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by Jeff
Rated: 18+ · Book · Biographical · #1399999
My primary Writing.com blog.
Logocentric (adj). Regarding words and language as a fundamental expression of an external reality (especially applied as a negative term to traditional Western thought by postmodernist critics).

Sometimes I just write whatever I feel like. Other times I respond to prompts, many taken from the following places:

         *Penw* "The Soundtrackers Group
         *Penw* "Invalid Item
         *Penw* "Blogging Circle of Friends
         *Penw* "Blog City ~ Every Blogger's Paradise
         *Penw* "JAFBG
         *Penw* "Take up Your Cross

Thanks for stopping by! *Smile*
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May 8, 2024 at 2:56am
May 8, 2024 at 2:56am
To qualify for my Watch List every month, the following has to be something that I've watched that's new to me. It doesn't necessarily have to be a current show, but it can't be reruns or rewatches of something I've already seen. So if I'm including it in this list, it means this month is the first time I've watched it. I'll put "DNF" (Did Not Finish) next to anything that I stopped watching and have no immediate plans to finish.


         *Bullet* The Bigfoot Family


         *Bullet* The Last of Us (Season 1)
         *Bullet* The Rookie (Season 3)
         *Bullet* The Rookie (Season 4)
         *Bullet* The Rookie (Season 5)
         *Bullet* Punisher (Season 1)

With all of the "Game of Thrones going on, I didn't have a ton of time to watch movies or television in April. The Bigfoot Family was the only new movie I watched and it wasn't a very good one, but it kept my kids occupied for a couple of hours. *Laugh* On the television side, I'm just now getting around to finishing up the Netflix/Marvel shows by watching the first season of The Punisher, which was pretty good. I also enjoyed The Last of Us which was incredibly well-conceived and executed.

But my top pick of the month (if it wasn't apparent from the fact that we blazed through three seasons of it) was The Rookie. My wife loves procedurals and I tend to find them tedious and repetitive, but this one has enough good characters and story development to maintain my interest. Or at least my interest in background entertainment while I spent the month reviewing and writing like crazy! *Bigsmile*

TOP PICK: The Rookie
April 6, 2024 at 12:13am
April 6, 2024 at 12:13am

The Free Folk image for G.o.T.


This task challenges us to list ten books that we think the community should read and, to be honest, the hardest part of this is going to be figuring out which ten books because there are so many good ones out there.

1. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

This is the book I'm currently reading and I'm really enjoying it so far. It's about a girl from the 1700s who makes a pact with a demon to live forever, but in exchange no one can remember her once they're out of sight, out of mind. So she's cursed to live forever, but go through that life with no connections to anybody. It's really interesting an well written so far.

2. Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant

This was a really thought-provoking book about the things that people with unique ideas do differently from everyone else. There was definitely some good advice and insights for everybody to consider who does creative work.

3. Letters to the Church by Francis Chan

Francis Chan is always on the cutting edge of Christianity, contemplating what it's like to be a faithful Christian is a world where increasingly more people use it as a label and don't truly live out its tenets. This book was a really hard-hitting series of letters to Christians (and the Church writ large) about rethinking some core concepts and how to live them out. It was really powerful.

4. The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer

This is one of the most important books I've read in the past couple of years. As the name implies, it's about making tough decisions about the ways we invest our time and focus, and making conscious choices to slow down and take time to enjoy our lives.

5. Recursion by Blake Crouch

Blake Crouch is one of my favorite writers. He always has some unique idea and he's a good enough writer to turn those concepts into a compelling story with interesting characters. This is his take on alternate realities and parallel universes and, honestly, the less said the better. It's worth a read where you discover the story and all its twists and turns as you go.

6. Atomic Habits by James Clear

This was an interesting book about the power of small changes and how, when you stack them on top of one another, you can accomplish amazing things. For me, it was a new way to think about how to build routines and develop work processes from the ground up.

7. Space Team by Barry J. Hutchinson

Comedic science fiction is an underrated genre, and this is easily one of my favorite book series in recent years. It's ridiculous and hilarious and crude and silly. The basic premise is that a loser from Earth is mistaken for someone else and transported into space where he becomes the leader of a ragtag group of heroes. Bonus points if you listen to the audiobooks; the narrator includes outtakes at the end. *Wink*

8. Starter Villain by John Scalzi

Another science fiction comedy, this is a story about an average guy who inherits his estranged uncle's business, not realizing that his estranged uncle was a supervillain complete with a volcano island lair and everything. He has to learn how to be a supervillain on the fly, as people vie for his uncle's weakened empire.

9. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I finally got around to reading this after so many people had raved about it, and I wasn't disappointed. I've always loved gothic stories and the Mexican cultural elements interwoven into this story made it really compelling. It's not a perfect book, but it was good enough that I picked up a few other of this author's books right after I finished.

10. The Blade Itself (The First Law Trilogy #1) by Joe Abercrombie

This is one of my favorite fantasy series and I just recommended it to a friend who finished the first book and has been talking to me about it, so it's fresh in my mind. The characters are incredible, and it's a surprisingly humorous book given the gritty hard fantasy setting. Definitely one of the best examples of the genre, IMHO.

I'd highly encourage you to check out any and/or all of the above books!
April 5, 2024 at 11:58am
April 5, 2024 at 11:58am
To qualify for my Watch List every month, the following has to be something that I've watched that's new to me. It doesn't necessarily have to be a current show, but it can't be reruns or rewatches of something I've already seen. So if I'm including it in this list, it means this month is the first time I've watched it. I'll put "DNF" (Did Not Finish) next to anything that I stopped watching and have no immediate plans to finish.

         *Bullet* Charlie's Angels (2019)
         *Bullet* Dune: Part Two
         *Bullet* Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio
         *Bullet* Nimona
         *Bullet* Road House (2024)
         *Bullet* Ruby Gillman: Teenage Kraken

         *Bullet* Game of Thrones (Season 1)
         *Bullet* The Rookie (Season 1)
         *Bullet* The Rookie (Season 2)
         *Bullet* Will Trent (Season 1)

Lots of good stuff this month. On the movies side, Road House was ridiculous, silly fun, and Dune: Part Two was visually stunning and way better paced than the super-slow first installment. But my favorite movie of the month has to be Nimona, an animated movie on Netflix that was nominated for an Oscar this past year. It was funny, touching, and set in a futuristic science fantasy world that was really interesting. I don't want to say too much because I think it's a movie best enjoyed without any prior expectations, but I highly recommend it.

On the television side, I finally started watching Game of Thrones to get ready for the game on WdC this month, and my wife and I finally found a procedural that I like watching along with her: The Rookie. Is it basically Castle, except set in Los Angeles where Nathan Fillion plays an old rookie instead of a writer? Yes, but it's still fun. We've raced through the first two seasons, and still have four to go. Will Trent, on the other hand, was pretty terrible. I couldn't get over the lead actor's inconsistent accent which came and went even within the same scene. Definitely pass on that one, unless you happen to be a huge fan of the book series.

March 9, 2024 at 1:36am
March 9, 2024 at 1:36am
To qualify for my Watch List every month, the following has to be something that I've watched that's new to me. It doesn't necessarily have to be a current show, but it can't be reruns or rewatches of something I've already seen. So if I'm including it in this list, it means this month is the first time I've watched it. I'll put "DNF" (Did Not Finish) next to anything that I stopped watching and have no immediate plans to finish.

