Charles Daly

Writer

Category: Blog the Block (page 1 of 14)

Mood Tunes and a WWI Podcast

“You know who doesn’t go around calling themselves ’the boss?’ Bosses.” —Ryan Holiday

I’m still reading Sam Shepard’s The One Insideso I haven’t got any book recommendations for you this week. I do however have a bunch of articles, on everything from mortgage payments to bullies, and two of the best Spotify playlists ever made.

Enjoy.

What I’m Reading 

“Your Life in Weeks” — If this article from Wait But why? doesn’t motivate you to get busy living, I don’t know what will. Spoiler alert: we don’t have much time.

Frogman Comics — Entertaining my inner-boy and doing some research for the novel with these vintage comics about the real-life exploits of the Navy frogmen. The Frogman series was originally published in 1952 in the middle of the Korean War, shortly after the role of the frogmen in D-Day and the Pacific had been declassified. The reprinting features ads from the 1950s including mail-order fitness plans for kids who are tired of being picked on for being skinny.

“‘Never Forget’: the Story of Pete Davidson’s Father killed on 9/11” — My brother, Michael Daly, honoring a fallen hero in the Daily Beast. 

“The Tradeoff: The True Story of my $624 mortgage payment”–Catherine Baab-Muguira tells the story of a real estate bargain that gave her the freedom to travel and write more. This post and her piece on whether or not writers need to move to New York have been helpful to me as I figure out my next move.

Ryan Holiday:

  • “Living Like a Boss” — On why you should shut up, keep your head down, and let your work speak for itself. He also gets into why consultants and self-proclaimed experts tend to be “clueless assholes.”
  • “Maybe and Might” — On the virtues of ambivalence and loosely held opinions.
  • Means— Why you shouldn’t take advantage of a dip in the economy to upgrade your living situation any more than you should move your house closer to the water when the tide goes out.

Robert Greene has two fantastic posts on dealing with difficult people which draw from his latest book The Laws of Human Nature:

 

What I’m Listening to

Hardcore History, “Blueprint for Armageddon” A multi-part, 20+ hour deep-dive into WWI, it’s causes and implications extending to the present day.

Two Spotify playlists: Little Big Clap and Really Good Mood Tunes. If you’re getting married anytime soon, forget the DJ, don’t hire a band, all you need is an AUX cable and these playlists.

What I’m Writing

Deep in the re-writes of my dad’s book and a novel. Anyone can start two books in a year, finishing them is a challenge.

What I’m Doing

Exploring the Cape Cod National Seashore. Henry David Thoreau said of this stretch of coast,

“A man may stand there and put all Americans behind him.”

 


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Don’t Order Fish on Monday

“Your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park.”
–Anthony Bourdain

What I’m Reading

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. A must-read for anyone who’s ever worked in a restaurant or eaten in one.  It’s where he explains why you should never order fish on a Monday. This is my first time re-reading it since he eighty-sixed himself, and I’m rapidly alternating between anger and admiration.

Bourdain’s Articles on Medium including one about #metoo and his feelings of personal responsibility for having perpetuated a culture of “grotesque behavior” in kitchens with his early writing.

 “Here’s what Happened when I Quit Drinking A year Ago.” Quitting drinking from a perspective that’s a little more relatable to nonalcoholics.

How to Read More–a lot More.” In a short post reminiscent of Orwell’s “Books vs. Cigarettes“, Ryan Holiday reminds us that reading is not a luxury.

What I’ve Been Listening to

 The audiobook of Kitchen Confidentialin which Bourdain voices the accents of his runners, busboys, and mob-connected purveyors.

The Velvet Underground & Nico.

Weezer covering “Africa” by Toto after being successfully petitioned to do so by a fan on Twitter.

What I’ve Been Writing

I’ve been taking notes for the first time while I read.


Micky Avalon Revisited

Instead of talking about how much money we have, let’s talk about how much we don’t have.”

–Micky Avalon

 

What I’m Reading

Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance between the FBI and the Irish Mob by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill. The true crime story that inspired The Departed and Black Mass. A must-read for new arrivals in Boston who don’t know the story of the city’s disturbing pre-tech past.

Just Kids by Patti Smith. On art, love, life, loss, and trench mouth.

5 Things Every Entrepreneur can Learn from Rappers Micky Avalon and Simon Rex.”

What I’m Listening to

McCauley Culkin on Joe Rogan. The Home Alone star has grown up to write, paint, podcast, and found an art collective.

Florence Welch reading “Lovesong” by Ted Hughes.

Micky Avalon.

What I’m Watching

The world series with my dad.

