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Showing posts from December, 2011

Music 2011

This was a small year for me as far as new music went. I only got 42 albums, which is most likely my lowest total in a decade or more. It's not that I didn't want new music but I just didn't pick up as much. Thanks to podcasts, though, I heard a lot of music and have a list a mile long of things to get. I also didn't listen to many albums as much as I normally would after getting them. It's not that I disliked them, per se. It was just an atypical music year for me. Even so, it's hard for me to not do a Top Ten list in this category, which means you get one...

1. Wilco/The Whole Love - Really, how could this not be my favorite album? I've liked the last 2 albums but I love this one. It has a stunning opener, a long engaging closer, and in between it's full of great songwriting and tons of John Stirratt's bass.

2. Sloan/The Double Cross - Speaking of bands I love, the tenth album by this still under-the-radar Canadian power-pop band is really really go…

Screens 2011

I thought I'd tackle TV and movies in the same post this year. As usual, I watched a ton of TV and didn't see very many movies (only 24 combined in the theater and on DVD). The latter is something I'd like to change in 2012 but we'll see. As for the former, I'm not going to stop watching TV. I love the medium so much (and still have a bunch saved between the 2 DVRs). Anyway, here are my favorites things I watched on a screen this year...

Breaking Bad - Very few shows have ever had a perfect season but Breaking Bad did just that this year in its 4th season. The story, acting, and direction came together for 13 episodes of exquisite tension. Just amazing television. I also spent the year getting caught up on previous season, having abandoned it during the 2nd season. Yes, I know what a mistake it was. I've made amends and was given the gift of this show. Only 16 more episodes left and what a ride they will be.

Parks & Recreation - This is my favorite sitcom on …

Comics 2011

I spent 2011 doing what I usually do when it comes to comics - waffling. I've been playing the singles vs. trades game for a decade now and it gets pretty tiring. I started off 2011 buying quite a few series on a regular basis before I decided to stop in late May. I then picked up one comic in July and one again in August. The big DC relaunch drew me back in September and October but I resisted in November before picking up handful this month. In all, I bought 114 single issues.

I also read 19 trades, which seems like less than usual. I did take long periods of time to get some trades read. Yet another product of the stress of my two semesters with English classes I wanted to do well in. The trades were mixtures of previously-read collected material and things that were new to me

Here's a few of my favorite comics this year, no matter the format...

Batgirl - I didn't see this one coming. Conor from iFanboy had been recommending this series, so I took a shot and discovered h…

Books 2011

This was an interesting year of reading for me. While I read 46 books this year, I feel like I really didn't read that much. 10 of those books were for my English classes - one focusing on Jane Austen and the other on British novels. I read 7 that weren't fiction, which is actually a lot for me. I also started and stopped many books this year, partly because I had to return them to the library and partly because I had a lot of "not the right book at this time" experiences. In the end, I did really like most of what I read and isn't that the goal? Here are my favorites...

The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway - This is my favorite novel of the year, period. It came out in 2008 and I heard about it through the Bookrageous podcast. It is inventive, full of amazing sentences, and just flat-out fantastic. It also has a big twist that I was expecting but made perfect sense. I highly recommend this novel and can't wait for Harkaway's new one, which comes out in Ma…

Podcasts 2011

I didn't listen to my first podcast until about a year ago. I'd started hitting the track at the Y over Christmas break and remembered that podcasts existed (yes, right with the times on that one..), so I thought I'd see what was out there. Having podcasts loaded onto my iPod soon became a way of life, to the point where I now have around 3 days worth of unlistened episodes to digest. Here are some of my favorites (which are also the ones I try not to fall too far behind on, though it does happen)...

