Burn Out In Others

Philadelphia, PA

Ever think about an article you read, then had no idea how to find it again?

I found this great piece, “what great inconvenience,” from the Faculty email newsletter (which I can’t link to, because it doesn’t have a web link).

In the piece Anne Helen Petersen speaks about burn out, fair wages, the hustle economy, and lots of other fantastic bits. Go read it.

The biggest point for me was this: “think deeply and consistently about how your own actions, and standards, and practices create burnout in others,” which is credited to Jonathan Malesic.

On a recent road trip I stopped for gas and got a coffee at the attached Dunkin’ Donuts. Cream, no sugar. I tasted it before I walked away, and sure enough it had cream and sugar.

I’ve seen people go off over something like this. As if it’s a personal affront, an attack on their dignity to subjected to such treatment. I’ve seen a person throw an entire cup of coffee out in the trash on their way out the door over this.

Or… just kindly state the problem, and ask for a new cup. That’s what I did, and shockingly it wasn’t very hard.

Health Goals

via Twitter

Since “No Junk June,” health goals have been my focus.

The world is a better place when we’re whole, and feeling good. Sometimes we need to divert our energy from things we think we need to attain, like the above career or relationship goals, and turn them inward.

Because once we nail the health and lifestyle stuff, perhaps the career and relationship goals will come into focus.

Not For Me

The music at my local gym? It’s just not for me. And that’s totally okay.

The music I do enjoy? Well, they couldn’t play that at a busy Tuesday evening.

That gets me thinking of how I only need to “endure” that music for an hour or so. Even then, I can listen to my own music if I want. Sometimes I’ll leave my headphones in my locker, just to test my mental fortitude.

“Not for me” is a good place to be, a good reference point. Because then you can mentally prepare yourself for the momentary discomfort, who do what you need to avoid if all together.

Tiny Changes

Sunday night. “Back to work,” my friend said a bit ago, after an afternoon of birthday cake and football.

I recently finished “Let Your Mind Run: A Memoir of Thinking My Way to Victory,” by Deena Kastor. So many times, through the dark times in life beyond, she just paid attention. Look at the trees, the people around you, the stuff on your desk, or the houses you drive past on your commute home.

By themselves, eh, what’s it matter? But I feel like the less we pay attention to the little stuff, the tiny cues, the harder it is to handle the bigger things. Small changes today lead to big things down the road. Get a bit off course, and five years from now where are we? And exactly what “course” we’re even talking about, well, that’s up to you.

Tomorrow is Monday, and we all have our morning routines, well worn into our early week schedules, made up of tiny thoughts and habits. But this week, let’s notice them. Feel everything that Monday morning gives us, and then maybe make some tiny adjustments.

Day to Dayness

Had an interesting talk today at a birthday party about starting podcasts, writing on the web, and consistency. About expectations as “creators,” more or less.

The one person was eager to start, to produce, and asking all sorts of questions about platforms and strategies, and then there were two of us who were – frankly – burnt out on it.

Having both come from musical backgrounds, and then being in the music media world, it’s a grind. It can be hard to get excited about new albums sometimes when you surrounded by… new albums all the time, especially when your “side hustle” requires you to be stoked about… new albums all the time.

Thankfully in the past year my passion has become my main gig, and I am beyond thankful and grateful for that. But then adding a side gig in the same field became too much, which is why I shuttered Skull Toaster.

There’s only so much energy one can expend on the day to dayness of MUSIC, which I why I think I’ve neglected playing music of my own the past several years (or, well, decade or so).

Maybe it’s not because I know how the sausage is made, but because every day I’m eating sausage, and I don’t want anymore after a long day of work.

Enter, then, my running. It’s something I started back in 2016, and has become a gigantic part of my life. I listen to some running podcasts, and follow some running accounts on Instagram and such, but I… don’t want to start a running podcast, or a blog, or a brand.

Perhaps it’s okay in 2019 to just do things, and let them be your things. Not everything needs to be a side hustle, or turned into content. It can just be, and that’s good enough on its own.

Turning 43

Oh yeah, I just turned 43 yesterday. My biggest achievement? I’ve run almost 2000 miles since I started running in 2016.

Sure, I’m doing much better financially and such, but shit, I ran a half-marathon in the past year. And a few 10 mile races!

Thinking along the lines of why I’m not consistent with producing content these days, I seriously think I’ve turned that “producing content” thing into “working on me.”

I’m the content, I guess?

Because at the end of the day, the money, the car, the work… that’ll all come and go, but this body is the only one I’ve got.


Since ending Skull Toaster back in October, I’ve struggled to “producing” since.

I’ve tried making and recording music, kicking around Abelton Live. I made 40+ little diddies, but then fell off.

I was doing a video series called LATER on YouTube / podcast, but eh.

I got an Apple Pen and started posting drawings, but sort of fell off with that, too.

Then I listneed to one of my fave running podcasts, The Morning Shakeout. Today’s episode was with Nicholas Thompson, editor-in-chief of Wired magazine, and pretty quick runner.

He mentioned a small bit about being a musician, and how he’s sort of slacked on in that world because running has taken up so much of his time and energy.

And boom, there it is. I mean, I’m only running around 20 miles a week, but a lot of time and energy revolves around that effort. Time at the gym, sleeping, some weights, stretching, re-fueling…

I don’t know – since 2001 I was always producing, putting out content. Publishing interviews, reviews, videos. With Skull Toaster I was always making videos and images and questions.

After 18 years, I don’t know, maybe I’m content with not producing something all the time.

The Here and Now

Earlier this week I got a little frazzled. Some work stuff, some personal stuff, some time management stuff, the usual.

I was getting another cup of coffee downstairs, ready to bound back to my computer and tackle everything, as usual.

But I stopped. And opened up the Headspace app.

I’ve been using that app for months now, to fall asleep. I’ve done a few of the basic meditation sessions. I’ve done them enough to like, “get it.” In a very rookie sort of sense.

I get it in the sense that when I’m tense, or anxious, or worried, there is no tiger leaping at my face. There are no men in suits at the door to take me away. I’m not in trouble, or in any danger.

Meditation has taught me that feelings and emotions aren’t me. I can feel them, but they’re not who I am at the moment. In the present moment I am me, and that’s it. Nothing else.

I’m no meditation expert by any stretch, and I hate that I need to remind anyone about that, but I know a little bit more today than I did six months ago.

Being Broke Sucks

A friend recently took a considerable paycut. Scary in itself, but many times scarier when you’ve got multiple mouths to feed, a mortgage, and car payments. It sucks.

And this friend is a dude pal of mine. Dudes, who are conditioned for years to be the “breadwinners,” the “head of households.” The “provider.” These are 50s era hold-overs, right? From a time when a single paycheck could provide a good life and college was $400.

This friend has taken a hit both in the wallet, and mentally. We’ve been talking quite a bit, but finally got to the source. It’s the money part. It’s making less, not providing “enough,” or as before.

I know this goes for both sexes (especially with women making less than men right out of the gate), but trying our best to not tie our self worth to our bank accounts is god damn hard work.

Without money in the bank, without “spending money,” it’s harder to meet up with friends for dinner, travel for weddings, and about a million other social things.

I know, because I’ve been piss broke the last few years. When the subject came up of that cool new show on Netflix, which at the time cost just $8/mo, I changed the subject; “oh, I just don’t watch a lot of TV” I’d say, which was a way for me to avoid, “oh, I can’t afford that.”

Money can’t buy happiness, sure. There’s a lot of miserable rich people out there. But money buys you choices, and affords you dignity, which is damn near priceless.