media of the year

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...