Sometimes I need a little Mt. Fuji

There is something calming about Mt. Fuji.  I admit to not really knowing much about the icon, except that it holds a very special place in the hearts of the Japanese people. All I know for sure is that when I see it I feel a sudden sense of calm, and I need that every now and again.  That’s why I subscribe to the Twitter handle @Fujidelic.  Every so often, amid the noise of my Twitter feed, up pops a serene picture of Mt. Fuji.  And I stop and breathe deep for just a second.

Picture from @Fujidelic

Chance the Rapper is Awesome

If you like Hip Hop and you’re not listening to Chance the Rapper, you  need to start.

I know I should have heard about him earlier, but I’m just discovering his work.  I’ve been listening to his album “Coloring Book” for a few days now.  It’s got a lot of depth and the production value is incredible.

(Warning: if you don’t like explicit lyrics and the n-word, then don’t watch this video).

 

Rediscovering Cheers

cheersCheers is one of my all time favorite TV shows.  I recently bought the first season in iTunes and I’ve been watching it on the last couple of long flights.  It really makes me smile.

I’m not exactly sure why that is.  To a certain extent it probably brings me back to my youth. I watched the show from its inception, when it was on live.  I was a teenager when it started. I guess part of me longs for those days— when you had manageable problems that came with youth.  Of course, the problems didn’t seem small back then, but they pale in comparison to adult concerns.  Those problems certainly don’t feel small when you’re going through them.  You only get that sort of perspective when you look back on your life.  Nevertheless, when I look back on things from those earlier days, I look back with longing for easier times.

One thing that I was actually surprised about is how outdated some of the social elements are. There are very few people of color on the show and none in the main cast.  The way the men speak to women in the early seasons hearkens back to a different day. Then again it was a different day.  I try to look past that aspect of the show and enjoy it anyway.  The way I see it, it’s a reflection of the times. Thinking about it now I’m not so surprised, I just didn’t expect it when I sat down to watch.

Buttoned up collar, or no?

img_3409I’m thinking about wearing a dress shirt buttoned up to the collar, but I’m not sure if I can get away with it (don’t tell my wife because she’s going to  tell me I look stupid)  I think I can work it — dark shirt, buttoned to the collar, untucked, with a casual sport coat and jeans.

I thought I’d do a little research on the topic and I found a cool little blog post on fitterydotcom. The blog post says it’s ok, but a few of the comments hate it.  What do you think?

Baseball is a soothing rush for me

img_3170

There’s something that’s both energizing and calming about watching a ballgame. I’m not sure how to describe it, but I get such a charge out of just sitting and enjoying a major league game.

Contradictory, I know.

It’s also the only thing I’ll do when I’m traveling. What I mean by that is, usually I sit and work in my room when I’m on the road. But if I have to be in the city with the baseball stadium is located downtown, I’ll catch a game.

Tonight it’s a pleasant September evening in Cleveland.

Anxiety of the Day: What to do with my down time

There are a variety of different sources of my anxiety.  I’m hoping that if I write about them, I’ll be able to get some advice from all of you and maybe eventually work some of them out of my life.  Today’s issue: down time.

Every day I struggle with what I should be doing with my down time. I am absolutely thrilled when I get some— the idea of finishing a boatload of items on my to do list actually speeds up my pulse.  ME TIME? I actually get some time to myself? Woo hoo!  But…what do I do with that time?

I don’t really have any hobbies.  I play some guitar, but I’d call myself a novice blues guitarist at best (emphasis on the novice).  I like auto racing, but I’m not the kind of guy who would watch a replay of a NASCAR or an F1 race. I’m not that committed.  I thought about taking up a hobby and building an amateur race car, but do you know how much that costs?  It ain’t a little.  Besides, my downtime usually consists of an hour or two (or three) in the middle of a weekday, or when I’m between work events in a hotel.  Plus, many of those hobby ideas feel so…superficial.

