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issue 08
November 7, 2018


I’m writing this on Tuesday before the results of the midterm elections are known.

Someone on Twitter described today as feeling like you’re waiting for the results of a biopsy. But it also seems like a Schrödinger’s cat situation, only instead of a cat being simultaneously alive and dead, it’s hope.

If hope is a wish for the future, gratitude is a wish that already came true. It’s easy to forget to be thankful for all the things in life that simply work.

I was reminded of that last week in Austin, where the entire city was under a boil notice and you couldn’t drink the tap water. It was a hassle. We take basic utilities like water and power for granted until they’re gone.

This idea of being thankful for overlooked things was the topic of A.J. Jacob’s guest-hosting on the Tim Ferriss show this week. His new book Thanks a Thousand finds him trying to track down and thank the 1,000 people it took to make his cup of coffee.

While I’m generally dubious of stunt books, I’m a process nerd, so I’m curious to read it.

I think there’s another often-overlooked aspect of thankfulness, which is acknowledging all the bad luck we avoided. That happened to me a few weeks ago.
In the spirit of thankfulness, I’m grateful you’re reading this newsletter. And thank you for passing it along to other folks.

I'm thankful for everyone who ran for office, and everyone who called and emailed and knocked on doors to encourage people to vote. I phone-banked for the first time on Saturday, and it was honestly great. I'd do it again.

Here’s what else I found interesting this week:

Next up: Air-haters. Quinn Myers talks to people who refuse to drink water. Not just tap water. Any water.

See Roma on the big screen. I got to interview Alfonso Cuarón a few years ago for Gravity. His new movie is more like his early, personal films, yet also bold and expansive. Notably, the central character doesn’t do any of the classic hero things. She’s largely passive, yet completely compelling.

Speaking of the Hero’s Journey, Jeff Gomez of Starlight Runner is correct to observe that not every story is really a classic hero’s quest. But I found his write-up of the Collective Journey to be a tangle of interesting ideas that never really add up.

Kickstarter is not the only way. I’ve run two Kickstarters. Whenever someone asks my advice about running one, I point them to Jamey Stegmaier’s terrific and exhaustive site. What’s interesting is that Jamey himself has moved away from Kickstarter because of how stressful it is, although he’s considering going back.

Like a casino on the plains. Headed to the Denver airport last week, I pointed to a massive structure in the distance that looked like a McMansion palace. Turns out it’s called The Gaylord (tee-hee). It’s a free-standing resort and convention center designed to be close to the airport – and seemingly away from everything else. I guess I can see the logic of why you’d want to have your conference guests stay close to the action, but it felt like a perfect setting for a post-apocalyptic battle.

Art & Arcana. I feel a bit guilty recommending a $125 book of Dungeons and Dragons art and history, but if you’re the kind of person who’d love it, you’ll love it. It’s spectacularly well-done.

Build the (tiled) wall. A Norwegian colleague recommended the board game Azul, and she was correct. It’s a great game for 2 to 4 players. Like many of the best games, it’s very quick to learn but rewards strategy as you get more experienced.

And those are some of the things I found interesting this week. Here’s hoping America is still a democracy next week.
As always, you can email me at

See you next Wednesday!


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Wednesday, December 12th at 8pm
Los Angeles Film School
(Details soon.)



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