Friday, December 31, 2010

Movies of 2010

2010 releases (in the order viewed):
Shutter Island
Book of Eli
Iron Man 2
Toy Story 3
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Alice in Wonderland
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
127 Hours
Black Swan
The King's Speech
Tron: Legacy
True Grit

Older releases (in the order viewed ... mostly):
Up in the Air
Brothers Bloom
Sherlock Holmes
500 Days of Summer
Bonnie and Clyde
The Godfather
Much Ado About Nothing
Smoke Signals
My Own Private Idaho
McCabe and Mrs. Miller
Rambo: First Blood Part II
Lone Star
Daughters of the Dust
A Woman Under the Influence
Angels and Demons
The Hit
Paranormal Activity
Invention of Lying
In the Loop
A Serious Man
Sky High
Pirate Radio
Dead Poet's Society
Eternal Sunshine
Royal Tenenbaums
Igby Goes Down
Wall Street
400 Blows
Night of the Living Dead
Dawn of the Dead
White Oleander
Virgin Suicides
Land of the Dead
Youth in Revolt
Edward Scissorhands
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Love Actually

Re-watches (in the order viewed):
Pulp Fiction
Toy Story
Big Lebowski
Spirited Away
Toy Story 2
Reservoir Dogs
28 Days Later
Shaun of the Dead
Toy Story 3
History of the World Part 1

Yeah ... so ... I was in the theater/in front of the TV/my laptop screen a lot ... :)
Pleasant viewing in the new year!

Books of 2010

  1. The Lost Symbol (Dan Brown)
  2. Under the Dome (Stephen King)
  3. Othello, The Moor of Venice (William Shakespeare)
  4. Much Ado About Nothing (William Shakespeare)
  5. The Taming of the Shrew (William Shakespeare)
  6. Murder Mysteries (Neil Gaiman)
  7. Harlequin Valentine (Neil Gaiman)
  8. Creatures of the Night (Neil Gaiman)
  9. Eternals (Neil Gaiman)
  10. The Last Temptation (Neil Gaiman)
  11. Midnight Days (Neil Gaiman)
  12. The World According to Twitter (David Pogue)
  13. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Mark Haddon)
  14. Will Grayson, Will Grayson (John Green and David Leviathan)
  15. Changes (Jim Butcher)
  16. Worst Case (James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge)
  17. And Another Thing … (Eoin Colfer)
  18. Have a Little Faith (Mitch Albom)
  19. Fang (James Patterson)
  20. BPRD 1946 (Mike Mignola)
  21. Abe Sapien: The Drowning (Mike Mignola)
  22. Fables: Legends in Exile (Vol 1) (Bill Willingham)
  23. Fables: Storybook Love (Vol 3) (Bill Willingham)
  24. Fables: March of the Wooden Soldiers (Vol 4) (Bill Willingham)
  25. Fables: Homelands (Vol 6) (Bill Willingham)
  26. Fables: Arabian Nights and Days (Vol 7) (Bill Willingham)
  27. Fables: Wolves (Vol 8) (Bill Willingham)
  28. Fables: Sons of Empire (Vol 9) (Bill Willingham)
  29. I, Alex Cross (James Patterson)
  30. Fables: The Good Prince (Vol 10) (Bill Willingham)
  31. Thessaly: Witch for Hire (Bill Willingham)
  32. Jack of Fables: The Bad Prince (Vol 3) (Bill Willingham)
  33. Jack of Fables: Jack of Hearts (Vol 2) (Bill Willingham)
  34. Fables: The Dark Ages (Vol 12) (Bill Willingham)
  35. Jack of Fables: The Nearly Great Escape (Vol 1) (Bill Willingham)
  36. Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall (Bill Willingham)
  37. Blockade Billy (Stephen King)
  38. Knightly Academy (Violet Haberdasher/Robyn Schneider)
  39. Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour (Bryan Lee O’Malley)
  40. The Walking Dead Volume 1: Days Gone Bye (Robert Kirkland)
  41. The Walking Dead Volume 2: Miles Behind Us  (Robert Kirkland)
  42. The Gates (John Connolly)
  43. Blood Oath (Christopher Farnsworth)
  44. Horns (Joe Hill)
  45. Stories (Neil Gaiman, et al)
  46. Doctor Who: The Forgotten (Tony Lee, Pia Guerra)
  47. Haunted (Chuck Palahnuik)
  48. Let It Snow (Maureen Johnson, John Green, and Lauren Myracle)
  49. Doctor Who: The Betrothal of Sontar (Mike Collins, et al)
  50. Beowulf (Seamus Heaney)
  51. The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)
  52. A Separate Peace (John Knowles)
  53. Catching Fire (Suzanne Collins)
  54. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
  55. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (W.S. Merwin)
  56. The Virgin Suicides (Jeffrey Eugenides)
  57. Thursday’s Child (Sonya Hartnett)
  58. Surrender (Sonya Hartnett)
  59. The Faerie Queene, Book 1 (Edmund Spenser)
  60. The Book Thief (Markus Zusak)
  61. I Am The Messenger (Markus Zusak)
  62. The Fall (Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan)
  63. Shades of Grey (Jasper Fforde)
So there is is. This year's list of books read. I started a few other Shakespeare plays and one or two or three or a few other books, but I hope to tackle them in the new year. I know I didn't read as many as last year, but over 50 (the yearly Nerdfighter challenge) is still good.
Pleasant reading in the new year!

