24 February 2010

99 cents at a time

Someone downloaded the 10 billionth song from the iTunes stores this week. As soon as Apple figures out who it was, they will be getting a $10,000 gift card to iTunes....I wish it would've been me.
They also published a list of the top 25 downloads since they started. My library has 21 of their 25 listed songs. Not bad. Check out the list at the iTunes store.
Better start working towards 15 billion, I guess.
Edit: I love this. The lucky listener was a 71 year-old guy downloading some Johnny Cash. Congrats to him! I wonder if he can bequeath or gift some of those free downloads...

Good Riddance, Hummer

GM announced that it will be unable to sell Hummer to the expected Chinese company so it will be closing. I think it was hatred at first sight with these monstrosities for me. Hummer joins Saturn and Pontiac as GM brands to close recently (and Oldsmobile not so recently). I leave you with this logo I came up with a few years ago for Hummer. It effectively shows the impact of the Hummer on the planet as well as embodying the stereotypical Calvin-peeing on something sticker that many big truck/SUV owners like to put on their vehicles.

22 February 2010

Getting Through 2009

In the waning days of 2009, I sent an email to a few friends and asked them to choose 5 songs that got them through 2009. I'm not really certain why I worded it that way. I know that I didn't want it to be a "Best 5 Songs of 2009" because I had already read way too many year-end lists at that point. I think I was mainly wanting to hear what songs my friends connected to in a special way, or what audible goodness they found and derived some value and pleasure out of. They didn't have to come out this year, they were just the ones that we kept coming back to. The other three were very prompt in getting their song lists to me but I wasn't sure what to do with the info once I got it. So, I'll probably burn CD's of these for them and in the mean time, thought I'd share them here.
I'm hoping that the other three contributors will add their thoughts in the comments...

[ caboose ]
[ nic ]
[ les ]
[ middleson ]

GLEE Update

In GLEE news, I have had to bide my time watching reruns and listening to the CD's as I wait for the "Back 9" episodes to start in April. It sounds like I'm not the only one either, word is the First Lady and the daughters are big fans (I'm sure Barack would be too if he had time to watch.) Gleefan.com has been a decent source of news, pictures and videos of what all the stars are up to in the layoff time. This preview video was just put up so check it out for a little teaser of what's to come. The "Madonna episode" is definitely being hyped, and I would be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to it. All Madonna songs...I'm hoping they stay with older stuff. I checked the Spring Awakening soundtrack out from the library over the weekend because 1) I've heard it is great and 2) Lea Michelle is featured prominently in it. (and her co-star will be guest appearing on 5-6 of the upcoming GLEE episodes). Yet another reason to be anxious for spring!!

Oscars Approaching

I always enjoy Oscar night, even though it can get a little long towards the end. But the red carpet alone is worth tuning in for. We had good Oscar parties when I lived in Chicago and I'm thinking of reviving the tradition this year. I've been trying to get out to see a few more nominated movies lately but I still feel like I missed a lot of good ones toward the end of last year. I've been to the "The Young Victoria" and "Crazy Heart" in the last couple weeks. And I really be pulling for "Fantastic Mr. Fox" in the animated category. With only 13 days until the ceremonies, I would still like to see "An Education" and "Avatar" but I'm afraid "Nine", "The Hurt Locker" and "Precious" are going to have to be rentals. You can check out the nominees and print & fill out your own ballot here. The Academy increased the number of nominated movies for Beset Picture from 5 to 10 this year to include more 'popular' movies in an attempt to shed the stigma that only stuffy, art house-type films can be nominated. Even with double the nominees, I've only seen one! Yikes. Better get to the theater and view 'em while I can.

16 February 2010

Mardi Gras

I know it's called Fat Tuesday, but I may have gone a little overboard today. Here's a little peak into what went into my belly today...

Naked juice
Cupcake with a Swedish fish on it

(ate at my desk to get some work done)
Granola bar
2 Halloween-size Snickers (left over contest prizes last week)

4 more Snickers
then, 2 more cupcakes when I got home
then, a Rice Crispy treat &
Iced tea at the coffee sop

pre-meal: cauliflower & carrots w/ranch
NY Strip steak
Red beans & rice
2 beers
Halloween sized Kit-Kat Dark (awful)

I'm surprised I don't have diabetes after all that sugar. The cupcakes were a pretty hilarious spontaneous creation last night. We had the Swedish Fish sitting around and I thought they'd make a great topper for my cupcakes.
I don't usually eat like that, thank goodness, and you will be relieved to know that I am giving up sweets and pop for Lent tomorrow. And that I bought a lot of carrots, cauliflower, apples, and bananas tonight at the store. Happy Mardi Gras!

