Wednesday, December 31, 2008

In The Final Moments Of 2008

2008 is coming to a close. Laura is on her way home from work, a tad early because it's been snowing pretty hard all morning. Mike & Andrea are somewhere between here & Philly, hopefully. When they all arrive we will begin our New Years celebration which will consist of fried foods, alcohol & fireworks in the snow. Could be a disaster.

But in the meantime...

Some Finer Moments Of 2008

  • Finding our first home. It was a long, strenuous search, but the second we walked thru the front door we knew this was the place for us. When you know, you know.

  • Buying our first home. It was a long, strenuous closing, tying loose ends, having mini panic attacks, dealing with inadequate agents & seemingly hesistant sellers, but in the end the papers were signed and the keys were handed over. Seriously, if not one of the happiest, definitely one of most relieving days of my life.

  • Everything that goes along with owning your first home. Cooking in our own kitchen. Burning wood in your own fireplace. Even cleaning your own toilet. Thrilling!

  • Giants winning the Super Bowl in the biggest upset in sports history.

  • Hot honey chamomile tea with a splash of cream and sugar

  • Accidentally and all of the sudden having four new kittens. We haven't totally gotten over losing Abner in the yard, but Alps, Obaldi, Høgni & L'Schtuppe have become amazing additions to the clan. Now if they'd just stop sleeping on our faces.

  • Tom Robbins Skinny Legs and All. This is the 3rd time I've started this book from its beginning, I kept getting halfway thru and then got busy or lost it to Laura, but this time I am nearly finished, and this book is blowing me away. Could be a life altering moment when I get to the last page, when that seventh veil drops. Oooh so good.

  • Trip to Ohio. Going to Lake Eerie, I've never wanted to just stay in the water like that before. I could've swam to Canada. And then working the farm was a rousing experience. And you can't help but be motivated by celebrating someone's 60th year of marriage.

  • Getting out to a Mets game before they tore Shea down, and even tho they lost pretty miserably, it was still pretty frigin sweet.

  • The Dark Knight. Are you kidding me? I've seen this thing like 8 times already. Even bought the DVD and I don't buy DVDs (anymore). I can't wait to see what happens next.

  • Lost. We are still deciding whether we will watch week to week for season 5 or wait til it comes out on DVD next Christmas. We don't like waiting.

  • Teaching Guardsmen in London. Nicest group of kids I've taught in a long while, keeps us dreaming about the big move. We'll see how 2009 goes.

Thing I'm Looking Forward To In 2009

  • Tom Robbins new novel B Is For Beer.

  • new music from Animal Collective, Ben Kweller, Sholi, Neko Case, Morrissey, Antony & the Johnsons, M. Ward, Psychic Ills, Loney Dear, Andrew Bird, The Decemberists & PJ Harvey, woo!

  • investing $$$ in our house in the form of a new expanded kitchen, relocated bathroom, a spacious food pantry and a luxurious mudroom

  • getting out to a concert

  • an Emerald Marquis reunion

  • heading back to the UK to teach again, possibly with a travel companion

Music Of 2008

This is going to be hard this year because of the move. There are so many albums that came out before we packed everything up that got lost in the boxes and the buying of the new computer. So many albums I was looking forward to hearing from favorites that either didn't impress immediately living up to their former work or I had better grapes to grind. So this is a bit of a tragic list and cannot be trusted. But it is what it is and all I can do is try better next year, which would be tomorrow.

