New Traditionalists, Devo record, 1981

I’ll never forget how I FELT when I first heard the song “Through Bring Cool”. A cousin in small town Tennessee gave me the vinyl on a trip one summer. I ripped open the plastic wrapper and set it on the turntable. It really did sound different that way. The lyrics! The bass! The drums! One of the few times someone in the ‘80s introduced me to something dfferent. Pop rock radio and three Beatles records were my entire musical world then. Thanks DEVO! #Devo #cool #music #anticool

New Traditionalists, DEVO

Is Future of all Local Retail Mobile?

Originally written July 29, 2021

Reinventing the food truck itself to be more affordable, energy efficient, and flexible can allow new generations of people to start retail businesses that serve their neighbors and feed their children. Especially beyond selling food.

Can trucks be made VERY energy efficient and super affordable? (Without tax incentives.)

I love food trucks!

Real estate prices, both sales and rental costs, will continue to rise for decades to come. We are already at a point where a new entrepreneur who wants to start a brick & mortar retail business must plan for three locations at the start plus revenue beyond traditional sales. Such as online sales and wholesale business models. (Ex. Coffee shop that is also a roaster who sells wholesale beans to local retail stores and online.) Gone are the days of the modest one location store in a building where the owner and their family live on top.

Other retail startup options involve purchasing commercial real estate. Owning has its challenges but can control costs and act as collateral for loans. But this is a very different business than selling goods. Plus the upfront costs are enormous and interest expenses from loans can keep people and families chained to debt for their entire lives.

The food truck resurgence of 2008 in the United States has continued and grown. Many entrepreneurs see it as a start up ramp towards physical static building locations. Others work on and on in their panel vans.

Reinventing the food truck itself to be more affordable, energy efficient, and flexible can allow new generations of people to start retail businesses that serve their neighbors and feed their children. Especially beyond selling food.

This concept is a necessity for the future of the lower and middle class retail entrepreneur. Mega corporations like Amazon are radically changing commerce itself. The pandemic is forever changing the labor force and how we interact in person. Global wealth is changing banking which owns most commercial real estate. Some may believe their kind of growth is endless. But the chasam between the lower/middle class and the so-called upper class is not. There will be a fundamental breakdown of economics as we understand it if human labor and service is eliminated. Because the demand for scale and the future of human viruses is demanding automation on a new scale of AI powered machines. These smart robots will replace all retail positions at some point in the near future.

We must reinvent the simple entrepreneurial opportunity with simple physical sales for every woman, man, and child. 

Is this to be done with a new product that most can not afford? Or is it a method of using existing cheap used technology? Can the food truck be reinvented to accommodate ANY retail business idea?

Lifelike Sculpture Casting Dream

I dream that I was working to make a lifelike sculpture of a bag of sand. (?) Maybe it was a pillow or a bag of sugar. I hand made a model. Someone introduced me to Ron Howard who showed me how to make the 3D model with software. The idea was to use it to make a mold from it.

The night before I was reading about psilocybin mushrooms in Michael Pollan’s book “How to Change Your Mind”. As soon as I was barely conscious I got the idea of making a mold to cast small mushrooms then hand paint them. Specifically the blue Psilocybe Azurescens. Is it possible to make a cast from a living mushroom?

Back to Podcasting

One area I’m most proud of innovating in is Podcasting. I got involved because Ruby bought me an iPod in early 2004 and I wondered, “What can I make for the iPod instead of just consuming with it.” A few months later I started the 3URLs show on On October 3, 2004 I released the podcast episode 3URLs 10/03/04. Thanks to Ibiblio for hosting the mp3s and website for all these years.

Recently I’ve started a new show called Flathead Monster. It’s just interviews with interesting people about what they do. I still have a RSS feed for FHM but I also share it on Youtube. As one does in 2019.

My first episode on is with Brendan Love and we talk about tattoos.

Flathead Monster Podcast by Brian Russell, Episode 001, Brendan Love on Tattoos
Flathead Monster Podcast by Brian Russell, Episode 001, Brendan Love on Tattoos

Support My Film Photography of Changing Architecture

Buildings can have lives most of us never see.
Buildings can have lives most of us never see.

