January 1, 2005

2005 Open Thread

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at January 1, 2005 10:19 AM

Happy New Year everyone!

Blog-related New Year's resolution: install MT-Blacklist to battle the spammers who have learned to post to recent entries. I have to disentangle my MT installation from mod_perl first, since they are incompatible; I hope this doesn't wreck the whole thing.

Will update sidebar/quote/etc. when I get home (Tuesday).

What were your favorite media of 2004? What's on your list for 2005? Any New Year's resolutions?


Favorite media? Well, for one I just finished watching the extended Return of the King DVDs. I don't have to even tell you how that went, I hope.

I think I managed to read a book this year (besides references or texts, I mean), but I can't seem to recall what it was. My copies of the Baroque Cycle books are still sitting around. I'll get to them some day.

How about games? Doom 3 was good. Graphics were downright amazing, but in the end the game as a whole was merely good. Star Ocean 3 was a good time, maybe someday I'll finish the final dungeon. Phantom Brave is great, so I can't figure out why I'm not so excited about picking it up and playing some more. GTA: San Andreas is a good time, but I find the control to be annoying sometimes. The games that I keep coming back to the most are Burnout 3 and Dawn of War, the latter of which has become our standard Friday night fare. The one that stands above and beyond the rest of the pack is, however, Half Live 2. Truly spectacular.

How about pleasant surprises? I, Robot turned out to be an actually enjoyable movie--not great, but for an action flick with a tolerable number of groaners, I had a good time.

I always like a movie that really exercises the imagination. I don't know how to describe what makes a good movie like this, but suffice it to say that I usually have to turn to either Miyazaki or Gilliam for my fix. I got a special treat this year with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I was admittedly sold after just hearing the title, but yeah. Yum.

Picked up the Franz Ferdinand album finally. Mean to get Modest Mouse soon as well. Such Great Heights by Postal Service (that right?) might be my favorite song of the year, but it's still pretty recent (in my world), so I might not be treating it fairly. Oh... Favorite album is close... there are two that I really like. Permission to Land by The Darkness and Get Born by Jet are both spectacular. The Darkness wins out by a little bit, but they're both the great. Jet has a style that I like a lot more just in general, but The Darkness managed to strike gold with a few more songs is all.


Posted by: Lemming | January 2, 2005 12:23 AM

I agree, "Such Great Heights" is a really good song. I've been curious to hear Iron and Wine's cover of it from the Garden State soundtrack...

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | January 2, 2005 9:52 AM

I didn't really decide on favorite media for 04. I need to jog my memory of precisely what I read/watched/saw/did last year.

For 05, I want to reread the entire Hitchhiker's series. I started the first during the holidays and finished it today. I am going to read a Dark Sun novel I never got around to reading next, and then I'll get back to The Restaurant at the End of the Universe and continue for there.

Movies and other books for 05: The Hitchhiker's Guide movie finally comes out on 5/6. (There was originally going to be one that should have come out something like 20 years ago!) The new pink panther movie comes out in September (I think on 9/23). A new Dragonlance book in the Weis/Hickman thread should come out late in the year. The final book in the recent 6-volume drow series comes out in April, and the final book in the minotaur series comes out around the same time. Those are all on my acquisition list.

I ordered a copy of Zelda Minish cap, so that will be my first new game for 05. I am attempting to resist the urge to start playing Civ III again soon (although I really want to!) because I think this would have detrimental effects on my job interviews/research productivity/social "life"/etc. I am playing some Mario Kart these days. (The CPU cheats even more than in Mario Kart 64. It's ridiculous!)

Songs of 04: I really like the new Duran Duran album (especially Finest Hour). This is _much_ better than their last one. I also really like a couple of the songs on the new REM album. It's not from 04, but I also bought an import album by Metisse that I like a lot. I also enjoyed a lot of old favorites. :)

Songs of 05: A new Cause & Effect album is coming out---they're an obscure new wave band in case you have no idea who they are.

Oh, I just remembered: My movie for 04 is The Incredibles. Where's my super suit?!?!?!

Resolutions: I had one in 04 for the first time---it was to be less neurotic than I was in 03. Things were looking bad at first, but then I started my moratorium in February and things calmed down the rest of the year as I focused on research and the very much correlated acquisition of a job.

I tried very briefly to come up with a resolution for 05, but then I ended up watching a pink panther movie instead. Oh well, maybe next year.

Posted by: Mason | January 2, 2005 4:52 PM

On more addition--a CD that I ordered a while ago, and just recieved. The Black Mages II: The Skies Above. I like Uematsu, and I like electric guitars, so this one is a real winner for me. Some questionable vocal tracks, but a real winner nonetheless. My personal favorite, at least so far, is a version of Matoya's Cave that incorporates a number of different styles, all of which I like. Makes me think of Bohemian Rhapsody, almost.

Posted by: Lemming | January 3, 2005 4:38 PM

my 2 cents on favorites the previous year:

Movie: no idea. Which movies did I see this year, anyways? I think by virtue of which ones I remember, my top three are: _Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow_, _I, Robot_, and _The Incredibles_. Sky Captain was prolly my favorite of those, followed by the Incredibles. Jude Law was great and the visual style was a refreshing change.

Music: what's that? Seriously, I don't listen to music much, and very little new music. I guess the nod here would go to the Burnout 3 soundtrack, which inspired my purchase of the Franz Ferdinand album, and i'd love to get the rest of the songs from that soundtrack too.

Games (PS2): Burnout 3, without a doubt. Phantom Brave and GTA: San Andreas get nods for being very cool, but not great at holding my attention. Burnout 3 was awesome and i'll happily pick it up to play multiplayer or solo whenever.

Games (GC): Paper Mario gets my nod, though i've not played it, I would if i'd not been watching L play through it. Also great ones we've picked up this year are Warioware and Smash Melee, though they're certainly not new. :)

Games (PC, new): World of Warcraft, without a doubt. Doom 3 and Halflife 2 were both great FPS's, and between them i'd say H2 was a bit better. But the best new game has to be WoW, for a refreshing new look at MMORPGs, and the whole Warcraft world in general. It's from Blizzard and has tons of style, story and gameplay, as one might expect. If I were going to rank a top 5 in pc games, here'd be my list:

1. World of Warcraft
2. Halflife 2
3. Pirates!
4. Dawn of War
5. Doom 3

Dawn of War deserves a nod though i've not played the retail game, I played a ton of the beta and it's definately a great one, prolly the best RTS out during the year. Pirates! is definately the best pirate simulation, and overall the best game to sit down to play just 15m and end up playing for hours. Damn you Sid Meier!

Games (PC, old): I put this category in because there's a game that deserves mention here, considering how much I play it, and that is Final Fantasy XI. Still a great game, and the story can be totally engrossing. Compared to WoW, the thing FFXI has which I just don't get much from WoW is the difficulty. FFXI is challenging, and some missions, jobs, etc, require dedication and patience to master. Not saying that WoW isn't challenging at times, but that I just haven't found the same depth of challenge. Also, FFXI is best played with groups, whereas I have had no problems playing WoW solo, and feel I miss out on stuff because of the ease of soloing.

Books: A very difficult choice here, as i've read many great books recently, and probably many more in the past year.

In no particular order, my top 5:
-. Going Postal, Terry Pratchett
-. System of the World, Neal Stephenson
-. Windrider's Oath, David Weber
-. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Susanna Clark
-. Newton's Wake, Ken MacLeod

Honorable mention goes to A Song of Ice and Fire series, by George R.R. Martin, which I just picked up this year and eagerly await the next book. :)

Of my top picks, a few need explanation: Going Postal is Pratchett in fine form, satirical and humorous and a great relaxing read. Windrider's Oath is the third in a fantasy series by Weber and has a great hero and supporting characters. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell deserves mention for the awesome atmosphere which stays consistently throughout the book, and makes it a great read. I picked System of the World over The Confusion, as though both are great, I really like Daniel's point of view for the story, and thought Stephenson did a great job of ending a story, for once. :) Newton's Wake is on the list as it had the best sci-fi setting in the books I read this year. Plus, the gardener was awesome and cracked me up every time I read sections he was in. :)

Let me see... that's about it for my picks, i've prolly forgotten a bunch and there are certainly some that deserve mention that I just don't recall right now. :)

Posted by: Zifnab | January 4, 2005 1:30 PM

I forgot a category in which one item deserves mention: Comics, where Neil Gaiman's 1602 deserves praise. :) Loosely, Marvel characters in a Neil Gaiman setting, story and background is a great combination. For a close second, Aaron William's PS238 is absolutely hilarious and I look forward to every issue. :)

Posted by: Zifnab | January 4, 2005 1:36 PM
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