Warning: tons of photos! Click here for the photos from the comic con earlier in the year.
A video of the functional R2-D2:
I’ve known Seth for quite some time: my old band played with his one-man-show at many a venue, I’ve written for his music blogs, and he stayed at my house a little bit last autumn. We even biked forty-four miles round trip to eat some Thai food. When Seth is around, things like that happen.
Read on as we discuss his upcoming tour, lifestyle changes, and robot drawings.
Tell me about your new “project”, the “14 Cities in 14 Days” tour.
Since I came back to the east coast, PA / NJ / NY area, I was getting restless. I needed to keep moving. I had also just went back for a proper visit to the dentist after about five years. Needless to say, I need a lot of work done. I thought up this east coast tour so I could stay close to “home” for proper dentist visits, and this challenge seemed unique enough for another book project. I didn’t want to follow up my previous ebook, ‘Seven Months’ with something called ‘Ten Months’ and just have it be, “yup, I’m still doing this!” That seemed boring, so I thought I’d do this.
Speaking of those two books, “How To Buy Your First Bike” and “Seven Months” — how will the e-book about the tour be different?
Well, I have the experience now of being on the road over ten months, so I know what sort of photos and stories I’m looking for, to include in the ebook. A pretty photo and caption aren’t going to cut it for this next one. I want to dig for stories in the different cities I’ll be visiting and trying to discover things for myself and be able to pass that along to readers.
You travel very light, so I know you don’t carry any books. Do you read any e-books? What kind of things are you into?
I generally don’t carry books, as they take up space and weigh a bit. The last book I carried was ‘Enchantment’ by Guy Kawasaki because I got it in the mail. Otherwise, I download books onto my Mac, using Kindle for Mac. I mostly read business and marketing books. ‘The Mesh’ by Lisa Gansky was really good. ‘Poke the Box’ by Seth Godin was great, as was ‘Do the Work’ by Steven Pressfield. Both of those are real “kick in the pants” sort of books that I like. I need them to remind me to keep doing stuff. Keep making stuff. As Seth Godin puts it, “keep shipping.”
As for ebooks by other bloggers, I buy practically anything by Ev Bogue and Ashley Ambirge (fact check that name, I’m typing this on my iPhone) [You got it! – Jay] of The Middle Finger Project. They’re both “tell it like it is” and down to earth.
I also find a lot to read from Tumblr. I follow some solid people on there. It’s like a finely curated RSS reader, linking to stories I actually care about. I follow a handful of photographers who generally write compelling articles about the state of their industry.
Can you describe some ways in which your new lifestyle has affected your
To be honest, I didn’t really like writing all that much. I had grown tired of writing about bands and tours, so this “bike thing” is exactly what I needed. I also knew that I didn’t want to just review bikes or talk about bike lanes. I’ve been taking chances with a lot of my writing in the past few months. I’ve openly written about my divorce, my fears, my doubts… I think I’m a lot more comfortable these days just letting go and hitting publish. Generally if I’m about to publish something and I get a tinge of fear, as in, “this could really rub someone the wrong way,” then I know I’m onto something. I got away from that over the years. With Buzzgrinder.com for many years I’d be sarcastic and poke fun of bands. I was pretty confident in what I did. Somewhere along the way I lost my confidence in that. To write with “an attitude” I guess. I try everyday to get back to that.
We’ve worked together in the music industry for a while now. In your experience with writing and publishing, do you see publishing transforming the same way the music industry has?
I see everything as standing still. Labels are still putting out CDs and hoping people buy them. Magazines are still cutting down trees, putting ink on paper and hoping people buy them. Sure, some labels are offering digital, and some magazines are finally making a push on the web, or even the iPad, but I think it’s all too little, too late. I’ve worked for a magazine before, as their web producer, and in speaking to other friends who’ve worked for magazines as web people — it’s always the same story; they’re a magazine FIRST. They’re cutting down trees, using ink, putting bundles of plastic onto trucks and delivering them to newsstands. The web is usually thought of as some cute little after thought. Web folk are expected to perform miracles with no staff, work long hours, adhere to a 24/7 news cycle and somehow not burn out. Oh, all that for $25k a year, too.
What’s with the robot fetish?
I grew up on Transformers, Vol-Tron and Robotech. I love that stuff. I can’t draw them all cool, magna, japanese style, so I just draw boxy little, broken down robots. Some people tell me they look cool, so I keep drawing them. I try to take my own advice on that – if you want to draw, draw. I’m not going to get any better at drawing robots if I don’t draw robots. It’s such a simple concept, but I’m still trying to learn that.
You give a lot of lifestyle advice on your blog. One’s one big piece of advice that you can give to anyone, regardless of their life goals or situation?
Be present. Whatever you’re doing, do it to 100% of your ability. If you’re a cashier working in a crappy retail store and getting paid crap and drowning in debt, just smile. You never know if the next person in line is hiring for their store down the street, and what better resume than a great attitude and acting like you care at least a little bit? The next person you meet at the coffee shop, a show, or in the office — they might be able to get you your next job. Or another gig. You might even fall in love with them and marry them. I’ve found that when you aware of your surroundings, 100% in the moment, when someone bumps into you and you’re able to strike up a conversation, it goes so much more smoothly. That’s hard to do when you’re constantly checking your Facebook wall or texting 14 different people while you’re at a party with your friends.