Archive for January, 2009

January 21st, 2009

» 2008 Music Recap

Only a wee bit late (not that you future readers will know exactly how late, through the magic of backdating — thanks WordPress!), I’ve finished consolidating my list of songs from 2008. These are my new-to-me finds, the ones I was listening to the most throughout the year, the songs that capture this time for me. It’s weird (and wonderful) listening back on them, especially the earlier ones. There are a handful that I still like, still bop around to, but they’ll probably always remind me of a period in time that was pretty damn painful. Still, life is life. I have a choice, and I choose happy. I learned that lesson a long time ago. On that overly philosophical note…

  • “Breakable,” Ingrid Michaelson
  • “With You,” Chris Brown
  • “Shake Down,” Akon
  • “Piece of Me,” Britney Spears
  • “Horse to Water,” REM
  • “She’s Electric,” Oasis
  • “Hanging Tree,” Counting Crows
  • “Cowboys,” Counting Crows
  • “Independent,” Webbie
  • “The Lighting,” Five Times August
  • “Do It Again,” Five Times August
  • “Citizen of the Planet,” Alanis Morissette
  • “Torch,” Alanis Morissette
  • (really: Flavors of Entanglement, Alanis Morissette)
  • Vida La Vida, Coldplay – “Cemeteries of London,” “Viva La Vida,”
  • Maui songs, none of whose names I can now remember
  • “Love Remains the Same,” Gavin Rossdale
  • “Little Tornado,” Aimee Mann
  • “Sweet and Low,” Augustana
  • “Still Alive,” Jonathan Coulton (from Portal)

Putting this together, I was trying to keep it down to one-cd size (I think I came sort of close maybe?), but I don’t think my 2008 list is really complete without “Life in Technicolor” (from Vida La Vida). It’s the first song on the album, so there were countless mornings when it was the first thing to break the silence in the office. I have music on all day but it’s background noise, and it’s actually a huge effort for me to actively listen to it. Because it was first, though, “Life in Technicolor” got listened to a lot.

January 20th, 2009

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I had yesterday off work, and had vague plans to clean — I have a few boxes to go through, and vacuuming, a little laundry, etc. But Sunday evening Jo came over and we had lots of pizza and played Spore and visited our Sims — and she brought over a few books to lend me: the first three Sookie Stackhouse books (Dead Until Dark, Living Dead in Dallas, and Club Dead, by Charlaine Harris), to be exact. I started browsing through the first one a bit during Brothers & Sisters commercials, and after Jo left around midnight began reading in earnest…

And yesterday around dinnertime, finished the third book. It was a glorious day off.

I even managed to drag myself to the grocery store after watching House! Though their entire produce section was in desperate condition: wrinkling apples, small hard nectarines, and bananas all spotted brown. I couldn’t find a single banana I trusted to be edible in the morning, and ended up coming home with no fresh fruit at all. Still, I got most of the other things I’d gone for. And there was a little snow falling so softly, as many flakes drifting up as down, the beautiful light swirl that charms you into thinking that this winter thing, in Minnesota? Not so bad after all.

Speaking of productivity, over the weekend I finally managed to edit the team sorting video I promised you in, what, November? And voila!:

It was shot on my digital camera (and I had to process it twice through Premiere, for one reason and another), so the quality is not great at all, but there you go. I’ve been kicking around the idea of getting an actual video camera lately, because it would be fun! and useful! Except I’m worried that I’d get one and then never remember to use it…

January 10th, 2009

» gathered: wool

I’ve been meaning to write, for a long time now. I write all the time in my head, at all the wrong times: the shower, the car, the grocery store. I even started, last month, a 2008 music recap, even though I completely fell off the new-music bandwagon the last half of the year (and spent the whole of December listening to old holiday tunes).

I dragged my laptop into my bedroom tonight, intending to jot some quick thoughts before turning in at a totally reasonable hour (I have to work in the morning), only to discover: internet? internet!? So here I am, hours (hours?!) later, having wasted I don’t even want to tell you how much of that trying to find a Greek word I’m not even sure exists for those Homeric scenes of warriors arming for battle. I know when I read Iliad in college Dr. Thompson shared all sorts of fascinating terms with us, the words for things like a warrior’s rage, and when they get a long death scene, and I loved all that and wrote it all down and have now forgotten, utterly. Forgotten even which characters get the big arming scenes. Hector? Agamemnon? Achilles must.

There is, incidentally, a most excellent arming scene in one of the Lord of the Rings movies, and it’s one of my favorite scenes in the whole trilogy — at Helm’s Deep, when they think they’re making their last stand, the king (whose name I can’t remember now — ah, Theoden, right?) is getting suited up for battle, all buckling and fatal determination, and the light is coming in that huge hall door and he has that great little speech about the days going down — and anyway, watching that part I always think of that word I can’t remember any more, and how important this is, this suiting up for battle, and how Peter Jackson or someone (or Tolkien maybe) must have known their Greek mythology.

Which is all to say that there are times when, in the handicapped stall of the bathroom at my office, going through all the work of suiting up for the barn, most especially slipping on the half-chaps and zipping them up, I feel like that. Buckling on the armor of this chosen life. Well-greaved.

And some days are good, and I see we’re progressing and am happy, truly, all zen and rainbows and puppies. And there are days like going into battle, a little. Back into a long, grueling war of attrition. And those days are mostly why I don’t write any more.

So, for 2009, I resolve: less battle, more puppies.

And: more book reviews. Heartily recommended, the book I would thrust upon you immediately if you were here in the room: The Road. Not recommended at all, something that has been the bane of my commute for the last two weeks because by the time I decided yes, I really don’t like it, I was too far into the audiobook to quit: The Virgin Suicides.

And: goodnight.