Well, I wasn’t going to do MamaKat’s Writer’s Workshop this week but then I saw this prompt:
2. Nintendo DS Lite. This is the little handheld computer that you may have seen in the commercials with America Ferrera, Carrie Underwood and others. I got mine because I thought it would be something fun to do when we go on trips and one of us gets stuck in the hotel room at 7:30 p.m. when the Little One goes to bed and we can’t watch TV or even have a light on. I got hooked really quickly and pretty much play it on a daily basis. It is perfect for a non-gamer like myself as you don’t have to master many controls at all. In fact, 99% of the games use a little pen and the touch screen. I tend to like puzzle and “brain building” games (to combat the onset of “mommy brain”) and would recommend Brain Age 1 or 2 (includes Sudoku), Brain Challenge, WordJong (like Mahjongg but you spell words with the tiles), Professor Layton and the Curious Village (amazingly difficult brain teasers), and TouchMaster (a collection of mini-games that includes the highly addictive Mahki).
3. Iron Man. I missed this when it came out in the theaters this year but just rented it on DVD. I adore Robert Downey Jr. and he just made this film so watchable and enjoyable! I’m not a huge fan of comic book movies but this one was so much fun — probably the best I’ve ever seen. I thought it was very funny and just a good time. I’m so glad Robert Downey Jr. got himself together!
4. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I saw this yesterday thanks to my lovely husband who agreed to hang out with the Little One while I saw this 2.5+ hour movie. I loved this film — and not just because of the unbelievable piece of beauty that is Brad Pitt (but that always helps). The basic story is that Benjamin Button is born old and ages backward and gets younger every year. It is the story of his life and his love affair with Daisy — they have to “meet in the middle” to fulfill their desire for each other. I cried pretty much the whole last half hour and the ending just slayed me (it was all I could do not to sob out loud). Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett are wonderful, and I thought the make-up job and aging process was done quite well. If you can’t suspend your belief about fanciful stories like this (like my husband), I wouldn’t recommend it. But if you want to get swept away in an interesting story and a doomed love affair, then this film is for you!
5. LibraryThing. My friend Colleen introduced me to this web site earlier this year, and I realized it was something I had wanted my whole reading life. At its heart, it is a place where you can easily list all the books you read in one place. To an avid reader and categorizer like myself, this was heaven! You can also write book reviews, find others who share the books in your library, have discussions about books, and find new books to read. Your first 200 books are free, but then you can purchase a lifetime membership for a nominal fee. (I maxed out my books in the first week and ended up buying a membership). But I haven’t mentioned the best part yet — you can sign up to be an Early Reviewer and get free books from publishers! I decided to try this but thought I wouldn’t get anything so I never even checked back to see. Then I got this heavy envelope in the mail with a book for me to review: The Economist Book of Obituaries. (I know, it sounds weird but it was great. I’ll be posting my review on my book blog later this week.) They have all types of books to review each month from a variety of publishers, and I can’t wait to see what I might get next! If you like to read and haven’t seen this site yet, go now!!!
6. Nintendo Wii. Way back in January, we went to a party where they had a Wii. Within 5 minutes of seeing my husband play, I knew we would be getting one. At the time, they were really really hard to find so we ended up getting on on eBay. The Wii is a ton of fun and easy for almost anyone to play. Even the Little One does great — he actually beat my husband in bowling one night! For about five months (during the whole TV writer’s strike), I think my husband and I played about 3 hours a night for 5 months straight — it was that fun and addictive! Some of our favorites were the Raving Rabbids games, Ghost Squad, Mercury Meltdown Revolution, and Wario Ware Smooth Moves, Wii Play and Wii Sports. The Little One loved the Diego game — and actually played it through until the end! And now with the Wii Fit, you can even get some exercise while playing video games!
7. Facebook. I know this has been around for awhile but this is the first year I discovered it. I love that you can find people you haven’t talked to in 20 years in about 5 minutes. I love that I can post photos of the Little One and know that only people I want to see the photos can see them. I love that I can “catch up” on the doings of my friends and family who live far away quickly and easily. I love that you can post your blog entries on it. As with most things, I was a very late adopter (just got an iPod last year, you know), but I get why this is such a popular social networking tool.
8. Lionel Shriver. I love when I discover a new author, and 2008 was the year I “discovered” Lionel Shriver (a woman — not a man). She wrote two of my favorite books this year: We Need To Talk About Kevin and The Post-Birthday World. I just devoured these books and plan to check out more by her in the 2009.
9. Wall.E. This film by the geniuses at Pixar was amazing! We got this for the Little One — who was entranced with the movie tie-in stuff he saw before ever seeing the movie — and I think it is a genius film for both children and adults. It has such a melancholy heart but is also such a beautiful love story. The animation is gorgeous — it is pure genius how they gave each robot such personality. We’ve watched it quite a few times now, and I love it more each time. It has topped several “best of” lists, and I agree — it is a film that will stand the test of time. Even if you don’t have a child, I recommend this film.
10. Blogging. What list would be complete without the single best thing I discovered this year! Although I’ve mentioned it here at least 100 times so far, blogging is such an amazingly fun outlet for me (and I’m guessing you too if you are reading this). It is what I’ve been waiting my whole life for — without ever realizing it. Although I am a major quitter who picks up and drops hobbies very quickly (a soon-to-be published post, by the way), I just can’t foresee wanting to quit blogging anytime soon!
Happy 2009! Hope this year is the happiest, healthiest and funnest one of your life!