365 Photos, Day 365: Love

Thursday, December 30, 2010

365 Photos, Day 364: True Grit

Stellar movie. Pitch-perfect from the Coens. I'll be shocked if Hailee Steinfeld doesn't got Academy recognition.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

365 Photos, Day 362: Cookies

Top of 2010: Music

Being a member of the radio station, I have access to more new music that I can keep track of. What follows are the twelve I've been listening to a fair amount (some more than others), as well as my top 9.

Winter: Contra (Vampire Weekend), Sign No More (Mumford and Sons)
Spring/Summer: Travelers in Time and Space (Apples in Stereo), Shame Shame (Dr. Dog), Volume Two (She & Him), Evelyn Evelyn (Evelyn Evelyn), Good Old War (Good Old War)
Fall: The Suburbs (Arcade Fire), Write About Love (Belle and Sebastian), Lonely Avenue (Ben Folds and Nick Hornby), Le Noise (Neil Young), The Orchard (Ra Ra Riot)

My top ones include (in no particular order once again):
- Contra: Perfect summer-y sound in the darkness of winter to dispel all cold feelings. 'Holiday' is the perfect summer-y tune. And oddly enough, it's in Honda commercials now.
- Sigh No More: British folk rock. Shakespeare nods here and there. Heart-wrenching lyrics. Need I say more? Try 'Awake My Soul'.
- Good Old War: Wonderful flowing concept album that's a strong follow-up to their debut. Go with the single 'My Own Sinking Ship'.
- Shame Shame: Pretty steady set of indie rock tracks from Philly. Try 'Jackie Wants A Black Eye' and 'Unbearable Why'.
- Volume Two: Summer, bubble gum-y ... and it's Zooey Deschanel, who does have quite a soothing voice! Try 'Thieves' and 'Ridin' In My Car'.
- Evelyn Evelyn: One half is Amanda Palmer. And it's a really odd concept album, featuring a bit of a few pop genres, but it works and it sounds stellar. Try 'Elephant Elephant' and 'Chicken Man' to get the scope of the album.
- The Suburbs: Arcade Fire. Need I say more? Try 'We Used To Wait'.
- The Orchard: Somewhat of a Vampire Weekend-esque sound, but not quite. Try 'Massachusetts'.
- Lonely Avenue: Ben Folds' piano skills don't let you down, paired with Hornby's wondrous words. Definitely check 'Levi Johnson's Blues', 'From Above', and 'Saskia Hamilton'.

Until next post! Allons-y!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

365 Photos, Day 349: Tron Flannels

A Tale of 17 Rainbow Cupcakes

Last night, a full batch of 12 and a partial batch of 5 were baked.
2 were consumed by the author.
3 were given to friends in another apartment. One who at one quite liked it.
1 was given to a friend who is helping with some resumé stuff.
1 was given to a good friend with great taste in music and good relationship advice as breakfast.
1 was given to a good family friend, who quite liked it as well.
1 was given to the station GM.
1 was given to a station community member, who quite liked it too.
1 was given to a friend who is a campus bus driver and said it was delicious.
1 was given to a station friend, big comics fan, and former collab channel buddy.
The final 5 are sitting in my refrigerator.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sunday, December 12, 2010

365 Photos, Day 346: Buffet

Unpublished Column

What follows is the column I wrote for the Finals issue of the campus paper. It won't be appearing in the issue because I missed the deadline by a few hours. :( Enjoy!

