50 Random Albums: A 2019 Music Retrospective

Welcome to the Roaring 20’s!!

Now is the time to find out how I spent 2019, music-wise.

In 2019 I added 50 new albums to my library. I witnessed 47 concerts (or the greater number of 91 music sets). I also wrote reviews for 36 concerts for the blog about DC! Check out the reviews here.

Continue reading “50 Random Albums: A 2019 Music Retrospective”

Random TV Shows: Binge 2018

Time to drop all my ‘2018 recap’ posts. Aren’t you lucky?

What new TV shows did I start watching in 2018?

I didn’t go for too many new scripted TV shows last year, rather I eyeballed a bunch of stand-up and variety shows.

I mostly focused on what Netflix was shilling, taking on the oh so short, under 30 minute episode variety. 11 of these shows are Netflix originals. Two have been cancelled!

Here are the new TV shows I started in 2018, ranked.

Continue reading “Random TV Shows: Binge 2018”

56 Random Albums: A 2017 Retrospective

I forgot to post my annual music roundup! I know all three of my readers have been disappointed…until now! I don’t disappoint forever!

In 2017 I added 56 new albums to my library. I witnessed 34 concerts (or the greater number of 61 music sets). I also wrote reviews for 15 concerts for a different blog I write for about living in Washington, DC! Check out the reviews here.

Continue reading “56 Random Albums: A 2017 Retrospective”

11 Best Movies of 2017 (and 5 Worst)

In the year that just whizzed past us, I acquainted myself with 115 movies. Here is a peek at the best and the worst of the lot.

In other news, welcome to the new year.

Continue reading “11 Best Movies of 2017 (and 5 Worst)”

Random TV Shows: Binge 2017

Once again, I watched a bustle full of new TV shows. New shows to me, not that they all were new in 2017.

The problem you see, is Netflix. Seven of these are original Netflix TV shows. Cannot. Resist. Temptation.

Let’s break it down.

Continue reading “Random TV Shows: Binge 2017”

11 Best Movies of 2016 (and 5 worst)

Something, something movies.

With 2016 I got back into the swing of watching movies. I saw over 100 movies, the most since 2009. Get it.


11. Brooklyn – A women finds love and a new life in America, but will Ireland draw her back?

10. Eye in the Sky – This moves more like a legal, ethics class, but I found myself fascinated by the drama and lengths they went to decide of ‘should they’ or ‘should they not’ launch a missile strike. And no real feel good results.

9. Creed – Maybe all the boxing movie tropes have been done and re-done by now, but watching Rocky become the mentor/trainer for his dead friend’s son, it still feels okay to watch them.

8. Captain America: Civil War – Punch, Pow, Pop! Superheroes mildly fight each other over a difference of opinion. It’s a total geek out, and you will be entertained.

7. The Shallows – So the premise is Jaws vs. Blake Lively. But what you thought might be a throw-away horror movie is nothing to throw away and is highly suspenseful.

6. Hell or Highwater – Chris Pine is basically in everything these days. With Jeff Bridges as a Texas Ranger chasing them, two brothers join together to rob banks to save their farm.

5. The Jungle Book – I didn’t expect all that much from a Disney re-make, but this is actually a damn fine movie. Bill Murray as Baloo? Idris Elba as Shere Khan? Scarlett Johansson as Kaa? Christopher Walken as King Louie? Heck ya.

4. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – Good, I’m tempted to buy all the toys like I had as a kid for the first three movies. Darth Vader’s castle is cool. Now I need to see it again in IMAX 3D.

3. The Martian – Matt Damon on Mars! I need to watch this again, I just decided.

2. Spotlight – Wow, the Best Picture winner is the true story of the exposé of the Catholic Church in Boston. Haunting and sad and it makes you angry.

1. Sicario – Gritty, with a dark, underlying tone, this movie looks at US-Mexican border policies and how the US fights the drug cartels, but all is not as it seems. All is not rosy.


5. Scary Movie 5 – Let this franchise die. It’s not funny. Maybe if they made an actual funny parody movie (not that the first one was brilliant but it had its moments), we can keep it alive. But now please let it be offed in the most horror movie cliché possible.

4. Gymkata – Hahaha! I watched this during a ‘bad movie’ night. It was fun to pick it apart and laugh at all the WTF moments. Watch it with a group of snarky people, and you will find fun where there should be none.

3. Zoolander 2 – Don’t do it. Okay, you will if you saw the first Zoolander. But you will still regret it. And I will have told you so.

2. The Lobster – I hate this movie. I’ve often been annoyed with Colin Farrell as an actor and the films he’s been in (yet there are good ones like In Bruges), but this takes the cake. Weird, oddball, strange are words you could use to describe this movie. I choose the word ‘terrible’.

1. Joysticks – I listen to a podcast called Stack of Dimes. They started a new series of episodes to review bad movies that somehow made it to Blu-ray. They featured this one, which is supposed to be a Porky’s knock-off from 1982. Not so bad it’s good. Just so bad.


Stats on Movies Watched

  • 111 movies watched in 2016
  • 26 on a plane (whoa, I must have lived on a plane…)
  • 27 repeat viewing (and therefore not eligible for the best/worst list)
  • 3 Bill Murray movies
  • 6 Liam Neeson movies (I went through a phase…)
  • 11 movies in the theater (Haven’t been going to the theater that much…)

Extra Special Bonus Time (All 111 movies)

Continue reading “11 Best Movies of 2016 (and 5 worst)”

68 Random Albums: A 2016 Retrospective


2016 was another year.

I added 68 new albums to my library. I attended 37 concerts (or 106 music sets), including hitting up the 5th annual Firefly Music Festival. I also wrote concert reviews for 23 concerts and five days of festivals!



Top Albums Listened to in 2016*

  1. ‘Simple Forms’ by The Naked and Famous
  2. ‘Secrets’ by Deep Sea Diver
  3. ‘The Balcony’ by Catfish and the Bottlemen
  4. ‘Yoncalla’ by Yumi Zouma
  5. ‘Everybody Wants’ by The Struts
  6. ‘White Noise’ by PVRIS
  7. ‘Higher Truth’ by Chris Cornell
  8. ‘Every Open Eye’ by CHVRCHES
  9. ‘Wild Things’ by Ladyhawke
  10. ‘Stay Together’ by Kaiser Chiefs

Honorable mentions: ‘Better Nature’ by Silversun Pickups; ‘Delirium’ by Elle Goulding
*Does not have to have been released in 2016.


Bonus #1: Top Concerts of 2016

Continue reading “68 Random Albums: A 2016 Retrospective”

Random TV Shows: Binge 2016

One of my 2016 bold predictions was to…binge watch three new TV shows.

I went a bit overboard and binged out on 12 new (to me) TV shows. Having goals is hard, you don’t know when to say when. Damn you Netflix!


Here they are, ranked:

1) Stranger Things (Season 1: 13 episodes) – Pretty good. Pretty scary.

2) Marvel’s Daredevil (Seasons 1 & 2: 13 episodes each) – Season 1 was what a superhero show should be; dramatic, a bad bad guy, good action sequences and some bouts of conscious. Season 2 got annoying however, with the existential crisis of whether you should kill bad guys. From the guy that beats everyone to a bloody, permanently mangled pulp. #TeamPunisher

3) Narcos (Season 1: 10 episodes) – Pablo Escobar is a bad man. But you can’t look away.

4) The Expanse (Season 1: 10 episodes) – Slick sci-fi whodunit in space!

5) Mr. Robot (Season 1: 10 episodes) – No robots were harmed in the making of this show. Though many of your brain cells were tweaked.

6) Marvel’s Jessica Jones (Season 1: 13 episodes) – David Tennant is not Doctor Who, he’s Kilgrave!! More mind games than action, but a dark look at redemption.

7) The Man in the High Castle (Season 1: 10 episodes) – What if Germany and Japan won WWII and then invaded the USA and split the conquest? Life 20 years later isn’t so rosy.

8) The Night Of (Season 1: 8 episodes) – A suspenseful look at the consequences of poor decisions and the terrible prison system we have. Solid, but no surprises.

