Episode 370 – Daniel Siemens

Daniel is an Accountant & Skateboarder & Ship In Bottle Builder

Daniel Siemens, returns to the podcast from episode 183 to talk about his reignited passion for skateboarding, building a halfpipe, and how the culture at ScL Health allows for him and his co-workers to be open with each other!

Episode Highlights

• Recent ship in bottle projects
• Getting back into skateboarding
• Building a halfpipe
• Skateboarding injury
• “The Swordfish on the Slab”
• The culture at ScL Health


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    Welcome to Episode 370 of What’s Your “And”? Follow-Up Friday Edition. This is John Garrett, and each Friday, I follow up with a guest who had been on the show a few years ago to hear what’s new with their outside-of-work passions and also to hear how this message might have impacted them since we last talked.

    I’m so excited my book is out. You can order the book on Amazon, Indigo, barnesandnoble.com, a few other websites, so check out whatsyourand.com for more. Thank you so much to everyone who’s read it so far and been kind enough to leave those Amazon reviews. Thank you so, so much for those. For those of you that have been asking, the audio version is coming next month. That’ll be super exciting. I can read the book to you.

    Please don’t forget to hit subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss any of the future episodes. I love sharing such interesting stories each and every week, and this Follow-Up Friday is no different with my guest, Daniel Siemens. He’s a tax analyst with SCL Health, outside of Denver, Colorado, and now he’s with me here today. Daniel, thanks so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?

    Daniel: Hey, thanks for having me.

    John: Oh, man, this is going to be so much fun, so much fun. Episode 183, we talked the ship-in-bottle building, which was super cool. You were in the book. I had a really good quote in there, so, thank you for that. I have my rapid-fire questions, get to know Daniel on a new level here. If you had to choose, Harry Potter or Game of Thrones.

    Daniel: Oh, man. I haven’t watched a whole lot of Game of Thrones, so I’m going to go with Harry Potter.

    John: I’m the same. I haven’t at all, so I’m with you on that one. Talk or text.

    Daniel: I will go with talk actually. It seems like I can communicate faster, talking.

    John: Right? Because then it’s not back and forth, 14 times. It’s just the one call and then we’re done.

    Daniel: Yep, exactly. Push through, let’s move on.

    John: Right. Exactly. Exactly. Favorite season, summer, winter, spring or fall.

    Daniel: Oh, summer, by far.

    John: Oh, okay. All right.

    Daniel: Yeah, I like warm weather and playing outside, all about it.

    John: Yeah, yeah. All right. Oh, this is a beautiful one, shower or bath.

    Daniel: It depends. If you have a Jacuzzi bathtub, something really nice, then bath. Otherwise shower. Our bathtub is tiny, so, shower.

    John: There you go. There you go. It’s actually, a stand-up shower is our bathtub. That’s how tiny — no, I’m just —

    Daniel: Yeah, right.

    John: Exactly. Exactly. Three more. When it comes to books, audio version, Kindle or real books.

    Daniel: Oh, that’s a good question. I’ll go with audio because I do find it easier to listen to books as opposed to reading. I don’t know. My wife is a bookaholic. There’s something about having a good aesthetic of books in a bookcase on a wall. They look good, so I can see both.

    John: Yeah, yeah. Okay. Yeah. I didn’t realize that. That’s why I recorded mine. That’ll be out next month. It is so much harder to record a book than you would ever imagine. It was crazy. I wrote the book.

    Daniel: Right. You’re like, I know what’s in here.

    John: It was weird. It was super weird. Here’s a good one, socks or shoes.

    Daniel: Doesn’t one go without the other? Shoes. I don’t know. I show off shoes more than socks. Socks just kind of sit under your shoes.

    John: Right. Okay. Somebody asked me that at the end of an episode a couple of months ago. I thought it was really fun, so I’ve brought it into my repertoire.

    Daniel: That’s hilarious question. I like it.

    John: The last one, toilet paper roll, over or under.

    Daniel: Over. It’s easier to get to.

    John: Yeah, absolutely. I agree. I agree.

    Daniel: It’s in the patent apparently.

    John: It is, I think. I haven’t seen it, but the internet said.

    Daniel: I saw it on Facebook. I don’t know. Ridiculous truths you find on the innerwebs.

    John: It’s true then. It’s true. Episode 183, the ship-in-bottle building, which is just super cool. Is that something that you’re still making?

