Top 10 of 2008 (in no particular order)

I arguably saw much fewer movies and listened to much fewer music than most this year. I’ve been both broke and just plain bored. It’s not that any of it is good or bad; it’s just been done. I dunno. Anyway, from what I did see or hear or experience, obviously there were some standouts.

  1. The Dark Knight: It took me forever to see this movie, because everyone saw it opening weekend & I was broke. But, when I finally did (at the IMAX, no less), I was floored. I love how raw the new cycle of Batman movies are, but every bit was just one “woah” after “gasp”, & I have yet to get tired of my dvd. It was dark, brilliant, and yes, Heath Ledger was so perfectly amoral. It took twists I didn’t expect, and I loved it.
  2. WALL-E: adorable, funny, endearing. Best Disney/Pixar yet.
  3. Milk: A very late contender, but one that warrants a place on any list. This film holds such an important story of hope and need for general equality that I honestly had no idea about up until a few months ago. It’s crazy how much the protests to Prop 6 resemble so much what we’ve seen recently against Prop 8, and just how long some fights have gone on.
  4. Cloverfield: This was just a good straight-up sci-fi/action film that utilized the more realistic handheld camera technique AND an eerie web campaign (complete with character myspace profiles!) that was pretty refreshing.
  5. Dear & the Headlights & Drunk Like Bible Times: Any sort of bias aside, you have to give the band so much credit. Great material, skilled musicians, a lot of heart, and genuinely nice guys to boot. It took going back to the first album (which is also rather great) just to see the growth and how clean the second record is. More than anything, the band’s style is so varied that its hard to get tired of the songs.
  6. Girl Talk & Feed the Animals: I’m not incredibly in tune with the mash-up scene, but when a friend “forced” it on me, I couldn’t pass it up (he tends to have good taste). Listening to Girl Talk is like playing a game of how many samples can you name in one song, and its quite possibly the best thing ever. It’s not at all background music – it’ll steal your focus too much for that. And a special note that any cube dancing will earn you comments from co-workers.
  7. We Are Scientists & Brain Thrust Mastery: I was hooked on this immediately with “After Hours” on the Slacker indie station earlier in the year, and when I finally downloaded the album, I felt warped into some weirdly awesome 1986/2008 universe. I’m not sure if that’s just me, but it hit various points of indie-pop goodness that was both original & homage-ish… again, that could be just me. Whatever, it’s damn good.
  8. Boston, MA: I was in Beantown for a solid 5 days, and while it would’ve been nice to NOT be wandering alone, the city has a lot of charm & character, along with an endless supply of Dunkin Donuts coffee. Of course, throw me in the mix with awesome mass transit, and I’m kinda sold.
  9. Washington, DC: Spent a few short days here before Boston, and was just in awe of everything. It’d been years since I’d seen DC, and even though I did a number of touristy things, walking around Capital Hill at night with the streets near empty was easily one of the most peaceful moments I’ve had all year. I also walked away from this city with one of my favorite photographs to date.
  10. Barack Obama: I know I said unranked, but really, this is by far the best thing to come out of 2008. Obama aligns so close with my political ideals, but his centrist rhetoric and ACTIONS are just clamoring to bring this country together in a way it hasn’t seen in so long. And I really have such a great deal of hope in not just what he can do as president, but also what his leadership style can do for our government. I know people with have their disagreements with his philosophies, but in the end, I just know they’ll see… they’ll see. I don’t even want to fight with anyone about it anymore; we’ll all see.

Honorable mention: NPR

Photos of the 2nd Annual Very Merry Pub Crawl

(Photo credits: my blackberry, Angie, & JT)

Christmas Day Link Post

Festivities are over, I’ve received both books I wanted, & tomorrow I return to work (for a short day). Hope the holidays were merry!

News:

The Shoe Heard Round the World (Op-Ed by John Kenney feat. a few other uncommon cultural insults)

Growing up in the world of “The Wire” (“Sometimes, it’s not enough to give kids who come from a world like ‘The Wire’ the chance to get out. They also have to be convinced that they deserve it.”)

A Healthy Addiction (944 Magazine features Yogurtini, the Valley’s first self-serve frozen yogurt shop)

White House Memo & The Right to Dissolve the Constitution (So… Cheney=bad. Got it.)

Arianna Huffington’s Scuzzy Copying Pisses Off Chicagoans (This sad excuse for laziness would’ve never passed the common university plagiarism scanner. Academic Dishonesty FTW.)

Photo:

Snow around Vancouver (from the photovancouver LJ community; I can die happy, kthx.)

Dreaming of a White Christmas

Health:

Skip the Sleeping Pills (Alternatives to possibly addictive OTC medications, via Lifehacker)

9 Strong Reasons to Eat Slowly (via Lifehacker)

Frugal Living:

How to Live Easily Without that Satellite Package (I did something similiar in cancelling my digital cable, and my only void? Soccer. le sigh. via Consumerist)

Misc Web Finds:

14 Ways to use Twitter politely

11 Words that Sound Offensive, but Aren’t (Assagai! Prickmadam!)

20 Amazing & Essential Non-fiction Books to Enrich Your Library (& I’m not just linking this because he included Fever Pitch! Really!)

Christmas 2008: Year of the Craft

Being one of the poor folk, I’ve decided the best route for Christmas gifts this year would be to make them! So I scoured the internet (briefly) to come up with ideas, and settled on three areas: chocolate, candles, & photos. I spent roughly $58 at Michael’s the day after Christmas and about $15 since on materials, and so far, I’ve only ventured into the chocolate side. And that has been a big success!

For the candies, I bought Wiltmon Candy Melts (Light Cocoa, Dark Cocoa, White Vanilla *which tastes somehow like white chocolate*, Red Vanilla, Green Vanilla, & Peanut Butter), a few molds, and sticks for lollipops. Instead of buying unnecessary candy melt bags, I just used sandwich bags, floating them in hot water until everything was melted, and cut off the corner of the bag. It was a bit messy while it was super hot, but all in all, it separated from the molds very easily, and they only had to sit in the fridge for 10 minutes.

The overall response from coworkers & friends has been very good, and I’m gonna make what is left for Christmas Day with the peppermint & creme de menthe (!!) I found. It’s a pretty simple process, so I highly recommend it!

A Walk Through London

(via Londonist)