Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Resolution

  I am making a new year's resolution for 2011. I don't normally do this but a couple of things have inspired me this past year to make one. And normally, if I decide I want to resolve to do something I just do it but this is something that has a deadline and measuring it chronologically is part of it so I am starting it on January 1, 2011.
     The first thing that inspired me was a video. Around this time last year I started watching videos on this youtube channel. I went back and watched some old videos and I came across this video in which a girl resolves to read 50 books in the year 2008. I think she did it but you can see in this video that she cheated by reading some children's books.
     The second thing was this blog I started reading this year which sort of inspired me to create my own blog, and also inspired my resolution. She has a really cool thing on her blog - a page that shows what she's currently reading. It looks like this. 
     I thought it would be a good idea to start keeping track of all the books I read in a year, just to see how many it is. 50 is a nice number, so I am going to try to read 50 books in 2011. That means there are only going to be two weeks where I don't have to finish a book.
     I won't be taking any English classes all of 2011 because of  how my schedule is so that is both bad and good. Bad because there will be no outside factors forcing me to finish a book by a certain time, and good because it will leave more time for leisurely reading. I am not going to say that I have to read 50 new books, re-reads count. And if for any reason I have to read a certain book (like say I have to teach a novel and I've never read it before or something) that counts. But picture books and magazines and stuff don't count.
     And I think I'll say that I need to complete 50 books in 2011, because books I start but don't finish shouldn't count, and books that I'm currently reading but not yet finished should count.

So here's the tl;dr version: I resolve to finish 50 books in 2011.

Now those of you who read this blog know that I don't always finish everything I start *coughNaNoWriMo2010cough* but the main point of this resolution is just for fun, to see how many books I read in a year, and to encourage myself to read all the books on my shelves that I haven't read yet.
    I'll be putting a "currently reading:" and a "total books read so far:" at the end of each blog post, and possibly writing some book reviews on here, or letting you know when I start a new book. I think this will be fun!

Tell me in comments if you made any resolutions, what they are, or why you didn't make any if you didn't.

Happy New Year, everyone! Good luck with your own resolutions and have a great 2011!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Favourite Albums of 2010

*Disclaimer: The following post contains music snobbery and personal opinions that some readers may find offensive. (But probably not)*

     I was making a mix tape ("mix CD" and "iTunes playlist"just don't sound as good) for a friend and I wanted to put songs I loved in 2010 onto the mix for him. And this got me thinking about all those "Top 50 Albums of 2010" lists I saw a few weeks ago. (Like this and this.)And I kind of wanted to make my own list...not 50, of course, I'm not that ambitious, but maybe a top 10 list?
Here you go:

10.  This was a toss-up between The Roots - How I Got Over, Ghostkeeper - Self-titled and possibly some other contenders but mainly I just didn't feel like choosing. Insert your own 2010 album here, I guess.

9. The xx - Self-Titled.
     Even though it came out in 2009, I first heard it in 2010 and they won the Mercury Prize in 2010 and played a lot of festivals and stuff so you know, it was still big this year. A great record but I didn't put it higher up on the list because I felt that would be cheating (even though there's another one higher up that didn't really technically come out in 2010 but because of my personal love of that particular record, it deserved a higher up spot despite its release date.)

8. The Black Keys - Brothers.
     My boyfriend put this onto my iPod, introducing me to this band. It's just a fun, funky album.

7. Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More.
     A friend gave me this album for my birthday and I hadn't heard of these guys before. It's a great record, but it didn't make it higher up on this list because while I enjoy listening to it I haven't really made a personal connection to the album.

6. Sarah Harmer - Oh Little Fire.
     I got this album for my birthday this summer a couple weeks before I saw her live. Obviously she isn't on any of the hipster top album lists but she makes it onto mine because she's always been one of my favourite artists, I thought it was a good album, and I enjoyed the show she put on at the music festival I saw her at.

