Saturday, December 30, 2006

Bests of 2006

Okay, I'm inflicting a list on you. I hardly ever do this, but 2006 was a weird year for me and I am compelled to document the things that made it fun.

Best Albums

Decemberists: Crane Wife
Colin Meloy played a few songs from this album at the 826 benefit in August (see below) and it made me even more excited for the release in October. So good.

Band of Horses: Everything All the Time
Lovely. I know it's on everybody's list right now, but that's for good reason. "Funeral" and "The Great Salt Lake" are great songs, but dig deeper because the whole album is great.

Silversun Pickups: Carnavas
This gets a lot of play on my ipod. My favorite tracks are "Checkered Floor" and "Future Foe Scenerios." Yeah, Pitchfork only gave it a 5 and I've read several other reviews claiming the band is too derivative of late 80s-early 90s rock--Pixies, Smashing Pumpkins, etc.--but I'd argue their sound is more a distillation of what was good about that music, with none of the annoying stuff (like Corgan's whiny voice).

Jon Auer: Songs from the Year of Our Demise
I waited years for this release, and it lives up to my expectations. If I have one criticism it's that the songs are even prettier when Jon plays them acoustic, without any of the added layers of sound. Check out his appearances on KEXP last April and August if you want to hear what I'm talking about. But SftYoOD is a beautiful, beautiful album that you need to hear. A couple of mp3s are available at Pattern 25.

Ghostland Observatory: Paparazzi Lightning
This is just fun. "Vibrate" has to be my favorite song, but I like it all. Discovering them (thanks, Cass) reminds me of Bumbershoot (2004?) when I walked into Sky Church to see Math & Physics Club and United State of Electronica was still playing and it was dancy, dancy fun all over the place--only BETTER. GO rocks all.

Best Live Shows

Silversun Pickups/Viva Voce @ Hi-dive (Denver, not Seattle)
I came for Silversun Pickups and was not disappointed. I can't remember seeing a live band this good for about ten years. For serious. My faith in the crunchy guitar rock has been restored! Viva Voce was really good, too. I finally picked up "Get Yr Blood Sucked Out" the other day and I recommend it. It's not on the best list because I didn't get into it until the last week of 06 and I don't know if it rates yet.

Ghostland Observatory @ Hi-dive (Denver)
I posted about this back in August, but will reiterate what a great show it was. If Ghostland is playing near you, go see them.

the Gossip @ Bumbershoot
Why had I never seen the Gossip live before? I knew I liked them well enough to check them out at Bumbershoot, but I was pretty impressed. As soon as I got back home I was digging through my mp3s to find some of their stuff and have since been grabbing up their back catalog.

826 Seattle Benefit before Bumbershoot
I'm so happy Mel got us tickets to this. I was psyched to see Ben Gibbard and Sarah Vowell, but the whole thing was awesome. Some enterprising people YouTubed some of it. Check out Colin Meloy's acoustic "O, Valencia!" So awesome. And the Meloy-Gibbard combo just about blew me away with its sheer adorableness. The Seattle Times (kind of) liked it, too. Eggers reviewed the audience, glowingly, in the Stranger.

Best Awesome Internet Retailers Who Allow Me To Live in Wyoming and Still Occasionally Buy Good Stuff

Sonic Boom
What's not to love about a record store that always has what I want and has friendly staff? I go in every time I'm back in Seattle because there's stuff I can't get in WY. Plus they always send nice messages when I order online.

Peggy Li
Peggy made some of my favorite pieces ever, like the slide oval choker I should wear more often and the bird charm necklace I wear several times a week.

The supplier of my favorite jeans, the perfect t-shirt, and many things I don't need.

Etsy, specifically Orange Peel Enamel and Adorn Jewelery
I love the jewelery too much and these two make beautiful stuff.

Shoes! Free shipping! And too many cute Campers for me to buy on my salary.

Best Blogs

I, Asshole
The one, the only. SJ's writing is indescribable, in a good way. From PNW'ed to Mal Mots, it's gold. Never go away again, Lady!

The Rich Girls Are Weeping
An mp3 blog all about the indie rock, but with a healthy and not snarkily ironic dash of old standbys like Harry Nilsson and Joan Baez. And it's not just a bunch of links to music; Cindy and Pinkie write really great posts about the music.

Gwen World
Gwen's is probably the first blog("online diary") I ever read. She kicks so much ass you can't even imagine it. She also writes books, and you should read them. If you're a librarian like me, you should buy them for your library.

