Quoted and Noted: Saul Williams

saul

“I want you to come with me.

If you cannot walk, let me carry you.

I want to show you what I have found.

A dream I had as a child has blossomed
Into a castle. You can have your own wing.
Although, I doubt you will need it.

My love, your dreams have blossomed too.
And all that is missing from their sacred grove is you.

Come.

Without you a garden becomes
a vacant lot. A castle: a nutshell.”

— Saul Williams, An excerpt from his poem “How He Talks to Me”

Three self-help podcasts that are actually worth listening to

How are those resolutions holding up? Hopefully awesome. And awesome could mean that they’re failing brilliantly. Take, for example, John Oliver’s recent definition of what makes a goal, resolution, life change, et al, successful:

“Deep down we all know, the key to a successful resolution is not hard work and dedication,” Oliver said. “It’s managing disappointment and that’s it.”

disappointment

Success is all about bouncing back. Because you’re going to fail. How reassuring! Really. Here are three podcasts I’ve been listening to lately that should be tagged in the non-annoying self-help category.

Take a listen and fail less! Or fail better. Either way, happy new year. <3

ram dass quote

Ram Dass’s “Here and Now”

This dude’s a spiritual teacher with a Timothy Leary connection but fear not! He’s fun and interesting and the lectures feel very modern and relatable. “Here and Now” delves into topics such as parenting, self-awareness and romantic love, non-prophetically approaching each subject with an honest and loving lens. Life’s hard, man. But don’t make it harder than it has to be.

Recommended for: Ex-Catholics

Sample episode:

Ep. 78 “Awakening and Relationships”

“The more we individually have our shit together, the less that we are groping in the dark with a partner and having gigantic expectations and wanting to change each other.”

The Productivityist

Just don’t try to say this podcast’s name 10 times fast. Buh dum chi. The host, Mike Vardy, is a comedian (not nearly as cheesy as I) turned podcaster whose show looks into realistic ways to be more productive in your daily life.

This podcast is really approachable and not intimidating, which some of the podcasts about productivity can be (“WORKOUT AT 4 AM! DOWNLOAD THESE APPS! YOU COULD DO MORE! BUY THE FIVE NEW BOOKS I WROTE YESTERDAY!”). I mean, he has blog post topics such as “The Three Things Seinfeld Does That I’ve Built Into My Workflow.”

seinfeld

Life’s a real balancing act. HEY-O!

From The Productivityist’s interviews, I’ve picked up some really helpful strategies for managing everything from my email and time to my negative thoughts.

Look no further than Mike’s first episode of 2016, “Deep Work with Cal Newport.” This episode really made me think twice about the way I spend my time and how much of it is lost doing things like getting sucked into the black hole of Facebook. I love the tips on how to focus your time on one task, and I can definitely see the value and rarity — workplace or otherwise — of concentration. Sometimes you have to catch yourself slipping away and just do the work and keep doing the work. No, really, go do the work. This is how you get those dreams done, people!

Recommended for: Recovering Perfectionists

Sample episode: “Deep Work with Cal Newport”

Creative Pep Talk

The wonderful illustrator Andy J. Miller is the “person who does this podcast.” He doesn’t like the word host, which is indicative of how unpretentious this show is. Andy talks about how to make a living as an artist or tips on becoming unblocked — generally patting creative people on the tookus. These are fun to listen to as you’re doing chores while you put off the creative work because you’re scared! Meet your creative coach during self-imposed halftime.

Recommended for: Freelancers

Sample episode: “Ep. 27: How to Stand Out”

“Sometimes pessimism is just a grieving process for things you lose.”

Crazy cool (and crazy, cool) old book illustrations #backtowork

Bah! Back to work. 2016. Monday.

I’m excited, actually, because I do not fare well when given ultimate freedom from routine. Consistency is key to me not sleeping literally all day or building a fort under my kitchen table and calling my cat First Lieutenant.

However, I do understand the desire to slowly turn up the heat when it comes to work. After all, those frogs jump out of the boiling water when thrown right into it, no?

Here’s something to look at as you dick around a little bit throughout your first day back at the office. This website is called Old Book Illustrations and it posts amazing and oddball artworks from books now within the public domain.

Enjoy.

drink

 

Resolution inspiration. “Go home, Jedediah! You’re drunk!”

 

frost-bitten

God’s second sun child. Not pretty but def smart. courting

When your Tinder date actually looks like her profile pic. And also you a knight.

 

Alternative Fashion Week’s keychains

I got a nice little surprise this week from my badass friends behind the Columbus Alternative Fashion Week, an event in its inaugural year that celebrates and promotes independent fashion designers of Columbus. (The big finale runway showcase of those designers is this Friday. Get there.) The team designed this keychain with the words “Columbus For a Reason” inspired by a post I wrote that referenced why we live in Columbus and not a city like L.A. or New York. What an honor! You can get one for free at any fashion week event. My reasons for living in Columbus are many, but the fact that independent artists are valued here is tops.