 

What I’m Writing

Working on a New Year’s deadline for dad’s memoir.

Finished marking up the rough draft of my novel. I’ll be posting my novel log, documenting the writing process, on Medium. Stay tuned.

 

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Note to my 19-Year-Old-Self

“What one does is what counts. Not what one had the intention of doing.”

Pablo Picasso 

Here’s what I’ve been up to this week…

 

Lately, most of blogging has been on Medium. I’ll be linking to those posts in these weekly roundups.

 

What I’m Writing

“29 Writing Tips for my 19-Year-Old Self”

“Writing Tips I Put on my Wall 

How to Get Sh*t Done as a Freelancer” which was featured in Data-Driven Investor.

My dad and I are getting close to a submittable manuscript of his memoir–stay tuned.

I recently finished a rough draft of a pulp-style crime novel. It turns out writing two books in a year is easier than finishing one. As anyone who has ever run a race or climbed a mountain knows, the two hardest parts are starting and finishing.

What I’m Reading

Driven to Distraction: recognizing and coping with Attention Deficit Disorderby Dr. Edward Hallowell

Getting Off: One woman’s journey through sex and porn addiction  by Erica Garza

The First Quarry, by Max Allan Collins

 

What I’m Listening To

Charlie Parker. But I’ve started wearing earplugs while I’m working and reading–again, adult ADD.

 

What I’m Doing

Taking a free online studio art class through the Museum of Modern Art on Coursera: Postwar Abstract Painting. It’s like Bob Ross but in the style of Jackson Pollock, Barnett Newman, and Mark Rothko.

Send me an email if you want a painting.


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Maybe this Isn’t for You

Charles Daly writer journal show your work maybe this isn't for you

Charles Daly writer journal show your work maybe this isn't for you

Charles Daly writer journal show your work maybe this isn't for you

Friday Roundup,

“Submerged, the idle chatter of the monkey mind recedes. Each stroke, each lap is like a metronome, lulling me into a calm state of presence. When my swim is complete, I have an inescapable feeling of gratitude, with a light dusting of accomplishment.”

–Rich Roll 

Happy Friday, from Florida. It’s been grey here, so don’t be jealous. Here’s what I’ve been up to this week.

What I’m Reading:

Ryan Holiday’s case for swimming as meditation. I’m getting back in the pool after a little hiatus. Holiday’s article reminds me why I swim.

An article in the Times Magazine arguing “The Age of the Artistic Recluse is Over.”

 

What I’m Listening to:

Urban Hymns – the Verve. They’re known as a one-hit-wonder for “Bitter Sweet Symphony,” but the whole album is brilliant. “Neon Wilderness” has been the song I play on repeat while I work.

 

Jocko Willink’s interview with Peter Attia, an ER surgeon who treated the gunshot wounds of the Baltimore gangsters who inspired The Wire. 

 

What I’m Doing:

Swimming. Bodysurfing. Talking about fountain pens and Raymond Chandler on Reddit.

 

Doing the workouts from Jocko Willink’s Discipline Equals Freedom: a field manualThese are INTENSE. On a road trip last week, I did his hotel room pushup set. It went like this:

5 x 10 pushups

2 x 50

4 x 25

5 x 20

5 x 10

(400 pushups total. Rest between each set)

 

 

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5 True Crime Podcasts

I’ve been obsessed with true crime podcasts lately. Because they’re so much fun, because serial killer stories are more uplifting than current events, because I’m doing research for a top secret fiction project I can’t talk about yet.

 

These are my favorites.

A Killing on the Cape

“You’re sure to fall in love with old Cape Cod.”

ABC (20/20)’s investigation of the murder for which every man in the small town of Truro, MA was a suspect at one point. Look no further for your Serial fix.

 

This one’s fun for me because it takes place in my backyard.

 

True Crime Garage

“Be Kind, and Don’t litter.”

Just a couple of guys drinking beer in a garage and talking about crime. The depth of their research is unreal. They’ll devote six, seven hours, over three parts, to a case if that’s what it requires. They revisit cold cases with new developments and bring in the occasional expert from the online amateur detective community.

 

My Favorite Murder

“Stay sexy. Don’t get murdered.”

The Pumpkin Spiced Latte of crime podcasts, this one will make you feel a little less weird about listening to serial killer stories for entertainment.  Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark break up the gory details of the case at hand with basic AF interjections like “what the actual fuck?”

If you’re already up on the killers they discuss, it’s not likely you’ll learn anything new, but it’s worth tuning in for the banter.

All Killa No Filla 

“Dead Funny.”

