Coming in 2014: The “Smart”blog


Happy New Years to you all! I am calling it now. The thing of 2014 is going to be asking so-and-so if they have seen the new smart-whatever. It is only a week into the new year and, with a little help from the CES presentations in Vegas, I have already seen the beginning of an explosion of smart watches, smart kitchens, smart grills, smart tennis racquets, smart cars and who knows what else. If a little computer chip fits inside of it then you just watch, it’ll have apps. Now if I can only get a patent for smart-twerking before MTV gets in my way!

For what it’s worth, this blog was going to be called “The Best Stuff of 2013”. I abruptly changed my mind after I saw every other blog and website on the internet beat me to it. How many people are going to pretend they get the right to give our the best movie and best album of the year awards. It is interesting though to look for the consistencies and using a little detective work, find what the general public does actually agree on. But alas, that is not what I plan to do here. Instead I am just going to do what everyone else is doing and throw some greatest hits according to Dan your way until you get bored, because that seems to be how this blog works. Sit back and remember with me. This is a collection of some of the best stuff I can think of that was, and now will forever be, from 2013.

BEST MOVIE: I think the only movies I saw this year worth a mention are Catching Fire, Gravity and Iron Man 3. I didn’t really get out and see many movies, so if I am off the mark here a little bit I’m sorry. Who wants to Redbox every movie from the years top 20 with me? I’d love that. This is not a review blog anyway. If you disagree then feel free to comment but since you’re most likely too lazy to open a WordPress account to do so, enjoy keeping your thoughts to yourself.


BEST DRINK: Firefly shots. to the face. If you don’t remember them then you did it right.

BEST ONLINE SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE: Move over Netflix! I recently read online about this company called Quarterly. They are sort of just a middle-man really. You use their platform to pick from a list of curators with whom you are going to trust your personal subscription service. You then pay 50 bucks every quarter (every 3 months) and in return, every quarter you get something in the mail. What you end up getting is completely up to your curator. The person or group you chose can be professional athletes, YouTube channel hosts, tech blog writers, TV show hosts, or whatever. The point is it is someone that you think you might be able to agree with and trust, but that’s all you really know until you give it a shot. I promise I did not get together with Zach, founder and CEO of this clever little start-up, but coincidentally his mystery-subscription-plan, my unbelievably awesome blog, and life all seem to run along this same thread. I think Forrest Gump said it best


BEST MUSIC THING: this one goes to my experience at bonnaroo. I won’t bore you with more words here because I promise, I am not obsessed. I will only say that if you want to know what I am talking about then I shall see you on the farm this June! It’s official, the tickets are already purchased 🙂

Did you know that vinyl record sales went up 33% in 2013? I didn’t either.

BEST BREWERY: This is not going to be my opinion of the best tasting beer I put down during this past year (although that could be fun too). I am instead going to use this spot to humbly plug the brew group that I am a part of and help brew about once a month. We call ourselves “American Pale Males (and a Chocolate Mocha Stout)” or APM. If you haven’t seen or tried any of our stuff than you probably haven’t drank at my apartment or asked me for a bottle because you aren’t going to find it anywhere else. But, really, it is pretty good stuff. Come hang out sometime!

BEST GEOCACHE: It wasn’t my best year but I had some fun and kept the ball rolling. Since the cache near the top of the pass along the Inca trail was technically last year (by a few days) I have to give the honor to “Shafted” here in Central Virginia. This was at the end of an 11 mile hike along Big Rocky Row just north of the James River on the AT. We had to go out of the way a little bit but the reward was a belly crawl under an old fence, a hike down an old abandoned mine shaft, sneaking past sleeping bats that may or may not have scared me a little, a wade across knee deep freezing cold water and an underground staircase. Well worth it for the smiley 🙂


BEST TECH THING: This year was a pretty good battle between iPhones, smartwatches, new gaming consoles, web connected TVs and fun cameras and other toys. The one thing that I saw someone else get for Christmas and suddenly wished it was for me, the little dongle that is called Google Chromecast, is getting my vote (without putting much real thought into it). I am very curious to try it, but if it really turns my 5 year old TV into an internet TV then it’s a win for sure.

BEST ART THING = Did anyone catch Banksy’s run on New York City? Or peek at how Dasha Battelle opted to create snapchat art, or what my friend @monkeyshrike does with his instagram posts and legos? Heard about the ever evolving walls at the bonnaroo music festival or the insane ideas that come out of Burning Man? Does any of this compare to things like this?

BEST YOUTUBE VIDEO: not so surprisingly, pop music videos dominate the top lists on youtube. This is not a bad thing really, but it’s not what I am trying to show here. I am trying to celebrate the creativity and inventive-ness that YouTube was built on and promotes. If I want the years best music videos we already have the VMAs. I respect that many artists lately are curbing their videos more towards a computer audience and thinking more outside the box but still, the videos I recognize as the best of a year are the home grown things that cant take root in any other sort of media world. No I am talking YouTube awards. I am talking about the people who didn’t exist before their short video was submitted online. Here’s a not very well thought out top three, but do check out YouTube’s end of the year wrap up or the Youtube awards in your free time!

BEST COOL THING SOMEONE DID: Tie for first between BatKid and the Mastectemy Dance

BEST BOOK: Here’s my thing on books. I am newer to getting back into the book world and loving it like a kid in a candy shop. Yes, I know, I listen to them I don’t read them as words on paper but leave it alone, it’s the same damn thing. Mostly I am using Audible, playing catch up but I have sort of been keeping an eye on the books coming out this year. Let’s try something different here, I am going to pick three with potential and then whichever you vote for is going to be the next one I go for:

  • Lumineers
  • Alegient (Book 3 of the Divergent Trilogy)
  • Goldfinch


BEST AUDIOBOOK (because that’s what I do): The Ender’s Game re-release as an audio play. I love what Audible is doing for the world of audio books. It really is awesome.

Sorry I probably lost most of my audience there with all that book talk…

BEST SPORTS THING: America’s epic but underexposed comeback to win the America’s Cup, the oldest trophy in international sport.


BEST WAY TO RING IN THE NEW YEAR: This is just going to be my subtle way of letting you know how I spent the final night, dining and drinking out on Washington Avenue in St. Louis with one of my good college buddies and with the love of my life, AKA Dan #2, AKA the best thing to happen to me in 2013 (yes I can be sappy, get over it). I wouldn’t make a change to the night if I could. I will say, however, that a dueling piano bar really captures the ball-drop mood quite well!

BEST THING IN THE NEWS: I am going to blatantly cheat here and just drop a whole bunch of things here. This one was tough but I find it critical to a year right? I will leave you with a string of nonsensical words and then we shall move one. Don’t spend too much time.

bostonmarathon mandela harlemshake newpope syriagasattack zimmermantrial royalbaby obamacare twerking russianmeteorite margretthatcher paulwalker tsunami kingrichardIII amandaberry NSAleaks drones governmentshutdown cairoprotests breakingbad labgrownburger DOMA gluten snapchat bitcoin mantiteogirlfriend sharknado redwedding oscarpistorius

Finally here’s some related links. summer 2013, best in the world,

The blog comes to a close. The year starts to fade. Silence sets in. The needle floats casually to the center of the record and all of 2013 comes to a stop. To continue please flip record over. I can already tell. 2014 is going to be incredible. I hear all the hits are on side 2.



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