50 Books
Thanks to Doppelganger, my to-read list is longer than my lifespan is likely to accommodate.

Go Fug Yourself
Celebrities wear stupid stuff sometimes. It's fun to watch them do it.

What, No Best Books?

Well, I didn't really read any knock-my-socks-off books this year. I can't remember if I ever managed to post about the NYT "10 Best Books of 2006" or not. I'm guessing not. Of the alleged best books of the year, I've read exactly none of them. Ha! I mean, not that I think the Times knows all, but it still cracks me up. I also didn't read anything on the best lists of PW, the Times of London, or even the Seattle Times. Maybe next year.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

I'm it

Jessica tagged me with the "Five Things You Probably Don't Know About Me" meme. So here goes.

1. I get obsessive about things. Like when I found a (pretty affordable) cashmere v-neck sweater, I bought one in every color they had and still make sure I check back every season to make sure I get the new shades. I have to restrain myself from doing this with everything I love, from lipgloss to iittala glass cards. The rampant consumerist inside me is embarrassing.

2. If I had to choose between books and music, I'd choose music. Bad librarian! I saw more than 50 bands (I kept a list) the summer after I graduated high school and don't regret not saving my graduation money for college. I wish that many good shows were happening these days. R.I.P. Seattle of 1992.

3. I got five speeding tickets during my first two years as a licensed driver. At one point I was in danger of being sent to traffic school. I also crashed my parents' minivan when I still just had a learner's permit. Believe it or not, I'm very responsible now and haven't been ticketed in almost 15 years.

4. I am ashamed of my car. For ten years, I drove a little Neon with no frills and good gas milage. After moving, I got an SUV. It's a little one, but I still feel guilty whenever I drive it--especially because I'm almost always alone now. I miss the bus, even though this car is the nicest one I've ever owned with leather and everything. Residual urban guilt is hard to shake.

5. My favorite smell is the ocean. In close second is asphalt right when it starts to rain--that dirty, oily scent mixed with fresh Pacific Northwest air. I really miss the grey and the rain. Wyoming is alltogether too sunny for my taste, but at least I'm getting some vitamin D.

I'm not explicitly tagging anybody, but if you read me and feel inclined to do this, go ahead.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Homeward bound

My fellow travelers
The holiday rush at the Laramie Airport

There are a couple of nice things about flying out of Laramie that balance out the cost and massive turbulance in the prop plane. The most awesome is free wireless. Another is only having to check in an hour before the flight. There's also the crowd issue. As you can see, I'm not exactly cramped for space here. It looks like it will be me and two guys on this flight.

After a night in a nice hotel near DIA, I'll be home early tomorrow! First on the agenda is talking the dog in for her checkup and then burgers at Burgermaster with the dogs and my parents.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Abbie Update

I forgot to report what we found out about Abbie. It's mostly better news than I expected. What the vet initially thought was a mass in her gut seems to be a lot of extra air from all the panting she's been doing because she's in pain. Her chem panel came back fine--one of her liver enzymes is a little wacky, but she's old and has a history of that. The radiologist figured out what was causing all the pain: the connective tissue in her spine is bulging and pressing on her nerves.

Abbie's been on the dog version of bed rest for the past ten days or so. She's not allowed to run or sit up human-style, which she loves to do for some reason. My mom said she's doing okay, but we're taking her for a check-up on Wednesday right after I get off the plane.

I'm not sure how much I'll update over the next two weeks, but I'm sure I'll have lots of dopey pictures!

Saturday, December 09, 2006


My mom called today and told me my dog, who now lives with my parents, is sick. She's had liver problems in the past but has been pretty healthy for a couple of years. Abbie has a big mass in her abdomen, so she had x-rays and a biopsy today. We'll know more after the radiologist takes a look at her films. She'll likely have get an ultrasound next week, and she's off her pain meds (for joint pain) so her liver isn't so taxed.

It was hard to leave her behind when I moved, even though I know she's better off not being cooped up alone while I'm at work every day. Abbie's getting close to nine years old, but I'm not ready to lose her. I still think of her as my little baby, like this:

Abbie's first bath
Taken the day we brought her home in June 1998. She was four weeks old.

Abbie all grown up

I'm really glad I'm going home in ten days to spend a couple of weeks with her. With midwinter in Seattle in January, I'll get a few more days with her soon after, as well. It sounds awful, but missing Abbie is harder than missing the people I left. The phone and email keep me in touch with friends and family, but there's nothing like that that works for dogs.