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.
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!
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?