Thursday, March 29, 2012

Weekly Recommendations, Week 13: The Juniper #15

This week’s recommendation is blatant self-promotion, so consider yourself warned. However, this is my blog, so I can do whatever I want, right? Plus, everyone else is using their blogs, tweets, and wall postings to aggressively and excessively promote themselves, so what’s stopping me from doing the same? Hey, everybody! Look at me! Check out how cool I am and all the cool stuff I do! Please like me and be my friend! Post, post, post, tweet, blog, post, ad infinitum.
The Juniper is my 8 years running eco-zine. It's all about living the slow/simple/small life: bike riding, gardening, doing it yourself. In this issue I talk about finding sanity by being in nature, my obsession with my bicycle, how to set up a plant variety trial in your garden and why you should do it, and how lots of things in the world are actually getting better (despite what some folks might say or think) and as long as we make the effort to stay on this course, amazing things can happen. I also include a recipe specifically for springtime. If any of this sounds even remotely interesting to you, send me an email and I'll send you a copy. I usually ask for a stamp, 50¢, or a trade in return, but a nice note should also suffice. I'd give my address here, but I'm still in the middle of a transition and don't yet know what my permanent address will be. Either way, write to me here and we can figure something out:

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Weekly Recommendations, Week 12: Spring

It’s the first week of spring! Of course, spring-like weather has been with us for weeks now since winter really didn’t seem to be much of a force this year. Either way, spring has sprung, and in my opinion this is the best time of year. So, I highly recommend enjoying it. The days are getting longer. Temperatures are on the rise. Winter is transitioning into summer. As a plant nerd, spring is especially appealing, because this is the time when plants begin to come out of their winter dormancy and look alive again. It’s also the time when work really gets going in the garden. Now is your chance to get your hands dirty and your feet muddy. If you’re lucky enough to have your own garden plot, then you probably already have a plan and are itching to get going. If you’re like me and have no plot to call your own, then you’re probably in a desperate search for any kind of gardening experience you can weasel your way into. Lucky for me, I just landed a job at Idaho Botanical Garden, so I’ll be getting my gardening fix there on a regular basis. Still, I intend to find other gardening opportunities to go along with that because I’m insatiable…either that or I’m a lunatic. 
However, if you’re not a gardener, there are plenty of other great things about spring, including my other major passion: bike riding. Certainly you have your favorite spring activities, so enjoy them while you can. After all, spring comes but once a year, and as they say, you don’t know what you've got ‘til it’s gone.  

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Weekly Recommendations, Week 11: Judge John Hodgman Podcast

I have recently become quite obsessed with podcasts. I spend dozens of hours a week listening to them, which is odd because I'm a huge fan of music as well, which means that my podcast listening has significantly reduced my music listening. In fact, I have very little music stored on my mp3 player these days. Instead, I have deleted most of the music in order to make room for the ever-expanding library of podcasts to which I have become a loyal listener. One such podcast is Judge John Hodgman, a podcast in a family of podcasts found at Maximum Fun. You may recognize John Hodgman from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, or perhaps you have read one of his books or seen him in one or more of his various television and film appearances. If you're at all familiar with Mr. Hodgman, then certainly you're aware that he's a pretty funny guy. But is he a real judge? Well, no. But that's partly what makes his podcast so great. Each episode consists of him acting as judge endeavoring to solve a dispute brought before him by listeners of the podcast. The disputes are real, and they are usually pretty trite and mundane, but the whole process is made quite humorous due to the witty and comical comments of Judge Hodgman and his bailiff, Jesse Thorn. After Judge Hodgman has listened to both sides of the case and delivered his verdict, the complainant and defendant are excused, and together with Bailiff Jesse, they "clear the docket." In other words, they read emails from listeners who would like the Judge to solve minor disputes and answer petty questions. This podcast is always a fun listen and gets me laughing out loud quite a bit, so whether or not you're a regular podcast listener, this is definitely one that I'd recommend to pretty much anyone.

Monday, March 12, 2012


Hello folks...
I am interrupting your regular programing to inform you that I have moved. I had been living in Illinois for the past 2 and a half years while I was working on a masters degree. Alas, I completed that endeavor and have returned to the state of Idaho. I don't have a permanent address at this point, so the best way to contact me is by email. Stay tuned for future updates as to my whereabouts...

Friday, March 09, 2012

Weekly Recommendation, Week 10: Blind Pilot - Keep You Right

Sometimes a song is just too catchy and too appealing that I can’t just listen to it once and move on, instead I am compelled to hit replay repeatedly. “Keep You Right” by Blind Pilot is one of those songs for me. Blind Pilot is an indie folk/pop group from Portland, Oregon. They have been around since 2005 and have released two full-length albums, the most recent being, We Are the Tide. They are currently on tour, so catch them if you get a chance. I unfortunately had to miss their St. Louis show, but I hope to meet up with them eventually somewhere along the trail.


Thursday, March 01, 2012

Weekly Recommendations, Week 9: Suicide Squad

Back in September 2011, DC Comics made a very bold and unprecedented (even risky) move by ceasing all on-going series, selecting 52 unique series, and starting each of those series anew with issue number one. Many of the series selected were already in existence or had previously been in existence; regardless, every series began at number one. It’s my understanding that one reason why DC did this was to increase their readership by attracting new readers – first issues sell significantly more copies then mid-series issues because, logically, people like to start reading stories at the beginning; so, release 52 issue number ones all at once and you'll get a ton of new readers, right? One big problem that I see with this approach is that most people don’t have the disposable income necessary to purchase 52 comics in a month at $2.99 per issue. At best, most folks might select 2 or 3 series to purchase per month, and if it turns out that after a few months they realize they don’t really like a series they initially selected and want to start reading something else, they must select from an offering of series that are now several issues into their stories. Thus, DC is back to their initial dilemma of people not wanting to start reading a story mid-series. But that’s just a minor impediment, I guess.
When the New 52 started up, I did what I assume the average person would do and I selected a few books to start reading from the beginning. Along the way, I dropped most of them and picked up a few others, but the one and only book that I have stuck with for 6 months now is Suicide Squad. This is one of the series that wasn’t in existence at the time that DC decided to cease all current series, but it had been in existence several years earlier, and its long-awaited return is a welcome one. The Suicide Squad is comprised of a group of supervillians selected by the federal government from the prisoners at Belle Reve Penitentiary. The Squad (also known as Task Force X) is a secret group of powerful villains sent out to take on other high profile villains, and in exchange for the successful completion of their missions, their prison sentences may be shortened. It’s bad guys fighting bad guys, with one group of bad guys disguised as the good guys. Intriguing, eh? The fact that the Squad is comprised of bad guys means that killing members off is a liberty a writer can take without much remorse, and so it happens fairly regularly in any given issue. The main members of this incarnation of the Suicide Squad include Deadshot, Savant, Diablo, King Shark, and the infamous, fascinating, and captivating Harley Quinn. This is a series that is packed with action, suspense, mystery, violence, drama, and twists, and while I can’t speak to all of the New 52 series (considering that I’ve read very few of them), Suicide Squad is definitely one that I would recommend and I’m certain would be enjoyable regardless of which issue you initially purchase.