My first thought when I heard about Richard Lewis: I wonder if he ever did put Larry David in his will.

(I feel like he would have appreciated this joke)

Ten years ago today I left for my most ambitious trip: eleven countries spanning six continents in five weeks. I blogged my way through that trip and will get the archives posted soon enough. But today I launched a new travel blog with the post The Window. I’m excited to write about travel again!

A New Travel Page

I’ve got a new Travel page that I soft launched with February’s ‘Current Things’ and formally launched earlier today with the blog post, ‘The Window’. I want to take a few seconds to talk logistics.

(y’all didn’t believe me when I said I was going to mostly blog about logistics)

Here’s a break down of the new Travel page:

At the top is my Flighty passport. The excellent–but very expensive– Flighty app has a feature that produces an image of all of the flights it’s tracked. This is a log of most (and maybe all!) of my flights since 2010. It makes me happy to look at this and remember the trips I’ve taken. It also reminds me that two places I’ve only visited once– Russia and China– are very big. I will update this image on a completely irregular basis.

An image of my Flighty passport showing all the flights I've taken since 2010

The next section is the trips that I’ve got scheduled for this calendar year. Micro.blog does a good job of allowing me to easily create a category for every trip and then link to that category to show a running log of everything I’ve blogged about a specific trip. Sometimes I’ll write a lot about a trip. Sometimes I won’t. Have to keep y’all guessing.

A screenshot of the 'current year' section, showing the trips I have planned for 2024

The next section– Future Trips– is a rough sketch of my travel plans past this year. I probably won’t take some of these trips, but it’s fun to think about the places I want to go! I also find putting even a rough date to some of these trips helps me decide whether or not to move on to actually starting to plan them.

A screenshot of the 'Future Trips' section, showing the trips I have planned for 2025 and beyond

The final section– Past Trips– is a list of the trips I’ve taken organized by year. As a trip is completed, it’ll move from the current year section down to here.

A screenshot of the 'Past Trips' section, showing trips from 2024 and 2023.

A few other notes:

  • As I mentioned above, I’ve also added a travel planning section to my Current Things page. This will be a list of the trips I’ve got planned for the current year.
  • I plan to write travel-year-in-review-type posts. I’m going to do my best to do that for 2023 at some point, but I probably won’t go any further back than that.
  • I also would like to blog more about travel in general (the industry, my philosophy, interesting links, etc.). I’ve started a Travel category to collect these thoughts in once place, but I want to do a bit more thinking about how I want to present these before I widely publicize it.

As I mentioned in the blog post, this is going to be more of a window rather than an all-encompassing travel log. I tried to do a lot of blogging while on my recent trip to Quebec Charlevoix, but found it difficult due to the nature of the trip (going 40 MPH down a hill is not conducive to writing) and due to some limitations of micro.blog (there’s a video upload limit that’s unclear to me–though I’m sure Manton would tell me if I asked!). There’s still a few processes that I need to hammer out around how to post photos/videos and what I find useful to capture during a trip as opposed to after. But real artists ship so I’ll figure some of these things out as I go.

The Window

Traveling scratches a lot of itches for me, but I think the biggest is answering the question, “What’s next?”.

I fight with this sometimes. I have a bad habit of sacrificing now for next. I like having things to look forward to, but I get consumed with it to the point that it feels like a trip is over when I finish planning it.

It also makes the actual trip feel like a checklist: a neat, chronologically-ordered inventory of the place I’m visiting. I either complete it by visiting all the sights I’m supposed to see or I don’t and I’m bummed because I missed something.

Most places aren’t Disney World: there’s not a finite set of attractions to ride. But sometimes it feels like it! It feels like you don’t see Paris if you don’t visit the Eiffel Tower, and the Louvre, and the Catacombs, and Moulin Rouge, and the Bastille, and and and and

I’m trying to embrace that there’s always going to be an ‘and’. Embrace that travel is more like a window: it’s a peak through to somewhere you don’t normally get to see. I’m trying to learn to enjoy what the window shows me rather than worrying about what’s outside of the frame.

Blogging is a lot like that too. I have such completist tendencies that sometimes I don’t bother if I can’t document everything. But I need to let that go. Blogging isn’t about giving readers a complete picture, it’s about offering them a window into somewhere they wouldn’t normally get to see.

