My Year in Review, 2019.

This is my own year-in-review. What started as a dumb tweet has become a blog post because I’m between jobs. Enjoy!

Top film

Society (1989)

My husband had described Society (dir, Brian Yuzna) to me a few years ago and I don’t think I really absorbed much because it didn’t seem believable or something. It’s pretty trippy! Here’s the snippet from Wikipedia:

A Beverly Hills teen (Billy Warlock) discovers his parents are part of a gruesome orgy cult for the social elite.

As a big fan of body horror, though, I knew I had to see it at some point This year (probably during Beyond Fest) we had the fortune of seeing it at The Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. It’s great. Wicked! Believe it.

I only recently started using Letterboxd again to track my films, but some other good ones from this year:

  • Greener Grass (2019) - David Lynch plus SNL. Yes? Yes.
  • Knives Out (2019) - Just a lot of fun!

Top record

In the Court of the Crimson King, 50th anniversary - King Crimson (2019)

I had a friend in college who was obsessed with King Crimson. I didn’t get much into them myself at the time, but they were an influence on basically everything else I listen to. Porcupine Tree / Steven Wilson, The Mars Volta, Opeth, Between the Buried and Me, Mastodon, Oranssi Pazuzu, etc. etc. etc. You get it. Oh, and one of the three (3) drummers in their current line-up is Gavin Harrison, drummer for Porcupine Tree (since broken-up).

So, when King Crimson were on their 50th anniversary tour and making a stop at The Greek Theater in Los Angeles, of course I had to go out of reverence. Wow. I was totally and completely blown away. Despite the tourist next to me using his phone / camera (a BIG no-no for Robert Fripp). Perhaps life-changing in that I’ve been obsessively listening to KC ever since.

Anyway, my favorite album is the 50th anniversary remix of In the Court of the Crimson King. The remix is done by Steven Wilson (of course). And Epitaph is still (sadly) the best song for these times.

Knowledge is a deadly friend

If no one sets the rules

The fate of all mankind, I see

Is in the hands of fools

It’s not from this album of course, but here’s Starless live.

Other music I listened to a lot of:

  • Agalloch - I discovered them this year … so GOOD.
  • The Aristocrats - Guthrie Govan is amazing.
  • Deafheaven - So different, but gorgeous warm black metal feels.

Top song

Sandwich, Marco Minnemann (2016)

This song is just fun. Any time it pops into my head (which to the dismay of my husband is probably too often) I have to play it. Marco Minnemann is a great drummer. Maybe you’ve heard of him. He’s associated with Steven Wilson’s band (not anymore, but it’s how I came to know him), Necrophagist, The Aristocrats, and he auditioned for Dream Theater.

Check out the music video for Sandwich. Don’t you know how to eat a sandwich?

Other top songs:

  • Epitaph, King Crimson - Already mentioned but bears rementioning.
  • Black Lake Niรฐstรฅng, Agalloch - It’s worth 17 minutes. Some of the most soulful black metal screaming of life (death?).


Our Mathematical Universe, Max Tegmark (2014)

A couple of years ago I caved and started listening to audiobooks. This plus a pair of bluetooth headphones I like (Jabra Elite 65t) has led to a big increase in the number of books I manage to “read” each year. It definitely makes up for the guilty feelings I harbor for not being a legitimate book snob. Just kidding. I don’t care.

So this year my favorite book is Our Mathematical Universe by Max Tegmark. I’m a pretty big pop astronomy / physics nerd, and this book is so out there it blew my mind. In so many ways. What do “real” physicists think of this book?! If you’re into multiverses, reality, consciousness, and wild speculation, check it out. If you want just a taste, Max Tegmark made a recent appearance on Sean Carroll’s podcast, Mindscape, in Episode #75.

Apart from physics, I really love a good corporate scandal novel (yes, Bad Blood, yes, Super Pumped), so next year I expect my favorite book will be about WeWork (fingers crossed).


Untitled Goose (2019)

What more do I need to say?! Untitled Goose was a lot of fun. I had a hard time picking between this and Katamari Reroll. Delightfulness and ease-of-play were the things that tipped things in favor of the goose for me.

Some other games worth mentioning:

  • Skyrim - Whenever I get a new gaming system I buy Skyrim. I will never not play this game.
  • Super Smash Bros Ultimate - This was a lot of fun to play with my husband’s son (11yo).
  • Pokemon Sword - I just started playing this! It’s a lot of fun.


Stuff You Should Know (2008-2019)

Prior to this year I hadn’t listened to a ton of podcasts since college. What changed? Not sure, but Stuff You Should Know is now a staple for me. My husband don’t have overlapping tastes really except we can both get into a random SYSK episode about jellyfish on our way to The Dynasty Typewriter to see Harmontown (a podcast I don’t listen to that we would go see live). We also listened to a bunch of episodes on our mini-roadtrip between LA and Santa Cruz.

Here’s a couple of other podcasts I got into:

  • Jorge and Daniel Explain the Universe - Just fun! Remember, I’m a pop-physics nerd.
  • Radiolab’s More Perfect - I devoured this in a couple of weeks and I’m sad there aren’t new ones.


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