2008 in Statistics

Total Books Read in 2008: 80

  • Number Read in Best Month:15 (December)
  • Number Read in Worst Month:0 (April – The fire really cut down on my reading for a while.)

Total Books Read in 2007: 122

Total Books Read in 2006: 70

Fiction/Non-fiction Split:

2008: 63%/37%

2007: 50%/50%

2006: 59%/41%

Percentage of Books by Women (Overall/Fiction/Non-fiction):

2008: 68%/70%/67%

2007: 60%/57%/68%

2006: 74%/88%/55%

Five Star Books of 2008:
The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir by Kao Kalia Yang
The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry
Bumperboy & The Loud, Loud Mountain by Debbie Huey
The Oxford Project by Stephen Bloom and Peter Feldstein
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Among Other Things, I’ve Taken Up Smoking by Aoibheann Sweeney

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2008 in Statistics

2008 in Review: Life

In easy, blog-survey form! (Totally stolen from another DC blogger).

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?

Bought a house.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I did not make any resolutions last year. This year I am going to set a few goals. (I don’t like to call them resolutions.)

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Not close enough for me to make a quilt, but lots of folks (especially friends from my college days) are having babies.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No.

5. What places did you visit?

Pittsburgh at the end of February/beginning of March to visit Danita and Iris.
Virginia Beach (twice) for Fourth of July and Christmas.
Shenandoah Valley (Virginia) for my birthday.
New Hampshire and Maine for Thanksgiving.

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?

Peace, calm, a stable, boring year.

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

March 12th when the apartment burnt down. March 28th when we closed on the house.

8. What was your biggest achievement(s) of the year?

Getting a fancy new job.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Is it a good or bad sign that I’m having a hard time thinking of one? It was a rough year, but I don’t really feel there was any failure. Maybe a few more “learning experiences” than I would have liked.

Ah, the school bus yellow paint in the guest bedroom! But that was quickly remedied.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

No.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Other than the house? I’m excited about the couch that will be arriving shortly… But in pure practical terms probably the washer/dryer. There was a lot of purchasing this year.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

The friend of my old library director who let two strangers and their dog live in her condo rent free for a few weeks while they got their life and living situation worked out. And all of the coworkers at my old job (and at Jami’s current job) who totally rallied around us after the fire and made that period so much easier with their donations and support.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Sarah Palin, the Yes on Prop 8 folks.

14. Where did most of your money go?

mortgage. school/car debt. buying every single possession over again.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

getting engaged! and the very wonderful, happy reactions of both of our families.

16. What song will always remind you of 2008?

Shelter by Ray Lamontagne
There is this part that goes:
“Listen when
All of this around us’ll fall over
I tell you what we’re gonna do
You will shelter me my love
And I will shelter you”
After the fire (a fews weeks after, when we got new iPods), I used to listen to that song and think: “we will get through this.”

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? happier.
b) thinner or fatter? a few pounds heavier.
c) richer or poorer? richer. less money in the bank, but we own a house!

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

seeing friends, near and far. quilting.

20. How did you spend Christmas last year?

at my parents, with jami.

21. Did you fall in love in 2008?

more and more every day.

22. How many one-night stands?

0

23. What was your favorite TV program?

House.

24. What did you do for your birthday in 2008?

went to a lovely, fancy bed and breakfast in virginia. it was a great birthday.

25. What was the best book you read?

The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry. I have other books I really liked, but this is the one that sticks in my mind the most.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Pandora! So perfect when I want to listen to music while doing chores.

27. What did you want and get?

a home of our own. a democratic president-elect. a christmas tree (sometimes it’s the simple things).

28. What did you want and not get?

the failure of proposition 8.

29. What was your favorite film of this year?

Doubt. I hardly ever go to the movies though.

30. Did you make some new friends this year?

Yes.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

less crises, more vacations.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?

on sale. when you have to rebuy your entire wardrobe, it takes a bit of a nosedive.

33. What kept you sane?

jami. reading. my front porch (and the occasional glass of red wine on it).

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

hillary clinton, then obama. (although tina fey as sarah palin and a very pregnant amy poehler as hillary clinton also made me quite happy).

35. What political issue stirred you the most?

the presidential election and its happy ending.

36. Who did you miss?

all those friends who don’t live in dc.

37. Who was the best new person you met?

all my new neighbors.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.

It’s okay to grow up and be “old” and move onto a different stage of your life. It’s not something to regret, it’s a good, “I’m moving on and doing what makes me happy now” thing.

2008 in Review: Life

Etta

Etta, the first novel by Gerald Kolpan (and another Early Reviewer book) is a winner. In it, Kolpan imagines the life of Etta Place, a “real-life” figure about whom little is known beyond her status as girlfriend of the Sundance Kid. The life Kolpan creates for Etta is perfect – adventurous and complex with a great sprinkling of real historical figures. It’s not the truth, but it’s better than. It’s life at its storytelling best.

Kolpan has done his research. Having just finished a non-fiction book with a chapter on the Harvey Girls, it was interesting to see them pop up again in fictional form. And to see how close to the historical truth the depiction was. One thing that I really like about historical fiction is that it offers you a glimpse of another world. Etta did this for me – and made for a quick and entertaining end of the year read. I would recommend it, if you like historical fiction.

Etta

Why I think A Day Without a Gay stupid

So here’s the deal. I’m a gay. And some gay folks have encouraged other gay folks to call in “gay” to work today as a protest against Proposition 8.

Now I am TOTALLY against Proposition 8, but I think this is stupid.

First of all, 30 states do not provide any protection against employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. So that means calling in gay to work could get you fired. In 30 states. Getting gay people fired really isn’t going to do much to repeal Proposition 8.

Second of all, while I get that the organizers are trying to make a “gay people are everywhere” point, I think that point is better made by actually, well, being everywhere. I think the key to changing people’s minds about things like Proposition 8 is by being your normal, boring, same-sex-loving self around people who might vote against you on a ballot initiative. And where does that happen more than at work? Where else are we around vast numbers of people who may hold very different views than us? Most of us hangout with folks who think, at least somewhat, like us. So go to work, people! I think being out at work is really one of the best “activist” things you can do.

Finally, I don’t need to protest my work. My work had NOTHING to do with the passage of Proposition 8. They didn’t give money. They offer domestic partner benefits (for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples – which is AWESOME). They do great pro bono work on behalf of all sorts of clients, including LGBT groups. Calling in gay to work would only hurt my employer and my colleagues, gay and straight, who would have to pick up my slack. Not cool.

So, in short, protesting Proposition 8 and anti-gay discrimination: GOOD. Day Without A Gay: DUMB.

My two cents.

Why I think A Day Without a Gay stupid