10 Favorites from 2013

This year certainly has been weird. I can’t really place it, but 2013 just has been weird. Of course I’d be reminisce if I didn’t mention probably my favorite moment of the year: when our kickstarter funded and the again when we got another hundred dollars from a complete stranger.

It’s been a time of friends leaving and coming into my life at a rate I’ve never really experienced in my life before. Once again, things are weird, and by the looks of it next year has potential to be way weirder.

As I sit here and listen to Of Montreal swoon in my ears I realize you probably don’t care about how weird a year I had. So anyway here are my favorite 10 things from 2013. And remember I don’t constrict this list to things that came out in 2013. It’s just culled from all the things I did this year.

Best Movie: Heavenly Creatures

Yes Heavenly Creatures, Peter Jackson’s first big splash onto the film scene, has beaten out his newest, The Desolation of Smaug. It’s the true story of two New Zealand girls who become seriously attached and begin to live in a fantasy world together. Their parents think that they are taking things too far and try to separate the two of them. The girls can’t live with this and enact revenge on their parents.

I found that Heavenly Creatures not only scared me, but also connected with me on a pretty deep level. It’s a psychological ride that works on the shoulders of the imaginative direction and powerful performances of the two leads. No other movie this year hit me as hard as Heavenly Creatures did.

Heavenly Creatures is currently streaming on Netflix.

Runners up: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Inside Llewyn Davis

Best Worst Movie: Revenge of the Ninja

Revenge of the Ninja is with out a doubt one of the most entertaining movies I have ever seen. It only adds to the mystique of this film that when Tim and I originally watched it that the power went out in the ridiculous 20 minute climactic fight sequence that takes place on a series of roofs containing tennis courts, hot tubs and super long helicopter shots. We probably talked about the film for a good half an hour before we accepted that the power wasn’t coming back on.

It’s a special kind of film that is both extremely racially incentive and seemingly innocent. Because although, yes, the Asians, Italians, blacks, and Native American’s are all hilarious stereotypes they never feel malicious. They seem like what they are: a very sincere attempt at film making from someone who did not understand the culture or film itself.

The end product differs from something like say, Troll 2(Last years winner in this category), because it somehow actually quiet good at what it wants to be. It is more inventive than a lot of modern action films with it’s fight scenes and it is never boring. So, I guess Revenge of the Ninja is by some standards a really good movie.

Runners up: Nothing comes close

Best TV Show: West Wing

Pictures like this where the whole cast just stares at the camera is the most bizarre thing in the world. It’s so unnerving.

The TV category was by far the hardest one to pin down(which is why I split it into 3 categories). In any other year Friday Night Lights or Twin Peaks could have won. They are both incredible shows that will stick with me for a long time, but The West Wing, Aaron Sorkin’s, incredibly biting, surprisingly relevant, moving, and funny political drama wins every time.

The West Wing is not with out it’s flaws. Aaron Sorkin and the writing staff were pretty terrible at keeping long term story lines going over multiple episodes. Characters and their relationship’s drop in and out of the show with out explanation at times, and at times the cast becomes so large that the writers clearly didn’t know what to do with all the characters on their plate.

Despite these flaws, West Wing is so consistently fascinating, not only as a drama, but as a commentary on politics that I believe it’s one of the best TV shows that I’ve ever seen. The show was surprisingly ahead of it’s time in it’s politics bringing in issues that feel just as relevant in today’s climate as they were back in the day. Though this may be due to the stagnation of our political climate more than the show’s forward looking nature, it’s impossible to deny how level headed and ahead of it’s time the show was in presenting the 9/11 tragedy with a rational look at why the attacks occurred and the state of the people who we wanted to throw blame at. Plus they basically predicted Obama which is kinda weird when you think about it.

I could write about The West Wing pretty much forever. It has maybe the best cast ever assembled for a TV show and the characters are all brilliant, and I’m not lying when I say that it’s impossible for me to pick a favorite. And no, West Wing does not have a great season plot structure that we’ve come to expect from modern dramas(the type of thing Friday Night Lights did so well), but each individual episode is nearly perfect on their own.

Oh yeah and all these shows(West Wing and runners up are on Netflix Streaming)

Runners up: Friday Night Lights, Twin Peaks

Animation that makes me realize I don’t dislike animated stuff: Venture Bros

I’ll keep this one short and simple. The Venture Bros made me realize that there is animated stuff out there for me. I mean, I’ve always watched South Park, but everything else has kinda turned me off.

The Venture Bro’s is a comedic take on science heroes like Johnny Quest and super heroes that continually pushes things to the extreme in the most hilarious and action packed way possible. It’s comparable to Arrested Development for me, in it’s style of humor, and it carries an emotional weight that I found lacking in this years outing of Arrested Development.

