My Favorites of 2012

Favorite Television Series: Breaking Bad

BreakingBad

There were a lot of good series this year – Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Parks and Recreation – but none really had an amazing standout year.  However, I found myself anticipating each episode of season 5.1 of Breaking Bad. While it lacked a main villain like season four, it was still fun to watch the evolution of Heisenberg.

Favorite Television Episode: “Blackwater” (Game of Thrones, Season Two, Episode Nine)

Blackwater

While the second season of Game of Thrones was a little slow, everything was building up to this episode and it didn’t disappoint. Between the large scale battle when Stannis Baratheon’s forces arrived at King’s Landings to the outstanding performances from Peter Dinklage and Lena Headey, “Blackwater” showed the all the possibilities of having Game of Thrones on HBO.

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Mixtape For No One #10: Current Arrangement

One of the things that I’ve missed during my unemployment is listening to music. All the music I downloaded was listened on my way to and during work.  You’d think being unemployed would give me more time to listen to music but it never seems to work out that way. Between television, books, comic books and podcasts, music seems to get lost in the shuffle.

Since it seems like every is using Spotify, this seems like a perfect way to continue my Mixtapes For No One. Here’s a quick mix of songs I’ve been enjoying from this year and albums I’m looking forward this spring/summer.  Hopefully, this will give me a reason to stay up on what’s good and what’s coming out:
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Reflection Eternal

“I’m losing myself, I’m stuck in the moment
I look in the mirror, My only opponent
Jay-Z, “Welcome to the Jungle”

“This beat deserves Hennessy, a bad bitch and a bag of weed the Holy Trinity
In the mirror where I see my only enemy
Kanye West, “The Joy”

I’m not a music critic so I won’t get into what I thought about Jay-Z and Kanye West’s new album, Watch The Throne. Overall, I thought it was entertaining.

After listening to the album a few times, the two lines above fascinated me. I feel like they summarize where each artist is at in their lives and in their careers. It was even more interesting to me that the two lines appear on seperate songs. Who said their’s first and how did it influence the other?

A Mixtape for Someone

“The making of a great compilation tape, like breaking up is hard to do. It takes ages longer than it might seem. You gotta kick it off with a killer to grab attention. Then you gotta take it up a notch. But you don’t want to blow your wad. So then you gotta cool it off a notch. There are a lot of rules.”
-Rob from High Fidelity

Three years ago, when Cindy was just a girl who I talked to via AIM and whose blog I read frequently, she put up a post seeking a concert buddy. Cindy and I have very similar music tastes (According to last.fm, our musical compatibility is “Super”) and I only had one local friend who wanted to go to the same shows as me (Hi Jenny!). I didn’t fit all the qualifications (I still don’t actually) but the main one that eliminated me from competiion is that I didn’t live in or near Los Angeles.

Sometimes there’s a job you’re not qualified for but because you really want it and you think you’d be great at it (whether that’s true or not), you apply anyway hoping that you’ll get lucky (figuratively speaking).  Over the next few days, I worked on my application titled “Cindy Rock.”  I tried to make it a combination of artists I knew she liked and artists/songs I thought she might like.  I designed a cover at work and mailed it to her. I don’t know how well I succeeded but she seemed to enjoy it.  Even though I didn’t get the job, my application was on file.  I made four more CDs so that my interest in the position wouldn’t be forgotten.

I finally got my interview on our first date: The Bird and The Bee at the El Rey Theater.  I was hired on the spot.

We’ve been to several shows in the last year and a half and being Cindy’s concert buddy is everything I hoped it would be.

(Click the photo to download Cindy Rock, Volume 1)

Movie of (Last) Week: Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels Of A Tribe Called Quest

It’s hard for me to review Beats, Rhymes and Life because of how the documentary made me feel.  Every time I started to piece together what I would write about this movie, I got lost in my feelings of nostalgia for A Tribe Called Quest and being a hip-hop fan in the 90’s.  A Tribe Called Quest was my favorite hip-hop group growing up.  This was probably the first documentary I saw where I found myself either saying to myself, “I remember that” or “I did that” or “I remember what I was doing then.”  There’s a scene where ?uestlove talks about the date Midnight Marauders was released and I thought about a recent post I wrote about cutting art class to buy it and listening to it on the bus ride home.  I remember trying to tape the Red Alert show to catch the newest shit (seeing how old Red Alert looked now made me feel real old).There were magazines I owned, photo shoots I remember, concerts I wished I had gotten a chance to attend.  This was a cinematic trip down memory lane.

As a fan of Tribe Called Quest, it was sad to see Q-Tip and Phife go at it while Ali Shaheed Muhammad and sometimes Jarobi just watched and shook their heads but I’m glad I did see it.  When they broke up, I always knew there was some conflict but not to the extent that we saw (although there was a lot of he said/he said).

I think Michael Rappaport did a great job for a first time director (some of his camera angles and lingering close-ups showed his inexperience).  There were things I wish were discussed (“Scenario”, more on how the Midnight Mauraderscover came together, the origin of the red, green and black woman on the album covers) but I’m just nitpicking. This was a great love letter to the group and to 90’s hip-hop culture as a whole and can’t wait to see it again.

25 Favorite Albums for 2010

Definitely not the best albums of the year but these were the ones that got heavy rotation in my iPod/iPhone this year.

From top left to right:

  1. The Age of Adz by Sufjan Stevens
  2. The ArchAndroid by Janelle Monáe
  3. Authenticity by The Foreign Exchange
  4. Barbara by We Are Scientists
  5. Broken Bells by Broken Bells
  6. Cloak and Cipher by Land of Talk
  7. Crazy For You by Best Coast
  8. Crushes (The Covers Mixtape) by Mates of State
  9. The Five Ghosts by Stars
  10. Forgiveness Rock Record by Broken Social Scene
  11. Go by Jónsi
  12. High Violet by The National
  13. How I Got Over by The Roots
  14. I’m Having Fun Now by Jenny and Johnny
  15. Interpreting The Masters Volume 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates by The Bird and The Bee
  16. LeftBack by Little Brother
  17. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West
  18. New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh) by Erykah Badu
  19. Romance Is Boring by Los Campesinos!
  20. The Sea by Corinne Bailey Rae
  21. The Suburbs by Arcade Fire
  22. Thank Me Later by Drake
  23. This Is Happening by LCD Soundsystem
  24. We Are Born by Sia
  25. The Winter of Mixed Drinks by Frightened Rabbit