Wednesday, December 31, 2008


I know I've been promising Top 10 lists but it's not going to happen. I gave them some thought and have made out some lists in my notebook but I realized it's silly for me to do it. Why just have another post full of lists? And yes, I realize the irony of saying that in a post that's going to be a list/stats. I just need to make sure that I post actual content next year, actual thoughts about what I'm listening to and reading and so forth. Maybe that will make my lists seemed earned next year. Or not.

Anyway, I'm going to rundown my year in pop culture consumption now...

I read 48 books in 2008, meeting the goal I set at the beginning of the year. I also abandoned 7 books this year, reading of 500 pages of those books combined. It was a restless year in a lot of ways, I guess. Last year I read 44 books, so I managed to increase my total again (not so sure that will happen in 2009). I read 26 books in the first half of the year and 22 in the second. I read 10 books by Kage Baker, 3 that George R.R. Martin wrote or at least had a hand in, and 2 each by Michael Chabon, Gregory Frost, and Jeffrey Ford. There were quite a few story collections and a fair amount of non-fiction for me. I average 4 books read each month and it was a good year of reading.

I read 264 short stories in 2008. I'm sure I abandoned some stories this year but I didn't keep track of that stat this year. My high was 50 stories read in November and my low was July, when I didn't read any stories. I read 144 stories in the first half of the year and 120 in the second half. The stories came from 9 issues of Asimov's, 10 issues of F&SF, and 11 story collections. My average stories read per month was 22. Last year I read 216 stories and averaged 18 a month.

I read 83 comics in 2008, 35 of which were trades (and 10 of those were rereads). I read 62 of those in the first half of the year (24 trades) and only 21 in the second half (11 trades). It was a year when I read the entirety of Y: The Last Man and Zot! (well, close to it). I read 14 comics twice - in February and again in June (but in June it was all trades as opposed to only 1 trade and 13 singles in Feb.). I read 2 comics each in September, November, and December (and in each case, it was 2 trades). My average comics read per month was 6.92 (2.92 for trades). Last year I read 119 comics (27 trades) and average 9.92 per month (2.25 for trades).

I'd like to pause and just note the downward trend in all of my reading in the second half of the year. Not a surprise when you consider I was working 2 jobs and taking 6 credit hours from the end of August on.

I bought, downloaded, or received 89 CDs in 2008. 68 of those were downloaded and 4 of the grand total were EPs; I also downloaded 13 songs. March was the biggest month with 10 new CDs and September was the smallest with only 4 new CDs (though one was a double disc set). I got 50 CDs in the first half of the year and only 39 in the second half. My average CDs per month was 7.42. Last year I got 110 CDs and my average was 9.17.

I saw 9 movies in the theater in 2008. June was the biggest month with 3 and May was the second with 2; the rest of the time I either saw 1 or none. My average movies seen was .75. Last year I saw 14 movies in the theater and had an average of 1.17.

I guess my overall trend for 2008 was one of decreased pop culture consumption. I only increased 2 of my 5 categories over last year (books and short stories) and even those tailed off in the second half of the year. Again, it's not a surprise. I don't go into 2009 expecting things to change and I don't really have any goals for my consumption other than to enjoy what I do consume and to write about it with some depth.

Happy New Year!

Like last year, I'm going to do a roundup for Dec. and then another one for the whole year, so let's get started...

I read 3 books in December (Things the Grandchildren Should Know; Black Postcards; and The Tales of Beedle the Bard). I also abandoned 2books this month. Last December I read 4+ books.

I read 15 stories in December and those stories came from the Oct./Nov. 2008 issue of Asimov's and The Tales of Beedle the Bard (plus one from the abandoned Just After Sunset). Last Decemeber I read 29 stories.

I read 2 comics in December, both of which were trade paperbacks (and both were Zot! collections as well). Last December I read 8 comics, 2 of which were trades (or OGNs).

I downoladed or received (Christmas presents) 8 CDs in December. Last December I had 11 new CDs.

I did see one movie in the theater this December (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), which I did not do last December.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


My last group of downloads from eMusic in 2008...

The Kills/Midnight Boom
Pavement/Wowee Zowee
Bon Iver/For Emma, Forever Ago
Lightspeed Champion/Falling Off the Lavender Bridge

Last one for 2008. I plan on putting up my year-end top tens and wrap-ups over the next few days and then it's time for another year...