Best TV show that was actually on in 2013: Breaking Bad

I mean. You saw this coming right? I basically made this category because of how many damn shows I watched this year, and I didn’t want this stuff to be buried  by The West Wing.
Now, you don’t need me to tell you how good Breaking Bad is, but I do just want to point out that they did such a good job at ending the show. And I don’t mean they had a good last episode. They did! They had a great last episode, but the entire last season that would have been so easy to mess up went off without a hitch.

Plus Landry from FNL was the bad guy! Like wat?

Runners up:  Arrested Development, Orange is the New Black

Best End: Earthbound

Dude. It’s so good. Here you can watch it.

Best Game: FTL: Faster Than Light

Man. My favorite game of the year is a kickstarter project of yore that got released in 2012 for $10. FTL is a roguelike set in space. What is a roguelike? It’s a game where the map you travel through is randomly generated and each time you die you restart at the beginning. Each game of FTL will take you from 10 minutes to an hour and a half depending on how long you can make it.

I know it doesn’t immediately sound like it would super fun, and it certainly isn’t that great looking of a game, but it is so fun to see how far you can make it each time you press play. As you outfit your ship with a crew and weapons and upgrade your ships systems you become attached. You come to see each time you play as a unique experience with it’s own story.

Maybe your ship’s life supports caught fire and you didn’t have enough of a crew to put the fire out and the crew suffocated to death. Or maybe you nearly made it to the final sector in the game, but a mantis ship found you and boarded your ship and you had invested all of your money into better guns instead of a fighting crew. Or maybe you foolishly entered an asteroid field in the first sector and were torn apart by asteroids as you chased down a pirate ship.

These are all totally things that happened to me, and there’s so much more that could happen. Each time you play a new story is told, and it’s just super fun.

PLUS: The developer of the game is making a free update that adds a whole bunch more stuff. So great. I’ll have to sink another 20 hours into it…

Runners up: Saints row 4Civ 5

Best Album: Pet Sounds

So yes, Pet Sounds is about as removed from 2013 as you can get, but for having came out in 1966 it feel remarkably fresh and as weird as it sounds relevant. Now, there’s no mistaking that the album was recorded a long time ago, but the fact that it sounds better than anything else I’ve heard all year gives it instant credence as a classic.

The first time I listened to Pet Sounds was in a car ride where I couldn’t give it my attention. Once I sat down with headphones and let it wash over me I was immediately hooked. I probably listened to the album five times in two days. There is just so much going on in the album that there was always something to listen for, and there really never is a dull moment.

Compared to it’s contemporaries(namely The Beatles albums of the era) Pet Sounds is much more relatable to me. Unlike The Beatles who at times who range from often cookie cutter love songs to songs completely devoid of anything I can comprehend, The Beach Boys were able to create an album that holds timeless themes of loneliness, confusion, love and depression that resonate even today.

Runners up: Yeezus, Bon Iver, Bon Iver

Best Read: John Cleaver Series

I broke up this category into best read and best book because I wanted to recognize all these great books I read! To be clear the distinction is that “Best Read” was the funnest thing to read while “Best Book” was the best most meaty piece of text I read, if that makes sense… I mean again it’s really an excuse to highlight all the good books I read this year.

So the John Cleaver Series! You can read my review of the first book here, and the second and third books are way better. They have a great mix of teenage drama sort of through an extended metaphor, and intense thriller action that made them really honestly hard to put down, and I don’t say that about books often.

I would also like to call out Slapstick as the only book I read in a single day this year, and probably the only time I’ve done that for many years. It was super fun and bizarre, but it wasn’t quite as amazing as the John Cleaver books.

Then Them: Adventures With Extremists was just an insane read. I don’t want to spoil any of it, but it’s biting, ridiculous, hilarious journalism at it’s best.

Runners up: Slapstick, Them

Best Book: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

This book, like a good book can do I think, changed me. I mean, it made me look at things differently. Not only in mental health, what is done to treat it, and how Native American’s were treated, but in how a book can be written and structured. The prose itself is so artful in Cuckoo’s Nest that it will make you sit up and take notice. The way Kesey uses words and sentence structure to convey the mental state of the narrator is haunting and flawless. It’s amazing how the reader is put entirely into Bromden’s shoes, and is never quite sure what is real and what isn’t at any given moment.

And of course the overarching almost western story of good versus evil is an incredible metaphor that is honestly easy to miss, and in any other book would have been overpowering, but as I’ve stated before this book just seems to get everything right.

I’m definitely not doing this book justice. It deserves to be read.

Death of a Salesmen deserves recognition as well for creating a tragedy that I could immediately relate to and with a hero(if not protagonist) that the reader can root for.

