This Year in Lists

Already I’m going to deviate from my intended trend of “This Week in Links” by moving to something a bit broader: This Year in Lists. It’s the end of the year, so everyone’s making lists of the best this or the worst that or their favorite whatever. I’m pretty bad at stratifying things, nor do I feel that I’ve been well-versed enough in anything related to pop-culture or world events or really anything to put together anything even close to a very insightful list of that variety.

But I do love lists, so I decided to try a different tack and make a list of the lists I’ve come across that kind of… did the work for me. Here they are, in no particular order: Angela’s List of the Top 12 Lists of 2012.

First up, from, two lists I’ve actually made a point of seeking out every year: the Best and Worst album covers of the year. Always entertaining to me. PF’s actually got quite a few music-oriented lists up at the moment, if you head over to their homepage.

pitchfork worst album covers

pitchfork best album covers

Moving onto, and sticking with the music theme: Daytrotter’s Top 200 Sessions of the year. Daytrotter’s just a real fun music site that features “seventeen bands and over 60 Daytrotter Session songs” each week. Some bands you’ve likely heard of, some you probably haven’t, but I’ve been impressed with most everything I’ve perused on the site. As stated on their “About” page, “What Daytrotter is attempting to do is to not kid around with you and tell you that we found something that you never knew existed. We are going to contribute to the musical landscape, not just toss it around like a used book or a stolen pick-up line. We’re going to give you something that you truly have never heard. We are not giving you songs from someone you love’s record album, thereby stealing from someone you love. We’re giving you exclusive, re-worked, alternate versions of old songs and unreleased tracks by some of your favorite bands and by a lot of your next favorite bands.

You can buy a membership which allows you to download a certain amount of the music, or just stream for free. They’ve broken up their Top 200 list into a few installments; this one starts at the top and is particularly near and dear to me as it features a track from a local Charlottesville band, with whom my brother has played trumpet on a number of occasions, The Hill and Wood.

daytrotter best sessions 2012!/concert/best-songs-of-2012/20056400-37383579

Next up: an assortment of lists from I discovered this blog a few months ago when a mutual friend linked to the very poignant and eloquent “More than a Game” post on Facebook. I was so moved and impressed by the writing I continued perusing, and by the time I reached the funny and insightful “Democrapalooza 2012: The Road to the White House” post I was hooked. I think it’s safe to say I’ve kind of creepily become this stranger’s biggest fan, and come to completely defer to his rulings on pop-culture dealings (though I can’t say I wasn’t taken aback by a bit of a Taylor Swift fixation). And… as a result, I’m totally yoinking all four of his Top 25 year-end lists.

Top 25 TV Shows:

this'll be the only time i spoil the #1 results, but i agreed so wholeheartedly with this pick, not to mention spend as much time ogling jon hamm as possible, so the exception needed to be made.

this’ll be the only time i spoil the #1 results, but i agreed so wholeheartedly with this pick, not to mention spend as much time ogling jon hamm as possible, that the exception needed to be made.

Top 25 Songs:

antoine vanderbilt top songs

Top 25 Albums:

antoine vanderbilt best albums 2012

Top 25 Reads:

lots of books/articles i'm keen to check out here. and this one, which i already have, and which draws relevant parallels between t-swift and the likes of both tupac and dre.

lots of books/articles i’m keen to check out here. and this one, which i already have, which draws relevant parallels between t-swift and the likes of both tupac and dr dre. i didn’t think it was possible either.

What would a list about lists be without a nod a Buzzfeed, your one-stop-shop for every internet list about anything ever? A few of my recent favorites:

the 40 cutest things that happened in 2012. be sure to watch the kangaroo video.

the 40 cutest things that happened in 2012. be sure to watch the kangaroo video.

50 most wtf animal pics. i just... really like animals, guys.

