Only allow yourself to experience emotions that help you.

Think about it. It’s kind of like clothes. You can wear anything you want. Would people respect you more if you wore a suit every day? Maybe. Maybe not. But if they did, would you then respect yourself more?

If you get sad a lot, if you get angry a lot, if you complain a lot, if you talk about your own problems a lot, that’s what you’re putting out into the world. And what happens? Nothing good. You just make it slightly worse for those around you.

And, much more importantly, you make everything worse for yourself–you unintentionally prevent yourself from doing what you actually want to do, which is be happy and successful.

(Once my friend said she didn’t invite me to a party because she “wanted it to be fun.”)

And it’s usually just a series of random circumstances which have made some of us develop patterns like these.

So I have done this before, and it has helped a lot. I’m gonna do it again, and you’re welcome to join me. July is my birthday month, so this can be your gift to me.

All you have to do is, for the month of July, when something bad happens, or even whenever you just feel vaguely crappy for no reason like every damn day when you wake up, just go, “Oh, wait, no, I’m doing that thing with Ryan for July,” and don’t wallow in those feelings. Don’t dwell on them. Become buoyant. “Oh, anger? Nah, I have to wait till August for that.”

If you are in an utterly awful situation, which will probably happen, you can ask yourself this question: “What’s great about this?” Find something. There will be something.

A surgeon in the ’50s noticed that, after a nose job, it took 21 days for his patients to get used to their new faces. Or 21 days to no longer sense a phantom limb.

That’s why Covid became so normal so fast. On average, it only takes 21 days.

So, yeah, you guessed it, the point is that when August comes, you will have built up a new habit by then that benefits you, and you won’t actually go back to feeling or thinking as many negative things as you did before.

But, either way, couldn’t hurt. So I’ll send a line or two as a reminder in these emails in July.

See you next week,


How Crocodiles Survived the Dinosaur Extinction

There are a handful of creatures that have survived relatively unchanged for millions of years– birds, frogs, salamanders, bees, and crocodiles. Why did they go on when the biggest baddest things ever, dinosaurs, didn’t?

It wasn’t because they had a plan and had everything figured out in advance. It was because they had options and remained flexible. Everything that survived, it either had wings or was amphibious.

So a crocodile is a tough predator, sure, but it’s comfortable both on land and in water. So if there was something wrong with the land, it would go in the sea. If there was something wrong with the sea, it would go on the land. And when the meteor hit and raised ash into the air, the crocodile was comfortable hunting in total darkness.

A lot of times we tend to think of success as the final showdown, shooting the photon torpedoes into the exhaust pipe. But in real life it’s more about probability. What’s the probability of winning the lottery? Low. So don’t play the lottery or spend your time on lottery-like activities, like sending in a resume which is literally one of thousands that likely won’t even be read.

Instead, starve out the enemy over a calculated period of time. Force them to cross a swamp. Instead of trying to kill every stray ant, plug the hole where they’re entering.

As far as remaining flexible–don’t be so sure of what you want that you wouldn’t take something better. Have you ever been looking for a jacket before leaving your house, and you have a specific one in mind you’re trying to find? And in the course of trying to find that one jacket, you’ve passed over others that would have solved your problem just as good? Just wear the first one you see. Get the hell out of the house. That is the most important thing.

This ability to be flexible and ride loose in the saddle, to act in the moment and not think about it much before or after, is a very tough thing for me, but I heard they did a study with runners, and they told them to run at 85% of their full capacity. They found that when told to run just at 85%, they actually ran faster than they normally would trying to run at their full 100%, because of the lubricating effect of relaxation on performance.

So anyway, sorry for rambling. If you’ve been following along with the positivity challenge, depending on when you read the first email where I mentioned it, you should be now nearing the end of your 21 days. Give it a few more for good measure. But I bet some “why me” reactiveness, resistance to situations, has already begun popping up less or with less intensity. Or at least… I hope that’s the case.

Thanks for reading, you crocodile you.


Miles of Secret Trails, Rivers, Old Stonework in Pasadena

I found this one day by accident and then kept coming back to it as a photo / movie location. There’s miles and miles of nature and old stonework and a river underneath the Suicide Bridge in Pasadena, California.

If you wanna check it out, park at the San Pascual Stables and make for the trailhead at the north end of the lot. This is the Arroyo Seco Trail (“dry stream” in Spanish), which follows portions of the 25-mile seasonal river via a bike, hike, and equestrian track. (Check the map before you begin, to get a better idea of the entire city-to-mountain route along the waterway.)

