Still trying to find my groove here

Yep, I’m still trying to find my groove here on this new blog, just started last month. However, this coming week and next month, I have a few things scheduled that ought to help me (and you) find a groove with which we both can work.

  1. At the end of each month, I will write a Movie of the Month, Album of the Month, and Book of the Month post. For this month, the schedule will be Wednesday, April 26, for the movie post; Friday, April 28, the album post; and  Sunday, April 30, the book post.
  2. In May, my wife Kim and I will be doing a series on our favorite Netflix and Amazon Prime TV shows every Wednesday, alternating among mine, hers, and ours.

I’m thinking that should help, at least to start. From there, I might add other features, but the basic schedule will be this: What I’m Reading posts on Sunday with The Sunday Salon posts; What We’reWatching posts, Wednesdays; and What I’m Listening To posts, Fridays.


Since this past week, I didn’t write a post on Wednesday or Friday, I’ll just let you know what we’ve been watching and what I’ve been listening to here along with what I’ve been reading.

105439Reading: I picked up a copy of Forever Free: The Story of Emancipation and Reconstruction by Eric Foner from Overdrive at the Free Library of Philadelphia. I’ve had an interest in that time period ever since having a class in college about the Civil War, in which we used another book by Foner. It always has stuck in my mind and so I thought why not revisit Reconstruction with Foner, one of its most prominent historians. I’m also waiting to see a few other ebooks from FLP to become available, and when they do, I’ll decide which one I’ll choose for my next fiction read.

Watching:  Kim and I are just getting to Season 13 of NCIS on Netflix, but not trying to gobble it up too quickly before Season 14 comes out on Netflix, hopefully later this summer, along with the latest season of Criminal Minds that I’m eagerly anticipating. We also did start Season 3 of Bosch, but unlike the first two seasons, this one isn’t grabbing me as quickly. We will continue to watch, but we’re not in a rush.

Listening to: Wolfgang Voigt’s latest GAS album, Narkopop


So what are you reading, watching, or listening to this past week that my readers and I should take note of?

Holy Saturday: Joy, Lion, and DAMN. 

Today is Holy Saturday, the end of the day in the Christian tradition when the Easter Vigil is held in many churches, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. Like that, but not really, I am arising again here on the blog after a five-day absence and not the three days Jesus laid in the grave and descended into Hell (referred to as the Harrowing of Hell). Nope, the analogy continues to break down as I didn’t die and didn’t have a harrowing week. So yeah, like that, but not really, sooooooo…

29496453…anyway, I’m back and I am in the midst of celebrating a four-day weekend that started Friday and ends Monday. On Friday, I continued reading The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Douglas C. Abrams and probably will be continuing to read that today. Tomorrow, my wife and I are going to my parents’ for Easter, and on Monday, we have nothing planned. I probably will look for my next book via Overdrive from the Free Library of Philadelphia, but beyond that, nothing on the radar.

Since I didn’t write posts on what we’re watching and what I’m listening to, I will recap that here this week.

What we’re watching

…or what we have watched. This past week, Kim and I watched two movies, the first of which we can’t recommend enough:

Just see it.

The second one, well, we can’t recommend, period. I won’t put up the trailer, but will put the Honest Trailer from Screen Junkies instead:

We really, really wanted to like it, but we just couldn’t and not because of the new all-female crew of the Ghostbusters.  We like these actresses, or at least some of them, but they were completely wasted with this script. Bottom line: ugh!!!!! (The fifth exclamation point is for Chris Hemsworth, sadly.)

What I’m listening to

THIS:


So what’s good that you have been reading, watching, and/or listening to? 

Nero Wolfe, the Dalai Lama, and Desmond Tutu

29496453It sounds like the start of a joke, but it’s just what I’ve been reading. As I mentioned last week, I am trying a new course with my reading, that is, reading a fiction and a nonfiction book instead of having several books out of the library at one time and potentially not reading any of them. My first books were, and are, Fer-de-lance, the first mystery featuring detective Nero Wolfe, by Rex Stout and The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Abrams.

I should clarify that I plan on alternating between fiction and nonfiction books, so to that end, I started with Fer-de-lance and will be reading The Book of Joy, beginning it later today. I read many of the Nero Wolfe novels years ago and I’m glad I’m delving back into them as I enjoyed this first one.


MV5BMTUwNTM4NzIzNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjQ5MTkzMQ@@._V1_UY268_CR2,0,182,268_AL_Earlier this week on the blog:

  1. What we’re watching: The Royle Family 
  2. What I’m listening to: Pure Comedy and Arca

This coming week, I’ll be adding in a new category, What I’m doing otherwise, as I’ll be looking back at how I did on the goals for my Lenten journey.

