28 November 2007

Thanksgiving and Christmas

My mom and Jack flew out for Thanksgiving last week, and it was really nice to have them here. They even got to see snow for the first time in a while. I think they were happy that they were going home to Las Vegas and not looking forward to 5 1/2 months more winter, though.

Anne and I cooked the big holiday dinner for the first time (with plenty of input from mom). We tried to go completely local, which is relatively easy in New England where all of the Thanksgiving food traditions originate. We bought our turkey from a local farm, which involved a bit of driving in the snow last Tuesday to go pick it up. I think my parents thought it was a bit odd that we'd drive a half hour out of our way (which turned into an hour because of the weather) when we have a grocery store right here in town. But I felt it was important to support a local farm and to see where our food came from. Luckily the turkey was already dead and plucked. I'm not sure that I wanted to get that close to my food!

It's been a tradition for us to do Christmas during Thanksgiving because we don't always see this set of parents over Christmas. We got some pretty cool, practical things (sweaters, a Lonely Planet New England). I don't say "practical" disparagingly, because that seems to be what I look for in a present these days. Although I think my mom found the long underwear on my list a little *too* practical, so it looks like I'll have to buy them myself.

I also got an awesome book called Transit Maps of the World. It has maps and descriptions from (so it claims) every metro system in the world. Some systems have short, paragraph-long descriptions (like Seattle's now-defunct monorail), while others have multi-page spreads. What's interesting is that the book's focus is on design and information rather than the specifics of the transit system. It's a great combination of two of my favorite forms of geekery: maps and public transit. I've been poring over it ever since my parents left.

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24 November 2007

Is it a recession, yet?

I guess that the recession is upon us, because I just heard on NPR that Jay-Z is seen flashing a wad of euros in his latest video. Here's an article about it from the BBC. I like the crack at the end about 50 Cent.

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09 November 2007

An embarrassment of riches

A while back I wrote a post about how there are some bands that I will buy anything from the day it comes out. No waiting for critical reviews or listening to samples on iTunes. These are the bands that I know and trust to deliver solid records every time. The past couple weeks have seen two of those bands on my list put out new albums, and I couldn't be happier!

The first was the much-ballyhooed In Rainbows from Radiohead. (I paid £4, in case you're curious.) And yes, it's as awesome as everyone says. Of course they could record Thom Yorke farting into a paper bag and I would think it was the greatest thing I'd heard all year. That is except when ...

... Sigur Rós puts out a double-album! Their new album is one disc of cutting-room floor outtakes and one disc of live, acoustic versions of all your favorite hits, recorded while touring the far corners of Iceland. It just arrived today, and I'm in heaven -- even if I have to put up with abuse from Anne that all their songs sound like whales singing :)

I've had a pretty intense workload lately, especially since an online class I'm teaching just started up this week. It's nice to have new music to get me through the day!

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