notemily: (hunger games - the mockingjay)
2012-12-31 08:44 am

2012 in review

Well, I know I haven't made a LiveJournal post since (*checks*) July, but today is December 31st, and to let the year end without a year-in-review post on LJ just feels wrong. So, without further ado:

Media things

Best book of 2012: Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore. Hands down. Granted I didn't read many books this year that were actually released this year, but this book speaks to me on a level few others match, to the extent that my therapist suggested using it in our sessions. It also gave me a completely new appreciation for Fire, which I had previously been meh about.
Best book of 2012 not written in 2012: The only other new read I gave five stars to this year was Poison Study by Maria Snyder. It's pretty amazing, but my enthusiasm for it has been dampened by how disappointing the sequels, especially the "Glass" series, were. The world had so much promise, and the subsequent books rarely lived up to that potential, and sometimes had really unfortunate implications. So if you're going to read the book, do yourself a favor and stop there.
Authors of the year: I read 14 books by Tamora Pierce this year and 12 by Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant. They both have series(...es?) that are extremely addictive, and though they write for different age groups, I recommend their books to all fantasy fans who like kickass female heroines. My favorites: Squire and Emperor Mage by Pierce, and the heart-wrenching short story In Sea-Salt Tears by McGuire. And yes, those are all later books/stories that you have to read the earlier books in the series to get to. Muahahahaha.
Chapter of the year: Chapter 26 of Feed. LIFE-DESTROYING.

Also: This year I finally finished my Goodreads Challenge of reading 50 books! I think next year I'll up it to 75. I would like to thank the awesome women who write addicting fantasy series for this achievement.

Musical artists listened to most: According to last.fm, they were Fun., the New Pornographers, Florence + the Machine, Tegan and Sara, and Neko Case. This year was the year I really got into Tegan and Sara, who are amazing.
Favorite songs of 2012:
- Look, I really like "Gangnam Style". It's fun and dancey and strangely subversive once you research the lyrics. Plus, PSY just looks like he's having so much fun. Video: Eeeeeey, sexy lady!
- My love for it has faded a bit due to overexposure, but I can't not mention "Some Nights". The fact that a song I loved this much got so popular warms my heart. You mean regular people really like harmonies and power-pop and Nate Ruess's voice? ME TOO! Let's be friends! Video: This is it boys, this is war.
- "Ho Hey" by the Lumineers is a sweet, simple love song that makes me smile. "I don't know where I belong / I don't know where I went wrong / but I can write a song." Yep, sounds about right. Video: I'd be standing on Canal and Bowery.
- This didn't come out this year, but I discovered it only recently: "Settle Down" by Kimbra. I have Alan to thank for introducing me to this gorgeous song that's more than a little bit unsettling. Video: On just one knee for now.
- Honorable mentions: Of Monsters and Men - "Little Talks", Imagine Dragons - "It's Time", Gotye - "Somebody That I Used to Know", Taylor Swift - "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" (Like... ever.), Jay-Z & Kanye West - "N***as in Paris"
- Guilty pleasure: Maroon 5. Yeah, I know. I can't help it if One More Night is catchy as hell.

Best movie seen in theaters: Come on, did anyone really think I was going to award this to something other than The Hobbit? It's not the best movie ever made (or even the best Middle-earth movie ever made), but I just want to love it and squeeze it and call it George. Martin Freeeeeeman.
Movie I regret not seeing in theaters: The Hunger Games. It was amazing and so true to the book, especially visually.

Favorite TV show discovered this year: Teen Wolf. Shut up. It's one of those shows that's deceptively mainstream, but a lot of thought goes into it if you look past the hott dudes with no shirts on. Although there's that, too. Female gaze FTW.
Honorable mention: The Legend of Korra. It's no Avatar, but it tries.
Best rediscovery: Dollhouse. I never finished watching it the first time, but watching it again for Mark Watches I'm catching all sorts of nuance and awesomeness I didn't see before. Also TOPHER MY HEART.

Life stuff

Biggest life change of 2012 (positive): I got a job motherfucker. It is such a relief to be able to support myself! Working full-time is something I wasn't even sure I would be able to do, but I've been doing it for six months now and so far I'm not dead.
Biggest life change of 2012 (negative): I like my job, but I am really sad that it makes me so busy and tired that I can't foster kittens anymore. I miss my kitties so much. I haven't had one since Pippin and he was almost a year ago... but I remember how overwhelming it was even while working only 20 hours a week, and I know I'd run myself ragged if I tried to do it now. Someday, perhaps, I will be able to foster again. In the meantime, I have my own kitty and she is wonderful (and I'm sure especially happy that I'm not fostering anymore), but I miss getting to know all the different kitty personalities, and there's something special about the teeny-tiny ones. They're challenging and rewarding and when you finally earn their trust and love, it's a wonderful thing.

Speaking of tiny creatures--If it was a big year for me, it was huge for my niecelet, who turned 1 this year. I mean, she learned to walk and run and talk and do sign language! How awesome is that? Even though I only get to see her every few months, I love watching her grow up. She's not just "aww, cute baby" anymore--she's turning into a person.

