Travel and visitors have knocked me out of my traditional routines lately, and with the lack of normality I’ve decided to take a moment to reassess. Taking the time to honestly assess my habits, one of the things I realized I’ve been least happy with lately is my reliance on social media in the morning. Somewhere along the way, I started waking up, reaching for my phone, and spending the first few minutes of the morning browsing Twitter and catching up on the events of the last dozen hours or so. This has not been a habit I’ve enjoyed, and I recently read a short article by Austin Kleon on Joseph Campbell that made me pause.
On the latest episode of BDYST, Ben and I talked about mascots. Our ‘favorite’ mascots.
BEN: What’s your favorite mascot?
DREW: Hmmmmmmmmmmmm…it’s uh…this guy right here.
BEN: What’s his name? Like, Sparky?
DREW: Izzy the Atlanta 1996 Summer Olympics Mascot.
BEN: I hate him.
This week on Whims That Work, we talked about working from home. The conversation was prompted by the fact that my AC had been broken for two days, and working from home had begun to prove…problematic.
A 72-degree office is a wonderful thing. A 94-degree office is not.
A few days ago Shawn Blanc tweeted about setting up a ‘3-bucket system’ inside of Ulysses, and I thought it was such a great idea I decided to do it myself.
Now, he’s posted an even more detailed look at his Ulysses setup, and it’s worth taking a look at. As he says:
If you’ve been tracking with my progress of using Ulysses the past several months, you know that it has become the central library for where I store all my notes, research, and other tidbits of inspiration. It’s also the spot where I toss all my writing ideas, and it’s where I actually do all my writing. Having a place for everything, it turns out, is incredibly productive.
If you use Ulysses, this setup might be worth considering.
Spotted on my Twitter timeline today:
An excellent quote from the latest newsletter from Jens Lennartsson’s newsletter. On the subject of creating more, Lennartsson advises readers to never wait for the right equipment, and gives this personal anecdote:
I once waited and waited and waited to start a portrait project because I wanted to use a medium format camera and tungsten light (a kind of continuous light that mimics daylight). But I didn't have the money to buy it. So I waited some more.
Then one day, I realized I was never gonna be able to buy that equipment. Instead, I took my (very good) digital DSLR to shoot with and built a system in my shared studio space that made it possible to choose EXACTLY where the daylight (the real daylight) came in and lit the model.
The project got made, about 10 newspapers wrote about it and I sold and exhibition for quite some money. I never bought the medium format camera and tungsten light.
Art is about telling a story. Making people think. Just think about that last completely insanely good book you read. That gave you goose bumps. That was just ink on white paper. Small black signs that when you interpreted them in the right order made your mind go crazy.
Take whatever you have, and tell your story. Never wait because you can't afford something that a huge company told you that you MUST have. They are liars.
DREW: It’s got six missiles on the front and two Gatling guns on each side. That’s a good look for Batman right there.
BEN: I don’t know how much you know about DC comics but they’re fighting Darkside and Apocalypse and Steppenwolf, so it’s like otherworldly threats.
DREW: Uh huh.
BEN: So…you need all the guns.
DREW: You need to shoot them with guns because that works, right? If you shoot them with a bullet, they’re dead?
BEN: Yeah, absolutely. Aliens? Pff. Demons?
DREW: Got ‘em. That’s how Superman ended, was Superman shoots Zod in the head, and then he dies.
BEN: That’s not-
DREW: And then in Batman, Doomsday get shot in the head and then he dies, right?
BEN: That’s not…
Here’s a great article on the benefits of journaling. Though the author focuses in on the bullet journal method (which I’ve unused before and like quite a bit), what I really appreciate is the way she puts into words just why journaling can be so effective:
I went through a solid 6–8 months when I was most often convinced that my life was inches from disintegrating — and no, I don’t even know what that means, but I definitely felt it. I’m not going to claim that the bullet journal was the singular influence in assuaging those feelings — I think my therapist would take umbrage with such a claim — but it definitely helped. I feel less overwhelmed because I know what I need to be doing. I am more organized and more focused, so life feels less out-of-hand and I feel more in control. And because I’ve begun to experience a more productive, creative, organized me, I feel more confident. And I have a running list of all the things that I’ve accomplished in the last 6 months, so my worries about my inadequacy have less gravity to them. And because I feel more confident, more in control, and more organized, I’m happier. I have an easier time being in the moment, being present, which feels tremendous.”
Getting a handle on that which overwhelms is so critical, and falling into a system which works for you can feel like a lifesaver. If you’re feeling scatterbrained, give the bullet journal a try.
I like American Truck Simulator because it’s a dreamland version of the USA, one which looks a bit like the country does in movies but is quite separate from reality. This will soon change. Developers SCS Software have announced that ATS’s next update will soon close a section of its virtual Highway 1, reflecting the the real Californian landslide near Big Sur in May. If you want to haul cargo round that way in American Truck Simulator, you’ll need to take a detour. SCS say that the virtual road’s reopening “will depend entirely on real world events
Remember when video games were the way that you escaped from reality?
