School of Rock – The Musical

A month or so ago my son and I auditioned for School of Rock – The Musical.

I like to stick to things I know, and honestly Musical Theater is not one of those things. That being said, I’m very thrilled that we stepped out of our comfort zone a bit and both landed a part in this production that will be performed May 12th-15th at SIUE Dunham Hall Theater.

Cash landed the principle part of Lawrence. The keyboardist in ‘the band.’
I am playing Doug in No Vacancy (The band that kicks Dewey Finn out which sets the tone of the has been rocker) as well as Mr. Green, one of the teachers at Horace Green.

My parts are light enough that I’m doing some BTS filming as well when I’m not in the scenes rehearsing and this has been a wonderful way to support the production with helping provide some content, because social media in 2022 amiright?

Tickets will be available soon and if you live within the St. Louis area, I’d love to see you there!

🙂

#StickItToTheMan

Photos Phriday?

Can’t think of a better title for this. But I’d love to start sharing some highlights from my weeks captured in photo format. I no longer own a smartphone, so the stills I capture are less frequent. I’m either using a nice mirrorless or a very non-flashy pocket camera I’ve been using called the Paper Shoot Camera. Hope you enjoy!

My youngest is very drawn to playing music. And he is a heck of a dancer.
Some geese sitting on the water
From a family hike a couple of weeks ago
The art museum wears us out sometimes.
Gardens of the Botanical Persuasion
A house I would have bought had there been a 4th floor.
When landing from work commutes, sometimes I am greeted by astronauts

Because You Shouldn’t Have to Choose

I had such a joy creating this ad for our Rent One & RNR Tire Express cobranded campaign. I had the opportunity to create this spot from start to finish (Writing/Shooting/Editing/VoiceOver) and I am so happy with the finished product. The cast had no prior acting experience and wow were they wonderful. I’d like to also thank my friend Jonny Detmer and my son Cash whom assisted on-site with the setups.

Here are some photos from the shoot. Hope you enjoy the spot ❤

How to Be More Relationally Present

In his 2015 book, 5 Gears – How to be Present and Productive When there is Never Enough Time, Jeremie Kubicek talks about these 5 gears that we all have that mirror that of an engine. Each gear has its place, but the trick is being ‘fully engaged’ in each one at the appropriate time.

Gear 5 – Fully Focusing On a Single Project
This is the state of Flow or ‘in the zone.’ This is the state where you are laser focused on completing the task at hand. This is where meaningful work and creativity happens.

Gear 4 – Working On Multiple Tasks
This is the most common gear for day to day action. This is checking and responding to e-mails. This is paying bills online. These are tasks that are important and need to get done (at some point) but maybe aren’t your fullest potential. Unfortunately 85% of leaders spend most of their time in this gear. These are the shallow tasks that do not move the needle of success or give you satisfaction in your work life.

Believe it or not, the more time you spend in this ‘gear’ or ‘state’ the longer your to-do list gets. Which means there’s this never-ending compound effect. Dr. Jarrod Spencer likens the mind to a computer and that before we open ‘new files’ in our mind, we have to close ‘old files.’ If we don’t, we will suffer in the areas of focus at a minimum, and potentially suffer physically in the areas of sleep or much worse including health challenges.

Most of us will jump straight into this ‘4th gear’ by way of checking e-mails or social media. Responding to text messages. This is like putting your mental engine straight into overdrive and it is not sustainable or beneficial to your health. So you really need to start in the lower gears and work your way up to the tedious and menial elements of your day. Putting in the time to individually recharge first.

Gear 3 – Casual Socializing
This is the gear that many introverts or people less interested in casual small talk might cringe at. And though I enjoy social settings, in many ways I cringe at this too. Owen (me) only likes to talk about what Owen likes to talk about. But we need to be curious about others in our social circles. We need to develop a genuine curiosity about those around us.

Gear 2 – Connecting Deeply with Family or Friends
This is one of the most soul strengthening areas. This is where love and true friendships happen. This is where you find your muse and inspiration and these are the things that go in the diary of your life. The problem is, is that too often we get this confused with deeper connection and focus with loved ones.

This is the area where I struggle most. I can give you a real life example where I messed this up recently. My wife and I were talking and I suggested we invest in a personal nanny for 1 or 2 days a month. And I quickly hijacked that to a ‘we can use that time to invest time into our businesses and work together without distraction from our lovely kids.’ And while that is important. An area we need more uninterrupted time together is relationally where there is no agenda except for intentional care and time with that person.

Gear 1 – Individual Recharge
This is not binging on Netflix, checking social media, spending time in your e-mail inbox or otherwise. This looks like: Analog activity in the areas of exercise, taking a walk, reading a book or journaling, meditating, prayer or a time of solitude. It may for some look like connecting with someone in Gear #2…

How do you be more present in your life?
Here’s the secret I think. Especially in the area of partnership with a spouse or otherwise. You have to both be consciously acknowledging times where phones and distracting tools need to be put aside so that you can be together. You can kindly request this of your partner or friend, but you must give them the opportunity to make this decision for themselves.

– This is very difficult in practice. Especially if you have drastically different schedules. For instance, I work a 9-5 and while I’m at work I am glued to a computer monitor and no kids are coming to me or asking anything of me. And while it’s hard work and commitment, it’s my time and pace and isn’t dictated by tiny dictators (children) telling me what to do. So when I get home and want to shift out of 5th / 4th gear and drop into 2nd gear, it’s not fair to expect my partner to be able to commit to that unless it’s a mutually decided time of intentionality.

That’s why date nights and intentional time together is necessary. If your partner isn’t able to be in that ‘gear’ with you, don’t take it personally. Instead respect their personal space and boundaries and use that time to slip into 1st gear (the individual recharge) OR use the wrestling tag team and give them the room they need to be in first gear (this is what love and sacrificial commitment looks like!) What can you take off their plate to help them do that? Short of caging your children which I wouldn’t recommend.

How do you always apply the right gear to each situation?
First is an honest review of each of these areas of our life and acknowledging how much time we spend in each area. And truly calling out what areas are lacking the time they deserve. I think you’ll find that as you assess, you’ll see your time & effort is mostly dominated by gear 4, and a fake version of gear 1. This is a sign that you are giving into workaholic tendencies and deserves major life adjustments.

Employ a Shutdown Ritual at Work

Cal Newport, Michael Hyatt and other experts in this area recommend each day setting aside x amount of minutes to a shutdown ritual. This is where you mentally and strategically get out of 4th gear. Here’s how you put this into practice.

1) Do a Final Comb Through of Your Task List and Inbox from the day and make sure there are no pressing responses that require your input. If there is further action needed, put that into a task on your task-board or schedule it in your digital or analog calendar for adequate time to focus on that matter. Do not order your inbox like a to-do list. This will overwhelm you every-time you have to checkin for the day’s ‘fires.’

2) Plan the Next Day, listing out your most important task first and the less important further down. This is important that you don’t just put the most ‘recent’ task that was assigned to you, as this will cause more important items to drift further and further away from your attention and cause you to procrastinate. If you see that there is a gap in your schedule that you can claim for yourself in the following day, grab it. Block out that most important thing priority into your calendar. Once you’ve finished acknowledging the agenda for tomorrow:

3) Say an Audible Phrase to Complete Your Work Day. Some use the phrase ‘Shutdown Complete.’ I’ve been watching LOST with my son and The Dharma Initiative would always say Namaste. So for no cultural significance (to me) other than I’m really into LOST lately, my phrase is “Namaste Work Day Complete.”

4) Turn Off E-mail and Work Messaging Platforms outside of work hours. Then absolutely do not check your inbox or any work related communication until your office hours start the next business day. If necessary, activate an out of office message of ‘I am out of the office until 9am tomorrow, but will respond as quickly as possible. ‘Turn off your work notifications and do not let your mind engage with work activities until you get to your workstation the following day and begin your day with your startup phrase. you can use mine: “Namaste work day start.” (Lately I’ve been lighting a candle when I say it.)

In closing, here are 3 things to consider when not in 4th Gear…

Turn Off Your Cell Phone or silence notifications / activate do not disturb / When It’s a Meaningful Relationship Building time you’re in. If you want to take this a step further, the past few months I’ve committed to using a dumb phone or web browsing deprived device like the The Light Phone 2. It’s been a game changer for me personally.

Review Your Life – Acknowledge what modes/gears you desire to spend more time in and make actionable plans to change that. Share those plans with your partner or loved one. Lead by example and love. It might catch on to others and improve the whole world. Awesome!

Don’t Steamroll – Acknowledge the areas where you’ve gotten this out of wack. Apologize and actively work towards making a new normal with your loved ones, colleagues and the way you do business.

Consider joining the Laughing Dad community where we are exploring these conversations weekly. You can get a free habit tracker when you do. Sweet! I mean…Namaste…

Hoppy Lobby

Pye Brewing Co. Beer – Winter Wonder

I’ve been slowly learning the art of beer brewing. It’s a very interesting world to wander into. I’d liken the homebrew fanbase to that of the cycling community. In both communities there’s a vast range of beginner to expert level brewers, but the consensus is ‘just do your best and have fun along the way.’ Which is the kind of vibe I jive with.

I’m still in the beginner level stage as I’m on my 5th successful batch of beer. Up to this point I’ve pretty much stuck to the kit recipes which set you up for success usually. There’s an excellent homebrew shop in town that has everything you could possibly need which is a blessing.

One of my biggest beer venture supporters even gifted me some printed beer labels that I designed. So I’m sharing this as a ‘wish I had one of these for you, bud!’ For anyone reading this.

What type of new hobbies or skills are you trying your hand at? Let me know in the comments!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Make sure to tip your waitresses. And spread some good cheer this season.

