RIP Robin Williams

I’ve never had a celebrity that I cared about die on me. I did not realize that any celebrity could actually affect me this way. Hell, I didn’t even realize that I cared about him.

But the internet has been all a-buzz about it, so I had a lot in front of my face to think about – and I think I know why I care about it.

My childhood was quite turbulent, as family goes. I did not see much of my extended family very often. My parents divorced when I was young, so I never saw both sides congregate at anything until my older brother got married – and even then, a last-minute date change forced a great deal of them to not be able to show.

My point is that I never knew my uncles very well. Some friends of either of my parents sort of filled that role a bit, but it never quite cut it.

From what I understand of the real world, uncles are supposed to be accessible to young people. They make a whole bunch of jokes that you don’t get – and they explain them to you, despite your parent’s wishes. They show you all about those noisy and destructive things that your parents don’t want to teach you – but parents don’t want to teach you only because they would rather not be the ones responsible for you having that knowledge (it’s a ‘plausible deniability’ thing, I think). They impart a whole bunch of wisdom that your parents have been trying to hammer into you for years – and you don’t even think to resist them.

I saw Robin Williams more often than I saw much of my family. He is funny and does almost nothing but tell jokes. When I started getting old enough to understand the important things in life, I was exposed to some of his drama. Even in his drama he is funny and manic sometimes. I can still recite that little portion of a poem that he recited in A.I.

Thinking back, I think even his manic characters are important for me where my philosophical landscape is concerned – Aladdin‘s genie wanted freedom – he could literally get anything but freedom, and freedom was all he wanted. The genie’s primary goal was to make life good for Aladdin. He did that with his magic, sure – but he also imparts incredible advice, in some extremely overt ways, when Aladdin needed it. Whether Aladdin wanted it or not (“Tell. Her. The. TRUTH.”)

He never talks to me directly, but he is always addressing me. In any role that he portrays, there is some moment where he takes control of the scene and says some incredible, profound wisdom.

He is one of those people that, at this point in my life, I would invite over to my house for a humble dinner if I saw him on the street. Very few celebrities are on my short list of  “people I want to have over for dinner.”

I am not totally sure what I am getting at here. I know that I want to be a good uncle for my nephew (he is a gigantic little 2-year old child), and I will probably look to Williams as an example for that. But otherwise, I gotta say – I miss him already. But remember that thing that he got the most joy from was making people laugh. So crack a joke for every tear that you shed for him.

The internet people I blame for this website’s existence

So, I am putting this post here partly because I need to write more things that I can publish immediately. I am also putting it here because these people are part of what a) Inspired b) Motivated or c) Instructed me in one way or another that eventually made this website exist. I will probably be mentioning each and every one of these people/websites in that E-book that I talked about some number of posts back.

All the names will link to their respective ‘about’ pages, because I not only want you to see these awesome and wonderful people, but also to know what they are up to. I feel an odd sort of kinship with these people, even though I have never spoken to them. This is probably because they spend a lot of time mucking about in my head, talking to me about a bunch of things that I find interesting.

Welcome to Night Vale

at Commonplacebooks is comprised of so many people that I don’t think that I could reasonably mention them all here. But they are the first ones that managed to scratch that itch that I had for audio entertainment that wasn’t music. Damned good storytelling – about a strange town in the desert with tons of unexplained phenomena that no one (except Carlos) seems to want to figure out, and a rivalry with another town that worships a smiling god.

Ryan Costello, Jr., Cathy Dolan, and Jefferson J. Thacker (a.k.a. Perram)

are the people at the Know Direction podcast, which started from the 3.5 Private Sanctuary – A place the the now-defunct revised 3rd edition of D&D can live on. It has grown a lot and added both Geek Together and Know Direction – all of which do a great job of getting in to the nerd world, and specifically into the fantasy d20 world. Once Pathfinder came on the scene they started to shift focus to that game, which is basically taking the rules of 3.5 and running with it as if 4th edition never happened.

Escape Pod

A science fiction podcast that, when I found it, it was well past episode 400. I started working my way back and I think I got all the way to 200 before I decided to only listen to the new ones as they came out. It would be impossible to mention each individual person, since there are so many different authors, readers, and other staff. They do some great work, and I only discovered them after I decided to do Apprentice Storytelling 


Just like Escape Pod, only fantasy. Similar story, but there is an itch more vital to me that gets scratched by fantasy. I am still working my way back with this one, and I am only as far back as 274 (they are on 322 at time of writing).

Daniel J. Lewis, specifically where he exists on The Audacity to Podcast

Another one that I started at episode 1 and then just caught up over the next few months, The Audacity to Podcast is a lot more technical than all of these previous entries. It is amazing that he is gives away as much advice as he does – for free. This guy makes a living off of his podcasts, and I have the feeling that if you would have a conversation with him in real life, he would be that guy that just won’t shut up about it. The twist is that practically everything that he would say, he has already tried.

Not just the podcasting side of things, but how you should think about setting up your website, where you should set up your website, how you should approach social media, and a slew of other things. If you plan to try to get people to look at stuff you create, then you should listen to this guy.

The Podcaster’s Roundtable 

A bunch of people – they specifically try to get someone new on the rotation every time they do a new episode. Several of the best “podcasters who podcast about podcasting” are almost always represented, along with some of the other more specific niches – anything from writing to knitting to…I can’t remember because I was not really interested in what they podcasted about, rather I cared about how they did it.

Mur Lafferty from the podcast I Should Be Writing.

It was, from what I can tell, originally a way for Mur to motivate herself to get a book published. And it worked. Seriously: she has a few books published. Now she continues to podcast about different aspects of the writing and publishing business while she is writing her young adult fiction. She is also (formerly and currently) an editor at the above Escape Pod science fiction podcast. In her podcast, she often interviews editors, authors, publishers, and other industry insiders.

Pat Flynn

Similar to Daniel J. Lewis, Pat Flynn has the Smart Passive Income blog, website, and everything else that he can think of to round out that idea. He even has an E-book that you can download for free – you just have to sign up for his email list, which has been pretty cool to be a part of (even if I never actually email him back or buy anything). Pat’s focus is much more on the profit side of things, and has a ton of advice for how to make a business out of niche websites. I am about to listen to episode number 85, out of a current 121.