Many of you are wondering where I went for two weeks. Well, I'll tell you. I was on vacation for a spell. Then I got sick and had some minor throat surgery. Then last week, I watched some TV, ate soft foods and popsicles, opened presents, watched Carson Daly bring in the new year, drank a half-glass of champagne and came back to work.

Perhaps the most bizarre ending to a whirlwind year.

I hope you enjoyed my year-end wrap-up that found its way into print last week. [Read it] Here are some other things that I wanted to mention.

Many of you are wondering where I went for two weeks. Well, I'll tell you. I was on vacation for a spell. Then I got sick and had some minor throat surgery. Then last week, I watched some TV, ate soft foods and popsicles, opened presents, watched Carson Daly bring in the new year, drank a half-glass of champagne and came back to work.

Perhaps the most bizarre ending to a whirlwind year.

I hope you enjoyed my year-end wrap-up that found its way into print last week. [Read it] Here are some other things that I wanted to mention.

-A Few More Best Albums of 2006-

Hymns Brother/Sister (Blackland)

Hip indie bands are rarely as sunny as this group of friends from Carolina. They combine the dreamy Americana vibe of Tom Petty to the energy of the Strokes. A clean sound and lyrics about being friendly make it a cheery must-listen.

Download: "Magazines"

Ratatat Classics (XL)

Weird sounds and live instrumentation from this NYC twosome combined for perhaps the catchiest instrumental album of the year. Critics have labeled it "rock-meets-electronica," but each track is so much more than a simple pop song filled with some blips and scratches.

Download: "Motanita"

-Some Tracks I Had on Repeat (inspired by Chris DeVille)-

Vetiver, "I Know No Pardon": This smooth acoustic track from folkie songwriter Andy Cabic delves into life, death and gambling with only the sweetest, most inviting sounds

Chad VanGaalen, "Flower Gardens": This Canadian recorded the amazing Skelliconnection in his basement, and when inventing this track he must have been listening to the frantic vocals of the Who's "My Generation," a bit of Stereolab and the Jesus and Mary Chain

Ghostface Killah, "Kilo": Many have lauded the former Wu-Tang Clan member's killer release, and it's this track that really stands out. Never has a mnemonic device about drug dealing sounded so catchy

Jolie Holland, "Crush in the Ghetto": The 2006 release from the sensual and literate songstress contained many gems, but this ode to love and an innercity bus ride stands as the most heartbreaking song of the year

-TV Time-

Second-Worst show: Cold Pizza

When I mentioned that Grey's Anatomy was the worst show on, I forgot about the softer, less interesting talk-show version of SportsCenter. Inspired by the mindless conversation and non-threatening nature of The View, Pizza is exactly like its name suggests - a droopy, lukewarm slice of yesterday's sports news.