Over the years I found myself gravitated towards taking art style photo of buildings and their details. Doors, roofs, old, new, and ancient. I didn’t start out looking for subject mater. I just found I like these 3D objects we live and work in. I should thank old friends who are architects and my sculpture professors.

Now I’ve decided to use a cool crowdfunding platform called Patreon. My main goal is to help fund the cost of film, development, processing, printing, and finishing. Maybe more in the future. But right now if you can donate a few bucks a month it will really help.

Head on over to and watch my welcome video and read my project statement. Thanks!

Three Words

Three Graffiti WordsAbstract art is dream like. Both are foggy and full of potential. These great graffiti works I stumbled upon last week have some literal meaning in there. After all they are words. But I can’t penetrate their meaning so they remain foggy to me.

I have a particular dream that is full of potential. I’d like to teach fine artists how to support themselves using business skills. In my typical unrealistic dreaming way I see it more than casual meetings at coffee shops. But a full fledge school with studios and dorms on a campus.

When I was nineteen and entering college I went to a fine art program to avoid the office. It wasn’t until I was out of school and using a computer to do book design that I thought about business and money beyond paying for rent.

Twenty years later I’ve worked in numerous offices, started my own physical business, and served on several economic development boards. It’s not a group of experiences I expected to have at this point in my life.

My dream is to adopt a new business language outside of the MBA program. Mainly to help young creative people obtains skills to support themselves in our violent capitalist society. I just don’t believe opting out of business completely is an option. At some point we are all confronted with trading cash, physical or digital, for something such as rent.

Red Door with Tags

19970695216_89449b8aa3_cOn the way to meet a friend for coffee I walked by this door. I had to take a picture of it. Because my cell phone camera is shit I had to do a little editing to the photo. So to reveal the magic I will say this red door isn’t this bright red in real life.

I recognize the style of tag on the the very top of the door. It has this angular square handwriting style. Other than that I have no idea what any  of these tags mean. I’ve heard that they can be symbols for gangs. I have no idea. I just appreciate them for their aesthetic beauty.

To me this door is as beautiful as any painting by Franz Klein. He was a abstract expressionist out of NYC. Klein’s work was really a study of formal aesthetics. Stuff like color, texture, stroke, shape, line, etc. It’s fun to look at something that way and try not to read into it.

We are all hyper literal jerks sometimes. I certainly believe we can blame the Internet. Why not? It’s easy to blame this powerful force for everything. Doesn’t mean I don’t love the Internet or that I will stop using it.

For some reason most folks have a really hard time not seeing ducks and bunnies in the clouds. Our brains have evolved to make sense of everything we experience. Especially the visual. In the 21st Century we are inundated by visual imagery like no other time in human existence. Especially the kind of imagery that is man made or in the case of deep dream made by artificial intelligence.

I think this red door is a excellent example of public art. While it was most likely not commissioned but tolerated. Why? I bet it’s because the owners of this door know that within 24 hours of repainting the door there will be fresh tags and marks. Taking the old tags away only eggs on the artists to make more. By leaving the tags it makes it harder and harder to add more. It forces the taggers to write over their fellow artists work. A much harder social act than marking a virgin canvas.

As I edge towards the border of pretentiousness, if I haven’t already crossed it, I’ll end with this. Carrboro, North Carolina is a great place that tolerates and supports the arts in some really interesting places. Especially for a Town of it’s small size. This style is threatened a little more each year with the more new expensive properties with out of town owners that won’t let expression like this happen. I bet marks like this that show up on Greenbridge a block away are gone in a heartbeat.

My Writing

Here is a collection of writing I’ve done over the years. Some of these were written for blogs and others were published in newspapers. These are the ones I’m most proud of. Not because of their flair. But because I was able to get across one or more ideas I really cared about. Check back because I’ll update this list over time.

Last edit: July 13, 2015


Adopt a Local Happiness Index, February 2014

Why Sprawl Kills Coworking, May 2013



Various posts on the Orange Politics blog

If you want local news to survive make it mobile, November 2012



Bricks and Clicks: Hybrid Local Businesses, August 2011

High-speed Internet must be a part of Carrboro’s infrastructure, January 2009