Thanks for reading,


The Boyfriend 1971 Starring Twiggy

Since you like crazy visual stuff and costumes and fashion, here’s The Boyfriend and Donkey Skin.

It’s like they’re both competing for how crazy they can get.

In Donkey Skin she wears a dress “the color of weather.” I kept watching it to see if I could figure out how they did the effect, and I couldn’t.

Enjoy. 🙂





Thanks for reading,


How to See the Big Picture

So I heard one of the main traits really successful and innovative people have is the ability to see the big picture.

Meaning you haven’t just mastered one skill, but you can zoom out and look at the whole hedge maze from above.

Sometimes l feel like I’m looking through a dark room with just a flashlight. I can only see what’s in the little circle. But I know there’s a lot more there. I just don’t know how to broaden the little circle.

But then I started playing chess. Chess lets you broaden the little circle.

If you lose at chess again and again and again, it trains your brain to see the big picture, to see all the little things that are all happening at the same time, to accurately predict and plan for what is going to happen next, to ensure your survival and success in the imperfect real world, instead of just your own head.

This video explains.  

On board? Well, chess.com is totally goddamn free. I don’t work for them or anything. But go there. Hit “play computer.” Play each bot (they have faces) again and again and again until you can beat them without the hints. And then go on to the next hardest one. (But use the hints to teach yourself.)

The intermediate bot “Nelson” is extremely aggressive and it took me weeks to beat him without any hints, me losing sometimes three games a day. (I didn’t know it before, but chess games can be super short, like only five minutes.)

It’s still very difficult for me to beat Nelson, but I can now do it, and now I find myself thinking slightly different in real life.

Here’s me with a magnetic chess board I got.

Thanks for reading,


Mt. Wilson Observatory

I haven’t been here yet, but I really wanna go.

Albert Einstein and astronomers at the Mount Wilson Observatory

“Built in 1904, the Mount Wilson Observatory is an astronomical observatory located in the San Gabriel Mountains near Pasadena, California. The observatory contains two historically important telescopes: the Hooker telescope, which was the largest telescope in the world from its completion in 1917 to 1949, and the 60-inch telescope which was the largest operational telescope in the world when it was completed in 1908.”

Free of charge, you can view the historic Hooker 100-inch telescope from the Visitors’ Gallery inside the dome. The hours are from 10AM to 4PM every day. (Check though if they’re back from Covid.)

Also I know what it’s like to feel unappreciated as an artist, so I thought it’d be cool to include other people I like in these emails. Check out @donnie_odonnell on Instagram.

Check out @donnie_odonnell on Instagram!

Thanks for reading,


Blow-Up 1966

Have you seen Blow-Up? If not, at least just watch the great effect on the opening credits… Both De Palma’s Blow Out and Coppola’s The Conversation copy the plot, only they capture a murder with audio tape instead of a photograph. Plus Godard’s Weekend!





As always, this movie site is pretty great, but you should probably install these ad blockers first.



Also send me some recommendations too! So far only two people have. 🙂

Also I know what it’s like to struggle or feel under-appreciated as an artist, so I thought it’d be cool to include people here that you may not have heard about–>

Check out @schraegetypen on Instagram

Thanks for reading,


Rainbow Helicopters Are Flying Over Fred Flintstone’s House

Right next to me, as I write this, there’s an older white guy asleep in his car. White shirt, glasses on, eyes closed, mouth open. A class act, just like me, waiting out some awful piece of real life in a McDonald’s parking lot in Hollywood, California.

What I am waiting for is photos. I just got back from an insane trip to the Grand Canyon, and I took a lot of strange pictures of myself along the way.

At the actual canyon, I’d heard a bunch of married couples who sounded like they hated each other but would probably never get divorced. “You’re stepping on it.” “I’m not STEPPING on it.” “Yes, you are. Look, you’re going right back INTO it.”

When it started to rain, an Australian in yoga pants said that she thought she just needed a hot drink.

All that was all right, though. It made me feel like I was smart. Like driving all night to Arizona by yourself was a smart move, and not at all sad and crazy. Another positive thing was that I got to see several rainbow-colored helicopters. They were beautiful and I tried to photograph them, but I was made to stay on one side of a fence.

