The Best of 2014 (In My Opinion)

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It’s the end of 2014…time for all of the “Best Of” and “Worst Of” lists. In year’s past, I have included my favorites on my other 2 media related sites but this year I’ve decided to consolidate. It seems counter-productive to try and have 3 different blog sites when I so rarely write anymore. As much as I love music & movies, I don’t see the point in writing about everything I see or hear simply because…well…no one really cares that much anyway. EVERYONE has a voice anymore so why add to the noise? So I’m going to just wrap up this year with a capsule of all of MY favorite songs, albums and movies and take from it what you will. Hopefully this past year has found you and your loved ones healthy, happy and content. Here’s to 2014…an unspectacular year for movies and music yet there definitely were some bright spots…

TOP 20 FAVORITE SONGS OF 2014

Top 20 Songs Of 2014

I know…I’d LOVE to write about what I enjoy about each and every one of these tracks, from the simplicity of The Kooks’ “Melody Maker” to the horror-film intensity of In This Moment’s “Big Bad Wolf” but truth be told, you like what you like. In MY case, I like a good mixture of a lot of music and these tracks were the ones that found their way into my ears, on my car stereo or in my iTunes mixes of this past year. Overall, I enjoyed this year’s crop of music. I found it to be a little TOO pop heavy at times, mostly due to the fact that it’s the genre my kids enjoy the most so I often find myself listening to it in the car, but overall, there were some stellar releases! Here are my Top 5 Favorite Albums of this past year…

5. Beck – “Morning Phase”

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4. The Black Keys – “Turn Blue”

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Spoon – “They Want My Soul” 

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Sturgill Simpson – “Metamodern Sounds In Country Music”

Sturgill Simpson

In This Moment – “Black Widow”

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A couple more to consider: Lana Del Rey’s “Ultraviolence”, Run The Jewels’ “Run The Jewels 2″, Bleachers “Strange Desire”, The Misper’s EP “Dark Bits”, ScHoolboy Q’s “Oxymoron” and TV On The Radio’s “Seeds.” I would also include U2’s latest, “Songs Of Innocence” but if you own any i-Product, you got it for free so…you can judge it for yourself.

On to the movies! This year has been particularly slow when it comes to truly GREAT films. So far, I don’t know that I can say there is any one flick that I HAVE to see over & over again (unlike last year when I saw “Gravity” 3 times in the theater and several more on my iPad). But there were a few bright spots. Here are the 10 I would recommend you see when given the time. I’m including whether it should be seen in the theater or at home. With movies costing so much these days, sometimes it’s worth simply waiting for the rental.

Top 5 Movies You Should See In A Theatre

5. How To Train Your Dragon 2 (in 3D)

4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

3. Edge Of Tomorrow

2. Guardians Of The Galaxy

1. Interstellar

Top 5 Movies You Should Definitely See…But As A Rental

5. Under The Skin

4. Begin Again

3. Blue Ruin

2. Boyhood

1. Whiplash

Top 5 Worst Movies Of 2014 (That I Managed To Sit Through)

5. A Million Ways To Die In The West

4. Transformers: Age Of Extinction

3. Annie

2. Godzilla

1. Spider-Man 2

Top 5 Movies I Have Yet To See From 2014 That MIGHT Be Great…

5. Fury

4. Birdman

3. Unspoken

2. Force Majeure

1. Inherent Vice

My FAVORITE movie of 2014 (so far)?

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So there you have it. As of December 27th, 11:17 PM, these are my favorites (or least favorites, in some cases). Here’s to the year that was and I hope that 2015 brings even better entertainment!

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Thanksgiving 2014

IMG_3413This was the first year that Thanksgiving was held at my brother’s new home in Chandlersville, OH and we made the best of it! With a little more space than my parents’ home, we filled it and then some as we ate and drank and Frank was merry! Here are some photos of this year’s festive celebration. As always…I can’t wait for the next one! Great job to Frank & Jaque for putting together such a great day!

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14 Years Later…

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This week, Stephanie & I are celebrating our 18th year of togetherness, 14 of them in wedlock. It seems like only yesterday when I was walking through the WLWT newsroom to be introduced to my new producer. Although she doesn’t believe me, I DO remember that day. I remember the first time I saw her standing at the assignment desk. I don’t recall what she was wearing but I remember being introduced to her and thinking to myself that she was a very attractive woman. Little did I know that from that day forward she would be a huge part of my life and what a ride it’s been to this point! If life is a highway, then Stephanie & I are cruising right along, heading into a beautiful sunset, the windows are down and the music is blasting something from the 80’s that she can’t stand…aaaaaaand now she just turned it off.

Oh well. Marriage can be like that sometimes.  :-)

Nevertheless…life IS wonderful and being married has had its challenges at times however we seem to be figuring out how to do this very nicely, thank you very much.

To the woman I married 14 years ago….thank you so much for being the best partner a guy like me could ask for. You make me a better person and I am very fortunate to have you in my life. I love you sweetie!

