Merry Christmas! I hope all of you are doing well and that your celebrations were filled with happiness, laughter, and good food! For our part, this year marked the 20th Christmas that Aaron and I have spent together. Like every one of those other Christmases, it was one of the best days of my life (despite the unusual circumstances and challenges this year has brought). We decided that with the world feeling so uncertain, and the need to remain socially distanced from others, it would be the perfect opportunity to stay home, wear knitted sweaters and jeans, and enjoy a classic early-to-mid twentieth century dinner; pure, old-school comfort food that envoked a sense of warmth and safety, friends and family, prosperity and peace.
Listening to Christmas Music and Cooking a Dutch Oven Tortellini Soup with Italian Sausage and Bread
One afternoon last week, we decided to test a new Dutch Oven Tortellini Soup with Italian Sausage recipe while drinking eggnog and listening to Christmas music. It provided leftovers for several days, making our lives easier during the newest shelter-in-place lockdown in California.
Aaron and I are beyond thrilled that in a little more than four months, we will welcome our first child into the Kennon-Green family! Here is an update about the process and a few pictures of what we’ve been up to as we prepare for his arrival.
We recently discovered that in 2017, the SpaceLab9 booth at New York Comic Con sold an extremely limited edition Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Ultimate Vinyl collection etched to look like the famous sweet rolls from the game. The collection, which was limited to only 95 copies, contains the full 52-tracks found in the game. The moment we learned it existed, we knew we had to have it. After some searching, in June 2020 we were able to track down one of those boxed sets. We immediately bought it for our music collection.
Keeping an eye on numerous individual companies, as well as a broad array of economic data, I am far more optimistic about the next ten years than I was this time last month. Yes, there will still be challenges, but it looks like much of the worst-case scenario has been averted. Now, it’s about navigating the problems we will encounter due to the specific policy decisions made in the midst of the pandemic.
We started to see toilet paper (multiple varieties, sizes, etc.) as well as occasional bottles of Lysol appear at local stores, and beaches are once again full with people running, sailboats in the distance, and folks riding their bicycles. Many of the independent retail shops have reopened, and restaurants are beginning to accept diners, again.
Over the past year, one of my favorite tracks to listen to while I work is an instrumental piece by Iranian-born composer, producer, instrumentalist, and performer Sami Yusuf. In referring to his genre of music, Yusuf calls it “Spiritique”, which blends Eastern and Western sounds into something new and different.
Several incredibly talented people collaborated on a disco-style track called “Kill the Lights” that Aaron and I have been listening to on endless repeat. The build-up to the chorus and explosion of happiness is great, especially when the volume is turned up, the sun is shining, and you’re getting stuff done. You can’t help but dance. It’s probably going to be the song we remember most from Spring 2020 (even thought it was released several years ago and just flew below our radar). There is just so much joy in it.
Unreal Engine 5 – one of the big video game development engines upon which the modern gaming industry is built – has been revealed. It looks spectacular. This is going to allow much smaller studios to develop titles that would have only been possible with far higher budgets and resources only a few years ago.
Over the past few weeks, an interesting, and rather dramatic, development has occurred: A good minority of the population, often those in possession of what they deem to be stable incomes and sufficient savings, or who are otherwise cradled by some sort of safety net so they need not worry about homelessness and destitution, have moved the goalposts of the lockdowns from “flatten the curve to buy time for the hospital system to deal with a dramatic rise in patient loads” to “shelter-in-place until a vaccine is developed so this thing doesn’t spread.” The latter is predicated upon a fundamental misunderstanding that ignores the scientific reality of what we are facing. Looking at subsequent developments in the pandemic, it’s time to face facts based upon all available presently-known factors.