Saturday, January 07, 2012


Friday, January 06, 2012

The Seventh Annual Hot 50 List

To, I am sure, the surprise of absolutely no one. I can't believe I've been watching her in things for a decade now, so I guess I've been a fan of hers since she was inappropriately young.

My annual totally subjective list of the celebrities I found sexiest over the course of the year, completely at my whim and judgment. Numbers in parentheses indicate last year's position, although this list really fluctuates (visibility and other objectification stuff).

1. Kat Dennings (5)
2. Nicki Minaj
3. Melissa Rauch (9)
4. Aly Michalka (4)
5. Kristen Bell (2)
6. Cherie Currie (1)
7. Diane Kruger (46)
8. Katy Perry (10)
9. Taylor Momsen
10. Daisy Lowe
11. Amber Heard (16)
12. Claire Sinclair
13. Camille Elizabeth Bishop
14. Carla Gugino (42)
15. Christina Aguilera
16. Christina Hendricks (27)
17. Dita Von Teese (14)
18. Lucy Hale
19. Milla Jovovich (29)
20. Kristen Stewart (3)
21. Michelle Williams
22. Kate Winslet
23. Alex Kingston
24. Amanda Michalka
25. Ashley Tisdale (7)
26. Ashley Benson
27. Alice Goodwin
28. Lisa Ann (20)
29. Anna Paquin (25)
30. Evan Rachel Wood
31. Hayden Panettiere (21)
32. Miley Cyrus (15)
33. Jessica Biel
34. Kelly Brook (11)
35. Jennifer Stone
36. Liv Tyler
37. Leilani Dowding
38. Sasha Grey (40)
39. Lucy Lawless (19)
40. Jamie Chung
41. Leighton Meester
42. Kate Upton
43. London Andrews
44. Morena Baccarin
45. Vanessa Hudgens (33)
46. Rihanna
47. Kirsten Dunst
48. Troian Bellisario
49. Debby Ryan
50. Faye Reagan (36)

Thursday, January 05, 2012

My 50 Favorite Pop Culture Artifacts of 2011

My annual list where I mention things I dug, and then people make dismissive comments, and then they get mad at me for being dismissive about their dismissive comments. Yay!

50. Because... yeah, come on.

49. "Dexter Throws a Mouse" by Angelo DeSantis
An amazingly visceral shot. That's a striking, one in a million photograph.

48. Hershey's Air Delight
I really have no idea why aerating a chocolate bar should make a Hershey bar taste so damn good--and I could probably look it up if I weren't being so lazy--but I really like this bar. It's like an Aero, except available on more American store shelves. Lovely stuff. They also have an Air Delight Kisses that's quite good. Much like the professors at Hogwart's, I do subscribe to the restorative power of chocolate. (This image comes from Scandybars, a terrific Tumblr site.)

47. Superman Classic
I want an entire Superman film in the exact style of Rob Pratt's fan film. Someone give Pratt the money and space to do this, and I will go see it four times in the theater, I promise you. This is the kind of thing I adore. Wonderful work, sir.

46. Simon Dale's Hobbit Home
So, this guy just basically up and built the house I want to live in.

45. Why the Panda Is Black and White
Some of the loveliest animation I've seen this year. Bittersweet, but lovely.

44. Dave Rapoza's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Art
Amazing stuff! Head to his Deviant Art page to see them full size, including the supporting cast. He's also got some Masters of the Universe stuff up (which will probably make this list next year... although... maybe next year I'll do a fan art list, since I see so much great fan art on Tumblr) and a couple of ThunderCats pics that make me wish he'd done more of those.

43. Smurfette/Luna Lovegood T-Shirt
Granted, I'm biased because Becca designed this shirt, but screw it, I love this thing. I find it very Smurfy.

42. Black Macaque Self-Portrait

41. LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
There were three Traveler's Tales LEGO games released this year. LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean was fun but sometimes hard on the eyes; LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars was too repetitive with its giant waves of clone and droid armies. But this second Harry Potter game was perfect, as much as fun as the original with longer levels. This one is definitely tiding me over until I get the real prize in 2012: LEGO Batman 2, featuring Justice League characters!

Also, LEGO has licensed Lord of the Rings now... please tell me this means a video game is forthcoming!

