When Normality Is a Blessing

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The other day, I did something that would’ve been considered normal during any other time in my life: I went out to a movie.

Of course, it wasn’t at a movie theater (the vast majority of movie theaters in America are still closed). Instead, it was at a pop-up drive-in movie theater created by a local restaurant called Canlis. I vlogged the experience and you can watch the whole thing here:

In the Before Time, Canlis was a high-end restaurant offering spectacular views of the Seattle area from its location at the top of Aurora Avenue. In recent days, their owners have realized that Seattle doesn’t need a high-end restaurant right now, so they’ve launched a series of experiments to keep their workers in business while also serving the community.

While these initiatives (found on their website) are ephemeral and seemingly random, there’s one thing that unifies them all: A level of care and thoughtfulness that you rarely find in the service industry.

Typically, the people who go to Canlis are celebrating a major life event like a wedding, a birthday, an anniversary. But when we arrived for the drive-in movie along with about 50 other parties, I imagine that many of us were in a state of exhaustion. The quarantine has worn many of us down mentally and the ongoing slow-motion train wreck of the pandemic just saps whatever energy is left.

That’s why the entire experience was so rejuvenating. Just being in the presence of people who valued the customer experience while being understanding that we are living in a situation where we are all fearing for our lives. It had been awhile since we’d received that level of care.

Sometimes the things that we used to consider as normal can be a great blessing in times of distress. I hope you can still find some normal things to celebrate these days.


It’s been awhile since the last email update! (So what else is new?) Something I’ve been struggling with is how to balance my time between the email updates, my many podcasts, and my YouTube channel. Whenever I start focusing on one, the others start calling for my attention, and I feel as a result that I don’t make that much headway on any of them.

But I’ve started making short, quick-hit videos on my YouTube channel and hoping to keep that consistently, while updating this newsletter with shorter pieces that summarize all that I’ve been working on. We’ll see how it goes.

A few things I’ve been working on lately:


Other interesting things from around the web:

My quarantine birthday

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Having your birthday in the era of COVID is different. Dinner at a nice restaurant comes to you in a large box. Your friends & colleagues show up, but you all gather on Zoom. Socially distanced cake happens w/ face shields on.

But you know what doesn’t change? The love. I’m so grateful to everyone for taking a few minutes out of their day to stop by and wish me happy birthday via Zoom yesterday, and for my lovely wife for arranging the whole event.

Among a parade of folks from all different parts of my life, my dear friend Matthew Weber showed up in the Zoom chat and was his characteristically amazing self. He wrote three Haikus to celebrate the occasion of my birth, which I shall now reproduce for you in full:

“Renaissance hombre
With a depth of excellence
Parallel to none

A voice and a heart
That is smooth and savory
Foie Gras kind of friend

Mysterious? Yes!
But crack that sweet hardened nut
And your reward? Joy.”

This inspired me to ask us the whole crew to get into a haiku-writing session, and in fact, many great haikus were written impromptu and shared. Here is mine:

“Zoom with all my peeps
Even in mid-pandemic
I’m very lucky”

Even in the middle of everything, there can still be love and kindness. My friends and colleagues are a frequent reminder of this.