Good Writing (Sometimes) Wins

I love this quote from Seth Godin:

Good writing is cheaper than special effects. In movies, that’s obvious. It costs far less to make The Big Lebowski than a Marvel movie. But the metaphor applies to just about any sort of creative project.

In my line of work it’s about writing a good song, which is a lot easier said than done. And even then, no matter how good, it probably won’t have first-week numbers like ‘Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water.’

You can also have the best team, the best marketing, the best “special effects,” and it may not matter one bit.

Carlisle’s Horrific History with Native Americans

I got talking about Carlisle, PA with a friend recently. We read about the city on Wikipedia (here) and learned of this boarding school called the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, “an experiment in educating Native Americans and teaching them to reject tribal culture and to adapt to white society.” Horrific.

I’ve lived in PA most of my life and never heard of this place. This atrocity.

“Carlisle became the model for 26 off-reservation Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding schools in 15 states and territories. Some private boarding schools were sponsored by religious denominations.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlisle_Indian_Industrial_School

Oh, religious denominations, falling right in line with American imperialism!

And this from the “Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to the Secretary of the Interior for the fiscal year ending 1882“:

All our students attend Sabbath-school, the girls in our own chapel, the boys at the different churches in Carlisle. Sabbath afternoon services havo been conducted by Rev. Dr. Lijpincott, of Dickinson College, to whom I am greatly indebted for faith­ful and zealous services as chaplain. These influences have produced gratifying re­sults.

I mean, how does the church justify this? How do they remedy this? They played a part in the genocide of a people.

Home Economics class, 1901 Source

These are children from just 120 years ago. Sickening.

Loki and The Matrix

I love any story that involves a “what’s really behind the curtain” element. That’s probably why I love The Matrix (1998) so much, and can watch that first movie over and over again. There’s ‘The Adjustment Bureau’ from 2011, too.

Not sure why I decided to give Loki a chance, being as all those “comic book movies” don’t really do much for me. I didn’t grow up on those stories, or the comics. Sure, the ‘Batman’ from 1989 will always be a movie I love, but mostly because I was in middle school at the time, and everyone had that Batman logo shirt.

Getting into this Loki TV series was pretty easy, though. It jumps right into the mystery and intrigue real quick, and it does it mostly without the huge pomp and flash of those comic book movies.

And honestly, Tom Hiddleston is a delight. I love every bit of him this – the dialogue, the wit, the charm, his dashing good looks, his… journey.

For me two parts reminded me of The Matrix.

When Mobius tells Loki, “you could be whoever, whatever you wanna be, even someone good. I mean, just in case anyone ever told you different.”

Remember Neo riding in the car in the matrix for the first time, going to see The Oracle?

NEO: I have all these memories. None of them happened. What does that mean?
TRINITY: The Matrix cannot tell you who you are.

In The Matrix, the machines made up fake memories and lives. The TVA snatched people from the timeline and erased their memories.

Then I felt Neo’s lone meeting with The Architect was similar, too. He Who Remains said he paved the way for Loki and Sylvie, and The Architect said that the remainder was not unexpected, so there was a measure of control. Both were planned, expected. It was fate that led to these meetings.

Neo had to make a choice; return to the source and the salvation of Zion, or go back to the Matrix and the extinction of the human race.

In Loki, there was a final choice, too: go back and lead the TVA, or kill He Who Remains and await the “total destruction of… well, everything.”

I have no idea where The Loki story goes, and of course we know that Neo could have saved everyone a lot of turmoil if he just took the door to the right.

The problem is choice.

  • Loki could have stopped Sylvie, given his powers and strength, but he didn’t.
  • Neo coulda have returned to the source, but he didn’t.
  • Sylvie could have “listened to reason,” but like Neo, she was on a mission. She was in love with revenge, the story. She needed this ending, this finality, this completion to the quest that she’s been on for 1000s (?) of years.
  • Neo had to save Trinity because he loved her.

I’m fascinated by the Simulation hypothesis, which of course would mean that everything is made up, just like The Matrix, or everything is controlled by something like The TVA. In that, that means I can wake up as Tyler Durden tomorrow if I want, or someone with the confidence of Loki.

If we’re all making this up as we go along, why not?

