18 Thoughts.

There’s a beat writer that covers the dilapidated Cleveland Browns on The Athletic that does these sort of rapid-fire recap stories in list form. The lists are filled with general thoughts that aren’t exactly woven into a cohesive story with a narrative. It’s an easy and fun read that can include lots of interesting tidbits that wouldn’t always fit into a more structured story. I like the idea of this and thought I would maybe start posing some of my own stuff starting with these 18 thoughts about the universe.

  1. There’s an interesting post on Om Malik’s blog about Marie Kondo selling her company to Rakuten — which to me doesn’t seem like good cultural alignment. Maybe Rakuten thinks that since everyone threw out all of their possessions everyone will be buying them all over again? It reminded me of the concept of Swedish Death Cleaning which became somewhat well known last year. Being that it’s Scandinavian SDC is very practical. The concept is basically to get rid of all of your accumulated junk while you are alive so you don’t burden your family with it.
  2. One of the things on Instagram that I love: Agoraphobic Traveller
  3. Don’t let this pandemic make you forget that it’s a great year for station wagons. First Audi announced they were finally bringing the RS6 Avant to the U.S. Then it became clear that the A6 Avant is coming as well. Plus, gas is cheap for now and traffic is light. This is the moment wagon enthusiasts like myself have been waiting for. I was an owner of an E63 AMG for the past two years and it was such a thrill to drive. It’s also a super sleeper which makes it even more fun because people don’t really know it as a performance car. Now all we need to do is figure out how we can pay for one of those things.
  4. Can we talk about David Coggins’ new blog The Contender. He’s calling it a “site” because the word “blog” is a little cringy and probably too adjacent to “influencer” for his liking. The more I think about ACL and Om’s blog (and some others) I realized that there’s actually a lot of value in being more blog than site. Does this make sense? A site implies it’s something larger, bigger, more processed. A blog is one person’s thoughts and unadulterated POV. (In a perfect world that’s the case anyway.) When I think about the most meaningful people on the web for me none of them seemed to have attempted to become a corp media site. Look at Kottke, or John Gruber or Joanna Goddard, and consider that they are as interesting today as they were 5 years ago. I think Coggins should lean into the idea of a blog because it’s working. The Contender is really well-done and full of interesting stuff that could only happen when it’s a passion project. I hope he keeps at it and my advice is to become a regular over there, you won’t regret it.
  5. I was introduced to Tristan Harris who runs the Center for Humane Technology at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit last year and I’ve since become a big believer in what Tristan is doing. His organization actively works against “attention-grabbing business models” and how to make technology more humane. Granted when you read about this kind of thing it seems goofy. But after hearing Tristan speak, I was inspired. This subject is also (actually) interesting to me because of Brunello Cucinelli. He has spoken passionately about this subject the last few times I have seen him or heard him speak. He talks a lot about “Humanism” and how technology and the world has changed how we think about our relationships with others and the world. Despite what people may think because of the cost of his clothing, Brunello is extremely inspiring and a very grounded person. He always leaves me thinking about how to better myself, my family, and my community. It’s also conflicting in a way because what does it say about the world where the most inspiring person is a fashion designer?
  6. Rimowa. It’s crazy how expensive Rimowa cases have become. I remember thinking $650 was a lot for one of the carry-on cases —now that case is $1150! Here’s my recommendation for buying Rimowa. Do it in Europe if possible. The prices are better there and you can get the VAT back. I own 4 Rimowa pieces and I bought them all in either Milan or Frankfurt. Even the store in the Lufthansa terminal at Frankfurt airport has better deals than dealers in the U.S. I guess as LVMH took over and Rimowa became a status symbol prices got hiked. Maybe post-pandemic the prices will come down? I’d bet not.
  7. I like this little merch brand a lot.
