My Year-End Playlist
As usual, here are some songs that stuck with me this year.
I hope you enjoy it.
As usual, here are some songs that stuck with me this year.
I hope you enjoy it.
I mentioned the infrastructure bill here last week. I continue to be impressed by the way Senators and the White House are working across the aisle to get a very big piece of legislation across the finish line. It is not done, but it sure looks like it will get done.
As I mentioned in the post last week, there is language in the initial draft of the bill requiring crypto “brokers” to report gains and losses to the IRS. The Treasury expects this provision to produce upwards of $30bn in new tax revenues over the next ten years.
I personally have no issue with crypto gains and losses being treated the same as stock gains and losses and we have been doing that at USV for quite a while now. But I do have concerns that the way “brokers” are defined in the context of crypto is very different than how it is defined in the traditional financial sector. The language in the initial draft is overly broad, infringing on privacy, and technically unworkable. Crypto industry participants like miners, wallets, smart contracts, and other kinds of hardware and software cannot carry the same obligations as “brokers” like Coinbase and Square Cash.
But here is the good news. The crypto sector has come together to get the language changed in a way that I have never seen before. Everyone in crypto is working together, staying on message, working all of the avenues, and creating the appropriate amount of pressure on the process. And while we do not yet have the language we need, we are getting there and I am hopeful that we will land in a good place.
It is also the case that when a government decides that a sector is an important producer of revenues, that is a sign that it has arrived. Many out there think these new regulations are bad for crypto but I think they are a bullish sign. Crypto is here to stay and is a mainstream industry now.
For these reasons, I think this is a watershed moment for crypto in the US. The industry has come together like never before and is acting in concert, professionally and productively. It is on message and effective. And the government is getting in business with the crypto sector to finance it’s own needs. That sounds like a win to me.
I have written many times here that it is important to me that I control the platform that I publish on. I use the open-source WordPress software for my content management system and run that on a hosted server. I use my own domain, AVC.com, to locate my writings on the Internet. That has served me well. No matter how horrible I become, nobody is going to take me down.
But we can go even further down this path of controlling our destiny. We can decentralize the entire thing; the content management system, the storage of the content, the domain name system.
That is what Mirror is all about. Last week, I competed in the “race” to get the right to have a blog on Mirror. And I came in 10th place, just enough support to get in.
As a start, I am going to mirror this blog on Mirror and you will be able to read it at AVC.mirror.xyz. I have secured AVC.xyz and will eventually move my Mirror blog to that domain.
Is it possible that I will retire AVC.com and move entirely to AVC.xyz? Yes. But I am a fan of one step at a time. So for now, nothing will change.
Except that my content will start appearing on the decentralized web at AVC.mirror.xyz (eventually AVC.xyz). Which is a big deal in my view.
That’s what I decided to call my year-end playlist this year. I am happy to see 2020 move into the rearview mirror. It’s been a long, strange, and unsettling year.
Thankfully, we had plenty of new and great music to get us through countless hours of hanging out at home.
We started the year in LA listening to new records from Tame Impala and Destroyer. When the lockdowns hit, we had the posthumous record from Mac Miller on non-stop as we stayed home and hunkered down.
We got to the beach in the summer and enjoyed a mix of hip-hop and indie rock.
The fall brought us back to NYC and we were entertained by street musicians playing to the outdoor dining crowds (that is the photo that anchors the playlist below). We had the Fleet Foxes in heavy rotation for much of autumn in NYC.
And now it is the end of the year and here is an hour-long playlist that covers our musical highlights of 2020. I left off some of our favorites that are behind the paywall on SoundCloud (like The Eels and Future Islands). But this playlist captures most of our favorites of 2020. For those who read this blog via email, you can click here to listen.
My dad, General Robert Maris Wilson, or Bob as most people called him, passed away on Monday at the age of 92. He had been in failing health for the last few months and moved on peacefully.
