Friday Five

One

We went to Barcelona last month and loved it. I studied Spanish to the AP level in high school and what I discovered on this trip is that it’s all still in there, and if I use it, it comes back rapidly. So I’ve dusted off my Duolingo account for some daily practice.

But at the same time, for reasons, I’m trying to learn Italian. And while it’s similar to Spanish in many ways (my neighbor the Spanish teacher describes Spanish as “desert Italian”), it’s different enough that even at the beginner level I’m having to work really hard to remember verb conjugations and pronouns. Sometimes it feels like I’m having to shove the Spanish out of the way in my brain to absorb the Italian.

So I’m doing a lot of struggling through a couple of Italian lessons that are still focused on some very elementary constructions, then rewarding myself with some more advanced Spanish lessons to remind myself that I learned a second language once already; I am perfectly capable of learning a third. Never you mind that I was 13 when I started learning Spanish in earnest and I’m 43 now.

Two

My son has been taking youth classes with the Shakespeare Theater Company here in DC. He’s done their summer camp sessions a few times, and now he’s doing Saturday morning classes. The kids do some art projects related to the play or the theme, paint some backdrops, learn some scenes… it’s fun.

What’s becoming clear to me is that it’s right around his age now where the difference between the kids who are just in it for something to do and the “theater kids” is starting to become apparent. That’s not a slight on anybody; it’s just becoming clear who the kids who really love performing are.

My kid? He’s clearly a theater kid. He loves this stuff, and it shows. And every time we go to one of his class performances, he surprises and delights me in some way.

It’s a good reminder of what Oscar Isaac meant about the importance of encouraging kids to be weirdos:

Three

Twitter’s mass layoffs started today, and Elon Musk is reported to have directed teams at Twitter to find a way to cut ONE BILLION DOLLARS from their infra costs. Couple of good threads from knowledgeable folks about exactly how bad these decisions are for the continued operation of the platform:

It has been my experience that people who don’t work on technology platforms for a living have no earthly idea just how expensive it is to run them.

One could argue that Tesla runs a technology platform, and that’s a fair rejoinder, except need I remind you that Teslas are known to just… brick themselves in the middle of the freeway from time to time? And aside from that, individual Tesla Motors vehicles are not part of a massive, globally-interconnected network and all talking to each other. They could sell as many vehicles as Ford does and it still wouldn’t be comparable to operating Twitter.

Four

I’ve been planning a Learn.WordPress session for later this month (more details soon), and I have allowed myself to be recruited into giving another webinar on getting legacy sites off PHP 7.4 for one of the sister brands in the family of brands. Watch this space for more details as the announcements go live. In the meantime… I’ll just be frantically assembling slide decks.

Five

Since I seem to be a lot of people’s chief recommender of media, let me pitch you on ACAPULCO on Apple TV+. It premiered last year just as TED LASSO season 2 was ending, and it filled that weekly “warm-hearted show you look forward to relaxing with” spot well.

It’s about Máximo Gallardo, and his young adulthood in Acapulco, working at the Las Colinas resort, as told from the perspective of his middle-aged, billionaire self. Máximo is a sweet kid who just wants to take care of his family and Make It, and adult Máximo clearly has in a sense; he’s ridiculously wealthy, and telling his story to his nephew Hugo, with whom he seems to have a warm relationship.

The appeal of the show is really the characters and the way the show mixes them up. Even the relatively minor background characters are given fun things to do. But the thing I look forward to most every week is the band that plays by the pool: It’s a duo who sings very earnest covers of American pop songs in Spanish. I end up listening to them in my car the rest of the week because they’re so fun.