This is an update to a post I did in August.
I love writing posts like this! I love taking a look at things like this – thinking about why certain things grab me when they do, and how they do it. What makes something interesting to me? And why does it fall off the radar eventually? (Or not?)
I can get really absorbed in questions like that…as anybody who peruses this blog can probably see! 🙂
So here it is: Three Things I’m Loving Right Now: December 2015 Edition!
I stumbled upon this a few days ago at Barnes & Noble – just grabbed it along with a few other magazines to leaf through while I was drinking some coffee in the cafe. I don’t even know why I picked it up. It was an interesting cover, I guess? It caught my eye. And it wasn’t a magazine I’d ever seen before. I was curious.
Well, I can tell you that I love this magazine! I think if somebody had compiled and printed a magazine using me as an example of their ideal reader, they almost couldn’t have done a better job than this!
I definitely have more to say about Womankind. I’m not even totally done reading yet. (I’m trying to go slow and savor it.) But for now, you can check out their website if you want to get a sense of what it’s all about. (I linked to it above.) Just know that the website, while interesting, doesn’t do the print periodical justice. So if you get a chance to actually pick up and handle the print version, it’s definitely worth it!!
Actually, interestingly, this magazine has totally proven to me that there IS still a place in the world – and, particularly, in my life – for printed media. Not that I truly doubted that before. But prior to picking up this magazine a few days ago, I was definitely more of the mindset that content was much more important than the form in which you absorbed that content. I have very little patience with the whole e-book vs printed book debate, for example. I rather think: Read in whatever way works for you! It’s the reading – the consumption of the ideas, the stories – that’s important, not the form in which you take them in!
But this magazine has flipped that opinion on its head.
Or at least, it’s given it a nuance I didn’t have before.
I have a lot more to say about that. I definitely need to write a post about it.
2) The Beyond the Horizon video series.
I watched the first installment of this series several weeks ago out of pure curiosity. I follow Jared Leto on Twitter and he linked to it – and, as he often links to interesting things (hence, my following him on Twitter), I followed the link and I watched the thing.
And it was okay. The premise – asking well-known people from different areas (technology, politics, art, etc) – for their take on the state of the world and the future – was interesting to me. But I didn’t find the first episode to be that compelling. The short length, too (under ten minutes) was frustrating to me. I didn’t figure I’d probably watch any of the others.
But then the very next week, the interviewee was a student named Boyan Slat. I did end up clicking over to watch that one – pretty much entirely because I’d never heard of him! This was a show promising to be speaking with some pretty big-name people. Deepak Chopra was the first interviewee, for example, and Al Gore the third. I was curious how it was that this Boyan Slat could be in that kind of company, and yet I’d never heard his name. Who was he? What made him worthy of inclusion?
Anyway, it was enough to get me clicking over. And that episode totally hooked me into this series. It was really interesting!
Who Boyan Slat is (for anybody else who doesn’t know) is a 21-year-old inventor and student who is cleaning up plastic waste in the oceans – particularly (according to the Beyond the Horizon interview) focusing on the area known as the Great Pacific garbage patch. SO interesting!! And he (Boyan Slat) was so clearly creative and smart and earnest. I found him totally inspiring.
I think the format of Beyond the Horizon amplified this, too. I would have found Boyan Slat to be an interesting person doing really worthwhile work, I’m certain, however I would have first heard of him. But the format of this series really works to give you a sense of the person being interviewed. It’s very intimate, for one thing – just talking into the camera, with a dark background behind. Jared Leto (who conducts the interviews) doesn’t even share the camera space. It makes for a very thoughtful and personal presentation.
I should add this to my “video thoughts” – but I find the quality of the light to be notable also. It’s warm – and the overall visual feel is very rich. I don’t know how to describe that in any kind of intelligent manner – but I can say that Jared Leto’s Artifact documentary had a similar warm, visually-rich quality to it, and some of his band’s music videos (which he produces) as well. So this must be a particular filming or editing technique (not just a lighting thing.) I’m frustratingly ignorant about what that is – but I really like it! And it’s especially compelling in these interviews.
So anyway, I’ve been watching these episodes every week. They air every Tuesday – and they get better every week! I was so engrossed in the one with artist Jeff Koons, I was actually startled when it ended! It was a jolt! It took me that much out of myself and into the conversation.
And I find that really interesting – that that can happen, that I can feel that level of engagement within the parameters of the very short timeframe. I really disliked the short-ness at first…but either they (the Beyond the Horizon producer people) have just really hit their stride since that first couple of episodes, or else I just needed to adjust to this different kind of viewing experience (short, but very intimate and full of information with no wasted space.) Because the length doesn’t bother me at all now.
I actually think the short format has turned out to be an enjoyable thing for me, in that I don’t have to make time for it and push myself into the mindset of committing to something lengthy. It’s quick – and that makes it like a little vacation in the day. Kind of like picking up a really good book and reading just one chapter. There’s a certain escapist quality to that that is really refreshing in the middle of an otherwise busy (or stressful) day. I’ve liked that about Beyond the Horizon!
I went briefly hunting for reviews or other opinions on this series just now, before I started writing this, and didn’t find much – except for this one from Bustle that was talking about the most recent installment. (The interviewee was Edward Snowden.) And Bustle noted that it (the Snowden interview) was going to be the last installment of Beyond the Horizon for a while – possibly the last one, period!
I’m not happy about that!!!!!
The Bustle article noted that they might produce more of them in 2016. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for that!
Note: I wanted to link to the Jeff Koons episode directly – or preferably embed it here. But I don’t see a way to do that. It seems that you can only link to the series home page and then search for the episode you want. Sorry about that! So, if you’re interested, the homepage is here. Then the Jeff Koons is Episode 4. (There are 10 in all.)
3) Pearl Jam’s old song, “Release Me.”
I ended up listening to some old albums while cleaning the apartment a few weeks ago – and one of them was Pearl Jam’s Ten. “Release Me” is the last track on that album – and it was a song I had completely forgotten about!
I’m actually not sure it made that much of an impression on me back in the day – certainly nowhere near the impression of “Black” and “Alive” and various others on that album. That’s why it fell out of my memory until this recent listen, I guess. But I don’t know…something about it really got to me this time around!
I’ve been playing it a lot since. (It’s actually turning into my end-of-2015 theme song, I think.)
Here it is, if you want to take a listen yourself!:
I think I might start doing these “3 Random Things” posts on a regular basis. It’s fun to put them together…and they’re fun to look back on, too. They’re good ways to mark moments in time, I think!
Maybe I’ll shoot to do another one next month, post-holiday season…