Archive for December, 2009
I swear, like most of you I bet, that this decade has just flown by. It seems just like yesterday that I was a complete moron in high school trying to find my way, and next thing you know here I am. I am just so thankful in my life for all the ups and downs that have helped me to become this very handsome and extremely happy person I am today. I just hope that the next decade will be as good to me as the 2000-2009. Here are some of the highlights through the years that helped me get here.
This is the year that started it all for me. I was 17-18, this is the year that I graduated high school, got my Eagle Scout award, and the year that I entered into the adult work force. I was in a very entertaining relationship with the one that I thought that I was going to be with for a long time. Obviously it’s over and I’m not sad about it. As you know I found “the one” and I currently have a biological token of our love. In fact that relationship helped me to better understand all my future relationships. But more about that later. Kind of a whirl wind year if you ask me.
This year is when I consider that my adult life finally began. I got my dream job of working at Apple computer and that laid down the tracks for my post mission life and career. I received my mission call to serve the great people of Italy, and I was rearing to go.
2002 – 2003
I spent both of these years in Italy, helping with a great missionary effort. Sure I missed my family and friends, but if you ask me to trade it in to spend time with them I would tell you to, “sit on it.” I met some awesome people that share my core beliefs and we are still close friends today. I learned from these two years the importance of being out on my own. Working hard to survive and accomplish my goals in life. This helped me so much when I returned home from my mission, in adapting back to home life, and it really prepared me for married life, and relying on my partner, as she would have to rely on me.
The year that I met and fell in love with Jane. Just a few short months after returning from Italy, I fell in love. Jane was a great help to me, and I am still so very glad to have her in my life. She helped me to realize quite a few goals, including starting my post high school education, and following a career path that I enjoy, which helped me get back to work at Apple.
The biggest year of the decade to me. It was the year that Jane and I got married. After a year, and some months, I finally had the courage to ask Jane to marry me. I never thought that we could pull of a wedding in just 4 months but it is totally do able. I finally moved out of my parents house, which I still consider the biggest step of growing up. This year Jane and I were able to help each other. I helped her to progress in her career, by leaving the job that I dub the “Titanic,” and move over to the “Concord.” Which in the later half of 2008 was the key to us moving to North Carolina.
This is the biggest year of ups and downs for me. I was out of work for 6 months and I got down into a very bad depression spiral. I felt as though my skills were something that could help every company that I sent my resume to, but I guessed wrong. It was a stressful situation all around. I was finally asked to come back to Apple, into my old group and old position. That made the second half better, until the saddest part of the year. I got a call one morning that my Daddio had a heart attack. He is doing better now, but that was a life changing experience to me. I realized that I have his genes, and that I need to keep an eye on my health too. He is doing great now, after making a lot of changes in his life. I’ve been trying to make similar changes but it’s tough.
Nothing really remarkable happened this year. I was in school full time, and was maintaining a 3.85 GPA. Life was going pretty awesome.
Other than getting our podcast started, nothing big happened this year, until Thanksgiving time. That’s when Karen’s boss asked her if she would like to move out to North Carolina to work out here. Obviously we said yes. But that was another whirl wind time. We had to pack and move our whole house by December 20th. That was one heck of an undertaking. Huge thanks to Brad, and Matt. Without their help the move would have been an Epic Fail. We landed and started our life in North Carolina on December 30th.
Life in North Carolina. It’s been a trip and a dream all in one. There are pluses and minuses to everything, it took some adjusting to get used to it all. Now that we’ve lived here for almost a year. I don’t think that I’ll ever be moving back to California. I know that that is the place that I was born and that my heart is, but there is no way that I would ever willingly move back. It’s like they let the loonies run the funny farm.
Of course the best thing happened to me this year. I became a father. I believe that nothing in life is greater than having a child and being able to watch them grow up, learn, and live life. I told that to Daddio and he said, “Nope the greatest thing in life is to watch your kids have kids.”
Well that’s all for my Best of the Decade. Hope you enjoyed reading it, and I look forward to your comments. Look for a new podcast episode coming in January 2010.
Ry The Robot.
List #3. TV Shows of 2000-2009
This was a great decade in TV Shows. I graduated in 2000, and until I finally moved out of my parents house I never had the chance to watch what I wanted. Five years later I get married and I start living with someone who loves the same shows that I love. Here is the list. The criteria for this list is pretty simple. The shows had to first air post 1999. Most of these shows are still on the air and will continue onto the next decade, but I don’t care about that. I will also list shows that are not on premium channels; no Sopranos, Entourage, or Dead Like Me. Even though Dead Like Me is one of my favorite shows. Seriously it’s the only way to be fair.
Scrubs – 2001
The little show that could. Where else can you find a sitcom with wild pop-culture references, mingled with a deep moral story that gets whipped at you when you aren’t even looking for one. Here is one of my favorite clips from the show. It’s dedicated to Brad.
Firefly – 2002
What happens when Science Fiction meets a Fantasy of the old west? If you answer Firefly, that would be correct. In my opinion Joss Whedon’s masterpiece. He combines a witty off the wall captain and crew, with a strong opposition to everything political and controlling, a preacher who seems less preacher than teacher, a “Companion”… we’ll hold off judgments for now, and finally a brother and half insane half genius sister. It is a complete shame that Fox was stupid and pulled the plug, thus missing out on millions of greenbacks, and millions of viewers, yet they don’t seem to have learned from their mistake, by giving Arrested Development and Dollhouse the axe.
Arrested Development – 2003
Yet another show that died before it’s time, and that will be getting it’s own feature length film to wrap everything together. After watching this show, I finally can see the normalcy of my family and friends, and the choices that I make in my life. By far the best sitcom that I’ve watched over this decade. If you want to laugh and aren’t easily embarrassed then this is the show for you.
Lost – 2004
The best drama on TV, that people can’t wait to see the end. Not that Lost is a terrible show, but it’s one of the first shows on TV that is intricate and highly detailed, to the point of peoples lives being interwoven beyond our current comprehension. Some people jumped ship around the third season and promise to come back when it’s over. I’ve been watching since the fateful day my sister brought season one home on DVD and forced me to watch the first four or five episodes. I’m a “Lostie” and I’m proud of it.
Bones – 2005
I didn’t get into Bones until October of this year, but I have to tell you that I’ve watched every episode up to season five. I fell in love from season one episode one, and not just with Emily Deschanel. It’s the first forensic, crime drama that I’ve ever watched and enjoyed. I used to watch House, but the story got away from interpersonal relationships and communication and got into who is bopping whom. Bones has stayed honest and professional the whole series so far. Sure there is some sexual tension between Bones and Booth, but without that there wouldn’t really be the drama aspect that makes this show POP!
Doctor Who – 2005
Growing up I watched Sci-Fi night on our local PBS station with my dad. Every Sunday night it was Red Dwarf, The Prisoner, and Doctor Who. We only ever watched The Prisoner, but I was always intrigued with the idea of a time and space traveling detective. When I heard that the BBC was coming out with a new Doctor, I finally thought that it was time for me to have a look and see what it’s all about. They say you never forget your first doctor. That’s for sure. After watching the episodes from this decade I’ve decided to start watching the episodes from decades past. That’s my “new” old TV show for next year. Yeah, so what if it’s about 400 hours of the doctor. I have all the time in the world when sitting up with Cambria, eh?
The Office – 2005
The Office is one of those shows that could almost be taken out of someone life. In offices that I’ve worked in, in the past, have all been just like this show. There is a brown-noser who knows everything about combat techniques and self preservation tactics, along with the hot receptionist, and the strange guy who just creeps you out to talk to him. The relationship that keeps me watching week after week is between Jim and Dwight. Check out this video and see why.
30 Rock – 2006
Ah, comic gold at it’s finest. I think that we all sit back and think that this is what SNL once was and could be again someday, but I doubt we’ll see that again. The writing of Tina Fey and the acting of Tracy Morgan and Alec Baldwin are what really sell this show. Thinking about it more I struggle to really pin point what it is about this show that keeps me tuning in, but I still do.
Chuck – 2007
Spy vs. Spy, Techno Nerds, CIA, NSA, BuyMore, and a Marlin. That’s what I call I cocktail shaken and stirred to perfection. Innocent, kind, and gentle guy accidentally gets top tier government secrets in his head, hot spy and ex-firefly crew member, as body guards, the show can go nowhere but up and up. This has to be my favorite Action Adventure show of the decade. Sure the show has had a bumpy ride so far, but NBC has decided to give it one more shot before axing it, thanks to all the nerds, geeks, and freaks that are die-hards to this show to keep it kicking.
Leverage – 2008
The modernized A-Team, with a few twists. Hitter, Grifter, Hacker, Thief. Let’s see now, Faceman was that Grifter, who is now a woman by the name of Sophie. B.A. Baracus was the Hitter, but that role has been taken up by Eliot. “Howling Mad” Murdock was the pilot/thief, that Parker, and not to worry she is just as crazy. Then there is Hannibal who was the leader to his men, like Nathan Ford is the Robin Hood to his merry men. We are of course missing, Hardisan, the Hacker but that is only because Computers weren’t as mobile as they are now, nor were they as necessary as they are today. It’s a toss up which show I like better, but Leverage is on the list because it’s from this decade.
Hope you Enjoyed the post,
Ciao Ciao Ciao,
Ry The Robot
List #2. Albums from 2000-2009
Ok, like the previous list most of these albums weren’t number one, nor the “Greatest Album” of it’s time. But these albums had something that spoke to me. I know it’s corny, but I have to quote J.K. Rowling as she spoke through one of her best written characters, Dumbledor. He said “Ah, Music, a magic beyond all we do here.” All this being said, I urge all my readers to give a listen to the music on my list, I just hope you hear what I hear.
Roll On – The Living End – 2001
A fantastic follow up to their 1999 self-titled record. Like with all music that gets you out of your seat, and thrash about, it’s hard to explain the cause, but there is not a single song on this album that keeps me in my seat. The Living End introduced me to Rockabilly and Psychobilly, that is why this album makes my list.
Cheer Up – Reel Big Fish – 2002
If there is one thing I like more than Rockabilly, is Ska. This is Reel Big Fish’s first album that is sans Parental Advisory, and oddly enough it’s some of their greatest stuff. There were quite a few personnel changes from the previous albums but the music never suffered. My favorite track is actually a hidden track at the very end of the record, a cover of J. Giles Bands “Give It To Me.” Little known fact, the first track on the album “Good Thing” was played and well enjoyed at Jane’s and my wedding.
Second Stage Turbine Blade – Coheed and Cambria – 2002
Coheed and Cambria is by far my favorite band of the decade. This is the album that started it all for me. Between us this is why I really wanted to name our baby girl Cambria. I grew up listening to Pink Floyd and Rush, and I’ve always had a passion for concept and theme albums, and this music is raw and pure gold. I learned just recently that the final copy of the album was actually the original 8 track basement recording. Listen and Enjoy.
Give Up – Postal Service – 2003
An indie masterpiece! I don’t know what else to say, other than I’m shocked that “Give Up” never won any awards or greater recognition. I swear, everything that Ben Gillard touches is gold. I’m still holding my breathe for a follow-up.
Neon Bible – Arcade Fire – 2007
This album leaves me at a loss for words. For me the only words that keep coming to mind are “Auditory Erotica.” Listen when you want an auditory thrill ride. Listen alone, unless you are married, then listen with your partner.
The Else – They Might Be Giants – 2007
They Might Be Giants have been in my life since birth. I don’t see how or why they wouldn’t be on my list for this decade. Sure TMBG have had many albums this decade, but this one by far was my favorite. Best track on the album is about a fictional ancient rock band called “The Mesopotamians.” Listen and Geek Out.
We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank – Modest Mouse – 2007
I’ve just noticed that almost all of my picks have been based on my affinity for and comparison to other bands. Modest Mouse with their modern eclectic style reminds me so much of The Talking Heads style, with all the art house grooves. This album was a breath of fresh air to a rapidly stagnating music scene in 2007.
Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend – 2008
All my regular readers know of my love for Vampire Weekend. The phrase “All killer no filler” is very frequently used when describing this recording. I typically listen to this album after a long week of work. I turn the volume to “11″ and sing a long all the way home. Whenever I run into traffic I turn it onto track 5, “M79″ and put it on repeat; it keeps me calm during the stressful times.
The Seldom Seen Kid – Elbow – 2008
I’ve been sitting here for 20 minutes trying to figure out what to say about this album. Other than “Viva La Vida” this has been the best album to come out of UK since Pink Floyd “Pulse.” I have nothing to say, except just listen to it. There is something different about Elbow and their sound… something unusual, but everything seems to work. I can’t explain it. I think it’s worth the $9.99 on iTunes. Heck it’s worth the $30.00 import through amazon.co.uk.
LeftRightLeftRightLeft – Coldplay – 2009
Coldplay’s first live album, and it’s 100% free. I figured that I had to have at least one live album on my decade list. Jane and I earlier this year went to see Coldplay, and they rocked so hard. (Sidenote: Elbow was their opening band, and rocked HARDER than Coldplay.) LeftRightLeftRightLeft conveys the chemistry that Coldplay has with their audience. They are wonderful showmen and excellent musicians.
Hope You Enjoyed,
Ry The Robot
List #1. Movies of 2000-2009
A couple weeks ago, during my commute to and from work, I realized that we are weeks away from the next decade. I figured that this is a prime time to collect and review a list of my favorite things from the 2000-2009 decade. I have four lists so far, and I’ll do a post for each. All of these movies are on my list for a reason. Not all of them are blockbusters, nor have all of them received the recognition they deserve. After you read my list you might say to yourself “Robot where are the Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Pirates, Bourne and the Ocean Trilogies?” I consider them gimmes. They are huge Blockbusters, and some of my favorite movies, yet the movies on my list I wanted to highlight for my review. This will be the same process for the rest of my lists. I will also be adding Honorable Mentions. These are other films that I love from the selected year. I think that I’d even be able to write a paragraph for each of those movies if I didn’t possess the will power to cut of my list to ten movies.
O Brother, Where Art Thou? – 2000
Why? Well this movie is what you get when you mix an all-star cast, Homer’s Odyssey, set in the 1930′s, and the Coen Brothers. This is one of those movies that you watch when you are home sick and you want to go on an adventure.
Honorable mentions from this year: Chicken Run, Remember the Titans, U-571, and Chocolat.
The Dish – 2001
Why? A movie that didn’t receive the amount of recognition that it should have. A giant dish out in the middle of a sheep field trying to bounce the moon landing signal half way around the world. A great story about what happened on the other side of the world when the Earth really stood still.
Honorable Mentions from this year: The Mummy Returns, Beautiful Mind, Monsters Inc.
Couldn’t find a movie during 2002 that fits this list.
Honorable Mentions from this year: The Importance of being Ernest, Catch Me if You Can, The Rookie.
Master and Commander – 2003
Why? This is the first movie I saw after returning from Italy. I am honestly surprised that this movie didn’t win more than just two Academy Awards. Sound and Cinematography in this film were worthy, but so was costume, acting, director. A great fictional story about a non-fictional reality. Many thought that this film could never be translated from book to movie but they were wrong.
Honorable Mentions from this year: The Italian Job, Finding Nemo, Big Fish.
The Incredibles – 2004
Why? As you can tell from this list, is that I love comic book action movies, and I’m a big kid. I love the X-men movies, but the acting and story lack…. a lot. Yet this movie has it all. Death defying leaps and explosions that could never be done in live action movies. The part that I love best is that when Cambria grows up she will, hopefully, enjoy this movie as much as I do, and this will be her indoctrination into geek and nerdom.
Honorable Mentions from this year: National Treasure, I,Robot, Danny Deckchair, Hero
Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit – 2005
Why? British Comedy in claymation. I’ve been a huge fan of Wallace and Gromit for years, and I’m just happy that Dream Works was able to make this into a feature length film.
