It’s Friday. Looking for something to switch up your weekend, or to give you an excuse to relax a little? That’s what the Weekend Reset is for. Each week we’ll pull together five things to get your weekend started. Could be something to read or watch, something to eat or listen to, or even something to do. Enjoy the weekend fellas.
GROW: An Indoor Herb Garden
I do not have a green thumb. I’ve killed just about every houseplant I’ve ever owned — my palm turned brown in a month; my ficus got weird black mites; I’ve even, somehow, managed to kill succulents by over or under-watering them. Which is why I was a little skeptical of my own attempts to grown an indoor herb garden. But I’ve had my Aerogarden for two months now, and I’m happy to say that my herbs are thriving. I can’t give myself much credit here — the beauty of the Aerogarden system is that it does almost everything for you. Plug in the garden, fill with water and plant food, put in your seed pods, and then wait. In a couple of weeks? You’ll have fresh herbs. Eventually, it does require some tending — you have to add in plant food every two weeks, plus do some pruning and root trimming — but the directions are very easy to follow. And the upside? You now have your own fresh basil, parsley, mint, thyme, and dill to make pestos, salad dressings, or you-name-it.
READ: Between the World and Me
If you are wrestling with what to do in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder (beyond donating to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and other charities), reading this book is one place to start. A memoir written in the form of a letter to his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me digs deep into the history of race and systemic racism in this country as well as the emotional experience of growing up black in contemporary America. I read this four years ago, in the aftermath of the murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and found it deeply affecting. Coates is a master wordsmith and intellectual, but it is his personal stories that rocked me the most.
Hit it guys. Throw me in the ocean with a bunch of cool-looking sharks and I’m happy as a clam — but when it comes to blood and needles, I am the world’s biggest baby. Every time I get a blood test, I have to close my eyes or stare at a fixed point on the wall in order to prevent myself from fainting. But a friend of mine invited me to donate at his monthly blood drive, and next month, I am gonna do it. Due to the Pandemic, there is the real possibility of a shortage in America’s blood supply. This is a way each of us can do a little something to help. Blood donation centers now have extensive safety measures in place to prevent the transmission of COVID, so there’s no need to fear infection. Another way to help? Get an at-home cheek swab kit and register with Be the Match, part of the National Marrow Donor Registry, to have the opportunity to save someone’s life. (Photo by Obi Onyeador on Unsplash.)
Killer Mike’s R.A.P. Music and EL-P’s Cancer for Cure were two of my favorite records released in 2012 — so back in 2013, when I heard they were working on a collaborative record under the moniker Run the Jewels, I was pretty stoked. And what they’ve done over the past seven years is extraordinary — in addition to making genius album after genius album after genius album, they’ve played a zillion festivals while also having time to create a Netflix Show and build a fanbase that feels like a family. (Though, alas, Killer Mike still hasn’t replied to my tweets about him doing a crossover show with Marie Kondo called Close Your Eyes and Count to Joy.) On Wednesday, they surprise released RTJ4, their fourth album — and it’s free for all. Filled with flawlessly produced bangers and RTJ’s signature wit and politics, this is a record that is made for this moment. (Last week, Mike — the son of an Atlanta police offer — made an incredible, impassioned speech about how to achieve justice in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder that is also worth watching.)
Featuring everyone from Newt Gingrich to Corey Booker, Ava DuVernay’s film 13th is a searing, bipartisan indictment of mass incarceration in America. Through a compelling mix of data, interviews, archival footage, and personal stories, DuVernay breaks down how our criminal justice system targets and criminalizes black youth, even when they’ve done nothing wrong, and locks them up for years. A harrowing, challenging, and absolutely vital documentary, and one that provides a necessary context to our current moment. Streams free on YouTube or also on Netflix.
About the author: Michael Robin is an LA-based television writer. When he’s not working away on his latest pilot script, you can find him scuba diving, hosting Shabbat dinners, or goofing off with his goldendoodle, Biggie Lebowski.