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My List Of Things That I Saw/Read/Heard/Thought About In 2007 But Didn’t Write About For Some Reason Or Another

Thursday, December 27, 2007
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I don’t need a big fancy introduction — I just say it all in the title.

Like Beal’s, this won’t be any sort of comprehensive list of the Best ‘o or Worst ‘o 2007, because I wasn’t really keeping track. Most of the time I’m too busy trying to catch up with things instead of worrying about what may be popular three months from now (which I’ve talked about before here). For instance, while it’s been on my iPod for over two years, I never really listened to The Constantines’ Shine a Light before; don’t ask me why, because I now know it’s fantastic (well, except for On To You, which is a bit too Eddie Money-ish for a credible alt-rock band, but whatever). I guess that’s just the way I roll.

Young Lions

Great song, horrible video, but it’s the best audio quality version available, so just close your eyes or something.

Okay, that was a nice tasty treat — now let’s get down to business.

Good Luck Chuck

Yes, I saw this movie (don’t ask me why because I’m not telling). The even bigger surprise is that it’s actually pretty good. It’s one of those movies where the humour is so rude they can’t show the actual funny things in the trailer, and as a result only the lame jokes make it in and you think ‘wow, that’s going to be a lame movie.’ And then it turns out to be rude and funny and you’re pleasantly surprised (witness this phenomenon with the clips below, the first of which contains my favourite line from the movie — see if you can guess which one!).

The Golden Compass

Saw this last week — pretty disappointing. I know it’s supposed to be a kid’s movie, but when the books it’s based on have won so many awards, you expect they’d have to try pretty hard to mess it up. Alas, hard they tried, and mess it up they did. This pretty much sums it up:

Covering too much ground in too little time leaves the film feeling shallow and inchoate.

The Buffy Omnibus Collection

One word — giddy. With the so far successful run of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 comics flying off the shelves (see the link to the archive at right), Dark Horse is publishing a four volume Omnibus collection of the old Buffy series to allow comic newbies the chance to get their hands on these stories. Even though these are technically not part of the official Buffy canon (as Season 8 is), many of the stories take place in the time between the old Buffy movie (yuck) and the series proper, which means they might as well be canon. In fact, one of the stories in Volume One, entitled The Origin, is even a ‘re-do’ of the movie, supposedly more in line with Joss Whedon’s original script, and casting ‘Sarah Michelle Gellar’ as Buffy so as to tie everything together. It’s a smart move.

I had considered creating a whole Culturatti Project for the Omnibus, but, unlike Beal’s Ninja Turtles, they aren’t available to read online, cause, you know, they’re still trying to get people to buy them. I figured if Joe Q. Public couldn’t read the stories before then reading what I had to say about them, I’d only be preaching to the converted and it would be kind of dull (and probably similar to hundreds of other blogs out there doing the same thing). So that won’t be happening for now. While, as I said, the whole thing isn’t online, Dark Horse does have one story up on their website as a preview — part one of Viva Las Buffy. Before reading this you should technically have read The Origin and seen Seasons One and Two of the Buffy tv series, but if you haven’t it won’t really affect your reading enjoyment. What will affect your reading enjoyment is that this isn’t one of the better comics included in the collection. Attempt enjoyment nonetheless.

Best Women’s Fashion Trend Of The Year

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Shiny tights. Oh man are these hot. Thank you Dov Charney. Yes, I’ve been going crazy lately over these things. I’ve always said my favourite women’s clothing are things that are either 1) Tight, 2) Shiny, or ideally, as in this case, both. No matter where I go now I see women wearing these either beneath skirts or short shorts, or with just a long, slim light wool sweater. Yum! Let’s hope this trend stays the course for at least a couple of years.

Worst Women’s Fashion Trend Of The Year

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These wide, bulky, long short/short pant things (usually down to the knee). Not shorts in the summer sense, not capris in the normal sense, just . . . something else, and awful looking. I have no problem with these, or these even, but when they’re like the ones above, especially paired with knee-high socks, they make women look like this, which is not how I want my women to look, know what I mean?

Worst Taiwanese Men’s Hairstyle

Check out these beauts at the 44 second mark:

There’s actually a worse style out there which makes men look even more like women. I couldn’t find a picture though.

Worst Taiwanese Women’s Hairstyle

Yikes!

And she’s a hairdresser — you’d think she’d know better! But apparently it’s in style right now to look like this:

There’s actually a worse style out there, where it’s the same as above except crimped, which makes the woman look like a cocker spaniel instead of a bichon frise. I couldn’t find a picture though. This blog entry I found also has a humorous way of talking about this new salon craze.

Best Blog That No One Reads

You’ll find that here.

Hospital Music

I’ve talked so much about Matt Good lately you’re all probably sick of him by now, but I haven’t really spoken specifically about this album, which you would think I would do given that it actually came out this year. The reason is that I’m not overly taken with it. I think it’s decent, but not just up to the same level as his previous work. It’s a bit of a paradox; supposedly somewhat a concept album about his time immediately pre-and-post his Atavan overdose and hospital stay, it’s actually his most incoherent album to date, merely progressing through the songs and not building in any significant way. Also, half the songs are centred around ‘hospital’ conceits and the other half around ‘political’ ones, which are certainly odd bedfellows. The only real standouts are Champions Of Nothing, Black Helicopter and I’m a Window. As I say, it’s not bad, just not great (click here to listen to previews).

The Ricky Gervais Show

There have been many incarnations of this, and I’ve heard ’em all. The original Xfm radio show, which you can still listen to for free [(click for the Early Years and Seasons 1 & 2, and here for Season 3 (down the right of the page)], and the various free and purchasable podcasts from iTunes (here’s a chronology of them all). These will take you hours upon hours to get through, but by Jesus it’s worth it. Karl Pilkington really is absolutely hilarious. There are a couple of excerpts that people have taken and put on YouTube:

I’m sure you can find more if you look around. There were times that I hurt myself from laughing so hard all this shit.

The Way The Crow Flies

41m7ys07k3l_aa240_.jpgI purposely left this one alone at the time that I finished it, because it was just too good to write about. I mean, I didn’t want to write something too laudatory or analytical or anything like that, because I felt it would have cheapened the book for me somehow to do that. The closest I came was this, which I posted on Death From Below when I started it:

After only a couple of pages I felt that unique rush that only comes from reading a master craftsperson, a writer so skilled that seemingly every sentence presents an intricacy of language that most writers don’t begin to even approach. It’s a huge novel, rooted partly in auto-biography and partly in Canadiana, but done in a way completely removed from her Can-Lit forebearers — as in, more rooted in detail and less in abstraction, more honest and brutal as opposed to cloying.

Now that I’ve read it, nothing’s changed. Every few pages, seemingly, brought me to something — either an advance in the plot of a way of phrasing something — that was so, so well done. It really is incredible how sustained the quality of the writing is. It’s epic, and definitive. It makes any other books written about the same subjects inconsequential.

Ann-Marie MacDonald has said that this will be her final book — she says she no longer has the desire to do something again which is so hard. It doesn’t have to be as hard as she makes it, but if she didn’t do all that hard work, if she allowed herself to coast, her books wouldn’t be as good as they are. So in a way I don’t blame her (she’s rich now, so why bother), but of course I regret that we’ll only ever have this and Fall On Your Knees to remember her by (I’m not counting her plays). But even those are quite a legacy. Obviously, I’m suggesting everyone read both if they haven’t already .

* * * * *

That’s all I have the inclination and memorization capacity for to write about in regards to 2007. The last few months I have been preoccupied with a biography of Chiang Kai-Shek, but that won’t be finished until 2008, so I think that’s how I’ll ring in the new year in terms of Culturatti contributions. Until then . . . uh. Bye. 03971semaj

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21 Comments leave one →
  1. Saturday, December 29, 2007 6:44 pm

    All right, my turn to rip you a new exithole.

    So let’s see, can’t really speak to the Buffy thing, or the book at the end there. Matthew Good I’ve got nothing to say about. No reason to disagree on The Ricky Gervais Show or the Constantines. (Though I’ve still only got their first album; hey, maybe I’ll grab Shine a Light off emusic on your recommendation. Feel the power of words when written!)

    The hairstyles are obviously hideous, but delightfully so. Thanks, Asia, for having the balls to do what we haven’t since the 1980s.

    No idea what those short pants are, don’t think I’ve ever seen them in the wild, but I’ll say I’m not a tights fan at all. So yeah, suck on that — I totally disagree with your opinions on shiny tights. Burnage.

    And yeah, the Good Luck Chuck … I haven’t seen it, so I guess I can’t really comment … But, I mean, those jokes are being delivered by Dane Cook, so you know, even if they’re funny in concept, they’ll still make you wanna punch the innocent, right? I don’t know, I haven’t seen it, I can’t comment. Except those two clips. Those I’ve now seen, so on those I’m free to comment.

    But I won’t.

  2. Saturday, December 29, 2007 6:54 pm

    Addendum, re: the thing you said in the Buffy part: Mirage only has the first 7 issues of TMNT, plus a few specials, readable online. Once we get past there, you folk are just gonna have to trust that I’m being 100% fair and honest in my evaluations.

  3. Saturday, December 29, 2007 9:16 pm

    I also do not care for the pants.

  4. James17930 permalink
    Sunday, December 30, 2007 12:15 am

    I don’t get the Dane Cook comment.

    Also — yes, download Shine a Light, and download their third album too and then send it to me.

    While I have BitTorrent for Mac, it has yet to work properly for me.

  5. James17930 permalink
    Sunday, December 30, 2007 6:46 am

    And Drew — we should spread the word.

  6. Sunday, December 30, 2007 9:44 am

    I ain’t sending you shit. And the Dane Cook comment is in reference to how unbearably fucking annoying that son of a bitch is.

  7. Sunday, December 30, 2007 12:46 pm

    The word of Gord?

  8. Sunday, December 30, 2007 1:10 pm

    Ahh…you thought by “pants” I meant the shorts. I need to see the shorts as they look when they’re actually occupied by women before I pass judgement on those.

    No, I meant the tights. Not a fan. Too rubbery looking.

  9. James17930 permalink
    Sunday, December 30, 2007 1:29 pm

    Rubber is good!

  10. Sunday, December 30, 2007 2:49 pm

    Seems to me, if you’re gonna wear something that’s the exact same shape as your legs, why not just let us see your legs?

    Legs > Tights
    Also: Legs > Rubber

  11. Sunday, December 30, 2007 3:02 pm

    Give me a gal in yoga pants anyday. Or even cargo pants.

  12. James17930 permalink
    Sunday, December 30, 2007 10:33 pm

    Because when it gets too cold for just legs, this way we get the suggestion of legs. And suggestions of legs are sexy.

  13. Sunday, December 30, 2007 11:09 pm

    On even the most bitchin’ cold days of the year, all Korean women still wore leg-displaying skirts. Not so in Taiwan?

    Wait. It doesn’t really get bitchin’ cold there, does it?

  14. James17930 permalink
    Sunday, December 30, 2007 11:54 pm

    But were they wearing some kind of pantyhose or leggings with the skirts? Probably a lot of them (and even if they weren’t, I find tights or hose enshrouded legs sexier than pale-reddish freezing skin anyway).

    And these shiny tights are basically the same thing as hose, but something different — a new trend. Hose are always going to be around, and I like them too, but I’m going to savour these tights as long as I can.

    Also — not so much bitchin’ — more like ‘dude, it’s cold.’

    13 degrees today — but the buildings don’t have heating or insulation so it does feel pretty chilly.

  15. Monday, December 31, 2007 12:06 am

    13 celcius? That’s brisk at best!

  16. James17930 permalink
    Monday, December 31, 2007 12:27 am

    Or is Brisk Baby?

  17. Monday, December 31, 2007 12:36 am

    They do not wear any kind of legging, even on the briskest of days. And though, no, their legs don’t look cold, you can be damned sure they’re feeling it.

    But man, Korean women will wear high heels to the beach. That’s just the way they roll.

  18. Monday, December 31, 2007 12:56 am

    2007 has been the year I learned about nothing really new or ground breaking just got into lots of stuff that’s been around for years. You ever heard of the Beatles? Pretty cool.

  19. James17930 permalink
    Monday, December 31, 2007 2:09 am

    Do they wear high heels to the beach on the briskest of days? Do they eat briskets?

  20. Sarah P permalink
    Monday, December 31, 2007 12:44 pm

    Seems to me that the general consensus is that you men like the shapely legs of women, no? Enshrouded in tights/stockings/cargo pants, cold or warm, on the beach, in chilly buildings, you guys like ladies’ legs. Is this new for 2007? is there a deeper subtext here that I’m missing? And what do briskets have to do with anything, except that they’re meat too…(figure out that not-so-deeper subtext)

  21. James17930 permalink
    Monday, December 31, 2007 12:50 pm

    Brisket sounds like briskest. I thought that was obvious.

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