An occasional email newsletter about lots of things from Jason Rodriguez. A little writing, a few links, and always a recommendation for what to listen to next.  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏  ͏

Regular Communication #035

From Jason Rodriguez

I got a new guitar. It's a 2005 Martin D-28, and it's quickly become my single favorite object I've ever owned. It's a little dinged up, has a bunch of finish checking, a fairly faded gloss on the top... It's absolutely wonderful.

My Martin D-28 in my home office.

I grew up listening to so many people who played a D-28 throughout their careers, like The Beatles (perhaps most notably on Blackbird and Her Majesty), Neil Young (who owns Hank Williams' old D-28), Bob Dylan, John Prine, Rich Robinson, Jimmy Page, Beck, Johnny Cash, and Joni Mitchell, as well as more recent folks like Ray Lamontagne, The Avett Brothers, Sturgill Simpson, Erin Rae, Molly Tuttle, and many, many more.

I think the most formidable D-28 album for me, though, is Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds Live at Luther College. While Tim played his usual Martin D-35, Dave mostly used his HD-28 (with a smaller bodied Lakewood as backup). I remember being blown away at the creativity of their playing (say what you will about their more recent releases) and the sound of their acoustics. So much so that I went out and bought the tablature book for that album and largely credit those tabs and countless hours for teaching me how to play guitar.

No matter who's playing it, the Martin D-28 has always been the archetypical acoustic guitar for me. If I close my eyes and think about an acoustic guitar, the D-28 is what appears in my mind's eye. The look, the sound... everything about it just says, "This is what an acoustic guitar should be." You can imagine how thrilled and fortunate I feel to now own one that I can enjoy for the rest of my life.

But all of that's to say that it got me thinking about what makes an object so iconic. How does one instance of a thing become the quintessential example of those things? And what are some other examples of iconic products that are up there with the venerable dreadnaught from Martin?

Off the top of my head, I can think of certain tech products: ThinkPads for early era laptops, the Walkman, Discman, and iPod for portable music players, the iPhone, Texas Instruments TI series calculators... But what else comes to mind?

What objects do you think of as the ideal version of a thing? Email me back and let me know.

Interesting Things

I love this quick little roundup of "wisdom from the family tree." I hope more people share theirs. I wanted to reply to Jim with some but, honestly, I couldn't think of any sayings that were passed down in my family. I don't know how to feel about that.

Building on the theme of wisdom... Zach Leatherman recently asked people to share articles that they considered foundational to their understanding of the web, design, and development. He was good enough to pull them all together on one website.

Drew DeVault sums up my thoughts on AI nicely: "The AI revolution is here, and I really don't like it."

I appreciate and agree with CJ Chilver's thoughts on the return to the office, it's futility, and which types of businesses will likely succeed in the future.

I love this blog post from Michael Lynch that revisits an old documentary about Fog Creek Software (now Glitch) I had only ever seen clips of before. It's a great mix of nostalgia for the early-ish days of the modern web and software dev, some sage advice from the doc, and a nice little recap of where the folks who participated are now.

On Repeat

While he's not playing one here, Johnny Cash is a very famous Martin fan. He's known to have used D-28s, D-35s, and D-42s throughout his career, even getting a few of his own signature models along the way. I stumbled across the very last performance he ever did on YouTube and thought it was worth sharing—it's a remarkable historical artifact. Even two months before his death, after losing the love of his life—June Carter Cash—and struggling with various health issues, he's a force of nature.


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16914 Shrewsbury, Livonia, MI 48154