Monday, December 28, 2009

The Best of 2009

2009 is coming to a close and it has been taking a lot of heat as a crappy year in one of the crappiest decades.  I won’t make the claim that 2009 was a great year, but I do know there were still some things that I was able to enjoy.  What follows is a relatively random selection of those things.  This list is made up of things I enjoyed in 2009, not things that were new in 2009 (although some were).



Music
White Rabbits — I finally found an indie band that doesn’t mess around with whiny, boring, angst-y shit for the majority of their albums.  They start off high-energy and keep up the intensity through to the end.  I saw them live and it was one of the most intense live shows I’ve ever seen.

The Whigs — Much like the White Rabbits, they are definitely high-energy.  Different feel than WR, though.

Jonathan Coulton — Hilarious nerd-rock.  Maybe not rock as much as pop, but he sings songs about zombies and Shop Vacs.



Movies
Up — I don’t care how many special effects James Cameron jammed into Avatar (which I haven’t seen), Up is the best film of the year and should be awarded as such.  You’ll laugh and cry.  Moviemaking at its best.

District 9 — I saw this when I was in Florida for my uncle’s Space Shuttle launch.  A movie that makes sure its special effects are there to enhance the story, not the other way around.
Does it seem like I’m taking a lot of shots at Avatar?  I am.  I don’t have to see it to know it’s overrated.



Books
Anathem by Neal Stephenson — Time travel, multiple universes, jet packs, undiscovered science and monasteries.  In Stephenson’s style it’s long and detailed and he creates a fantastic and believable world along with fantastic and believable characters.

The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway — Man develops a new weapon of mass destruction that unleashes unintended consequences.  Sounds like it has been done before, right?  Not like this.  I can’t go into too much detail without ruining it for you.  I can tell you that this new weapon simply makes matter disappear but leaves a nasty cloud of monsters in its wake and that’s not even the most interesting part of the book.

A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore — I’ve read most of this guy’s books because I love his sense of humor.  In this book, he puts an interesting spin on death’s job of collecting and redistributing souls.  A pawn shop owner is suddenly put into service as a soul collector and subsequently needs to save the world by leading an army of six-inch tall creatures armed with sporks into the San Francisco sewers.  Funny, dark and delightful.


iPhone Apps
What is this App? — A puzzle game where you have to figure out what the app does.  Clever.

Eliss — A crazy game that could only exist on the iPhone.  You have to play it to see how cool it is.

Air Mouse —  An app that lets me control my Mac with my iPhone.  In fact, I’m typing this through my iPhone right now.


Family
STS-128 — The Space Shuttle mission that my uncle piloted.  Remember that week when every single one of my Facebook posts mentioned that my uncle was in space?  Annoying to you, sure.  Fun as hell for me.

Sexual Intercourse — with my wife.

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