Make, Show, Learn Issue 5

Welcome to issue 5!

What I’m up to

Welcome to issue 5. Last week went well. I’m slowly finding my voice, but it’s going to take a while.

The end of October ended my ban on tinkering so I did small layout updates and will continue with small updates each weekend. I want to focus on creating enough content to warrant a redesign.

Looking at the rest of the year, I could potentially have 11 issues. If there’s a week to take off it’s going to either be Thanksgiving or Christmas. Ten issues seems like a good time to take a week off, redesign, and promote what I have so far.


Each post is still way too long. 1.) It’s not a great reading experience and 2.) it takes hours to gather passages and drawings from the week to finish the post.

The previous post could have been split up into two or three posts. Eventually I’ll need back up posts for weeks off so I’m going to look for good opportunities to make separate posts. 

This week, I want to see if being mindful of the word count will help the post in any way. I’m shooting for 1250 words. Which is 250 words each day.

At first, that sounds way too short, because I’ve been successful in the past hitting 750 words in a single day. All I need to do is remind myself that those words collectively weren’t very good. 

I also need to remind myself that writing shorter posts is entire point. I write too much so I’ll try to write less.

What I’m shooting: The size of El Capitan

Adding on to last week’s topic of climbing, I’ve been fascinated with the size of El Capitan. A quick search gives answers in gigabytes. Thank you Apple.

Comparing heights, what percent of the Empire State Building do you think El Capitan would be?

Having been to the observation area in the Empire State Building, things looked pretty freaking high.

Couldn’t imagine anyone climbing that high, so when I read the question I guessed 75%.

Depending on if you include the needle or not, El Capitan is 2-3 times higher.

I’ve been taking photos to clearly illustrate the size of The Empire State Building. That way I can unclearly illustrate the size of El Capitan.

What I’m reading: finished a couple

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande

It’s been a while since I finished a book in a week. I went into this book with the wrong expectations, which was both good and bad.

I didn’t realize Gawande was a surgeon before starting the book. There are a bunch of surgical operation descriptions. They’re vivid, fascinating, and terrifying. We know a lot about the human body.

The book has me completely sold on the effectiveness of checklists across fields. Great stories sell things.

As for practical steps for making effective checklists in different fields, look elsewhere. I’m pretty interested in reading his books that are entirely about the operating room.

Shut Your Monkey by Danny Gregory

I mentioned this book last week and finished it this week. At the end of the book, Gregory recommends Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art. Pressfield wrote three books centered around a concept called The Resistance, which is a close cousin of Gregory’s monkey.

In Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t, Pressfield says his nonfiction books started as piles of writing that he would hand to his editor. His editor would re-pile them to tell a better story for a first draft.

Shut Your Monkey is similarly 1-2 page chapters. Gregory says the book came together a thought at a time and he likens it to building a mountain one spoonful at a time.

Going the other way, he talks about breaking big things into pieces.

How do you eat a whale? One bite at a time.

I originally heard it as “How do you eat an elephant?” I imagine it’s pretty popular with different animals

A few months ago, I started seeing authors I liked showed up on multiple podcasts I listen to. It made me very conscious of one echo chamber I’m in. I’m guessing I’m in many more. 

To step out, I’ve been trying to read and listen to people writing and speaking from (at least slightly) different perspectives.
Joe Rogan provides a point of view that I don’t have with people I’m around day to day. He talks about the importance of friends with perspectives that don’t match your own. 

I wanted to see what Rogan thought about Tony Robbins. He mentions him in episode 846 with Michael Shermer. He thinks Robbins does a very good thing by giving people positive motivation. At the same time, he wonders what Robbins has done other than motivate people.

Rogan’s personal experience with motivation and things like that is that he’s been there. He knows what it’s like to go to a seminar or read a book and be completely inspired or motivated for a week. 

You’re ready to take on the world. You wake up at 5:30 and do the road work for two weeks. Now you’re ready to take on a different route.

On that route, you get to 6 am and the light flickers on.

Hot, fresh donuts. Maybe you resist it in the morning. Maybe the entire day. But the next day? Week 3? Week 4? The inspiration fades as temptation rises.

Motivation and inspiration are temporary. Self development is an industry for a reason.

Rogan says it’s too easy to slide back into your old ways. They’re comfortable. You can’t turn your decades old ship around in a day. You need that inspiration and motivation every day for years.

The internet makes it more more available now than it ever was. (Maybe too available.) There are videos, articles, books, podcasts, webinars, live streams, online courses, and more.

I was reading Julian Shapiro’ guide to building muscle and there’s a section on motivation with this video embedded: How Bad Do You Want It?

It’s got 39 million views and I’m guessing 50 of them are from me over the past few years. Based on my double blind study, 1000% of people who watch this the first time work out the very same day.

On the 100th view, you no longer want to run through a wall. Variety helps with motivation. Different stories with the same takeaways can inspire you at different times.

Inspiration from Shut Your Monkey is still pretty fresh. In a week or two it’ll begin fading. In a month or two I’ll only remember the core lesson: create things, finish them, and create more things.

It’s the only way to fight the monkey. 

What I’m listening to: TADPOG (Tyler and Dave Play Old Games)
I’m strangely addicted to TADPOG. Each podcast episode is a little over an hour. Each is centered around a specific game but a lot is random banter and returning segments: quizzes, reading from Wikipedia, voicemails. 

Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been putting it on in the background like some people put regular season baseball on. Lately I’ve been a lot more interested in very long podcasts like this one. It’s easy to put something on and let my focus go in and out.   

Some of their listeners describe it as hanging out with friends. Tyler and Dave don’t quite remind me of any friends. I just enjoy their humor. It reminds me of the internet in the late 90s and early 2000s.

Some of the jokes are very very specific. When you understand the obscure reference it hits in just the right way. They were talking about Streets of Rage and how things flash on the ground and if you drop the item a couple times it flashes and disappears.

One of them talks about if that happened in real our iPhones would be long gone.

The best thing is the game discussion. They call out all the ridiculous things in old games. Like conveyor belt stages in beat em ups.

Tyler and Dave aren’t over-the-top like a lot of other retro game personalities. (Who always seem to be angry.)

Anytime they talk about experiences with video games growing up, nostalgia takes over. Like sitting in school zoning out thinking about coming home to play a new game.

Here are some episodes I’ve listened to:

What I’m drawing

I’ll send you off with some drawings from this week. This week I didn’t draw as much as I would’ve wanted. Next week I’ll get back to applying lessons from Keys to Drawing.

This starts with a couple Chrono Trigger characters before going off into random territory. 

(Through TADPOG, I learned about the connection between Chrono and the main character from Secret of Mana. I couldn’t believe I never noticed the resemblance.)

See you in a week!