Five Years Running

“I just wanna be in good enough shape to go on last minute adventures,” is how my buddy Jesse (above) puts it. He said this on Monday, on the observed 4th of July, and said a few years back during the 24 hour Loopy Looper in NJ, when I ran a few laps with him on a hot summer day.

A few days later is was stupid hot, but I’ve been deciding lately that instead of simmering and sulking in the heat, I’m gonna rush head first into it. In the 90s and humid? Fine. I’m gonna go out, take my time, sweat my ass off, and find a way to enjoy it. Slow and low. Lots of liquids. Walk when I gotta.

To wrap up this work week, I closed my laptop and set off for a loop I never did before. Still hot, still slow, but it was a solid 6+ mile run, and a nice way to finish off a shortened week of work, which is actually five days of work crammed into four.

It’s been five years of running. Just over 1,000 runs, almost 4,100 miles. Haven’t run a marathon yet, but I ran 18 miles in one shot. Ran a sub eight minute mile once, and came in second in a local 5K. Had a lot of fun adventures with good people, ran in a few different cities.

I turned 45 this year, and I’m feeling pretty fucking good.

The Heat Is On

Wrote a bit about running in the heat, over at The Soft Run:

We’re human, and we’re squishy (sometimes soggy). We’re made of red blood cells, not slabs of steel that arrange nicely on a blue-print.

Check it out here.

Not All Runs Will Be Blissful

New piece for The Soft Run:

A good run is like a good day; it’s not pure bliss, but a bunch of good moments all added together.

Check out the full piece here.

As much as I want a run to wash away all my problems, and be this big glowing orb of joy in a world filled with grimness, it’s just usually not the case. Not the entire run, of course. There’s usually a mile, or a section, or a hill, or a stretch, where the run feels great, effortless, and without bounds.

It comes, it goes.

I’ve had one run that I can remember, a small local 5K, where it all came together. Came in second overall. It was nuts. But that one run is a needle in a haystack of 1000s of runs since 2016.

And the wild part is this – it’s still worth it. I moved from third to second in like, that last 500′ or so. It was wild.

It took a whole lot of ugly, bad, gross runs to get there. I guess I’ll keep going.

BLE​-​EP_Meat Beat Manifesto_Bo Bots

Random Bandcamp discovery while searching for some beats to zone out to while working. Dirty drum loop, shaky percussion, and lots of random samples that sing together like a choir. Love this.

Yeah, Whoop Changed My Life

From my recent newsletter:

“The runs got so soft in the past few months that they stopped. They all felt hard. I ran all winter, but every effort started to feel like I’d taken the last three months off.”

Turned out I wasn’t sleeping great. After I got my Whoop band in April, I was sort of shocked at my sleep scores. Like, hmmm… maybe it’s wrong. But then I tried a sleep mask, and seriously, my sleep has been fantastic ever since (see how dramatic the change was here).

I’m paying more attention to the timing of my runs or bike rides, as they relate to dinner, as it relates to bed time; the shower, doing dishes, winding down.

SLEEP.

If we don’t recover, we don’t build. We don’t get stronger, wiser, smarter. Our brains need the rest, our muscles need to rebuild.

I mean, maybe the Whoop changed my life.

I was demoralized, bummed… the thing I enjoy so much (running) was now dragging me down back in April. Now here we are, early June, and I just had my first 20 mile week since mid March!

I tried out Whoop from a friend’s recommendation on Twitter. It was a free month, with a six month commitment (at $30/mo). If you want to try it out, use my referral code: https://join.whoop.com/#/B37605

You can also sign up for my Substack newsletter, The Soft Run, here.

Any questions – get in touch!

Too Soon

Everything just feels rushed right now. It’s not the opening of “everything” that scares me, but the whole “get back to normal.”

A client mentioned that it’d be great to get a week or so ahead of schedule, and I agree! But… there’s this haze of 27,000 people that died from COVID in PA alone. The haze of loved ones choosing not to get vaccinated. The fog of the insurrection that’s just been swept under the rug. The strain of mass shootings, police brutality, and the multiple laws being passed in the name of “election security.”

Like, it took us a minute to recover from 9/11. But all of the above? Take an hour to grieve, ponder, reflect – we got a Zoom call presentation to deliver tomorrow!

The mass death, the ambient doom, the ever present MEHHHH… but hey, let’s talk about getting back to the office, right? Raise the minimum wage? Nah, but hey, why should my latte take more than five minutes to make!