How I Plan To Stop Being An Asshole In 2015


Barbara Cochetas over at Bell Sound Studios in Hollywood recently asked me: “Got any New Year’s Resolutions?”

I had my answer prepared, because it was the same answer I gave to my barber.

“To stop being an asshole.”

“You’ve got a lot of work ahead of you,” she replied.

It was the best resolution I could come up with, but I hadn’t put much thought into it. It was just something I blurted out when getting my hair cut. But it’s actually something I want to do, and it a simple (although not easy) behavioral change I have been implementing.

Avoid sharing opinions (especially those that are negative) about unimportant subjects.

Unimportant subjects might include music, movies, how people park their cars, clothing, entertainment, grammar, pseudo-political issues, and anything else that a.) doesn’t really affect my life in any way and / or b.) I can’t / am not going to do anything about. For the musicians reading this, It’s kind of like adding a “noise gate” to my brain. Things below a certain threshold stay muted. When asked for my opinion, I try to remember that image above.

I’m going to be 40 this year, so it seems like a good time.

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Project Management, Personality Types, And Peter Pan Syndrome

Peter Pan Syndrome

[ Image by julesrizz ]

This isn’t going to be a scientific exploration of various Myers-Briggs results and how they correlate to workplace productivity. This is a handy list of “filters” I use to avoid Bad People. (Bad People are the ones that use up all my energy that I could spend on Good People. Good People are, in this case, people I want to work with.) And yes, you might end up throwing away some Good People, too, but it’s worth it!

1.) Avoid people who don’t write things down. Example: a show-off waiter who thinks he can commit your order to his short-term memory. He’s too cool for school, bro. Surprise! Your order comes back wrong. Now imagine that same guy trying to produce a movie. No thanks…

2.) Avoid people who prefer to talk on the god damned phone. It means they didn’t write things down. If they did, they could email it to you, couldn’t they? (Text messages don’t count, and are annoying.)

3.) Avoid people who respond to business emails from their iPhone. Example: you send four very specific questions in a numbered list regarding an active project and they reply with a single sentence fragment containing no punctuation. They couldn’t even type a period at the end. And of course, none of the questions have been answered.

4.) Avoid people who are afraid of “real world, adult responsibilities.” It’s a sign that they don’t have much experience with really making things work. Beware those who don’t have some sort of “tether” (kids, marriage, house, pets, bank accounts, long-term job). They most likely don’t understand the concept of “I want to do that but I CAN’T.”

5.) Avoid people who refuse to accept the limitations of their “personality types.” I’ll be honest: I’m no good at math. I think I have some sort of learning disability. Failed Algebra 3 times. My mind doesn’t want to go to and stay in “the math place.” I easily get confused when it comes to numerals — it’s like I have some kind of number dyslexia. 9 may as well be 4 or 7. That’s why I use spreadsheets every day, for keeping track of things that I’d otherwise screw up. I let my wife do the personal bookkeeping, and I have an accountant AND a bookkeeper for my business. I pay them, but it’s cheaper than the financial disaster I’d cause. Beware of those “right brained idiots” who are always late, always lost, always broke, and don’t even have enough sense to say “PLEASE take over and keep me from RUINING this.”

Of course, this kind of nonsense permeates the Entertainment Industry. But most people don’t get into the Entertainment Industry because they want to work and be organized, do they?


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Why I Got Rid of My Facebook Profile

Daniel J. Boorstin

I got rid of my Facebook profile the other day.

Actually, I converted it to a “Page.”


1.) I had been wasting an absurd amount of time scrolling through the timeline. It was my default time-waster. I’d spend an hour or more in the morning and evening scrolling through things that truly had zero value to me. Waiting in line? Scroll through the timeline. I don’t know what I was looking for or expecting to see. I had over 4,000 friends and my feed turned into data with no context. I decided that time is (at the very least) better spent reading specific blogs or online magazines that interest me.

2.) I’m easily irritated by mass behavior patterns that replicate and spread like a disease. (This is what the term Meme originally meant, for those who don’t know.) When a celebrity died, it’s all I’d see for at least a day and a half. For users who only have 150 friends, it might seem important to post a link to the shocking news item. But I’d see it thousands of times. And it wasn’t just the celebrity drug overdoses, it was the phrase “SO EXCITED” when posting about things such as breakfast. How can everyone be “SO EXCITED” all the time about everything? I’m definitely not. I like to believe that people are unique, independent thinkers that are genuinely excited when they say they are. (It’s true to some degree, and not true to some degree, but what began to matter is what I saw IN EXTREME AMOUNTS.) These mass behaviors would ruin my day and I’d continue to dislike the human race, and that’s not productive.

3.) I admit it: I didn’t trust my own willpower to NOT read the timeline. Converting to a Page would immediately put an end to my bad habit.

