Blog-ish: Cleveland FTW

MOST YOUNG KINGS GET THEIR HEAD CUT OFF: Jay-Z on Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Charles The First.
MOST YOUNG KINGS GET THEIR HEAD CUT OFF: Jay-Z on Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Charles The First.

I generally think professional sports fandom is kind of dumb.

Not stupid.

Just kind of dumb.

There’s a difference.

My watching of every Pretty Little Liars episode is kind of dumb.

My old flame for Perez Hilton (dot com… circa 2009) is stupid.

Sportz! I don’t understand why people care about it all so much. It’s not like those players come from the town they play for.

So do they really represent your people or your city or state? Your struggle?

They’re just the outward-facing arm of huge corporations taking your money based on selling you a dream that isn’t yours to have. And sometimes they hide terrible truths so you keep cheering and filling the stands and buying $7 hot dogs.

Maybe I’m just jaded.

I’m maybe definitely jaded.

But justifiably so, right?

Have we not learned you can’t really trust your heroes? They’re desperately human too. Tiger. OJ. Cosby. Clinton. Clinton. Jackson. Martha. Etc.

But I just watched LeBron and the Cavs break a 52-year championship losing streak for a city in my home state. The sultan of scoring has dribbled his sport’s silly little way into this cold, listless heart.

I believe(land)!

The best part of this story is that he was a Northeast Ohio boy. Born and raised and prodigal sonned. It doesn’t get much better or relatable than that.

However, I think my favorite part about sports is how reliant they are on structure and time.

There are rules and penalties for breaking them.

It doesn’t matter how hard you played or how far you came back or what you scored.

If your number isn’t higher by the time we get to zero, you lose.

The answer is clear.

Man, in today’s ambiguous world, that shot clock’s exactingness is some straight up poetry.

Everything changes.

Even in Cleveland.

Inspo: Fishy marketing, Alaskan Tapes, and Juice-y storytelling

Sink Swim Chicago

Marketing a fish restaurant would be so fun! There’s so much you could do with it. Sink Swim’s take reels me in. Sophisticated but cheeky. Love it — and that little sailor hat logo. The chef is a Kent State grad, too, which means we used to swim in the same school? Eh?

Sink Swim Chef Sink Swim home Sink Swim welcome

Alaskan Tapes

This Ontario band has been my jam lately when I need to not jam. Ambient and chill as a creek in a long-forgotten woods, Alaskan Tapes’s music has been perfect lately when I need to calm down and focus… or calm down and zone out. DON’T TELL ME TO CALM DOWN.

calm down

I found this song, through Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlist, which updates, you guessed it, once a week. Spotify curates the list well. It’s on point for delivering deep cuts for genre surfers like me. It’s like someone picking the best of every city’s local scene and putting it on a playlist for you. Every week. I can dig it.

“OJ: Made in America”

Oh my gawd. Have you been watching this? Get to it. Stat.

“OJ: Made in America” is a five-part series on ESPN about OJ Simpson’s career and absolutely unprecedented historic crash and burn.

It is incredible just in terms of the way the documentary delivers his pre-trial and juxtaposes his denial of his race at a time and in a place where racism was literally making things explode. This is outstanding storytelling.

OJ’s life hits on everything that is still relevant today.

Systemic and soul crushing racism.

Domestic violence that turns into murder.

Class privilege.

Self denial.

Phony celebrity.

Athletic entitlement and hero worship.

It’s disheartening how similar many of these cases of racism and power privilege are to ones we’ve seen in recent years.

This series asks viewers to consider transcending your Otherness and how best to do that or if it’s even possible. Do you fight for the cause, for your people, for yourself? Or do you ignore it in an attempt to have everyone else, including those who are oppressing your and your people, ignore your Otherness too?

It’s important to fully understand what was happening around this case. I still have to finish the series, but I’ve been most surprised at how big of a star, renowned by the media for his “character,” OJ was (as a ‘90s kid, he has always been that OJ) AND how little I actually know about the specifics of the racial horrors happening at the time and the murder victims of this case.

I also hope this documentary sheds a little light on why women stay in domestic violence situations, what it can lead to, how abusers so often dupe outsiders, and how other women perpetuate the problem (his first wife, who is probably righteously angry at Nicole, brushes his violence off in an interview snidely, that it’s something she’d never let happen to her…).




Inspo: One hell of a sentence, advice for writers, and sweet opening credit art

Essays by Charles D’Ambrosio.

You should never judge a book by its cover.

But always judge a bookstore by its staff suggestions.

Just a block from my new place in Chicago is a bookstore with an impeccable recommendation section, and I recently picked up writer Charles D’Ambrosio’s book of essays “Loitering” and am smitten with his writing style and ability to build an essay. He’s a modern master of the form who digs on Susan Sontag and Edward Abbey. I love that the title of the book describes what he thinks essays are… loitering. Hanging out around an idea. No conclusion necessary.

Loitering cover

I *do* think the book cover is cool. Whatever, Red Bull. Words give you wings. Sometimes they’re broken…

A sampling of his style, for your viewing. Then get your own copy. Mine’s taken.


Damn. That is a sentence.

Advice for writers by way of Andrew Solomon and, of course, Rilke.

This article, which is an oldie but a goodie, speaks for itself, but here’s an excellent taste.

