Au revoir 2012!

And so ends one of the craziest years of my life.. Not necessarily the bad kind of crazy (although lord knows, it had its moments). I made a lot of progress this year and met a lot of goals, especially in my academic life – which these days is my life. I passed my 15 hour paper, as I blogged about earlier. But even more exciting: I passed my language exam! I spent a lot of time worrying about that stupid thing, I really can’t express how happy I am that I passed!!! I also applied to two academic conferences and got into both (including the International Congress on Medieval Studies). I also just realized I got an A+ in every seminar I took  in 2012…
That was a lot of bragging, wasn’t it? But as I blogged about earlier, I need to start acknowledging my accomplishments and stop fixating on my (real and imagined) failures.

Even more exciting than all that is: Eric passed his latest actuarial exam is now an actuary! He gets a new job title, letters behind his name, etc etc.. He still has to be inducted in to the ‘society,’ which will take place mid-May in Vancouver (and I’m going, yay!). He is the hardest working person I know, and I’ve watched him work towards this for years. It’s so so amazing to see all those late nights and lost weekends finally come to fruition! Of course he still has a few more exams… ugh. However, once he finishes that he will be a “Fellow” and extra cool 😉

My top 5 books I read this year:

My photos from this year are a probably a better way to catch up with some of the stuff I did this past year, click on the pictures below to see more!
Spring and Summer:
afterthestorm1-sm 

Fall:
ballerina1-lg

Winter:
boodad-m

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAND…… here is Gary in a tie, just because I can. Isn’t he dapper?

dapper-med

And here is a song I’ve been listening to lately – the newly released piano version of an old Rammstein song, Mein Herz Brennt!

Ch-ch-ch-changes

Lots of stuff has been happening!
First of all, on May 27th my baby brother graduated from Highland High School! I can’t believe it. Not that he’s stupid or anything (quite the opposite) – I just can’t believe my little "Boo" is a high school grad! Almost 18! Time flies… I’m so happy for him and so proud! Luboo!!!!

In other news, Eric and I went to Vegas to see Flight of the Conchords. They were in Phoenix a while ago, but Eric got sick at the last minute and we weren’t able to go. He felt really bad and surprised me with this trip to make up for it 🙂 The concert was AMAZING. They played a bunch of old favorites and a few new (hilarious) songs. We both grinned/cracked up like an idiot the entire time. You need that once in a while, you know?
We stayed at the Venetian again. GOD I love that hotel! We got $25 of slot credits with our room reservation, so we decided to try gambling for the first time. After $6 we stopped due to boredom and never spent the rest, lol. We went to the Cabo Wabo cantina (Cabo is my fav alcoholic drink) a couple times and got blasted on delicious margaritas. All in all, it was just the relaxing weekend we needed. And this trip is just more evidence that I have the best fiancé in the world. Just sayin’…

I suppose the craziest news is that.. Eric and I finally got our house!!! It only took 14 months of waiting, despairing, yelling at the bank, etc… but really, it was worth the wait. We signed the papers a little over a week ago and moved in IMMEDIATELY afterwards. We’re still not done moving – turns out we have a lot of crap. However, we’ve bought most of our furniture AND put it together. The most recent thing we got was our patio set, and the "no assembly required" sticker just about brought me to tears (of happiness). Damn you IKEA! (I still love you<3)
The most difficult thing to move were my books. Books are rather heavy en masse. They are currently strewn all over our front room/dining room while I work on cataloging and arranging them (see picture). I’m kind of putting that off until later this week when Eric is out of town for an actuary seminar) for 5 days. Arranging my books will keep my mind (some-what) off missing my love 😦
Basic info on the house: in Gilbert, 3 bedroom, 1650 square feet, pool/spa, awesome, cantbelieveitsfinallyours. The rest you will have to find out when Eric and I throw our housewarming party 😛 … or when I post pics eventually.

WANT.

I would do awful terrible despicable things to own this table:

  (Nettlestone Library Ensemble, available [here])

But I’ll just try to save up the money first.

In searching for an image of it, I came across an amazing blog about bookshelves: The Blog on the Bookshelf. It made me gasp aloud in child-like wonder. And sinful coveting.

Amazon Kindle

I have a bone to pick with the Amazon Kindle. Now, I understand what they are trying to do – access to millions of books under a minute is an interesting and noble cause. However, I just don’t understand how people can think it is superior to a book, or even that it will replace books. (ASU is even experimenting by giving some students Kindles to replace their textbooks!)

Now, it’s not just the ridiculous price tag that bothers me, but the experience of reading from a Kindle itself. To me, reading a book is not just about receiving information, but an experience (partly tactile). I was reading The Library At Night by Alberto Manguel this afternoon and he summed up how I feel about reading from a screen:

“As any reader knows, a printed page creates its own reading space, its own physical landscape in which the texture of the paper, the colour of the ink, the view of the whole ensemble acquire in the reader’s hands specific meanings that led tone and context to the words. (Columbia University’s librarian Patricia Battin, a fierce advocate for the micro-filming of books, disagreed with this notion. “The value,” she wrote, “in intellectual terms, of the proximity of the book to the user has never been satisfactorily established.” There speaks a dolt, someone utterly insensitive, in intellectual or any other terms, to the experience of reading.)

… leafing through a book or roaming through shelves is an intimate part of the craft of reading and cannot be entirely replaced by scrolling down a screen, any more than real travel can be replaced by travelogues and 3-D gadgets.”

