Hello, and good day to you all. Those of you who have been following this blog for a bit may recall that I set three quarantine-related goals for myself, and it’s been too long since I’ve reported back with my progress.

I’ll go from the one with the least adherence to the most. Coming in last has to be my desire to increase my creative output. Yes, I’ve posted here way more than the zero times I had in the previous 5+ years, but it hasn’t reached the levels I’d hoped for. On top of that, a friend and I met a few times about writing a pilot script together, and just yesterday I had to bow out because I really don’t/won’t have the time. I’m now in my one week before I start my new job, and I have more preparation to do for the new role than I expected (including physically getting my workspace ready). So that’s why I consider this my least successful of the goals.

Second up is the beard. I grew that thing for a long time before getting back to trimming it regularly, so I definitely succeeded on some level. But when I look back at pictures of full-on Grizzly Peter, it’s really good that I stopped when I did. Also, I’m glad I was looking a little more put-together for video interviews I started having. My current beard length is longer than what I used to keep it at by a pretty big margin (a 10 on my trimmer instead of a 4 or 5), and that new norm is directly because of the quarantine goal.

Lastly, exercise! I’ve told you about the running around the island and the crazy interval training my former colleague got me doing, but I’ve changed things up. For the last 22 days, some friends and I have all been doing P90X3. If you’re not familiar with that, the P90X workouts are from a company called BeachBody, and they’ll kick your ass. This is a 90-day program, so we’re not even a third of the way done, but I’ve been pleased with my consistency and the progress I’ve been making. We all took “before” pictures, but we’re not sharing them with each other until we have “after” photos to compare them to. It’s a good program, and BeachBody on Demand has all sorts of programs for very little a month, in case you’re interested.

Anyway, that’s not why we’re here today. We’re here because I have a story to tell. And like some of my most popular posts, it involves me looking a little dumb. Everybody wins!

When our kids were young, we would put a cd of lullabies on at night. We had a Beethoven one and a Bach one, each turned into kid versions (I’m guessing more xylophones or something). Both kids seemed to like the Bach one, and that ended up being the one that stayed in the cd player. (For the record, it’s not called “Baby Got Bach” for some inexplicable reason.)

Fast forward years later, and the kids haven’t strayed too much. They’re in separate rooms, but my son still hits play on that cd when going to bed. And my daughter asks Alexa to “shuffle songs by Johann Sebastian Bach” at night. I’ve heard these songs enough that I now recognize them and sometimes get them in my head. I noticed though, that I don’t think I hear any of the “real” versions of the ones on the cd when I’m in my daughter’s room. Either that, or the versions are so different that I just don’t recognize them.

I don’t know any of the names of these songs of course, since they’re all instrumental. But there’s one that kept standing out to me when I’d be in my daughter’s room, and I really liked it. Every time it came on, I thought, “Oh, my favorite one!” And then I’d feel really cultured for having a favorite Bach song. I enjoyed how it flowed and started understanding how people can love classical music for more than just sleep-enhancing purposes. “Alexa, what is this song called?” I asked when it came on recently. “This is ‘Begin Again,’ by The Piano Guys and Johann Sebastian Bach,” she replied. “Got it,” I thought, “I now have a favorite classical song and know who performed it in my favorite version of it.” Cultured. As. Fuck.

A week or so later, I had a great idea: why not put it on Amazon Music while I’m working? Listening to music with lyrics often interrupts my ability to focus on work, but my favorite Bach composition wouldn’t. I searched for “Begin Again,” and the first thing that came up was a song with that title by Taylor Swift. “Ha! Not today, pop music! I’m going with the quality stuff,” I thought. Below that was the one from The Piano Guys. I was about to listen but changed my mind and wanted it playing from my computer speakers instead of my phone. I opened up YouTube and typed in “Begin Again,” and sure enough, our friend Taylor Swift popped up again. Slightly annoyed but undeterred, I typed in “begin again piano guys,” and the song I was looking for was now at the top of the results. One slight issue though: the video was called “Taylor Swift – Begin Again (Piano/Cello Cover) The Piano Guys.” I clicked on it, and it was the one I knew and liked from my daughter’s room. Could it be that my favorite classical composition is really just a cover of a Taylor Swift song? You know it, sista. And that’s the sound of all my culture cred flying out the window.

I listened to the actual Taylor Swift song and liked it quite a bit, but I felt pretty foolish. It makes sense now why that song stood out to me and seemed more like a song I’d enjoy than the others. It’s not classical music. And I apparently still don’t like classical music. “Wait, why was it playing on the Bach station then?” you might be wondering. I sure as hell was. I looked it up, and apparently The Piano Guys didn’t just classicalize T. Swifty, they also sampled “Sheep May Safely Graze” by Bach in that song. But you see who’s to blame here, right? Yes, Alexa. Why would she include that song when I asked her to play songs by Bach? Totally her fault. Smart speaker, my ass.

So that’s my story. On a side note, I can’t get enough of Taylor Swift’s most recent album, “Folklore.” I know I’m not her target demographic, but it’s a stellar album from top to bottom, and my lovely wife and I are playing it nearly non-stop. It would be hilarious if one of her songs ended up being a pop version of an old Bach one, but I’m not holding my breath. Have a great week, everyone, and maybe I’ll get back here another time or two this week. Be well.