2002 in review
January 7, 2003 04:07 PM

I haven't posted anything in several days because I had to sit and
think about the year that just ended. Oh, absolutely.

Well, not really.

But, hey - the guys (plus girl sitemaster) of a certain local band are doing
this year-in-review thing, so I shall, too.

So. A list of things about 2002.

Source of greatest ambivalence: My car. This morning the door
froze shut, then froze open. Damned car. I want a new one. And yet, the
car has performed amazingly well for ten years, and it still runs
great. I'm torn. We've had this relationship all year. Nevertheless, I'm buying a new one, probably in February.

Best CD's I've bought (in no order, despite numbers):
1. Neko Case's Furnace Room Lullaby. Actually released
in 2000, but I bought it this year in a Neko Case completist frenzy. I love this album. 'Set Out Running' utterly captures the feeling of heartbreak for me.
2. Badly Drawn Boy's soundtrack to About A Boy.
The nice thing about BDB is he allows you to indulge your fondness for Brit synth-pop while simultaneously lending you an itty bit of indie cred. In any case, this album oozes grief, but maintains a melodic singalong quality. Go figure.
3. Elvis Costello's When I Was Cruel. So much has been said about this album this year. I'll simply add this: Elvis Costello will always be cool. This album proves it.
4. The Indigo Girl's Become You. I could just love
this one because their last few years' releases have set such low expectations. By far their gayest record to date, it's also a nice retreat to their folksy style. None of their traditionally obscure lyrics and metaphors here, though - it's all about the lurve. Enjoy it on road trips, sing loud, don't pay too much attention to the lyrics.

Some other really good records that I didn't buy, but enjoy
borrowing from my boyfriend:

1. The very cute debut album from All Girl Summer Fun Band. I've made up so many silly dances to that album in the car. You don't even know.
2. Liz Elmore's new album with The Reputation. Grad school sucks. People suck. Liz writes excellent songs, though.
3. Caitlin Cary's While You Weren't Looking. I can't believe she wrote that silly "Pony" song, but the rest of this album is damn fine.
4. Kenny Roby's Rather Not Know. Kenny is, I swear, one of the best songwriters of this generation.

Books that changed my life:
1. Bodies Out of Bounds. So, I read this in 2003, but I bought it in 2002. It's probably the most intelligent book about fatness that I've read. The academic-style essays point out the transgressive nature of being fat in America and emboldens my fatness.
2. Money Makes the World Go Round. This one created a massive shift in my perspective on globalization. I started out fairly anti-global, but for wrong, misinformed reasons. This book prompted me to think much more about the ripple effect of my choices, but also made me much more ambivalent about the global economy.
3. Killing Monsters. Totally refigured the way I thought about violence in entertainment. If, that is, I really thought about it to begin with. It's a great book about the usefulness of violence in play and children's development. Plus, he has the cutest way of talking about "Goth" - so funny.
4. Ahab's Wife. Don't laugh. This is the first "Oprah's Book Club" book I read, and while not as good as Naslund's short fiction, it's excellent. I credit this book with my shifting perspective on fiction, and on Oprah. The simple fact that a book is written by a woman, or is emotional, does not preclude it being literature. And Oprah has brought literature to the masses. I am the masses.
5. Jane Sexes It Up. This collection of young feminists' essays on sexuality and desire precipitated half a year of gradual change in my sex life and my perspective on sex. You'll doubtless hear more from me on this subject in the future.

Some other books that were just really, really good:
There were a lot more than this, but it's a start.
1. Goodbye Tsugumi. Classically good Banana Yoshimoto.
2. Losing It. Didn't teach me much, but it's convincingly written and should be mandatory for anyone who isn't aware of the negative impact of dieting.
3. Shadow of the Hegemon. I couldn't help thinking "Aw, little Orson is growing up" as I read this one. He remains a sweet, idealistic writer, but this book showed him struggling with some concepts, and I like that.
4. The Poisonwood Bible. I finally got around to reading this one in 2002. I'm impressed at Kingsolver's ability to maintain her characteristic lyricism on a book of this scale. It merits a breathy Dar Williams-esque "brilliant, brilliant".

Most useful and/or exciting non-book, non-music things on which I spent my dollars:
1. A handful of belly dance videos.
2. My first dress from Torrid.com. A whole store dedicated to overpriced clothing for punkrock fat girls.
3. A goth "prom" dress. Hey, everyone needs one.
4. Black mary janes with pink kitties on the toes. I saved up for those shoes.

Best art experience:
Hands down, the Humana Festival. It was extraordinary.

Worst town I spent more than an hour in:
San Antonio, Texas. It's a cheesy tourist armpit. And very hot, even in October.

Nicest surprise while travelling:
1. This hole-in-the-wall hippy mediterranean restaurant in Austin. The belly dancer was sleazy, but the food was great - and it introduced me to the wonders of pomegranate juice.
2. Louisville, Kentucky is home to possibly the greatest record store ever. Certainly the best indepent record store I've ever seen.

Possibly worst decision I made:
A volunteer job I'm still somewhat regretting.

There you have it. All the silliness that was 2002. Bring on 2003.

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your wicked thoughts

I want those shoes. Damn they're great. I think I need riches aplenty....

these are the thoughts of Alison on January 18, 2003 08:30 AM

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