Top 10:

  1. The Jam Compact Snap One of those discs that disappears from the rotation for a year or two and then suddenly I need to hear it over and over. “A Town Called Malice” was put to appropriate use in the movie “Billy Elliott” — it’s almost impossible to listen to without beating out the drums on the steering wheel and bop-bop-bopping along. The whole disc still sounds fresh after all these years, when some of the quirkiness of the other British Reinvasion groups (say, XTC) has worn thin. Could be that whomping bass.
  2. Sledding with the girls: took two blow-up tubes, one little blow-up “Swiss Luge”, an old-fashioned, hard-bottomed flying saucer and the toboggan over to the golf course in Delmar yesterday and had a couple hours of screaming fun. They wore their ski helmets, which may have made them the dorks of the hill, but at least we didn’t have to bring it all to a crying halt after one of them took a header. My old Adirondack toboggan, circa 1974, is still the fast and furious of the sledding hill, by the way, and I took a certain uncharitable delight in the failure of some yuppie parents to get their runnered baby sled to work for little whatever-her-name-was. Runnered sleds are for Christmas catalogs, NOT FOR ACTUAL USE. Pay attention, people.
  3. Gaudi Afternoon — a completely unnoticed movie with Judy Davis, Marcia Gay Harden, and Lili Taylor, directed by Susan Seidelman. A complete hoot set in Barcelona with a backdrop of Gaudi’s architecture. Funny, interesting, fast-paced. The Spanish and/or Catalan isn’t subtitled, but it doesn’t need to be. There’s even a bizarre magic act with erotic overtones that made me wish Seidelman had had the self-reference to put Steven Wright in the audience (see “Desperately Seeking Susan”).
  4. Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4 for Playstation 2 — please. Unlike THPS2 for Mac, you don’t have to keep on restarting the game, you just pick up timed challenges when you feel like it and freeskate the rest of the time. Plus, many more songs, though I’m sure after a while I’ll get tired of these, too. Hannah thinks that my character’s top hat is the reason he’s skating so poorly….
  5. Ofoto.com — Really, it’s a dead heat with Snapfish.com, but the point is I love digital photography, I love being able to play with my pictures in Photoshop and clean them up and/or mess them up, and I love inexpensive prints that I don’t have to send back because some lab-monkey didn’t bother to blow the dust off the negative. Spent the weekend getting a bunch of Thanksgiving photos cleaned up, cropped and ready for printing.
  6. Nick Tosches. Loved “Where Dead Voices Gather.” Loved “Dino.” Now I’m reading the most unlikely thing I can imagine myself reading, “Trinities,” a Mafia/Chinese gangwar novel about the heroin trade. Too much exposition in places, but damn his writing is crisp.
  7. OLN TV — okay, so maybe there’s much more duckhunting than I really need to see, but there’s also “No Boundaries,” bicycle racing, kayak competitions and things you just don’t get anywhere else. But really, guys — if I want to see duckhunting, I’ll dig out my Chuck Jones cartoons.
  8. Random blogs — The nature of the web has changed back to what it started out as, narrowcasting of personal messages that somehow connect. On any given day, scouting through blogdom, you can find a message that you somehow relate to that hasn’t been filtered through the profit motive by a corporate asshole.
  9. The Interregnum — there is a short period of my life, just about to end, when there are no Nutcracker rehearsals, no ballet lessons, no swim lessons, no ski lessons, and no real work obligations. The house is a Christmasy disaster, there is too much food, a leaking faucet untended, chores that have to get done if we’re ever going to build a new bedroom for Rebekah, but for right now, it’s just time to lie about in it and rest.
  10. St. Helena Olive Oil. To die for. So good you want to drink it. Really.

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