This is some good fucking news.

“Today is going to be a joyful moment. For all the pain, for all the criticisms, a joyful moment for the Black women who led a movement to get one of their sisters home. This was a grassroots movement. They had to push to get male athletes, to get us to take it seriously, but they have triumphed.”

CNN political commentator Van Jones

No One Asked

Loved this bit from the Extra Paint podcast with Meg Lewis, at about the 16:30 mark; about making stuff that no one asked you to create.

Not hired. No committee. No poll. Just making something because you want to see it in the world.

I started Skull Toaster in 2011 (oh my god, TEN years ago) because I wanted to put something on Twitter that didn’t send you off to read something elsewhere. I wanted to put the meat right where you were; on Twitter. No one asked.

No one asked me to start ‘Goodnight, Metal Friend,’ but I wanted to hear dark ambient and drone metal songs with NO DRUMS, because dammit I wanted to fall asleep to it! So I made it, and now I’ve made 12 mixes and a few fans! NEATO.

If want to stream, stream your thing. Write your thing. Post your videos. The world needs to see your own unique, different, oddball stuff because some people like unique, different, oddball stuff! Right now it’s just hard to get any traction because of all the algorithms and noise on social media. But do your thing, put it on your own website and promote it.

No one asked, and that’s fine.

Photo by Vlad Fonsark from Pexels

Help Daryl Murphy Build Free Libraries

Daryl Murphy has ran a 5K every day for over 265 days in honor, and silent protest to the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain and way too many others who’ve been killed by police. Now he’s onto his third fundraiser, using his running for another great cause:

The goal of Miles For Justice III is to raise $10,000 to bring 10 Little Free Libraries filled with books that feature POC authors and POC characters into communities with limited book access. Each library will be placed in a highly visible location with ample foot traffic that’s easily accessible for all members of the community.

Right now he’s at about $1,000, so if you can contribute, do it. If you can’t just share the link:


This month I’ve run every day, 11 days, four miles each day.

I’ve been following my pal Ed on Instagram, and he’s been running for 50 days straight, usually 10+ miles a day.

He’s doing it fast, sure, but it’s the heart that impresses me. He’ll repost some Instagram Stories from friends who’ve started to run, inspired by his journey.

He’s had to put his own oxygen mask on first (his wife passed away last June), before he could ever think of helping anyone else. The byproduct of “just” taking care of himself has put so much good out in the world, and dammit, at the end of that day that’s what so much of this is about.

Don’t Grumble, Donate

I saw a bumper sticker tonight that I don’t care for. Instead of grumbling about it, which does nothing, I donated money to something good.

The person with the bumper sticker – they spent the money, right? They believed in something enough to pull out their wallet. And if all I do is scoff, then they won.

And it doesn’t have be $25 every time. Five dollars still helps. So does sharing something you like, emailing a friend about a cool video you found, or loaning a book to an old friend.

I Made a Video and I Hope it Helps

I’m not sure why my face is so red, but hey, this video was made and published. Heck, I even messed up the date in the clip, but perfect is the enemy of done, so this video is live.

I’ve been making videos on and off since about 2006, when I actually auditioned for a web-series video show for AOL Music (Sara Schaefer got the gig, and now she has her own Comedy Central special – she rocks!), and then started making a video show for my then music blog Buzzgrinder.

It’s funny – I keep reading and seeing so much about “building a YouTube channel,” along with other buzz phrashes like “build your brand” and such, but I don’t know, it’s weird.

From 2001-2011 I ran two pretty okay music blogs, and did Skull Toaster from 2011-2018, which had a solid niche following in the metal world. Since I stepped away from running any sort of “media thing,” I’ve been reluctant to really start anything again, I guess because I don’t want to get into that schedule, always having to publish content. Yuck, that word.

But this video I made serves a purpose I guess, and that’s to drive donations to girls’ rock camps. As of today, Metal Bandcamp Gift Club raised almost $250 (oh yeah, I guess running Metal Bandcamp Gift Club is a “media thing,” but it just feels different), so if this video helps drive $10 more to a good org, then I am super pumped about that.

Like Seth Godin has said, be helpful. Be of service. That’s where my head has been lately, with writing, video, audio, social media – how can I publish work that helps?

Just Start Driving

I’ve been following Matthew Luke Meyer for a bit on Instagram (here). From his IG Stories I found out he likes metal, and he’s always pushing the posi vibes, so I guess it was just the universe at work.

He recently did an interview with Tempo Journal, and I love this part:

“[Without running] I felt that I was just riding along with life, not really sure where it was going. But running gave me a way to move into the driver’s seat. Every day I’m waking up with a goal, something I personally WANT to accomplish, not just something that I have to do. That’s translated into the rest of life.”

Those early to mid 2010s were not kind, mostly to my bank account and career, which of course seeped into my mental and physical space as well. An inbox filled with automated rejection emails from jobs I applied to, or the build up of some interviews making it to the 2nd interview, then the 3rd, then a video call, then…

So lots of rejection ate away at who I was. Maybe I wasn’t actually good at what I thought I was good at. I slept later. I ate more cookies. I packed on the pounds.

But then I started eating better. Bought a rice cooker, and ate more veggies. Then I had more energy, so I started running. That hurt like hell, but… I was I was in charge. I was in the driver’s seat.

That was almost four years ago that I started running. Stopped waiting for approval, and picked myself, and it has found its way into other aspects of my life, too. Even the bank account.

Pushing Energy

I believe that Metal Bandcamp Gift Club has helped sell over 1,000 albums since 2016. That’s better than nothing, right?

Then today we sold our first email sponsorship. We do sponsorships a little different, because we don’t want your money. You have to give it to a local girls rock chapter, send us the receipt, and then you can sponsor our newsletter.

Seth Godin says before you get hired to do a big for-real job, make stuff on your own. One example he mentions is to design a direct-mailer campaign for a local charity and raise $10,000 for them. “Don’t worry,” he says, “they won’t mind.”

When I started Skull Toaster back in 2011, I did it as a “living resume piece,” to show potential employers, “hey, I can do this.”

In rebooting Metal Bandcamp Gift Club recently, I’m doing it again. Giving, building, pushing energy like this for a common good, and it’s something I enjoy doing.