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Happy New Year!
by Branden Hart
Goodbye 2006! Yes, it's the new year, and if you're reading this, it means you didn't drink yourself to death last night. Congratulations on that.
There are several things I'm looking forward to this year.
1. Getting rid of this hangover.
Should be easy enough—I made sure there's beer in the fridge for this morning, and we have OJ and champagne for mimosas. Next!
2. The Sopranos finale
"Is this series ever going to end?" I cry softly into the night. And the night answers, "Why yes it is—this year, in fact." That's right, HBO is finally bringing its mobster drama to a close. Let's face it—the last few years have been pretty bad for this show. The series is languishing in petty side-stories, and nonsensical plot twist mar the landscape of what was at one time television's most respected drama. I hope that the final episodes bring closure to those of us who have faithfully followed this series. But seeing the way writers have treated the Sopranos universe over the past two seasons, I think the only finality we'll see is that it's all finally over.
3. Lost season 3—continued
This is by far my favorite television series right now. That may completely change come February, when new episodes of Lost begin airing. The mysteries and twists in this show are right up my alley. It's captivating, and the world being created is simply amazing. But the question is whether it's too amazing. There is a wonderful serial storytelling methodology at play here: every time you answer a question, raise another question. That's the key to the Lost storyline. However, as in all serial storytelling ventures, you have to be very careful not to rely on one method too heavily. Some of the work on this show has been pure genius to this point, and I hope that we see that tradition continued in the upcoming episodes.
4. God of War II
God of War II could possibly be the last great game released exclusively for the Playstation 2. The followup to the 2005 ultraviolent action game looks to be every bit as intense, with several new additions to Kraitos' arsenal of weapons and items, including Icarus wings. I found the original God of War to be a fine game, but didn't think it deserved the accolades it received. It didn't redefine the action genre, and came to an extremely disappointing close with one of the most anticlimactic boss battles ever. Nevertheless, I'm excited about this game, because despite its downfalls, God of War was a blast to play. The sequel is shaping up to be just as fun, and with new weapons, items, enemies, and more gruesome death sequences, it should be a fine addition to any PS2 owner's game library.
5. Buying a Wii
It's going to happen. I will buy a Wii this year. When, I'm not sure. I'm not going to spend an exorbitant amount of money on eBay, and other than that, the availability is pretty sparse. But with the demand for this revolutionary game system through the roof, I think we can plan on seeing Wii availability increase, especially by mid-year. We can also plan on seeing the game lineup for the system become more respectable, because right now, it isn't too impressive. It can't be denied, though, that Nintendo has finally done something right with this system. When videogamers are actually getting sore playing games, you know that the revolution has arrived.
6. Lupe Fiasco's Cool
The followup to my favorite album of 2006 should be out this year. And I can't wait. Because this album will determine the rest of Lupe's career. Is he going to continue with his clever, cerebral raps that plumb the depths of human nature and experience? Or is he going to go the way of celebrity rapper, and tout bling, cars, and money? Will he abandon the brilliant instrumental backtracks that were a signature on last year's album for drum kits and cheap production? I hope not. Lupe has a choice—to be himself, or to be commercial—and I hope that he chooses the former.
7. Reading Bone
The comic Bone, which came out in 1996?, has been on my list of must-reads for just as long. Right now, I have the complete collection on its merry way to my doorstep, courtesy of the fantastic Austin-based book seller BookPeople. The drawing is simplistic and complex at the same time, with the cartoonish Bones contrasted with intricate scenery and creatures. The story is intriguing—when the Bone brothers are run out of Boneville, they end up in a forest, where they meet horrible creatures and discover that they have a destiny beyond their wildest dreams. I've only read the first six issues of the series, and can't wait until my tome containing all 50? issues arrives, so I can entrench myself in this world that captured my imagination first over a decade ago.
So, as you sit nursing your hangover, think for a second about what you are most looking forward to this year, and tell us about it.
Happy New Year everyone!
Uber has obviously forgotten about the new season of "24" but we will let it slide this time.