Kentucky Fried Hell

A simple collection of musings, thoughts, and ideas from the hellscape that emerged when COVID began. Lovingly referred to here as Kentucky Fried Hell.

What’s a leader?

No seriously, what makes a leader in 2022?

I read the news and it’s confusing.

Can we trust politicians to be leaders? I daresay we can’t.

Regardless of your political persuasion, if you behaved as a politician does in your workplace you’d be tossed out.

Why? Because in politics you’re rewarded for bombast, inaction, and not talking to colleagues. In the workplace those are fireable offenses.

I’m an entrepreneur, and sadly, it seems to be like politics (on the outside) EXCEPT, I doubt whether the truly successful, truly great leaders are the Elon Musk’s of the world.

Yes, Elon Musk is rich. Wealth beyond our wildest dreams.

But in the everyday life of an entrepreneur trying to grow a business, bombast and opinions will only get you so far. It’s what you do with the attention that really, truly matters.

Elon Musk makes me crazy because he grew up a wealthy, connected person unlike many of his accolades who perform a sort of one-upmanship to achieve what he appears to have.

The narcissist will always get the attention, much like a circus sideshow. It’s the substance that matters.

Are Teslas good cars? Yes, except when they aren’t. Is Musk a good person? In the case of giving Ukraine Starlink access to fight the war, yes. In other ways … not so much.

The Twitter takeover attempt … that he tried to get out of but appears to be held to … not so much.

Reports from Twitter employees that he’s not interested in learning how the product works or their concerns about transforming it into a platform without moderation, were waved off and caused a mass exodus from the company. Then there’s requiring Tesla employees to work on-site.

Although some hailed these decisions as ‘brilliant,’ these are all signs of an inflexible visionary.

True leadership requires discernment.

Including, at times, realizing you are not the smartest person in the room and therefore must listen to experts so the vision can either be fulfilled or adapted.

But flexibility doesn’t play well on social media or TMZ.

As leaders we must decide what’s most important, talking points and bombast or substance.

Our political leaders, sadly, appear mostly devoid of substance. I say mostly because there are a few who have a depth of knowledge and concern for the will of the people and future generations, but they are in fact few and far between.

What people don’t tell you is how lonely entrepreneurship truly is.

Is it easier to go the road of showmanship, attention-seeking at all costs? Yes. But then you HAVE TO also bring the substance, or the word will get out that there’s no there, there.

We can’t act like those other people — Musk, Jobs, Bezos — unless you are also willing to put in the work to deliver something great.

And something great means, unlike Musk, Jobs, and Bezos, you are also looking at the people involved, the resources required, and whether it’s sustainable.

Leaders must look at whether their intentions extend beyond personal wealth. That’s an empty goal.

Money has to be a big part of the equation, but it’s more complicated than that. We live in a world now where younger generations are] looking for more substance.

They are worried about the climate emergency.

They want leaders who listen to then, care about then, and who want to provide a future for them so that they may lead too.

Leadership is complex, much like the human experience. We are not here merely to achieve. We are here to collaborate, communicate, and grow.

There will always be people who are louder.

That doesn’t mean they are making more money than you.

There will always be the mad geniuses like Steve Jobs, who was also a fruitarian (only ate fruit), which exacerbated his cancer diagnosis. Not universally genius after all. He was also notorious for treating employees poorly.

Musk, whose worth is tied to stock valuations, whose bombast and instability has nearly led him to lose Tesla on multiple occasions.

And Bezos, the tenacious son of a bitch who lost money for a solid decade only to build a behemoth synonymous with commerce, almost universally hated and respected in equal measure.

While there’s nothing wrong with looking to these men for inspiration, understand the substance of what you see is an illusion.

You are hearing rumors, and soaking up the adulation of the press, who loves a great story.

Reading Warren Buffet quotes and becoming ‘the next ’ isn’t a goal worthy of you.

You are worth more than these paper idols. You must be you, first and foremost.

Be shrewd. Compete with yourself. Be kind.

