How you can help me make more stuff

This week, I launched a Patreon page to support my work.

I’ve been creating podcasts and videos on the internet for 13 years. During that time, I’ve been blessed to garner a small fanbase of people who support what I do, both financially and emotionally. While my life has gone through many changes during that time, I’ve continued to crank out content as quickly as humanly possible.

Balancing a full time job and all my extracurricular activities has always been delicate. My approach thus far has been to essentially make things when I feel like it. But I’ve now reached a phase (and let’s be honest, an age) in my life when I need to be as thoughtful as possible about how to use my time.

In the past year, I’ve launched several podcasts (including my pride and joy, Culturally Relevant) on top of my existing commitments. I’ve grown my YouTube channel to 15K subscribers. I’ve also continued to do plenty of live broadcasts on Twitter/Periscope.

I generate zero revenue from these activities, but I’ve enjoyed doing pretty much all of them. I am happy with the communities that have sprung up around them and want to keep investing more time, resources, and energy into them.

I also want to make even more stuff. I want to have more interesting conversations. I want to create more videos. I want to hire a producer and an editor to help me. I want to be able to justify spending hours taking a look back at [insert your favorite TV show/film/soundtrack/etc.] when possible.

The question I’m asking the world with this Patreon is: How much do people out there want to invest in me? It’s a terrifying question to ask the internet. But it’s the answer I seek. I think there’s value in paying for things you want to invest in and that you want to see continue (I support multiple Patreons pages myself and find it to be a very satisfying experience).

Yes, there are some cool rewards, but ultimately it’s about supporting me as an artist, encouraging me to make more things, and giving me resources to do so. If you’ve enjoyed any of my tweets/writings/podcasts/videos, I hope you’ll consider it. Thanks.

Also, if you want to hear me talk about why I’m doing this, check out the latest episode of Culturally Relevant.

TL;DR: I’ve launched a Patreon and I’d be much obliged if you could support me and my passion projects. Thank you.

Social media is a bloodsport

In 2019, a Twitter user named @maplecocaine unleashed this piece of wisdom onto the internet:

The tweet resonated with so many people because it captures the cyclical nature of social media. Every day the internet focuses its destructive energy on a small group of people, often leaving only smoldering wreckage behind before moving on to the next thing that temporarily catches its attention.

Recently, Geoff Shullenberger wrote a piece for Tablet Magazine that beautifully captures this phenomenon in much greater detail:

Regardless of which side wins any particular battle in the recurring speech wars, both parties to the conflict end up reinforcing the power of the overall system in which the drama is enacted. And so a pattern emerges that is larger and more consequential than the specifics of the latest political flare-up. It is not the arguments or ideas of any political group, but the structure of the digital platforms that sets the tone of the culture as a whole.

And what is the structure? It is an arena for perpetual conflict driven by an accumulation of grievances collected in a mass program of decentralized surveillance. We are incentivized, by the coded logic of the social media platforms where public engagement now takes place, to find reasons to hate each other. The algorithms that encourage and reward particular behaviors on Twitter and Facebook play on our deepest human instincts and desires to create spectacles of symbolic violence and sacrifice. Much of the time, the violence and spectacle has the appearance of a game or a light amusement. To take it too seriously, therefore, is to risk being an alarmist, and likely of the reactionary sort. But it is precisely the gamelike aspect of the platforms that keeps us playing. Playing and paying because the point, finally, is profit.

I cannot recommend this piece enough. It identifies precisely what drives so much of the conversation on social platforms. The platforms are calibrated to appeal to the basest instincts of human nature, and the masses demand a blood sacrifice on a near-daily basis. The platforms are ready and willing to serve one up, and make a buck on the side while doing so. Lives are destroyed (some justifiably, others not so much). The rich get richer. The house always wins.

I also think it’s worth noting that this thinking applies regardless of your beliefs on politics, “cancel culture,” or social issues. The drivers of conflict transcend ideology. The rewards and punishments are often the same.

I’m not saying don’t use social media but if you’re going to step into the ring, at least know what outcomes the ring is designed to achieve. As our discourse becomes increasingly polarized, it’s important to consider what incentives drive us and, if necessary, maybe take a step back from the keyboard before we (myself included) dunk on that terrible, terrible tweet.


A few things I’ve made recently:

Some other things that are worth reading on the internet:

Waypoint Radio’s Last of Us Part 2 review

The Last of Us 2 was a provocative piece of art and while I didn’t particularly care for it, I did spend quite a bit of time thinking about it, reading about it, and dissecting it.

I wanted to share who I think has done the best job tackling this complex topic: Waypoint Radio, which has recently published a six-hour long podcast (yup) about the game. It’s one of the most cogent, thoughtful explorations of what the game was trying to accomplish, and how it might have missed the mark. I consider it essential listening for anyone interested in The Last of Us Part 2.

Here is part 1 of the podcast.

Here is part 2 of the podcast.

When Normality Is a Blessing

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The other day, I did something that would’ve been considered normal during any other time in my life: I went out to a movie.

Of course, it wasn’t at a movie theater (the vast majority of movie theaters in America are still closed). Instead, it was at a pop-up drive-in movie theater created by a local restaurant called Canlis. I vlogged the experience and you can watch the whole thing here:

In the Before Time, Canlis was a high-end restaurant offering spectacular views of the Seattle area from its location at the top of Aurora Avenue. In recent days, their owners have realized that Seattle doesn’t need a high-end restaurant right now, so they’ve launched a series of experiments to keep their workers in business while also serving the community.

While these initiatives (found on their website) are ephemeral and seemingly random, there’s one thing that unifies them all: A level of care and thoughtfulness that you rarely find in the service industry.

Typically, the people who go to Canlis are celebrating a major life event like a wedding, a birthday, an anniversary. But when we arrived for the drive-in movie along with about 50 other parties, I imagine that many of us were in a state of exhaustion. The quarantine has worn many of us down mentally and the ongoing slow-motion train wreck of the pandemic just saps whatever energy is left.

That’s why the entire experience was so rejuvenating. Just being in the presence of people who valued the customer experience while being understanding that we are living in a situation where we are all fearing for our lives. It had been awhile since we’d received that level of care.

Sometimes the things that we used to consider as normal can be a great blessing in times of distress. I hope you can still find some normal things to celebrate these days.


It’s been awhile since the last email update! (So what else is new?) Something I’ve been struggling with is how to balance my time between the email updates, my many podcasts, and my YouTube channel. Whenever I start focusing on one, the others start calling for my attention, and I feel as a result that I don’t make that much headway on any of them.

But I’ve started making short, quick-hit videos on my YouTube channel and hoping to keep that consistently, while updating this newsletter with shorter pieces that summarize all that I’ve been working on. We’ll see how it goes.

A few things I’ve been working on lately:


Other interesting things from around the web: