The game was called F-Zero. I didn't own it myself since I didn't have Super Nintendo but my next-door neighbor had it, and I would go over his house and play it once in a while.
It was a racing game. Except it took place in the future so you didn’t drive a car, you drove a hovercraft. You would race around these futuristic tracks competing for who could finish fastest and take first place.
I probably played it a handful of times, and while I don't remember a lot about it I do remember these little chevron signs on the ground that, when you hovered over them, gave your hovercraft a boost forward allowing u to pick up speed.
I have been thinking about those chevrons lately.
Earlier this year I declared this to be the year of incredible focus. Usually I set resolutions or tell myself I’m going to achieve something big yet incredibly hard to define like ‘commercial success.’
However, the exhaustion of the past year left we without desire to replicate that New Year strategy. I didn't know exactly what this year was going to be. What I did know, was I was going to try hard to understand my life and my passions and pursue the life that wanted to live in me.
January was spent on thinking.
What was this year actually going to be? What was I going to do? How would I approach? What did I actually want?
February was spent on planning.
OK maybe I will buy a plane ticket here and take a vacation there and invest some time in doing this
March became the month I clicked purchase, hit send, and set the unstoppable wheels in motion.
And all was good.
Then April happened.
And I had two thoughts, one was:
Holy shit it’s April! I can't believe a third of the year is gone. Is this the year I wanted to he having?
And the second was:
OK... What now?
With summer looming I worried I was going to become quickly swept up in that vortex of "
Ya know what I really want to do this summer…
" that quickly spits you out on the other end of "
I can't believe we didn't end up....
I began to worry that my year of incredible focus had somehow slipped into a year of seemingly deep thought but familiar (in)action.
I have been spending some time with an incredible group of go-getters who just go, do, make, be and live beautifully. One of them is my new friend Julie.
A couple of weeks ago my friend Julie and I were having drinks after our yoga class and Julie was telling me about how she just bought a bunch of concert tickets for this year in batches of two.
She knew she wanted to go to the shows; she didn't necessarily know who would go, so she just bought the tickets and figured she would find somebody later.
I thought it was such an excellent idea. And she asked me to join her for one of them.
Well kind of.
I sort of just impose myself on awesome opportunities and people. Like a friend barnacle. I tend to put myself in scenarios where I become the only viable option. Like joining a dating site where for some reason all the guys happen to be "lizard enthusiasts."
Julie and I went to that concert last weekend. We spent the afternoon working on a video project for
. And then went and grabbed some dinner and drinks before the concert.
The whole time, we talked about our lives, our friends, past loves and our spirit animals. (Trust me, it’s a thing) According to Julie mine is some sort of playful monkey/hybrid.
I still insist mine should be a pterodactyl.
After our spirit debate we arrived at the concert and immediately my heart vibrated with the base from the band. It caught me a little off guard. I was kind of shocked to feel so surprised at the sensation.
It had been a frighteningly long time since I had felt that sensation. It's a beautiful feeling.
I used to go to concerts a lot when I first got to the city. Maybe it was because I worked at a music magazine, or maybe it was because I had nothing else to do. Either way, I realized it had been a while.
Which was a shame but a wonderful wake up call. Because I am always, always looking for things that move me, that stir my soul, that make me dance, that make me so thirsty for more that I pursue those things wildly. Blindly. Freely.
And that’s when I thought about F-Zero, about those chevron signs on the track, and how I didn’t even realize I had them in my own life. They weren't under me. They were my friends, my experiences, concerts, and art, and connection. They were in front of me, next to me, and all around me.
As the night went on my love for this city and the life I lead expanded in the exponential way it tends to do when someone has managed to be present in a magnificent moment.
My mind filled up with up with realization, remembering how great I feel after I spend time with my close friends, with the people whose best characteristics I strive to emulate, and how watered the plant of my soul feels walking away from those moments.
How had I gone so long without noticing?
I started thinking about those people and things not so much as things I might happen across while on the track, but rather, things I would aim for, plan for, to make sure they were in fact always coming up soon.
And while its not a race to see who finishes first, having those people places and things that propel me forward, that get me to the next check point, rest stop, or finish line, is completely invaluable.
A: It’s over.
When I applied to speak at the 20 Something Blogger Summit in Chicago this summer I basically gave them a list of 239 things I could speak about in the hopes that they would select me. They ended up choosing me to speak about “The Future Will Be Vlogged.”
Seemed like a fancy title, but it wasn’t until I started thinking about it that I realized I had a lot to say about that. It wasn’t just because I had created content in the past, and made videos, and posted things on the Internet. No, it was because I was getting frustrated.
Everything I saw on the Internet was so negative and snarky. Or if wasn’t directly making fun of something it was parodying it. Now I definitely believe parody can be awesomely relevant, but it just seemed liked anything that was made was parodying something else and it seemed so derivative.
And video blogging? Forget it. It seemed like every video blog I had ever came across was some pimply tween whining about how they found a hole in their sock during math.
So how the hell was I going to lead a session in Video blogging when I hadn’t really found anything I wanted to watch?
Well lucky I didn’t have to talk about what I liked, only what the future would hold. And luckily people tweeted live as I moderated this panel so what follows is what I actually said, and what I meant.
There is a tremendous demand for content. The rate we share content outpaces the rate we create.
In the beginning there were very few platforms whereby you could create content and share it with your friends. But then the ability to share became second nature. And amongst the major social platforms we now get bombarded with the same videos from different people on a regular basis.
That becomes an issue when every channel is airing the same shows and movies. When every website has the same videos. When you can see a piano playing cat on YouTube, Facebook, twitter, and dozens of other places.
For a while the pendulum was swinging in the direction of sharing. And while the rate at which we share will never slow down, the demand for content is now just as important. That is why you have brands like Hulu, Yahoo, YouTube, Netflix and more doing their own original content.
For a while people wanted to ingest content as fast as they could, but with that means content gets old quickly. Those who create content in the future will control it.
Content isn't a well that runs dry. It's endlessly refreshed
So many people have had great ideas for scripts, a series, or some other type of broadcasted content that they haven’t implemented because they worried about using up their good ideas.
The thing about creating though is that it’s not a one-time thing. Sure you have one hit wonders and people who do one big thing and never work again. But for the large majority of people, if you have enough in you to make one thing, chances are you have enough in you to make another. Making begets making. Start making something and see where it takes you.
It's not a challenge to find out how to be different. It's a challenge to be MORE of yourself.
And now with the hierarchy of content creators flattened and everybody having the ability to create whatever they want whenever they want, people worry, oh how will I stand out.
And so that is why you have people being audacious and ridiculous online. Doing incredibly stupid things to get attention. And sure it might work for a time. But since now everybody can make stuff, the possibility that someone out there is making something for YOU is greater than ever.
My prediction for the future is that there will be fewer major celebrities and what you will see is the rise of middle class celebrities. Not to say that minivans will become extremely popular. Rather I mean that there will be new niches and audiences that will spring up as more people connect with those with the same interests. And the best way to do that is by talking about or just doing the things you truly love.
The transition from content creator to curator happens fast. They like you; they want to know what you like.
And this is how those middle class celebs will come to be. Since we now all have an online presence, the people who like what we make will be curious to see what we like. This is how community is built, people liking things together.
So the people that never thought they could make anything will make stuff and people will see it and follow the stuff that those people making stuff never thought anybody would care to see.
Make sense? It probably shouldn’t.
Things that people have said will never work, work all the fucking time.
OK granted this is pretty vulgar but it’s true. I swear when I’m emphatic. And I am emphatic about this. The success of our culture is based on the principle that people who say stuff won’t work HAVE to be wrong.
Nobody knows for sure anymore. I have no idea what will work or what won’t. But I know what I love, and I know what I love to do. And I know how I feel when I do those things. So if I can pursue those things without harming anybody and while making myself happy… why the hell not?
So if somebody tells you no, well, just remember what Brian Grazer says:
No is just a moment in time.
I left that conference extremely enthusiastic about what I had to say and what people were eager to know. And thusly, after mocking, making fun of, and privately judging video bloggers… I became one. (anything I made fun of I eventually became.)
It supports the things I stated here. I talk about what I love. I keep it relevant. It is positive. And most importantly, I make it happen fast.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…
90 Second Love.
Andrea mentioned to me that our high school theater teacher who was a huge mentor for me, was putting on a play in Manhattan and she was going to get tickets. She asked if I wanted to go. I readily agreed.
As we took the elevator the 4th floor of a sliver of a building just off Broadway, and walked down a narrow hallway past a meeting of some very large, bearded, individuals meeting for a support group, I wondered if this was indeed the best use of our time.
The play went well and afterwards my mentor told me had a small part in a play for me.
Seeing as I was not an actor and hadn’t been in a play since I was 17 and was now an “adult” with a full time job and my own apartment, I was a bit surprised and not really sure I should be in a play. But on second thought I really had nothing else going on in my life, so why the hell not?
As it turns out there was a part for Andrea as well
It wasn’t really difficult acting that I was required to do. I had a handful of lines and basically my role was to run around the stage and portray the life of an 8 year old who was up to mischief in the woods.
A tony deserving performance it was not.
The show only went up for two nights and it was sparsely attended. And it made me realize a couple of things.
The first was that I find acting to be extremely boring! The performing part of it is fun and something I enjoy, but the sitting still in rehearsals, not talking, having to stay in one place while things get set up around you, oh man was that boring. It was about the worst thing in the world for my ADD.
But after the show was over I realized something else. I too could write a short play that not many people come to see!
So that’s what I did. While waiting for my turn to speak at a job function I was attending, I wrote 3 pages of dialogue in red pen on the back of my notes. Those pages became the foundation of dialogue of my first play; Disengaged.
I convinced Andrea this was something we should do and she agreed, or maybe I just hung up on her before she could disagree.
Either way she was in.
I wrote a companion piece, we booked a theater, and put on our first show. It was one of the most incredible experiences watching the words I wrote come out of other people’s mouths and see an audience react to them.
I was immediately hooked.
I took a couple of weeks off after the show but I started writing again, and nine months later we mounted our second show Safety and Desire.
It was different than anything I had ever done before in that it was more grounded in real life conversations and there was poetry in it, my own.
We actually oversold the show and by all accounts it was a great success. But afterwards I felt like something was missing.
And the more I thought about it, I realized it was because it went so quickly. I had spent months working on the script. And then more months planning, looking for theaters, casting, marketing and countless hours with Andrea discussing every minute aspect of the show.
And then for six weeks we rehearsed. Nearly every single day we spent several hours with the actors running lines, blocking scenes, and getting ready to put this thing on. I was still bartending at the time too.
So I would work from 9 to 5, then go to rehearsal from 6 to 10, and then rehearse all weekend and then bartend on Sundays from 4 to 10.
And for as crazy bone tired as that made me, I never didn’t want to do it. I was in love with it the whole time. Sure I had no time to do anything else and kept running out of clean underwear and cutlery, but it was worth it.
So when both performances of the show were over it felt kind of like… that’s it? I wanted more. I didn’t feel purged of the show. I felt like I wanted it to go on longer, to share it with more people, and prolong its life.
And I think a part of me was also hoping for the show to save me. I don’t know how that would have happened or what it would have meant. But I think I just was expecting some kind of reaction or response or something more significant.
So I made a promise to myself, the next time I did a show it would be for longer.
Well guess what… that time is here!
My next play is coming December 7th – 10th in Manhattan! So if you are going to be even close to the area I’d love to see you there. It’s called Ripped at the Seems and you can buy tickets at www.ripped.eventbrite.com.
It’s a show about a lot of things, but more than anything it’s about the things we think but never say. It’s about the conversations that Andrea and I have after rehearsals or when we’ve had too much wine (which isn’t an infrequent occurrence).
I am so excited to put this show on for twice as many nights as any show I’ve done but I’m also excited because I’ve made another promise to myself.
And that promise is that this show won’t save me. Whatever hopes and dreams I have for after the show, I’ve let go of.
Well, almost let go of. I’m close. Really close.
But the goal is just to enjoy the process, because it’s all process. We all spend too much time on this for it to be just about what happens during 4 days in December. I have made a commitment to just love every minute of this.
And hopefully it shows.
Until then, enjoy the trailer!
You want to believe it did the trick, but really deep down, you know it just didn’t.
If this fist bump were so key to our society we should be teaching it to children. But we don’t teach it to them do we? No of course not, because tiny children don’t really know how to make fists.
Rich, you have to run a marathon.
But running is just really fast walking. If I need to be somewhere fast, I don't run. I take the train, or a cab... or I just don't go.
You rock Sophie.
The fact that every single person I asked like a different photo certainly didn't help either. But I was able to choose one after narrowing it down to this batch.
HOLY CRAP THAT’S AMAZING!
What? Rich Boehmcke that is ridiculous.
And it's funny, we all got these bracelets that got us in to all of the events. They say I "thrillist logo" Miami. And it's kind of ironic because a chunk of the "I" on mine is missing.
I mean if that guy doesn’t have groupies there is something wrong with the universe.
But it was still an awesome workout and then I jumped into the ocean to refresh. And it felt amazing but it was the warmest water I’d ever been in. I could have stayed in it all day, but there was a pool party to go to.
