Monday morning. April 19, 2021. 10:50am. Timonium Fairgrounds. In a moment where the incredible speed of science and pure human intuition and ingenuity collided, I received my second shot of the COVID vaccine.
A wave of emotions hit me. Joy. Enthusiasm. Sadness for what the last year was. Excitement at what the next year could bring.
Look — this isn’t going to be fixed in a day. This is just the beginning. But starting in two weeks, I can start to cut out a sense of normalcy.
Sure, the two days which followed were filled with flu-like symptoms and a very sore arm, but I couldn’t be more happy to have those symptoms over dealing with a disease which effected so many of us.
I hope you and yours are getting your shots, and I hope you are hit with as enjoyable a wave of emotions and anticipation as I was.
Now, onto the things…
This past week brought us one of the most botulism focused events of the year, the official-unofficial holiday, April 20th, or, 420.
Naturally, The New York Times assigned one of their writers — Jonah Weiner — to chat with actor/writer/producer/pottery thrower Seth Rogen to take in a career-spanning interview which is just a joy and a half to read:
Rogen’s overwhelmingly casual demeanor — chucklingly agreeable, continually stoned — has long belied his productivity: He has been working almost constantly since he was 13, when he started doing stand-up comedy around Vancouver. But it’s still easy to mistake him for a less frenetically ambitious person. A few weeks before I visited, we scheduled a 9:30 a.m. video call, during which, right up top, I watched him light a chubby joint. “I smoke weed all day,” he said. “You’ll see that when we’re together.” He punctuated this with a warm burst of laughter familiar to anyone who has spent 10 seconds in conversation with him: a low, gravelly cackle, like Chewbacca doing his best Fran Drescher.
Rogen was readying the release of “Yearbook,” a humor collection he’d spent nearly three years writing. But on social media, besides some posts about the book and about Houseplant, he’d mostly been making fun of Ted Cruz and posting pictures of his own trippy ceramic creations: undulating wide-mouth vases with speckled fluorescent finishes, nubby-glazed ashtrays with concave joint-holders affixed to their lips. And so I’d gotten it into my head that Rogen had downshifted into something of an early-retirement rhythm — the superstar comedian approaching middle age, shuffling between his memoirs and his pottery wheels, with nothing left to prove and nothing particularly urgent to do.
I was wrong. “Right now I’m writing two movies with Evan,” he told me, referring to his lifelong friend and collaborator, Evan Goldberg, with whom Rogen began writing screenplays in eighth grade and with whom he founded the production company Point Grey. “One’s called ‘Escape,’ which hasn’t been announced and no one knows about, that we’ve been working on for years, which hopefully we’ll make next year. And then we’re writing this movie for Luca Guadagnino” — the “Call Me by Your Name” director — “about Scotty Bowers, this Hollywood hustler from the ’40s. And we’re producing a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated movie.” On top of these projects were two others, in different media, that he asked me not to name, and then there was Houseplant. “On a given day I work on seven different things, probably, in little chunks,” he said, then puffed on the joint, shrugging. “But I don’t have kids!”
Chances are, if you were to drop in at your local McDonald’s and ask for an ice cream or a milkshake, you’d hear the same old story.
It’s “broken”. It’s being “cleaned”. But did you know it was also the focus of a team of hackers, who ended up finding a hidden menu and building a cottage industry of ice cream machine hacks?!
Wired’s Andy Greenberg has the story:
Of all the mysteries and injustices of the McDonald’s ice cream machine, the one that Jeremy O’Sullivan insists you understand first is its secret passcode.
Press the cone icon on the screen of the Taylor C602 digital ice cream machine, he explains, then tap the buttons that show a snowflake and a milkshake to set the digits on the screen to 5, then 2, then 3, then 1. After that precise series of no fewer than 16 button presses, a menu magically unlocks.
Only with this cheat code can you access the machine’s vital signs: everything from the volume of its milk and sugar ingredients to the temperature of the glycol flowing through its heating element to the meanings of its many sphinx-like error messages.
“No one at McDonald’s or Taylor will explain why there’s a secret, undisclosed menu,” O’Sullivan wrote in one of the first, cryptic text messages I received from him earlier this year.
I didn’t anticipate this week’s edition being based around celebrity profiles, but hey, there were two great reads based on conversations with people I really like.
Mads Mikkelsen is one of those people. He first grabbed my eye as the Bond villain Le Chiffre in Casino Royale, kept me captivated in NBC’s adaptation of Hannibal, and has built a career where if he’s in the movie, I’m gonna give it a shot.
E. Alex Jung from Vulture sat down with Mads to discuss a little bit of everything, and this section at the end is where I realized for sure I had to share it:
Is there a life philosophy that you feel has carried you through your career?
My approach to what I do in my job — and it might even be the approach to my life — is that everything I do is the most important thing I do. Whether it’s a play or the next film. It is the most important thing. I know it’s not going to be the most important thing, and it might not be close to being the best, but I have to make it the most important thing. That means I will be ambitious with my job and not with my career. That’s a very big difference, because if I’m ambitious with my career, everything I do now is just stepping-stones leading to something — a goal I might never reach, and so everything will be disappointing. But if I make everything important, then eventually it will become a career. Big or small, we don’t know. But at least everything was important.
Everything was important. Words to live by, right?
Enjoy your Sunday. See you next week.