50 most wtf animal pics. i just… really like animals, guys.
(reminds me of that one time in bali…)

in a totally different vein, li wei's best non-photoshopped shots of 2012. really stunning images allegedly done without 'cheating.'

in a totally different vein, li wei’s best non-photoshopped shots of 2012. really stunning images allegedly done without ‘cheating.’

Even real news (“real” “news”?) sites aren’t above list-creating, so I’ll wrap up with some items from the Guardian and Time.

the worst ideas of 2012

the worst ideas of 2012

top 10 underreported stories

top 10 underreported stories

And if you somehow haven’t had enough of lists yet, Time’s actually got a whole smorgasbord of them. They call it the “Top 10 Everything of 2012.

And… that might be me done for the year, friends. I head to New York City tomorrow morning to ring in 2013 with some old partners in crime and suspect I’ll be a bit indisposed. So here’s wishing you all a most exciting, happy, and safe New Year’s Eve!

One year ago: Christmas in Thailand
Three years ago: Christmas Party Video

Glastonbury Sets

Since starting my job I’ve approached the ‘music-at-work’ scenario from a few different angles. I recently reacquainted myself with Pandora when I discovered it was an app I can get on my phone. I’d completely forgotten about it for years and was excited about the reminder.

Yet I was instantly met with what almost felt like product placement as my colleagues all, on cue, began singing the praises of Spotify over Pandora, with the specific merit that one can play full albums on the former. I, for whatever reason, have been reluctant to sign up for Spotify (probably for the same reasons I’d been reluctant to join Instagram, and look at me now…), and after one coworker spent a futile 15 minutes attempting to install it on his work PC I decided to focus my attention elsewhere.

If you haven’t caught on by now I’ll go ahead and state clearly that I’m, how you say, a big fan of YouTube. A room with YouTube access is a room that will never be boring, so surely there was a solution to be found. And yes, I love the wide range of full albums I’ve had access to (Red Hot Chili PeppersNeil Young, Van Morrison, the Beatles, the Doors, and Talking Heads, to name a few). And people have created some cool playlists, and you can make your own as well. This is all good.

But my favorite new discovery on YouTube is the wide range of full Glastonbury sets (and lots of other concert/festival/event footage, as well). Not only is it high-quality live footage of some pretty sweet acts, there’s the added bonus of sneaking peaks of the performances when you’ve decided you earned a two-minute break from account building. Highlights of my week have included:

makes me so excited to see them next month, and the collab with florence welch at the end is to die for

i’ve rekindled my love affair with amy winehouse’s music these past few months and it was both heartwarming and saddening just to see how good she could be when she was on. this is an early show of hers, before she could almost be counted on to have drunk herself into a state of complete inability to perform, and man was she on! so charismatic and talented, this one… we love you amy!

you will be grooving in your seat the entire hour-and-eighteen-minutes fantasizing about how sweet this would have been to see live

So there you go: what I’ve found to be the perfect balance of focusing-agent and distraction-when-necessary. And there are so many more! Seriously, check it out.

Home for Christmas

There’ve been a few years where the Christmas classic “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” (links to Josh Groban’s, since serendipitously enough it started playing right as I started this post) struck a certain chord for me, particularly the “if only in my dreams” bit. This year, however, was not one! It’s been great being home for the holidays this year and getting to celebrate with my family. Work finished early on Friday so Ollie and I piled in our little Nissan Frontier– with my two brothers and all our belongings– and headed home. It was a tight fit and I don’t know if you’ve ever traveled any great distance with a fidgety, 40-pound mutt on your lap, but we eventually arrived no worse for the wear.

cookies for work friday morning. because i love puns AND cookies.

cookies for work friday morning. because i love puns AND cookies.

ollie heard they were teaching dogs to drive...

