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Thoughts of Brock Ellison

Live, Laugh and Love. The greatest of these is love.

Loving Your Heroes

December 11th, 2013

We can all think of someone who has influenced our journey called life. Several people in South Africa this past week have been mourning the lost of their greatest leader, Nelson Mandela. In my opinion he will go down as one of the most famous leaders (especially in my lifetime) ranking up there with Harvey Milk and Martin Luther King Jr. as being known as someone who rooted for the people fighting for civil rights, being the voice for the underdog and never giving up on what matters most: this road called life.

Even though the majority of us will never meet someone of that caliber, it doesn’t mean we don’t have a personal individual or group of influential people in our life. For me, one of those people is Chad West. Two years ago I met Chad during a college break when I was in Dallas from Houston. Since I’ve moved back to Dallas we’ve only seen each other twice in two years, but we’ve talked plenty of times. As I see pictures and videos of Mandela, all I can think about is how I would tell the story of the influential people in my life. Chad would definitely be one of those people…

Chad West Office

Not only has he been the one in my corner for small aspects of my life, but also the heavy aspects of life that are difficult to endure on my own. Should I pursue law school? What would be the best route? Or do I stay where I am and save money to build for my future? All these are questions post-graduates find them asking in their mind. Majority of them want to get ahead, and not stay stagnant, with where they are when they start that first job out of college.

As for me, it’s been a constant battle because my family is in Dallas, but my heart is definitely else where. With many people knowing the story of my mom, it’s a challenge to pursue that job outside of Dallas. However, with influential people in our life we seek them for their counsel. They are those people who teach us, “Lead from the back — and let others believe they are in front.” – Mandela.

Today, is Chad’s birthday and I can’t help but think about the impact influential people have in our journey of a lifetime decisions. Chad made it possible for me to play in D.C., was a voice when I needed to make a life decision (because that’s often when I turn to him). One of the quotes I believe he would agree with Mandela is: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” Now it’s time to get it done, so it will not seem impossible. How will you remember your hero? I know how I will remember mine.

Lost Stars and Aquatic Park Firework Show

July 6th, 2014

As the weekend came for the annual”Holt” reunion, I had to pick between going to that event or being at my cousin’s wedding (which most of them will attend anyways) in September. I chose the wedding in hopes of avoiding the triple digit temperatures of Lake Murray. To help keep my mind off the family reunion along with the best breakfast meal in the world is my family’s eggs, biscuits, sausage and gravy. Not to mention grandma’s Oreo dessert pudding in the evening… So to help past the time, I hung out with Panna, went to a firework show and saw a film that had a song in it called Lost Stars.

Thursday, I hung out with someone who is becoming my closest friend in the city, Panna. We had a few drinks and then I called it a night because I knew I had planned a busy 4th of July at the theaters and then going to see fireworks over the bay.

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Begin Again was the independent film I chose because of the story line it showed in the preview, is something I really felt like I needed to see. The story line consisted of Dan (Mark Ruffalo), an agent that just lost his record label job in NYC because of depression from his falling apart family. In the process he heard Gretta (Keira Knightley) singing karaoke at a local bar, where his hope sparked to get his career back. Little did he know that her boyfriend, Dave (Adam Levine) was succeeding in the music industry and Gretta was experience the pain one can imagine by having a partner that travels constantly. The two lost souls, Dan and Gretta, set sail on creating their own album. The release was a hit, with the help of Ceelo Green her record hit over $10k in revenue over night! Dan ended up getting his wife and daughter back (who also played in the band that Gretta sang.) However, for Dave and Gretta, their relationship didn’t kindle quite the same because Dave cheated on her. That’s the reason she left him and she honestly began her life again without him.

Saturday, I hiked Mt. Davidson and got some amazing views of the ocean along with a cross that stood at 103 feet! It’s story holds a legacy and remembers the million that lost their life during the American Genocide. Knowing the store of the American Genocide, and the sadness around it, the honor of climbing such a steep mountain to see this will be forever unforgettable.

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After that hike, I just relaxed and watched TV and enjoyed a nice Saturday. Tomorrow will be a busy fundraiser for my softball team, before we head to Sacramento in August. More importantly though is the big tournament we have for our softball league.

I hope everyone had a great fourth of July, and to my family that’s spending time at the lake. I hope you enjoy it just as much, I love y’all!

