I probably wouldn’t read this if I were you, either, but here are my Top (not 10) Lists of 2008. I have mixed feelings about doing these, but decided to go for it anyway. Also, I didn’t want to find 10 things for each category. It felt like a stretch.
The year was strange, as it found me living in 2 cities where I had already lived once before.
If I had to describe 2008 honestly in one sentence, I’d say, “I fought my hardest to “find myself” professionally, and it never happened.” I believe when 2009 is over I will say, “I tried to be an ordinary person, and found that to be much, much easier.”
Here are my lists of things, as good as I can remember them. Got tired of writing commentary after the first one.
Top 8 Places to Hang Out in 2008 (Starting with most amount of time spent hanging out, ending with least amount of time spent hanging out—excluding the obvious all three residences):
1. Phoenix Building Studio. In September, Cary was cool enough to let me move my desk in his studio, to work for an almost nonexistent rent fee. Love that guy.
2. Seminole Heights Public Library. It felt weird to listen to music and write while a bazillion middle- and high-school students filtered in and out doing homework and talking about their boy/girlfriends, but I loved this place for its smallness, awkwardness, and for everything else uncool about it. And I could ride my bike there, work on projects, order books, etc.
2. Fly Bar and Restaurant. I stuck it out there until June I think, and then continued to hang around for hours and hours with old friends.
3. Some quaint little park on the Hillsborough River. I forget the official name. A good place for self-reflection and a cuban sandwich. Maybe this one should be further down the list, but in my mind I like to pretend I was sitting there all the time with a book and/or fishing pole in hand.
4. Urban Standard on 2nd Ave. Can’t beat the Pimento Cheese BLT.
5. The Bunker in Ybor City. Our neighbors whom we stole internet from moved out, so me and Matt began working on our blogs here.
6. MOJO Books and Music. Half used bookstore, half used vinyl shop. Rare wonders, and tons of knowledge amongst staff regarding the stuff on the shelves.
7. Mr. Dunderbak’s. After church, we’d get liters of German beer for $7! Plus weird old German cheeses and meats, German sandwiches, German-designed tables, Germans, etc.
8. Some Mexican restaurant in Clearwater. Wish I could remember the name of this one too, and had a photo of it other than this one. They sold tacos for $0.69. After roommates and neighborhood pals started hosting cookouts, this somehow evolved into weekly “Taco Nights” where a ton of us drove forty-five minutes to a two-star restaurant, and generally waited another thirty minutes before getting a table.
Top 9 Books of 2008 (Only a few of these were published in ’08. Did I really find this number of books amazing? Apparently so.):
1. I Love You, Beth Cooper by Larry Doyle
2. Pastoralia by George Saunders
3. Willful Creatures by Aimee Bender
4. The Time Machine Did It by John Schwartzwelder
5. The Learners by Chip Kidd
6. Creamy Bullets by Kevin Sampsell
7. No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July
8. The Brotherhood of the Grape by John Fante
9. The History of Love by Nicola Krauss
Top 2 Contests Ending in “o” That I Won in 2008:
Top 5 Overused Words of 2008:
5. awesome (This one’s made the list the past twenty years, and has shown no signs of being eliminated in years to follow.)
Top 4 Hip-Hop Albums of 2008:
1. Why? – Alopecia
2. Wale – The Mixtape About Nothing
3. Lil Wayne – Tha Carter III
4. Atmosphere – When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold
Top Non-Hip-Hop Albums of 2008: