One of the things I’ve challenged myself with for 2014 is to 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.
- American Idol. Sunny and I watched AI for several seasons but gave it up a couple of years ago. When we heard that Harry Connick, Jr. was slated to join the judges’ panel this season, we decided to give it another shot. And we love it! The production seems much fresher, with more emphasis on the contestants’ back stories which creates a really compelling narrative. And Connick is just great – funny, incisive, and it seems as if he really has the contestants’ best interests in mind. Right now, AI is just about the only show we all watch together as a family.
- Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn. I guess I’m really into Star Wars fiction right now. I know that makes me sound like a geeky fanboy, but after binging on so much reading for school these past few years, I’m making up for lost time by indulging some fiction books I’ve not had time to read yet. Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy kickstarted the whole SW fiction fad nearly 20 years ago and he perfectly captures the feel and characters of the original trilogy series. My copy includes margin notes by Zahn that help enlighten the reader as to his artistic decisions; I only wish I could find similar copies of the next two volumes in the trilogy. All of this only whets my appetite for Episode VII, set to release next May. Yes, I am a nerd.
- Running. As I reach the completion of a major academic milestone, I’m already planning my next major goal: running a marathon by the time I turn 40. (For those of you keeping score, I’m currently 37.) You should know that I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. I’ve never been an avid runner, at least not when it comes to this kind of disciplined endeavor. I’ve never even run a 5K. But I’m the type of person that needs to have goals that I’m always working toward and the more ambitious, the better. So I’m setting out to run a 5K sometime soon, working my way up to a half-marathon next year and a full the year after that. We’ll see how it goes; I’ve already logged 9 miles this month. If nothing else, I figure this will be a good way to get in shape. Which leads me to the next item on the list…
- Kings of Leon. I’ve been searching for some good workout music for my running sessions and I’ve received a lot of good suggestions from my friends. But this month, I’ve been running to a lot of Kings of Leon and, I have to say, it makes for a pretty awesome workout playlist. I’m mainly listening to their last two albums, Mechanical Bull (released last fall) and Come Around Sundown (put out in 2010). Honestly, I had forgotten how good Sundown was…there are about 6 or 7 songs on here that are solid gold (The End, Pyro, Mary, Mi Amigo, and Back Down South, to name a few). And Mechanical Bull continues to grow on me. Great vibe, great sound. Mix in a little Black Keys and you have a great workout set.
- Spring baseball season.
There are few things in life I enjoy more than coaching my son’s baseball teams. Counting fall and spring baseball seasons, I think this spring will be my 8th season coaching. I have the privilege of coaching with some of the best guys I know and the kids are just fantastic. I played a lot of baseball in my days as a kid, but nothing compares to coaching — seeing these boys improve as they start believing in themselves and finding success on the ball field. We’re set to begin practice in another week or two — this time with an eye toward a full schedule of “kid pitching” for the first time! Joshua is so excited and I can’t wait to get out there on the field with him. There’s nothing like it.