Daily posts #8 – Prince

Greetings from Coachella! There’s a lull in the activity so I wanted to update. 

We got in to tent city around 2am. My traveling companions are expert campers and had the site set up quickly. 

We were all shocked by the news of Prince’s death. He was just in Atlanta playing and blowing minds as usual. But now he’s gone. 57?! It doesn’t make sense.

For me Prince represents the ultimate in being a musician, inspiration, songwriter, virtuoso, artist, and a unique voice. He said and lived what he believed. We never doubted his authenticity for a moment. His mythology was immense. It always will be. 

I’m writing this on my iPhone. I had a few daily posts written but I didn’t get them finished or posted in time to keep the streak going. That’s okay. I’m going to keep up the writing because I want to meet the resistance and break through. 

Daily Post #7 – Making New Friends

Last week I spent a day with a new friend I made in Ventura. We met through some mutual friends. He asked me what I did and I mentioned I had a background in music. His eyes lit up and he asked if I knew anything about recording and working with Pro Tools.

“I need your help! My mother and I just bought a recording setup and we’re having a hard time getting things going. I’d love to ask you some questions. My mother was signed to Capitol Records a while back and she can still sing. I used to play in hair metal bands in the 80’s.”

We traded numbers and finally got together. We got some coffee first and he described how he wanted to record. The more I listened I could see he had limited recorded experience. So I explained how tracking works. How ideally instruments are put on separate tracks and then mixed down to 2 tracks.

After coffee we went over to his place and I showed him how to record using GarageBand. Pro Tools doesn’t have all the built-in instruments that GarageBand does and it’s much simpler.

After a while we stopped and his mom, ya know the one signed to Capitol Records, came in. She was interested in what we were doing and was clearly glad to hear some music happening.

She invited me to dinner and we had a wonderful time. We talked about music, Ventura, and they asked a lot of questions about me. It was a great night. I enjoyed hanging out with this new friend and his mother.

Once I get back from Coachella we’re going to get a song down.

Daily Posts #6 – Keto Flu

Last night I had a bout with Keto Flu. This can be a side effect of carbohydrate and sugar withdrawal.

The fever came on around 7pm and by 10pm it was full-blown. There were cold sweats and chills. The sweat soaked through my clothes. I binged on Parks & Recreation. I’m glad that Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson were there to entertain me while my body went into ketosis.

By 2am my fever broke and I attempted to go to sleep.

I spent most of today recovering, drinking lots of water and resting.

Daily Posts #5 – Sugar Is The New Smoking

I’m writing a longer post about sugar, with links to lots of studies that you won’t click on or read. In the meantime, I’m predicting that in the next 5 to 10 years, the use of sugar will dramatically decline. Sugar will follow cigarettes and seat belts. We’ll see how changing our attitude and behavior toward sugar will greatly benefit our health and improve our quality of life.

I know how hard it is to give up sugar, especially here in America. I struggled for years to break its sickening sweet spell. I’m on day 9 with no sugar and it’s getting easier.

In the past few days there have been times when I wanted to dive into an entire tub of ice cream, swimming in its delicious, sweet, insulin boosting nectar. Then I think about the kind of body and level of health I’d rather have, than that temporary high.

If you haven’t seen it yet, I urge you to watch the documentary Fed Up. It’s on Netflix. Watch it and you’ll see this is a real problem.

Daily Posts #4 – Prince

Prince played in Atlanta last night and I missed it. It was another stop on his Piano & A Mic tour. I hope he’ll do one on the west coast soon.

Prince has long been one of my all-time favorite musicians. If I had the chance I’d love to ask him some questions.

Do you have a personal chef?
Do you do your own laundry?
Are you really good at basketball?
Why are you constantly taking down your music on YouTube?
Do you ever call up Sheila E. and chit chat?
Is it true you fine members of your band if they make a mistake on stage?
Why purple?
Do you exercise?
What do you think happens when you die?
Do you practice?
When you’re in the studio, are you engineering?
What’s in the vault?
Do you go to the grocery store and shop for yourself?
What do you think of The Beatles?
Aren’t you a fan of Cocteau Twins?
How would you encourage young musicians?
How did you prepare for this piano and a mic tour?
What’s a normal day like for you?
Do you have a private jet? Do you fly commercial?
What do you think about marriage?
What’s your favorite book?
What movie have you watched more than once?
What’s up with Rosie Gaines?
How about that high note Rosie hits on “Diamonds & Pearls”?


