This introduction has some spoilers for Game of Thrones, but seriously not a big deal. Don’t worry, I got your back.
Okay, I have to say something about Game of Thrones. I have no choice. The fact I am only doing here as an intro is pretty surprising, since I find what we just saw happen over the season fascinating.
Every year I complain about the show. About the darkness, the violence, the aggression. Sometimes I am taking on George R.R. Martin, sometimes the writers of the show. But this season was easily the best the show had ever done.
I think a big part is that they weren’t slowed down by Martin’s books. Honestly, the last two books felt like filler for me. Something to extend the shelf life of the series as compared to moving the story forward. Obviously, the TV writers agreed with me when they cut those two books down to one season on the show.
My big love of the season is finally we are getting some comeuppance on the more villainous characters and we are getting answers to things that book readers have been debating for years. It almost makes a fan of the books want to send a thank you card and a box of chocolate to HBO.
Yet, I wonder what it is doing to Martin. It must be really hard to sit down at the computer each day and work on a book that has been spoiled for so many already. He must feel like he is just going through the motions. It almost makes me wonder if we will ever see the next two books in the series. Wouldn’t it at some point feel like writing one of those lame novels adapted from a film screenplay?
Read the book about the movie you just saw! Experience it again on the page! You loved it on the screen, just wait until you experience it again inside your head, written by someone unconnected to the screenplay or production who is just doing it for the paycheck!
Anyway, Game of Thrones is done. Here are the five things I am really into this summer not related to dragons.
Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop’s Love Letter for Fire
I need music to write. It’s a thing with me. I’ve actually written a few times on the Undercover Soundtrack about it. (You can check out an article I did on the influence of Fiona Apple on my last novel, Permanent Spring Showers, here.)
Recently, I’ve begun a new online work to help pass the time. Some people chill out with a game (video or sport) or a drink. Me? I adapt Hamlet into a novel. That’s the way I roll. You can check out the chapters I have done so far in my novel Uses of this World, here (It’s good, I swear). Anyway, to write this book, I’ve been listening a lot to Love Letter for Fire.
For those that don’t know Sam Beam is the genius behind Iron & Wine. This time though there is little experimentation here. It is all very simple, just acoustic instruments, two amazing voices and heartfelt poetic lyrics.
The music is stunning and so very human and true. I don’t want to say much more than that. I’d rather just refer you to it, and hope you give it a chance. It is inspiring a novel right now for me, so you know where I stand on it. Maybe it will inspire you too?
So bear with me on this one.
My wife and I had just finished watching a PBS documentary about The Buddha. And to jump from that to this Netflix series felt very, very natural. Much like the life story of the Buddha, most episodes are about finding meaning and purpose through answers in nature and life around oneself. Many of these cooks even sometimes sound like the Buddha.
It is seriously hard for me not to get all English Major on this series, finding common themes around the episodes and diving into a possible hidden message to the series. If I did that I would be forgetting the amount of creativity and spectacular food that appears on this show.
For those that don’t know the show, it is a documentary where each episode dives into the life of an important chef working today. Through their words, we learn what makes them who they are and gasp at some of their amazing dishes. I keep dreaming that at least one will be in a restaurant near me, but it has yet to happen.
Yesterday, I said to my wife that this show made me question every box of Macaroni and Cheese I had ever eaten.
I stand by that statement.
I know this is no surprise to anyone. Is anyone not obsessed with this musical? I was recently swimming at a lake with my family. My son went off to play with some other kids. I made a slight Hamilton reference and immediately there was singing.
Who would have guessed American history could be so cool? The soundtrack is always playing when the family is in the car (skipping two songs that are not exactly kid appropriate; recently, I heard my 5-year old daughter call someone a “damn fool” so I might be failing in my selections), I just read the making-of book and I’m working my way through the Ron Chernow book that started it.
See, for me, I’ve always been obsessed with the creative process, especially when an artist can take an established art and do something very unique and different with it. It’s one of the reasons I am kind of obsessed with what Walt Disney did with the original Disneyland. So does that make what Lin-Manuel Miranda did with Hamilton a reinvention of the musical equivalent to what Disney did with fun parks? Only time will be able to say.
All I can say is I can’t wait to see what Miranda comes up with next… Oh, and I need to find tickets to this show.
The Final Season of Community
So when Dan Harmon was fired from his TV show Community, I was pissed.
How pissed? Well, I wrote this blogpost, entitled “Why Dan Harmon Being Fired from Community Really, Really Bothers Me.” There is no subtlety in a title like that.
Of course that was a few years ago, he came back to the show to handle the last season on NBC and the final season that was on Yahoo. At least, I’m assuming it is the Final Season (they promised a movie, right?). So here is the thing, I was pissed at him being fired, but I only recently grabbed the DVDs of the season to see what happened to the show and characters.
I feel a little guilty about that, but I can’t say why.
The fact is that the show did definitely go out on a high. I pretty much smiled and laughed through every episode. They even did a great new Paintball episode. It left me wishing for more, definitely finding a place in my heart near other cult TV shows I love, like Red Dwarf and Black Adder.
Retro Cocktail Hour
Sometimes I am into weird stuff. This is one of those moments.
If you don’t know this radio show/podcast, you should check it out at least once. It is produced by KPR out of Kansas. The music is primarily space age jazz and tiki music or exotica from the late 50s to early 60s. Basically, it sounds like you would imagine a cocktail bar to sound like from the days of Mad Men.
Smooth jazz that sways with a hint of sexy danger. Conversations with a little innuendo, a colorful drink with ice melting in it and an umbrella.
That is not to say that everything on this show is perfect. There are always some songs that make you squirm. And when you consider many of the more popular songs may include bird or animal sounds that is pretty impressive.
Yet, I really dig the show. It is great background music while I do things around the house, making me feel that little bit cooler. Also, there is this interesting element to it since so much of this music could be lost to time if it wasn’t for this show.
You can hear the show and get more info on it here.
Now I need a drink… with possibly a little umbrella.
Permanent Spring Showers was published by 5 Prince Books. You can find out more about my novel as well as my other books (including A Jane Austen Daydream and My Problem With Doors) and grab a copy via my author page on Amazon.com here.