Another post on a little bit of everything

Last month, someone made this declaration here on this blog:

I’m doing away with the bullet point list posts. I will focus on one topic: reading, for example, with my Sunday Salon posts, and if I do other posts on TV, movies, music, or my personal life, they will just be on that topic.

Er, yeah, me

And then I ended the month with a bullet point list post as I usually do: Pushing Forward Back July/August 2019. And now, I’m reverting again to a bullet point list post, because…well, I’ve had a long week and I’m too tired to write a single-minded post. So here goes:

What I’m reading

On Friday, a day off from work, I finished a reread of Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck that I started during Dewey’s 24 Hour Reverse Readathon last weekend. As I wrote on Goodreads after finishing the book, “On a reread, maybe close to 30 years later, I still love this book, but in the time we are in now, it is sad too. As a nation, we have, and haven’t, changed that much.” Next up, well, at least in pieces, is the book at right:

I picked it up from the donation bin for our library bookstore and sale.

Incredible as it may seem, every entry in this book, even the most ludicrous, has been accepted a s a formal or legitimate English word by at least one major dictionary. Mrs. Byrne’s Dictionary brings into view thousands of little-know curiosities that lie buried in specialized dictionaries and unabridged works too bulky for browsing. Although Mrs. Byrne’s dictionary has enough comedy in it to reward casual browsers, it is intended to serve as a supplement to a desk dictionary. A word not listed in either place is not worth having at your fingertips, unless, of course, you are an institution, a library, or a governmental body at the federal, state or municipal level.

from the introduction by Mr. Byrne

This afternoon I probably will continue with the Chief Bruno series by Martin Walker, with the third one, Black Diamond, especially since it is due back in only a couple of days.

What we’re watching

On a whim, I thought I’d try The Orville even though I’m not always a fan of Seth McFarlane’s other endeavors. However, I was so pleasantly surprised that I now have convinced my wife to watch with me. I also convinced her to watch Shazam, which she didn’t want to watch because she said she’s “done” with comic book movies. I really wanted to like the movie, but like my wife, I might be “done” with comic book movies too…yes, even Marvel (GASP!). This one, though, was DC and was horrible, at least from as far as we could get in it. It was a rollercoaster from dark to light and unlike Marvel, DC movies don’t seem to know how to balance the dark and the light. They go from one extreme to the other so awkwardly that it’s offputting, to say the least.

What I’m listening to

In that Pushing Forward Back July/August 2019 post, I mentioned that I was looking forward to the new Bon Iver album i, i, which was to be released on Aug. 30. However, it “dropped” early on Friday and it’s been on my virtual turntable almost non-stop. I love it.

On a personal note

  • I had my third gel shot for my left knee, which has a degenerative meniscus, and continued with physical therapy this past week. I think I’m improving, but some days it is hard to tell since I am in a bit of pain from the exercises. It might be just muscle pain, but I am to check back with the orthopedic physician assistant in six weeks, or a month if the knee isn’t improving significantly. I’m holding out hope.
  • As mentioned above, I had the day off Friday and in addition to finishing Travels with Charley, I also was able to pick up four pairs of shorts and three shirts for under $25 at thrift stores in a nearby town.
  • Yesterday, after work, my wife and I got together with my parents, my sister, brother-in-law, nephew and niece, for a picnic in a park before they were going to a gospel concert last night, also at a park. We didn’t go because my wife had to work last night (8 p.m. to 8 a.m. this morning), but it still was good to see family, especially with my mother just celebrating her 75th birthday last Saturday.

So how has the beginning of August been for you? Any good books, movies, TV shows, music? Share below in the comments.

Pushing Forward Back June/July 2019

June flew right out of the gate, as predicted, and never let up until this weekend. The first week started with a bang: work on the first Saturday, my first physical therapy session for a bruised left knee on that first Monday.

The second weekend, my wife Kim and I got away as we went on a self-guided two-day wine tour of Seneca Lake in upstate New York, as planned, in celebration of my 50th birthday on Sunday. The second week, I also was approved for for an MRI that I got at the start of of the third week. The MRI was negative for a torn meniscus, but I have a frayed meniscus and bad osteoarthritis for which I already got a cortisone injection and might be getting a gel injection in a couple of weeks when I have a follow-up appointment.

The fourth weekend, on Saturday, I worked, but then on Sunday, I visited my mother and father, the latter of which I went with to a car and plane museum, also with my 12-year-old nephew.

This weekend, I plan on chilling both days, maybe going to a nearby town for the birthday breakfast on Saturday I had planned to start off the month with but then had to cancel because I was scheduled to work at the library. Update: I did go out for breakfast Saturday morning. I also forgot until I read my last Pushing Forward Back post (did I reference that yet? hmmm) that I also planned on starting Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, another of my all-time favorite collections of poetry. So I’ll still do that as I thought, and still think, it would be good to celebrate America with the Fourth of July coming up this week.

AND lest I forget, I promised a giveaway of books at the end of my birthday month. I am doing that today from midnight today, Sunday, June 30, 2019, to 11:59 a.m. tonight, Eastern Daylight Time. Go to this post to find out how to enter for the giveaway. I am posting it at the same time as this one.

