Saturday, January 26, 2008

Who could ask me for more?

Yay for relaxing yet productive Saturdays! I did not overly sleep in today, and got to the gym and ran some errands all before noon. I love getting that stuff out of the way.

One of the errands I had to run was picking up a package from the post office that I'd ordered from Amazon. It was a bunch of copies of the book "Jamaica Inn" by Daphne Du Maurier that is the next pick of my university-friends book club. Anyhow, I had ordered the cheapest copy of it that I could find, and I found one for $7 each. Anyhow, it arrived and I found out why it was cheap; it is actually a levelled-reader version of the book intended for middle school students. I laughed really really hard when I opened the box. I called Becca T, who is a member of said book club, and told her about and she suggested maybe we should read this version instead since maybe then that way, everyone would have time to finish it. Hee-hee. As a result of this mistake by me, (although I argue the fact that this is a kids' version is not stated explicitly anywhere in the book description) I've now ordered real copies, and now I have another errand to run because I have to send the books back.

Anyway, as a result of my earlier productivity in the day, I'll have some time to grab a yummy moccachino down the street and spend time reading. Tonight, I'm hanging out for Becca T for dinner and perhaps a movie, and then we're going to head downtown for a free concert (Tokyo Police Club). I'm not overly familiar with them, but it's free, so a good way to get introduced. It's outside, so I hope it remains fairly nice out like it's been earlier today.

Next weekend is the free Weakerthans show downtown, so I'm very excited for that. Then, I have my NYC trip to look forward to. (We haven't "officially" decided on NYC, but I'm pretty sure that's what we'll do.) So yay for happy things to look forward to. Definitely makes the huge pile of marking that I have to deal with this weekend less depressing, as the fact that I'll have to spend my week marking exams.

ps Last week was one of those weeks where I had to listen to the Stars' song "Today Will Be Better, I Swear" each and every morning. Have you ever had one of those?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

I don't see what anyone can see in anyone else but you.

Last weekend was spent cleaning my apartment for my super belated housewarming party, buying snacks and beverages for said party, and then cleaning up after said party. The party was super fun and went well and I totally need to make sure that I throw more parties in the future, but this weekend feels so relaxing in comparison without having a party to plan for/clean up after.

Anyhow, this weekend has been great with lots of time to relax, walk around in the cold-but-sunny weather, and drink a lot of hot chocolate.

I bought the Juno soundtrack this weekend, and I've been listening to it incessantly. I saw the movie over the holidays and really enjoyed it, and enjoyed the music within the film, and I'm so glad that I got the soundtrack. It's a fun listen. I'd previously been constantly listening to the new Hayden album In Field & Town that came out this week. That album is also very strong as well. It might even be my favourite Hayden album as a whole.

I think I'm going to have to put myself on another spending diet. I think besides food, necessities, and the odd latte, and sushi only once a week, all I'm allowed to buy until my birthday in February is the new Hawklsey Workman CD that's out on the 29th. I say this because a) I generally spend too much money (hello new pair of jeans that I bought yesterday), and b) it looks like I have an exciting trip coming up for the February long weekend, which fortuitously coincides with my birthday. On Wednesday, some of my friends from work and I hatched a brilliant plan to either go to New York City or to Las Vegas that weekend. Anyhow, we're in the researching stage of this trip, and we are going to vote tomorrow whether to go to NYC and Vegas. I've never been to either place, but I'm really hoping that we end up going to NYC because it appeals to me more than Vegas, but heck, I'll go anywhere.

Now, I should stop procrastinating via blogging, and write a test for my period 2 class, so that I can go out for coffee this evening with Becca T. Enjoy the last few hours of weekend! :)

Monday, January 14, 2008

And tell me doctor can you quantify?

My plan for this evening was to come home, grab a Second Cup Moccachino, have my favourite comfort dinner of grilled cheese sandwiches with ketchup and roasted vegetable soup, and then write a bitter blog post about how I’m totally suffering from the winter blues, which I completely blame on the inevitable end-of-semester workload that is killing me. I did the first three items, but my bitterness had subsided. Was it the caffeine or was it the grilled cheese I wonder? Or maybe it’s the fact that the Stonecutters episode of the Simpsons is on and currently making me happy. So what do I blog about now since I’m feeling less crabby?