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Inspiration

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Inspiration isn’t a word I throw around lightly. I’m not easily inspired by people. In my lifetime, I can say I have honestly been inspired mostly by my parents & my wife and that’s about it. But in the past year, there have been many people in my life, whether directly or indirectly, who have affected my life for the better. A few will recognize the effect they’ve had on me over the past year but most of them probably will have no idea what I’m talking about. So now I am going to pay tribute to those who have come to inspire me…even if it is only in a small way.

On May 17, 2013, I posted THIS here on my little blog site. Essentially it’s about how sluggish I had become and how I had lost sight of my own health. Not long after that, in October, I posted THIS blog about wanting to play basketball again. Not long thereafter, in January, I posted THIS blog and included a photo that inspired me to get my ass in gear even more than I already had. Now…almost a year after joining my local gym and hiring a trainer, I am reaching certain peaks. I can’t say that I have set goals for myself because I haven’t. I haven’t set a certain weight. I haven’t set a goal that I want to lift X pounds or that I want to run a marathon. When all of this started, I just wanted to play basketball again. Slowly but surely, that has evolved into something else. Let me be perfectly clear when I say I am NOT a physical specimen. I am still trying to lose weight around my middle (the most difficult place to lose weight unfortunately) and I would love to be more tone. But for being a year in and not being on a rapid plan for weight gain or loss, I am seeing results and none more obvious than what happened today.

Today, I went to get my winter clothes out and most of them didn’t fit. My pants, which I previously bought at 38 inches around the waist, were loose. My shirts, many that were XL, no longer fit at all and looked like I was wearing a dress. So now I’m having to go to buy more clothes that fit and it…is…AWESOME! Not the shopping part…but the fact that none of the clothes I put away some 6 months ago no longer fit! I knew I was losing weight. I had to go buy shorts earlier this year so I knew I would probably need new pants. But everything is too big! It’s amazing to me and truthfully, I’ve needed a lot of help getting to this point. So without further adieu, here are some of those I would like to thank…

My wife. Not only is she inspirational in her own right, but she has been very supportive in so many ways. She hasn’t complained when I’ve spent too much time at the gym. She’s been great at making meals that are low carb or just healthier overall. She has been so supportive in so many ways and I couldn’t be doing this without her!

My “road wife,” Trish Gibowicz. For 2 football seasons, she has FORCED me to get to the hotel gyms, even when they were crappy sweatboxes, and kept me moving and eating healthy when I am away from home. She has been a great road partner and she has been a great voice of reason when I THINK I want to sleep in on a weekend.

Matt Lanning is a former high school buddy who showed up at our last reunion and was in peak physical shape. Seeing him at our age got me thinking about how I could get myself back together. Both he and my friend Dave Clancy, who is a trainer and owner of Buckeye Kettlebells, are my age and seeing them be in the shape they are in has been HUGE in making me want to get healthier.

Another high school buddy, Kevin Patterson, who was in a motorcycle accident a few years ago, has bounced back from that and is in fantastic shape. Some people would have bowed out after what he went through but he didn’t. He came back stronger than ever and when I see that he’s checked in at the gym on Facebook? It makes me want to get my butt to the gym.

My trainer, Cody Godsey, who has obviously been a huge part in helping me get stronger and healthier. Most of the time, when we’re going through my weekly workout, we are talking fantasy football or about our weekend activities, but I’m paying attention and I can see what he’s up too. Every week he is pushing me, giving me new exercises to do, all of which strengthen me and make me WANT to work out.

One of my best friends, Janet Hanneberg-Diggs, who has been supportive of me and who is one of the healthiest people I know. Not only has she been an inspiration on the basketball court, but a few years ago she was diagnosed with cancer and is now fully recovered. She is a survivor and when she tells me that I am doing a-ok? I listen.

All of these people have inspired me to be a better person, physically and mentally. It’s a small tribute I pay to them here. It’s not much compared to what they have been doing for me, some without ever even talking to me. But I wanted them to know that they have, in some way, been important to me and this process I am going through. It’s not as if I’m a caterpillar and soon I’ll be a beautiful butterfly, fluttering through the sky…

Nah. That’s weird. Instead I’ll just say “Thanks. You guys rock!” and I’ll leave it at that!

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Grammy

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Today, October 1, 2014, we laid to rest my mother-in-law, Kathleen Edmunds. She passed away on Friday at 11:27am in hospice here in northern Kentucky. Rest in peace Grammy. We all love you and we will miss you very much…

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ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Complete!

Finally took the challenge…

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Back To School (5th & 7th Graders)

1512533_10204583537416183_6575950375130845867_n(1) 10570556_10152284344767361_3014319444697662505_nWell…it’s back to work for my 2 kids. After a wonderful summer (see the following post), Thursday they loaded up all their new school supplies and put on their new school clothes and headed off to begin the 2014-2015 year. Our kids’ school doesn’t have a middle school so Fer is over in the high school this year. It’s all new for him and he says a bit confusing trying to find his classes but I imagine he’ll get it down soon enough. As you can tell…they aren’t really all that happy to be returning to school but…it is what it is…

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