Getting Outside of Myself

In feeling lost at times, I’ve tried to focus on giving. Getting outside myself. Being helpful.

Does “the answer” magically show up? Nah. But your efforts helped the world, and that counts. I spent nights questioning. Shaking my fist at the universe. Eh. The universe does not care. It continues existing, a massive void of indifference.

These tactics worked for me, so your results may vary. Life is short, and trying to “figure stuff out” just felt wasteful to me anymore. Yeah, I still get sad. Lonely. Of course. But I can’t stay there. I need connections and friends and I need to give, even when I don’t think I have anything left to give.

Broad Street Run Report

It was a tough week. The previous Sunday I ran 14 miles in the woods. On Tuesday did a few laps. Wednesday was November Project. I also wasn’t eating great. I had basically been traveling for a week and a half leading up to Sunday’s Broad Street Run in Philadelphia, and my routine was shot.

After about 40 minutes of standing around to start, I had to stop and use the bathroom within the first two miles, maybe it was a mile. I felt good after that, just trotting along enjoying the DJs and cheering crowds. At mile five, which is where you’re staring up at City Hall, I felt great. Too great, because I started running faster. The crowds were bigger, the music louder. Mile six was packed, kids on the sidewalks looking for high-fives, and I couldn’t resist. It was electric!

But by mile seven I was in trouble. I was out of gas.

I had to walk several times. My head was computing how many more miles? How long would each take? I broke mentally, really. I was so stoked and excited from the crowds that I just pushed beyond my abilities and got torn down. I really think my nutrition leading up to this was part of it. I just felt drained, and it happened so quick.

Ultimately I had fun. Anytime I felt down, someone shouted something funny, or I saw a great sign, and I was able to get running again.

My goal wasn’t speed (I finished at 1:48), but rather “I want to not hurt the next day,” and the next day I was pain free. I literally was in pain for a few days after November Project. But running 10 miles? Felt great the next day, so I’d say this run was a success.

And oh yeah, we raised over $700 for Students Run Philly Style. Some kids from the program remarked about my vest (which I wore to raise an additional $200 after the initial $500 goal), and one recognized me from social media. So really, yeah… this event was an absolutely success.

Next time, though? I gotta be more on top of my nutrition. I need smoothies, brown rice and veggies and salsa and beans. Lesson learned!

Me and Brompton Bicycles in NYC

Back in 2011 I bought a Brompton on a whim and set off a bike adventure called ‘Florida to Maine by Bike and Train’ (download the PDF book I made about the trip).

One of the best stories with that Brompton: I was traveling from Portland Maine to NYC in one day. Took the train from Portland ME to Boston, MA. That train stops at North Station (I think it’s called that), and the bus I needed to catch was at South Station.

Continue reading “Me and Brompton Bicycles in NYC”

Stay Stubborn

My friend took my phone and ran to the top of this hill to take this picture. He’s faster than me.

After this we did some trail running with the Chasing Trail crew. It was rocky and hilly, and I was one of the slower people among the group.

Went to my second November Project, too, down here in Philadelphia. Sit ups? I’m the worst. Squat jumps? Oh god, make it stop. Fast feet?! Seriously, kill me now.

Though I’m not the best at any of these things, I’m stubborn. I’ll keep going if the group is up ahead. I’ll run a little faster to keep up with a friend. I’ll do more sit-ups if you’re doing them, too.

It took me running every other day since 2016 (basically) to get here. In the grand scheme of things that’s just two years time.

Where could my fitness be if I keep this up another two years? Well, I guess I just have to keep being stubborn.

Work You’re Proud Of

I love this recent bit from Seth Godin, ‘Entrepreneurship is not a job.’

The work is to solve problems in a way that you’re proud of.

When I started Skull Toaster in 2011 I saw people were bored in between sets at shows, or standing in line, and rather than start some new metal blog that’s always begging for clicks, I put the THING right there on Twitter (@skulltoaster). The “pay off” was on Twitter. Skull Toaster “posts” were on Twitter, and replying was the “comments.”

