Best Stuff 2010
JonRoig.com | Posted: 2010-12-29 06:21:39 | 6322 hits | View in Hi-Fi Mode
So.... here's my random braindump of what, at least in my opinion, is the best stuff of 2010. Of course, the best thing continues to be my friends and family -- I hope ya'll already know how much I appreciate you all in my life.
Maybe it goes without saying, but it was Double Rainbow Guy's year. What does it mean? Here's a roundup of the rest...
Best Movie of the Year - Black Dynamite. So much better than that movie should have been. Awesome sound track. Amazing plot. Honorable mentions go to True Grit, Operation Endgame (total sleeper, watch it on Netflix), Jackass 3D, I Am Comic, and MacGruber.
Best Game of the Year - Red Dead Redemption. I began the summer at a Gamestop with a simple request: "Find me a game that's kinda like Grand Theft Auto but isn't too challenging." Without hesitation, the 16 year old girl behind the counter pulled out Red Dead Redemption. She was right. That's just a fun game with an engaging story line, tricky enough to be interesting but forgiving for people like me, who maybe aren't the most dedicated of video game players. Took me all summer, on and off, to beat it, just in time for the zombie expansion pack to come out around Halloween. Of course, that delivered what I really wanted -- license to wander around randomly shooting people in the head.
Best Podcast of the Year - NPR: Planet Money. An outgrowth of the now legendary "Giant Pool of Money" episode of This American Life, Planet Money is a fun and informative look at the world of economics. Like the TAL episode, it's totally friendly and casual... even a little goofy... it assumes you're interested in the subject, but don't have any particular background in economics. The hosts come across as curious without any axe to grind, although the hunt continues for the central causes of our financial crisis. Also worth mentioning: SuperEgo, The Nerdist with my personal hero, Chris Hardwick (formerly of Singled Out), Jordan Jesse Go, and The Bugle with John Oliver from the Daily Show.
Best Martial Arts Movie on Netflix Streaming - Ohh.. tough one! I've gotta go Chocolate even though Ip Man and Ong Bak 2 were friggin' fantastic. If you haven't seen it, though, Chocolate is probably the best autistic teenage girl martial arts movie you will ever see in your life. Oh, and since I'm such a sucker for prison fighting movies, it would be criminal not to mention Undisputed III: Redemption. Turns out, when you're secretly shipped from your prison to one in a far away land to fight in the tournament which crowns the world's greatest prison fighter, it's hard to know who you can trust. Along those same lines, OSS 117: Lost in Rio, a movie about a somewhat confused super spy, totally cracked me up.
Worst Sport of the Year - Dodgeball. Fuck dodgeball. I mean... what were we thinking? Meet Balls was more or less the Bad News Bears of dodgeball -- we had the Jew, the Indian, the Canadian, the Dad, the Nerd... what do you expect for a bunch of computer programmers? We got slaughtered. By everyone. Totally brutally. See... here's the thing -- this ain't kickball. The people who play dodgeball take dodgeball very seriously. It hurts when they peg you with dodgeballs. No offense to the people who love doing dodgeball -- I'm glad you've got your thing -- but I am never doing that ever again.
Best Sport of the Year - Ultramarathon running. Duh! Western States 100 was outta control, but I had all kinds of fun races this year. Thanks to everyone I encountered out on the trails in 2010... you're all amazing people! In that spirit, I should probably also take a moment to recognize one of the great moments in ultramarathon running -- the showdown this year between Anton Krupica, Geoff Roes, and Kilian Journet at the WS100 this year. Totally an epic battle between three undeniably amazing athletes, all of whom just seem like really cool dudes.
Device of the Year - The Dyson Animal Vacuum. This thing has changed my life... I mean, when you've got a 90 lb yellow lab who spend most of his spare time shedding, having an industrial strength vacuum cleaner is the best thing ever. The Dyson is just so darned cleverly designed. Amazing.
Website of the Year - xtranormal.com. This little site, which allows you to create primitive animations with your own dialog and sound, has become a fantastic outlet for people's bitterness. Check out:
iPhone4 vs HTC Evo,
Typical post-ride conversation between bikers,
I'm a runner.
Runner up has to be NMA, a crazy realtime animation company outta Taiwan. Examples? California dreaming of pot legalization or US-Sino Currency Rap Battle or JetBlue drama: flight attendant quits via escape chute.
... Finally... the Onion video content just gets better and better. They've got some TV enterprises launching shortly, but in the meantime, you've gotta love stuff like: Obama Replaces Costly High-Speed Rail Plan With High-Speed Bus Plan and Joad Cressbeckler Fears Genetic Modification Causes 'Wrath-Minded Taters'.
Album of the Year - Titus Andronicus, the Monitor. Who knew a rock opera about America's most emo of presidents, Abraham Lincoln, would be so good? Special shoutouts to the Avett Bros... Kanye... Girl Talk... the Thermals... Fang Island... Sleigh Bells... Free Energy...
Song of the Year - Fuck You by Cee Lo Green. Right on, man....
Experimental Audio Recording of the Year - The Knife, The Colouring of Pigeons... from a rock opera about Darwin, I believe. Incidentally, the Knife are responsible for my favorite moment in Swedish Music Awards of the last few years.
Invention of the Year - Blast Knuckles. They're like brass knuckles, but they've got a taser in them as well. How brutal is that? In the "dubious innovations" category, we have to give props to The Batter Blaster. Spray on pancake mix... a problem that didn't need to be solved, solved. Does sound kind of fun, though.
Blog of the Year - You Are Not So Smart. Ever since reading "The Black Swan" a year or so ago, I've been into this idea that we're all a lot less clever than we think we are. Obviously, the complete failure of the geniuses running the financial system point our inability to deal with complexity, but I mean that on an almost more basic level. Reality... it's at least partly a construct of our own brains. We fill in all the missing gaps and, to save time, we take all kinds of mental shortcuts. Most of the time, we get things right. Sometimes, though, we get it totally wrong. You Are Not So Smart compiles a lot of those common errors, mistakes that get at the core of what it means to be human.
World Leader of the Year - Putin. I know... you thought I was going to go Berlusconi -- who, let's be honest, he hasn't done too many awesome things since being hit in the face with a model of Milan's Cathedral at the end of 2009. Putin, though... he played Blueberry Hill, harpooned a whale,
hugged a polar bear, rode around shirtless on a horse,
was innaugerated into a biker gang and got the nickname 'Abaddon', drove a Formula One race car, and flew a firefighting plane over the forest fires outside Moscow.
Best Legal Document of the Year - The Collins Divorce [pdf]
Best Random Discovery of the Year - the 20 dollar trick in Las Vegas. The concept is simple -- when you check into a hotel in Vegas, slip a $20 in between your license and credit card when you check in. You're bribing the clerk... and it works friggin' awesome.
Periodical of the Year - The Alpinist. The Alpinist is, like, a climbing porn magazine. REI has it. It's the quarterly journal of people who do crazy stuff at high altitudes. The stories are all more or less the same: "I had this friend who had a reputation for being a nut / I let him talk me into climbing something big on the condition that if things got too crazy, we could turn back / we found ourselves way over our heads and thought we were going to die / somehow, we didn't die and made it to the top / here are the pictures." It's awesome. Runner up is the Economist... because of its cheeky captions. Oh, and a big shout out to Ultrarunner Magazine, who hooked me up with a free copy of the Western States issue when I subscribed. Totally went out of their way... how nice is that?
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