Honorable Mentions from this year: Mr. and Mrs. Smith, The Lion,The Witch,and The Wardrobe, Walk the Line.
Casino Royal – 2006
Why? Again, I’ve been a huge fan of Bond for years, and I was so happy and first on board with the changing of Bond from Brosnan to Craig. I am a strong believer in the reinvention of and resurrection of movie series. If production companies write themselves into corners… give up and start over. Make it the way you should have years ago. With the entrance of Craig we lose a lot of the comic campiness from the earlier Bonds, and we finally bring it into the new Millennium.
Honorable Mentions from this year: Cars, Nacho Libre, Over the Hedge.
Hot Fuzz – 2007
Why? Simon Pegg is a comic genius, and it doesn’t hurt to have Nick Frost at your side, and Edgar Wright as the Director; why wouldn’t this movie succeed? The chemistry between Simon, Nick, and Edgar has been evident since Spaced and Shaun of the Dead. The tag line in the trailer says it all for this movie, “From the guys who’ve seen every action film ever.” It is the action film that action films dream about.
Honorable Mentions from this year: Stardust, Amazing Grace, Once.
Iron Man – 2008
Why? Finally a Comic based Movie from Marvel that was AWESOME! X-Men, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man all OK, but not great. With Iron Man it was the first Marvel film written and produced with in the Marvel Studios. The Acting was great, the movie never missed an action beat, and the story felt like Stan Lee himself wrote the story, with modern twists.
Honorable Mentions from this year: KungFu Panda, Quantum of Solace, Speed Racer
The Dark Knight – 2008
Why? There has never been a Batman sequel that hasn’t sucked, until now. This was the best movie to come out in 2008. The aspect of the movie that won me over was the dynamic between Batman and the Joker. The writing in this movie brought out the true philosophies, systems, fears, and ideas of the characters. You truly have the black and white, good versus evil power struggle that lacks in most movies, and even novels.The Joker isn’t just a funny guy is creepy makeup, he is depicted as Batman’s true philosophical opposite. Hands down best sequel ever. Yes, even better than Back to the Future 2, Temple of Doom, and Empire Strikes Back.
I added a second movie from 2008 to make the movie list an even ten movies.
Star Trek – 2009
Why? This goes back to my love for resurrecting and recreating series. Sure this dives deeper into the mythos, and origin of this 4o year old story than anyone or thing has gone before, but it does it in an intelligent way. The writers made the jump from destroying ties to the previous origin story to the “alternate reality” story line seamlessly. J.J. Abrams took a huge leap with this story and this type of production. I think he passed with flying colors and I hope they ask him back for the sequel. I can’t think of any one better to bring this rookie cast back for a strong sophomore effort. Oh, and before I forget Rachel Nichols as an Orion…. HOT HOT HOT HOT HOT!
Honorable Mentions from this year: Up, Taken, Push, The Fantastic Mr. Fox.
Hope you enjoyed my decade of movies,
Ciao Ciao Ciao,
Ry The Robot.
Sorry, that it’s been forever since my last post, but I have one of the best excuses ever. I’ve become a dad over the last month.
That’s Jane, Baby and Me.
Baby turns one month tomorrow. She is growing up way too fast. I mean she already has her own Facebook page. It seems like only yesterday that Jane and I were in the urgent care facility, and she was complaining about Gal stones issues, and it turned out to be pregnancy. Fast Forward 9 months and you get Jane, who at this time really let herself go. No seriously I have pictures to prove it.
Then 24 hours after that picture was taken we have Jane and Me rushing to the hospital.
Then shortly after that we have this cute little bundle of happiness name Cambria in our lives.
She is by far the sweetest and most dear thing to me in my life since I met Jane. As for the name, I bet a lot of you reading this are like Cambria, pretty and unique, and to that I say I know we love it. For those wondering on pronunciation its Cambria like She CAME in through the bathroom window, not Cambria like Camilla or Camshaft.
How’s mom doing? Jane is happy, a bit sleep deprived but happy. I’m about that same as always, except since Cambria came into our lives I’ve noticed more and more gray hair.
Well until next time,
Ry the Robot