Best of “Things” of 2011

The year that is coming to an end, hasn’t been the best one on the macro level – totalitarian regimes shooting at their own civilians, markets collapsing, democracy slipping out of our fingers, the Kardashians. But still, there were a few very random things that will make me look back with fondness when I think about 2011.

This is in no particular order. (Update: This is now in the order the bf suggested)

Getting discharged from the army – honorably? Who knows. Leaving the army after 6 years and pursuing my MA in economics, as well as my stint of unemployment have been a delight. Here’s to never having a proper paycheck and to never-ending frustration over problem sets. It’s marvelous to not be in the 9 to 5 world. I do miss the catered lunch though.

Friends With Kids – I mean actual friends, with tiny little kids and not just the movie with the same name, even though the movie was superb (check it out!). Although every time you meet up, there’s a certain overhead, like taking the walker with us and feeding and fussing. But there’s also a brand new wonderful element, a cheeriness that wasn’t there before. You can’t help but smile when a baby smiles at you, it’s a foul mood repellent. You suddenly become carefree. I wish all my friends had kids.

Parks and Recreation – this show has snuck into my viewing schedule and cemented itself in there. Nowadays, a week without Parks is a week when I feel considerably disappointed on a Friday morning. It’s heartwarming and smart, with a strong female lead in Poehler, not relying on pop-culture (unlike the equally great, but sadly probably cancelled Community) and maintains a high level of laughs-per-minute every episode. And most importantly, it seems as though the writers truly love the characters they’ve created, so every story arch, no matter how small, gets the proper treatment.

Oreo stuffed chocolate chip cookies – or any other baked goods our oven produced. I’m no Martha Stewart, but this year I’ve finally exorcised my fear of baking. With a few winning recipes for muffins and brownies, I can now contribute more than a bottle of wine for get-togethers. I’m still afraid of the mixer.

The National – just like old wine, these guys keep getting better with age. My iTunes plays count has them leading with high margin over anything else (and that’s while ignoring the number of rotations they had in my CD player). And it’s not just their latest album, High Violet, with its gut-wrenching lyrics, it’s the entire back catalog. I just can’t seem to get enough.What surprises me is that even if you’re not in a somber mood, you still can appreciate the songs, and they get a second, more uplifting meaning.

 

Making the switch from skiing to snowboarding – and on my way to cool. I think no further explanation is needed.

Michael Fassbender – Like a great band that only you know, Fassbender was a well hidden treasure for me. Ever since he played a fallen angel on Hex I knew he was gonna be a huge star. I was dreading the moment. Things have a tendency to go to shit as they become mainstream. This year he became a household name, or I should probably say, face. And it has been magnificent. Mainly because Tumblr went insane. Landing the part of Magneto in the X men reboot and starring in the widely-distributed NC-17 rated Shame, Fassbender has something for everybody. Plus, there’s no better way into a woman’s heart than playing Mr. Rochester. Except for, perhaps, playing Mr. Darcy. (Close second goes to Ryan Gosling whose memes were just all over the place and intelligently hilarious)

I couldn’t reach ten, which should tell you more about this year than any list ever could.

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