Had a super inspiring chat with one of my best buds the other night. I walked around one of the smaller parks by our house picking up sticks to use for kindling being floored by how smart and strong he is.
He’s going through a lot right now to say the least. We all have stuff and it’s all relative, but on paper, he probably wins. His challenges are hitting the tuff spots like family and work — all while, like all of us, trying to stay healthy during a global pandemic, and mentally healthy during infinity political stress.
His “hack”, his “11 ways to…,” his method that admittedly mostly works for staying up through all this: “You gotta do stuff you love.”
He listens to his heart, trusts what he loves to do, and knows he needs to do it to feel better. For him, that’s making art and collaborating on art with friends.
As someone who admittedly over thinks this stuff 🙋🏻♂️ — I’m amazed at how straight up and honest he is about what he’s going through, and how he uses the same inflection when talking about his simple solution.
It isn’t easy. The proof is in the dozens of other convos we have with folks in our life where we hear about all the hard stuff happening (legit) — but less-so ideas for feeling better.
He deserves full props for a convo that went something like:
Are y’all good?
Word glad to hear, here’s some hard stuff I’m going through.
It’s ok though, this is what I’m doing to feel better.
It’s up and down, but I know I gotta do what I love.
I always intend to do what I love but I’m hella prone to overthinking it or even forgetting (“Oh yeah, biking!”) — so I hope he knows how helpful this was for me. If it seems obvious maybe you’re already on the right track. I’m sure the people in your life appreciate it.
My friend has all the reasons to complain and give in. There’s plenty of wack shit to go around for all of us right now. It’s usually right there in our pocket just waiting 😈
I hope his straightforward approach inspires you too.
I love writing stuff down and sharing it, so here’s me doing what I love to feel better. I know that’s important because doing your fav stuff is doing you (shoutout, Apache), and doing you is always doing for the CREW🧡💙
My brother’s been asking me to watch the new Beasties doc on AppleTV just about every time we talk. So grateful he stayed on me to watch it – it’s ridiculously good and worth it even if I forget to cancel my AppleTV free trial. Thanks bro!
We’re both super fans and loved the book. This doc – that’s more of a live stage show – goes a bit deeper in terms of who they became during Licensed to Ill and how off that was from who they wanted to be.
The super jams from that record were created as complete jokes, but became real to the fans and later the Beasties.
Ad-Rock and Mike D talked about disowning this material and having to work from scratch, playing smaller shows to build their following into folks they were actually proud to rep for, leading them to eventually even bigger shows than their early 80’s tour and MTV takeover.
Mike D goes off-script at one point to give props to Ad-Rock for his response to an interviewer later in life, way post Girls and Fight for Your Right…
I’d rather be a hypocrite than the same person forever.
Might not be Ad-Rock status but I’ve been here. I am here. I know we probably all are to some extent. I’ve written wack, homophobic, misogynistic rhymes and have old freestyle tapes I can hardly listen to. I’ve completely dissed myself/those around me moving with blinders, and lacking intention.
Luckily forever-change is the only constant and we can start and restart living with our true hype integrity every second. We can surprise folks by being different. We’re never stuck with a viewpoint. It’s always ok and actually super brave to come with a new perspective.
Yesterday I felt a legitimate release. A feeling of being done waiting on fully doing me.
This was brought on by a lot of things coming to a head. The biggest being my wife stuck in the ruckus room with COVID.
We’re here, laying low, and monitoring her health which is currently not fun, but stable-ish — no cause for a hospital trip.
Shit just got wayyyy more real at our new spot (circa 1.5 months for us). Everything that had seemed important like scoring a rad table on CL or new cassette shelves— all dope things we knew are still material — totally disappeared.
She’s being so strong and positive — such a testament to who she is. Somehow still cracking jokes and asking how folks are.
Huge thanks to everyone reaching out with support. I hope y’all know how much it means.
I also just left one of my jobs, not realizing it was going to feel like this and coincide with all that’s happening. Never seen so many clear signs to rep.
COVID in our house, news of DOOM’s passing, hearing tribute mixes like the brilliant Stretch & Bobbito mix I listened too while staring at a fire for 2 hours, and (though I hate to admit it) the Captiol terrorist tear-down…
Its a lot. And I’m down to be feeling all of it. Here for her and here listening to my heart, paying attention to what life is teaching, and most importantly, acting on it.
