Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Early Birthday Present

Johnny Depp and Tim Burton let me have a peak at my birthday present for next year.

Don't even try to tell me this doesn't look fabulous. Now I just have to wait patiently the next 8 months.

Alice in Wonderland- March 5, 2010

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I married a winner!

Last Wednesday, Landon came home at the end of the day with two prizes/awards. Check him out!
This prize is entitled, "Bug of the Week." I think Landon has mentioned that he is doing testing on this summer. As a tester, he has to find programming flaws, or "bugs." Every week they submit bugs they find and someone is awarded with "Bug of the Week." He finds bugs all the time, but he found an especially good one a couple of weeks ago, and earned his first "Bug of the Week" award!
Here is the second award Landon earned that day. This one came from a lab on campus that he has been working with. They had Landon enter into a conference where he had to submit some kind of prediction... and he won. If you can't tell what he won, here is a closer look.
That's right, an iPod nano! I especially like that the certificate says, "Team Sequoia led by Landon Pratt." He is sharing the iPod with me, which is also nice.
Good job, Landon!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Summer Reading List

One of the benefits of all the time I spend on the bus between Provo and SLC is that I have the opportunity to do quite a bit of reading. I have always loved to read, but with school and all the last number of years, I haven't been able to do as much as I would have liked. Anyways, here are a few of the books I have read so far:

1. War of the Worlds by HG Wells - It looks like I am doing a lot of Science Fiction reading this summer, and what better way to start it off than by reading this Sci Fi classic.  It was a decent book, although a little humorous at times because of the setting.  It was written in the late 1800's so a lot of the technology used to fight off the invading aliens was pretty obsolete and archaic by today's standards.  It was a little strange to read a science fiction novel that predated the automobile and that, in the novel, our most effective weaponry was horse-drawn artillery and ironclads.

2. Ubik by Phillip K. Dick - Science Fiction book #2.  This one is a little bit weirder, so if you can't handle a little weirdness, don't try to read this one.  One of the basic ideas behind the book is that a technology has been developed to allow for a kind of "half-life" once a person has died.  If action is taken quickly the individual can be frozen and put into a kind of dream like state where loved ones are capable of communicating with them for a few days a year.  Pretty crazy. 

3. The Shining by Stephen King - I had been told that this book was pretty scary, and even though the movie definitely fits that description, I was sceptical that any book could really be that scary.  I have to say, it did a pretty good job of getting into my head.  I would look over my shoulder at night to make sure nothing was lurking after reading The Shining.  I enjoyed the book quite a bit. I felt that the author did a great job of bringing the reader into the psyche of each of his characters.  The book does contain a fair amount of bad language though, so reader beware.

Coming Attractions:

Neuromancer by William Gibson
A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Odd Hours by Dean Koontz

I will hopefully keep you updated on the rest of my summer reading as I get to it.

Friday, June 5, 2009

My Mix is Done!

It took me a while to finish my girl and guy duet mix because I kept coming across more and more options. It was hard to nail down my final playlist. As I went through it I added a new item to my criteria: no duplicate artists. All songs feature different musicians/actors. That's right, I was surprised at how many actors/actressess appeared on my list. Mainly due to soundtracks where the actors did their own singing. So here is my list with comments to go along with each selection.

