So I Tried Some…

Part Two of Recommendations

Again thanks so much for reading and responding! I had some pretty good recommendations on my blog and in person.  I have added links to Goodreads, IMDB and Youtube videos if any of the following media interests you.

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley  (book)
More steampunk from the 1880s in this historical fiction. It has mystery, a mysterious pocket watch, and even more mysterious characters. The blurb seems oblique which likely means there are too many twists, turns and mysteries to summarize properly. My sister in law had just started reading it when we went on vacation together and I never got to hear how she liked it, but I am looking forward to trying it myself.

Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changes America by Eric Larson (book)
The blurb reads like fiction. 
Everything seemed to happen at these world fairs. One of my favorite fun facts about the 1893 World’s Fair is that is where Pabst Blue Ribbon beer won its blue ribbon. Although the title seems all inclusive let me share that the book mainly follows the architect for all the amazing buildings that spring from ground and another serial killer that must be drawn to the masses of easy prey. Now I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. 

Max Headroom (TV series)
I came around after the swell and ebb of fascination with sassy, glitchy music VJs. This was another show that was recommended to me and I got to view it right after. I was coached beforehand that this series was created when there were computers, but there was no Internet. I do remember before my family had Internet. And then we exited that musty old cave. Anywho, the show is futuristic (specifically 20 minutes in the future) and the most important difference in this Blade Runner type world is that televisions have no off-switch and they are two way. The show focuses on wordplay and human emotion so despite the sometimes (VERY) silly sounding tech talk this show is still entertaining. Carter, Max and a team of misfits uncover some treachery in the way things are run in their world by broadcasting the facts.  

Mokoomba (band) and specifically the song Masangango
I gotta say, this is not my normal style of music, but I loved it! My friend really sold it when he recommended it to me by saying, 

Mokoomba is an exciting, Afro-fusion band from Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
Their sound has elements of Afro-pop, hard reggae, and rock. Vocalist Mathias Muzaza’s powerful singing is matched by the incredible musicality of the band. This particular song is a masterpiece. The melodic intro with haunting vocals and subtle blues licks on guitar soon lead to a happier rhythm, punctuated by the traditional African mbira thumb piano. The song builds from there, yielding the fierce and powerful vocals for which Muzaza is famous!…The listener may not know the meaning of the lyrics, but that fact will not diminish the power of song or the enjoyment of it.

Thanks for sharing, Thor! Catch more snark and tune recommendations from Thor on Twitter @RadioThor. The song has an awesome blues/reggae vibe that sits just right and I’m following Mokoomba on Spotify. I suggest you check out more of their music as well.

Naked in Death by JD Robb (book)
Futuristic lady detective who gets involved with one of her suspects. There are quite a few books in the In Death series penned by Nora Roberts under her pen name. I don’t believe I can get through 30+ books, but I will definitely look into the first few books soon.

 

Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander (books)
I can’t tell you how many times I have been told to read this series. Young boy is charged with babysitting a magical pig. It’s a very famous fantasy series with adorable cartoon that doesn’t hold at all true to the books. Maybe I will give this another go. I haven’t ever really given this book a chance.

Pink Panther (movies)
I know I have seen bits and pieces from the Peter Sellers and the Steve Martin versions of these films. Of course, Sellers is the classic. I need to go through and watch the movies again. Good old physical comedy from the way back whens.

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They Told Me To Try It

Part one of recommendations

I had some pretty good recommendations on my blog and in person. Thanks for reading and responding! I have added links to Goodreads, IMDB and Youtube videos if any of the following media interests you. There will be more coming soon.

Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell (book)

Src: Goodreads

This was recommended to me when I told one of my historian friends that I had started A Young People’s History of the United States (Zinn, adapted by Stefoff). I am having some trouble getting through it because there is little cheer in highlighting every group’s battle with oppression. Assassinated presidents sounds like another jolly topic, but from all the reviews I’ve read the writer presents it with some wry humor and it sounds organized like a travel journal. I’m a voyeur and how can you blame me since I have kept a private journal for nearly 12 years.

Banks of the Ohio (song)
I listened to several versions of this to get a feel for this creepy, creepy song that was first recorded in 1927 (Wikipedia). Bill Monroe and Doc Watson was the first that I listened to. It has all the charm of an Uncle picking on the back porch with a couple of the other older farmers. Feet dangling off the back porch and smoke curling up through the battling heat and humidity. This is a song that falls under the sub genre of murder ballads of which there were at least enough for Nick Cave to fill an album of them. The second one I listened to was by Dolly Parton, which I had hoped was a tweaked female version. It takes a very Dolly spin in the way it sounds and although some lyrics are different the main change is found in the first few lines: “I went into his prison cell/To write his story, if he’d tell/He spoke as tears fell from his eyes/And he told me when and how and why/And he said…” before moving onto the story. Olivia Newton-John changes to a female perspective and has the same “knife to breast” murdering that Dolly sings about. I prefer Bill’s straight off pushing and drowning murder. Seems simplest. Johnny Cash has the best of both worlds as he stabs and then pushes his love into the Ohio River. Moral of the story, if the man’s name is “Willie”, don’t turn him down by any sizable body of water.

The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. (TV series)

This is a TV show that got recommended to me and then I got to watch several episodes. First off, if you are a Bruce Campbell fan and haven’t seen this, then you might need to look to fixing your life. This is a wild west TV show in which a man comes to town to avenge his father’s death (Brisco County Senior). It’s your typical wild west TV show (27 episodes), if your norm involves the Chin himself, snorting with laughter at Julius Carry (who played Sho-Nuff in The Last Dragon), and a little bit of weird that can most easily be categorized to 1890s steampunk. Watch it.

Gary: Tank Commander (TV series)
I have already started watching this on Netflix and as I have gotten into it, I dinnae ken who can avoid watching it! Okay, it’s not going to change your life, but this is a funny Scottish military TV show. Gary barely scrapes by without keeping out of trouble and the many duties that the armed forces take on while at home. I still have to have subtitles on and near the beginning of the series the actors poke fun at Americans who can’t understand their slang and accent so there is plenty of cheek. There are a few jokes that are culture specific, but I haven’t had to look up anything that I didn’t understand by context. It kinda reminds me of the pranks and scrapes of the characters in MASH except there aren’t any episodes that include folks getting dead. Around the time of posting, Netflix has 3 seasons available.

Vegan Bourbon Hazelnut Pancakes (recipe)
This is not actually a recipe I made, but one that I ate. The recipe that my vegetarian friend was one that she got from a vegan recipe book. I’m not certain, but this one seems damned similar. Let me clearly state, I don’t like pancakes. I’m also a lover of cheese, milk, butter, and eggs, so vegan recipes are hard for me to get behind. However, I’ve got a friend who is brave enough to try it and forces me -nicely- to try stuff. These were THE BOMBDINGO. We ate them with plain maple syrup, but you could have eaten them plain as well. I ate huge helpings and was waddling around after dinner. If I had any complaint, the ‘butter’ didn’t quite melt like butter. None of that mattered since it tasted ah-mazing. Get outta here with your banana pancakes, Jack Johnson.

Did this short list remind you of other awesome things you’d like to share? Please post below.

Have you already tried some of the above things listed? What did you think?

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Photo: movieweb.com

Over Christmas and New Year’s I got exposed to some new-to-me music, movies, games, and books. One game especially kinda pulled it all together. There’s a card
game named Slash in which you try to find the best mate for each character. All the character cards are from TV, movies, and books. This brought to my attention to how many cards I needed to discard since I was at a loss as to who or what the character was.

I would love to get recommendations for all types of media in the new year. It is so readily available but it’s like diving into the middle of the ocean. Where to begin?
It doesn’t have to be new media either. For example, I watched Die Hard just before Xmas for the first time. Alan Rickman makes a cool bad guy and I hope he’s enjoying some peace just now. Oh, and dear god, get that cop some shoes.

alan rickman

Photo: Buzzfeed

So, can you recommend some media to me?

  • Movies–I like comedies, romances, thrillers, action films. Not keen on angst ridden, artsy films nor horror flicks. Although, classic horror is good.
  • Television–Similar to movies. I like crime shows and comedies. Such as NCIS, Castle, and Parks &  Recreation.
  • Anime or Cartoons–I love all things Studio Ghibli. I am not into mech.
  • Books/Graphic novels–Mostly fiction/fantasy/sci-fi and some biographical nonfiction.
  • Music–I really like singable and dance-able music and sometimes I need chill background music.
  • Podcasts–I like em short, informational (somewhat), and funny.
  • Games–Solitaire type games, two person/small crowd, cards, dice, paper–I’m easy.
  • Recipes–I love cooking! I am not the most experienced, but I love playing with recipes!

Here are a few things I’ve been taking in recently:

  • Movies–Watch Die Hard if you haven’t. If only to hear Alan Rickman say “Yippie Ki yay, mother fucker” one more time. (Spoiler: https://youtu.be/7tKr5XRPGmQ)
  • Television–iZombie has been getting recommended to heaps of folks by me. I want to get into Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries series.
  • Anime or Cartoons–Last animated feature I watched was Animatrix (again)–some not so bad ones in there.
  • Books/Graphic novels–Reading Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls.
  • Music–Uhm, I have been listening to same playlists for years…
  • Podcasts–Thrilling Adventure’s Sparks Nevada Marshall on Mars is great!
  • Games–I enjoyed King of Tokyo over the holidays among several others.
  • Recipes–I don’t know why but homemade chicken salad is so simple and worth every ounce of effort.

