Five Things I Am Into Right Now, November 2014

BoredI am suffering the case of the blahs. Oh, this is not a bad thing related to my life or anything, this is related to books. I’ve done the book reviews for my local NPR station now for over a year and half. That is over 30 books. (You can listen and read my reviews via the links on this page of my site.)

See, I’m struggling through a book review by a very popular author. Some people will love the book, I am certain; others will hate it. Me, I’m just mildly disappointed and that is what gives me the blahs.

Let me start this over… I love writing a good book review. There is nothing more fun for me as a reviewer than breaking down a good book, introducing it to a listener/reader and discussing why the high points are the high points. Talking about good books is my soapbox and I like being on it, thank you very much!

I am not Dorothy Parker. She used to take a glee in writing a bad review. Me, I find it disappointing. I can do it certainly, and they are easy to do, but they do not give me pleasure. Also, I like to say more than simply “I don’t like it.” I go out of my way to explain why something doesn’t work. Okay, this could be argued as a second soapbox, but not as big or important as the other one.

But there are no soapboxes when the book is a blah, middle-of-the road, half-a-shoulder-shrug. In a way, I see this blah around me in the environment too, as all the days are gray and getting colder. Of course, the review will be written in a week or so and my life will go on. I can’t guarantee anything regarding the weather.

Let’s move on to happier thoughts! Here are the five things I think are awesome right now.

The Flash

The FlashI love this show. No, seriously, I love The Flash. And one of the reasons I feel so strongly about it is that it has abandoned a lot of the doom-and-gloom you seem to get these days with DC Comic properties. This has an “aw gee!” quality to it around being a superhero. Some of the characters even show excitement around new powers and new villains. They are having fun living in a comic book and we enjoy it too. Strangely, it almost reminds me of the Matt Smith years of Doctor Who, where you could feel the unique excitement and joy of having an adventure.

Yes, I watch Arrow and countdown the days until it is on again; I’m strangely hypnotized by Gotham (mainly, I think I just enjoy watching the rise of Penguin), but neither of them put a smile on my face like The Flash does.

My only request to the creators of the show? Please, please, please do NOT kill off Detective Joe West (played by Jesse L. Martin). The creators of this show seemed to take a gleeful approach to killing off parents in Arrow (seriously, it is not wise to be a parent in Starling City), and it would really cast a dark cloud on this show. Don’t do it!

Damien Rice’s My Favourite Faded Fantasy

My-Favourite-Faded-Fantasy-608x608Just a few years ago I was asking what happened to Damien Rice. No, seriously, click on this link. See, there it is! Well, Damien is back after an eight year hiatus (finally) and his new CD is almost worth the long wait.

Music always has a big impact on my writing, and I can say without a doubt that if this CD came out a few years earlier, my writing would have gone down some very different paths. It’s that inspiring to me. It’s hard to explain this CD. It’s grand, it’s beautiful. It is moving. Seriously, it moves me to tears in parts, and I’m not certain why. It just hits a chord deep down in my being that feel so very true to me.

Let’s hope we don’t have to wait eight years for his next outing.

Disney Infinity 2.0

Disney_Infinity_2.0_Pack_CoverartThere is a moment as a parent (and it happens to all of us) when playing with our kids that we wonder if the toy is for them or for us. It’s not something to feel guilty about! It just might mean you and your child are having fun together and no one is faking it. Come on, all of us parents  do the fake from time to time. No parent, for example, can enjoy Candy Land as much as a kid! It’s all based on the luck of the cards, no skill!

I appreciated Disney Infinity 1.0, but it felt off a little. Great idea, just more thought needed to be put into story and the missions. Which is odd to say since one of Disney’s strengths historically around their products is story.

Well, Disney Infinity 2.0 takes care of that in spades. It is fun, exciting, and even (dare I say) challenging. Right now my son and I are playing as the Avengers and it is so freaking fun!

Okay, I am still the dad which means I can’t let us play for hours and hours, I have to still be the enforcer of the clock. But I do admit I have trouble not letting out a squeal when he says I can be the Hulk.


serial-social-logoWelcome to my new obsession.

If you don’t know what this is, let me break this down. Serial is the most popular podcast ever and it has only 8 episodes so far. It was created via This American Life and this first season of the show is focused solely on trying to investigate a murder. In 1999 a teenage girl was found murdered. Her boyfriend was arrested and after a trial convicted. Many believe he was innocent, and he was convicted almost solely on the word of another. The series follows Sarah Koenig (the host) and her team as they investigate the crime.

It feels wrong, really it does, to get so much entertainment out of the suffering of others, but Koenig is such a great storyteller that you are excitedly following along, turning up the volume on your headphones, not wanting to miss a single thing.

Look up the podcast and start on episode 1. Get back to me later and we’ll debate the payphone at Best Buy and track practices.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Expanded Edition)

the-hobbit-the-desolation-of-smaug-extended-edition-blu-rayI’m letting my nerd flag fly on this one. But I love Middle Earth. I’ve written numerous posts on Tolkien and how he inspired me as a writer (even though I would never consider myself truly a fantasy writer). Peter Jackson has done a wonderful thing with his Lord of the Rings series and now The Hobbit. Some may disagree with me around my love of these films (especially The Hobbit ones), but I think they are a joy and I am going to miss looking forward to them on the big screen.

I love Expanded Editions of each of Jackson’s films. They always seem to grow the characters (add meat to their bones) with the added time. It’s not about blood and gore, but emotions and development. It’s almost how you wish they were on the big screen when they are first released.

The Desolation of Smaug has been the best so far in The Hobbit series and this adds to it. If you love Middle Earth… well… chances are you already own this DVD. (Isn’t it lovely?)

Have a great Thanksgiving!

A Jane Austen DaydreamIf you liked reading this post, why not check out one of my books? I’ve just had a book published collecting some of my most popular posts. It is entitled Me Stuff.

If fiction is more your thing, I’ve had four novels published in the last few years, A Jane Austen Daydream, Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare, My Problem With Doors and Megan.

You can find all of these books via my author page here. Thanks for reading!

Need an editor? Dream of finishing that book but need some help? Learn about my editing services by visiting this page on my site. Or you can contact Rebecca T. Dickson and request to work with me by clicking the image below.

Rebecca T. Dickson, Editor




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