This is where thoughts become things.

Hi, I'm Daniela. Welcome to my personal lair on the Internet. This is where I write about storytelling, activism, technology and pop culture. Sometimes I post videos. I update my lair when the mood strikes me. Follow me on Twitter for daily updates (@dcap).

Tag : advice

The art of perseverance: don’t forget your network

“Perseverance” is one of those long, solemn-sounding words that invokes an elderly person encouraging you to rake the lawn. We’re told that perseverance will get you through anything — persevere and you will overcome obstacles. “Persevere” is the know-it-all brother to “don’t give up.”

If you couldn’t tell so far, I have a touchy relationship with the concept of perseverance, even though it has pulled me through some tough times. My issue is the implication that it’s something you do alone, as if you got an extra merit badge for struggling through something in isolation.

My BFF Rose Hernandez is part of my perseverance network

“On the mountains of truth you can never climb in vain: either you will reach a point higher up today, or you will be training your powers so that you will be able to climb higher tomorrow.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

“Slaying the dragon of delay is no sport for the short-winded.” – Sandra Day O’Connor

“The miracle, or the power, that elevates the few is to be found in their industry, application, and perseverance under the promptings of a brave, determined spirit.” – Mark Twain

What do the quotes you just read have in common? All of them are awesome but none of them talk about the importance of having supportive people in your life as a key to successful perseverance. I call bullshit on that.

For me, perseverance is something you do best with the support of a network and building a “perseverance network” into your life is much easier than you think.

Science has proven that “chronic over-secretion of stress hormones adversely affects brain function, especially memory. Too much cortisol can prevent the brain from laying down a new memory, or from accessing already existing memories.” What this means is that when you’re stressed — the time when you really need to persevere — it can actually be pretty frackin’ hard to succeed at persevering. If you’re having trouble recalling a time when you persevered for inspiration or comfort, or if you’re struggling with processing your own thoughts, persevering can seem like the most unattainable thing in the word. Enter your network to tag team into your stream of churning thoughts and help you make some sense of it.

Who is this network? In my case, it’s a combination of IRL and online friends. If I’m struggling with a problem (and depending on the urgency to solve it), I’ll focus my energy on making a list of five people to approach who can share some insight into the situation. It’s far easier and more productive to think of five friends, peers or acquaintances who can help me than to agonize over the same string of thoughts with no end result in sight.

You don’t have to go through it alone…

Try it some time: when you are under the gun and feeling stressed out about a problem and you MUST persevere, take ten minutes to make a list of the five people in your life you’ll approach to discuss the situation. Don’t worry about if they’ll respond or not — focus your energy on determining five people. Sometimes the one who is able to help you pull through is the last person you thought would be the one to assist you.

Perseverance assistance comes in many forms. It can be a quick phone call, gchat or private Twitter DM. It can be coffee with a friend, a call to your mother or a thread in a forum you initiate.

Don’t think for one second that you have to persevere on your own. Don’t let excuses such as “it’s confidential information so I can’t talk to anyone about it” keep you from asking general questions that can illicit feedback from your peers. And in the random instance that you have absolutely no one to turn to who you know IRL, don’t let that stop you from reaching out to people you admire online. You never know what could happen.

Perseverance is an act best completed through interdependence. Try it.

If you’ve used online resources to help yourself persevere through a tough situation, please share them in the comments.

Guest of The Lair: My brother schools you on blogging

In the spirit of collaborating with content creators, I’d like to introduce you to my brother, Nick Capistrano. This guy is one of the most intelligent and hilarious people I know. Nick’s snarky but eerily deep insights on Internet culture inspire me to think about how people actually interact with and personalize content on all screens. Most important, he reminds me of the #1 reason why people go online in the first place: for the LULZ.

Enjoy his brain leak below.

5 Blogging Tips From Someone Who Knows Jack Shit About Blogging

By Nick Capistrano

The Capistrano HermanosI used to wipe his tushy

In case you have some sort of strain of eye-gonorrhea and your slimy tear duct discharge prevents you from reading the first 11 words of anything that isn’t written in spider monkey, I don’t know shit about blogging. However, if there is one brand of shit-related topic that I am most educated in, it’s making said shit up. Why, just the other day I ate a ninja and found a leprechaun inside a unicorn’s vagina. Except, I didn’t; I just made that up like two seconds ago. Hah hah! Take that, your mind. Therefore, in the spirit of using my award-winning imagination to make things more awesome than they actually are, here is a list of things I think of when I think of the word “blog.” Also, the word “blog” sounds like what Klingons might roar at their partner during sex. I win again, your mind!

5. Always include links to people more interesting than you.
We live in a world where all content is inexplicably shared in an incestuous relationship so convoluted and gross that even the Hapsburgs ( would describe it as “florb, glibbloop.” After their governess lovingly wiped the drool off their baffling non-chins and sent them away to identify simple shapes in silence, she would translate that jabbering as “fucked up” then shriek in awe of your magnificent time machine and happily flee the castle screaming something about witches.

The point I’m trying to make here is that all sites are ranked by traffic through some set of eldritch laws that you could only understand if you were at least half-cyborg. Therefore, the sure-fire way to let the traffic (and advertizing revenue by proxy) flow for your extremely compelling blog about your twelve cats is to ejaculate as many links to other totally not as fascinating online publications as fast as your sausage-like fingers can flail.