Please leave me some recommendations in the comments below. I would absolutely love all input! I can quickly do a search and read a quick blurb on the media you suggest, but I would much rather like to know why are you recommending this? I assume because it was good, but it is thinky, inspiring, funny, great for a party, perfect with a cup of tea?

 

What Are You Reading?

Unlike school kids, most of my reading goes on during the fall and winter. These times of year are when things begin to slow down. Less work, on and off the farm, and less to do out of doors–if you’re cold natured like me.
As things have slowed down, I have gotten to hang out with some of my siblings and our conversation circled around to, What books are you reading?
Sadly, my answer was, nothing.

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So, I have made a point to change that!
I am rereading this L’Engle book. A Wind in the Door. I read it as a kid and just began re-reading it this year. I still had a bookmark in it from months ago and found it wasn’t very hard to jump right back into the story.

It is a tiny book, somewhere around two-hundred pages. So a great way to get back into a regular reading schedule.
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My sister loaned me a copy of a new manga she has been reading and really loves. Bride Story by Kaoru Mori.
Even my mom likes this manga, so I am pumped to find out what she is so enthralled with.

What are you reading right now?
Need some inspiration?

Your Next Read
Or try What Should I Read Next?
I found these websites accidentally on Pinterest and love the idea. Type in a book you have read and liked, it will find a list of books similar to it. My results from the second website showed some similar books I love and some new books I have never stumbled on.

Make some tea and take some time to read today.

Subconscious Messages and Book Party Games

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Yesterday, I was planning some games for my SiLs Golden Birthday Party (where your age matches the numerical day you were born). I have several great games in the forming stage of awesome.

The party is a Potluck/Bookluck, in which guests will bring a dish inspired by a book, its recipe and a copy of any kind of good book for the birthday girl.

This game is Book Title Guesstures/charades and yes, I realize that I did not invent this game. Guests will pull a slip of paper with a book title on it and have to act it out.

This was the first bit of my kids’ book list…notice anything wrong?
Shortly after starting this list I went and got a beer because I obviously needed one.

Other book related games include,
Book Think–Given a letter of the alphabet, players must come up with a book title or character. “The” and “a” do not count.

Book Scavenger Hunt— Large pile of picture books and chapter books. Players must find words, sentences, characters, copyright dates, photos of the author, etc.

Book Pickup Lines– Nerd/HP glasses and offer the best bookish pickup lines to birthday girl. We will try to write these down or record people saying them.

Poem Writer Book Search– Each player must create a poem, but their word bank only consists of those found in a kids picture book.
Making Bookmarks— Okay, this is a craft not a game, but I figure this might be fun to try. Stamps, construction paper, ribbon, jewels, etc.

Who is it?— Group activity or one at a time. Either played as a 20 questions game or as group guesses. Read off hints and everyone writes down who the clue is about. Then go thru list again and reveal the identities.

W is for Writing

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It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I love to write. When I was younger I dreamt of becoming a writer for a newspaper, but there is a lot more to studying journalism than I took interest in. Perhaps when I am older, I will write on my perspectives of the world and people will eagerly flip through newspapers with inked black thumbs just to read my quips over coffee.

I know that it can only be a fantasy because by the time I’m old enough to have opinions worth hearing there won’t be printed newspapers—unless we’re all very lucky.

All the money and glory aside I really enjoy it. I can blame my sister who struggled to get me to keep a diary at a young age.

I can’t thank my sisters enough for being cool and keeping journals. It gave me the inspiration to write, content with misspellings, and come to terms with my feelings through paper and pencil.

Let me be clear that the fact I (still) cannot spell “diarrhea” angers me to no end. I’ve gotten a bit better. My first journal entry involves me discussing my cold symptoms, such as a “soar thoark.” Maybe it wasn’t that bad, but it was close.

I haven’t counted the number of journals I have filled recently, but I’m fairly certain that I’m close to the 30 journals filled mark.
The picture is most of my journals, but lacks at least four of them.

For me, writing is fun!

Day 357: New Reads

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Started reading a new book and yes, I know that is very silly considering I’m leaving soon. I wanted to give it a taste before I left for Spain.

I’m only a couple of chapters in and each chapter is from a different characters’ point of view. So it is kinda like I’ve read the first week of this family’s adventures in the Congo from four different perspectives.

The trouble with each chapter having a different perspective is that they think and will use language differently.
I’ve read other books that use this style successfully. So far, the characters are quite similar and shallow.

There is a big difference in vocabulary between the five year old and the rest of the family. Even so, the five year old talks more like L’Engle’s Charles Wallace than any real child.

Currently, I’m on the hunt for a skinny paperback for the plane ride to Spain. I think I need to take a dive at the used bookstore nearby.