I didn’t bother with any end-of-year ‘best of’s’ on the site last December. In fact, I barely posted here at all, and with good reason: Bee was here, so why would I waste those precious moments making silly lists for my blog?
This time round I don’t have the excuse of spending time with a beautiful woman (at least not until next month, when I jet off to South Africa for a long-awaited getaway with said beautiful woman) but it still seems as equally pointless as it did last year, compiling my own detailed list of the best 2005 had to offer, especially when the web has already been pre-surfed for me.
The A.V. Club's Noel Murray has had it with lists. Sort of. #link
I still haven't posted my thoughts on The Guardian's relaunch in September. Better late than never, eh? #link
Dan Gillmor rails against "facts without context that suggest something but don't deliver". #link
Important and influential website disappears from the web. But sad story takes positive spin when important and influential bloggers rally to save it. I love the internets. #link
Creepy. I wouldn't go down there alone. #link
Is it weird that I find the idea of this job very fulfilling? [c/o The Shifted Librarian] #link
I don't quite know what to make of this one. The kid's either incredibly brave or incredibily stupid. #link
In 1960, Joe Kittinger shot up to 30km above the Earth in a high-altitude balloon. Then he jumped. Remarkable. #link
Maciej Ceglowski's thoroughly researched, damning indictment of the state of the US space programme. Immensely readable, even for those with less than a passing interest in things astronomical. (Be sure also to read his recent follow-up piece, Meanwhile, Back In Space.) #link
Paul Theroux in the New York Times, on Africa as a "theater of empty talk and public gestures". #link
"With the economy in tatters, endemic poverty and unemployment, and continued political strife, where is Zimbabwe heading as 2005 draws to a close?" BBC News readers have their say. #link
It's not too late to make things right, for everyone's sake. #link
A sad story about an artists' commune being 'invaded' by people from a nearby township, that says a lot about the lack of real effort the government has made to improve conditions for the most disenfrancised in the last decade. If only all sides could get over the bitterness of the past and see what's really going on... #link
Sure it could have been worse. #link
A project examining Chicago's status as a global city, placing it in context with America's other major metropolises. Be sure to check out the photo-slices. [c/o del.icio.us/fakeisthenewreal] #link
"Photographs of cities can convey something of the texture of the sidewalk, and certainly do a good job conveying skylines or monumental spaces. But it's harder to capture the flow of a city." Steven Johnson gave it a go, anyway. #link
I meant to post this ages ago. The list is creeping up to 1000 entries and still going strong. (I've got two in there; the former you can ignore but I'm quite proud of the latter.) #link
For all your live Meat Puppets needs. #link
I'm used to my one big text file for now, as it's just enough for my needs. But if I need something bigger, to cover more aspects of my life, then this system looks like it's worth a try. Endlessly resourceful, our Merlin. #link
Amazing how quickly this all took off. Gotta credit Merlin Mann with some of that. #link
Very handy to know [c/o Stylegala]. #link
An online tool that 'glitches' all the images on a given webpage with noise, artefacts, etc. Not that it does much for this page... #link
If Lego sold kits like this in art galleries, they'd make a mint... well okay, maybe not. But I'd buy one. #link
If I was in London, I would so be there. (So you don't have to eat your hat, Jack.) #link
I want an apartment at Yuppie International Garden. Just sounds like the place to be. #link
I found this at least a year ago but never linked at the time. Well worth a download. #link
A quirky feature about "the tics and rituals that punctuate our lives". I've got a few. #link
Turns out I have a left-pitch offset of -0.15 semitones. Good to know. #link
"A project that explores the doom-and-gloom agenda of London's Evening Standard headline writers" [c/o del.icio.us/linkmachinego]. #link
I love standards and consistency, me. #link
Including the old favourite, 'French Fries in My Beard (Make Me Happy, But Sometimes Very Sad).' #link
The Independent's Nicholas Lezard says the broadcasts were boring, so I'm happy enough to read the lectures instead. When I have the time. #link
And you can make it out of Lego, too. #link
Though they've neglected to make a distinction between niche and trade publications, there's some pretty crazy stuff here worth a look. #link
This is a great story. Makes my heart warm, so it does. #link
I breathe through my mouth sometimes because my nose is often congested. But I don't leave my jaw hanging open. My point is, I find this term offensive. There's a war against me, I know it! #link
A little over a week ago I went with Dave No Spaces to see the big Peter Jackson remake of King Kong. Dave loved it, but I wasn’t so enthused.
I mean it was alright as big action-adventure event movies go, but it’s no bar-raiser. Sure, it’s no ‘Kong Bomb’ (as some cynical critics have quipped) either, but it didn’t inspire in me anything like the kind of awe experienced by Tom Coates, and I can’t concur with Kottke’s amazement. In fact, the parts they seem to have enjoyed the most bored me after a few minutes. Also, I hate insects.
In Peter Jackson’s defense, it didn’t feel at all like a three-hour movie (I only checked my watch three times, which is a personal record), yet there were too many points where I was impatient for something to happen to propel the story, which itself fell apart for me in the final act (I had much more sympathy for Adrien Brody’s character than for that bloody monkey; somehow I don’t think that was the intention).
As for the cast? The intentionally hammy acting was a gamble that works, in my opinion, and the cast was well chosen. But in hindsight Jack Black may have been an ill fit. Not that he’s a bad actor or anything of the sort, however he’s pretty much typecast as himself. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is open to interpretation.
On the plus side, though I was disappointed by the footage in the trailer I saw in November, the CGI Kong looked surprisingly impressive (outside of the action scenes, at least). Even better was the New York cityscape that filled the screen at the film’s conclusion. The attention to detail is astounding; I could have sworn it was real. Plus, the philosophical subtext (the whole ‘giant of one world is dwarfed by another’ thing) brought some depth to what is essentially a popcorn movie, though it was kind of hard to miss.
And I confess, I marked out for the ‘Sumatran Rat Monkey’ sign in the background. Nice touch, that.
See also: On King Kong, the Empire State and the dynamism of the city
A sentiment for the day that's in it. #link
Need I say more? #link
The board game, that is. I've always wanted to learn. #link
I can't remember how I found this. Through links to this site in Technorati, perhaps? Anyway, some stunning work here. Just wish there was an archive I could link to. #link
A downsizing newspaper puts its staff up for auction. What a neat idea! Better get my CV ready... #link
An interview with a vocal coach for metal growlers and screamers. If I ever start that new-wave/noise-pop/grindcore band I've been planning for years, this will come in handy [c/o del.icio.us/merlinmann]. #link
These are just gorgeous. The sprawl, the compactness, the oversaturated colours, everything [c/o Vudeja]. #link
Some stunning then-and-now photography from the Big Apple. I'll get there some day soon, I swear. #link
A free, Wiki-based travel guide to contemporary architecture around the globe [c/o gravestmor]. #link
I've heard so much about the book. I might get it for the long trip to South Africa. #link
The kids in the US mid-west call it 'extreme walking', if I remember correctly. #link