My dad was a quiet and reserved man. He wrote those words about himself in four pages of biographic information he provided to us for the purpose of writing an obituary. He was a planner. He was never unprepared. Even in the end.
His greatest accomplishment was the epic love affair that he carried on with my mom for almost 65 years. They were made for each other. She brought out the social side of him. He provided for her and all of us. You could always count on my dad and we did. This is my mom and my dad at our wedding.
My dad was an Army man. He was born into an Army family, raised on Army bases, attended West Point, and spent 33 years of active duty in the Army. He spent the last decade of his Army service at West Point, where he ran the Department of Mechanical Engineering. My dad was also a teacher. A terrific one.
I remember sitting in on one of my dad’s engineering classes at West Point during my college years. The cadets sat in a square. My dad stood at the front of the room. At the start of class, he told four cadets to “take boards” and they each worked out one of the homework problems in front of the rest of the class and then took turns explaining how they solved the problem. My dad would interject when appropriate. To this day, I have not seen a better method of teaching by doing.
He also had a distinguished military career. In the four-page biography he gave us, he dropped this little bit “During the last half of his tour (in Vietnam), he headed a small group of officers assembled at the direction of General Abrams to plan for the initial withdrawal of U.S. forces from Vietnam.” That was my dad. When you needed to figure out how to get an Army out of somewhere, he was your man.
I love this photo of him retiring at West Point, surrounded by his beloved Corps of Cadets. Standing straight as a rod.
His quiet, reserved nature, and his failing hearing, and ultimately failing mind late in life, always made it hard to be close to him. That said, I always knew that he loved me.
Losing a loved one during the pandemic is hard. We could not see him at the end. But I was able to visit my parents once during the pandemic, on my mom’s 90th birthday. This is the last time I saw my dad and how I will remember him. Maybe it is best that way.
I will miss you dad. I love you.
The author Cory Doctorow is out with his third book in the Little Brother series. called Attack Surface, and is crowdfunding the audio book to keep it out of the Amazon/Audible ecosystem. I backed the project this week.
We use Sunpower solar panels and inverters and they have this cool dashboard that shows us a number of interesting things.
This is the percentage of power we are drawing from our solar panels vs the grid since May 1st:
This is how much power we are consuming on a given day and how much we are producing via Solar:
We want the green bars to be higher than the blue bars. It’s hardest to achieve that in the summer months when the temps are high and AC is on.
I love having an all electric house that is powered by solar panels. I want to get to the point where we don’t need any power from the grid. We aren’t there yet in the summer months, but we are super close. Over the course of a year, we are producing more than we are consuming and that feels great.
I backed this photo book project today. The creator took photos of the Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn during the more than two-month lockdown in March, April, and May 2020 and will produce a photo book.
I really like what he says at 1:50min into the excellent project video (link here for those reading on email).
It’s undeniably a difficult time to produce a book, but I believe that art is more important than ever in times of crisis like this. Museums and galleries are struggling to stay afloat and publishers require painfully long time frames to produce books. We as a community can work more nimbly and quickly, which is needed in this historic moment.
Well said Brian. Well said.
This pandemic has challenged us all in many ways. But it has also provided time for many of us to tackle things we’ve long wanted to do.
Today, I would like to blog about an example of that.
Kirk Love is well known to many AVC readers. He is also the designer of this blog. And he is a good friend.
Kirk is also very fond of Kickstarter. He has backed over 300 projects on Kickstarter over the years and he has tipped me off to so many great ones that I have gone on to back. And Kirk has always wanted to do a Kickstarter project of his own.
Well he finally found the time to do that and he has a great project up right now called The Arbus Box. I will let him explain it to you (video link here for email recipients):
I backed it earlier this week. If you want to join me in supporting Kirk’s creative project, you can do that here.
This Kickstarter project seeks funding to continue making a documentary about the NYC Subway Crisis. I rode the subway a lot this week and it is essential infrastructure for millions of people every day. Shining a bright light on its challenges is something I support and I backed the project today.