5. Jonsi - Go.
     I've heard people say that the singing in English ruins it but I disagree. I went for many bike rides to this album over the summer and until you have listened to "Animal Arithmetic" while riding a bike, looking at all the trees and green grass and sunshine and blue sky, don't talk to me about this album. On a less snobby note, my friend saw Jonsi live in New York this summer! How cool is that?

4. Broken Social Scene - Forgiveness Rock Record.
     I saw them live again this year, and met Kevin Drew (an anecdote you can read about here if you missed it) so it was a big Broken Social Scene year for me. One of my favourite bands ever, probably my second favourite Canadian band (number one favourite makes an appearance on this list in the appropriate number one spot) so of course this album is on the top ten, even though it wasn't my favourite album of theirs. (Obviously. You Forgot It In People is and will always be my favourite.)

3. Broken Bells - Self-Titled.
     The Shins is my favourite band so anything James Mercer touches, I will shell out money for, basically. This album just had to have the number 3 spot because I started from number one and worked my way down, and it just has to be top three because of James Mercer, mostly. But it's a really great album. If you haven't seen it, they did this thing to promote the album, where they had kids listen to the tracks and rate them. The kids didn't know that James and Brian were the musicians and they said what they liked and didn't like about each song and it's pretty funny. If you live in Canada you might not be able to watch them all because of stupid Vevo but you can at least watch some here.

2. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - Self-Titled. 
     Even though this album technically came out in 2009, I first listened to it in 2010, and the full-length release, Up From Below came out in 2010 so it counts for the list. "Home" was the anthem of the summer. There are a lot of great tracks on here, I really like this band. And they played a lot of big festivals this summer and I heard from people who went that they killed. Sadly I didn't see them live this year but I enjoyed the record.

1. Arcade Fire - Suburbs.
     I don't care about people who say this record is overrated. I saw them on tour this year and it was the best show I've ever been to, a stellar album, every single track works as part of an album and as a single, I have nothing bad to say about it. Except I wish I could see Arcade Fire live again in the immediate future.

Do you agree or disagree with any of my choices? What are some of your favourite albums of 2010? What's something you got into this year that you never liked/knew about before? What albums are you excited for that are coming out in 2011? (I'm excited for the new Iron & Wine and the rumour [that I don't believe] that a new Shins album might come out.) Feel free to make your own lists in comments.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Even if you don't celebrate Christmas you can still appreciate the song. It's a cover of my favourite Christmas song performed by my favourite person.

I made this video on my Canon Powershot SX 120 IS which is admittedly not a very good video camera but it's the only camera I have and I wanted to make a Christmas video for you, so enjoy!

Have a wonderful week and weekend, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Why I Haven't Been Blogging Much Lately

What have I been up to lately?

1. Studying. I had a final last Thursday. It went well, I think. and I have one tomorrow morning. At this point I don't even care about it because it's so late, it's so close to Christmas and I'm just kind of done with school mentally but I have to go and write it and get it over with and then afterwards I am going for lunch with my friend so that will be good at least.

2. Working. I've been working a lot. My last day of work is Wednesday and then I get a break because I work with kids and when kids have no school I don't have to work. I had the opportunity to pick up some extra shifts but I need a break more than I need extra money at this point so yay, no work for a while.

3. Christmas parties! One of my best friends. (The person I wrote this about) is moving away for a while to go be awesome and kick ass and learn things and I am so excited for her! but anyways, she had a little Christmas/going away party this weekend and it was super fun. And I got my mom to take a picture of my boyfriend and I all dressed up before going out but I'm not gonna put it up here cause he doesn't want his face on the internet.

4. Eating crap. It's that time of year. One of the girls I teach made me this baking tray thingy and my family and I ate some of it last night. Yum.

5. Wrapping presents! I finished all my shopping last week and I wrapped everything on Saturday. Yay!

6. Singing Christmas songs! All day every day!

7. Watching Christmas movies! Not as much as I'd like but I watched While You Were Sleeping last week with my mom, and I watched Elf at work on Friday, and I watched part of It's a Wonderful Life on TV yesterday.