But on Rollerblades, a getaway is not as easy.
At that point it immediately became my mission to get as sweaty as humanly possible in the shortest amount of time. And I loved it. Dancing felt good.
“Oh I am just waiting until after the candle lighting ceremony.”
One leg? You can dance. In a wheel chair? Of course you can dance. Fat, skinny, or German? Dance it up my friend.
It's not because we don't want compliments. Quite the contrary actually. We really want them.
It seems we spend most of our lives chasing compliments, wanting people to tell us how good we are, how pretty we look, or what a wonderful job we've done. The funny thing is, once we actually do get those compliments, the compliments we've thirsted for like water in the desert, we dismiss them as though they are no big deal.
"Don't be silly" we say, or "It was nothing." We do this because the actual act of receiving an honest compliment is way more difficult than any of us are willing to admit.
I think the hardest part about a compliment is the eye contact. Having to look someone deep in the eye while they express to you how they feel about you and the work that you did without looking away... wow. I mean many of us can't do that with the people closest to us, but even strangers? That can be intense.
It is certainly something most of us are not used to. Nor do we actually know how to react. It is incredibly disconcerting. That connection is strange. But if you can find a way to embrace it, it really is electric. It will make you feel unlike any way you've ever felt before.
Or if you are like me... you will cry.
Not little sissy tears either. Nope. Big, huge, waterworks, man baby tears that don't stop.
The plays I had been working on for the past 3 months finally went up last week. Thursday and Friday night saw the end result of weeks and weeks of intense preparation. Everything that had been an idea, a possibility, or a thought since July became a reality twice over the course of 48 hours.
And shortly thereafter, it was merely a memory.
After the lights went out the first night, I felt kind of strange. The shows has been great and everything had gone off without a hitch. And yet, I did not feel like I expected to feel.
I did feel good about what had just transpired. I felt proud, and slightly accomplished. But I didn't feel an overwhelming rush crash over me like the wave of joy I had hoped for. One moment the shows were about to start, and slowly but surely they slipped away from me, like sand through my fingers.
Friday however, was different. The air in the room even felt different before the shows started. People seemed more excited than they did the night before. There was an energy in the room that added something to the performances that I could not have planned for.
And when the lights went out on the final scene of Friday's show I felt excited, I felt slightly relieved, but I was energized. And I was lucky enough to have many of my friends and loved ones come up to me and congratulate me and say such wonderful things.
I did my best not to dismiss the compliments. I, my cast, and my crew (Andrea) had worked hard for this. And if people had good things to say, I really wanted to appreciate the fruits of our labor. I wanted to take in their compliments, digest them, and squeeze every last drop of goodness from them.
Wishing my actors good luck before they went on I got a little teary, and the same when saying some personal thank yous to my friends after. But I was pretty much able to keep my emotions at bay. The tears sat patiently locked up in their cages behind my eyes.
The after party happened, many hugs occurred, and eventually the night came to a close. I went home and went to sleep.
The next morning when I woke up I was feeling pretty great. Exhausted from everything, and a little surprised that I hadn't had a complete emotional breakdown immediately following the applause.
The catalyst that triggered my breakdown actually would come in the form of a compliment from a person I didn't even know.
You see I had a good friend fly in from California on Friday just to see my shows and hang out in the city for a short weekend. She came with a friend of hers whom I had never met. But I was anticipating liking her since she was flying 3,000 miles to see my $12 dollar show.
We all got together for brunch on Saturday and spent the day having drinks and walking around the neighborhoods. We ended our day with a fabulous dinner at a great restaurant, a lovely place with low lighting and delicious food.
And sometime after dinner, in the middle of a low lit dining room, in the west village in Manhattan this stranger told me what she thought of my plays... and I cried like a little kid lost in the woods.
Not big whaling cries with sobbing and huff huff huffing. No it was just a very wet, can't turn off the faucets kind of cry.
We so often take for granted the support we get from our loved ones. And that is not a good thing, but yet it still happens. Yet there is still something so heavy about the compliments given to you by the people you do not know. You realize they may not be as concerned with protecting and nurturing you, they don't owe you anything, and when they say it, well, you have no choice but to pay attention.
Perhaps there was more involved. Maybe it had something to do with having had a full day to process what had actually occurred the night before. Or maybe it was the 2 bottles of wine we had with dinner. I mean that probably helped.
But who knows if I would have cried like this had this fine human not said what she said to me. Maybe my emotional connection to my work would have faded with each passing day. And maybe I would have found myself bawling in my bed one night as the exhaustion got the better of me.
But I am glad it happened when it did, because it felt right. It put a definitive end on my emotional connection to my work. It signified completion. It put a soggy exclamation point on an incredible mini journey.
And I wouldn't have had it any other way.
While leaving work one day last week I was preoccupied with something but glanced up for a second to catch this headline.
German Nudist Hiking Trail
Whatever I was thinking about before, was quickly forgotten as my mind tried to wrap itself around the ridiculousness of this news story. I did a little more research to find out the details. This is what I found:
Germany is launching a new hiking trail for tourists who like to walk in the nude. The 18km (11-mile) route runs through the Harz mountains in central Germany, between Dankerode and the Wippertalsperre, near Leipzig and is receiving praise for giving nudists an opportunity to express themselves more freely.
Now, I am not a hiker. In fact, I know very little about hiking. But I am of German lineage. And I would now like to take this time to make fun of my people. For the sake of this post, I will be taking the side opposing the German Nudist Hiking Trail.
I will start with the obvious. Hiking usually involves being out in the wilderness with bugs and critters and other things. There are places on your body you should never NEED to put sunscreen, never mind bug spray. These are the parts of my body I do not want to expose to mosquitoes or poison ivy. And ALL of those parts get exposed during nude hiking.
I mean, can you imagine trying to explain that to your dermatologist?
Oh yea, I was hiking in Germany. What's that you say? No, no I was not wearing pants. What? No, no underwear either.
I would also like to point out that from what i do know about hiking, it is not something you should do barefoot. Good socks and hiking boots seem to be necessary equipment. So if you are wearing shoes and sock you are not technically naked. I know I'm splitting hairs here, but I just want to point that out.
Being German I know that when I am outside I should stay as covered up as humanly possible. There are many kinds of sunscreen available but the only kind appropriate for me is SPF Poncho.
Germans take good things to the height of ridiculousness. I mean... just look what they did to dancing.
Some things are good in extremes. Giant beer? Good. Giant bratwurst? Very good. But this latest spin on hiking just doesn't seem to be an improvement at all.
Also shouldn't the possibility of chafing along turn them off the naked hike? And again, does backpack = naked?
I just don't think it's necessary for a nude trail. I mean, even the animals on this trail aren't naked. They at least wear fur!
What also scares me is Germans affinity for travel. in my travels around the world I have noticed they travel more than almost any other country. This naked hiking thing is something that could possibly spread to other trails in other countries!
What if I DO decide to take up hiking? I don't want to have to worry about being accosted by Frau Hatenmypantz. But in fairness to the trail itself, the proper authorities (be they naked or otherwise) have put up a sign warning people that says;
If you don't want to see people with nothing on them, you should refrain from moving on.
But if I saw that sign, I would probably just think it was a joke. I wouldn't honestly believe there was a chance I would see some naked people!
It is also understood that some kinds of naked are hilarious. Like watching somebody streak across a baseball field from hundreds of feet away. That is hilarious.
Watching somebody streak towards you in the middle of the woods? That is terrifying.
As I understand it, undergarments were made to enable us to move quickly with ease, thereby streamlining the transportation of ourselves. So what happens if a bear made his appearance in the woods and you had to run? I can't imagine running naked feels (or looks) good.
Also I am curious as to when it is that these naked hikers remove their clothes. Is it before they even leave the house? Do they gear up that way? or do they arrive at the trail head and somebody just fires a gun and yells STRIP!
Is the park ranger for this particular trail naked? Shouldn't he or she be? Because if they park ranger isn't naked, I can only imagine the kind of perverts you'd get applying for that job.
And also can clothed folks be on the same trail? If you have committed to an 11 mile naked hike you have probably also committed yourself to not taking any sit down breaks. I know I am not crazy about putting my bare butt on public toilet seats, so, putting my bare butt on the world of nature? I mean jeez.
Plus I don't like animals seeing me naked. I think they judge me. A cat saw me naked once and I might be exaggerating here, but I am pretty sure it was judging me. It cocked its head as if to say; "You disgust me pale boy. Cloak yourself."
And then the cat walked into a closet and tried to dig a hole.
My point is this whole naked trail thing can only be a harbinger of bad things to come. I know this might seem like a momentous occasion to some. And there is a probably a swell of enthusiasm for would-be nude hikers around the globe.
So for all you who are exited about what this trail means, and the opportunities it presents, I will say to you what my parents said to me when I got too excited about things as a kid.
Keep your pants on.