If I could imagineer Tomorrowland for a moment

A little bit of fan reflection on Transportation in Tomorrowland and how to revitalize it:

When you visit Disneyland in California, how do you feel when you walk down Main Street, U.S.A. and turn right to enter Tomorrowland? I mostly feel a combination sadness and  frustration when I walk through Tomorrowland–primarily due to the misplaced and pathway– clogging Astro Orbiter and the vacant, rotting PeopleMover track. And while fantasy space travel is well represented in Tomorrowland (Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, Star Tours, and Space  Mountain), any semblance of tangible ways of pondering, dreaming about, and honoring humankind’s achievements and the wonders of the future are long gone. It’s as if Disneyland, like seemingly so much of the world, gave up on an optimistic view of the future, too.

Personally, I’d copy/paste the Magic Kingdom People Mover over to Disneyland, keep the monorail as-is, bring back the motor boat cruise as some kind of “see the world from a personal-sized yacht” thing, and reimagine Autopia as pure-electric autonymous cars that are integrated with pedestrian, bicycle, and commercial traffic in a way that is less car-centric as our current world. The five second pitch: the future of transportation is global and interconnected.

Just finished watching Master of None, season 2. What a great show. It’s hilarious without being campy, poignant without being a downer. Aziz Ansari is very good at this. Also, now I just want to listen to old Italian music and eat food.

If I were a producer: DJ Khaled

Actually, I probably wouldn’t change much. But I have questions about this marketing photo:

DJ Khaled posing with a baby human and a baby lion
People, do not pose with apex predators. And especially, don’t keep them as domestic pets. I’m looking at you, oil billionaires.
  1. Just, no. Do not pose with apex predators, even the little ones. Not okay, Mr. Khaled. I know this isn’t a question?
  2. Why doesn’t said apex predator kitty get a matching robe?
  3. Are you, Mr. DJ Khaled, just a catchphrase soundboard? Have you, at any time, been a soundboard? Is this like a Blue Man Group thing where there are multiple, anonymous DJ Khaleds?

Thank you for your time, DJ Khaled. Grateful is actually pretty good pop music.

If I were a producer: Muse

I have feelings about Muse, but let’s talk about this particular song I’m listening to right now: “Big Freeze” off The 2nd Law. In general, I would overgeneralize Muse’s music as “future-prog”. But this song has a) the typical fuzz bass Muse uses, b) nearly chicken grease guitar chords, and c) a distinct U2 vibe. I’m not sure these things all go together. If’d been the producer on this track, I’d have tried to convince them that chicken grease chords are cool as heck, but they don’t belong on any of Muse’s album tracks.

Jeremy Johnson, It’s time to get a real watch, and an Apple Watch doesn’t count:

…watches are one of the key pieces of jewelry I can sport, and while many have no clue what’s on my wrist, those that do… well do. And they are investments. Usually good purchases will not only last forever (with a little love and care), but go up or retain most of their value over time.

When pal Marcos started talking to me about watches, I realized they checked all the boxes cars do, but at a fraction of the price. If cars check your boxes, look into watches. Jeremy’s intro will get you started without breaking the bank.

A little PeopleMover 💌

A little PeopleMover 💌

I love the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover. It’s what a transportation system should be.

People Mover Disney World
People Mover entrance, overlooking Main Street and the Cinderalla Castle, overlooking Tomorrowland

Outside but covered. Elevated so pedestrians can pass below it. Passing in and out of nearby structures. Couch-like.

People Mover Disney World
The People Mover over Test Track and Space Mountain

Futuristic but achievable. Doesn’t isolate people from each other. You’re one of my favorites, People Mover.

Levels of musical genius

I often think about what kind of unique musical talent some performer I enjoy possesses. A few examples:

  • J-Dilla was at the center of many groups doing amazing things creating an exciting moment in time, but at the same time was a master composer himself
  • Prince or Quincy Jones were often running multiple performers and groups, serving as sort of the well from which their respective musical ideas came from
  • Tom Petty isn’t particularly gifted technically and doesn’t write ground-breaking songs but is very, very good at working within a specific form and genre, one of the best in that space
  • Jimmy Page is not musically the best or most innovative, but very adept at the style he created for himself, is technically a good guitarist
  • Pete Townsend holds a group together, is the glue that leads a group of virtuosos, somehow the master creator and craftsperson who runs the group with a solid hand without making it all about him
  • Brian Wilson plays a whole ensemble, a studio as an instrument, micromanaging every detail to produce a sublime musical whole; Bruce Springsteen is close to this
  • Bob Dylan or Leonard Cohen are excellent wordsmiths who get great results when the music around them is also pretty good
  • Annie Clark is a guitar-shred-meister who runs with the avant-alt mantle set forth by The Talking Heads
  • Merrill Garbus builds amazing lo-fi layered music of incredible stylistic range that sounds right at home on the festival circuit

The connection amongst these individuals is more than playing their instruments or writing their songs. They’re working a level above that, whether it’s Tom Petty and Jimmy Page making fine-tuned rock or J-Dilla, Prince, and Merrill Garbus micromanaging a subgenre into existence. I’m a little envious of that level of musical acumen.

Four parks, one day

Four parks, one day

In January, Courtney and I went to Disney World for her birthday. We bought an annual pass last year, so we’ve literally been a few times over the past year. This time ’round, Courney wanted to visit all four parks in one day. Our Official Rules were we had to ride two rides (or see a show and do a ride), drink a boozy drink, and eat a dessert in each park. We made it!

We had a few other days to enjoy the park at a more leisurely pace. We did a Safari tour at the Animal Kingdom resort, which afforded opportunities for giraffe selfies. I got to take lots of pictures and enjoy Epcot and Tomorrowland, my favorites. Along the way, we ate a bunch of ice cream and sang along with “Let It Go” nearly every day.

As ever, a magical time.

Stevie Wonder, for our times of need

Tim Carmody writing for Kottke.org, Stevie Wonder and the radical politics of love:

Songs in the Key of Life tries to reconcile the reality of the post-Nixon era — the pain that even though the enemy is gone, the work is not done and the world has not been transformed — with an inclusive hope that it one day will be, and that faith, hope, and love are still possible.

It’s what makes the album such a magnificent achievement. But I’m not there. I don’t know when I will be. So for now I’m keeping Songs In the Key of Life on the shelf. An unopened bottle of champagne for a day I may never see. But I’d like to.

On three of Stevie Wonder’s best albums, his political writing, and how he bridges saying something and making a good song.

I cannot wait to listen to Songs in the Key of Life again.