First off, if you missed Issue #0 be sure to check that out in the archive! Today's is the first real issue using the format discussed.
First off wanted to say thanks for all of the support - several of you reached out to me personally with your excitement and that means a lot - hopefully this first issue lives up it!
Today's intro is a story about minivans and books that I was recently inspired to write while at a library. I've gotten some questions about whether these newsletters are going to have themes - I'm definitely considering that going forward, but today's is kind of all over the place, with some hilarious stuff, some serious stuff, and some very random stuff. As always, feel free to email or tweet me comments!
One of the best things my parents ever did was take me to the library whenever I wanted while growing up (which, in retrospect, was an excessive amount). I was never content with the small regional library half a mile from our house and would regularly insist that we take the trip to the larger, 2-story branch that took 20 minutes to get to, and had a much larger collection. I would leave mom downstairs and rush upstairs, to the fiction section, where I trolled through shelves and made what for 12 year old me were the life-and-death decisions of which books I would take home that trip.
It was a laborious process, sometimes taking hours. After all, if I picked something bad I'd have to wait days to rectify my mistake.
12 year old me took his libraries seriously.
My mom wasn't much of a reader, but she would find something to flip through while she waited, often sitting in a childishly small chair while she oversaw my younger siblings. The only thing she ever complained about was the number of books I'd want to take home.
On one of those trips we got into my first car accident, or well, the first one I remember being part of. Mom picked me and my brother and my sister up from school and we headed straight to the library at my behest, which was not an uncommon occurrence. Then, at a red light at the corner of two streets near home, we all jolted forward as someone behind us said an unceremoniously physical hello.
A few fire trucks and ambulances later, we found out our rearward neighbor was the victim of a car sandwich. The perpetrator was the driver of a red sports car and a possessor of limited attention (and a newly-totaled car) several vehicles behind.
He wasn't hurt, but several cars were, and ours wouldn't start. My mom, going to a library for the umpteenth time, driving a minivan with a floor that her feet barely reached, with three kids and a jostled stack of books in the back, got a friendly push from a group of firemen after putting the car in neutral. We were blocking the middle lane and slowly glided past the traffic light and to the right, into a friendly suburban gas station.
Shortly after that my dad arrived and began doing the Things You Do when human-induced vehicular damage takes place. We didn't get home until late.
I only remember two other things about that day: my brother chidingly saying it was my fault because I wanted to go to the far-away library, and me unabashedly asking my mother if we would still be able to go to go there after everything was over.
We didn't. Not that day anyway.That two-story library is still there. It's open hours have been shortened due to budget cuts and there's now a cafe that hosts a bored teenager and too-sugary drinks in a futile bid to create a "coffeeshop atmosphere". Instead of VHS rentals and books on tape there's wifi and downloadable content.
But it still has the poorly-designed foyer that leaks noise from downstairs up to the "quiet zone" above, and where the fiction section still resides. It still has a gigantic dictionary in the reference section that sits perpetually open, casually displaying whatever word was looked up last as if in a defiant display of the previous user's ignorance. It still has shelves upon shelves of books, many of which will rarely be read.
And still, 12 years later, my parents still have and drive that van. What was once sparkly silver paint has dulled over the years and chipped in several places along the back. Alongside the chipped paint are several bumper sticker tan lines created through a mix of recurring sunlight and changing interests. One is shaped like a soccer ball.
That van moved me in, and out, of college. It did the same for my sister and will likely live through my brother's college years. I think the odometer is a few hundred miles off. It's seen spills, had its guts replaced, and has held far too many books to count. It's safely conveyed a family of 5 for hundreds of hours of road trips.
But before all that, it took me to the library.
So this week I discovered the world of competitive multicopter-flying. This guy has some amazing videos on YouTube and below is one of my favorites. I won't lie - watching a few of these got me to pick up my own mini-quadcopter this week...maybe a future newsletter will have FPV videos of my own?
Click the pic below for the YouTube video.
If you are at all interested in foreign policy, economics, politics, and related world affairs, you should check out Project Syndicate. From their about page, Project Syndicate is "the only news service focused solely on producing and delivering high-quality commentaries to a global audience."
That does't really do it justice - the contributor list is a veritable who's who of people involved in those topics from around the world. Here are some of them: Jeffrey Sachs, Shinzo Abe, Desmond Tutu, Kofi Annan, Bill Gates, Jimmy Carter, Joseph Stiglitz, Richard Haass, and many others.
I've been following the site off and on for a few years now, but I came across an article this week that I thought was worth sharing, a short piece about the future direction of US foreign policy
I was a big fan of Zhu's album The Nightday, which featured some awesomely deep, almost sensual tracks. I recently (thanks Discover Weekly!) came across this track featuring both Zhu and AlunaGeorge (who is awesome in her own right) - Automatic https://open.spotify.com/track/1Wcw6FdJVhuAWI39mVAXfS
I'm a big fan of the subtle piano trill used against the more thudding three low notes that together drive the song with some uniquely Zhu sounds.
As I said before, who doesn't love a gif? This week's gif is presented without comment. Watch through the end.
Thanks for engaging. Until next time -- see you space cowboy,