I gave this week's Sibling Assignment to InlandEmpireGirl and Silver Valley Girl. It's pretty simple: Look back over the year 2007 and reflect upon photographs, blogs, books, songs, cds, dvds, movies, poems, etc. and compile a best ten sources of inspiration/learning/joy of 2007. With comments.
My sisters' lists are inspiring; I hope you'll check them out. InlandEmpireGirl's is here and Silver Valley Girl's is not far away, here.
1. Pandora.com This is a create your own radio station website, here. It's radio from the Music Genome project. It's a wonderful approach: to create a radio station, enter a musician or composer's name and the website will play music for you by that artist and others similar to him or her. It is a wonderful way to listen to music you don't know (I have a Regina Spektor station, for example) and to broaden your musical horizon in relation to artists you are familiar with. You can see a list of my Pandora stations down the right rail.
2. Deep Tracks XM Radio Channel 40. This channel of XM Radio features deep classical rock music; in other words, rather than playing exclusively recognizable music, "Deep Tracks" goes deep into albums from the last forty years and delves broadly into a wide range of artists. The channel also plays contemporary releases by classic rock artists and, best of all, no set play lists. The music is completely in the hands of host. When I imagine what the best days of FM radio must have been like, I imagine Deep Tracks. OH! In addition, both Bob Dylan and Tom Petty have their own hour long shows that are broadcast several times during the week. My exposure has been broadened and my love deepened for classic rock music at Deep Tracks. This station alone makes the price of subscription worth it. Oh! One other thing: every Saturday evening at 11 Eastern and 8 Pacific, Deep Tracks plays the full version of "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida".
3. Photo Hunt(er). I started participating in this photo meme during 2007 and have enjoyed trying to find and snap photographs that fit the weekly theme. Want to give it a try? Go here.
4. Netflix on Demand I enjoy my subscription to Netflix as much as anything else in my life and near the end of 2007, I started taking advantage of how Netflix has a limited number of movies and television series that a person can view immediately through software downloaded via Netflix. By far, my favorite on demand film has been the quirky documentary, "Helvetica", the story of one of the mid- to late 20th century's most ubiquitous typefaces.
5. Into the Wild I was nervous when I went to see this movie. I've been studying and teaching the book for eight years. A fellow teacher and I saw the movie with former students who studied the movie with us. How about if it's shitty? I didn't want anyone to be disappointed. I saw the movie three times. The first viewing rendered me immediately speechless. I couldn't stay and talk with the former students or anyone else. I had to fast-walk to my car and drive around and feel the movie's impact and think about it. It was one of the most satisfying and compelling movies I've seen in years.
6. Open the Vault In fidelity to my enjoyment of playing video slot machines, especially at the Coeur d'Alene Casino near Worley, Idaho, I will declare "Open the Vault" as my favorite of 2007. It is a cascading reel machine, adding a fun level of suspense, and its bonus is lucrative, from time to time. I enjoy the sounds, the graphics, and the story line of "Open the Vault" and had some pretty terrific luck on it once in a while in 2007. Of course, it also kicked my ass!
7. Breaking Blue Tim Eagan's book about a sheriff from Metaline Falls, WA who, in the late eighties, pursues a cold murder case from the thirties is a thrilling book about determination and persistence and a great insight into the corrupt culture of the Spokane, WA police department, not only during the Depression, but in the eighties as well. I might note that events in the last few years point to the likelihood that corruption is a long-standing tradition in Spokane's police force.
8. I'm Not There Todd Hayne's cinematic non-linear exploration of the idea of Bob Dylan and his times is an extraordinarily beautiful, confusing, and compelling motion picture. I have never enjoyed so much just letting a movie take me for a ride with no need on my part to figure things out or always understand what was going on. It had all the fluidity, non-sequitors, and surprise of the best of Bob Dylan's song lyrics. We might have been watching a film version of something like the mind of Bob Dylan at work!
9. Limbo:Blue Collar Roots, White Collar Dreams It's widely assumed in America that to move from the working class to the middle or the professional class is not only desirable, but is almost natural. Alfred Lubrano tells his story of making this transition, as well as the stories of many others in the professional world, and it's hardly a simple matter.
10. After Innocence Watching this documentary about wrongly convicted men freed from prison on the strength of DNA testing has made me think more about the defense side of our criminal justice system than at any other time in my life. It's a great story about the "Innocence Project" and the deep fissures between the truth and the manufacturing of truth in our justice system.