Belated 2004 Recap

Biggest Event Of The Year: Up and borning a kid.

Second Biggest Event Of The Year: Finally getting “Who Let The Dogs Out” out of my head. ARGH NOW ITS IN THERE AGAIN FUCK!

Favorite Movies Seen In The Theater: Lost In Translation (Yeah, it’s a 2003 film, but I saw it early in 2004), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (ditto), The Incredibles, Garden State, Shaun of the Dead.

Most Disappointing Movie Seen In The Theater: Didn’t see any real duds this year, although the headache-inducing shaky-cam style of The Bourne Supremacy prevented me from really enjoying it.

Best TV Shows (Seen On DVD): Freaks & Geeks (so great!) and The Office (so great!).

Movie I got on DVD and didn’t watch for weeks because I was scared that it would be godawful and ruin my fond childhood memories of it, but turned out to be pretty good: Ghostbusters. Dan Ackroyd’s delivery of “I couldn’t help it, he just popped in there” is one of the funniest moments in cinema.

Movie I Watched On DVD That Inspired The Aforementioned Dread By Being Awful And Fond-Memory Ruinous: Tron.

Favorite Fiction Books Read: You know, I can’t say that I read any particularly outstanding fiction books in 2004. Recommendations for 2005 in the comments, please.

Favorite Non-Fiction Book Read: The Elegant Universe, The Last American Man, Stiff.

Book I Read The Least Of: Foucault’s Pendulum (text on back, first paragraph)

Favorite Album: I listened to the Garden State Soundtrack a lot, despite owning almost all the CDs the songs were taken from.

Only Show I Went To: Sondre Lerche.

My Review: “The best show I saw all year!”

Favorite Board Games: Ticket To Ride, Attika, Hansa.

Video Game Tried At A Friend’s House That Made Me Want To Devote The Remainder Of My Life To Playing: Katamari Damacy. Exhibit A as to why I don’t own a video game system.

Life Lesson Learned Playing Panda Pang: If you see a bomb on the ground, do not pick it up.

Thing That I Really Like That I Continued To Really Like In 2004: Beer.

Thing That I Really Hate That I Continued To Really Hate In 2004: Powerpoint.

Worst Ramification Of The Presidential Election: Bush wins second term.

Most Astute (And Depressing) Observation Made After The Presidential Election: “I feel rotten for wasting so much of my spare time reading political blogs. It’s like when I got hooked on the OJ Simpson trial — I could have learned a foreign language or written a book in the block of time I allocated to OJ.” — my dad

Best Ramification Of The Presidential Election, And A Direct Result Of The Above Two Items: I haven’t paid a whit of attention to politics since November 2. I’m so much happier! I’m like a born-again apathetic!

Longtime Goal That I Actually Met in 2004: Started riding my bicycle to work.

Longtime Goals That I Failed Meet In 2004: The rest.

68 thoughts on “Belated 2004 Recap

  1. you likely do not have time, but Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time fantasy series are my fav books of all time. i actually re-read them yearly. first of the series is Eye of the World.

  2. I want to second “Gilead.” It’s one of those books that makes me want to grab people by the collar and say “You have to read this book.” (On the other hand, if such behavior is not in your New Year’s resolutions, perhaps it’s best to skip it.)

    I also was quite chilled by Philip Roth’s “The Plot Against America.” I was halfway through before I realized how sucked-in I had become — to the extent of becoming close to paranoid.

    And, if you haven’t read it, even though it’s mildly old-fashioned now, I must insist that all adults who care about fiction read “Lolita.” I recently reread it for the sixth (seventh?) time, and was amazed, and beguiled, and lifted to a state of esthetic bliss (Nabokov’s own term for his goal) all over again.

  3. naw, man, Tron’s not that bad. it should get a little cover from nostalgia.

    and you didn’t miss anything skipping Foucault’s Pendulum. suffered through it and thought ‘what a waste’, unlike the splendid ‘Name of the Rose’.

