Yep, I’m joining the ranks of bloggers who write about their favorite pop culture releases of the past year. Sad, isn’t it?
This one’s easy: Stadium Arcadium is hands-down my favorite album of the year. I agree with Fred Wilson that this double album would’ve been better if it was pared down to a single CD, but figuring out which songs to remove would’ve been tricky because even the weakest tracks are enjoyable. I’ve witnessed many of my favorite bands disintegrate or turn into caricatures of themselves in the 15 years since I graduated from college. Not so with the Chili Peppers – this album shows them getting better with age.
Honorable mention: The Beatles Love. The mashups are hit-and-miss, but the CD is worth its weight in gold for the digitally remastered versions of “A Day in the Life,” “Revolution” and “I Am the Walrus” (three of my all-time favorite songs).
United 93 was the film that had the biggest impact on me this year. I initially avoided this movie because I mistakenly thought it was a cheap attempt to cash in on 9/11, but now I wish I would’ve seen it while it was still in theaters. United 93 is more respectful to history than any film I can remember, and it moved me much more than I expected it to.
Honorable mention: An Inconvenient Truth. I watched Al Gore’s presentation on global warming two weeks ago, and it was an eye-opener – especially since I stepped outside after viewing it and discovered it was 70°F (definitely not the norm here for the middle of December). That’s like hearing a banjo right after watching Deliverance.
And I’ll give a second honorable mention to Monster Road, a documentary released on DVD this year about the bizarre world of animator Bruce Bickford. If you like weird movies, this will be right up your alley.
It’s rare that I have time for video games these days, and when I do play it’s usually something like Unreal Tournament. But this year my favorite game was a little different: Lego Star Wars II. My son saved up for this game over the summer, and the day he bought it we played it together for six hours straight. I doubt I’d enjoy playing Lego Star Wars II by myself, but playing it with a seven-year-old was an absolute blast.
Honorable mention: GameTap. Alright, so it’s not actually a video game – it’s a video game service. After signing up for GameTap, I downloaded a ton of classic games like Zaxxon and Joust. It was fun to wax nostalgic over the quarter-munchers I played in the arcade when I was a kid.
I read a lot of blogs, but Creating Passionate Users is one of the few that causes me to drop everything when it has a new post. I can’t say I’m always happy to read what Kathy Sierra has to say, though – all too often she points out mistakes in software design and usability that I’ve been guilty of :)
Honorable mention: The Dilbert Blog. I’m not a huge fan of Scott Adams’ comic strip (I’ve worked at a few Dilbertesque companies, so I find the strip too realistic for my tastes), but his blog has caused more coffee to be spilled (or spurted) onto my keyboard than anything else I’ve read this year.