Things That Are So Good That I Can’t Live Without Them: UE Megaboom

Let’s get something straight: I like long showers. They relax me. I waste hundreds of gallons of water while hot (not warm) water rinses my bad decisions and wasted moments far away from me. It’s cheap therapy. And while I’m standing there, with a wonderfully strong GPM hitting me in the back of the neck, I blast music. My family hates it. I don’t care.

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Things That Are So Good That I Can’t Live Without Them: Field Notes

I have a list on my phone. It catalogs things that I keep using or interacting with, over and over. Even though they are just things, mostly, they are things that make my life better. Simply put, the things I feel passionately about, I feel very passionately about. So, presented in no particular order, here is one of those things:

I’ve always been a note taker and a list maker. It’s become more important as I’ve become older and the synapses have stopped firing as consistently. For that reason, I seldom leave the house without a Field Notes notebook in my pocket. I’m a scribbler and there’s not much organization to most of my notes, just horizontal lines to mark breaks in thoughts.

I recently purchased a Field Notes wallet from Bellroy, who are well known for their long-lasting leather goods. It’s got a magnetic closure to it and a few pockets for business cards or credit cards and things. It’s bulkier than I thought, so time will tell if I end up using it for long.

I like Field Notes so much, I subscribe to their Quarterly Editions, limited edition notebookes in unique covers or purposes. The most surprising thing about a Field Notes book is how often I’ve used the ruler in the back of the cover to help measure something. That’s been quite helpful. The limited editions have often been surprising and wonderful surprises.

Field Notes was also very, very briefly in the publishing business. A few years ago, they published a short story that was really very wonderful. Nicely written, touching, and engaging — and about baseball. I’m not a baseball fan, but I loved the story.

Things That Are So Good That I Can’t Live Without Them: The Balvenie

I have a list on my phone. It catalogs things that I keep using or interacting with, over and over. Even though they are just things, mostly, they are things that make my life better. Simply put, the things I feel passionately about, I feel very passionately about. So, presented in no particular order, here is one of those things:

Let’s talk about Scotland. With its windswept crags and soggy moors, one might wonder why anyone would ever visit. But pull back the hood of your rain jacket just a bit and you will be astounded by Scotland’s rugged and unspoiled beauty. There’s the desolate yet dazzling Glencoe mountain valley, Bond’s fictitious home in Skyfall. The picturesque landscapes on the Isle of Skye provide some of the best coasts in all of the United Kingdom. Or visit the neolithic monuments near the rocky shores of the Orkney Islands and it’s easy to imagine a viking invader, wrapped in furs, approaching youfrom the surf, sword drawn. Scotland the Brave, is also the birthplace of golf (cause of much frustration) and whisky (remedy to that frustration).

While I have a predilection for smoky, peaty Islay malts, one of my favorites is distilled in whisky’s epicenter, Speyside. The Balvenie has been distilled in Dufftown since 1893. It’s one of just a half dozen Scottish distilleries to still floor malt its barley and the only one in the Highlands. The Balvenie has a small offering of regular expressions, but each is rich tasting and luxuriously smooth. Scotch is a drink that appeals greatly to me due to the simplicity of its production, but also because the final product remains in doubt for a decade or more. The success at the end of such a long road makes me appreciate each drop that much more.

 

Things That Are So Good That I Can’t Live Without Them: Apple MacBook Pro, pre-2014

I have a list on my phone. It catalogs things that I keep using or interacting with, over and over. Even though they are just things, mostly, they are things that make my life better. Simply put, the things I feel passionately about, I feel very passionately about. So, presented in no particular order, here is one of those things:

I spend a lot of time in front of a computer, which, if you ask my wife, is the understatement of all understatements. My day job requires me be in front of a screen for most of the work day. When I get home, I write for one of a couple of blogs, which equates to more hours staring at a keyboard — a beautiful, backlit keyboard with black keys to hide dirt and oils and almost the right number of keys and a decent trackpad. I am speaking about the MacBook Pro.

Mine is from late 2013, a sweet spot where they had resolved battery issues in previous models and before they got rid of the old USB ports, which I am still in adamant need of for various things like connecting to my CNC mill. (It’s been a year since this change and I have yet to see the industry follow this “bold” move.) This MacBook Pro is still running fast and strong, despite more than a few drops. Realistically, the time may be coming soon when I have to replace it, which I’m not looking forward to, mostly because of the USB  issue and the rumored elimination of a headline jack. But until that day, I will treasure this battle-tested soldier.

Things That Are So Good That I Can’t Live Without Them: 13 Angels on My Broken Windowsill Video

I have a list on my phone. It catalogs things that I keep using or interacting with, over and over. Even though they are just things, mostly, they are things that make my life better. Simply put, the things I feel passionately about, I feel very passionate about. So, presented in no particular order, here is one of those things:

I have tried to enjoy BT‘s music and, mostly, it doesn’t do a lot for me. Still, I recognize he’s a big talent and lots of people love him. I appreciate his experimentation and deep level of talent, but seldom listen to his music. When I was writing at Wired, I was asked to do a piece introducing the world premiere of a new video for BT, 13 Angels on My Broken Windowsill. I was sent a link to the video before it launched and was blown away. I think I probably watched it five or six times in a row, just slack-jawed. The very patient and gradual build-up, the power of the breaks, prior to the denoument. But it is so perfectly married with the astral photography and time-lapses, that it’s tough to imagine seeing visuals for the song in any other way. Here is the Wired article.

 

Things That Are So Good That I Can’t Live Without Them: Underworld

I have a list on my phone. It catalogs things that I keep using or interacting with, over and over. Even though they are just things, mostly, they are things that make my life better.Simply put, the things I feel passionately about, I feel very passionate about. So, presented in no particular order, here is one of those things:

Underworld. I enjoy listening to electronic music when I work because the beat is repetitive enough that it becomes white noise for me, which helps me get stuff done. But I also love listening to it just to listen. One of my great pleasures is putting on a good set of headphones, hitting play, and closing my eyes. I love feeling every note, tapping my feet to the rhythm, and melding with the music. The layers and layers take many listens to truly decipher.

Underworld has escorted me through plenty of evenings (and drives and walks with the dogs) with some really fantastic songs, like Jumbo or 8 Ball or Born Slippy (Nuxx) or Two Months Off. But the one I love listening to every single time is Scribble. It’s as reassuring as a big hug for me. A big part of it is the driving drum & bass, some of it is the lyrics, which feel like one big affirmation. But a lot of it is this very simple video. Thanks to Karl Hyde (guy in the video), I can’t help but smile when I listen to it. What more could you ask from music?