The past year has been a full one, not without its trials, but also not without its triumphs. Overall, 2014 was a great year, and I’m looking forward greatly to 2015. After all, this is the year I’ll graduate (!!!!!!), and I just have a feeling that 2015 will bring a whole lot of new challenges and experiences that I can’t wait to, well, experience.
Anyway, I’ve been working on a list of things I highly recommend for some time, and I think I’ve got a large enough collection now. Some of it is pretty random, out of the blue, etc., but I think it should prove interesting. And I do hope you’ll check out at least one or two things on the list. They’re all well worth it.
(in no particular order)
~Jack Cavanaugh’s books – You all knew it was coming, didn’t you? So I figured I’d better get it out in the open right away. Especially since his books are the very first thing I mention whenever someone asks me for a book/author recommendation. They’re just SO. GOOD. I’m currently re-reading a bunch of his books, and I’m still blown away by The Awesomeness. Especially The Victors. I had the biggest book hangover after reading it.
~Lynn Austin’s books – I haven’t really talked about Lynn Austin’s books much, simply because I hadn’t read any of them until recently, but I think they’re almost as good as Jack Cavanaugh’s. (praise indeed… *wink*) Most Christian fiction these days is absolute rubbish, but JC and LA rise above the norm to write truly excellent novels. Fire By Night, A Proper Pursuit, and While We’re Far Apart are my three favorites, but all of her books that I’ve read are great.
~Walking in the rain – Such a little thing, this. On dozens of inspirational posters, people’s bucket lists, so on and so forth…but for good reason. It’s amazing. Especially the unexpected downpours. I was walking to the library once with my sister when the clouds burst open with torrential rain. By the time we got to the library, we were literally (in the most literal sense of the word) wringing wet – hair and clothes. And it was wonderful.
~Smiling – An activity that greatly improves one’s looks, in my opinion, and something I don’t do enough of.
~WWII TV shows made in the 60’s – You’d be surprised how many there are. I’ve only watched three – Rat Patrol, Hogan’s Heroes, and Combat! – but I know there are more. It’s not so much the fact that they’re made in the 60’s that’s important, it’s just that a lot of WWII TV shows seem to have come from that decade. And they’re all pretty awesome. Rat Patrol is about four guys who drive cool jeeps and make the German’s lives a misery (especially one particular German guy). Hogan’s Heroes is about POWs who basically run the prison camp they stay in. Combat! is about a squad of soldiers who do a lot of different things, fighting their way through France after D-Day. All three shows are available on Youtube, by the way. (hint, hint…)
~Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs (franchise) – Hehe. It’s a bit embarrassing to admit that I love these movies because they’re cheesy and silly and generally meant for little kids. But I am what I am, and part of that is ‘a big fan of kiddie films’. I don’t think that’s going to change any time soon. Besides, Cloudy 1 and Cloudy 2 are great fun. The humour is actually pretty sophisticated in places, the characters are great (with Manny being my favorite), and even though both films follow a lot of animated movie tropes/cliches, they’re still immensely interesting. Cloudy 1 is probably on my ‘Top Ten Animated Movies’ list.
~Listening to 40’s swing while doing cleaning/baking – I do this quite a bit these days. Glenn Miller music mixes perfectly with chocolate chip cookies, washing dishes, and floury aprons. I don’t know why, but it just does. Listening to music makes any work seem easier, even fun, which is why whenever the kitchen is a horrid mess or I have a bunch of baking to do, I always put on music. And 40’s swing is my favorite thing to listen to.
~Grilled cheese sandwiches with ketchup – Random, I know. But just try it dipping bites of grilled cheese in ketchup (or catsup, as it’s sometimes spelled). It’s delicious. And in the same vein… (of food, that is)
~Tuna in tomato soup – Next time you have tomato soup, mix up some tuna with mayonnaise and drop a few spoonfuls into your bowl of soup. It makes the soup richer and more creamy, and tuna adds a nice texture, and it’s just generally nice. Probably not for everyone, but I love it.
~Cupcake Diaries – I’m really sharing all my innermost secrets today, aren’t I? Cupcake Diaries is a fluffy little middle-school series about four girls who run a cupcake business on the side of school/boy/family drama. Basically, each book is small and sweet – like a cupcake – and they’re interesting enough. I actually find myself relating to several different issues that are brought up through the series (even though I’m wayyyyy ahead of middle-school now). The next time you’re bored, give the books a try. You might be pleasantly surprised.