ollie heard they were teaching dogs to drive…

(In case you missed the story about dogs learning to drive…)

haha... attempt one

haha… attempt one

tight fit 2

Sunday was extra special for the pups because we went hiking with our good friends the Leehans at Bull Run mountain. We’re able to let them off the leashes and let them run free through the woods, which is pretty much a dog’s dream. However, whereas Moose never ventures too far from the sights of her People, Ollie’s more prone to playing the Lone Wolf and setting off on his own adventure, leaving us all somewhere between slightly-concerned and fearful-we’ll-never-see-him-again. This time was no different, with an even more prolonged absence than before. Eventually, after asking everyone we passed on the trail if they’d seen a little black dog with a goofy curly tail, we were informed that some people had found him and put him on someone’s extra leash. We were very grateful to them, and expressed as much, and then Moose attacked the Helpful Lady’s chihuahua. Excellent.

ready to go!

ready to go!

bull run mountain

mom, mark, and andrea atop the mountain.

mom, mark, and andrea atop the mountain.

bull run mountain

dad: "is this one titled, 'in search of'?"

dad: “is this one titled, ‘in search of’?”

tired pups returning

tired pups on the return trip

Christmas Eve was chilled out at home with one nice surprise: the first snow of the season (and Ollie’s first snow ever!). My little Thai dog thought the white stuff was pretty cool.

ollie snow instagram

frozen fountain

snowy baby

snowy baby

moose, on the other hand, prefers to snuggle with teddy bears

moose, on the other hand, prefers to snuggle with teddy bears

Ryan had to return to Charlottesville to play trumpet at two Christmas Eve church services, but was home this morning to open presents and to spend our first Christmas with just the five of us in… many years. The boys are now making us laugh with their RC helicopters and I’ve got to sign off now to go play Mom’s new Jeopardy video game. Merry, merry Christmas everyone! May your every New Year’s dream come true.

midget dad fighting over ollie's ball

midget dad fighting over ollie’s ball

note mom's new moose figurine...

note mom’s new moose figurine…

merry christmas from the calonders!

merry christmas from the calonders!

uncle nate in the traditional christmas 'get-up' fighting with his nephew

uncle nate in the traditional christmas ‘get-up’ fighting with his nephew


stack of giftsmoose fox ollie tree

dad opening his 'shield' 'from moose and ollie.' aka the lid of the brew pot for his home brewing kit! look for 'big daddy jazzy jazz jazz' hefeweizen at a minimart near you.

dad opening his ‘shield’ ‘from moose and ollie.’ aka the lid of the brew pot for his home brewing kit! look for ‘big daddy jazzy jazz jazz’ hefeweizen at a minimart near you.

spoiled pup with one of his many new toys.

spoiled pup with one of his many new toys.

all i want for christmas!

all i want for christmas!

someone's had his eye on an electric uke...

someone’s had his eye on an electric uke…

moose couch family christmas

haha... first attempt at our family photo...

haha… first attempt at our family photo…

merry christmas!

merry christmas!


Oh and what’s Christmas without some tunes? I’d wanted to do a whole post about Christmas songs but… didn’t get around to it. So here’s the truncated version…

Mine and (everyone else’s) favorite version of an old not-quite-classic (but getting there!):

And yes, I know you’ve all already seen that posted on every third person’s facebook wall (excuse me, “timeline”) BUT… has anyone’s reaction to it been this good?

And speaking of favorites and versions… I know “O Holy Night” tops many people’s lists. But there’s one rendition that hits me just right that I went and took the liberty of posting on YouTube myself because I feel it needs more exposure. 30 Rock‘s Jenna Maroney and her beau, Paul L’Astnamé (on another note… best TV surname ever?) performing this classic in a very special way.

And because I’m sure you’re already wondering how I’ve made it this long without posting a Bright Eyes song, their rendition that made me actually like this song:

And because my dad has recently added this David Bowie/Bing Crosby collab to his Christmas playlist I figured I’d throw that in here, as well as Will Farrell and John C. Reilly’s excellent parody. Me: “Oooh, thanks for reminding me! I’ll put this in my blog. But… the parody’s so good too… I don’t know which one to choose…” Nate: “Use them both?” Always thinking, that kid.