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Pros and Cons of Living in San Francisco Compared to Texas

June 11th, 2014

Over the past few weeks I’ve been trying to compile reasons why San Francisco is better than Texas; however it’s impossible to compare a city to a state. So instead I’ll compare it to the two cities I have lived in, Houston and Dallas. There are a handful of reasons I see myself staying in San Francisco compared to the two Texas cities above. Below are my observations:

1)   People Don’t Care What You Do….
Since we live in a society where we make our own way that’s exactly what this city allows an individual to try and accomplish. (For some reason people always thought New York City was the city where dreams come true. Ugh, obviously they haven’t been to San Francisco!) All the tech companies I see striving to reach the top are priceless!

From Facebook, Yelp, Pinterest and that company named Google; several tech companies are still pursuing their dreams here. So essentially, people don’t care what you do as long as you try your hardest. Because chances are someone in the area is probably trying to accomplish the same task. The question at hand is what separates you from your competitor (or a potential competitor)?

2)   Beaches Are Heavenly….
Anyone that knows me through college knows that I would wake up on Saturday mornings to drive an hour south to see the sunrise in Galveston. I would meditate, and have some of the best study time at a local coffee shop. Being on a peninsula is life changing to me because, in my opinion, water is the most powerful sign of a higher force. It lets me know that people can’t live in this world alone. Plus assurance there is a force that keeps us moving together like the ocean currents.

3)   There Are a Bunch of Start-Ups….
Even though I have mentioned this, there are a LOT of startups in San Francisco. A quick Google search shows over 6,000 companies in ONE city trying to start their own business. Therefore, generating a lot of jobs and need for smart people to live in or around the city to make their company though the tough beginning years. In addition, that means there are a huge amount of people that are ferocious leaders that have stronger will-power than seen in Dallas or Houston.

4)   You Can Live Your Life How You Please…
Another pro about San Francisco is that people don’t care how you live your life as long as you’re not harming others in the process. Abiding by the laws and keeping to yourself, you’ll do just fine in this city. Also, compared to Dallas or Houston this city puts up PRIDE flags in downtown (Financial District) at the beginning of the month because of their fame for LGBTQ rights. It’s a priceless feeling knowing that this city comes together for LGBTQ students (and adults) for their rights as human individuals.

Flags in Downtown

5)   The Amount of Sophisticated People…
Yes, with all these start-ups it requires sophisticated people. When I first started here, I used to joke with my boss about a phrase I once said…. “I’m not that DUMB, I’m from Texas!” Yeah, with all the arrogant people in Dallas and Houston who believe their city is the smartest they need to think again. The biggest change I see is the waste and lack of recycling in Texas is pitiful and makes me sick. Also, the way people conduct business here is still via phone calls and in-person meetings. Yeah emails may still work, but phone calls and in-person meetings seals the deal.

From the Texas perspective I’ll always have; here are the reasons that I don’t miss the lonestar state and some reasons I do:

1)   The Recent Texas GOP Disgusts Me…
Any state government that tries to fringe into an individual’s bedroom and personal life is sickening. In addition, the belief that any person identifying their sexual orientation requires “ex-gay therapy,” should go through “ex-straight” therapy or “divorce therapy,” because quite frankly your religion that’s judging my lifestyle is sickening. Additionally, it’s the reason the millennials (Generation X) are leaving the church. So don’t say, “…homosexuality tears at the fabric of society.” How about your five-day marriages? Or 4.1 marriages out of 1,000 people per capita ending in a divorce? Fix that first and then we can have a conversation about a topic that’s a non-issue to majority of Americans.

2)   Fences Exist at the Back of a Softball Field…
Many of you know I play softball in NAGAA, the “gay softball league” and love the sport. However, in San Francisco the fields are back-to-back and DO NOT have fences. It’s very hard, but makes it easy for me to get a homerun or even a grand slam! Also, I’ve played a team here that was primarily drag queens and the pitcher has some spin to her game after my two triples against her… (Of course she’s from the south though!!!) These types of players won’t be found in Dallas or Houston. (Maybe close, but not quite!!!)

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3)   Summer Heat, Pools and BBQ aren’t Present….
Sadly, in a way, I miss my summer heat, swimming pool parties and amazing BBQ evenings. Nothing compares to relaxing in the pool after a long day of work or even on a weekend drinking a cold one with some friends. It’s probably the event I miss the most from Texas. (Even more than my truck!) However, I do love the weather that might hit 80, but will go down to the 50′s at night time.

4)   Not Having a Vehicle…
To me it’s still shocking I have gone this long without a vehicle. However, I have noticed the amount of money saved from gas, insurance, etc. that goes into a car that I no longer have to worry about. I love that aspect, but I do miss driving. (Perhaps by Christmas I’ll make the drive in a Toyota from my dad back here.)