4.) Not everyone I was “Friends” with was really interested in or understood the topics I was posting about. Daily, I’d get “Replies” from people who (should I say it?) weren’t qualified to enter into the discussion, yet felt compelled to share their Opinion on what they like or don’t like. Often, they felt offended by my analysis of such-and-such (a TV show, a song). It created a loop, where I’d post more and more cynical statements, anticipating misunderstandings and more useless opinions. I’d antagonize. On bad days, I felt a lot of alienation. This is not me claiming that I am “better than other people” in every way, but only in one specific way: I look up the definitions of words and use them intentionally. I don’t have a large working vocabulary (especially when speaking). But when I say PLOT and THEME I mean two different things.

5.) Even with the Facebook timeline algorithm, there is not a lot of high-quality content. What rises to the top is based on the lowest common denominator (those things which the largest amount of people are “just non-lazy enough” to click on). SO: the posts I’d make when in a bad mood would jump to the top of everyone’s feed, as these would get 80 comments and attract more bitter people who wanted to prove their superiority. As a result, I was known for being very negative. Yet a high-quality link to an article on io9 would get zero response. Thanks, Facebook!

6.) Facebook became an Attention-Seeking Video Game for me (as it is for many others). Users are rewarded for how many Likes and Shares and Comments they get. It’s insidious. After years of this behavior, I discovered that I experienced subconscious envy each time I’d see a George Takei post that had been shared zillions of times. This pain of failure, as if I am actually in a race against a television actor from the ’60s who is now “famous for being famous.” And to actually feel bad about that? That’s bizarre.

7.) There were some good things. I enjoyed posting “NAKED MEN!” a lot. And the occasional “HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!” in response to a celebrity death or other pseudo-event. Most importantly, it was a place to dump non-sequitur status updates to make myself laugh. Some got it, some didn’t.

A Page still gives me a platform to reach those who are interested in following me (my behaviors, creations, and thoughts). Hopefully, I will now spend more time making original content, as well as sharing other valuable things I find.

Have a very nice day, you too,


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Why Do So Many Musicians Fail?

Here’s what I think. The answer is psychological.

Most musicians fail because they want to remain teenagers forever.

(The definition of failure, of course, will be the first thing everyone wants to debate. Have fun with that.)

Regardless, the few who achieve a long-term career in music are those who, at some point, grow up and become adults. Meaning: they take responsibility for themselves, they do their homework, they plan and prepare, they follow through, they show up. So many musicians are flakes — it’s as if there’s no competition if you treat your career, at minimum, like any other day job in the world.

The fact remains, the music industry is a terrible place to earn a living, especially if you’re a musician. It’s the law of supply and demand. Too many musicians and no demand for them.

There is, however, demand for a few remarkable musicians. And even if their original creations can’t find their way to a general audience, they can usually achieve base financial survival by doing clinics, lessons, recording sessions, instructional videos, and playing in sophisticated bands for 20 drunk dudes eating potatoes in a barn in North Hollywood.

And it still won’t be easy, even for the greatest among them.

The rest of the so-called musicians are NOT motivated by survival in the adult world. It’s hard to do rational, everyday business with them. Go ahead and try. They have such a strange relationship with money that even the mention of it can trigger spasms of paranoia and self-sabotage.

Yet… musicians are motivated by money — but only large, lump sums of it.

It’s easier to seduce them with these things:

1.) Freedom. They don’t want to care what time of the day it is, or even what day it is. That’s where the large, lump sum of money helps.
2.) Fame / Glory. They’ll only do things that their heroes did. “Paul Gilbert went to Musicians Institute, therefore, if I go to Musicians Institute, I am Paul Gilbert.” It’s called the Fallacy of the Undistributed Middle, and it applies to everything in the music industry: venues, record labels, magazines, joining established bands, etc.
3.) Sex. Because they figured out way back in high school that playing music was the only way they’d be at all tolerable or attractive.

Yep, they’ll take action for those things, but not much else.

They won’t take a job or gig that requires sustained action or steady commitment. They don’t want to work. Meaning, they don’t want to have to trade goods and services with other members of society in order to support their own survival. They think they’re special. They expect to have all of their needs met by the world in return for playing, which is a convenient term to use here.

In a lot of cases, they either hated or were, at the very least, disappointed by their parents. And often subconsciously, they made the choice that being an adult would automatically make them like those people. Those miserable alcoholics, those losers who never followed their dreams, those boring mowers of lawns.

Musicians are often those teenagers who used their guitar as an escape pod. And they were lucky. At the time, it was their only hope for not becoming their parents. They just don’t realize they don’t need to spend the rest of their life in it.

Puer Aeternus is Latin for eternal boy, used in mythology to designate a child-god who is forever young; psychologically it refers to an older man whose emotional life has remained at an adolescent level. The puer typically leads a provisional life, due to the fear of being caught in a situation from which it might not be possible to escape. He covets independence and freedom, chafes at boundaries and limits, and tends to find any restriction intolerable.

