Monday, January 12, 2009

Best of 2008 Part IV: Some Non-Food Faves of the Previous Year

This is my final Best Of post for the past year. Again, just for perspective. Though stay tuned sometime next weekend for my final Beltway Snacking post, to tie up a year and a half of cruising 695 for grub.

Favorite thing about Baltimore - It's a more diverse and cosmopolitan city than it lets on, without any of the pretension of some of the bigger ones.

Fave Baltimore attractions - The parks. My particular faves: Patterson, Druid Hill, Robert E. Lee. Did you know Baltimore has a Robert E. Lee Park? It's off of Falls Road. Clark's Elioak Farm - the new site of much of the Enchanted Forest - is also on that list.

Fave museum - The Walters, especially for its exhibit of Hubble Space Telescope photos being displayed as art for the first time in art museum history! I hope the economy doesn't keep the place from remaining free. The The Visionary Art Museum and the newly-reopened American History Museum are tied for a close second.

Fave movie of '08 - I didn't see many new movies this year. Milk was good, followed closely by - go fig with me - Diary of the Dead.

Fave movies I rediscovered in '08 - Lately I've been watching a whole lot of two movies, The Stepford Wives (1975, not the stupid remake) and The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green (2005). It's a surprisingly charming gay romantic comedy!

Fave stage play or musical - The recent Sunday in the Park with George revival. But I only saw one musical this year, so I don't have a lot of choices to choose from. I saw Varla Jean Merman's Victory Lap Dance at the Hippo. That was funny. Girl's still got it, better than ever!

Speaking of which...

Fave YouTube video of the year - I'm a softie for that Matt dancing around the world guy.

Runner-up - Wicked Awesome Films' strange Obama lovefest. Too funny.

Honorable Mention 1 - Cooking with Andy! His Halloween episode wasn't the most pathetic, but it was the most funniest. Most haven't been too funny since.

Honorable Mention 2 - The Toyboize didn't make that comeback they so desperately wanted. Poor schmucks. Who could forget their big hit, "Sherbert Dip!?"

Honorable Mention 3 - YouTuber Rocket Michael channels Ina Garten into his 20 year old twink body. How bad can that be?

I should've also mentioned this uber-geeky Doctor Who mashup - every episode of the show's 45 years crammed into 7.75 minutes. I just love montage clips. And then there's "Pork and Beans," Weezer-style, but embedding has been disabled by request, for some silly reason. I don't know why so many bands specifically request "Embedding" to be "disabled." It's stupid. So I'll link to the bastards' video instead. I shouldn't even do that. It just isn't the same.

Fave TV Show - Once more, Doctor Who is my favorite. Intervention and The Soup are tied for second place. Mad Men, Code Monkeys and The Big Gay Sketch Show run third, though I haven't had much time to see them these days. Note that I didn't mention any cooking shows. Those people are all starting to irritate me anyway.

Fave TV Show Episode - The one on Saturday Night Live where Tina Fey first did her Sarah Palin impersonation. Heheh.

Fave radio show - Marketplace, NPR's economics news show. I hate economics, so it must be amazing if I like this show. They make it so interesting! And Kai Ryssdal's a nice piece of eye candy when you get the rare glimpse of him on the internet.

Fave book - Comedy memoirs seem to be my favorite books these days (other than cookbooks that is). No, I actually haven't had the chance to read David Sedaris' new one yet. I have too little time to read it so I'm waiting for the audiobook version. My most favorite of the past year is another funny memoir from a North Carolinian (though a native, not one dragged there from New York by his parents), Celia Rivenbark's Belle Weather: Mostly Sunny with a Scattered Chance of Hissy Fits. Scott McClellan's What Happened, his memoirs of his years withe the President, are riveting once you get past the first few years in Austin (but the last chapter is a bore). For something particularly bizarre: The Onion's Our Dumb World, an atlas. If that wasn't enough, they have an audiobook of that, too. You have to catch their Our Dumb World Dance Remix.

Fave song -Not really much this year. It hasn't been a good year for new music. If I had to choose one, it would be "Pork and Beans" by Weezer. Though I think I'll poke my eardrums out if I have to hear that God-d***ed song about fathers being good to their daughters before they turn into mothers or some bullsh*t like that. Absolutely idiotic song.

Fave gadget of 08 - The ION 2 PC tape deck, which is technically new to 2007. I bought it at Sharper Image just as they were going out of business, so I got it for substantially less than I would have. Now all my old tapes from the late 80's and early 90's are alive again on my MP3 player!

Favorite Presidential election in recent memory - the one where Obama won. I gotta admit I'm pleased about that, to say the least :) Okay, political stuff done!

Fave political website or blog - Okay I lied. Man, it's addictive. And Nate Silver was only one state off in his electoral vote predictions for Election Day: he got Indiana wrong, but everything else right! Alright, now political stuff done!

Three things I'm proud of in 08:

  1. Presenting at the Great Tastes show in February. That was very cool. Dara, if you're organizing another round table - okay, I'm way too busy school-wise until May. But if you need someone for a panel after that, just let me know!
  2. Walking seven miles back and forth between my apartment and Whole Foods in Mount Washington.
  3. Cramming six months worth of Dutch into my head for the Amsterdam trip in March, although I ended up not needing it, and only talking to one person in Dutch beyond a simple Dank u vel. That was just when I bought a postcard. At least it gave me some insight into what the street signs said. What was funny, though, was running into a Mexican tourist who tried to communicate with me in Dutch, and then we ended up having this conversation in Spanish. Geel grappig!
One thing I'm not proud of in 08 -Living on part-time work. Granted, it's more out of necessity than anything else (a full-time student has just so many hours in the day), but the income would certainly help.

One thing I'm looking forward to in 09 - The recession receding (hopefully)! And finishing my second Masters

One thing I'm not looking forward to in 09 - Job-hunting, and starting to pay back the student loans :(

And lastly: One New Year's Resolution - Hmmm, I don't have one, really. Since I'm on a more fixed budget than last year, one good resolution is as good for anyone: eat more of the stuff in your own pantry, and less of what you can find in the restaurants! Also, go grocery shopping less often. I am already doing that and it's amazing. I used to have so many things that caught my eye in the supermarket just go to waste in the fridge before I even got around to using them. It's just not worth it!


Pigtown-Design said...

dank u vel! that was the only dutch i learned, too.

and doctor who rocks. i get so homesick for cardiff when i watch though. i sulk for hours afterwards. what do you think of the new doctor?

John said...

Matt Smith? I have to reserve my judgment. I've never seen him act so I can't say. Frankly, I think he's a little young for the part, but he could totally blow our socks off. So I'm gonna wait until I see him in action before I say he sucks or he's great.

Nanc Twop said...

Interesting list...

''Lately I've been watching a whole lot of two movies, The Stepford Wives (1975, not the stupid remake)''

Saw the 'Kidman' remake, and I have to say thank heavens for Glenn Close. Saw it in a theater, and the audience's biggest laugh was when GC says 'Where could I hide a town full of robots where no one would notice?... Connecticut !'