Alas... this year the full 100

100) The Postmarks - By The Numbers
99) Little Joy - s/t
98) The Raconteurs - Consolers Of The Lonely
97) Scarlett Johansson - Anywhere I Lay My Head
96) The Felice Brothers - Tonight At The Arizona
95) Titus Andronicus - The Airing Of Greivances
94) Small Sur - We Live In Houses Made Of Wood
93) Love As Laughter - Holy
92) White Blue & Yellow Clouds - Introducing...
91) Marching Band - Spark Large
90) Benoît Pioulard - Temper
89) David Grubbs - An Optimist Notes The Dusk
88) Wild Beasts - Limbo, Panto
87) Kieran Hebden & Steve Reid - NYC
86) Abe Vigoda - Skeleton
85) Motoi Sakuraba - Forest Of Glass
84) Ryan Adams & The Cardinals - Carinology
83) No Kids - Come Into My House
82) Robert Ashley - Tap Dancing In The Sand
81) The Lake Situation - s/t
80) Marnie Stern - This Is It And I Am It...
79) Pit Er Pat - High Time
78) The Mountain Goats - Heretic Pride
77) The Stills - Oceans Will Rise
76) Wolf Parade - At Mount Zoomer
75) Stars Like Fleas - The Ken Burns Effect
74) Tapes N Tapes - Walk It Off
73) My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges
72) J. Tillman - Vacilando Territory Blues
71) The Shaky Hands - Lunglight
70) Dan Wallace - Reattachment
69) Black Mountain - In The Future
68) Margot & The Nuclear So & So's - Animal/Not Animal
67) Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
66) Matt Baldwin - Paths Of Ignition
65) Gang Gang Dance - Saint Dymphna
64) Okkervil River - The Stand Ins
63) Megapuss - Surfing
62) Douglas Armour - The Light Of A Golden Day
61) The Breeders - Mountain Battles
60) Land Of Talk - Some Are Lakes
59) Jolie Holland - The Living And The Dead
58) Squarepusher - Souvenir
57) Ponytail - Ice Cream Spiritual
56) The Interiors - s/t
55) Ray LaMontagne - Gossip In The Grain
54) The M's - Real Close Ones
53) The Long Blondes - Couples
52) Ratatat - Lp3
51) Ten Kens - s/t
50) White Denim - Exposion
49) Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson - s/t
48) Bloc Party - Intimacy
47) Uzi & Ari - Headworms
46) Travis - Ode To J. Smith
45) Deerhoof - Offend Maggie
44) Peter Bjorn & John - Seaside Rock
43) Mates Of State - Rearrange Us
42) Jennifer O'Connor - Here With Me
41) Department Of Eagles - In Ear Park
40) Mahjongg - Kontpab
39) Blitzen Trapper - Furr
38) Brendan Canning - Something For All Of Us
37) The Aliens - Luna
36) {{{Sunset}}} - The Glowing City
35) Múm - Go Go Smear The Poison Ivy
34) Shearwater - Rook
33) Dr. Dog - Fate
32) Lis Er Stille - Apathobvious
31) Emiliana Torrini - Me And Armini
30) Benevento Russo Duo - Play Pause Stop
29) Jóhann Jóhannsson - Fordlândia
28) Lambchop - OH
27) Born Ruffians - Red Yellow & Blue
26) These New Puritans - Beat Pyramid
25) Human Highway - Moody Motorcycle
24) Au - Verbs
23) Destroyer - Trouble In Dreams
22) The Week That Was - s/t
21a) Thao Nguyen - We Brave Bee Stings And All
21b) Dodos - Visiter

20) Bound Stems - The Family Afloat
image 9

19) The Drift - Memory Drawings
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18) Inara George - An Invitation
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17) Islands - Arms Way
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16) Kaki King - Dreaming Of Revenge
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15) Hauschka - Ferndorf
image 24

14) Mystery Jets - Twenty One

13) Cold War Kids - Loyalty To Loyalty
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12) Beck - Modern Guilt
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11) Sigur Rós - Með Suð í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust
image 21

10) Of Montreal - Skeletal Lamping
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9) Polar Bear - s/t
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8) Juana Molina - Un Día
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7) TV On The Radio - Dear Science
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6) Eugene McGuinness - s/t
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5) Fleet Foxes - s/t
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4) Deerhunter - Microcastle
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3) Vampire Weekend - s/t
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2) Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid

1) The Walkmen - You & Me
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Nicely done boys.

Here are some bands that put out albums this year I'm sure would be on top of my list, had I gotten around to hearing what they had to say, but fair is fair:

The Impossible Shapes, A Silver Mt. Zion, Don Caballero, Augie March, Mason Proper, Oneida, The Black Angels, Apollo Sunshine, The Rosebuds, Grails, Matthew Herbert, Anathallo, Ben Folds, Love Is All, Why?, Late Of The Pier, The Dears, Holy Hail, Ani DiFranco, Brightblack Morning Light, Portishead, Evangelicals, +/-, Wilderness, British Sea Power, Jeff Hanson, Annuals, Mogwai, No Age, R.E.M., Icy Demons, Acid Mothers Temple, The Spinto Band, Golden Animals, Dungen, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, Hot Chip, The Little Ones, Rachael Yamagata, Mount Eerie, The Toadies... I could go on all day... a crime really.

The year is not long enough, or my ears aren't big enough. First resolution of 2009... Get bigger ears.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bang Instead Of A Blip

The past few days have been a blur.


Not a blur... maybe even a eclipse. Just strange stuff. We were invaded by Canadians, were woken by severe explosions in the sky, got dutch ovened by a kitten, found ourselves more than just a little inebriated at 6 in the evening, had a joint/reverse déjà vu, and one night even broke out into an impromptu dance party of sorts. Not good.

But now... now is the eve of a new year. So let me put out a few photos from the past days and move on... Resolutely!

Oh Yayoi, you've officially become evil

Where it all began

(Does this need a caption? Would it even help?)


