“If he were alive today, he’d probably subvert social media…”

“…in the same way he helped to reinvent western culture in his own time.”

Right on!

Thus spake my friend Lily Wen: DJ, Lindy Hop champion, and now record label entrepreneur, regarding the late great Alan Watts.

Alan Watts. Image via Ingienous Designs.

The old codger himself (image via Ingienous Designs)

I feel like I’ve always been vaguely aware of this British philosopher-hippie who helped bring Eastern provocations to the West, but I felt a spike of connection with his work last week, at the pre-release party for the vinyl EP Face the Facts, out today on Lily’s Figure & Ground label.

The record takes the occasion of what would have been Watts’ 100th birthday to present four “spoken word” tracks taken from hundreds of hours of his seminar recordings, set to music by New York woodwind musician Jas Walton.

Figure & Ground’s website describes the original material as “psychedelic Californian ruminations, intriguing incantations, and compelling thoughts on existence.” When I heard some of them at the party (held at the wonderful and cozy Unoppressive Non-Imperialist Bargain Books in the West Village), I did feel as though I were sitting in Watts’ houseboat living room, awash in mind-stretching inducements to alternate ways of viewing the world.

It was very cool.

Lily’s gotten some great press for her efforts, including write-ups in the San Francisco Chronicle, Wax Poetics, and Elephant (which I suggested she pitch to—yay!).

The record goes on sale in stores worldwide starting today, via Fat Beats distribution. If you’d prefer to stay in the living room, you can order a copy in digital or vinyl format from the Figure & Ground website instead.

Cheers, Lily! And cheers, Mr. Watts.

Brokelyn makin’ me feel like a genius

I never thought my cheap homemade lunches were much to write home about (though I would occasionally write home about them when I thought my mom would be particularly proud).

In fact, though some of my office coworkers over the years commented on my consistency and… uniqueness, would I periodically take heat from colleagues who turned their noses up at such frugality, and wondered why I would spend time assembling lunch at home when a world of delis waited right downstairs.

Well, guys, Mama’s finally getting her due!

Mmm! Cheap!

Mmm! Cheap!

I pitched the idea of my $2.50/day lunches (and how they’ve saved me $14K in the past decade) to Brokelyn, and when they bit, I felt real validated. See, it was a great idea after all!

Learn how to manifest this life-affirming meal choice for yourself here, and check out some of my other stories about good cheap things here.

Got any cheap tricks I should know about?

One of my clients was in Nepal when the first earthquake struck

I am among the grateful that a wonderful client of mine, Scott Francisco, wasn’t harmed when the first of two magnitude 7+ earthquakes struck Nepal late last month, and that he was able to leave the country before the second one. I wrote this blog post about it for his design company.

Scott helps a family build a temporary shelter

Scott helps a family build a temporary shelter near Kathmandu

Although I haven’t been there yet, I’ve long harbored a certain (if vague) affection for Nepal, and I guess all things Himalayan. Watching the wreckage and misery that surround a disaster is always a souring experience, but in this case it felt worse than usual.

Scott is now in the midst of rallying other architects and structural engineers to volunteer some of their time and expertise to helping assess and rebuild homes and historic structures in the Kathmandu Valley. He’s a real mensch! Check out the details on this LinkedIn post.