    Daniel: Yeah, yeah, a little bit, probably not as heavily as I was. I was a part of the Rocky Mountain Shipwrights and building models and that sort of thing. With the pandemic and everything, they haven’t been doing much because the average age is 70 to 90, which is prime danger zone, as far as the pandemic goes, so they haven’t been meeting at all.

    I’ve done different things. I’m still working. I do a few here and there. I have this old Armitage McGann model that I’m working on that’s from the 1930s, just for storing, which is super fun. Just a quick synopsis of that. Armitage McGann wrote articles for Popular Science back in the 1920s. He put out books on, and it’s all how to build a really simple ship model for your home.

    John: Oh, okay.

    Daniel: Yeah, it’s super cool. It’s just old school. It’s like, go to the notions counter and ask for this. I’m like, what the heck is a notions counter? Apparently, that’s what they used to call hardware stores.

    John: Okay. Okay.

    Daniel: It’s just this old school book. It’s so fun to read and just dive into. The model is simple enough that it’s fairly easy to put together. It takes a lot of time. It’s something I’ve been working on. The guy I got it from said, “There’s some milkshake for your mind.” I was like, yeah, that’s exactly what this is.

    John: Right. The milkshake that you get at the notions counter.

    Daniel: Yeah, the notions counter, apparently.

    John: That’s awesome, man. That’s so cool. I’ve seen on social media too, that you’ve picked up a new hobby as well.

    Daniel: Yeah. It’s one that I’ve been into for a long time, but just off and on. I finally got back into it in, what was it, May or June of last year. They did a thing with my work where they had mandatory PTO one day a week. I was like, well, now I have a day off a week that I have to take. What am I going to do with it? First thing we did was build the kids a big old playset that they could run around on and stuff. That was super fun. It was a good time. I’m already in that building mode. I’m like, you know what, I’ve always wanted a halfpipe in my backyard since I was a kid.

    John: Skateboarding halfpipe, yes.

    Daniel: I want a freaking halfpipe in my backyard. I was like, I’m an adult. I have adult money now. It’s time. Let’s get a halfpipe. I’ve been trying to go to the gym and trying to get fit, whatever, and treadmills suck. They are the worst. I hate treadmills. I’ve been working at the gym and stuff, off and on, trying to, and it just wasn’t going anywhere. I was like, if I had a halfpipe, I bet I would do a lot better. I have. I’m down 25 pounds since I built the thing.

    John: Really? That’s amazing.

    Daniel: It’s crazy. It’s a workout.

    John: Yeah. You don’t really think of skateboarding as a workout. That’s incredible.

    Daniel: Right. Because, yeah, you’re having fun the entire time, but, man, it wears you out. It’s hardcore.

    John: Yeah.

    Daniel: My halfpipe is small. It’s two feet tall, eight feet wide, probably about 20 feet long. It’s not like it’s gigantic, but, man, it’s just so much fun. This is ridiculous. I didn’t realize that. I guess it’s a thing. There are different Facebook groups and stuff where there’s a lot of people during lockdown itself that have built many ramps in their backyard. I’m probably one of thousands of people that are — somebody needs to do a documentary on this stuff because there are thousands of people building mini ramps and getting into skateboarding over quarantine.

    John: That’s so cool. Did you subscribe to Thrasher magazine again?

    Daniel: I haven’t.

    John: That was my junior high. That was mine.

    Daniel: Right. I should, probably.

    John: I skated back in the day.

    Daniel: Oh, did you really? Dude, you need to come out and skate my ramp.

    John: Yeah, that would be incredible. I’m four feet taller than I was then probably, or maybe not. That would be awesome. That would be so cool, man. That’s just so great to hear that it’s something else, and the exercise component to it is pretty awesome, too. Yeah. Is it something that you’ve talked about at work at all? Because I know ships-in-bottles, they are just out, and people talk about them.

    Daniel: Yeah, right. It’s a little harder. Now they’re not out because I’m working from home, so nobody really sees it. I’ve talked a little bit about my skateboarding. I think it’s one of those things where, especially when you’re older, per se, you’re not a teenager anymore, everyone’s like, what are you, skateboarding? Really? What are you, a kid? Even my neighbor was like, we get older, and sometimes we have to give stuff up. I’m like, maybe you get older and have to give stuff up. I’m still skateboarding.