8. Watching Tv - been re-watching Gilmore Girls on my computer as you know, and last night I watched the Survivor Finale with my family.

9. Reading. Again, not as much as I'd like but I've been reading this book and I'm enjoying it quite a bit. I have some book-related plans for this blog in 2011 and I will probably talk about them next week some time.

10. Preparing a Christmas-y post for later this week. It's done now and will probably be up Wednesday. 

Have a great week!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gilmore Girls

I've been re-watching Gilmore Girls lately in an effort to avoid studying. (It's been working.)
I made these out of boredom/an attempt at making something useful out of all that time spent watching TV on the computer. At least it's a blog post now.

2.10 The Bracebridge Dinner

2.11 Secrets and Loans; 2.9 Run Away, Little Boy; 2.11 Secrets and Loans

2.6 Presenting Lorelai Gilmore

2.13 A-Tisket, A-Tasket

Friday, December 10, 2010

Weird Google Searches

Most of these make sense but I found some of them surprising and weird. Mostly the last two, 
which only happened yesterday.

Things People Have Searched that have led them to my blog
the other dani
broken social scene saskatoon
broken social scene odeon
leaves become most
leaves are most beautiful when
leaves become most beautiful when they're about to die....
"that's what she said"- offensive sexual term
ive interrupted a deep thought. i can see it getting smaller
dani snow
kalan porter
sarah mclachlan

Somebody in Japan googled "sarah mclachlan" and found my little blog...
where I have mentioned Sarah McLachlan ONCE.
The internet is a weird place. 

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Favourite Holiday Songs and Films

This girl made a video yesterday about this and I thought it was a good I stoled it. No, really I'd been thinking about doing this earlier this week.
Favourite holiday songs and films.


I love:
-"Carol of the Bells/Ukranian Carol" (The David Foster version especially but anything really.)
-"My Grown Up Christmas List" (especially the Natalie Cole version.)
-"Christmas Is All Around" from Love Actually. Favourite line: You gave your presents to me and I gave mine to you/ I need Santa beside me in everything I do. Epic.
-the entire Boney M album The Most Beautiful Christmas Songs of the World (so titled not because they are claiming to have the best songs in the world, but because the album has songs from all different cultures) because I grew up with is and it is just awesome. and all you haters and skeptics can suck it.
-"The Christmas Song"
-"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
-All the classics, really - "White Christmas", "I'll Be Home For Christmas", "Winter Wonderland", all those.
-I love "Baby It's Cold Outside", especially the Zooey Deschanel version from Elf because I love her voice.
-I like that "Mary Did You Know" song - the version by Kalan Porter. When it came out my mom really liked it so I've listened to it a lot and it's pretty.
-The Barenaked Ladies holiday album, particularly "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings" feat. Sarah McLachlan
-speaking of Sarah McLachlan, her cover of "Song For A Winter's Night" always feels very Christmasy to me although it's not specifically a Christmas song.
-same with "The Prayer" by Celine Dion and Andrea Bochelli - one of the only Celine Dion songs I like.
-"Step Into Christmas" by Elton John
-"Wonderful Christmastime" by Paul McCartney
-"Happy X-Mas (War Is Over)" by John Lennon & Yoko Ono
And of course, my all time favourite song EVER not just for Christmas but year round....
"All I Want for Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey.