15 February 2010

Red Flannel Run

So I mentioned previously that stoppable came out last weekend, but what I didn't share was what he was here for...our first run of the year! The YMCA sponsors the Red Flannel Run and stoppable, me, Nicole and Leslie decided to run the 5 mile route and we had a good time doing it. The weather cooperated, it wasn't snowing or windy or raining and it wasn't too chilly. There were a lot of people (1400) doing this run and quite a few fun outfits to check out. Our group went with a 'Beverly Hillbillies' sort of theme. I think dressing up made the run go faster. And the route was good too, going by the capital, along the river, past the library, the sculpture garden and caboose's workplace. The 5 mile distance was just right and I was happy with our 46 minute time. caboose was good to drive us down and hang out to cheer us on at the end and snap a few pix. (And we went home and cooked up a great meal! Mushroom risotto, spicy Indian chicken, with peas) A good run, a great time and now we can mark down one race in 2010!

14 February 2010

Olympic Commercial

I have loved the Olympics for as long as I can remember. I think Sarajevo and Los Angeles, both in 1984, are the first ones I can actually remember watching. I would've been seven and I have loved every games since then.
I watched the Opening Ceremonies with caboose and stoppable and NBC's coverage has been in our apartment pretty much non-stop since then. I'll save my commentary on the performances and back-stories until the Games come to a close, but I wanted to share this commercial (It's called "Up & Up" and it's for AT & T) that I've seen a few times and love. I think it is beautiful. The images are gorgeous, the music ("Perfect Day" by Lou Reed which I just downloaded) is blissful on my ears, and the attractive and amazing Gretchen Bleiler.

11 February 2010

"One Day"

I've loved this song from the first time it graced my ears. The hope, positivity, and love is undeniable and I feel like I can't hear it with being lifted up a little. Plus it is being featured in the commercials for the Winter Olympics. I listed it as one of my top singles of the year in my year-end recap and it made its way onto my most recent mixtape. That mixtape is where a teacher-friend heard it and, of course, loved it. She played it for a couple of her English classes as a writing prompt and the kids went nuts for it. They kept asking for her to play it in subsequent classes. It made my day when she wrote to tell me how much they enjoyed the song and its lyrics.
And then today I saw that PS22 Chorus posted a video of them singing it. It's pretty amazing to see their faces as they sing. Check it out.

08 February 2010

Super Bowl

I watched my one NFL game for the season yesterday...and was happy with how good of a game it was. I was happy to see the Saints win; and also happy to see former Hawkeye Dallas Clark have a good game. Instead of going to a big get-together, I was very happy to stay home this year, relax and cook a few fun things in my own kitchen. Nicole came over and joined caboose and I for some minestrone, queso dip, meats & cheeses from Gateway and a cherry crisp. The commercials weren't really amazing but there were a couple I enjoyed. You can watch them all on YouTube's Adblitz page. I'd have to say that my fave's were Coke's Sleepwalking one, Kia's one with the toy animals, and Google's Paris love one.

04 February 2010

New Header

So even though it still needs some work, I put up a new header today. I've been working on it for a while, and it is the first one I've made completely from scratch. The original idea was for the transition from white/stars area to color area in each letter to be at an angle, but I don't think I'm quite ready for that. I got to use a lot of the things I've learned and even learned some new things while doing it. Layer Sets, Masks, Layer Styles, Guides, Grids, downloading a new font, Linking, Merging, Align Layers, Distribute Layers, Gradients. This thing was a lot of fun to make and I couldn't have made it without lots of guidance and insight from Leslie, my Photoshop sensei. Thanks!!

GaGa at the Grammy's

Just in case anyone else was like me and missed Lady Gaga's performance at the Grammy's...check it out here. I watched about half of the show and wasn't really blown away by the other performances I saw. There were some pairings that didn't really seem to jive; Zac Brown Band with a couple guests and then Taylor Swift with Stevie Nicks. But Gaga's performance (and guest) is pretty cool.
You can read more on the custom piano here, see her superb red carpet outfit here and read about the sunglasses here.

01 February 2010

Love never fails.

The second reading last Sunday was 1 Corinthians 13. When you've been to as many weddings as I have (does that sounds too bitter?) and hear that opening line about a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal, I start to tune out. Not that it is a bad passage, it just seems like it is used in every wedding ever. But this past Sunday got me thinking about it a bit differently. First off, since the second reading is always read in Vietnamese at my mass, I had to read it out of the missal, which always allows for less daydreaming than just listening to the lector. Secondly, the priest talked a lot about the reading in his homily. He talked about that this reading is not about the glowing, cuddly, happy love that we usually first think of. Instead, it is about the sacrificial type of love. Conceding an argument, giving away something that you don't want to, forgiving when you'd rather not, etc. I really liked the message of this reading outside the context of marriage; love in our daily life. Read the whole chapter here or just read my favorite part below...
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8Love never fails.