2020: The Breakdown

It’s December 31st, 2020. One of the strangest years of my life is ending and I wanted to share a breakdown of some of what happened. Here you go.

Music

  • Two music releases. I put out two musical releases this year. First came the single ‘I’m Sick But I’m Ok‘ with Tulsa/LA bass badass Eric Arndt. Next came the ‘PRETTY DARK EP‘ ft. Zack Busby another bass monster I met many moons ago in Dallas Tx.
  • Collaborating with friends in other states. As I said above I did both of these releases with friends I couldn’t be in a room with. Eric recorded his parts at his home in Silverlake, CA and Zack did his in his bedroom in Dallas, TX. If nothing else this lockdown situation showed just how easy it is to collaborate with friends these days even if you live in different time zones.
  • Made two music videos. When we did the ‘PRETTY DARK EP‘ I wanted to make some simple videos. Using iPhones Zack and I captured some live performance videos. I mixed that with some mood footage and they turned out pretty cool. You can check it out here. Watch I Can’t Live‘ and ‘Cry Pretty Eyes‘.
  • Learned fingerpicking guitar. Last year I really got into Nick Drake. Listening to his guitar style made me want to learn how to fingerpick. After a few Youtube lessons, music documentaries and hours on the couch, I can now fool you into thinking I can fingerpick on the guitar. That’s a success in my book.
  • Studied the history of the blues. While learning how to fingerpick on the guitar Youtube kept suggesting a blues documentary. Watching it changed the way I play the guitar and hear music. I watched more and more documentaries on the blues. The songs, lyrics and riffs these guys and all their predecessors play used to sound harsh and out of tune to me. But when I finally heard it — it was Beethoven.
  • Studied the history of country music. Studying the blues led me to studying the history of country music. Because as Jimmie Rodgers said country music is just “the white man’s blues”. The most impacting things I saw were on Hank Williams and Townes Van Zandt. Simple songwriting is my new goal in life. The best songs are simple, then simpler, then simpler again.
  • Improved as a music producer. I produced both of the music releases I put out this year. I’m not Rick Rubin or Dr Dre but I am the best producer I’ve ever been. Every time I do it I get a little bit better.
  • Updated my music page. I’ve been meaning to update this page all year but it never happened. Late 2020 I went back to using a ToDo list on the Reminders app for my Mac and iPhone. Once the task went onto my todo list it magically happened. Funny how that works, hu?

Marketing

  • Continued to lead at MadSociety. MadSociety didn’t miss a beat in 2020. Shutdown? No problem. Our troop of online marketers had a lot of ups and downs, great follow alongs and some big monthly profits. Nothing makes me happier than seeing people make breakthroughs.
  • Put Youtube On Back burner. This year I decided to take a break from doing Youtube videos. I plan to return to at least more regular posting in 2021. If you missed me there stay tuned and I’ll see you soon.
  • Continued to run campaigns. It’s hard to believe it’s been 12 years since I started doing this stuff. I get asked a lot and yes I still run campaigns. It’s an obsession. Online marketing is the only thing I’ve become obsessed with in my life other than music. I don’t see myself retiring from either anytime soon.

Madness / Personal

  • Gained weight, Lost weight. In January 2020 my waist measured 30.8 inches. In November it was 34 inches. I put myself back on track by tracking calories, working out and getting 10,000 steps a day minimum. Four weeks later my waist is back to a much slimmer 32 inches.
  • Home Workouts. A few years ago I quit the gym for bodyweight workouts. So when the lockdowns happened I didn’t miss a beat. Workout days I have a pullup/dip station and also do chin ups, pushups, handstand pushups (against wall) and squats. Off days I do a 10 minute workout first thing in the morning made up of whatever I want. I usually do planks, pushups, static poses and stretching while listening to a 10 minute motivational video. Working out first thing in the morning changes your entire day and if you keep at it it will change your life.
  • Befriended backyard animals. For my birthday this year my mom sent me a big bag of ‘Critter Crunch‘. I’d been filming the squirrels and doves in my backyard and she thought it’d make a nice gift. It did. When I fed the animals our relationship changed. Now forty doves come to eat. The squirrels stand on their back legs and tap on my back window for peanuts. They know me now and let me pet them. Sometimes they come in the house to sniff around. They’ve become my lockdown buddies and boost my mental health every day.
  • Return to Minimalism. Mid 2020 I was feeling funky and decided to dig back into minimalism. I got rid of a ton of clothing, some furniture and rearranged my living room. Minimalism makes me feel good. The more clutter that goes, the better I feel.
  • Studied Isolation.: This year I got a PHD in isolation. I’ve been a hermit for a long time but this year was different. Ten months of complete solitude taught me how important the one or two social engagements a week are. A simple dinner or a jam session at home with a friend a few times a week keeps me sane. I can’t wait to be able to do that again.
  • Grew my hair out. When the lockdowns hit in March I decided not to cut my hair or beard for the rest of the year. After many months the beard is gone but the hair is still growing. When it gets long you can really see the grey in there. Who cares.
  • Embraced my inner cowboy. Last year I told my friends that the next time they saw me I’d probably be wearing a cowboy hat. This year that is true. I always ran from my small town/country/outlaw roots. Now that I’m not fighting it anymore I feel like I’m moving more effortlessly with the Universe.
  • Returned to RSS Reader. Due to the horror show that the internet has become (I blame social media) I have blocked the majority of it from my life. Now I use this RSS Reader to tune into a few sites that interest me (Feedly is good too). When I want to see what’s going on I don’t check the news. I check my little circle of sites and blogs that I enjoy. I liked the internet better before the general public and news media invaded. Doing this allows me to enjoy it like that again.
  • Didn’t travel for holidays. 2020 marks the first time I’ve ever spent the holidays completely alone. This year Christmas felt weird. Thankfully, a few friends and I swapped front porch gifts. They were the first faces I’d seen since March. It wasn’t all bad though. Not flying across the country and getting multiple flus this year was a definite plus.
  • Return to self-help. As I mentioned at the top of this I had a six month personal shutdown. I stopped moving, stopped taking good care of myself and felt like garbage. This month I snapped back and got back into self help. Now I walk 10,000 steps a day minimum and listen to mainly positive audiobooks and podcasts. David Goggins, Jocko Willink and Jordan Peterson have all been helpful.
  • Waking and baking. A few years ago I started experimenting with cannabis. It’s been nothing but good for me so far. When I’m stoned everything I do feels better and I get more done. These days I have a single hit with my morning coffee and workout. A warm feeling sticks with me all day. Edibles in the evening help me off to bed. Rinse, repeat.
  • Quit both political parties. It wouldn’t be a 2020 wrap-up if I didn’t mention politics. The events of this year made it obvious to myself and a few smart friends that we no longer fit into a Liberal or Conservative world. Both sides are awful. I empathize with the general public because they’re mostly brainwashed. But the people in office on both sides know exactly what they’re doing. And it’s gross.

What a wild year – I’m looking forward to what comes in 2021. How about you? Does any of this sound familiar? If you feel like sharing, blast away in the comments.

Otherwise – Happy New Year.


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