Politically, the news recently has been a tad depressing, what with the lame duck session, as well as one major international story.  A repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has been shot down.  A tax cut compromise for the rich has been passed, but there is hope.  Last I heard, there’s a filibuster against it.  As for the international hubbub, there’s the Wikileaks uproar.  But that all doesn’t really bother me right now.  Why?  I’m happy right now.
I’m just happy.  Maybe it’s because classes are over.  Maybe it’s because I’m nice and warm inside my apartment.  Maybe it’s because there’s snow in the air and on the ground as of when I’m writing this.  Maybe it’s because of the Christmas-y tunes I’ve been spinning recently, even though I don’t celebrate Christmas.  Hey, maybe there should be more Hanukkah songs that aren’t quite traditional and aren’t written and performed by Adam Sandler.  It gets old.  Maybe it’s because I can just see the light at the end of the tunnel and, God, is it a sight for sore eyes.  I don’t know why.  But I’m happy, which is quite a good thing, especially during this time of the semester and year.
Yes, that’s right, it’s time for finals.  Some of your classes might’ve been the best you’ve taken this semester or so far in your college career.  Your professors and/or TAs might’ve been extremely enthusiastic about their respective subjects and were able to convey as much as they possibly could to you to get you ready for the final exam, if there is one.  Some of your classes might’ve been the absolute worst.  Your professors and/or TAs might’ve been droll and boring and monotonous and picky with all their assignment grading.  But thankfully, it’s all over now.  Mostly over, that is.  Everyone has a few more days before they pack up and head home for a nice six weeks of recuperation and family time.
Six weeks. Six whole weeks. Can you believe it?  Six whole weeks of relaxation after a grueling fifteen weeks of classes is like heaven.  What are you going to do?  You’ve got plenty of time to spend in New York City, depending on your proximity.  You’ve also got plenty of time to spend with friends, apart from family, as well as catch up on pleasure reading, if you do that at all.  Traveling, reading, and family time is what I have awaiting me.  Travel-wise, I’ll be spending about a week in Toronto and ten days in Israel on a Birthright trip.  Reading-wise, I have a feeling that I’ll finish at least five books.  And as for family time, two to three weeks at home are just fine for me.
But what sucks, and I mean REALLY sucks, is that the spring semester starts on my birthday.  Not that I’m complaining or anything … but worst timing ever!  Oh, and The Decemberists have a three show run at the Beacon during that first week of classes.  I’m currently bemoaning the transportation woes.  Actually, that doesn’t really matter.  I’ll be back here at [REDACTED], celebrating my birthday with friends and starting some hopefully interesting classes.
Happy holidays and a happy New Year to all! See everyone in 2011!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Saturday, December 04, 2010

365 Photos, Day 338: First Snow

On Casting 'Paradise Lost'

This past Thursday in my Brit Lit course, we were discussing the important characters and more or less who we'd choose to cast in said roles if we were in charge of casting for an adaptation of Paradise Lost. What follows is what we as a class came up with. My suggestions are in bold.
- Adam: Keanu Reeves, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Brad Pitt?
- Satan: Al Pacino, Robert Downey Jr., Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christian Bale, Nicholas Cage?, Daniel Day Lewis, Johnny Depp?, one of the Baldwin Brothers, Colin Farrell, Mel Gibson, Ian McKellen
- Eve: Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts, Cameron Diaz, Gwenyth Paltrow?, Eva Longoria, Kate Winslet
- God (the Father): Ian McKellen, Morgan Freeman, Christopher Lee, James Earl Jones, Betty White, Queen Latifah, Meryl Streep
- God (the Son): David Tennant, Russell Brand
With Adam, we were going for actors who can do vacant, emotionless, and shirtless rather well. I chuckled at the thought of Keanu and when the prof mentioned shirtlessness and poor displays of emotion, the thought of Pattinson and Lautner popped into my head and I sheepishly suggested them. Pitt was suggested because he and Angelina work well.
There was an age split when it came to suggestions for Satan, however, the choices primarily relied on how well angry and emotional turmoil could be played out. Pacino was suggested in sync with Reeves in hopes of another Devil's Advocate-like casting. I suggested Bale because of his anger and Cage because ... well, he's Nick Cage.
With Eve, we were looking for some brains and beauty. I had no suggestions there ... but I was thinking about how horrible the casting would be if Kristen Stewart was cast as Eve ... it'd be almost like Twilight over again ... *shudder*
With God (the Father), we were looking for a stern figure with a large repetoire and an overpowering voice. McKellen was the first to pop into my head. Of course, Freeman, Lee, and Jones are known for their recognizable voices. And White, Latifah, and Streep were suggested to fiddle with the gender casting. And as for God (the Son), we were thinking about a bit of flamboyance and such. We didn't get to casting him, but I suggested Tennant and Brand to the prof as the class was letting out.