9) Documentary Now! (Season 1: 6 episodes) – Fred Armison and Bill Hadar star in re-make parodies of actual documentaries, well done and often damn funny, especially the “DRONEZ: The Hunt for El Chingon” episode.

10) Broad City (Seasons 1 & 2: 10 episodes each) – Sometimes funny, often annoying, but a few genuine laugh-out-loud moments.

11) Vice Principals (Season 1: 9 episodes) – This sounded promising, with Danny McBride and Walton Goggins. Yet way too mean spirited to start, but does find its groove if you keep going.

12) Horace and Pete (Season 1: 10 episodes) – I really wanted to like Louie C.K.’s show, but boy is it tedious. Once in a while a flash of something interesting, but mostly no.

New TV Shows 2016

Five Random Photos Shared for January-June ’16

I haven’t been writing much here on A Random Journey in 2016. Feel free to slap me around a little.

Yet, I have been writing, don’t worry, just more on the blog Parklife DC, about happenings in Washington, D.C. Go have a look see, I’ll be here when you get back. For example, things about beer and breweries or concert reviews.

Maybe I’ve forgotten what it means to write/post here. What does Random represent now? The future is still new and bold, we’ll find out.

Since I’ve failed to post my monthly Five Random Photos all year, let’s get frisky. How many photos from 2016 so far should I post? 1000? 50? 10? Yes, zero is an acceptable answer, but too late, I already did not go with that number.

Let’s say…20.


Right Proper Brewing

Hot Chocolate


The Capitol Stone Yard
Kirin and Blossoms

Continue reading “Five Random Photos Shared for January-June ’16”

Five Random Books: Can They Hear You Scream in Space? (2015)

The Art of Travel


One of my goals for 2015 was to read 36 books outright.

That didn’t happen. I powered through a mere 32. Nothing to complain about, I suppose. I am mortal, but I was within spitting distance! Ptui

I put my feet up and partook in a healthy amount of science fiction last year. Nine books to be precise. Three of them made my list below. Are you screaming in joy yet?

I also nimbly vetted four Agatha Christie novels because it smacked of the thing to do. Or at least something I had never done before.

5. (Tie) Ready Player One (Ernest Cline, 2011) – The future is bleak. But the inventor of the all encompassing virtual world that everyone escapes to, develops a treasure hunt, where the victor is the supreme ruler of that world. And infinitely rich. The inventor loves all things from the 1980’s. So the quest is a geektastic exploration of nostalgia from the music, video games, TV and movies from that era. Our hero is an expert on all things the inventor likes. But so are many others. Some not so nice. Who will win? Oh yeah, Steven Spielberg’s movie adaption comes out in 2017.

5. (Tie) Red Rising (Red Rising Trilogy Book 1) (Pierce Brown, 2014) – The sort of story someone might like if they enjoyed the Hunger Games or Total Recall or Greek mythology. It’s about a young man from Mars who seeks revenge for the death of his wife by infiltrating the ruling upper class, that style themselves after Greek Gods. He joins their training school, which is an expansive and glorified version of capture the flag. It reads fast and you will be entertained.

4. Feral: Rewilding the Land, the Sea, and Human Life (George Monbiot, 2013) – The ideas this book spark and the possibilities of how to live and let live are incredible. My favorite is that we often try to preserve the wrong thing in nature. We try to save or reconstruct what we know from our lifetimes (or parent’s lifetimes), but often those habitats and wildlife are not the original way of things. 100 years ago is not that long in the grand scheme of things. So much has happened in that time, yet humans and nature can co-exist. The book slogs at certain points, but the overall picture is worth an occasional slow spot.

3. The Martian (Andy Weir, 2014) – Read it now and you will certainly picture Matt Damon navigating the Martian landscape. You will certainly hear his voice narrating and explaining thorny nuggets of science theory. There is a big element of technical science, but it’s never too hard to grasp and is done with a smidgen of humor. And if you didn’t hear, The Golden Globes gave the movie adaptation the award for Best Comedy/Musical. What the…? It is not a comedy and the only music is disco.