Just talked to Bangs about starting a website. Fuck I love when friends get hyped about doing creative stuff. SO DOWN. Helping him see if he can record voice snippets and add them to his posts. CREWLOVE
Just talked to Bangs
about starting a website. Fuck I love when friends get hyped about doing creative stuff. SO DOWN. Helping him see if he can record voice snippets and add them to his posts. CREWLOVE
My list of books I read in 2020 (mostly in order) and learned about from friends, fam, heroes, podcasts, the library, and some that just kind of showed up in my path.
I’d love to learn about anything you think belongs here. Send me an email to let me know!
seeing is forgetting the name of the thing one sees – Lawrence Weshler
30+ years of conversation with artist Robert Irwin. This book has been a total life-changer for me. How he looks at art, the questions he hopes to answer with his art, and his unapologetic use of styles and willingness to completely change gears are all so dang inspiring! I’m already applying it to the work I do.
My friend Barzan aka Billy Frey told me he thought of me while reading this and recommended it. After reading I’m even more humbled and so grateful he shared it! Here’s a post I wrote about how dope HE is a while back… <3
The Water Dancer – Ta-Nehisi Coates
Such a trip and like a lot of my books this year, I know you don’t need to hear it from me as you probably already get it. The type of book that builds on itself so beautifully. I learned the most about life as a slave in this time period I ever have, especially when compared to any schooling, college included.
White Fragility – Robin DiAngelo
My wife had been asking me to read this for a bit as she’s doing a lot of DEI work in the community and at her organization. Another one I hope becomes required reading. Happy to see it in the zeitgeist and hope it stays there. We sent it to my Mom and she read it and sent it back with notes. Pretty cool that talking about white fragility is getting a bit more normalized – long way to go but, hope.
Usurper 6 – Sweesh
My dudes 6th trippy, funny, and forever coded art book. Mad inspo from one of my main art buddies.
No Mud, No Lotus – Thich Nhat Hanh
Thich being Thich and re-articulating one of his favorite metaphors, we can’t have the lotus without the mud. A community college addiction prof recommended this one while we were working on a partnership for one of the films I help distribute. I went for one of my fav moves: book gets recommended, order it, put it on hold, or go buy it locally – thank them and report back next time y’all speak. Feels like that’s a great way to ‘pay attention.’
Theft by Finding – David Sedaris
Fucking thank you. I think this may have been an Austin Kleon rec from his book Keep Going. I’m totally hooked. So refreshing to read his fun and even his tragic tales of “regular” life. Lets us know there’s so much more to every moment and reminds me of my friend Alex (ABT!), who could go to the grocery store and come back with epic stories.
The Word Pretty – Elisa Gabbert
I think I found this on an Austin Kleon list too and it turns out I love literary nonfiction (yeah I said it!) – at least when written by Elisa. Such a fun read digging into how we interpret what we read and how the style things are written and read affects what we gain from the text. A type of book I never knew existed but felt like it was written just for me. Abso love.
The Best Way to Catch a Snake – Karma Yeshe Rabgye
A self-published and pretty widely distributed Buddhist text by the writer and host of the Buddhism Guide podcast. I like his frankness with Buddhism. Not a lot of handholding. A very direct look at this stuff, and a great accompaniment to the more Thich Naht Han and Pema Chodron-style stuff I usually read.
We Are Not Here to Be Bystanders – Linda Sarsour
I love Linda and think she’s the god damn coolest since seeing her on Democracy NOW! as a part of a panel about the 2016 election. This is a really inspiring read. She goes into detail about the drama she faces for being who she is – a Palestinian Muslim America – and the challenges that brings up even in the activist community.
The Autobiography of Malcolm X – Alex Haley and Malcolm X
I was inspired by my co-worker who mentioned buying a used copy online and did the same. Totally loved this and highly recommend it, as if you need to hear that from me. Wish this was required reading growing up or even in college but that’s kinda the catch 22 of the whole system. We need to learn this stuff on our own. The final bit from Alex Haley is so remarkable too I’m glad my copy included that. It was almost a deeper look into who Malcolm X really was, from a trusted source.
I followed this up with the series on Netflix after hearing the soundtrack was produced by Prince Paul. It’s incredible to think about where Malcolm X was heading and what a leader he IS + could have been today.
Dune – Frank Herbert
Needed to go somewhere else. Life feeling heavy. This was def the right route to take, and dig all the mindfulness involved here. Thank you Joe for lending me your copy that I returned dismantled in a rubber band (and for being OK with that). And thanks to Sweesh for recommending Jodorowsky’s Dune, which inspired me to finally read this.