So this travel blog is my attempt to offer a window. A restricted view into where, how, and why I like to go. Sometimes I’ll be philosophical about it. Sometimes I’m going to share some amazing pictures. Sometimes I’m going to recount a cool story. But most of the time I’ll probably just talk logistics.

That’s OK. It’s my window and I get to choose the frame.

Yesterday was the first day of the year where the solar panels produced more energy than we used. That date unsurprisingly keeps getting earlier and earlier

Trying to clear my afternoon to work on something, but it feels like my afternoon is trying to clear me

At a weird point in my life where I feel like I have less time than I probably actually do. I used to be a tinkerer and I probably have the time to be again, I just now need to schedule it. I’m not opposed! It’s just a weird thing to need to schedule

The Zone of Interest, 2023

The movie is in the margins. 

We think of these people as monsters. And they were. But they were also humans. Humans did this.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Season 1: I’m a sucker for marriage as war allegories, so I think I liked this more than most. But this was done 10x better and more natural by The Americans

Rick and Morty, Season 7: It’s tough to review entire seasons of shows that aren’t really serialized (thematically or plotwise). Season 7 continues to be successful at what it’s trying to do. Its presentation isn’t my favorite, but it’s inventiveness and just plain weirdness more than make up for it

True Detective, Season 4: While previous seasons have been about masculinity, this one adds motherhood, femininity, and community to the mix with spectacular results. It centralizes on the idea of these concepts as “protectors” in their various forms. This is–by far– the best season of this show.

My church has jokes

I ran by an Apple Store earlier today to do a fit test for my Vision Pro and ended up swapping from 31W light seal to 31N. The 31N applied a much more consistent pressure around the whole cushion.

It was really helpful to directly compare them. Would very much recommend going in to try on.

Hi friends! Looks like Tom Suozzi won the NY-3 election! You’re going to hear from a lot of people that this isn’t predictive of what will happen in November. Those people are probably right. But…BUT! Take the W. There’s a lot to be worried about. Choose to enjoy good things that happen.

Maestro: This was fine. I like the ideas of how identity is complex and who owns it isn’t always straightforward. But ultimately I didn’t gain anything more than a surface-level understanding of how this duality affected Bernstein.

Maestro, 2023

This was fine. I like the ideas of how identity is complex and who owns it isn't always straightforward.  But ultimately I didn't gain anything more than a surface-level understanding of how this duality affected Bernstein.

Past Lives: We’re not fated for things that are obvious. The allure for the other side of things will always be there.

Past Lives, 2023

We're not fated for things that are obvious. The allure for the other side of things will always be there.

Did Not Finish: Post-Growth Living by Kate Soper 📚I love the concept: time should be the ultimate indicator of prosperity. Thus, hedonism (pursuit of pleasure) should focus less on wealth and more on time. This was a bit too academically written for me (my fault! Not the book’s!) to dig into for now

A 'New' About Me Page

Hello! I’m going to actually try and write an ‘About Me’ page! In the past, I relied on too-cool-for-school sayings to show those of you at school that I was too cool to write an ‘About Me’ page. What a weird thing to be too cool for.

But before we get there, let’s pour one out for all the pithy things I’ve said on my ‘About Me’ page over the past 15 years:

Incredulous
Living up to expectations
In over my head

Now that we’ve established my bonafides, here’s a non-exhaustive list of things I’m interested in. I’m going to put exclamation points (!) after each to show you how excited I am about these things and to reverse 15+ years of coolness.

My family! I have one wife and two kids. They take up a lot of time, but they’re mostly worth it

My community! I live on Capitol Hill in Washington DC and try to be involved with my kids' school and my church (with varying levels of success). I also really care about Capitol Hill and Washington DC as a place to live and sometimes care about it as a place that can’t elect a speaker. (More on this below)

Tech! I constantly try to convince people that I’m more interested in tech as a tool for making our lives better and less as shiny new things. But they don’t believe me and they’re typically right.

