Bookshelf&reviews21 Apr 2014 09:56 am

Merlin. One of the most written about characters of all time. He has to be. And why not?

Merlin is a compelling character, full of mystery, intrigue, and untold power. He’s been portrayed in many different ways by many different writers – there are even a few current series right now on the market dealing with various aspects of his life and legend. And it’s always been that way. It’s a bottomless well of resources for countless stories.

merlin

When I was younger, I admired the potential of these stories, but didn’t read that many for one reason or other. Often it was the pacing, sometimes it was the language, and then, of course, other times it was because I wasn’t allowed to dwell on wizards and mystical powers. I’m older now and I have more patience and control over what I read and, with Netflix offering the BBC series, my appetite was whetted for some ancient tales.

Today, I’m talking about The Merlin Spiral series written by Robert Treskillard, published by Blink, and focused on the origin story of Merlin, Arthur, and all the legends. [continue reading this post...]

general01 Apr 2014 05:35 pm

Remember when music was art by default? I know, it’s been a while. Much of music these days is little more than noise collections – well, at least if you believe what you hear on the radio. Well, leave it to the Wu Tang Clan to try to turn things around. And the bonus irony is that many critics blame the rise of hip-hop to the downfall of artistic music.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 22 years since Wu Tang first invited us into the 36 chambers of hip-hop glory. Granted, it’s not family friendly by any means, but the group left an indelible mark on hip hop as it continued to emerge as a viable genre. And then… they all but disappeared. And now… they’re back with a new album which is poised to go… paper? They only plan on selling one copy.

Their “tour” will consist of sending the double album around the world to museums where patrons will have the opportunity to engage with the two-hour long release through headphones after paying approximately $30-50 for admission and subjecting themselves to strict security protocols to ensure the music doesn’t leak. The goal, besides creating the music industry’s equivalent of an “Egyptian scepter” (their words), is to remind us that music is art. And, apparently, you can’t have it for yourself.
[continue reading this post...]

general20 Mar 2014 09:35 pm

Did you know there’s a plane missing out there? Here’s how I’ve processed this information thus far.

First question: How can you lose a plane in this day and age?
Second question: Is Lost coming back?
Third question: Seriously? They really lost a plane?
Fourth question: Why are the producers of Lost answering questions? Is Lost coming back?
Fifth question: Enough already, where is the plane?
Sixth question: Conspiracy? No… if this was a conspiracy, Edward Snowden would’ve been on that plane.
Seventh question: Courtney Love is still alive?
Eight question: How can you lose a plane in this day and age?
Ninth question: Really? No one on board took a selfie in an oxygen mask? “We’re going down, ROTFL. CrashTag: Malaysian Air”
Tenth question: Australia? Seriously, how do you lose a PLANE?

It’s kind of crazy and, if nothing else a distraction from other world events like war and stuff.

Speaking of distractions… [continue reading this post...]

general13 Mar 2014 01:37 pm

I grew up picking Sony over pretty much every other brand for all my electronics needs, I mean wants. As far as I was concerned, they were the bees knees. The best mesh of style and function. They were at the forefront of the industry for audio, portable devices, video games, and yes, even eReaders. I wanted a Sony eReader so badly for years before I finally broke down and, um, bought a Kindle because it offered a much better ecosystem, but that’s beside the point. The point is, Sony helped usher in the digital world of music and books which now has all but dwarfed the world of physical books and CDs. And now, in light of that success… Sony is closing their Reader Store this month.

For some reason, their business model includes keeping this in stock:

cdwalkman

But not this:

ereader
[continue reading this post...]

general25 Feb 2014 05:13 pm

So, the Olympics are over and everyone knows which countries got how many medals and everyone has an opinion on who got jilted. That’s the bottom line. However, there were a few side storylines that jumped out. The general lack of preparation. The dogs. Bob Costas’s pink eye outbreak. Oh yeah, and the new definition of “Alternative Lifestyle.”

Okay, let me first say that I totally understand what the writer was trying to do here. Honestly, to be happily married and have a 2-year old daughter at 23 is something of an anomaly these days. Especially as an X Games athlete, a career choice that carries with it the stigma (stereotype) of slacking off, tempting fate, and letting the world mature around you while you hold onto youth for dear life. I’m pretty sure that’s as far as Wilder intended to go. Chances are, he had nothing to do with writing the headline (and “alternative” doesn’t appear in the article). So, no reason to be upset with Skyler Wilder.

