Man, the blog has been getting a little heavy, hasn't it? That's okay. I get a little heavy sometimes. I bet you do, too.
Today's entry in the Matt Kollock blog is a little lighter. A little more effervescent. With notes of lemon and ocean breezes. Stuff like that. The holidays are here, after all. Take it easy, you know?
This Is Me Stealing Like an Artist
The author Austin Kleon of Steal Like an Artist fame sends an email out to his subscribers every Friday, in which he lists recommendations for stuff to read, see, do and expose oneself to. By the way, have you read Steal Like an Artist? It's great! You could get through it in an afternoon. It's one of those easy books that's loaded with fun little nuggets of wisdom and perspective-shifting magic. Anyhow, I like the book and I like getting Austin's email every Friday. So I'm going to steal his idea.
Today is the first entry in the "This Is the Good Stuff" category of the blog. I'll be doing this once every week or so. And I'll probably send an email out about it, too. Which reminds me – you haven't signed up for my email list yet, have you? If that's something you are interested in doing, I encourage you to visit this page and enter your information over on the right side and hit "SUBSCRIBE." Easy! I promise to send you only good shit that you will want to read. For real.
Okay. I'm going to recommend some stuff now.
Listening to Podcasts at 1.5x Speed
There are too many podcasts. I want to listen to them all. Naturally, this causes anxiety. So what I try my damnedest to do is sit with the feelings of anxiety and give them the space they need. I attempt to find peace with my inability to jam every single podcast into my earholes. And that is an essential practice. But sometimes I just want the satisfaction of being able to plow through a bunch of 'casts and knock them off my list. So I have begun to listen to podcasts at 1.5x speed. I have already become a liberal masher of the 30-seconds-forward button. But 1.5x speed takes things to a whole 'nother level. It takes some time getting used to. And, honestly, I don't think I retain as much when I listen this way. But look! I can get through wheelbarrows full of podcasts in a day! And that pleases me. Also, the WTF theme music really slaps hard when it's 50% faster.
It's a Pixies Podcast
It's a Pixies Podcast is the name of a podcast about the production of the Pixies' latest album, Beneath the Eyrie. The new album is, uh, not that great, in my opinion, but the podcast is tons of fun to listen to, especially if you are a creative person. You get to hear Charles (aka Frank Black, aka Black Francis), Joey, David and Paz (who is not Kim but is also rad in her own way) just hanging and figuring stuff out in the studio. It's not magic; it's just talented, creative people working on a project Putting one foot in front of the other. Solving problems. Arriving at consensus. Sharing some laughs. Stuff like that.
Oh yeah, this is not one to listen to at 1.5x speed, okay?
Journaling is an essential practice for me. It helps me keep my life organized and allows me to process the stuff that needs to get processed, mentally. It's easy, rewarding and even educational. I use Evernote because I loathe actual writing and prefer to type. I also like to have access to my notes and entries across a number of different devices.
There is a lot to be said about the value of hand-writing a journal, though. I recognize that. And I know of a journaling tool that helps a lot of people get into – and maintain – the journaling habit. It's called Clarity Pages, and it's a great gift!
I mean, it's the worst, right? I notice that my life is better when I'm not spending so much time there. It's also a pretty destructive propaganda machine for the GOP/Russia, so there's that. Of course, it's nice to connect with far-flung friends and family, but there's got to be a better way. In 2020, I plan to get my shit off of Facebook as much as possible. I want people to come here instead. Or Twitter. I mean, yeah, Twitter can be garbage, too, but with a little curation, it can be fun, enlightening and relatively stress-free.
How do I make Twitter less of a flaming vomit rag? I use lists! It's a feature that's built right in to the platform. So I have lists for music, the Milwaukee Bucks, news, comedy and people I know IRL, among others. It's really the best way to interact with the platform. And you don't have to follow people; just put them on lists. I believe it's important to practice good Twitter hygiene. This is step one in that practice.
Eggnog (and Eggnog)
I caught the eggnog bug in the hospital back in 2006. I was in for my appendix surgery. It was St. Patrick's Day. And for some reason the eggnog was flowing with great abundance at Meriter Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin. I was in there for a little longer than a week and I think I must have consumed about a gallon of eggnog. I don't know what I thought of the beverage before that, but I know that I love the stuff now. I'm no expert, but I like the stuff from Trader Joe's. It's great straight or with a little splash of rum.
Eggnog (in italics) is also the title of a 1991 EP by the Melvins, a musical combo whose songs I enjoy.
Writing Stuff Down When You Think Of It
"There's no way I'll forget it and therefore no need to write it down now!" Yeah. Sure. I recommend writing stuff down when you think of it. There's no way it's coming back, no matter how insistently it occupies your headspace in this moment. It's going away. Especially if you're north of 40. So write it down now. That's the only way. But hey, you're going to forget some shit and that's okay. Don't beat yourself up, all right?
I love her music. She is one of my songwriting heroes. I would love to have a career like hers (but maybe just a little more prolific). She is a treasure and a genius and a guiding light for expressive introverts like me. Listen to one of her four outstanding albums and revel in the simple brilliance of her song structures. And read this recent, rare interview.
So that's it for now. I'll have more later. I'm thinking about doing this every Friday, so just remember to return if you feel like it. Or just sign up for my email list. That would be super cool.
What recommendations do you have? What's been rocking your world these days? I wanna know, so leave a comment or write to me at email@example.com.
Oh yeah, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I am grateful for you, so I hope you are safe, happy and well-fed.