A shitty year to end a shitty decade. 2010 ain’t looking up either. Oh well, here’s how 2009 was in my world:
CONCERT OF THE YEAR
Madison Square Garden
2009 was a pretty fucking slow concert year for me: only 5 shows. The quantity was low, however the quality was pretty solid. The Virgo took me to see Nightwish at the Nokia Theater on May 2, which was cool. On August 26 we were at Terminal 5 for the “last ever” Nine Inch Nails show in New York. It was sadly (although not entirely unexpected) a lousy show, not helped in the least by the sweatbox, deathtrap, dogshit venue that is Terminal 5. Seeing the reformed Alice in Chains at Irving Plaza on September 8 runs a close second to the Metallica show. A few nights later marked my 12th Rasputina show (clip from different show), this time at the revamped Knitting Factory in Brooklyn. A solid venue, despite the annoying hipster-friendly area.
Then, finally, Metallica in November. It was only the second time I’ve seen them, the first being the St Anger (ugh) tour in 2004. On that night, I heard none of my beloved Kill ‘em All. On this night, despite the awesome setlist, still no Kill ‘em All for me–until they closed the show with Whiplash and Seek and Destroy. Fuck yeah! It was the icing on the cake. Hearing Turn the Page–a karaoke favorite of mine–was another huge treat.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Wow, what a total shit year for me musically. I’m not saying AIC’s comeback album is bad, it’s just not that special. And yet, who’s competing with them? Rammstein’s new album pretty much sucked, and Dethklok‘s sophomore release was pretty tired the first time I listened to it. Am I missing anyone else? Someone please tell me. Until I hear from you, Alice wins by default, which is fucking sad–both for the award and for the band.
MOVIE OF THE YEAR
They changed the original ending–one of my favorite endings of all time–and I still love this movie. That’s a tribute to director Zack Snyder for his painstaking efforts to keep this movie as close to the original 1986 comic mini-series (with the exception of the previously mentioned altered ending) as possible. And c’mon now, can you argue that this isn’t the coolest movie intro of all time? There’s just something about re-creating the Kennedy assassination, complete with splattered brains, that says, “buckle up folks, this movie’s going to be different.” You gotta love a movie that has balls like that.
As far as Watchmen’s competition at the box office this year, I can’t say I saw a lot of other movies. I missed out on big names like Transformers and Terminator due to complete lack of interest. Of the other nine 2009-released movies I saw this year, only 2 gave Watchmen a run for its money. Star Trek was fun, and JJ Abrams deserves a lot of credit for being able to drastically alter the Trek timeline while being absolutely respectful to the fanbase at the same time (and all the in-jokes that were cleverly sprinkled in for the fans were certainly appreciated). The Road was horribly depressing, and very very very well done. However, neither were anywhere near as fun to watch as Watchmen. I may not have seen every movie released in 2009, but I find it hard to believe there’s one better than this.
And for the record, Avatar sucked.
FAIL OF THE YEAR
If you want to peruse a wide variety of foods or go on a baseball shopping spree, Citi Field is great. If you want to watch a baseball game, not so much.
We Met fans were told a lot of lies about Citi Field going into the season. We were told there were no obstructed views in the park, and there turned out to be blind spots everywhere–literally. We were told all areas of Citi Field would be accessible to fans, and yet everyone who tries to walk along the second level of seating without a ticket is not allowed access. We were told we’d be blown away, and… we weren’t.
But the lies weren’t the biggest problem. The most frustrating aspect of Citi Field is all the areas in which the Mets could have scored an easy “A” and yet failed miserably, namely: the total and complete lack of Mets history. The unfitting black-colored outfield walls, which were black because a more Met-like blue wall–we were told–wouldn’t work (really?). The total absence of posters, signage, or even blue and orange paint. The fact that it took hundreds of blog entries around the internet like this one to even get our playoff achievements displayed, and even that they fucked up at first. The same can be said about celebrating our former great players within the park, and when they finally listened to us we were supposed to be happy with hidden displays like this.
This is all just the tip of the iceberg. I’m not even going to get into head-scratcher shit like the stupid ugly tarps they threw above the bullpens because I’ve already gone on too long.
Bottom line: it doesn’t feel like home. Granted, a winning ballclub would go a long ways in that respect, and we’ve been made more promises about making it more Mets-centric in 2010, but this is a 2009 review–and in 2009, Citi-Field was nothing more than an over-priced, over-hyped ballpark the Mets seemed to be temporarily subletting until a new, more Met-centered home was built (or until the Dodgers came back from LA). That would explain why we weren’t allowed to paint or hang pictures, or why we didn’t bother unpacking any of the Mets-history stuff.
WIN OF THE YEAR
PILGRIMAGE TO CEDAR POINT
As I said after I got back, if you’re a roller coaster fan and have toyed with planning a trip to The Roller Coaster Capital of the World: stop toying with it, just go. It’s more than worth it. Crackerman, Siamese Dream, the Virgo and I drove all the way from Queens to spend 2 full days there, and it wasn’t enough. For those who aren’t into roller coasters, you just don’t know. Cedar Point is Coaster Mecca. This is not an exaggeration.
Cedar Point is fucking magic. Where to begin? How about jolt we all got when we first laid eyes on it over the horizon and realized after years of dreaming, “holy shit, we’re actually here. We are actually fucking HERE.” Or maybe our first trip down Millennium Force‘s 300 foot drop at 90+ mph. Or later on during our first day when the bliss that is Maverick somehow bumped Great Adventure’s El Toro out of my Number One Coaster spot. Or the non-coaster thrill rides I wasn’t even considering when we planned the trip like Skyhawk and Power Tower. Or after a day filled with thrill rides and 15 roller coasters, a soothing walk through the stunning Starlight Experience to calm the adrenaline, followed by a dip in our hotel hot tub at 10pm, a walk along the Sandusky beach at 11pm, and frozen drinks until it’s time for bed, as we drift to sleep with the Millennium Force music still happily playing in our heads.
Cedar Point is the fucking best.
Six Flags Great Adventure, our home park, is certainly nothing to shake a stick at. It’s widely accepted as one of the premiere coaster parks in the world. And yet, Cedar Point blows it out of the water–not just for all the reasons listed above, but for what I believe is the most important intangible factor: the staff. It’s a weird thing to celebrate, but it’s deserved. Those kids are probably making nothing yet they couldn’t be happier to work there (it seemed that way anyways–and isn’t that all that counts?). They were having fun with eachother, having fun with the rides, and having fun with the guests. Fun was in the air, and it was intoxicating. You couldn’t help but be on top of the world. Sometimes literally.
Hands down, Win of the Year. Thanks again to Crackerman, Siamese Dream, and the Virgo for making it happen.
“All clear, you’re outta here… enjoy the rest of the day at Cedar Point, America’s Roller Coast. Ride on!”