Look who’s here!

Hooray! My long-awaited Hudson Taylor CDs are here! The EP has been on Spotify for a few days already, but having it in hand makes it real, somehow.

Here’s my quick review (rundown?) of the Feel It Again EP.

“Run With Me” – If I hadn’t already  liked the song, the adorable video would have won me over. Rescue dogs. A VW camper van. Harry in a headband. What’s not to like? The song gets stuck in your head quite nicely, too.

“Easy Baby” – This is the one I’m least familiar with, so I’m going to have to listen a few more times and let you know later.

“Travellin'” – I love this song. I have a whole story made up in my head about it, that Alfie wrote it about Gabrielle (his love) and being a traveling musician (his other love), and how she encourages him to go on the road (and she knows how important it is for him because she is a touring musician as well). *Sigh* It’s so sweet. And on tour, Alfie sang, “Here I am, in Portland, Oregon!” which was a very nice touch.

“Old Soul” – This is slow and beautiful and dreamy. The video is so, so good; it shows Harry and Alfie walking and busking through Europe, Harry being silly and Alfie mostly serious. It’s funny; ever since I met him more than four years ago — when he wasn’t even old enough to drink — I’ve described Alfie as an “old man.” He just has this kind manner and seems so incredibly sweet, like a doting old granddad. It’s hard to describe. I mean it as a tremendous compliment.

“Feel It Again” – When I first heard this, months ago, I thought, “Wow, they are going in a whole new direction!” It was such a bigger sound than anything on the first album. The video is pretty (but silly) and the song is incredibly catchy.

So that’s the record! Signed and everything; I’m getting quite the collection. I can’t wait until they come back to Portland with a full band and play all these songs live.

Puzzled

I’ve been trying to make more time in my life for things I enjoy. Way too often, I “punish” myself (for not doing the things I think I have to do) by not letting myself have any fun. As a motivating technique, it is pretty useless; all it does is make me sad and make me resent my life.

This week, I took the huge step of taking the shrink wrap off a couple of things I got at Goodwill eons ago: a roll-up puzzle mat and a cool puzzle of London. This is a multi-purpose activity. Working on puzzles is fun; it’s almost like meditating, because you are focused so completely on the task; and, in this particular case, it’s a lesson in London geography that I really need.

Over the years, I’ve probably spent six or eight weeks in and around London, but because of the Underground, I never know exactly where anything is in relation to anything else. I just magically pop up from below ground into a mini-land around that Tube stop, then go back down and pop up again somewhere else. (Not to mention that the Thames is so curvy that you can go from being north of the river to east of it, without crossing it at all. That’s how they get you.)

Yep, this puzzle map is gonna change everything. I’ll be having fun in the short term, and I’ll be impressive as heck the next time I’m in London.

Let the Madness begin!

It’s the first day of the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament, and — thanks to a timely reminder from Quinland — I actually had my bracket ready to go before the first game.

After the first sixteen games, I am 13-3. One of those three losses served me right (I whimsically chose San Diego State over Houston), one could have gone either way (I chose #9 NC State over #8 Seton Hall at the last second), and one was a complete upset. Who would have predicted that fourth-seeded Arizona would get soundly beaten by Buffalo?! Argh.

I did call a couple of upsets, myself. One was another basically-even #8 vs #9, where I chose Alabama over Virginia Tech, but I was thrilled to see that Loyola-Chicago beat Miami with a last-second three-pointer. Q had them, as well, so I got a couple of panicked-then-thrilled live updates from him at the end of the game.

The best thing about Day One, however, is that my Final Four teams — all of whom played today, interestingly — are still alive. Last year, I was seriously hurting after the first round. Fingers crossed that this continues through the second round!