Later on, it manifests as needing to prove to their parents and everyone else that they can have a job that’s “cool.”

In extreme cases, they move to Los Angeles, The Peter Pan Syndrome Capital of the World. Hollywood itself is a big, dirty Disneyland for perpetual teenagers. Kinda scary to see how many people are sucked into and drown in the “making it” quicksand. So many poor choices they make…

But they do have the choice to learn and grow, to continue along the natural path of maturing as humans… to become powerful, wise, strong adults. The secret is to try something new: overcoming the fear of responsibility. To avoid that is truly pathetic.

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The End of Geek Culture

What is the essence of being a “Geek?”

Here are some common mistakes:

  • Purchasing and displaying a “Geeky” brand of printed materials
  • Wearing T-shirts displaying “Geeky” fictional characters or phrases
  • Wearing a particular shape of “Geeky” eyeglasses
  • Memorizing trivia and dialogue from “Geeky” movies
  • Participating in “Geeky” games that are definitely not physical sports
  • Attending “Geeky” pop culture events with 150,000 other “Geeks.”

In other words, spend your money in a certain way, and you’ll be a “Geek.”

Oops, someone forgot:

The essence of “Geek” is being a Social Reject.

(Have fun arguing about the definition all you want, but it all comes down to that.)

So it seems Wil Wheaton, Felicia Day, and Olivia Munn are confused.

You can’t be Extremely Likable, a.k.a. Popular, a.k.a. Famous — and also be a Social Reject.

Therefore, if people pay money and stand in line just to meet you and tell you how awesome you are, you’re not a Geek. You’re just another Mainstream Celebrity.

Of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with any of these so-called “Geeky” things, either. At least in my opinion. I have nothing against the people named above, because I’d be happy to play D&D with them. Like them, I’m thrilled to watch any corporate-funded sci-fi / fantasy / adventure movie. My studio has a life-size Stormtrooper poster on the door. I even wear black-rimmed glasses.

But I am most definitely a Social Reject. A Social Reject from Geek Culture, because I’m not on T.V. And I’m not on T.V. because I’m not good looking and / or funny enough. I’m not into offensively playing games of Social Dominance. It’s High School all over again. And isn’t making up for High School what Celebrity Geek Culture is all about?

Help me, Sylvester McMonkey McBean.

(P.S. I wrote a 30-minute animated TV show pilot about this.)

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Are You An Introvert? Take This Test. 99% Accuracy.

Hooray! The answer is Yes!


Because you wanted to know. Extroverts don’t care!

(Well, sometimes they do. 1% of the time. But only because they want to know what’s wrong with you.)

So you don’t really need to wonder anymore. You don’t need to take all these Myers-Briggs personality tests. It’s the opposite of what Louis Armstrong said when he was asked what Jazz is. “If you gotta ask, you’ll never know.”

If you gotta ask, you already know!


P.S. My 10 Myths About Introverts has been read by over 1 MILLION people, so I know what I’m talking about. Also, that Frank Zappa image above is from my Business Lesson With Frank Zappa Cartoon. Someone else posted it on YouTube, not me.

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New eBook: Beyond Guitar (In Only 15 Minutes)

I decided to write this little eBook during my 2011 Holiday Vacation. It was a “fun” little project that took me a few days to get together, send around to my friends, get their input.

As of right now, it’s only available on Amazon Kindle Publisher Select for only 99 Cents. It’s 2500 words long. It only takes 15 minutes to read.


Guitarists of all levels: this eBook is not for your fingers. It is for your mind.

It contains simple, yet counter-intuitive musical concepts that many professional guitarists fail to understand after playing for 15 years. But you can discover them here in only 15 minutes.

I offer you no sweep-picking exercises. No scales, no chords, and no “tricks.” I am leaving out all of the specific data and techniques that you would typically practice and commit to memory while taking guitar lessons. But I promise you that the most creative and accomplished guitarists in the world have mastered these high-level principles of musicianship.

At the time of writing this eBook, I have (intentionally or otherwise) studied the guitar as a tool of artistic expression for 24 years. My experience as an eccentric musician called Sir Millard Mulch took me as far as an invite-only audition with Steve Vai. But I never trained to be a musical soldier in someone else’s army, so I continued to make my own albums with guest musicians such as Virgil Donati, Marco Minnemann, Devin Townsend, and many other unique creative geniuses.

I have personally directed approximately 3,000 guitar instructional videos for—regularly working with some of the most talented graduates and private instructors from Musicians Institute and Berklee College of Music.

However, if you’re like me—ready to break free of the limitations of a traditional guitar education—this short guide is for you. And to my knowledge, you cannot find this information compiled anywhere else.

I challenge you to question all of these ideas, and apply them to your guitar-playing at your own risk. Each idea will be accompanied by a musical example, which I encourage you to seek out and listen to (and I mean really listen to) on your own.

Buy It Now:

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