Twenty Six Thousand Pages Later...

Book Review of 2010

This year I went on several amazing road trips (all involving Jim), got to see some amazing gigs, had a really disappointing birthday/only to be turned into the most amazing birthday, lost a friend (by choice), found out that a true friend is worth 8 of the one I lost, reconnected with someone who wasn't worth my time/energy spent making the connection, felt a little more comfortable being "Me" around everyone, had to watch a dear friend move to another state, found Michael Crichton, learned a lot of history, attended A LOT of weddings and wedding showers, had A LOT of laughs, made a lot of music, listened to a lot of music, made a lot of mixed tapes, had some really great conversations into the night with a lot of really great people and made my target goal of books read for the year.

My Target: 75

Final Tally: 78

Total number of pages read: 26,664

I'm a little overwhelmed I get to start all over with the count. 78 is such a large number, although when thinking about it more I realized that I didn't speed read, I didn't rush, I just read naturally and I naturally happened to devour 78 books. Some amazing, some complete shite. As I gear up for 2011, my queue/list of books "To-Read" is sitting with only four titles. I have a few wonders for 2011.

I wonder what, or who, I will discover this coming year, I wonder if my queue will grow swiftly, I wonder if I should actually try to read a romance novel, just to see, I wonder if I will ever read that damn Dan Brown novel that has been sitting atop my book shelf, and I wonder about all of the wonders of the good reads to come!

My list is hefty so I will not list all 78 books. [If anyone is interested in the actually list let me know and I can email it to you.]

I will, however, give you my list of the BEST books I adventured through in 2010.In random order:

-The Great Gatsby-F. Scott Fitzgerald- I know, I know, it's a classic...but please read this. It's amazing.

-Bloodroot-Amy Greene-Amazing first novel, amazing character development and amazing story filled with twists

-To Kill a Mockingbird-Harper Lee- No need for introductions

-One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest-Ken Kearsy-I remember every second of reading this story. It stuck with me.

-Andromedia Strain-Michael Crichton-My first Crichton novel and the most intense. I heart MC.

-Jurassic Park-MC-The films were always on my top ten fav. movie lists and now the book will be added.

-Of Bees and Mist-Eric Setiawah-Another first novel. I didn't like this novel at first and then I couldn't put it down. One of the very best I read this year.

-Perfect Nightmare-John Saul-The most terrifying horror novel I read this year!

-Lord of the Rings Trilogy-Toilken-No need for introductions :)

-A Tree Grows in Brooklyn-Betty Smith- I will be revisiting this book again in the years to come. Everyone should read this. At least once.

-How To Be Good-Nick Hornby-The start of many other great books I read by Hornby. This one was my favorite

-A Clockwork Orange-Anthony Burgess-Oh how I love thee my little brothers

-Manhunt-James Swanson-The best history book I have ever read. What an amazing researcher and storyteller.

-Gone With the Wind-Margaret Mitchell-Another book I will be revisiting time and time again.

-Full Dark, No Stars-Uncle Stevie-My all time favorite auther, back and more B.A. than ever!

-The End of the Affair-Graham Green-The peferct ending to my journey through books in 2010. Such a beautiful and heart breaking story.

If I had to pick just one to be the BEST book of all year: Gone With The Wind. It just can't be topped.

Out of my total book count only 16 made the absolutely noteworthy list above. There, of course, were other really, really great books, but these were the best! For the flip side of the coin: I don't have a long list of really bad books of 2010 but I do, nevertheless, have a list.

So for the WORST of 2010:

In random order

-Never Let Me Go-Kazuo Ishiguro

-Little Bee-Chris Cleave

-Little Stranger-Sarah Waters

-Cold Mountain-Charles Fraizer

Finally, to end this dreadfully long post I give you my very small queue for the year 2011:-Freakanomics

-Winters Bone

-Mr. Darcys Story

-Austen Land-Shannon Hale [because I can't get enough of Mr. Darcy]

Thank you all for reading if you lasted this long. Thank you for all of your comments this year, thank you for sharing my joys, pains and laughter at Penny Lane and thank you for extending your friendships along side of just bloggie buds. My constant readers are all amazing and have amazing talents to be celebrated and I look forward to sharing with you and reading new and exciting things from all of you in the new year!

ATC The Music

Some new ATC's. I am going to pull a "Jim" and will not explain any personal meanings behind these. I will say that all photos used in this set were taken by me and I will explain where they were taken or a little background to them.

Last Kiss-TSwift
"Your name, forever the name on my lips"
A pond I hike near..wrote a letter about something that was bothering me and ripped it up. I wanted to try the whole "symbolic-gesture-of-letting-go" bit so I ripped the letter and put it in the pond. Majority of my excercise hikes I always pack my 35 mm so I took a shot of this and felt it fit with the song and the lyric.

