10/23/20 • Ericommended

A messy panoramic of my 11' x 11' workspace. Always evolving on the slick rails of entropy.

I figure

…if I can force myself to the floor first thing in the morning for 50 cross-fit style burpees, run at least 5 miles every other day (or so) AND limit myself to only 2 normal sized cups of coffee a morning, then I shouldn’t have too much trouble kicking out at least ONE god-damned blog post a week. You would think anyways… But this is far from my first attempt. I was on a bit of a roll back in the early CV19 days (sounds quaint right?) and then got caught up with a girl and promptly derailed myself with a 4ish-month jaunt to Maine. Well, tangential love-odyssey aside, I’m now back in Austin and looking to reconnect with the writers mojo spirit that was left somewhere in the dust.

Speaking of Maine; here's a panoramic shot from Higgins Beach which was a short walk from where I lived for a few weeks before having to pull up the stakes.

I really love to write…
…and even more so I love having an excuse to write. Though I may never know why, I do seem to have a lot to say. So it never ceases to disappoint me when another Friday rolls by and I haven’t shared any of the neat bits and discoveries I’ve happened upon during my week.


I subscribe to Tim Ferris’s newsletter and really love it. It’s basically bullet-points of what he’s been up to and in to. Books, quotes, music, podcasts, etc. He’s an interesting, go-getter kinda dude who’s surrounded by some of the most intelligent, creative, successful and driven specimens our species has to offer.

So instead of waiting for some fresh and unique approach to blogging to fall from the heavens I’m going to straight-up copy his template and go from there. These weekly excursions will no doubt take on a shape and life of their own the more I do them. That, I guess, is my faith in the process of keeping nose to the grindstone.

The trick here is not letting the assemblage, post-building process take too much time. Working through WordPress can be slow and clunky and at times I lose my patience but mainly I lose TO my patience and scrap everything… so this will all be a way of becoming more efficient with a tool I desperately need to get better with.

Actually the real trick here is in my waning editing abilities. I can be a bit long-winded, in case you haven’t noticed, and leaving anything of value, perceived or otherwise, on the chopping-room floor isn’t a strong suit of mine.


I’m Old Now: Spose & Cam Groves
I can’t always detect the rhyme or reason behind a song getting stuck in my head. Like a dream trying to tell you something about your waking-life there always seems to be some fundamental connection to reality. I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I had a birthday a few months ago and I need to start thinking more seriously about my own mortality? Anyways this song came on randomly as I was listening to the 1000 song Spotify Playlist I’ve been making for a few years. I probably listened to it a dozen times since my rediscovery.

Spose is a rapper from Maine and one of the most talented lyricists in the rap-game.

BUY at AMAZON: We Smoked It All 3: The Album [Explicit] by Spose & Cam Groves

He just doesn’t waste words; no filler bullshit with him. He’s always connected to the main point of the song, knows how to honer a story arc and is extraordinarily great at avoiding clichés and the same hum-drum rhyme schemes as his far-lesser (more braggy) peers. A whole other aspect of Spose’s song building genius is adherence to great beats overlaid with great music. I could go on and on about this but will digress. Just check out literally anything from his immense catalog of music; all of it is real-deal, top-tier shit.

On We Smoked It All 3 Spose features longtime compatriot Cam Groves who constantly proves himself to be just as potent and relevant a wordsmith. Hate to have to say this but even if you don’t like hip-hop, you’ll probably like this… at the very least it’s gonna make you laugh.

https://www.sposemusic.com/ ||| https://www.facebook.com/CamGrovesMusic/

Howling Around My Happy Home: Daniel Norgren

This artist came out of nowhere for me and as of this writing I haven’t listened to any of his other songs. I don’t care yet, I just can’t get past the composition of this one. Viewed from a song-crafting and production lens this smooth, hypnotic song bluesily glides along on what is clearly a series of short instrumental loops. What I like best is how it breaks the rules of what a song “should be”; at least in my ‘unwritten but acknowledged’ rule book. It has certainly caused me to consider pushing around the hard parameters outlining my own writing/recording process. I mean it’s just over 10 minutes long and drops in vocals as almost an after thought; haven’t quite deciphered what he’s saying and again… don’t really care. There’s plenty else keeping my attention here. And it really never gets old; I think I listened to it three times in a row while working in the garage yesterday. The drum machine intro, hardly removed from the styling of the late JJ Cale, seems to go on forever. It’s 16 fucking bars of the same thing… What is a brilliant manifestation of tension. I’m pretty sure I didn’t appreciate this on the first spin. I was probably thinking “wtf?? Are you seriously going let this cheesy beat machine keep going??” Had it gone on a for few more bars probably would’ve skipped the track and I doubt I’d be writing this… An arrangement that does this takes some balls to be sure…

