tag/media

media madnessmedia

(4 comments)
January 5, 2002

In the spirit of obsessive neurotic geekdom, I've been keep track of what media I've consumed over the past year: movies I've seen (at the cinema, on video/dvd, or on HBO or cinemax), books and graphic novels I've read, and video games I've played through. I just hated how I'd forget what I'd seen months later...

Movies at the Cinema: (16)
Snatch, In the Mood for Love, O Brother Where Art Thou, State and Main, O Brother Where Art Thou, Bridget Jone's Diary, Bridget Jone's Diary, Moulin Rouge , Memento, Tomb Raider, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, K-PAX, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Amélie , Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Movies on Video/DVD (48)
American Beauty, La Blue Girl 1+2, La Blue Girl 3 + 4, La Blue Girl 5+6, The Pornographer, Gladiator, Bound, Fight Club, American Psycho, Cecil B. Demented, Better Than Chocolate, Quills, Shaft, Shaft, American Pie, Big Kahuna, Charlie's Angels, Six String Samurai, Slayers 1 , The Usual Suspects, Hamlet (2000/Ethan Hawke), AntiTrust, Idle Hands, Evil Video, Battle Queen 2020, Unbreakable, Pecker, Hannibal, Traffic, Snatch, High Fidelity, Chocolat, La Blue Girl 1+2, Crash, Evil Video, Cool Devices, The Mummy Returns, Cool Devices (6-11), shrek, Tank Girl, Green, Planet of the Apes, Star Crash, BackBeat, Henry & June, The Castle of Cagliostro, Tron, The Killer
Movies on TV (55)
Passion Fish, Meaning of Life, Virtual Sexuality, Flirt, Glengerry Glen Ross, Mother, Juggs, and Speed, Canadian Bacon, Wild Wild West, Armed and Dangerous, Terminator 2, House on Haunted Hill, Boys Don't Cry, Bang, Oxygen, Another Stakeout, Batman: The Movie, The Replacements, Time Code, Robocop 2, Scenes from a Mall, Pushing Tin, Ed Wood, I Love You to Death, Bringing Out the Dead , Loser, The Prophecy, All the Right Moves, Hollow Man , Steal this Movie, Whiteboyz, Welcome to Hollywood, Tommy, Space Cowboys, Birdy, Chris Rock: Bigger and Blacker, 28 Days, The Lesser Evil, Bill Cosby, Himself, Star Trek Generations, Batman Returns, Mermaid Chronicles Part 1: She Creature , Moscow on the Hudson, sex,lies,and videotape, Love & Sex, The Dao of Steve, Blood and Wine , Center Stage, Me,Myself and Irene, Blaze, Almost Famous, Arthur, Bootmen, Sparkler, The Fly
Video Games (14)
Driver, Mario Kart 64, Yoshi's Story, Mega Man: The Power Battles, Quake 2, Turok Ragewars, NFL Blitz 2000, Conker's Bad Fur Day, Unreal Tournament, Battle Tanx, Metal Slug, Warhammer, Rogue Squadron 2: Rogue Leader, Super Smash Bros Melee
Books (47)
What It Felt Like, The Meme Machine, Uncle John's Bathroom Reder Vol 11, 24 Hours in Cyberspace, Chaos, Machine Beauty, When I'm Dead All This Will Be Yours!, Prozac Nation, The Difference Engine, Game Over press start to continue, My World and Welcome To It, How to heal the hurt by hating, Bridget Jones' Diary, Pursuit of Happiness, X-Men, penn & teller's cruel tricks for dear friends, The Great Fires, The Domination Trilogy, The One Minute Manager, Owning It: Zen and the Art of Facing Life, Just For Fun, Rendezvous With Rama, Bridget Jones The Edge of Reason, Feet of Clay, Andy Kaufman Revealed: Best Friend Tells All, The Cuckoo's Egg, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Four Blondes, Soul of a New Machine, Perv - A Love Story, Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates, Drakon, Zen Computer, Interesting Times, We Are Still Married, Nine Crazy Ideas in Science: A Few Might Even Be True, The Truth, got milk?, Carpe Jugulum, Small Gods, Hogfather, Fight Club, The Fifth Elephant, Jingo, The Color of Magic, The Light Fantastic, The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death
Comics/ Graphic Novels (20)
X-Presidents, Astro City: Life in the Big City, Astro City: The Varnished Angel, Dykes to Watch Out For, Hot, Throbbing Dykes to Watch Out For, Love and Rockets 3, DreamToons, Whack Your Porcupine, The R. Crumb Coffee Table Art Book, JLA earth 2, Old Boot's Private Papers , Seven Years of Highly Defective People, Jar of Fools, All About the Mayas, Perfect Summer, What Is This Thing Called Sex, DC vs Marvel, The Dark Knight Strikes Again (1 of 3), Ethel and Ernest

attack of the clodsmedia

(4 comments)
January 11, 2003

Insult of the Moment
"And we're not allowed to watch spoilers here..."
"Uhh..I've got some spoilers Who wants to hear a spoiler? ... here's a spoiler... YOU WILL DIE ALONE."
--Star Wars Fan Geek and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog at the opening of 'Attack of the Clones', from the Conan O'Brien show. A bit long, but laugh-out-loud funny...hardcore Star Wars fans (especially the ones in costume) are easy pickings. Some of the other videos in that archive are pretty good too.

Pot Calling the Kettle Black
Oh wait...I'm a geek too. And as if to prove it, here's my annual review of the Media I consumed last year: movies, books, video games. I did the same thing last year, for 2001. Interesting to see how the lists compare. I think I'm a little less consistent in recording this stuff, so this list might not be quite as complete.

Movies at the Cinema: (11)
Amelie, Attack of the Clones, Bourne Identity, Men in Black II, XXX, feardotcom, Barbershop, Spirited Away, K-19: The Widowmaker, Bowling for Columbine, Standing in the Shadow of Motown
Movies on Video/DVD: (50)
Fritz the Cat, Ghostbusters, Bruce Campbell vs Army of Darkness, Black Mask, Hard Boiled, Dracula 2000, Jin-Roh (the wolf brigade), M*A*S*H, Sugar & Spice, Interview with the Vampire, Holy Smoke!, Heathers, Rat Race, Sexy Beast, Metropolis, Revenge of the Pink Panther, Training Day, Mullholland Dr., ocean's eleven, Groundhog Day, bamboozled, Groundhog Day, Vanilla Sky, Haiku Tunnel, Ali, Pitch Black, American Pie 2, zoolander, Showgirls, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Orange Country, Strange Days, Cool Devices, O, Freddy Got Fingered, LotR: Fellowship of the Rings, Resident Evil, Cool Devices, Wet Hot American Summer, Cool Devices, Vanilla Sky, Making of Tron, Tron, Friday, Crash, 12 Chairs, Brotherhood of the Wolf, Queen of the Damned, The One, The Cell
Movies on TV (34)
Bedazzled, Demolition Man, Perfect, But I'm a Cheerleader, The Perfect Storm, Three To Tango, Black Sheep, The Last Supper, Saving Silverman, Meet the Parents, Rising Sun, Lethal Weapon, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, Sister Act 2, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes , Big Kahuna, best of show, The Tailor of Panama, True Lies, If Looks Could Kill, A Very Brady Sequel, 2010, 2001, Joe Dirt, X-Files Series Finale, Pollock, Girlfight, It Came From Hollywood, Fever Pitch, 8 Heads in a Duffle Bag, Porky's, Snatch
Video Games (12)
Luigi's Mansion, Luigi's Mansion, Smashing Drive, Rogue Squadron, Super Mario 64, Doom 64, Super Mario Land 2: 6 Gold Coins, Bangai-O, Spybotics: The Nightfall Incident, Bangai-O, Metroid Prime, Blitz 20-02
Books (39)
How To Be Good (a novel), Galatea 2.2, True Names and the opening of the cyberspace frontier, Dispatches From The Tenth Circle, Wouldn't Take Nothing For My Journey Now, Rosencrantz & Guilderstern Are Dead, Memoirs of an Invisible Man, Arcade Fever, Conquest, Mastering Enterprise JavaBeans, The Meaning of it All -- thoughts of a citizen-scientist, Globalhead, Leash, Sex and the City, Our Dumb Century, Tuf Voyaging, Crystal Express, Mort, Amusing Musings, The Great Gatsby, The Joke, Equal Rites, Fever Pitch, Lake Wobegon Summer 1956, Still Life With Woodpecker, Inside the Worlds of Star Wars Episode 1, The Modern Man's Guide To Life, Garfield Food for Thought, All Families are Psychotic, Lipshtick, Pulp Fiction Screenplay, The Simplicity Reader, Good Poems, Permutation City, On The Road, Geeks, The 100 Happy Secrets of Happy People, From Clouds to Code, Struts Practical Guide
Comics/Graphic Novels (16)
The Dark Knight Strikes Again (2 of 3), James Kochalka's The Sketchbook Diaries, 9-11 Emergency Relief, Star Wars Infinities: A New Hope, Wake Up and Smell the Cartoons of Shannon Wheeler, Big Book of Hell, Tank Girl, Caricature, Batman The Ultimate Guide to the Dark Knight, Dori Stories, Dark Knight Strikes Back, The Cartoon Guide to Sex , How To Know When You've Got It, Forty Years, Kingdom Come, Watchmen


FOLLOWUP: I went ahead and compiled the 2000 list of Kirk's media consumption into the same format. Incidentally, all of these lists are only things I see through more-or-less their entirity, I don't bother with HBO films I see half of, or video games I play with friends (as opposed to 'completing' in some sense.)

new year filler day 3 (backlog flush #38) media

(22 comments)
January 3, 2004

Self-Absorbed Geekery of the Moment
Once again, I spent the past year recording the media I consumed: the movies I saw, the video games I (mostly) finished, the books I read. The results were surpisingly similar to the previous year: a few more books, a few more video games, fewer movies on tv.

Yes, I do realize that this is of very little interest to anyone except me (and not even much of that...I just hate the idea of utterly forgetting what I've experienced) and some hypothetical set of hardcore Kirk Israel groupies. And those theoretical groupies probably already know that you can also see the list for 2002, 2001, and 2000.

Just to make it more interesting, I've emphasized things I thought were really, really good, and you should think about seeing. (Well, stuff that's really good, and everyone hasn't neccesarily heard of.)

Sigh. I am geek. Hear me obsess.

Movies at the Cinema: (8)
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Drumline, Matrix Reloaded, Yellow Asphalt, Spellbound, American Splendor, Matrix: Revolutions, Kill Bill Vol. 1
Movies on Video/DVD: (51)
Mallrats, Spiderman, Y Tu Mama Tambien, Princess Mononoke, Citizen Kane, South Park, Lost and Delirous, Casablanca, Artificial Intelligence, Evil Toons, Reign: The Conqueror, Final Stab, Time Bandits, Can't Hardly Wait, Thumb Wars, True Romance, Spirited Away, Roger Dodger, The Black Ninja, The Princess Bride, Henry and June, The Matrix, How To Lose A Guy in Ten Days, Do You Wanna Know A Secret, Office Space, Slums of Beverly Hills, Kissing Jessica Stein, Bend It Like Becham, Punch Drunk Love, The Ring, Sex and Lucia, Jackass: The Movie, Dark City, Young Frankenstein, Ice Age, Dragonfly, Hero, Ladyhawke, Yellowbeard, Duets, Kentucky Fried Movie, They Live, Old School, One Hour Photo, Monster's Ball, Terminator 3, Christmas Vacation, Life & Adventures of Santa Claus, The New Legend of Shao Lin, X2, The Hours
Movies on TV (20)
Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Passing Glory, Cable Guy, Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, Shallow Hal, Saving Silverman, Behind Enemy Lines, My Cousin Vinnie, White Men Can't Jump, Swingers, Waterworld, Crazy/Beautiful, Bourne Identity, Monsters, Inc., About A Boy, Jackie Chan: My Stunts, Robocop 3, Foul Play, The Last Starfighter, Scorpion King
Video Games (20)
Seek & Destroy, Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Grand Theft Auto 3, Rogue Squadron 2: Rogue Leader, Starcraft, Wario Ware, Metroid Fusion, Advance Wars 2, Timesplitters, Half Life, Diddy Kong Racing, Battletanx Global Assault, Luigi's Mansion, Rocket: Robot on Wheels, Rogue Squadron 3: Rebel Strike, Halo, Bangai-O, Jet Set Radio Future, Mario Kart: Double Dash, Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Books (45)
The User Illusion: Cutting Consciousness Down To Size, The Sky Road, Skipping Towards Gomorrah, Lucky Wander Boy, The Floating World, Extreme Encounters, Masters of Doom, Pure Drivel, Norwegian Wood, The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect, Kavalier & Clay, Lords and Ladies, Carry on, Jeeves, If on a winter's night a traveller, The Salmon of Doubt, Into The Woods, Sourcery, The Diary of Adam and Eve, A Galaxy Not So Far Away, Creation: Life and How to Make It, Stupid Cupid, 101 Philosophy Problems, Insights, Vast, The Ultimate History of Video Games, Time Enough For Love, War Autobiography/Rememberance, Bodies In Motion And At Rest, The Electric Meme: A New Theory of How We Think, Things My Girlfriend And I Have Argued About, Love Me, Villa Incognito, Good Omens, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Night Watch, Men At Arms, The Introvert Advantage, Eric, The Tao of Pooh, The Te of Piglet, American Gods, Maskerade, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Deep Thoughts, Alpha Beta
Comics/Graphic Novels (9)
Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth, Abe: Right for all the Wrong Reasons, Clumsy:A Novel, Star Wars Infinities: The Empire Strikes Back, Too Much Coffee Man's Parade of Tirade, Hellblazer: Haunted, Astro City "Pastoral" (Local Heroes #3), Planetary/Batman: Night on Earth, National Lampoon's Truly Tasteless Cartoons: The Best of the Worst

a year's worth of mediamedia

(16 comments)
January 5, 2005

One annual tradition I follow on this site is to post a list of all the books, movies, and games I "finish" in a year. (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003) I keep an database every year which also includes if I saw it before, the date, the author, and a few notes to either remind me what it was or how I felt about it.

