Here’s our newest video blog, detailing our lives here in Vienna from February until now.
Posts from the ‘Media’ Category
FYI I’ve been shooting all of this on my iPhone 4S. I still haven’t quite learned how to master it as my primary video camera, hence why shots are sometimes shaky and whatnot. Hopefully this will get better in the future. Also, I’m looking for suggestions for a good lapel mic that would work with iPhone. Anything?
Here we go again.
Thanks to my acquisition of Spotify this year, I’ve listened to way more albums than ever before – and subsequently liked way too many of them. So this was really hard for me to narrow down my favorites – so I didn’t, really. They’re all pretty much here, albeit ranked (somewhat arbitrarily). I can say for certain that the Top 30 are definitely my Top 30 favorites. After that, they’re all just albums I enjoyed in some form or fashion.
30. The Magic Place – Julianna Barwick
29. Take Care, Take Care, Take Care – Explosions In The Sky
28. Diamond Mine – King Creosote & Jon Hopkins
27. In Light – Givers
26. Destroyer – Kaputt
I took Holly to a concert at Tulsa’s historic Brady Theater on Tuesday as her Christmas present (it still counts even if I also really wanted to go). The lineup: sunny, Californian rock/folk ensemble Delta Spirit and Southern roots/prog rock group My Morning Jacket. Both excellent in their own ways.
By getting there early enough we were able to snag a couple of standing positions in the second row, giving me some good opportunities to film a couple of songs. There were still one large Andre the Giant and one sexy-dancing, arm-waving girl who would sometimes get in my way, but they’re still pretty decent videos that manage to capture the spectacle that is MMJ.
I can only describe Delta Spirit as a rock group from California – always sunny, always happy. They bang on trashcan lids and huge bass drums. Their guitar crescendoes have you jumping. Their album is called “Ode to Sunshine”, for cryin’ out loud. But my favorite song of theirs is probably their most quiet, yet their most lyrically moving – their version of a protest song. Check it out below, followed by their Take Away Show version. I could listen to/watch that video all day, every day.
“Into Thin Air”, “The Worst Hard Time”, “To Kill a Mockingbird”, and “The God Delusion” are all great books I read sometime in the past year. Read my opinions of them below.
Click the covers to view the books at Barnes and Noble.
Into Thin Air
By Jon Krakauer
John Krakauer has got to be one of my all-time favorite authors. He’s a journalist, with excellent research and interviewing skills but also with an uncanny gift of weaving facts and quotes into a gripping, real-life narrative. His books are often way more interesting than many novels I’ve read, and with better plots. You may know him from his first book, “Into the Wild”, which was made into an excellent movie.
“Into Thin Air” reads almost like a horror tale. It tells of Krakauer’s first-person experience during the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, in which eight climbers were killed during a freak snowstorm. Krakauer, a professional climber as well as writer, was sent on that expedition by “Outdoors” magazine to write about climbing Everest, and instead ended up becoming an eye-witness (and participant) in one of the deadliest expeditions in Everest’s history. You can tell this was hard for Krakauer to write, due to the tragic events he witnessed and the mistakes that were made by him and others close to him. Thanks to his memories and interviews of his (surviving) team members, Krakauer provides a harrowing account of exactly what happened that day. Even if you’re not into climbing or outdoors stories, you will love this book, because it’s more a mash-up of mystery, adventure and horror than anything else.
The Worst Hard Time
By Timothy Egan
My grandfather, of all people, recommended this book to me. It’s another true narrative, written by another journalist, but also in a way that’s interesting and never boring. This time, the subject is the Dust Bowl.
This is NOT “The Grapes of Wrath”. This is something way better: truth. Egan traveled all over the Great Plains interviewing survivors, reading old newspapers and perusing diaries and other records, and weaved them all together in this close-up look at hardiness in the face of adversity. “The Worst Hard Time” begins in the late 19th Century by detailing the appeal of the Great Plains in the first place – cheap, fertile land (meaning easy money) – and the rush of thousands of would-be farmers from across the country to this vast expanse. When all that land began to be over-farmed, killing all the natural grass and overturning all the soil, it started a chain reaction that led to horrific dust storms and extreme poverty. The book follows various families from all over the Great Plains, from No Man’s Land in Oklahoma, to Dalhart, Texas and Liberal, Kansas and beyond as they struggled to survive in what was quickly becoming a wasteland. This is a well-written, fascinating look at the extremely hard lives our grandparents and great-grandparents had to live out on the Great Plains. I think it’s a good idea for anyone from Oklahoma to read it, to see where we (and our “Okie” stereotype) came from.