The June 2018 update, with lots of fun links.

I took this selfie on my way to a friend’s wedding in Beijing last week. And not just any friend. James WK is one of my best friends. He is from Philly but has been living and working in China for some time. Congratulations to James and Laura — you guys are truly perfect for each other.

I can attest to this because I traveled with them to Jilin province in Northeast China the week prior. James and Laura also held a wedding in Laura’s hometown, and it was a wonderful spectacle. I had a ton of fun translating for James’s American family, who made the pilgrimage.

Planning two weddings in two weeks is not easy. I know that James and Laura had numerous fights and disagreements about the details. It is also not easy to please both sides of the family, especially when the cultures are so different. I personally witnessed how suitable they are for each other. Even when stakes are high and arguments rule the day, they always found a way to rally together.

Lots of stress for the newlywed couple, but they handled it with grace. The end result was perfection.

Speaking of grace under pressure…

Every year I think — maybe I can relax a bit more this year, compared to the craziness of last year. Nope! Every year comes with its unique challenges. And rather than shy away from it, it is more important to frame things as opportunities for growth.

The human mind is an amazing vessel. We feel amazing highs and lows because of what we tell ourselves. Our inner monologue. We can be lonely, depressed, and anxious. Or we can be ecstatic, hopeful, and strong. It is all in the mind.

When I feel stressed, I remind myself that I have a lot to be grateful for. In fact, I have started a practice of literally writing out what I am grateful for, every week. It helps me and it might help you.

Let’s get to the links!

Podcasts

I have been on a podcast recording rampage lately. Here are some podcasts from yours truly…

My interview with Ari Lax, professional Magic player. Part of the “Humans of Magic” series. Ari is the Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir Champion, member of Team Massdrop, and writer for Starcitygames.com.

Magic in China — and why it’s going to become even more massive. Good friend Julian Knab and I sit down to discuss playing the game in the Middle Kingdom. I also go on tangents about life in China, etc. Listen to this before you visit me in Beijing.

The Lane Violation — an NBA Basketball Podcast. I have started a new basketball podcast with three friends. Our goal is to provide a nuanced look at the NBA from the perspective of four seasoned ex-pats living in China. Check out our “NBA mock draft” episode now!

Articles

I’m Not Black, I’m Kanye. [The Atlantic]

How I Lost 10 kg Eating at 7-Eleven. [Donny Kimball]

The 30-year old retirees. [The Hustle]

Pickup Artists with Chinese Characteristics. [ChinaFile]

The Psychology of Money. [Collaborative Fund]

In Conversation: Conan O’Brien. [Vulture]

Dust to Dust (story of Cody Rhodes). [The Ringer]

Five Events, Four Top 8s and Two Wins — The State of Magic in My Life.[ItsJulian.com]

Go Fast and Break Things: The Difference Between Reversible and Irreversible Decisions. [Farnam Street]

Books I’m reading

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan Peterson. Rambling, pedantic, funny, insightful. Mr. Peterson would have it no other way. I’m likin’ it.

My Top 6 Hip-Hop Albums of 2018…So Far

(In no particular order)

1. “KIDS SEE GHOSTS” by Kanye West and Kid Cudi
2. “CARE FOR ME” by Saba
3. “beerbongs & bentleys” by Post Malone
4. “Black Panther: The Album” by Kendrick Lamar + other artists
5. “Invasion of Privacy” by Cardi B
6. “KOD” by J Cole

See you next time!

Peace,

James

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