LEGO my Grumpo.

Lego1Over the past few months peaceful moments have been hard to come by.

I’ve been grumpy.

Laughter is at a premium.

So I was looking forward to the palette cleansing day at Aaron’s LEGO robotics competition on Saturday. I was looking forward to spending the day with him, clearing my mind and I really wasn’t sure what to expect. This was the first LEGO competition for both of us.

It became very clear quite quickly that I was going to be spending a lot of time on the bleachers while Aaron and his friends did their matches and presentations. I would sit and watch and then when his team would be up to practice I would get close to the tables, but most of my time was spent on the bleachers.

(I should note here that as the days draw near to my 40th birthday I am very aware that I am getting old. #Mayernik40)

While I sat on the bleachers I was treated with children running laps, up, down and back again weaving in between the seated people like they were pylons on a test track course.  These kids were unattended and the running and constant climbing up, jumping off and stomping on the bleachers was driving me crazy. I have three kids of my own, but I never would have let them run rampant like that. And yes I’m acting like #grumpyoldman.

There was constant music throughout the competition which was cool. At one point I overheard 2 kids commenting on the dj selection of Van Morrison’s, Brown Eyed Girl. The boy said, “How come they are playing all old music? This song is a country song and it’s old, they need to play some new songs, not these bad country songs.”


I contemplated correcting the boy. I contemplated telling him that Van Morrison was NOT county music, and while an older song, it was in fact a classic song that he should know and appreciate. But then I figured he would just look at me with a “don’t talk to me grumpy old man” scowl, and I continued to read my book. (Yes this #grumpyoldman brought a book.)

Lego2Aaron and his friends really were having fun. The first practice run of the LEGO robot was flawless, and the competition as a whole went very well. It was nice to see Aaron doing something that he loves, and being part of a team. Then after the competition and before the awards portion something wonderful happened.

The dj that was playing “old” music played Cotton Eyed Joe and the kids all went nuts. Three former judges started to line dance in the middle of the gym and were like pied pipers drawing the kids off the bleachers in droves. (I think it’s important to point out that the song Cotton Eyed Joe is a country song that pre-dates the American Civil War and this particular version was made famous in the mid 90’s. Take that Van Morrision hater kid. I see you on gym floor dancing.) #grumpyoldman

The next song was What Does the Fox Say?, then Gangum Style, then kids set up a conga line during Avicii’s, Wake Me Up. and then kids were windmilling and doing the worm during Michael Jackson. Yes the worm. I was laughing. Hysterically. It was the biggest juxtaposition I’d seen in a long time. 10 minutes before these kids were knee deep in science, robots, and the time clock. They were separated into teams, hardly talked and during the matches it was all business. Now they are dancing and letting loose. They are mixed dancing arm and arm. Jovial. And doing the worm. Don’t believe me? Check out my latest Vines on social media. The proof is all there.

Lego3After the dust settled Aaron’s team won two awards. First place on the presentation, and second place for their Robot performance. These awards earn them a spot in the next round at the University of Rochester and I am very happy for him, his coaches and teammates.

The day, the dancing, the worm and the awards sure did put a smile on the face of this #grumpyoldman.


My Black Friday 40th Birthday


 I’m not one for parties.

I didn’t have a big birthday party at 8, 16, 21 or 30 and I’d rather not have one for my 40th—which is quickly approaching on the 29th of November. However, I would like to celebrate it in my own way via social media, so here’s the deal…

I want to experience my 40th birthday through your eyes.

This year, my birthday falls on Black Friday. You read that right. Black Friday. The day after Thanksgiving. So in celebration, I would like you to take a picture of what you see. Maybe it’s the sunrise, November rain on your window, or the snow laden trees, a selfie of you drinking a frosty beverage after scoring great Black Friday Deals or your neighbors’ cropped mailbox that just shows the 40 of their address. Whatever sparks your fancy. Then, after my birthday, I will collect these photos and create one poster that I will frame and hang in my home to commemorate this day.

These pictures will become a social media snapshot of my birthday shown through the perspective of my friends and family all around the country. It will also let me know that you, on my 40th birthday, thought of me, and—sorry Black Friday— that’s better than any store-bought present out there.

So, on my birthday, Friday, November 29th, I’m asking that you take a picture and upload it to either Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or send me an email.

Tag me on Facebook:
Tag the photo on twitter: @guysm1ley
Tag me on instagram: @guysm1ley
Use the official hashtag: #Mayernik40 to ensure I get the picture so it makes the poster.

I’m quite surprised at how much interest there has been up to this point. I created a Facebook event at the top of the month and hoped for enough interest to get at least 40 photos. As of right now about 175 people, from 3 separate countries, have expressed interest in taking part in this somewhat odd social media experiment. Some I don’t even know—which is awesome. The more the merrier. The idea of collecting hundreds of photos from all over the world showcasing what people saw on my birthday encapsulated in one poster is pretty exhilarating. Since I am now anticipating way more photos than 40, I have decided to make the 40th photo I receive larger than the rest on the poster I will eventually create. This one photo will stand out from the rest and become the focal point for all the others to revolve. Since I have some very twisted friendships, that 40th photo may just be of an animals genitals, and won’t that be quite the conversation piece.

Help me celebrate. Take a picture. Send me the picture.
And make my Black Friday 40th a very special day.