Well, That Escalated Quickly: Memoirs and Mistakes of an Accidental Activist – Franchesca Ramsey
Thanks to my friend Heidi (Swiss Web Miss!) for the rec here. I LOVED this. Franchesca does such a great job of making conversations about white supremacy relatable. She gives really specific examples that we all probably see and writes about what we can do right now. Super highly recommend this even though it’s a few years old, especially for folks who do any sort of online creative work as a big part of the book is about her unexpected YouTube success.
Uncanny Valley – Anna Wiener
So f’n good, thanks to Patrick Rhone for recommending this. I had to put it down a few times when work was getting too work (hella stressful) and resembling some of the stuff she was going through in this book (not the best winddown). Overall really loved this personal tale of being a woman in tech and a person in a world more/less controlled by it.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Gather Together in My Name, Singin’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas – Maya Angelou
An epic and unbelievable life story told magically. I read the first 3 books in Maya’s autobiography this year. Highly recommend and really cheap to pick up a used paperback. Can’t wait to read the rest.
The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate – N. K. Jemisin
The first 2 books in the Broken Earth trilogy. Thank you N.K. for taking me away from it all and bringing me back more creative and prepared. Really my first dive into sci-fi and I’m hooked, least on her stuff. So refreshing to get away and heavy vibes to come back with. Thanks again to my friend Amber for sharing How Long ’til Black Future Month? with me last year.
Calypso – David Sedaris
My only audiobook this year. A great collection of stories about travel, animals, and just regular life. Sedaris is now my official break from it all – almost like sci-fi but when I just need to laugh. So glad I finally realized his magic. Listening all the time now.
Make Your Mind an Ocean: Aspects of Buddhist Psychology – Lama Thubten Yeshe
The mediation studio I used to go to pre-COVID is closing down and we’ve been helping clean it out. I grabbed a couple of books at random from their mass collection and found this a really great read. He talks about our minds being the depth of the ocean and all of the little things we experience as waves on top. Ignore the little stuff (waves), and don’t give them so much play. Focus on the ocean underneath, and find the truth in our minds. Pretty rad <3
I think sometimes I write attempting to preserve the magic of the serendipitous moments we catch out in the world – maybe this is the work of most writers. Kind of a trippy, not funny version of David Sedaris. Maybe I’m just hoping to remember these times of feeling like I’m in the right place…
The other morning I had a huge fire, probably the biggest yet in our woodstove. I got the dog panting inside which seemed like a win for New Year’s Day.
After cooking the house I dipped out for a jog, trying all kinds of techniques to stay out of my thoughts. One from James Altucher is staring at the skyline. For him, it’s skyscrapers, for me, mountains. It works, then you fall off, then you come back, and the cycle continues.
I cruised past a fallen tree on the path and thought, whenever we rent a chainsaw to deal with some of the bigger pieces of wood in the yard I should come back here and chop that up. Proud to imagine being the neighbor out there with a chainsaw. A nod to when my crescendo crew and I lived right on Powell Blvd. in Portland and used to chop wood out on the front sidewalk.
Right then I turned the corner to see someone pushing a shopping cart overflowing with wood. An amazing haul – so fucking impressive. Huge pieces of mesquite. I was so happy for them and their day of fire.
They had on a black hoodie, hood up, faded jeans, black vans, and were walking with a bit of a limp in their left leg. As I got closer, I saw the bottom of the back of the hoodie read, in plain white text, “I PROTECT DREAMS”
The entire pace and vibe were so Lynchian – almost in slow motion. Like the universe having your back, but different from seeing a triple rainbow in the woods while camping. More like the universe keeping you in check.
They just casually walked away and I never saw their face, only the baddest load of wood and the dreams hoodie.
We just bought a cord of wood and had it delivered in a huge truck. It took all day to stack and is kind of the centerpiece of the front of our new house. This person is earning it 100. Finding that much wood in the wash and slowing walking it to their fire.
It reminded me of when I was bike camping and spent an hour on the side of the road collecting wood to bring back a Bangs-worthy load by bike to my Hipcamp site on a small farm after freezing my ass off the night before.
Max love to this wood carrier/dream protector. Thanks for the heavy dose of humility.
creW 🧡 💙
PS: I decided not to google “I PROTECT DREAMS” until after writing this thinking it might turn up an Incubus record. So far so good there but if you know what it means feel free to share or not at your discretion 🙂
Rest in hype to one of the most influential and incredible. No more words needed from me other than telling those who know that I immediately texted Manimal on the last # I had of his, since the first time I heard DOOM it was on the Mr. Hood record hitting thrifts in Manimal’s Benz.