Politics! I almost didn’t give this one an exclamation point, but I’m a firm believer that if we want things to get better, we need to give exclamation points. My degrees are in politics, but this is now much more a hobby than a profession. I really truly deeply care about policy and how it makes people’s lives better or worse. But the machinations, spectacle, and absurdities of American politics are also fun. (Until they’re not)

Movies/TV/Music! Me from 15 years ago is rolling in his grave that these are this low on the list. But my kids need things like “attention” and get angry when I shoo them out from in front of the TV. Que sera sera

Travel! I went to a lot of fun places when I was younger. I had detailed plans of what I was going to do with my life after I sold my yet-to-be-started travel blog for big bucks. I still travel a lot, but for the foreseeable future it will mostly be to kid-friendly(ish) places.

Baseball! I’m not sure I was ever a huge sports fan, but I’ve always been a huge St. Louis Cardinals fan. And– 2023 season not withstanding– those guys are currently playing baseball. I used to enjoy college basketball, but my fandom fell victim to COVID (RIP, gone too soon, flatten the curve, etc.).

That’s pretty good for now. There’s some other things that take up my time like my job and sleeping, but y’all probably don’t care too much about that.

xoxo,
Jordon

The real moral of Anatomy of a Fall is to not find yourself on trial in France

Anatomy of a Fall: Even the truth is contextual

Anatomy of a Fall, 2023

Even the truth is contextual

I have an Apple Vision Pro scheduled for delivery tomorrow and I've got some feelings

Over the past six months I’ve talked myself in and out of buying the Apple Vision Pro more times than I can count. But when the time came, I ordered it. Here’s why.

I want it

I’m often embarrassed about buying things I want, but I’m working harder not to be. We should be working towards all people being able to live a life where they can fill not only their needs but also sometimes their wants. Humans should be more than their needs and I’m lucky enough to already be living that life.

But why do I want it?

I’m a tech enthusiast, but that’s not why I want it. Tech is a tool and it’s still not clear what exactly the uses are for this. It doesn’t mean that they’re not there, it just means the uses are not yet totally clear.

But I’m also a new-things enthusiast. There’s clearly some kind of paradigm shift here– similar to both the Mac and the iPhone before it. But while it’s an open question as to whether the Vision Pro finds its iMac or iPhone 4 moment, I’m excited about being part of the journey. That journey may go nowhere, but there are worse places to go than nowhere.

I planned for the cost and I can afford it

I get why we feel shame about talking about money, but I wish we could figure out a way to do it better. Money is a tool. Yes, it’s a tool that is unevenly and often arbitrarily distributed, but that’s not the tool’s fault. It’s the fault of those who created the system determining how to hand out the tools. I get for some people it’s impossible to make the distinction between acquiring and utilizing money and I’m definitely not calling them wrong for not being able to do that. But for today I’m not going to focus on how I acquired the money to buy this, but rather how I planned for this over the course of the past year.

In late 2022 it became clear that A) the announcement of this thing was imminent and B) it was going to be expensive. My late-2022 guess was that it would be around $2500 and would come out in extremely limited quantities by the end of 2023. In November 2022, I started saving $200 per month with the goal of having $2800 by December 2023. Worst case scenario, the headset does not get announced or I don’t want it and then I have to figure out how to spend the money I’d already saved. Oh well.

But as we all well know, this sucker turned out to be $3500 with a release date of early 2024. I was saving too little for it–nearly $1000 too little– and needed to come up with a plan to close the deficit.

So I bought Apple Gift Cards. As much as I had saved when they went on sale at Amazon, Target, and Best Buy. I was able to buy $3100 worth of Apple Gift cards for around $2500.

The remainder wasn’t all that interesting: coming out in February meant that I had a bit longer to save $200 per month for it and my wife begrudgingly with enthusiasm gave me some cash for it at Christmas.

Was all of this a bit ridiculous and painful? Most definitely. But not as ridiculous as buying a $3500 headset. And honestly, making this process a little painful was probably good to ensure that I was all in on this.

It’s already-stated functionality has some use to me

There were two immediate uses I have for the Vision Pro: Mac virtualization and entertainment.