5)   People are Judgmental…
The people here are friendly, but the southern hospitality is a factor I miss. I know people care, but it comes off differently. Hugs ARE NOT given graciously here, unless it’s from my softball team because #TeamDNA is one big family!

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So at the end of the day I know moving here on April 17 was the right decision for me. I know that in four hours I can be back in Dallas by heading to SFO for a plane ride. In the meantime, I’ll stay in a city where PRIDE flags are held high in the Financial District. People don’t care whose hand I hold, or how I live my life as long as it makes me happy and I don’t harm others in the process. Feel free to leave your thoughts or let me know if I have something wrong!

Happy on the Rooftop Spikes Coffee

#OneLife #OneLove #HappyPRIDE

24 Days Later – The Journey Continues

May 11th, 2014

Even though it’s been 24 days since my 24-hour post before leaving Dallas, posting my next blog 24 days later helps tie my journey together. Every day there is still something new I’m learning. For example, today was my first day to layout at the famous Dolores Park that over looks the Financial District.

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However, every day tasks (including my Spike’s Coffees & Teas run instead of Starbucks) from working with two amazing tech companies and working from home is a liberating feeling.

Spikes Coffee

Over the past three weeks one of my biggest excitements is that I have already joined a softball team, and been asked to play in the Gay Games in Cleveland! Slowly, this city is changing me. The most shocking is not having a vehicle! Also, their way of communicating is different than the southern hospitality that not many people understand. Another item I am missing is chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes and white gravy. Even though I haven’t had the time to look for it, I must find a place soon.

During my first week here I was busy trying to find a softball team to play for, which has obviously happened. I love my new softball team, and look forward to the team growing! My first weekend here I went to China Beach to show expression of just “Letting it All Go,” signifying that I need to start fresh.

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On a sad note, during my second week here my aunt passed away and I wasn’t able to attend the funeral. One lesson I did learn is that I am glad that I told her “goodbye” and “I love you” while I had the chance. More importantly, being able to say those words in front of my Pepaw as we were both spending time with him. Those last moments, I will never forget because they meant the world! She was supportive of my decision for coming out here, and wished the best for me.

Roxanne

 At the end of every day I remind myself is that in life surround yourself with people who give you strength. Always “Do You” and you won’t live with regrets. All we have is ourselves and the people we CHOOSE to place in that close group we call our friends. Along the way those people will help you realize what matters most to you.

Pic of Me

One thing I’ve learned living here is this, “Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.” – Henry David Thoreau.

P.S. The potential of “rescuing” a puppy is in process! :)

Adopted Puppy

24 – Live Another Day

April 16th, 2014

Ok, maybe I am no Jack Bauer but in 24 hours I’ll be living another day and boarding a plane heading to San Francisco. Within 24 hours I’ll be in the air with a few bags heading to a city that I only dreamed about living in. That doesn’t mean I won’t be working my ass off to survive, but I look forward to the challenges ahead in one of the most difficult cities to live in with my new career. (Plus, I’ll be able to see one of my “career idols” Todd Defren a lot more!)

As I fear the unknown in this new journey, once I get there I will make a new dream board since mine seems to be out of date. Seeing your dreams makes them reality, in my opinion, and achieving them is a priceless emotion. I do look forward to road trips to LA, hearing Andy Grammer in San Francisco and seeing Buster Posey kick ass in a sport we both dearly love. (I once voted for him in a prestigious college award that he won by only a handful of votes. So of course he’s a favorite!) But focusing back on life and “Live Another Day…”

Three things you should never forget (IMO):

  1.  Cherish those who you hold dear to your heart. You never know when a life changing event will occur.
  2. Take chances, no matter how scared shit-less you may be. (Like I am right now.) Don’t allow fear of questioning yourself about any opportunity; if you want it go and get it – also, don’t let age EVER be a factor because you can change your circumstance no matter what.
  3. Love every moment like it was your last. What I’m realizing right now, is that this opportunity “fell in my lap” when one door closed. By no means was it the “right timing,” but nothing in life is that perfect timing. (Ok, well maybe having my truck totaled was perfecting timing with one of those moments when life is like “Here’s Your Sign…”)

Embrace every journey you get and LIVE YOUR LIFE! My next post will be miles high in the sky, or maybe once I land in San Francisco. Dallas family and friends, it’s not goodbye but always see you later!

One Week Away – Looking Back

April 10th, 2014

Time flies when you’re having fun… So the saying goes. But what is it like when you’re having so many emotions about moving to a new city? Your family is proud, but nervous for you at the same time. Looking back all I realize is a question that my old Vice President, Wayne Irwin asked me about two years ago: “Where do you want to be in three years?” Without hesitation I told him two cities (San Francisco or New York City), along with still being able to use my public relations background.

