This and that

So, what have I been reading, watching, and listening to this past week?

Earlier in the week, I finished The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine Aron, Ph. D. I’ll probably write more about it later.

Last night, Kim and I watched the atmospheric Moonage Daydream:

Then earlier tonight, we listened to Anderson Cooper talk with Stephen Colbert about grief in a podcast from last year:

So what have you been reading, watching, and/or listening to lately?

What has been/is getting me through

I know.

I know.

I haven’t been around much.

Sorrrreeee.

Lots of reasons, nothing major to report, just “everything is too much,” but this week, it hits a bit harder because my wife and I are remembering the passing of her mother and best friend in the same week two years ago. Her friend, Deb, died April 24 after months of being in and out of the hospital for various ailments; her mom, April 28 after years of suffering from Parkinson’s. Kim and her sister, Debbie, were with their mother when she passed away.

So, I thought in light of those two commemorations this week, I’d share what has been/is getting me through.

Four Tet & Skrillex & Fred Again… at Coachella 2023

Short backstory: headliner Frank Ocean canceled his Weekend 2 set after, in my opinion, he should have canceled his Weekend 1 set. In his place, Coachella announced TBA would perform or as the three deejays who finally ended up playing called themselves “OMG TBA.” The trio was, and is Four Tet, Skrillex and Fred Again… I am a huge fan of Four Tet and over the last few months have been making my way slowly through his epic playlist on Spotify so when I heard this was happening I knew I couldn’t miss it. It was streamed at 1:45 a.m. on the East Coast Sunday morning and went until after 3 a.m. Luckily, I didn’t have to work until 3 p.m. that day and it was more than worth watching.

The set, at least for now, is available here via The Internet Archives below:

Therapy, Prozac, meditation, and journaling

Yep. I take Prozac and have for about 30 years. I started taking it in response to dealing with the deaths of my two grandfathers when I was young and a fear of eternity. It helps me not get fixated on those fears or to think of thinking about eternity in a more rational way than I might otherwise. However, it doesn’t mean that I don’t get depressed or don’t have other anxieties. That’s why a couple of years ago (prepandemic), I started therapy (teletherapy because of where we live) in response to work and just life in general.

Along with medication and therapy, I also “do” meditation and journaling. The journaling has been a work in progress, something that I especially try to do – but not limited to – after a day of work. It helps me reflect on the day, not just the bad but the good too. I discovered meditation during the pandemic through the podcast Wake Up/Wind Down with Niall Breslin, which has since ended but the archives are still available on Spotify and he has a new podcast “Where Is My Mind?” To learn more about Breslin, visit his website. I also used, and paid for, the app Headspace for the last couple of years and now am using the app Insight Timer for free. I still listen to the podcast Headspace Studios has: Radio Headspace, Dear Headspace, and Sunday Scaries, all of which are free.alm

I also discovered two other podcasters I enjoy listening to: meditation teacher and psychologist Tara Brach and pianist Chad Lawson with Calm it Down. Among all the choices of podcasts and meditation courses, I pick and choose what works for me that day or that week. Sometimes one hits more than another for me

So how about you? What gets you through your days, weeks, months, and years? Please share in the comments. (I’m also restarting to use my Substack. To see it – I’ll be updating the design soon – and subscribe, click here.)

My Own Personal Sabbath #8

Almost every Sunday since mid-May 2020 with a few exceptions, I have been taking my own personal Sabbath, where I tune out of the news and social media and turn off my ringer and all notifications on my phone on Sundays or Saturday and Sunday. In the interest of full disclosure, I do use my phone to listen to music and podcasts, and check out e-books from the library. Before, during, or after my Sabbath, I share what I am reading, listening to, or watching for that day or days.

Two weeks was the week of little things, one after another, many unexpected, that led into last weekend’s sabbath. This past week, it was, without going into details and being admittedly cryptic, one big thing (don’t worry, my wife and I and our families are all okay) that led into this weekend’s Sabbath, which already is in progress.

I’m writing this Saturday morning. It’s about 10 a.m. I’m listening to the soundtrack for the movie Drive My Car by Eiko Ishibashi. My wife is also off from work this weekend and she is in the next room, journaling and listening to the music with me. Her birthday was this past week and we had a pre-birthday celebration earlier in the week. Last night, we had a post-birthday celebration with dinner and a movie, popcorn and wine. The celebration will continue throughout this weekend and the month.

Besides journaling and meditation this weekend, I also plan on continuing to read the devotional books I chose for Lent last month, and reading and listening to Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting through The Storm by Thich Nhat Hanh and narrated by Dan Woren. I only have about an hour left in the book and probably will finish it this weekend. As usual, I set up a playlist of podcasts set up that includes the 100th episode of Niall Breslin’s podcast, Where Is My Mind?:

On the fiction front, I have several books from which to choose, but I’m not sure yet what I’ll read, if anything this weekend. Among my choices are books by Elmore Leonard and Tim Dorsey.

Tonight we’ll probably watch some fun TV, with a bevvy of choices, including Tacoma FD, The Righteous Gemstones, and a Mystery Science Theater 3000 movie. We’ll see what we are in the mood for tonight. Tomorrow, along with my reading, I’ll be chilling out in the 21st edition of The Chill Out Tent, which is celebrating its second birthday. I’ll leave you with a sample from a recent session:

In The Rearview: February 2022

Today, with it being the second to last day of the month, I thought I’d look back at the month of February, in terms of what I read, (we) watched, and listened to this month. So here goes:

Read:

  • Fortune Favors the Dead by Stephen Spotswood
  • Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention–And How to Think Deeply Again by Johann Hari
  • Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

The best of the three was Stolen Focus, with the other two, okay, and I might or might not continue each series. They both were okay, but nothing I felt like I had to get the next one right now.

Not Read:

  • Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience by Brene Brown

In progess:

  • Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own by Eddie S. Glaude Jr.
  • Atomic Lobster by Tim Dorsey

Watched:

  • The Afterparty (Apple)
  • Animal House (DVD)
  • CODA (Apple)
  • Forgetting Sarah Marshall (rent)
  • Ghosts (the British version) (BBCAmerica, HBO Max)
  • I Am Not Your Negro (Hulu)
  • I Love You, Man (rent)
  • Old School (rent)
  • The Righteous Gemstones (HBO Max)
  • Somebody Somewhere (HBO Max) with
  • The Seventh Seal (HBO Max, TCM)
  • Tacoma FD (HBO Max, TruTV)
  • The Tragedy of Macbeth (Apple)

All of the series, we’re in the middle of or at the beginning. The best two of the month were CODA, deservedly up for an Oscar, and I Love You, Man, which was, and is, a hidden comic gem with Jason Segel and Paul Rudd.

Not Watched:

  • Around the World in 80 Days
  • The Good Place

Sometimes with so many other things we want to watch, there’s just not enough time and with these two, that’s the case. Kim already has seen The Good Place and said it’s really good, as have many of you. I’m just not “feeling” it, I guess. *another shrug emoji* Same for Around the World in 80 Days (which Kim hasn’t seen yet either). Maybe some day, but not right now.

Listened To:

  • Once Twice Melody by Beach House
  • Summer of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised) Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by Various Artists

Out of the two, Summer of Soul is essential listening and is the documentary, essential viewing.

So to recap, my favorites from the month:

How was your February? What did you read, watch, and/or listen to? What were your favorites of the month?