Five Things I Am Totally Loving Lately!


Happy Saturday! I hope everyone had a great 4th of July! Ours was fun, getting ready for vacation and enjoying some festivities. My big run ended up at 18.73 miles, and it was excellent on one of the coolest days in recent memory!

Anyway, there are a few things I am totally enjoying … and I thought – why not share?!?

1. Miles Davis – Take Off: The Complete Blue Note Albums

OK, so I have already talked about Miles Davis as one of my all-time favorite artists, and since I have a couple hundred of his works between vinyl, CD and digital, it is pretty rare that I am surprised by a new release. But this new 2-CD set of music from 1952 – 54, which is the very beginning of the LP era (i.e. before then everything was on 78’s).

These 2-CDs comprise 3 different 10-inch recording sessions, and represent a remastering and reordering to put things back to their original state.

What I love is how you can hear Miles really starting to come into his own during these sessions. He came to New York and at 19 years old found himself on the front line of the bebop revolution with Charlie Parker, then within two years of leaving Bird’s band he headed up the ‘Birth of the Cool’ sessions, producing an incredibly powerful and influential set of music. After that he got addicted to heroin, and took a year or so away from music to kick that habit.

This music is his return, and forms the bridge into his ‘first great quintet’ – the 1955 – 59 group with Trane, Red Garland, Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones. That band is well documented, making this as much of a ‘lost period’ as he ever experienced.

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2. Divinity Original Sin

I have said many times that the oddly named but incredibly massive RPG ‘Divine Divinity’ is one of my all-time favorite games, and despite it taking me >100 hours to complete I have played it several times all the way through in the dozen or so years since I first played. The sequel was a solid game which I have played a few times, but not at the level of the original.

Having reviewed literally hundreds of games through the years I know the difference between infatuation and love … a cool new shooter or something with an interesting hook can really grab me, but I seldom replay them very much or they will be one of those ‘good’ games I will occasionally think about.

But every now and then a game comes along that hooks me in a way that tells me it will be a game for the long haul … and Divinity Original Sin is one of those games. A great RPG with excellent story and deep combat tactics, Original sin brings together real-time and turn-based in a way that is fun and satisfying.


3. Tracking Gadgets (Polar Loop, Garming FR-15, Magellan Echo)

As I said on Instagram, I seem to be using multiple monitoring devices an awful lot. When Lisa and I hiked the gorge last weekend I had the Polar Loop and Garmin FR-15 in tracking mode. During the week I forgot to take off my Loop and I had the Magellan Echo on as well. Then the next day I just used Wahoo Fitness and the FR-15 as well!

No clue why – I am just enjoying collecting data … OK, maybe I do have an idea – I am trying to understand why the fitness tracking stuff is so variable and inaccurate for me while running. The FR-15, Magellan and Wahoo (and everything else I have used) work fine for running, and the Polar and Garmin so fine for walking … but there is a disconnect. Oh well, maybe I will figure it out.


4. Civilization Revolution 2

Way back in 2005 I was writing for the now-defunct GamerDad, he and a couple of other writers got me into the newly released Civilization IV … and I dumped TONS of hours into its ‘one more turn’ addictive gameplay! It got expansions through 2007 to keep things interesting, and I have played on Mac and PC.

The series continued, with the made-for-iOS Civilization Revolution – which was scaled back but still loads of fun. Then there was Civilization V in 2010 … and that is STILL getting new content that I totally love.

Now? Civilization Revolution 2! It takes the template of the 2008 CivRev, and makes it all bigger and better … and more gorgeous! I have already worked through the game twice (it came out Tuesday night), gaining wins through domination and cultural means.

If you already have the first game you might want to hold off for a sale, but for me it is a blast well worth the $15!


5. Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

I had written how my 4th-gen Kindle had died and I got a Kindle Paperwhite. I was thrilled to find out that commercial planes do not require you to stow tablets and eReaders during take-off anymore! So I got to read.

I love books, and so as I get ready for vacation one of my key items is my Kindle … maybe I can make a dent on my backlog? First to finish ‘Burial Rights’, which I love and nearly finished on my Houston trip! The screen on the Kindle is clear, and the backlight means readability everywhere!

Bonus: Dates

I make it clear that I love fruits in all forms, and in one of those ‘super foods’ articles I found that prunes are excellent for a number of reasons. So I started eating them and still do – they are great and taste good.

