Howdy Trapezers,

Anyone else locked in their west coast bunker...err house...watching the nuclear winter haze? Oliver, our asthmatic old cat, is majorly pissed at us (his captors) for blocking outdoor access. He apparently hasn't noticed that we aren't leaving either.
At least we're safe since the crazy fires are on the other side of the mountains. My heart goes out to the people and animals trying to survive over the Cascades. WTF, 2020.


This Week's Newsletter:

This week: An excellent retrospective T.V. series, music recommendations, an animated journey through evolution and desire, and a brilliant take on A.I. all helped entertain me through this chaos.

Well, all that and getting my Italian citizenship.

Onward (but with fewer fires),

Are we having fun yet?! Don't worry, I let her in a few times a day.
Video Short: Simbiosis Carnal

Simbiosis Carnal won a boatload of film festival awards and is recently making the rounds of the internets. I'll leave the description of this fantastic animated Vimeo short to the creators:

A poetic journey through the history of animal evolution, desire and sexuality, from the first unicellular organism to human being.

I'd warn that it's NSFW, but we're all working from home anyway, right? Don't worry, it's nothing you haven't seen in a Spongebob Square Pants movie.

Music for a Smoky Day

Stuck inside and looking for some different tunes? Here's a couple suggestions to wrap up your week:
1. The Temptation of Adam by Josh Ritter (Spotify, YouTube). This song about two people stuck inside an underground missile silo is creative, beautiful, and funny. It's also fitting right now... The song lyric "what five letters spell apocalypse?" can only be answered f.i.r.e.s. at the moment. (The entire album is awesome as well.)
2. The Spotify playlist
31 Perfect Records via Austin Kleon. Lots of stuff I'd never heard. For background on the #perfect31 challenge, read his blog post as well.

Got any music you've been digging lately? Let me know! I can only listen to Morning Acoustic so many times...

Because sometimes there juuuust aren't any new pictures, here's bikepacking the Chilcotin Mtns in Canada last fall.
Netflix Series: The Last Dance

Locked indoors over the past week, I've stayed mentally sane (relatively) thanks to a bike trainer that a friend gifted me. I swore I'd never ride one, but hey, desperate times.
I'm no basketball fan, but as I've pedaled madly away, the Netflix docuseries The Last Dance gripped me. So good!
Last Dance dives into the history of Michael Jordan and Chicago Bulls in their final season, plus many historical flashbacks.The editing is unreal (how many thousands of hours of footage did the director watch?!) and stitched perfectly with recent interviews with the players. Even if you're not a basketball fan, I bet you'll dig it! (Here's the YouTube trailer.)

The Robots Are Coming For Us!


Last week I read a Guardian piece written by an A.I. language generator. The title: "A robot wrote this entire article. Are you scared yet, human? It's coherent and sometimes thoughtful (if perhaps a bit wordy).
What's funny about it is the intense amount of editing done by the team that published the piece. They adapted eight different versions of it, cut and pasted all over the place, and generally did more editing than most writers ever get. If only this newsletter received so much support!
Austin Kleon wrote a brilliant take on this, which I very much agree with. His closing paragraph was my favorite part:

Part of what we forget about writing and art is that we are not just sharing a product any more, we are also sharing a process. We are letting people in on what we do and we’re letting them know that there’s a human making these things.

Even if the robots could make what we make, could they create the meaning? I guess time will tell. Until then, I continue with my project to nurture what is not machine-like in me.

That's it for this edition. Forward to a friend, print for a sacrifice to the rain gods, or send my A.I. robot assistant an email. He always likes hearing from you all!
Here's to the fires flaming out soon - take care out there.
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