    John: Why? Whatever. It’s not illegal. It’s not taboo. It’s fun. That’s crazy.

    Daniel: Yeah. There’s that old quote from Jay Adams that’s like, how does it go, you don’t stop skateboarding because you grow old. You grow old because you stop skateboarding.

    John: Right? There you go.

    Daniel: I think it’s true. I’m more fit than I was before, and I’m having just a blast with it. Yeah, I think there’s some truth in it.

    John: Yeah. Right as soon as I saw it on social media, I saw the video, and I was like, that is awesome. Even when we got the two feet of snow just a couple of weeks ago and you had the board up, I guess I got to go do some work.

    Daniel: Oh, yeah, that’s right. Oh, man. Yeah, and there are funny little quotes with it, as far as that board goes, because I did the art on that board. Part of it is accounting-related, so it relates to the podcast a little bit.

    John: It’s awesome.

    Daniel: I got into skateboarding, and I don’t know if I told you this. I had a really bad skateboarding injury, six or seven years ago, where I hit the pavement doing 20.

    John: Oh, my gosh.

    Daniel: Yeah, hospital for four days, it was pretty bad. I wasn’t wearing a helmet. If I was wearing a helmet, I would have just been scraped and bruised, whatever, but darn helmets. So it is this thing. My wife is reluctant, but also she’s pretty darn awesome that she lets me keep doing it after that traumatic experience. The deal has been that I could skateboard, but she’s going to make fun of me for it, as much as she wants.

    I made the mistake of having her watch Search for Animal Chin with me. It’s on YouTube. Look it up. It’s the most hilarious, stupidest thing. I think it might be the first skate video that ever came out, but it’s absolutely ridiculous. It’s got a very, very young Tony Hawk. If you want to see Tony when he was a scraggly little kid, he’s in there. It’s the stupidest show, but, man, it’s so fun. It’s that old ‘80s language. Oh, that’s gnarly man. Oh, rad. Now whenever I’m at the skate park, she calls me. It’s like, hey, man, you land that swordfish on a slab yet? Oh, man, that’s gnarly. Oh, my gosh. So that’s on my board, the swordfish on the slab.

    John: Oh, that’s hilarious.

    Daniel: That’s where the swordfish part comes from. Then I was complaining to her about accounting stuff. People weren’t listening and doing — I’m like, this is the accounting rules, guys. We’ve got to follow those frigging laws and gap and everything. She’s like, you’re an accountant. That’s your job. You’ve got to slap them over the head with the cold dead fish of reality. It was just the funniest thing. So, yeah, that’s on my board too, the cold dead fish of reality and the swordfish on the slab.

    John: That’s hilarious.

    Daniel: It’s just this weird inside joke, but, man, it’s fun.

    John: No, that’s great, man. You come alive. It’s creative. It’s fun. It’s laughing. It’s going back to youth, which, why not? I feel like so much of us, we become so serious. We forget about play. We forget about just not everything has to serve a purpose or have an end goal or be for money or whatever. Just do it just because.

    Daniel: Yeah, there’s that dichotomy. There’s somebody on Tiktok, there’s a skater on Tiktok talking about there’s that triangle of things of learning, destroying and creating. Skateboarding very much embodies all of that because you’re learning tricks, you’re destroying your board as you do it, but you’re also creating within, the art itself for so many mini ramps, all sorts of things. That kind of applies to life in general, in one way or another. You’re creating. You’re learning, or you’re destroying something in order to build something new, and it goes in that circle.

    John: Yeah. That’s really deep, man. I like that. That’s really good. It is very similar. Since we talked, have you seen people sharing their outside-of-work passions more, do you feel?

    Daniel: Not so much with my work. We all know each other. We know what —

    John: Well, that’s great then. Yeah, you’ve already achieved that level.

    Daniel: Pretty much, yeah. My boss is still very into golf, absolutely loves it. He moved down to Arizona, so he’s got summer all year long, practically. I don’t know. Golfing in 120 probably isn’t fun.

    John: Yeah, I know.

    Daniel: But he definitely has more warmer days than he did in Denver.

    John: Right. That’s for sure. No, but that’s cool though. I know with COVID, that definitely threw a wrench in everything.

    Daniel: Oh, yeah.

    John: I would imagine that, because you all knew each other and knew those outside-of-work hobbies and passions, that made it a little bit easier to translate over to the working remotely because, well, I already know these people and what lights them up.

    Daniel: Yeah, that’s true. That’s true. It’s a little bit different because you don’t have that office talk as much. You’re not passing in the hallway sort of thing, but it is nice to be able, when you get into a call, and be like, hey, how’s the golfing going? How’s the cycling going? Have that more friendliness before you get down to business because calls, just too much business and stuff, it’s overwhelming sometimes.

    John: Right. Absolutely. I agree with you. I agree with you. Do you have any words of encouragement to anybody listening? Maybe they’re skaters as well, and they’re like, it has nothing to do with my job, or no one’s going to care, or whatever their hobby or passion is.

    Daniel: Yeah, if there’s anything, especially things you did as a kid, that’s the one thing that I — skateboarding is something I’ve always come back to, do it, man Get into it. Build that mini ramp. That’s the other thing. It’s something I’ve thought about for years. It’s finally like, you know what, I’m going to do it and see what happens. It’s been absolutely the best thing for my health, for my sanity because, yeah, exercise is extremely good for your mental health as well. So, yeah, do it. Get out and do that thing you’ve thought about doing but haven’t yet.

    John: Right, and no matter what, Search for Animal Chin on YouTube.

    Daniel: It’s so cheesy. You’re probably going to hate me or want to be like, oh, why did he suggest this? But it’s fun. It’s ridiculously fun.

    John: It’ll be super cool. The next time we talk, I hope you build a skate ramp in a bottle, something like that.

    Daniel: I’ve thought about it. I have thought about I need to put a ramp or, at the very least, a skateboard in a bottle just to say I did.

    John: Yeah, or a 2D skater doing whatever. Yeah, that would be awesome.

    Daniel: Right?

    John: Well, this has been so much fun, Daniel. I only feel it’s fair, since I rapid-fire questioned you right out of the gate, that I turn the tables and make this the first episode of the Daniel Siemens podcast, skater, dietitian. I don’t know. Thanks for having me on.

    Daniel: Well, I guess, rapid-fire-wise, since I didn’t know you skateboarded before, I’m going to say, what was your best trick?

    John: Oh, wow. So, this was in sixth and seventh grade. We lived in the Azores, overseas, on base. Probably, I don’t know. I wasn’t amazing at it. There were stairs. I feel like there were four stairs. I could jump that and then landed, which, at the time, that was pretty good. It wasn’t massive or anything like that, but it was pretty good.

    Daniel: yeah.

    John: I wasn’t flipping the board in the air or anything like that. I was just landing on the board. I mean, there were 200 times where I landed on the board and then it slipped out from under me and then I fell on my butt. You just keep going back.

    Daniel: Yep.

    John: Very much like having a career actually, now that I think about it.

    Daniel: There are so many parallels.

    John: There are so many, but that was probably my best trick. I don’t know.

    Daniel: No, that’s pretty darn good.Ollieing itself, it took me two years to learn how to ollie. I don’t know why I stuck to it that long, but I got it. Darn it, I got it.

    John: Yeah, because it’s super cool when you do it. That’s why.

    Daniel: It is. It is. Yeah, it’s fulfilling that way. It takes you that long. Then, I guess, since it took me that long, I’ve never really lost it.

    John: Nice.

    Daniel: At least not the ollie. There are other tricks I’ve lost. I’m still trying to get disasters back. I don’t know if you probably saw that video on Twitter, too.

    John: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

    Daniel: Showing myself on the ramp, trying to go up and do a 180 on it. and just falling over. I still can’t get it. I’m still just crashing into the ramp, over and over and over. I’m going to get it though. I’m going to get it.

    John: When you do, it’ll be with you forever. That’ll be cool, man. That’ll be cool. Totally awesome. Well, thank you so much, Daniel, for being a part of What’s Your “And”? and a part of the book and everything, and just being a good guy and a friend. Thank you, man, for being a part of this.

    Daniel: Yeah, thanks for having me, man. This is super fun.

    John: Everybody listening, if you want to see some pictures of Daniel in action or connect with him on social media so you can get the future videos, you can go to whatsyourand.com. Everything’s there. While you’re on the page, please click that big button, do the anonymous research survey about corporate culture, and don’t forget to check out my book.

    Thanks again for subscribing on iTunes or whatever app you use and for sharing this with your friends so they get the message that we’re all trying to spread, that who you are is so much more than what you do.


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