Sunday, January the 16th, 2005

Filtering out the noise, so you don’t have to.TM

2004 has been gone for about two weeks now, and rather than bitch about the things I absolutely hated last year (which is arguably a lot more fun, but it does involve a lot of work to get right), I’m going to be a little different and list things which I actually enjoyed tremendously. They aren’t all from 2004, but that was when I got to experience them.

If you’ve experienced them earlier and find what I say redundant or boring, I’ll refund the amount you paid me to write this piece. And in the following, I use the word “best” loosely.

Best Talk — Free Culture — Lawrence Lessig, OSCON 2002

It’s a fabulous talk. Apparently he’s given many more like so, but this is the only one I’ve had the pleasure of hearing. I’ve read a book of his by the same name. (It was sent to me for free by the FSF out of the kindness of their hearts.) I hope that one day I can give a talk like this. The topic doesn’t matter, whether the audience agrees with me or not doesn’t matter — I’d just like to match up to the delivery style.

You should probably listen to it, not because of how cool it sounds, but because the topic is insanely pertinent to you, whether you know it or not.

Best Photo Gallery — India 2004 – Another try — Maciek Da

This person has other fantastic galleries as well, but this one almost brought me to tears. I cannot believe my country could be seen in such a beautiful light. Its existence and consequent inspiration is one of the primary reasons I’ve upgraded my photography hardware, trying to get it to be suited to portrait photography. More importantly, upgrade myself to be more people friendly. I know I can’t come close, ever. But it will be a fun journey trying to get there.

Best Article — How Long Is Your Digital Trail? — Regina Lynn

In this day and age, it is easy to get disconnected when you don’t want to, and so hard to disconnect when you need to. This article is requisite reading for anyone of my (our?) generation.

That’s all I need to say about it.

Best TV Show — Coupling — BBC

If you have access to an untainted BBC channel, or a store that sells DVDs, this is something that you shouldn’t miss. From characters brilliantly sampling all extremes of the human psyche, to hilariously crafted (non-punchline-oriented) dialogue, to fun insight into gender differences, to the best use of “not-necessarily-linear-or-single-or-forward-time-based” story progression (you have to see it to know what I mean) … to so much more, this show has the finest bits of just about everything.

Plus, I must admit it is a pleasure to hear “normal” (Commonwealth) English for a change.

Best Movie — I Heart Huckabees

An oddball story, with a weird feel, with curiously different characters, with a fun soundtrack and a warm fuzzy ending.

Makes you laugh. Makes you ponder. Makes you laugh some more. What more could you ask for?

Best Music — Mozart: Concertos for Flute and Orchestra

I know I’m a little (OK, a lot) late on this one, but MY GOODNESS. I cannot put down in words how I feel about these, but such pieces [~9.24 MB, MP3] “speak” for themselves, almost literally.

Best Book — On the Shoulders of Giants — Edited by Stephen Hawking

When I was a few-year-old child, I remember telling my mom how wrong a time I was born at. I was bitching about how everything that could be invented or known, already was, making my task near impossible. My task being “further relevant contribution” to the intellectual community.

This book contains translations of some of the greatest works of all time in the field of physics, and carefully weaves connections between them articulating how later scientists use the insight gathered by their predecessors and extreme intuition to put forward even more brilliant theories explaining phenomena around us.

I have to admit there is quite a bit in the details I don’t have the ability to read yet. But mark my words, a few more classes in “Tensor analysis on manifolds” and I will be at the point I always wanted to be. To be able to understand, and if lucky, extend on past their glorious work.

Best Game — The Legend of Zelda: The Windwaker — Nintendo

What more can I say about this game? I would say it is worth it to buy a GameCube to play just this one game. I’ve, in time started building a small game collection, but this is one game I can never get tired of.

The universe they’ve built inside is extremely huge. I’ve “passed it”, what, two times now, and still I keep playing it to go out and explore. And still find new hidden gems! The story is brilliant, the characters are cute and you get “into them” easily, the musical score is stellar, the capability to just run around and find things is almost exhaustingly spectacular. It is probably one of the best games I’ve ever played, across platforms, rivalling other greats such as Grim Fandango.

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