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Emilie’s 2008 Best List

What a crazy year this has been. It’s the year that my big appetite for music became voracious and I sought out friends and resources to feed it. It’s the year that I “discovered” audio books as a natural result of driving for work – a lot. It’s the year I didn’t go to the theater as much as I used to, but everything came to DVD so much quicker. It’s the year I hoped to finish my book. It’s the year I started this blog.

This is a very personal best list, so the things that I’m highlighting as my favorites of 2008 may not have been released in 2008, just discovered by me in this year that’s soon to be past.

Books – 2008 is the year I read more nonfiction, romance and thriller than ever before, not to mention almost all of Jennifer Weiner and Jennifer Crusie, Spiderwick and Neverland and a lot of David Sedaris. Out of the almost 150 books I’ve read this year, my 15 favorites in roughly the order I read them:
1. His Dark Materials (3) Philip Pullman
2. Gregor and the Code of Claw, Suzanne Collins
3. When a Man Loves a Weapon (this will be released in 2009), Toni McGee Causey
4. Things I’ve Learned from Women Who’ve Dumped Me, Ed. Ben Karlin
5. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (about halfway through the year now), Junot Diaz
6. The Rescue Artist, Edward Dolnick
7. The Ruby Key, Holly Lisle
8. To Kill a Mockingbird (finally read this!), Harper Lee
9. Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician, Daniel Wallace
10. Calumet City, Charlie Newton
11. Finn, Jon Clinch
12. A Very Long Engagement, Sebastien Japrisot
13. Special Topics in Calamity Physics, Marisha Pessl
14. Unaccustomed Earth, Jhumpa Lahiri
15. The Wolfman, Nicholas Pekearo

Notables: Continued reading some of my favorite series – the “Alice” books by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Louise Rennison’s Georgia Nicholson books, and Fourth Comings by Megan McCafferty. Also was blown away by a trio of historical romance writers – Gaelen Foley, Sherry Thomas and Suzanne Enoch, who gloriously re-invent the genre and write freaking well. Agnes and the Hitman and Faking It made me laugh myself hoarse. And I’ve been crazy about the Twilight series, of course, really impressed with how things wrapped up in Breaking Dawn.

Movies – I used to go to a movie by myself every Sunday, but that habit sadly went away. However, as a three year + member of Netflix, I still saw over 100 movies this year (and I did get to the theater some, of course). I’m going to try to approximate the order I saw them in.
1. Stardust
2. Once
3. Juno
4. Shoot ‘Em Up
5. Across the Universe
6. Wanted
7. Live Free or Die Hard
8. Dear Frankie
9. I’m Not There
10. Persepolis
11. Dark Knight
12. My Blueberry Nights
13. The Brave One
14. Penelope
15. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
16. Mamma Mia!
17. Wall*E – in some ways, my favorite of the year
18. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
19. Twilight
20. I Could Never Be Your Woman
21. Rachel Getting Married
22. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Notables: Much, much better than I’d heard/you’d think – Speed Racer, Good Luck Chuck and The Cutting Edge 3. 21 and Atonement almost made my list, so I guess that makes me a big James McAvoy fan.

TV – This was the year my t.v. became largely decorative. When I forgot how to hook the cables and wires back up after Gustav and relied almost entirely on watching t.v. on my computer. But the shows I love, I love all the more for it. No particular order here.
1. How I Met Your Mother
2. Bones (NOT happy it’s moving to Thursdays)
3. So You Think You Can Dance (Cat Deely’s the bomb, Joshua wasn’t my fav and we need DVD)
4. Survivor (yes, I still love this show)
5. In Plain Sight
6. Top Chef
7. Moonlight (NOT happy this got canceled)
8. Pushing Daisies (NOT happy this got canceled)

Notables: Big Bang Theory surprises me, whenever I manage to catch it, with how funny it is.

Music -This was the year of music. I’ve never been such an avid music listener and collector.
Singles –
1. Wagon Wheel, Old Crow Medicine Show (most listened to song in my iTunes)
2. Forever in Blue Jeans, Jason Castro (he wasn’t my favorite, but this stuck in my head)
3. Toxic, Yael Naim (cover of Britney, haunting and freaky)
4. Fake Is the New Real, Alice Smith
5. Johnny and June, Heidi Newfield
6. Be My Husband, Lisa Hannigan and Damien Rice
7. So What, Pink
8. Another Way to Die, Alicia Keyes and Jack White
9. American Boy, Estelle and Kanye
10. Just Like a Woman, Charlotte Gainsbourg
11. Holding Out for a Hero, Frou Frou
12. Are You Strong Enough to Be My Man, Sheryl Crow
13. You Got Growing Up to Do, Patty Griffin and Joshua Radin
14. Echo, Cyndi Lauper
15. Comes Love, Billie Holiday
16. Whatever Lola Wants, Ella Fitzgerald
17. Love Song, Sara Bareilles
18. See You Again, Miley Cyrus (say what you want, but this song is catchy and cool)
20. Missed Me, Dresden Dolls
19. Hide and Seek, Imogen Heap
20. Arms of a Woman, Amos Lee
21. Lilac Wine, Katie Melua
22. Do I Move You, Nina Simone
23. Hurt, Johnny Cash

CDs –
1. Across the Universe soundtrack (oh glorious TV Carpio, put out a cd already! Dana Fuchs!)
2. Juno soundtrack
3. Once soundtrack
4. Acid Tongue, Jenny Lewis
5. Volume 1, She & Him
6. Black Snake Moan soundtrack

Performers, period –
1. Patty Griffin – I’m delirious over Patty Griffin
2. Jenny Lewis
3. Lucinda Williams
4. Emmylou Harris
5. Allison Moorer
6. The White Stripes, Jack White notably
7. The Dresden Dolls
8. Roisin Murphy
9. Katie Herzig
10. Sugarland
11. Krista Detor

Notables: My love for Nina Simone, Johnny Cash, The Magnetic Fields, Cake and The Beatles, always vibrant, has been renewed. I grew to really appreciate Kanye West (though my first love for him came after his infamous quote after Katrina). And I learned that, as amusing as I find it when my neighbor M. sings the lyrics to “Ding, Ding, Dong,” I am NOT a fan of Gunther.

Websites – These are the websites I checked every day in 2008, once I knew about them!
1. Post Secret
2. I Am Fuel, You Are Friends
3. Living With Music – writers blog about music!
4. GalleyCat – how could I leave this one off?
5. Wikipedia
6. imdb
7. cdbaby
8. Amazon
9. Craigslist
10. YouTube

My Favorite Things – What I’ve been loving this year
1. Favorite Home Away from Home – Cheers, my coffeeshop
2. Friends – you know who you are and likely, you’ve introduce me to a lot of great music and food this year. I love you for it, this year and all years.
3. Family – for the pictures, the drama and the support.
4. Local Music – The Zydepunks, The New Orleans Bingo! Show, Loose Marbles and Gal Holiday
5. Food – the roast beef po’boy at Parkway just may be my favorite thing I’ve eaten this year
6. Lessons – dancing, parallel parking, how to be a better writer (friends again, thank you)
7. Libraries – Nola and BR, so very excited about having multiple library cards
8. Writing – NaNoWriMo, PerNoWriMo, Write or Die, Jamey
9. Epiphany – being excited and finding others who’re also excited about the same things.
10. City – New Orleans. Of course and always.

That’s it, Emilie’s Top List for 2008. Enjoy. Argue. Applaud. Whatever. 🙂

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From Cheers with love

So it’s been a while, my digital friends. Where have I been, what have I been doing?

Firstly, I should say that before I left Nola to go to Atlanta, I was lucky enough to catch a free New Orleans Bingo! Show at Tipitina’s. Whewwwweeee! This was *just* what I needed, doncha know? Despite the fact that it was P-A-C-K-E-D and I’m extremely claustrophobic (does claustrophobic mean dislikes strange drunk people touching her?), it was an amazing show. Loud and chaotic, filled with personality and phenomenal music. So many, many people have been telling me that I have to see the New Orleans Bingo! Show over the past few years, but it hadn’t happened yet. I’m glad this was my first show, their first show at Tips, it turns out. Who cares if I was set to leave for Atlanta SUPER early in the morning — I was out swaying and sweating with hundreds of folks to their delicious tunes.

