I wanted to take more time to write here on the blog in 2014. Of course, here we are halfway through January and this is my first post of the year!
One of the things I thought I’d do is post a “Top Five” each month: five things I’m enjoying right now, be it books, music, movies, etc. If nothing else, it helps me keep the blog current. Here are five things I’m enjoying this month.
The National. I’ve been listening to a ton of The National lately, especially their last two albums. I wrote about their latest album, Trouble Will Find Me, in my Best Albums of 2013 post last month and rated it one of my favorites of the year. Coupled with 2010’s High Violet, these indie faves have put together a nice mid-career run of sonically rich and lyrically arresting albums. Their layered sounds make for perfect winter listening (particularly while driving) and Tom Beringer’s poetry is equal parts puzzling and evocative. The knock on them has long been that their albums require multiple listens before they really start to “gel” for the listener. But that’s not a criticism; it simply underscores the depth of their music. I could seriously listen to “Bloodbuzz Ohio” and “Fake Empire” on a continuous loop and not get tired. If you’ve never listened to The National, go stream some of their stuff on Spotify. You’ll be glad you did.
Kenobi by John Jackson Miller. I grew up as a huge fan of the original trilogy and I’ve enjoyed introducing my children to the Star Wars saga over the last few years. But I’ve missed out on much of the canonical fiction that was written by Timothy Zahn and others that carries the original narrative forward. I picked up a copy of Heir to the Empire over the holidays and I was about to dive into it when I came across this title. Miller has penned a story to correspond to Kenobi’s years in hiding on Tatooine between Episodes III and IV. What is unique about this book is the fact that Miller envisioned it as a western, with Kenobi doing his best mysterious stranger, Pale Rider impersonation as he comes to the aid of the local hydration farmers who are persistently threatened by A’Yaark, the last of a line of great Tusken warriors. This may not go down as the greatest Star Wars fiction, but it’s been a fun read after a summer and fall devoted to school reading.
Candy Crush. This game. I can thank Sunny for this addiction. I’d heard about Candy Crush for a while, mostly through the ubiquitous Facebook requests I’d receive from people. I never understood…until I started playing a few weeks ago. Now I can see why people are so addicted to this game. It’s my favorite mindless time-killer these days. I was actually feeling pretty good about myself and my Level 39 achievement…until I heard that a friend of mine has made it to level 160! I’m not sure I have the patience to make it that far!
- My guitar.
A few years ago, Sunny surprised me with a great gift on Father’s Day: she had my Dad’s old guitar completely refurbished for me. I couldn’t take it up like I wanted to at the time; I had too many other things going on. But this week, I’ve been able to sit down and play a bit and it’s been a ton of fun. I’m still pretty raw and my fingers are really sore – especially as I continue typing this entry! But it’s been great playing and singing with the kids and Sunny the past few nights. So far, my favorite song to play is Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.” No telling how many times that song has been played on this guitar.
The NFL Playoffs. Around our house, we always get into the NFL Playoffs. This year, we’re completely pro-Peyton since our Titans didn’t make the playoffs. Truthfully, we’ll probably be rooting for either Manning or Brady in the Super Bowl, whoever happens to win on Sunday. I’d love to see Peyton win another ring and push his playoff record above .500. If he is able to win another championship, he could really assert himself in the conversation as the greatest QB of all-time. It should be fun!