Running Heads

From the editors of Cascade Books and Pickwick Publications at Wipf and Stock Publishers

Tag: music

Underwhelmed, Excited, Satisfied

This post has three parts. The first is about the music offerings of 2015 so far. The second is about the start of the 20th season of MLS. And the third is about a running app. In other words, if you came here looking for a book announcement, or a theological reflection, or commentary on a current event, you’ll be disappointed. However, if you’d like to get some new music recommendation, or you are a fan of soccer in America, or if you’re a runner and want the lowdown on a helpful app, then you’ve come to the right place. Links abound!

Part One: Music of 2015

So far I’ve been underwhelmed by the music coming out in this two-month-old year. Nothing has stood out. To be fair, I listen almost exclusively to Spotify, so I’m not able to hear everything. For instance, I’ve yet to hear the new Bjork album. From what’s available to me, and from what I’ve taken the time to listen to, I’ve not yet been wowed. I had high hopes with the new releases of some old favorites: Father John Misty, Iron and Wine, Jose Gonzalez, Joshua Radin, The Lone Bellow, Of Montreal, Dan Deacon, Belle & Sebastian, and the Punch Brothers, to name a few. They’ve not disappointed me, necessarily, but none of them have hit me quite like they did the first time I heard them however many years ago. I’ve come across some artists new to me that might grow on me as the year goes on: The Amazing, Champs, Fryars, Ibeyi, Sea Change, Jape, and Rhiannon Giddens come most readily to mind. And I’ve hope some of the singles being put out in anticipation of later albums will lead to a better music year: see especially Alabama Shakes, Florence + The Machine, and Passion Pit.

Part Two: MLS

The MLS owners and players worked out a new CBA yesterday, so the 2015 will not be derailed by a work stoppage. This means the 20th season begins tomorrow night. My boys and I have created our fantasy teams, we’ve got tickets for a Timbers game in April, and the league has a new television deal that will allow us to see a few more games.  The recent influx of USMNT players to the league makes it all the more exciting.

Part Three: Wahoo running app

I’ve been running fairly regularly for the last 5 years or more. In that time I’ve used two different sport watches and numerous running apps on my iPhone. I’m as addicted to the data as I am the running! The problem is that my data has gotten scattered across several platforms. I like certain things about one platform and certain other things in other platforms. I have running data on Garmin Connect, RunKeeper, Runtastic, and Runcoach. I’ve been able to consolidate much of that data to some extent. There are still several missing activities on some platforms and still many other duplicates, but I’ve got a good history on several sites. I still can’t decide which one I like the most, so I’ve decided to keep adding activities to all of them and more. Recording runs on several platforms means having several apps open at once while I run, or it means having to manually enter my runs on a half dozen sites after I’ve completed my run. I was going the manual entry route for a while. It got old quick. Then I found a running app that recorded my runs and also allowed me to upload the run to several other running apps: Wahoo Fitness. It is the most versatile running app I’ve ever used. After each run I upload my run to my accounts on Garmin Connect (which automatically connects to Runcoach), Runkeeper, Strava, Nike+, and MapMyRun. I can also put the GPX or TCX file into a folder on Dropbox for uploading to Runtastic. There are other fitness sites Wahoo can upload to, but I’m trying to discipline(?) myself and stick to these seven. While I can’t seem to make up my mind about one platform for recording my running data, I am quite satisfied with the Wahoo app for giving me the option of not having to decide. In addition to compatibility with other sites, Wahoo is capable of linking up with various devices like heart rate monitors, cadence sensors, bluetooth scales, bike computers, and a host of other gadgets for purchase. I’ve yet to buy any of those compatible gizmos. The thing I like best about Wahoo is its simplest feature: the screen! The workout screen has big, easily readable numbers. Reading your distance or pace or time on an iPhone strapped to your forearm, your head bobbing up and down, and sweat getting into your eyes that don’t have glasses on them or contacts in them is not easy. Wahoo’s designers seem to understand this. Highly recommended for runners who are as indecisive and visually impaired as I am.

New Look, New Voice, New Music

Last week we announced the launch of our new Wipf and Stock website. Responses have been positive. We hope it is a better online experience for customers, authors, and casual browsers.

As you might imagine creating a new web space for a company like ours is not easy. The project has been in the works for a good long time. This blog, however, is published using WordPress software, which comes with a standard set of templates. And it is sort of a side project for us editors. What that means is the look of the blog is pulled together with some extracurricular tinkering from one of the editors. And what that means is the blog will be pretty basic. With the new look of the website, we thought maybe the blog ought to get a makeover as well. Not much of one, mind you, but something in line with the look of the website. So I did a little tinkering yesterday and settled on the template and image you now see on the blog.

Wizard Island at Crater Lake.

Wizard Island at Crater Lake.

We have the capability to put different header images up pretty easily, so you may see different Oregon vistas from time to time.

As well as a new look to the blog, we are welcoming a new voice. Christian Amondson, previously our very capable assistant managing editor, changed positions last year to become an acquisitions editor for Cascade Books. You will find posts from Christian on the blog every now and again.

Finally, it’s been a while since I’ve mentioned new music. Two years ago alt-J’s An Awesome Wave led my list of albums of the year. They’ve come out with a new album this year, This Is All Yours. It is good and I’ve listened to it quite  bit, but it is not as accessible as their debut. Three other albums that in many ways are alt-J-like stand out:

I Forgot Where We Were by Ben Howard

Never Get Lost by Duologue

ZABA by Glass Animals

None of these albums has dethroned Sturgill Simpson‘s Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, a shoo-in for my album of the year unless something surprises me in the next seven weeks. Glass Animals has come closest. There are about half a dozen songs I could highlight from their album, but I’ll leave you with the one that has the most interesting video.


Who Cares if You Care?

Mr. Wylie, my tenth grade history teacher, was also the public address announcer at all of the home high school football games. He had been the announcer for many years, and continued to be for several years after I left high school. At some point during every halftime, Mr. Wylie would give the crowd an update on the football season of the Austin College Fightin’ Kangaroos, his alma mater. Almost no one cared. But that’s what made it so interesting. Mr. Wylie gave the updates anyway. He didn’t care who cared. He cared, and that was enough. [NB: There was a four-year stretch that overlapped with my last two years of high school when people’s ears perked up a bit more during these halftime announcements. A former Kilgore Bulldog went on to play football for the Fightin’ Kangaroos. He was a much loved local boy, and so there was some interest in how the Roos were doing. This local boy went on to become a doctor and should have been revered more for that than football, but we’re talking about Texas here, folks. Football is king!]

I feel like Mr. Wylie sometimes when I blog. Continue reading

Playing catch up

I was out of the office for several days this week and last, and I feel like I’ve been doing little more than playing catch up since my return. Aside from the many job-related tasks and domestic duties that piled up in my absence, I returned to a long list of new music awaiting my listening ears. These past two weeks, especially, saw the release of several anticipated albums, all of which are sitting still in a Spotify playlist waiting for me to give them attention. For those interested to know what I will be listening to for the next several weeks, here’s a list of new albums I’m most anxious to hear:

William Fitzsimmons – Lions

Phantogram – Voices

Beck – Morning Phase

St. Vincent – St. Vincent

Neneh Cherry – Blank Project (yes, the Neneh Cherry of 80s “Buffalo Stance” fame!)

On another front, yesterday I learned of James Allison‘s visit to Eugene next month and I read through the discussion on Scot McKnight’s blog about penal substitutionary atonement and mimetic theory. These two things made me realize I need to catch up on Rene Girard.

Gareth Dunlop

Folks around here at Wipf and Stock are always suggesting new music. I don’t recall who first recommended him, but Gareth Dunlop from Belfast, Northern Ireland, is a refreshing sound. His website has two albums that you can listen to in full at: He moves from R&B rhythms to ballads with ease and great lyrics.

Blogs, Indexes, Gentiles, and Gawd Above

  • We’d like to expand our list of author blogs (see right column, toward the bottom). If you are an author or editor of (or even contributor to) a book in Cascade Books or Pickwick Publications, please drop me an email or make a comment with the URL of your blog. If you know someone who fits this description and you also happen to know their blog URL, feel free to do the same.
  • Indexes are helpful, I know. But they also take a lot of time and effort to create. I hope you readers appreciate the work authors, editors, research assistants, and/or dedicated indexers put into them. Here’s my question though: Are indexes of modern authors any more helpful than an exhaustive bibliography? Of course if the body of the text engages modern authors often, an index of modern authors is incredibly helpful. My question has more to do with those books where references to modern authors are limited to notes. I’ve always thought it odd to have an index where all of the page references were to notes on those pages.
  • What is the purpose of the call in Ephesians 2:11 to “Remember that you were once Gentiles in the flesh…”? Is the audience supposed to recall its pre-conversion past, or does it reflect “the post-Pauline situation of those who had, for some while, lived in a community that claimed true Jewishness for itself” (Muddiman, 116)? The former seems to flow well with what precedes (vv. 1–10); the latter could make sense with what follows (vv. 12–22).
  • I can’t get enough of John Fullbright’s “Gawd Above.”

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