Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Toaster's Ramblings - New Years Edition (So long 2013)

You know, I was going to do a sort of “year in review” post about 2013 when I realized that… not a lot happened of note this year. I suppose that’s a conceded statement since others may have had an amazing or terrible year, but from where I’m sitting, it was sort of ho-hum.

Some political stuff happened here in the US. I don’t really like to get involved in politics on this blog, though. People are too divided over that stuff, to a fearful extent. I want this blog to be a happy yet cynical place.

Some video game systems came out that I have no interest in. Being a self-proclaimed ‘old school gamer’ I got a Wii U for Christmas in 2012… in that regard I should never bet on race horses. I was hoping that a new Smash Bros. game would have been released this past year, but instead I am being assured that one will be out in 2014… which it better if the Wii U wants to stay afloat.

Some good albums came out this year. The Arcade Fire finally released their follow-up to “The Suburbs” with “Reflektor.” It’s different, but I like it. Korn released their first album, “Paradigm Shift” in almost a decade with their original lead guitarist Brian “Head” Welch. I really missed his guitar work, which made what would have been an okay at best album into a pretty good one. MGMT released a weird but intriguing album. Alice in Chains gave us a new album. I like their newer sound. Not better than their old stuff with Layne, but great for what it is. Nine Inch Nails continued to evolve into a strange hellish reflection of 80’s New Wave, which I love. Queens of the Stone Age FINALLY put out a new record that is awesome, but feels too short. There are some other releases that I’m forgetting, but those were some of the stand-outs.

After the epic movie year of 2012 with the Avengers tearing up the box office and the Christopher Nolan “Dark Knight” trilogy’s conclusion, this past year felt kind of average. Iron Man 3 was… alright. Thor 2 was awesome. Man of Steel was nothing if not controversial and conflicting, though I did enjoy it. This year saw a lot of sequels. Some were really good, like Despicable Me 2 and Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Others were decent, like Red 2, Star Trek: Into Darkness and Fast 6. There were ones that were okay, such as Kick Ass 2, GI Joe: Retaliation and Machete Kills. And then there was the steaming pile of shit that was Die Hard 5. We had a couple of great comedies come out, strangely both of them fixated on the end of the world. I think The World’s End was better than This is the End, simply because it had more heart. That’s not to say the latter was bad, it was ridiculously funny, but amounted to little more than a stoner comedy… which to be fair (and to it’s credit) it was never striving for anything more.

On the television side of things, the biggest story was the end of Breaking Bad, which was one of the only shows I’ve ever seen that, despite the hype and expectations, managed to give a truly satisfying (and dare I say perfect?) ending. Great show… probably the greatest show I've ever seen except for maybe The Wire.

Beyond that, this season hasn’t been phenomenal for new shows. The Goldbergs is probably the best new comedy. Masters of Sex is easily the best new drama. Agents of SHIELD turned out to be boring and disappointing. And sadly I have not yet gotten around to seeing the Karl Urban sci-fi show Almost Human, though it looks good. Granted it could be Karl Urban sitting at a table for an hour eating soup and I would be inclined to check it out at least once. When it comes to returning shows, let’s see… Boardwalk Empire continues to kill off my favorite characters. Game of Thrones killed off most of it’s heroic characters in a single traumatic episode.  Shameless may have killed off Jimmy… that remains to be seen.  Don Draper’s life kind of fell apart on Mad Men. Falling Skies made me wish there were better written shows in the summer.

So, stuff to look forward to in what is now this year (it turned 2014 eight minutes ago as I’ve been writing this). There’s the aforementioned Smash Bros. game. Um, Captain America: The Winter Soldier looks bad ass. Guardians of the Galaxy and Big Hero 6 seem promising. X-Men: Days of Future Past looks like a train-wreck. Amazing Spider-man 2 seems to be heading that way. I have high hopes for Chris Nolan’s new film Interstellar. I hope that’s as awesome as Inception and pretty much all his other movies. I’m also looking forward to the new Terry Gilliam film Zero Theorem, starring Christoph Waltz! Both those men working together… how could it be bad? As for music, I have no idea. I keep hoping for new Modest Mouse, but I’ve been hoping for that for the past 3 years. They want me to suffer! Beyond that, who knows? New Heroclix, action figures and Legos are always nice. I’ll just have to have a wait and see attitude.  

In closing, I will note one big thing to happen in 2013. The “Little Toaster” learned to walk. That’s pretty cool. Unfortunately, it results in him getting into everything and making the house look like a hurricane hit it!

Oh, and he's Yoda now.
So, have a Happy New Year everyone and Stay Strange in 2014!

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