Usually the very first thing I do everyday is read. Whatever lands in my news feed is what I’m consuming. Save for the occasional space exploration article that sneaks its way in, what I’m reading everyday is typically pretty uninspiring, unimaginative, and usually depressing. It’s just news, and most news seems to be the bad kind. So I wanted to take a break from it and push myself to make sure I read fiction everyday of October.

Some days I missed, but made up the next. I ended up reading Imperial Bedrooms by Bret Easton Ellis, and The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I didn’t care much for the first, and really enjoyed the latter. They were short books, but honestly it’s a stretch for me to read two books in a year, let alone in a month. I’m a bit of a slow reader. I can make it through five pages before realizing I have absolutely no idea what was written on them. My mind wanders, but luckily I don’t mind turning back the pages and starting over.

Even if I might be a contender for the world’s least efficient reader, it was still an easy goal for the month. More importantly it was an enjoyable one. The month was a nice break from the bordering apocalyptic 24-hour news cycle that 2020 has been, and a reminder that I should probably keep up with it, especially considering how easy it is to do.

Wake up everyday by 7am. Without a doubt, I thought for sure this would be my toughest challenge yet. Historically, I’m the guy who has no fewer than five alarms set to ensure I get out of bed on time, and still manage to be chronically late for work everyday. Anyone who knows me, knows this to be true. My friend George who gets up at some unspeakable hour, threatened to call me every morning, making sure I kept my word. He didn’t call, but to my absolute astonishment, I would have actually been ready for him.

I’ve never been an early riser and I’ve always just chalked that up to not being a “morning person.” But after a month of no screen time past 10pm, followed by a month of waking up at 7am, I was quick to see it had little to do with being a morning person and everything to do with regularly getting to sleep at a decent hour. Regularly is the keyword here, and something I haven’t practiced at all in my adult life.

Getting up at 7am everyday was not only doable, but enjoyable. Can’t believe I’m gonna say it, but I love getting up early. I’m falling asleep within 10 minutes of my head hitting the pillow now. A feat that’s been out of my grasp for a lifetime. And by the time I start work, I’ve already accomplished most of my goals for the day. That feels so, damn, good. It ensures the things I want to get done, are getting done, and that makes me happy.

What started as the monthly challenge I dreaded most, ended up being the one that I benefited most from. At the time of writing this it’s been over two months since started the challenge and I’m glad to say I’ve still been keeping up with it. Hard to believe, but I got out of bed at 6:30am today without an alarm. If there is a Hell, it must be frozen over.

No computer, TV, or smartphone after 10pm. As simple as this challenge was on the surface, it was one of the toughest yet. Still saw it through, but the rules were bent a little.

Alexis likes to wind down and relax with some TV at night. If I was gonna be around her at all on weeknights, I was gonna be watching some TV after 10pm. Made sure I was only a spectator though. When she’d ask what we should watch, I’d only reply, “I have no say in this.” She was very quick to love the month’s challenge.

Other than that, I stuck to it. 10pm on the dot. Most nights I’d be right in the middle of working on the computer, frantically racing to get something just a little bit further before 9:59 flashed 10:00. It was a hard challenge because most nights, maybe every night, I just didn’t want to stop at 10. To sit and create something has been my hobby, profession, and passion for my entire life. A computer is my typewriter, drafting table, brush and paint, hammer and chisel, sound stage and camera, and on, and on, and on. It’s hard for me to step away from it. Always has been. When things start to connect creatively, I can forget to eat, rob myself of sleep, and neglect my relationships. Passion and addiction could probably be siblings.

I ended up spending my newly freed time reading, enjoying my wife’s company, putting thoughts to a page, and catching up on sleep. Stepping away from the screen wasn’t always what I wanted to do, but I think it’s what I needed to do. At the time I’m writing this, I finished the challenge almost two weeks ago, and I’m still generally keeping up with it. Not as strictly as I was, but that’s alright. As hard as I try to make everything be either black or white, I know nothing ever truly is.

I’m no stranger to cooking chicken on a stove, but just about anything outside of that is foreign territory. A fact that’s always drove Alexis a little crazy. So I challenged myself to cook everyday of April. Seemed like a simple way to make her happy while also learning a thing or two along the way.

I focused on cooking dinners. It ended up not being an everyday event when leftovers were factored in, but it was somewhere a little over twenty days total. Also forgot to take a few pictures.

At the start of the month I was reading and rereading every recipe as if it were a complex math problem. But by the end, I was feeling more loose and fluent with it all and the time between prepping and eating was cut down a lot. Unfortunately after a month of working at it, I’m still not a Michelin Star rated chef. Go figure. The reality is, a lot was learned, I’m better off in the kitchen than I was on day one, and Alexis and I had some fun together.

My biggest takeaways? Recipes can sometimes be more suggestive than prescriptive. Roasted seasoned chickpeas are amazing. Sour cream is in more things than I’d ever known (or like to know). Zesting is a thing. You can never have enough olive oil in the house, but you can certainly have too much of it in a pan. I had the smoke filled kitchen to prove that last one.