It has been on my mind that I have yet to do a top 10 albums of 2007 list like some of my other fellow music geek blog buddies (here and here – I hope they’re not mad at me for calling them music geeks; I use that term with the utmost of respect since I proudly consider myself a music geek). And thankfully, iTunes makes reviewing what albums you bought in particular year super easy. No more racking of the old brain.

And now, without further adieu, here is Christielli’s top 10 albums of 2007. I’m surprised that it didn’t take me until 2010 to do this with the levels of procrastination I’ve been facing in my life these days.

10) The Shade of Poison Trees – Dashboard Confessional: Dashboard is my musical equivalent of a grilled cheese sandwich with ketchup, and this album makes me feel warm and fuzzy. There’s just something about the earnest emolicious-ness of Dashboard Confessional, and they’re one of my favourite sing-along bands.
Fave Song: Where There’s Gold…

9) The Reminder – Feist: 1234 was probably the most ubiquitous song of 2007 that pretty much anyone would like. I actually bonded with my period 2 class (who are 90% male) over this song. However, one song does not an album make, and the rest of the songs on this album are great too.
Fave song: I want to not say 1234 and say “I Feel it All” instead, but if I was stuck on a desert island with one Feist song, I’d have to go with 1234.

8) American Doll Posse – Tori Amos: Tori created and inhabited five personas for this album. Clyde seems to be my favourite, but I’d hang out with any of the Dolls given the chance. When I saw her play this year, she brought out Pip, who is the rocker, and Tori (of course). I just love things that are creatively different, and this album is and it works. I love the opener, Yo George, which is such a great eff you to everyone’s favourite George. I understand that Tori isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but this album pleased every Tori-phile I know.
Fave song: Roosterspur Bridge (Clyde)

7) Nevertheless – Christine Fellows: This is the first of two highly-anticipated albums from Winnipeg musicians that I love. I love that this album starts out with a beautiful instrumental song that actually sounds Christmasy and made it onto this year’s Christmas playlist. I saw Christine Fellows play live twice within a month of this album’s release, and her music is the kind that expands when it is live, but it’s really good on disc too.
Fave song: Nevertheless

6) The Con – Tegan & Sara: I listen to the title track of this album constantly. It gives me more energy than a highly caffeinated beverage. The song Call It Off makes me feel wistful. I always listen to Hop a Plane when I’m taking the train back to where I came from. I love this band, and this album is great.
Fave song: The Con

5) Ashtray Rock – The Joel Plaskett Emergency: Sometimes I fear the concept album because I figure it will be too convoluted for my simple tastes, but when it centres around something non-pretentious such as a love triangle, it works very well. Even though I was not in a band in high school, and did not have such drama in my young life, I can identify with a lot of the themes on this album, and they bring me back to the shenanigans of my youth quite fondly. And, this is such a fun party album. If you can see this dude live, go, go, go. He is one of the best live acts in Canada.
Fave Song: Face of the Earth

4) Hospital Music – Matthew Good: I started listening to this album before its release when you could stream it through Good’s website. When I started doing this, I said to myself “Christielli, be careful, you’re going to wear it out and then be sick of it by the time you buy it.” Well, I think it’s a testament to the album that I did not grow sick of it after repeated listens, and it did keep me good company on my Edmonton to Vancouver train trip.
Fave song: She’s in it for the Money

3) Stars – In Our Bedroom After the War: So many of my favourite artists came out with new stuff in 2007. Stars released this album early on iTunes 4 days after its completion, which lead to me becoming overstimulated by its brilliance. Stars had a tough act to follow after Set Yourself on Fire, but In Our Bedroom did it. I’m only sad that I didn’t catch them live this year.
Fave song: Window Bird

2) Ongiara - Great Lake Swimmers: This album is breathtakingly beautiful and introduced me to a great musical find. I spent a whole day searching record stores in Toronto looking for this album after reading a glowing review of it, only to discover that it wasn’t out yet. Thankfully, I was able to buy it at zunior.com and I fell in love. A great bonus was I saw the band perform at a downtown church, which is the perfect venue for their sweeping symphonic sound. (Go alliteration!)
Fave song: I Became Awke (My girl Sarah Harmer does backup.)

