My name is Jeremy. And I’m a phone-a-holic.


Social media. You’ve become fully engrossed in it. You check it more times a day than you can count.

You post something. And with each like, each love, each double tap, you get a charge of emotional gratitude, of hormonal bliss.

I’m no better than anyone else. Yes, on my phone, I use Facebook only via its mobile browser version. It helps. But I’m still a user.

Instagram. I happen to browse that via browser as well, because via browser, you can avoid looking at advertisements.

I don’t have Twitter hooked up to my phone anymore. But I still use it on occasion.

This article and the above video will explain a few things about your (and my addiction).

Check this article for more info with Tristan Harris where he explains stuff like this:

Outrage just spreads faster than something that’s not outrage.

When you open up the blue Facebook icon, you’re activating the AI, which tries to figure out the perfect thing it can show you that’ll engage you. It doesn’t have any intelligence, except figuring out what gets the most clicks. The outrage stuff gets the most clicks, so it puts that at the top.

Then it learns there’s this magic keyword where if any article had this keyword and you put it at the top of the feed, it would always get a click or a share. And that keyword was “Trump.” If you’re just a naive computer, you put this keyword in front of people and they always click it. It’s reinforcing that this is the thing that should go to the top of the feed.

I look at technology through the lens of persuasion and how it persuades the human animal. What does seeing a repeated set of things that make you outraged do to you? You can feel it when it happens. I think of it as civilization mind control. It’s not that there’s someone who’s deliberately trying to make us all outraged. It’s that 2 billion people, from the moment they wake up in the morning, are basically jacked into an environment, where if you’re a teenager, the first thing you see are photo after photo of your friends having fun without you. That does something to all those human animals. If the first thing you do when your eyes open is see Twitter and there’s a bunch of stuff to be outraged about, that’s going to do something to you on an animal level.

I think what we have to reckon with is how is this affecting us on a deeper level.

Making metaphors for real life


Since the middle of last January, I’ve relished in a sobriety that I haven’t felt in a long time. While I have had a couple celebratory drinks since we finished Whole30, I’ve thankfully stayed off a daily diet of at least a beer or two.

When you stay off booze, with it comes a clarity and lucidity. There comes a vulnerability, too. And with vulnerability comes creativity.

I photographed the above photo last Thursday as a part of my 2018 Monthly Photo Challenge. I’m not sure I came up with the idea for the above photo before we started the diet or after. I’m guessing after. But what you see above is almost EXACTLY what I envisioned.  Continue reading “Making metaphors for real life”

All hail Whole30 …


Last night, Tina and I met her cousin Kelly and husband Brian for a dinner date. They’re the couple we did the Whole30 diet with. We met at an Italian small plate joint on Taylor Street here in Chicago.

The goal was to celebrate our successful Whole30 triumphs. We all completed the 30 days of no gluten, grains, soy, sugar, beans or alcohol, some of us with more “success” than others. Kelly and Brian both lost weight. I did too, but I fluctuate all the time, and I’m not sure how much I actually lost. Brian thinks he lost up to 30 pounds. And you can see it in his face.

Kelly ended up with around 8 lbs off. Tina didn’t lose weight, or maybe just a pound or two, and I’m still scratching my head on that. To complete this diet and not lose meant probably her body needed more time to adjust to a sugar-free diet.

It’s also not a weight-loss diet.

It’s a reset. It’s a chance to alter your mind from the complacency of your regular routines and mix it up with a chance to challenge your perception and palette.

Tina and I both agree that we’ve found a way to approach our diets with natural foods that are really tasty and fun to make.

We don’t feel that we’re going to be militant in following the rules, but we’re going to be more mindful about it. So far, I’ve stopped reaching for a beer at the end of the day. In fact, I feel much better without.

Tina’s doing her best to stay away from sugar, which was one of her demons.

Kelly and Brian feel like they’re going to approach their diets with moderation and maybe do five days on diet and the weekends off.

For Kelly and Brian, the diet was more challenging than it was for Tina and me. They both work outside the home. Brian’s coworkers ate crap food daily and he said he’d pull out his Tupperware of salads and pre-cooked meats and veggies, and they’d all harass him to try some of their pizza, hamburgers and fries … and the proof is in the pudding … the damn guy was able to resist those temptations.

Same with Kelly. She works with a ton of kids and adults. She has three hungry sons at home who weren’t on that diet.

Although, it’s cool, because one of their sons attempted to cut sugar in solidarity and discovered too how hard it was but also how rewarding.

Overall, I feel good. This week was a particularly stressful one, and I feel that I’m off my routine. I hope to get back on this week.

All Hail Whole30.

Is there a good time for a light stand to fall on top of a vintage Ferrari Testarossa? No. No there’s not.

Yesterday we did a video shoot in the studio.

Our studio houses a large collection of vintage cars and motorcycles. When we work, we sometimes get our equipment close to the perimeter of the cars.

Yesterday, a stand was close to a Ferrari Testarossa and it fell over after standing for an hour or two without anyone near it.


There’s some damage to the vehicle, and I had a hell of a day sulking in fear, regret, shame, embarrassment, anger, and — did I say — fear?

I made sure to call the owner directly to deliver the bad news. Which he appreciated. But it doesn’t change anything. It happened. And the consequences are my responsibility.

Life is what it is. And it’s these moments that test the hell out of a person.


The tragedy of celebration

In 2006, Tina’s dad made an announcement. Not just any announcement.

He announced he had cancer.

Not just any cancer. Stomach cancer.

Not just any stage cancer. Stage 4 borderline stage 5 cancer.

This was not just any announcement. An “I’ve got so long to live” announcement. “Let’s do things. Let’s reconnect. Let’s make up for lost time.”

The distance from the announcement to his death was short. At most, eight months. He attacked it with every ounce of strength he had. He tried keeping up his active lifestyle of rollerblading in his Florida neighborhood. He tried to keep dating a woman he’d been on and off again for a few years.

We saw him for a weekend that fall. His mom, Tina’s grandma, passed away in October. He flew up to the funeral. We talked to him. His hair was gone. But he felt okay. His feet felt heavy, like “concrete” he said, so he was buying tons of shoes to comfort the feeling.

Back in Florida, he was far from all of us Chicago relatives. While the sun and warmth were probably good for his soul and his attitude, he was alone down there. He had to drive himself to doctor’s appointments and treatments. He was a proud man, and didn’t want to bother his girlfriend. He started taking cabs to the doctor. He took cabs to chemo. He needed help.

His health nosedived toward Christmas. His brother ended up driving down to get him around the holiday with hopes he could help alleviate some of the ease of doctor visits and cancer treatments. But it was really to have him near his brothers, Tina and the rest of the family when he died.  Continue reading “The tragedy of celebration”

The helpless feeling of anger

Over the past 15 years or more, I’ve sat off again and on again on the couch of a therapist. I’ve discovered a lot about myself and the inner tickings of this old brain of mine.

Abandonment is a large issue for me. I trace abandonment back to adoption, a mental place of loss before I could decipher what loss was. Feelings of abandonment can trigger a swing. Abandonment can encompass betrayals. Abandonment can be triggered by another’s behavior that has nothing to do with mine.

Keep in mind, I realize that the best, most loving result of the situation that occurred before I could walk on my own was that I would eventually be adopted by two incredible parents. But all the good in the world won’t change my chemical and physical makeup for what my head thinks it needs, wants, desires and hopes for.

Continue reading “The helpless feeling of anger”