Until next time! Allons-y, Alonso!

Friday, December 03, 2010

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

365 Photos, Day 334: Mark Street

Recent Ramblings

I've had a few things floating around in my brain over the last few days and I just want to get them out. So here you go.
From the drive back on Sunday: "We're almost traveling against our will. Home is back that way and is drawing us back with the allure of safety, security, and the sensuality of homemade food. College is up that way and is drawing is forward with assignments to (in some cases begrudgingly) complete and late nights perched over laptops with our energy drinks of choice (tea, coffee, energy drinks). The only thing keeping us awake is the promise of warm lodgings and microwaved food up ahead, along with the consistent glare of the lampposts along the side of the highway."
From the mailroom earlier today: "Huh. A job/internship prep meeting thing in a coffee house type setting on campus. Nice, nice. Wait, pizza and soda will be served? ... Pizza and soda in a coffee house?! What happened to bringing your laptop and other equipment and material into a coffee house, ordering your mocha frapp latte and blueberry muffin, and getting to work on whatever it is you set out to work on?! I mean ... geez ... pizza and soda in a coffee house ... what has the world come to?"
See you all after this work-stress-reading-writing-editing period. Which should be about 2 weeks.

Allons-y, Alonso!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Friday, November 26, 2010

365 Photos, Day 330: Library Haul

On ... Stuff (Bob Dylan, Harry Potter and Traveling)

Well ... hi. I realize that my posts here have been few and far between, with the exception of the photos. I mean, last month, you got 5 posts, apart from the photos. This is the third for this month. ... Eh, I can do better. Which is kinda why I'm writing this. Let's start with the Bob Dylan concert.
Bob Dylan. What more is there to say? He's Bob Dylan. And ... I was expecting more.
A week and a half after Harvey ended, Bob Dylan showed up on campus to play a gig and ... it was okay. My expectations there a bit too high. He was great and all ... but he would've been better if I recognized a few more of the songs in the fifteen song concert. And of the five or so that I DID recognize, I only was able to by picking out phrases from the mumble-y, raspy voice of the now faded raconteur. But I still enjoyed myself.
After Dylan, I needed my Potter fix, which I most definitely got at midnight in one of six out of nine filled auditoriums.
To start the night off, I ordered my ticket earlier in the day online. Yes, I know, quit giving me that look. I had been planning on ordering it, but I kept putting it off. ... ANYWAYS, I hitched a ride with my friend Stephanie (who I learned is a big fan of Jasper Fforde (I had a copy of Shades of Grey.), in addition to being a big fan of the new Doctor Who) and her friends and brother. We got to the theater and were sent to Theater 5, but we went with Theater 9 because of better seating. We took our seats and chilled for a bit before the manager walked around dressed as Bellatrix, a food trolley came around for a trivia contest (I won a coupon for a small popcorn because I correctly identified what sugar quills are), and a local radio personality did more trivia stuff in a turkey outfit with an iPad (Sadly, I messed up with the names of the Defense Against the Dark Arts profs).
I proceeded to walk around to the other auditoriums to see if I recognized anyone. I saw my friends Jordan, Rachel, Kim, Noora, Brian, and a few others. Oddly enough, I didn't see Heather. But I discovered that Brian is more or less an unofficial Nerdfighter and a major fan of Charlie McDonnell.
After the trailers (my theater laughed at the trailer for Cowboys and Aliens and also saw an impressive new trailer for The Green Hornet), the penultimate Harry Potter movie began and I wasn't disappointed. Yes, it's been three years since I read the 7th book, but Yates and everyone involved did a fantastic job, despite a few faults here and there.
And yesterday, I drove home. Well, I didn't DRIVE ... but I was a passenger of Sam, a family friend. The ride went smoothly. I read about half of Markus Zusak's I Am The Messenger. We stopped in a small town called Cobleskill for a quick bite from McDonald's. The town itself appeared to be a quaint place with only one movie theater. It was showing Deathly Hallows, Part 1. The McDonald's on the other hand ... was okay. I got a McSnack Wrap which was lukewarm and had American cheese. Cheap fast food = mediocre quality. And one of the singles we got back had "red boner" scrawled on the back.
Afterwards, we continued to Albany to pick up a friend of Sam's and we continued on our way, passing The Egg while the GPS was redirecting us. I arrived home around 5:30, said hi to everyone, dropped my stuff off, and joined my family for dinner at a family friend's house. And that was most of the rest of the evening.


