Off the top of my head, my 2013 reading list included: Wallace,
Vonnegut, Haldemann, Beukes, Ellis, Howey, Harrison, Banks, Bester,
Wilson, Vinge, Heinlein, Morgan, Danielewski. I'm in the middle of
3 or 4 books most of the time.
I haven't watched many movies recently. My last fantastic Netflix
find was Oldboy. Favorites of all time: Scorsese, Tarantino, Coen
I was trained as a classical violinist from 3 to 16, then college
got in the way. Besides classical, I'm an avid listener of jazz,
rock, and metal, but in fact I can enjoy almost anything. Violin is
far and away my strongest instrument, but I also play French horn
(really at some point I've been asked to sub in on pretty much
every brass instrument), clarinet, and bass guitar.
Here, how about some examples?
☞When Joanna Loved Me
(Paul Desmond w/Jim Hall, from
Easy Living, 1965). Instrumental (sax/guitar) cover of the song
made famous by Tony Bennett.
☞Shostakovich Symphony No. 5
(Bernstein, 1979). The
bass trombone part a bit after 11'30" gives me chills without fail.
This is among the greatest performances of this piece ever
recorded. It is said that when Shostakovich saw Bernstein conduct
this symphony, he congratulated him on an interpretation he thought
superior to his own. If you love this, watch Bernstein conduct
. Holy shit.
☞Back Where I Belong
(Baroness, from Yellow &
Green, 2012). Red and Blue are arguably better albums, but I love
playing the bass line in this song. See also Sea
, the next track on the album.
(Purity Ring, from Shrines, 2012). This
whole album is consistently interesting and slightly creepy. I love
☞End of the Line
(Sleigh Bells, from Reign of Terror,
2012). What is with me and 2012? I think I like You Lost Me a bit
more (listen to those Def Leppard arpeggios!), but YouTube was not
forthcoming with the corresponding video.
(Ween, from The Mollusk, 1997). This
is maybe the best sendup of progressive rock ever written. This
album is an absurdist concept album and at the same time a love
letter to concept albums. These boys also made a fantastic country
album---even for people who hate country.
☞My Cosmic Autumn Rebellion
(The Flaming Lips, from At
War With the Mystics, 2006). The "happy acid sunshine" organ solo
in the middle is nothing short of breathtaking.
(The Decemberists, from The King is
Dead, 2011). As if this song weren't strong enough on its own, its
music video recreates a particularly memorable scene from DFW's
Infinite Jest---the fateful game of Eschaton. This album is great
throughout; give This
is Why We Fight
a listen, too.
I'm way behind on Mad Men and Breaking Bad, and I haven't gotten to
the new season of Arrested Development yet. I really mean to start
watching Attack on Titan; at some point I might even get around to
House of Cards. Other highlights: Adventure Time, Portlandia,
Dexter, Venture Brothers, Twin Peaks, BSG, Lost.
I have been on a standup comedy kick recently. Louis CK, Patton
Oswalt, Gary Gulman, Iliza Shlesinger, Nikki Glaser, Bill Burr,
Lewis Black, Brian Posehn, Jim Jeffries, and of course George
I enjoy food. I especially enjoy cooking and baking, and sometimes
the results are edible. I used to brew a lot of beer, and yes that
totally counts as food.