Now

My “Now” page is where I share stuff I’ve enjoyed recently, in the hopes that you’ll find something you’ll enjoy too.

Music

Spoon, Lucifer on the Sofa

The most straight-forward rock record Spoon has made in a some time. All the Spoon trademarks are here – economy, hooks galore, an insane level of songcraft. This will be in my “top five of 2022” list, if I had that kind of list.

Prins Thomas, 8

Space disco? Scandinavian funk? Whatever it is, Prins Thomas has been plowing this field for a while, to my delight. Six long-ish instrumental grooves from a guy with a high bar for quality and a solid track record.

Pan-American, The Patience Fader

Chicagoan Mark Nelson returns with his signature brand of ambience. It’s guitar & light electronics, rooted in folk & Americana. Well-suited for both Sunday mornings & twilights, for both background music & close inspection.

(I link to Bandcamp whenever possible, since it’s the platform that returns the most money to the artists.)

Books

The Choice: Embrace the Possible, Dr. Edith Eva Eger

Man’s Search by Meaning, by Viktor Frankl, is the most important book I’ve ever read. Eger recognizes Frankl as a mentor, and one of his themes is right there in the title of this book. Eger was also a survivor of multiple Nazi concentration camps; the story she tells here is both heavier in autobiographical details and in some specifics of clinical treatment. It’s moving & inspiring.

The Confidence Game, Maria Konnikova

I wrote an entire post about Konnikova’s more recent book, The Biggest Bluff, and its links to strategy. In The Confidence Game, Konnikova explores how con artists exploit human psychology to achieve their ends. Importantly, intelligence is not a defense; Bernie Madoff swindled a lot of bright people. Evil humans already know much of this, so you may as well defend yourself.

Travel

We finally took our Coronavirus-delayed trip to Maui in January.

We started with three nights at Wailea Beach Resort, an expansive, nicely situated property. The beachfront room was worth springing for, and the pool staff did a great job of, shall we say, keeping up with us.

Compared to Ka’anapali, Wailea feels a little more upscale and not as family-focused. Our morning walks took us past some insane beachfront homes. Here, we also found the first of two fantastic Italian spots on Maui, Matteo’s Osteria.

View from our balcony at Wailea Beach Report. There are worse places from which to check email.

From there, we moved on to a full week at the Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas, where we honeymooned in 2016 and visited another time since. It’s a little like an old friend at this point, though some of the amenities – including one of the on-site restaurants – remain closed due to Covid.

In downtown Lahaina, we found Sale Pepe, with outstanding pizzas & pastas. Was not expecting that in Hawaii. We liked it so much we went twice in five days.

Importantly, the whole point of this trip was to have no agenda. Maui is good for this. We made three dinner reservations in ten days, and the rest was “free play.” Most mornings began with a long walk on the beach. Then afternoons sunning by the lawn or pool. Then dinner & a nice chat with the in-laws on their balcony. (Pro-tip: Find in-laws that you enjoy hanging out with & traveling with.)

Coming up: Newport, RI, and a return to the Oregon coast and wine country.

Chicago

My birthday dinner was at Monteverde, which we’ve frequented since it opened a few years back. The brainchild of Sarah Grueneberg of Top Chef fame, Monteverde’s kitchen simply does not miss. This meal included ‘nduja arancini (we always debate two orders instead of one), burrata e ham, glazed duck breast, tortellini in brodo (perfect on a freezing February night) and some kind of amazing truffle pasta dish. And butterscotch budino. And some really good wine. We were giddy as we left. Book well in advance if you want to go, and let me know if I can join you.

Beverages

A friend turned me on to Irish whiskeys, and I recently picked up the Glendalough Pot Still. A review from my local liquor store: “The oak aromas are pronounced on the nose with notes of clove and black pepper laid over the sweet orchard fruits and vanilla… buttered and doughy grain notes emerge and soften the spices… Sweet, vanilla soaked pears and soft toasted grains linger longest in the finish.” Yeah, that’s just what I would have said. But in case you’re unsure, it’s pretty tasty. It’s $49 at my local.

Fitness

I exercised 339 days in 2021 – pretty pleased with that. As of this writing, I’ve exercised 61 of 70 days this year. I’m still enjoying Peloton, despite its penchant for bad decisions and PR, and I’ve been alternating between strength and distance months to keep things interesting.

Questions on any of the above?  Got something to share of your own?  Drop me a line: matthew(at)threedeuce(dot)com.