While I’ve blogged my reading lists pretty extensively, I haven’t listed all of the things I’ve loved this year. So here’s a rundown of great music, websites, and tech stuff I discovered. Note that not all of it was brand new this year, but it was new to me.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, seasons 2-5 and season 7
Jon and I watched through all of Buffy this year; neither of us had seen it. Well, I watched through almost all of Buffy. Jon started it first, but knew I was going to absolutely hate season 1. I joined partway through season 2 and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Though I nearly quit during the television tragedy that was season 6, I’m glad I stuck through until the end.
I liked this right off the bat, even more than I did Buffy. While the final season definitley had its hiccups, the final episode made me cry, and it’s rare for television to do that.
This season was intense. I don’t want to say too much, for fear of giving spoilers away. But wow, what a well-crafted season. This had some of my favorite episodes of the series, including one that made me cry (apparently, television made me tear up this year). While the season finale was a little lackluster compared to other finales on this show, I can’t wait for next season.
Best.show.on.television. Ever. Brilliant structure and pacing, not just at the episode level, not just at the season level, but across the entire series. I’m glad the world didn’t end on December 21st, because I would have been bummed if the apocalypse had happened and I didn’t get to see how the series wrapped up.
Jon and I just discovered this show on Netflix. It clearly didn’t do that well on broadcast, but we think it’s hilarious.
The Master (2012)
I live under a rock. I didn’t know this film was coming out. But one day, I had the afternoon off from work and nothing to do. I had some free passes to a movie theater. The Master was starting in 20 minutes, and I figured anything with Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman had to be good. But that’s all I knew — the leading actors and the starting time. I went into this film completely unprepared. I left feeling unsettled, but in a good way. Definitely a film worth seeing.
Cabin in the Woods (2011)
I still get giddy when I think about this film. I love horror movies. I love meta anything. This was the best of both worlds.
Keith Montesano talks to poets about their experience writing, revising, submitting, and publishing their first collections. I learn something new with every one.
It’s nice to know I’m not the only one whose dogs do crazy things.
Transcendental Youth by the Mountain Goats (2012).
Transcendental Youth is full of songs about people who madly, stupidly, blessedly won’t stop surviving, no matter who gives up on them.
I can report that it is a very good album and has many more instruments on it than his early cassette tapes, including Peter Hughes on bass, Jon Wurster on drums, and, for the first time, a full horn section. And all of this makes a very joyous noise. (John Hodgman)
I and Love and You by The Avett Brothers (2009).
Jon discovered this during his music-discovery project, and knew I would love it. He knows my taste well. The themes in this album are the ones I often cover in my poems: travel, searching, and love. This is a truly ambitious piece of work.
CamScanner app (available for Android and iPhone).
I rarely pay for apps at full price; I usually wait until Google Play has a sale. But I shelled out $5 for the full version of CamScanner, and four months later, I’ve already gotten my money’s worth. Cheaper than a scanner, way more cost-effective than sending a fax from a public machine, and it works great. Highly recommended.