1. Flashpoint – I recently found this show on Netflix, and Ash and I are hooked. While I’m as much a fan of SWAT team action as the next guy, it’s not really the episode plots that keep me coming back (though they are very good, as well). I don’t say this much, but I’m really a big fan of pretty much every character on this show, and the interactions they have in a high-stress environment like a SWAT team make the show worth watching. Apparently the 2012-2013 season is the last one, but since the writing staff and producers know what’s coming, I hope that they will ramp up the action and the drama for the final episodes. If you haven’t been keeping up with this underrated show, you can catch the first four seasons on Netflix.
2. TC Electronic Polytune - My brother-in-law has one of these, and it has to be one of the coolest guitar accessories out there. Rather than tuning each string individually, you just strum all of the strings at once, and the Polytune shows a real-time display of which strings need to be tuned up or down. It’s crazy awesome, and it makes the typically annoying tuning process insanely fast. If you’re an electric guitarist, or know someone who is, bust out $100 and go grab one of these. This is the next thing on my guitar gear must-have list.
3. Fireworks Season – For those of us in the US of A, tomorrow is Independence Day and fireworks are a big part of that celebration. When I was a kid, I used to love setting off Roman candles and bottle rockets while running around with sparklers. Now that I live in a neighborhood, I generally try to keep the noise levels down, but we’re lucky enough to be able to see a bit of the fireworks displays from downtown Richmond from our patio. While I didn’t use safety equipment when setting off fireworks as a kid, I’ve become a bit wiser now that I’m older. If you’re going to set off fireworks this 4th of July, please, at the very least, use gloves and eye protection while you’re setting off your display. Honestly, there’s no reason not to wear them! You’re safer, and plus it adds to the atmosphere if you look like a mad scientist while setting off colorful explosives! Happy Independence Day, everybody! Image from here.
4. Logitech Wireless Performance Mouse MX - Being both a professional programmer and all-around computer geek, I get a lot of mileage out of mice. Over the last several weeks, I’ve realized how important a good mouse is to being happy and productive while you’re at your computer. For the last two or three years, I’ve been using the touchpad on my laptop at work, but I had to do some pretty funky finger acrobatics to make certain things happen. Recently, I switched back to my old Logitech MX Revolution (the newest iteration is pictured here), and the difference is night and day. My hands feel generally better at the end of the day, and there are no weird bugs (like the touchpad not recognizing your fingers because it’s too warm, for example) or unnatural finger positions required while you’re trying to work. Just make sure you get a mouse that actually fits your hand and grip style. (If you only use your fingertips to control your mouse, or you’ve got small hands you’ll probably want something smaller. If you use the palm of your hand on your mouse or you’ve got larger hands, the mouse pictured here is great!) I’m sure some day soon touch devices will be the standard, but until then, if you use a computer every day for extended periods, do your hands a favor and get a mouse that suits you!
5. Gator Double-Guitar Gig Bag - Despite having bought mine over 10 years ago, I still consider this one of my best music-related investments. They say you should never gig without a backup, and being a strong believer in Murphy’s Law myself, I always try to obey that rule. But sometimes you just don’t want to mess around with two bulky hard cases, and you only take one. Then, the one time you don’t have a backup, while you’re busting out the baddest riff ever known to mankind, you break all six strings. Now, rather than being ultra cool and whipping out your second guitar, you’re stuck offstage restringing your guitar while the rest of the band flounders. That is why you never, ever gig without a backup, and having two guitars in a single bag that slings over your shoulder gives you absolutely no excuse!
1. Disneyland – Like I mentioned in this post, while I was in LA, this Disney World fanatic made sure to visit Disneyland while on the West Coast. In short, I loved it! Since we only had one day set aside for Disney-mania, we decided to keep things classic and visit Disneyland Park – though California Adventure looks pretty awesome and Greg and I are definitely planning to go there when we go to LA in January. A lot of people have asked how I like Disneyland vs. Disney World. Well, here’s the short answer… Obviously Disneyland is much smaller and more compact than Disney World but that doesn’t mean it’s not smothered with Disney “Magicness” – and that’s what I love so much about Disney as a whole. Plus, it’s so neat to think that this was the original vision of Walt Disney. He walked the streets and had an apartment above the fire station (where they still have a lamp in the window). Overall, different, still full of Disney magic with some added history.
2. Evian Mineral Water Spray – Before you laugh and say, “It’s just water in a can!”, it’s not and this stuff really works! I used it a lot while I was in California and now I’m kinda hooked. It rehydrates your skin and can even revive your makeup throughout the day when you’re in a dry climate. It’s super refreshing on hot days and removes perspiration and soothes and rehydrates sun-burned skin. Don’t even get me started on sunburns. One day I was in the sun for a long time and I had on a V-neck shirt. Well, I didn’t realize it at the time but the V was a little off-center so I looked like an uneven lobster for almost 5 days. With Virginia being so humid, I don’t really foresee it being a product I will use much here at home, but it’s definitely something I loved using while in California.
3. Singin’ in the Rain 60th Anniversary Edition on Blu-Ray – One of my favorite movies of all time is coming out on Blu-Ray — finally! We’ve pre-ordered a copy and will be waiting patiently until the 17th – with umbrellas in hand. Remember in the beginning of the movie when Debbie Reynolds drives Gene Kelly home and when they get there she sings, “Here we are, Sunset and Camden!” While I was in LA, every single time I saw a Sunset Blvd or Camden Drive sign, I’d sing “Here we are, Sunset and Camden!”. By the end of my trip, my brother would say, “We know, we know, Sunset and Camden!”. Oh, siblings!
4. Instagram – I think I have an obsession. But who doesn’t?! Well, Greg really isn’t on the Instagram train let but I’m Instagramming it up in full swing. If you don’t follow us yet, our username is 7thHouseBlog. I’ve been going a little extra Instagram crazy lately because I’m working on a special “Instagram project” I’ll be sharing with you guys within the next few weeks – with a giveaway to boot!
5. Pinkberry - Sound warning on the link, for those of you at work! I had my first Pinkberry experience while in LA and it was delish! My favorite concoction was the peanut butter yogurt with strawberries and chocolate crunch. I wish I could have brought some home on the plane! The closest one to us is a few hours away (at Tysons Corner), but I’m going to try to hold out until we go to Cali in January. It’s a mental thing.
Do you have any favorites this month? A new restaurant, paint color, place to visit or lip gloss? We’re all ears!