Five Things I Am Into Right Now, October 2012

One of my big complaints I had when I lived in Los Angeles was that you did not feel the changing of the seasons.

See, for me the changes in the weather around me helps me stay focused, it gives me a sense of urgency from day to day. In other words, I feel time more and I can feel it slipping away as well. This is not a bad thing, it just means I feel like I live life a little more when I feel those differences as compared to when I live in an environment where everything is the same every freaking day.

Of course, where can you go to complain about the weather?

Fall is one of my favorite seasons and this October is living up to that with a lot of favorites falling in my list. (Oh, and the fact my novel A Jane Austen Daydream has been signed to be ePublished sometime in the future doesn’t hurt either).

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

Ever since reading Book Five of the Harry Potter Series (Order of the Phoenix), I’ve been waiting for Rowling to write an adult novel. Why? Because I thought Book Five had some of the best writing I had seen so far in the series.  That is not to say, Books One-Four, were not fun, but in Book Five she grew as a writer in my opinion and you could see it in the stronger characterization around Harry and the harsh reality of the world around him. (Oh, and for the record Book Six was my favorite from the series).

Now it may seem odd to put a book I have not finished on this list (I’m 150 pages in), but that is my fault, not the book’s. I’m busy working on my novel (Permanent Spring Showers), so it is hard to turn that part of my brain off and turn it to just simply being a “reader.” When the Harry Potter books came out I would digest them like a bag of peanut butter Oreos, and they would rarely go unfinished within a 24-hour cycle. To now have one of her books, which is more mature, for an adult reader, and so wonderfully layered in plot and characters, it is joy to be able to take a breath and put it down for the next reading.

Yes, it’s a J.K. Rowling book and for a change I don’t want to rush through it.

Sugaring Season by Beth Orton

I was living in Grand Rapids, Michigan when I discovered Beth Orton. Grand Rapids is not known for their independent or true alternative rock stations. I can literally count them on one hand and still have enough fingers left for a few rude gestures at the stations GR does have. I was driving home from the grocery store back in the late 90’s, when one of the good alternative stations played “Sweetest Decline” by Beth Orton.

I pulled my car over.

I then turned off the engine and listened with eyes closed.

I then started my car and drove to two different music stores to track down that CD (Central Reservation). Since, then I have been a fan.

Beth Orton is more than a folk singer with an interesting voice. She is possibly one of the best lyricists working today in music. Consider one line from “Dawn Chorus” the most beautiful song from her new CD, Sugaring Season (great title):

All the stories people tell and all the tales I heard from myself
It’s best you know or else get told the soft flesh that beats
‘neath your breast
Beneath the noise there’s only silence

Oh, and one of my first dates with my amazing wife was to a Beth Orton concert. Seriously, get this CD (and check out her other CDs as well).

Downton Abbey, Season Three

Yes, I had written about the show in my September list, but I have seen some of the episodes now and I am more in position to… Oh, let me start this again.

I love you PBS (as I said here), but you can be cruel. PBS, how do you expect some of the major secrets of this season of Downton Abbey to stay, well, secret? They should really consider how they broadcast this show in the future for the sake of their audience.

Luckily, for me (and thanks to a friend), I’ve been able to keep up with the series (I wrote on my love of the series before here). I won’t ruin anything in this discussion, but in this season Julian Fellowes is on his game more than ever, and you can see it with each plot twist, each character moment, and in each line of dialogue. It’s such a thrill to be a lover of stories and have a show like this on the air. I mean, you can truly trust his writing skills and you can escape into it, not be jarred out (like I am with most TV shows, especially sitcoms), by ludicrous decisions. I haven’t felt this way about a show and its writing since Battlestar Galactica (Yes, I referenced BSG in an discussion on Downton Abbey; I’m cool like that).

If you have not seen this show, catch up now before the new season starts in early 2013 on PBS (assuming President Obama gets elected and we still have PBS; oh wait, did you think Gov. Romney’s comment would only affect Sesame Street? Think again), you will thank me later.

Away From The World by Dave Matthews Band

When I moved to Los Angeles to go to USC, I was worried that I would lose my car in parking lots. I know this is ridiculous, but I had a very common car (Pontiac Grand Am) and there are a lot of people in Los Angeles, right? Embarrassingly, I just imagined late evenings wandering around by myself hoping I don’t get mugged.

To solve this problem I got a Dave Matthews Band sticker and placed it on a window. Problem solved.

I’ve been to three Dave Matthews concerts in my life and own almost all of his work. I love Crash, Busted Stuff (but the Lillywhite Sessions versions more), Under the Table and Dreaming, and some of his live CDs (especially Live at Luther College). Away From The World is Dave Matthews returning to form. I’ve been listening to this nonstop in my house, and what I love about the CD are some of the themes in it. This is a more mature Dave and he clearly has a message for his listeners.

Be kind to each other, if you want to make a change you have to work, we can achieve greatness working together, etc.

Also, this CD might have one of my all time favorite Dave Matthews’ lines. The first time I heard it I was floored and wished I had thought of it.

That’s not a star, that’s a satellite.

I just love that.

Red Dwarf X

Thank you.

To whoever at Dave greenlighted this new season of the beloved series, let me say again:

Thank you.

We are only two episodes into the six-episode run and each Thursday is like a little holiday for me (see this editorial for more on my love of the show). To see these old characters (dare I say friends?) on the screen again is just wonderful.

This is a season for the fans. Yes, I could see people finding the series with this season (since it doesn’t rely too much on previous seasons like Season Seven or even Back to Earth did), but for the fans the experience is more rich.

I’m digging the scripts, love the new scenery and don’t even miss Holly (either of them). Red Dwarf is back and better than ever. Smegging awesome.

Or should I say “Smegging Happy Halloween?”

If you liked reading the chapter (the earlier chapters can be found on the Permanent Spring Showers page), why not check out some of my published books? I had two novels published in the last few years, My Problem With Doors and Megan. You can find them via my author page here, or as an eBook on Google eBooks here.  Thanks for reading!

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