Things I’m Loving

I realized it’s been two years since I’ve done one of these ubiquitous “Things I Love” posts; so until the creative juices start flowing again, this is what you get.

  • The MLB At Bat 2010 app for iPhone.

    Real time scores for every MLB game all season long

    Ever since I bought my new truck back in September, I’ve really missed the MLB Home Plate channel and all the broadcasts of MLB games that I got with my XM Radio account. The new truck has a Sirius radio installed, so I just canceled the XM account rather than paying double for the complete Sirius / XM package. But I’ve recently fallen in love with a superior little piece of techno wizardry: the MLB At Bat 2010 app for my phone. For only $14.99, I can pull up real time box scores, watch highlights of games as they’re still in progress, stream live MLB games through MLB.tv, and (best of all) listen to the home or away radio feeds of any major league game all season long! All from my phone. I can also use bluetooth audio to listen in the truck or at home. The best news is it all comes at 10% of what I was paying per year for XM. If you’re a serious baseball fan, you HAVE to check out this app; it’s incredible!

  • Spring Weather (finally!) This winter was one of the coldest I remember in quite some time. At certain moments, it seemed like spring would never get here. Now that the weather has warmed up, I can’t wait to get out in the yard and get to work. Somewhere over the course of the past year or two, I’ve realized just how much I enjoy working out in the yard. We’ve already been to Lowe’s a couple of times and we’ve started making our list of outdoor projects for the spring. Now I just need to find the time to start tackling them.
  • Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott I read about half of this one two years ago, but I lost interest quickly. (I think it’s because I was reading a lot more political material at the time.) But I recently decided to give Lamott’s spiritual memoir another shot and I’m glad that I did. It’s easy to see the influence Lamott’s confessional, avant garde writing style has had on “emerging” writers like Donald Miller. She writes an honest, painful, and beautiful account of her coming to faith and the wrestles she’s had trying to maintain and redefine her faith over the years. Refreshingly honest. A good read.
  • Jakob Dylan’s “Women and Country” Thus far, 2010 has been a pretty languid year for musical releases. By this time last year, my #1 and #2 albums had already been released (U2’s No Line and M. Ward’s Hold Time). Even February’s American VI, the last recording we’ll ever hear from Johnny Cash, seemed like a collection of leftover tunes trying to suffice as album material. But Dylan’s second solo effort finally gives me something to really sink my teeth into. Whereas 2008’s Seeing Things was sparse and almost exclusively acoustic, the new album brims with Americana roots-inspired Southern rock. Dylan has always been an underestimated lyricist (that’s what happens when you’re the son of lyrical royalty), but this is his most sonically pleasing batch of tunes since 1996’s Bringing Down the Horse. It should come as no surprise, then, that Dylan has re-teamed with T-Bone Burnett, producer of Bringing Down the Horse. Much of the allure of Women and Country comes from the beautiful — and sometimes haunting — backing vocals of Neko Case and Kelly Hogan. For me, this is the first really strong record of the year. I love it.
  • iTunes U It’s no secret that I love to read. One of the best things I’ve discovered recently is iTunes U, a feature of the iTunes store. Through iTunes U, customers have access to a plethora of material from upper level collegiate lectures to podcast-style readings of literary classics…all for FREE. Last week, I used my morning and evening commute to listen to the entire text of Alice in Wonderland. This week: Frankenstein. I’m also listening to a series of lectures on NT Introduction from Yale. If you’re looking for something to break up the monotony of the same old songs on your iPod, you should check out iTunes U.
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4 Responses to Things I’m Loving

  1. LucyP says:

    Yayy…I’m addicted to iTunes U too!! It’s been a big blessing when I feel that my vocabulary is severely diminishing after hours of teaching ESL. Plus, the ACU lectureships are on there, very helpful when I’m feeling dry.

    iTunes has a podcast which is sometimes on iTunes U and sometimes just a podcast…it’s called Speaking of Faith with Krista Tippett from American Public Media. It’s really interesting and helps me get out into the wider world of faith that you don’t learn about in the American South but see and feel so much out in the world. Topics vary from Buddhism, Rumi, Celtic poetry, Abraham Joshua Heschel, a series on Ramadan, a great podcast on depression with thoughts from Quaker activist Parker Palmer etc. It’s an hour that I crave each week.

    I deeply adore Anne Lamott. Like…deep down in my heart LOVE her! So glad that you’ve come to enjoy her!

    Am trying to find Jakob Dylan on Chinese music services…looks like I’ll have to buy him the old-fashioned iTunes way! I’ve been read the lyrics to Could you Smile When you Call Me That (title?) and am looking forward to delving in!

    • Jason says:

      iTunes U is great, isn’t it? I have the ACU lectureship…still working my way through it. Just finished McLaren’s session on postmodernity and emerging worldviews.

      Jakob Dylan is great. And I’m really enjoying the Lamott re-read. How much of her work have you read? “Traveling Mercies” is the only one of hers I have.

      • LucyP says:

        I’ve read Trav. Mercies, Plan B, Grace Eventually, and a fiction book Blue Shoe. Mercies is my favorite, though Plan B has some excellent essays, it’s missing the personal narrative quality that Mercies has. And although I really loved Grace Eventually, it’s quite bitter and there are times when you worry that dear Anne is getting a little too moody. The fiction bk was good as a beach read, but I found that it really just made me want to hear her essayist voice more. iTunes U has a good video lecture w/her at a writers symposium at a Nazarene university–i think it’s UCTV? You can just search her name.

        Fav Lamott quote:

        The opposite of faith is not doubt: It is certainty. It is madness. You can tell you have created God in your own image when it turns out that he or she hates all the same people you do. The first holy truth in God 101 is that men and women of true faith have always had to accept the mystery of God’s identity and love and ways. I hate that, but it’s the truth. –Anne Lamott

        She’s also got a good line about her son looking at her like she had “just b*tchslapped ET”….but I digress.

  2. I did not know about iTunesU! So glad I read about this. I love to listen to the lectures on http://www.academicearth.com and take free courses on http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/web/home/home/index.htm

    Check it out!

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