This last year was a great year for me. In no particular order: best music Rise Against – Revolutions Per Minute: this is the album of the year for me. Nothing else even comes close for me. I listen to it at least once a day (in fact, I’m listening to it right now). The previous release from these Chicago rockers, The Unraveling was great too, but if you can imagine great multiplied by about 5 you’d have Revolutions Per Minute. These guys were also the best band I saw live all year (sorry John, Rancid was good, these guys were better :). The Mars Volta – De-Loused in the Comatorium: definitely the runner-up album of the year. These guys came out of the ashes of the El Paso rock outfit At The Drive-In. I love ATDI and when Sparta released their album (also former ATDI fellows) I thought it was amazing. However this album blows that one away. It is so complete and flows so well that I never mind putting it on and letting it go. Rancid – Indestructible: many people claim that Rancid has sold out. Whatever. Selling out is so not an issue in this case. What happens when one of the song writers gets his heart ripped out in a nasty divorce? You get a great album like Indestructible. The songs definitely return to the roots of Rancid’s music and are so listenable that I find myself spinning this album all the time. best thing i did Moving to California: what more can I say? I love living in California. I definitely don’t miss the snow and ice. Making the move out here was easily the best thing that happened to me this last year. I generally feel happier and more relaxed than when I was living in New York. runner-up: paying off my car 3 years early: through a serendipitous series of events like me paying extra on my monthly payments and some bonus cash I was able to pay off my car early. That really felt good. worst thing i did Moving to California: for as happy as I am in California one of the worst feelings was leaving friends behind in New York. Thankfully we stay in touch, but I miss them so much. If it weren’t for good friends that are now out here California wouldn’t be as good. Life would be better if I could see my NY friends more often though. best movie i saw This is a tough one. I really liked Lost in Translation and 28 Days Later, but I think I have to go with something that wasn’t even released this year. On the recommendation of my friend Andre I got a movie on DVD. I had never heard of it but I like Andre’s taste in movies so I took the leap. The movie? Tampopo. It’s a touching story with just the right amount of humor and human emotion. It very much feels like something one could live through (okay, well, maybe a little more humorous than real life, but still great). Lost in Translation would have my vote for something released this year though. best news from friends There were many good proclamations from friends this year. News that Mitch & Deb were moving to California right after I did is very high on the list because now I get to hang out with them and their son Ryan. Also a great bit of news was that my best friends Matt & Susan were buying a house, I’m happy that they are on the right track with that. But, the best news by far is that my friends CB & Athena are getting married. I can’t wait to go to the wedding next year. It’s going to be a hoot! best restaurant i went to Minako: located on Mission Street in San Francisco this restaurant is one of the few places I’m glad that a good friend, Andre, knows the owner and the chef. Even if we didn’t know them the food is top notch and the service stupendous. Every time we go there I expect to get a good meal and instead I end up with a fantastic meal. I also come away from there so stuffed that I generally feel like I should be rolled out. I can’t give enough praise to Minako. If you are in San Francisco you should go there. If you know Andre you should get him to go with you, it’s a blast. (update Thu Jan 1 15:59:11 PST 2004) best book i read Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach. This is by far the best book of 2003 for me. I loved it. In fact, I like it so much I bought a copy for a friend. While some may cringe at the subject matter Ms. Roach provides a very human, humorous, but respectful look at the realities of human cadavers. A definite must read.