40 Reasons Why the Summer of 2014 Was Awesome

2 Sep

SailboatBack in May, I published a bucket list of all the places I wanted to go, foods I wanted to eat, people I wanted to see, and things I wanted to do this summer.

Sure, I didn’t get to all of it, but I knew I wouldn’t. That said, I can say I accomplished the overwhelming majority of things I set out to do — and then some.

I drank a flight at Bantam Cider in Somerville, walked around Lake Hollywood in Los Angeles, sat out by the pool at the Hotel Indigo in Newton, ate all the steak I wanted at Fogo de Chão, watched my nephews have a blast aboard a Duck Tour, saw two Red Sox games (if you count the AA affiliate minor league team in Portland), watched all 26 episodes of House of Cards (in less than three weeks), etc. etc.

That’s why today, on the day after Labor Day, I can look back on the summer and confidently declare … Mission Accomplished. Continue reading

On the 9th Anniversary of This Blog, I Have a New Perspective

1 Sep
Photo credit: edenpictures/Flickr/Creative Commons

Photo credit: edenpictures/Flickr/Creative Commons

Like so many blog posts I’ve written — or tried to write — over the last couple years, this one didn’t come easy.

I had a germ of an idea, started to write, hit a wall, walked away, and didn’t finish.

But I was determined to publish something today because it’s September 1, and that date is special for me. No, not because it’s Allston Christmas. It’s the anniversary of this blog.

Nine years ago today, I started what I hoped would be a fun outlet for me to share thoughts, reviews, stuff I came across, and other random “musings” for anyone who wanted to read them. Kind of like the journals I kept in high school, except in a public venue. Thankfully, people did want to read them, and the blog grew over time: The subjects I wrote about became less random, the writing improved, the audience increased, I migrated from Blogger to WordPress, and all was well. Continue reading

You Weren’t Supposed to Lose the Song in It

2 Jul

Begin Again movie posterThere’s a scene early in John Carney’s new movie Begin Again where the two main characters are discussing the concept of authenticity in the music business.

Gretta (Keira Knightley) suggests that Bob Dylan is an artist who stands up to her lofty standards. “That’s the most cultivated artist you could have thought of!” Dan (Mark Ruffalo) shoots back, arguing that Dylan’s image is totally manufactured, with a look that changes every decade.

So Gretta changes course and suggests Randy Newman is the most authentic artist of all time. Even Dan has to admit she’s right: Newman has never tried to be a star. He’s just done his own thing for years, without kowtowing to the audience.

The discussion underlines the differences between this latest release, and Carney’s last U.S.–released film, the instant classic Once. In that one, Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova play two broken-hearted musicians who come together on the streets of Dublin and heal themselves through the power of music. It’s a subtle, sweet, small miracle of a film, one that features great songs (one of which won an Oscar for Best Original Song) and performances that are earnest, fragile, and heartfelt. It’s totally authentic. (Hell, Hansard and Irglova even fell in love while making it.)

If it ain’t broke, why fix it, right? No wonder Carney here tells a very similar music-heals-all story Continue reading

A Letter to Myself on My 40th Birthday

7 Jun

Young Martin LiebermanDear Martin,

Where did the time go? It seems like just yesterday you were skydiving to celebrate your 30th birthday. Now it’s 10 years later and you’re 40 years old.

Wait a second. You’re 40? How are you 40? You don’t look 40. You don’t act 40. You’re still single. You have no kids. You still tell and laugh at the same juvenile jokes. You still eat Lucky Charms for breakfast (sometimes , anyway). And hell, you still watch the Real World/Road Rules Challenge every week on MTV. (Ahem, you have a season pass set on the DVR.) The fact that you’re 40 just doesn’t seem right.

Are you sure that’s how old you are? And if it’s true, then why doesn’t it seem to faze you?

Continue reading

40 Things I Learned Before I Turned 40: Part Two

6 Jun

reflectionWhenever you hit a milestone in life, it’s only natural to reflect on what’s come before and pick out the takeaways you want to bring with you as you move forward.

I guess that’s my clunky, long-winded way of saying my 40th birthday (it’s tomorrow; maybe you’ve heard me mention something about it?) has resulted in me doing a bit of soul searching and reflection.

Last week, I shared the first 20 in my list of 40 things I’ve learned in my first 40 years of living. Today it’s time to share the second half of the list. (Unranked, just for the record.)

Sure, I’m no Navy Seal. But we all have our life lessons. These are some of mine. Continue reading

40 Things I Learned Before I Turned 40: Part One

30 May

paper and pencilSpend enough time doing something, and you’re bound to learn a few things along the way.

Such is the case with life.

Over the past 40 years, as I’ve lived a life full of ups and downs, I’ve learned many, many, many things. Some, of course, are the obvious ones: How to walk, talk, drive, cook, and write with decent grammatical ability.

But there are other things I’ve learned — important lessons that I hope will stick with me as I enter my 41st year. Many of these weren’t easy to learn, and some haven’t quite sunk in yet.

Regardless, I thought I’d put together a list of 40 lessons learned from 40 years of living. Here, with one week left till my actual birthday, are the first 20. Enjoy. Continue reading

I Have a Lot to Do This Summer

23 May

Red umbrella on the beach in summerMonday is Memorial Day.

How did that happen? Where is this year going? I guess it’s true what they say: Time really does fly when you’re having fun.

What that means is, I need to make the most of this summer because before you know it, Labor Day will be here and then soon after, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, right?

If I want to have a good summer, it’ll help to compile a list of things I want to do. So here, for the first time since 2012, are some of the foods and drinks I want to try, places I want to go, movies and shows I want to see, and other ways I want to spend my time between now and Labor Day.

Continue reading

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