Apr 12, 2024

What I'm Up To - Vol. 81

Here's what I've been up to since Volume 80...

What I'm Up To Volume 81

Hey friends,

Here’s what I’ve been up to since ​Vol. 80​

1. Hot Wheels?

While I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my Bronco, it was never a perfect fit for our family. It’s very noisy on the highway and there isn’t much cargo space. We can’t take four adults and our dog to the ranch. After an inordinate amount of research, I put in a deposit for a 2024 Land Cruiser First Edition. They will only be shipping 5,000 of them, so this is me putting it out in the universe. Fingers crossed.

A new SUV is on the vision board for 2024.

2. Wheels up!

The highlight of my month was 9 days in Spain with Wendy. When the day came, there was some debate about whether I’d be going to the airport or a minor med.

A few days before we were to leave, I spotted some redness around the cuticle of my right index finger. The day before, it was a little tender and starting to swell. I put some antibiotic creme on it and went to bed. Sometime around 2 am. it started to throb and I couldn’t sleep. I tried warm compresses, ice, and Ibuprofen. Nothing helped. I haven’t felt pain quite so exquisite since being stung by a harvester ant. We had a workout scheduled for 6am but our trainer vetoed that immediately in favor of DIY surgery.

Our friend Janna, an ER doctor, diagnosed it over the phone as either ​paronychia​ or “going around Las Vegas without pants.” (See ​Vol 80.​) Wendy got the honor of wielding the sterilized needle. I’ll spare the gross details, but on the 4th try, sweet relief! Janna confirmed that some unused antibiotics were safe to take and just like that we were back on track for Spain.

We spent our first few days in Madrid. Wendy booked us at the ​Hotel Fenix Gran Melia​ with credit card points. We loved it. The Beatles stayed there when they toured Spain. Both nights we enjoyed a buffet breakfast to start our day and had cocktails before dinner. We spent most of one day in the Renia Sofia museum and another exploring on foot. We also had one of the finest meals of the trip at ​Cadaques​ (razor clams, jamón croquettes, and fresh whole mackerel with salad) just a few blocks away.  

From the bell tower overlooking the "Mezquita"

We took a car from Madrid to Grenada. Along the way, we toured the cathedral and old city in Toledo and toured the “​Mezquita​” in Cordoba. The highlight of Grenada was our visit to the ​Alhambra​ fortress city. Wendy had booked us a private tour guide. Two things: 1) Add the Alhambra to your bucket list, it is truly a wonder. 2) From now on we’re booking private guides. Having someone help you navigate a historic place at your pace and focusing on your curiosity is a great investment. I feel so boujie writing that. But it was less than the price of any of our evening meals and it made the experience 10 times more enjoyable.

We had dinner with this view of the Alhumbra!

3. What I’m Reading

For Spain, I wanted to completely uncouple from work. Gus loved the Throne of Glass series and tried to get me to read it long before #BookTok was a thing. My team at The ONE Thing company was also gung-ho so I loaded the first three books on my Kindle – The Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, and Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas.

I wasn’t blown away by the first book, even though it picked up toward the end. Then I did a little research and learned this was Maas’s debut novel which she started writing at age 16. Not that Maas should care what I think after 35 translations and bazillions of copies sold. Still, I started the second novel with different expectations. Maas got noticeably better with each book. I will probably read the other 4 books in the series over future holiday breaks.

For non-fiction, I got to read two great books, written by friends. Both are quick, practical, and insightful reads for entrepreneurs. For my fellow hustlers, add Buy Back Your Time by Dan Martel and Million Dollar Weekend by Noah Kagan to your reading list.

4. What I’m Watching

Last month, I shared how much we enjoyed hearing and meeting Mel Robbins. My friend Meg shared that Mel Robbins’ ​podcast #3​ is pretty much her keynote. So if you missed it or just want to relive it, you know where to go.

We loved seeing Dune: Part Two on the big screen. We made sure to watch Part One the day before so revisiting the desert planet Arrakis was seamless. On the way to Madrid, I watched A Haunting in Venice which continues Kenneth Branagh's Inspector Poirot series. It was just okay. I enjoyed Death on the Nile the most. I also watched The Marvels (​Disney​) on another flight. It bombed in theaters but I was happily surprised.

For shows, I rewatched Mare of Easttown (​MAX​) as Wendy missed it the first time around. Kate Winslet and Jean Smart were just as amazing as I remembered. HBO knows how to make a show. While Wendy was traveling I watched season one of Tokyo Vice (​MAX​). It’s based on Jake Adelstein’s ​memoir​ about breaking a series of stories on the Yakuza as the first non-Japanese journalist to write for the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper. The show is fantastic and has been nostalgic for my days as an ex-pat in Paris in the 90s.

Finally, I also watched The Night Agent (​Netflix​) about a young FBI agent assigned to answer a phone that never rings in the belly of the White House. It does (of course it does) in the first ten minutes of the show. What follows is a poor-man’s version of Three Days of the Condor. Only there’s no Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, or Max von Sydow. I probably would have enjoyed it more if it hadn’t been sandwiched between two phenomenal HBO productions. That’s it for this month. Please reply back and let me know what you’re up to!

Be well, do good deeds, and eat tacos!


Note – I’ve decided to start using Amazon affiliate links for the books I share here. While this newsletter isn’t a commercial enterprise, it does have costs to defray. I hope you don’t mind.

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