Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Phillip Phillips and The Myth Making It

I know little about the artist Phillip Phillips. I will forever associate his music with the 2012 US Olympics Gymnastics coverage, as one of his songs was featured heavily there. I also know that a couple of his songs on in solid rotation on the radio.

One evening, I made my way over to his Playlists on YouTube and listened to his most recent album, Collateral. It was good stuff!

What caught my eye, however, were the stats on a number of the songs. Consider My Name:

Personally, I'd be blown away if I produced content that racked up 8,500 views. With that said, I'm astounded at how few views the songs on Collateral have accumulated. Here's a guy with a video that has logged nearly 80 *million* views, and has more than half a million subscribers. And yet he can put out an an album over a year ago, and comparatively nobody has listened to it.

I can't help but see this through the lens of building a business and other creative endeavors in my life. One wants there to be a rule: I'll bust my butt to 'make it' and then I should be able to coast from there. As Phillip Phillip's music shows, this rule doesn't exist. Here's a guy who by all measures has 'made it.' And yet, he has to hustle like any other artist or entrepreneur to keep making it.

I find this both comforting and alarming. Alarming not because of the effort that's involved, but because if you're doing this right, it means that failure is always an option. And comforting, because this is a great equalizer.

In short: past performance is not an indicator of future outcomes. Even if you're a fancy music star.

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Review: The Incomplete Book of Running

I found Peter Sagal's Incomplete Book of Running to be a delightful 'listen.' It's part how-to, part philosophical treatise on running and mostly entertaining memoir. Sagal is a host on NPR, so I suppose it's not surprising he'd put together a very entertaining audio book.

The how-to aspect of Sagal's book is useful; I could see gifting the book to someone who wants to be a runner but doesn't know where to start. And the witty writing left me smiling, if not outright laughing through a number of his personal stories. Another factor that makes the book work is how he shares his daemons and missteps in such a way that they are fuel for something greater. His battles with weight, depression and relationships are something he may want to forget, but we benefit greatly by hearing his complete story.

After coming off series of dense and epic reads, the Incomplete Runner was just what I needed to lighten things up, while still listening to something thought provoking. Regardless of your relationship with running, you'll be glad you gave the book a chance.

Monday, November 04, 2019

Why Yes, That is a Load Bearing Cookie

We had a fun weekend playing with J & A. Highlights included playing Tangrams and 'building' a Trader Joe's Haunted Cookie House. The house was fun to assemble, but as was our experience with similar kits, it wasn't especially tasty. What it lacked in freshness it more than made up for in entertainment value.

The Tangrams were perfect for both J and A. J tackled some of the puzzles without hints; something I don't typically attempt. And A was thrilled when the shape finally came together. See her moment of joy in the gif below. Too precious!

Friday, November 01, 2019

DC's Latest Memorial Treat

Whenever I think I've found the last unexpected, novel and interesting monument in DC, I find another.

I give you the National Fire Dog Memorial, located at F St NW and 5th St NW:

The monument was inspired by Colorado’s first arson dog – Erin. Her handler, Agent Jerry Means with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation created the monument when Erin passed away May 2010 from cancer. Agent Means wanted to recognize the tireless contributions arson dogs make in arson investigations. The monument design is a standing fire fighter looking down on his canine partner, who is looking back up at his handler ready to work. The monument is titled “From Ashes to Answers”.

It's about a half mile detour from the National Gallery of Art and there isn't much more to see than the pictures below. Still, it's worth taking the time to check it out in person. I'm not a dog person, but even I was moved by my visit.

OK DC, what quirky memorial is going to surprise me next?

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