Friday, December 31, 2010

winter winds

I'm taking a break for an obligatory New Year's post.

Two thousand and ten. What a year! At this time last year it nearly didn't register to me that the year was about to end. I had to work both on New Year's eve and the first day of 2010. I didn't have time to reflect on what 2009 meant to me, or to plan goals for 2010. Honestly, I had such a dismal end to 2009, that it didn't seem worth it to think about what lay ahead. Maybe it's good that I did it that way...I didn't have a lot of expectations for 2010, so it was easy to exceed them! And boy did this year come through for me. Here are some highlights:

January: Finished up my grad school applications and got accepted to a science teaching certification program. I spent most of my time digging my car out of the snow.

February: Biggest month of the invited to recruitment weekends at two research universities (I only went to one) and was subsequently accepted into their program. And then I went on a great trip with a best friend to Spain! I thawed out, went to the beach, ate my weight in churros, drank dark coffee and danced all night.

April: I left my job!! It was such a relief to get out of there. Then I saw The Flaming Lips for the first time in KC. It was a little ridiculous how sad I was to leave the city that has nurtured my adulthood, but I had to move.

May: ROAD TRIP! Two of my best friends and I went on a great little trip to Notre Dame, Chicago, and then back to KC. Epic fun.

June: I moved into my very own apartment which was pretty terrifying. I also got back into the lab, which at first was daunting. I started second-guessing my choice to go to school.

August: School started! I was really glad to get back into classes again and I started a really great rotation.

September: I had a wedding and I saw The Flaming Lips again, all in the same weekend. Pretty spectacular.

October: Also an epic month...I saw Sufjan, went to another amazing wedding, and Fall Break Aught Ten (Road Trip) to OU.

December: Finished up classes and rotation #2 (not as good as the others). I was so excited and relieved to pass my classes; I'm really starting to feel like I can do this.

And now here we are in 2011. I had a really great New Year's Eve with one of my best friends. There was a fun band playing in Columbia and we danced like fools! To be honest, I don't know what to say about this upcoming year...I know I'm going to do some traveling (DC here I come!) and I will choose the lab in which I'll do my thesis work. I want to read more for pleasure. And study more on a regular schedule.

Other than that I'm keeping an open mind. Here's to the new year!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

a top five

I decided to go with a list this time around. My top five female albums (I have to make the distinction that I only chose solo acts, not bands fronted by a woman or duos...those will have to be separate lists). Here they are, in no particular order:

1. Carole King- Tapestry
If there is any woman out there who has never listened to this album, the time to fix that is right now. Not only is this one of my favorite female albums, it's near the top of my list in general. King has a way of describing love and yearning that I'm positive can resonate with anyone. I didn't know this until recently, but Feel Like a Natural Woman was actually co-written by King on this album and Aretha Franklin made a big hit out of it after the fact. Top tracks: I Feel the Earth Move, Beautiful, Where You Lead.

2. Neko Case- Blacklisted
Where to start with Neko Case...? I guess her voice. Case has this sort of deep, soulful voice, with just a touch of rasp. It's so full and powerful that nearly anything she sings sounds amazing. Add to that her lyrics about life and its tragic sort of beauty (I know this sounds a little emo, but trust me, it's SO not) and you've got gold. This is an album for any mood. Top tracks: Deep Red Bells, Pretty Girls, Runnin' Out of Fools.

3. Regina Spektor- Begin to Hope
I love Regina Spektor because she comes up with such unconventional songs, both in content and structure. She uses her voice as the most unconventional instrument, making strange sounds that add a different layer to each track. I think at times she gets a little underestimated because it sounds sort of precious, but I think there's a kind of genius in it. Top tracks: Samson, Lady, Dusseldorf [bonus version].

4. Fiona Apple- Tidal
Just like with Ms. Case...what needs to be said about Fiona Apple? She too has a deep and soulful voice, but it's also sexy and jazzy. Her lyrics about love and loss are really poetic and mature, especially considering the fact that she was 19 when the album was released and younger when she wrote them. The video for Criminal is just as iconic as the song. Top tracks: Criminal, Shadowboxer, The First Taste.

5. Alanis Morissette- Jagged Little Pill
This album will always be special to me because it was the first cd I ever bought with my own allowance money. At the time I thought I was so subversive because Morissette cussed in the songs and my mom didn't pay attention to the lyrics. I have since
realized a more mature appreciation for this album. There is a lot of anger in these lyrics and I think it's rare to hear a woman that angry in music, but it works well for her. This is the perfect album to blast when you are pissed off at a's cathartic. Top tracks: All I Really Want, You Oughta Know, Hand in My Pocket.

In other news, I have my enzymology final tomorrow and then biochemistry on Thursday. Then my first semester of grad school is over. BOOM. ROASTED.