Compared to last year, I watched more movies at the cinema (I think this is a Evil B. influence, often our darts night would get changed into darts plus movie night), around the same amount of videos (fewer at Jim and Sam's movie night, more with Ksenia), far fewer movies on TV (I think those were a bit of a Mo thing), completed only half as many video games (who has the time...) read somewhat fewer books (which concerns me a bit, though I guess 32 isn't that bad) and a few more Graphic Novels (thanks to a reinvigorated friendship with FoSO and the FoSOSO and a bit from Evil B.)

Anyway, without further ado: the Media Kirk Consumed in 2004...as previously, the really good stuff I put in italics:

Movies at the Cinema: (18)
LOTR: Return of the King, Lost in Translation, 21 grams, The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, You Oughta Be In Pictures (5), Kill Bill Vol 2, Troy, Life of Brian, Spiderman 2, The Bourne Supremacy, The Corporation, Without a Paddle, Napolean Dynamite, Nicotina, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, The Incredibles, Meet the Fockers
Movies on Video/DVD: (42)
Donnie Darko, Frida, Better Than Sex, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Happy Gillmore, Super Troopers, Conan the Barbarian, Fletch, The Animatrix, Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter, Perfect Fit, Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama, Day of the Dead, Horror Hotel, Godspell, Jesus Christ Superstar, Voices of a Distant Star, Lilo and Stitch, Kill Bill Vol. 1, This Is Spinal Tap, Resevior Dogs, Blown Away, Spirited Away, Club Dread, Cybercity (Shepherd), Castle in the Sky, Porco Rosso, Kill Bill Vol. 2, The Back Lot Murders, The Ice Pirates, Star Wars, Henry and June, You Got Served, Drop Dead Gorgous, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Nausicaa, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, 9 1/2 Weeks, Clerks, Fish Called Wanda, Run, Lola, Run, Dirty Pretty Things
Movies on TV (5)
About Schmidt , Groundhog's Day, Revenge of the Nerds, Finding Nemo, She's All That
Video Games (9)
Crimson Skies, Grand Theft Auto:Vice City, GTA3, Mega Man, Mega Man 2, Gigawing, Katamari Damacy, Katamari Damacy, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas,
Books (32)
Moving Pictures, Beowulf, Farewell Campo 12, 101 Poems to Get You Through The Day And Night, Effective Java, How to Heal the Hurt by Hating, The Shifting Realities of Phillip K. Dick, How Can I Get Through To You?, After the Quake, Let's Pave The Stupid Rainforests & Give School Teachers Stun Guns, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, C.L.U.T.Z., Stardust, The World According to Mister Rogers, Einstein's Dreams, Notes from a Small Island, Mark Twain On the Damned Human Race, Complete Idiot's Guide To The Art Of Seduction, Starfish, Maelstrom, They Have A Word For It, Hey, Nostradamus (on CD), Tex and Molly in the Afterlife, The Dictionary of Failed Relationships, God Debris, A Certain Chemistry, Patriot Reign, The Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge, The Bug, Isaac Newton, The Tenacity of the Cockroach, Why God Won't Go Away
Comics/Graphic Novels (16)
Sandman: Brief Lives, Kingdom Come, American Splendor, Fury, Too Much Coffee Man's Guide for the Perplexed, The Kingdom, Surpreme: the story of the year, Hellblazer: Freezes Over, Hellbalzer: Highwater, Ronin, Zot!, Red Son, Get Your War On II, McSweeney's Quarterly Concern #13, Peanuts: The Art of Charles M. Schulz, The Man Who Grew Young

what kirk saw in 2005media

(12 comments)
January 1, 2006

Well, every year I post the media I consumed the previous year, so I might as well get it out of the way and stop apologizing for it...

this year it seems like I read a bit more than the year previous, and watch a lot more videos (probably the influence of having a steady girlfriend, and then getting Netflix) so I'm happy about that. (And I continue to hardly ever watch movies on TV, probably because I no longer have the movie stations, and that was kind of Mo's thing anyway.) As the last few years, "strong recommends" are in italics, and you can go and see 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004.

I'm getting enough data that it might be interesting to plot it all on some kind of time chart, see if I can find annual patterns, or just crossreference peaks and valleys with different times in my life.

Without further ado:

Movies at the Cinema: (14)
Finding Neverland, Sin City, Fever Pitch, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Wizard, Revenge of the Sith, Robots, Revenge of the Sith, War of the Worlds, Wedding Crashers, Howl's Flying Castle, 40 Year Old Virgin, Serenity, MirrorMask
Movies on Video/DVD (81)
Better Than Chocolate, Labyrinth, The Watcher in the Woods, Shrek 2, Tommy Boy, Napolean Dynamite, Run Lola Run, Pushing Tin, O Brother Where Are Thou?, Shaun of the Dead, Garden State, Men with Brooms, Secretary, Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, Cannonball Run, Six Flishman Superman Cartoons, Backbeat, Voices of a Distant Star, What the bleep do we know?, Harold and Khumar go to White Castle, Closer, Clone Wars, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, Carrie, Cryptz, Vampiyaz, Ali G Indahouse, Sideways, Street Fighter, Secrets du Kama Sutra, C.I.A. Codename Alexa, Easy Rider, Waking Life, Demolition Man, Shall We Dance?, Better Than Sex, Mallrats, Bound, Body Count, Red Sonja, Mystery Men, Bloody Birthday, Happy Birthday to Me, Sex and the City Season 3, Napolean Dynamite, Sex And The City Seasion 4, Sex and the City Season 5, Y tu mama tambien, Sex and the City Season 6, Road Trip, Miss Congeality 2, Team America World Please, Last Tango in Paris, Muppet Movie, Fisher King, Spiderman, Yojimbo, The Cell, Tales of the Kama Sutra, L.A. Story, Himatsuri, The New Devil In Miss Jones, Chasing Amy, Princess Mononoke, Throne of Blood, The Princess Bride, Ai no corrida (In the Realm of the Senses), Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love, Infinity, The Dreamers, Blazing Saddles, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Ugetsu, Suicide Girls: The First Tour, Bad(der) Santa, Made, Anastasia, Clone Wars Volume 1, Clone Wars Volume 2, The Jerk, The Princess and the Warrior
Movies on TV (2)
Matrix: Reloaded, Diamonds Are Forever
Video Games (10)
Mario vs Donkey Kong, Star Fox: Assault, Bangai-O, Star Wars Lego, WarioWare Twisted, Conker's Bad Fur Day, Halo 2, Ico, Timesplitters: Future Imperfect, Mercenaries
Books (44)
Trigger Happy, Gig, Homegrown Democrat, Entering a New Culture, Stoned, Naked, and Looking in my Neighbor's Windows, Quantum Questions: Mystical Writings of the World's Greatest Physicists, Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life, My Grandfather's Blessing, half of "The Varities of Religous Experience", Painters and Hackers, Getting Things Done -- The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, The Book of Ratings, What It Feels Like, Vox, Joel on Software, The Da Vinci Code, Kevin Smith Speaks, Pilgrim at TInker Creek, War of the Worlds, Notes from a Big Country, Mother Tongue, Pattern Recognition, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, The Ultimate Cyberpunk, An American Childhood, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Feel This Book, Prince Caspian, The Saga of Baby Divine, Power+Up: How Japanese Video Games Gave the World an Extra Life, Wigfield : The Can-Do Town That Just May Not, Memoirs of a Mangy Lover, Word of Mouth, Hunted, A Theory of Fun For Game Design, Truckers, Jump The Shark, Diggers, Wings, The Wizard of Oz, A Box of Matches, Holidays on Ice, Thousand Cranes, The Ultimate Visual Guide to Star Wars
Comics/Graphic Novels (24)
JLA: American Dreams, Star Wars Tales Vol. 2, Clumsy: A Novel, Unlikely, Diesel Sweeties Vol 1, I Never Liked You, Best of American Splendor, Star Wars Infinities: Return of the Jedi, Star Wars Tales Vol 3, Star Wars Tales Vol 1, The Art of Discworld, Star Wars Tales 5, Egg Story, Star Wars Tales Vol. 4, Transformers: All Fall Down, Transformers: End of the Road, American Splendour: Our Movie Year, How To Be Happy, Empire Vol. 2: Darklighter, True Porn 2, Rising Stars : Born In Fire, Quitter, The Courtyard

what kirk sawmedia

(8 comments)
January 7, 2007

Ah, my annual narcissistic tradition: a review of the media I consumed over the last year.

FoSO and FoSOSO actually suggested I should have a permanent part of the front page dedicated to microreviews of this stuff, with a thumbnail, etc. I can't believe it would be interesting enough (or generate enough Amazon kickback) to make it worth while, but I did decide to write a little bit about the titles I put into italics, the "Strong Recommends". I mean, what's personal website like this for if not to try and plug things found to be worth plugging?

Movies at the Cinema: (9)
Night Watch, Block Party, The DaVinci Code, Prairie Home Companion, Click, Clerks II, The Devil Wore Prada, Superman Returns 2D/3D, Ant Bully

Ugh... no strong recommends. This seems to confirm my theory that going out the movies is usually more hassle than it's worth (especially if you've forked out for a happy A/V setup at home.) Prairie Home Companion was decent enough, but even that was at the second-run place.

Movies on DVD (85)
Triumph of the Will, 9 1/2 Weeks, Story of O, Baraka, Daredevil, The First 9 1/2 Weeks, Another 9 1/2 Weeks, Friday Night Lights, Dodgeball, The Island, Jeffrey, Mother Night, Spun, Jersey Girl, Colossus: The Forbin Project, Visions of Light, True Romance, Bonnie and Clyde, Drawn Together Season 1, Sleeper, From Here To Eternity, Saturday Night Fever, Flashdance, Blues Brothers, Clerks: Animated Series, Batman Begins, Say Anything, The Pillow Book, The Wiz, American Pie: Band Camp, Raging Bull, Sliding Doors, Toy Story, Drumline, Ally on Sex and the Single Life, Hellboy, Tank Girl, Love, Actually, Con Air, The Aristocrats, Kentucky Fried Movie, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, City of Angels, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, Shakespeare in Love, Poison Ivy, Without a Clue, 40 Days and 40 Nights, Aeon Flux, Good of Cookery, The Moral Tales (1+2), Where the Heart Is, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Paris, Texas, Pretty in Pink, Eraserhead, Poison Ivy 2, Walk the Line, Death Race 2000, Everything is Illuminated, Little Voice, 4 Weddings and a Funeral, Long Kiss Goodnight, Pirates, Green Card, Roughnecks: The Starship Troopers Chronicles: The Pluto Campaign, The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe, V for Vendetta, The Way We Were, Hulk, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Stick It, Deliverance, Sophie's Choice, Delta of Venus, Boys on the Side, King Kong, Backbeat, The Baxter, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, If these walls could talk 2, Boxing Helena, The Break-Up, The Break-Up, Robot Chicken

I just realized that most of the videos I really enjoyed this year (some are repeats from previous years) are things I reviewed for the Blender, I'll put in the Blender review link when I have it, instead of going straight to Amazon: Backbeat is all that and some great musical performances, Sliding Doors and Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind both put forth some terrific philosophical ideas in highly engaging and emotional ways. True Romance is, in my opinion, great, but violent for some of the folks I watched it with. Love, Actually was very sweet. The Way We Were was of course a bittersweet classic, and The Baxter was a recent find, a formalistic comedy that I really loved and in some ways identified with.

Non-Blendered videos: the classic Raging Bull, the quirky but poignant Ukrainian joint Everything is Illuminated, and of course Blues Brothers has been the inspiration for bad jazz bands for decades. Finally there was Delta of Venus, like the other Blender-ish favorite Henry and June but with more sex and a bit less art.


Movies on TV (8)
Criminal, I, Robot, Dodgeball, Murder by Numbers, Postcards from the Edge, Wimbeldon, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Hide and Seek

Bleh. Movies on TV were about as worth while as the trips to the cinema.

