Thursday, January 29, 2009

Updates and Miscellaneous

I was attempting to write something about productivity, but I've got nothing. In lieu of that, here's some randomness:

-The chairman on Iron Chef America cracks me up.

-I get a tingle when I think about productivity, especially checking items off to do lists.

-Suddenly I have several more followers on twitter. I don't know what I'm saying, but it is making me internet popular.

-Ace of Cakes is on, and I have a fiance who just got home. Time to abandon the blog in favor of real life.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

I'm scanning some pictures for my grandfather's retirement/60 years in the ministry celebration. Here is my favorite from today:

This is my grandparents at their wedding.

Best of 2008

Best of 08 - Entertainment
This was the year of unexpectedly learning more about music, thanks to my fiance's encyclopediac knowledge of anything that can be loosely construed as musical no matter how horrible it is (Flaming Lips aka Herpes Band, I'm looking at you). (I, in turn, have introduced him to the magic of boy bands, Christmas music, and top 40 pop rock. You're welcome, Darling.)

1. Coldplay - Viva La Vida
Coldplay has been calling their previous three albums a trilogy, making Viva La Vida the first of a new era for them. Overall, Chris Martin's lower register and the cd's more overt beat give this cd a more rock-like feel. I'd tell you my favorite song, but any of them (except for Strawberry Swing) could qualify.

2. Regina Spektor - Begin to Hope
I don't think this was released in 08, but I bought it last year, so it counts. A bluesier Fiona Apple, Spektor presents some alternative vocal acrobatics. (Uh-America sounds like she's being punched in the gut.) I prefer the softer tracks, especially Samson.

3. Band of Horses - Cease to Begin
This was the first cd that I bought with B.J. around (and the first I've bought in a store for YEARS, bless iTunes). He picked it out for me and told me that I didn't have to be ashamed to own it. It has become my favorite falling asleep music while ironically making me feel like clapping. Try No One's Gonna Love You or Islands on the Coast.

4. Iron and Wine - The Shepherd's Dog
I really have no idea what they're saying, but it sounds pretty. Flightless Bird, American Mouth is a standout to me.

5. Kate Nash - Like Birds
A British singer, like a more indie Lily Allen (Smile). Her lyrics are more like a poem than a song with two verses and a traditional chorus. Nash is a lighter version of angry chick music, and it's no secret that I like music with angry women who curse a little bit. She also sings with a British accent, which is apparently rare. Foundations and Nicest Thing are my favorites at the moment, although Mouthwash is catching up.

Honorable Mentions (may or may not be from 08)
Hush Sound - Goodbye Blues (One of my favorite bands. Like Vines is a better cd.)
Rilo Kiley - Under the Blacklight (This album haunted me for months. I'm glad B.J. actually owned it so I didn't have to keep humming it forever)
The Veronicas - Hook Me Up (Good album, but don't watch the music videos. They'll ruin it.)
Radiohead - In Rainbows (I'm not really familiar with this cd, but I love 15 Step enough to put it on here. Way to be, Thom Yorke.)
Charlotte Sometimes - Waves and the Both of Us (How I Could Just Kill a Man - great song)

Movies that I saw but am not going to rank because I don't want to
City Lights - A Chaplin film
Twilight - Shut up, okay? I know. I KNOW. But they have slow motion rock star moments. And the soundtrack is GOOD. I'm allowed one bad movie to throw on here. (And if you make fun, I will delete your comment and burn your house down.)
Coconauts - Marx Brothers
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (Aliens? Really? Oh Harrison Ford, how you have fallen.)
Ironman - Stuff blew up. Was cool.
Wall-E - Probably my favorite of the year. I have Wall-E and EVE to act as cake toppers for the wedding. Be jealous.
Pan's Labyrinth - I can see why the critics wet themselves.
The Other Bolyen Girl
Helvetica - a VERY interesting documentary and no, I am not being sarcastic, Internet.
The Ninth Gate - better than the book
Modern Times - another Chaplin movie

2008 Recap

Oh, what a year 2008 was. The beginning of the year started off just as expected - returning to Rolla for my last semester of undergrad with my job offer in the bag. I traveled to the northeast for the first time (arriving in Rochester, New York for NEACURH), had my first paper published (ND Microwave technology, second author), had my second conference paper (teaching STEM outreaches to middle school students, first author), and became an emeritus everything of my honor society. The middle of the year was a whirlwind. After months of back and forth, a friend became my boyfriend and then, in short order, my fiance. I found out about a new niece (Baby P) and a new nephew (Baby Jones). I graduated from college and started my first full time job. Eight days after I began work, I was sitting at a desk in Indianapolis, where I would stay until Thanksgiving. I visited New York and disliked it. Shortly thereafter, I got an iPhone. B.J. started work the Monday after his birthday, and we worked things out long distance. The last few months have flown by in a flurry of work, wedding planning, and running back and forth between families. 2008 was Grandpa's last year of preaching full time and the entire family congregated to hear his last sermon.

This year, I have a lot to look forward to. In early spring, I'll meet my niece for the first time. At the end of spring, I'll be switching my name, moving out of my parents' house, and check a different box on some forms. My little sister starts college in the fall, and B.J. will make more progress towards his masters degree.

Here's to HOPING for some major CHANGES and all that rot.