The Last Jam

The weekly jam experiment is coming to an end.

I’ve long been conflicted about how to handle this blog. One option is to post often and not worry too much about the quality, timelessness, and staying power of each post. Another option is to treat each post like a special event, like a rare and thoughtful consideration that I wish to share with the world. (Obviously the situation is not this black and white. But like most arguments, this one is easier to digest in simplified form.)

Either option can work. But as it stands, seeing as I struggle to post content regularly, the weekly jams have made Simply Unbound look more like a blog about music than one about books and writing.

I would like to post about books and writing more regularly. The obstacles that prevent me from doing so are poor time management (an issue I can resolve), and lack of confidence in my non-fiction writing (an issue which I can probably overcome with practice).

I would like to post more frequently, but I won’t make any promises.

Anyhow, without further ado, here is the final Jam of the Week.

 

Jams of the Week (Jan 30, 2016)

I’ll spend a few days in Tokyo this week. It seems appropriate to share a slice of Japanese rock.

New Book Covers for The Northland Chronicles 1-3

The Northland Chronicles series is getting new book covers!

I was never completely happy with the old, comic book-esque covers, so when 2016 rolled in I decided to do something about it. The covers below are the result. Suffice to say, I think these are better than the old covers in every way — more stylish, more modern, and more professional.

So far I’ve only updated the Amazon Kindle versions. I’ll follow up with the other digital editions (iBooks, Google Play, Kobo, Nook, etc.) soon. As for paperbacks, they probably won’t see the update until later this year; I’ll redo the paperback covers when it comes time to design the print edition of TNC4.

A Stranger North (New!) (1000w-jpg) tnc2new (1000w-jpg) tnc3new (1000w-jpg)These covers feature the photography of J. Triepke, Edmund Garman, and Raffi Asdourian, used under the terms of the Creative Commons CC BY 2.0 license.

Jams of the Week (Jan 23, 2016)

There are times when I’m not in a mood for music, but don’t want complete silence either. I’ve found that listening to ambient noise is an effective way to mask the sounds of the city and boost my concentration.

Originally, I got my ambient noise from MP3 files. Then I discovered that YouTube has a wide collection of nature sounds — more than I’ll ever be able to listen to.

Here’s a pleasant video I turned up a few days ago:

Jams of the Week (Jan 16, 2016)

Until last week, I hadn’t listened to Queens of the Stone Age since 2002’s Songs for the Deaf.

All I have to say about this week’s jam is, Don’t try this at home, kids.

Jams of the Week (Jan 9, 2016)

A few times a month a friend and I play a little music game.

The game is pretty simple. One of us picks a theme, and then we each recommend an album that fits the theme.

This week I decided our theme would be Selections from the Millennium Falcon’s Jukebox. Two seconds later my friend responded with this:

Somewhere out there, in a galaxy far, far away, Han Solo is Space Truckin’ through the Kessel Run.

Well played, Chris.

Henry’s Goals for 2016

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Unlike many other typing heads on the internet, I’m not sold on the power of goals. Sure, there are a few tireless souls out there who can scribble down notebooks full of goals and manage to accomplish every one. These people are goal-slayers. They’re a rare breed, indeed.

Me? I vaguely remember setting goals last year.

All went well for a week or two. I was reading 20 books a day, jogging 500km a week, and generally kicking ass. Then, one day in mid-January, an EMP-equipped drone flew into my bedroom and erased my brain. After losing all of my cerebral data I promptly kicked back on my sofa and ate a giant bucket of Häagen-Dazs. Creamy goodness hit my tongue and there was no going back.

Still, goals can be fun. Below are my goals for 2016. Some will be painless. Others may prove painful. Expect a full review at the end of the year.

The goals:

  • Publish two novels
    I’d like to wrap up the Northland Chronicles pentalogy this year. I believe I can, but there’s a difference between can and will. Let’s aim high and see how far I get!
  • Read 60 books
    This is doable. In 2014 I read 56 books without too much trouble. The key will be to stick with books I enjoy. Books that bore me take longer to finish.
  • Run a half marathon
    I could probably manage this today but it would not be pretty. I’ll train for a few more months and be ready to run next autumn, once Taiwan cools off again.
  • Sample 50 varieties of beer
    I like to enjoy a beer in the evening. The goal here isn’t to increase my drinking volume; I’d simply like to enjoy a variety of beers instead of always drinking the same old brews.
  • Write and publish 25 blog posts
    This might be the hardest goal here. I’m a very inconsistent blogger, as you’ve surely noticed *wink wink*. Maybe this year I’ll finally let loose and unleash the bloggage. (Note that my Jams of the Week posts don’t count towards this number.)
  • Read a 200+ page novel in one day
    I’m amazed by people who can read a novel in one sitting. Even a book I’m deeply enjoying usually takes me 2 or 3 days to finish. Sometime this year I’d like to block out an entire day and tear through a book. It’s possible — I just need to focus and DO IT!

Those are the goals. Wish me luck!

Photo credit: steve9567