I accomplished exactly what I set out to do this past month, and I’m honestly excited to keep up with it and have cooking be a more regular part of our daily life. I just hope the fire department never needs to get involved.

A bald man is nearly invisible without a beard.

I set out to run at least a mile everyday for all of February. I ended up running 26 of the 29 days, totaling just over 76 miles. Did the best I could while still keeping it enjoyable. Never kept track like this, but It’s probably the most I’ve ever run in a month. Says something considering I was once no stranger to 8 mile runs.

I know people hate running. Even the ones who enjoy exercising hate running. It’s always been good to me though, and I’ve learned to appreciate it more as mental than physical. It brings me peace, clarity, and in creative drought brings a flood.

It was a lot for being out of practice and I quickly learned the difference between wanting to run, and having to run. Even still, I had fun with it. Really hadn’t run as regularly as this in years, and can’t really say why. But I missed it.

I’ll probably do something like it again, but in the meantime, I think running more often instead of running everyday suits me just fine. Maybe next time around I’ll go for 100 miles.

Already two years married to this fun loving, intelligent, hardworking, beautiful, absolute maniac. It’s gone by so fast and it’s getting faster. Really is a rollercoaster sometimes, but I’m here for the ride.

What’s mine is yours.

Love seeing these guys at the gym or out in the world. Must be an ordeal to even lace up their sneakers before they’re out the door. Yet, they’re out there, day in and day out. Pounding the pavement. Putting their heart, lungs and undoubtedly their knees through every level of hell, trying to change their lives. I’ve always quietly admired the determination. It can’t be easy, and reminds me to quit it with the excuses myself.

Roll on you motivational warriors, roll on.

Lord Huron at the Teragram Ballroom in Los Angeles.

Meet Me in the Woods by Lord Huron

Another shooting. This time at a high school in my hometown. It was Valentine’s day. Really don’t know how much closer to home it could hit. We’re talking a margin of literally a few miles.

It’s disturbing not being surprised that this happened. Of course it did. It’s a part of our culture now. Likely only to get worse. If Sandy Hook happened and we’re still here doing this, then there appears to be no last straw, even though the camel’s back is already broken.

My shock is that this happened where I grew up. Where my parents and brother still live. If we had lived just a few miles one direction or the other, I would’ve gone to that high school. My wife graduated from there. She did the morning announcements.

I grew up in a great place to grow up. In a great home. I look back fondly on my younger and teen years there. It feels weird to have this piece of your heart tarnished. Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of pitfalls growing up. I’ve seen more than a few fall into drugs. But these are traps found everywhere. Navigating them is just part of getting taller.

Anyways. This one was different for me. Though, I said the same thing the last time I shared my thoughts on gun violence. Thoughts and prayers are useless, unless the thoughts are about solutions.

Donate to Victim Fund

The circle of life.

Meant to make and share this yesterday, but the ghost of New Year’s Eve did some haunting yesterday.

A year of learning, love, art and travel. 2018 is a blank page, looking forward to making something of it. Happy New Year!

My eye has been at it about a week now. The wonders of getting older.

We had a Haunted Tiki Party. If you host it, they will come.

So long winter, hello spring.

Good riddance. It’s been a difficult year, to say the least. Maybe the hardest of my life. Despite it all though, there were still some pretty bright spots that burned in the dark.

Two good friends got engaged. Another two got married. Moved into a new apartment. Visited Ireland, New York City, Chicago, Seattle, Palms Springs, Tahoe, Solvang and St. Petersburg. Got to know my future brother in-law. Went spelunking for the first time. Made some art that I’m proud of. And above all else, I got engaged to the woman I love.

It’s enough to think 2016 would’ve been one of my best. But like I said, It’s been a hard one, and I’m ready for a fresh start.

Couple of new prints available on my inprnt shop. Free shipping this weekend on orders over $30. Enjoy, if you’d like to.

Jesse’s first time in the Pacific Ocean.

Hell, did that take a long time.

Six Foot Giraffe last saw a major redesign almost 5 years ago. It’s been long overdue to say the least.

I’ve made a lot of work over the years, and now I have tools in place that can help people (and myself) find things they’ve forgotten, or just plain never seen. Posts can have a lot more depth now too. I can write and show more, in higher detail.

A lot has changed and a lot hasn’t. There’s a lot of nuances, and there’s still work to do, but in the meantime, I’m getting back to the art.

Hope you like it.

Celebrated my 30th in Palm Springs, poolside with some cold drinks and the best people. They came a long ways and spent a good bit of money and time to make sure I knew damn well that 30 ain’t so bad.

SixFootGiraffe_KyleSmith_2016_42-02

I made Mike a fun little thing for his 30th, and he returned the gesture with his own fun little thing. I love it. There is nothing the man can’t do.

Geographer at the Teragram Ballroom in Los Angeles.

This is How We Walk on the Moon, covered by Geographer.

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