~Watching comedic movies with your family – Ahhhhh. This is such a fun one, based on my own experiences. Everyone has different opinions and different tastes in my family, but if we find a comedy with truly awesome humour, everyone enjoys it and laughs at/with it. Laughter is a great bonding technique.
~Uno – A great game, playable by just about anyone. My sister and I play it in the dead of night while talking about Combat!, but there are several uses for it. I personally prefer playing two player games, because it’s simply more awesome, but upwards of ten people can play at one time. OR you could buy two packs and have an epic twenty-player game. (although the thought of twenty people yelling at each other that “It’s your turn!” is a little mind-boggling…and not in a good way)
~”Flying With Mother” (from the HTTYD2 soundtrack) – Go listen to it. Sheer poetry in musical form. Really.
~The Longest Day (book AND movie) – So, there’s a movie about D-Day called ‘The Longest Day’. There’s also a book by the same title that the movie was based off of (with the author of the book writing the script for the movie). And both of them are epic, in the truest sense of the word. I read the book a couple weeks ago, watched the movie a few days ago, and was blown away by both the scope and intimacy of both. There are big battle scenes, of course, but both book and movie capture the little details as well – the individual lives of military leaders, ordinary soldiers, and French civilians. The way all these different stories are woven together to form one, sprawling account of D-Day is awe-inspiring (especially for a writer) and just as perfect as Les Miserables.
~The fangirl life – There’s nothing like it.
~The Underland Chronicles – Before there was Katniss, there was Gregor. Before there was Haymitch, there was Ripred. Before there was Panem, there was Regalia and all the Underland. And before The Hunger Games, there was…the Underland Chronicles. And it was unbelievably amazing and perfect and there-are-so-many-more-adjectives-I-could-string-onto-the-end-of-this-sentence. Five epic books, one strong (BOY) protagonist, a slew of awesome side characters, and tearjerking moments running rampant through the whole thing. I simply don’t understand why these books aren’t more popular.
~Air Bud (franchise) – Yet another slightly embarrassing fandom to admit to… There’s a gazillion movies in this franchise, but only the first few are any good. They’re about a dog. Who plays sports. You name it, he plays it – basketball, football, soccer, baseball, and volleyball. The first movie is the very best (as is usually the case), the second is almost as good, and it kind of goes downhill from there. The movies are more appropriate for little siblings than anyone else, but I still enjoy watching them ever so often. And the Air Bud movies were how Ashley and I ‘met’, so they’ll always be special for that reason.
~Canada – CANADA IS AWESOME AND EVERYONE SHOULD LIVE HERE AND WORK HERE AND BE HAPPY WITH THEIR TIM HORTONS AND MONEY THAT SMELLS LIKE MAPLE SYRUP AND AMAZING PRIME MINISTER THE END. (visit this Pinterest board if you want to learn more)
~Notebooks – Notebooks are one of the best things that have ever happened to this world. I have about five different ones I’m using right now (story ideas, Combat! fan-fiction, writing journal, things-that-make-me-happy, and my ‘everything else’ notebook) and dozens and dozens gathering dust on my shelf, in a briefcase, and on my desk. You can draw breathtaking works of art or doodle nonsense. You can scribble down a random thought that comes to you or write stunning prose. You can smell the paper or rip the paper. Notebooks are endlessly versatile and I love them.
~Meet The Robinsons – I only watched this film a few days ago (for the very first time), but it’s already on my top ten (if not top five) animated movies list. It’s a very little known Disney movie, but watching it will be one of the best things you ever do. The whole thing speaks to me on so many different levels and has touched me in a special way. Not many films do that.
~Sue Thomas F.B.Eye – Allllllmost done here, guys. (girls? I don’t know how many guy followers I have…) I have no idea why STFBEYE doesn’t have a bigger fanbase. It’s an exciting, touching, practically-perfect-in-every-way TV show about a deaf woman in the FBI. It’s clean as a whistle, chock-full of emotional moments (for all the fangirls out there), and peppered with some of my favorite TV characters ever. There are so many fantastic things about it and I just might have to devote a whole blog post to the topic sometime. Seriously, you need to watch it.
~A red shirt with a steampunk bulldog on it – My little brother has one, and let’s just say I’m battling some serious clothing envy right now. It’s just too awesome! (sadly, I couldn’t find a picture)
Wow. This post is a lot longer than I thought it’d be. Anyway…what did you think of my list?