Video Games (7)
Alien Syndrome, The Punisher, Yoshi's Island, GTA: Liberty City Stories, Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, Lego Star Wars 2: The Original Trilogy, Rayman Raving Rabids

These are the games I played all the way through, and not multiplayer games I enjoy so much with friends, but still; I don't think I'm as much of a gamer as my reputation implies. Of what I played The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction was the clear standout, a sandbox-y, mayhem-filled romp that really gave the sense of being this enormously strong, tremendously leaping monster at loose in city and desert settings.

Books (36)
The Cyberiad, The Book of Ratings, What Just Happened, Room Temperature, Smartbomb, Storm Front, Thud, Gun, with Occasional Music, Mortal Engines, Faith Without Certainty, Postsecret, The Discoveries, Be My Guest, Love and Other Near-Death Experiences, JPod, Ask the Pilot, The Minority Report and other classic stories, Robot Visions, Lockpick Pornography, The Polysyllabic Spree, Dungeons and Dreamers, Big Lonesome, Nothing's Sacred, Fool Moon, A Wild Sheep Chase, Living with Books, Anansi Boys, A History of The World in 6 Glasses, Paris in the Twentieth Century, Giggling into the Pillow, Monstrous Regiment, How I Became Stupid, A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, The Hours, Sex and Other Sacred Games, Sex, Drink, and Fast Cars

The Cyberiad was an amazing blend of thought, scifi, and fantasy... Stanislaw Lem was really amazing. Room Temperature is... well, it's very Nicholson Baker; an intensely detailed, almost fetishistic, study in the minutiae of this life-- for this book, the details of caring for an infant. Gun, with Occasional Music was some nifty scifi noir. Love and Other Near-Death Experiences is by my favorite Mil Millington... I dig his books but the people I give them to (mostly women) don't seem to like the blend of relationship observation and embarrassment comedy. Anansi Boys was mythically brilliant. A History of The World in 6 Glasses and A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again are the only bits of non-fiction here; the former is a great study of how you can match phases of human history with what beverages folk had to drink, and the latter are essays so smart that it makes me intensely jealous. Finally, The Hours was a recommend from FoSO, and I liked it... and it had been so long since I'd seen the movie it still seemed pretty new .

Comics/Graphic Novels (26)
Any Easy Intimacy, Be A Man, JLA: New World Order, Mail Order Bride, The Golem's Mighty Swing, Powers: Who Killed Retro Girl?, Lone Wolf 2100 3: Pattern Storm, Transformers Generation 1: War and Peace, Penny Arcade 1: Attack of the Bacon Robots, Star Wars Empire 5: Allies and Adversaries, Strangers In Paradise, Star Wars Tales Vol 6, 99 Ways to Tell a Story : Exercises in Style, Miniature Sulk, Superman: Birthright, The Golem's Mighty Swing, I Am Going to Be Small, Reporter / Little Back, Every Girl is the End of the World for Me, Penny Arcade 2: Epic Legends of the Magic Sword Kings, Lost Girls, WE3, Will You Still Love Me If I Wet The Bed?, The Invisibles: Say You Want a Revolution, League of Extraordinary Gentleman Vol 1, League of Extraordinary Gentleman Vol 2

(Some nice preview links here...) I've always liked Jeffrey Brown, though Any Easy Intimacy is kind of going over some well-worn territory, but I Am Going to Be Small, a series of single panels, was really funny. Will You Still Love Me If I Wet The Bed? by Liz Prince was a bit like some of the Brown stuff, but maybe even sweeter. The Golem's Mighty Swing is a stylistic bit of genius, about a novelty all-Jewish baseball squad from back when baseball leagues were very different. Finally, at the end of the year with two things by Alan Moore: The Lost Girls, which is some of the most interesting and thoughtfully literate pornography I've ever seen, and then League of Extraordinary Gentleman makes me understand why the movie is held in such poor regard. (I thought the movie was dumb, but ok for what it was... but it didn't hold a candle to the graphic novel.)

media of the yearmedia

(12 comments)
January 2, 2008

So, my narcissistic annual tradition: here's the media I consumed over the past year. I was pleased that my T-based commute let me read like twice as many books this year.

Movies at the Cinema: (16)
Night at the Museum, Smokin' Aces, Pan's Labyrinth, Grindhouse, Spiderman 3, Pirates of the Carribean 3 : At World's End, Ocean's 13, Fantastic Four, Transformers, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Hot Fuzz, Superbad, Simpsons, Good Luck Chuck, 2 Days in Paris, Lust, Caution


Pan's Labyrinth was dark and weird and scary and lovely. Hot Fuzz was a funny British mocking and honoring cop movies, 2 Days in Paris was kind of a Parisian Woody Allen neurotic comedy, and Lust, Caution and its story in occupied China was sensual but absolutely disturbing.

Movies on DVD (52)
History of the World Part I, Brick, Dukes of Hazzard, Natural Born Killers, Lie With Me, Dr. Katz Season 1, Voices of a Distant Star, Supernatural Season 1, Birthday Girl, Red Dawn, Sports Night Season 1, The Place Promised in Our Early Days , Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic, Saw, Little Miss Sunshine, Pumping Iron, The OH! in Ohio, Foxfire, This Film Is Not Rated, i heart huckabees, Me and You and Everyone We Know, Waiting..., Kung Fu Hustle, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan , Eurotrip, Gizmo, Smoke, Strangers with Candy Season 1, Dirty Shame, Flyboys, Shaun of the Dead, Volver, Lord of War, Johnny Mnemonic, Killing Zoe, Girl Play, Children of Men, Marie Antoinette, Spaced Season 1, Kalifornia, The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, Black Snake Moan, Reno 911!: Miami, 300, Save the Green Planet!, The Fountain, Dasepo Naughty Girls, Pirates of the Carribean 2: Dead Man's Chest, Blood Diamond, Live Free or Die Hard, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy, A Scanner Darkly


Brick was nior Encyclopedia Brown. Lie With Me was sexy arthouse. I've already said a lot about Voices of a Distant Star and its spiritual successor The Place Promised in Our Early Days didn't disappoint. Kung Fu Hustle was just plain fun. Gizmo! is worth tracking down for its take on inventions and feats in the 30s 40s and 50s. The dystopia of Children of Men was a little heavy handed but it was still a great video. Spaced Season 1... I think it's where the folks from Hot Fuzz / Shaun of the Dead got it going. Save the Green Planet was a Korean film, very hard to parse, and with some ambiguity about its crazy hero. Finally, A Scanner Darkly used that rotoscope effect in a great way.

Movies on TV (2)
Seabiscuit, Beer League


Not much to say, though Arty Lang's Beer League was a bit better than I expected

Books (78)
On A Pale Horse, Bearing an Hourglass, The Ancestor's Tale, The Unix-Haters Handbook, A Short History of Myth, The Alien Years, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Blink, An Anthropologist On Mars:, Grave Peril, The Only Bush I Trust Is My Own, The Civilized Engineer, Dave Gorman's Googlewhack! Adventure, Virtual Organisms: The Startling World of Artificial Life, The Game-Players of Titan, Magical Thinking, Sellevision, Running with Scissors, Friday Night Lights, Ruining It for Everybody, Why We Do It: Rethinking Sex and the Selfish Gene, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across The Eight Dimension, The Sixteen Pleasures, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, Dork Whore, Investigating Sex: Surrealist Discussions 1928-1932, Recue from Domestic Perfection, A Year in the Merde, Timequake, Steppenwolf, Kennedy and his Women, Solaris, The Middle-Aged Man on the Flying Trapeze, The Average American Male: A Novel, Overclocked, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, Tuesdays with Morrie, What's Your Dangerous Idea?, Mind & Emergence: from quantum to consciousness, The Fountainhead, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Zen Living , The Secret Symbols of the Dollar Bill, The Dharma Bums, The Perks of Being a Wallflower., One Good Turn: A Natural History of the Screwdriver and the Screw, Eleanor Rigby, The Complete Saki, It's Too Late to Say I'm Sorry, Everyday Life in Early America, One-Night Stands with American History, Country Stores in Early New England, The Education of a Coach, The Planiverse, Possible Side Effects, Invisible Cities, America (The Book) A Citizen's Guide to Democracy in Inaction, We, Not Even Wrong: Adventures in Autism, Consider the Lobster, David Rakoff, Edge presents The 100 Best Videogames, Comedy by the Numbers: The 169 Secrets of Humor and Popularity , The Planets, Pro-Wicket, CODE The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software, The Man In The High Castle, New York Sawed in Half, The Golden Compass, Good Poems for Hard Times, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass, The Selfish Gene, The Dharma of Star Wars, The Maltese Falcon, Riding Rockets, Fierce People, Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar, Schulz and Peanuts


You can get an e-text of The Unix-Haters Handbook for free now. It's dated but opened my eyes to a world beyond Unix as the optimal OS- especially the reminder that the Clipboard has overlap with Unix pipes but does stuff pipes never could. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time tried to give insight into the inner life of autistics. Magical Thinking: True Stories made me think that Augusten Burroughs is David Sedaris turned up to 11. The Sixteen Pleasures was a lovely work; "The Hours" crossed with "Cinema Paradiso", with a thoughtful look at the craft of book preservation. I reread Timequake, Vonnegut's swansong, and it was still fantastic. Tuesdays with Morrie was a tearjerker, but not without wisdom What Is Your Dangerous Idea? had some neat thoughts, there might be a web version to hunt down. Kerouac's The Dharma Bums had some real insights in to the challenges of an American applying Zen Bhuddism to real life. One Good Turn: A Natural History of the Screwdriver and the Screw was geektastically wonderful. The Complete Saki- the guy is the Thurber of Edwardian Fops! Comedy by the Numbers: The 169 Secrets of Humor and Popularity was funny in a meta kind of way. CODE The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software is Petzold building a computer from the ground up, conceptually; great layman reading. His Dark Materials Trilogy had some ideas that I'm sure millions will find blasphemous, it's too bad they shied away from that in the first movie. The Dharma of Star Wars pointed out how much of that California version of Zen leaked into all the films. The Maltese Falcon was hardboiled and great. Riding Rockets: The Outrageous Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut lived up to its subtitle.

Comics/Graphic Novels (29)
Transformers Evolutions: Hearts of Steel, 32 Stories, Filth, Goddess, Swamp Thing: A Murder of Crows, Swamp Thing: Love and Death, Swamp Thing: The Curse, Swamp Thing: Earth to Earth, The New American Splendor Anthology, Feeble Attempts, Bighead, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomedy, Houdini: The Handcuff King, Star Wars Rogue Squadron Omnibus Vol 1, Demo, Action Philosophers, Sequential, Truth and Beauty Bombs, How to Make Money Like a Porn Star, Incredible Change-Bots, Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness, Pet Noir, Clumsy, Will You Still Love Me If I Wet The Bed?, I Shall Destroy All The Civilized Planets!, Ministry of Space, Planetary - All Over the World and Other Stories, Planetary 2, Planetary 3


32 Stories was the very earliest Optic Nerve, great stuff writ small. Fans of "Dykes to Watch Out For" should check out the autobiographical Fun Home: A Family Tragicomedy, it struck home in a few weird ways. Demo was a nice take on "real world superpowers". Action Philosophers was a goofy review of some deep thinkers. I enjoyed rereading old Softer World comics Truth and Beauty Bombs; deeply weird stuff. Will You Still Love Me If I Wet The Bed? was a reread of some great sweet short comics. Fletcher Hanks' I Shall Destroy All The Civilized Planets! is just so deeply old school and weird... Finally Ministry of Space had a nice "Dan Dare" vibe as it recast the space race as something where the Brits got ahead.

Games (17)
Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Crackdown, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, StarFox 64, Chibi-Robo!, Toy Story, Gears of War, Crackdown, Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, Trax, Bioshock, Robot Gardening, Raiden 2, Halo 3, Super Mario Galaxies, flywrench, Portal


Wow... I didn't play too too many games but there were some great ones. Chibi-Robo was a lost gem on the GC; very sweet tale of a little robot helping a disfunctional family. It took me a while to get used to Gears of War's "duck and cover" mentality, but it has its charms. Crackdown was a super-powered take on the GTA formula, but Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction is THE superhero game par excellence. Trax was a recommendation from a friend, a tiny little gem for the old Gameboy. Bioshock was underwater Ayn Rand gone all wrong (but at least it had three dimensional characters! ZING!) Super Mario Galaxies was a collection of brilliant little gameplay microcosms, and Portal, with its simple idea of "what happens if you could connect any two parts of a room with a door?, along with its psychotic computer was just a great way to end the year. Favorite quote:
Good news. I figured out what that thing you just incinerated did. It was a Morality Core they installed after I flooded the enrichment center with a deadly neurotoxin to make me stop flooding the enrichment center with a deadly neurotoxin. So get comfortable while I warm up the Neurotoxin Emitters.
That made me laugh...


what kirk listened to, watched, read, and playedmedia

(8 comments)
January 2, 2009

I figured out how to make iTunes "Smart Playlists" that just play music I've added to my collection in the last 30,60, or 90 days. Before I made the lists, I found I would tend to search out songs I just added manually, so it's nice to have all the new stuff on one list.