"Something keeps me holding onto nothing"
Took this photo in a hallway of a hotel lobby. It had a creepy look/feel to it. I felt it fit the lyrics. I wrote the chorus of this song over and over on velum in pencil. I think stamped the desired lyric with photo distort ink. Burned edges and added tape because I felt the need.

"Please don't be in love with someone else"
I think this turned out to be my favorite. I was at a Jimmy Eat World show. Roaming around. Went up on balcony to take a shot of the crowd. It was humid in the venue so my 35mm lens was fogged. I took the shot and someone near me put their arm up right in my view as I snapped. Not only was the picture fogged but I had an arm in the shot. Of course, shooting old skool 35 it's hard to know if your shot came out. Upon developing I saw this and I still kind of liked it. It had an eerie feeling to it and I always save my duds.
"Enchanted" is stamped on to another picture of a zoomed in chandelier and with photo pen I wrote on the girls wrist the lyric. Behind the photo I used black and white paper with a million daisy's on them. Kind of like the flowers you use to make a wish on. I felt this fit with the song.

Back to December-TSwift
"You gave me roses and I left them there to die"
This photo was taken years ago from an abandoned cemetary I visited. I wrote the lyrics on lined paper, crumpled it, as if it were thrown away and pasted it onto another photo of some roses I zoomed in on. All edges are frayed and inked (thanks to my Phin for tutorial ♥)

A Star is Born!

Been pretty busy this week! Bud is in L-O-V-E with an Adam Richman of the Travel channel.

She is a loyal viewer of Man V. Food, has Adam pictures everywhere and even has Adams book (thanks to me and the holiday season). She explained to me a few weeks ago that Man V. Food is doing a Food Challenge Contest. Winner gets to eat Din with Adam at your restaurant and Man V Food may use it in an upcoming episode!

Contestants must tape their favorite hometown restaurant and explain to Adam why you love the restaurant and a little about your hometown. Bud was determined to win. Of course, slack sets in. Saturday I get a call from Bud. There are 11 entrees into the Food Contest and they were not anything special. I go to work on piecing things together....I wrote a script and camera directions, collected pictures and presented all of the information to Bud. She was sold immediately.

The restaurant we selected is called Berts 50's Diner! Bud and I love Berts. They have such an awesome atmosphere, amazing food and even more amazing ice cream! After calling and talking to the owners and getting the approval we set off to record some audio for narration, I took some photos of the place and narrowed down the script. We wanted our video to look like an episode of MvF and I think after finishing up the script and some editing it really does!

Yesterday Bud and I went to Berts to tape the introduction, tape a tour (which will be narrated by Bud) and actually order some food to be featured on camera. The owners even agreed to let Bud and I go into the kitchen to tape and describe the Ice Cream Man make her super special ice cream creation!

Today we are in editing mode and it's looking pretty radical! I hope Bud wins, marries Adam and has like a million babies!

Okay, well I hope Bud wins, at least :)

If anyone is interested in checking out the video let me know and I will give you the link privately!

"We Look the Same, We Talk the Same, We Are the Same.."

I noticed a funny thing yesterday while talking with Bud. Bud and I have adopted each others mannerisms and catch phrases. It's rather funny. I spend all day at work with Bud, we go out from time to time to hang, we usually see each other on the weekends and we talk almost every evening. It's only natural I suppose to pick things's like we live in our own little world with our own manners, rules, regulations and language.

Bud is from a mining town in Pennsylvania. She has an odd way of talking at times. Coming from the southern part of Maryland the word: "Ya'll" is profuse here. I NEVER use this word. Actually, I take the more Italian way in speaking and say things like: "yous". Also, pizza is: "a slice" or "pie", sauce = "gravy", Mom = "Ma". I noticed Bud now saying these terms as well as if she is right at home with them.

Even non-Italian terms..I love animals and whenever I have a stuffy/runny nose I think of pups. Pups have wet noses, naturally. So I will say: "I have a pup nose".

Bud has started using this term as well.

My PA Bud has some weird terms as well: Woods are called "bush", "Bushing" is something I still don't quite understand still to this day, a "bush party", I have been invited to but really am unsure about it, "crick" is a creek, "dungarees or bibs" are a type of jean, and "Cat boots" are the cool shoe to wear. I'm not even kidding with you....

Bud has a rather odd mannerism when asking if I agree with something. The best way to explain this is to give you an example:

If I were saying: "Bud, it was busy at work today, don't you think?"

Bud would say this same phrase this way: "It was busy at work today ain't?

This wording would make me laugh but now I hear it so much I found that after driving home in a snow blizzard yesterday I asked my husband: "It's cold, ain't?"
Last week I almost asked someone who was trying a cupcake of mine: "It's good ain't?"