1) Reunion Tour – The Weakerthans: I’m pretty sure that most people who have even a passing familiarity with yours truly would not be surprised that this is my top album. I eagerly anticipated this album since the 2003 release of Reconstruction Site. I got to preview a bunch of the songs live in June when I saw the Weakerthans play live in Hamilton, and I could tell then that I would have warm fuzzy feelings for this record. If you are looking for a wonderfully lyrical, melodic album with songs about a myriad of topics such as curling, cats, medical oddities, bus drivers, and the like, this is it.
Fave song: Reunion Tour

Honourable Mentions:
Marriage - Attack in Black: Definitely the best driving in Vancouver CD of the year.
Armchair Apocrypha - Andrew Bird: Best mention of mitosis in an album of 2007.
Do You Trust Your Friends - Such an interesting remix of one of my favourite albums ever. I especially dig Final Fantasy's version of "Your Ex-Lover is Dead".

Did you notice that 8/10 of my fave albums are by Canadians? I just did! Woo-hoo for Canadian music!

2008 is off to a strong start album-wise, or at least if my expectations hold out. The new Hayden comes out tomorrow, and I’m quite excited for that. Then, there’s new Hawksley Workman on January 29th. I’m especially excited for the new Hawksley, because I’ve heard a few of the songs and they’re all brilliant.

As the song in the iPod commercial goes, music is my boyfriend. :)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Parallelograms of light.

So 2008 is like flying already. I've been back at work for almost a week now, and I'm still in vacation mode. I have freakin' exams to write, piles of marking to do, a desk that needs to be cleaned since it looks like a bomb exploded on it, and a bajillion other things to do. Thankfully, I was able to get my brain whirring a bit today, and daresay it, get into a bit of a thinking groove. I'm going to buckle down this evening and get a lot of stuff done, I say.

But, when that final bell rings tomorrow, I get to move on to more pleasant things, at least for part of the weekend (a good portion of the weekend will be spent working). I've finally gotten my act together and planned my very first party in my new place, and I'm much looking forward to it. I find that I have a lot of friends who I only tend to see at parties now that we're "grown-ups". Or perhaps we were always like that, but there were way more parties going on, hence more hanging out. One of my good friends from university has decided to host a monthly dinner party this year, which I think is awesome idea. So now I'll be saying "Dude! I haven't seen you in forever!" a lot less.

All this thinking about parties and such has made me think about how lucky I've always been with the friends I have in my life. They all seriously rock. The only thing I'd change is the location of quite a few of them. I'd like to move my circle of friends from St. Ratford days (I've started to think of them as the St. Ratford contingent), to Toronto, and a bunch of people that I know from across the country, continent, and world out here too, so I could have this fabulous utopia with all of the people I enjoy. Of course, I wouldn't be able to have a party in my little old apartment then, but I'd be totally amenable to renting out a pub for my partying needs.

Anyhow, friends rock, and they're the best to have around whether it be for spontaneous sushi, coffee, and shopping evenings, counselling via Facebook, drunken text-messaging, Friday lunches at work and other workplace diversions, late night MSN conversations, or really late housewarming parties. Yay!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

I can tell it's winter from the size of the lump in my throat.

Typically, I do some sort of year end post where I list what I enjoyed from the previous year. Instead, I've decided to sum up 2007 (albeit belatedly), using the year-end survey that's made the rounds.

1. What did you do in 2007 that you’d never done before? I moved into an apartment all by myself sans roommate.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? According to a post from December 2006, my new year’s resolution was “"Do one thing at a time and who the eff cares?” Did I keep it? I think so. I’ve kept my focus on certain things this year and I’m proud of myself for it. Did I stop worrying so much? Probably not, but I’ll worry about that later.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Nope, not this year.

4. Did anyone close to you die? Thank goodness no.

5. What countries did you visit? I stayed in Canada and the US, but going out west is a huge trip, I think. I covered a lot of Canada: Edmonton, Jasper, Vancouver and surrounding area, and Victoria. I did a mini-trip to Montreal too, which was cool because I had never properly visited that city. On the American side, I made it to Seattle, which was way cool, and I did a few cross-border shopping trips in NY and Michigan thanks to our kickass Canadian dollar.

6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007? A few more romantic misadventures would be nice.

7. What dates from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? July 14th because that’s the day I moved into my own place.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Getting my permanent contract at work. I’m now in it for life, I suppose.

9. What was your biggest failure? Failure schmailure!!!

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Nothing major besides the odd cold here and there.