One year ago: Rainy Day Ramblings
Three years ago: The Gender-Blind Christmas Play (haha… my 30 Rock references never get old, apparently…)

This Week in Links: December 16-22

I realize I haven’t provided much background on what it is Ollie (or I) are doing in America, and I guess that’s a post that is probably coming in the future. For the present, I’ll say that my job requires me spending a lot of time on the internet (because, you know, I don’t spend a lot of time on the internet as it is…), and as a result I come across… stuff. Now, I know there are already lots of ways to organize and keep tabs of the “interesting” or “noteworthy” things that tickle one’s online fancy… Pinterest and Reddit and the like. (This week I even learned that the word “curate” is being used to describe the “technique of cobbling together preexisting web content and sharing it with readers/followers/whomever.” I was embarrassed when I read the article because I knew that’s exactly what I’d started an email thread to myself with the intention of doing, but found redemption in the knowledge that I would never have considered myself a curator by doing so.)

However, blogging’s always been my virtual poison of choice and at this point in my life this old dog doesn’t care to learn any new tricks. So, the idea is that I’m going to make a weekly Favorites list of the off-beat and entertaining things I stumble upon (oh yeah, that’s a thing too, isn’t it?) and throw them all in one Saturday archive.

Some of them will be things directly related to my job, like the fact that I now possess the knowledge that members of Build-a-Bear management are referred to not as officers but, in fact, “bears.” (All photos link to their respective site.)

Or that a UK site called ChurchAds.Net has fought back in the War on Christmas with a controversial “Godbaby” campaign:

this links to a poll, where you can declare “I like the Godbaby poster,” “I dislike the Godbaby poster,” or “I have no strong views either way about the poster.”

Or that earlier this month Benedict XVI became the first Pope to join Twitter. There goes the neighborhood, right?

his first tweet, posted on december 12, reads, “Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart.” he went a little crazy, tweeting five whole times that first day, but then took a week-long break before getting back at it.

And now that I’m sure I’ve really left you guessing as to what my job entails, I’ll go on to admit that many of my links will be decidedly work-unrelated. Here’s one I discovered when checking my bank statement:

i was reading ‘grapes of wrath’ at the time i saw this one and the irony was not lost on me that a bank– so grossly vilified in the novel– would be displaying the work of dorothea lange– whose work creates a striking visualization of steinbeck’s themes. in any case, lots of nice photos, quotes, and history here.

The New York Times published a list of the top 25 films of the year with the rationalization that this was a year in which 10 would not suffice. (And I admit, I can’t remember many times in my life where I’d walk into a cinema and admit to wanting to see every movie on the marquee, but it’s happened this year more than once.)

new york time's top 25 films

And oh hey Buzzfeed, thanks for providing me with countless smiles and instances of inspiration. This week’s notables:

11 beautiful monochrome literary posters pairing insightful quotes with elegant design. if you're struggling to think of what to get me for christmas, look no further.

11 beautiful monochrome literary posters pairing insightful quotes with elegant design. if you’re struggling to think of what to get me for christmas, look no further.

"15 insane theories about movies and television that will blow your mind." i know the term gets thrown around a lot, but my mind was blown. i found the tarantino one most compelling, but they all got you thinking.

“15 insane theories about movies and television that will blow your mind.” i know the term gets thrown around a lot, but my mind was blown. i found the tarantino one most compelling, but they all get you thinking.

"the 25 funniest autocorrects of 2012." NSFW in every way, including the fact that you will be laughing at the painful awkwardness of each situation in a way that it appropriate for no office environment, no matter how hard you're pressing your scarf to your mouth. (thanks andrew/emilie)

“the 25 funniest autocorrects of 2012.” NSFW in every way, including the fact that you will be laughing at the painful awkwardness of each situation in a way that is appropriate for no office environment, no matter how hard you’re pressing your scarf to your mouth. (thanks andrew/emilie)

Off-beat news story of the week:

this particularly appealed to my former self who studied russian for 2 years and was able to be like, 'yeah, i remember that letter, and we were told it might not always be seen with the two dots above it!' no mention of the cia was ever made, however.

this particularly appealed to my former self who studied russian for 2 years and was able to be like, ‘yeah, i remember that letter, and we were told it might not always be seen with the two dots above it!’ no mention of the cia was ever made in class, however.