I hope everyone has an awesome New Year's Eve. Happy 2013!
notemily: (buffy - slayer)
2012-01-29 08:01 pm

Pushing Daisies 2x08 "Comfort Food"

Not impressed with the resolution of this episode. The rest of it was cute, but...

Spoilers within )
notemily: (lotr - WHERE WAS GON--)
2012-01-25 11:06 pm

They make DOGS for their polygamy cult?!

"Smell of Success" is such a fascinating episode of Pushing Daisies. Why is Chuck wearing sixties clothing now, instead of fifties? (Will she someday catch up to the present?) Will Paul Reubens come back and expose Chuck's secret smell? How many shots of Kristin Chenoweth's bouncy boobs can they fit in one episode? Will Lee Pace ever stop looking adorable in black t-shirts? And most importantly, how awesome is Ellen Greene singing "Morning Has Broken"? The answer is ALL OF THE AWESOME. ALL OF IT.

I keep wondering whose dog died so that Digby could live, though.

Today on Mark Watches we got to discuss one of my favorite Buffy episodes ever, "I Only Have Eyes for You." SO GOOD. I never realized that the kid playing the ghost is also Auggie Anderson from Covert Affairs. Which... I haven't even watched that show in a long time, but omg come here Auggie and let me munch on you.

Unfortunately today on Mark Reads, Mark talked about the problematic portrayal of Orcs and how Tolkien used the term "Mongol-types" when describing their physical appearance, and the comments exploded with OMG HOW DARE YOU CALL TOLKIEN A DIRTY RACIST I HAVE PROOF THAT HE HATED NAZIS. And now that's the most commented-on post ever on Mark Reads. *headdesk*

It's just like... look you guys can we just accept that LotR is not without its problematic elements and go back to talking about war allegories and how cute Dom and Billy are? Because that is way more fun than having the exact same argument fifty times.

I do still love being a moderator though.
notemily: (lotr - WHERE WAS GON--)
2012-01-20 09:36 pm

OK so what I don't get about Pushing Daisies

1. The whole thing where he can touch things back to life but then something else has to die--does this apply for things other than humans? Because they talk about his amazing ability with pies and how rotten fruit becomes alive again in his hands, but does that mean other fruit has to "die"? Plants are weird, they're not just "dead" or "alive" like humans. Is this like in Carnivale where Ben can heal stuff but only if he kills all the grass and/or fish in the vicinity? Also how does he chop/prepare the fruit for pie without touching it again? Also if he touches it again after it's cooked into pie does the pie immediately taste like rotten fruit? Or is the fruit technically "dead" again by then from being cooked?

2. I'm re-watching the Pie-lette and you see him wake up a dude with a big chunk gouged out of his face and that's NOT magically healed when he wakes up, unlike the strawberries. So do the people he wakes up still have their physical injuries? Does the dog still have his internal injuries from the car accident? HOW DOES THIS WORK I DEMAND SCIENCE

3. I am over-thinking this. Also this show is super depressing for something so upbeat and silly; I forgot that it started with HIS DOG DYING

4. OMG Thranduil you are adorable

(I am re-watching the show and also seeing if Kate likes it--it has some of her favorite things such as (a) supernatural elements (b) Kristin Chenoweth and (c) whimsy)
notemily: (downton abbey - matthew/mary otp)
2012-01-14 11:59 am

to say nothing of pocketing the spoons

DUDE. You know what I just realized about 2012?

IT'S A SUMMER OLYMPICS YEAR.

This is my most favoritest of things. Gymnastics! Diving! Swimming! More gymnastics! And this year, British things! Still hoping they can get that David Tennant thing sorted out.

Anyway, moving on--

I'm dog-sitting for my parents this weekend, which means I've actually been channel-surfing because they get ALL the channels and there's always something on. This led to me catching the repeat of the new-to-the-US airing of Downton Abbey S2E1 the other night, and OMG I forgot that this show makes me feel SO MANY FEELINGS. Even the characters I loathe are just so goddamn interesting and the relationships on the show are all so wonderful and well-written and I just want to step into the world of Downton and live there forever. (Not literally like as a human from the 1910s or whatever, more like an invisible fangirl ghost who spies on everybody all the time.)

spoilers )

So after watching that, I was like MOAR, so I downloaded the entire season since it's already aired in the UK. But now I'm reluctant to watch it because if I finish the season then there will be no more Downton Abbey to watch and I will be sads. I want to savor it, like a box of really good chocolates. You don't just eat them all at once!

I started watching North & South on Netflix instead to get my period drama fix, and it's pretty awesome. Someone in a review described it as Pride & Prejudice meets Dickens, and so far that is completely accurate. The main actress reminds me SO MUCH of someone and I can't think who and it's driving me to distraction. Also it has Richard Dwarfitage in it so I'll be able to see what the fuss is about him before The Hobbit comes out.

(Also why did nobody tell me Anna Maxwell-Martin was in this? I adore her. And Bates from Downton Abbey plays her dad, so that's neat. He has such a cute teddy-bear face.)

All this period drama fangirling has led me to think I need to read more historical fiction. Anyone have recommendations? Preferably for a similar time period to Downton, but I'll take any recs you've got.