On the way back I stopped to take my photo with a two-story cutout of Fred Flintstone, but then discovered that someone had built an entire Bedrock City behind it. “This place is really cool,” I said to the only employee in sight, a Native American woman sitting next to a turnstile in a huge, artificial cave. She didn’t really look at me when she answered. “Yeah, it’s… old cartoons.”

In Fred Flintstone’s house, there was the bird record player that says “It’s a living.” In the barber shop there was a good painting on the wall of Ann Margrock. Bright orange hair and a tight, purple, animal-hide dress. There was a brontosaurus with stairs going up its tail that was as big as a real brontosaurus. There was a volcano you could walk inside of and an orange-red stage with a wooly mammoth on it. But nobody cared. There were real wild bunnies living in some of the buildings.

Whoever built this place knew what the hell they were doing. They were inspired. They weren’t lazy. But nobody cared at all. I now listen quite often to a late-night radio show where people make outrageous statements about Bigfoot and aliens. One caller said he saw angels standing on the roof of his trailer. Another person on the show, a guest, said that the moon was fake. The people on this program are always positive that these things are actually happening, but they never know exactly who is to blame. Possibly future humans. But I was in the same boat with Bedrock City. It must have been aliens or the government or The Devil that built this place. The colors were too good. But what were they trying to tell me? SPEAK FUCKING ENGLISH.

The rest of the trip back was uneventful. When I returned to Los Angeles and entered a restaurant wearing a shirt I’d slept in, an old, unmotherly waitress told me I had beautiful eyes.


Okay, truth be told, I wrote that five years ago. Since then it was announced that Bedrock City was going away forever, but it’s not. You can still go there. This article explains.


Thanks for reading this far 👋🏻


10 of My Worst Ideas

The difference between people really being good or not good artistically–it’s not what kind of film you shoot with or what kind of paint you paint with. It’s what kind of creative ideas you come up with.

So again, all you have to do to come up with good ideas every day is get up a little earlier than you normally do, set a timer on your phone for 20 minutes, and then ALLOW yourself to write down STUPID ideas. (Good ones slip through.)

I went back over all my dumb ideas for the last couple months and picked out the best of the worst. (I came up with a lot of great practical ones too, including this very email you’re reading right now, but these are funnier.)

1. “Put different seeds inside of each other and try to make a Siamese-twin fruit of two different kinds, like a half-watermelon half-pumpkin… that’d probably work. Just fields and fields of half-watermelon, half-pumpkin freaks.”

2. “Make an effort to make friends with men.”

3. “Ask people about questions you have but cannot answer such as marriage sounds awful but being alone also sounds awful.”

4. “Use what you know about development and habits to engineer interesting human children – such as if you make them do weird shit every day from when they are born they will not question it and develop it as a habit, and will only learn when they are 12 that nobody else does that, but by that time it will be too late, the weird habits will have stuck and or already paid off.”

5. “Get business suits for winter.”

6. “Do old pornos as movies in emails. ‘Do you wanna watch pornography with me?'”

7. “Keep being super cool.”

8. “Make a bedroom that’s like a cave in a house with stalactites and stalagmites and some of them have light switches and outlets built in and maybe even like shelves and chairs and a conversation pit built right into the cave material, but also there’s separate furniture that stands out in contrast to the cave color, so like orange or red furniture.”

9. “Brush your teeth.”

10. “Have a toupee made… maybe ask the internet which options they like best.”

Thanks for reading this far,


Le Souffle Au Coeur / Murmur of the Heart

My best friend’s French teacher kept saying, “I don’t know if I should be showing you this” while they watched Le Souffle au Coeur AKA Murmur of the Heart in high school. She never turned it off, though, and that’s how I first heard about it and saw it. (Thank you, Albert.) It’s a lot like Rushmore if you’ve seen that, but made in 1971–angry 15-year-old trying to figure out women and failing.

Laurent collects charity money for the Red Cross and spends it on jazz records, talks about Camus’ suicide philosophy, measures his penis with his brothers… they paint an exact copy of a valuable painting and then stab it with a knife in front of their parents… also there’s a lot of wistful sexual misadventures with sort of real-life weight to them.

I once showed this to a girlfriend I had and she said, “I don’t know how I feel about that.” 🤠

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Also I thought it would be cool to include other artists I like who you might not know about in these emails, so please check out @fayeweiwei on Instagram.

Check out @fayeweiwei on Instagram!

Happy Mother’s Day,


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