Sunday, January 25, 2009

Steven's Birthday, Resolutions, and Rita the Rat

Thursday, 1/22, was Steven's 28th birthday. He got to sleep in while our seminary students made him birthday cards, went to school with a pre-packed lunch (I never have time to do this, he's lucky it was his birthday), and picked me up after work to go to a nice dinner at Palm's Thai. This is a nice little Thai restaurant on Hollywood Blvd that has a Thai Elvis impersonator as entertainment (I'm not joking!). Unfortunately, we forgot our camera, but it was amazing!
Since Steve has gotten into photography lately, I thought a digital frame would be a nice gift. This way, we can display ALL our favorite photos!

In other news, I have completed Resolution #1. 2 weeks ago (1/10) Maureen and I ran a half marathon. I finished in 1:45. Since it was my first "official" half marathon, this technically counts as a PR. I should have gone under 1:30 (I did that in the first half of the St. George Marathon), but since I haven't run over 7 miles since I got pregnant and decided to run it less than a week before the race, I was satisfied with the results.
Our most exciting news however, is the newest addition to our family, Rita the Rat. We got her name from the Beatles' song "Lovely Rita, Meter Maid". Isn't she sweet? She has already grown several inches since this photo taken 2 weeks ago and is threatening to eat us out of stale bread.Ever since we lost the baby, I have needed some sort of distraction to help me get back to a normal life and get over the death of our first child (if you ever really can get over something like that). I thought a cute and cuddly pet rat would be perfect because they require minimal effort on my part, she's small enough to not cause problems (but will get big enough to handle the dogs), they only live about 2 years (long enough for us to get pregnant again, but not so long that I'll be in the market for a new dog as well) and she is smart and interactive. Steve didn't really want to get a new pet because of the extra stress it could add, but he loves me so much that he let me have Rita anyway, because he knew that's what I needed. I love you, Baby!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Typo in the KJV?

After all of the people who have read the King James Version of the Bible there couldn’t possibly be any typos left in it, right? Well my wife found one. Ok, it wasn’t actually in the Bible itself but in the Topical Guide of the LDS version. Acts 7:55 describes Stephen looking stedfastly to heaven at his martyrdom. Now stedfastly is a perfectly acceptable variation of the word steadfastly. However under the Topical Guide entry for steadfastness the verse is quoted with the more common steadfastly instead of stedfastly as it appears in the actual verse.

I didn’t think it was possible but my wife may be an even bigger nerd than I am.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Favorite Albums of 08

I’m calling this “Favorite Albums” instead of “Best Albums” because I know I’ve probably missed a few of the best ones, in fact I’ve been so busy this year that I’m sure of it. For example, my brother Kevin tells me that there is a really good punk/techno crossover thing going on right now but I haven’t had time to get into it. But from what I’ve heard these are the best albums of 2008.

The Killers, Day and Age. The Killers have demonstrated why they are one of the best things happening in music right now. Day and Age doesn’t quite match the near perfect song writing and pop-craft of Sam’s Town or the overall feel of Hot Fuss, but it’s close. This is a solid album. I like almost every track especially: Loosing Touch, Human, Spaceman, A Dustland Fairy Tale, This Is Your Life, and I Can’t Stay. I heard some early versions of the tracks that were mixed with a lot more techno and I was a little disappointed to find that they took some of that out for the final product but still this is an incredible CD.

Death Cab for Cutie, Narrow Stairs: This may be the best Death Cab album ever. If not, it’s a close second to Transatlantacism. I Will Posses Your Heart is probably the best song of the year. I didn’t think that people trying to make hits dared to write songs over 8 minutes anymore and certainly not with five-minute intros. The track is perfect. I love Grapevine Fires it tells a story, paints a picture, and sets a mood with flawless execution, possibly the best lyrics of the year. I also like Your New Twin Sized Bed.

