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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

A brief look back on the year that was

What to say about 2007, Windsor? Not much. Most people were content to muse on the depressing nature of beautiful girls whilst dancing under their umbrella-ella-ella, but it couldn't change the fact that the city continued on its downward slide, the US economy fell to lows no one thought possible, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq slugged along like they always did.

But it was also the year where for a weird [and short] moment it seemed like most people cared about the future of the planet [scoring Al Gore a Nobel Peace Prize in the process], domestically things were pretty uneventful for Canada [aside from Haper lipping off to China every now and then] and despite things being bleak in Windsor, they didn't go in the shitter entirely.

Personally, I moved beloved Kingston to the despised megalopolis, though I'm slowly warming to it. The Lady got a job teaching english and this blog turned one year old, celebrating what is certainly the longest stretch of continuous writing I've ever done. I know the five of you who read this appreciate it.

I would be remiss if I did not take a moment to select my personal favourites of the year that was, mainly because it gives me an excuse to tell you what I liked and didn't like. This is not a 'Best of '07,' since some selections may not have been released in the last 12 months, I may have just discovered them then.

IN MUSIC: Rock and roll all but abandoned me this year, but hip-hop did not disappoint, and the Big and Little Brother of Roc-A-Fella kept my head bobbing for the last quarter of the year. Jay's American Gangsteralbum was clearly something he needed to do, but after the uneven Kingdom Come record the year before, I'm not going to stop him. Classic samples combined with a raw yet fluid hustler's flow. What's not to love?

As for Kanye, Graduation is the album of his career, hands down. Everyone can talk about 'Stronger' all they want, personally I like 'Good Life' better, but it doesn't matter. The whole album is the sound of a gifted artist deliberately reaching for the brass ring, and getting it. Liek the man said, stadium status.

IN FILM: I saw a lot of movies this year, yet I didn't feel like I saw anything that would merit calling it the best of the year. Having just seen 'Walk Hard' yesterday, I'm starting to think the cadre of '40 Year Old Virgin'/'Anchorman'/'Knocked Up' writers and actors are starting to stretch themselves a little thin, but they still gave us Superbad, so there's obviously some gas left in that tank.

But if I had to pick one, the answer is clear: Hairspray. I went into the movie thinking I would like it, not knowing that I would know the soundtrack by heart and would buy it the week after it was released. It's the movie I've seen more than any other in the last 365 days, and it deserves the honour.

IN BOOKS: What are you talking about? I don't read. My reading habits went from on fire to next to nothing in the last half of the year, though my current job has caused the pile to continuously rise. Two of my favourite authors released mediocre books [Murakami's After Dark and Lethem's You Don't Love Me Yet] and books I had high hopes for disappointed me miserably [Sheffield's Love is a Mixtape]. If I had to pick the best book I read this year, it would probably be a book written years ago: Michael Chabon's Wonder Boys.

IN GAMING: Unless you've been under a rock the past month, you know I got a 360, courtesy of my wonderful woman. And I went out and bought Bioshock for it, based on the hype and recommendations.

But D'Arcy Bresson, there's NEVER been a gaming experience like it? Are you high? It's good, damn good actually, but let's not shit ourselves: it does things with the shooter genre that have never been done before, but it's still just a first person shooter, with a cool location and a copy of Atlas Shrugged under its arm. It's not reinventing the wheel. You know what did? The other game I got this Christmas: Assasin's Creed. The Tony Hawk-like, parkour elements involved in fleeing guards in old Jerusalem are genius, and it's amazing how your mind starts to look ahead of your character to see the paths spread out in front of you. I can't lie, I might even prefer to play Bioshock most days, shooting people is damn fun, but for innovation, Creed takes it.

IN THIS BLOG: Definitely a hard thing to pin down. My war of words with he who shall not be named back in September was an early highlight, which perhaps can only be fully appreciated when you see the epic, meandering emails he was firing off to Lance editorial on a weekly basis.

Also of note was the appearnace of Global weatherman Bill Coulter, who stopped by to comment on a post I had made expressing my sleepy desire to punch him the face one morning back in the spring. I've had people I've talked about come here to bitch before, but I've never had a provincial television personality come by to make jokes.

But if there's one stroke of genius I think I can pat myself on the back for, it's for deciding to bilk an awesome idea from the fine team at Torontoist and remind you all of the punishing reading that is Gord Henderson's column. I read it so you don't have to, Windsor. First item of business for '08: get Photoshop, redo the Hendometer.

That's my truth, tell me yours.

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