40. Spartacus: Gods of the Arena
This prequel series is somehow even more demented, ridiculous, bloody, porn-filled, and depraved than Spartacus: Blood and Sand was. This is the best cartoon porn on television.

39. Daisy Lowe in Playboy
The nice celebrity pictorial this year.

38. Touched
I adored this. Colin, excellent work.

37. "Man or Muppet"
Because I can't get this song out of my head, and I'm not sure I really want to.

36. A Stormtrooper's Family Album
Go look at the whole set, it's really charming.

35. Maru!

34. George Takei brokers star peace.
I adore you, George Takei. And why not have two videos bashing Twilight on my blog? You can never bash that abomination enough.

33. The characters are maturing on How I Met Your Mother.
I know the fashionable thing to do now is bash this series because Ted hasn't gotten to the end of his story yet--they boxed themselves in with the narrative device, and apparently watching a well-written, well-acted show with great characters just isn't enough for some people. But whatever, I still love it. One of my favorite developments both this season and last is that the characters are finally growing up. I think that makes it less fun for some viewers, but it makes the story feel more complete to me. I like watching them grow up; they're only a few years behind me, and seeing them now become more thoughtful about how they relate to their parents and how they respond to their responsibilities. I found the episode with Marshall's father's funeral quite touching, and this week's episode was in a similar vein to me. I hope we finally see some payoff now on Barney, who was really starting to grow up (and most needs to). I find this whole journey fulfilling.

32. Taylor Momsen
This girl is like Cherie Currie and Joan Jett in the same body on the same stage at the same time, and I dig the hell out of her.

31. "Perform This Way" by "Weird Al" Yankovic

30. Louie
It tends to hit way too close to home sometimes, if I'm being honest, but of course that's part of the reason I love it. And hey, an actual show I like on FX. (I also liked American Horror Story, which came in around number 53.)

29. My favorite performances so far this year, in alphabetical order by last name:
* Albert Brooks, Drive
* Kirsten Dunst, Melancholia
* Chris Evans, Captain America: The First Avenger
* Elle Fanning, Super 8
* Charlotte Gainsbourg, Melancholia
* Ryan Gosling, Drive
* John Hawkes, Martha Marcy May Marlene
* Zoe Heran, Tomboy
* Felicity Jones, Like Crazy
* William Mapother, Another Earth
* Brit Marling, Another Earth
* Elizabeth Olsen, Martha Marcy May Marlene
* Michael Parks, Red State
* Steve Whitmire, The Muppets
* Anton Yelchin, Like Crazy

Also, on cable TV:
* Jane Adams, Hung
* Claire Danes, Homeland
* Laura Dern, Enlightened
* Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
* Jessica Lange, American Horror Story
* Alexander Skarsgaard, True Blood
* Kate Winslet, Mildred Pierce
* Evan Rachel Wood, Mildred Pierce

28. Rocketeer Adventures
IDW's four-issue miniseries was one of the comics joys I had this year, with so many wonderful creators contributing stories and pin-ups that may not quite recapture the magic of Dave Stevens' creation as fully as you hope, but are fun in their own right. Really my only problem with this is that it was only four issues, and I'm hungering for more.

27. The Curve of Forgotten Things
A haunting short film.

26. The end of the Harry Potter saga.
It made Tumblr the most annoying place in the world for a couple of weeks, but it was exciting to get to the end of the saga with the same young actors seeing it off. Yeah, I wasn't satisfied with the way the final film was split in half, necessarily, but taken altogether, it's still one of the most special cinematic experiences of the last decade, and I enjoyed the hell out of it.

25. The Marvel Universe on film
With Captain America: The First Avenger and Thor fitting in with the puzzle laid out by Iron Man, it seems like we're really on the road to realizing a dream once thought impossible: a coherent Marvel Universe movie series. The Avengers part of it, anyway.

24. "Murmurs of Middle-earth" by Pogo
I'm not always a fan of these Pogo mixes, but this one is so pretty and rhythmic.

23. Deja View, the blog of master Disney animator Andreas Deja.

22. Vampire Physics
A very addicting afternoon-killer.

21. Another Earth
A wonderful surprise of a film, and the kind of thing I'd love to see much more of. A compelling, personal science fiction film about the possibilities of redemption and the role of personal responsibility in forgiveness. This is vital filmmaking that I hope isn't completely overlooked.

