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I'm home, y'all! What a wonderful week away.
** The Bulletin **
October 29, 2023
I’m back home (in fact, my actual place of usual dwelling) from a wonderful week-long trip visiting my (now close) friends Max and Kolin in Washington, DC. This was my first time seeing them in-person—and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Their kindness, love, and compassion are unmatched. They’re even better friends. It’s rare to find people like them in this world which is something I’m so grateful for. If you’re reading this, guys: thank you for this wonderful week—here’s to many more years of our friendship!
And who knows… maybe I’ll be living a little closer to y’all sometime in the not-too-distant future! The tides are starting to turn on that!
(for the rest of you, we’ll talk about that another time—when it’s right and things are a little clearer. It’s still very early days and I don’t want to talk about it in detail publicly quite yet. But that’s your little tease.)
As of writing you this email, I’ve pretty much avoided posting pictures from vacation—primarily because the onslaught of Facebook notifications I would’ve received probably would have made me want to throw my phone out the window. I also wanted to actually enjoy the trip without blasting it on socials and show my parents a few shots from the trip first before saying anything.
I’ve found comfort in mostly keeping this trip to myself, Max and Kolin, plus my family (of course). There’s something to be said about barely looking at Twitter for a week, not watching tons of arguments go down on Facebook, not getting overwhelmed by the amount of people my age expecting their first or second child whenever I open Instagram. I’m going to try and continue this practice in my every day life as well.
Unlike Max, I’m not a big social media guy. Obviously I’m on social media (it’s how I met Max, actually, Kolin’s the only one I met in-person first) but I use it more for leisure and casually posting about random stuff. I’m not a serious user, although many years ago, I used to be. It’s not my style anymore, because I find it really easy to get addicted to, and it makes me feel horrible after a while.
Anyways… I digress.
I have an announcement regarding the Bulletin’s future. At some point in the near future, we will be migrating from MailChimp to Substack. Why? I’d like something I can share out easily with people who aren’t subscribed as these Bulletins come out. (There are a myriad of other reasons, but thanks to Max & Kolin for the inspiration.) It’s still early days, so I have nothing to announce, but Substack is waaaaaay more powerful in terms of what you can do with it (including starting paid subscriptions, etc.), so I’d prefer to move.
Most importantly, no action is required on your part when the transition happens, you will simply start getting emails sent from me via Substack instead. The list will get migrated just fine. I’m going to try and move it this week, but I’m not going to make any fanfare about the move. These two paragraphs are the fanfare. After that, all new subscription links for this old Mailchimp list will redirect to Substack, no problem.
Speaking of the Bulletin: we have a couple new sections! Which means… it’s time to dive into this week’s goodies. Let’s go!
Introducing Buried Alive & Buried Alive (Blue Edition)
I’m elated to announce Buried Alive and Buried Alive (Blue Edition) — this is the book I’ve been pouring my heart and soul into for a while now, but have been dreaming up for around 8 years now. Seeing it finally come to life is wild.
The Standard Edition will be available from SladeWatkins.com starting June 7, 2024.
The Blue Edition contains three additional bonus chapters primarily from the 5th and 6th grade years. It will be available from SladeWatkins.com starting June 7, 2024, and will leave sale on December 6, 2024.
This week’s soundtrack
I’m kind of a Spotify addict, so I happen to listen to a lot of music. Here’s what I’m currently listening to—usually on repeat. (And no, I’m not sorry for the holiday music that’s starting to appear.)
Album: 1989 (Taylor’s Version) [Deluxe] - Taylor Swift
What a re-record! Here’s all my thoughts on it, if you’re interested. Congrats Taylor Swift on reclaiming another piece of your art—only two more to go!!
And yes, I’m singing New Romantics (Taylor’s Version) at the top of my lungs because it’s my national anthem. And you bet I’m doing so proudly.
Song: Spirals - Nick Leng
It’s a little love song that makes me think of this wonderful Australian boy every time <3
Song: Rehab - Amy Winehouse
Song: Happier Than Ever - Billie Eilish
I always scream that last part. It feels good to scream it. Gets the anger and frustration out in a healthy way.
Song: Is There Somewhere - Halsey
Song: Hair Tie - SKYLAR
Song: What’s The Time Where You Are? - Troye Sivan
Song: Little Talks (10th Anniversary Edition) - Of Monsters and Men
This song is just so good. Highly recommend. I love singing this as a duet whenever I’m around someone who also loves this song as much as I do.
Song: Here Together - Barenaked Ladies
Song: Auld Lang Syne - Barenaked Ladies
Song: Do They Know Its Christmas? - Barenaked Ladies
And thanks to Songlink for making all these streaming platform-agnostic!
Things I found across the net
It’s spooky season, but only a handful of these are spooky. Big oops on my part, huh? Maybe next year I’ll be back into the Halloween festivities with friends or something… I dunno. Only time will tell!
Want to encounter some Ghost-type Pokémon in Scarlet/Violet? Hop on before Halloween (10/31), as they appear throughout the Paldea and Kitakami regions. Go, go, go! (No pun intended.)
Kolin actually shared this one with me, so I’m not taking credit for it here, but—there’s a team planner for Pokémon on GitHub Pages that is absolutely worth your time if you’re into Pokémon like we are. It has everything from the original two games onwards!
The Journal app is finally coming in iOS 17.2, but only for iPhone users right this second. My understanding is that it’s going to expand across devices, but for right now, that’s not the case. The same article has a list of new features in the first beta of 17.2 (including, at long last, Contact Key Verification) if you want to check it out!
Ever noticed a song is really quiet on Spotify? This Windows Central guide shows you how to turn off that pesky setting so you can hear songs as they were intended… or maybe hear them at all, depending!
In “really good videos from the one and only Joanna Stern” news, there’s this one—you don’t need a new iPhone, you need a new battery. Worth the watch (and read, if you have a WSJ subscription!)
Finally, in really nice news, we have something I accidentally stumbled upon. In Mexico City’s Polanco neighborhood, Catia Lattouf has turned her apartment into a “hummingbird hospital” — she started caring for them back in 2011 after recovering from colon cancer. It’s honestly so sweet of her to do.
SAG-AFTRA is still on strike—UAW recently went on strike—which means a lot of people are out- of work. Instead of scabbing or crossing a picket line, please give to people in need if you are able! I’ve compiled a list below of funds I’ve independently verified are legitimate. Thank you!
[Also, if you know of a fund that I should add to this list, please send me an email!]
SAG-AFTRA Foundation — Helps SAG-AFTRA members urgently in need of financial and other assistance.
Entertainment Community Fund — the fund previously mentioned, which helps folks in the broader entertainment sector stay afloat while work stops.
UNITE Here Local 11 Strike Mutual Aid Fund — For members in Los Angeles who need assistance as the union works out deals with their hotels.
One day longer, one day stronger.
That’s it from me for the week. That was a lot to put together on very little sleep (thanks, flights messing up my ears!) So… I’ll see you next weekend for something (hopefully) a little easier to put together.
Exhausted, but so damn grateful for the amazing friends I have in my life: