I thought to myself that I hadn’t written here in months and was struggling to figure out the purpose for it. Then I looked and realized it had been over a year. The 30 days of fiction writing was fun, and maybe worth considering a repeat of. But I also like the idea of this separate place to just put undigested ideas out to simmer. I used to do that with my real blog but that’s become a place where I feel I can only post longer form pieces that need longtime archive and easy search ability along with association to me. It used to be more venty but slid away from that. For better or worse I don’t feel like that’s the place to write about Twitter depressing me the election turning people into assholes. Or maybe I should be. And just keep this all made up stuff. It’s appealing to have a place where I can write a little more than Twitter to a much smaller audience though…
After 2 weeks in the jungle I’m feeling super overwhelemed by everything in my house and about to go on a crazy purge rampage. Throwing away/donating so much stuff, I wish there was an easy way to quickly offer this stuff to friends but so far all attempts at that have resulted in piles of things sitting around my house for months. I’m getting everything off desks & shelves, clearing out drawers, being ruthless. How many pairs of pants and black shirts do I need? Less than I have for sure. Do I need this box that __ came in? No. 20 pairs of socks. No way.
One thing I really need to resolve is paperstuffs. I have no viable filing option and that results in a lot of stacks of things around. I’m sure others have faced this and found solutions in the past so I need to research. And of course I’m leaving town again this week so I have a small window to axe things, which is nice. Forced deadline.
Testing out Desk. I have about 10 different text editors that I use for various things, not to mention another 10 websites that I have some browser based interface that I need to use to post things. I get frustrated wishing one had the features of another or worse two being almost identical and not knowing if there’s some reason I should be using one over the other. Back in the day I had a desktop blog editor that let me write for all my sites from one place and publish that way which was great but eventually they stopped being updated and stopped working. Someone pointed out Desk to me the other day which does that (hence this test post that I’m writing with it) as well as a number of other straight forward text editing features. Maybe the way to look at it is a very clean and distraction free writing platform / text editor that lets you publish out what you’ve written in a variety of ways including to a blog on the web. You can also export text to HTML, RTF, DOCX or PDF. I can say that writing with it right now it’s quite nice, very much like the interface on Medium where there is nothing beside your text visible until you need it. If this works out it might be a nice central place to compose text and then export it to a blog, to Scrivner or Quip.
Several things have crossed my mind recently. 1. I have old friends who I don’t keep up with because we’re not on the same social networks, or they aren’t on social networks at all. This didn’t use to be a problem for people to stay in touch thanks to this crazy ability to write letters to each other. 2. I’ve been enjoying messing around with my old typewriter. 3. Both 2015 and my 40th birthday are right around the corner.
All of these thoughts have come together and I think I’m going to try to orchestrate a penpal thing with a few people who commit to write letters in return. I think it will be fun.
I’ve been pretty bad about scheduling my days for most of my life. I get a lot of things done but I’m guilty of getting in the zone on one thing and before I realize it I’ve spent all day on it and while I’m happy with the results I’ve also discarded everything else I’d hoped to do during the day. I’m also easily distracted at times, so again I’m guilty of waking up and jumping into 20 different things and being happy with getting so much done only to realize that not a single thing that I did during the day was actually on my todo list – they were all things that just presented themselves. I’ve of course read all the GTD/GSD scripture so it’s not for lack of direction. Recently I hired an assistant to help with my scheduling, and what I mean specifically with that is my scheduling with other people. I realized how much time I was spending going back and forth trying to find a time that worked for this thing or that with someone, sometimes I swear we’d spend more time figuring out a good time to have a call then the time we’d spend on the call itself. This has been revolutionary for me. When something potential comes up I just CC Julia in an email and next thing I know it’s booked and in my calendar and all is well. She knows my preferences for timing and thinks of things I never consider when setting them up.
Results have been amazing. And I’ve been putting more specific items to do in my calendar and as I do I realize I actually get them done when I wanted to. But I also realized that in my rush to schedule somethings I’ve overlooked some other things. This hit me the other day and I couldn’t believe I’d been so silly. I was lamenting not having ridden my bike recently and knew I’d wanted to but just hadn’t found the time and then realized how stupid that was, that I should have just put it in my calendar. Haven’t had the time to get coffee with friends? I should block off time for coffee with friends in my calendar. Want to meditate for 15 minutes every day – easy, just put it in my calendar. I really can’t believe I’d seen how awesome it was to schedule all my work and not translated that to personally fulfilling things as well. Which I’ve just corrected, of course. And I’m excited to see how this week plays out.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the balance between creation and curation recently, or maybe the imbalance between the two. And how rewarding each are for different reasons. For better or worse I’ve spent a lot of my time and life in the curation category – finding cool things and pointing others to them. Be it bands, artists, news stories, whatever. I’ve also had my share of creation of course too – I put designing record covers in that category, and of course writing as well. Photography, music, art are firmly in creation. I’m much more confident about the curation – I know when something is awesome or interesting and I don’t second guess the urge or need to point other people to it. I love doing it – but in the end I’m still pointing to other people’s work and I’m only valuable tomorrow if I find more things to point at. I’m less comfortable with the creation but I find it infinitely more fulfilling. From now for the rest of time I made that, and I can look back on it and people can discover it years later and it still came from me. It’s just as awesome, maybe more so, today when I see someone wearing a t-shirt with a band logo I drew or quoting something I wrote many years ago. These things have a life of their own.
