Good morning, everyone! Welcome to Tuesday. It's a beautiful day today in Madison Wisconsin, in a cozy and gloomy kind of way. The swirling grey clouds overhead feel mysterious, and make me think we might get to enjoy some snow in the near future. It makes me feel like curling up on the couch with an endless supply of coffee.
Tuesday is also our garbage day, and before we get going with the regularly scheduled journal entry, I'd like to give a shout out to my neighbors for having their recycling bins at the end of the driveway early enough to jog my memory and take out our own recycling. Missing recycling day would be a royal bummer, as it would mean we'd have to wait an excruciating two weeks before another chance to move things along. A near miss and a close success this morning.
Sip. Did you remember to take your recycling bin to the end of the curb? How are you feeling today, and how was your Monday? Regrettably I had one of my more stressful days at work yesterday. I was pulled between lots of meetings. I've fallen victim to some competing priorities that make it hard to focus and actually finish anything. On top of everything, yesterday we were told about some non-trivial changes on the team. That might sound cagey, but that's as descriptive as I can be. I might like to blab openly about my day to day life, but that's probably not the case with my work.
The point is that work was stressful. And if not for the excellent reheated bowl of pea soup and croutons I had to look forward to, I probably wouldn't have made it until lunch. Yesterday as I was in the kitchen hurriedly heating up my soup before the next meeting, Marissa brought in a stack of packages from outside. Per our Christmas secrecy protocol, she opened up all the boxes that were addressed to me to screen for presents.
"Were you expecting... some presents?" she asked with a smile.
Watching my soup heat up in the microwave, I leaned into the dining room, my eyes lighting up. "I think I was," I beamed. "Is it a bunch of Bears stuff?"
Marissa smiled and nodded, sliding the box my way. This year, I participated in the Bears subreddit gift exchange, which is hilariously named Secret Ditka. After a demoralizing loss to the Lions and a whirlwind of a work day, my gift couldn't have arrived at a better time.
So now, we play the first round of "what'd ya' get" - Secret Ditka edition. The first piece of the gift actually arrived last week. My designated Internet stranger got me a nice pair of grill tongs that Marissa christened with her barbecue pork skewers.
In yesterday's unboxing, a ridiculously snug zip-up, a pack of Bears logo printed guitar picks, and a toy football.
Rodney, watching TV on the couch, noticed me walk into the living room with my arms suspiciously held behind my back. He paused the TV to see what I had. I flipped him the football.
Rodney would watch TV with the football in his lap until lunch time.
My Secret Ditka nailed it this year. Generous and detailed, I can tell some real thought and quality reddit stalking went into this gift. And that just makes the exchange more fun for everyone.
Marissa offered to pinch hit for dinner. As I napped the stressful work day away, she slaved away downstairs, cleaning the house up and making seared salmon for dinner. After scarfing down the delicious fish, she brought out the red velvet cupcakes she had made with Rodney for dessert.
"Did you know that red velvet cupcakes were originally red because of a chemical reaction with the cocoa powder?" she said. "They're really just chocolate cupcakes."
I nodded along silently with my mouth stuffed with cake and frosting.
After dinner, we gathered on the couch as a family for the new Dude Perfect video. When we had finished, Marissa sent me away to work on my end of the year mixtape.
"So my day ended with a nap, free dinner, and now I can go upstairs and edit music together," I remarked. "Today I basically feel like a college student living at home."
A hip-hop mixtape hardly sounds like a strong case to get out of putting the kids to bed at night, but putting aside any false modesty, it's going to be straight fire this year, and I appreciated the extra time to focus on the project and get it done. After I had finished, I compared this year's tracks with my line-up for 2018 and 2019. I've noticed I'm hilariously predictable. Unintentionally, the mixtape is always fifteen tracks long, and nearly the same duration - this year included. I didn't set out to gather fifteen tracks. It just happened. On a much smaller scale, it reminds me about that old legend of how seventy-two different scholars independently translated the old testament into the Greek septuagint and in the end all seventy-two versions were identical. Not to be sacrilegious, but after a coincidence like that, I have no choice but to call it complete.
Here is the this year's track list. As always, send me an email if you would like a copy this year, but fair warning - swears and mature subject matter abound. This is rap music after all, and I'd argue it's a very important part of the art form. Treat the following tracks like a platter of sushi. Some of it might be off-putting, but it's part of the experience and an open mind is essential.
01 - TAKE_IT_BACK_V2 | DENZEL CURRY
02 - PYRO + LAYUP | DENZEL CURRY
03 - NAH NAH NAH | KANYE WEST
04 - WASH US IN THE BLOOD | KANYE WEST
05 - SONG 33 | NONAME
06 - LOCKDOWN | ANDERSON .PAAK
07 - SNOWCHILD | THE WEEKND
08 - 1985 + GOD IS PERFECT | FREDDIE GIBBS
09 - WAP | CARDI B
10 - SAVAGE REMIX | MEGAN THEE STALLION
11 - BROTHER'S KEEPER | DABABY
12 - SLAP DA SHIT OUTCHA | REDMAN
13 - HOLIDAY | LIL NAS X
14 - CLAWS | CHARLI XCX
15 - GOOD NEWS | MAC MILLER
Thanks for stopping by today. Have a wonderful day everybody.