2. The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics (Daniel James Brown, 2014) – I would posit that the title alone should be instructive on the topic of this book. Outside that, this is the story of the University of Washington (UW) rowing team and their journey to be the best in the world. Most of the story is about the life of one of the boys, the Nazi PR machine leading up the Olympics and the epic rowing rivalry between the UW and the University of California – Berkeley, in a time when rowing was among the biggest and most prestigious sports in America. Hard to believe when you look at today’s sporting world, but true. My favorite part was when the UW rowing team clandestinely went to visit President Roosevelt’s actual home. They snuck in the back, knocked and were welcomed in to the house by his son, James, who was a huge rowing fanatic and had rowed himself. Imagine what would have happened today. I highly recommend you put down what you’re reading now, and read this instead.

1. The Art of Travel (Alain de Botton, 2004) – There are books that enrich your thinking. There are books that drop ideas into your brain that open wide all new possibilities. There are books that give you pause, just long enough to exclaim ‘Ah ha! and shake your head with a smile. Then there is this book that does all of those things, but goes beyond. What is travel? Why do we do it? And what perspective is the most important? This is an exploration of perspective, using the concepts and work of artists and authors as a key to unlocking the truth. The truth for you. I will only fail to describe the effect, so just read it. That is the best advice I can give.

Five Random Photos Shared (after) July ’15

I’ve missed the boat and failed to share five extremely useless photos. Are you sad?

No? That’s what I thought. Oh well, no time like the present to correct such an egregious error.

P.S. No 4th of July photos, because that’s been done.

P.S.S. No good photos, because I don’t do those.


Some beer I needed to drink.


Mudhoney screaming at me. Read about their show if you dare. Mudhoney


Use the ‘trike’ and you know you’ll be safe!
Trike in Boracay


This existed for a brief time in the Seoul Airport, but unfortunately went in my belly. I still don’t know why.


This exists. Humanity has won. Their contribution to this planet has reached the pinnacle.
Philippines Toilet


Bonus? Bonus.


Witnessing the Presidents race on the 4th of July.
President's Race


Good tip.
Atlas Brew Works cans



22 for July/August: New Restaurants Encore

I have a bit of travel coming up in July and August (some of it will be vacation!) and will need to eat. In theory. There are also a fair number of restaurants I want to check out in Washington, D.C.

Since I’m short on new goal ideas, why not recycle another one I did last year? Why indeed.


July/August Goal: Eat at 22 new (to me) restaurants (at least half should be in D.C.)


It would be fairly easy to go to new restaurants while traveling, so I added the twist at the end.

Good eating to all!

Refresh your memory on last year’s (same, same) goal: 10 for November/December: New Restaurants in D.C.

Maybe the food will look like this?


Five Random Photos Shared in June ’15

Photos get taken. Photos get posted.

I winnowed it down to the least offensive. The least interesting. The least of the least.

That is the least I could do. Quite literally.


I’m so flushed. On the plus side, the urinal will electric shock you for a nickel.
Toilet Story


When it’s wrong, it’s wrong.
The Wrong Tree


Bobbleheads and rain.
Nationals + bobbleheads + rain


For the record, I did not die during that 1 minute of panic.
Gimme Shelter


The photo is not blurry. You are drunk.
Red, White & Brew


I’m hungry. Let’s get an empanada.
Plate of Empanada


Five Random (Sunset) Photos Shared in April ’15

More random photos! Less specific photos!

Okay, but let’s go with sunsets instead.

DC sunset
Sunset in DC


Seattle sunset
Sunset in Seattle


Puyallup Spring Fair
Sunset at the Puyallup Spring Fair


Volleyball sunset
Sunset playing volleyball


Washington Monument sunset
Washington Monument sunset


That’s done, let’s do some bonus random photos.

Safeco Field
Felix wins! But I didn’t get my Felix bobblehead.


Snoqualmie Falls
The Falls of Snoqualmie and the Salish Lodge


One Day Hike 2015
Only 1/3 of the way done with the One Day Hike. Only 20 miles to go!


