Ten Favorite Songs of 2008


The project continues with my favorite songs of 2008.  Read the first post for the detail on this project.

Bag of Hammers – Thao Nguyen

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Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa – Vampire Weekend

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Furr – Blitzen Trapper

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Growl – Tanya Tagaq

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In the Night – Basia Bulat

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White Winter Hymnal – Fleet Foxes

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You Don’t Know Me – Ben Folds Five w/ Regina Spektor

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Sleepyhead – Passion Pit

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S.E.X.Y.R.O.B.O.T – The Pinker Tones

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Why Do You Let Me Stay Here – She & Him

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And my song of shame for 2008: Rime of the Hip Hop Mariners – Captain Dan & The Scurvy Crew

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What did you rock out to in 2008?  Let me know in the comments!

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Meme: 2008 End-of-Year


Via Caveat Lector, some questions to reflect on the year recently passed

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?

I rode the Ashmont-Mattapan High Speed Trolley.  Woke up to the sound of a yodeling pickle.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I don’t remember making any so I probably didn’t keep them.  I haven’t made any this year.  I think I’ll work on things as they come along instead.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Two of my dearest friends adopted a baby girl who was born in December.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

My stepfather Wayne died in August

5. What countries did you visit?

Seven of the United States: Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, & North Carolina.

6. What would you like to have in 2009 which you lacked in 2008?

A tidy house.

7. What date from 2008 will remain etched in your memory, and why?

April 24 – the day I received the treatment that stopped my sciatica pain.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I discovered I’m actually a pretty good dad.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Didn’t do very well at household chores, financial management, nor keeping in touch with friends & family.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Dear me, yes!  January through April were marred by the crippling pain of sciatica.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

In light of the previous question, probably the copay on a Vicodin prescription.  In reality, the adorable pirate costume for Peter’s Halloween.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

My son and wife.  Also, people like Trucle and Joe who cooked meals for us.  And all the people who helped out when I was injured.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

The staff at the Somerville office of Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Child care and mortgage on the house.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Anything Peter-related.

16. What song will always remind you of 2008?

“White Winter Hymnal,” by Fleet Foxes.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: Happier or sadder? Thinner or fatter? Richer or poorer?

Happier.  Slightly thinner.  Poor in money, but wealthy in love.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Traveling, biking, spending time with good friends, household chores, volunteering, writing,  contemplative time alone, and prayer.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Writhing in pain, vomiting, and feeling exhausted.

20. How will you be spending New Year’s?

Playing dominoes with my wife and her parents.

21. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?

Tad from Leapfrog and the doctor’s office.

22. Did you fall in love in 2008?

My son was born near the end of 2007, but I’ve discovered new and deeper love for him in his first full year.

23. How many one night stands in this last year?

I don’t roll like that.

24. What was your favorite TV program?

30 Rock, Battlestar Galactica, and Bob the Builder.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I’m a lover not a hater.

26. What was the best book(s) you read?

Favorite Books of 2008.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Vampire Weekend, Fleet Foxes, and WFMU’s Antique Phonograph Music Program

28. What did you want and get?

A new job.

29. What did you want and not get?

A trip to Washington for our friends’ wedding, a night out with my wife, and the Christmas Revels.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?

I enjoyed watching New York: A Documentary Film by Ric Burns.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old did you turn?

I celebrated my 35th birthday by going to work and then having dinner and cake with my family.  A few days earlier had a lovely dinner with a number of good friends at the Dogwood Cafe.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

New York Mets, World Series Champions.  Or an express subway line from Jamaica Plain to Allston.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?

Sloppy.

34. What kept you sane?

The usual: family, reading, getting out of the house.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Gwen Ifill.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

2nd Suffolk district Senate race.

37. Whom did you miss?

All the friends we were supposed to see on our April trip to Washington that we had to cancel.

38. Who was the best new person you met?

I’ve met lots of wonderful babies via  Peter, plus all of his child care teachers are great people.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.

The drums are much cooler than the triangle.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

“Baby shark, baby shark, ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba.”

2008 Year in Review: Favorite Books


Here’s my annual list of my ten favorite books read in the year.  As always, this is merely the best books I read this year not books published in 2008.  For previous years see 2007 and 2006, and of course Every Book I’ve Ever Read are cataloged in Library Thing.

  1. The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan
  2. The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs
  3. The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: Traitor to the Nation, Vol. 1 and The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol II by M.T. Anderson
  4. The Deportees and Other Stories by Roddy Doyle
  5. The Bloody Shirt: Terror After Appomattox by Steven Budiansky
  6. The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
  7. This Republic of Suffering by Drew Gilpin Faust
  8. Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter by Mario Vargas Llosa
  9. A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906 by Simon Winchester
  10. The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet by Neil Degrasse Tyson

Below is the list of all the books I’ve read in the past year.  Books actually published in 2008 are in bold.

Books Read in 2008

2008 Beer in Review


Another year of beer drinking will soon come to an end.  Consumption was low in the early part of the year due to my back injury, and parenthood has kept me out of darkened saloons in general.  Also in my old age I tend to forget to write up reviews, so there are some beers I’ll just have to drink again.

I rate beers by awarding points for their appearance, aroma, taste, how they look after a few sips, and overall quality on a ten point scale. Any beer that earns 5 or more points is worth trying again and I rank these with one to five stars. Any beers below five points are on a descending spiral of badness. I tend to screen out bad beers ahead of time so I don’t get many no star beers.  For more beers check out my 2007 Beer in Review.

Here’s a handy chart of all the beers reviewed in 2008:

Five Stars

Four Stars

Three Stars

Two Stars

One Star

No Stars

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2008 Year in Review: Movies


Listed below are all the movies I’ve watched in the past year.  Much like last year, I’ve rated all the movies on a five star scale. Five stars is an all-time classic, three stars is the baseline for an enjoyable film end-to-end, one star is a bad movie with perhaps one good sequence or performance. A film with no stars has no redeeming characteristics at all.