Update 4/16/16: One of the questions I wanted to ask but forgot to write down was if Prince rode bicycles. We all know he’s the man on a motorcycle. The answer is yes. Yes Prince does ride bicycles. Check this article: http://consequenceofsound.net/2016/04/one-day-after-being-hospitalized-prince-spotted-riding-his-bike-throwing-all-night-dance-party/

Daily Posts #3 – This Is Going To Be Ugly

I just realized that there will be some gnarly, ugly, unrefined writing in these daily posts. It will be like those awful FAWM songs that you must power through, so you can finish and get to the next. It will not be my best work.

That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do it. I should totally do it.

I remember asking Austin Kleon about this. Kleon argues that artists should posts their ugly, unrefined, unfinished work online, let everyone see it. I mentioned what John Mayer had said. Mayer urged Berklee students to resist the urge to publish themselves, to wait until the song is done. Kleon said he saw Mayer’s point, and I do as well, but Kleon disagreed.

Kleon encouraged everyone to get their work out, show the world your process. Yes it will be ugly. Yes it may be painful, for both you and the recipient. Kleon argues you can, “build an audience by sharing that process.” He also says this process helps you, “deal with the ups and downs of putting yourself and your work out in the world.”

We shall see.

Daily Posts #2 – What Age Is Old?

A friend posted this video and I wanted to share it. Watch it.

It was troubling that Millennials considered ages 40 to 50 old. By that ridiculous standard I’m old. Then the same Millennials acted out how a 40 or 50 year old person would walk across the street, or do a pushup. Watch the video to see that.

This is a “gotcha video” where AARP pulled the ‘ol switcheroo. So you know the twist was coming, but it was great. I loved seeing the 50 to 70 year old folks in this video. They have taken care of themselves. They are examples of aging with strength and discipline. Take that you ageist Millennials!

Taking care of your body and mind now is as important as saving money for the future. Not doing it is selfish. If you don’t take care of yourself now then who will take care of you in the future? You’re placing that burden on your children or society?

I whole-heartedly agree with the message of this video. You’ve got to stay active and keep on learning. To quote 311, “If you like learning life is large.” Old is when you stop learning.

Daily Posts #1

I’m a fan of Tim Ferriss and Seth Godin. Recently Godin was on Ferriss’ podcast and said, “Everyone should blog every single day. If you are in public making predictions and noticing things your life gets better, because you will find a discipline that can’t help but benefit you. Are you able every day to say one thing that’s new, that you’re willing to stand behind? I think that’s a huge wonderful practice.”

I also took Godin’s advice and listened to Steven Pressfield’s, The War Of Art. This is an entire book focused on overcoming the resistance to create. I want to create more.

So I’m doing it. I’m writing a post here every day. I’m not sure what they’ll be about but they will be short. Here I go!


Today I was close to the beach and realized it’d been a few days since I connected with the ocean. One of the reasons I moved to California was to go to the beach more.

I drove under the bridge on Sanjon Road and parked. I took a short walk along Ventura Beach and watched the sun set.

Just point and shoot.

A photo posted by James (@jamesstaubes) on

Afterwards I felt immensely better.

The ocean brings a soothing and peaceful vibration. I’m grateful to be so close to the Pacific Ocean now. I must remember the serenity I receive when I spend time at the beach and ocean.

April 10th Update – Ventura, Dog Sprints And Interviews

Another beautiful day in Ventura

A photo posted by James (@jamesstaubes) on

Hey everybody. Greetings from Ventura, California aka “the whitest place on earth.” Sorry I’ve been lax in writing. I’ll do better.

Since I left Atlanta so much has happened.

Our cross-country trip exceeded all expectations. We couldn’t have planned a more beautiful, amazing, once in a lifetime trip. Lowrie and I drove from Atlanta to New Orleans, New Orleans to Fort Worth, Fort Worth to Austin, Austin to Las Cruces, Las Cruces to the Grand Canyon, Grand Canyon to Joshua Tree, Joshua Tree to San Diego, and San Diego to Ventura. We stayed with some phenomenal friends along the way. We drove 3,500 miles.

We saw so many beautiful landscapes and experienced so many unique adventures. I’m going to put together a video of our trip soon.

I’m staying with my friend Kelly in Ventura while I get settled out here. I’ve become friends with Kelly’s two great dogs, Chelsea and Chloe. We go to the park and run sprints together.

Since I arrived on March 11th I’ve hardly been idle. In the mornings I’ve searched for jobs and leveraged my connections for opportunities. I’ve had meetings with some folks in pro audio, advertising, and marketing. It’s going well and I’m hopeful I’ll find a great situation.

After eating all the amazing fat food on the road trip I had to get my exercise discipline back in action. I was getting robust. Thankfully there is a gym and pool at Kelly’s place. Many days I’ll read by the pool, lift some weights, and swim some laps. I’ve found a great $5 yoga class at the Ventura Buddhist Study Center. I’m also focused on giving up sugar. Working on day 3.

That’s it for now. I’ll do better about posting. How are you?

10 Messages Which Gave Me Courage To Change

The boxes are packed. The car is loaded. There’s no turning back. I’m leaving Georgia for California!

Leading up to this decision I did a lot of soul-searching, prayer, and meditation. I had many conversations. I journaled. I listened to what others told me.

Here are 10 messages which helped me make the decision to do it.

1. Time is not a renewable resource, but money is.

These first 3 messages I got from Tim Ferriss’ podcast. In Tim’s 2015 recap he gave out so much great advice. This came from that episode. I was out for a walk and listening when he said this. I stopped walking and replayed the point. I’d been living as if I had unlimited time. Tim’s point was that you can make more money, but you can’t make more time. So do the things you want to do.

2. If you find yourself saying, “but I’m making good money.” That is a warning sign that you’re not in the right place or should leave.

In that same episode Tim mentions this thought from B.J. Novak. I was doing better than I’ve ever done in my career, but this idea of living in California was too big to fight. I had to do it, I felt compelled. It was so hard to leave my amazing job but this thought, coupled with the one above, convicted me immensely.

3. What’s on the other side of fear? Nothing.

Tim’s podcast with Jamie Foxx is one of the best podcasts I’ve ever heard. There is so much inspiration in that one interview. At one point they discuss fear and Jamie says he learned early on that there’s nothing on the other side of fear. It’s all in our minds. All we have to do is move through the fear, then we see that there is nothing there.

4. If you wait for everything to line up the way you want, you’ll be 70 by the time it happens.

My great friend and mentor Spencer sent this message. Spencer has been a huge influence in my life. This message made me realize the clock is ticking and that now is the time to move.

5. What is failure? What’s the worst that can happen?

Many folks asked me these questions when we talked about moving. It’s a question worth asking since it reveals your fears. Once you know what your fears are, then you get to work and do everything you can to avoid those outcomes.

6. Can you live with yourself not knowing or doing this thing?

I asked this question a lot. The answer was clearly no. If the answer was yes I would’ve been content to continue living in Atlanta. The call was so strong that I could not deny it.

7. No risk, no reward

My friend Jason casually said this one evening. Unless I was willing to take the risk and go for it, I’d never know the reward of following through on my heart’s desires.

8. Sometimes you have to make a bet on yourself.

My friend Simon gave me this word. Entrepreneurs, athletes, investors, and artists all know this. We celebrate the folks who believe in themselves, who have the faith to do something big. Sure, moving cross-country is not like Steve Jobs starting Apple, or Felix Baumgartner jumping from space to earth. However, I am saying that, “Yes I can do this and I know I will succeed.”

9. You have no idea what you’re capable of until you put yourself out there.

My friend Laurie sent me this. A few years ago she left her longtime job and went back to school to get her business degree. One day when I was in a lot of fear I asked her what she’d learned from leaving her comfort zone. While it’s extremely uncomfortable, getting outside of our safe routines gives us the opportunity to grow.

10. What would you tell your children? “I was too scared to pack my suitcase and physically move.”

My friend Kelly sent me this question. While I don’t have children I thought about the example I’d be setting. Wouldn’t I want children who believed in themselves? Who took risks? Of course!

That’s it. We’re off to New Orleans today!