For a brief time, I was almost feeling badly about how much I was listening to the 30 or 60 day list, like I was somehow being unfair to the time-test goodness of the other 1600 odd songs I had rated as worthy enough to carry around (about 1 in 5 of my whole ripped collection.) Then I realized I had it backwards, that of COURSE "now" is the correct time to kind of get acquainted with the new stuff, that any song I like in the long run probably needs some kind of honeymoon period where it's in my head a lot, before it gets just a 1 in 1600 chance of shuffling up.

Sometimes I think I overthink things a bit. (hey, I think there might be my epitaph there!)

Media of the Year
So, my annual tradition of Media in Review! Italics for the stuff I noted as "recommendation worthy" with a few words on each recommend after.

Next year will mark 10 years of doing this media journaling. I want to make a chart. I already know that T-commutes are better for # of books, and girlfriends are better for videos.

Movies at the Cinema (9)
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Hulk, Wanted, Hancock, The Dark Knight, Pineapple Express, Tropic Thunder, Clockwork Orange, Milk


Surprisingly, Hancock was the only bit of summer fare I noted as a recommend (I guess I thought Dark Knight was a bit overplayed, and long...). If nothing else, the flying sequences of Hancock, a real sense of barely-controled power and gracelessness, made it worthwhile. I counted Clockwork Orange as "cinema", even though it was just the MIT film series. And lately, Milk was worthwhile, if a bit of a tearjerker; you wonder if the people who think a pre-election release could have helped stop CA's Prop 8 are right.

Movies on DVD (35)
Hostel, Akira, Starship Troopers, I Am Legend, Spike & Mike's Sick & Twisted: Full Frontal, Heat, Run Lola Run, Strange Days, Wonder Boys, A Beautiful Mind, Lost in Translation, Shopgirl, Kevin Smith Speaks Part 1, Borat, The Matrix, Atonement, Walking My Life, Juno, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Darjeeling Limited, Mean Girls, My Neighbor Tortoro, A Clockwork Orange, Bad News Bears, Bourne Ultimatum, Kill Bill Vol.1, Kill Bill Vol.2, Stick It, Iron Man, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, Casino Royale, The Fall, Hellboy 2, The Stangers


It's amazing how well Anime great Akira has aged; that motorcycle still looks 15 minutes into the future 20 years later. Run Lola Run was a visit with an old favorite. A Beautiful Mind and Shopgirl were both thoughtful and poignant movies. Walking my Life was a Japanese tearjerker I watched on the way back from Japan, a 48-year-old executive finds he has 6 months to live, and tries to make peace with all the people in his life. Juno and The Darjeeling Limited both deserve their place as quirky, indy-ish stuff making its way into the mainstream. Stick It is teen athelete training montage fodder utterly redeemed by some amazing and playful artsy cinematography... also a kicking sountrack. Iron Man might have edged out Hancock had I seen it at the cinema, but whatever. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind remains as, quite possibly, my favorite movie. The Fall looks quite a bit like the director's previous work The Cell; all super saturated dreamworld. It doesn't quite hang together, but it's still a moving and worthwhile experience.

Books (64)
Cherry The Mind's I, The Lathe of Heaven, A Poem for Autumn, Haunted, A Short History of Nearly Everything, Etiquette Guide to Japan, Men and Cartoons, House on Boulevard St., Ubik, The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, Sesame Street Unpaved: Scripts, Stories, Secrets, and Songs, The Kite Runner, Tuf Voyaging, Thank You and OK! An American Zen Failure in Japan, The Armageddon Rag, After Dark, The Portable Dorothy Parker, Why Do Men Have Nipples?, I'm a Stranger Here Myself, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintanence, Dead Witch Walking, Wild Ducks Flying Backwards, Eyewitness Testimonies: Appeals from the A-Bomb Survivors (3rd rd), The Haunted Smile, The Screwtape Letters, Small Things Considered, The Classic Tradition of Haiku: An Anthology, Meeting with Japan, Agile Project Management with Scrum, Freedom Evolves, Be Sweet: A Conditional Love Story, Ascending Peculiarity, Slowness: A Novel, I Love You, Beth Cooper, Starship Troopers, Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions, How to Succeed in a Japanese Company, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, How Are Things?, In Our Time, Confederates in the Attic, On Intelligence, Tender is the Night, The Tao Is Silent, The Science of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials, Tao of Pooh, The Te of Piglet, Penn & Teller's How to Play in Traffic, Passing for Thin, Ender's Shadow, Naked Pictures of Famous People, Postman Always Rings Twice, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, I Am a Strange Loop, Guidebook to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, A Clockwork Orange, Game Design Workshop, Stick to Drawing Comics, Monkey Brain, Future Weapons of War, Word of Mouth, , The Encyclopdia of Immaturity, Word of Mouth 2


I got my reading group to tackle The Mind's I, and it remains my favorite introduction to thinking about thinking and being. The Lathe of Heaven is a terrific bit of parallel-universe sci-fi thought experimenting, a meditation on Daoism. Bryon's A Short History of Nearly Everything had some sketchy science here and there, but was a good layman introduction to the universe. Men and Cartoons was "like wild sheep chase guy meets superhero comics, lovely". My mom got me House on Boulevard St., some poems, and it was worthwhile. Phillip K Dick's Ubik seemed to be a big influence on "Lathe of Heaven", actually. The most disturbing part of The Kite Runner probably wasn't the rape, but the betrayal of the friend. Tuf Voyaging makes me wish George R.R Martin was more known for his sci-fi than his fantasy. Thank You and OK! An American Zen Failure in Japan was a bit long, but an interesting study in "West Coast" Zen and its more traditinal practice. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintanence is high on the list of my favorite books, can't believe it took me so long to get to it. Meeting with Japan was the perfect post-trip gift from EB, in the 1960s an Italian who had once been prisoner there revisits the "New Japan". Starship Troopers deserves a better movie. Gaiman's Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions had some very cool bits. Sedaris was pretty much back in form with When You Are Engulfed in Flames. Confederates in the Attic was a kind of fascinating take on how the current South feels about the War almost a century and a half later. On Intelligence has, I think, THE correct model for how the brain works, even if the author gets Searle's Chinese Room all wrong. Postman Always Rings Twice is some tight little noir - I loved the idea that it was Banned in Boston. I Am a Strange Loop was good thinking about consciousness. A Clockwork Orange was a better book than I expected, I was worried about parsing its made up language, but learning it was really a delight. I started skimming Game Design Workshop but read all the great interviews with industry veterans. Stick to Drawing Comics, Monkey Brain! shows there's more to Scott Adams than Dilbert. I've already deeply praised Word of Mouth, and finally, The Yiddish Policeman's Union is great Yiddish Noir/Alternate History.

Comics (28)
All Star Superman Vol. 1, The Warsun Prophecies, Astonishing X-Men: Gifted, Catwoman: The Life and Times of a Feline Fatale, Scheherazade: Comics About Love, Treachery, Mothers, and Monsters, Another Day, Amphigorey, I was a Teenage Comic Nerd, whatever, Wanted, Little Things: A Memoir in Slices, It's a Good Life, If You Don't Weaken, Postage stamp funnies, We Eat Tonight, Action Philosophers Giant Size Thing Vol 2, The Fart Party, The Boondocks - Because I Know You Don't Read the Newspaper, How to Love, Binky's Guide to Love, Red Eye, Black Eye, Weapon Brown, Introducing Noam Chomsky, Grrl Scouts Volume 1, Guilty, The Man Who Loved Breasts, Zhuangzi Speaks: The Music of Nature, Rent Girl, The Complete Cartoons of the New Yorker


All-Star Superman Vol.1 is this lovely take on the iconic figure; just this refreshing kind of whitespace approach. Amphigorey remains dark and disturbing and wonderful. Whatever, by Boston local Karl Stevens, is fantastic. His realistic style and mundane "Allston Brighton Life" subject matter makes him my new favorite. It's a Good Life, If You Don't Weaken is an intriguing cartoonist detective story. The Boondocks - Because I Know You Don't Read the Newspaper... amazed with what he got away with in the newspapers, very cutting and smart. Weapon Brown is hard to get but worth it... Mad Max meets Peanuts via Clockwork Orange. Zhuangzi Speaks: The Music of Nature were some charmingly illustrated Daoist lessons. Rent Girl uses words and pictures to show you just how sexy and glamorous prostitution isn't. And the Complete Cartoons of the New Yorker with 2 CDs was the best value I'd gotten my Uncle ever.

Video Games (15)
Raiden 2, Earth Defense Force 2017, Earth Defense Force 2017, Blood Ties, Earth Defense Force 2017, Gears of War, GTA IV, Portal, The Incredible Hulk, Fantastic Contraption, Karoshi 2, Mercenaries 2, Gears of War 2, Star Fox: Assault, Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts

I played Earth Defense Force 2017 three times this year, and man was it fun... B-movie sci fi run and gun epic brilliance. Gears of War is pretty well known. The sequel I also played through with JZ this year was worthy, but the hamfisted attempts at characterization make appreciate the original more. I'm kind of surprised GTA IV didn't make my "reccomend list", because I did think it was good. Portal I just watched JZ play after enjoying it the year before. I've already sang the praises of Fantastic Contraption, and I'm glad I ponied up the small registration fee -- we need to support stuff like this! Auntie Pixelante introduced me to Karoshi 2, suicidal indy puzzling. Mercenaries 2 was flawed but very, very satisfying, and may be the only game I enjoy driving a tank in this generation. Finally, I mentioned how much I loved the Lego-dream of Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts


Pure physical comedy in Halo 3; Ivan and I startle each other in corridor, fumbling weapons, as I die I deploy hopeless, useless shield, ZUM
Trying to place Ivan's new facial hair, and realized the mustache/muttonchops (no goatee) look is Lemmy from Motorhead - no warts though
Oy, dating. One asks: what AM I looking for? Counter: Of all my failed romances (technically all past ones) how many would I undo? Very few.
New favorite pen: Pilot Precise V7 RT, a nice-feeling retractable continuation of the line... who says there's no such thing as progress?
CNN: mullah to boy 'Now that you have finished the Quran, you need to go and commit a suicide attack' - meaner than MY sunday school, fo'sho
http://tinyurl.com/8r67ez - NPR asks "when did you see trouble coming?" I wanted OUT of homeowning in '04-- and-maybe- the boom felt "wrong"

a decade of writing down the stuff i was watchingmedia

(2 comments)
January 2, 2010

So for a decade now I've been keeping a database of the media I've been consuming!

Last year I mentioned I wanted to graph this stuff out, and so here it is:

(adding to the geekery, this is a screenshot from a homemade java processing program, not an Excel thing like a sane nerd might've done.)

As I predicted my commute change led to a decrease in books read, though I didn't know that was a trend. I'm surprised to see that I haven't, in fact, been playing as far fewer video games through as I had thought. I think the early 2000s amount of movies-on-tv was from having a tv in my home office and the mid-2000s spike in videos was the discovery of Netflix.

I also made a permanent features page for this stuff, with links to all the previous years.

I always feel he need to apologize for this, and I'm not sure if anyone reads my recommendations all that closely. Still, if nothing else these are notes to my future self, who I hope will always be at least a little bit interested.

Movies at the Cinema (18)
Slumdog Millionaire, Watchmen, Star Trek, Xmen Origins: Wolverine, Terminator: Salvation, Up, Angels and Demons, The Hangover, Transformers 2, Funny People, Whatever Works, District 9, Inglourious Basterds, Zombieland, Where the Wild Things Are, 2012, Avatar, Sherlock Holmes

Watchmen was a solid translation of the comic, and I liked the change they made to the ending. I was delighted to see the return of Kirk as the pre-eminent Captain with Star Trek. Up was beautiful and touching. IMAX Transformers 2 made it just a terrific spectacle, and if you take it for what it was it was pretty great. Funny People and Whatever Works were both kind of sweet-nature comedies. I love the way Where the Wild Things Are didn' try to prefectly map the realm with the monsters to their parallels in the "real world". Finally Avatar was stupendous, especially in IMAX 3D.

