UP UP UP

I just bought one 9V battery from the local CVS, and it was $10. The two packs were about $14.

Going from $1.75 to $10 is a 471% increase, and back then (in the ’70s or ’80s), you got TWO batteries for that price.

At .99 cents a gallon we used to fill up our gas tanks with a $20, and have money left over for lunch.

Now a full tank and a lunch from Wawa will run you about $45.

REMEMBERING EZRA CALDWELL

I had an interview with Ezra Caldwell published in Urban Velo back in September 2007. You can read it here.

I was living in NYC then and (of course) was getting into fixed gear and single-speed bicycles. Ezra invited me to his place in January of 2006, and gave me a spare wheel he had lying around, and even installed it for me.

“On the upper west side of Manhattan lives Ezra Caldwell. A wiry little guy with a stable of bikes, an inviting smile and a wrench. He’ll adjust your brakes over coffee, then tweak your chain line and take you around the block. This is what Ezra does.”

We went out for a test ride, and I remember doing a “track stand” and Ezra saying something like, “Wow, you figured that out quick.”

To which I simply replied, “Well, I’ve been riding bikes for a while!”

God, all these years later, I remember how arrogant that sounded. I was in my early 30s, so that makes sense.

We weren’t close; we were just two people who met because of the internet.

“The internet in general has made wild things possible,” says Ezra. “I’d say most of my friends at this point are people I’ve met on Flickr.”

I woke up on May 18, 2024, and for whatever reason, thought of this seemingly insignificant interview I did 17 years ago.

Ezra passed away on May 24, 2014 after a battle with cancer. I can’t believe ten years have passed, and then this weekend I thought of Ezra for the first time in forever.

We’re in each other’s lives to varying degrees, and then we’re not. I only had a fleeting few moments with Ezra all those years ago, but reading some posts here and there, he touched a lot of people.

Hug your friends. Do cool shit. Life is short.

IT’S NOT JUST ONE THING

There’s a quote in here that’s actually a quote from another podcast, but it’s something like, “it’s not just one thing.”

And he’s talking about the young kids coming up and thinking that making it to the NBA is the “one thing” that will make them happy, but then it’s depressing when you make it and wow, it doesn’t just make you happy.

It’s never just one thing.

I remember not just getting a three month contract gig at AOL Music in 2006, but I was asked to START a metal blog for them in 2008. There’s more to the story, of course, but there’s always a way for that thing you’re dreaming of you disappoint you, to let you down, to fail you, because it’s never just one thing.

BENCH MAKES TAX TIME A BREEZE

Look, we’ve all got out strenghts and weaknesses.

Since I’ve been self-employed since 2006 (18 freaking years), I’ve never really been great with the whole taxes thing. All the expense tracking. The forms. Writing off all those tiny bank fees – those all add up!

I used to do everything in Freshbooks, and it was a MESS. Always. So much manual input. Or some months I’d just not clean up my books. I was a wreck.

Three years ago or so I bit the bullet and signed up for Bench. They connect to your bank accounts and do your bookkeeping. They used to shuffle your books over to another company for taxes, but now they process and file your taxes, too.

They also have this messaging feature through their website, too. So you can ask all sorts of questions about books, expenses, and taxes, and it’s CHILL because it’s just CHAT. With REAL PEOPLE.

If needed, you can book a call with them to talk about your books and taxes. It’s all included, and I LOVE IT.

Now… halfway through last year, I “streamlined” my operations and cut a bunch of expenses, so I thought, eh, I can manage my books myself!

Then it was the xmas holiday, and I still needed to process my books from November, and then December was lurking, too! I dreaded even getting started.

So I came crawling back (had great phone conversations with their team), and got re-started.

Here’s the thing – they have a “CATCH UP SERVICE.”

So they got connected back to my bank account, I uploaded some bank statements, and then they got my books settled from June-December.

It wasn’t free, of course, but it was WORTH IT.

Everything was updated, all books current. It was great.

Now, I just reviewed my taxes today, April 2nd, and we’re like, good to go. All done. In years past I’d get to filing my taxes in like, AUGUST or something, cuz I just kept pushing it off. Hell, I didn’t even file my 2019 taxes because of the whole COVID thing. Yeah… tax stuff is my weakness!

If that sounds similar to how you treat tax time, I highly recommend them. Check out Bench (affiliate link) and see if they might be a fit for you.

SIDEWALK CLOSED

Tell me you don’t care about people with mobility issues without telling me you don’t care about people with mobility issues.

I just don’t get how businesses and municipalities are okay with this. Forcing anyone with a mobility issue to have to leave the side walk and go into the road.

Oh, and what if there are cars parked there? Then what?

ACTION IS THE BEST NOISE CANCELATION

Minimalism was a thing for me in 2009.

I loved the idea of owning “just enough.”

I also remember all the questions, the naysayers, the “yeah, buts.” A lot of people in the replies asking about the best lightweight shirt, or how many socks to own.

But there comes a time when the questions are a stall tactic.

There’s a time to do your research, sure. Buying anything for $1,000, it pays to look at some reviews and YouTube videos, but at some point, you’ve got to make a move, which then puts you on the hook.

When I hit the road as a bike nerd in 2010, I heard some naysayers on a bike forum or two (the internet was much smaller back then), but fuuuuck off, I was living my dream while you were posting comments on the internet.

Did I do everything right? Nope. Did I post some pompeous shit? Hell yeah, I did.

I did stuff and learned from it, a constant cycle of learning, figuring things out, adapting, and getting to the next challenge, writing the next chapter.

The online chatter is noise, and the noise goes away when you build up a nice strong sense of self by doing whatever the fuck it is you want to do.

WHY TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS?

“This is not a hobby, this is my life,” Kazu Nakajima

The Walkie Talkie videos with Paulie B are amazing. As my curiosity about photography has ramped up, I’m devouring stuff like this, just taking it all in.

And I’ve thought this – what if I’m a photographer in my 50s?

I mean, I’m an absolute novice with any and all of it.

Internet marketing stuff? Email newsletters? Editorial planning and all that? Sure. I got 20+ years of doing that.

But what does a year being serious about photography look like? A dedicated practice? A system?

POP UP COFFEE SHOP

Love this so much, from Tina Roth Eisenberg (Swiss Miss):

“This past Saturday I invited my neighbors and a few local friends to a “pop up coffee shop” in my kitchen.

The premise: Doors are open between 9am and noon. Coffee and tea is flowing and there are baked goods and fruit to snack on. Pop in for a quick hello or hang for as long as you’d like.”

So cute.