1. Skating/Vince Guaraldi (4)
2. Finer Feelings/Spoon (18)
3. Argonne Limit Co./Centro-Matic (20)
4. Yeah Sapphire/The Hold Steady (14)
5. Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear/Okkervil River (8)
6. Afterword/Rag/M. Ward (20)
7. Broke Me Up/Broken Social Scene Presents: Kevin Drew (7)
8. Stop Breaking Down/The White Stripes (9)
9. Live On/Sloan (7)
10. My Heartbeat's Dying/The Raveonettes (4)

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Christmas break is finally here at the Steiner household; my wife was supposed to be in school the next two days but they were just called off due to the bitter cold (-2 right now) and the chance of a bunch of snow on Tuesday. My brother is flying in on Tuesday and I hope his flight can come in on time and that it doesn't take hours and hours to get him picked up. Other than that, there is a bunch of reading and watching and listening in my immediate future. Oh, and a lot of eating. I do plan on doing some year-end wrap-up posts and then hope to start fresh in 2009. Of course, there is still one more Sunday Shuffle left in 2008 after today. Speaking of today, here's the music...

1. Valerie/Crooked Fingers (2)
2. Poke/Frightened Rabbit (11)
3. Letter From Belgium/The Mountain Goats (18)
4. Open The Door/British Sea Power (4)
5. Spaghetti Western/Hoodoo Gurus (3)
6. Remnants/My Morning Jacket (5)
7. Acid Tongue/Jenny Lewis (6)
8. You Are Free/Mates of State (4)
9. Sugar Never Tasted So Good/The White Stripes (13)
10. Aly, Walk With Me/The Raveonettes (6)

Sunday, December 14, 2008


I am quite overdue for throwing up November's downloads from eMusic, a month where I tried artists that were completely new to me. So, without further ado...

The Gaslight Anthem/The '59 Sound
Army Navy/Army Navy
Little Joy/Little Joy
Haley Bonar/Big Star
Lucero/Rebels, Rougues & Sworn Brothers
Blue Giant/Target Heart

I started and abandoned a couple posts this week, which I guess is progress of sorts. One problem now is that it's been at least 2 weeks since I read the stuff I've been meaning to post about and it gets harder to remember the thoughts I had.

In other news, I am now done with teaching at the Y for a few weeks and I only have 2 finals left to go - I'll be done by Wednesday night. I'm feeling confident about both and I have an A in both classes right now. Can't wait to be done for a few weeks there as well.

Last night was the staff Christmas party for my day job and it was a very nice time.

Now for some music...

1. The Animal World/Grandaddy (11)
2. Abigail/The Broken West (19)
3. Nature Of The Experiment/Tokyo Police Club (13)
4. Broken Window/Arcade Fire (5)
5. Wonderful/Josh Rouse (12)
6. It Covers the Hillsides/Midlake (8)
7. Poke/Frightened Rabbit (9)
8. Reptile Style/Reigning Sound (8)
9. Chanson du Bon Chose/The Mountain Goats (6)
10. Along/Haley Bonar (2)

Sunday, December 07, 2008


I'm trying to shake this malaise I've been feeling, though I've realized that I usually go through a shutdown around Thanksgiving every year. I look forward to it so much and then coming back is so disappointing in a sense. I really wish that I lived closer to my brother and cousins and we could spend more time together. But since the opportunity comes along so rarely, it makes Thanksgiving that much more special.

At this point, I have two weeks left of the day job; one week left of teaching swimming lessons for the session; and one week left of regular college classes with two finals the next week. I am ready for a break.

I still need to get a Christmas list together, though - I've really struggled with it this year. There are a bunch of things I could put on it but I feel so far behind on my life that getting those things would only put me further behind. Yeah, not a big problem but it's something new to me.

Anyway, I'll shut up and finally get to the music. Oh, this time of year I allow the Christmas songs that pop up to go into the mix - there were none last week and we'll see what happens today.

1. Ballad Of Big Nothing/Elliott Smith (21)
2. Great Expectations/The Gaslight Anthem (4)
3. Pretty Bird/Jenny Lewis (4)
4. I Want To Know/Okkervil River (5)
5. When The Angels Will Put Out Their Lights/South San Gabriel (4)
6. No Cars Go/Arcade Fire (14)
7. Bright Lights/Black Mountain (5)
8. Weighted Raft/Portastatic (4)
9. Who You Are/American Music Club (7)
10. Ella/M. Ward (8)