Five Random Quotes: Dirty Hiking

This Saturday, April 25, is the annual One Day Hike. I’m doing the 50K (31.1 miles) version for the 4th time. And with far less training than previously.

Let’s do some dirty quotes and get inspired.


‘It is not the mountain we conquer, it is ourselves.’ – Edmund Hillary

Conquer the mountain


‘I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.’ – Rosalia de Castro

See your path


‘Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.’ – Anonymous



‘One step at a time is good walking.’ – Chinese Proverb

Good Walking


‘Walking is a man’s best medicine.’ – Hippocrates

Best Medicine


Walk it off!

Five Random Photos Shared in March ’15

Fear the photo! Another random assortment of joy. Enjoy.



Squeeze for maximum wine.



Straight ballin’ on da court, yo.



I resemble that remark. Oi, read about it!




‘I have an icicle’ and other terribly misguided puns.



(Editor’s Note: Do we need a comment?)


Bonus content!


Beautiful Manila! Wait…this doesn’t seem like much of a bonus…


Mile High

Use when you have an epiphany. Help!

Five Random Photos (not) Shared in February ’15

It’s not February anymore, but I can still post these photos, right? Right.


Probably Melbourne
Probably Melbourne
I like your blue.
I like your blue.
Not in the running for my last meal
Not in the running for my last meal
Don't jump down
Don’t jump down
Table Mountain as seen from Robben Island
Table Mountain as seen from Robben Island
Nice peak
Nice peak
Not Nelson Mandela's cell
Not Nelson Mandela’s cell


Also, I can’t count.

Five Random Photos (x2) Shared in January ’15

Since 2015 has started cold (and I didn’t post one of these in December), you get double the pleasure. Double the bang for your buck! Double bonus!

10 random photos. Don’t thank me.

Okay, thank me. But keep it short.

In honor of the Seattle Seahawks making it to the Super Bowl two years in a row, many of these contain a Seattle theme.


Seahawks at Eagles! Victory!
Seahawks at Eagles! Victory!


Rams at Seahawks! Victory!
Rams at Seahawks! Victory!




Pour extra salad sauce on my Teriyaki
Pour extra salad sauce on my Teriyaki


This is the UW Quad on camera. Any questions?
This is the UW Quad on camera. Any questions?


Getting busy at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room
Getting busy at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room


Book learnings in DC
Book learnings in DC


Gimma some Chilaquiles! Now!
Gimma some Chilaquiles! Now!


Snow Trek
Snow Trek


Frozen Balls
Frozen Balls


May nothing work out for you. If you’re a Patriots fan, that is.

11 Best Movies of 2014 (and 5 Worst)

Here is my annual look at movies. Take a deep breath, hold your nose and wade through the best and then five that were squeezed out of the turd factory.

I would also like to change the name of the third Hobbit movie to: The Hobbit: Legolas, Who Stares Dramatically Into the Distance.


11. Nebraska – A look at that thing called ‘family’. Told from the perspective of a father, who believes he’s right, and the children who don’t believe but indulge him.

10. Philomena – Heartbreaking. Poignant. Disturbing. Those words.

9. Enough Said – One of James Gandolfini’s last roles, and one of his best movie roles. Julia Louis-Dreyfus bumbles relationships. But does learn something, in the end.

8. Gravity (3D) – If floating weightless in space is your thing, you’re in luck.

7. Her – Scarlett Johansson’s voice + Joaquin Phoenix / technology x heartbreak = love. Don’t check my math.

6. Guardians of the Galaxy – Whiz. Bang. Marvel takes little known characters up a steep mountain – to get you to care. With a go for broke attitude, they finally make a superhero movie as good as the first Iron Man.

5. Out of the Furnace – Gritty. What would you do to avenge your brother? Ask Christian Bale. And Woody Harrelson is crazy.

4. Chef – Food truck enthusiasts unite! A fine tale of finding your passion. Again. Now I need a Cuban sandwich.

3. Gone Girl – A forceful adaption of the novel by the same name. If you know nothing going in, you will be shocked, mortified and ultimately ready to watch it again.

