Thursday, December 31, 2009

Top Ten Favorite Moments of 2009

1. The Birth of Gram

The most beautiful and profound experience of my life. The birth was extremely emotional and exhausting for both of us (probably more her :). Something I will never forget.

Taking care of a kid can be ridiculously exhausting and can wear you out in every way. But it's also the coolest thing in the world. I love everything about him and he's totally worth it!

2. Graduating the M.Div program @ Western

Felt good completing this in three years. I loved my time there. I've heard several people say that Seminary is a waste of time.

Which typically means:

A. they went to a crappy Seminary.


B. they didn't do what it takes to make it meaningful. Like most other things, it is what you make of it. I think some people go into Seminary expecting it to do something for them it is incapable of doing.

There were plenty of frustrations along the way, but overall these three years were well worth it! I've only been away for one semester and I'm already pining to go back!

3. Buying a home.

Never thought we would be able to do this! Many thanks to a generous gift from Kelli's grandparents for a down payment that made this possible! After living in two studio apartments and a one bedroom, it's nice to have some space (especially with Gram).

It was however quite a bit of work (but mostly for Justin, Tom, Jason, Seth, Ben, Devin, Clay, Andrew, Julia, and anyone else that I'm missing right now!)

4. Climbing Mt. St. Helens

Mike Anders said it well when he said, "Had I known what all was involved with this, I probably would have said no." Amen Mike, amen.

Took about five days before it wasn't excruciating to go up a set of stairs!

Note to others: you should do a few other prep hikes before you take this one on!

5. Our trip to Lake Tahoe.

One of the perks of Kelli's Salvation Army job is getting to tag along to places where she has meetings!

6. Our trip to Bend, OR

Again, Kelli had a few days of meetings which meant I had a few days of tastings!

7. Our weekend in Seaside, OR

We spent a few days away on the beach in a room with a jacuzzi and a fireplace thanks to Kelli's hotel points!

8. Trip home to Illinois for baby shower.

Always nice to go back to Illinois and see family. Always very peaceful to go back to the small town.

9. Spring Break Week @ University of Washington

Kelli was working most of the time, and I was doing homework, but it was a nice time nonetheless. I was able to finish up the first season of Dexter.

10. Watching all 4 first round NCAA tourney games

I've always wanted to go to March Madness. This past year Garrett and I snagged tix to 10 hours full of basketball fun!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Favorite Music of 2009 - #1-10

10. Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More

9. Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest

8. Dinosaur Jr. - Farm

7. The Avett Brothers - I and Love and You

6. Wilco - Wilco the Album

5. Magnolia Electric Co. - Josephine

4. Jets Overhead - No Nation

3. Great Lake Swimmers - Lost Channels

2. Gregory Alan Isakov - The Empty Northern Hemisphere

1. Elvis Perkins - In Dearland

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Favorite Music of 2009 - #11-20

Part Two....

20. Neko Case - Middle Cyclone

19. Cass McCombs - Catacombs

18. Strand of Oaks - Leave Ruin

17. Greater California - All the Colors

16. Phosphorescent - To Willie

15. Ramona Falls - Intuit

14. Jeremy Enigk - OK Bear

13. Sparklehorse/Danger Mouse - Dark Night of the Soul

12. AC Newman - Get Guilty

11. Ben Gibbard and Jay Farrar - One Fast Move Or I’m Gone

Favorite Music of 2009 - #21-30

Alright, here we go. Counting down my favorite albums of 2009. As always these are the records I particularly enjoyed. I'm not a critic and I'm not looking for what critics look for.
This is just what I liked this year, nothing more.

