Another quiet but busy weekend

The weekend was good, I got everything done I wanted. While Jill was still in turbo study mode all weekend (crazy, I know), I managed to get three DVDs done, watched Road to Perdition (c’mon – Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Daniel Craig and Jude Law as gangsters? Fun stuff), finished reading all my comics, made chili and fajitas. And then I watched three eps of V and all four football playoff games.

Most people don’t realize that as much as I love the Redskins, I love the playoffs, too, and relish watching all the playoffs so by the time the Super Bowl rolls around, I’m pretty familiar with the two teams. And the playoffs are usually between good teams, especially that Chargers/Colts matchup (overtime? And the Chargers won?). Tonight I grilled souvlaki, now I get to play with my new toy (more later).

Top Ten Concerts of 2008

1. Dave Matthews Band at Nissan Pavilion on June 28th.
A great band reinvigorated by touring with longtime collaborator Tim Reynolds, and what would be LeRoi Moore’s last show. RIP LeRoi, you’ll be missed.

2. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss at Merriweather Post Pavilion on June 13th.
She’s got it, and he still has it. Together, they’re otherworldly, and not seeing the Zep reunion doesn’t sting as fierce.

3. Ben Arthur with Mike Clem at the Betti House Concert on May 31st.
An intimate show with great songs and witty banter.

4. Great Big Sea and Eddie From Ohio at Wolf Trap on August 22nd.
Two great bands giving it their all.

5. Dar Williams at the Birchmere on November 8th.
With a new band in a celebratory mood and songs off a great new album.

6. Extreme at Rams Head Live on August 2nd.
Back together and not taking prisoners.

7. Jukebox The Ghost at Fort Reno on August 11th.
Part of it was the vibe of the legendary venue and the pizza we brought, but they’re a fun band.

8. Anthony Da Costa, Abbie Gardner, Amy Speace, Eric Lee and Radoslav Lorkovic during the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival at the Budgie Dome on July 25th.
Playing for free and a small audience late at night, they were great.

9. Rush at the Comcast Center on June 15th.
They mixed it up a little for the second leg of the tour, always a great show.

10. Gary Louris at the State Theatre on April 3rd.
New songs and Jayhawks classics meant a good night.

Top Ten Books of 2008

1. The Graveyard Book
Writer: Neil Gaiman

2. Odd and the Frost Giants
Writer: Neil Gaiman Artist: Mark Buckingham

3. Crooked Little Vein
Writer: Warren Ellis

4. The Thief Of Always
Writer: Clive Barker Artist: Clive Barker

5. America’s Best Comics Primer
Writers: Alan Moore and Steve Moore Artists: Gene Ha/Zander Cannon, J.H. Williams III, Chris Sprouse, Jaime Hernandez, Melinda Gebbie, Jim Baikie, Kevin Nowlan and Rick Veitch.

6. The Incredible Hulk: Future Imperfect
Writer: Peter David Artist: George PĂ©rez

7. Incredible Hulk Visionaries – Peter David, Vol. 5

8. The Dangerous Alphabet
Writer: Neil Gaiman Artist: Gris Grimly

9. Shadow Star (Chronicles of the Shadow War, Book 3)

10. Coraline (graphic novel)
Writer: Neil Gaiman Artist: P. Craig Russell

The year in review

Tomorrow I’ll post my top 10 lists, but here I’ll discuss general (blog/geek) stuff. The blog has now finished five years in existenence, and I like it. It frequently functions as offline memory (what did we do for Valentine’s Day in 2004?) and way to post interesting web things (although my shared Google items took over some of that this year).

Forcing myself to read at least one book and watch one movie a week was an interesting resolution, successfully completed. I may still have piles of unread books, but I read 80 this year, and that’s nothing to sneeze at. The only problem was getting way behind on periodicals at points, but I plan to be caught up on those by the end of our upcoming vacation. I’d like to keep up the pace, but don’t want to keep the one a week thing going – maybe an average of four a month. I won’t be directly blogging them anymore, I’ve started using two sites, and, both of which I think I can make blog posts from. The latter’s not as nice, but it also covers DVDs and CDs, while just look at the former:

Kerry's books

X-Men Visionaries: Neal Adams
liked it
Maybe it’s the fact that I used to have some of these issues (both the originals and the reprints in Giant-Size X-Men 2), but I liked Neal Adams much more here. Part of it was the inking of Tom Palmer, but I thought the stories were more…

Below the Threshold
it was ok
A kidnapping mystery – did the aliens do it, or was it the mob? Props for a very different take, although the ending feels chopped off.

The Oregon Invasion
liked it
A refreshing change after the last one, with a new takes on religion and interspecies relationships.

Prince of Stories: The Many Worlds of Neil Gaiman
liked it
An interesting mixture of biography, bibliography and review, not to mention several pieces of Neil’s collected here for the first time. Some of it is slow going, but there are priceless insights, I assume helped along by Bissette who’s …

To Conquer the Throne
When I put this back on the shelf, I had to go back and look at the other two V books he wrote, to reassure myself that they were not of the same level of writing as this one. This was the worst kind of fan fiction, puerile wish fulfillm…

While I didn’t come to a halt buying new things in 2008 (like Popless for music), I was pretty restrained, so much so I had to order about 10 CDs to do my annual mix in December. I sold off vast amounts of DVDs, partly to get some cash, but also to prepare for my eventual conversion to glorious Blu-Ray. I didn’t buy many books, new or used, as I had too many unread. I was a little surprised to sell off as many books as I did once I read them – many more were one time reads than I thought at first. I did keep up on comics, but whittled down some titles as the year progressed.

It was a fantastic year in video I shot, as I finally found the software that did exactly what I wanted, and I got a number of videos converted to DVD and uploaded. I wanted to get some recent ones out of the way, but this year I’m starting from the beginnning (2000) and working forwards.

Not much else to report, although I did join Facebook as a result of my high school reunion (already on MySpace and LinkedIn):
Kerry Frey's Facebook profile

Quiet New Year

Since we’ve got both a big vacation coming up and are thinking of going to a Obamaball if we can get in, we stayed in for the evening. Jill did pick up some hummus and a dessert from Wegman’s, we just added the rest of the leftover appetizers from our party. I lit a fire, then we watched Golden Compass (as it had just aired on HBO, not bad), then we called it a night. And that was a good way to wrap up an austere year for us, as 2009 will return us at last to the double income lifestyle (I did cheat a little and ordered my new netbook the day before, but more on that later).

Today Jill was busy studying upstairs, I made breakfast (can’t have bacon every day, but definitely on New Year’s day), then watched a bit of TV, but mainly settled in for a big day of reading comics (a month and a bit behind before today). It’s weird having just today off, because I’m not taking tomorrow off. At least it will be quiet in the office.