Making music and art now is similarly exciting and I’m looking forward to where that ends up. But it keeps making me think about opportunities I passed up that I didn’t even recognize as opportunities at the time. I was lucky to find punk rock in the mid-80’s and those influences changed my life. I felt like I contributed to the scene by putting out records and booking tours, but looking back now I shouldn’t have passed on the many chances I had to actually be in bands and create things that might have lasted. I don’t feel like I missed out so much as I didn’t get all I could out of it. I love the experiences I had, but I can’t help but recognize that there could have been more. I try to keep this in mind going forward with new ideas.
I have books that I wrote 10 years ago and never published, it feels too late now but I know I shouldn’t have talked myself out of it then. When it’s mine, I want things to be great and perfect. And I’m good at convincing myself that things need more work to be great, work that never gets finished. Real artists ship right? I need to ship more often.
I think a lot about the world right now and my place in it. I still do a lot of curation. I find things and point people to them. A lot of things I’m reading or things that sparked my interest. In turn, people point to me as a filter. But I don’t know that I really want to be a filter. I mean, I am so there’s that, but that’s not my aspiration, and at the end of the day thinking about and saying “Man, I linked to some great stuff today, so proud of that!” isn’t really something that happens. Ever.
And on top of that, the world is fucking depressing right now. The news is all bad all the time. And I think that’s influencing my mood in ways I don’t like. I wake up next to my beautiful wife to the sounds of our amazing kid causing some awesome chaos somewhere in our great house filled with wonderfully handpicked stuff and I smile. And then I see the news and I think we’re fucked. And then I pass that on to everyone else. I don’t want to ruin people’s days anymore.
I don’t know where I’m getting with this line of thought, just that I’m thinking. And I want to make more things. I want to make more music. I want to write more. I want to create more. So that’s what I’m going to do. Said. Done. Stay tuned.
I dreamt about arguing. Annoying arguing where you can’t believe the other person is saying such stupid shit that you are forced to reprimand them in the course of making your point. In response to my dream opponent saying “Well my research indicates..” I actually cut him off and said “No your research doesn’t indicated that, you are just repeating a line you heard someone else say without fact checking it at all because if you were doing any research on this you’d know that’s bullshit.” And then I woke up, heart beating faster than it should be first thing in the morning without someone else’s assistance.
I haven’t even had any of these arguments in years, I think it’s because I started rearranging the living room last night and went to sleep without finishing it.
I seriously miss Google Reader. For years it was an indispensable part of my day and the primary source of news and info for me. Since Google killed it I’ve tried several options with none really sticking. Reeder is the closest thing, and I forget to look at that all the time. I just can’t get in the habit of using anything else and feel like I’m missing out on my friends posts. It feels lonely. When I could trust RSS to let me know anytime a friend (even one I hadn’t been in touch with in years) updated their site I felt connected. Even in the early days of twitter when I only followed close friends I could trust that they’d post things there and I wouldn’t miss anything. But twitter has become something else and I can’t be anymore sure that I see all the posts from people I follow than I can be sure that anyone sees mine, and I know several people who follow me that often tell me they didn’t know about something I’d tweeted about repeatedly so my reliance on that is low and getting lower by the minute.
As a dude who is never terribly comfortable in social settings – initially irc, then blogs, then twitter really gave me a strong community that I felt connected to for the first time in my life. I miss those people – even the ones I talk to or see regularly – and I’m not even sure how to regain that. It seems like the decade from 98-2008 (at least in my mind) was exploding with online conversations and interactions with people. I could trust that any given day I’d be having several thought provoking conversations across many different sites. Now it’s all gifs and links and one liners – which are great, but I miss the other stuff. And I know I’m just as much to blame as anyone else but I just wanted to get that out there.
For various reasons I’ve been messing around with various meditation techniques off and on for the last year with more off than on, and to varied success. Motivations for this are kind of all over the place and may or may not be with any merit – reducing stress, clearing my head, helping to focus, martial arts, interactions with others, rewiring my brain, helping write, the list kind of goes on. Not unsurprising to me the biggest struggle ha been just keeping the habit going – not even getting to the issue if I’m even doing it right or not – I pull off small runs, a few days in a row and then miss a day and then before I realize it a week or month has passed. I’ve been using the Calm iPhone app primarily, both the guided tracks as well as just the timed ones during which I’ve tried my own methods of clearing my head including transendential inspired mantras though admittedly repeating some gibberish in my head has worked better than a concrete statement.
I feel like I like the results though I’d be hard pressed to express exactly what those are, and like I said I’m still not even convinced I’m doing it right. I heard an interview with Sam Harris the other day where he was talking about meditation and specifically a breakthrough he had after about a year of meditating every day wherein he realized he hadn’t been meditating at all. So who knows if I’m on the right track or not.
The conference location is about a 30 minute walk from the hotel and it’s a simple train ride there yet I can’t seem to fathom going that distance any other way than by foot while in Japan. We took a taxi yesterday because the conference folks set it up and we didn’t know the final location, but once we got there the overwhelming sentiment was – that’s all? Why did we drive? The weather is perfect for the walk too. In LA 9 times out of 10 I’d drive that distance. The weather wouldn’t allow the walk to be comfortable and the scenery wouldn’t be interesting enough to justify it. In Tokyo I might opt for the train because I really love the trains there, but I’d still probably walk the 80% of the time. It’s one train stop from my hotel to my office there and I walk that every day without thought.
In the continuing discussion of where to escape to, being able and interested in walking this kind of a distance is paramount for me.