As for what books I finished this month, I read Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport and Ratking by Michael Dibdin. Both were okay, with Ratking being the better of the two. On the TV/movie side of things, the best thing we watched all month was Springsteen on Broadway, available on Netflix. Music-wise, the best music I heard all month was Prince’s Originals, a mostly previously unreleased collection of songs he wrote for others.

If you’re skimming this, the short takeaway from June is this: My wife and I celebrated my 50th birthday with a wine trip and visiting with my mom and dad, my MRI turned out negative for a torn meniscus, and I read two books.

AND GIVEAWAY!

July begins sort of oddly as I work the first three days, have a day off (thank you to our Founding Fathers), then work Friday before having off again for the weekend. I thought about trying to take off Friday, but a coworker beat me to the punch and got that day off. However, I’m not sad as she does a lot and deserves the time off and I had a long weekend for my birthday in June.

The rest of the month work-wise settles into a routine of six days in a row, as I work the two middle Saturdays, the 13th and 20th. Lest you feel too badly for me, I don’t work eight hours any day, with some as little as 4 and 1/2 hours…

So in other words, I’ll have time to read as many books, watch as much TV and movies, and listen to as much music as I want.

Reading: In June, I planned on finishing the All Creatures Great and Small series by James Herriot, with The Lord God Made Them All and Every Living Thing. I also planned on reading All of Us: The Collected Poems by Raymond Carver, one of my all-time favorite collections of poetry. But as with a lot of things in June, those didn’t happen, so I’m putting on hold (figuratively, not literally) the Herriot series until later in the year and yet still plan on reading the Carver collection over this coming month. Other than that, the only thing on my radar is the second Aurelio Zen mystery by Michael Dibdin, Vendetta, since I enjoyed the first one.

Watching: In July, Kim and I only have one major thing we want to watch together: the third season of Stranger Things. Other than that, I am interested in seeing Spider-Man: Far From Home, The Lion King, and Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, although really with my working two Saturdays this month, I might only get to one of the trio in the theater. On the minor front, we’re looking forward to watching the second half of the sixth season of Drunk History.

Listening: Just doing a quick search online, I only found one album that I’m really looking forward to: EGOLI by Africa Express. The group is “a UK based non-profit organization which facilitates cross-cultural collaborations between musicians in African, Middle Eastern, and Western countries” and was started by Blur and Gorillaz lead singer Damon Albarn and journalist Ian Birrell. I loved their album, Terry Riley in C Mali, and am very much looking forward to this one:

If you’re skimming this, the short takeaway for July is I plan on reading poetry, watching Stranger Things, Season 3, with my wife, and listening to cool world music.

How was your month of June? Read any good books, seen any good movies and/or TV shows, listened to any good music? What was the highlight of your month? What are you most looking forward to in July? Share in the comments.

The best laid plans…

This past week went somewhat as planned. In my last Sunday Salon post, I said that I’d begin with the month by buying a new lawnmower, which I did. However, I didn’t get to my first mow of the season as rain and work interfered. We still are continuing to watch the final season of Game of Thrones, but I didn’t finish All Things Wise and Wonderful by James Herriot last weekend as planned. Maybe that will happen Sunday evening as this afternoon (Saturday) I’m writing this post, then going to a Free Comic Book Day event at our library (a busman’s holiday of sorts) to pick up some comics for my nephew and niece as well as enter them for a chance for a few of the prizes.

I’ll be away Sunday morning:

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Booked. ✔️

A post shared by Bryan G. Robinson (@stillunfinished) on

So I plan on catching up on your posts Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, and responding to comments that you leave here.

Tonight, just to reacquaint myself with the last Avengers movie, when my wife goes to work at 8 p.m. (12 hour shift until 8 a.m. as an emergency dispatcher), I’m going to watch it. I know. I know. Really I should watch Captain Marvel to be properly up to speed, but this will have to do. I’m not that much of a geek when it comes to these things. To be honest, while I’m looking forward to this “last” one, I am looking forward to it ust being over, which same goes for Game of Thrones.

With a few exceptions, I think I almost prefer the short season shows, the way a lot of shows are done in Great Britain: one, two, three or four seasons, then done. This coming Wednesday, Kim and I are highlighting our favorite short season shows in our weekly feature “What We’re Watching Wednesday.” This past Wednesday, we restarted the feature with a short review of “the latest incarnation of the Tick.”

Next Sunday, I also am away for most of the day as I visit my mom (and Dad), who live about 60 miles away from us, for Mother’s Day. The following Sunday, I plan return to my normal Sunday morning routine of Sunday Salon blog reading and commenting in the morning as I don’t plan on going anywhere. Then I’ll end the month with a four-day weekend as the library where I work is closed for three days and I am taking a vacation day on the Tuesday after. Last week I mentioned that I’d be working that day, but plans changed.

Two of the days that I am off, Kim and I can be together as it is among her normal three days off; she works four days (Friday, midnight to 8 p.m.; Saturday, midnight to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 8 p.m., to Sunday, 8 a.m..; and Sunday, 8 p.m., to Monday, 8 a.m.). As I said in my last Sunday Salon post, it will be nice to have a chance to…

How was your past week? Read, watch, or listen to anything good? Share in the comments.


I’ll leave you with Father of the Bride, the new double album from Vampire Weekend, because I couldn’t decide on just one track from this album that only was released Friday and I already love: