So sad to lose my friend Michael Hawley – he was such an inspiration… and, in fact, still is! This is a little video I made when he and Nina You came here to Queenstown to visit us around the holidays. I loved that dude… I don’t know anyone else remotely like him. You can see in this video how he’s just off the charts when it comes to inspirational stuff.
My son Ethan loves playing the piano and it was incredible to have this genius just do this natural jam. Isn’t that awesome… inspiring people of all ages. That’s kind of the key to life, eh? Just be loving and help other people. People make life too complex… yeah he really has made me a better person.
I first met him about a decade ago when he invited me to speak at his incredible EG Conference in Monterey, CA. He’s the classic Gladwellesque “connector” and I made so many lifelong friends from those conferences. It spawned so many stories and adventures… and all because of Hawley’s vision.
Just as one of the hundreds of examples, it’s because of Michael that I ended up spending a while in Australia with Neal Stephenson to help him research an upcoming novel. Note that I did absolutely nothing to help the actual research, as I was only there because Neal was afraid to drive on the left side of the road. I have all kinds of stories about that, but I’m waiting for the book to come out so I don’t ruin anything.
Anyway, besides that strange anecdote, Michael has been instrumental in vastly affecting the lives of tens of thousands of people… a truly lovable inspiration.
Daily Photo – Woman in St. Petersburg
We stopped at this hipster coffee shop just after our train rolled into the station. It was filled with all sorts of interesting people like this gal. I had on my 35mm F/1.4 lens, so I made as much use of it as possible. There’s not a lot of people that run around with cameras in Russia to take photos of people… so everyone was a little bit more suspicious than I would have liked.
Since many people are bored at home and looking to add to their skillset, I have just released my best tutorial for free and it already has just over $92,000 worth of downloads – awesome! People seem to love it and thank you for the great feedback. I’ll keep it free as long we’re stuck here in this weird isolation… Beyond that, we have the “Passport” monthly subscription (at https://stuckincustoms.com/passport/) that has over 300 videos waiting for you. Great how-to stuff, behind-the-scenes, inspirational stuff, tutorials and more! I do the same thing as Sam Harris in that if you are struggling financially, for whatever reason, just contact the team and we’ll give it to you for free for a year. I don’t want money to stand in the way of buying keys to unlock your creativity. We also have some other cool Passport videos coming up! I release a new one every Sunday on the blog and there’s some amazing stuff in the pipeline. Anyway, thanks again for enjoying the tutorials and I’m in productivity overdrive…since…I… don’t have anything else to do! Last, we have a free group here on Facebook where you can share your creations, ask questions, and make some cool new friends. As opposed to a lot of Facebook, it’s a guaranteed asshole-free zone! 🙂 Cheers and enjoy!
Daily Photo – Cool Boarder in St. Petersburg
In Russia, you can just be as cool as you wanna be. I haven’t taken this many people/street photos as I did there except for the times I go to Burning Man! I saw almost no photographers there, so most people were very confused while I was taking their photos. Well, not the young people, they were all cool with it. The older ones seemed a bit more suspicious, probably because they grew up under hardcore communism when everyone was spying on one another.
Michael Singer’s Surrender Course
I’m a big fan of Singer’s books and he has a new online course about Surrender that I recommend. If you read “The Untethered Soul,” then you have a pretty good idea of what this course is about. I don’t think most people can take it… but, if you’re ready, you’re ready.
Daily Photo – Abandoned Rubber Factory in St. Petersburg
While in our crazy-long day here in this classic old city, we spent a chunk of it in this abandoned rubber factory. They would make shoes and all sorts of things with rubber back during the Communist days. I can’t imagine how miserable a job that would have been! People complain about their jobs nowadays, but being a common worker in Communist Russia would not have been a joyride.
Clubbing, as Described by Sir David Attenbourough
Click the video title to see the full frame…
Daily Photo – Checking Social Media in St. Petersburg
Everywhere… everywhere… people are addicted to their phones. I’m pretty sure this is a giant source of increased anxiety. It is fun and stimulating to be on your phone, but it is an “unnatural” way to navigate the planet. Just getting out in nature and walking around is really a great counter to this. Also, being around other humans is important too. I was thinking about those African villages where the grownups and kids had so much happiness and absolutely zero screens to stare at. I’m not saying it’s one or the other, but a bit of balance is nice!
A New Episode of My Podcast
In this episode, part 2 of a conversation while walking on the El Camino in Spain, I talk with Kevin Kelly about one of his many projects, the 10,000 Year Library. We also talk about what to do with all the existing libraries in the world… access to information… the future of libraries and knowledge curation… and more!
And if you missed it, part 1 is here.
Funny lady laughing at herself on YouTube
This reminds me a lot of today’s daily photo 🙂
Daily Photo – Happy Woman in St. Petersberg
I only had one quick day in this awesome city. I tried to make the most of it by taking as many people photos as possible. Some of these Russians had the grumpiest faces I’ve ever seen. I think they were so confused while I was taking the photos… it doesn’t seem like a hobby over there at all. I hardly saw anyone else carrying around cameras for street photography. My theory is that the older generation that lived in Communism for so long are just generally distrusting of others… especially others with cameras. But that didn’t stop me.
I’d like to thank my friends again at Origin PC for sending me that new computer! Man, Lightroom is SO FAST on it… even faster than my Macbook. They don’t pay me to write this stuff… it’s just the truth! It brings me a stability and a pleasure knowing that I’ve got a super-fast computer there helping me take care of my photos!
Daily Photo – Coffee Shop in St. Petersburg
While in Russia, we had a day-trip to St. Petersburg. We went to a coffee shop that was full of women that seemed to be right out of some modeling catalog. I don’t know if it’s like that all the time, but I will assume it is so. It’s hard for me to sit still for long, so I started running around with my camera to take photos of some of the inhabitants.
Grand Cayman from Above
Here are a few highlights of the trip to Grand Cayman taken from above. This was mostly done with the DJI Mavic Pro and a bit of the Phantom.
Daily Photo – Girl in St. Petersburg
As soon as our train rolled into the station in St. Petersburg, we got out and went to breakfast at a great place. Sitting near us was this interesting-looking girl who was a local. That got me started on a long day of taking photos of interesting people here and there. And they all seemed happy to have their photos taken, except for this one old lady at an ice cream machine.
Back to Moscow
I’d love the chance to get back to Moscow to take some more photos. I particularly enjoyed the street photography. People were just sort of a little-bit-wacky. I can’t quite describe it, but if you spend any time on Reddit, then you know what I mean!
Daily Photo – Stalin Looks like Kind of a Nice Guy
He wasn’t actually a nice guy; not really that nice at all, really. It’s a bit strange how all these mass-murderers now have some kind of kitchy mass-appeal on the streets. I mean, you’d never see a Hitler look-alike on the streets of Berlin posing with people. Can you imagine? I wonder why it’s cool in one country but not in another. In China, Mao is super-popular, but that’s also because young Chinese people don’t even really understand what he did there. Hey, it’s a weird world!
I had a lot of fun flying the drone through this factory. Wow did it throw up a lot of dust! I can’t wait to see how the final footage turns out.
Daily Photo – The Abandoned Rubber Factory
This was one of the strangest places we visited in St. Petersburg. I’m not sure how Olya knew about this place. I guess this is just the kind of place that Russians hang out in. There certainly were a bunch of others around there! It was kind of dangerous, actually… I’m not really much of an adventure-seeker in these abandoned places that are falling down all around you. But it was fun for a bit of hardcore HDR action!