Looking back on one of the last, and most powerful papers, I wrote in college one quote came to mind about this journey:

“The roots of successful decisions often lie in obscure places… The truly great decisions happen. They arise from spur-of-the-moment phone calls…” – Stuart Crainer.

Being able to look back and believe that I made, what I hope to be, a successful decision from a spur-of-the-moment phone call is lingering in my mind. Yesterday I had my exit interview with my current boss and someone who will always be a friend. He told me that some of my great characteristics are my ambition, ability to accomplish any given task and being an inspiration to the office by looking at a dream board to make my dreams come true. Many in the office told him: “If Brock can do it; they can too!” (I’m a firm believer that by seeing your dreams, you can make them reality — You can create your dream board here.)

Many of you know that in January, I got asked to turn in an application to one of the most well known SEO platforms known to man, Conductor. As my vendor rep, Katherine (Kat), rode in my truck going to get my boss a bottle of wine she encouraged me to spread my wings and fly. (Even though several of my close friends Stephanie, Ohland and Bridger were already telling me to.) Her words finally sank in from the seed the other three told me for months! Despite not getting the job in NYC, that trip lead to getting a phone call from my friend Steve in San Francisco telling me to come visit.

At the time all I thought it would be was a fun get-a-way after one door closed in NYC… Oh and not to forget it gave me a chance to meet someone on my dream board, Todd Defren. If you don’t know he’s an industry leader in the PR field and Stephanie’s boss… But back to San Francisco’s get-a-way, little did I know Steve was testing me for a job opportunity that he offered when I left. The realization of my new career is still sinking in, and I’m eager to take on the new roles and responsibilities in a city I look forward to living in.

Now with less than a week to finish my tasks at Online Performance Marketing, to say my “see you later” to home town friends, get in some doctor appointments and to figure out what clothes are going to make it into those suitcases has me noticing that time is truly ticking… Any suggestions for moving 1,600 miles is greatly appreciated!

 

Living in San Francisco Will Be My Reality

March 26th, 2014

Yes, the title says it all. As many of you know I have been flying to different cities with a mission to expand my career, and begin a way of life that I could only dream of while in my college years. During the week of March 16, 2014 that dream became reality as I verbally took a job in San Francisco.

On April 17, I will be moving to the “City by the Bay” to expand my marketing career in the relocation, real estate and special events industry in the heart of the Castro. Being raised in a small town of Rowlett, Texas this opportunity only comes once in a lifetime. I had to take a chance and move 1,600 miles across the country to make a change, and breakaway.

As far as the specifics of the new job, you can keep reading below! :)

Office Environment = Priceless

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My office is located at the bottom of a three story building property in the Castro, right across from the Human Right Campaign (HRC). This HRC location is where Harvey Milk’s “Castro Camera” was located during the beginning of the LGBT movement. So every day I will be able to look right across the street and see where the entire movement began.

But back to the career aspect, inside the building I will be able to sync my MacBook to the lovely Apple TV so work will get accomplished! The hard decision will be deciding if I want to work at a table or sit on the couch…

Inside the Office

Also, we have a school-size chalkboard! I will likely be tempted to throw chalk at Steve, who will be my boss, when he makes me angry. (However, I don’t see that happening because he’d let the “outside” cat in the office which wouldn’t be a fair match because of my allergies!)

Inside the Office 2

From the third story balcony, you can over look the city and see the famous Castro theater. The fresh air is liberating, and will provide plenty of relief during a busy week that I know will happen. Heck, even some days I could see myself working on the balcony just to focus, and take it all in.

Office Rooftop

Rooftop 2

Rooftop

In regard to leaving Dallas, my family, friends, my current boss and previous co-workers have all known this is my dream city. As I still try to grasp my mind around what reality has in store for me, I want to thank my family for always being supportive. Especially after they didn’t know I was going to San Francisco with the prospect of a job!!!

One of the hardest emails was telling my coach, Steve Darby (AKA: Roomie – when we went to D.C.) and the rest of the “second family,” my BoomCats softball team. They might not know it, but I look up to each and every one of them.

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In addition my current “family and roommates” Ryan and Roger. They have been my motivation in helping me to travel to all these places. Seeing Ryan advance in his DJ career, taking chances in his advancement is honestly breath taking. Then Roger, none of these trips would have been possible if it wasn’t for him taking me to and from the airport. Caring for me like I was his own son, but motivating me along the way to do what’s best for my life.

