Saturday, August 1, 2015
What I'm Into (July 2015 wrap-up)
It has been quite a while since I've posted! I wanted to stop in here and chat you up with something kind-of light, so I thought I'd join this link-up for the first time when two of the blogs in my feed reader featured the same title today! So...
WHAT I'M INTO: JULY 2015 EDITION
All things 70s. I, as the last person on the planet, bought two new albums via iTunes yesterday: Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and Fleetwood Mac's Rumours. A friend and I went and saw Elton at the end of March, and I read a biography of him after that, and this is far-and-wide purported to be his best album ever. To think, six months ago I barely had any clue who the rocker was. I knew some of his songs, but had no idea he was the artist behind them. Even the Lion King, people!! My favorite songs on this album are "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" (of course), and also "Sweet Painted Lady" and "Roy Rogers" (not necessarily in that order). And when I listened to Rumours my first thought was, "This is okay, but I'm not sure it's as great as everyone else seems to think...." But I do like several of its songs, and the whole theme of the album seems to fit my life well right now. I probably would not have "gotten it" if I had listened to it before this year.
It's been too long since I just indulged in listening to great music!!
Since the 70s seem to be my musical era at the moment, I looked up some other great albums from the decade. I did some listening to Pink Floyd (and was not impressed - someone PLEASE explain all the hype here, please!!), Led Zeppelin (a little better than Floyd, but still...), and Roxy Music (it just didn't really hit it for me). I of course love me some Dylan, and some sixties groups like the Beatles and the Beach Boys still rock my world, but I'm beginning to think the 70s as a whole aren't really my decade, and I've already discovered all the greats I'm going to from then! We'll see, I guess. I am, however, definitely a fan of the coherently themed album.
Oh, also, a Facebook friend posted this recommended playlist of current "repeat" songs of public radio hosts. I have cued it up on YouTube, but haven't listened yet. I'm all about the creative!
I was going to post this as "Books," but even though I've downloaded and ordered several still on their way to being delivered, I'm really reading more on the Internet this week than I am reading in book form. I discovered J. R. R. Tolkien's essay (originally given as a lecture) on Andrew Lang called "On Fairy Stories," and this week blogger Richard Beck has broken down the essay in a (so-far four-part) series called "The Theology of Faerie." I'm working on the essay and plan to read the blogs next. The title caught me, and the cross between fantasy literature and theology is RIGHT up my alley!
July 21st I finished the book Catherine: Inside the Heart and Mind of a Great Monarch and fell in love with this long-dead symbol of feminine leadership. She had a couple of obvious flaws, one of which was that she came to love her authority more than her youthful ideals of justice for peasants, and thereby missed an opportunity to capstone the legacy of her greatness. The book is well-written, though (even if I would fault some of the technical editing shortcomings), and keeps one's attention from beginning to end. It read differently than any other work of fiction I've ever come across - I guess that can be attributed to the author's style, and the style made me feel like I was reading more research than fiction. I recommend this read!
I found this (and several other interesting reads) through a daily email service from Bookbub.com. It allows you to choose your favorite genres, and in a daily email you receive a recommendation in each category you chose, at a very cheap price or free. I've ordered quite a few books since a friend recommended Bookbub to me a couple of months ago.
Small Space Living (and extra money)
Okay, I know this craze has been going on for a little while now and I'm late to jump onboard the party boat, but I'm not into it in such a way that I want to buy a little pop-up camper and park it in the forest over by Walden Pond. I just live in a small house and am looking for ways to optimize my space. I know I will move again at some point, anywhere from very soon to a couple of years from now. I'm tired of moving beind a hassle; I'm tired of clutter being an ongoing enemy that surrounds me and tears at my mental-health defenses...I'm just tired of pointless "stuff" and all the wasted money that goes into it.
So I'm trimming back. I've taken probably close to a hundred books to a local bookstore this week for cash. They give pretty decent trade prices, or you can cash out for half the amount they offer in in-store trade credit. (I always cash out.) And I'm finding extra stuff around the house to put on Craigslist. Double benefits: I'm clearing out the clutter and making a little extra pocket change to boot. I've been reading all kinds of articles on quick ways to make a few extra bucks. I opened an online checking account that offered two hundred dollars for doing so...but I set up my direct deposit a week after the deadline so that fell through. I also ordered an online prepaid debit card for the promise of an extra $40 in return. This was through Netspend. I did not get the $40, even though I called and verified that it would be put into my account within a couple of business days of uploading my first amount of money onto the card. (So I don't recommend doing that. The checking account, though, was through Nationwide Bank, and it seems to have been a legitimate offer of $200; I was just late on my end in meeting their very reasonable requirements.) The lesson learned in all of this: for me it is easier to earn "easy money" in the traditional ways. Just sell stuff I'm not using! It benefits me in more ways than one.
But don't be fooled; I still have not triumphed over my clutter.
But I'm working on it!!
Oh, and I signed up to be a mystery shopper! I have my first assignment coming up later today. It should be fun. It's definitely not a get-rich-quick scheme, but it'll be gas money! And without too much effort.
A new guy started at my overnight job a few days ago. He was assigned to work with me that night, and we immediately clicked and had an hours-long philosophical conversation. It was so refreshing! Working third shift, you don't always meet a lot of new people or join a lot of extra-curriculars in which to chat it up with friends. It was pretty affirming in the direction my personal beliefs have taken over the last couple of years. I've learned I really value the Eastern "group" mentality, and that it sheds light on some of my grittier cosmic questions.
And also in the face of that liberal-ish statement, on the other hand, I'm thinking of checking out a local Catholic church's Catholicism 101 classes starting this month. (I think it's akin to RCIA, but I'm not sure. It might be a less commitment-oriented forum.) If I remain part of the official Christian community, the intellectual openness and expanse of the Catholic church draws me. As with so many other things in my life right now...we'll see!
I discovered tomato sandwiches this month. Toasted bread, mayo, tomato, and just a smidgeon of heaven.... Goin' back to my Appalachian roots here!! ;)
And I finally found a really good pizza place here in town, after having lived here and survived on Domino's and Pizza Hut for over 3 years. It's brought a measure of peace to my life that has been missing....
Damages. Pretty sure that's 'nuff said.
What are you into?