Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Keep Calm and Carry On

End of the year.  What a lovely time to look back at all the things I'm grateful for.  Especially since Thanksgiving has been taken over by the Freemasons, who sow continental disorder by conspiring to have Canada and America celebrate it on totally different days.

I blame Obama.

And, as mentioned, the Freemasons.

So, right, a list of things I'm exceptionally grateful for from this past year...

My Friends
Could I possibly be any more lame?  No, don't.  Just don't.

My Friends With Couches
Okay, really I just mean my friend with couch.  Who'd have thought a six-foot person could spend a month sleeping so comfortably on a five-foot piece of furniture?

My Landlord
Ex-, unfortunately.  But I've had many, many landlords in my life, and he's one of the good ones. A genuinely excellent person with a mildly perverted sense of humor.

My Doctors
The less said the better, but proper care makes a bad time easier.

Mass Effect 2
Aside from being a quality entertainment product, it provided a lot of welcome diversion during difficult days.  (Always alliterate.)  Playing it at the start of the year on console was fun, but playing it again this summer and fall on pc was a gaming experience on par with my eternal touchstone, San Andreas.  Speaking of which...

Red Dead Redemption
No game has ever made me care more about my lead character, no game has ever exploited that caring more effectively and fearlessly, no game has ever killed me so many times with bears.  Those fucking bears.  Some people have been pushing for years now the idea that games are the future of storytelling, but RDR is the first time I actually saw it and believed it.

Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright
It's hard to imagine a creative team whose love of what they're doing is so evident in the final results; the results being so uniformly brilliant is nearly beside the point.  Shaun of the Dead was one of those instances, common to me, of a hyped thing that I avoided at the time, which subsequently proved itself worthy of all the "you have to see this"s I received.  Spaced has reset the bar for me on how high a target a television program can set for itself, and how awesome it is to see it hit, from top to bottom and from beginning to end.  Also, the dvd extras from Hot Fuzz -- and I'm in the minority who liked this film even more than Shaun -- introduced me to one of my new favorite films:

I never got Steve McQueen, and now I get Steve McQueen.  What he does with his conversations in this film, especially with antagonists, was revelatory to me.  Also, brilliant opening sequence.  Also, brilliant writing, and uniformly top-notch acting that makes the best of the cinematic idea that what is happening on-screen is so much more than what the characters are saying (I'm thinking specifically now of the scene in Bullitt's boss's office with Norman Fell, but there are many examples).  Completely changed my view of Robert Vaughn, in ways I won't get into because I'm already overusing "brilliant".  The romance maybe didn't totally work, but I forgive it, because this film is really about Frank Bullitt's relationship with his job, and his ethics, and the world in which he has to work, and the romance is really just another generally well-played riff on that same theme.

Iggy Pop
Discovering The Idiot and Lust For Life shouldn't have taken so long, frankly, but I guess my faith in music had to first weaken enough to be ripe for renewal.  I think I'll pause here for a moment to put my headphones on, actually.

Stephen Fry and Jeremy Brett
For being awesome, reasonably fearless and inspiring dudes.  Which reminds me of...

The reboot.  Brilliant -- sorry -- updating of the characters, the settings, the stories, and with enough obvious love for the original text to keep a Holmes semi-wonk -- what a terrible word I've just invented -- like me satisfied and impatient for season two.  Provided what might be my favorite line of the year:  Sorry, gotta dash, I think I left my riding crop in the mortuary.

The Big Lebowski
Because it will always be on these lists, forever.

8 1/2 on Blu-Ray
I cried at the end again, I always do that.  But what an amazing treat to see the film in such a restored state -- it makes up for dubbing Barbara Steele back into Italian.

The Walking Dead
The graphic novel series, not the tv show I'm not going to watch anymore because who knew the guy who directed Shawshank would be such a dick and fire his entire writing staff after they helped him create the television buzz of the year?  Anyway, the comic is great.

Gravol Ginger
Changed my life, seriously.

The 420 Express
No, that's not a euphemism.

My Laptop
The computer, I mean.  (Not the body region, which frankly hasn't done anything for me lately.)  Almost everything I do now that matters, has no matter -- it's all in the form of data and has no inherent physical form.  Without the Lappy I'd be forced into an even-more-antisocial mode of operation than that which I currently inhabit.  I resisted laptop computers for a long time, so this freedom is new to me, and I like it a lot.

Coke Zero

Unlike this list, I expect my resolutions for next year to be fewer in number.  Last year's was straightforward: start smoking.  Mission accomplished.  I have a cigarette in a jaunty holder sticking out of the corner of my mouth while I type in a crude approximation of Hunter S Thompson in plaid pyjama bottoms at this very moment.

I was considering gambling or perhaps heroin for 2011, but I think I'll be going with something like "reduce frequency of comically bad judgements in regard to significant life decisions".  I'm including "significant" in there to allow myself the wiggle room to keep cutting my own hair.

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