There was several years where me and two other friends would sit in a chat all day while we worked.

It wasn’t just goofing off.

We were all in similar work and we discussed a lot of work stuff.

Helping each other out all day.

But sometimes the chats digressed.

One day we were talking about Samurai Stance pooping.

“When one would go to the outhouse, he would remove his right leg fully from his clothes…The samurai would sit squarely on the seat, cross his leg so that his right ankle rested on his left knee (his left foot remained on the ground), place a hand on each knee, then straighten his back.”

Will Black

Me and one of my two dudes spent like 2 hours just discussing the merits of different sitting positions.

Not a very productive day, in retrospect.

At the time we thought it was very important.

Good pooping is good health.

Good health leads to good productivity.

Good productivity leads to good money (for our employers).

It was a very important discussion.

But our third dude hadn’t said anything in a while.

This is normal for him now, but back then he was probably the most talkative one.

Was he having a busy day?

Or was he contemplating everything we were discussing.

I never asked because what he did say blew me away.

Finally, he comes in with:

“Just shit.”

I think about this all the time.

And now I’m making it my zen mantra to life.

I’ve been craving more simplicity for many years.

It’s something I struggle a lot with.

There are so many things I want to do in life, and I try to do them all.

I have far too many hobbies.

To make up for it, I try to monetize them all.

And now I have a lot of debt from that.

The other day I sent out an email and posted on social media:

I’ve decided to close out my record label and all the other side businesses I’ve tried over the years and just focus on a day job.

It’s clear that I am not meant for it, and all I have done is “invest” a bunch of money and develop debt.

Thank you to everyone who has bought my music in the past, or hired me for services.

I’ll still be making music but I’ll probably just release downloads on my website for free.

I’ll continue to send emails out every once in a while to anyone still interested.

In a recent Cal Newport podcast episode, he mentions having 2 goals at a time:

  1. A professional goal.
  2. A hobby goal.

I’ve decided my professional goal for now is to become a full-time copywriter for Darren Hardy.

My hobby goal will be to learn to play piano.

I’ll write more about that in the future.

Until then follow my RSS feed or register for my email newsletter:

Someone in a copywriting group I’m in got this question from a potential client:

“If you were a soup, what soup would you be?”

They thought it was a pretty strange question from a potential client, but it’s actually not.

You see, back in the 12th-17th centuries, alchemists had to hide their esoteric knowledge in secret code.

At first, it was because the knowledge was so powerful that they didn’t want too many people to use it.

Imagine if any old bloke could turn lead into gold. It would completely destabilize the economy.

That’s not good business for the alchemists, so they kept their secrets behind symbols and metaphors.

Copywriting is the same.

It’s powerful, and we can’t just let anyone learn it.

Just like the alchemists, most copywriters are charlatans.

They’re not turning lead into gold.

They arrive with lead and hidden gold, and use slight of hand to switch them out so you think they’ve transmuted.

The true copywriters know about soup.

The question “If you were a soup, what soup would you be” was divised by an elite and clandesting guild of copywriters known as the Ink Illuminati to do two things:

  1. Figure out who the real copywriters are (for they will have an answer)
  2. Figure out what type of copywriter they are (as the answer will reveal)

Different soups have different meanings, so your answer is important but it must be knowledgable of the secret code.

Tomato soup means something different than chicken noodle soup means something different than italian wedding soup.

Only the initiated know what the correct answer for them is.

And if you try to pick one, they’ll know just by your writing if you know what you’re talking about or not.

If you know the secret code or not.

If you can turn lead into gold or you’re just attempting slight of hand.

For your information, I’m a beer cheese soup (made with PBR) and if you’re interested in learning more about copywriting (for your music, or software, or whatever it is you’re working on), hit me up.

In the film Milk, starring Sean Penn and Josh Brolin, Brolin’s character says,

“Society can’t exist without the family.”

He’s not wrong.

But:

There are about 140,000,000 children born per year

I don’t think society is going anywhere.

“The gays” certainly aren’t taking down the fabric of what keeps our communities functional. 

Insert gay interior decorator joke here. 

Removing access to books and cutting funding to education is what’s going to bring down our society, but that’s a post for another time.

And a “family” doesn’t have to have any strict definition.

Any group of people can be a family, if they want to be.

No sexuality, gender, age, or other restrictions.

Having kids isn’t what makes a family.

Don’t misunderstand:

I’m not saying people shouldn’t have kids. 

I’m not trying to convince anyone not to have kids. 

I just want people to leave me alone about not wanting to have kids. 

Besides, it’s a job creator. 

I’ve heard the argument that not having kids will mean that there will be no one to take care of us when we’re old. 

Sounds like a job opportunity to me. 

Plus there’s all the technology that will need to be created. 

For the most part, the technology exists. 

It just needs organized and combined appropriately to solve the particular problem. 

For example, this elderly couple horribly died in a house where the heater in their basement reached 1000 degrees Fahrenheit.

This could have been avoided with a smart thermostat monitoring system. 

Privacy issues can be solved with open source software and hardware and solid policies. 

That’s actually a long term goal of my record label Approaching Utopia. 

Right now, we only release music.

Next will come literature.

After that, games.

And eventually software and hardware.

All will be focused on privacy, open source, Creative Commons, and DRM-Free.

Because we’re building a future where the media you purchase is YOURS.

It’s not just rented.

It’s not even borrowed.

Once you pay for something, you own it, and can do whatever you want with it.

That’s Approaching Utopia’s purpose.

By the way, you can help make this happen by picking up the 2023 label compilation and fundraiser, We Are Approaching Utopia In 2023.

Five more sales of We Are Approaching Utopia In 2023 and I’ll open up the availability for you to get paid to promote the album (and other Approaching Utopia media).

Snail Girl era is a new term about when a woman decides to “slow down” and prioritize taking care of herself.

It’s opposed to ideas like hustle culture, and in line with ideas like quiet quitting.

We’ve all heard “nobody wants to work anymore.”

We’ve all heard it because it’s been said for a hundred years.

Maybe more.

So if we’ve got records going back that far that say “nobody wants to work anymore,” did anyone ever want to work?

How about phrases like “a case of the Mondays” or “working for the weekend?”

“TGIF” – thank god it’s Friday.

If work is so good for us, why do we have these phrases in our lexicon?

“Work” isn’t the right term.

People do want to work, and work is healthy for humans.

We want to work, but we want to work on things we believe in.

We want to work on things that speak to us.

And we don’t want to be stressed about finances while doing it.

There’s so much money out there but it’s being hoarded.

We have this obsession in the west with making business work even if it doesn’t deserve it.

Capitalists talk up how great their economic system is but they won’t let it do its thing.

There are so many jobs and businesses that don’t deserve to exist.

There is no market fit for them.

But we finance them anyway.

Whether that’s through loans, subsidies, whatever.

For example:

If you can’t pay your employees a living wage, and take a living wage yourself, while keeping prices competitive, your business does not have a market fit.

It’s as simple as that.

According to capitalism, your business should not exist.

But instead of being real capitalists, admitting failure, and closing your business, you lobby for lower wages.

Lower wages that have to be subsidized by the government.

And then you complain about your taxes going up to pay for it.

All in the name of “job creation.”

Has it ever occurred to you that maybe these jobs shouldn’t exist in the first place?

I recently learned there are over 2000 billionaires on the planet.

And last year, the new billionaires made more of their money from inheritance than from their own endeavors.

They didn’t work for their money.

Nobody wants to work anymore.

You’ve probably heard of permaculture.

Permanent + Agriculture = PermaCulture

According to Bill Mollison, cofounder of the movement,

“Permaculture is the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems.”

Another thing Bill Mollison said,

“The only ethical decision is to take responsibility for our own existence and that of our children.”

In 1978, I don’t think he was considering the impact computers and the internet would have.

Or electronics in general.

According to a 2021 study by Lancaster University, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) makeup between 2.1% and 3.9% of global emissions.

Techoptimists say increasing efficiency of computers will improve this, but they have been historically wrong.

In is 2023 essay on Frugal Computing, Wim Vanderbauwhede writes:

“We can’t rely on next-generation hardware technologies to save energy: the production of this next generation of devices will create more emissions than any operational gains can offset.”

Permacomputing is one answer to this problem.

Just like permaculture is permanent + agriculture, permacomputing is permanent + computing.

It’s quickly becoming a “buzzword” around both sustainability and communities.

Even kids tech magazines are talking about it.

Let’s take a look at the permaculture ethics and principles:

Ethics:

  1. Care for Earth
  2. Care for People
  3. Reinvest Surplus

Principles:

  1. Observe and Interact with the land.
  2. Connect and integrate the pieces.
  3. Catch and store energy and materials.
  4. Each component performs multiple functions.
  5. Least change for the greatest effect.
  6. Use small-scale, intensive systems.

Permacomputing.net has a page for Principles, which integrates the Ethics as well:

  • Care for life
  • Care for the chips
  • Keep it small
  • Hope for the best, prepare for the worst
  • Keep it flexible
  • Build on solid ground
  • Amplify awareness
  • Expose everything
  • Respond to changes
  • Everything has a place

Last year I had already decided to stop buying new music equipment.

I’m either buying used, repairing/refurbishing broken, or building my own.

Moving forward I’m going to be thinking (and writing) a lot more about permacomputing and how we can all live that life, especially from a musician’s standpoint.

My favorite website is the Berkshire Hathaway website.

It has nothing to do with the company itself.

I invest in stocks because I feel like I have to if I want to retire.

I actually believe that shareholder value is a myth and that it’s actually bad for our economy.

The reason BerkshireHathaway.com is my favorite website is because it’s built in pure HTML.

It remains largely unchanged since 1997, which is the oldest Wayback Machine goes.

Seriously, go to https://berkshirehathaway.com/ and hit F12 on your keyboard (you might have to hold down the Fn key).

You’ll see your browsers inspector pop out.

You can see that https://berkshirehathaway.com/ doesn’t even have modern HTML 5.

It’s still built with tables.

A single Berkshire Hathaway stock (Class A) is worth half a million dollars.

Their entire stock portfolio is worth about $351 Billion.

That’s $351,000,000,000.

That’s enough money to buy everyone on the planet a hamburger.

Every day.

For a month.

But their website design hasn’t changed in almost 30 years.

Their website technology hasn’t changed in almost 30 years.

That’s awesome.

The site load speed is 116 ms with a page size of 198.1 kb.

For comparison, my website at the time of writing loads in 2.14 seconds with a page size of 2.8 mb.

And I’m not worth anywhere near $351 Billion.

The carbon footprint of BerkshireHathaway.com is rated A+, cleaner than 95% of websites, according to Website Carbon Calculator.

Again, for comparison, mine is a B, above 64% of websites.

This has inspired me to leave WordPress and build my website to be much lighter.

In 2024, GarrettMickley.com will join the SmolWeb.

If I can, I’ll have it running on a solar-powered server, too.

Until then follow my RSS feed or register for my email newsletter:

I’m going to try this #100DaysToOffload thing.

The whole point of #100DaysToOffload is to challenge you to publish 100 posts on your personal blog in a year.

Posts don’t need to be long-form, deep, meaningful, or even that well written.

https://100daystooffload.com

I’m doing this for two reasons:

  1. To build my writing habit.
  2. To build an “audience.”
  3. Get on the #100DaysToOffload Hall of Fame.

I’m combining it with the (free) Ship 30 For 30 course.

Ship 30 For 30 says to simply write at lest 250 words.

It’s really easy to write 250 words on a subject you know and/or feel strongly about.

#100DaysToOffload + Ship 30 For 30 = Success!

Building a Writing Habit

I tried 30 Days to Better Writing, but then Sean McCabe deleted everything, even though many of us spent a lot of money on it.

I’ll write about that in the future, but it’s a post for another time.

Writing 100 posts in 365 days puts me at one post every three and a half days.

That should build a pretty good habit.

And Ship 30 For 30 will give me a good head start because I’ll be almost 1/3 done and only 1/12 into the year.

Building an “Audience”

The term “audience” makes me feel uncomfortable and impersonal, but hear me out:

I want to make enough money to support myself and my family independently.

That’s not possible without having a decent level of following.

I’ve been doing marketing, and more lately, copywriting, for a long time.

And there are so many other things I want to write about.

I’ve got several game ideas:

  • A kids Table Top Role Playing Game (TTRPG, like Dungeons & Dragons).
  • A far-future grand space TTRPG.
  • A cyberpunk + solarpunk TTRPG.
  • A bunch of casual games around a character I made up back in 2015 named Attitude Egg.

A couple of pulp serial ideas:

  • The Questicles is a fantasy game parody.
  • Stories written for the TTRPGs I make.

A couple of podcasts:

And I have SO MANY more ideas of things I want to create.

I didn’t even mention the music I currently do and want to continue to make.

Plus the musical instrument hardware I’ve started learning to build and code.

If I don’t quit my day job and focus on creating full-time, I will never have the time to make all of the stuff I want to make.

I will need a strong, friendly community to get there.

Much of that community will start as an “audience” first.

So, here’s to 2024, and here’s to #100DaysToOffload + Ship 30 For 30.

Please sign up for my email list and/or follow my RSS feed.

My “hierarchy of automation”:

  • If you have to do something more than once, automate it.
  • If you can’t automate it, delegate it.
  • If you can’t delegate it, make a checklist.

For my $dayJob, I’m moving our online courses from Teachable to Podia (ref), because the pricing and features are much better.

We have around 50 courses, some with several hours of video in them.

It’s a big move taking me two months to do.

  • I couldn’t automate it at my current level of knowledge.
  • I couldn’t delegate it because multi-factor authentication is required, and it costs money to give that access to another “seat.”
  • So, I made checklists and got to work.

But the task is so monotonous that I struggle a lot to get it done.

I set a hard deadline, told Dadboss it was time to launch it, and now I’m pulling an all-nighter to get it done.

Because I procrastinated way too long.

I got sidetracked working on things I’m more interested in.

More intellectually stimulating tasks.

Right now, as I type this, I’m waiting for videos to upload.

That’s the hardest part of this move.

Downloading and then re-uploading videos.

I’m at the mercy of the speeds my network and their servers will allow.

I’ve tried so many different ways to get organized.

So many apps.

As I wait for videos 3 and 5 of this course to upload, I’m reading about going back to basics:

Plain text everything.

  • Todo.txt looks promising.
  • Several friends have recommended Vim.
  • (None have recommended Emacs).

This guy also has some good ideas on using Github and plain text to manage pretty much everything:

I keep forgetting, I should be prioritizing time while something is uploading.

I just made a bunch of new tasks in Basecamp, the tool my $dayJob uses.

And while doing that, I should have had a video uploading.

This is another thing I need to think about more.

Using time wisely.

How do you get things done? 

What tools do you use for productivity? 

Any tips on managing time wisely?

Please let me know.

I want to kick ass in 2024 and beyond.

My wife-to-be had to step out for an errand while dinner was cooking.

She already did all the hard work.

Everything was cleaned, cut up, assembled, and put in the oven.

She said, “All you have to do is take it out of the oven in 40 minutes.”

I immediately set the timer on my watch.

And then I forgot about the cooking food altogether.

Because that’s how my brain works.

I can remember getting a Mr. Potato Head for my 3rd birthday.

I can remember the party was at a pavilion in the beach parking lot.

My cousin was upset because he wanted to play with it and he had to leave.

But the dinner I just put in the oven is completely gone from my mind.

So there I was, trying to be a good fiancé and do the dishes.

I took off my Apple Watch, put it on its charger in my office, and turned on a podcast on my iPhone.

Then returned to the kitchen.

My Apple Watch requires the iPhone for pretty much everything (I don’t have the Apple Watch w/ the phone service built in).

In my mind, if I put a timer on my Apple Watch, my iPhone should know.

And if I take off my Apple Watch, my iPhone should know.

So when I take off my Apple Watch, and there’s a timer on it, the iPhone should let me know when the timer goes off.

The Apple Watch requires the iPhone.

If I set a timer, it’s obviously something important.

The User eXperience should always be:

Err in the favor of the user.

It should always be:

Protect the user’s interests.

Meaning:

The timer going off on a very smart device in one room that is connected to another very smart device in another room much closer to the user (I know they can measure this) should prioritize making sure the user knows the timer is going off.

Is this a UX issue? 

Is it some setting I turned off somewhere along the line?

Or is the real issue my reliance on technology?

I’ll order a big red tomato timer for the kitchen counter.

And instead of being a cook, I’ll stick to making music.

I’m writing this on the day of our simulation January 02 2024 and setting the goal of attending DEFCON this year, from August 8-11 (or 7-12 if you’re counting travel days).

Even though I don’t deserve to be a hacker.

Tickets last year were $440 USD at the door so I’m expecting about the same.

And of course my fiancé (who will be my wife by then) will want to go, so that’s $880 cash at the door.

Wait is this some kind of joke?

That’s a lot of cash to be holding on to at once.

Maybe it’s not.

Maybe I’m just cheap or poor.

It would also be pretty cool to DJ at DEFCON and I think they give you a free ticket if you do, so that would save me some money.

The hotel prices don’t look too bad.

I can stay in Circus Circus for around $600.

Plane tickets are looking like $300-$400 (each) round trip which aren’t terrible.

But

What would be cooler is I can build my HACKERVAN™ by then.

(If you’re wondering what the HACKERVAN™ is, I’ll write more about that in the near future.)

Which will be much more expensive in the end, but pretty cool.

Plus, I would use it for a lot of trips so maybe less expensive in the end of the end.

That looks to be about 35 hours of driving. 

And I don’t really like driving so I’ll want to stop several places along the way.

Which means I should probably add a few days to the trip each way.

I wonder if there’s an app or website where you can put in  start and end locations and then it finds you all the interesting stuff to do on the way.

The ultimate road trip planner.

If not, maybe that’s what I should build to fund my trip!