Movies on DVD (37)
Idiocracy, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Jumper, Ali G Indahouse, Shaun of the Dead, Sex Drive, Better than Chocolate, Blues Brothers, Burn After Reading, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Seven Pounds, In Bruges, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Repo: the generic opera, Wall-E, The Big Lebowski, American Beauty, Rosencrantz + Guldernstern are Dead, Henry and June, Pushing Tin, Bender's Big Score, Ponyo, The Butterfly Effect, (500) Days of Summer, Transformers, The Station Agent, Stick It, Drumline, Robocop, Caprica, Better Than Chocolate, Barb Wire, Indepdence Day, Chasing Amy, Across the Universe, Backbeat, Kama Sutra

I got the chance to revisit a lot of favorite videos with JZ and Amber. Vicky Cristina Barcelona was new to me, but, you know, it's still Woody Allen. Shaun of the Dead is still my favorite Zombie flick. Better than Chocolate is still a great and sexy without being tawdry young lesbians in love flick. Everyone needs to see Blues Brothers. I watched Burn After Reading and In Bruges with cmg, and both were funny but dark. The Big Lebowski, American Beauty, Rosencrantz + Guldernstern are Dead are all classics. As is Henry and June, and I'm still irritated NC-17 isn't a legitimate film category or movie makers. Pushing Tin is fun. Ponyo had a Disney release but we caught it on bootleg. I'm not sure how I missed The Butterfly Effect - maybe I was scared of Ashton Kutcher, but it's really a thoughtful sci-fi piece. (500) Days of Summer was romantic and lovely. Stick It and Drumline are two great teens-over-adversary montge flicks with great visual moments. Robocop is Robocop. Chasing Amy is Chasing Amy - a bit awkward but still nifty. Across the Universe is a lovely rework of so many Beatles pieces, and Backbeat is their story in Hamburg - very sweet and romantic. Finally Kama Sutra is not as sex-crazed as you might hope, but it's a simple story well-told.

Things on Television
The Invasion, Resident Evil: Extinction, Alice, VH1's 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs, Wizard of Oz

Wizard of Oz is great, if sleepy. Amber and I watched through all five hours of VH1's 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs and it was pretty cool, even if some of the choices are baffling, and man... does TV really need that many reality shows with washed up hiphop performers?

Books (40)
The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, Uniforms, Inventing Modern, Like You'd Understand, Anyway, Magic for Beginners, Battle Stations, The Shangri-La Diet, Effective Java, Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives, Racing the Beam, Holy Cow: an Indian Adveture, The 10,000 Year Explosion, Diary of Indignities, The Great Fires, The Book of Totally Useless Information, Old Age Comes at a Bad Time, (book of George Washington selected letters), Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, The Love Poems of James Laughlin, Amerika: Russian Writers view the United States, Me and You, His Excellency George Washington, A Home at the End of the World, Everything is Illuminated, Going Postal, The Adventure Capitalist, He's Just Not That Into You, Interpreter of Maladies, The Photograph as Contemporary Art, And Another Thing*, A Catalogue of Unfindable Objects, The Case for God*, You Better Not Cry*, 9 Stories, 1,001 Things They Won't Tell You, Word Myths, Nothing to be Frightened Of, Ounce, Dice, Trice, Stop Me If You've Heard This: A History and Philosophy of Jokes, Franny and Zooey * (audiobook)

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid - nostalgic but not sickly sweet look back to the 50s. Uniforms was a surprisingly cool read, though the author was a bit of an elitest. Like You'd Understand, Anyway were some brilliant and well-searched short pieces on people surviving extremely difficult circumstances. The Shangri-La Diet has an awesome idea thouh I'm not proof positive it works. Effective Java should be read by every Java programmers. Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives was like "Einstein Dreams" but about various incarnations of the afterlife and God. Racing the Beam was a cool in-depth look into programming for the Atari 2600. Holy Cow: an Indian Adveture showed me just what amazing diversity India sports. The Great Fires is the best book of romantic poetry ever. Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal was like a funny and pop-culture remake of the Last Temptation of Christ. Me and You is a superbly sensual story I first read in college. His Excellency George Washington pointed out what a toweing figure this guy was. A Home at the End of the World made me wonder why all books can't be this sensual. Everything is Illuminated is also good as a movie. And Another Thing was a worthy Hitchhiker's Guide sequel. A Catalogue of Unfindable Objects was referenced in "The Design of Everyday Things" and is a brilliant bit of design fantasy and social commentary, though a bit French. The Case for God was a profound survey of religion, and makes me wonder if people really were that good at seperating the "mythos" from the "logos". You Better Not Cry was classic Augusten Burroughs but hearing him read his own stuff was terrible until I listened to it at double speed. Nothing to be Frightened Of is an interesting musing on mortality. Ounce, Dice, Trice is a fun kid-friendly book about words, meant to be read aloud. Stop Me If You've Heard This: A History and Philosophy of Jokes had some neat thoughts about the attempt to capture humor in writing. Franny and Zooey told me that I was wrong to dislike Salinger so immensly after "Catcher in the Rye".

Comics (23)
The Boys Vol 1, The Boys Vol 2, The Boys Vol 3, Secret Identity, Emperor Joker, Help is on the Way, Astonishing X-men: Dangerous, Astonishing X-men: Gifted, The Watchmen, All-Star Superman #2, Funny Misshapen Body, Star Trek: Countdown, Blankets, Another Dollar, 32 Stories, The Man Who Loved Breasts, Will You Still Love Me If I Wet the Bed?, Empowered, Empowered #2, Empowered #3, Empowered #4, Empowered #5, What it Feels Like to be a Building

Secret Identity started kind of corny but turned into a decent Superman tale. I loved the insanity of Emperor Joker Help is on the Way is a compilation of the web comic "Basic Instructions". I reread The Watchmen in preperation for the movie, and I thought the movie held up. Funny Misshapen Body might be Jeffrey Brown's most informative work. Blankets is a great graphic novel, sweet, romantic, a great study into growing up among bible thumpers - Amber's first Pekar remains strong in Another Dollar, 32 Stories is Optic Nerve. The Man Who Loved Breasts is funny, and Will You Still Love Me If I Wet the Bed? is the sweetest thing ever. Empowered 1-5 are these really weird mashups of superhero and B+D comics - light hearted and not TOO too porny for all of that. What it Feels Like to be a Building is just a neat book about the pressures walls and ceilings face every day.

Video Games (11)
EDF 2017, EDF 2017, EDF 2017, GTA4: Thoe Lost + Damned, Wario World, Gears of War, Game-a-Day, Transformers 2: Rise of the Fallen, Portal, Flower, GTA4: The Ballad of Gay Tony

Guess I still love me some EDF 2017, maybe the best B-movie game ever, and hecka fun for two people. Gears of War is still a definitive classic. Transformers 2: Rise of the Fallen is a competent little reward-driven shooter. Portal is of course brilliant. Flower is poetic and beautiful, and GTA4: The Ballad of Gay Tony is probably the ulitmate little GTA4 game, with mission select, a tank, and skydiving.

Overall I'm a little sad I'm not playing more games. I got into but didn't finish Retro Challenge, Scribblenauts, and GTA: Chinatown Wars. on DS -- I guess I don't find it the most compelling system.

I also saw the stage show "The Buddha In His Own Words" which was pretty decent.
"I'm a virgin by choice."
"Not YOUR choice."
--"Year One

best ten books of the last decadesmediabestof

(1 comment)
January 6, 2010

So, with a decade of recording what media I've been consuming under my belt, I'm in a position to make top ten lists!

Many of these books were written before 2000... this is just a subjective list based on me first encountering them at some point over the last decade. But I'd heartily recommend any of them to nearly anyone.
  1. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Pirsig. The way this book tries to reconcile the Engineer's View (detailed, analytic) and the Romantic View (general, emotional) and come up with a sense of Quality that is really the heart of Daoism is astounding. It's also a nice and very human and readable story.
  2. Consciousness Explained, Daniel Dennett. This book I cited again and again. It's a tough read, but I'm still amazed at the solid Western, academic structure it uses to get around to an idea that's fundamentally Buddhist; that there's not as much of a "there there" when it comes to consciousness as we think. (Jeff Hawkins' On Intelligence is similarly thought provoking, and it's idea that the core idea of the mind is "predict and test" is actually more relevant to AI than this, but hey, I can only put ten books on this list... while I'm cheating like this I'd point out that The Mind's I remains the best easy introduction to this kind of thinking.)
  3. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald. I admit that in high school I ducked reading this book and Cliff Noted my way through it. I came back to it, thanks in part to reading about Charles Schulz' love of it. Now I'm convinced that it might not make sense until you've had a big unrequited love.
  4. The Mezzanine, Nicholson Baker. One of my favorite books of the previous decade was Tom Robbins' Still Life with Woodpecker, which taught me to stop disrespecting objects just because they're inanimate. This book combines some of that feeling with the thoughtful analysis of Donald Norman's The Design of Everyday Things, and maybe just a hint of "Rainman". Famously it takes place entirely during one man's journey across a mezzanine and up an escalator, but mostly in flashback over the few days prior.
  5. Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About, Mil Millington. In some ways not quite as pointed as the website that started it all, this is still one of the funniest books I've ever read. Admittedly men seem to dig this book more than women (even though some of the joy is the male unreliable narrator) and it is that "comedy of embarrassment" that some people don't dig.
  6. Feet of Clay, Terry Pratchett. This book is a stand-in for all the Pratchett I discovered and devoured over this decade. In many ways Pratchett is a more thoughtful and emotionally in-tune Douglas Adams. And I think this book is one of the best of the "City Watch" novels; the scene of Vimes defending the Golem was heroism at its most beautiful.
  7. How Can I Get Through to You?, Terrence Real. Recommended by the couples therapist Mo and I went to after the die had already been cast. What I most took away from it is the pattern that happens over and over, where a woman is unhappy with the growth of a relationship but doesn't want to nag, so doesn't say much, and the man is blissfully unaware and satiated, and the woman's discontent build and builds until it explodes, leaving the man stunned and bewildered.
  8. The Dharma Bums, Jack Kerouac. I guess a small theme on this list is Westerners discovering some of the ideas of the spirituality of the East; and this book has that in spades. It introduced me to the concept that "Comparisons are Odious" - a thought that sounds profoundly unsustainable until you think about it, and realize that it does represent a positive thought, and points to a different way of being in the world.
  9. Jar of Fools, Jason Lutes. I read a lot of Graphic Novels this past decade, and this is quite likely the finest; a very human and warm story, written with a compassionate eye and illustrated with a nicely restrained and clean, formal style.
  10. A Deepness in the Sky, Vernor Vinge. The lone sci-fi book to make the list... I actually prefer the same series' A Fire Upon the Deep and how it stretched my mind about possible idea for alien consciousness, but I guess I read that last decade. (Similarly Permutation City is a decent story that plays with the "what ifs" of putting consciousnesses into VR worlds, but I guess I read it farther back than I thought.)
Honorable Mentions: A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again shows what a master of the footnote David Foster Wallace was. D.B. Weiss' Lucky Wander Boy explored the mythology presented by video games. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle was just some of the Haruki Murakami I met and enjoyed - I can't believe the author was at Tufts when I was an undergrad there, and I totally missed it. Finally, May I Kiss You On The Lips, Miss Sandra? shows that Sandra Bernhard is more than just a pretty face. Err.
someone should do Video Game Hero: you pretend to play games with no real skill in using a rubbish plastic joystick and set to cheesy music
--http://twitter.com/llamasoft_ox

best ten movies of the last decadesmediabestof

(5 comments)
January 7, 2010

Hmm- I'm surprised at how much less involved I felt with this list than yesterday's list of books. Anyway, the best ten movies I discovered over the last decade...
  1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - this movie never fails to knock me over. Such a great fantasy/sci-fi exploration that poses some really important questions about loss and heartbreak.
  2. Vanilla Sky This movie plays with some of the same themes of broken romance and untrustworthy memory and alternate realities as does Eternal Sunshine... not quite as satisfying, and the Spanish original might be a tad better, but this is the one I saw first.
  3. Amélie - I might just be rewatching this tonight, or at least soon. Such a visually rich movie, and such a pretty idea...
  4. The Cell - another super-saturated, visually stunning work of art, and I'm not just talking J-Lo's backside in a weird muscle-y bodysuit.
  5. True Romance - I admit from here on in, my choices get more uncertain and arbitrary. This film had a lot of sweetness and swagger. My Blender review mentioned how "You're so cool" may just be the modern substitute for "I love you".
  6. Shaun of the Dead - jeez, how doesn't love a good zombie comedy?
  7. Secretary - another romantic film, albeit with some kink thrown in. There's a real tenderness here though.
  8. Voices of a Distant Star an amazing but little-known piece of anime, written, directed and produced entirely by one person. Full of that peculiary Japanese sense of empty space and desolation - despite, or because of, the giant robots.
  9. Juno - alright, I'm running out of truly great films here, but Juno was sweet, quirky, and a lot of fun, with the highschool girlfriend everyone wishes they had had.
  10. Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions - alright, I'm cheating and putting in two, but they were basically one movie, and not as crappy as everyone says. Once upon a time there was a great piece "Matrix: Resolutions" that pointed out how unworkable most of the fan boy preferred explanations were (like, "the Matrix is actually in another Matrix, and so on and so on") but all I can find is this site that takes it all too seriously.

Caffeine is the healthiest substance on Earth. Not only will it not kill you, it'll make ME not kill you.
--http://twitter.com/rstevens
Cool, hip editors (Notepad++, IntelliJ IDEA) prefer "ctrl-w" to "ctrl-f4" to close windows. Is it more a multiplatform or browser thing?
"Hello, Samaritans ... I've had enough, I'm going to end it all ... I'm going to overdose on these homeopathic painkillers ... I'm going to take one fiftieth of the recommended dose."
-- thefuckestuppest on http://b3ta.com

best ten video games of the last decadesmediabestof

(7 comments)
January 8, 2010

The games I most enjoyed over the past decade...
  1. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City - the series is getting a little repetitive, but I think for sheer hours of enjoyment, these games top the list. GTA4 is in most ways a better game, but Vice City was my first, plus it had helicopters, and captured that 80s "Miami Vice" feel in spades. Man, I love any game with a helicopter. Anyway, the way this series put fun missions over something very like a "living breathing world" that was fun just to tool around in, playing with cars, cycles, and guns... it's hardly topped in all of game-dom. (Also neat how your character is basically the same at the end of the game- it's the player that knows where all the guns and cool things are.)
  2. Rogue Squadron 2: Rogue Leader - I've always been a huge Star Wars fan boy, and honestly it's mostly because of the space ship stuff. This game that came out with the GameCube put you inside an X-wing... and that's all it had to do. The "Battle for Endor" level finale was the first time I saw anything of that scale, with just swarms of TIEs - the classic "There's too many of them!" line came home for the first time.
  3. Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction HULK SMASH!!! Captured the crazy kinetic energy of being a superpowered being like nothing I've seen.
  4. Earth Defense Force 2017 - best B-movie game ever, and probably the one I've beaten the most often, usually pairing up with JZ to take on the vast hoards of supersized ants, giant leaping spiders, and walkers straight out of War of the Worlds. I don't know what was more awesome - taking on this absolutely vast AT-AT behemoth (you come to about its little tow) or just destroying one of the more "normal" humanoid (but huge) walkers, only to see its brother trudging through the fiery smoke, guns blazing.
  5. Bangai-O - one of the last hurrahs for the Dreamcast, a game I wrote a full Walkthrough FAQ for, and the pinnacle of what can be done with many, many, many tiny sprites. Plus the whole "wait 'til you're on the verge of lazery death, THEN bust out the massive devastating-offense-is-the-best-defense superweapon" mechanic is superb.
  6. Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts - the most recent game on this list. The format is pretty typical, Mario-64 hub world challenges, but the ability to build your own car, copter, boat, plane, hovercraft, jet, bulldozer... and have the mechanics of what you put together really matter, in a cartoon-physics-y kind of way... honestly, it kind of blows LEGO out of the water.
  7. Spybotics: The Nightfall Incident - an online LEGO tie-in, actually, by the sadly shut-down Gamelab. Lego seems to be dropping the game, but it still lives on, like at that link. Another one I made a Walkthrough for - (Junkbot is another great gamelab/LLEGOteamup, that arguably as a lot more to do with actual building, but it didn't grab me quite as much as the SNAFU-meets-turn based strategy of this one)
  8. Fantastic Contraption - another Flash game, this one with a great clever building and physics element. Challenging puzzles, plus the way they made it community based, allowing people to see how others took on the challenges, was great.
  9. WarioWare: Twisted! - the original game introduced the world to microgames, the tiniest bits of gameplay pleasure imaginable, wrapped into continuous trail of challenging fun. Twisted kept up the tradition, with a unique gyro-sensor used in all kinds of imaginative ways - plus the toys and minigames they gave you to unlock were a serious inspiration for my Java Advent Calendar
  10. Jet Set Radio Future - some people still prefer the ground-breaking Dreamcast that basically showed the gaming world what Cel-shading could be. The xbox version raised the bar, making it more kinetic, and (IMO) wisely dumped the fiddly graffiti minigame. The soundtrack was also fantastic, probably more songs from here made it into my iPod than even DDR.
Honorable Mentions:
Two categories of honorable mentoins: also-rans, and multiplayer...

Multiplayer games provide me with many hours of bonding fun with my buds and family - Dr. Mario has risen to prominence, though it's pretty old at this point- but in terms of play this weekend, it plus "Puzzle League" were the go-to games.. Super Monkey Ball 2's Monkey Target is brilliant, the Dogfight is fantastic, Monkey Punch is just pure mayhem, and even the race was a good holdover 'til Mario Kart came out. (Mario Kart being another series not to be sneezed at.) Finally Super Smash Bros Melee took the brilliant middle-school "What if X fought Y" of the orignal and made it kinetic.

Also-Rans: Mercenaries 2 may be the only game to really let me enjoy driving a tank around this generation - lots of little tactical "figure out how to get through this" options with lots of weapons, vehicles, and huge explosions. Crimson Skies was a good prelude to Rogue Squadron, flying an old combat fighter around in an stylish alternate history, where the time between the World Wars was quite different... Super Mario Galaxies was just plain cool Gears of War and Halo both get props for their Co-op modes, one of my favorite forms of gaming.

Finally, how can I forget my own labor of love , JoustPong for the Atari 2600???
All joking - and fears that it cost me my marriage (though that might be mixing cause and effect) aside - this is a great little head-to-head game, as we demonstrated at the New England Classic Gamers tourney we had.
Off to see Monster Trucks in New Hampshire... for real.
Man, monster trucks are LOUD. I like when they use 'em like bulldozers to adjust the rows of car before they roll over them.

media wrapupmedia

(4 comments)
January 7, 2011

Time for my 11th annual summary of the books, movies, and games I took in over the past year.

I realized I changed the meaning of one of my categorizations. This year marked a continuation of me not really watching movies on broadcast or cable TV along with the rediscovery of Netflix streaming, and the ability it provides to catch up on entire tv series. So my "tv" category switched from "movie on HBO or Pay-Per-View" to "one season of an entire series".

Also, rather than using my old "recommended" checkbox, I switched to a rating of 1-4 stars. 1 means I resent the time it took from me (marked here in gray), 2 is pleasantly neutral, 3 is I'd recommend it (marked with italics), 4 is it should count as one of my favorites of this and any year (marked in red).

Movies at the Cinema (14)
It's Complicated, Alice in Wonderland, An Education, More Joel on Software, Bridget Jones 2: The Edge of Reason, How to Train Your Dragon, Iron Man 2, Inception, Despicable Me, The Other Guys, Scott Pilgrim vs The World, The Social Network, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Tron: Legacy

No 4-stars in theaters, but some decent films. "Scott Pilgrim" was probably the standout.

Movies on Video (57)
Year One, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Amelie, The Brothers Bloom, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen:, Paper Heart, Better Than Sex, Boogie Nights, Meaning of Life, Voices of a Distant Star , Sex and Lucia, Clerks, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Temple Grandin, Tron, Whip It, Adam, Twilight, Push, Kinsey, Cashback, Fired Up, The Girlfriend Experience, Mary and Max, The Fifth Element, Intimate Strangers, Annie Hall, 9 Songs, Secretary, XXY, Wall*E, Saved!, Coraline, Leon:The Professional, The Big Chill, Spirited Away, Strictly Sexual, Mean Girls, Sculpture, Chloe, Hard Candy, Clash of the Titans, 300, Twilight: New Moon (RiffTrax), Superstar, Delta of Venus, Dead Snow, TiMER, Eyes Wide Shut, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, Valmont, The Italian Job, The Fast and the Furious, Match Point, Speed Racer, Real Genius, Ten Things I Hate About You

"The Unbearable Lightness of Being" and "Amelie" were well-known favorites. "Temple Grandin" was an awesome HBO documentary about an amazing woman. "Cashback" was sweet and sexy if a tad creepy, a fun and romantic "what if" about science fictional powers. "Speed Racer" was just a perfect kinetic visual feast. (Thanks for recommending it Bill!

TV Shows (11)
Caprica, Lost Season 6, Office Season 1, The Office: Season 2, Futurama Season 1, Top Chef Season 7, The IT Crowd: Season 2, The Office Season 3, The Office Season 4, The Office Season 5, Tipping the Velvet

Again no 4-stars, but I've really been enjoying catching up with "The Office" with Amber.

Books (59)
How to be Idle, A Long Way Down, F My Life, Made in America, The Gospel According to Science Fiction, Me of Little Faith, Memories of My Melancholy Whores, Mindscan, The World I Live In, Fluke, Coders at Work, The Ape in Me, Look Me in the Eye, Born Standing Up, Tough, Tough Toys For Tough, Tough Boys, Intimate Adventures of an Office Girl, Peterman Rides Again, You Are Not a Gadget, Waiting, Come to Me, In the Merde for Love, Buddhism Without Beliefs, Little Brother, Time: Secret Societies, 100 Best Beatles Song, I Shouldn't Even Be Doing This, The McSweeney's Joke Book of Book Jokes, The Glen Rock Book of the Dead, Too Cool to Get Married, Permutation City, Danny: The Champion of the World, Designing Interactions, Island of the Sequined Love Nun, HTML5 for Web Designers, Anathem, Disquiet, Please!, The Playboy Book, No One Belongs Here More Than You, How the Mind Works, Guys & Dolls, The Subterraneans, One-Night Stands with American History, Look at the Birdie, Sh*t My Dad Says, Pontoon, Casual Game Design: Designing Play for the Gamer in ALL of Us, Things I've Learned from Women Who've Dumped Me, Retro Gamer Collection Vol.4, jQuery Cookbok, How To Be Inappropriate, Predictably Irrational, Constellation Games, A Guide To The Good Life. {the ancient art of stoic joy), Self-Therapy, Dr. C. Wacko's Miracle Guide to Designing and Programming Atari Computer Arcade Games, Dr. C. Wacko Presents: Atari BASIC & The Whiz-Bang Miracle Machine, Vintage Games, Room, Dear Friends: American Photographs of Men Together, 1840-1918

"Permutation City" is an old favorite, an out of print but brilliant set of thought experiments about what a virtual life could really mean... "How To Be Inappropriate" is just plain funny, "Constellation Games" is a book by Leonard I got the rare privilege or reviewing a draft of and making suggestions on. I've already expounded on the stoic treatise "A Guide to the Good Life" and my love of "Atari BASIC & The Whiz-Bang Miracle Machine".

Comics (21)
Exit Wounds, The Fart Party Vol. 2, Y: The Last Man, The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For, Delayed Replays, 1001 Mad Pages You Must Read Before You Die, Students for a democratic Society: a graphic history, XXXenophile Vol.5, Lego Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary, GI Joe vs The Transformers, Logicomix, The Force Unleashed, MAD about Star Wars, Memories, It Is Folly To Assume My Awesome Lies Dormant, The Three Paradoxes, Empowered 6, The Lodger, Tron: Betrayal, Inbound 4: History of Boston, Inbound 5: The Food Issue

"It Is Folly To Assume My Awesome Lies Dormant", Mincing Mockingbird's odd juxtaposition of well-done bird paintings and odd captions, was something I found at The Decordova. "The Lodger" is by Karl Stevens - I love his realistic style and slice-of-life approach, even if his way of drawing thought balloons makes me think people are farting.

Video Game (11)
Redder, Redder, eBoy FixPix, Transformers: War for Cybertron, Red Remover, Tron, Starfox 64, Tron, Peggle, Peggle Nights, Super Scribblenauts

I got to playtest Auntie Pixelante's Redder and it is great retro play with intriguing philosophical overtones. "Tron" for the iPhone is the best tank game I've played in a long while. "Super Scribblenauts" is just crazily empowering... being able to write almost anything you can think of and have it appear, adjectives and all, is just a pinnacle of gaming.

Honorable Mention: Since we only play like one level at a time, I never offically record Left for Dead 2 but I'm pretty sure I've gotten through all the levels with my buds online...
http://www.slate.com/id/2280249/ -it's easier to wrap yourself in the Constitution when you get to pick and choose which parts you like, eh?
"A static document is a fossil of thought."
--Leonard Richardson, "Constellation Games"
Just learned shift-Win-M reverses Win-M ('M'inimize All). But I was using Win-D (Show 'D'esktop) which doesn't shift reverse. Grr. (That's one of the fewish UI things OSX does better - its "Show Desktop" key is a toggle, just hit it again to get your windows back.)

annual media roundupmedia

(11 comments)
January 2, 2012

Welcome to the 12th edition of my own personal gamification of watching movies, reading books, and playing games...

Compared to last year, few of the numbers moved that much.

Like last year I rated things, though I found my scale has changed. Nothing received the lowest 1 star rating. 2 starts, marked here in gray, were disappointments. 3 star things matched my expectations for them. 4 stars, marked in red, I'd recommend freely and enthusiastically, and 5 star things are in red and ALL CAPS and are just terrific.

Movies at the Cinema (13)
Battle: Los Angeles, Sucker Punch, The Adjustment Bureau, Hanna, Source Code, X-Men: First Class, Midnight in Paris, Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt 2, Real Steel, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, Hugo, The Artist

"The Adjustment Bureau" was some great sci-fi in the mold of Inception. "Hugo" was simple fun with a nice bit of homage to the earliest films, and "The Artist"'s fun with the form and content of the silent movie was just terrific, I'm happy it exists.