20. Playmate of the Year Claire Sinclair
The first time I've ever changed my mind about my personal favorite Playmate from a given year, in large part because of her amazing PMOY photoshoot (see more here) which pays homage to the history of pin-up. It's one of the most creative Playboy shoots I've seen in many, many a year. That magazine has gotten so uncreative and repetitive. But Claire's shoot is magic.

19. A Geek's Journal 1976 was one of my joys of the year. Thankfully, Booksteve has found another of his old journals, and is treating us this year to 1974. I suggest you follow if you haven't yet.

18. Elle Fanning
I don't know, I just love her. I feel like I'm watching a massive talent in everything I see her in. She's such a natural actress, so aware of how she moves, and she's really impressed me.

17. Samuel L. Jackson reading Adam Mansbach's Go the Fuck to Sleep.

16. Val Bronzebottom
PVP continues to be my favorite comic strip, and this year saw the introduction of a great love interest for Skull in the form of the dwarf Val Bronzebottom. I don't think Scott Kurtz has ever introduced a character before that was so fully-realized and alive from the first moment.

15. "If I Were a Rich White Dude" by Jeff Yang.

14. The Pee Wee Herman Show on Broadway
I was amazed how easily this show brought me back to an earlier time in my life; the nostalgia train hit me hard on this one, and it was also incredibly funny, to boot.

13. Jim Shooter's blog.
Another nostalgia shot for me, but I find Shooter fascinating. Behind the scenes stories from the key guy at Marvel not only from when comics were still good--and Marvel Comics were still great--but from the time when I started reading comics. One of the most enjoyable blogs on the internet.

12. Volkswagen's "The Force" commercial.
This captured the charm of playing Star Wars when I was a kid. How often do you ever say a commercial is charming? Almost never. For the record, my other favorite commercial this year was for Star Tours... so I guess Darth Vader is really the way to go when you're advertising.

11. Harlan Ellison reading Steve Jarrett's "I Will Not Read Your Fucking Script".

10. 2 Broke Girls
It's a cute show, but the real reason for this is that it brings Kat Dennings to my TV screen every week. Finally.

9. Me: "Okay, I need you to prepare yourself. You're about the see the cutest thing that could possibly exist."
Becca: "Okay."
Me: "No, seriously. This will ruin your ability to recognize cute in the future, because you will never see anything as cute as this."
Becca: "What is it?"
Me: "Are you ready?"
Becca: "If this is some fucking Fanning or something..."
Me: "No. Just feast your soul on this..."

That dog's brought me way too much happiness. Screw you, Keyboard Cat.

8. Sergio Aragones Funnies
How the heck did it take until 2011 for this to happen?

7. Game of Thrones
This impressive HBO series really brought back the excitement of the first couple of books, much more than the new book coming out did--although A Dance with Dragons finally coming out was a relief. I can't wait to see how the second season develops after this. Oh, and it also gave birth to one of the funnier websites this year, My Mom Watches Game of Thrones.

6. Homeland
The most gripping TV series of 2011, complex and surprising.

5. Drive
My favorite movie this year; a modern Western with a technopop soundtrack and a compelling performance by Ryan Gosling. The bastard child of Brian De Palma and Michael Mann--from when they made good movies--with style to spare.

4. The trailer for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Definitely the thing I'm most excited for in 2012. So excited that a mere trailer is on my list of the best of 2011.

3. The Legend of Zelda: The Skyward Sword
It's always a great event when a new Zelda game is released. I just love them more and more each time. This one combines a lot of the more fun aspects of previous games and mixes it with more fluid, more intuitive controls. Though Twilight Princess was reconfigured for the Wii, Skyward Sword was specifically designed for it, and one of the things I love here is how fast and accurate the swordfighting can be. A tremendous achievement.

2. Usagi Drop
A wonderful anime series based on a manga I've never actually read. This tells the sweet story of Daikichi, a young man who takes it upon himself to raise his grandfather's six year-old bastard daughter Rin. It's absolutely nothing that I've come to expect from an anime series, much more like a Studio Ghibli film in its quiet contemplation and lovely, painted backgrounds. It's the story that most moved me all year long, and knowing there's more to come makes me smile.