11. What was the best thing you bought? Well, when you get to question #17, I’ll lament that I spent a lot of money in 2007. However, some of my favourite of the many purchases I made this year revolve around my beloved Weakerthans. I bought tickets to two Weakerthans shows (Hamilton in June, and Toronto in November), their fabulous new album Reunion Tour and two Tshirts from each concert. I also enjoyed buying the final Harry Potter book and Starbucks mugs from Vancouver, Seattle, and Montreal.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? My parents, because they both are better after hard times in the last months of ’06 and beginning months of ’07. I’ve had pretty good classes this year too; so that’s definitely worth celebrating.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Oh gosh, it’d probably be a long list with the current state of the world. Ummm, I’ll just make it short and sweet and say GWB and Steven Harper; both dudes I’m not fans of. Oh yes, and I have a coworker whose behaviour is up there with GWB and SH when it comes to appalling me.

14. Where did most of your money go? What with the moving, new furniture and other apartment accoutrements, traveling, new clothes, concerts, CDs, books, and nights out, it definitely went.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? The last Harry Potter book, traveling out west, new Weakerthans album, and lots of concerts.

16. What song will always remind you of 2007? Lots and lots actually. The albums Hospital Music by Matt Good and Marriage by Attack in Black will remind me of my trip out west. Songs that will be forever associated with this year would be The Con by Tegan and Sara, 1234 by Feist, Roosterspur Bridge by Tori Amos, and Civil Twilight by the Weakerthans.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Happier
b) thinner or fatter? Thinner
c) richer or poorer? As I mentioned in questions 11 and 14, a lot of stuff was purchased, so I’m poorer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Spending time with friends. I need to make an effort to get together with old friends outside of parties ‘n such.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Fretting over little details.

20. How will you be spending Christmas? I spent Christmas in St. Ratford hanging out with friends and family.

21. Did you fall in love in 2007? Nope.

22. How many one-night stands? None.

23. What was your favorite TV program? The Office.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Nope, really there is only one person currently in my life that I strongly dislike, and I’ve disliked this dude for awhile.

25. What was the best book you read? Sex with the Queen by Eleanor Herman. Before you jump to any conclusions, I’ll let you know that it’s a history book that covers the romantic misadventures of Queens through history. It was dishy and educational and fun.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery? The band Great Lake Swimmers. I listen to them a lot, and saw them play once in 2007 too. I was unfamiliar with them before 2007.

27. What did you want and get? A nice apartment.

28. What did you want and not get? Perhaps more romantic misadventures? (Maybe I have been badly influenced by reading about all of the action those queens were getting.)

29. What was your favorite film of this year? Sweeney Todd!!!!! Oh, and I really enjoyed Harry Potter #5.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I was 27, and I spent it at work, and then watching the new episode of the Office while eating dinner with my now former roommate and my dear pal Becca T.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Perhaps more romantic misadventures?

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007? I had a student tell me that my outfits are cool and well put together. So I’ll quote her.

33. What kept you sane? Honestly, the students at my school surprisingly keep me sane, even though sometimes they do the opposite. But daily, they help me remember what really is important in life, and also make me chuckle too. Awww, that *almost* makes me want to go back to work on Monday.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Jim Halpert from the Office and Peter Petrelli from Heroes. (Not the actors, but the specific actors *in character* is what I fancy).

35. What political issue stirred you the most? The environment and human rights.

36. Who did you miss? My friend Alison who is teaching in Japan and a few other friends who are working overseas.

37. Who was the best new person you met? I really didn’t meet anyone *new* that I care about. I did meet several blog buddies *in person* for the first time, but I’ve been reading their blogs for ages, so are they really new??? However, I feel that some friendships really grew in 2007, and that’s definitely awesome.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007: I'm stronger than I think I am.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year: A few lines from the song "When It Flows" by Great Lake Swimmers have kept me grounded this year:
"Because everything is the way it is
And everything is perfect in their imperfections
And everything is placed the best
And it is now, and it is here
And tomorrow is another now
Waiting to happen "

Anyhow, I guess that summarizes 2007 in a nutshell. I had a good new year's eve, and so far 2008's treated me well since I'm still on holidays (until Monday creeps around). I'm back in Toronto and enjoying just chilling for a few days before the inevitable return to the daily grind.

Hope 2008 kicks ass for you all! :D