There is cause for concern, though, and I don’t have room here to fully delve into it, but I will absolutely introduce my thoughts and hopefully get back to them in the near future for a deeper dive. Stoke the fires of discussion so to speak. [continue reading this post...]

general20 Feb 2014 05:09 pm

If you live in one of the 49 states that has snow on the ground, you understand the concept of shoveling. I know, the mere mention of it sends a tweak down my back, but I learned something this time around. See, I have two boys who are more than capable of shoveling out our driveway in most cases. And yet, when I sent them out there to take care of it, I found them lounging around aimlessly, as if they didn’t know what to do.

See, I sent them out there and said, “shovel the driveway,” which makes some sense to most of us, but it’s wasn’t specific enough for them. It wasn’t until I went out, shoveled a stripe down the middle of the driveway, and defined a space and time for them to complete their task that they finally dug in and got to work. That specificity is something I need when I plan out my own tasks. Never just a broad stroke, but always narrow down my focus and knock out the task bit by bit, or shovelful by shovelful.

music. Hawk Nelson. Made.

I heard Faithful this morning and immediately recognized the vocal, but had forgotten it was on this album. I’ve been listening to it on and off the rest of the day.

[continue reading this post...]

general15 Feb 2014 12:11 am

Busy, busy week. I spent far too much time this week wondering if it was okay for a zoo to publicly kill a giraffe and far too much time shoveling snow. What I’ve come up with is this…

Q: If a giraffe is felled in an empty forest does it make a noise?
A: Depends on when the snow starts accumulating.

So, really, I don’t know anything about giraffes – I’m not even certain what sound they make. (I actually think that would be a better song than the fox one.) But I do know that there are no empty forests in the world today, there are only distractions that keep things from entering the public conversation. Otherwise, everything is reported and everything is apparently fair game.

Oh, Happy Valentine’s Day. (See what I did there? Distraction…)

music. Anthem Lights. You Have My Heart.
[continue reading this post...]

general10 Feb 2014 05:35 pm

Delivering bad news is never easy, but when someone stands in front of a crowd and has to deliver a message no one in the audience is going to be happy about, you have to admire them, right? Well, I do, anyway. And even though I still didn’t like the message, I can’t help but be thankful for the leadership example. Of course, I guess it has a lot to do with how much you like the guy in the first place, right?

Anyway, I’m being non-specific in hopes that I can keep it short. It’s Monday, it’s a busy day and I’m going to have to keep this quick.

music. OneRepublic – Dreaming Out Loud

This is on the $5 list at Amazon this month and It’s a great album. I have a suspicion that the more I work on my latest project, the more I’ll listen to some of the songs on this album. How’s that for a teaser?

media. 100 Books (pt. 3)

amazon100_05

Wimpy Kid. Haven’t read and I don’t mean to speak poorly of it, but I wouldn’t really consider it worthy of inclusion but for the unique presentation (for the time) and the cultural impact. [continue reading this post...]

general07 Feb 2014 05:33 pm

Well, I missed yesterday. Had a schedule shift and never got back to this. Anyway, it’s an exciting weekend because the Olympics finally start after all the build up. Not that Sochi is ready for them. Lots of strange reports coming from the front lines. It used to be about the best of sports from around the world, but now it’s like a summer camp showdown. Reality TV at it’s finest.

Anyway, enjoy the weekend, enjoy the games (if you choose to watch), but first there’s this.

music. Don’t Drink the Water – Playdough

Yes. My tribute to the Olympics.

media. 100 Books (pt. 2) http://amzn.to/1evl3SQ

The next ten books that should make you “well read.”

amazon100_03

Are You There? I’m not sure if I ever actually read this, but it’s a “girl” book anyway. [continue reading this post...]

general05 Feb 2014 03:48 pm

Focus. I read a book about dynamic communication not long ago (and reviewed it here) and the biggest takeaway I found was the importance of having and maintaining your focus. Two stories today struck me as examples of focus. First, Shaun White withdrew from the “slope style” snowboarding event in the upcoming Olympics. Instead, he’s narrowing his focus on the halfpipe, where he has traditionally dominated the competition.

Second, CVS Corporation has announced that their stores will stop carrying tobacco products because selling cigarettes and related products goes against their ultimate focus of being a health care provider for consumers. This is a bold move that could cost them billions of dollars in sales and there’s a lot more to unpack – including a semi-snide remark about shelf space for marijuana – but today my focus will be on Amazon’s list of 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime below.
[continue reading this post...]

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