My Best-Of 2012

For the fourth year in a row (and just under the wire), I’m trying to put together a best-of review. I’ll confess up front, I don’t remember reading one actual book this year, so that category is out. [Edit – 1/7] According to my Goodreads list, I did read two books in 2012: Patton Oswalt’s Zombie Spaceship Wasteland and a book written by a guy GG knows about his experience with IBS. Neither was super impressive, so the category is still out. [/Edit] I’m planning to get a Kindle soon (!), so hopefully I’ll have lots to choose from for 2013. 2012 seemed to come and go so quickly, I don’t even know if I remember what all I did/saw in these categories, but I’ll try.

Movie: The Cabin in the Woods
I have to just say, this was a really tough choice for me, as I saw some amazing movies this year: Cloud Atlas, Les Miserables, The Master… However, Cabin in the Woods was one of the most original movies I’ve ever seen. It really turned the horror movie genre upside down and inside out, and I have been recommending it to everyone since we saw it.
Runner Up: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter – Ok, maybe I’m going sort of lowbrow with my choices here, but I reward originality! Yes, this was based on a book, but the story was so original and really wove the vampire thing into actual history in a clever way. The special effects were also great, and I think this movie deserved more attention than it got. (Also, I guess Benjamin Walker is just doomed to play badass versions of former presidents.)

TV Show: The Office and 30 Rock
Both of these shows are in their final season and they’re tied for my top pick. The Office, I felt, was going downhill for a while but they’re really turned things around in this last season and the story is getting pretty good. Also, I love that they’re throwing in little meta comments – like a couple episodes ago, some of the characters were trying to find a private place to have a conversation, and one of them goes, “Well, a documentary camera crew has been filming our every move for the past nine years, but I think we’re safe here.” 30 Rock is consistently hilarous and has the funniest lines to quote, so I’m really sad to see it go, but you can tell all the actors probably want to move on to bigger things anyway. I just hope they reveal what the deal is with Kenneth!
Runner Up: Fringe – Also in its final season, but not by choice, so the story has to be quickly wrapped up, and it feels like it’s moving way too fast. I wish they’d let this show go on longer, because it’s awesome.

Album: Janelle Monae, The ArchAndroid
Amazing, amazing, amazing. I would love to see her perform live (she was actually in Philly this year, but we had other plans). Definitely watch Janelle Monae, she is going places.
Runner Up: The Lonely Island, Turtleneck & Chain – Does this get an honorable mention because it was pretty much the only other album I bought this year? Perhaps. I think I like it less than Incredibad because there is more cursing, so it’s harder for me to sing along with, but musically it’s a step forward for them.

Restaurant: Poogan’s Porch
It’s hard to choose from among all the amazing places we ate this year, let alone on our Charleston trip, but this place wins for their amazing smoked gouda mac and cheese. Seriously, fly to Charleston right now and order a bowl, you can thank me later.
Runner Up: Amada – Second time on the list for this Garces Group restaurant, but it’s amazing and we ate here twice this year: once at the Revel Casino location when we were in Atlantic City, and once in December as GG’s Christmas gift to me (and, ok, for himself too).

Vacation: Charleston
GG and I took our first real vacation in several years, and GG told me on our last night there that it was the best vacation we’ve ever taken. We’re still talking about when we can get back. This trip had everything we like: food, historical stuff, food, sightseeing, museums, food, shopping, and food. Did I mention the excellent food?
Runner Up: Washington, DC – My only other overnight trip that was not work-related, but even this was work-related since I met up with some coworkers there. But we had fun doing the museums, and the weater turned out to be beautiful. I also had dinner with an old friend from elementary school who I hadn’t seen for years, so that was nice.

Happy Holidays

The last few weeks have been all about the holidays. MB, L, and I had our annual “take a day off work and go shopping in KoP” day, which was lots of fun but a long day. At work we never really got a party for our department, but a couple of us got together for a happy hour, which was… interesting… and we also had our huge site holiday celebration, which was fun because I was with friends and got to see some other people I used to work with, but compared to the last two years’ celebrations it was kind of lame, food-wise. (I actually felt bad, because I’d been talking it up to some new people who hadn’t been to one yet, and then it was kind of a let-down.) We also had a holiday party at L and S’s place in Harrisburg (the same day as like 3 other holiday parties we were invited to!)

This has been a really busy holiday break. I usually try to plan a project around the house to do while I’m off work, but I just haven’t had a free day to work on anything! Which is not a bad thing – and maybe I’ll take a random day off in the new year to paint the bedroom I was hoping to do this week.