The problem I’ve always wanted to solve is helping bands sell more music. Because when bands sell music, they have money, which then allows them to do things like eat and have health care.

I’ve been covertly getting the word out about bands with Skull Toaster since 2011, not with “SONG PREMIERES” or copy and pasting tour dates, but by asking a metal trivia question about a band (like this one for Vastum), and then sending a nightly email filled with words about that band, which sometimes leads to people discovering a new band, then possibly becoming a fan, and… buying their music.

And it actually works.

It ain’t a glamorous life, but it’s work I can be proud of.

WAITING

This video is nine years old and I still look it up on occasion. The visuals boil my eyeballs, and that little half-time “break down” at the end is so good.

Talked with a friend tonight about another ending to Ghost’s ‘Rats.’ He told me he’s never heard anyone get excited about an ending before. It’s the banging intro, the flashy solo, right?

For me, though, with some music, I love the slow build up. When you watch ‘The Big Lebowski’ you don’t skip to the good parts, right? Heck no. You sit. You wait. You take it all in.

Continue reading “WAITING”

You Can Totally Give Me Money

Image of Tweet used instead of embedding because someday Twitter will close and the above would disappear

This was hard, as not many folks put their Venmo / Cash app / PayPal link out there, but dammit they should (here’s mine: PayPalSquare Cash / Venmo).

If people want to think this is cheap, or “expecting a handout,” fuck them.

Life is short and times are tough. Sure, an artist should just “make paintings and sell them,” or a writer should just pitch more outlets and get paid that way.

But hey, maybe the artist doesn’t want to come out and say they can’t afford paint right now. Or the writer is left too exhausted after a 12 hour shift at a mind-numbing job that they have zero energy to even make a microwave pizza, let alone pitch an editor.

Don’t like when people “beg for money?” Great. Move along, mind your business, and stop talking shit.

Don’t like Patreon and Kickstarters? Great, you’re so edgy.

Instead of putting down everyone who explores various means of funding (and sometimes fucking surviving), shut your face and donate to a charity – or wait, is that somehow offensive as well?

The Stress of Journalism

The state of journalism is a wild one these days.

Back in my senior year of high school I was encouraged to go to school for journalism. My thinking then was I could live anywhere and always have a job, since every town has a newspaper! Even with knowing what I know now I still regret not going to school for journalism.

Photojournalist Ryan Kelly won a Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography for an image he made at The (Charlottesville, Virginia) Daily Progress on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017.

It was the day of a white supremacist rally. It was the day a man plowed his car into a group of counter-protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer. And it was Kelly’s last day in the newsroom.

Kelly left to run social media for a Richmond brewery and still works as a freelancer.

From ‘This photojournalist won a Pulitzer for an image he made on his last day in the newsroom

Kelly cites “the state of the industry, the stress and the schedule” a reasons for leaving. I mean, I can’t imagine going to bed at night without replaying the images of that day in Charlottesville.

More Latte Art

Before the internet, before social media, things that were important to us still got in front of us. New music still made its way to us because we went to the local record shop, listened to the local radio DJ, or went to a show and picked up fliers.

We didn’t need to “follow” magazines we liked because we subscribed to them, then they showed up in the mail once a month.

The same can be done today, but it’s going to be a bit painful.

See, everyone is sending out multiple updates per day. EVERYONE. When everyone is employing a certain type of marketing it becomes invisible because there’s so much of it. Now mix in news, turmoil, sports, and harassment! Weeee, how depressing!

Less is going to be more. We can no longer out-hustle everyone in the attention economy. Serious, what’s a coffee shop to do? Post more latte art? What’s a band supposed to do? Post 18 more times about their next show which is irrelevant to 98% of their audience?

If I have to throw a pebble at your bedroom window every time I do something new, reminding you that I exist, then I’m not doing my best to even give you a reason to visit my website.