Monday, January 14, 2008

Some Items of Interest From the Past Year

A few choice things from 2007 around our abode:

1. Civic Pride - I found a new feeling in my stomach and it wasn't from breakfast at the Tomahawk. When they unveiled the Olympic mascots, I had to do a double-take to make sure I wasn't on vacation somewhere else.

2. Speaking of which, we went out of town numerous times, and as it turns out, Beard Papa was a common theme. From Hong Kong, back home, to San Francisco, we were hooked. Not that there weren't other awesome things that happened on those trips....

3. Culinary Feats - Two meals of note: (i) while there's no shortage of good restaurants in town, there's only a handful that elevate it to an artform: the tasting menu at Gastropod achieves that in bounds; and (ii) the delicacy of Shanghainese cuisine is often lost at most places, but dinner at Ye Shanghai in Hong Kong certainly found it.

4. Speaking of Hong Kong, this was one of my favorite finds from the year - Masabumi Yokoi's entry for the Uniqlo t-shirt contest.

5. Other Clutter: I did so amazingly well for toys this year, I feel (almost) guilty. I got the Labbit for Christmas, and went down to the mothership and picked up this Bossy Bear for under $20 (yay for parity!)

6. Comics: The year saw a whole slew of Chris Ware output, but I was really feelin' Misery Loves Comedy. Sure, it was a re-print of all the old Schizos, along with some other stuff I had already, but this was probably the best anthology since the Newgarden book from the year before. Didn't see the Clowes strip in the Times, sorry. Didn't feel Tomine's Shortcomings as much as the next Asian-N. American, sorry (it was interesting, but not as interesting as some thought). Can't read French, thus didn't get the new Michel Rabagliati, sorry. Didn't read the Pascal, either, sorry. (The NYorker cover beside is also one of my faves of the year, though that might be due to shotty memory than anything else)

7. Muzak: The more I grow dependent on my i-Toons, the less certain I am as to what the heck came out in the past year. This problem compounds itself the further I end up in this crazy mp3 blog world: what's old is new again, and back-catalog is as current as new release. Thus, a quick scan of my hard drive would probably yield a 3:2 ratio of music from 30 years ago to tracks released in 2007. Worse: my free time can't keep up to the sheer glut of files on my hard drive, and there's not nearly enough free space on that thing either; I might have listened to that Ronson album intently for a couple of days, only to burn the thing to CD and never pick up on it again.

There's not a heck of a lot I remember from the past year of music. I recall Radiohead did something, didn't they? That girl from Rilo Kiley showed up in pictures everywhere (not nearly as many as Cat Power though), and I even liked that album a lot too. I tried extra-hard to give rock n' roll a chance this year, and recall that I liked a slew of albums (Sea and Cake, etc) - heck, I even liked that Liars track that Brian posted on his Facebook a whole bunch. I think I remember that.

But more than anything, if my current playlist is any indication, 2007 seemed to be a good year for hip hop. (I didn't think the Pharoahe Monch got enough hype, and thus here's that gah-gah-gah re-working of "Welcome to the Terrordome"; I'd post something from the Top Shelf comp or the Y Society or Ohmega Watts albums, but there's enough blogs out there that have covered them already: