February 2013


One of the amusing tidbits in past was the year I spent working as a bouncer at a rave club in Gainesville, FL. Or rather, the rave club. In the whole south east. The place was legendary and people would travel from all corners of the world for special events there. The head of security had realized at one point that the biggest problem was that his staff would often abandon their duties to dance and get loaded during the headliners. To combat this he fired all of them and hired a team of people who he knew would have no interest in who was DJing, and no loyalties among the clientele – Straight Edge kids and Skinheads.

Turns out that a gang of teetotalers with no aversion to violence make really good security at a place like that.

The money was great even if the hours really sucked. Fridays and Saturdays often resulted in working until and hour or two after the sun came up. But we got paid in cash at the end of the night, and immediate financial gratification made 10 hours of untz untz untz almost tolerable.

I’ve got plenty of amazing stories to share about what when on during those long nights, past the long lines – and I will likely fill a chapter in a book with nothing but that at some point. But the most interesting, and frightening thing that happened wasn’t so much behind closed doors, but inside of ourselves. Well, I don’t want to speak for anyone else – inside of myself.


Man on step, Shibuya

I’ve been incredibly fascinated with a string of recently launched apps/services that are designed to make hooking up with people (specifically people you already know) much easier. Bang With Friends & Bang With Professionals which hook up to your existing networks – Facebook or LinkedIn respectively – and lets you choose people you want to have sex with. Would Love 2 does the same thing but with a focus on a relationship rather than just sex. In fact WL2’s tagline is “taking the rejection out of dating.” The details of the people you’ve OK’d is kept private but your friends are asked to make their own lists. When a match is detected, both people are notified and left to their own devices presumably to work out the bits and pieces since both sides have already expressed interest. By all accounts these services are taking off like crazy.

I’ve been talking about these on Twitter and Google+ a bit but haven’t blogged about them because I haven’t really figured out exactly what I think just yet, and in fact keep having further conversations with myself about them. I thought I should just go ahead and throw some of this out there rather than continue amassing all these ideas with no real direction.

One reaction to this is simply “Duh! Why didn’t I think of that!” – We all joke (though not really joking) about how much of online activity and profiles and networking is done with the not so obvious motive of hooking up. So on that level this isn’t surprising at all, and in fact makes tons of sense. A no brainer if ever their was one – just streamline the process and remove as much friction as you can. Well, remove the friction beforehand anyway, friction later is… well you know what I mean.

But there’s another thing to think about here, and that is why is this so attractive? Or rather, what are all the different aspects of this that make it attractive? The removal of rejection is the most straight forward. No one likes rejection and being able to start a relationship without risking any rejection is almost too good to be true. I’m jaded and suspicious so I’d assume that people added me to their list just to laugh in my face if I added them to mine, but I know that’s just my own neurosis. (Also, worth noting: I’m happily married so I don’t have a list and I’m not using the apps, I just find them super intriguing and I remember dating and it’s interesting to think how the existence of something like this would have changed the dynamic in high school or whatever)

But there are so many questions here – why are we (as a society) so afraid of rejection? Isn’t learning how to deal with rejection part of being human? Last year The Guardian wrote about the end of monogamy and I can’t help but think that piece almost foreshadowed these launches. Are we so lonely, even when we’re with people, that this seems like the most viable option? As I said I’m not really sure where my head is at with all of this but being a professional people watcher, I think there’s some rather interesting conclusions to be drawn here. I welcome any thoughts on this to help try to mold a hypothesis.


If nothing else the last few years of trying to reduce what I own has caused me to think long and hard before I buy anything. Impulse takes over from time to time of course, but for the most part I try to really consider a few things to decide if something is worth buying or not. I have a few questions I ask about an item – a yes across the board is a very good sign. A “no” to any of them isn’t a deal breaker in and of itself, but it helps put that purchase in perspective. So this is what I ask:

1. Was this designed/made by someone who gave a shit about it?
This is a relatively newer concern, thought in hindsight I’ve always appreciated things that fell into this category without really being conscious of why I liked them. You can just feel when something was created by someone who actually cared about it. The difference between something that was created for the purpose of creating something and something that was created because someone was passionate about it obvious. As I look around at the stuff I end up with, the things that would get a ‘yes’ here are the ones I have a strong connection to, and the things I want to keep.

2. Assuming I don’t lose this, will I still be able to use this in 10 years?
Is it durable or is it a piece of crap. That’s what this boils down to, and it applies to everything from clothing to electronics. I’m totally over single use products and want something to stand the test of time. I’ll happily pay more for something that is quality and will last a very long time. I have a jacket that I’ve owned for 12 years that I still wear. I have a pair of fingernail scissors that I’ve had for over 20 years and they are just as functional as the first time I used them. A few years ago I lost a pocket knife that I’d carried almost every day for over 10 years. I have a multitool on my keychain that is nearing it’s 10 year mark. Those were all solid purchases.

3. Is this thing compatible with other things I already have?
This applies to technology as well as fashion. I’m not going to buy some proprietary POS that requires me to get a whole bunch of stuff just to work with it. I’m not going to buy some item that won’t go with anything else in my closet. Things need to be as modular as possible. That’s one of my travel tricks – everything works with everything else, so I can pack fewer things because everything can be used in a variety of ways over several days.

4. Do I already have something that does the same thing this thing does? If so, does this do it better?
I’m not opposed to upgrading, in fact I might even have a problem with it. But this is something I try to ask and try to wrestle with the answers. If something works just as well as something I already have, then the motivation for buying it is pretty suspect.

5. If I decide this thing isn’t for me, can I resell it for the same price I paid for it? Or more?
This is actually my longest running question, I asked this long before I knew I was asking it. Reason being I’ve never had a wealth of expendable income. I don’t care much about money which means I don’t tend to have a lot laying around. When I need it for something I’m pretty good at getting it, but I don’t collect money. If that makes sense. So, back to the point here – when I decide I want to buy something it’s always been important to me that I not be losing that money – rather I’m converting it into goods that are of equal value. And ideally they will retain that value. If I’m convinced that I can easily get the money back that I spend on it sometime down the line, the decision to buy something is pretty simple. If I know it’s going to depreciate in value the minute I walk out of the store, that also makes the decision pretty simple.

As I said, these aren’t “all or nothing” rules, but they are questions that give me pause and help me consider if something is a smart buy or not. As I progress through this world, I want the things around me to be very specifically chosen, and I want less throw away random stuff taking up space.


Today I listened to the digital files of an album that has been 22 years in the making, and read the release version hard copy of book that was initially conceived a little over 6 months ago. This has caused me to think a bit about actually finishing and delivering on a project. I’ve written before about my strengths and weaknesses here so I won’t rehash all of that but suffice to say that I’m not as good at the actual final parts as I’d like to be and the list of started but not finished projects I have is longer than I’d like it to be.

But these two things, these two pieces of media, these two finished products – someone had the idea, worked on them, decided they were finished and shipped them. The time scale from A to B is just a bit different.

There was a time in my life that I would have had a lot of respect for A. The commitment to getting it exactly the way you wanted and not releasing it a second before then. But a lot has happened for me and for the world in the last 22 years, not the least of which is Steve Jobs noting that “Real Artists Ship” which gets to an uncomfortable truth here that no matter how great the thing you are working on is, it’s nothing until you deliver it to people. And this album – the band released the previous one in 1991 and immediately began working on this one. A week ago fans had spent 22 years waiting and not getting anything. Today I have the record and I’m trying to rectify 22 years of anticipation with what I actually have. Does it seem like a record that has been perfected over 22 years? Does it seem like something that is completely flawless because so much time has been spent thinking and rethinking every single note? I don’t know that it does. And because of that some people who have harsh things to say about it. Which isn’t really deserving, because it is a good record. It’s a great record in fact. But it would have been just as great of a record had it been released in 1994 or 1995. Maybe better because people would only be listening to it and thinking about the songs, rather than how long they had been waiting for them.

This book is a completely different approach. Idea and execution were almost simultaneous, and that includes a major change of direction and rewrites halfway through. The goal wasn’t to produce the most perfect book ever, the goal was to produce something. Which hopefully is the first step towards something else. It’s a building block. But most importantly it’s a finished building block. I know a lot of people, myself included, who have thought of writing books. Many people, myself included who have started writing those books but stopped halfway for one reason or another. Those books aren’t finished. This one is, and that’s awesome and inspiring.

I’m going to be thinking a lot about this over the coming week as I look at this list of uncompleted projects. Which ones need to be perfect and which ones need to be finished.

I’m thinking that no matter how good something is – or how good I want it to be, if it’s not done it’s not done and the expectation of how good it should be gets built up more and more the longer it goes unfinished. My expectation. The longer it goes unfinished the higher the bar is raised, which makes it easier for me to convince myself that I can’t reach that bar, so it stays unfinished.

I think it will be much more personally rewarding if I forget that bar and throw out those expectations and deliver something.