2. The Imitation Game – Crackling good yarn about how Alan Turning helped win World War II by cracking the code to the Nazi’s Enigma machine with his precursor to modern computers.

1. 12 Years a Slave – Unflinching. Brutal. There was a good reason this movie won the Oscar for Best Picture. That is all.



5. G.I. Joe: Retaliation – I blame Netflix streaming… I had lots of G.I. Joe action figures when I was a kid. I gave the second G.I. movie a chance. For nostalgia’s sake. Bad move.

4. Lone Ranger – What the? Stupid. Johnny Depp you are on notice. Desist with the weirdness.

3. Day of the Dead (1985) – No. The Dead did not have their day. Probably the worst zombie movie ever made.

2. Sharknado 2: The Second One – I had choices. Netflix streaming plopped this in front of my face. I bit, no pun intended, so I should blame myself for pressing my eyeballs to my iPad. I won’t. It had to be watched. Yet. Wow. What a flying pile of steaming shark feces. Sadly, Sharknado 3 is based in Washington, D.C. Sigh. Now I have to watch that one too.

1. The Amazing Spider-man 2 – Amazing, it was not. In the expansive bloat of superhero movies, this one is just about cashing in. It’s the worst movie on this list because it had potential AND was the least necessary. Failed, it did.


Stats on Movies Watched

  • 91 movies watched in 2014
  • 27 on a plane
  • 0 on a train
  • 0 in an automobile
  • 17 Oscar Best Picture Winners
  • 2 AFI Greatest Top 100
  • 5 superhero movies
  • 7 repeat viewing


Extra Special Bonus Time (All 91 movies)

Continue reading “11 Best Movies of 2014 (and 5 Worst)”

53 Random Albums: A 2014 Retrospective

Less music. That’s the theme of 2014. I did everything less than last year.

It’s still a high volume, but not turned up to 11.

Proceed to some less notable lists.

Lesser stats: I burned 53 new albums into my iTunes library. I attended 23 concerts (or 60 music sets). I invaded the 3rd annual Firefly Music Festival in Delaware. I stormed the Concert for Valor in DC.

Enough about me…oh wait, never mind.

Top Albums Listened to in 2014*

  1. ‘Let’s Be Still’ by The Head and the Heart
  2. ‘AM’ by Arctic Monkeys
  3. ‘My Someday’ by Blondfire
  4. ‘Haerts’ by Haerts
  5. ‘Education, Education, Education & War’ by Kaiser Chiefs
  6. ‘Himalayan’ by Band of Skulls
  7. ‘Forcefield’ by Tokyo Police Club
  8. ‘Talking is Hard’ by Walk the Moon
  9. ‘Turn Blue’ by The Black Keys
  10. ‘Spreading Rumors’ by Grouplove

Honorable mention: ‘Beacon’ by Two Door Cinema Club

*Does not have to have been released in 2014.

Bonus #1: Top Concerts of 2014

  1. Firefly Music Festival Day 2 (Dover Downs) – including Arctic Monkeys and Foo Fighters
  2. Firefly Music Festival Day 3 (Dover Downs) – including Tegan and Sara, MS MR and Grouplove
  3. The Head and the Heart (DAR Constitution Hall)
  4. Tegan and Sara (9:30 Club)
  5. Kaiser Chiefs (9:30 Club)
  6. The Sounds (9:30 Club)
  7. Band of Skulls (9:30 Club)
  8. Kasabian (9:30 Club)

Bonus #2: Most Listened to Songs in 2014 (According to iTunes)