So far, I don’t have a lot of views on the posts with the categories of what we’re watching and what we’re listening to, but that’s OK. I still want to keep a diary for myself on those topics and maybe someday others will stop in and read those posts. Of course, you’re welcome to stop by today too (and leave a comment if you do).

How was your week? Read anything good? Watch anything interesting? Listen to anything that you couldn’t hear enough of?

Pure Comedy & Arca

Pure ComedyEach Friday I feature new music that is catching my ear. Sometimes it is from this week; sometimes it is not, but it’s always within the last few months. This week, I am highlighting the new albums by two artists who prefer to use pseudonyms/personas: Father John Misty, the comic and tragic mask worn by Josh Tillman, and Arca, the namesake of Venezuelan producer Alejandro Ghersi.

I first discovered Josh Tillman with his second album, I Love You, Honeybear, which was one of my favorite albums of 2015. I won’t say that I immediately loved the album, but it grew on me, mainly because of songs “Bored in the USA,” “Holy Shit,” and the surprisingly endearing “I Went To The Store One Day”.  On this new one, Pure Comedy, released today from what I’m reading and hearing his cynicism is on full display. I’m listening to it now in my headphones and am maybe halfway through it. I’m enjoying it thus far.

Arca_-_ArcaI stumbled across Arca after he helped produce four songs on Kanye West’s Yeezus, which was one of my favorite albums of 2013, and then Arca released his solo album, Xen, in 2014. Since then, he also was producer on Björk’s 2015 album Vulnicura (yes, another favorite album) and also released one other album, Mutant, in 2015. So like Tillman, this is his third album. On this one, he introduces his own voice to what up until now has been mostly instrumental music. I haven’t listened to this one much yet, but am looking forward to listening to it more today along with Tillman’s new album.

I’ll leave you with a performance from Tillman on SNL last month:

What new music is catching your ear recently?

 

 

The Royle Family

Last week I shared The Returned, the French version, in what Kim and I have been watching. This week, I share another show we’ve been enjoying from across the pond: The Royle Family, a British comedy from the early 2000s.

MV5BMTUwNTM4NzIzNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjQ5MTkzMQ@@._V1_UY268_CR2,0,182,268_AL_I think Kim mentioned this show a few months ago as a friend on Facebook asked her if she had ever seen it. At the time, it wasn’t available on Netflix. However, this month, it became available on Netflix so we decided to give it a try and so far, at the end of Season 1, we are glad we did. Like several British shows, it takes a few episodes for the show to hit its stride and when it doesn’t, it doesn’t let up on the poignancy of relationships among the family members and especially between the daughter Denise and her boyfriend Dave. The two actors, the late Caroline Aherne (who passed away last year) and Craig Cash, who portrayed them also were writers for the show, which makes it all the better.

The show, at least in its first season, all that we have seen so far, takes place mostly in the living room of the family and the conversations they have in between watching TV programmes. The first couple shows you might think so this is it? But then it delves into what’s beneath the surface, which isn’t all happy happy joy joy, but is all real real real real or based on real real real real, and in those moments the show shines.

I couldn’t find any good clips from the first season on Youtube that really capture how good the show is, but I did find this clip from Season 3 that gives you a taste of the humor:

What have you been watching lately that you’d recommend?

A new course of action with my reading

After abandoning two more books,

  1. My Family and Other Animals, The Corfu Trilogy Book 1, by Gerald Durrell
  2. My Jesus Year: A Rabbi’s Son Wanders the Bible Belt in Search of His Own Faith by Benyamin Cohen,

arrow-1314517_960_720I have decided on a new course of action with my reading. From now on, I’m planning on reading one fiction, one nonfiction at a time, and putting others on wishlist in Overdrive.

To that end, I’ve let go of two others I’ve had out,

  1. Hell Before Breakfast: America’s First War Correspondents Making History and Headlines, from the Battlefields of the Civil War to the Far Reaches of the Ottoman Empire by Robert H. Patton
  2. The Moving Target, the first Lew Archer, by Ross Macdonald,

and I’ve removed the holds on eight other books. Some I might put on the wishlist. Others, I might not.

77604I’m left with focusing on one fiction, Fer-De-Lance, the first Nero Wolfe, by Rex Stout, and one nonfiction, The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Abrams. I think this way I can focus on the actual reading and not the talking about, and writing about, theoretical reading.

March 2017 in review

Reading: Finished five books to bring total for 2017 to 17. Check this post to see what the five books were, and which was my favorite for the month.

Watching: The Returned. See short review here.

