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2015 – The State of M.A.N

2015 was a fascinating year in a multitude of ways. The most prevalent and profound themes I found were that our social networks have become too powerful to ignore, our societies aren’t as peaceful as we’d prefer to think, and human created changes to the chemistry of the ocean (very likely all coral reefs will collapse in my lifetime) and atmosphere (something I began writing about in 2013)  have let to an acceleration of the holocene mass extinction.

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On a lighter note – I would like to share a few of my key learnings and thoughts about my year. 

Tides Reurface

2015 Favorite Song: Tides – Resurface

(Song runs into YouTube’s limit)

At nearly 11 minutes long, the song Resurface is as much a journey as it is a seemingly spontaneous piece of drone metal. It’s bombastic volumes, building and collapsing in waves of hope and despair bears a deep resemblance to the song Free for All by my distant cousin and jazz great, Art Blakey (with arguably the best lineup of the Jazz Messengers). The entirely instrumental title track from the 2012 album Resurface, by the short-lived jam band Tides was one of the most brutally elegant songs I discovered. Immensely heavy, droning, and distorted, but nuanced with virtuosic soloing and emotion.  Hypnotic and aggressive, but at the same time calming and pure. Check it out.

Aldo Conterno

Best Bottle of Wine I drank in 2015 – 2006 Castello di Verduno Barbaresco, ‘Faset’

From the 1 hectare cru vineyard in the commune of Barbaresco, with east-south-east facing hillsides came this siren that most captivated my wine palate in 2015. The ‘Faset’ cru was planted to 100% Nebbiolo in 1972 and ’92 upon sandy-veined white soils and lime rich mud (marl). Aged for 20 months in large Slavonian oak casks and a month in stainless steel, followed by nearly 2 years of bottle aging this garnet beauty took my breath away on several occasions.

Napoleon: A Life

2015 Favorite Book: Napoleon: A Life

I carried this book around with me for most of the year, but read it quickly as it truly was a riveting biography of one of the main architects of modern Europe. I learned keen insights in this well written tome about a man who grasped at every opportunity to rise from a small isolated island to become an emperor. A true scientist, atheist, intellectual, revolutionary and military genius that would have a hand in shaping the beginnings nearly every Western Hemisphere government from the late 18th century to the present.

2015 Most Used Apps

Evernote, Wunderlist, Send to Kindle, Honey for Chrome, One Tab, Pandora, MyFitnessPal, AirBnB, OfferUp, Google Photos, Amazon Shopping, Robinhood, and of course – Instagram

knife set

2015 Most Used / Visited Websites:

Feedly, Brain.fm, Soundcloud, FINVIZ.com, Isbns.net, Readability, Mint.com, Quickbooks Online, NY Times

2015 Favorite Technology

FitBitHR, Google (LG) Nexus 5X, Kindle Paperwhite

2015 Favorite Films

Ex Machina, The Hateful 8, Sicario, Beasts of No Nation

Biggest Disappointments

Star Wars (which I wrote about on Medium.com), The Revenant, Spectre

2015 Favorite TV Show

The Knick – Clive Owen was brilliant in this show, as was the score and I wish it would’ve gotten picked up for another season.

Favorite Articles

What Isis Really Wants, The Man Who Broke the Music Business, Unvarnished, One Hundred Years of Arm Bars, The Radical Vision of Toni Morrison

camel in mexico

Favorite Trip of 2015

The Lost City of Camello Gigante – This spontaneous trip takes the cake for the best excursion. On a complete whim based upon an inebriated desire to compete with a fellow sommelier, I gathered a group of warriors on an epic journey which ended in total awe and passing out in a nail salon chair in San Diego.

My most popular Post of 2015

The opportunity to write about, taste, and shoot the maker of the best Pizza in Italy was the most captivating thing I wrote this year according to traffic. A close runner up was my less than great experience at Mindy’s Hot Chocolate in Chicago.

Stay Tuned for 2016~