Welcome, ladies and gents to the always-tardy Year in Lipshultz. Breaking with convention, I'll start with what used to be pretty much the whole thing. Here are the Best bits of music-related whatever from 2009, which you can listen to by clicking....here
16) Islands - Vapors
15) AC Newman - Get Guilty - Not quite up to the New Pornographers best but still good
14) Ben Harper - Fly one time - The rest of the album was pretty boring minus this song
13) Third Eye Blind - Red Star EP
12) The Love Language - Equinox
11) Motherlover – Still effin funny. No offense Ma. I keep humming this to myself since I can’t really sing the words in front of the kids.
10) Music from my friends’ bands
- Apollo Run – My friend manages this band that has a modern Queen vibe. These guys are gonna happen. Check out Love Song.
- Earth Note Syndicate – I can’t get "Earth Note 003 (Running on Empty)" out of my head.
9) Margot and the Nuclear So and Sos - Not Animal. Worst band name for a really good band.
8) Pandora radio – Really got into Pandora this year once I loaded it on my Blackberry. One of the best finds was Guided by Voices “I am a Tree” which I can’t believe I’d never heard before.
7) Sympathy for the Devil (Neptunes Remix) – In Ghost Bar in Vegas with a couple of friends at a trade show and this remix of the Stones came on.
6) Pop Singles – I have embraced my inner Mmmmbop. I give up on this year's ‘guilty pleasure’ award and put these tracks on the actual list.
- Kelly Clarkson – I do not Hook Up
- Black Eyed Peas – I Gotta Feeling – This was especially entertaining at our drunken New Years Eve fest. The Beatles Rockband playing must have taken a break at that moment as I can only remember flashbacks of random kids and adults pogo-ing in our dining room as we blasted this song and threw paper in the air. Woke up with and found the slip of paper Wendy picked out of the communal New Year's Resolution Grab Bag that a neighborhood kid must have put in ("be a better goalie")
- Lady Gaga - Poker Face
- Pink - So What Plus her Cirque-De-Soleil-like Grammy performance of Glitter in the Air was just amazing. If her name weren’t so stupid she wouldn’t even really be a guilty pleasure.
- TI - Live Your Life
4) Death Cab for Cutie – This was the year that I finally got em. I give.
3) Awesome Concerts – One of the bigger consolations for the kids getting old too fast is that we now get to see some shows with less stress about if the kids will eat the babysitter (who are also thankful they didn't get eaten. Thanks Vicki and thanks Mom!).
- Jonathan Coulton at the Birchmere – great live version of Millionaire Girlfriend (“She’s my millionaire girlfriend, she’s my life/Once I finally find her, I’ll get permission from the wife”). Matt, Lori, Wendy and I were laughing the whole show
- Paul McCartney – Amazing stadium show. Last minute free tickets from our friends Stephanie and Peter (thanks again!). This and U2's Zooropa tour are #1 all time. Much better than Beatlemania.
- Virgin FreeFest – Another thanks, this one to Doug. Zack’s first show (including the Hold Steady!) and we bought him a t-shirt, not realizing that the band Holy Fuck was in 8 point typeface at the bottom of the list of 40 bands.
- Patty Griffin – I've always been a fan, but Wow. If you have never heard her before and are into singer-songwriters, you are really missing something. Check out "Heavenly Day" or "Chief" as intro
- Iron and Wine - Belated Promise Ring
- Mike Doughty – Burn You Down. This could be my favorite song of the year!
- David Gray - Nemisis
- Alexi Murdoch - Wait
- Avett Brothers – I and Love and You
- Anna Egge - Bully of New York
Is my last name now Rooney?
As I have gotten older more things are annoying….I even occasionally feel the sudden urge to raise a fist and use the word ‘whippersnapper’. The me of 10 years ago would have smirked thinking this was somehow a crude sexual reference and then I would have tittered…and then Andyminusten would then have laughed because he was ‘tittering’. But the older, wiser me knows better. Whipersnappers are not too sexy for their shirts. They are pesky, not perky…and they are EVERYWHERE.
Ok, back to less curmudgeonly things. Here are the top 10 Movies/TV/Books/Other for me
10) I am not a dog guy usually. Nor am I a 'cute movie' guy. That said, there was a moment at the end of mostly-average Marley and Me that I think really encapsulates all pets. I'm paraphrasing the sentiment. Why is a dog so special? Because, no matter how your life/day/mood is going, a dog’s excitement at your very presence makes you feel extraordinary. Very insightful.
9) Fantastic Mr. Fox – guy who made Rushmore makes awesome stop-motion animation movie.
8 tie) Tell No One – Ending was amazing.
8 tie) Getting every single one of the clues wrong in this crossword puzzle. Click on it and take a look and see if you would have done any better. 1 Down was a stumper.
7) In Treatment – Haven't seen season 2 yet, but season 1 acting was deep.
6) The Funcooker – My quick synopsis: While Tracy Jordan gets fined for TV obscenities, the creative team can't figure out how to have a family-friendly name for their new mini microwave until someone comes up with 'The Funcooker', not understanding its 'double meaning'
and in case you missed what The Funcooker actually is (at the end).....
5) Watchmen – Graphic comic novel in Time's 100 greatest novels of all time . I’ve never read anything like it before.
4 tie) Lost still isn't losing me. Great show. Don't blow it.
4 tie) Dear Zachary: A letter to a son about his father - I still choke up explaining the storyline. It's one of those grueling type of documentaries I recommend to folks and then, after watching, those same folks punch me in the stomach for making their stomach churn. Devastating (both the movie and those punches. Have you guys been going to the gym?)
3) The Staircase – Better than the best episode of Dateline you’ve ever seen. I still can’t believe the real-life twists and turns. It's stunning this wasn't national news, but I think around 2001 the country had other concerns.
2) Breaking Bad – This series had me at the first scene. A pair of pants fly off the side mirror of a fast-driving RV being chased by police through the desert. A man is driving the RV in his underwear while a view of the back of the RV shows two bodies floating back and forth in some sort of liquid. The RV stops, the underwear-clad man gets out and points a gun towards the oncoming police cars. Whoa. Season two comes out next month on DVD!!!
1) Family reading of Harry Potter – This year we read the entire Harry Potter series with the kids. Every night we’d sit down, the kids would huddle around as Wendy or I would read out the books. Although Wendy and I had already read it all before, we were all still sad when it ended.
Some random memories from ‘09
- Coming to the hospital and seeing my new Godson. I always smile when friends of mine have kids, but these guys are more special to me than nearly anyone and I have been wishing this for them for so long. He was worth the wait – cute as can be, likes to laugh and thinks his Uncle Andy is very funny and/or strange. PLUS, he’s already a Steelers fan….and his name is Ben and he’s big so they had to get him the jersey. This is my #1-friend-lobbying-related-memory of '09
- Everyone from my high school was all in one place…and they looked 20 years older…and I’m still shorter than all of them.
- Couldn’t use my bathroom for 3 months and then I was allowed in. It looked a hell of a lot cooler…..but then I had 3 months backed up to unload which kind of ruined it
- Going to not one, but two actual movies in the theater with Wendy two weekends in a row. It’s like we were an actual couple.
- To my Friends, I kept writing things that I thought were pretty funny…and no one had the ability to Dislike them.
- Apology email from Fox news director in response to me railing them on the TV interview they did with the 9-year-old son of the Holocaust Museum shooting victim on the day of his father’s murder. I’m still mad. PS Yes I know it's Fox news, but they're the only ones that start at 10pm and I'm olllllld.
- My father and I almost getting in a fight with a sociopathic Ravens fan sitting in front of us at the game. I’d like to think I would have at least got a good shot in but hey, I’m a even-my-plastic-broken-beer-bottle-would-kinda-hurt-you-and-is-half-full type of guy.
- He had to write about “My Hero” and he wrote a piece about his Dad “because he helps me solve my problems”. Sorry Wendy, you get all the “Oh Hi Dad, where’s Mom?”. I’m very happy to get this one
- Went into Zack’s class to read and talk about Hannukah and gave them all dreidels. Got 30 really cute thank you’s, replete with many “you rock”s and big smile from all.
- Zack telling ‘the pirate joke’
- Taking Zack to Redskins training camp. No it wasn’t the Steelers, but we got tour of facilities and VIP seats where Zack got all the good autographs.
- How brave she was getting stitches in her hip. I think it really helped her get over her fear of needles.
- Going to the father-daughter dance and Becca not immediately ditching me to dance with her friends. Matter of fact, all night if we got separated for a couple minutes she would immediately look to dance with her daddy. Was a fantastic evening.
- “Dad do you believe in fairies?” “Well, not really” “Dad, do you mean you don’t believe in the tooth fairy?” Ummmm.
- Convincing Pete to go on the roller coaster and the ensuing fright.
2. One of the hardest moments this year was the doctors putting Pete fully under anesthesia and then taking him away so they could put him in double casts to correct his ‘idiopathic tiptoeing’
- All together now
- Cub scout campout with all the kids. Wendy left before the camping and missed the best part. All three wouldn’t stop laughing at pretty much anything I said during our ‘story time’. I was the funniest person in the whole tent! Woke up in the morning and Zack was just inches from my face with a huge, happy smile.
- Family vacations! NYC trip highlights were too many to mention – saw friends we hadn’t seen in a long time (and expect to come to DC soon. Ahem), a losing battle between me and a double parked NYC garbage truck, and Pete’s fascination with the Subway. He insisted that we go see the Brooklyn Bridge because he loves the Beasties “No Sleep Til Brooklyn”. Seattle/Vancouver trip was great and gave me my new favorite pic
- Visiting family in Florida. Watching the kids on the cousins’ dirt bikes and Zack getting the accelerator/brake backwards “Heeeellllp Me” was funny in a bad-parent type of way.
- Christmas/Hannukah with the whole family. Cousin Kieran is now more of a him than an ‘it’ to Pete since Kieran's gotten older. Watching them playing together on iphone/ipod was too cute in a scary sort of way
- 2012 ends with people initially relieved, then incredibly mad at Jon Cusack for scaring them so badly with that 2012 movie. Cusack then holds up his iBoombox playing Peter Gabriel to win them back
- There will no longer a difference between record labels/artist management/publishing as they essentially become one entity
- I still won’t like mushrooms or tomato soup
- Tea party and/or independent candidate Palin divert(s) just enough votes from Republicans to let Obama get a 2nd term in a squeaker. I proceed to say ‘yay’.
- Realizing that our kids will be 19, 18 and 16 and college looms by decade's end, I begin to dance nightly for tips. This does not end well.
- One of our kids gets a huge tattoo of a hippo on their back and doesn’t tell me or Wendy... but then blurts it out to divert us out of them being in even bigger trouble when they come home loaded.
- In response, Wendy and I follow their lead and get loaded and hippo tattoos
- 2011 is awesome! We turn 40 and we all have a blast at our collective 40th b-day blowout in Vegas. Not kidding about this one. Wendy and I are planning it for likely February next year so let me know if you’re interested. It’s open to all you big 40-turners out there.
- I finally get around to making my “Not to do” list. Item 1:
- Two words: flying monkeys