I love:
-Love Actually
-any of the Harry Potter movies - they all have Christmas in them and because they're some of my favourites I love to watch them when I have a large chunk of free time (Christmas and summer)
-While You Were Sleeping - if you haven't seen this, go see it now! You can borrow it from me if you know me. Srsly. It is the greatest. It's funny, sweet, charming, sad, Christmasy, and there is a globe light in it.
- A Muppet Christmas Carol (Henson + Dickens = how could you go wrong?)
-Mrs. Santa Clause - this awful made-for-T.V. Christmas musical starring Angela Lansbury. Love it. Know all the songs. 'Nuf said.
-A Christmas Story
And almost every year I re-watch this VHS tape we still have from when I was a kid (yeah, we're old school.) with a Flintstones Christmas Special (the one where they sing Which One Is The Real Santa Claus? if you ever saw it...and you can actually watch it HERE if you want. I love the internet!), a Saved By The Bell Christmas Special (yeah, I like Saved By The Bell. whatever...and you can watch this one HERE in multiple parts.) , this little cartoon version of The Twelve Days of Christmas, something called Christmas Every Day (also a cartoon) and a cartoon version of The Nutcracker (after looking around on the internet I've realized this was called The Nutcracker Prince and starred Kiefer Sutherland. Weird.) It's probably horrible from an outsider's perspective but I love it because of nostalgia.

*For those of you who actually followed the many, many links on the post, I hope you enjoyed the candy canes. (Like Easter Eggs, but Christmas-y....)

What are some of your favourite holiday songs and films?

Monday, December 6, 2010

The lights are shining so brightly everywhere and the sound of children's laughter fills the air!

Hello folks. Sorry for my long absence. End of semester busy-ness and all. I will update you on a couple things.

NaNoWriMo: my sister had actually written like an extra 5000 words and just didn't update her word count so I really had no chance but because she's nice she said if I hit 20000 we could go Dutch for sushi. 
Her final word count was 25,056 and mine was 21,646. Pretty good.

Cell Phone: the guy who told me I would have to pay the monthly rate ($400 dollars for the phone I ended up getting) was wrong. I went the next day to decide what phone I want to know how much I would have to save and the girl told me I could get it for $50 that day and an extra $5/month on my phone bill. And they refunded the $25 I spent the day before to get them to put my number on my old cell phone. So, I was happy. I have a black blackberry curve 9700 and I like it.

School: I am done classes now and I spent all day Friday working on something that I had to hand in before going to work at 3 that day so that was fun (not.) but I finished that. And then I spent most of Saturday and Sunday working on other stuff for school. I am going to school later today to hand in three things and that is it for the semester. Then I have two finals - one on the 16th and one on the 21st. So I am on holiday now! I'm just working part time until the 22nd, then on a real break. I am very excited for all this extra free time to read and write and take photos and reorganize my bookshelves in my room (right now there are books all over the floor and everywhere and it's just a total mess) and watch Netflix and play guitar and just do a lot of cool fun stuff that I feel like I haven't had time to do for the last 4 months. Woohoo.

That brings you up to date, I think. I have some sweet plans for this blog for the rest of this month and for the new year so I'm excited about that.
I am really looking forward to handing in my assignments today, then getting a much-needed hair trim. 
On Thursday my sister and I are going for our celebratory sushi lunch, then we're going to set up the tree at my house and decorate for Christmas while listening to Christmas tunes. (probably Boney M's Christmas album. It's a family tradition.) Then we're going to decorate my Grandma's tree at her house. It's going to be a very Christmas spirit day. 

I still have some shopping to do for Christmas, too. I have to get the rest of my boyfriend's present (I got part of it already,) my grandma's present, presents for my two nephews, and then a present for my Secret Santa. This year all the adults in my family are doing Secret Santa because there are 8 of us and that's just ridiculous. I already got part of my Secret Santa's present so I have to finish that up. I'm excited, I love giving presents! 

To put myself in the Christmas spirit, I made this wallpaper for my computer. Up until yesterday my wallpaper was a scary and intimidating to-do list of stuff I had to do for the end of the semester. It was intense but it felt good to scratch things off the list as I did them. Now that's all over and I get to look at this all the time!

All images taken from We Heart It, I just compiled them.

Have a lovely week, friends!

In the comments tell me your favourite thing about this time of year! What are your favourite holiday traditions? What are you most looking forward to?