2009: Miscellaneous Debris

It occurs to me, I’m leaving a ton of delicious pop culture scraps on the floor. I don’t want the mice to get them. Oh, sure, you think mice are all cute? I thought that way, once. And then the mice found their way into my silverware drawer and pooped on my silverware. For reals. Oh, and then they also ate my butt plug. That’s not a joke, by the way. Mice actually consumed most of my butt plug. Does it help me if I tell you that the butt plug was a gag gift, and was still in its packaging? I mean, that’s why they were able to eat it. It was not a frequently-used (or ever-used) sexual device. It’s not like they ate it out of my butt. What kind of weirdo do you think I am? (Don’t answer that.) It sat, forever unplugged, in a distant drawer. Y’know. Where mice could eat it.

Or, make nests out of it, perhaps.

A butt plug nest. That’s the future.

Anyway. Right! This here 2009 ain’t gone yet, and so I’ve got a few more things to throw at your faces. Ready? Chin up. Here goes.

Move It To The Music

I dunno that it was a great year for music, but I guess it wasn’t a bad one. It had a few notable standouts, which I list here for the sake of completeness.

The new Yeah Yeah Yeah’s album, It’s Blitz, could also be named, “the tits,” because dangit if it ain’t. Great album. Actually one of my favorite albums of many years past. Far, far better than their last effort (which was okay, but nothing ejaculatory). I’ll admit that I sometimes miss the hard, frenetic, fuzzy psycho-fuck edge that the band put forth in something like Fever to Tell, but truth is, the new album shows a maturity in both lyricism and musical ability. The album’s got earworms.

Eminem’s Relapse is similarly a more mature work — though, “mature” for Eminem still involves, y’know, mentions of various serial crimes. But he’s clearly focusing inwards with this one. I haven’t picked up the additional tracks of Refill, yet, but may soon.

Jonathan Coulton’s Best. Concert. Ever. continues to be in constant car rotation. A great live set. Brought new life to old classics, and some classics I’d missed or ignored.

Lily Allen’s It’s Not Me, It’s You was a solid B+, but wasn’t quite up to par with her first effort? Not as universally catchy. Again, she’s matured — but sometimes, that’s just not what you want in your music.

Butterfly Boucher’s Scary Fragile? Good. Again, maybe not as good as her opening effort. Sophomore slump and all that.

MC Chris: Part Six, Part One. IG-88’s ’57 Chevy. Yes. Profane white-boy rap (also present in Lonely Island’s Incredibad).

For further hilarity, might I recommend a listen to Patton Oswalt’s My Weakness Is Strong?

Really, though, what I like about this time of the year is that I can check all the cool music aggregators (elbo.ws for the win), which then gives me access to a shit-ton of Best Of 2009 lists, and from there I start buying albums. Amazon in particular has a pretty hot deal going where, if you buy an album over $7.99, you get one of their maaaany awesome $5.00 albums fo free. I am now the proud owner of The Decemberist’s Crane Wife, a new Louis CK comedy album, and a handful of other rockin’ good stuff.

That reinforces how little I know about current music anymore, though. But it at least allows me to play “catch up.”

That means I’m taking suggestions, by the way. Got music for me? Share in comments.

(Man, as I’m putting in links for the music, I found something called Lala –? Which lets you listen you the album directly? Check the links above for examples. That’s pretty nice.)

iPhone, You Phone, We All Phone

I’ve already regaled you with tales of iPhone apps for writers and iPhone apps at the game table

Now, my favorite iPhone games of the year? Buckle up, butternuts.

Dude, Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor is once again one of those little unexpected games. You are a spider. You fling the spider and make webs, and then you catch bugs to eat. Simple, right? Except, you’re doing so in this decrepit old manorhouse, and you start putting together a little puzzle regarding the story of this place. Very cool. Maybe not as holy shit as Portal, but slick nevertheless.

Peggle — oh, sweet Molly McGoggins, I have probably lost as many hours to this game as I have to Modern Warfare 2. It’s like pinball on crack.

Well, actually, pinball on crack looks more like Monster Pinball. There’s something delicious exciting about pinball, by the way. It’s a game you can never win. And yet you keep playing. Crazy.

What else? Well, Pocket God isn’t really a game…? Okay. These little natives run out on an island. And you can manipulate them, the island, and the weather to mess with them. Sharks? Bird poop? Storms? Spiders? Fish? Spears? Dinosaur? All of the above, and more. They keep releasing free updates that give you new ways to torment your islanders. Weird, and not a lot of longevity, but a hoot-and-a-half.

Out of non-game experiences, I’m currently effing around with TrueHDR (almost-HDR pics with the iPhone; not bad!), Sushipedia (is just what it sounds like; it’s free!), and Layar Reality Browser (augmented reality; not as actually useful as you’d like, but has a very endearing “cool factor” that shows future promise if not present potential).

(Oh! And my wife loves this game, Rolando 2: Quest for the Golden Orchid, which looks crazy fun. I love when she plays it, because it has music from Mr. Scruff.)

Web Shiznit

I won’t regale you with the awesome blogs that sit just to the right of this here text block — because, hey, there they are. Go there. Click amongst them. Frolic upon them and within them. Let your priapism strain against the denim.

But, other web sites? Those, I can tell you about.

My wife found Super Punch just yesterday, and I can imagine it will be fodder for my tumblelog well into the future. Because it is awesome. Just go and see it.

The Oatmeal doesn’t get nearly enough direct love — I see it linked a lot, but I don’t see a lot of people say, “Geez, that there Oatmeal, well, it’s the Town Crier in Giggletown.” Ten Words You Need To Stop Misspelling? How To Ride A Pony? Things Bears Love? All good. And so much more.

I didn’t just discover John Scalzi as a human being, but I did this year discover the badassery that is his blog. Hence — his blog! Go. Clean typography. Great advice. Awesome stories. Fascinating commentary.

If you’re a screenwriter and you’re not loving another John — John August — I’d ask what’s wrong with your diseased tick-filled brain? (I am saddened that he isn’t one of the creative advisors over at the Sundance Screenwriters’ Lab this year — not that we don’t have great choices, but he’s there just about every year, I thought.)

Design sites made it into my rotation, what with my burgeoning Photoshop and WordPress interests: Smashing Magazine, Speckyboy, and Abduzeedo.

If you’re into new media and the future of publishing — Guy LeCharles Gonzalez gotcher back over at loudpoet.

Webcomics love? Then I demand you go and catch up on Clockworks, by Shawn Gaston.

Ich Bin Foodie

As I noted earlier, to my own shame, I have officially become a goddamn “foodie.” And, as noted, I went ahead and tried the Fresh Table Experiment, which worked out pretty well.

So, it’s been a good year for food. Farmer’s markets, ahoy. Found great restaurants around these parts — Bolete chief amongst them. I’ve eaten some new stuff this year, too — sweetbreads, eel, various other critters from the sea, grass-fed beef, and the many fantastic ice cream flavors at Owowcow.

I ate some kind of disgusting fruit in Hawaii that had the mouthfeel (and potentially the taste) of a peeled testicle.

You want food blogs, well, I can gently nudge you in the direction of frequent Bourdain cohort, Ruhlman.

If you live in and around the Lehigh Valley and want to lament the lack of ethnic restaurants, you’ll find that you’re wrong about that. The Beyond Scrapple blog takes you on an, erm, international local journey.

And, if you seek creative ways of putting together recipes or conceiving of ingredients — Cookthink is all yours. You can thank me later. … No, wait, thank me now. Preferably with comments. And money. And paeans sung to my lineage. And fruits. And chocolate. And hookers.

Looking Forward

Resolutions come tomorrow, ye impatient fackers. Come back then, and you’ll see my resolution — and yours. That’s right. I’ll be giving you your resolution for the year. And you’ll thank me for it.

7 comments

  • December 30, 2009 at 8:15 AM // Reply

    Good stuff but I want to reinforce two things: The Oatmeal is one of my top 5 favorite sites, and, Spider is an addictive game. I would like to also suggest StickWars. It’s an awesome little game.

  • I must alert you that I am singlehandedly responsible for screwing up your stats because EVERY time I open your site to read the house goes berserk and I have to walk away and leave it up on my screen forfuckingever.

    That said, I squeeeed like a girl when I saw the mouse pic.

    I loves da meeces. When they’re not shitting in my Saran Wrap.

    I have no hookers for you. Not disease-free ones anyway.

  • BTW- that would be a Himalayan mouse. Like the cat. They cost a lot more than garden variety fancy mice of the brown or gray color. I used to have one who was born small (WAY small) with a big head. We called him Corky. I won’t mention why. Corky ran backwards on his wheel a lot. Died young. For a mouse.

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