The trip to Atlanta started a few hours later than I’d planned and except for a tiny bit ‘o rain (aka buckets and buckets, but only for about 2 minutes at a time) was uneventful. Here’s the rub – the job I’d been hoping for in Atl was not to be, though I hung out for a week to see if the tides would turn. Got to spend some time with my parents and work on the novel (or attempt to work on the novel, Butt In Chair, as they say). At the end of the week, the owner of my Atl Cheers knew me by name and was sad to see me go. I did not make it out to the Claremont Lounge (“Where whores go to die”) as recommended by somebody or other, but it was still a good trip.

And let me tell you, while I was happy to be with my parents and in a new environment, I was so homesick for Nola that my whole body hurt! It was a relief to get back, physically and emotionally. It would’ve been different if I’d been busy working, I think, rather than ruminating, but everything happens for a reason.

Spent a bunch of time with somebody or other upon my return, sent out resumes to more film jobs and even managed a quick jaunt to BR and dinner with bestest buddy while I was there.

And you know what I did this Friday night past? I went out and extra’d for the movie Mardi Gras, dressed up for a “Maxim party” that felt rather more like a lock-in and met a few fun folks there, most in the same boat.

Got to catch up with my buddy Clarence on Saturday – go check out his link because dude’s got some fabulous books out.

Good news is that I’m doing a bit of freelance, which makes me happy and doing alright on TCB. Also, the new roomie is fantastic thus far. He held the fort while I was gone and nothing seems too badly singed. Bad news…I’m determined that there is none. Everything has a silver lining!

So some stuff I’ve been thinking about.

Katherine Heigl withdrawing her name from Emmy consideration. Whoa. Personally, I am a HUGE Katherine Heigl fan and have been before probably anybody else (yes, even you folks who think you “discovered” her on Roswell), since I saw My Father the Hero waaaaay back when. Anybody who’s watched her career knows that she’s got moxie (for good or for better) and she doesn’t follow the tart of Hollywood playbook. She’s pulling ballsy moves more akin to male counterparts, making her moves publicly and loudly. But because she’s a woman, she gets called ungrateful and a bitch. She’s walking a fine line, the razor’s edge. I think she’ll be a winner in the end. I think now that she’s done a few smarter-than-your-average-still-box -office-gold rom-coms, she’s going to be getting better and better scripts and she’ll be choosing smarter and stronger roles (though, love her or hate her, most of her character selections have been *smart*). The article I linked to was just a random selection, but I love that a Grey’s “insider” decried her for her lack of loyalty to the same writers who made her a household name, the writers who accommodated her movie schedule, etc. Let’s look at this for a sec. Yeah, the role made her a household name, but part of that package is her own acting. And even before the Emmy nominations became public, folks were speculating whether the Grey’s writers were sabotaging her because they had to accommodate her movie roles by giving her stupid plotlines through the season till the end. AND let’s not forget that Heigl’s popularity due to Grey’s and her movie roles reflects back on Grey’s in a good light and keeps viewers loyal (I don’t watch the show, I should confess). I’m a writer, so I understand that writers are so essential but generally poorly respected in Hollywood. But I think Heigl should be given some props for speaking her mind. Love her or hate her, this is no blonde bimbo touting the company line. I suspect that she’s in danger of alienating some of the folks that have helped her with her best roles, but that her private relationships with these folks will likely win out. There’s still ONE role I’m dying to see her play. I’ll let you know if it happens, but no more on that for now.

This is from a while ago, but it’s still interesting. Haven’t heard much about the memoir, but hurrah for writers surviving over horrible people in their pasts!

And I continue to be fascinated by Emily Gould’s (mis)adventures and Gawker’s intriguing obsession with her. From GalleyCat, some speculation about a manuscript that’s doing the rounds and the potential fears of some editors/publishers in taking her on.

In the meantime, thank goodness for my neighborhood and my excellent neighbors. Also, my friends and mentors. What would I do without you people?

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