1. iFanboy's Pick of the Week - I love comics, though I've kept them at arm's length off and on for a decade (another story for another time unless you've been reading my blogs over the years). Anyway, Josh, Conor, and Ron love comics too and they get together once a week to talk about the new releases. It's a way for me to keep up on what's current when I can't afford to but it's also a lot of fun. You start to learn their likes and dislikes an…

A Decade of Reading

Michael Chabon did it. He did it in 2000, at Christmas and during the week after. He did it with his fantastic novel, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. I was never the same afterwards.

I've always been a reader and from a very early age. I devoured books. I reread favorites like The Hobbit; in fact, I read an illustrated version of that novel so much in elementary school that my copy fell apart. I read series; at one point, I had read all 60 or so Hardy Boys books that had been published by 1980 or 1981. I was a library volunteer in middle school and checked out as many books as I could. When I was in college in the early 90s, I would take a weekend to plow through a book, ignoring my homework. By the time the late 90s rolled around, I wasn't reading as much as I had. I was spending much of my free reading time devouring comics, another lifelong passion. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay changed all that.

I don't remember when I first heard about C…

Sunday Shuffle #259/260

Due to Christmas falling on a Sunday, today will be the last Sunday Shuffle of 2011. It's hard to believe that Christmas is a week away and New Year's only two. I do plan on doing a series of posts of my 2011 favorites soon but that will probably be the week after Christmas. We'll see. Meanwhile, here are today's twenty...

1. 7:30/Pernice Brothers (5)
2. Let Me Roll It/Brendan Benson (3)
3. Call on God/Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings (11)
4. At My Post/Grandaddy (3)
5. Land of the Freak/King Khan And The Shrines (3)
6. Let's Just Laugh/The Lemonheads (3)
7. Rosalie/Alejandro Escovedo (3)
8. The Mystery Zone/Spoon (9)
9. I Want To Sing That Rock And Roll/Gillian Welch (3)
10. Always on the Telephone/The Ladybug Transistor (4)
11. My Mother Was A Chinese Trapeze Artist/The Decemberists (4)
12. Paris, France/Blair (5)
13. Tiger Boy/Haley Bonar (3)
14. Wide-Eyed, Legless/Laura Veirs (11)
15. Guest Room/The National (5)
16. Cattle & The Creeping Things/The Hold Stead…

Sunday Shuffle #258

I'm not quite done with my semester, though I only have one more class to go to. I spent hours trying to come up with a thesis for The Picture of Dorian Gray. The novel has so much in it to write about but I still haven't found a way to synthesize it into something meaningful. It's a bit of a problem. While I agonize over that, however, I'll get to today's ten...

1. Crooked Roof/J Tillman (4)
2. Jr's Bag of Tricks/Warren Zanes (6)
3. Slow Down Chicago/Canasta (2)
4. Evil Urges/My Morning Jacket (6)
5. Kingdom of Spain/The Decemberists (4)
6. Whole Truth/Michael Penn (5)
7. On The Horizon/Sloan (8)
8. My Favorite Year/Destroyer (4)
9. Meet Me In The Basement/Broken Social Scene (7)
10. A Lion's Heart/The Tallest Man On Earth (7)

Sunday Shuffle #257

I'm in the home stretch of my semester. A few more papers to write, a few papers to revise, and a little reading to do. The good news is that my proposal for the 25 page paper I have to write next semester got accepted. That was a relief. Anyway, I have three papers to tinker with today and I'd like to watch the Bears as well, so let's get to today's ten...oh, and Christmas music is once again eligible!

1. Living of Love/The Avett Brothers (1)
2. Room to Rock/Matthew Sweet (5)
3. Broken Things/Reigning Sound (3)
4. Futuristic Casket/Phantogram (6)
5. Iggy And Angus/Sloan (7)
6. Cheer It On/Tokyo Police Club (3)
7. They Sleep Standing, Like Cranes/Bowery Boy Blue (2)
8. Bay of Pigs/Destroyer (5)
9. Lisa (Esopus Magazine 2005)/The Prayers & Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers (3)
10. Oh Lonesome Me (Featuring Lucinda Williams)/M. Ward (4)