The U.K’s contribution to the all female true crime podcast sub-genre–for which the audience is huge apparently. Rachel and Kiri deliver the same mood-lightening tangents as their sisters across the pond at My Favorite Murder but with a bit more research.

It’s super charming and adorable when they correct their various Britishisms for a global audience. Like in the John Wayne Gacey episode when they say Gacey was “leathered, I mean drunk, I mean hammered.”

Dirty John

“Where other people saw red flags, she saw a parade.”

Hailed as “the best true crime podcast since serial,” by NME, Dirty John tells the story of the scumbag of the century and the woman he duped.

This is a production of the L.A times. Like NPR’s Serial and ABC’s  A Killing on the Cape, this one benefits from serious journalism and the resources of a major media company.

 

The Why…

Joe Rogan,  absolutely kills it at sharing something every day. His podcast is one of the most popular on iTunes, and at over a thousand episodes is among the most prolific. Part of what makes his output possible is that his show is largely unedited, taking the form of free-flowing conversations that can go on for two to four hours.

 

The Joe Rogan Experience doesn’t have the production value, the narrative structure, or the cool synth interludes of a Serial or This American Life, but it isn’t encumbered by the editorial or production constraints that force those shows to work on seasons like television programs. Rogan has true creative control over his platform and the result is a space where compelling and controversial figures can talk about whatever the hell they want.

 

In my own blog-smithing, I’ve taken a lesson here, because, for the longest, time I was held back by the urge to be a certain way or write a certain kind of post–all authoritative, pseudo journalistic, and, in my worst moments, life-coachy–rather than let this outlet develop organically into whatever it’s going to be.

 

So, today, I set out to write a post about the big “why?” behind all this putting oneself out there stuff. I wanted to reiterate the cliché but very true advice that life’s to short not to make stuff and share it with the world–if that’s what you want to do with your short time here. It should come as no surprise that there’s no shortage of voices online saying just that.

 

I thought about doing a listicle of lesser-known sources advising you to follow your passion–or, in Ryan Holiday’s case, follow your purpose. Instead, I settled on a single clip from episode #972 of the Joe Rogan Experience that makes the simple case for why you might want to stop “wasting your life in the 9 to 5 rat race” and how to do it.

 

YouTube

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(By the way, if you’re keeping score re: Joe’s output, #972 was released on June 7th, 2017, and he’s now on episode #1037. That’s one episode ever 2.3 days. Imagine how productive he’d be without all those edibles…)

 

“People with Real jobs are so mad at us right now…”

Be a Minimalist

Another loaded milenial word… But Rogan is talking about priorities. Sort out what’s important to you and make it a priority, because you don’t have much time. Quit trading your living hours for “stuff.”

 

Make Enough Money

Nobody’s advocating starving. It’s about knowing what enough means to you and not busting your ass to earn more than that when you could be spending that time having an experience or working on something meaningful.

 

Rogan’s guest, Ari Shaffir suggests working on a tugboat in Seattle for a few months to save up for an adventure.

 

Take a Gap Year

In Europe, they have the same expectation that college is the next step after high school, but they also have a culture of taking time off. Parents don’t freak out when their kids want to go see Thailand before the show up to University.

 

A too-easy and totally untrue criticism of world travel is that it’s a luxury. Bullshit. You can join the peace corps, you can get a job overseas. My first job out of college was teaching English in Korea. Half the Americans I met there were sending money home to pay off student loans. When I left, I was freaking out, wondering how I could afford to live in the States. It was cheaper to keep traveling, so I moved to Spain.

 

You don’t have to be a child of privilege to travel or quit your job to follow your bliss, but you do have to reevaluate your priorities.

 

Get out of the Nine-to-Five Mindset

Rogan and Shaffir unpack the absurdity of sick days, vacation days, and the 40 hour workweek. Nothing original here, but it’s funny to hear Rogan make the case in his old-timey boss’ accent:

“Nine-to-five, nine-to-five, nine-to-five, morning, Bob; morning, Sam;  nine-to-five…could you imagine?”

 

The clip ends with a transition to a new rant about the tactical virtues of whipping your dick out in a fist fight.

 

 

 

 

Friday Roundup, be here now

“You can’t ask for flowers– know what I mean– you either get’m or you don’t.” 

–Liam Gallagher 

Fall is (finally) here. This is what I’ve been up to for the first week in November:

 

What I’m reading: 

The Killer Inside Me — Jim Thompson: A classic of neo-noir and American Crime with a forward by Stephen King. Thompson’s masterpiece (if you want to call it that) tells of a amiable small town Texas deputy with a homicidal streak. The influence of this disturbing little book is all over American Psycho, Silence of the Lambs, and No Country for Old Men. 

