Summer plans – book list 2010

March 28, 2010 § 2 Comments

One of the things I am most looking forward to this summer in my “free time” (and I use that term VERY loosely) is a return to getting to read again for pleasure, instead of for school. Here’s a list of what I would like to read this summer.

  • Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, by Seth Grahame-Smith
  • The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, by Stieg Larsson
  • Mad Church Disease, by Anne Jackson
  • Failures of the Presidents: From the Whiskey Rebellion and the War of 1812 to the Bay of Pigs and War in Iraq, by Thomas J. Craughwell
  • The Pacific, by Hugh Ambrose
  • A Whole New Mind, by Daniel H. Pink
  • The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova
  • The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
  • The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett
  • Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime, by John Heileman and Mark Halperin.
  • This Present Darkness, by Frank Peretti

Anybody read any of these? Anything I should avoid? Anything I should add to the list?

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What’s harder: starting or quitting?

March 10, 2010 § 1 Comment

I am one of the most undisciplined people I know. I always have been. I’m horrible… I can never make myself keep doing the things that I want or need to do (such as read more, or study more, or read my Bible more), and I can never make myself stop doing things that I don’t rationally want to do, but keep doing anyways (like turn off the Xbox and go to bed, or stop using harsh language, or stop being a smug, sarcastic jackass).

Is it odd to struggle in both directions? What about you… do you find it harder to keep up doing things, or do you find it more difficult to break bad habits?

Why my blog sucks

March 8, 2010 § 3 Comments

To be perfectly honest, I’m a little bugged that my blog hasn’t taken off more. Don’t get me wrong — I’m thankful for every single person who reads this blog (and the few of you who every once in a while comment). But, I had just hoped there would be more of you.

Finally, I had a realization over the last couple weeks, one that has helped explain a lot of things in my life, including law school, career paths, and why my blog sucks.

The realization? I’m not very creative  — at all.

Not to pat myself on my back too much, but I’m a good writer. But I realized this past week that all of my past and current successes as a writer have had one thing in common — I am spoon-fed the content, and I just need to piece it together the right way.

I high school and college classes, if I was given a topic to go research, I could put together a great paper with minimal effort. The bigger issue was making myself buckle down and go do the research or the reading required to get the information I would need to tell the reader what they wanted to hear.

Then there’s my dabblings in journalism. That’s a whole career that’s based off of being a good but uncreative writer. The whole thing revolves around “Hey Mr. Writer, go to this event, and then come back and write about it.” Sports journalism is even worse. No matter the event, you know you’re going to write about: the score, the person who scored the most/did the best, the big turning point in the game, etc. Passable sportswriting is practically a fill in the blank job. (Notice I said “passable,” not good. I have worked with some tremendous sportswriters, who are very gifted. I’ve just read enough on the other end of the spectrum too.)

But, put me in a situation where I have to come up with my own material, and I’m dead in the water. In high school, when we were going through a poetry unit in English class, all I could ever come up with was some pre-Emo “The girl I’m in love with doesn’t know I exist” self-indulgent, woe is me crap. (And I’m not naming names, because who knows — she might be one of the 25 people who reads this blog.) Other people would read their poetry about life, God, or some cold wintry day, and I’d be moved. I wasn’t even moved by the crap that I could come up with, and I wrote it.

That’s why my blog pretty much sucks. Unless life hands me some golden gem to write about, I’m pretty much tapped for content. And trust me, life with a two-year old gives you lots of golden gems, but you can only write so much about diapers and potty jokes before you become the “guy with the blog that’s just about his kids poops,” and no one wants to read that.

Don’t get me wrong — I can come up with something creative every once in a while. I’m good for a couple of good one-liners every time I play poker with the boys, or occasionally I’ll have something really witty or profound on Twitter. But those are the rare occasions, and rare occasions aren’t enough to sustain a blog (at least not daily, as my hopes had been.)

So, I’m ok with it now, and I can say it out loud — I am not creative. But, you read my stuff anyways. And I truly thank you for that.

As a reward, I’m going to point you to some creative (and truly funny) people that you should add to your daily reading (since I don’t blog daily, you can fit them in!)

In no particular order, check out these blogs:

I promise I’ll try to be more entertaining.

Quick survey – internet radio: Last.Fm or Pandora?

March 7, 2010 § Leave a comment

This is pretty much summed up in the title: I’m trying to decide on which internet music site I want to settle down with. I’ve used last.fm for quite some time, and I really like that it has the iPod scrobbler. It also got a huge boost when it joined up with xbox Live, allowing me to stream through my xBox and tv whenever I want.

Pandora is a little more accurate in what it gives me as “recommendations,” at least recently. But, it’s limited to 40 hours a month (which I haven’t capped out, but I could.)

What do you guys use?

More music you should check out

March 6, 2010 § Leave a comment

I’ve already documented that Hootie and the Blowfish is one of my guilty pleasures. This week, I finally got clued in on how good Darius Rucker’s first country album is. (That’s right, COUNTRY album.) After hearing a couple of songs, I bought it, and I haven’t been disappointed at all. It has some great twangy, honky-tonk songs on it that you will love if you grew up on country (like I did for the most part).

This is my favorite on the album thus far, All I Want.

My favorite book ever

March 5, 2010 § 1 Comment

Last night, I went with my step-father to pick up a TV at Target. While we were waiting for the guy to come with the flatbed cart so we could roll it out to the car, I looked around at one of end displays of random clearance items. Lo and behold, right before my eyes, was a DISCOUNTED copy of my favorite book ever (all apologies to Lord of the Rings, it’s a close second):

Blue Like Jazz, by Donald Miller. I picked it up, flipped it over, and saw that it was only $3.16. $3.16!!!!! Of course I had to buy it for the 3rd or 4th time, since I didn’t have a copy at home.

If it’s such a good book (my all-time favorite, even) why didn’t I have a copy? Because I’ve given them all away. Every copy I’ve ever owned, I’ve given  to someone else so they could read it, because I want it to be their favorite too (or I at least want them to like it.)

The irony is, someone else thought that about this book too — and when I say this book, I mean this EXACT book, the copy that I bought.  (That also explains why it was only $3.16 at Target).

When I opened the book this morning, I found this on the title page:

Sept 22, 2009 — You are twenty!

Kacie –

I hope that you read this book with an open heart, and I hope that it pushes you to ask questions you haven’t yet. It’s one of my favorites! I hope it becomes yours, too.

(Heart)

Courtney

How much do you have to dislike a gift (or possibly the giver of the gift) to take a book back to Target when it’s been personalized? Anyways, Kacie’s loss is my gain.

And you should check the book out. Maybe you’ll like it more than Kacie did.

A new blog you should read

March 3, 2010 § 1 Comment

If you like funny people with funny friends who write funny stuff, you should check out this new blog. (And no, it’s not a new one I started.)

Http://www.lifeintroverted.com

It’s been a good read thus far, and gets my seal of approval.