Saturday, April 11, 2020

Quarantine Life Week Four - Exercise, Music, Books, Netflix

Lou Reed
Below I ask myself some questions and then answer them.

1. What have you been doing with your time and to keep sane?
Exercise. I started the new year with a pretty disciplined exercise program that has allowed me to lose 30 pounds over the last three months and turn some fat into muscle. So fortunately by the time of the mid-March quarantine I was already in the habit of regularly exercising. Staying at home has given me more time to devote to this. I try to do a heavy workout every morning coupled with a lighter, more meditative practice in the evenings. I've been using unconventional workout tools like kettlebells, steel mace, meels, clubs, a shena push-up board, and a tai chi ball. And in addition have been continuing to get out and walk/hike multiple times a week.

2. What are you listening to and reading?
I've been enjoying new albums by Phish (Sigma Oasis), Hawktail, Jon Stickley Trio and Habibi. And listening to all three Jake Xerxes Fussell albums on repeat. To indulge the stranger side of things, I've let Spotify play all day long based on channels centered around gamelan music of Java, or Mort Garson's Music for Plants, or C Joynes and the Furlong Bray.  I also listened back to moe. - No Doy, Strangefolk - Weightless in Water, Sector 9 - Interplanetary Escape Vehicle, Leftover Salmon - Euphoria and Keller Williams - Breathe.  The reason? To revisit some classic late 90's non-Phish jamband albums to determine the best. The winner? No Doy by .moe!

Plus I've been delving into my vinyl record collection by listening to some Sun Ra, Dorothy Ashby, Mulatu Astatke, and Hailu Mergia. It's been fun tuning in to YouTube for Phish's Tuesday night Dinner and a Movie concert series. John Prine. Spotify's This Is John Prine playlist is better than anything I could come up with myself so I've listened to a few hours of that a couple times this week too.

One thing I haven't been listening to is podcasts. I only like to listen to podcasts when in the car by myself during the 45 minute commute to work. Since I'm working from home I don't have any desire to listen to podcasts at the moment.

Reading wise, I've been devouring crime fiction novels, having discovered Michael Connelly. What a great writer!  I've read all three of his Renee Ballard novels (two of which feature Harry Bosch), and now I'm going back to the very first Bosch book The Black Echo and starting from there. However this crime fiction phase was kicked off with Lost Hills by Lee Goldberg. I am anxiously awaiting the 2nd book in that series. I also had my introduction to the Norwegian Harry Hole mysteries by Jo Nesbo, having started with The Snowman.

In between these police procedurals I also read a couple so-bad-they're-(almost)-good "animals attack" novels: The Roo by Alan Baxter and The Pack by David Fisher.

3. Latest Netflix discovery?
I could do without TV and I try to keep it off more than on, but I occasionally get the urge to find a European version of Sopranos or The Wire or True Detective. The Dutch show Undercover met that need and I made it all the way through season 1 of that one. More recently I've tried the Finnish mystery thriller Deadwind and the Belgian series The Break. I'm not hooked on either though.

4. What’s the one thing you could not do without right now?
I think probably right now it would be exercise equipment rather than a musical instrument, believe it or not. Being focused on doing a daily exercise program has helped me stay disciplined and not develop any bad eating or drinking habits. If I had to pick one piece of exercise equipment it would probably be the steel mace. OK maybe a tenor banjo and a steel mace.


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