Monday, December 22, 2003
Final Thoughts: 2003
Since I am going to be getting on a plane tonight at LAX in the middle of an Orange Security Alert, I figure that I should post my final thoughts on the year. Just in case.
When I wrote my year-end wrap up last year, the US stood at the brink of war. Now, Saddam Hussein is captured and Iraq is an occupied country. Which is all fine and good (I suppose), but we're still at Orange Alert. The real bad guys, not the phantom menace ones, are still out there, still plotting, still dangerous. I can't help thinking that the $100 billion we're spending to "liberate" Iraq would have been better spent on a massive manhunt for Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and Pakistan. One hundred billion dollars and a few hundred thousand troops would go a long way. I feel safer in Pittsburgh than I did in NY/NJ of course. Pittsburgh isn't a major target for terrorists (I hope). But nowhere is safe.
It's strange to think that I live in Pittsburgh now and that I'm in graduate school. It all seems sort of surreal at times, especially since it is something that I've thought about for years. My life is totally different from last year, when I toiled in Jersey City with Sean, Tom, Patrick, Bill, and the rest of the Datek crew, while living in the 'burbs. I'm also, not coincidentally, a lot poorer. But school is fun, and, hopefully, will pay off in the long run. I've made a lot of new friends and can actually feel myself becoming a better designer. It's been an exciting year.
Next year promises to be just as exciting. I'm teaching a class. Rachael and I are planning to go to Italy. Cedar Point beckons, as does a trip to my friend Sylvia's new bed and breakfast in the wilds of Iowa. It should be a year of travel and study, of drinks in smokey bars and good food in foreign cafes, of laughter and music, and of good writing and good design. I wish the same for you.
Sunday, December 21, 2003
Best TV of 2003
My TV watching has severely tapered off. Shows I used to watch (like The West Wing), don't really hold my interest anymore and there's really been no new show that has really caught my fancy. So, in no particular order, the shows that I still make time in my schedule to see: The Daily Show, Alias, Six Feet Under, The Wire, Project Greenlight, Tough Crowd, and Survivor.
Posted at 05:57 PM
Best Movies of 2003
I can't choose between these two movies, so I am just picking them both as my Best Picture of the Year for 2003.
The Return of the King is the best of the three Lord of the Rings movies. The battle scenes are thrilling, the emotional resonances of the book are all struck. I'm still annoyed that the Scouring of the Shire scenes were cut, but the scenes that were left in more than make up for it.
Lost in Translation is almost as good as its hype. It's stuck with me for a long time, as have the performances of Bill Murray and Scarlet Johanssen. It's the only movie I saw all year (except for Matrix Reloaded) that I wanted to see again in the theaters.
Posted at 05:56 PM
Best Album of 2003
Most of what I've been listening to these days is music that came out in years past: Pavement and The Weakerthans. So I'll just pick the best album I bought this year: Liz Phair. Yes, it's a pop album and people bitched because she didn't come out with another indie masterpiece like Exile in Guyville. But even on Exile, the best songs are the off-kilter pop songs. This is just a whole album of them. Yes, it's polished and yes, some of the lyrics are a little weak, but there are still, pound for pound, six great songs and mostly other good ones on this.
Standouts: "Rock Me" about her young boyfriend who doesn't even know who Liz Phair is; "Take a Look" that compares a crashed relationship to an auto accident; and "Favorite" which should have been blasting out of every car window this past summer. It's been in pretty much constant rotation in my house for the last six months. And I expect it to be for the next six months as well.
Posted at 05:56 PM
Friday, December 5, 2003
Modern Medieval Tapestries
This kind of stuff really amuses me. A flash site that makes medieval tapestries becomes a hilarious riff on it.
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