Well, if the New Year's Eve event invites piling up in my Facebook inbox are any indication, 2011 is drawing to a close. Firstly, this means I have to start looking for a new dress. Secondly, this means that every pop culture entity is running down their "best of 2011" lists. All my feeds are stuffed with the Top Howevermany lists of music, movies, books, TV, events, scandals, stories and whatnot. I mentally walk through the year and remember all the books / movies / albums I didn't read / see / hear.
Thirdly, it means I begin compiling my own mental list of the best / worst, kudos / boodos of the year. I have a famously unreliable memory, which is strangely sharp at remembering minute, unimportant details but not major life events. This, my friends, is where my obsessive documentary nature comes in. Photographing, blogging, tweeting and posting everything I do pays off. After an exhaustive 20-minute search, I have compiled a short Best / Worst of My 2011 list. Enjoy.
BEST YOUTUBE VIDEO: The Honey Badger. Hands down. I have purchased no fewer than three Honey Badger-related items this year, and I haven't even done my Christmas shopping yet (somebody is getting the talking plush Honey Badger toy, just sayin').
BEST ALBUM: This is more of a traditional Top 10 item. I'm loath to rank, but my favorite music of this year would include new albums from Tom Waits, the Drums, Girls, Jens Lekman, Mastodon, Surfer Blood, Washed Out, M83, Kurt Vile and Wilco. I'm habitually slow to download / buy new albums, so by the time I get it, it's sooo last year. XM Radio helps keep me in the loop. (By the way, Mom and Dad, I love my XM. Renew it, please!)
WORST ALBUM I HAVEN'T ACTUALLY HEARD YET: Probably a tie between the Lou Reed / Metallica, a.k.a. Loutallica, and that Korn-dubstep mess. Sure, I haven't listened to them, but I don't have to stick my head in the trash to know it stinks.
BEST NEWS STORY: Good news is hard to come by. While I am swayed by cute animals and feel-good fluff, the best news is stuff that makes a bigger dent in the world. I know Osama bin Laden's and Moammar Gadhafi's deaths were huge, but those stories were kind of an anticlimax after years of horror. I'd say the best story was the release of the West Memphis Three from jail after 18 years of wrongful imprisonment. Not only does it mean that they can pick up their lives after being jailed since teenagers, but such a high-profile case may mean more innocent people will be freed and more real criminals can be caught.
WORST TV NEWS: The possible-maybe cancellation of "Community" maybe possibly.
BEST LOCAL SHOW: I went to a lot of local shows this year - I should really have some kind of punch card - but the Calvin Johnson show at the Calvin Center (the double Calvin was a total coincidence) was a standout. Local favorites Third Class and Joe Shelby opened a night of great acoustic songs and stories from the indie legend, set in a picturesque church vestibule.
BEST MEAL: The downright obscene meal I had at Lolita in Cleveland, which included bone marrow, mussels and other anatomical delicacies. And mousse.
BEST T-SHIRT: As I have already written about t-shirts several times, I don't have to tell you that I've bought many great t-shirts this year. My favorite new shirt would probably be my Little Steel Derby Girls shirt I bought this summer, with the logo Eddie Loves Derby (referencing the famous Eddie Loves Debbie graffiti that adorns every square inch of Youngstown).
BEST MEME: The Occupy Wall Street pepper spray guy. Followed by Horseman-ing (look it up).
WORST MEME: Planking. Started out cute, but like most Interweb things, got done to death.
BEST DANCE PARTY: I went to a lot of dance parties this year (every party I go to is a dance party or evolves into one). The best one would have to be the Summer Solstice dance party at the Lemon Grove that basically danced everyone's legs down to nubs. Aforementioned in my summer vacation column, I was joined by local DJs, ballerinas and others who made my dancing look even worse than it normally does. But it was so much fun, no one noticed.
BEST CELEBRITY ENCOUNTER: When I almost hit Guy Fieri with my car outside of the new Vernon's downtown Youngstown. We were almost rid of him! Close second: Meeting the Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase at the Scrappers game.
There was so much more to pore over, but alas, I am only one woman. And once I step into the Wayback Machine, it's hard to get out. So there you have it. Remember your own good times from this year, and banish all else to the mental recycle bin. After all, we all have the apocalypse to look forward to in 2012.