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.
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.
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"