You might have heard that Obama was named Person of the Year by Time (thanks Kathy), and that article, despite its kind of rose-colored filter, is worth a read for sure. I learned that the MLK quote I have in my Facebook quotes (“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”) also adorns his doormat at the Oval Office, which made me feel pretty cool. However, I thought the glance-back at the 2008 Person of the Year– also Obama– was all the more interesting in that you can see both his achievements and the ways in which we can still hope to change. Plus the graphic was just better.

time person of the year 2008

And for an even further glance-back, this tongue-in-cheek article in the New Yorker about 1912’s Man of the Year:

the new yorker mitt romney man of the year

And finally, from Matador Network, just a stunning collection of quotes and photos with a “reflection” theme.

quotes and photos for reflection

One year ago:  Ricotta/Tomato/Mushroom/Basil and Ricotta Eggplant/Olive/Pesto Pizzas

Yawny at the Apocalypse

Well congratulations readers (though… I think making that word plural is probably giving myself too much credit). If you’re reading this you survived the hellfire and horsemen or whatever was supposed to happen today. The world flipped on its axis, and at least here in Virginia, all we got was a bit of rain. Though I do feel a bit silly on account of having spent a small fortune on that afterlife insurance at the eleventh hour yesterday, more than anything I’m happy to still be here to share the final numbers on the now-irrelevant End of the World playlist.

Item 1, from the most famous thing to come out of Charlottesville (though originally from Jo-burg, as all my Saffer friends like to remind me) aside from TJ himself (and, globally speaking, certainly more so): Dave Matthews Band. Actually, who are we kidding… I wouldn’t be surprised if more Americans knew DMB than Thomas Jefferson at this point. You know… on the nickel? Those exotic two dollar bills? Drafted the Declaration of Independence? Third president? Founded an itty bitty little East Coast school? No? Well anyway. Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds, everyone.

like a river bends, we’re going to float through the criss cross of the mountains. watch them fade to nothing when the world ends.

Next up, and keeping with the live-acoustic theme, the first version I ever heard of a certain Incubus song, and one that I prefer greatly to the original. Reminds me of the summer after 11th grade, cruising around listening to “angela’s amazingly awesome acoustic amalgam.” (I think “amalgam” had been a vocabulary word that year.)

the time has passed for hand-me-downs… choose anew, please evolve, take flight.

I’m going to make a confession here… I went through a phase where I was kind of into mashups. Of which there are many bad ones out there. But there was one that caught my attention then and which I believe deserves a position on the list. Anything that features Debbie Harry’s pseud0-rap skills is okay by me. Oh yeah, and Jim Morrison. That works too.

’cause the man from mars stopped eatin cars and eatin bars and now he only eats guitars, get up!

So this one’s… totally cliché and obvious and predictable and whatever whatever whatever. Be that as it may, it made the cut (and, in all honesty, is what sparked the idea for the playlist in the first place when I heard it on the radio driving back from Richmond last Sunday). It’s an excellent blast from the past and is just plain fun. Right? Right.

the other night i dreamt of knives. continental drift divide. mountains sit in a line. leonard bernstein leonid brezhnev lenny bruce and lester bangs.

(Wiki tells me Michael Stipe truly had a dream where he was surrounded by people with the initials LB that helped serve as inspiration for the song.)