Listening: The big album this past month was Drake’s More Life, which while better than his last one, wasn’t what really caught my ears. Instead, my ears  were toward toward three female twenty-something musicians, 28-year-old Welsh singer and producer Kelly Lee Owens on her eponymous debut, 24-year-old Cameroon-born New Yorker Lætitia Tamko’s Vagabon project Infinite Worlds, and 22-year-old Oakland multi-instrumentalist Melina Duterte’s Jay Som project Everybody Works.

Here are all three albums via a playlist in Spotify:

 

So how was your March? Favorite read, TV show/movie watched, album listened to?

The Returned – The French version

Don’t let the subtitles scare you away.

Instead, let the show creep you out again and again.

MV5BMTA0MTI4NTI3MTNeQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU4MDM0MTQ1NjIx._V1_UY268_CR87,0,182,268_AL_My wife and I just finished watching Season 1 of this gloriously suspenseful show and we loved it. I started watching it first, but then my wife was pulled into it too. She mentioned that a coworker had watched both the original French version and the American remake, which was canceled, and that the coworker enjoyed both of them, although the French one a little more, she said, partially because the American one ended before the storyline was finished.

The story is simple: People in a French village return from the dead years after they’ve died. Each episode focuses on a different person. Unlike The Walking Dead, this doesn’t feature gory, bloody scenes, but delves how a town, its families, its people deal with their deceased loved one being resurrected. It does have the gory, bloody scenes, but often they aren’t shown on camera — imagine Quentin Tarantino’s “Massacre at Two Pines” in Kill Bill 2. What grabs you isn’t the gore, but the unrelenting suspense — and the creepiness that surrounds the show, from the intro music via Mogwai that insinuates itself throughout the show to the scenes like where the one zombie, Victor, suddenly appears behind a woman at a bus stop as if out of nowhere.

I won’t say anymore lest I give away spoilers, not that there is much to give away because even after the end of Season 1, there are still a lot of questions left unanswered. Just go watch it. The show is available on Netflix.

What have you been watching lately that you’d recommend we or my readers should check out next?

My Library Checkout – March 2017

librarycheckout2 Have you been using your library over the past month? What did you read? What didn’t you read? What are you waiting on? The linky goes up the last Monday of every month, and will stay open through the 15th, so click the button at left to go to Charleen’s post for this month to add your Library Checkout post to the Linky there.

Read:

  1. Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding The Church by Rachel Held Evans.
  2. Gone, Baby, Gone, the fourth Kenzie & Gennaro, by Dennis Lehane
  3. Prayers for Rain, the fifth Kenzie & Gennaro, by Dennis Lehane
  4. Moonlight Mile, the sixth Kenzie & Gennaro, by Dennis Lehane
  5. The Dain Curse, the second Continental Op, by Dashiell Hammett.

The best of the five was the book by Evans.

Returned Unread:

  • Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist
  • Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World by Emily P. Freeman
  • Hurry Up and Meditate: Your Starter Kit for Inner Peace and Better Health by David Michie
  • Surprised by Hope Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church by N. T. Wright
  • Hardwiring Happiness:The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence
    by Rick Hanson
  • Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person
    by Shonda Rhimes
  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
    by Mark Manson
  • A Killing in China Basin, DI Ben Raveneau Series, Book 1, by Kirk Russell
  • Death Along the Spirit Road, the first Manny To mystery, by C. M. Wendelboe.

I had a bunch of these picked out for Lenten reading, but those didn’t work, for one reason or another, mainly because I couldn’t relate to the author.

Checked Out:

  1. My Family and Other Animals, The Corfu Trilogy Book 1, by Gerald Durrell
  2. My Jesus Year: A Rabbi’s Son Wanders the Bible Belt in Search of His Own Faith by Benyamin Cohen
  3. Hell Before Breakfast: America’s First War Correspondents Making History and Headlines, from the Battlefields of the Civil War to the Far Reaches of the Ottoman Empire by Robert H. Patton
  4. The Moving Target, the first Lew Archer, by Ross Macdonald
  5. Fer-de-Lance, the first Nero Wolfe, by Rex Stout.

I’m reading the Durrell right now and enjoying it so far.

On Hold:

  • IQ by Joe Ide
  • Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama
  • Two Days Gone by Randall Silvis
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck by Sarah Knight
  • Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
  • Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace by Anne Lamott
  • Crocodile on the Sandbank, the first Amelia Peabody, by Elizabeth Peters
  • The Deep Blue Good-by, the first Travis McGee, by John D. MacDonald.

I guess I really, really want to not give a f*ck, but still do, I think.

What did you check out from the library this past month, put on hold? Click on the button above to go to Charleen’s post to add your own post, or comment there — and here, if you’d like.