This week on Whims That Work, Joe and I went down the rabbit hole on the topic of ‘Input’. This StrengthsFinder characteristic of mine is the impetus for the way that I collect notes, archive articles, and scan pages of books.
Joe ended up asking me some interesting questions, essentially wondering just what I want to do with it all. I don't think anyone's asked me that before, making for a pretty fun conversation.
Someday, I'll get my utopia.
“I promise you that the discovery of your True Self will feel like a thousand pounds of weight have fallen from your back.”
‘Immortal Diamond’ by Richard Rohr
On the True Self:
You will no longer have to build, protect, or promote any idealized self image. Living in the True Self is quite simply a much happier existence, even though we never live there a full twenty-four hours a day. But you henceforth have it as a place to always go back to. You have finally discovered the alternative to your False Self. You are like Jacob awakening from sleep and joining the chorus of mystics in every age. “You were here all along, and never knew it!” he says (Genesis 28:16). He anoints the stone pillow where this happened and named it Bethel, or “the house of God and gate of heaven” (28:17-18). Jacob then carries the presence with him wherever he goes.
On the False Self:
The False Self world is sad and fragile. Yet the answer we seek is already inside each of us and largely resolved—not fashion but fact. Our True Self knows that there is no place to go or get to. We are already at home—free and filled. That is the essence of the good news. What else would be “good news for all the people,” which is what the angels promised the Bethlehem shepherds (Luke 2:10)? But it seems we would prefer a win-lose world, even if most lose. We are willing to think of ourself as a loser or failure than dare to allow the Great Allower to do a win-win for what is perhaps God’s only universe.
Over at Tools & Toys I went ahead and reviewed a kitchen product I’ve fallen in love with. A teapot!
As I say over there:
I’ve never found myself feeling too passionate about a piece of kitchen hardware. But then I started looking for a teapot. As I browsed through the options, I found the choices to be particularly wanting. Some of the most beautiful teapots were not particularly usable, and some of the most usable teapots were not particularly beautiful. I also, based simply on my personal preference, wanted something that wouldn’t annoyingly emit a shrill whistle when brought to a boil. When these are your requirements for a teapot, you begin to see your options are limited. With this in mind, I was both surprised and delighted to find the ceramic one quart teapot from Staub.
Seriously, it’s a very good teapot.
Have you ever made a decision because of the way it would make you look in the eyes of others? Perhaps a decision to purchase something, or not to purchase something? Perhaps you found yourself saying ‘yes’ to a project or ‘no’ to a desire, not because you wanted to make that choice, but because the decision just seemed like to fit you best?
If so, read on.
Over at Selah Living, Kristine repped some of the new jewelry from MA Designs.
As she says:
I was thrilled to get the chance to try on and model some of the new and beautiful pieces created by MA designs, and I think they speak for themselves. What I like most about their pieces is that they are true to Mama Africana’s brand — colorful and full of life! With their bright colors and variety of sizes, these pieces are fun, unique, and definitely make a statement.
Each purchase helps support Mama Africana’s cause of working with young black girls in the inner city of Tampa, Florida. What a great cause.
Over at Extratextuals, I explored a Pitchfork review of my favorite album, ‘Here, My Dear’.
It’s interesting, because I’m not sure if I ever really listened to any Marvin Gaye records. If I have, I can’t recall them. The reason that this album resonated with me was not because of the artist, but because of the story; and this is actually a theme: All of the albums that resonated with me as a younger person were concept albums which imbued the songs with deep meaning.
The Who’s ‘Tommy’. The Mars Volta’s ‘Deloused In the Comatorium’. Sufjan Stevens’ ‘Greetings from Michigan’ (and later, ‘Age of Adz’). Radiohead’s ‘Hail to the Thief’. Price’s ‘Lovesexy’! The list goes on and on.
Listening to these albums, I recognized that it was story that mattered to me more than anything else—and while many of the albums I just mentioned had concepts derived from fiction, the contents of ‘Here, My Dear’ are decidedly real.
The word ‘hustle’ is starting to become a bit meaningless, but I’ll listen to Casey Neistat talk about the subject any day of the week. This talk is good.
His parting words:
The thing about the hustle is that so few people are actually willing to do it. So few people are willing to put in what it takes, that every time you see somebody drop off or take the safe route or do something that is a huge compromise because it’s less risky, that’s just one less person that you’ll have to climb over on your way to the top. Never forget that.
This week on Whims That Work, Joe and I talked about Twitter: Namely focusing in on the idea of meaningful distraction as well as the negativity which often obfuscates the experience.
Earlier this year I took some time off of Twitter (and, really, the internet as a whole), and wrote some of my thoughts on how good that was for me…yet I’m back. Until now, I’ve never really felt like I had the correct space to share why.
Talking to Joe provided that space, and I’m very glad for the conversation.