(Birthday) Party like it’s 1999

Earlier in the week, I talked about my serious plans for my birthday, which is today and I’m celebrating with a four-day weekend. In that post, I said I’d talk about my fun plans for my birthday later in the week. This is that post.

The main two events that we have planned are tomorrow night, starting with the premiere of Episode 5 of Season 13 of Mystery Science Theater 3000: Doctor Mordrid. That will be followed by the airing on PBS of Prince’s live concert from The Purple Rain Tour at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y. from March 1985:

I also have a YouTube playlist of a few hours of DJs spinning dance tunes on the turntables and mixing boards. I’ve already started listening to that. I have another playlist of music to wind down the party or the after party.

Other than that, we’ll see, as they say, where the spirit takes me.

Like paper in fire

Who’s to say the way

A man should spend his days?

Do you let them smolder

Like paper in fire?

John Mellencamp in “Paper in Fire” from the album The Lonesome Jubilee

I’m not sure if it’s related or not, although probably it is, but as I turn 53 later this week, I’ve had the above lyrics going through my head. In the song, Mellencamp recounts the stories of two people and generations and how they let their lives smolder like paper in fire. The obvious question seemingly Mellencamp is asking himself and us is will we do the same with our lives? The obvious answer is, or on the surface should be, no.

Of course, as we go about our day to day lives, sometimes/often we lose sight of that. We let our lives smolder right along without thinking about it. For me, as I turn 53 on Thursday and will be taking a four-day weekend until Monday, I want to think about it…at least, some.

I have a book that I have been waiting to read, Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman. I also have saved a podcast called On Being with an interview with him by Krista Tippett. I want to get to both this weekend, which to some of you, I’m sure, might not sound the most uplifting way to spend one’s birthday: thinking about mortality.

However, as I’ve been reading the Stoic philosophers like Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus over the last couple of years, I notice that they use mortality as an impetus for life. What are we living for? Just to smolder like paper in fire, and look back when we’re older with regrets? Or to live our life fully with intention, with forethought, not hindsight about what could have been?

I’d like to choose that latter option myself and maybe this week, amidst my other reading and planned relaxation, I can contemplate how I can do that, some of which I already have started with meditation, journaling, and therapy. That doesn’t mean mean that I don’t have “fun” planned too this weekend (because I do), but I still want to incorporate this book and these thoughts into my weekend.

I’ll write more on the fun later in the week…well, later in the week, but for now, I’ll leave you with the song:

My Own Personal Sabbath #15

Almost every Sunday since mid-May 2020 with a few exceptions, I have been taking my own personal Sabbath, where I tune out of the news and social media and turn off my ringer and all notifications on my phone. Throughout the day and/or sometimes the next day, I share what I am reading, listening to or watching during my Sabbath.

This weekend, my own personal Sabbath comes early, on Saturday, since I work on Sunday. When I last left you two weekends ago, I was planning on reading Get Shorty by Elmore Leonard, Riverman: An American Odyssey by Ben McGrath, and Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer. I finished both Get Shorty, which was good, and Riverman, which was, and will be, one of my favorite reads from this year. As I was reading, I kept reading passages to my wife. That is one way I know a book is good.

That leaves me with Under the Banner of Heaven still to finish, but I don’t know if I’ll get to that this weekend as I might need some lighter fare after the past week. Last weekend, my wife tested positive for covid and I took home tests Sunday and Tuesday, with both being negative. She is getting better –  like the end of a bad cold that keeps lingering- and I, to be honest, while so far physically well, need a mental respite from the world.

To that end, I’ve joined my sister in a social media break for a little bit. I’m really only on one, Instagram, as I “gave up” Facebook and Twitter several years ago. For me, it’s not “the feed” that is the issue but “Stories” where I hear about the latest news whether I want to or not. And it’s not that I necessarily disagree with what the person is posting, it’s just that sometimes it’s all too much. I need to get away from time to time.

While I don’t know what I’ll be reading, I do know what my wife, who is off all weekend, and I probably will be listening to and watching:

  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 and/or Rifftrax movies (this past week, we rented the “riff track” for Ready Player One, which we had on HBO)
  • The Mission to Zyxx podcast,which we slowly have been making our way through over the last couple of months.

I also have set up a a playlist of podcasts for this weekend’s Sabbath, some of which I’ll listen during a walk:

Other than all that, we’ll see where, or if, I’ll land on any reading.