         *Bullet* Argylle
         *Bullet* Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom
         *Bullet* The Killer
         *Bullet* The Marvels
         *Bullet* Saltburn
         *Bullet* Upgraded
         *Bullet* Wonka

         *Bullet* Colin in Black & White
         *Bullet* Echo
         *Bullet* Fleabag (Season 2)
         *Bullet* Star Wars Rebels (Season 2)
         *Bullet* True Detective: Night Country

The two movies that I really enjoyed this past month were The Killer and Wonka, although they both had their faults and weren't perfect. Still, they were really enjoyable compared to the other features that I watched last month, each of which had a significant weakness or missing element. Argylle got too slapsticky and contrived toward the end. Aquaman was another DC mess that felt like it was phoned in. The Marvels was just okay, but I had a really hard time working on that film, so I think I probably enjoy it less thanks to the work memories I have of it. Upgraded was an incredibly generic romantic comedy that was released directly to streaming, and Saltburn was an incredibly weird movie. It was intriguing, but also pretty offbeat.

On the television side, I finally finished watching Echo, and finished out Fleabag when I completed the second season. I have to be honest, I don't see the big deal about that show. A lot of people are calling it one of the smartest shows ever written with memorable characters and I found it pretty middle-of-the road. Star Wars Rebels continues to be one of my favorite Star Wars properties despite being an animated television show aimed at kids, but it's exceptionally well done and the characters are incredibly memorable. Colin in Black & White was a fascinating docuseries on Colin Kaepernick and his younger years, and it was supplemented with information about American history as it relates to the experience of black citizens. It was really well-produced and touching. And True Detective: Night Country was a phenomenal show. I never really got into this anthology series for the first few seasons, but this one is set in Alaska during it's extended period without daylight, and has a great mystery surrounding it that's equal parts conventional crime and supernatural mystery. I highly recommend it.

For the first time in a long time, I'm calling my top pick a tie between a nonfiction series and a narrative series.

TOP PICKS: Colin in Black & White AND True Detective: Night Country
February 29, 2024 at 2:11pm
February 29, 2024 at 2:11pm
"The Soundtrack of Your Life | Day 29
"Is It Over Now?" by Taylor Swift

It's only fitting that I end this year's "The Soundtrack of Your Life with a Taylor Swift song. After the year she's had and all the record's she's broken, it's only fair that she extend her record-setting run of being featured on (now) six consecutive "The Soundtrack of Your Life playlists of mine. Talk about real achievements... *Pthb*

I had a really hard time choosing just one song to feature this year. She released her album Midnights in late 2022 which has a ton of songs that I really love. I featured "Anti-Hero on last year's playlist but have really come to appreciate some of the other songs on that album even more, including "Maroon," "Midnight Rain," and "Bejewled," plus "Paris" off the 3am Edition extended album release. But the album was at least represented on a previously playlist.

But then I started thinking back to the Taylor Swift concert my wife and I attended over the summer, and how many phenomenal songs we were reminded of. "Long Live," "My Tears Ricochet," and "Dress" (the last of which was one of the songs from the acoustic set of our show) were all songs that I started listening to again in earnest since the concert, and all of which eventually ended up on my Spotify year-end playlist. But ultimately I decided not to go with any of those because...

... the real highlight of Taylor Swift's year, for me, was the release of 1989 (Taylor's Version), which was the self-produced re-release album that I was most looking forward to. Not only is it my favorite album of hers (although Lover and Reputation are very close), but the "From The Vault" bonus tracks are all amazing. This is the one that's been my favorite so far ("Now That We Don't Talk" is a close second), and I've been listening to it on repeat for a while now. The fact that it's near the top of my Spotify "most listened to songs of 2023" and it wasn't even released until the very end of October 2023 should give you an indication of just how much I've been listening to it over the past few months. *Whistle*

The final reason why I chose it is because the song title ("Is It Over Now?") is a perfect encapsulation of my feelings about this year's "The Soundtrack of Your Life. I have mixed feelings about it being over. On the one hand, I'm sad that it's now over and done for another year, and we have the longest possible wait until it reopens again in February 2025. As usual, I didn't get to fit nearly all the songs I wanted to (I left off all the Contemporary Christian and worship music I've been listening to all year, even though it was the genre I listened to most!), and it felt like I was more rushed than usual this year. Which is why I'm also kind of glad it's over; I really had to power through over the past few days and get caught up on a lot of entries because I was stuck at six entries for about three weeks.

