Sunday, December 28, 2008

Good Stuff 2008

So, this wasn't a very good year personally, but other than the global financial meltdown, it wasn't really that bad. The election of Barack Obama was probably not the triumph of reason that i wish it to be, but at least i don't have to worry about President Palin for another four years. I think some decent music was made this year, i read several good books, and there were two good movies about superheroes. My kids both entered new phases of their education and have succeeded so far. I learned some stuff, both academically and wisdom-wise.

I listen to music almost entirely via some radio-like delivery mechanism these days, so it's tough to determine what's new and what's just new to me. There were a few times this year when i heard something that i thought was new and it turned out to be a band that broke up years ago (eg, The Promise Ring). Stranger still, several favorite artists put out albums this year that i never really got a chance to listen to thoroughly (Ben Folds, Drive By Truckers, R.E.M.). Still, there was stuff i really liked. Here's my list:
  • Fleet Foxes by Fleet Foxes
  • The Stand Ins by Okkervil River
  • April by Sun Kil Moon
  • When Life Gives You Lemons, Paint That Shit Gold by Atmosphere
  • And You Were A Crow by The Parlor Mob
  • Nortec Collective Presents Bostich & Fussible
Really though, most of the music that i enjoyed this year was done in previous years, and i just discovered it. I listened to a lot of Damien Rice, Richard Shindell, Grace Potter, A Fine Frenzy, and various ska bands that my son introduced me to.

Again this year i didn't see most of the "serious" movies that will be nominated for Oscars. However, i thought Iron Man and The Dark Knight were the two best comic-derived movies i've seen. I thought the first half of Wall-E was absolutely brilliant. I saw No Country For Old Men on video, but i thought it was an excellent rendition of McCarthy's book.

I read quite a few books this year, but not many that were published in 2008. The most memorable non-fiction i read was Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age by Maggie Jackson. I'm not sure that i read a single fiction book that was published this year. The most recently published novel i can remember was The Last Samurai by Helen Dewitt, which is brilliant. My favorite books this year were all by Cormac McCarthy. I read No Country For Old Men, The Road, and the first book of the border trilogy, All The Pretty Horses. Amazing.

My nomination for concept of the year: attention. I think the idea of an attention economy and the almost evolutionary change happening in our culture due to the incessant demand for our attention will be the meme of the decade.

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