Metallica Death Magnetic: With St. Anger I dismissed Metallica, choosing to instead listen to Ride the Lighting and relive the glory days. I mean St. Anger was an entire Metallica album without a single guitar solo. The whole album was Lars pounding on drums atop a cement floor as hard as he could to prove that he was still hardcore. And then there were the lyrics. Now lyrics have never been Metallica’s strong point. Every album has had its moments where the lyrics make you cringe and a lot of the songs rely on clichés, the most obvious sign of weak writing (there are a couple of Metallica songs with truly great lyrics. I’m thinking of Master of Puppets and Battery). But the lyrics on St. Anger were especially bad “Saint Anger ‘round my neck, he never gets respect” and “my life-style determines my death-style.” Now that’s deep. But the final nail in the Metallica coffin was when I saw them on the Sally Jesse Raphael Show talking about their group therapy sessions in some sort of sob-fest with a bunch of 40-something Oprah-ites. The painful memory still haunts me. Plus they had clearly demonstrated that they were only in it for the money and would sell out for anything and go after their fans for money. I like Robert Trujillo and his prior work but I thought his addition to the band was a mistake (something I have to take back with this album).

But then Death Magnetic came out this year and it kept getting good reviews so I decided to get it. Here was the Metallica I remembered, the one that spent eons in the studio getting things right. Musically Death magnetic is very good, on par with the early alums. Of course there are still a couple of lyrical hiccups like “love is a four-letter word.” But who cares, I like every track on the album.

Paul Jacobsen and the Madison Arm: I still find myself listening to this on a fairly regular basis. See my prior post.

Coldplay, Viva La Vida: A solid release from a great band. The EP Prospekt’s March is also very good.

Ray Lamontange, Gossip In the Grain.

The Mars Volta, The Bedlam In Goliath. A bit of a disappointment compared to their previous work but still worth a mention.

Song Nods
Some of these were ITunes freebies, many of them I got for free off of, and a few are from albums that I bought that aren’t quite good enough to warrant a mention above.

Republic Tigers, Buildings and Mountains. Second best song of the year.
Sam Sparro, Black and Gold
Grupo Fantasma, El Sabio Soy Yo. Possibly the best Latin song ever.
The 88, Go Go Go
MGMT, Kids and Time to Pretend
Dark Captain Light Captain, Jealous Enemies
Belanova, One, Two, three, Go!
Snoop Dogg, My Medicine
Kathleen Edwards, Buffalo
Ludovico Einaudi, Andare. Beautiful and the only new classical piece I found all year.
Cut Copy, Lights and Music
David Hopkins, Amber and Green. My friend Mac used to manage this guy. Seriously, this is a great song I think you can still get it for free on
Blitzen Trapper, Furr
Adele, Hometown Glory
We the Kings, Check Yes Juliet.
Gran Ronde, Wisdom
RuRu, Elizabeth
The Broken West, Auctioneer

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Beating the New Year

I love New Year's Eve. It is probably my favorite day of the entire year. 4 years ago yesterday, Steven and I met at our friend Kristi Green's New Year's Eve party and the rest is history. I also love calendars. Every year I buy 2: Page-a-Day (dogs) and a wall calendar (usually dog-related as well). I love planning out the new year in hopes of making the year to come the best one yet.

Last night, in celebration of the new year, I ran the SLC track club's annual resolution run, "Beat the New Year." The race was a 5k that started at 11:30 with the goal to finish before midnight. If you finished in time, you got a cool plaque (I finished in 22:10).My favorite part of the new year (besides my loving husband), is the opportunity to make resolutions. I love the opportunity to try to reach a little harder and become more of the person I would like to one day become. I love starting over with a clean slate.

In honor of the new year I have made 10 resolutions:
1. Set a PR (any race will do)
2. Get my personal training certification
3. Organize the closet and desk
4. Learn a new skill
5. Save enough money for a down payment
6. Make Christmas stockings for Steven and I
7. Grow my hair to the middle of my back
8. Crochet a blanket
9. Learn a new song on the violin
10. Finally lose those 5 pounds

Steve's resolutions are much simpler:
1. Graduate from law school
2. Pass the bar
3. Get a job

Here's to a fantastic 2009!