– Owen

The Digital Declutter

This week I published a video on my YouTube channel discussing ‘The Digital Declutter.’
This phrase was coined by Cal Newport in his book, Digital Minimalism, in 2017.

To be sure, the idea of ‘stepping away’ from digital engagement is part of it, but the other side is a lot more work. Mentally and emotionally thinking through, “What matters most to me?” and “Is this the best way to accomplish the goals I have in front of me?”

You can watch the video on YouTube here:

social media: the silent killer

Like most humans out there, I have a complicated relationship with social media.
One might make the case that every job I’ve ever had is a direct result of a social media interaction at one point or another.

For the first 14 years of my life we had a family computer in a room in the house with a floppy disc and then a cd rom with dial-up internet, but at one point I was able to put a desktop computer in my bedroom with an ethernet connection to the world wide web. WOAH. There was plenty that could go wrong with giving my teenage self that kind of power. I got into plenty of garbage that I wish I could turn back time and un-experience. But that just comes with the territory.

There was also plenty of good that came of it. I started a xanga blog (remember that?) and later a myspace page. At the time I was getting more into playing music. But music was just a vehicle I used to meet people all across the country. I think I was more of a social media influencer with a guitar than I was a musician. But I thoroughly enjoyed the environment that music put people in. This incubator of kindness and togetherness that you’d feel in a house show in nowhere illlinois or a coffeeshop in kansas. And if you attended shows in the early to mid 2000s you know the exact vibe that came with these experiences.

Since the demise of myspace, more people gravitated to facebook and started posting their status updates. I remember the format for a status update was ‘your name IS.’ So you had to frame everything in that ‘is’ sentence structure. Bizarre I know. But that was the purpose of social media: to truly keep ‘up’ with your buds in this news feed.

In July 2008, Apple launched the App Store. This was the first time people were able to ‘download’ the Facebook app, their favorite news apps and others to their phone. Isn’t that crazy recent?

A lot has changed since then. Social Media and the consumption of content has turned up to 11. News sites use headlines to get clicks and advertisement revenue. Our attention is the thing everyone wants. Even this blog post. I’m writing it for me, but deep down I hope others will see it and ‘like me.’

I recently listened to the Rich Roll podcast episode from 2019 that featured Cal Newport (author of Digital Minimalism and Deep Work) where he re-inspired something in me. The exodus away from social media.

Recently I did a dumb phone challenge and spoke about it on my youtube channel. It culminated in the purchase of The Light Phone II. This is a device that gives just the basic functionality on your smart phone: calls, texts, music, podcasts, directions and a calculator app. No access to a web browsers, e-mail or third-party applications. It has been a breath of fresh air. But as Cal mentioned on the podcast, you can’t just deprive yourself of using a cell phone and do nothing else. You have to do something else otherwise it’s just a crash diet. You have to invest your time and mental space INTO something.

This is where I’m at. I’m going to use my website and YouTube channel to put content and things I want to share out into the world. Otherwise, I’m truly done with social media. I’m going to do a little more thinking and processing on it and then I’m going to completely delete my accounts. I’m typing this as an accountability. (hold me to this.)
If you’d like keep in touch, join the mailing list. I’m going to start curating a monthly blast of things I think might be valuable to other humans. And I’ll share things that I find valuable right here on this blog. Sound good?

This is more for me than it is for you. This is for my sanity.

New YouTube Channel – Laughing Dad

This is unrelated to Owen Pye music other than that I’m Owen Pye and it’s something I’m working on. A new YouTube channel dedicated to improving productivity, living simply and a comedic laugh along the way because I don’t know how not to make light of everything in life when it’s merited.

If this is something you’d be interested in, check it out! If it’s not, stay far far away…

Laughing Dad YouTube Channel

Fun Around Town (STL)

I was given a copy of this year’s Experience Booklet and though I haven’t gotten the full mileage out of it yet, I’ve certainly dabbled.

Here are some spots I visited the last couple weeks that peaked my interest.

1 Free Small Plant with Any Cafe Purchase at MayPop

My kid admiring the beautiful display at MayPop in STL

I enjoyed a delightful espresso and one of the kiddos picked out one of the many plants to choose from. What a beautiful place. I’d love to go back for a photo shoot or film something there.

Free Small Shake With Entree Purchase at Grace Meat + Three

This was our first experience here and it was fantastic. The staff were friendly and didn’t make our Pye Couple + Four kids feel weird.

Some other deals in the book that we can’t wait to try:

– Knead: Free beverage w/ purchase of sourdough pastry

– Narwhal’s Crafted: Free 12oz Frozen Hibiscus Gin + Tonic or Strawberry Basil Lemonade

– Strange: Free Creation Done

– Taco Circus: Free Chips + Queso w/ Any Purchase

You can pickup your own Experience Book and learn more here: https://experiencebooklet.com/

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