There will always be someone or something else that gets the adulation of others. Keep doing you.

Ignore the ‘advice’ that doesn’t make sense to you.

You’ll be fine.

You will be the leader you were meant to be.

Thanks for reading. 💚

I have no idea what to write, but maybe that’s the point. I suppose that when Ann Handley or some other ‘guru’ sits down to write, they have a master plan.

But, if the point of writing every day is simply to write, then it’s important to do that. And only that.

It seems like the quickest way to get quicker at writing and considering your biggest ideas is to PRACTICE the art of writing. Every day.

And yet, one of my biggest struggles is with the art of practice. Whether it’s an instrument or writing or developing a solid pattern of behavior, I struggle to find that consistent groove without becoming bored of the process, even though I know the process is in fact the point.

I love the mornings. I can see the sun rise today. And I wonder how much longer I will be able to see the sun in the morning.

Despite having such a lovely and prolonged summer, the time is nearing like an oppressive weight upon my chest as I can see the rains on the forecast.

Not even the grace of a cooler, crisper, slow decent into fall. Instead it will come as a crushing blow in 4 days with no apparent end in site. Although my rational side knows we need the rain desperately, it doesn’t change the distain I have for the clouds that rest over Portland from mid-October to early July.

It seems unfair to live in a place so dark.

I could bear it when Portland was a fun place to be. When there were more events, less crime, maybe it was the lightness of youth or perhaps ignorance that the issues of today didn’t bother me so much yesterday.

Although I must admit my anxiety was out of control in my youth and my concerns were turned in all different directions. Today I will be grateful for today. The present moment is where we are. It doesn’t matter what yesterday brought or what tomorrow may bring.

We live for today.

Why is it so easy to drift into the other states of being?

Those beloved memories of yesteryear which we know we are viewing with rose colored glasses.

Or the possibilities of an as-yet untested and unknown future that are but unrealized beloved memories? Because today is the struggle.

Today is the work. Today is where we build those futures we long to see. And despite that knowing, that knowledge it’s a constant struggle to be here. To reside in my body. To experience TODAY.

And not get caught up in the broader struggles. To allow a day, week, month or year to devolve into so many things that simply don’t matter.

What is focus, then, but the practice of being in the present time and making a choice to be experiencing it in the way you WANT?

It’s more than that.

It’s about experiencing the here and now in the belief that you’re making the best, right choices today that will create and define your future without getting caught up in the future or the past for that you do not control.

It’s about realizing there is so much you don’t control and that doesn’t matter (really) that you develop resistance to the distractions you have no control over. Current events, natural disaster, … But there is plenty you do control for time is moving whether you’re an active participant in your life.

Or not.

So it’s best to be part of the conversation.

Not any conversation, the conversations that shape who and what we are.

Where we’re going.

Goals we strive for, yes, but also the experiences, the life we want in our present.

The sun will shine today and if you love the sun, be in it.

We know we can’t be in it all the time, but we can make choices to be who we are and where we want to be even if it’s but for a few fleeting moments.

Even if you’re balancing an unending stack of responsibilities, give yourself the grace of a few moments to be.

Rest. Find the calm. When we find ourselves saying we can’t do something, lean into it.

Is that true? Can we not find a bit of grace?

The constant bombardment of distractions, distractions that can be alleviated by removing an app or placing the phone in another room, or turning off the TV…. those numbing agents that keep us from who we are, what we want, and from seeing and experiencing our truth.

That’s what separates us from greatness. When we find the strength to do and be what we most desire despite what society tells us, or the latest trends we find the power within us to handle the voices within ourselves that hold us back.

It’s the cacophony of louder and louder distractions that prevent personal thought, warp our outlook, and leave us too exhausted to handle the most important space of all, the space between our ears.

Thanks for reading. 💚

Outside the Bubble: NYC

New York

Thanks for reading. 💚

Eastside Esplanade

I'm on the plane today reflecting on a recent interaction.

Online, of course.

Unfortunately, on Facebook (soon I'll get off, I swear).

I live in a city with many houseless people. As many of you know, being without a home may be caused by many factors:

  • Generational poverty
  • Socio-economic conditions
  • Situational (e.g., job loss, etc.)
  • Domestic violence
  • Addiction (alcohol, drugs, whatever the hell this “meth” is right now, etc.)
  • Mental health conditions
  • Discrimination (race, gender, etc.)

I believe it cannot be solved with relatively simple broad concepts like “affordable housing” (affordable for whom, and what about the meth that fries people's minds forever).

I believe once we begin to look at the issues holistically, pool our resources, force aid organizations to talk to one another, and address the systemic underlying factors is the only way the crisis will be solved.

But that takes work and effort. It also doesn't make for a good political soundbite.

We try to oversimplify issues because complexity is hard. It's advanced work.

In my particular neighborhood, we have many houseless individuals and families. I do not know their circumstances. Honestly, it's not my business to know.

I do know what I see. Atrocious living conditions. Hypodermic needles where once there were none. Garbage everywhere.

I also know what I've experienced personally. Here's a rundown of a few things:

  • Door-to-door panhandling (one individual wouldn't leave my porch without money — why am I always alone when this happens?)
  • Gas siphoned from my vehicle
  • Multiple car break-ins (and items stolen)
  • A meth-head totaling our car (it was parked in front of our house)
  • A man posing as homeless selling drugs out of a tent across the street
  • Armed men jumping yard to yard chased by police
  • Piles of garbage and hypodermic needles we've cleaned up because there are no City resources on a regular basis

I could go on. I won't.

We also have laws that make it so people who commit petty crimes (houseless or not) are no longer arrested.

It sounds good on the surface.

Fewer resources expended on minor crimes, (hopefully) less chance of a person of color being needlessly hassled for being black or brown.

It also means by looking the other way, people who need access to resources (hence committing petty crimes) no longer have any engagement with anyone until things get really bad.

No one to connect you with addiction resources, women's shelters, etc. where you may find some relief, or potentially enough relief to get off the streets.

As with many policies, there are many unintended consequences.

That's not what this post is about.

This is About Conversation

The whole preamble above is something we have to do now.

It's all to say that I understand complexity.

I'm not shooting from the hip. I've given what I'm witnessing and the environment I'm living in a great deal of thought.

I've given it so much thought I'm fatigued by it.

The easy answer is, move. Right?

Except housing prices are through the roof. And, these problems persist in many parts of my city. So no safe havens without a cool million to spend.

And here's where the controversy begins. With one simple question:

It's OK to want to make the city better, right?

This is the conversation that lacks civility.

The conversation seems to be dominated by people who are either activists or people who proselytize from the highest mountains about how great Portland is.

A place can be great and have problems at the same time.

We do not live in a zero-sum world. It's not a winner-take-all world, especially when it comes to public policy.

Or life.

And this is what's so often happening in the public discourse. I either have to agree with you 100% or I am absolutely someone to be loathed, chastised, and shut down.

We see it in politics.

And we see it online.

For example, the housing crisis here.

There are people who think Portland is great just as it is and people without homes need to be able to do whatever they want or need to survive.

And they shout down anyone who says anything different.

We have lobbyists advocating for the houseless bending the ears of politicians. We have rich people also keeping it out of their neighborhoods.

Meanwhile, the rest of us are working and come up for air occasionally to say can we get a little help here?

It's a complex narrative I can't follow.

But I will say this.

Social media, cable news, streaming services (music, film, news, etc.) — all of it — has broken society apart into small factions.

We seek shelter from complexity.

It's so insular that when someone dares to disagree with another person, instead of having a constructive conversation, it turns into a deeply divisive battle.

Everyone leaves unhappy, unfulfilled, and further apart.

In a neighborhood Facebook group, someone posted that the person who reported her van to the City owes her $100 and an apology.

The van was parked on the street and surrounded by garbage. It appeared that someone lived in the van all summer. It wasn't driveable (the person admitted it in the post).