Hrm ... I think I'll save NaNoWriMo and The Walking Dead for the next post, which should come before Finals Week.

Until next post! Allons-y, Alonso!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Saturday, November 13, 2010

365 Photos, Day 317: More Bands

6 Hours on a Bus + A Rockin' Night

Yesterday morning, I woke at what seemed like (and probably was) the crack of dawn to get ready for what was to be a fair portion of my traveling for that day. An early bus was waiting for me to go home. I needed a new lower retainer, so the orthodontist had an appointment, which I claimed and during which I got a new impression of my lower teeth. While on the bus down and back, I noticed a fair amount of things that I want to share.
- Outside the bus at the terminal, I see a grandfather, his son, and his grandson and granddaughter. The grandson has curly/wavy brown hair and is wearing an orange jacket. The granddaughter has a black bob cut and is in a purple jacket. The children are doing the "Let's jump in the air while holding onto your hands so you can hold us up for a few seconds" thing. All very cute.
- I engaged a nice older woman (wearing a burgundy/magenta sweater/vest) in a short conversation. When she got I, I saw that she was reading Let Me In/Let The Right One In. I waited to ask her about it until her adult daughter moved up to take the seat next to me when the girl sitting in it got off. The elder woman said that while she is liking the novel, it's quite gory enough and probably won't be seeing either film adaptation. She then asked if I had read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, to which I replied that I started it and then put it off to the side, determined to get back to it. She proceeded to mention something she heard about the planned American adaptation: that it would be less realistic than the original film.
- My travel buddy was a nice guy named Dan, a micro-science major (if my memory serves me) in grad school up in Ithaca. We traded college basics (major, etc.).
- The driver was very protective of his bus. He stopped twice. The first time was a guy talked a bit loudly on his cell phone (I didn't hear because I had my headphones on.), so the driver stopped, pulled over, and walked back to him and asked strongly if he could quiet his conversation. What happened to courteous phone calls? The second time was a guy in the way back who had been smoking on the bus. I had smelled smoke, but I thought that somebody had smoked before getting on the bus ... and I realized after the guy had been kicked off that there were no stops where people got on after the halfway stop. Smoking on a bus? Really?
When I returned in the evening, I made my way down to campus to assist with stuff for the band show that the music group I'm a part of. There were four bands playing, one of which I'd heard of and seen twice prior. I'd heard of and heard a bit of one of the other groups. The first two groups, A Fire With Friends and Swear & Shake, were pretty cool. The third group, Secret Beach (a local group), was alright. And the fourth and final group, River City Extension, really heated up the place, as the windows in the room fogged over and flannel shirts and t-shirts were removed. They blew the house down with seven high energy tracks from their album, along with a few new tracks, that had the crowd dancing along in a mosh pit of sorts.
After that gig, I went downstairs to check out a Neutral Milk Hotel cover group called Neutral Uke Hotel, made up of members of Golden Bloom and The Motion Sick. Apart from played "In An Aeroplace Over The Sea", the trio played versions of some songs from their respective groups, along with another Neutral Milk song. Overall, they were pretty cool. And a bit geeky, too. :)

Until next time! Allons-y, Alonso!