I found DOOM’s wife’s IG post so f’n powerful. We know how prolific DOOM was as an artist – infinity lives changed. But she wrote about him as a person.
My hope is those of us in love with his art will take inspo from her words describing his forgiveness, compassion, and lack of judgment.
My friend Tom and I came up with this tagline when were brainstorming magnets to make our travel van look like it might be a work truck. They turned out nice and cryptic.
We got one call in Baton Rouge, LA – but I guess they forgot to join us for our outdoor spaghetti cookout that night ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
7 years later I have the “We work for the world” part posted outside my studio as a reminder every time I step in.
It reminds me that whatever I’m doing in there, whether it’s making music or writing, or the paid work I do producing and distributing documentary films, I’m working for the world.
Sometimes the work we do is to get us paid.
Plain and simple right? But looking at this and all work as working for the world is recognizing that getting us paid means we have the ability to eat, sleep, create, interact – to be US in this world.
In Steal Like an Artist, Austin Kleon, who I’m mega-nerding out on right now (friends: stand by for all caps hype texts), says, “A job gives you money, a connection to the world, and a routine. Freedom from financial stress also means freedom in your art.” We can also interchange “art” with life.
Jobs get us to a next step we don’t always see coming.
I’m just wrapping up an epic position with some amazing friends and mentors launching a virtual screening platform for independent filmmakers. I work for the world – so this work meant I learned a ton of things I can apply to my personal and pro life moving forward, one being getting real techy with workflow. We use automations to streamline our work and I’m excited to try organizing my creative goals in a similar way with something like Notion.
This arts-focussed but still unavoidably startup-y gig was also stressful at times. But I work for the world, so part of it was diving into challenging work and getting paid, not knowing that the extra income would help my wife and I put a down payment on our first house.
We weren’t planning on buying a house but as life goes, we’re a couple of DINKS ( thx T) who found just the right spot around the corner from our rental and had unknowingly been saving the extra cash to make it happen, thanks in part to this job being there at the right moment. Trippy.
More on this soon, but the hustle of this job on top of my other work also lead me to a pretty major life breakthrough.
Any job counts.
I even worked for the world at Pizza Schmitza in downtown Portland. Definitely wish they had a different name when I was putting that on resumes (especially next to ‘Assistant Manager, iSOLD It on eBay’), but that and the owner being a total sleaze aside, I worked for the world.
My crew and I had a BLAST. We pushed the fun out to everyone who came in to eat some mediocre pizza with embarrassing-to-say-out-loud names like schpaghetti & meatball.
I met some rad friends from around the world, worked hard as f, made some cash, and worked on a ton of music on the side.
Last quick story: My friend Bangs worked (works?) at a hardware store in NE Portland. If you knew him you may or may not think this would be a good idea. Not the gig – he’s super handy – more the working inside a place part. He’d probably crack up and say the same thing alongside a few badass recent travel stories. But this dude works for the World (capital W). He literally changed everyone who landed at his cash register.
Pure proof we have an impact in all of the work we do, even on the old guy who can’t handle Bangs not charging him 2 cents for a screw, and that our impact isn’t always directly connected to the work itself.
Our jobs could be for the greater good, to put some money in our pockets for today or an unknown next step, or something we absolutely love doing and don’t need to read blog posts about. Either way, we work for the world y’all.
BUDS!! ♾🐶♾ Happiest and hypest W Saturday! So excited to share episode #1 of the Church of Hypecast with yall! It features some mega-inspo from STLB3 @leadvesselskipper and the dope dope sounds of B-Hill @classicsneverheard
It’s weird not being with yall somewhere dope in the woods today. For those who don’t know – this would have been the 19th year in a row our crew came together to celebrate life sharing new art, tunes, costumes, food, laughs and hype vibes.
Biking this morning I was able to get to a place where I was there. I honestly can’t go anywhere without carrying this crew with me so it’s almost like every day is the W even though they don’t all feel so magical at first blush… It’s impossible for me to do anything without repping all I continue to learn from the dope folks I’m lucky enough to call crew.
Max love yall! Hope you dig hearing this. Holler. Stay up. Stay crescendoing life. And stay stretching the skin between the mouth and ears.
I sent an email this week about the inner-hater we all deal with and received some really inspiring responses from folks on this forever path.
My friend Leah from Chicago responded with some powerful words and this great vid that I hope shows us we all share similar fears, we’re all in this together, and getting past the voice of doubt is fully doable!
I came across this NYT Op-Doc this week, which is a really good metaphor for dealing with fear (which is, I think, fundamentally all the inner hater is).