I ventured out with my brother to pick up a couple of pizzas on Saturday night for what has quickly become our new pizza night tradition. Unlike last weekend, for whatever reason, our local Bedminster Pizza was not doing delivery. We called in the order and paid by card over the phone before driving over, parking with a couple of spots in between ours and the car next to us, and opening the door to the backseat. I called inside and had them bring the boxes out, put them on the backseat, and close the door before we drove away. It was a clean transaction in the literal sense, and my first time leaving the house other than on foot in more than a couple of weeks. In these distanced times, the eventful picking up of a pizza was my Saturday night adventure.
Without any further ado or anything extemporaneous, here is the weekend review which I call The Weekend Miscellaneous.
Bill Withers – Often we come to appreciate people most only after they are gone. This is an unfortunate aspect of the human condition. “Memento mori” is a wise saying that I have come to appreciate. The Latin phrase translates to say, “Remember you must die”. It helps me make the most of life. Additionally, remembering that everyone will die helps me to appreciate the people in my life. Eerily, in the last music video before his tragically young death, Mac Miller etched out the words “memento mori” inside the top of a coffin that he was stuck in while smoking a cigarette. I have written about how big a fan I have always been of his music, but never did I appreciate it more until after he was gone. When Kobe died earlier this year, I began to appreciate him too more than ever as I joined the world in remembering the highlights of his life and watching the highlights of his games. This weekend, Bill Withers passed away, and it was not premature like Mac or Kobe, and, honestly, I could not have even told you with any confidence whether he was dead or alive before I heard this news that he passed, but his passing has caused me to go back and listen to more of his music nonetheless. He has more than a handful of popular songs including Lovely Day, Just The Two of Us, Use Me, Leon on Me, Ain’t No Sunshine, and Grandma’s Hands which I would say I like best in that order. Lesser known songs that I have played over and over again in the past include Can We Pretend and Sweet Wanoni, but I recognize that I have a whole lot more digging to do. When it comes to appreciation, I believe strongly in the concept of better late than never. I hope to create things throughout my life that allow people to appreciate me more than ever after I am gone too.
The Way Back – Ben Affleck plays a construction worker in what seems like it could be the 30 years older continuation of his character from Good Will Hunting, and that actually would not be far from consistent timing given the 23 years that have passed since the release of what is one of my top few favorite movies of all time. In The Way Back, Ben’s character turns out to have been a high school basketball superstar and when something happens to his former high school’s basketball coach, the religious school’s priest asks the drunk you later learn to sympathize with to return for the first time since he left to try and bring the team to the playoffs for the first time since he left as well. There may not be a better movie genre for me than the underdog coach with an underdog team, so naturally, I liked this movie a lot. Was it on par with Remember the Titans, The Hoosiers, or Coach Carter? No, no, and probably not. Still, I enjoyed it a lot, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes that kind of movie.
Unscrypted – My latest podcast obsession is helping me continue to scratch the surface of all there is to know about Bitcoin and the world of crypto. The podcast is a collection of audio recordings of unscripted talks given by Andreas Antonopolous, the best teacher of this subject that I have found, whose Introduction to Bitcoin speech I have recommended in the past. If you like learning through podcast listening and you are interested in Bitcoin, this could be a great podcast for you, and if you are not interested in Bitcoin but you would be interested in what could be the most revolutionary shift in the concept of money that anyone alive will have ever seen, then I would humbly assert that you should be.
COVID-19K Run – Last Friday, I wrote about a fundraiser that I organized in which people are walking or running 19 kilometers at their own pace and on their own time over hours, days, or weeks to help feed those in need facing hunger in America. All of the great work for the cause is done by an organization called Feeding America. I felt somewhat silly having started a fundraiser with a $19,000 goal when the day after starting it I saw that Leonardo DiCaprio and Laurene Powell Jobs had since started a fundraiser with half of the proceeds also going to Feeding America and a much larger goal of $15,000,000. Still, I feel good about having created this means by which my limited network can contribute to this organization and I believe the objective of feeding hungry people who cannot afford to pay for basic needs will prove to be an essential in the coming months. I suppose Leo & Laurene can fall back on that same logic now that Jeff Bezos has also since stepped in and donated $100,000,000 in one fell swoop. While these massive fundraises make mine represent nothing more than a rounding error, I am following through with what I set out to do. We continue to raise awareness and donations because no matter how small it all may seem in the scheme of things, I am very confident it will go on to have a positive impact of some magnitude. On Sunday afternoon, I ran my 19K like I said I would. It was the second longest run of my life and my 10 minute 20 second per mile pace was better than I expected I would do, so overall I felt very good afterwards, even though my body felt pretty bad. Like doing anything else in life, I found it was helpful to know the reason why I was running and to believe in that reason strongly. It was still hard as I am in much better shape mentally than I am physically, but it did make it easier all in all. If you did not see my previous post, you can find more information on the COVID-19K Feeding America fundraiser at www.gofundme.com/covid-19k .
It is a beautiful day today where I am home quarantined. I hope that is a sign for the week to come. We will make it through this wild time, one day at a time.