In Review

General Knowledge / General Knowledge

In these waning days of December, it seems like everyone has a list of the best, most innovative, most important items/events/inventions of the the past year. Just listen to the radio, or read Rolling Stone, or (shudder) turn on MTV and you’ll find list after comprehensive list of what was most culturally influential, for better or for worse, for the last twelve months. Never one to be left out, here’s some things I’ve enjoyed this year. Keep in mind not all of them were published or released in 2007, but they got my time this year nonetheless. Take a look- they might demand yours too.

1. Andrew Bird’s Armchair Apocrypha. He’s kind of like Ryan Adams, except sober. The tones on this record are a little dirtier than his last efforts, but his folk, jazz, and rock roots all emerge through an organic sound that calls for a response somewhere between delight and repose.

2. Archer Prewitt’s In The Sun. Yes, it’s been ten years since the to-be Sea and Cake guitarist released this debut solo-album, but it seems to find it’s way back onto my iPod playlist every few months. If you only listen to one song this year, let it be the title track. The horn line that slams the album’s closing track in your face is unforgettable.

3. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. The Pulitzer Prize winning novel, as essayist Isaac Anderson once said, has to “teach you how to read it.” It’s a brilliant fictional memoir of an elderly man passing reflections of his life down to his young son through letters. Go buy it. Now.

4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. This needs no explanation, nor rationalization of my kid-ult nerdiness. Those of you who have read the series understand. Moving on.

5. Pan’s Labyrinth. Guillermo Del Toro’s fascination with the Spanish Civil War broaches more than just history lessons. This bloody account of a child’s efforts to escape violent reality through fantasy brings a creative slant to a piece of history that isn’t often noted in American texts. Rent it, but be prepared to squirm a little.

6. Scrubs Season 6 on DVD. My wife and I jumped on the Scrubs bandwagon a little later than most, but man are we riding it hard. Bill Lawrence is one of the more inventive creators in television, and the characters are so perfectly executed. Just try not to laugh at the Janitor.

Of course, no list would be complete without a look into the future. Let’s look forward with Janus to FireWire S3200. Just when you thought FireWire was losing out to USB (soon to release their 3.0 protocol), they announce that they’re boosting speed to 3.2Gbit/s. For all the specs you can check out slashgear.com.

So are we going to see S3200 standard on new portables? Only time will tell. Happy 2008.

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