This was my first climb of the year, and I was experiencing again in all its perfection the joy of alpine life, a joy unparalleled, pervading body and soul, different from all other human joys, compounded of countless almost indefinable sensations – sensations begotten of changing scenes, the lightness of the air, the solitude which is about us and the peace which is within us; of the sense of height, the expectation of danger, the thrill of freedom…”
- Guido Rey, on the joy of climbing
We’re well into February, but here’s a list of my favorite films of the past year anyway. There are a bunch of movies I sadly haven’t seen yet, like Martha Marcy May Marlene, Young Adult, and A Dangerous Method, and ones that are so unbelievably awful I wish I could unsee. Like Midnight in Paris.
Here are the ones that made the cut:
Just watched this one last night. Wish I’d seen it on the big screen. The brutality, the filters, the elevator kiss, the music. Ryan Gosling just keeps getting better and better. Carey Mulligan is so quietly wonderful – she offers one my favorite moments; she lightly touches her lips just after he leaves her apartment for the first time. That subtle, tiny detail says so much. One of the best movies I’ve seen all year.
- Jane Eyre
Brilliant acting. After seeing this, I could watch Mia Wasikowska in anything. She is amazing.
I love that Melissa McCarthy is finally being recognized for the hilarious comedian that she is (she was Gilmore Girls‘ Sookie after all), but Kristen Wiig killed it. She had me at penis impersonation. And then she tugged my heart strings.
Mike Mills + Ewan McGregor + Christopher Plummer + Mélanie Laurent = beautiful, tender and funny. Ewan McGregor totally surprised me.
- The Descendants
Great story, great characters. I like seeing George Clooney play a regular dude. Bonus points for all the Kauai love.
- Cedar Rapids
I like Ed Helms, and I like Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
I’m going to ignore all the inane crap LVT said. He made a harrowing, breathtaking film. Kinda felt like I was holding a ViewMaster, looking at a tragic, panoramic oil painting, slide by slide. Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg are stunning.
- Crazy, Stupid, Love.
It was pretty damn funny, I might have cried a little, I can’t help rooting for Steve Carell, and I’m equally smitten with Emma Stone and Gosling’s abs. I really loved this one.
Hands down the most disturbing movie I saw all year, and I wanted to hate it. I couldn’t shake it for days, weeks maybe. But, as difficult as it was to watch – and it’s definitely not for the faint, it became harder and harder to hate.
Sometimes we forget that humans are animals. If we’re hurting so deeply that there is no way to talk about it, maybe there’s no way to evolve past the pain. Maybe there’s no place for that pain to go but back from where it came.
Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan gave such haunting performances. The line that stuck with me most is spoken by Mulligan’s character:
“We’re not bad people, we just come from a bad place.”
As a front-end web developer, it’s my job to keep up on the latest web trends and technologies. It’s one of the reasons I love what I do: there’s a steady stream of new stuff to learn.
Way back in the day, I bookmarked web design & development resources, meticulously dragging sites into skill-specific bookmark folders (CSS, jQuery, Design, etc.), but that quickly became an unmanageable mess, and an impossible way to digest information.
Cue my obsessively curated reading lists in Google Reader. To date, I have 15 folders in my Reader, pulling in everything from fashion to science to web dev blog feeds.
My web folder is a one-stop shop for web resources and inspiration, and provides a breath of fresh air when I need a break from work, or a headful of brain candy.
Here are my favorite web design & development reads:
- A List Apart
Cross-disciplinary journal for web people
- 456 Berea Street
Great front-end development resource, including a lot of good standards and accessibility tips
- Atomic Robot Design
- Code as Craft
Process and tech posts by the ever-growing engineering team at Etsy
Web design & dev articles and tutorials about latest technologies
- CSS Tricks
HTML,CSS and jQuery tutorials, demos, musings by Chis Coyier
- Denise Jacobs
Writings about CSS and web standards by web designer Denise Jacobs
Web design and development articles and tutorials
- Inspect Element
Web design and development blog with articles, tutorials, etc. by Tom Kenny
- Lea Verou
Tons of demos, explanations & musings about latest technologies by front-end rockstar Lea Verou
- Line 25
Tutorials, design freebies, design showcases
- Little Big Details
Users submit examples of creative and innovative UI and UX pieces across the Interwebs
Tutorials and showcases for designers and developers, everything from Photoshop to Ajax
- One Extra Pixel
Inspiration, design and development articles
Meagan Fisher’s blog about life, design, and building web sites
- Pattern Tap
UI pattern library
UI pattern library with useful explanations
- Quirks Mode
- Six Revisions
Tutorials, articles and freebies for designers and developers
Blog by Amy Hoy, coder and designer extraordinaire
- Smashing Magazine
Huge inventory of coding & UX tutorials and aricles, and design freebies, showcases, inspiration
Web design and development tips, tricks, bookmarks and musings by Jonathon Snook.
- Stephanie Hobson
Posts about CSS, life stuff, and web stuff
Object-oriented CSS (OOCSS) – among other things – guru Nicole Sullivan’s blog
So excited – the rest of my winter reading arrived! Man, I love memoirs. And yeah, the ones I read tend toward the harrowing and tragic, but there is also resilience and hope. So there! :)
I read Lidia Yuknavitch’s amazing amazing amazing The Chronology of Water last week, but I read it on Dan’s Kindle. I needed to get my wrinkly hands on the real, tangible book so I can pore through the prose more easily and cozily. I have to say, even though I’m all for the convenience & immediacy e-book readers offer, I am a lover of art objects.
Nothing beats curling up on the couch with a book: leafing through its pages, the smell of the paper, the sound of the page curl, turning it over in your hands to study the cover and read about the author, the respite you reach with each new chapter – a white expanse with floating words – a moment to breathe, to contemplate the words you just read.
Maybe it’s akin to the difference between owning the print of a beautiful piece of artwork and owning the original. You can see the texture in a print, but you can’t feel it. You can’t smell the paint. You can’t see light react to it.
Sure, I’m never going to own a handwritten book by my favorite author. Or a typed version. Or an original manuscript file. But a book is an entity. A thing in the world. Pages of words you can hold in your hand. Pages you can flag with your thumb, pages with margins you can fill with your own handwritten notes. Pages you can flip to by memory, just by spending time with the weight of the book.
I’m romanticizing, I know… Anyways! Here’s my winter reading list:
- Drunk by Noon by Jennifer L. Knox
- The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel by Amy Hempel
- How to Climb 5.12 by Eric J. Horst (I had to sneak a climbing book into the mix – the title is cheesy, but it’s really good so far)
- How to Die in Paris: A Memoir by Naturi Thomas
- History of a Suicide: My Sister’s Unfinished Life by Jill Bialosky
- The Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch
Fred Armisen & Carrie Brownstein are so obnoxious and difficult to watch in Portlandia, but they leave me in stitches. So smart, stupid, and weird all at once.
Ever since Everwood ended, I’ve missed seeing Emily VanCamp on the small screen. Thankfully she’s back with Revenge, going head-to-head with Madeleine Stowe, making for some good old-fashioned, unabashedly soapy, delicious drama.
Captivated by Birdy’s Bon Iver cover. Such a beautiful, wise-beyond-her-years voice. I think she was 14 when she first recorded this. I love that she still wears braces.