What Wednesday #23
Today I write really fast because I’m on vacation.
What Wednesday is where I talk about what I’m watching, reading, playing, etc, because for some reason I think you’ll find that interesting. If you have recommendations, I’d love to hear them :)
What I’m Doing: Nothing
Well, not literally nothing. My wife and I are on our babymoon — yeah, that’s a thing — in California. Specifically, Big Sur. I spent a month in LA last year for work, where I had the chance to drive around on Highway 1 a bit. It was quite lovely, especially around Malibu, so I thought I knew what to expect from Big Sur. Nope. This place is breathtaking. We’re heading to Yosemite tomorrow, which is one of the few places that could actually beat Big Sur in scenic beauty.
While I’m here, I figure I’ll pad out this post with a few pictures from our trip so far.
What I’m Reading: Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch by Henry Miller (Amazon)
A few days ago we stopped by the Henry Miller Memorial Library. Cool place. Since I’d never even heard of Henry Miller, let alone read any of his books, I naturally had to pick one up. I went with Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch seeing as how we’re in Big Sur right now and all. I’ve greatly enjoyed my choice.
It’s a memoir about his time living in Big Sur in the 40’s and 50’s. He paints it as this paradise on earth: a picture perfect locale away from civilization, that bestows inspiration upon aspiring artists. His florid descriptions of the raw and ragged wilderness is inspiring and still captures much of what makes Big Sur incredible today.
One big caveat though: numerous times he wonders aloud how much longer Big Sur can last as a mostly untouched homestead for a population numbering in the low 100’s. Well, not long, ironically at least partially due to the popularity of this very book. It’s now a heavily trafficked tourist trap, with pricey restaurants and hotels almost every mile, even though it still has plenty of undeveloped wild protected within the National Park system. One thing it still has going for it: most of the area has no cell service, so in that way it’s still a modern day wilderness.
What I’m Hearing: The Weeknd, “I Feel It Coming” (Apple Music, Spotify)
Love The Weeknd. Been following him ever since his first mixtape, House of Balloons, came out way back in the year 2011. (I still don’t think he’ll ever top his first single, “High for This.” That song is about as close to perfect as any song I’ve ever heard.) It’s funny to think that much of his early success came from his mysterious, anonymous persona — he initially kept his identity a secret — since he’s now a hugely popular and recognizable star.
I’ve constantly described him as what Michael Jackson would have been if he was born a millennial: dark, cynical, with an impeccable taste for beats. (Bruno Mars is what Jackson would have become were he still alive: broadly appealing, safe, and predicable.) Some of my favorite Weekend tracks, however, are when he drops the drugged-out nihilism and just goes full-blown pop Jackson. His newest single “I Feel It Coming” is a great example. It’s wonderfully catchy, funky, with just the slightest of edge to it. It’s perfect pop and I’d say it’s the closest thing to a genuine Michael Jackson song we’ve gotten since the King of Pop passed. Love it.