 

 

 

Hello again, Sunday Saloners

TSSbadge4Hello again. I know it’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted in The Sunday Salon. Rather than explain, let me just point you to my previous post, my first post here on this new blog, and jump right back into the fray, talking about my reading.

Since I last wrote a post for The Sunday Salon a few weeks ago (no link since my old blog is gone), I have read two books, abandoned one, added four possibilities from the library to the two I already had out, and purchased three books (last Sunday morning).

The two read were:

  • Moonlight Mile, the last in the Kenzie and Gennaro series, by Dennis Lehane
  • The Dain Curse, the second Continental Op, by Dashiell Hammett

The one abandoned was Surprised by Heaven: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection and the Mission of the Church by N.T. Wright. The four additions are:

  • 32282623 My Family and Other Animals, the first in the Corfu Trilogy, by Gerald Durrell
  • My Jesus Year: A Rabbi’s Son Wanders the Bible Belt in Search of His Own Faith by Benyahim Cohen
  • Fer-de-Lance, the first Nero Wolfe, by Rex Stout
  • Hell Before Breakfast: America’s First War Correspondents Making History and Headlines, from the Battlefields of the Civil War to the Far Reaches of the Ottoman Empire by Robert H. Patton.

The three purchases, which were on sale, were:

  • The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Abrams
  • Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter
  • All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

29496453Both The Moonlight Mile and The Dain Curse were good, although the latter was a bit confusing and the former wasn’t up to many of the others in the series. I think I’ve read All Creatures Great and Small years ago, and I’ve read parts of My Family and Other Animals previously. The Hamilton book is on the Kindle, but it was cheap so I couldn’t pass it up especially when my wife and I share books and she loves everything Hamilton. My Jesus Year? Just saw it on Overdrive at Free Library of Philadelphia and looked intriguing. The Book of Joy? Who doesn’t need joy in their life?

As for the Nero Wolfe and Hell Before Breakfast, I decided to pick those up last night after talking to a friend on the phone (what a concept). He is a former neighbor, with whom I still keep in contact and we usually end up talking what we’ve been reading. He shares my interest in older mysteries, and in our conversation, we talked about Nero Wolfe, so I decided to pick up the first for a re-read. I think I’ve read most of them. Hell Before Breakfast? He said he was reading so while on the phone with him, I went to the Free Library of Philadelphia and downloaded it to my Kindle.

So how about you? What have you been reading? What do you plan on reading next?

To see what I’ve been reading over the last few years, visit my Goodreads page.

my read shelf:
Bryan G.'s book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

PLEASE NOTE: Since this is a new blog for me, even if you have commented on my earlier blog, I have it set up so that I have to approve your first comment here. After that, your comments won’t be held in moderation. Just letting you know in case your comment doesn’t appear immediately.

Welcome To My New Blog!

Here I go again…

…on yet another blog.

The semi-short version of what happened to my previous blog

Last weekend I was told by my hosting provider that my domain was shut down for a violation of Terms of Service. I contacted them and was told that my domain was sending out spam e-mails, and that I would need to correct the problem before the site could be put back up. However, the hosting company technicians couldn’t find the problem (bad script, they said) and that I would need to hire a professional service to find the bad script. I researched such companies and learned  they would cost at least $300.

My hosting already was set to expire mid-April and another $300 on top of almost $250 was, and is, not something I could, and can, afford, especially because for the last few years we’ve owed for taxes and haven’t gotten a refund. So I decided to cut my losses and let my blog (and a previous blog, which I had held on to a few years, because I didn’t know what to do with it) go.

I have since learned my previous blog posts are still available up until 2012 here on WordPress.com so if I ever do figure out what to do with them, they’re still there. The main posts I’d like to keep were those I wrote about preparing for a 25-mile trail hike. Otherwise, que sera, sera.

On Wednesday, we had our taxes done and we didn’t owe as much as we had expected, by a long shot, thanks to taking out more last year from my paychecks at the library. So today, I “splurged” $35 for this blog, with no ads, and a custom domain with a .blog address, a lot better than the $550 it could have been — and here I am.

About This Blog

With this blog, as with a few other blogs I have had, I am keeping it simple: a journal of what I’m reading, what I’m watching, and what I’m listening to. No highfalutin concepts as I’ve had in the past. I might add  what I’m photographing too, but usually you can find that on my Instagram account. I also can be found on Twitter and have a Facebook page.

On Sundays, I still plan on participating in The Sunday Salon and visiting blogs that participate as well as those that don’t. Please feel free to leave a comment. I have to go check my settings, but I might set it up where I have to approve your first comment here. After that, hopefully they will just go through without any problems.

See y’all Sunday when I’ll catch ya up with my latest reading.

Until then…