  4. Nice to see somebody else out there in the universe that hate’s Powerpoint. It is absolute evil, and the cause of a squillion unbearable rubber chicken presentations. When I see some character standing in front of a crowd, reading bullets from a Powerpoint presentation, I want to scream and throw the stale muffins from the food table at the speaker. (Ahhhh, I feel better now!)

  5. dude, if you haven’t read Franzen’s The Corrections, get on that shit. best contemporary fiction i’ve read in the past 5 years. period.

  6. ps: my husband is all ga-ga over Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. quoth: “like a really adult version of Harry Potter…but better.”

  7. If you’re fond of fantasy, read stuff by David Gemmel. I regard his books as a sort of literary candy for guys- sword & sorcery epics with heroes that aren’t all spotless, but are incredibly cool. His first and longest series starts with Legend, but my favorite series of his starts with Sword in the Storm. Truly excellent.

    Oh, and Cory Doctorow writes the most innovative science fiction I am aware of. I need to read more of his stuff.

  8. I’d like to 2nd that Cory Doctorow mention. If you want, you can read or reprint any of his books for free at his site
    I just finished his “Eastern Standard Tribe” last week. Can’t wait for the next, due out soon.

  9. Hey, someone else mentioned House of Leaves.. I love that book. Honestly, I havn’t found anything I really enjoyed reading since I read that. (SO maybe it’s not such a great idea)

  10. Squirrely I’m sure made 2004 the best year ever.

    Bummer about Tron. I totally loved that movie. Does it really suck now? I had the same experience with the book “On The Road” a few years back.

    By the way your dad! Wow…he’s so cool. And he went to Cal…When I read what you said about learning another language I thought “yeah, right…” (I always think such things myself about time wasting activities but in the end when I give up surfing the internet for news I just waste the exact same amount of time reading The Economist.) But your dad seems like the kind of guy who WOULD learn another langugage.

  11. A huge second on Cloud Atlas. The middle two stories are just about perfect, and the other aren’t too bad, either. Together, they’re great. (Although I do wonder why none of the reviews I read mentioned Riddley Walker – there’s even a pig at the start of the sixth story.)

    Also, Lamb is wicked funny. At the very least you’ll find out why jews have chinese food on Christmas.

    My System of the World story: checked The Confusion out from new releases at the Mechanics’ Institute in SF. Two weeks! That’s 90 pages a day, and I have a job and a two-year-old. I made to about 100, although I will go back and finish it eventually.

    And you come across a TV show called The Games, watch it. Aussie mokumentary about putting on the Olympics – very funny.

  12. I’d like to second Freedom and Necessity, up there in the second post. Although I had to read it twice in order to figure out what was going on in some parts of the beginning.

    For something on the lighter side, Terry Pratchett is a good recommendation. You can start with almost any book, but I think that Small Gods or Moving Pictures are good choices, or maybe Mort.

    And if you haven’t read Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, I think you’d definitely enjoy it.

  13. I liked tron when I re-watched it on DVD. I can’t wait to show it to my kids. The oldest is 5, so we’ll probably watch it this year. Though I’m really most looking forward to showing him Star Wars eps IV-VI, then I and II, and then taking him to see III in the theater. He will be exactly the same age when the last one comes out as I was when the first one came out.

    Anyway, as for books, (I’ll bite my tongue here and not slam any of the aforementioned books that I absolutely loath), my personal recommendation would be the Black Company books by Glen Cook. A highly underrated series. The term “gritty realism” has never been more overused nor more aptly applied than to these books. They’re just awesome. I’ve turned dozens of people onto them, and not a single complaint so far.

    After that, I’d recommend George Martin’s “Song of Ice and Fire” series. It’s epic. And if you start now (assuming you haven’t already read the first 3), you should finish them by the time the 4th one comes out….sometime in 2012, no doubt.

  14. ‘Sputnik Sweetheart’ by Haruki Murakami is simple and beautiful and complex and heartbreaking and wow. and it has a groovy name. check it out.

  15. I concur! Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell was the best read of the year. Still thinking about it.

    Other decent fiction:
    The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
    The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
    Pattern Recognition by William Gibson (2003, but read in 2004)

    Napolean Dynomite
    Garden State
    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

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