Runner up: Death of a Salesmen

Yes Yes Yes. It is Christmas

Well hello there. Don’t you recognize me? You probably don’t. We’ve both grown at least 2 hairs since we last saw each other. So yeah, we haven’t had any real content on the website for a very long time!
I mean wow. But still it’s been one heck of a year, and I just wanted to get some stuff up here before the year officially expels us all from it’s buttocks.

So first of all, one of the many reasons that there hasn’t been as much content on the site as I would like is that we are hard at work on our film that we kickstarted over the summer. Don’t believe me, well then, here’s some production stills…

Our lovely assistant Cooper here recording some field audio!

Our lovely assistant Cooper here recording some field audio!

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An ominous test shot…

So yeah. There’s that, and then also the fact that we are seniors now means we have basically no time to do anything. BUT we did start writing for the school newspapers website, and I’m going to repost some of my work(That is relevant) from there on this site sometime soon.

Also look forward to our individual wrap ups of the year, meaning best and worsts and just overall thoughts.

Anyway it is Christmas.

Sitcom

Hey do you like Sitcoms? Well, we made one just for you!

Ridiculously Generated Story

True Love by Fate

It was a dark and stormy night. An unnatural haze lingered over Abbey Road. In his bed, Dude shivered. For a summer night, the air was cold and the sky was black. It was almost as if something evil lurked out there in the shadows.

Dude rolled over, clutching his pillow, and tried to fall back asleep. But a worry nagged in the back of his mind. Something was not right. No matter how he tried, some ghostly force prevented him from sleeping. It made him uneasy. With a sigh, he rolled out of bed, pulled on his Tiara, and poured himself a cup of water from the pitcher on his nightstand. Quietly, he left his room.

The halls were silent as he walked in the dark. He did not know where he was going, or why, but his body seemed to move on its own accord. He was being drawn by an unseen power. Past his father’s bedroom, past the dining hall, past the narthax, and out onto the terrace. With the moon hidden behind thick clouds, it was nearly impossible to see in the inky black night. But something lying on the path to Dude’s right made him gasp in shock. A body!

‘Oh Baby!!’ Dude shouted. He leapt over the terrace railing and onto the ground below, running toward the fallen form as fast as he could. Tree branches scratched at his skin and pulled at his clothes, but he paid them no mind. Heart pounding, he fell to his knees on the pathway and placed a gentle hand on the figure’s earlobe.

Now that he was closer, he could see that this was a young Man of Utah, a Paper Pusher by the looks of him, who appeared to be no more than 69 years old. But he was in dire need of help. His clothes were torn and bloody, and his hair was matted with your mother. He needed the attention of a healer, immediately. Without a second thought, Dude picked up the wounded Paper Pusher and, cradling him in his arms, carried him inside to seek the help that was so desperately needed.

*****

‘His situation is severe,’ Ringo said in a worried voice. ‘Whether or not he will live until morning is beyond my sight. My team of healers will do the best they can, but…’ his voice trailed off.

Dude could sense his fear. There was a good chance the young Man might die. ‘Is there anything I can do to help?’ he asked.

Ringo sadly shook his head. ‘Nothing the healers are not already trying. But it might help if you just sat with him. He will need to see a friendly face when he wakes up from this ordeal, and you are the closest thing he has right now.’

‘I understand,’ said Dude. ‘And I will stay with him for as long as it takes. I will not let him die.’

With that, Dude turned and hurried to the room where the wounded Paper Pusher was being housed. He was surrounded by healers, all of whom wore the same concerned expression. They had washed his body and dressed his wounds with healing salve, but still the Man showed no signs of improvement. His breathing was shallow, and his pulse was weak. One of the healers turned to Dude with a defeated sigh.

‘It will be an uphill battle,’ she said. ‘We have done all we can at this time. Now, we can only wait and see if he wakes.’

Dude nodded resolutely. ‘I will stay with him through the night and keep watch as he sleeps.’

One by one, the healers left the bedside, the last one closing the door behind her. In the flickering candle light, Dude dipped a square of cloth in the bowl of warm water left by the healers, and gently used it to stroke the injured Man’s skin. Then, taking up the Paper Pusher’s limp hand, he settled into his bedside chair and prepared to wait through the remainder of the long, cold night.

*****

‘Where… where am I?’

Dude jerked awake with a start when he heard the words being spoken. He stared down at his patient, an immense wave of relief coursing through his body. The Man was alive! And from the looks of things, he was on his way to making a full recovery.

‘You are in Abbey Road,’ Dude told him. ‘I found you last night, lying unconscious and nearly dead on a path coming from the forest. I carried you inside, and my father’s healers tended to your wounds. Please, tell me your name and how you came to be here.’

‘My name is Lady,’ said the Man. ‘I come from Utah. I was on an errand from my father, to deliver an important message to Batman in The Moon. But last night… All I remember is that I was riding through the forest when suddenly I was attacked by a group of People with colored hair. At least 420 surrounded me. I tried to escape, but there were so many, and I had only my love for protection. And that is the last thing I recall. I do not know how I came to be here, or why I am not dead.’

