Purpose

Week three of marathon training in the books, and today was my long run, a nice 10 miles on an unseasonably warm January day.

Lots of time to think on a 10 mile run, especially when alone (the friends I met up with were doing other routes and workouts). I somehow got thinking of why? The meaning of life, what’s the purpose? All these strands of DNA, this long abandoned railroad. What the heck are we doing here?

Then I remember that nothing needs to make sense. That everything doesn’t need to be figured out, or had apparent meaning. Just being in the woods with some good people is meaning enough.

Finally Bought a Monitor

After staring at a 13″ laptop screen since about 2003, I finally invested in a monitor; the $450 LG 27UK850-W 27″ 4K UHD IPS Monitor with HDR10 with USB Type-C Connectivity and FreeSync.

What the heck does any of that mean? Eh, I have no idea. The biggest feature is the USB Type-C Connectivity, which is kinda handy, as it’s one less single-purpose cable I needed to buy. Oh, and it charges the computer, which is nice.

The biggest feature? It looks enough like a retina screen, and at 27″ that’s pretty damn good. I admit I bought a cheap $250 big monitor from BestBuy before but the resolution was garbage, so it was just a bigger image, but with actually not that much real estate on the screen. I returned it.

With this new set up I can have two full size browser windows side by side, with room to spare. This has helped me be more efficient with my work, as I’m not cycling through tabs all the time. Time saving is a good thing.

Funny story: I went to the Apple Store ready to buy the LG UltraFine 4K 23.7″ Display, which is $700. See, I didn’t want to buy another monitor, set it up, plug it in, and then see that it’s garbage. I went to the Apple Store, played with the monitor they had on display, and was like, sure, let’s do this.

The person who helped me out asked me some standard questions, like what I’d be using it for, the work I do, and then basically said I should do some research online and find something that’s bigger and probably cheaper. Woah! And they were 1000% correct. I compared the resolution and other specs of the LG UltraFine to this one, and they seemed about the same. Sure, I bet side by side there’s some diference, but I spent a lot less and got a bigger screen (27″ vs 23.7″).

Free Williamsburg Closing Up Shop

Founded in the late 90s on Geocities, Free Williamsburg has been through a lot. The internet, and this whole “BLOG THING” held lots of promise, but it’s hard to compete when so many eyeballs are diverted to the slot-machine allure of social media.

 A good chunk of this happened before a little old thing called social media even existed. Before Instagram, you’d go to photo sites like The Cobrasnake or Last Night’s Party, or to countless blogs like ours, to see what the cool kids were up to. Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok just weren’t a thing. Today, they’re definitely a thing. And as FREE Williamsburg has turned fifteen… eighteen… twenty… we persisted (we’re stubborn) while the cultural currency that used to be defined by websites like this one shifted to social media and corporate-backed publications.

We Had a Good Run…

I wouldn’t say my music blog of the 2000s (Buzzgrinder) had a tenth of the pull and cool vibes that Free Williamsburg held, but we were sort of in the same zip code for awhile. Literally. I lived in Brooklyn from 2005-2010, and got to my share of shows in the area, and met up with people in Williamsburg because of my music blog thing.

A shame, too. Most all of content we talk about, link to, and share on social media is from a website. The interviews, the music videos, the big articles – they all sit on a .com somewhere, which you access via a URL.

The problem is sites like Free Williamsburg compete with a zillion other sites who are publishing 80 articles a day, and have cash on hand (or rather, funding…) to promote their posts.

Hard to cut through the noise when the noise of promoted posts and harrowing click bait articles rule the social-world, but Free Williamsburg had a spectacular run.

Streaming Problems

Sorry / not sorry for pulling a majority of recent content from my social media feed:

For the streaming apologists out there, when a music industry heavyweight like (Jimmy) Iovine says the problem with streaming is that they’re ALREADY PAYING TOO MUCH for music — maybe it’s time to admit there’s a fundamental and systemic problem with the model.

Sean Cannon

Music licensing fees ain’t gonna get cheaper, and exec salaries are just going to keep going up, so yeah… not sure how this premium buffet of all you can consume music for $10/mo is going to continue.

Re: my “sorry / not sorry” from above – my pal Sean posted that Tweet on the 7th, and it’s already lost in a sea of a jillion more tweets, pics, and videos. I’m bummed that so many thoughts and good ideas and great stuff gets lost in the ether, so posts like this are just one way I try to hold onto them.

Don’t Ever Give Up

https://www.instagram.com/p/B6_OFIhDiF8/

I met Ed Gieda back in the 90s when playing shows. He was up in Wilkes-Barre, I was in the Poconos. We played in bands (he was in Bedford, I was in The Unmarked Cars), so we ran into each other on occasion.

Fast forward a few decades. We reconnected via running. Ran into each other in Philadelphia here and there. It was sweet. I followed him on Instagram, and was always struck by his passion for movement and growth.

Then he stopped posting. I had no idea what happened.

A month or so later I ran into him at a coffee shop, and casually asked “what’s up?! Haven’t seen you on Instagram lately!”

On June 18th when my wife was taken from this physical plane, the devastation & annihilation of virtually everything I knew & loved reduced me to smoldering rubble. I was literally stripped. The language which I speak lacks words that can adequately convey the agony in which I suffered.

From Ed’s Instagram

He told me this and my heart sank. I mean, this isn’t about me of course, but all those years of shows, of randomly running into each other, and the sweetness and the carefree nature of it all just came to halt.

Everything stopped.

Ed’s back on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/ebgiii/), documenting his running adventures, processing the grief, sharing his story. I’m sharing here because maybe you’re not on Instagram, and would like to follow along.

https://twitter.com/ChuckWendig/status/1212410671238975488

I spend way too much time on Instagram, and I see people devote LOTS of time into IG Stories – content that disappears in 24 hours. Some of these stories are packed with useful information, and only if you happen upon it within those 24 hours will you even see it. Then it’s gone (yeah, I know these stories can be saved as Highlights, but still).

Instagram, Twitter, all of ’em – they won’t be around forever. And sure, “but no one reads blogs anymore.” No one reads your Instagram posts, either, unless you pay to promote them to your audience (that you built).

Put that shit on your own blog, your own site. When (not if) these social media sites shit the bed, you’ll still have a place for your audience to find you.

New Years Day Adventures

Getting up at 4am on New Years Day didn’t sound so bad. First up was a run with the Early Miles crew, a group that meets and hour before November Project every Wednesday. Ran four-ish miles with a nice fella. A little fast, but felt good.

Then a 30 minute workout with the November Project crew (below). Absolutely bonkers. Scissor kicks, crunches, pushups, jumping jacks – sets of 30, in between running up and down the Art Museum steps.

After that we got coffee at a nearby Starbucks (one of the few places open on New Years Day) before we headed to a special meetup with the Chasing Trails group (below), where we set off on a 6-ish mile jaunt through the woods. I felt good a mile or two into the run, but didn’t refuel or hydrate enough, and just ran out of gas. Slowed my pace, tried to keep my heart rate down, pet some puppers, and got it done.

It was super rad to be around such a great group of people on New Years Day, when everyone had the ultimate excuse to just stay in, tucked into their warm beds, and skip a workout (or two).

Eleven miles in total, all done by 10:30am, with a bunch of amazing people. A bit different than my first run of 2019, which was after going to sleep at 4am on New Years Eve!

Creating Sustainable Businesses

Alex Hillman recently shared some great business tips via Twitter:

Service businesses are 1000x easier to start than product businesses, but they’re much harder to grow. Almost all of the successful people I know started a service business, then raised rates to reclaim time, and invested that time in growing more durable revenue streams.

Alex Hillman

More Blogging in 2019

I wrote 73 posts here on this blog in 2019, which is 73 times I didn’t publish something on social media. The 73 posts are here for whenever you find them, on your own time. They don’t compete with “influencers” or “trolls,” this is my space, where it’s just all me, with zero distractions, or notifications.

Today it feels like we’ll never go back to the way it was, when people read blogs. But I think we will. I don’t think the ever quickening pace of media publishing and consumption is sustainable. Heck, I remember in 2009 publishing 20+ times a day at AOL Music, because that was 20+ times a day we got to post to social media.

“HEY LOOK! SOMETHING NEW!”

But now, a decade later, it’s not just one site publishing 20 times a day, it’s 3,000 people on social media posting 20 times an hour – opinions on movies and music and politics and lunch spots and workouts.

Everyone is a Kardasian now. Animals have their own social media accounts.

That’s why I think it can return to the slow and steady blog world, when we realize we don’t need to consume 1000s of bits of content every day to feel full. Open up our bookmarks, or type a URL into the address bar, read a few sites and then go read a book, knit a sweater, or maybe cook a good meal.