30. Other Lives - Other Lives

29. Sonic Youth - The Eternal

28. John Vanderslice - Romanian Names

27. David Gray - Draw the Line

26. Monsters of Folk - Monsters of Folk

25. The Rumble Strips - Welcome to the Walk Alone

24. Islands - Vapours

23. AA Bondy - When the Devil's Loose

22. Jason Lytle - Yours Truly, the Commuter

21. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - Seven-Mile Island

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Top Ten Nicknames for Gram

10. Wham Bam, thank you Gram

9. Gram Chop

8. The Gram Reaper

7. Gram Wow

6. Little Gram of God

5. Green Eggs and Gram

4. Moons Over My Grammy

3. Grambo: First Blood

2. Gram Master Flash

1. Abragram Lincoln

Many thanks to Chris and Karli Leonardo who has helped create many a nickname (including number 1)!

Monday, December 14, 2009

The 10 Most Hated Professional Athletes

10. Bruce Bowen
-Spurs fans call him scrappy, but let's just call him what he is: the dirtiest player in the NBA.

9. A. J. Pierzynski
-There are not many players in the league who haven't wanted to punch him in the face (a few have gotten the opportunity). He's an agitator by nature. No possible way to like him.

8. Ray Lewis
-This one may have to do with the whole (alleged) murder thing.

7. Manny Ramirez
-He's a total nutcase and hard to like, but I'd take him on the Cubs any day.

6. Brett Favre
-I retire, nope I'm back, I retire, nope I'm back, I retire, no wait, I'll play for the division rival.

5. Kobe Bryant
-Great player, but unlike Lebron, he's completely unlikeable unless you're a die hard Lakers fan. Arrogant, smug, whiny, everything you love to hate in an athlete.

4. Michael Vick
-No real need to give an explanation here. The hatred will probably die down however over time.

3. Alex Rodriguez
(and the entire Yankees organization)
-Epitomizes what everyone hates about the Yankees. Absurdly excessive salary, steroid user, and womanizer.

2. Tom Brady/Bill Belichick
-We'll just throw these two together. They make good company. Where do we start with these two? Can't think of anything close to like-able about either.

1. Terrell Owens
-It's sad when your own teammates hate you. The difference between T.O. and the others on this list is that for the others, there was a time (even if it was brief) where they were like-able or you felt like you should at least give them the benefit of the doubt. But T.O. has been stirring up hatred from the beginning.

Desperately trying to make the list:
Tiger Woods
The Birdman
Trevor Ariza
Jay Cutler

10 Most Likeable Current Professional Athletes*

10. Chad Ochocinco - I want to hate 85. I really do. But I've enjoyed his antics over the years too much. And I think everyone else has as well. If you can decode just 1/4 of the stuff on his twitter, let me know what it means.

9. Ladanian Tomlinson - Maybe it's his Darth Vadar facemask, but there's always been some mystique surrounding LT. He's got a pretty quiet, humble presence and I like that.

8. Kurt Warner - What a story this guy has been! No one would have ever believed Warner would have the career he has. Plus he turned 67 this year and still has a shot at the playoffs.

7. Donavan McNabb - I haven't seen him congratulate (or console) another QB in the league without that QB laughing or smiling. He must be likeable.

6. Albert Pujols - He's on the Cardinals which is obviously several thousand points against him. But he's a class act and an incredible hitter. I enjoy watching him (unless he's playing the Cubs).

5. Shaq - I will be honest and admit that I used to hate Shaq. I think he's mellowed out over the years. He seems like a light-hearted goofball; someone you would enjoy hanging out with.

4. Brett Favre - This is the only athlete that legitimately deserves to be on the most loved and most hated at the same time. If I see him hug another player this year I'm going to puke.

3. Peyton Manning - Not only is he one of the best QB's ever. He's also funny. Any QB that can not only host SNL but do better than most current cast members has to be in the top 5.

2. Lebron James - He's not just a person, he's a brand. He's the best player in basketball and he's still like-able. How is that possible? Kobe is probably asking the same question.

1. Ken Griffey Jr. - You could cut his arms and legs off, and any team in baseball would still sign him in a heartbeat. That's how popular he is.

*Tiger probably would have topped this list a month ago.

Tomorrow of course I will have the 10 Most Hated Current Professional Athletes!