  1. ‘Homecoming Heroes’ by The Head and the Heart (30)
  2. ‘Ash Tree Lane’ by MS MR
  3. ‘Hurricane’ by MS MR
  4. ‘Do I Wanna Know?’ by Arctic Monkeys
  5. ‘If I Could Change Your Mind’ by HAIM
  6. ‘Don’t Save Me’ by HAIM
  7. ‘Hearts Like Ours’ by The Naked and Famous
  8. ‘My Number’ by Foals
  9. ‘Hemiplegia’ by Haerts
  10. ‘Coming Home’ by Kaiser Chiefs
  11. ‘Another Story’ by The Head and the Heart
  12. ‘Hot Tonight’ by Tokyo Police Club
  13. ‘Where the Kids Are’ by Blondfire
  14. ‘Alive’ by Empire of the Sun
  15. ‘Are You What You Want to Be?’ by Foster The People
  16. ‘I’m With You’ by Grouplove
  17. ‘Hey I Don’t Know’ by Kongos
  18. ‘I Never Learn’ by Lykke Li
  19. ‘Nuclear Seasons’ by Charli XCX
  20. ‘Wings’ by Haerts
  21. ‘Springtime’ by The Head and the Heart
  22. ‘Weight of Love’ by The Black Keys
  23. ‘Waves’ by Blondfire
  24. ‘Summertime’ by The Head and the Heart
  25. ‘Let’s Be Still’ by The Head and the Heart (15)

Bonus #3: All Albums Acquired in 2014

Continue reading “53 Random Albums: A 2014 Retrospective”

Five Random Books: Burn Them All (2014)

2014 proved to be a weak year for good books. Well, among the books I read.

One of my goals this year was to read four science fiction novels off a ‘Best of’ list. So in honor of the science fiction genre, I plan on hosting a book burning bonfire to forget 2014. Invitations are in the mail.

What science fiction novels did I read in 2014?

  1. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
  2. Hyperion (Dan Simmons)
  3. The Fall of Hyperion (Dan Simmons)
  4. The Martian Chronicles (Ray Bradbury)
  5. Children of Dune (Frank Herbert)


Without fanfare, read about the top five books I read in 2014:

5. Police (Jo Nesbø, 2014) – The Harry Hole books from Swedish author, Jo Nesbø, are highly entertaining murder mysteries. This is neither the best nor the worst of the ten book series thus far. I suggest The Snowman or The Leopard if you must read one. But in a weak year of reading, I struggled to find my top five. I toyed with including John Grisham’s Sycamore Row (the follow-up to A Time To Kill), despite it being just okay, but after reading his Gray Mountain, which was just terrible, they cancelled each other off my list.

4. A Dance With Dragons (Fire & Ice Book 5) (George R. R. Martin, 2011) – Not the best book of the series, but a vast improvement over Book 4. Could it be true? Another major character dies? No!!!! I don’t believe Mr. Martin will write fast enough to keep up with The Game of Thrones TV series, but the journey will be fun. In an everybody dies horribly so why did we invest all this time on these characters sort of way.

3. What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions (Randall Munroe, 2014) – Some of these questions are silly, some are weird. Some are way over my head. Yet you can’t walk away without a few chuckles and the deep satisfaction that you are now somehow smarter than the next guy or gal.

2. Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn, 2012)– Read it. Watch it. Discuss. If you are not entertained, check for a pulse. If you don’t have a pulse, I suggest reading CPR for Dummies.

1. Hyperion (Dan Simmons, 1989) – The interlocking story of seven pilgrims journeying to Hyperion to save the galaxy. Or are they? One narrative brings them together, but each individual back story is what makes the book amazing. The Fall of Hyperion is the ‘sequel’. Actually, it is the conclusion of the story, so it you have to read it, but it’s not quite as good as its better half. If you like anything about science fiction, even if only the latter word fiction, than read this.

I’m planning on reading more this upcoming year.

Give me your best suggestions!

Silence is not golden here.




Five Random Food Porn Photos Shared in November ’14

Since November is the month for turkey and for cramming all manner of edibles in your pie hole, I’m sharing only food photos.

I’ve made my choice, but don’t expect any turkey or pie.

A CSA veggie melody
A CSA veggie melody
Get you some Bi Bim Bap at YoonHa's Kitchen
Get you some Bi Bim Bap at YoonHa’s Kitchen
Cachapa at The Corn Factory food truck
Cachapa at The Corn Factory food truck


Meatless Thanksgiving Dinner! (well there's salmon)
Meatless Thanksgiving Dinner! (well there’s salmon)
S'mores Pot du Creme at DC Harvest
S’mores Pot du Creme at DC Harvest

Now stay hot and bothered with a nice latte.