  8. We ordered these burger kits from Standing’s Butchery last week and it was as good as any burger I had last year. It made me think that Los Angeles is Burger Town USA. Between Burgers Never Say Die, the iconic Apple Pan, Burger Daddy LA, Hiho in Santa Monica, and Goldburger this town’s all-American food status is basically unchallenged. The only burger in NY that I really crave is at Emily. That’s pretty crazy to think about. Corner Bistro is always a let down in my opinion (though I would kill to be able to go there and drink beer, eat and watch sports right now). But NYers shouldn’t be mad, your pizza is still the undisputed champion.
  9. The one thing I can’t seem to procure at this point is flour – especially good flour. In early April this Bill Buford piece about French baking made me want to order some really good flour but I can’t seem to ever make it happen. Does anyone have any suggestions?
  10. Last year we went to Northern California and spent a few days playing golf at Pasatiempo in Santa Cruz and at the Meadow Club in Fairfax. The trip was really cool and the big takeaway beyond insane green complexes was the fact that Meadow Club is truly a special place. It’s such a fun design and unlike so many courses it’s surrounded by wilderness on all sides. It’s as special as any club in American and it’s odd to me why more people don’t talk about it.
  11. I’ve doubled down on my love of Cooks Illustrated. It’s just such a good publication and I’ve developed a lot of trust in what they say. If you are really getting into cooking or baking, this is a great source.
  12. Not to keep picking on Instagram, but it has occurred to me a few times recently that the people who are most addicted and prolific with the platform seem to be doing the best there. Is there a connection with addiction and success on Instagram? Most successful social media people I know also have this oversharing tendency and relentless desire to post things that are definitely rewarded by the algorithm. We definitely don’t live in a world anymore that celebrates restraint and that’s a bit depressing. It’s very American though — a high caloric diet with little or no nutrients. The more I mute the happier I am. What’s the end game here? I wish I knew. I’m curious to hear what people like about Instagram at this point? Not being snarky with that. How can it be used in a positive way?
  13. “The rat race, as it was so wonderfully known in the 50s, will hopefully slow down. All those senseless flights for senseless meetings. Senseless cab rides to senseless lunches. Senseless cross-country flights for senseless adult birthday parties. And then senseless holidays in the sun to get away from all that senselessness.” Wise words from Graydon Carter this weekend in Air Mail.
  14. After living on the West Coast for going on 4 years I seem to have developed into someone who can barely dress himself. The weather or lack of it has severely limited my ability or desire to get dressed in a meaningful way. Thinking back on a bunch of transcon trips I realized that living here has also made me awful at packing. I just don’t see a world where it’s not in the 70s during the day and cool in the morning and evening. In the last few years I’ve been underdressed and cold in NY and overdressed for an evening in Florida. There’s basically no weather in Los Angeles —which is why people normally talk about the shared suffering of traffic— and it lulls you into thinking there’s no weather anywhere. So through experience, I can tell you that style is at least partially dependant on weather.
  15. Newsflash: A white guy with a beard and collection of Red Wing boots loves artisanal coffee. One of the things I’ve really come to appreciate during this pandemic stay-at-home situation is my automatic coffee replenishment program from SoCal based Bixby. The benefits are plenty: it tastes good, it is super-fucking-easy and comes in the mail every week or two. The only time I think about coffee is when I am making it or drinking it. One of the big selling points for Bixby is the fact that it’s roasted and shipped to me within a matter of days. So I know it’s fresh and that makes a huge difference. Disclosure, I am friends with the owners but I pay full price and would not write about it if I didn’t use it or like it.
  16. My friend Miles Fisher (one of the Bixby founders) recommended Audm to me a while back and I absolutely love it. We have a 4-week old baby at home and Audm is perfect for crushing long-form stories from The Atlantic, NYT, New Yorker, New Republic, etc., on my AirPods with no hands required.
  17. Hey New York, don’t let Eisenbergs go out of business.
  18. In February I spoke to Denim Dudes at the Project Tradeshow. I said a few things that I was feeling then that I think are more relevant now than back then. Have a listen here.

Comments on “18 Thoughts.

    Andy Muniak (@moonyock) on May 11, 2020 6:00 PM:

    And here I thought Bixby was just some guys who were really into golf course architecture, and random references to the boy from Bratislava. Looks like I might finally have to put in an order.

    Jordan Andlovec on May 11, 2020 6:49 PM:

    I would also like some hot tips on getting good flour. I listened to that Bill Buford piece (on Audm which I have loved for some time) and cried a little when he found out Bob had passed away, which is not what you expect from an essay about bread,

    Stephanie C on May 11, 2020 6:54 PM:

    I just got a big order of (artisanal? I guess?) flour from Meadowlark Organics in Wisconsin. Small family farm, with several strains of wheat to choose from.

    Michael Williams on May 11, 2020 7:09 PM:

    Thank you! I just bought a bunch of stuff. I appreciate the recommendation.

    Adam on May 11, 2020 7:30 PM:

    Have you tried Anson Mills for flour?

    Kirk on May 11, 2020 7:32 PM:

    We just loaded up on flour (00 and otherwise) through Eataly, weirdly enough. And we’re in Nashville, so it was e-commerce…

    ametorist on May 11, 2020 7:57 PM:

    Cucinelli’s prices are borderline offensive for many. But man, I have an all leather backpack that has already developed an incredible after countless rain showers and subway rides. I salute the man for delivering on what he talks about. And I frigging love my backpack.

    Sam Jacobs on May 11, 2020 9:15 PM:

    I was supposed to be back in NYC next weekend for the now cancelled Brooklyn Half Marathon. Eisenbergs was on my list of stops in Manhattan post race. Then a quick stop at Ralph’s Coffee to grab a few bags to take home. That’s my coffee obsession.

    Grant on May 12, 2020 1:50 AM:

    #9 – Anson Mills. They deliver and everything is amazing and a great backstory of a passion project done right. Made pasta from the 00 pasta flour this weekend.

    James on May 12, 2020 11:20 AM:

    Don’t knock the boy from Bratislava, Andy! And Michael, the burger joints of Oklahoma City gladly accepts your burger challenge.

    Andrey on May 12, 2020 2:03 PM:

    Bob’s Red Mill for flour! Great products, an employee-owned company, and Bob is a great guy who does a ton for his community (Portland, OR).

    Bill Caperton on May 12, 2020 3:36 PM:

    In LA? Flour (good stuff) here;


    Janet Gridley on May 12, 2020 3:38 PM:

    @bakersfieldflowerandbread. In Minneapolis.

    Kate on May 12, 2020 3:56 PM:

    I think an NYC burger revisit is in order when you can travel (and go to restaurants) again – a couple of newer faves are Red Hook Tavern and Bernie’s.

    Andy O. on May 12, 2020 8:51 PM:

    For flour, check out Central Milling Company in Petaluma https://centralmilling.com/ , and Janie’s Mill in Illinois https://www.janiesmill.com/

    Michael Williams on May 13, 2020 1:21 AM:

    @Kate You are probably right. Thanks for the heads up.

    Michael Williams on May 13, 2020 1:21 AM:

    Thanks for all of the flour tips everyone.

    Patrick on May 13, 2020 11:53 AM:

    Central Milling has great flour – milled right here in northern California. I’ve been baking with their organic artisan baker’s craft flour and 00 pizza flour. 50 lb. bags delivered – we go through it faster than I’d expected.

    Paul Elliott on May 18, 2020 11:22 AM:

    The best way to buy Rimowa from the states at a decent price is to use a mail forwarding service. Purchase from a site that only delivers within the EU at their priceas and have it delivered to your mail forwarder as an intermediary.

    I did this a few years ago myself and easily saved $400 :)

    b on May 18, 2020 5:17 PM:

    theres a video on youtube with buford and bob. i saw it ten years ago and immediately recognized the description of bob in the article. youtube buford bob bread lyon. it seems some of the stuff he describes is right out of the video. and you get to see bob blow his nose and touch the bread dough.

    b on May 18, 2020 5:18 PM:

    flour can be finicky. good flour when used to make dough feels strong and elastic. it can vary from batch to batch.

Comments are closed.