“Countdown” to “Midnight City.”

The end of the year gets weird. We’re all SAD, reevaluating the past year’s choices, desperate for Christmas miracles and fateful kisses, and, worst, the YMCA gets crazy crowded. But I love love love the Best of… lists. Here are my top music picks from 2011* in no particular order — I just really wanted to start with “Countdown” and end with “Midnight.” More word play is one of my 2012 resolutions.

Download here.

  1. Countdown – Beyonce
  2. Gangsta (Ad-Roc Remix) – tUnE-yArDs
  3. Cheerleader – St. Vincent
  4. I Don’t Know – My Little Pony
  5. Truth – Alexander
  6. Video Games – Lana del Rey
  7. Second Chance – Peter Bjorn and John
  8. Abducted – Cults
  9. Port of Call – Beirut
  10. Perth – Bon Iver
  11. When Will You Go – The Dodos
  12. Lotus Flower (Jacques Greene Remix) – Radiohead
  13. Need You Now – Cut Copy
  14. Ni**as in Paris – Kanye West and Jay-Z
  15. Ritual Union – Little Dragon
  16. Helplessness Blues – Fleet Foxes
  17. Atlantic – Givers
  18. King of Spain – The Tallest Man on Earth
  19. Rich Kid Blues – Lykke Li
  20. Don’t Carry It All – The Decemberists
  21. We Are Young – Fun. w/ Janelle Monae
  22. Midnight City – M83

* Some of these songs came out before 2011, but they received heavy rotation in my apartment since last January, so I’m making it count.

P.S. If the link stops working, let me know and I’ll reupload/slip you a private copy/sing you every song.


If I had a baby or a novel or a particularly vibrant tattoo to show off, a five-year high school reunion might be worth it.

But so far all I’ve got is a mediocre career (though it’s at a time when even this — employment — is cause for celebration). Frugal celebration, with cheap liquor and appetizers from a freezer box.

I’m pleased with my life at 23, but it’s also nothing to brag about. Accomplishments are marked more by what I’ve managed to avoid in the last economically downtrodden half-decade: No unplanned pregnancies, debt, alcoholism, jail time or moving back in with parents. When these factor in, I’m doing exceptionally well for myself.

Still, these exceptions leave us with what seem like weak claims to success. We’ve got all the usual trappings of young adulthood — apartment, salary, master’s degree — but nothing with a spark. I’m coasting. I don’t even have an epic, Adele-esque failure of a romance to reflect on, just fizzles.

My class didn’t have a five-year reunion, as far as I know. Facebook seems to make this unnecessary. I know which high school classmates have cute pets or cute nieces and nephews or make me feel better about not having moved to Arkansas.

So is five years simply too early for our generation to claim any life goals? We’re putting off everything else. The average age for women to marry now is 26 and only a small percentage of college students graduate in four years. Why not delay a reunion until we feel a little more prepared to make people jealous?

For five years, I guess we’re doing OK. As P. pointed out, our bylines have garnered us minor celebrity among a select group of media consumers. We’re a little bit famous in a little bit of Iowa. There’s that.

But I swear in 10 years, if I decide to attend any reunions, to at least have a dog, a broken heart and a car with a radio.


On Dec. 31, 2010, I had to work the night shift. I went out for a beer with coworkers at 9:30 p.m., poured myself a glass of champagne while lounging on the couch in flannel pajamas at 10, and snuggled into bed by 11. The next morning I woke up to pictures of my coworker’s newborn New Year’s baby. It was practically perfect in every way. No lost sleep, jealousy, expense, anxiety, sexual tension, broken bones, travel, choosing-between-friends issues, adultery, sequin-induced blindness, frostbite, Auld Lang Syne sing-offs or vomit.

Part of me wants to just go that relaxed route again for 2011. Another part of me wants to go someplace where everyone wears fur and dances all night.

The Law of Anecdotal Value.

“Many, many years ago, about 25 years ago, right after I got out of college, [he] said to me, casually, ‘You know, sometimes I think the best way to live your life is to choose the experience that will have the most anecdotal value.’ And that became, that casual comment, The Law of Anecdotal Value, which all my friends know about and which I have tried to live my life by. Basically, everything I choose to do, I try to do stuff that will turn into a cool story later.”   Peter Sagal

Little monsters.

Saw these “Monster High” dolls on an end cap at Target yesterday, surrounded by a crowd of desperate moms and screaming children (To be fair, everyone in the store was desperate and screaming. ‘Tis the season). These dolls have to be one of the reasons parenting is scary as shit. No little girl needs Slutty Frankenstein for Christmas. And is that Sexy Catholic School Girl Dracula?

Terrifying for so many reasons.