We were auditioning them for Superstars of Dance

We're trying to end the new year with a bang instead of a blip.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Bing & Bowie

I was coerced by an outside force to look this up...

and now I share it with you.

Friday, December 26, 2008

A Very Estler Christmas

I think we were asleep more on Christmas Day than we were awake. And that's fine. It's what old people do on Christmas. We had the traditional eggs goldenrod for breakfast, this time improved upon with the addition of rye toast as opposed to Maier's white. Napped. Ted & Carol stopped by. Napped. Watched The Dark Knight with Mom, Dad, Dani & Vic, who had never seen it so.... good time there. Napped. Got around to exchanging gifts around 7:30. Napped. Managed to piece together A Christmas Story, in which for some reason no scene ever seems to get old. Napped. Played a little Mad Gab, which is a good late night game for us because you barely have to remember which team your on. Napped.

My mom asked for pots for Christmas

I opted to forgo caffeine on Christmas & drank the hot turkey broth instead

One of the more endearing moments of the day

Eggy goodness

Christmas introspection/Christmas contempt

Holly & Jolly

Santa blur

Christmas lights

Reindeer lamping

So, another stellar Estler Christmas. See ya next year.

Not Enough Eyes

somewhere in Virginia
trying not to go insane
December 26th, 2006 @ 4:27 pm
[exactly 2 years ago]

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Mixtape> 12.18 thru 12.25

Merry Mixmas

  1. The Mantovani Orchestra - Christmas Medley #1
  2. Human Highway - The Sound
  3. Matt Surowiec - Ain't No Hole In The Washtub
  4. The Postmarks - 11:59
  5. Frank Sinatra - The Christmas Waltz
  6. Antlers - White Fur
  7. Juba Dance - Adams & Wabash
  8. Nat 'King' Cole - O' Holy Night
  9. Benevento Russo Duo - Brtbts
  10. Sufjan Stevens - Come On! Let's Boogey To The Elf Dance!
  11. Tall Firs - Hippies
  12. Whoville - Welcome Christmas
  13. Little Joy - Keep Me In Mind
  14. Vince Guaraldi Trio - Skating
  15. Land Of Talk - The Man Who Breaks Things
  16. Speedy Gonzales - The Hat I Got For Christmas Is Too Big
  17. The Hush Sound - Six (Interlude)
  18. Okkervil River - Calling And Calling My Ex
  19. The Lake Situation - The Great Snow Parade

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It's That Time Of Year

The scene is set. I have frosted window panes. My candles are gleaming inside. My candy canes are painted and on the tree.

Laura gets home soon. We'll exchange gifts in front of the tree and an open fire, have some holiday grub and brave the weathers as we head off to Jackson for a little Estler style Christmas Eve-ing. Tomorrow is all about hanging out with the family and drinking eggnog. It's gonna be a merry Christmas.

Wishing you & yours...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Blizzard '08

This is why we moved here!


To be snowed in and shut out from the world. Didn't come at the best time, but really when would that be. I had to bail out of my trip to Alabama (sorry Whit) but we got the job done anyhow (ahh the miracle of modern technology - I'm hoping to someday teach a whole show from underneath my covers). And Laura had to call out of work not once but twice! It just wasn't happening. She really did try but after the car got stuck in front of the house for the 3rd time we decided to call it a loss.

Abominable Snowman sighting


Dani & Vic were on their way east for their holiday visit and managed to get in just before the snow hit, and to their surprise, we were there waiting for them. We locked ourselves up and tried to stay warm. Alcohol helped. And fried food.

the fridge was full


It snowed quite a bit. We caught up, ate Christmas cookies, drank a few bottles of eggnog (Pennsylvania Dutch of course) and settled down for a long winters nap. Good to see them.


When it did let up briefly we got brave and headed outside to tube a bit, one of the benefits of living across the street from ski slopes. More fun than I thought it would be, plus it prompted Laura to give me one of my Christmas gifts early. Would've been mean to watch me freeze knowing that box sitting under the tree would have saved me from hypothermia.

That's Vic in the pink hat, Laura in the middle and Dani in the far lane


It was getting cold & beginning to snow again so we settled in with a remarkable dinner of cornish hen, stuffing and roasted asparagus & cauliflower...


...and turned on the Giants game. This was for homefield in the playoffs. By the time we got to cookies & eggnog the game had gotten really good and they were able to pull it out in overtime after a miraculous two point conversion that tied the game at 28. I feel good about this post season.

So we survivied our first snow-in. Laura went back to work today and Dani & Vic headed off to the shore to scout out some venues for September. We learned a few lessons. We need new tires. Or a tank maybe. And have to make sure we always have plenty of firewood. We'll be more prepared for the next blizzard. Which may be soon. It's snowing right now.