Whoa…

by Joe Thomas

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I did not expect that. Thank you to everyone who read my last post and for all the positive feedback. Y’all are fantastic. Special thanks to those of you who commented or re-posted, feedback and criticism are important parts of improvement. I’m still trying to get a hang of all this, so if I slip up and commit some blogger faux pas by not “following” or “tagging” you, please know it is unintentional and remind me. I’m going to try to do this on a regular basis from now on, hopefully I’ll keep posting things people want to read.

One of my favorite websites is McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, a great collection of writing and humor that can occupy you for hours if you’re not careful. One great thing they do is a semi-regular feature called McSweeney’s Recommends. It’s just a list of things the editors really like, from music and movies to food and activities. I’m going to try to do something similar once a week, so here goes:

JOE RECOMMENDS

Andrew Combs- I caught this guy at the Earl a couple months ago when he was opening for Matt Hudgins and His Shit-Hot Country Band and Shovels and Rope. There were only a few people in the room and I felt bad for him, so I tried to pay attention. I was absolutely blown away. He somehow manages to capture a soulfulness and world-weary perspective way, way beyond his years. He’s just put out his first album, and it’s absolutely brilliant. If you get a chance, check out Andrew Combs at the Earl this Friday. Here’s a sample.

Georgia Organics’ Planting Guide- My mom has a garden in our backyard in which I’ve been doing a lot of work since I moved back home. We’ve been fairly successful (especially okra, field peas, cucumber, and bell pepper), but knowing the right time to plant can be tricky. Fortunately, Georgia Organics has a handy planting calendar that I’ve found invaluable. I printed it out and put it up on the wall and it keeps me super organized. If you’ve got the itch to garden check it out, and also the rest of the great work Georgia Organics does.

Etsy- I know, I know. “Joe! That’s where my significant-other-however-I-choose-to-define-them buys all these arts and farts and crafts things. It’s like Pinterest, but more expensive!” Well, yes. But it’s also where I got this, this, and these. So there.

Nuçi’s Space- Nuçi Phillips was an Athens, GA musician and UGA student who battled depression until he took his own life in 1996 at the age of 22. His mother created Nuçi’s Space in the hopes that other musicians would not suffer the way her son did. It is one of my favorite causes, one that hits close to home as a member of a family that has struggled with mental illness and lack of health insurance. The Wikipedia article for Nuçi’s Space sums up the mission well:

“Since opening its doors in 2000, Nuçi’s Space has become a popular practice space for many of the 450 Athens bands, hosting benefit concerts, music workshops and a variety of other artistic endeavors. Since the mission of Nuçi’s Space is to assist in the emotional, physical and professional well-being of musicians, services such as a volunteer physician twice a month to see walk-in uninsured musicians, low-cost eye exams and glassses and low-cost professional ear plugs are provided, in addition to low-cost professional counseling. Nuçi’s Space has been instrumental in helping local bands obtain free legal advice for contract issues, copyright law and publishing rights. A “survivors of suicide” support group meets monthly, drawing people from surrounding counties. A summer day camp gives kids the chance to develop their musical skills.”

Everything and More: A Compact History of Infinity When I worked at UGA, one of the things I did to keep my brain from rotting while sitting in a parking deck booth is read as many books as I could get my hands on. I was introduced to the writing of David Foster Wallace and he rapidly became my favorite author (still true). While known mainly for his fiction and creative non-fiction, many people don’t know that in college he majored in mathematics, specifically modal logic. One of Wallace’s lesser known books is Everything and More: A Compact History of Infinity, a book in which he writes about calculus and the nature of infinity, and does so with the unique and engaging writing style for which he was known. It is an absolutely wonderful book.

Rolling Rock- This beer is wildly underrated. Not heavy, and different from your standard American beer. Also there’s the mysterious number 33 on the bottle.

Love Ya, Bean It- Read this blog. Bean writes about her life and life in general with style and grace. She gets it, y’all. Very fetch.

Timberland Field Boots- These are the best damn shoes I’ve ever owned. I’ve had them for several years and they’re great for working, hiking, bar-hopping, and puddle-jumping. Make the investment, it’s worthwhile.

Nate Silver- Nate Silver is widely known now as the New York Times brilliant political statistician and forecaster who told the world what was going to happen this past November in, like, March. I was first introduced to him, however, when I learned about PECOTA, a baseball player performance forecasting tool that he developed in the early 2000’s. He is also behind ESPN.com’s Soccer Power Index rankings, a far more useful tool for comparing international soccer teams than FIFA’s very political World Rankings.

Confident compassion- I’ve been thinking lately about the amount of courage it takes to care about something or someone. Having compassion necessarily opens one up to pain, and doing so on a regular basis takes serious guts. When I see people have the confidence to give selflessly without fear of what may happen, my own spirit is lifted and my will is emboldened. Believe in yourself, so that you may believe in others.

Georgia Conservancy- Shameless plug warning. In January, thanks to my friend Bryan, I started interning at the Georgia Conservancy, a statewide environmental non-profit. Since that time, I have been fortunate enough to find what I feel is my career calling. The work the Conservancy does is crucial and the people with whom I work are fun, passionate, intelligent advocates for our state’s natural resources. I am truly fortunate to be able to work for such a wonderful organization. Check out the work were are doing here.

That’s all for now, hope you found something new to enjoy.

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