Friday Inspiration 383

Who among us has not looked at a classic American diner and thought, “Wow, that’s a throwback to a different era”? Well, thanks to my newest YouTube rabbit hole, Architectural Digest, I have news for you: Those diners are often throwbacks to three different eras. (video)

screen capture from Architect Breaks Down Why All American Diners Look Like That


This is an old post by Austin Kleon but the sentiment behind it is as relevant today as it was five years ago: Be the light or reflect it.

My friend Doug Mayer wrote a great book about the UTMB that’s coming out June 13th, and since he’s a journalist, I know he was trying to be objective in his writing, but halfway through reading my copy last week, I found myself envisioning myself running the UTMB. It’s a fun read, and he is objective, writing about the birth, evolution, and missteps of the race over its 20-year-history, but it’s also inspiring. I’m not trying to be objective about it: if you like books about running, you should get yourself a copy. (<–this is not an affiliate link, so I don’t make any money off of it, but in the interest of full disclosure, if Doug sells enough books, he might buy me a croissant next time I visit him)

I got to interview Martinus Evans back in 2020 about his running/personal brand, 300 Pounds and Running, and his Slow AF Run Club. His book came out this week, and one of the best things that can happen to you when you have a book come out happened last week: The New York Times wrote a story about him. My copy of his book is in the mail, and I’ve kind of been checking how the book sales are going for him, and they are going great. If you haven’t heard of him, the Times article is a great place to start.

Jonathan Ellsworth asked me months ago if I’d like to write a piece for Blister’s Open Mic series, and he said I could write whatever I wanted, and I’ve been thinking a lot today about what apps and websites and companies “feed” me based on what they think I like vs. what I actually like. So I wrote about algorithms, and listicles, and used bookstores, and the joy of wandering, both digitally and in real life.

I subscribe to a bunch of Substack newsletters, and I find that music historian and critic Ted Gioia’s The Honest Broker lures me in at a pretty high rate, whether it’s about How Web Platforms Collapse, or Barnes & Noble, or music. Last week, he touched on a topic I think about a lot—how to make a living as a writer (or any type of creative), and the dilemma of trying to get your work published by someone else vs. self-publishing. He’s 65 years old, and he’s been doing this long enough to see a lot of changes, and he’s succeeded in both traditional and self-publishing (his Substack has 65,000+ subscribers). Pretty impressive use of a seven-syllable word in the headline for the piece, too.

As of this Friday morning at 8:30 central time, I am traversing the state of Iowa with a group of fellow idiots as part of Relay Iowa. I am one of 10 members of a relay team, and one of us is running at all times, while the other nine of us are riding in vans and hopefully getting a little bit of sleep. I will very likely be writing about this experience afterward, but if you’d like to track our progress, we are team Number 16 (out of 22 teams), and our team name is QC TUR(D)s (everyone else on the team is from the Quad Cities and is a Trail + Ultra Runner, hence the acronym), and you can see how we’re doing via this link:


For my recent art installation at Assembly in Seattle, I made up 12 “first draft” coffee mug designs to put on the shelves there next to the prints we hung. Well, we only have room for six of these designs now, so for the month of June, we’re having a sort of Thunderdome playoff: Only the most popular designs survive. The six mugs that sell the most will stay on, the six mugs that sell the least will be deleted—which I guess makes them “Limited Edition” mugs. I’ll post the rankings at the end of every Friday newsletter until the end of June (for now, they’re listed in no particular order), when the winners will be announced. So far:



But First, Existential Dread mug: 

but first existential dread mug


A Portrait of the #1 Dad Mug mug:

Portrait of the #1 Dad Mug mug


Oh Yeah mug: 

Oh Yeah mug


How To Make The Perfect Cup Of Coffee mug: 

How To Make The Perfect Cup Of Coffee mug


Hello Lionel x Adele mug: 

hello lionel x adele mug


Defend Tofu mug: 

defend tofu mug




I Don’t Care What Some CEO’s Morning Routine Is mug: 

I Don't Care What Some CEO's Morning Routine Is mug



Life Is Heck Then You Die mug: 

Life Is Heck Then You Die mug

My Other Coffee Mug is a Larger Coffee Mug mug: 

My Other Coffee Mug Is A Larger Coffee Mug mug

I’m Like An Alcoholic But For Coffee mug: 

I'm Like An Alcoholic But For Coffee mug

Hand Bald Eagle mug:

Hand Bald Eagle mug



Cappuccino Punisher mug:

Cappuccino Punisher mug