This song makes me think of my sister. And how amazing she is. And reminds me how much I value her. And I smile.



While I'm compiling things, and drafting, and crafting, please take a moment to revisit Part 1 - that way we remember where we came from.

And then we only go up from there. :)

Her story will be up soon. Thanks for your patience.

Hey! Look! It's not even February yet and I'm getting to the Tops of 2010! Go me! I'm doing so much better than 2010.

You already read the Best of 2010, right? If not, go there first, silly.

There's no confusion this year about my play counts, but they are significantly lower than 2009. I dunno if that's because all I listen to is Pandora now, or what. But way lower. The #1 of 2010 is just over half of the plays #25 had in 2009. LOL

So let's get to business, shall we? WOW, it's quite the SHAKE-UP! Only THREE songs returning this year from last. All the rest have been ousted from the list. Some have returned from 2008 though!

25. Dirty Little Secret by The All-American Rejects (86), a newcomer! Yay! I don't know that I actually love this song... it's just that it's the first on my playlists, so if I just hit play this one comes on. So maybe it's here by default?
22. Fighting by Yellowcard (87), I don't think I owned these until the very, very end of '09, so all YC will be new this year. But have to say I love em. As you'll see, I'm sure.
22. Go by Boys Like Girls (87), there was no BLG on last year's count? I think I asked this in 09? What was I listening to? (The answer: The Classic Crime). This album was another one I acquired near the termination of 2009. That seems to be when I buy all my music. Strange. Anyway, this song is really inspirational, and when I listen to it, I always think of Turtle and her journey to "normalcy."
22. The Great Escape by Boys Like Girls (87), one that returns from 2008 to the charts. This was 4th in 08, and didn't place in '09. Now it's creeping back in at 22!
20. Do It For Me Now by Angels and Airwaves (88), I'm so excited for their new album to drop in March! This is another re-surfacer from 2008. It was 13th then, and comes in tied for 20th now. Exciting!
20. Lifeline by Angels and Airwaves, one of the songs that has been in the top 25 since I started keeping track! *APPLAUSE* It dropped 14 spots between 2008 and 2009, but makes a comeback for 2010 climbing back up 5 spots. W00t!
19. A Little's Enough by Angels and Airwaves (90), can you tell I like this band? Another one that's been constant on the charts. 9 in 2008, down to 13 in 2009, now dropped 6 spots to 19th. Will it disappear next year?
18. Shot Heard Round The World by Boys Like Girls (91), most of these are really close together. There's alot of room for change - one listen to a playlist even. But another great song. (Duh, why else would it be on here?)
17. Better Days by the Goo Goo Dolls (92), another of our hang-er-out-ers. Premiering in 3rd in 2008, it dropped to 20th in 2009, now it's climbed 3 spots back to 17th. It is a fantastic song, that I never mind listening to. Wonder how long it will kick around?
15. Perpetual by VNV Nation (93), and cue the German Goth music. I didn't own any of these for the majority of 2009, so it's only natural they are all over the charts in 2010. But now that Pink has moved away, and I work late, and live downtown, we don't really go anymore. So I'll be interested to see if these are still chart-topping in 2011.
15. Seattle by The Classic Crime (93), oh I *do* still listen to this band. LOL Funny though that this is one of their songs that's never been in my top 25 before. It's a good one. Especially if you live there ;) Also something to note is that last year, there were EIGHT TCC songs. And none of them made it this year. None. Except this one. Has the balance of favoritism shifted? dun dun dun!
14. Holding on by VNV Nation (95), I'm telling you. There's so much VNV this year. They are the most prolific band of 2010.
13. Everything's Magic by Angels and Airwaves, (99), yet another returner from the 2008 charts, where it debuted at number 5.
11. Light Up The Sky by Yellowcard (100), when I got these cds, they are all I listened to for like 2 weeks straight. Over and over. Because they were just great.
11. Believe by Yellowcard (100), isn't it fun when bands tie themselves? Double pat on the back for 11th.

10. Structure by VNV Nation (102), yup, listened to alot of Goth in 2010. For which people will think me so. weird.

9. Chrome by VNV Nation (109), I blame Pink for getting me hooked on them. And they are just so good to play when you're writing also. Nice techno/metal, some songs without words...

8. Electronaut by VNV Nation (111), I did see them live in 2010 as well, so I guess that counts for something. Seriously though, I didn't feel like I listened to them THAT much in 2010. :)

7. Shadows and Regrets by Yellowcard (113), love, love, love this song. My fave Yellowcard song methinks. Especially love singing this one out loud >.> When no one else is around, of course <.<

6. Genesis by VNV Nation (119), ahhhhh! The Germans are taking over! So 6 of the 25 songs are VNV. That's almost 1/4! Eesh, you dominating band. LOL

5. Chase You Down by Making April (135), yeah, you see THAT jump? It's because I listened to this album ALL THE TIME in 2010. And not just on my ipod, the cd as well. Like. All. The. Time.

4. All of Yours by Making April (140), yeah. VNV may have the most songs, but Making April dominates the TOP of the TOP. Solidly, except for one exception (I'll get there).