One other item I heard about was dried dates … similarly packed with fiber and other health benefits, I have taken to eating them recently. I love the mild sweetness, and how filling they are!

What are your plans this weekend? Any thoughts to share?

19 thoughts on “Five Things I Am Totally Loving Lately!

  1. While I love collecting data from my runs, its been nice to not worry about it so much lately as I haven’t been “training”…leaving my garmin at home, not wearing my HR monitor…its nice to just run and not care about any of that stuff once in a while..
    I think the kindle paper white looks great. I have the kindle app for my iPad and it can be really hard to read when I’m outside in the sun. I just can’t convince myself to invest in another device right now!

    • Very true – and I actually posted about ‘tech free’ runs in the late winter … so I guess it is going in cycles like everything! 🙂

      And I find with using the iPad app I get all of my notifications and do less reading … the Kindle itself keeps me more ‘distraction-free’ 🙂

  2. NERD. But I love you 😀 I’ve been kindling it up recently, trying to get as many cheap books as I can.
    Also, you need to play Mortal Kombat. Saying that you missed out on that one is like saying you didn’t play Mario or GoldenEye. COP OUT AND A NECESSARY RIGHT OF PASSAGE

    • haha – I own my neediness for sure 🙂 And I have played all of the games – I mean, I had an original Game Boy when traveling for work 😉 Plus with my kids we had GameCube, etc … they just aren’t my types of games. I am definitely someone with a PC vs. console bias in the types of games I prefer.

      • What about a Sega Game Gear? So. many. batteries. I love computer games too. Did you play Karandia at all? That was a great one.

      • I played the Game Gear but didn’t get one, was non-traveling by then and doing the whole building PCs, compiling linux, blah, blah, blah tech crap … and playing mostly FPS games like Duke Nukem 3D and Dark Forces.

  3. I have an old kindle that I haven’t used in ages since getting an iPad. But in preparation for the beach at the end of the month I will be dusting it off. Much better for reading in the sun. Sounds like a good project to work on tonight.

  4. Since I lost my Garmin after END-Sure, I’ve been going data-less. It’s fine because I’m really just building endurance right now, but I’m really missing the HR function. It’s a great way for me to gauge effort, which is important for recognizing when I need a break. Plus, my sleep patterns have been off, which I think the fitbit monitors? Either way, I’m hoping I’ll be able to afford some devices (with your recommendations) in the fall!

    I’m loving air conditioning at Starbucks + free wifi!

    • Yeah – things like Fitbit and our Polar Loop and Garmin Vivofit (and my Garmin FR-15) all track sleep patterns, which is cool … and tells me how restless I sleep sometimes 🙂 haha Free WiFi and a cool place to sit is never bad 🙂

  5. Nice run and great weather for it! I used to be so attached to my kindle but now that I have the app on my phone and iPad I barely use the kindle.

    I actually have to force myself to check out my garmin stats on the computer because stats are not my favorite thing…but helpful to see patterns and get all the info. Enjoy the great weather!

  6. I have found a new found love for my Kindle recently. I was so against using one for the longest time but when Borders went out of business and we bought a house up in Northern Michigan I panicked. What happens when you finish a great book and you live in the middle of no where? It is a scary feeling to be left bookless! I feel like the summer is meant for Kindling.

  7. I held off on getting a Kindle for so long because of the whole “can’t use during takeoff/landing” thing, but I’ve been reconsidering over the last few months now that it isn’t an issue. I’ve got such a backlog of paper reading materials though, so part of me feels like I should just work through that first.

    • I had forgotten about the new rule and made sure I had a magazine for those times heading to Houston … so on the way home it was pure reading bliss! 🙂

  8. I read your post, pop over to Steam to search for Divinity, and it is there already on the loading page. Big brother reading my mind? It looks very cool, likely to draw me in deep. I loved Civ2 and then Civ4 almost as much. That is one of the games where you think “one more turn” at 11pm and next conscious thought you have is that it is now 3am.

    • Totally 🙂 And I missed the Civ 2 days, as I was much more of a shooter and RPG person, didn’t like the RTS games as much so never tried other strategy games. And the Civ Rev games are much shorter than full Civ games, but still addictive and fun.

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