“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.
I love winter. And the holidays which have evolved among people in our hemisphere over thousands of years as the earth relaxes in a somnambulant repose away from the sun for a moment to remind us that we're children of the Light in whatever words and ceremonies we may call ourselves. And so, these things have inspired me recently:
My Favorite Winter Music
“The Chopin Project” with Icelandic composer Olafur Arnalds and pianist Alice Sara Ott. Arnalds remixes the lovely and haunting music of Polish composer and pianist Frederic Chopin with his ethereal electronic score. Perfect for a winter evening while reading your favorite book with a glass of wine.
“Monograph” by Nils Økland is my go to “winter” music album. Økland is from Norway and plays solo Hardanger fiddle music which originates from the western coast, Hardanger, region of Norway. This album isn’t for everyone and definately not for any time, but it’s essential elegance is a must this time of year.
“Over Tones” with Benedicte Marsuth and Åsne Valland Nordli combines the Hardanger fiddle music and voice which is also fantastically beautiful and, for many, will be an easier listen than Økland.
Book/Gift Ideas for Blooming Mycologists, Filmmakers, Bicyclists, and Other Nerds
“Mycelium Running” by Paul Stamets is THE evangelistic text, and a great starting point, for anyone interested in the strange and beautiful world of mushrooms (which are the fruit bodies of the mycelium which isn’t really a plant. Or animal). Stamets provides a brief history of the relationship between people and mushrooms, discusses how he uses mushrooms to clean up oil spills, and then profiles on some of his favorite mushrooms. He discusses the health benefits of the mushrooms I recommended in the last issue of These Things.
“Shoot From the Heart” by Diane Bell is a “how to” make an indie film book but written as “this is how I’ve made three feature films.” I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in understanding the nuts and bolts of how independent artists go from an idea, to a script, to building a team, to shooting a movie, to the editing process (thank you Diane!), and then to distribution. It’s kind of everything in one place which makes this book rare and super valuable.
“Thrive” by Brendan Brazier is a nutrition guide for vegan athletes but I’m not strictly a vegan or an athlete but I’ve learned so much about how to optimize not only what and how I eat, but how I sleep, how I bike to work, and how often I get off ass and take walks throughout the day.
“Among the Immortals” by Paul Lake is a novel we may discover that the power of poetry is due to the fact that, well, some of our favorite poets and writers are vampires. Or is it that these artists take the materiality of what it means to be human and remix this through language… It’s the book nerd version of Jim Jarmusch’s film “Only Lovers Left Alive” which explores the idea in a similar manner.
“Bike Snob: Systematically & Mercilessly Realigning the World of Cycling” by BikeSnobNYC, an anonymous blogger and cyclist in New York City, is one of those great books that you don’t have to ever read in one sitting but love to pick up and read a few of the “posts” from time to time. The author clearly loves bicycling and writes about scenarios that any bicyclist with a sense of humor will appreciate.
Oliver Bicycle Works
Yes, and thank you to everyone who has asked recently, you (most likely) still have time to order Oliver Bicycle Works gear through our Etsy store. We use a print on demand company and so it usually takes about 10-14 days to fulfill an order. More on this project in the spring, but if you love riding a bicycle, get out on a bicycle.
The Morning Ride Pedal Powered Podcast
I’m so excited where The Morning Ride Pedal Powered Podcast is evolving! The last four episodes are “getting there” and I plan to fully launch this evolution of the podcast as Season 3 on Thursday, December the Solstice (next week).
It’s a journal-style podcast where I talk through topics I’m struggling with as I work to be a better filmmaker, poet, and human being. I record these on my bicycle commute to the office every Monday and Thursday.
Here are the four recent episodes which are representative of where this thing is evolving: