Maria Schneider

A native of Windom, Minnesota, and a graduate of the University of Minnesota, this incredible woman continues to almost single-handedly rewrite the direction of composition for jazz ensemble year after year, and 2008 was no different.  Schneider released her latest album entitled “Sky Blue” to much critical acclaim and a brought home another grammy for her tune, “Cerulean Skies.”  Incredible musician and all-around benevolent human, Maria Schneider is a name those of you with an interest in composition, jazz, or improvised music ought to dedicate a little time in the coming year.  Point of interest: she was one of the first artists to work with www.artistshare.com, an online avenue for artists to propose, fund, and share their work without playing any games with corporate entities.  Give ’em some love.  www.MariaSchneider.com

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Proof positive that real journalists practicing real journalism do, in fact, still exist in the world, they just happen to wear fake beards, tell dirty jokes, and generally get straight to the damn point.  Here’s to you, Jon!

Left 4 Dead

This seems so silly, a video game, given all the heavy shit that has transpired this year, but Left 4 Dead has reignited in me the multiplayer excitement I used to live day after day in the first half of this decade.  Zombies are a favorite of many here at Robot Panic, however, no game has ever allowed us to experience them together, much less in a manner reflecting the wonderfully horrible movies we all love so much.  There is something very primal, terrifying, and all around awesome about mowing down a zombie horde.  Furthermore, the AI director is a brilliant touch, making the replay value considerably high.  The undead are on the move.  Let’s kill them again.  Together.

Economic Implosion

While this one may seem a bit alarming at first glance, hear me out.  The very sudden and extreme downturn in the global economy has been a disaster for good people the world over, but there have been some side effects to celebrate.  Starbucks has contracted by 1/3 and can no longer afford afford to operate franchises within a spitball’s flight of each other.  The incredible run up of oil prices has brought the consumption of said slimy fuel to an incredible and unexpected low, not to mention pushed the SUV market off a cliff and sparked an explosion of high fuel efficiency vehicle production, alternative energy research, and just might inadvertently slow the microwaving of the global tundra.  That… and now that no has any money to spend, gas is at a five-year low!  Let’s not forget that we likely have to thank the economy for saving the world from Dino-Rider, Sarah Palin.  Though I humbly accept God’s will, I sure will miss that dirty snatch.

Nerf

This old friend has become incredibly cool this year, in no small amount due to the release of the Nerf Vulcan: a fully automatic, heavy machine gun with tripod, ammunition belt and box.  They’ve made some crazy shit in the past, but you all need to sit up an take notice of what’s going on at Nerf’s magic spongejectile factory.

iPhone 3G

Apple owns the world, or at least they should.  While there have been problems with the new iphone launch, the incredible price cut and remarkable features of the planet’s most versatile handheld electronic device have changed the way millions of humans manage their increasingly busy lives.  This one’s a winner for everyone, even the haters.  Nearly every competitor has now released their iphone imitation, but we’ll go ahead and let them keep calling their products “innovative.”  Too bad the black turtle neck was extra.

Extra Large Sinks

That’s right… big kitchen sinks.  No, it’s not a fetish, I remodeled my kitchen this year and spent a down right obscene amount of money on a stupid sink.  While I nearly puked when shown the price, I have never looked back and certainly don’t regret the purchase.  If you ever wash a dish by hand and don’t have my sink, you’re miserable.  You simply may not be aware.  My sympathies.

Average Joe

If anything should be acknowledged this year, it ought to be the fortitude of Average Joe.  This guy took his foot and swung it squarely up Joe the Plumber’s ass, elected George W. Bush then followed up with Barack Obama, and stood up to the most divisive and disgusting campaign season in our nation’s history.  While I knew the average American would eventually wake up, I’m just thankful it was before these other assholes annihilated our goddamn home.  Somehow the people have managed to place an incredible man, one Barack Obama, perhaps you know of him, in the most important position at the most important time.  The man’s a damn genius and I’m not even sure we deserve him, but I will be forever grateful to Average Joe for his timely contribution to humanity.

Sincerity

May of 2008 marked ten years after John, Hilden, and I left our college home at 1125 Fremont Avenue and went our separate ways.  Work, school, ladies, family, and other nonsense has pulled us one direction, then another, often hundreds of miles apart.  All the while, though in different parts of the country, we still managed to hang out (props to XBox Live and some unreasonably long weekend travel), much like we did when we lived together.  Eventually there came to be a website, then another, then a podcast, then the first website became a pant-fetish site (not our doing, but certainly endorsed), then another website, then a Xmas zombie hunt in my living room.  I would not have guessed that time would play out in this manner, especially the pant-fetish thing.  That was just weird.  And surely none of us know what tomorrow or the next ten years will bring, but it seems ever so likely that whatever happens, somehow, the ridiculous spirit of 1125 Fremont will permeate our lives like a dead mouse at the back of your pantry.  Either way, all this online nerd-foolery has been a good reason to get together, play the occasional game, reminisce about our young and foolish selves, make some new friends and a nemesis or twelve, and generally consider how fortunate we all are, that includes you, dearest reader, to live in a place and time where any, much less all of this is even possible.

With that said, I’d like you wish you all a happier new year that may deliver some sun to the darker spots in our world.  While very much not in my nature, certain events have instilled a cautious optimism, suggesting to me a likeliness that, much to my surprise, we’re not all gonna die.  Just the shitty ones.

Happy New Year!

– Moe

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9 Responses to Stuff of the Year: Moe’s Picks

  1. People keep telling me that the iPhone is the greatest thing ever but I have yet to hear what it does that no other phone has ever done before. Every “cool” feature people say to me is something I already saw on other smart phones.

  2. 1) iTunes integration (no matter what yu say about iTunes, it can be used to sync you email, contacts and other things to the device)
    2) App Store
    3) Multi touch
    4) easy of use and set up

  3. You can get apps on other phones too. I don’t know what their online places were called (since I myself don’t have a smartphone, only played around with friend’s), but maybe they just weren’t as catchy as App Store?

    Did they do multi touch first? That’s cool.

    Nothing to do with the iPhone, but man, iTunes really doesn’t do it for me. I tried it out earlier in the year and found myself wanting to back to the Feeds section in my browser for all the shows I listen to. It sucks too because I wouldn’t mind a 120gig iPod so I can store some uncompressed albums on it for when I’m out, but being forced into iTunes over just dragging and dropping like I do with my Sansa. Same with the Zune. Damn forced apps.

  4. Dear Rusty,

    http://lifehacker.com/5117895/top-10-ways-to-repurpose-your-old-ipod

    look at number 6, 3 and 1 (Maybe 8, that might be your thing 😉 )

    Lag

  5. Tyler Durden84 says:

    Now that I own my shiny, new IPod Touch, I will be turning my old iPod into a portable Wikipedia…err…WikiPod.

    Times I’ve needed to know trivial, obscure facts during work: countless.

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