1. Two of Us- Aimee Mann & Michael Penn
This selection comes from the movie, I Am Sam, one of my favorite movies of all time as well as one of my favorite soundtracks. All songs are Beatles' covers and this song is a great one.
2. You Don't Know Me- Ben Folds & Regina Spektor
I love both of these artists and they really do sound great together. I love this song but it almost didn't make it because Ben Folds drops the F-bomb... typical Ben Folds. But Landon edited it for me. I would also recommend watching the music video for it on you tube, it is hilarious.
3. Train Song- Ben Gibbard & Feist
Again, two of my favorite artists. This song is simply beautiful.
4. Jackson- Johnny Cash & June Carter
This was one of the songs that inspired the mix idea. I'm not a huge country fan, but I'm a fan of Johnny Cash as an extremely influential musician. In my opinion these two are probably the most famous duet team ever. This song is my favorite of theirs.
5. Falling Slowly- Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova
This is a new song to me, recommended by my brother. It is really pretty with nice harmonies.
6. Elevator Love Letter- Amy Millan & Torquil Campbell- (the band "Stars")
I just really like this song. The first verse is sung by the girl and the second by the guy and it tells a story. The vocals and music fit the feeling of the story well.
7. Volcano- Damien Rice & Lisa Hannigan
Lisa Hannigan is Damien Rice's main back-up vocalist. There were a couple of songs I could have gone with including "9 Crimes," but I went with this one just because "9 Crimes" is a demo and the recording quality is not fabulous. It is good though, check it out.
8. Storytime with Rabbi- Seth Hanks & Mallory Davis- (the band "Maple Grove")
I had to include a song from my talented friends, Seth and Mallory. I chose this song because it seems more duet-like in that they sing at each other rather than just doing back-ups for each other like most of their songs. It is a good one, and Mallory does a great job on the keys.
9. Paperweight- Joshua Radin Schuyler Fisk- (from the movie "The Last Kiss")
A couple of my friends suggested this song to me. Schuyler Fisk is an actress, although I don't think she is in this movie. She is the girlfriend in "Orange County." In my opinion, this song is a great representation of beautiful harmonies.
10. Portland Oregon- Loretta Lynn & Jack White
There were a few options for Jack White duets, but I went with this one because it is fun. He also did the theme for the new Bond movie with Alecia Keys. It is a great song as well and I think it was the best part of the movie.
11. You Really Got a Hold on Me- Zooey Deschanel & M. Ward- (the band "She & Him")
This is a great cover of this song. Once again, another actress/musician. She is the girl in Elf where she also does her singing and now collaborates with M. Ward in their band.
12. Elephant Love Medley- Ewan McGregor & Nicole Kidman- (from the movie "Moulin Rouge")
Another favorite movie of mine. This is a great medley that combines cheesy love songs into a rather well done song. They both do a great job at singing in this movie.
13. World Spins Madly On- Deb Talan & Steve Tannen- (the band "The Weepies")
I love The Weepies. They are an idie folk band and have some great songs. This is just one of them were I felt they each sang about equally. A lot of their songs mostly have her singing.
14. Relator- Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johansson
This song also inpsired me to make this mix. I was surprised that Scarlett is a decent singer. Apparently she did an album a few years ago that was pretty bad, but this song is really good (I'm sure because of Pete Yorn's influence). They are releasing an album in September, this is just their single.
15. Nothing Better- Ben Gibbard and Jen Wood
Okay, so I lied. Ben Gibbard appears twice on this mix. I honestly didn't even notice until right now, so I can't change it now. This is a great song where the two have a conversation back and forth. He is trying to convince the girl to get back together, while she insists that their relationship is over.
16. Don't Come Knocking- Bono & Andrea Corr
I am a longtime fam of U2, but I honestly didn't think Bono would make it on here... until I discovered this song. The mp3 doesn't actually exist that we could find (legally or illegally). But with his mad skills, Landon was still able to get it for me. :)
17. It Ain't Me Babe- Joaquin Phoenix & Reese Witherspoon- (from the movie "Walk the Line")
Kudos to Joaquin for doing a great job for singing like Johnny Cash. Reese is great as well. I think I actually like this version better than the original one.
18. Anyone Else But You- Michael Cera & Ellen Page- (from the movie "Juno")
These two aren't the most amazing singers, but I love this song because of its lyrics and Michael Cera cracks me up. My favorite lyric... "we sure are cute for two ugly people."
19. Don't go Breaking My Heart- Elton John & Kiki Dee
Oh Elton! Not his best song, that's for sure. But I still think it is classic.
20. Lua- Conor Oberst & Gillian Welch
This is a "Bright Eyes" song that is redone by Oberst (who is "Bright Eyes") with Welch. The song is similar to the original, but good in its own way.
21. Let's Call The Whole Thing Off- Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong
Two amazing jazz musicians put together for a classic song. Don't even try to tell me that you don't love Louis's voice.

That's all folks! Hope you enjoy. Thanks to those who recommended songs. I'm sorry I couldn't include all of them.