My time off started on Friday, Which I used to run some errands. Saturday and Sunday I cleaned and prepared for Christmas, and finished up shopping and wrapping. Monday I cleaned, prepped food, and went to Christmas Eve dinner with GG’s family. On Christmas, my family came to our house for lunch and presents, and then we went to GG’s parents’ house for presents and dinner with them. Everything went really well on Christmas, and especially for my part of it, I think everybody enjoyed the food I served and the gifts I gave, so I felt good :o)

The day after Christmas, we went out to NJ to visit with MB, A, and baby R for the day. That baby is not even two years old and knows every letter of the alphabet!. If you start her off, she can sing a number of Christmas carols reasonably well. She’s pretty funny, too. I was playing Play-Doh with her while MB made dinner, and she knew all the shapes and colors and animals I was making. She also knows all the animal sounds, except I did teach her that night about the sound an elephant makes. And I taught her a new phrase, “raise the roof!” (with accompanying roof-raising hand motion). GG and A had fun playing guitar for hours and hours and hours. MB and I chatted, and MB made the most awesome chicken fajitas ever – she sent me the recipe for the marinade, can’t wait to try it next week!

Thursday was our day for what has become a holiday tradition: take the train into Philly and see the Comcast Center holiday show, then have lunch at DiBruno Brothers. The show this year was pretty much the same as last year’s, but we got there a little early so we got to see more of the little bits they show between the hourly holiday shows. The best part was that they randomly showed all these clips of Charleston, SC! GG and I were freaking out, like, was this planned just for us?! He asked the people there, and they said they have clips of 27 cities that are shown at random – I think it was a sign for us though! Like last year, there was some foam “snow” that fell at the end of the show. New additions this year were that the giant “presents” behind us lit up (they may have done that before, but I didn’t remember it), and there were some bright flashing lights that lit up at certain points in the music. Lunch was also nice, and then we wandered over to the cheese counter, tried some things, and went home with a couple wedges..!

Today was my annual haircut. I didn’t get as dramatic a chop as I usually do, but I figure by the end of next summer I’ll be ready for another haircut and will have enough to donate for sure. I just wanted to get it done now because the length was bugging me and the ends were a little scraggly. No photos yet, but I’m sure there will be some soon because tonight I get my big Christmas gift from GG, a fancy dinner at one of our favorite restaurants! Stay tuned…

Still to come this week: seeing Les Mis, going to the Maya exhibit at the UPenn museum, hosting some sort of New Year’s event, and maybe a trip to Home Depot to at least get the supplies for my project??

“There was a shopping mall, now it’s all covered with flowers”

Oh goodness, what has happened in the past 9000 years since I last updated? We had Thanksgiving with GG’s family, that was nice, and it was also nice to not be rushing between two houses and trying to eat two meals. Then that weekend we went to MB and A’s for “Friends Thanksgiving,” which was even nicer because of course we all actually wanted to be there ;o) I cooked (brussels sprouts with bacon!), and a lot of people brought stuff, and MB and A had prepared a huge turkey. And my favorite baby R is just as cute as ever, and so smart! She says the best stuff and has the cutest giggle :o)

GG and I watched the new “Trapped in the Closet” episodes. Of course, we were disappointed in the end and I’m sure there will be more coming. (R. Kelly has said he wants to make like 80 chapters? Or 80 more chapters?! He said the story of Tina’s face twitch alone will take 3 chapters to explain!)

I got a lot of Christmas shopping done online, but I’m taking a day off this week and meeting MB and L for some hardcore last-minute gift buying. I also need to do all our Christmas cards! I have the list and meant to do them this past weekend, but I was lazy.

I had another very busy weekend with my side job a couple weeks ago, but it was a lot of fun and very very much worth it. Hope I can carry this momentum through next year! I’ve also been pretty busy with band. We’re in the middle of our holiday concerts right now, plus I’ve been designing and printing a lot of stuff (CD labels, oversized novelty checks, awards…). And speaking of designing stuff, I’ve also been asked to do some freelance web design work for a small business starting in a couple months (when the contract with their current design place is up), but in the meantime I’m helping them with social media. I met with the owner last weekend and helped him set up a Facebook page and Twitter, as well as claim their business on Yelp. Woohoo!

And I guess that’s about it! I’ve been so busy I feel like I don’t have time for my regular routines (when I went food shopping this weekend I had to dump out a bunch of expired coupons – usually I’m more on top of that; and I couldn’t even tell you the last time I vacuumed), but it’s a good kind of busy :o)