are getting more and more hard to put down.

Have you read it? Share your thoughts below or go to #JohnGrishamChallenge to submit your Grisham book reviews.

My New Year’s Resolution Starts Today

Got back from vacation yesterday. First off, I’d like to apologize to the woman sitting in seat 9A for my daughter kicking your seat and trying out different hair styles for your noggin. I promise, we’re good parents. She’s just a little ball of energy that just has to indulge her creative side.

Anyway, getting back from South Florida we found out that Kentucky is a total culture shock – and not in a good way! I’d like to move one day since really, the most exciting thing to do here is drink Bourbon (I prefer Bloody Mary) and visit the Ohio River (or what I sometimes mistake as WIlly Wonka’s chocolate river).


But no matter where you live it’s depressing coming back from vacation. But even more depressing is what my Wii Fit Plus told me. I haven’t weighed myself in some time, but when my belt ends can’t even connect, I realized it was time to take a look. When I wash my chest and stomach in the shower it’s like doing the hand motions for the river part in “I’ve Got a River of Life.” Here’s the wonderful news my Wii Fit Plus gave to me:


And don’t be fooled by that 19.6-pound increase in weight. After I saw this I went straight to the kitchen and downed half my bottle of Bloody Mary boosting me up to exactly 20.0. Hey, I don’t want it tempting me in the kitchen this week!

So I’m starting my New Year’s resolution early. Because by the time January First rolls around, I’ll be that much closer to being as skinny as I want to be and able to dress more like Owen Grady rather than Andy Dyer.

Sure I’ve got my birthday and Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up, but the good thing about starting my diet now is that I’ll get to take breaks for those holidays. Not week-long binges like I’ve been doing, but a turkey sandwich here, a slice of cake there. I’ve got two toddlers and two dogs who will eat anything I leave behind.

So do I have a target weight and a goal? No way! I’m an author, not a scientist. I follow no formula, set no goals. I go at it as though writing a book – I just do it. When it’s done it’s done. But the Wii asked me to set a goal, so I did:


So there you have it. And despite the cold weather we’re about to have, I’m also going to exercise. Anyone want to join me, feel free to post your goals and pictures at #AndrewsAwesomeAutumn and we’ll see who endures the holidays and loses the most weight by January 1st! Ready? Set. (One more drink.) Go!

The Best Remedy For Stress In a Marriage


With Sarabeth being a stay-at-home mom with two incommunicative toddlers and two dogs, and me working on several books and trying to survive a job that isn’t considered my favorite place to work, it was time for a vacation.

The heat was getting high in our house (and not in a good way). I made it a habit to come home and vent about my work or throw open my laptop when my kids needed to see me (or Sarabeth needed help). If our house were Disneyland, we had the Fast Pass to a broken ride.

It was like those scenes in those old movies where the protagonist’s life is spiraling out of control and you see all those heads circling his distraught face and they’re all slandering him and calling him names.

That’s what I felt like.

So it was time for a vacation.

We visited Grandma and Grandpa (the kids’, not ours) in South Florida and one night, they told us they were keeping the kids and insisted we go to a movie.

Best. Night. Ever.

No screaming kids. No worrying about someone wandering off. No having to split our food four ways. No cleaning up a huge mess and singing Baby Beluga just for a potentially brief moment of silence.

It had been two years since we had gone on a date.

And I realized that’s really bad.

Like, really, really bad.

People, we all know you love your kids, but you’re not being Super Parents by not taking a break.

Work a little overtime to scrap up some cash for a sitter and a nice dinner. Especially for couples whose wife works at home all day with the kids.

Seriously men, date your wife! Best advise I’ve been ignoring. My plan is for our date the other night to be the first of many. I can honestly say, after being with Sarabeth my wife, as opposed to Sarabeth our kids’ mom, for a few hours, reminds me who I married and why.

Take her out, and if you do it soon, I recommend seeing The Martian. That movie will show you we can survive anything – even parenthood.

Food For Thought on Next Year’s Elections and Income Equality


The election year is going to be fierce and brutal, and the fight’s already begun. People have taken sides, but many are still on the fence. In my opinion “income equality” is possibly the worst topic to even be brought up for any reason. At my job, I constantly hear clients and customers complain that they can’t pay their bills because they’re on a fixed income. Every time, I want to say either, “We all are,” or “Get another job.” Brutal as that sounds, but hey, life is brutal.

A good friend of mine caught my eye with a Facebook Post, and I asked him to expand on his thoughts by writing a guest post for my blog. He was delighted to and this is the result. 

By Kyle Richardson, @intersectionpdxDMd3CGkJ

This election cycle we’ve been hearing a lot about “income inequality” and ensuring the wealthy pay their “fair share”. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator running for the Democratic nomination for president, is quoted saying: “Message to the billionaire class: You can’t have it all!” His implication being there is a metaphorical piñata and the rich have somehow managed to shove all those poor folks aside and grab every last bit of stale candy that has busted out. Sorry kid, you snooze you lose.

And many have jumped on the Hate-The-Rich Express headed for Prosperityville, believing the lie that the wealthy 1% have stolen what is rightfully yours and tucked it safely away in some Cayman Islands bank account. But the beauty of capitalism, specifically American capitalism, is that there is no finite amount of capital to be had. The rich have not stolen your money (the government has, but that’s another story).

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that the top 1% have managed to get rich by beating the system and finding every single tax loophole that exists. How does that affect your life? How is their wealth preventing your prosperity? The fact that an actor makes $13 million a movie has no bearing on my life whatsoever (or maybe that’s why movie ticket prices are so high? Ok, never mind…Occupy Hollywood!).

The market is ripe for the taking, you just need the drive to take it. Granted, this may require some effort in the form of education, humility, and work ethic, but no one is stopping you from being a doctor, a stockbroker, or a manager. The great thing about American values is that through freedom, we are all given the power of choice. We choose our destiny. No, we may not all start at the same place in life, but we don’t live in a caste system and we have the economic flexibility to determine our own path.

To quote another individual running for office, this one from the Republican field: “Success is determined not by whether or not you face obstacles, but by your reaction to them. And if you look at these obstacles as a containing fence, they become your excuse for failure. If you look at them as a hurdle, each one strengthens you for the next.” (Ben Carson, Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story)

Perhaps if we stopped focusing on other’s success we might have more time and energy to focus on our own.

No, not all incomes are equal, but all incomes are possible.


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