1. Muppet Domination
Thanks to their new movie, the Muppets were everywhere this year, especially in the second half of 2011. It was like being 5 years old again, but it was more than that. It was a missing piece in the world of comedy, at least for me, who grew up laughing at the Muppets. I hope they're firmly back now; this movie finally poised Kermit and company to reclaim their place on the entertainment stage. I honestly can't think of anything in the world of pop culture that I've loved more than the Muppets. This felt right. So let's keep it going, maybe? That would be wonderful.

And there's my 2011.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

My 10 Favorite Movies of 2011 (So Far)

Since I don't, as my Dad says, get out to the show very often anymore (4 times in 2011 versus no times in 2010), here's where I rank my 10 favorite 2011 films that I actually watched in 2011:

1. Drive
2. Another Earth
3. The Muppets
4. Tomboy
5. Straw Dogs
6. Captain America: The First Avenger
7. Thor
8. Melancholia
9. Winnie the Pooh
10. Super 8

Not a great, prestigious list, but what list of mine really is, right? Anyhow, just for no real reason, following up the list I did at the end of 2010, now that I've seen nearly every movie I wanted to see in 2010 (and more besides), here are my Top 25 Films of 2010.

1. The Illusionist
2. The King's Speech
3. Black Swan
4. How to Train Your Dragon
5. Welcome to the Rileys
6. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
7. Let Me In
8. The American
9. True Grit
10. Death at a Funeral
11. The Ghost Writer
12. The Social Network
13. Somewhere
14. Easy A
15. The Kids Are All Right
16. Waiting for Superman
17. Piranha 3D
18. Shutter Island
19. The Town
20. Despicable Me
21. Waking Sleeping Beauty
22. Trust
23. Blue Valentine
24. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
25. 127 Hours

Tomorrow, I'll have up my Pop Culture Artifacts list.

The Final Meltdown

Well, this time my computer melted down beyond the point of no return. I spent the last week exploring multiple options--can I afford to rent a computer until the tax refund comes?--and trying not to go on a killing spree when the frustration of trying to use a Mac overwhelmed me. (I don't want to get into the old debate again of Mac vs. PC; suffice to say that, when using an older OS, the last people I would ever want to go to for help are Mac users, who this weekend turned out to be not only unhelpful, but also unfriendly to the point of hostility.)

With Becca's laptop still undergoing repair and both of our jobs only available online--and all of this occurring on a holiday weekend, so even the library was unavailable as a recourse--we managed to scrape enough money together from holiday appeals to simply buy a second laptop. Cheaper than an all-in-one, highly functional, updated software (I'll miss you XP, kind of), and a reminder not to load up my computer with things that I may lose in another crash down the road.

It's been a very frustrating experience. I put to much stock in distractions, and when those distractions disappear, it's hard for me. In 2012, it would be nice to afford therapy again... As it was, even though I felt cut off from the outside world a bit, we had a fairly nice time. I finished most of Paper Towns by John Green (a recommendation), and I'm really enjoying it. We watched some movies, some TV--we started watching reruns from the first five seasons of Saturday Night Live on Netflix, just sort of picking and choosing which classic sketches and musical performances and films to watch, and that's been hella fun. We also did a ton of puzzles and played some Scrabble. I even rediscovered the joys of cooking; turns out my pancakes are still better than anyone else's.

Now I feel like things are more back to normal, but less like I have to be online every waking second. I'm not sure how that's going to affect my blogging here and on Tumblr, but I think no one would mind having a little less of me, eh? I might just end up doing bigger posts more infrequently, getting back to random thoughts and imagery and just sharing links and things instead of constantly posting. Some features will stay the same--and eventually I'll make it through the fourth season of Voyager, which is kind of kicking my ass right now, and there'll be that post, etc...

I don't know. If you guys are as tired of me as I am of myself...

I'm going to go back and add what would have been this week's Sunday Hottie and Song of the Week, because I have OCD about such things. And I'm going to put up the lists I didn't get to post last week: namely my 50 Favorite Pop Culture Artifacts of 2011, my top films (so far) of 2011, and my Hot 50, because it isn't the end of the year without total objectification. Not here, anyway, I guess...

Anyway, forward together forward as they say here in DeKalb.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Song of the Week: "Worry"

Something I've been doing a fair bit of. I actually don't know this band; a family member turned me on to this song and I just really dig it.