Music Listening: Vinyl - Phases Of The Moon - Traditional Chinese Music: CBS Masterworks

I have made it a purpose over this past year to purchase new music every month. Not quite sure why I haven't thought about blogging about it all year, but I figured I might as well start doing it now and perhaps I'll even take a look back at some of the other albums and music I have recently picked up. These recent purchases range from vinyl, to mp3's to even sometimes just some CD's checked out from the library. While most people seem to be going the Spotify route for their music with a subscription, music is one of the few medium I still feel like fall on owning myself. 

My most recent purchase was Phases of the Moon - Traditional Chinese Music from the CBS Masterworks collectionThis is a really interesting collection of music. It was assembled as an orchestral collection of Chinese styled music from the 1950's and 60's. The music is quote good, but has a distinct "western" flair to it since the orchestral arrangements future a more traditional orchestra. 

The inner cover of the album has some really nicely done narrative that discusses each song and there are certainly some gems on it. I was hoping for a more traditional Chinese musical arrangement, but I am glad I picked this up. 

I hope I'll be able to find some more foreign music 

Cook Book Series: The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook - Beef Stew with Herb Dumplings

I can't believe that I forgot to post this. All the way back on October 14th we did our second Cook Book Series recipe. Well, technically Megan did since I wasn't home to do the cooking on this one. The second recipe turned out to be just as big of a success as the first one. It was honestly one of the best beef stews I have ever had. Usually with most beef stews I get hung up on too much potatoes, but this one was really well balanced and also had some really delicious dumplings. Another keeper of a recipe. 

Added bonus was that Megan made Apple Slices to go with dessert which I had never had before. They were such a huge hit that we brought another batch to work for my birthday and they were devoured quickly. 

Taking as pass on Nanowrimo this year

So Nanowrimo would normally be gearing up right about now and it would be starting on November 1st. I have done it successfully the past two years, largely on jumping in without much preparation. Despite all that success I am taking a pass on participating this year. I am instead going to focus my efforts on putting the same amount of time into recording music through the month of November. I have nearly half a dozen songs sitting that need to be finished and it is just a matter of me getting down to it and finishing it. I really want to get a new album out and published before the end of this year. 

After that is complete, I can then spend the rest of the winter trying to edit the books I have written from past Nanowrimos. 

Biking Downtown Chicago and Record Store Hopping

It was a beautiful day on Saturday and Megan suggested we get out of the house. One of the things I wanted to do this summer was to get our bikes into the city and bike around for lunch, so we ended up doing that. 

We took our bikes in and parked at a Park District parking lot next to La Rabida Children's hospital. The goal was to bike our way along the lake front trail north into the city. 

The problems though started immediately upon our arrival. Megan's bike had a flat tire on the rear wheel and we didn't have a spare with us. "No big deal", I though. We are in the city so there are bike shops every few blocks. I pulled out my phone and went off to find the nearest shop. My first stop was at the "Bike Clinic" which was just south of where we were. Unfortunately they were closed. There was a sign on their door written in Sharpie that they would not open until 1:00pm. Well off I went to the next stop on my Google search, which was Blackstone Bicycle Works. Getting there was not an easy task. Streets seemed to be closed all over the place and I was constantly re-routed try to find my way there. At one point I got stuck down a one way street that had a barrier curb erected in the middle of it. I had to back out of the street back onto the main road. 

I finally found my way to Blackstone, but at first I was not sure if I was at the right place. As I walked up all I saw were a few dozen bikes sitting outside what looked to be an abandoned building. A few moments later though someone came out to greet me and they took me round back to the main shop where I bought our tubes. Turned out the place was pretty cool and is a youth mentoring type of facility. 

Well, we finally got Megan's bike fixed and we were off and running and we soon made our first stop after that.

Hyde Park Records

Hyde Park Records was our first stop. It was a very "hole in the wall" sort of record store. They had a lot of rock and soul music, but not much else. I personally was in the mood to find some jazz or classical. Megan made a great find while going through their bins with

Reckless Records 

Our second stop was at Reckless Records which is downtown right near the loop. Madison and State Street in fact. This place was definitely a rock shop. It had some really cool stuff in there, but it was also very crowded as you might expect from a store at this location. Very trendy. I didn't find any records I was interested in here, but Megan came away with a few. They definitely have a nice selection of new and used records though. 

The Slurping Turtle

Not a record store, but our pit-stop for lunch we wanted to have Ramen and we hit up the Slurping Turtle which is north across the river. I had a basic Ramen Bowl and Megan ordered a sort of ramen cold salad, which was pretty good for such a hot day. 

Jazz Record Mart

Our final stop was at the Jazz Mart which is located near Illinois and State Street. If you are into jazz music this store is really cool. Almost entirely jazz it has a completely a different vibe than the other two stores. They have a nice selection of world music as well so if you want to go bin diving, I would highly recommend this place.