This bleak, slow/no-burn intro is saved by great syncopated bass and guitar grooves dropping in to the middle of the mix; the ride has begun. Another bunch of measures later, as the repetitive tension reaches a snapping point again, a couple organ squawks deftly punctuate the burgeoning fabric and set to motion further forward momentum. Lots of separate pieces slowly building into what seems like nothingness and when the suspense starts to lash out here comes this wobbly, duel-noted, ghostly tape-effected mellotron sounding thing as it blares in the far distance. All this adds to the space and mystic of this expertly crafted number.

The staggering amount of patience Norgren employs with his use of tension/release is just awesome. And I can’t quite get my head around it if you haven’t been able to tell… It’s something I feel my own music is lacking in ways that I don’t always know how to remedy. Mostly my obsession with Howling stems from the urgent desire to fully understand, and maybe eventually deconstruct, this song someday. Ironically deconstruction would require reconstructing (via recording) and would probably deliver me to the heart of my confused infatuation with it’s deceptive simplicity. https://danielnorgren.bandcamp.com/album/buck


There’s a lot I could say here…
…because currently I’m way too interested in way too many topics… My “current reading list” is pushing 25 books. In this regard things are a bit out of control and to make matters worse I’ve pushed my podcast listening to the wayside in favor of audio-books. I started an account with Audible specifically to listen to Michael Pollan’s book How to Change Your Mind during the ride from Maine to Texas. Well I burned through that “read” at roughly double speed and was done in no time. It was then that I learned a few things about Audible… It turns out you can’t just up and start any title you want. The plan I chose was good for one credit a month; only with a credit can you listen to any title you like. I had used up my one credit about 5 hours into my 32+ hour drive… Thankfully there are a TON of great titles for free to pick from and I was able to placate myself with some more great books on brain science and other consciousness related topics which has been my jam lately. Out of all the good things distracting me from making music these days this rabbit-hole is probably the deepest.

These first two books initiated my long journey into understanding the mind through mediation, first by stripping away the all the new-age bullshit and religious baggage then building an airtight case for it’s utility using the latest science.

The subtitles are key…

10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works--A True Story
Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion

Down the road I may go into more detail…

…on the following books but for the time being I’ll just put them right here with the highest of my recommendations. I will say the last book, Conscious, is one I haven’t read yet but have heard great things; it has been on my short list.

How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence
The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science
The Craving Mind: From Cigarettes to Smartphones to Love – Why We Get Hooked and How We Can Break Bad Habits
Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon's Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart
Autopilot: The Art and Science of Doing Nothing
Conscious: A Brief Guide to the Fundamental Mystery of the Mind


Above I mentioned that every morning I kick out 50 Burpees a day…

Cross-Fit Burpee:
Stand, squat down, hands on floor then kick out into plank, down into a pushup, back up to plank, swing feet back to hands, jump straight up in the air from this squat, position and repeat.

…I try to get them behind me right out of bed; even before coffee which doesn’t provide half the wake-up power. This seemed like a good idea after restlessly sitting in a car for three days straight and feeling like I was wasting away. Although I am far from a health-freak I’ve finally had to admit that exercise is a key component to my mental health that cannot be bypassed or substituted. I’ve done everything I could over the last 40-odd years to subvert this truth but in the end without physical exertion peppered throughout my week I’m mostly an irritable mess.

I decided to puss out a little
…and started with 50 instead of 100 because I just don’t wanna hurt myself and I was being a puss, basically. But as I began to get used to them I pushed for more reps per set. I began this routine on my first morning back in Texas and started with two sets of 15 and one of 20 done at various points throughout the day, with the first always before coffee.

Naturally the workout became easier…
…and last week I began going for more. Listening to my body and not my mind while grinding through the reps was key to not being miserable while doing them and before long I could get 50 in without stopping. The goal is to do this until November 2nd after that I’m not sure if I’ll go for the 100 per day or what I’ll do but it will definitely involve burpee sets. It’s like packing in a full hours work out in 5 or 6 minutes.

Thanks For Hanging!

Okay that’s all I guess.
This took forever and I’m burnt out. But I’ll be trying to get faster so that hopefully someday I don’t dread the process like i do now. I mean, I like the writing part, but the page-building work is still pretty grueling, slow and frustrating. Practice makes better…at least.

In the Meantime please grab a copy of my new album, Bric-á-Brac if you haven’t already.


Photo Credit: Bethany McCorkle

One more thing... just because.

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