3. Roses and Butterflies by Making April (145), I said at the end of 2009 that I may have discovered a new favorite band. I wasn't kidding either. Making April is a brilliant, wonderful band, whose lead singer, Sean Scanlon, has unforgettable vocals. And in some of the songs he holds his notes for absolutely RIDICULOUS amounts of time. Even his cousin is a phenomenal singer (you REALLY should watch that one).

2. Marchin On by OneRepublic (186), wait, what? Where the HECK did THAT come from?! 145 jumped to 186? And what song is that? Oh wait, that's one of the songs off their new album. Which I bought on Black Friday. Which means I had 36 DAYS to listen to this song... and it's NUMBER TWO?! Well, let me explain. I may have had some rough days in 2010, and this song became my mantra. And I may or may not have listened to it, and only it, on repeat. For hours. And days. And that's how it squeezed itself in at number two (surprised even me, lemme tell ya. I didn't think for a second I'd listened to it THAT MUCH).

And finally, ousting not only the #1 SONG of 2009, but the BAND that was the top for 2008 AND 2009 (which didn't even have ONE song on the charts this year), the #1 song of 2010 is:

1. THESE ARE THE NIGHTS BY MAKING APRIL with a whopping 189 listens! (Can you believe Marchin' On in 36 days almost BEAT it?! 3 more listens woulda been all!!! Crazy!) Anyone who was with me in 2010 knows I absolutely LOVE TO DEATH this song, so it comes as no surprise to me that this song stands alone at the top, declaring itself my #1. Making April really is an amazing band, and I hope they put some new stuff out in 2011!

Until next year, keep listening to muzak peeps!

If you've spent ANY time with me at all, you probably know how I felt about 2009. So I was eager to embrace 2010. And embrace I did. What a fun year! It went too quickly! But there were definitely good things. So let's revisit them, shall we?

Best Trip of 2010:

Do you even have to ask? CEDAR POINT, hands all the way down (unless you're going over the top of the hill on a coaster while reading this).



(Sorry for the blue line. My photo stitcher was acting up and it would have taken forever to get right. So deal with a blue line).

Best Restaurant of 2010:

Going to have to go with the restaurant where they know my name, they know who I want to be my server, and they have the Best. Bread. Ever.

Good ol' Faustina.



I prolly ate here like 100 times this year. Doesn't hurt that it's only half a block from my new digs. Yessir. If you ever want to go, I'm ALWAYS game. Just text me.

Best Article of 2010:

Hey! Look! I started reading articles! Prolly the best one (or ones) is the creepy x-files stuff happening that "Scientists" and government officials are saying were "natural causes." Ha.

Where are Mulder and Scully for reals when you need them?! This is total alien stuff here. Read about it for yourself.

Best Book of 2010:

So last year I read 45 books. Pretty impressive. I'm not sure because the lines of 2009 and 2010 are blended (something I'm changing for next year, so I'm sure), so I think around 25 or 30. Not as many, but I didn't spend half the year in a bed either. So I think I did pretty good.

I'm actually going to award two, because I can make up whatever rules I want.

--Funniest Book: Definitely Timothy Carter's EVIL?.



Here's my review: Timothy Carter's EVIL? - Grade: A+. Epoch was a decent read, but EVIL? outdoes it by LEAPS AND BOUNDS. Hilariously brilliant, irreverent and ingenious all at once, this book had me in stitches. And it humorizes sensitive and otherwise untouchable-with-a-ten-foot-pole-by-conservatives subjects in a playful and appropriating way. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a little humor who doesn't mind talk of homosexuality and pubescent teenage boys' favorite solo activity ;)

I still giggle when I think of this book. It was simply hilarious.

--Best Book: Undeniably, I can pick no other than Lev Grossman's The Magicians.



Here's my review: Lev Grossman's The Magicians - Grade: A+. WOW. Just wow. This book is AMAZING. One of the best books I've read in a long, long time. George R. R. Martin asserted: "The Magicians is to Harry Potter as a shot of Irish whiskey is to a glass of weak tea." That's a pretty ballsy claim. Like whoa. Now I'm not the *biggest* Harry Potter fan I know (don't judge!), but so many people love that series - this is a big claim. I don't think Mr. Martin was off in the slightest. Every piece of this book resonates with magic. The prose is flawless, the characters are lovable, yet starkly human and imperfect, and the plot is gritty, raw, and brilliant. The book is poignant, gripping, moral, deeply adult, fantastical, and so real all wrapped up in one shining wafer of delectable yumminess. I even went back a few times if I thought I was reading too fast, because the book was just that great. The main character is obsessed with this author, Christopher Plover, who supposedly was a co-founder of the modern English fantasy tradition alongside the likes of C.S. Lewis and Tolkien. He wrote five novels about a fantastical place, Fillory, and the more I got into the book, the more I felt like I needed to read these 5 books. I went searching for them. The library didn't have them, nor did Amazon. Strange. I started searching rare book stores, only to be confronted with the fact that this Christopher Plover is a made-up person! Talk about thorough world-building! I mean they even went to the lengths of creating this guy his own blog: http://www.christopherplover.com/ That's over-the-top! The created author thing reminded me of fake author Christopher Brooks in Brockmeier's Truth About Celia. So innovative, so thorough. Grossman's world is REAL. And yet it's fiction. But the fiction is REAL. And we are caught in an existence loop that astounds, astonishes, and fascinates me to no end. Definitely going to check out Grossman's others books. And this book has a spot on the top shelf of my bookcase, where only the most cherished novels find roost. Hats off to Lev Grossman for being stunningly wonderful.

Best Movie of 2010:

I saw 30 movies in 2010 (+ or - 2)! That's pretty good if you ask me. After such a dry year in '09, I'm finally back in the Theaters seeing the good stuff. So this one should be kind of hard, but I'm going to have to give it up to Inception.



I don't know that I've had a movie open my mind up the way this one did. Inception was genius in every sense of the word. Every aspect of that movie defied anything I've ever been presented on the screen before.

Best Night Out of 2010:

I'm actually going to vote for hiking Mt. Timp in the dark. This didn't make my recap, but on August 20th, 2010, Turtle and I got together with Bex and a bunch of other people and decided to hike Timp. In the dark. And of course, we went up the more dangerous side. lol Turtle and I prefer to hike with our natural night eyes, so we raced ahead of everyone who had lights. We did have flashlights so if it got hairy or I didn't know where the trail went next we went ahead and clicked on for a sec. It was a HARD hike, but Turtle kept up. And the payoff was worth it. Seeing the city lit up that high stole my breath away. I was so tired (and cold - it's VERY windy at the top) I covered my head with a jacket and actually dozed off (sitting on rock hard, uncomfortable ground!), but luckily didn't miss sunrise. Which was also ... (Tangent: I feel like I use the same descriptive words over and over - I need to invest in some new ones. Stunning, beautiful, gorgeous and awesome are just feeling stale to me! They're all I ever use. End tangent). So I don't have adequate words to describe the sunrise. Calling my parents, and being like "Good morning, what are you doing?" [answer] "Cool, I'm sitting on top of Mt. Timp watching the sunrise" was pretty fun. The hike back down was harder, especially because it started getting hot. Yech.

Best Blog of 2010:

Hmm. I read SO MANY blogs. Gotta say I LOVE me some Failblog and some Win(FailWIN). I read them the most, but they also post the most, so no fair. I think I'm going to give the award to the lovely Andrea.

She's just so fun! And blogs about her adventures outside Utah, and so much more. Plus this is the only blog this year that spawned an actual friendship. Yup, me and Zer Andrea are friends in the Real World also. Crazy, right? People don't actually talk to each other anymore... oh. But we do. We do.

That said, anyone remember who referred me to the lovely Andrea? Meggers? Dice? NoraNora? Somebody showed me her blog... I didn't just stumble across it. Shrug. Well, she rocks.

And I'm totally gonna be her fashion advisor from now on. So look for me to be featured regularly in 2011 (Right Andrea? Right?!)

Best Conference of 2010:

I don't believe I went to a single conference in 2010. Unless you count the ones in my office, which you couldn't pay me to do. So no conferences for me. Sad.

Best Challenge of 2010:

I think I'm going to pass this award to my sister for 2010. Because going on her journey was hard for all of us, but especially her. (As stated, special blogs on her journey are in the works).



Love ya Sister. With all my heart. For always.

Best Moment of Peace 2010:

I struggled with defining this last year, and this year is no different. But I'll do two.

--General: Anytime I was with friends. Especially around a campfire (so at the Lake and in November)

--Actual: I think I'll vote for sitting on top of Navajo Knobs after a strenuous 4.5 mile hike and staring out at the world. To think what pristine breath-taking (literally) sights Nature and God have given us gives me serious pause.

Best Album of 2010:

This one's actually kind of hard. I don't know what to pick. I only got like 12 albums the whole year, and 11 of them were on Black Friday. If I had to pick from among those, I might confess that my favorite is actually:



Surprised? I really like a number of songs from this album, not 1 or 3 like the others I bought. So I'ma give it to them. Which is kind of funny, since I don't even super like them (especially not live, they sound awful... or at least use to). But there ya go.

Best Rush of 2010:

Prolly riding coasters at Cedar Point (see above).

Best Change I Made to the Place I Live in 2010:

Oh wait. I moved into a place by myself. That's pretty gosh-darn AWESOME! I don't have to answer to anyone, I can do whatever I want, whenever I want, and don't have to worry about bothering anyone, or upsetting them, or conflicting with their schedule; it's just bliss.

And I got some pretty cool furniture (NOTE: This picture has never before been published, so feel SPECIAL) (though I still need a couch):



And just wait til I get my glass centerpiece for that table. Then I will be so styling Stacy London and Clinton Kelly will want to do a show on me for everything to do RIGHT in your life to be fashionable. Fashion isn't just clothes, people, it's about hot interior decorating too!

Best New Food of 2010:

Nom nom nom. I love me some potato chips. For better or worse. Good thing I found these stellar organic, all-natural, super-duper-healthy chips!!! Love ya!



And be honest. That brand name just rocks. Nom nom nom. These chips are simply delish.

Best Place of 2010:

We've already covered this. CEDAR POINT (above). Now I'm just feeling redundant. But it's worth it. 100%.

Best Tea of 2010:

Look, another one I don't have to skip this year!

The winner is: Sweet & Spicy Herbal by Good Earth



Even my Mormy friends can drink it because it's caffeine free. The stuff is dang good (and if you can find where to buy it, tell me. I want it. I can't find it at any of my grocers).

Word or Phrase of 2010:

HAHAHA. Going to have to go with "Your Face" on this one. I don't even know who started me on it. But I just started saying that back to people when they would say something to me. And one of my friends totally got addicted to saying it too. It's all that comes out of his mouth now. And I think it's so funny. Like 6-year, but funny. >.> Your face is funny.

And that's that. Not many complaints in 2010.

So here's to an even BETTER HAPPY 2011! Cheers!

(My saga on my sister still awaits! Keep Reading. I'm actually going to blog in 2011!)

Clay Coleman's Revenge! (Book 5 in the Escape from Lost Island series) - Grade: B. Do I think these books are excellently written? No. Would I recommend these books to other people? Probably not. But they were part of my childhood and I enjoyed revisiting them. Are they engaging? Yes. So *shrug*

Clay Coleman's Escape! (Book 6 in the Escape from Lost Island series) - Grade: B. I think I'm all out of juice on these six books. They're a decent read, but I can think of much better things to spend your time on. 'Nuff said.

James Redfield's The Celestine Prophecy - Grade: A. This book definitely gets my vote for your reading list. This book is a fascinating exploration of human consciousness and spirituality outside the definitions of institutionalized religion (I am in no way saying that institutionalized religion is a bad thing). A great read, very interesting principles contained within, with real-life applications.

Suzanne Collins' Mockingjay (third book in The Hunger Games series) - Grade: A-. I read this book in 5 hours, one sitting. Just plowed right through it. The anticipation was killing me! The only pause was for 5 minutes to listen to a white-trash fight outside my apartment. Let's be honest. That kind of Reality "TV" beats a book hands down! :P When I was done... I felt... kind of punched in the stomach. But I was talking about it with Meggers and really... to be true to her world, Collins couldn't have ended the trilogy any other way than she did. And we are both glad she was true. But... the violence. The violence was the bad taste in my mouth. These are hocked as kid books... but they are so bloody and so painful. Now if you look at books like The Giver, they are crafted so that the full weight of them doesn't settle on you until you are much, much older. But with Hunger Games you don't really get the same sense of complexity. It's just heavy from the get-go. So I loved the read, the pacing was phenomenal, the characters so intriguing... but the violence... the message, was just so, so hard. An important message, and very close to home with our current world, but I'm not sure about for kids. I'm also nervous about them making a movie out of these books. Like alot. Violence involving children can't be rated anything other than R can it? And how is that a "kid" movie?! What child can play in these movies (Rue, for example) and NOT be psychologically damaged? I dunno. These are just things Meggers and I think (and talk) about.

T.A. Barron's The Ancient One - Grade: B-. Someone recommended this as an awesome fantasy novel - a different kind of fantasy than your run-of-the-mill swords, dragons, and elves fantasy. Not going to lie. I enjoyed the storyline; however, the story struggled to capture (and then keep me) my interest. Parts of the story dragged, parts of the story were intense and quasi-unbelievable (hard to do in "fantasy"...) But overall, not a bad read.

Jeanne DuPrau's People of Sparks - Grade: C. Eh. City of Ember was WAY better. Kind of reflects my feelings on Giver and Gathering Blue. The story erred very solidly on the moral side, which was antithetical to Ember if you ask me. I'll prolly pick up the third one just to see, but not such a fan of the sequel.

Ian McEwan's Solar - Grade: D. Don't get me wrong. I'm all for beautiful prose. Many praise Ian McEwan for being very into language, and choosing his words so super carefully so that every sentence is rife with its fullest meaning. Personally, I think Lev Grossman does 10x better (I'll get there, patience!) I picked this one up because I'd read Atonement and didn't hate it. This book, though, was pretty much boring. It seriously turned into a chore to get through it. Not my experience with McEwan's previous novel. There were parts where it would get really interesting and people were dying, or the main character thought he froze off his mickey, but... no. No. No. Couldn't have been happier when this book was done.

James Dashner's The Scorch Trials (sequel to The Maze Runner) - Grade: A-. As previously stated, I really think Dashner is in his prime right now. He tightened up the prose a bit, and didn't stretch the plot too much, and I loved reading this book. Two issues I had: 1. It has been soooo long since I read Maze Runner; I felt kind of lost at the beginning trying to remember back to book 1 and how it ended and everything went down. Dashner attempts to catch the reader up, but I think it could have been a little more solid. 2. I HAVE TO WAIT A YEAR FOR THE THIRD BOOK!?!? Aghhhhh, torture! I want to know what happens next! Also, again with the violence here. I'm not sure these books (like The Hunger Games) can justifiably be part of my bookshelf. Can they? I'm torn on this. I also see some themes in these books, but I intend that to be a post in itself. (You'll just have to get used to me being here again, and keep reading!)

Will Weaver's Defect - Grade: B+. An interesting exploration of what it's like to be different, especially as a teenager. The main character in this story is a medical anomaly - he has wings. The book revolves around his trying to keep them a secret, his shame, and yet sense of love for them at the same time, and how he attempts to reconcile that with his overall identity and public image. An engaging read, though many of the characters were flat; I wanted more development, so I could engage more fully with everyone around the main character in order to better understand the world of the main character, and thus, understand him more deeply.

Lev Grossman's The Magicians - Grade: A+. WOW. Just wow. This book is AMAZING. One of the best books I've read in a long, long time. George R. R. Martin asserted: "The Magicians is to Harry Potter as a shot of Irish whiskey is to a glass of weak tea." That's a pretty ballsy claim. Like whoa. Now I'm not the *biggest* Harry Potter fan I know (don't judge!), but so many people love that series - this is a big claim. I don't think Mr. Martin was off in the slightest. Every piece of this book resonates with magic. The prose is flawless, the characters are lovable, yet starkly human and imperfect, and the plot is gritty, raw, and brilliant. The book is poignant, gripping, moral, deeply adult, fantastical, and so real all wrapped up in one shining wafer of delectable yumminess. I even went back a few times if I thought I was reading too fast, because the book was just that great. The main character is obsessed with this author, Christopher Plover, who supposedly was a co-founder of the modern English fantasy tradition alongside the likes of C.S. Lewis and Tolkien. He wrote five novels about a fantastical place, Fillory, and the more I got into the book, the more I felt like I needed to read these 5 books. I went searching for them. The library didn't have them, nor did Amazon. Strange. I started searching rare book stores, only to be confronted with the fact that this Christopher Plover is a made-up person! Talk about thorough world-building! I mean they even went to the lengths of creating this guy his own blog: http://www.christopherplover.com/ That's over-the-top! The created author thing reminded me of fake author Christopher Brooks in Brockmeier's Truth About Celia. So innovative, so thorough. Grossman's world is REAL. And yet it's fiction. But the fiction is REAL. And we are caught in an existence loop that astounds, astonishes, and fascinates me to no end. Definitely going to check out Grossman's others books. And this book has a spot on the top shelf of my bookcase, where only the most cherished novels find roost. Hats off to Lev Grossman for being stunningly wonderful.

James Klise's Love Drugged - Grade: B-. Your run-of-the-mill romance book for teens, except this one is about a boy who is gay and his taking of an experimental drug to get rid of his feelings. Interesting read, I think the plot could have been tighter, and more exciting, and there could have been alot more struggle within the main character's head about his feelings. But I'm glad books like this are getting out there; hopefully kids are reading them and finding the answers they are craving.

Orson Scott Card's Shadow of the Hegemon (sequel to Ender's Shadow) - Grade: A-. This one's been a long time coming. I started reading this book on my way home for Christmas in 2009. I got halfway and it's sat on my shelf. But I take it whenever I travel, I just usually don't pick it up. But I found myself at the airport on my way home from Christmas and my current read Cloud Atlas was nowhere to be found. So rather than start my backup novel, I decided then was as a good a time as any to finish. Card has a most poignant, uncanny way of taping into the dynamics of humanism and human interaction and bringing them frighteningly to life - frightening in the sense of who close to home they resonate, and how real they seem. The plot falls into second for me when relationships are splayed across the page for my perusal and scrutiny - which is exactly what Card does. I'm interested to see how this trilogy will round out.

Best of 2010 coming soon! As well as many more book reviews. We all know I can't stop reading! It's like eating, I just have to.

Dark Water - Grade: B-. Another scary one! This one's also bee on my list for years. Finally got around to seeing it. I figured out the whole story in like 3 minutes. So not so good writing. Also, most of the "scary" parts were just thrown in. For that reason. Not to aide the story or anything like that. They were ridiculous.

Inception (x2)
- Grade: A++. Unbelievable. That sums up this movie experience. I went back and saw it again the very next day. It was JUST that good. When's the last time I saw such an original storyline? Such a thought-provoking plot? Such all-around phenomenal acting? I can't even tell you, that's when. This movie was MIND-BLOWING amazing. I can't say anything else other than, IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN IT YET, DO SO NOW.

Toy Story 3 - Grade: A. The original Toy Story came at the perfect age for me, and I loved it. Toy Story 2 was eh. But this one was just beautiful. I totally cried. When the movie was done, I wanted to fly to Florida as fast as I could, get out all my boxed up toys and spend hours playing with them. I don't even know how many hours of my childhood were spent off in other worlds using my toys as the conduits. At least half? This movie was charming, and cute, and I loved it.

Despicable Me - Grade: B. This movie wasn't as good as Toy Story 3 but it was well-done and had some laughs. Not quite up there with Monsters vs. Aliens, but there were some laughs.

Never Let Me Go - Grade: B-. I was SO nervous for this movie. It's like one of my FAVORITE BOOKS. EVER. EVER. EVER. Got it? Yeah, I think you did. The movie went WAY fast about revealing the true plot, which is far more efficiently doled out in the book. But it worked. There were some scenes that were definitely added and not part of the book plot, and I tried SO hard to wrest myself from making those comparisons. But I struggled. If you haven't read the BOOK, you NEED to. If you aren't a reader, then seeing the movie is acceptable. But this one will always be better as a book. I've always compared it to the The Sixth Sense in book form - the longer you read, the more you realize what's actually going on, and it's freaky amazing.

Star Trek (again) - Grade: A. In a continuing effort to give Turtle some sci-fi/fantasy education, on a whim we watched this one weekend. At like 2am. It was on instant play on netflix, so I said let's watch! Even though I was exhausted. This was not my first time seeing this movie (so it doesn't really count). Although I will say that the second time around, the whole what 'verse is this (alternate v. real) made much more sense to me and I enjoyed the movie more. A great movie that gets my vote for new and old trekkies alike.

TRON: Legacy - Grade: B. So often I have qualms about movies when I'm not told beforehand if it's a sequel or a re-make or what. Thankfully, I knew going in what this was: a Sequel. Excellent. Bring it. The graphics were picturesque and stunningly beautiful. The plot was not completely dry either. The whole cg'ed face of Clu was problematic at times, and others I didn't notice. Dependent on the programmer I guess. My one complaint with this movie was the pacing. It was slow. In more than one place. And with the capabilities of CG these days, with plane fights like the car fights, I want more of that. I want to see more games. More heart-pounding, awesome games. Oh, and the soundtrack was wonderful. So glad Daft Punk was invited to do it - can't think of anyone more perfect.

I'm sure I'll see more movies in 2011!

2010 can't be complete without Halloween! One of the very first events hosted at my new house (pictures will come someday - as will actual gatherings... but first I need to buy a couch. And a vaccuum, before I unveil such things - sorry), was the Pumpkin Carving Party!

One didn't seem like enough for me, so I decided to do two this year. Jessie and some others came over, but not everyone carved. Oh well, I make up for them.

Pumpkin #1 Werewolf (in honor of my friends and their undying love of the game):



And Pumpkin #2 Kids Trick-O-Treating:



They looked awesome and we had so much fun carving them!



The first weekend in November I was crazy enough to go camping with friends, which ended up being a lot of fun, albeit a little cold. For Thanksgiving this year, I hosted my own dinner instead of going somewhere else. I slated it as a dinner for those who had nowhere to go. 12 people came and we ate, and laughed, and had so much fun. My boss was kind enough to let us have it in the large conference room at my work (my dining table only seats 4). Once we were stuffed, we played SCUM until we could muster room for dessert.

And to wrap up 2010, the Christmas trip. I went home for a brief visit. After traveling 12 hours, my dad got me and we were headed home, when he asked if I would call and find out if we needed anything. The call came back that we needed a new Sander. For what? Oh, was I to find out. We went to one store and they didn't have what we wanted, so we had to go to another one. And they of course, couldn't find it. The employees were USELESS. They supposedly had 11 of this brand in stock, and couldn't find a single one. With 6 people looking. AFter 40 minutes, I fed up and had them sell us a better one at reduced price. We got back to the car, and oh. The fuel pump's gone out and it won't start.

Shaping up to be an AWESOME break. T_T

I hate Florida. We did a family dinner one night which was fun, especially the drive home. My sister telling stories is a crack-up everytime. We got my dad laughing so hard he was crying and couldn't see and I had to drive from the passenger seat. He and my mom were both gone beyond the point of return.

I also got to play Frisbee two of the days, which was alright. But it's interesting to me how much organized Frisbee has affected me. The kids my bro plays with play the Ultimate Disorganized Ultimate. I felt like I was playing soccer with 4-year olds - everyone just chases the disc. No one knows who they are guarding...ever. Ugh.

As for the sander... someone had the genius idea we'd take down the playcenter (swing set, slide, climbing wall, etc) that had been rotting in my backyard for the last 6 years because none of us are small enough to play on it, and we'd gift it to someone else. Well, unfortunately, that involved A LOT more than we'd anticipated. There were bolts rusted through, boards that were broken, the entire bottom foot of the thing had rotted away, and oh yeah, there were carpenter ants in some of the support beams. So 4 of us spent 3 days straight pretty much from sun-up to sun-down working. Drilling holes, hammering, sanding, painting, staining, reattaching pieces, and trying to keep everything straight.

One of the evenings while my sisters and mom went to a party, us "guys" went out and saw TRON: Legacy (review forthcoming).

On Christmas Eve, after our dinner, and the grandparents were in bed, we started our journey. The truck we were supposed to use wouldn't start, so we borrowed one. But it had the smallest bed in the history of trucks. We loaded up at 11pm and went over to the delivery site where reassembly would commence. Except we weren't drilling and fitting all the base pieces, and then my dad didn't think the bags we'd been meticulous about putting together, so pieces wouldn't get confused, had the right pieces. Ugh. We ended up bickering and arguing, and it was freezing cold outside, and I got angry. It was a Christmas Disaster. We worked until 6am, and then still only had it 3/4s together, at which point we said screw this and went home. Poor kids. They'd go back and finish it later in the week (I'd already be back in Utah). Then I got 2 hours of sleep, half of which was on a hardwood floor because my makeshift bed fell apart, before we were roused to open presents. I headed up the proud "Grouch Couch." Eesh.

Definitely a Christmas to remember. lol. We are some kind of crazy in my family. And that was pretty much my whole "vacation." I was happy to help and I'm sure the family is appreciative of our gift, but I had the Scrooge bug this year. I was upset that I didn't get to spend any quality time. We played a game once. We didn't have time to go shopping, or eat out (other than the one night). We were going to see another movie (as a whole family) and didn't have time. A lot of things didn't pan out this year like I wanted. But I guess that's the apt definition of life, ain't it? Never works how you want it to, and you have to be flexible, and accept that.

New Year's Eve was anti-climatic as well. Went to my friends and had a game night, which was fun. I'm used to more raucous all-out partying though, and there was none of that around this year. And Turtle was in Cali. So the end of 2010 was kind of a dud for me, though overall, 2010 was a pretty rockin year.

Coming soon: Final book reviews, movie reviews, and the Best of 2010!

Summer arrived. I couldn't do anything near what I achieved with the Summer of Sun: 2009, since I work full-time+, but we still managed to get in plenty of playing.

In June, I took Turtle to the Best. Place. On. Earth. Period. CEDAR POINT.



Those who have been, know. And those who have not, have not lived. Turtle always talked about the amazing coasters at Disney and 6 flags and such, and I scoffed. Because there are NOT coasters like the coasters at the Point. And now she knows this is true. We spent a whirlwind 3 days at the Point, with travel days before and after. It. was. epic.



We stayed at a super quaint place like 5 miles from the park. The first night we were there, before going to the park, we were sitting out in the hammock just talking (and trying to flip each other over, which I succeeded in, but I fell out too and hurt my knee, so fail), and as the sun was going down, Turtle started FREAKING out. Which, naturally, freaked me out as well. I tried to get her to vocalize, thinking she was having a heart attack, or saw someone out in the field, or the building was on fire, or something crazy. No. None of the above. She'd seen a LIGHTNING BUG.



LOL!!! She had not realized Ohio had them and had never seen them in such quantities. This, to an Ohioan, of course is hilarious. We used to catch them by the jar-full when I was a kid. Fireflies are so commonplace I didn't think anything of them - but to her they were beauty personified. She was SO excited. :)

Then we hit the park. We got there too early, of course, but no worries. I was SO EXCITED I couldn't contain myself. Seriously! It'd been like SIX YEARS since I'd been there! Way too long. I told Jessie I wanted to run straight to Millenium Force, which meant nothing to her. Since she was new to Cedar Point I was nice and agreed to work my way up the roller coasters in rank of awesomeness (which meant starting with lame-o's like Disaster Transport, Iron Dragon, etc., which no experienced Cedar Pointer will ride. Because they suck).



This will mean nothing to those who haven't been, but to those who have, you can oogle and be jealous.



Here's our ride tallys:

Day 1 Tally: Coasters: Raptor x2, Blue Streak x3, WildCat x1, Iron Dragon x1, Mantis x2, Millennium x1, Cedar Creek x1, Maverick x1, Top Thrill Dragster x1, Magnum XL x5!!, Corkscrew x1, and Disaster Transport x1. Extras: Space Spiral x1, Sky Ride x1, and Erie Railroad x1. Plus Turtle and I each won prizes stumping the workers at the guessing game. Plus eating (had an elephant ear for my Mom) and walking... we got alot done!!! And we're doing it all again TOMORROW!!!! God bless Vacation. :D





Day 2 Tally: Coasters: Raptor x2, Blue Streak x2, Millennium Force x2, Maverick x1, Mean Streak x4, Mangum XL-200 x1. Extras: Thunder Canyon x1, Snake River Falls x1, Giant Wheel x1, plus hours at the Water Park. Mmm yes. Water. Sun. Relaxation.





Day 3 Tally: Coasters: Raptor x1, Blue Streak x1, Erie Railroad x1, Mantis x1, Millennium Force x3, Thunder Canyon x1, Maverick x1, Mean Streak x3, Gemini x1, Magmun XL-200 x3, Top Thrill Dragster x1





We didn't bother to see shows or do anything like that. Too much coaster riding :) By the end of trip, no joke, I had bruises on my arms and legs from the coasters.



Camera didn't do 'em justice. They looked way worse than that. No pain, no gain. XD It was so worth it. And such a crazy fun time. I FREAKING LOVE CEDAR POINT!!!

Not 2 weeks later, we were in Idaho for the 4th of July festivities, and our annual rafting trip! Got to see my cousins, and take in some fireworks with all the little cousins.



Rafting was, as always, super fun. I didn't fall out of the raft once this time, although I did smash my knee on a rock when I was swimming T_T I have a permanent scar from that. Turtle, being the cold-blooded animal she is, opted for a wetsuit. The water WAS a little chilly. But we had an awesome time.



No near death-experiences like last year though, for which I'm glad!

I also took Turtle camping in Southern Utah (though there are no pictures of that). She'd never been and needed to see how pretty it was. So we went to Capital Reef. We had fun looking at the stars, though we didn't have a very good spot since we got there after dark. We'd keep our eyes peeled. The first day we were there, we did one of the hardest hikes, and me being a genius, I put Turtle in charge of water... so we didn't bring enough. At all. And we almost died before making it back. The view was awesome though. Maybe Turtle did try and snap some photos of the summit, but I told her to enjoy with her eyes and make a memory before a camera lens will never do it justice (at least not the camera we had, or our level of skill at taking photos). That hike was about 9 miles straight up. :) Good times.

That night we'd scoped out a good stargazing spot, so we went out in a field and just watched. It was so beautiful. So many stars. So much amazingness words aren't proper. We were together in a sleeping bag in the middle of a field in the pitch black night. All of a sudden there's a noise behind us. Something BIG. Ummm, scary! So we freak and grab the flashlight and we hear pounding hooves. By the time we shine the light, there's nothing there. Okay, SCARY. Like WAY. We calm down, and start looking again. After a bit, more sounds. This time we figure out it's deer. We happen to be in the field where they SLEEP. Oops! So that was freaky. After a few more scares, we went back to camp. The last day we were there we did a river hike that I did the last time I was there. It's off the beaten path and follows a dry river-bed, going into slot canyons. The slots were flooded though, so that ended up being a disaster. I had to save Turtle from losing her shoes to vile mud. My GPS kept going haywire while we were in canyons and I didn't realize so I thought we covered ground way faster than we did, which made for an agonizing end of the hike. We had enough water this time, but it was hot, and we got tired. It was a pretty long hike. Then we hitchhiked in the back of a truck back to the park entrance and our car. That trip was way fun, and I'm definitely glad we went.

We attended various parties, and events, and hung with friends, and worked, and worked. Life was good, except when it wasn't. The friendship between Turtle and I became more and more strained. We had quite a few blow-ups. We stuck it out until September though, when we could get out of our lease and move to separate places.

After searching all around, I opted to forgo roommates and got my very own pad. Yay complete independence! This enabled me to not have to rely on anyone anymore, and I set out to build a new social life with new friends in a new city. It worked pretty well. As fall set in, and it got colder, I went out more and more, especially for hot cocoa with friends. Because there's nothing better than chatting over a steaming mug with people that you love. Turtle and I worked to redefine our spaces, and continue to be friends without all the extra. It's not been perfect, but it's going well, I'm happy to say.

I played Winter League as well, and we went undefeated 17-0. Being a champion was pretty wonderful, I must say.



Stay tuned for the wrap-up of my 2010 Adventures!

Well, 2010 is over. Anybody else feel like that one went faster than the Enterprise at Warp 10? Because blink. Blink. Blink. Done?!

Since I just barely talked finished talking about 2009, I think it's time for an overdue recap. Which may or may not be worse than a baby that refuses to be born... >.>

So 2010. I started the year as a hopeless addict.

I worked. And worked. And worked. Which is not entirely a bad thing. Sure helps the finance department to not call me complaining everyday. The days bled away. Occasionally I did something fun. Like laser tag or werewolves. I did my best to maintain my social life, but really it was pretty quiet.

In March, we did go to the Festival of Colors which was SO FUN.



Chalk Everywhere! The celebration was great. We stayed for both crazy sessions of chalk throwing. At the countdown the first time I remember that the whole world went BLACK. I couldn't see ANYTHING. Like really. It was kind of scary. I had a blip thought of post-apocalypse bomb-detonation. But I'm weird, so...



We were so dirty after it was over. Like so gross. I think there's chalk in my teeth in that last picture.



By the end, we were covered head to foot. Literally. So chalked. When we got home, our clothes weren't even allowed inside with us. I think I had blue snot for a week. And holy hair treatment needed after that gunk was in there!



Pretty fun stuff.

April was my birthday, which Turtle did all herself to try and compete with me (shyeah right). Apparently she was messaging and texting and coordinating behind my back like crazy. I was so upset. And she didn't want to tell me anything, not even what clothes I needed to wear - which is of paramount importance. I finally got her to reveal that we were going to laser tagging (so I needed to be wearing all black! As I said: paramount). I was so excited, "Oh! Are people coming?!" She was all: "Dang! I should have thought of that! Next year I guess. It's just us." I totally 100% believed her. She's such a liar. She made me close my eyes while we got my cake (I learned later) also. There were totally people! Scomers, Li and Jer, Bex, Jerems, Stevo and TJ. It was so great!



Playing laser tag with all my friends against little bratty 9-year olds was perfection. Then because it was my birthday I got the "royal treatment."



I got TP'ed. Along with some 12-year old. I love bein' a kid! Then we adjourned to a reserved room for ice cream cake.



We even made the employee checking on us hang out and have a piece!



That's her in the middle, giving the thumbs up. Since we were so nice to share our cake, she gave us all free passes to come back and play again! Holla!

Then Sunday morning Turtle told me I needed to be ready at a certain time. But nothing else. Then people started coming. Ooo, what are we doing? Where are we going? It was werewolves! We had a big group and played outside in the sun. Even Tabs and Ian came!



Turtle wanted to buy me the game, but she looked and looked and couldn't find it anywhere. Sad. But we had a blast playing. It was a little chilly, but so much fun.



To round out the celebration, we went to P-town to see Billy and Hallie for a birthday dinner! So cool! He hadn't been able to come up, so we went down to see him.



They made Birthday Enchiladas! Nom nom nom. What a great friend/ex-roomie! Love that kid! It was such a spectacular birthday! All planned without me, all surprise, so many friends! Thanks everyone who came. And a BIG thanks to Turtle for planning it, pulling it off, and making it so memorable! Love ya! Muah.



2010 was also the year my sister was in treatment. I will do a separate series of posts about her. They are too important to be recapped here. :) Thank you again to everyone who helped! I can't say that enough.

I also joined a Frisbee League Team and loved every minute of it. Ultimate is so freakin fun! So much running! lol

Next post will be my recap of Summer 2010! Stay tuned...


 

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