Columbus For a Reason

 

Internet Wins of the Week: Sept. 9 edition

1) New music. New to me at least. My rate of discovery for new music typically puts me about six to six and a half months behind schedule of the cool kids. I have had trouble lately finding music I like. It’s hard because I used to rely on music that released a lot of anger for me… but I’m not really angry anymore… or music that awesomely expressed lady sads… but I’m a more mature kind of lady sads now (best remedy for this so far has been Solange). And, at age 27, irony in music to me is when an emergency broadcast system alert interrupts my oldies station’s Led Zeppelin song. Here are two musicians I “discovered” (I love when average people say that) this week that I’ve been enjoying:

“The Brothers Nylon” by The Brothers Nylon. Instrumental. Exciting. Funky. Complex.

Laura Mvula. Songstress. Powerful. Sensual. Catchy.

 

2) Larry Smith’s TED talk about failure. I’m a TED talk junkie, if you couldn’t tell from my previous Wins of the Week entries. After I watch or read the depressing news each morning, I go to TED’s topics page and pick a talk I think will make me feel better about the state of humanity. It almost always works. This one left me particularly motivated and thoughtful. Smith, an economist, humorously outlines all the things we tell ourselves about our careers–cop outs, scape goats, excuses–that lead us down a road of work we are lukewarmly passionate about. I think I have made all of these mistakes but never thought about them as mistakes, such as not going after a job in order to be a better lover, friend, family member. Still wrapping my mind around this one…

 

3) A hilarious grammatical error. As a writer I am prone to grammar snobbiness; however, I try to keep it in check and not be a word-nerd-asshole when people make a mistake. This poster’s misuse of the word “bread,” though is too funny to pass up. Forget the water… there must be something in the bread! Also, people who usually say shit like this are the same type of people who argue that Mexicans should learn English or get out of ‘Merica. So, laugh on, readers. Laugh on.

southern bread

Five must-see movie picks from filmmaker Max Groah

Danger! Intrigue! Social commentary expressed by zombies thwarted by pot!

Meet Max Groah.

Groah is a member of Backward Slate Productions, a collective of Columbus filmmakers. He is the first guest of the July edition of my show with Justin Golak, What’s Up Columbus, and the director of “Bong of the Living Dead.”

You can guess what the movie is about from the title, but, alas, as with the best drugged-up comedies, bong water runs deep.

Here’s how Groah described the movie:

“The story follows a group of lifelong friends trapped in their house during the zombie apocalypse. Just like any other self-respecting zombie movie, we just have more interesting characters. It’s really a character piece. They are thwarted by internal conflicts just as much if not more than the zombies outside, because those zombies aren’t much of a threat … at first. In this world pot acts almost like a bug spray turning fast vicious sprinting ghouls into slow lumbering, more traditional zombies. So until the pot starts running out, our stoners are not even aware of the fact that everyone else around them, who doesnt smoke, is failing in the zombie apocalypse. That kinda brings in the social allegory. All the people who look down upon smokers, the douchebag boss, or the perverted high school coach, the crabby old man neighbor, or bitchy christian mean girl–they get killed and eaten while the ‘worthless’ stoners thrive. [George A.] Romero used zombies as a metaphor for consumers, we just brought pot into the equation.”

(Backward Slate Productions also produced a popular Sad Kermit vid. If you didn’t love the collective for making a zombie pot movie, then you will after watching the beloved frog smoking cigs and singing  Johnny Cash/ NIN’s “Hurt.”)

Groah loves movies and has an acting background. Also, a rare breed, he still rents from an actual movie rental store. His vid rental store of choice: Video Central on Bethel Road. That kind of dedication creates a vast knowledge of movies, so I asked him to pick five movies that are not necessarily his favorites but ones he thinks you should pop into your DVD player soon. Pot Popcorn optional.

 

Raising Arizona

“Yeah it’s funny, but there’s a lot more going on here in the second offering from the Coen brothers. It brings a quirky action, drama, coming-of-age and delves into the mental subjective a bit, allowing viewers to use their imagination.”

 

The Great Escape

“Because no one watches old movies anymore! This is one with an all-star cast led by Steve McQueen really holds up and is the true story of an elaborate tunnel escape from a POW camp in WWII.”

 

In Bruges

“I know you dont like Colin Farrell, BUT you will after this! It’s a hitman on the run after a botched job in a fairytale town … or is it a shit hole?”

 

Observe and Report

“Looking for something a little lighter? Observe and Report is funny as hell, until the end when it gets very dark very suddenly. But the soundtrack is great and Michael Pena rocks.”

 

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

“Last but not least is the best movie you’ve never seen. NO ONE has seen it for some reason. To me, the title says it all. This thing is epic. It’s Princess Bride meets Natural Born Killers.”