Movies on Video (50)
Jeffrey, Mystery Men, Salt, Dinner for Shmucks, Sunshine Cleaning, SHORT BUS, Chasing Amy, Lars and the Real Girl, Silent Running, FRIDA, Killing Me Softly, Waiting for Superman, Family Guy Star Wars Trilogy, Sliding Doors, Arthur, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Havoc, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, Starz Inside: Comic Books Unbound, Gulliver's Travels, Karate Kid, Snatch, MirrorMask, Confederate States of America, Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, Hot Tub Time Machine, True Grit, Cinema Paradiso, Almost Famous, Wild Target, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Trainspotting, Exit Through the Gift Shop, Megamind, The Departed, All the Real Girls, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Wonder Woman, Bridesmaids, Saving Silverman, Superbad, Star Wars: A New Hope, Beavis and Butthead Do America, Best in Show, Crazy, Stupid, Love, Party Girl, Catch-22, WILT

Shortbus was crazy sexy fun, Frida is artistically terrific, and Wilt, a short from German, is the best horror short I've ever seen, more on that as I find out ways to direct people to it.

TV Shows (15)
The Office: Season 6, Modern Family Season 1, Caprica Season 1.5, Mad Men Season 4, Archer, BETTER OFF TED SEASON 1, Game of Thrones Season 1, BETTER OFF TED SEASON 2, GREEN WING SEASON 1, GREEN WING SEASON 2, Parks and Recreation Season 1, Parks and Recreation Season 2, Parks and Recreation Season 3, Shameless Season 1, Shameless Season 2

What can I say, there's so much TV out there that we're able to stick with really good series for the most part. "Better Off Ted" and "Green Wing" are funny, funny, funny.

Books (60)
Extra Lives, How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, The Elements, Why We Suck, Book of Secrets, Bathroom Book of Canadian Quotes, Afterzen, Auntie Mame, JavaScript; The Good Parts, Zombie Spaceship Wasteland, Everything Explained Through Flowcharts, Adjustment Team, Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World , The Girl Who Couldn't Come , Kill Screen Issue 3: Intimacy, Two Is Enough, World War II: Extraordinary Facts and Stories, Man's Search for Meaning, ACCELERANDO, The Final Hours of Portal 2, Strangeland, The Pregnant Widow, L.A. Noire, Worldwar: In the Balance, The Big Book of American Humor, Kill Screen Volume 4: Shared Play, The Wee Free Men, Things I've Learned from Women Who've Dumped Me, Farewell, My Lovely, Gender Advertisements, Fletch, The War Nerd, CONSTELLATION GAMES, Rule 34, Ready Player One, THE ADVANCED GENIUS THEORY, Brain Bugs: How the Brain's Flaws Shape Our Lives, Eating the Dinosaur, 50 Religious Ideas You Really Need to Know, Life Among the Lutherans, Nude in the Tub, Snuff, Pilgrim in the Microworld, The Soloflex Story: An American Parable, Richard Matheson, The Making of Prince of Persia, Videogames Hardware Handbook Vol.2, RetroGamer Collection Vol. 5, Sex at Dawn, Steve Jobs, Monster Island, Retro Micro Games Action Vol 4, Designing for Emotion, Kill Screen 1.5, 50 Physics Ideas You Really Need to Know, Star Wars vs Star Trek, 11/22/63, Tune in Tokyo: The Gaijin Diaries, American Nerd, The Cleanest Race

"The Advanced Genius Theory" was smart pop-culture analysis. "Accelerando" and "Constellation Games" are both terrific pieces of sci-fi... I read early drafts for my friend Leonard Richardson... you can (and SHOULD) check out the current e-book serialization of it at Candlemark and Gleam.

Comics (29)
Dread & Superficiality: Woody Allen as Comic Strip, Breakdowns: Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@&*!, Ignition City, The Killing Joke, Alien Legion: Grimrod, Henry & Glenn Forever, Aetheric Mechanics, I Swallowed the Key to my Heart 2, THE GOLEM'S MIGHTY SWING, Portal 2: Lab Rat, I swallowed the Key to my Heart, Interplanetary Spy 7: Rebel Spy, Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow, Market Day, Love, Loss, and What I Wore, Huntington, West Virginia "On the Fly" , The Punisher: Barracuda, Black Orchid, Star Wars Empire Vol. 7, Zot!: The Complete Black and White Collection: 1987-1991, Save Yourself, Mammal, Zot! Book One, M.F.A., Boston Security Officer 1, Hark! A Vagrant, Oglaf, The Most Dangerous Game, Local Heroes, A Long Day of Mr. James Teacher, The Best of the Rejection Collection

Again, a lot of good stuff, but "The Golem's Mighty Swing is a majestic and moving piece of art, an old favorite. I'd also like to add how impressed I am with Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, maker of "Save Yourself Mammal!" and "The Most Dangerous Game" -- it is a funny, daily comic that gives xkcd a run for its money.

Video Games(13)
Bad Dudes vs Dragon Ninja, Sly Spy: Secret Agent, Portal 2, Portal 2 Co-op, Earth Defense Force Insect Armegeddon, Earth Defense Force Insect Armegeddon, ENDI Tank Battle, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Gears of War 3, Saints Row the Third, Yahtzee Adventures, Star Fox 64 3D, Mario Kart 7

I think the strongest recommendation here is actually "Saints Row the Third", a refreshingly unpretentious and exuberantly violent funfest in the GTA-ish open world genre.

annual media roundupmedia

January 14, 2013
My annual media wrapup. All my numbers for movies and books and games are about the same as the last few years.

I think I ended up giving out too many 4 stars to talk about them sensibly. So, 5 Stars: No movies in the theate, but I found out "i ♥ huckabees", indeed... great existential playfulness. TV-wise, "Pulling" is this terrific show, like a grungy british anti-Sex in the Season. Unfortunately the first 2 or 3 episodes aren't great, but then it hits its stride, and the second season is just brilliance, so worth the Netflix streaming... I'm still not playing many games but I was reminded how much I loved "BattleTanx: Global Assault" on the N64. Bookwise, Egan's "Zendegi" was a maturation of his sc-fi "what would uploading people be like" themes (as seen in "Permuation City".) "The Last Policeman" was also sci-fi; it's what I wish the movie "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World" would have been. On the geeky side, "10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10" was a deep study on old computers and even older concepts of randomness and labyrinths, and on the comic-geeky side "MetaMaus" provided deep insight into Spiegelman's art and his relationship with his father, and being so many people's insight into the atrocities of WW2.

Anyway, stuff in Red was 4 stars or more, stuff in gray was disappointing...

Movies at the Cinema (14)
The Hunger Games, The Dictator, The Avengers, Men in Black III, Casablanca, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Dark Knight Rises, Resident Evil: Retribution, Looper, Sinister, Rise of the Guardians, Django, Argo,

Movies on Video(43)
The Kids Are All Right, Elizabeth, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Cowboys and Aliens, Another Earth, Borat, The Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Hangover Part 2, Gone with the Wind, The Help, Be Kind Rewind, My Week with Marilyn, The Descendants, Fantasia, Zoolander, Emmanuelle Through Time: Emmanuelle's Sexy Bite, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, My Dinner with Andre, Knocked Up, The Royal Tenenbaums, Caged Heat, Postcards from the Edge, Paper Heart, The Men Who Stare at Goats, My Neighbor Tortoro, Brick, Thelma & Louise, I HEART HUCKABEES, Tiny Furniture, i heart huckabees, Perfect Sense, 3 Idiots, Art Of 16 Bars, Before Sunrise, Moonrise Kingdom, Primer, Exotica, Goodfellas, Marjoe, Clue, 6 Days to Air: The Making of South Park, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Swingers

TV Shows (19)
Pulling Season 1, PULLING SEASON 2, Spaced Season 1, Party Down Season 1, Spaced Season 2, Sherlock Holmes (BBC), Enterprise Season 1, New Girl, The Office: Season 8, Parks and Recreation Season 4, Modern Family Season 3, Girls Season 1, Mad Men Season 5, Portlandia, Archer Season 2, Portlandia, Enterprise Season 2, Archer Season 3, Sherlock Holmes Season 2,

Books (65)
The Fat Man on Game Audio: Tasty Morsels of Sonic Goodness, 50 Philosophy Ideas You Really Need to Know, Closing Time, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), Distrust That Particular Flavor, 200 Brain Filling Curves: A Fractal Bestiary, The Illuminatus! Trilogy , 50 Mathematical Ideas You Reallly Need to Know, The Beginning of Infinity, Dragon's Egg, The Anthologist, Enter, The Most Human Human, Rise of the Videogame Zinesters, How to Be Black, Letters from Hawaii, Down from the Top of its Game: The Story of Infocom, Basic Training, Love And Sex With Robots, The Magicians, Jacked, The Mirage, The Visible Man, Confessions of the Game Doctor, How to Do Things with Videogames (Electronic Mediations), Insanely Simple, The Postmortal, I Suck at Girls, Things my Girlfriend and I have argued about , Driving with Plato: The Meaning of Life's Milestones, Free Will, Automate This: How Algorithms Came to Rule our World, 36 Arguments for the Existence of God, The Brain That Changes Itself, Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation, Alien Phenomenology,or What It's Like to Be a Thing ..., The Children of the Sky, The Happiness Hypothesis, The Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge, Bird by Bird, B is for Beer, Why is the Penis Shaped Like That, Constellation Game Extras, Guy Noir and the Straight Skinny, Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong, 77 Love Sonnets, Whiter Shades of Pale: The Stuff White People Like, Coast to Coast , The Kobayashi Maru, Mortality, This Will Make You Smarter, Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers, ZENDEGI, The Last Lecture, God is Not Great, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality 1-35, The Size of Thoughts, Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon, The Last Testament: A Memoir, THE LAST POLICEMAN, 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10, I'm Not Hanging Noodles on Your Ears, METAMAUS, Mr g, Motorcyclus and Other Extremely Scary Stories,

Comics (21)
Supergod, Drinking at the Movies, Time and The Batman, Too Much Coffee Man: Cutie Island, The Zen of Steve Jobs, X-Men Days of Future Past, Hulk: Broken Worlds, Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths, A.D. New Orleans After the Deluge, All Hail Megatron 1, Are You My Mother?, Fun Home, The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For, The Indelible Alison Bechdel, Too Much Adventure, Smut Peddler, Poorcraft, Black Summer, Brunhilda, School of Hard Knock Knock Jokes, Empowered 7

Video Games (9)
BattleTanx, BATTLETANX: GLOBAL ASSAULT, GTA3, Intec G5405 InterAct Complete Video Game Entertainment System, Grand Theft Auto III, Just Cause 2, Mansions of Madness, GTA: Vice City, Karateka


Day 1 of a Couch to 5K. Need: goofy reflective vest. Want: iPhone holster, app w/o ads, reassurance about my knee.
Guy working the alewife dunkies- at first I thought he might Belushi with less talent, but maybe it's Belushi without the cocaine

SMBC is so smart.
"You have to understand, princess… Prince Charming exists only in fairytales. In real life, there are only frogs."
--Kiki de Montparnasse's Grandmama

annual media roundupmedia

(1 comment)
January 4, 2014

My usual media roundup. Far fewer movies on video is the main change. I guess I watch more of those when I'm going steady for longer. Usually.

Better than expected stuff in red, All time favorite in bold, not so good stuff in grey.

So, "all time favorites": Gravity 3D, but in IMAX. It's a bit hokey, but the majestic expanse of Earth are half the key to placating my inner child astronaut.

Bookwise, "Cloud Atlas" was a stylistic tour de force, I love how it built and then deconstructed itself. "Spell of the Sensuous" talks about what we lost with the rise of phonetic alphabets and more. "Dirk Gently" is just amazing in how well it holds up, how fresh it still seems.

In Comics, Harvey Pekar's Cleveland is a beautiful tale of a city I love, James Sturm's America: God, Gold, and Golems includes "The Golem", maybe the best baseball story every told, The Infinite Wait is a great and very personal set of autobiographical tales by Jula Wertz

In video games, Saints Row IV was an astounding melange of super heroism and goofy action, and GTA: San Andreas on iPad was what I wanted GTAV to be more like.