I feel like I shouldn’t be wasting my time, rather I should be making productive use of my down time. When I’m finished with whatever endeavor I pursue I should feel as though I’ve had fun, but I’ve also had a growth experience. Maybe I should be reading that book about Thomas Jefferson that’s been sitting on my dresser for the past 6 months, or learn that language I’ve always wanted to be able to speak. But those things seem like such an…effort.  Of course, isn’t effort required if I’m gong to have a growth experience?

What usually ends up happening is that I spend so much time wondering about what would be the most productive use of my down time that I completely squander that very down time.  Inevitably, I end up checking Facebook for 15 minutes and spend the rest of my time feeling anxious.

Comments?

Headphones Review: Beats Studio Wireless Bluetooth

I own a truckload of headphones and earbuds.  I’m not being cliche- I seriously mean that I might own enough gear to fill a truck. I justify this large collection by telling myself that I travel a lot for work, so I’m constantly looking for the perfect gear.  Truth is, I just like headphones. To date I haven’t found the perfect pair and I’ve decided to review some of my collection to explain it all.  Today I’m talking about…..

Beats Studio Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

I don’t understand all of the good reviews for the Beats Studio Wireless Bluetooth headphones. Here’s my take: they are comfortable headphones that sound nice…unless you get near any background noise at all.

When I wear the Beats in a quiet environment, they’re great.  They connect with my iPhone quickly, they charge quickly, and they have a nice long battery life.  Plus, they’re comfortable, and the sound quality is nice. My ears sweat just a drop after wearing them for a decent amount of time, but I think that’s my own issue- my ears constantly sweat when I wear a set of cans.  Sound-wise, they do a good job.  There is the proper emphasis on the bass- not the old-style booming bass that people complained about with the old Beats. They aren’t as crisp on the middle and highs as some other sets I own, but I’m being picky in that regard.  Genuinely, they are a nice sounding pair of headphones.  The problem is that the Beats Wireless noise cancellation is the worst I’ve ever heard.  Ever.

I honestly can’t believe that there isn’t a more forceful backlash about this online.  No matter what the atmosphere, the minute I put the headphones on, they actually increase the ambient noise.  For real.  The ambient noise gets louder.  I’ve worn them in coffee shops, on airplanes, in restaurants, sitting on my couch while the kids listen to the TV, you name it.  In every instance, the background noise was overwhelming. The upside is that they are among the loudest of all the headphones on the market.  That means that you can turn up the volume and drown out much of the ambient noise.  But that’s not how they’re supposed to work.

I would buy the Beats if you are looking for a nice sounding headphone that you’ll only wear in a quiet environment.

PS- I heard that Apple just discounted their line of Beats headphones, which might mean that new products are coming out.

Why a superstar art dealer gives me hope

wsj-coverWhy a superstar art dealer gives me hope

Larry Gagosian is the most influential art dealer of the past century.  It wouldn’t be exaggeration to say that he’s among the most important dealers in history.  This piece in the Wall Street Journal magazine gives great insight into the breadth of his connections.  You’ll read about everyone from Basquiat to Brancusi and from de Kooning to Koons. The name dropping alone makes it worth the read. But what I love most about this article is the hope it provides to every other wanna-be successful entrepreneur. That’s because I had no idea that Gagosian had absolutely no formal education in art or art history.

Gagosian earned his BA in English Literature from UCLA. After a short stint at the William Morris Agency he ended up selling posters on the street in Los Angeles. From there, a bit of business hustling and relationship building ultimately lead him to opening an art gallery.

It may have been chance that lead him to the art world, but it was his drive and moxie that allowed him to flourish within it. Through relentless determination he made key connections in the industry and built a business out of those relationships. He became an expert in the field and an indispensable player in the market despite his lack of formal training in art or art history.

It shows me that you need dedication, determination, and ambition more than you need pedigree or credentials. And that gives me hope for success in any endeavor.

 

Photo is the Wall Street Journal Magazine Cover, May 2016.  Photo was found on https://www.gagosian.com/about/about-larry-gagosian, last checked by the author 5/31.2016.