Still, I really love this activity and I'm looking forward to getting caught up on everyone else's playlists and starting to put together my own for next year!

(552 words)

February 29, 2024 at 1:53pm
February 29, 2024 at 1:53pm
"The Soundtrack of Your Life | Day 28
"bad idea right?" by Olivia Rodrigo

I really like Olivia Rodrigo's music. At first when she was a Disney kid I didn't think much of her, but the way she really struck out on her own with her first album Sour was revelatory... and now her second album Guts is proving that it's not just a one-off. She's managing to bring an older, adult perspective (ironic, considering she's only 21) to pop music and I love the fact that the subject matter of her songs and lyrics don't hold anything back. Lyrics from this song like, "I only see him as a friend / (biggest lie I've ever said)" and "I only see him as a friend / I tripped and fell into his bed" are great turns of phrase that I think a lot of people can really relate to.

If she's only 21 and already releasing music that's this catchy and this sophisticated, I'm really excited to see where her career goes from here.

February 29, 2024 at 1:41pm
February 29, 2024 at 1:41pm
"The Soundtrack of Your Life | Day 27
"Homemade Dynamite" by Lorde

I'm not a big fan of Lorde in general (I know some people absolutely adore her), but I have to admit that this song is really catchy. I discovered it playing on the radio of a friend's car on the way to Disneyland and found it really catchy. I had nothing else to do but listen to it because she was trying to surprise him so she made him wear a blindfold and earplugs then snuck me into the car so I could let them in... so I was in the back of the car and we couldn't talk or anything (lest we spoil the surprise) so she cranked up the radio and this was the song that was playing. All in all, it wasn't a bad way to pass the time until we got to the park and could reveal where we'd brought him. *Smirk*

February 29, 2024 at 1:34pm
February 29, 2024 at 1:34pm
"The Soundtrack of Your Life | Day 26
"These Days (AJR Remix)" by Rudimental feat. Jess Glynne, Macklemore, and Dan Caplen

I think this song wins the award for the most collaborators of anything on my playlist this year. Rudimental recorded the track with Jess Glynne, Macklemore, and Dan Caplen... and then just for a little extra oomph, AJR remixed this version. *Laugh* I really love this song, though. Macklemore is a great rapper and mixing it with Rudimental's lyrics and the vocals of the others all just kind of works together. It's a nostalgic, feel-good song that I found myself listening to more than once when I needed a little pick-me-up.

February 29, 2024 at 1:28pm
February 29, 2024 at 1:28pm
"The Soundtrack of Your Life | Day 25
"Best Friend Song" by Rozzi

This is the third year in a row that I've featured Rozzi on my "The Soundtrack of Your Life playlist. She actually might be the most consistently featured artist that I've used, other than Taylor Swift, who's had at least one song appear on my playlist every year for the past five years. *Shock2*

There's something about Rozzi's voice that just really resonates with me. I think it's really unique and she manages to pair it with really interesting lyrics and simple beats that make it stand out. I don't really know what makes the particular version of the song in the video the "Lemon Ice Mix" (it sounds an awful lot like the original to me), but this is a pretty simple and fun song to listen to... even though I can't listen to it in the car with the kids because I don't want them asking me what "giving someone mushrooms" means. *Laugh*

February 29, 2024 at 1:22pm
February 29, 2024 at 1:22pm
"The Soundtrack of Your Life | Day 24
"Waves" by Pace Randolph feat. The Choir Imperfect

I'd never heard of Pace Randolph (or The Choir Imperfect) before, but this was another Spotify recommendation find that I really enjoyed and listened to a lot over the past year. I really dig the combination of vocals and a bit of both country and electronic vibes. It's a unique-sounding song that is a really good mix of the two major genres I've probably been listening to the most over this past year: electro-pop and country.

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