This morning I woke up and my first instinct, naturally, was to take a photo of my goofy pup who had decided he wanted to lay with his paws on my shoulder. While my aim was off and the paws-on-shoulder didn’t really work out, the photo actually turned out way better than I could have ever hoped:

yawny at the apocalypse

And, naturally, it went straight to Instagram with a joke that he thought the world was ending because I thought the expression suggested a terrified scream.

But I’m sure you’re all aware that little Ollie pup is just giving a big ol’ yawn, which, despite the tongue-in-cheek attention I’ve been providing it, I think is truly more appropriate for this whole ‘end of the world’ business. So, Andrew Bird, hop onto this playlist please:

no lyrics for this one… just enjoy this beautiful instrumental track by a very talented violinist/whistler. though there’s no whistling in this one either.

And, in the same vein, the Strokes.

is this… it?

And, finally because I saw a [presumably… haven’t actually listened to all/much of it yet] way cooler EotW Playlist in a article yesterday I’ll leave you with that as well. They’ve gone so far as to insert a Grooveshark widget with the playlist right in the article, which is a trick I’ll probably have to try one day. But today is not that day. Lots of funky Latin vibes on this one!

end of the world(

Oh, but funny coincidence, they have a song by Sun Kil Moon on their playlist, which is a band I hadn’t even heard of until yesterday when I noticed that they do a cover of “Ocean Breathes Salty” when making my own playlist. What a world!

One year ago: It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Little Like Christmas
Two years ago: October 18-19: Pangboche-Dingboche; Sidetrip to Khumjung
Three years ago: Keeping Fit in China

End of the World Playlist: Part 2

Today’s contributions to the End of the World Playlist come in the form of another double-song, single-artist whammy; this time with a focus on Modest Mouse. As with so many other bands, my attention was brought to Modest Mouse in those tender early teen years by my friend Francesca. We met in 7th grade at AFNORTH (nay– back then it was still AFCENT!) International School, and though she’s admitted she found me annoying at first (probably because I kept butting into the conversation she was having with someone else about that “If You Steal My Sunshine” song) it didn’t take long for her to fall for my bespectacled charms. We were to bond over our love of Third Eye Blind, had a blast together on the middle school cheerleading squad (something I have to believe is as laughable to her present-day friends as it is to mine), and rocked out hard in band class, where I played flute and she played orchestra bells. Oh, and in those pre-texting days, we exchanged superfluous amounts of notes, which I’m sure I still have in a shoebox at my parents’ house.

After a few short months of friendship it was time for the military lifestyle to take its toll and she moved with her family to Florida. That was over a decade ago; we haven’t seen each other since. But thanks to technology and our mutual affinity for blogging (it was, in fact, Francesca who encouraged me to get my very first blog– a DeadJournal– when I was 14), we’ve managed to remain in a sort of contact that’s ebbed and flowed over the years and resulted in my second-hand introduction to all kinds of awesome music. (Including her own! I believe she performs under the moniker “Bear Paw” these days.)

And… including Modest Mouse. It must have been sometime in early 2003 when she was first imploring me to scour Kazaa for the likes of “Night on the Sun,” “Dramamine,” “All Nite Diner,” and, the first in today’s End of the World Double-Set:

the universe is shaped exactly like the earth: if you go straight long enough, you’ll end up where you were

Now I realize this song doesn’t have directly apocalyptic overtones but it’s kind of about space and is loosely existential and just a pretty dope song that I wanted to include.

Of course… had I not had Francesca to steer me towards Modest Mouse it would have happened all on its own within a year when they achieved nationwide recognition with “Float On“. I seem to remember Fran considering the song and its implications (and… its placement in a Target ad) to be somewhat of an abomination, but I was less tempted to resist. “Good News for People Who Love Bad News” is probably in the Top 5 of my formative high school albums, and Track 4 has landed a spot on the EotW Playlist.

good luck! for your sake, i hope heaven and hell are really there… but i wouldn’t hold my breath. you wasted life, why wouldn’t you waste death?