Mac Virtualization

I have a personal Mac Studio and a work MacBook Air but I only have one Studio Display for the two computers. The Vision Pro solves two problems that I run into on a regular basis:

  1. It’s not often, but I sometimes need to run both my personal and work Macs at the same time. Currently I have to do this by using the Studio Display for my Mac Studio and using the built-in display for my MacBook Air. The 13-inch screen size of the MacBook Air makes this less than ideal.

  2. The biggest problem Vision Pro will solve is having to hot swap the Thunderbolt cable between my personal and work Macs. This is definitely a small annoyance, but sometimes I go back and forth between the two computers a dozen times a day. That really adds up.

Entertainment

My wife and I like to relax at night by watching a movie or TV for an hour or two. Most nights this is together, but two or three nights per week she catches up on Real Housewives or Vanderpump and I watch a show or movie she’s not interested in or sports. Most of the time I’m nice and let her watch it on the TV while I watch on my iPad. But now, I’m going to have the biggest screen in the house!

It seems like most people who’ve tried it, preordered it

For me, this was the canary in the coal mine. When Apple didn’t have a launch event for the Vision Pro, I decided not to get it. If Apple– the undisputed marketing champion– couldn’t find a reason to have a launch event for this thing, then it probably meant they had no idea what it was for. I was not interested in paying $3500 for a device that Apple–who’d been using this thing for years– did not have confidence in marketing its features.

But over the course of the next week, I changed my mind. Most people who used it seemed to be saying they were also buying it. Yes some were developers who “need” it for development, but there was a palpable excitement for it. Even outside of practical, work-related reasons. People who have used it, bought it. That’s a good indicator that something is there.


I’m cautiously excited. Not in a definitive this is going to change my life and the world way, but in a I’m curious where this is going way. I wasn’t sure that was going to be enough, but in the end it was.

Current Things: February 2024

Currently Reading

Currently Watching

  • True Detective, Season 4
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm, Season 12
  • Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Season 1
  • Rick and Morty, Season 6

Currently In Queue

Currently Listening

  • Something recently has drawn me back to this album that I never fully listened to when it came out. I was such a big fan of his first two albums, but didn’t really give the third one much of a chance. I liked this one well enough when it came out, but it didn’t hook me then. But it’s hooked me now

Current Travel Planning

Concurrently

  • I’m going to try and do a better job of posting about my past and future travels. I added a new dedicated Travel page and a new section in Current Things to help highlight this!
  • The kids only had one full day of school the week of MLK Jr. Day: one holiday plus two missed days and one late start due to snow.
  • I added the Best Picture and Original/Adapted Screenplay Oscar nominees I’ve yet to see to the queue. And officially declared bankruptcy on the 2022 films that I never watched. Maybe I’ll come back and watch them someday.

Finished in January:

Trip: Skiing in Quebec Charlevoix

Fargo, Season 5:

…but the food was not food. It was sin. The sins of the rich…but he ate them all, for he was starving. From then on, the man does not sleep or grow old. He cannot die. He has no dreams. All that is left is sin

It feels like that, I know. What they do to us. Make us swallow, like it’s our fault. But, you want to know the cure? You gotta eat something made with love and joy and be forgiven

The world of Fargo has long been helmed by an old-testament god– rigid, dogmatic. This season went down that same path…until it didn’t. What does Fargo look like with redemption?

The Curse, Season 1: love lifts us up where we belong

Until that ending, I didn’t find The Curse to be that confounding: it was a pretty clear critique of what individuals do to remedy their guilt– specifically, but not exclusively, white guilt. I liked it a lot more than I think most people did, but I have a high tolerance for this sort of show

American Fiction: there are no satisfying answers

Poor Things: the feel good movie of the year from our most notable optimistic filmmaker *checks notes* yorgos lanthimos

For All Mankind, Season 4: Whatever complaints I have about this show are always vastly outweighed by how good of a job it does in grounding a literal decades-spanning epic in its characters.

The Changeling, Season 1: So many ideas– motherhood, fatherhood, working parenthood, the American story, the patriarchy– but not enough time to dig into many of them. There’s still a lot to like here: the cinematography, the mood, but especially the performances

Previously, in Current Things…

January 2024
December 2023
November 2023
October 2023
September 2023
August 2023
July 2023
June 2023
May 2023
April 2023
March 2023
February 2023
January 2023
December 2022
November 2022