I started blogging thinking that this is where I would review whatever media I felt like ranting about. It quickly changed direction. So this is my online diary. Comments are welcome.
Apparently this has been a bad year for movies and music. Okay. I'll buy that. But what if I offered some of my favorites of this year so far? Sound good? You got it dude.
I'll start with music. Music is easy for me, because I like everything (except Florida Georgia Line). One of my favorite albums this year is Sturgill Simpson's A Sailor's Guide to Earth. I really liked Simpson's previous album, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, and had been anticipating this release. I was pleasantly surprised when the opening song of this record, "Welcome to Earth (Pollywog)," rolled from a sweet wailing tribute into a swinging alt-county bop. Most of the rest of the album continues in this fashion. Sometimes, while listening, you could swear it was written decades ago. Perhaps it's Simpson's vocals, or the "Free Bird-esque" lap steel solos in songs like, "Sea Stories" and "Brace for Impact." A soulful country cover of Nirvana's "In Bloom" is a nice gem embedded in the middle of the tracklist. Overall I like the album. With the exception of a couple of songs, I feel like it's best listened to as a whole. I absolutely recommend giving this one a listen.
Here are a few other ear worms I've liked this year:
There were plenty of movies that I really liked this year. I have a habit of completely disagreeing with critics. For example, I thoroughly enjoyed Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Ghostbusters. BvS only scored 27% on Rotten Tomatoes with critics, while audiences seemed to like it much better. Ghostbusters had the opposite outcome scoring a 74% with critics, but much lower with audiences. I liked them both, and of course they weren't the only ones I liked, but they stand out because of the social media backlash they received.
<rant>I'm a big-time DC comic fan, but I wouldn't be upset to see DC/Warner Bros. put the brakes on their cinematic universe. It's not that I don't enjoy their movies, because I very much do, but I don't like wading through the sea of negativity surrounding every one of their releases. Besides, they're making exceptional television shows (live action & animated). It would be nice to see them put more focus and money towards those projects, and maybe bring some big characters to the TV universe. I could offer my thoughts on why so many people dislike the DC movies, but that would start a fight, and I already told you I don't like wading through the negativity. I'll suggest this, read more comics if you don't like what you see on screen. You might just come across some source material.</rant>
I'll leave you with a couple of reading materials from this year. The first is a novel by sci-fi writer, Pierce Brown, called Morning Star. It's the final book in his Red Rising trilogy. I can't go into the premise of the series much without giving away the best parts. I'll say this, you will love and hate the main characters at one time or another. You won't likely relate to them much, because of the sci-fi aspect, but you will find yourself on their side. The world building happens rapidly in this series, so try to keep up. You'll follow Darrow through all three books, and learn things about his world at the same time he does. The storytelling is captivating, and the language is intriguing. Overall the series is an easy and fast read. Please don't let that deter you from reading this series. Also, don't let children read this. Teens, okay. Kids, NO! Book 1, Red Rising, will captivate you and leave you wanting more. Book 2, Golden Son, progresses the story, as it should. Book 3... Morning Star is the best final chapter to any series I've ever read.
The second is an ongoing comic series called, Injustice: Gods Among Us. It began in 2013 as a prequel to a well-received video game of the same title. I like the series because it explores the, "what if" side of having super heroes around. What if they decided to take over the world? What if they considered themselves above the law? What if they considered themselves to BE the law? What if Batman thought all that was a bad idea?
The series has had several different runners, artists, and writers. Those are things you can see in the material, but the direction of the story has always seemed to stay the same. At least as far as I can tell. You know, I just remembered that I wrote a post about this series back in September 2013. Yep. I'm still reading it, and I still love it. It's a dark series a lot of the time. I like that. So, if Batman fighting the Justice League is your bag, then you've gotta check this one out. If you hate it you can always blame me. Then come back here and tell me all about it. But I bet you won't hate all of it.
So there you go. A small sample of things I really liked so far this year. I have a confession to make. When I was thinking about music I had a whole bunch of stuff in mind... but it all came out last year. So, maybe there's something to the idea that this year hasn't been great for music. Not to mention the incredible losses the music community has had this year alone. The movies weren't as hard, because honestly, I go into a movie expecting to like it. I'm not going to waste my $10 on something I'm sure I'll hate.
I should really do more of these. I enjoy writing them. Can anybody help me figure out a way to can become a productive writer?
Not Off the Line
My hope for this year was to create as much content as possible. I'm sluggishly building a new website for my blog, I have a homepage built for the upcoming Entry Level Geek Show podcast my uncle Sam and I are doing, I've been making music with my band, The Coterie, and I started doing a podcast of my past blogs. Where I'm lacking is in writing. I have stories floating around inside my noggin and they're screaming at me to let them out.
Sometimes I see writing as a giant obstacle, because I type amazingly slow. You would think, "How does someone who does all their work on the computer type so slow?" And you would be justified in wondering. That fact about me truly does hinder my creativity. I'll be on a roll, and because it takes me so long to get it typed out, I might lose a thought, or I'll see that thought on the page and realize it isn't as cool as it was in my mind. It's for this reason that I have scraps of paper and half-empty notebooks all over my house. I can write it down a lot faster than I can type it, but I never seem to get back to those story ideas. I almost wish I had a personal assistant to type all my things, but the reality is, I should just get better at transposing all of my notes. Ah well, at least I'm thinking about it, right?
The thing that got me thinking about all of this was a story note I forgot about in my Evernote account. I'll post it here:
Story Idea (<-- Now that's a proper title)
In a future that is super compartmentalized. So much so that people only interact through media. There is a movement beginning to emerge from the shadow. It is something so bizarre that leaders and politicians are fighting to stop it. But it comes from something ancient within us. Togetherness.
Nobody wants to be alone. And now there’s a generation that will change the shape of humanity in the future. How will we change? Can the future be what almost every person has dreamed?
Okay, so you can see that the idea wasn't even very good. I'm sure it's one of those idea that I woke up with from a dream, and used my phone to record the thought. Because, you know, I can text faster than I can type. (Also a fact. It's sad. So sad.) However, because of this note, I started to remember the details of the idea I had for this story. It just took a few lines for my brain to kick in and think, "yeah, I remember this." It's kinda like that scene in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire where Dumbledore is pulling the memories from his mind and placing them in the pensieve. That's how my brain works. A little reminder, and BAM! – back to story drafting mode.
So, at least I have my ideas written down. I'll get something started. It's far too worth it for me to keep writing. Maybe once my website is built I'll post some stories I have finished there. Who knows. It may be a little while before I'm finished with that project too.
Things and Stuff
Two things caught a lump in my throat today, and it's not even noon. The first was a sense of pride in the company I work for. I don't want to get into what I do all day, or even explain what the American Angus Association is exactly. I just want to say that I was very lucky to have been given this job to start with. (Thank you, Dad.) And that when we reach major milestones I feel proud of what we're doing. Sometimes it's just a small sentiment that means the world to your employees. I guess I just feel appreciated today. So, thank you.
The second thing was good music. Only, the music successfully brought a tremble to my lips. Music has this effect on me most of the time, but this caught me off guard because it was a Christmas song. It wasn't a Santa Claus song. It was a religious song and I felt the words stronger than I ever have. I guess I felt "the reason for the season". I can see what this weekend is going to bring for me, so watch out. I'm bringing the love.
I discovered reading and writing for fun when I was in the 4th grade and I haven't been able to stop. I discovered my musical talent when I was 12 and started a band with my brother and my best friends. I have been on a journey of discovery that has shaped and molded my tastes for music, reading, writing, art, food and extracurricular activities since I was a high school freshman. And I'm not quite finished, so come along.