 

Show Your Work! — Austin Kleon: The book that ended my blogging dry-spell. Thank you, Austin!

 

What I’m listening to:

The story of Vice’s humble origins in Montréal on How I Built This.

 

A Killing on the Cape, ABC’s podcast series on the Christa Worthington murder.

 

Liam Gallagher’s solo album. It’s very good… Sounds more Oasis than his brother’s solo work.

 

Also,  Liam’s  Weekly Music Corner for Vice is on point.

Liam Gallagher’s Weekly Music Corner Ep. 1 (HBO)

Our new music critic, Liam Gallagher reviews new music in his debut installment of Music Critic. Today’s songs include: “Cellophane” by Metz, “Fuck Ugly God” by Ugly God, “Lady Powers” by Vera Blue and “Medication” by Damien Marley.

 

What I’m Doing:

Exploring Montréal, including the city’s celebration of Leonard Cohen, which I wrote up.

 

Showing my work

 

Working on a novel, but I can’t talk about it yet.


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5 Documentaries on Showing your Work

For inspiration on how to show your work , or to just get fired-up about the creative process in general, check out these five documentaries that take a look at the journey, the sweat, and the drama behind the finished product.

 

Oasis: Supersonic 

 

Supersonic chronicles the hard work and brilliant musicianship that would catapult Oasis to superstardom and the clash of egos and sibling rivalry that would be their undoing.

 

Depending on how you look at it, this is either a cautionary tale or a study in what you can get away with if your work is absolutely fucking brilliant.

 

For more studio craft and less tabloid buffoonery, check out the hour long Oasis: Definitely Maybe, a generic but interesting rock doc on the making of their debut album.

 

The Making of South Park: 6 Days to Air 

If there ever was a treatise on the power of deadlines to unleash creative productivity, this is it. Each episode of South Park is written, recorded, and animated in just 6 days. Far from a sweatshop, the South Park Studio is full of laughter, and the sort of goofing off that’s vital to creativity no matter how tight a deadline you’re on.

 

South Park’s co-creator, Trey Parker, relates the self-imposed crunch his team finds themselves in every week, “There’s a show on this Wednesday, and we don’t even know what it is.” They put out episodes not in spite of this ambiguity, but because of it. You get the impression that it would be a very different–and probably less special–show if they gave themselves more time. The void is part of the process. Something to keep in mind if you’ve committed to share something every day.

 

This one will make you feel lazy and, hopefully light a fire under your ass.

 

Funky Monks

 

Available in full on YouTube (below,) Funky Monks is a black-and-white fly-on-the-wall view of the making of the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s 1991 album Blood Sugar Sex Magik: the one with “Under the Bridge” and “Give it Away” on it, the one that would make the Chili Peppers a band your grandma has heard of.

 

The band was living in their producer, Rick Rubin’s, mansion/studio at the time. Things get pretty fratty, but you can see the value of living in the same space as your work in progress.

Red Hot Chili Peppers: “Funky Monks” Uncut Full Documentary (1st Edit Uncut with bonus footage)

Use of this video is for “Fair Use” for Educational purposes showing different recording techniques, the creative process and is for comments on Artistic Content. There is a bit of an issue at the beginning of the Video at 0:00:10 – 0:00:36 as it was eaten by my VCR during transfer.

Abstract: the art of design (Netflix series) 

 

Each episode features a designer talking through and demonstrating their craft. It’s filmed in a way that gets inside the voice of its subjects and feels like a creative product all its own, not just a documentary about creatives.

 

The series includes New Yorker cover artist Christopher Niemann, Nike shoe designer Tinker Hatfield, and designers of cars, sets, and buildings.

 

Hearts of Darkness: a Filmmaker’s Apocalypse

hearts of darkness filmmakers apocalypse francis ford copalla

While her husband was shooting Apocalypse Now, Eleanor Coppola kept home videos and audio recordings of his work. This started as a way to keep herself occupied while adjusting to life in the Philippine countryside, where the family had relocated for the duration of the project.

 

Everything that  can go wrong goes wrong: a hurricane wipes out the set, people get malaria, Coppola burns through all his Godfather money and everything he can borrow, Brando throws tantrums over his body image issues, and the Philippine Army Helicopters–hired for the film–fly away in the middle of a shot on orders to go fight actual rebels.

 

Copolla’s private rants, which Eleanore recorded without his knowledge, are cringeworthy yet familiar to anyone who’s ever felt over their head on a creative project.

 

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