It just seemed natural and I am finding that I have to catch myself from saying this now.

Has this ever happened to you? Did anyone move to a different state and eventually adopt mannerisms and slang? Or, do any of you have a friend that you spend so much time with you just adopt language from each other?

Crazy, ain't?


*title is from She Walks Over Me by Hole

Definition of Stunning

Why 'Ello!
This is Ezra from Vampire Weekend......
That shirt is STUNNING.
Unlike yesterday, this post has no sarcasm inserted. At all. It's just simply STUNNING.

Definition of Intense

I sent this to Jim about a month ago and thought it was good enough to share with you. Apparently some random dude in South Carolina wanted Jim's face inked on his calf. Talk about loyalty. [insert sarcasm]. Seems creepy huh?

I'm Still Here...

I swear I'm alive! Just too busy and I am speechless...without speech!

I am happy to report I achieved and surpassed my goal of reading 75 books this year. I am currently finishing up on book 77! I will be doing a post on my favorites of this year and hopefully you will share your favorites as well!

So here's your hat, what's your hurry?.....I must be going!

Just wanted to say 'ello, hope everyone is doing well and having a stress free holiday season....

Oh, and post this picture of my boys:

Happy Mail From Phins!!

Friday: 3, December 2010

Thank you!! I love, love, love this :) :)

The Curious Incident of The Chocolate Countdown And The Night-Time....

Thursday: 2, December 2010

For those of you who work in an office I'm sure you are all too familiar with occasional "misplaced" item from your desk. My co-pilot [office mate] had her phone charger disappear. A month later her earbuds to her ipod were mysteriously gone. After purchasing about six candy bars from another co-worker from a fund raiser she stacked them on her desk, next morning all but two were left standing.

Myself? I am fond of cute post-its. I purchase bright colors, shapes, I bought some hot pink heart post its and left them atop my desk. Next day=gone. I searched every office thinking a co-worker borrowed the stickies to write something down quickly and accidentally walked off with them. No such luck. Hot pink, heart shaped post it's stick out like a sore thumb and they were no where to be found. Recently I had purchased multi-colored felt tip pens for color coding some stuff I am doing in chart auditing. It keeps me sane to color code. The very next day after purchase the pens were missing. Another occasion I purchased a Dunkin Donuts calender with coupons for free coffee and breakfast on each month. One day after displaying it was taken.

I do accounts at work so if my girls turn in money that happens to be over in change I place it in a bin. I've been collecting loose change for the past six years from the girls that have come and gone. If we are ever short I take the money from the bin to even out. Well...someone "borrowed" all of the silver coins out of my bin once. I ended up just depositing the left over pennies and I don't keep anything at my desk any more. I have heard other grunts from my co-workers but no one seems to be able to identify the thief. The speculation is: The Cleaning Crew. Every job I have ever held always seems to blame everything on The Cleaning Crew. So I usually laugh it off and try not to speculate. I have no evidence it's the Cleaning Crew.

Which brings me to this:

Tuesday night is shopping/din night with Bud. We leave work, run errands, do some light shopping, have din and then we just hang out and talk before she has to run to a class (Bud is in junior college). A week before Thanksgiving, while shopping, I came across a Chocolate Surprise Countdown Calender. It was pretty radical. At the beginning of December you begin to open a little card board window on the calender and a chocolate surprise awaits...thus, the countdown to Christmas. Upon first sight I knew that Bud needed this in her life. Right that second. So I purchased it for her and the following day we displayed it on her wall beside her computer at work. It was still shrink wrapped. Remember, this was about two Tuesdays before Thanksgiving so we had a little time before starting the countdown.

That evening, after displaying this Countdown Calender, Bud had to stay at work late. Leaving around 640-7 o'clock, she was the last person in our building. The cleaning folks were arriving as she was leaving. Following morning we arrive at work and what's missing???? THE COUNTDOWN CHOCOLATE SURPRISE CALENDER! [insert one thousand exclamation points here]

I will admit that I was pretty heated when I found out about this. The calender was still in it's package and it was on her desk. I am a huge rule follower and when someone else blatantly breaks rules I am just perplexed. I couldn't imagine being at my work and finding a Countdown Chocolate Surprise Calender sitting nicely on anothers desk, still wrapped up, and just deciding to myself that I will take this off their hands. Why not, right?

We told management but of course my phrase for their reaction is this: "Who gives a f*#k about an oxford comma?" [song from Vampire Weekend about people not really giving a f*#k].

This past Tuesday, while shopping, I had to run by shop that sells the Countdown Chocolate Surprise Calenders so I purchased another one for my Bud. It is 2nd December today so we bravely opened Day one and two, had the chocolate surprises, and displayed the calender in it's original spot.

Bud crafted this note to go along which I am not quite sure I agree with but, hey, enough is enough...

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