Five Random Vacation Photos Shared in September ’14

Sage advice. Too bad I read this after I used the urinal...
Sage advice. Too bad I read this after I used the urinal…


The only thing risky was the amount of BBQ they give you.
The only thing risky was the amount of BBQ they give you.


Power nap before his driving shift.
Power nap before his driving shift.


Random courtyard in Nawlins'
Random courtyard in Nawlins’


Don't mess with Texas. Seriously, their wieners will hurt you.
Don’t mess with Texas. Seriously, their wieners will hurt you.


If ever a photo didn't need a caption, I would guess this is it.
If ever a photo didn’t need a caption, I would guess this is it.

Five Random Photos Shared in August ’14

Nothing to see here.

Nobody puts crate of bottles in the corner!
Nobody puts crate of bottles in the corner!


A beer truck won't drink itself.
A beer truck won’t drink itself.
Take me out to Camden Yards for a ballgame.
Take me out to Camden Yards for a ballgame.


Finally someone recognizes how smoking hot I am!
Finally someone recognizes how smoking hot I am!
This is your brain on beer.  (If you go to Bardo)
This is your brain on beer. (If you go to Bardo)



A view of my kingdom from the throne.
A view of my kingdom from the throne.
Mariners bullpen in Baltimore!
Mariners bullpen in Baltimore!

Five Random Photos Shared in July ’14

Just a view on a run
Just a view on a run


Yards Park at dusk. Don't go into the light...
Yards Park at dusk. Don’t go into the light…


Your wish is my command!
Your wish is my command!


Don't worry, I did.
Don’t worry, I did.


Last softball game in the shadows of the tallest obelisk.
Last softball game in the shadows of the tallest obelisk.

Five Random Photos Shared in June ’14

There went June! Later!

Let’s take a moment of silence…


My first round of CSA veggies. Bok choy and some random stuff.
My first round of CSA veggies. Bok choy and some random stuff.


Having a beer before the Mariners game in Seattle.
Having a beer before the Mariners game in Seattle.


Having another beer in Seatle just before...nothing really.
Having another beer in Seattle just before…nothing really.


Random purple bike at Firefly Music Festival in Delaware.
Random purple bike at Firefly Music Festival in Delaware.


Tailgating before the Sounders game in DC.
Tailgating before the Sounders game in DC.

Speaking of soccer…USA will beat Belgium in the World Cup!



Five Random Photos Shared in May ’14

May happened. Just think, it was the first and last May 2014. Ever. There will never be another.

Now it’s June’s turn. No need to dwell on the past. Except…take a moment to preuse these photos then start living in the moment.

One sunset in Bangkok.
One sunset in Bangkok.


Let's get to Frolfing in the grass.
Let’s get to Frolfing in the grass.


Don't mind if I do. Post Sugarloaf Mountain hike sangria.
Don’t mind if I do. Post Sugarloaf Mountain hike sangria.


Don't SHOUT, I'm trying to camp.
Don’t SHOUT, I’m trying to camp.


Now where is a Wookie to put him back together?
Now where is a Wookie to put him back together?

Since I cannot count to five…

Nope, not a Wookie.
Nope, not a Wookie.

Enjoy June 2014. It will be the last one.

Five Random Quotes: Let’s Go Hiking

In honor of my upcoming 50 kilometer One Day Hike along the C & O Canal Towpath, let’s enjoy a few quotes.


‘In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.’ – John Muir


‘Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.’ – Steven Wright



‘Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.’ – Ralph Waldo Emerson


‘A dog is one of the remaining reasons why some people can be persuaded to go for a walk.’ – O.A. Battista



‘Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.’ – T.S. Eliot



‘Every twenty minutes on the Appalachian Trail, Katz and I walked farther than the average American walks in a week. For 93 percent of all trips outside the home, for whatever distance or whatever purpose, Americans now get in a car. On average, the total walking of an American these days – that’s walking of all types: from car to office, from office to car, around the supermarket and shopping malls – adds up to 1.4 miles a week…That’s ridiculous.’ – Bill Bryson from A Walk In The Woods