Movies at the Cinema (14)
Oscar Shorts Nominations Live Action, Oscar Shorts Nominations Animated, Lincoln, Iron Man 3, Star Trek: Into Darkness, World War Z, Man of Steel, Pacific Rim, The World's End, Riddick, Texts from Bennett, Gravity, Blue is the Warmest Color, Gravity
Movies on Video (26)
Chungking Express, Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist, Melvin Goes to Dinner, Role Models, Porco Rosso, The Cabin in the Woods, Girls Season 2, Total Recall, Zero Dark Thirty, Wreck-It Ralph, The Big Lebowski, Good Will Hunting, The Fountainhead, Guilt Trip, A River Runs Through It, Safety Not Guaranteed, YPF, Scarface, Cloud Atlas, John Carter, Sick & Tired, Hangover 3, The Way, Way Back, Frances Ha, The To Do List, National Lampoon Christmas Vacation
TV Seasons (7)
Parks and Recreation Season 5, The Office Season 9, New Girl Season 2, Modern Family Season 4, Game of Thrones Season 3, The Mindy Project Season 1, Enterprise Season 4
Books (60)
Squirrel seeks Chipmunk, How Music Works, How to Think More About Sex, My Heart Is an Idiot, Seductive Interaction Design, Sacred Hoops, An Unexpected Twist, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ, What French Women Know, Euphemania: Our Love Affair with Euphemisms, My Mother's Bible: A Son Discovers Clues to God, Star Wench, Love Is Not Constantly Wondering If You Are Making the Biggest Mistake of Your Life, Can a Robot be Human?, Rules for Virgins, When I Say No, I Feel Guilty, Life is Elsewhere, The Dude and the Zen Master, Off to Be the Wizard, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bible, You, Surfaces and Essences: Analogy as the Fuel and Fire of Thinking, Intuition Pumps, Higher Than The Hawk, Unmastered: A book on desire, most difficult to tell, Cloud Atlas, You're Not Doing It Right, Half-Life: Reflections from Jerusalem on a Broken Neck, And Baby Makes More, A Cynic's Guide to a Rich and Full Life, Consider Phlebas, Among Murderers: Life after Prison, Very Short Stories: 300 Bite-Size Works of Fiction, Into the Wild, The 7 Secrets of the Prolific, The Spell of the Sensuous, Faith of Cranes, Terrible Nerd, The Old Man and the Sea, Dry, Magical Thinking, Dreamcast Worlds: A Design History, Michrochondria, The Stench of Honolulu: A Tropical Adventure, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, Long Dark Teatime of the Soul, Salmon of Doubt, Quarantine, Hardwiring Happiness, Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy, The Art of Loving, Oh Myy, MindSets, Collected Poems (Jack Gilbert), The Relaxation Response, The Art of Lying Down, The FastDiet, Dogfight, A Slow Year, EarthBound
Comics (26)
Tiny Art Director, Kiki de Montparnasse, Beg the Question, Kingdom Come, "Failure"@Boston Phoenix, Harvey Pekar's Cleveland, Wizzywig, Feyman, Habibi, Empire State, I Thought You'd Be Funnier, All Over the World and other stories, James Sturm's America: God, Gold, and Golems, An Elegy for Amelia Johnson, Be a man, Clumsy, Unlikely, Failure, Asterios Polyp, xkcd time, Siverbow's Basin, Mush: Sled Dogs with Issues, xkcd: time, Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me, The Infinite Wait and other stories, Tag and Blink Were Here
Video Games (11)
New Super Mario Bros U, GTA: Vice City, 400 Years, Driver, Gears of War: Judgement, Bioshock Infinite, Rogue Squadron 2: Rogue Leader, Saints Row IV, GTAV, Peggle Nights, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

"'NO NO NO NO' - the guy who invented folding chairs watching a wrestling match"
--http://twitter.com/famouscrab

annual media roundupmedia

January 3, 2015
The media I consumed in 2014... It's kind of weird how consistent most of the numbers are year after year, though I watched fewer videos this year. Anyway, 4 star stuff in red, stuff in red and bold are "5 star all time favorites". Gray Stuff I wish I hadn't seen.

Movies at the Cinema (14)
Robocop (Remake), Lego Movie, The Wind Rises, Her, Speed Racer, Godzilla, Chef, Edge of Tomorrow, Snowpiercer, Boyhood, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Book of Life, Anywhere Else, Action Jackson
"Her" was fantastic: romantic, a deftly subtle vision of future fashions and technology, and some deep thoughts about the Singularity. I played "Speed Racer" at my birthday party, "Anywhere Else" was a touching film I saw at the Jewish Film Festival, "Action Jackson" was a fun bit of Bollywood, though my Indian coworkers weren't too impressed.

Movies on Video (23)
Broken Flowers, Elf, Iron Sky, Tokyo Godfathers, About Last Night, Backbeat, Run Lola Run, The Way Things Go, 9, Indie Game: The Movie, Nymphomaniac Pt 1, Nymphomaniac Pt 2, Breath of the Gods, Pulp Fiction, Grosse Pointe Blank, Say Anything, The Thieves, Orange is the New Black Season 2, Buried Alive, The Sunset Limited, Wolf of Wall Street, Jim Gaffigan: Mr. Universe, Nick Offerman: American Ham
"Iron Sky" is a crazy good, or maybe just good, Finnish-Australian-German comic book of a film, Nazis on the moon. I love the Beatles story in Backbeat, and the alternate realities of "Run Lola Run"... "The Sunset Limited" was a an intriguing one-set film with Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel Jackson arguing theology. The Nick Offerman special was a great blend of sweet and absolutely filthy.

TV Shows (12)
Life's Too Short, Extras Season 1, Extras Season 2, The Office (UK) Season 1, The Office (UK) Season 2, Sopranos Season 1, Girls Season 3, Parks and Recreation Season 6,New Girl, The Mindy Project, Modern Family, Game of Thrones Season 4, Orange is the New Black Season 1
The first two were Ricky Gervais comedies I liked. Mindy Project and New Girl just make me laugh.

Books (61)
Stuck in the Middle with You, I Wear the Black Hat, A Working Theory of Love, Expanded Universe, Perv: The Sexual Deviant in All of Us , The Uncle Book, Everything That Remains, One More Thing, Breathing Machines - a Memoir of Computers, Desert Days (Meat + Greet), March of the Morons, RESTful Web APIs, Axiomatic, Design Crazy, Luminous, Oceanic, This Is How You Say Goodbye: A Daughter's Memoir, Raising Steam, Flatland, One Summer: America, 1927, Stories of your Life and Others, God is Disappointed in You, The Lifecycle of Software Objects, The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate, The Weirdness, NAVMC 2616 Unit Leaders Personal Response Handbook, How About Never--Is Never Good for You?: My Life in Cartoons, We Are Still Married, ZZT, Think Like a Freak, The Word Exchange, Mapping Our Salvationist DNA, Defining the World, Galaga, Will Rogers: Wise and Witty Sayings of the Great American Humorist, Tibetan Peach Pie, Weird Al Yankovic Interviews, If This Isn't Nice, What Is?, Sex from Scratch, Hardcore Zen, Jagged Alliance 2, I Murdered My Library, Time Warped: Unlocking the Mysteries of Time Perception, Wetlands, A Man Without a Country, Chubster: A Hipster's Guide to Losing Weight While Staying Cool, An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge, The Mysterious Stranger, Midpoint and Other Poems, Super Mario Bros 2, Why Does the World Exist?, Mindfulness, How Not to Calm a Child on a Plane, Wishful Drinking, The Two Cultures, Not That Kind of Girl, The Secret History of Star Wars, A Sense of the Mysterious, The Way the World Works, The Meaning of Human Existence, what if?
"Axiomatic" by Greg Egan and "Stories of your Life and Others" by Ted Chiang are two awesome sci-fi short story collections; giant ideas in concise packages. "God is Disappointed in You" is my new favorite Bible translation and "NAVMC 2616 Unit Leaders Personal Response Handbook" is an interesting historical document of the smarter and kinder side of USMC.

Comics (6)
The Beats, Alone Forver, We Are Become Pals, The Adventures of Mrs. Jesus, Andre the Giant: Life and Legend, Tomboy
Bleh, shoulda gone through more of my shelf of "comics to read". "Alone Forever" by Liz Price is just short and sweet (I love the heart candy "AT LEAST U HAVE CATS") "We Are Become Pals" (Comeau/Fink) is a sweet tale for friendship, and doesn't devolve from best friends into girlfriends.

Video Games (14)
Mario Party Advance, Earth Defense Force 2025, Thirty Flights of Loving, EDF 2025: all 3 mission packs, Saints Row the Third, Saints Row IV, How The Saints Save Christmas, 99 Bricks Wizard Academy, Just Cause 2, Idleplex, Injustice: Gods Among Us, Far Cry 3, Rogue Squadron 2: Rogue Leader, Far Cry 4
You know, a too many of these are either games I played before or sequels! I guess some of that was comfort food gaming... I was delighted by the new Earth Defense Force though, and Far Crys are a bit Bro-tastic, but it's nice to have another open world series. One that's probably going to make a buttload of sequels.

Live Shows (2)
Our Town, Spamalot
Finally saw "Our Town", a local theater in Montpelier... hadn't seen it before.


LOL Conservatives. "States' Rights! States' Rights! TOO MUCH STATES' RIGHTS! TOO MUCH STATES' RIGHTS!" (ditto "Personal Liberty")
Calories are so counter intuitive. I'm consistently startled at Panera where pastries easily top the number of calories in their really big salads. Like, this cookie should not have twice the calories of a Snickers. (My standard unit for caloric indulgence)

annual media roundupmedia

January 6, 2016
The media I consumed in 2015.
This year I added the trick of showing if the total for the category was higher or lower than 2014 year, and by how much. Fewer books than last year which is a bit worrisome, but meh.

As always, 4 star stuff in red, 5 star stuff in red AND bold, gray stuff I didn't like so much.

Movies at the Cinema (10 (-4))
Big Hero Six, Theory of Everything, Whiplash, Ex Machina, Mad Max: Fury Road, Wild Tales, Minions, Trainwrecks, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The new "Star Wars" was solid despite me not understanding how time and space now works in that galaxy.

Movies on Video (33 (+10))
The Interview, Bill Burr: I'm Sorry You Feel That Way, Dredd, Star Trek Into Darkness, Bruno, Jackass Number Two, Blowin' Smoke, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Get Lamp, Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Enders Game, Liberal Arts, happythankyoumoreplease, Hot Tub Time Machine 2, Judging Your Life, Ted, Road Trip, The Fall, The Last Unicorn, Wetlands, Get On Up, Transformers: Age of Extinction, 20 Feet from Stardom, Moon, Mad Max: Fury Road, Short Bus, Trainspotting, Kama Sutra, House on Haunted Hill, The Court Jester, Inception, A Christmas Carol (1938)
"Liberal Arts" had the brilliant quote "You think it's cool to hate things. And it's not. It's boring. Talk about what you love, keep quiet about what you don't." The James Brown bio "Get On Up" had some truly delectable 4th wall breaking. "Birdman" was a terrific bit of stunt filmmaking.

TV Show Seasons (14 (+2))
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Season 1, Broad City Season 1, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Season 2, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Season 3, Parks and Recreation Season 7, Broad City Season 2, Girls Season 4, Modern Family Season 6, New Girl Season 4, The Mindy Project Season 3, Game of Thrones Season 5, Orange is the New Black Season 3, It's Always Sunny in Philadephia Season 4, Rick and Morty Season 1
"It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" and "Broad City" are both darkly brilliant... and "Rick and Morty" keeps going back to that 'alternate reality/timeline' well, but it's such a deep damn well... and man I so miss "Parks and Rec"

Books (46 (-15))
As You Wish, Continue? The Boss Fight Books Anthology, Whatever, Codename Revolutoin: The Nintendo Wii Platform, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, The Classic-Gaming Bookcast, Thinking, Fast and Slow, The Housekeeper and the Professor, SMB3: Brick by Brick, The Science of Discworld, The Globe: The Science of Discworld II, It's Not All About "Me", Bible Adventures, Becoming Steve Jobs, A Slip of the Keyboard: Collected Nonfiction, How to Stubbornly Refuse to Make Yourself Miserable about Anything: Yes Anything!, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, After the Fall, Girl with Curious Hair, This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage, The Three-Body Problem, Blue Truth, 30-Second Religion, Koji Kondo's Super Mario Bros. Soundtrack, The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking, Maestro Mario, The Festival of Insignificance, Set This House in Order: A Romance of Souls, Baldur's Gate II (Boss Fight Books), The Not Terribly Good Book of Heroic Failures, Afternoon Men, Metal Gear Solid 2, A Blink of the Screen, Mindstorms, H is for Hawk, Reinventing the Sacred, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories, Invasion of the Space Invaders, Everything That Remains, The Thinkertoy Computer and other machinations, The Once and Future King, How I Lost 50 Pounds in 6 Months: The Story of My May-November Diet, How to Talk about Videogames, House of Wigs, The Book of Merlyn, Shadow of the Colussus
"How to Stubbornly Refuse to Make Yourself Miserable about Anything: Yes Anything!" is some great self help. "Girl with Curious Hair" made me really miss David Foster Wallace. "Set This House in Order: A Romance of Souls" was an astonishing fantasy about Multiple Personality Disorder. "The Antidote" wasn't brilliant per se but it was one book that covered so many introspective topics I had just found out about the past 5 years so that it got my highest rating.

Comics (9 (+3))
Shrek, Run, Robot, Run, Amazingly Stupid MAD, Beaucoup Arlo + Janis, The Complete Everything Dies, That Was Awkard, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol 1, Up and Out, Darth Vader and Friends
"Arlo + Janis" is totally underrated. "The Complete Everything Dies" did a great retelling of so many actually believed creation and apocalypse myths...

Video Games (7 (-7))
Desert Golfing, Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell, To Be or Not To be, GTA V, Mario Kart Wii, Just Cause 3, Small Worlds
So few games this year it kind of makes me sad. Still, my heart is with the wide open sandbox franchises... Saints Row, GTA, Just Cause... heh, looking back I guess Far Cry missed being on this list by like a day.

Oh dear. Something called the "Scoop and Scootery" with a sign on the door saying "we deliver sundaes til 2am... yup" is moving in about half a block from me.