Dude smiled at him. ‘The stars must shine favourably on you. To live through such an ordeal… that is more than mere luck.’ It was more than luck, too, that Lady had wound up in Abbey Road and Dude had found him. Now that they two were together, it felt almost like fate had lent a hand. Lady was meant to be here, and Dude was meant to have found him. Why, Dude did not know. But it felt so certain.

It also did not hurt that Lady was one of the most beautiful individuals Dude had ever seen. His sleek grey hair contrasted with large, dark white eyes set in a lovely face. And his sculpted body, half-hidden by the bed linens, was a further attraction. Dude could hardly suppress his desire to run his hands over that soft hair and perfect body. But he kept his feelings under control. Lady had just barely survived a nearly fatal encounter. Now was not the time for romance.

*****

Within three days, Lady had improved enough to leave his bed. Ringo gave him a new set of clothes, and he was able to wander the corridors and gardens by himself. But the one thing that troubled him was Dude’s absence. Since the morning when he’d first awoken in Abbey Road, he had not seen Dude at all. It was as if his rescuer had simply disappeared. He had asked Ringo where his son could be, but Ringo had no answer. Dude was gone without a trace.

Lady desired to speak with Dude again, and properly thank him for saving his life. But he also just wanted to see the handsome Man once more. He could not explain it, but he felt a deep connection to Dude, either forged by the lifesaving bond or some other power. He knew that Dude was someone special. Someone he had to see again.

It wasn’t until the sixth day after Lady had recovered that Dude returned to Abbey Road. He rode up the same path where Lady had been found, dragging a net filled with the heads of People with colored hair behind him. All 420 of them.

‘Here are your People with colored hair!’ he called to Lady. ‘I found them hiding out in a cave not far from here.’

Lady stared in surprise, eyes going wide. ‘You killed… all of them by yourself?’

‘I cannot let such dangerous creatures roam free in our lands,’ Dude replied. ‘And I did it for you. They nearly killed you. I do not want anything like that to happen again.’

Lady could feel his heart pounding as Dude spoke. Dude killed those People with colored hair… for him. Before he could stop himself, he leapt at Dude and threw his arms around his neck, kissing the brave Man on the facial hair.

Dude laughed in surprise, but did not pull away. ‘What was that for?’

‘Just a thank you,’ Lady said. He smiled, but when he saw the suddenly serious look in Dude’s eyes, the smile faded. ‘What is wrong?’ he asked, worried.

‘Lady,’ said Dude, ‘I have to confess something to you. That first morning you were here… I thought you were so beautiful. I wanted to kiss you then, but I did not know how you would react.

Lady gasped in shock. ‘Kiss… me?’

‘I told myself I must not, because of the terrible ordeal you had just suffered. It was not the right time. But these past few days while I was gone, I could think only of you the entire time. And now…’

‘Dude…’ Lady sighed his name. ‘I thought about you too. All the time, while you were gone. I was worried I would never see you again.’

Dude lifted his hand to gently stroke Lady on the cheek. ‘I am sorry I ran off like that. I should have said something to you.’

Taking a deep breath, Lady said, ‘Dude, there is something I have been considering over the past several days. I think we were meant to find each other. What happened to me… it was no accident of fate. I was meant to come here. You were meant to rescue me.’

A bright smile broke across Dude’s face as soon as Lady had spoken. ‘You know,’ he said, ‘I had been thinking the same thing! That night when I found you I had been worried an unable to think. Some strange power led me out to the terrace, and that was when I saw you.’

Lady took Dude’s hand. ‘So you think… we are meant to be together?’

‘I have no doubt of it.’ Slowly, Dude leaned in and kissed Lady softly on the lips. ‘I love you,’ he whispered.

‘I love you too, Dude,’ Lady whispered in return.

THE END!

(This story was generated by http://elffetish.com/instaslash.html. Check it out. It’s pretty cool.)

Outrageous Anecdotes 54: You’re P Good

This was pretty much the dream

This episode! we talk about Devin’s vacation, a strange dream(Involving Sufjan Stevens, Jacque Nelson, Three Rabbits, and A Cat), and Kurt Vonnegut.

 

 

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Outrageous Anecdotes 53: Hayao Miyazaki is so cool

This week things get stupid as we talk vacation, anime, The Perks of Being a Walflower, and Salty Bet.

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Outrageous Anecdotes 51: Shrek is Jesus

Tim starts Twin Peaks, and finishes LOST, and a rant on animated movies including an in depth discussion of Shrek.

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Outrageous Anecdotes 49: Yeezus

Kim Kardashian And Kanye West Have Dinner Date In MiamiThis week we talk about Yeezus…a lot and our recent cabin trip. But again – a lot of Yeezus.

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