If people enjoy the Kindle, good for them. I hope it encourages reading for people who normally wouldn’t (if you shell out $500 for the latest gadget, hopefully you’ll force yourself to use it!). I’m all for anything that gets people to read, even if it means books like Harry Potter and Twilight, and overpriced gadgets like Kindle. However… for me personally, I’ll stick to my old fashioned tomes that line my walls, not my hard drive. Aside from the supposed enormous selection (they are currently only at 275,000), I think I, as a huge book nerd, can live without the supposed “benefits” on the Kindle… as seen in the comic below:


(click to enlarge)

In one last caveat: I love how the kindle is marketed as a “wireless reading device” – isn’t that what a book is??

Less Anatomical?

Long time no see, bitches.

The first thing I have to bring up is the movie Atonement. It is a remake of Ian McEwan’s novel, which happens to be in the Top 3 best novels I’ve ever read… Ian McEwan is just a total genius!
The movie was directed by Joe Wright, the same guy who made Pride and Prejudice, which is one of my all time favorite movies… plus the soundtrack was made by Dario Marianelli, the guy who wrote the Pride and Prejudice soundtrack, and that incredible soundtrack is up there with The Hours soundtrack!
Anyway, the movie was so good…. words can’t even explain. As you can tell by this rambling post, I am having a hard time putting it all together because it was just so.. AMAZING.
GO SEE IT!!!

Speaking of amazing, Eric and I saw Amazing Grace – total crap. It all seemed to contrived and it was just.. boring. and I love historical films! What a shame…
We also watched Paris, Je T’aime – a series of short films about love and Paris. It was.. interesting. Some of the films were stupid or I totally didn’t understand them. Others were incredible. So I had a roller coaster of emotions the entire movie!

Since my last book post, I’ve read: Enduring Love (another amazing Ian McEwan novel), The Thorn Birds, Affair of the Poisons, The Boleyn Inheritance (one of the worst books I’ve ever read), Slaughterhouse Five, Amsterdam (*another* Ian McEwan novel), and Count of Monte Cristo (not the abridged version like most pussies! it was amazing).
I’ll spare you all my other thoughts on the subject.

/end rambling.

Flagstaff/Grand Canyon Trip


(click to enlarge)

Hey everyone! Eric and I are back home 🙂 For those of you who didn’t know, we went on a little trip to Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon for a few days (We left on Nov 9th and got back Nov 12th). I bet you are dying to know what we did….(HA) so here is a summary of the two busiest days:

Saturday
– We woke up and drove straight to the grand canyon, while listening to awesome Navajo music on the way up
– Once we got there we hung out at the most popular point and listened to all the different languages… very few people were speaking English. Eric and I decided we wanted to look Polish instead of American so we started saying all the random Polish words knew. Hopefully there weren’t any Poles there because we said a lot of not-nice things lol There was a huge group of Japanese tourists with a Japanese tour guide and I followed them around and actually understood some of what they were saying!
We spent most of the afternoon driving around and hanging out at different spots. We even climbed down into the Canyon a bit and just…. hung out and enjoyed the scenery.
– On the way home we stopped at the Little Colorado River Gorge, which is absolutely beautiful. We took a lot of pictures and chased a rabbit around!
– Then we went to Outback and had a huge delicious dinner. The waitress left us at our table for 20 minutes without taking out order, so we got a free onion blossom (MMM). It was happy hour “two-for-one” deal so we got blueberry martinis – DELISH.
– Then we went to Barnes and Noble and I got three books that I’ve been wanting for a while now (Three Musketeers, Amsterdam, and Slaughterhouse Five). what is better than buying books?
– Then we went to the Lowell Observatory. Not only is on top of a mountain kind of far from the city, but the city has laws against how bright lights can be so that the astronomers don’t have ‘light pollution’ problems. So.. when we got out of the car we almost passed out because we could see SO many stars – EVEN THE MILKY WAY!!! It was absolutely amazing, I wanted to cry…
We got to look in two big telescopes – one pointed at a comet, the other at the Andromeda galaxy. Then we got to look through the really really big telescope and as the M15 Star Cluster – it was so cool!
– When we got back to the hotel we watched Jim Gaffigan’s DVD “Beyond the Pale” and laughed til we cried. We had to keep pausing it because our stomach muscles hurt from laughing and we couldn’t breathe hahaha

Sunday
– we woke up and went to Denny’s where we both got the lumber jack slam, which I hadn’t had in FOREVER – it was sooo good. Plus I had delicious hot tea because it was cold outside.
– Then we went to a grocery store and bought a bunch of fruit n stuff for our picnic later.
– On the way to the Wupatki ruins I read my “Amsterdam” book – it was beautiful writing as usual.
– We went past Sunset Crater as we drove towards Wupatki ruins. Then we got out and did all the walking etc required to see the ruins – and it was SO worth it! They were beautiful and we could actually go inside them in stuff, which they don’t usually allow at places like that…
– After we were done climbing around we sat down and had a little picnic.
– After all that we were tired so we hung out in the hotel room for a while. Then we went to dinner and the movies. We saw Dan In Real Life and it was pretty horrible…..
We came back, and fell asleep, and left in the morning.

I took a bunch of pictures but they aren’t all uploaded yet, I’ll post a link when I am done!