Tag Archives: Milestones

The Compassion Crisis


I made my first YouTube video! Wow I’m only like, 10 years behind the trend. In this video, I talk about the “empathy void” we seem to have found ourselves in lately, and what we can do about it in the future. Please take a look, and let me know what you think. The transcript of the video is below the jump. Continue reading The Compassion Crisis

On the Pulse of Mourning

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You wake up the next morning, Wednesday morning, and you hope it has been a nightmare. The rain falls outside in the black Oregon morning like tears and you realize it was not a dream. You log into social media and see the grief, the fear, and occasional glib comments, the jokes about moving to Canada. There is little uglier than the gloating of uneducated white people when their side wins.

How did we get here? you think to yourself. I thought this was locked down. But that’s it, isn’t it? You had been living in an insulated bubble for so long with like-minded friends whose values were the same. You lived in Los Angeles for 12 years before Portland, and now having been in Portland for 3 1/2 years; it has been easy to think that the rest of the country could see through the charlatan peddling snake oil. Hell, it appeared sometimes like even he was incredulous about his odds, that he was there just to symbolically show everyone how ridiculous the system was. On election day, you went to work with confidence bordering on hubris. That evening, as you headed to a bar to meet friends to watch the results, you stared at your phone with a creeping dread and disbelief. Continue reading On the Pulse of Mourning

This Ends Badly, A Webseries


“What? Another webseries announcement?” A few years ago I came up with the idea of pulling some of the dating horror stories from the blog and making them into an original series. It would take place in three cities! It would involve a cast of thousands! Well, then reality hit as I did the math and realized that this was a really ambitious project for my first time out of the gate. I’m still in love with the idea of How To Save Your Own Life, and it’ll always be percolating in the back of my mind until I have the resources to execute it properly.

In the meantime, I’m thrilled to present “This Ends Badly”! Continue reading This Ends Badly, A Webseries

Oh, the Places You’ll Go


You’re in the waiting room of the doctor’s office, you are called in by a tight-lipped nurse. You sit in the examining room, look around. It’s the usual suspects: the boxes of latex gloves, the canister of cotton swabs, the paper-covered vinyl-cushioned examining table. The doctor’s assistant comes in, updates your information. She’s warm and sharp as a tack: she remembers that you live in the neighborhood, that you moved from California a few years back. She notices you haven’t had a refill for the Xanax you take to fly lately, asks if you need  more. “No,” you exhale, “I’m not flying as much anymore. That relationship ended.” Suddenly without warning David’s ghost is there in the room with the two of you, standing behind her. He never says anything, this ghost that appears sometimes, his blue eyes just stare at you. Continue reading Oh, the Places You’ll Go

Life, the Universe, and Everything


Do this, exactly: Wake up on your forty-first birthday in 2014 on Thanksgiving, and finally feel happy, feel ready for what’s next. Realize that although there’s a lot you have in common, break up with a very sweet man who you’ve been seeing for a few months. Hunker down and make some fun art, take some silly pictures, spend Christmas in a snowless Portland winter. Spend time with friends, miss your family who you can’t see very often around the holidays because of your day job. Continue reading Life, the Universe, and Everything


I turned 41 on Thanksgiving and all I got was this busted up cake.

A post shared by Michael James Schneider (@blcksmth) on


This is how it happens: you turn 40, in the fall of 2013. You write a cute post about turning 40, about hitting parked cars and falling down for no reason. It’s funny, but inside you’re actually still a little sad. You realize the earth is spinning through the same space it was a year earlier and it’s the exact time of year he told you no. You still think about him sometimes, but then you realize that he probably doesn’t think about you since the three manifesto-length texts you sent him probably forever sealed in his mind that you’re a creeper. You thought your 40th birthday would be a blowout, but it’s the opposite: friends can’t travel around Thanksgiving except to their families, the timing is off. You have a quiet drink with a friend at a bar you now don’t even remember. You realize you’re in for a long winter, or what you later call “Olive Garden’s Endless Heartbreak.” Continue reading 1973