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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Best of 2009

I listen to a lot of music and subsequently purchase a lot as well. From Pandora in my classroom (mainly Explosions in the Sky and Manchester Orchestra) to music in my car and on my iPod when I bike and run, my life almost constantly has a soundtrack applied to it. As such, I decided to do my best to compile my favorite records and songs from 2009. The top 5 records could have really been placed in any order since they were all #1 at some point this year. However, after much debate with myself, this is what I came up with.

Here are my top 5 records of the year:

5. "Mean Everything to Nothing" by Manchester Orchestra
This record is amazing. I got to see them play twice this year (once with Fun and once with Brand New) and they were great both times. This could actually be higher on my list.

4. "Aim and Ignite" by Fun.
I got to see Fun play at Bottom of the Hill as an opening band and I loved them. I used to like the Format a lot so naturally this band appealed to me. This record is incredible.

3. "Forget and Not Slow Down" by Relient K
This album displays a real maturation by this band. They have long been a cheesy, guilty pleasure of mine but this time around they dropped the cheese and became a legitimately solid band. It's a sad, almost somber album (for them at least) that is reminiscent of Jack's Mannequin, Ben Folds and the Beach Boys at times. I love this record and will for a long time.

2. "Hell or High Water" by As Cities Burn
This album came out of nowhere for me as I had never heard of this band before this year. This ultimately is their final record (they broke up) and they went out on top in my opinion. I love love love this CD. It is a combo of Bright Eyes, Brand New and Manchester Orcherstra. The vocals are rough in an endearing sort of way. I have since purchased other records by them and I love them all. Check out a song called "The Widow" (not on this record). It's amazing!

1. "It's All Crazy, it's all false, it's all a dream, it's alright" by mewithoutYou
I will admit I am a bit biased toward this band. I knew I would like this album before it came out even if it sucked. Fortunately it didn't suck. The music is more refined, more funky and more epic than their previous releases (much more akin to "In a Sweater Poorly Knit"). Tate constantly asked us to play the song "Timothy Hay" (which he referred to as "Doo doo doo") whenever we were in the car. The record is great and memorable. I love it.

Honorable mention goes to the following albums, which also received heavy play in my ears in 2009.

Top 10 songs of 2009
1. "Pirate Blues" - As Cities Burn
2. "Timothy Hay" - mewithoutYou
3. "Be Calm" - Fun
4. "Forget and Not Slow Down" - Relient K
5. "The River" - Manchester Orchestra
6. "God Almighty, None Compares" - David Crowder*Band
7. "Gates" - As Cities Burn
8. "A Melody, A Memory" - Mae
9. "The Hospital" - And Then There Were None
10. "I and Love and You" - The Avett Brothers

Honorable mention...
"Not Sure" - Fiction Family
"Hands" - The Almost
"I Gotta Feeling" - Black Eyed Peas
" I Can Feel a Hot One" - Manchester Orchestra
"Made Too Pretty" - As Cities Burn
"Lady Blue" - As Cities Burn
"If this is the end" - Relient K
"The King Beetle on a Coconut Estate" - mewithoutYou
"In Exile" - Thrice
"The Weight" - Thrice
"Benson Hedges" - Fun
"All the Pretty Girls" - Fun

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Buddy the Elf 2009

A couple weeks ago the MSM continued its tradition of making middle school students puke and leaders cringe during our annual Buddy the Elf night at thEvent. Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Feliz Navidad!

This year we celebrated Christmas 5 different times. It was eventful, tiring and fun. The kids made out like bandits. They each received more toys and clothes than one human should have in a lifetime. They are quite spoiled. We went to Mel's parents and my parents on Christmas morning and then headed to the Degrano's for spaghetti with my aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins. The day after Christmas found us on the road to Monterey. We spent the night at the Conley's and had a post-Christmas dinner celebration with them. I made a video documenting the Christmas festivities. I love my new camera!

Here are some photographic highlights for your viewing pleasure.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Weddings

I finished editing Justin & Mandie and Chis & Ashley's wedding DVDs for Christmas. Here are some clips from the festivities.

Chris & Ashley's Wedding @ the Pine's (dance sequence).

Justin & Mandie's Wedding @ Ardenwood Farms in Fremont (vows and pictures).

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Mural Time Lapse

Armed with 4 2x4's, 2 pieces of sheetrock and assorted paints and brushes, Rob arrived at our hour at 8pm on Tuesday night and created an amazing Frosty the Snowman mural for our party. Below you will see a time lapse video sped up 10,000 times, documenting the artist at work.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Tacky Sweater 2009!

Last night we had our annual Tacky Sweater Party. This year's rendition was a success indeed. Among other things, I debuted my new Christmas movie. Borrowing from such film pioneers as Frank Capra and John Hughes, I infused the charming tale of young Queesenthal with as many Christmasmovieesque details as I could muster. The intro scenes with the titling came out particularly well. Here it is.

A captive audience!

As far as the party itself, I asked Rob Willson a couple weeks ago if he would be willing to illustrate a backdrop on a bed sheet for pictures. He said he could. He called me the day before the party (Tuesday) and said he would be coming over at 8pm and that our backdrop may be more ambitious that we initially intended. He asked he if could stay late. We said yes. What ensued can only be described as a combination of overzealous artistic brilliance and insanity. Instead of a sheet, he brought sheetrock and 2 by 4's. Over the next 5 hours he created the masterpiece that you see below. When Tate woke up in the morning, he walked outside and said "Oh my gosh, oh my gosh. There's Frosty!" He loved it. There are a ton of pictures on Facebook but I posted some highlights below. Justin brought his lighting equipment and took gaggles of pictures on our freezing back patio.

The Process

Frosty's sweater is inspired by Charlies sweater, that Sally made last year.

One of my favorite pics from the evening. Well done Tont and Lauren! Wedding slideshow material for sure!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Charlie and Sarah's Engagement

Charlie and Sarah's Engagement Video (Full Version) from dan bowen on Vimeo.

Charlie popped the question to Sarah on Saturday. Naturally, I called this a long time ago. the doubters and skeptics said it would not happen. All the while, D-Bo believed. It was a fun day surrounded by friends and perfect weather in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Here are some pictures from the day as well as the video I shot and edited.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

December Fun-ness

December has been a pretty good month. Tate and Lyla are getting big and are growing increasingly cuter. Today we celebrated Christmas with the Bowen side of our family, at my grandparents house. The kids were spoiled rotten. Wednesday is our annual Tacky Sweater party so we are gearing up for that. I will post some pictures and video tomorrow from Charlie and Sarah's engagement. Enjoy some pictures and video from the past month.

I got to play some songs at Barley's Christmas party a couple nights ago. Elise sang with me. We played a few Christmas songs and an original song I wrote a year or so ago ("The Brightest Days" - the video is below). It was pretty fun.