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The first birthday. Unreasonable Hospitality. The Late Show.

Luna // The First Birthday // 12 Months

This week, Luna turned one year old. As dawn broke and she began to stir, Kristine and I walked into Luna's room and greeted her with a single birthday candle flickering atop her favorite breakfast: An English muffin. She hasn't quite mastered the art of blowing out candles yet, so we happily did the honors, and then we ventured into the living room, where a constellation of gifts awaited her: a pint-sized toddler scooter, a cuddly teddy bear, and one of those ubiquitous plastic "cruiser" cars that seems to exist in every family's home (this particular one a generous gift from a neighbor!).

To our delight, Luna navigated from one present to the next, exploring each with curiosity. She investigated the scooter, hugged the teddy bear, played with some balloons, and finally went over to the car and began to gleefully push it around. I gently placed her inside the vehicle and guided her on a cruise around the living room, watching her take in the ride.

Later, as I was putting Luna down for her nap, Kristine sent me a video she had taken during those moments. With my daughter nestled on my chest, drifting off to sleep, I watched the video and found myself overcome with emotion. In the video, I caught a glimpse of the toddler Luna is becoming, a realization that I was no longer gazing at the baby I've grown so accustomed to having by my side every day. Throughout this year, I've made a concerted effort to be present, but it still doesn't feel like enough. This first year has come and gone, taking with it this phase of Luna, and it seems like only yesterday that it all began.

Over the past 12 months, I've consciously tried to immerse myself in every moment, to absorb every smile, every giggle, every new discovery. I've attempted to memorize the sensation of her tiny hand wrapped around my finger, the softness of her skin brushing against my cheek, the way her eyes light up when she sees me enter the room. I've tried to etch these precious moments into my memory, understanding their ephemeral nature and the impossibility of reliving them.

I want to remember every detail, every milestone, every precious second of this incredible journey, but I know that's not possible. Time will continue to move forward, and Luna will continue to grow and change. All I can do is continue to be present, to cherish every moment we have together, and to trust that even as she becomes the toddler, the child, the teenager, and the woman I glimpsed in that video, she will always be my baby girl.

What I Read

Unreasonable Hospitality is a manifesto for a new kind of hospitality, one that's less about following the rules and more about breaking them in the name of creating unforgettable experiences.

As a restaurateur and hospitality entrepreneur, Eleven Madison Park' Guidara has seen firsthand the magic that can happen when you prioritize the needs and desires of your guests above all else. He's witnessed the transformative power of small gestures, like paying the meter for a guest who’s street parking is about to run out, and he’s also orchestrated grand, over-the-top moments that have become the stuff of legend, like researching guests so their wedding music can be played during their dinner.

One of my favorite quotes from the book is a pretty provocative one: "Cult is what you call an organization where everyone enjoys working there." In a world where so many people feel disconnected, disengaged, and unfulfilled in their jobs, Guidara argues that the key to success lies not in chasing profits or cutting costs, but in cultivating a culture of joy, passion, and purpose. This comes from the person who understands that it’s better to find roles for each person that makes them excited to wake up and come into work. If you’re passionate about beer, you become the beer expert. By putting people first (both guests and staff) and daring to be unreasonable in your pursuit of excellence, you can create something truly special – not just for patrons, but for yourself and everyone around you.

What I Watched

The Late Show is an excellent 1970s neo-noir film that follows an aging private eye as he investigates the murder of his ex-partner. I loved the version of 1970s Los Angeles it captures, with its dive bars, shady characters, and pervasive sense of disillusionment. A spiritual successor to Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye (who produced this as well), both movies focus on detectives who are weary and weathered, but each inhabits a distinctly different world.

In The Long Goodbye, Elliott Gould's Philip Marlowe is a man out of time, a 1950s gumshoe adrift in the hazy, morally ambiguous landscape of the 1970s. The Late Show's Ira Wells, played with gruff charm by Art Carney, feels like a man who has always understood his place, and as such the mystery unfolds at a more conventional pace, with Wells doggedly pursuing leads and trading barbs with a colorful array of suspects and informants.

What sets The Long Goodbye apart is how it immerses the viewer in the texture and atmosphere of Los Angeles - the hazy sunlight, the winding hillside roads, the crashing waves of the Pacific. It feels like a real place, not just a backdrop for a mystery. And in Marlowe, Altman and Gould have created one of the greatest protagonists in all of cinema - a wisecracking, world-weary knight errant who remains true to his own moral code even as the world crumbles around him.

The Late Show may not subvert the genre to the same degree as The Long Goodbye, but it still manages to put its own spin on familiar tropes, creating a world that feels both comfortably recognizable and slightly off-kilter. In the end, both films serve as love letters to a bygone era of detective fiction, even as they acknowledge the impossibility of ever truly going back.

That's all for now,

From the present moment,

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