Many commented and said that sucks, what terrible neighbors, etc.

The issue is whether a car can be parked in the street with an awning out, garbage in the street, and at times spreading into the sidewalk.

For several months.

The other issue is that the person living in the van (or in the house with the van out front) was seen openly carrying and playing with a handgun while walking down the street.

I saw it myself. He pointed it at himself and in the process inadvertently pointed it in my (and my husband's) direction while we were sitting outside our house.

Was it loaded? I don't know.

Did anyone get hurt? No.

I don't think he was aware we were there, but I'm not sure.

What was abundantly clear, however, is he knew nothing about guns or gun safety.

I didn't report the incident to the police.

Why? Because nothing happened (except totally freaking me out). That's probably the most frightened I've been outside my own home.

I was shaking for over an hour.

I declared I wanted to move.

I looked at real estate the rest of the summer.

I've heard rumors about the person living in the van. I don't know what's true or not.

And, given my personal experiences — both seeing the gun, and after reading her posts in the neighborhood group — I am unlikely to approach the house.

It seems reasonable that people would want the van moved off the street and into the driveway.

It also seems reasonable that her immediate neighbors might not want to approach the house. Hence, why they called the City to have her van towed.

It would be disingenuous not to also include the man living in the van is Black.

The woman who owns the van and wants $100 from her neighbors is white.

It's an important plot point (below).

As a white person, I acknowledge I do not have a shared experience. I do not know what it's like to be Black. Or houseless. I acknowledge my privilege.

And, it's OK to be fearful of any person walking down the street with a gun.

Getting Back to Facebook.

When someone disagreed with her that whoever reported the van shouldn't pay the $100 and mentioned the gun incident they were labeled as racist and classist.

After people piled on for a couple of days, the neighbor ends it with, 'I've private messaged you, I really want to get along with my neighbors. I wish you'd come and talk to me.'

Uh. Whut?

After defending her position to the point of no return (calling people racist and classist seems like the point of no return), now it's time to join hands, sing kumbaya, and have backyard BBQ parties.

That's not how the world works.

Or at least not the world I'm used to.

That's the problem with this all-or-nothing zero-sum game people play.

It's like I get to say what I want when I want.

And screw you if you think differently.

And then there's the reality that you have a 30-year mortgage and you've called your neighbor a racist and a classist.

Talk about an oh shit moment.

It would be easy to say 'there's no reasoning to crazy.'

It does give me pause before speaking out next time.

But that's the whole point, isn't it?

#society, #socialmedia

Thanks for reading. 💚

WriteFreely App

Still getting the hang of this minimalist blog thing.

Sent an email from Apple and it was crazy weird. Extra characters and junk. Must not be clean HTML.

Now I’m using the iOS WriteFreely app. I think this will be a great way to blog while I’m on the road for the next few days and trying to stay away from my computer and email all the time.

I’m aware that the use of my phone doesn’t make me a digital minimalist.

What I’m most interested in is capturing thoughts and ideas from the road without sharing it on social media.

I think I have this figured out.

Time to tackle that to-do list. ✅


#apps, #tasks

Thanks for reading. 💚

Photo by Michal Matlon on Unsplash

You know that feeling when you think you’ve got your list of to-dos before going on a trip?

And then…

The emails start coming in and you realize you’re not even close to there.

That’s a special kind of overwhelm.

We’ve now entered the write everything down in triplicate mode.


#overwhelm, #tasks

Thanks for reading. 💚

One of the reasons I was attracted to this platform for blogging my personal thoughts, is the ability to send writing to a "special" email address and have it posted to the blog automatically. 

Yes, it can be done a million different ways. And, this is the simplest and keeps me out of the code (or at least I hope so). 

This is the maiden voyage of sending a blog through email. 

I'm adding a photo too — because why not. It's time to test the limitations of this thing.


This is a cute bunny I saw in my recent travels to Arizona. Greeted me every morning as I left my hotel room.


Thanks for reading. 💚

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