Other people that have been like family are Chip, Lyle, Dwayne and Ellis that have been there to help me make this life changing decision. (Sadly I don’t have pictures with them or they would be up here too!) Each of them have been inspirations in getting me to where I need to get to at this point in my life.

Lastly, two special people in my life that would make me give myself all the credit, instead of thanking them, is Steven Ohland and Stephanie Chan. Or should I say, #Stevanie #Chanland? These two have ALWAYS encouraged me to burst my bubble and break out of my shell. Now that I finally did they gave me all the credit. They’re my emotional clutch, and that’s a very tough task! For almost four years Ohland has been in my life with hours, probably even days worth of phone calls to this point in our life. This last trip we talked at Harvey’s (a bar in the Castro) about how I was going into seminary when we first started talking back in 2010, but now I’ve dived into marketing and done rather well at it. We’ve laughed, cried and most importantly he’s the one that got me drinking riesling on my first wine tasting, but on this past trip we were at Napa I’ve found my niche for piñot noir.

Below are two highly influential friends in my life that I mentioned above. The first is Ohland and the second is Chan.

Ohland Picture

Chan Picture
Anyways, here’s to me leaping and taking that chance both of them pushed me to do for my own growth. Loving myself, taking a chance and doing “me” regardless of what others think… Now it’s time to close the laptop and leave the Starbucks where this entire blogging started over two years ago when I moved back home from Houston!

Government Shutdown – Or is the Bigger Question Reaching the Debt Ceiling?

October 7th, 2013

As many people huff and puff about the government shutdown, do they not realize that the bigger discussion is around the corner? In about ten days we will hit the debt ceiling; and we all know what happened last time. We had a major financial crash, that was nearly on the verge of surpassing The Great Depression.

After being a week into a government shutdown, which isn’t the concerning factor, but not having a government to discuss a debt ceiling crisis should be more of a topic. Our government going into default is a bigger tipping point than the government shutdown will ever fathom to be. Yet it plays a factor, it’s not the bigger question.

With both sides not being able to come to an agreement on budget standards, we the people, are left with people in D.C. debating what and what shouldn’t be standard policy. Having neither side consider the future of Americans, and what seems to be the young workforce (30 and under), I believe it’s time for my generation to take charge.

John Boehner’s flawed conservative thoughts are too much, but Obama’s “I will not merge” philosophy is hideous. As Boehner acts like he’s the president, that he wishes he only could be, (and thank God he’s not) our government continues to stay stagnant because of his ignorance. Even Obama is willing to work on the Affordable Care Act, which I agree should be changed in some aspects. However, I don’t like the fact some Americans desire to make it illegal for an abortion, but at the same time won’t guarantee newborns health care from birth. I believe that’s beyond the brink of stupidity, and anyone who differs from that opinion please let me know why…

Back to the bigger picture though, the debt ceiling, which will probably hit a day before my 26th birthday, I look forward to a day where I can retire. As a young American, I believe that our country is in deep shit if the government doesn’t move forward in raising the debt ceiling, but first must overcome the government shutdown.

Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew estimates by October 17 we will hit the debt ceiling with only $30 billion on hand, but will have bills that go beyond $60 billion. Sadly, I believe our government will see it’s first government shutdown while experiencing a financial crisis because the Democrats and Republicans can’t come to an agreement. The bad part is, I find myself asking why I can’t coin my political view as democratic or republican, but rather it’s “topics.” With all that said, I’m eager to see what President Obama will do with the 14th amendment at hand. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…

Kudos to One of my Best Friends – Stephanie Chan

September 29th, 2013

Over the past two years since I’ve moved back to Dallas there is one amazing lady who I can see opening up our own firm together. She’s an inspiration, a motivation and more importantly one friend that where we pick up the phone the conversation starts right where we finished. On Monday, September 30, 2013 she’ll be departing to her dream job at SHIFT Communications.

For the past year and a half we talk on the phone every morning, to catch up on life. Sometimes our story can be best explained by episodes of GLEE – and her being Rachel and I am her Kurt. Now that she’s finally made it to NYC, I’ve got a year to meet her there or else I’ll be in trouble. (Our story goes a little bit like this one…) Luckily for me I know I’ll get to see her soon in NYC for that dream of mine witnessing the ball drop in New York City!

Even though I have only known her for a little over a year I feel like she’s been in it my entire life. She’s basically the sister I never had an always wanted, or better put if I was a straight man she would be my wife. I’m so glad she came to visit me on the Friday before she left, with a special trip to my office. Now it’s time for me to make a special trip to see her in NYC!