4. #don’t #forget #to #use #hashtags #in #every #fucking #sentence (#).
If the lawless, sexless wasteland known as Twitter is any indication, hash tags are more valuable than your genitals. In fact, if you cut them off and branded a pound sign over the now smooth and flawless pubic mound, every hipster within fifty yards will start humping wildly in your direction. And then claim to have loved you even before you replaced your babymaking parts with a symbol, of course. Even typing something with a #tic-tac-toe-mark in it will do the tri—-oh God…crotches! Everywhere, #crotches!



3. You will NOT be silenced!
The Man is everywhere, and just like Rapin’ Joe from your completely-not-indecent-exposure-related stint in county, he’s always trying to keep you down. Every other news organization (that, if you remember from tip number five, you have to link to fifteen times per post) is part of the same Cyborg Illuminati, which is why you will always word everything as if you are a Messiah sent to free us unwashed, slavering masses from the chains of our corporate imposed mind chattel. Make sure to add a sneering hash tag at the end of your post, like #genius or #spreadtheword, thereby stroking the long cock of your ego with the no-doubt tens of views this extremely insightful metadata will garner you.

2. If you are a photoblog, Sepia-toned photographs will cure cancer, and you will win a free set of anal beads for every ten of them you post.
A photoblog is an image-dump website that someone decided to sometimes add descriptions to. Now I’m no psychic, but my psychic powers have informed me that such a historic event went down like this:

“Glorioussssss victory!” the webmaster hissed with glee as he slowly, sensuously shed the mansuit off of his chitinous frame. “The images of my cat shall infect the In-Ter-Net with feline happinessssssss! My broodmates will rejoicccccccccce!” Suddenly, sexily, before he could even start cleaning his chelicerae, an idea formed in the twin brains located in his antennae!

“But wwwwait!” he gurgled, a quart of human blood dripping from his fangs. “If I add wordsssssss to this cornucopiaaaaa of kittens, then my race shall emerrrrrrge from The Underneath and rightfully claim thisssss planet for our own! Glory to the T’thnerk! Glorrrry to The Hive!”

1. The T’thnerk have taken over but you will still not be silenced (#freeeeeedom)!

I don’t know if you were paying attention, but the world has actually been taken over by a race of insectoid superbeings. They could be anyone: your boss, your co-worker, that homeless guy down the street, or even more terrifyingly, your cat(s).

Obsessive attention to detail is crucial when rooting out these soulless invaders. For example, when your boss gives you something to fax, just how loudly did he hiss it? When he looks at you, does it seem like he can hear your blood through your skin? How big was that steaming clutch of eggs he left in the office toilet? When you peeled his mask off, did it reveal a nightmare of mouths and venom, or was it just a hilarious and screaming misunderstanding? Do not leave out a single detail! KILL YOUR BOSS. #resist #unite #cats

Advice For Journalism Students, Pt 1: How To Transform Your Online Presence Into A Change Agent & ‘Get A Job’

In honor of Internet Week New York and the resulting bevy of resources, I’ve decided to contribute some of my own.

A while back, Gawker posted a snarky list of job opportunities for J-School grads. I enjoy this site and I’m all for snark, but considering the dismal economic climate I felt the tone was unnecessarily cruel.

Additionally, Gawker Media employees are no strangers to layoffs. It’s not a big leap to suggest that – in the very near future – one of them could be in the position of calling a J-School student “boss.”

Journalism Students(image via berbercarpet’s flickr)

Recent college grads were raised on technology. Media savvy millennials eat it for breakfast.

Once a J-School grad does find a job, it’s possible that he or she could be your fiercest competition.

As one who loves sci-fi, conspiracy theories and blowing through glass ceilings, I am here to share some knowledge. 🙂

Don’t give up. There’s always a way.

Here is Part 1 in a series of unscheduled/strictly-when-I-feel-up-to-it posts that will feature ways J-School grads could find a job, despite what haters have to say.

These suggestions could be helpful to anyone seeking a position related to writing/reporting.


Despite the promising title of my post, these “steps” aren’t quick fixes and require long-term efforts. I am not offering a turnkey method for success. Some things I suggest won’t work for you, for a variety of reasons. So, take my suggestions with a grain of salt and add them to your arsenal of job hunting resources. Don’t be discouraged because you don’t see immediate results.

Who am I to offer advice? I’m me, a freelance O.G. (currently rocking a staff position with MTV News) who has experience in both traditional and new media.

I am also friends with many folks who were laid off, as well as graduating students now facing the daunting task of securing a j-o-b. I listen to their stories and learn from their successes and failures.

In this post, I will touch on ways to grow your audience and build community, even though my own site barely does any traffic. Truthfully, I didn’t create The Lair to make money. I don’t actively work on building an enormous readership. I know how to do both of these things, but don’t, because they aren’t motivations for me. Just because I don’t consistently apply SEO/brand management strategies to my own site and online presence, doesn’t mean I don’t know what I am talking about.

What I do on the web works for me – when it doesn’t work, I change it.

Considering the above factors, you might decide to question my authority on this topic and choose not to read the rest of this post. Well, this is my way of giving back. Take it or leave it.

Future posts will include interviews with employed and unemployed journalists/writers/reporters/media professionals who can offer their own thoughts and advice. I’m very slowly reaching out to folks and will eventually post some Q&As.

Ready, all three of you (statistically)? Here we go!

Pt 1: How To Transform Your Online Presence Into A Change Agent & Get A Job (more…)