“The worst mistake anyone can make is to perceive anyone else as lesser. The deeper you look into other souls—and writing is primarily an exercise in doing just that—the clearer people’s inherent dignity becomes. … Never forget that the truest luxury is imagination, and that being a writer gives you the leeway to exploit all of the imagination’s curious intricacies, to be what you were, what you are, what you will be, and what everyone else is or was or will be, too.”

I like his thoughts on being an oldie but a goodie oneself. Age isn’t a restriction, and we can learn a lot from one another, young and old.

I also felt this way, though not so thoughtfully, after listening to this NPR article about how Millennials interact with the fantastically conceived Taco Bell brand via social media but they’re still not buying more tacos and as a Millennial I’m just kind of over being a Millennial and I know all of our lives are hard no matter what age we are and we all just want to see horses turn into unicorns and wow that must mean being a Millennial doesn’t really matter anymore because we’re getting old and there is fresh new blood in the water and it smells like tacos and who even am I anymore?

Screen Shot 2016-05-15 at 2.30.41 PM

Opening credit art.

Ever since Mad Men’s iconic opening sequence, TV series have been outdoing themselves to turn this pivotal piece of production into an artpiece. (Or they’re just not doing an opening credit sequence, perhaps because they’re intimidated or it just feels right for the series or they’re using it as a defense against encroaching commercial time restraints. “Here’s the director. IMDB the rest of this shit, people.”)

The best (read: my favorite) ones are, like Mad Men, openings that don’t rely on the obvious visual styles and/or references of their corresponding TV show’s subject matter. That could go terribly wrong though, right? Because it could look so obviously like they were trying to make it different from what the subject matter is and in the age of Reddit and message boards and bloggers like me, just a whiff of desperation can take you off the air. But if done well it sets the tone and gets the viewer excited or intrigued every time they see it. Here are two of my new (to me) favorites.

Finally, recent title holder in best opening credits, movie edition = Deadpool. Writers: 1.

Screen Shot 2016-05-15 at 11.41.21 AM

Inspo: Writer’s Block Power Moves

Ha. Just kidding. Here are more distractions.

Make believe that’s real af.

Do you want to write a sci-fi novel or the next great dystopian drama where the human race as we know it is being quickly eradicated for a sharper, sexier homo sapien?

Hot Homo
Hot homo.


Bigger Faster Stronger
Bigger. Faster. Stronger.

Sure, me too. Here are some excellent research pieces for you.

This video is fascinating (that Ted Talk tag is no lie) and it’s apropos considering this recent StarTalk podcast about the ethics of genomic manipulation and study. What’s StarTalk? Only your most regular dose of Neil deGrasse Tyson and Eugene Mirman, NDT’s co-host of Bob’s Burgers fame who references Star Trek a lot and makes you feel not so stupid. Thanks, Gene(s)!


Some feel-good-flavored fuck yous.

So into this band right now. Perfect for gross gray days that should be ready made for play.

What a sound.

Taste all the Radkey sludge on Spotify.


And a swift kick in the ass.

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.

A colleague let me borrow this book. Colleague is such a better word than co-worker. It implies office friendship, no? And one must have an office friendship to recognize the deep seated self-hatred in one another for not yet completing that one creative project you always dreamed of.

It’s all about how to defeat Resistance, which is that internal not-doing that evolves from so many places and defeats so many of our desires.

Resistance 1

Resistance 2


Employers sometimes use up their best creative people by giving them too much to do, counting on them for too many things, asking them to solve too many problems. That’s often the case, but it’s important to think about how we let ourselves get used up, too… how that contributes to our personal Resistance… and why we do it.

Inspo: Travel edition

So much word (and bagel) porn to be found in Chicago! Here are just a few favorites.

CBA Social CTA

CBA’s social CTA. That they have a sandwich called The Hangover Helper and that it’s delicious doesn’t hurt either.

Rare Book Store

Oh I get it.

Apartment Finders

Hungry with just a hint of thirsty.


This sat on a rack of Batman tees. The dark knight is unamused.


Inspo: Loretta Lynn, Carrie Brownstein and Fantastic Lies


You’ve settled.

“I learned later how hard it can become to unsettle yourself, to trip yourself up, and I think that a good place to write from. It’s important to undermine yourself and create a level of difficulty so the work doesn’t come too easily. The more comfortable you get, the more money you earn, the more successful you are, the harder it is to create situations where you have to prove yourself and make yourself not just want it, but need it. The stakes should always feel high.”

Carrie Brownstein, “Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl”

You’re listening to the wrong country music.

Currently on the Roku: “American Masters: Loretta Lynn.” Watch it! Forever a bad bitch mountain girl. “Say what you will but she’s a feminist. She made it OK for other women to say, ‘Wait. Yeah!.’ And that’s how movements start.”

You remember the Duke case wrong.

The new “30 For 30” episode covering the Duke Lacrosse scandal from the 2000s has made me completely re-think (consider for the first time?) *my own* privilege. Not because I’m a woman, but because I’m middle class. I remember when this story happened and reading the news stories and looking at the photos and thinking these guys were definitely guilty. They were rich and jocks.


And rich people and jocks were entitled and mostly always sucked. Please check out the film. It’s a well-done look at how journalism and social righteousness can go terribly wrong, a stark reminder that innocent until proven guilty applies to all of us. (This story feels especially scary considering that our reactionary natures have only accelerated since this happened thanks to clickbait headlines.)

Quoted and Noted: Saul Williams


“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.


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.”


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.”


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.




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



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.