Though this one also makes no specific reference to the end of the world, per se, it has a message I find similar to yesterday’s “The End’s Not Near;” that it can be easy at times to get so distracted by the idea of what comes after this world and this life that proper attention doesn’t get placed on one’s current surroundings and relationships… and does it really make sense to live that way?

The End’s Not Near

Way back when I was first starting this blog, two days ago, I was like, “Hey, I’ve got this great and totally original idea I bet no one else is doing– I’m going to make an ‘End of the World’ playlist!” And now I’ve already gone and fallen behind and the world’s ending in two days so my playlist might end up being a bit truncated. However, I guess I can do something really wild and crazy and totally break precedent and feature two songs today. This will also be a tip the hat to the Band of Horses show I was supposed to see in Richmond on Saturday except everything I even halfway consider attending these days ends up sold out before I have a chance to buy tickets. (Exhibits B and C: The Great Russian Nutcracker at the Paramount and the XX at the National. And technically, I guess, Exhibit D: Jeff Mangum at the Jefferson, but thankfully I have clever friends that buy tickets in bulk.) So here you go. The end’s not near– it’s here.

if you call me, i won’t be home. i’ll be hiding from the kingdom come. they can’t see everything on earth with the satellites and the roving drones.

Fun new word featured in the song: “millenarian.” Wiki tells us that “Millenarian groups claim that the current society and its rulers are corrupt, unjust, or otherwise wrong. They therefore believe they will be destroyed soon by a powerful force. The harmful nature of the status quo is always considered intractable without the anticipated dramatic change.”

And if it sounds familiar to you but you can’t quite place it perhaps you were one of those dedicated individuals who were actually able to follow the OC through to its series finale, which bears the same name. Say what you want about the OC, but don’t ever knock its soundtracks.

life on earth is changing, life on earth is ending. and time on earth is ending, and time on earth is changing.

Apparently these guys are some apocalyptic fellas! Well there you have it, folks, the first tracks on our End of the World playlist. Go do something crazy! Live your last few days to the fullest! Like me: I’m off to work. Walkin’ on the wild side.

Two years ago: October 17: Namche-Pangboche

Well, I’ve Come Crawling Back…

to the “blogosphere,” that is. I’ve had to finally just accept that blogging has become a part of my life, and even my mindset, over the past few years. While one might think an Asia-bound existence might lend itself more consistently to inspiration and reflection than assuming the role of a 9-5 worker bee in Virginia, I’ve decided to get back on the blogging horse for a few reasons, most of them selfish. For one, I enjoy the writing practice. Blogging has been an incentive for me to look at things analytically and with more consideration than I might otherwise. I like having an easily accessible record of photos, stories, and just memories in general. As I plan on using it as a platform to share things like recipes and either artistic or around-the-house projects hopefully it will serve as an incentive to be as involved in such things as I’ve been intending to. I also plan on logging music/book/movie discoveries which, again, are as much for my own benefit as anything as I have a penchant for dropping/breaking/having computers stolen and losing iTunes libraries.

Of  course, I’ll also be hoping at least some of my content is at least a tiny bit useful or interesting to at least a handful of people but… we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

So yeah… I’m back. And in honor of the occasion, today’s Song of the Day. Take it away, Mister Mathers:

nobody wants to see marshall no more… they want shady. i’m chopped liver!

(Don’t judge me… I think I’m going to totally steal from Deb-from-Smitten-Kitchen‘s book– not to mention certainly obnoxiously self-promote– and do the yearly look-back thing. I just… am at times almost desperate for some reminders of how my life used to be because things are pretty different these days. And yes, I’m kind of cheating on the “Two Years Ago” category, because I was backtracking to catch up with all the posting I didn’t have good enough internet for in Nepal/India.)

One year ago: Three Day Weekend on Koh Mook
Two years ago: October 15-16: Phakding-Namche Bazar; Sidetrip to Khumjung
Three years ago: Jiaxing (and Shanghai)… By Night!