Happy New Year!

New Year celebrations are usually attached with feelings of overwhelm that hang on everyone's shoulders almost in burdensome fashion but nonetheless positive. Perhaps it's just the kick of the booze or the high level of revelry that weigh down on someone the morning after; Or, perhaps it's just starting out another year with a clean slate (and a laundry list of rolled over resolutions!).

But nothing beats looking back at the year's past and breaking into a wide grin on thoughts of how good it really was.

A countdown is in order. My own. The best of year 2005:

1. Best Movie: Star Wars III:Revenge of the Sith. So you don't like it, fine. But you've got to give it to George and his franchise. The part when Obi Wan dislimbed Anakin after a gruelling lightsaber fight and was torn whether to finish off his protege or save him from the burning lava (crying out: "I loved you!") was just moving that I had to cry (okay, near tears then — come on, this is one ultimate guy film as Love Story is the ultimate chick flick). Runners up go to Sin City, King Kong, Harry Potter (not really: see previous blog entry), The Wedding Crashers and Memoirs Of A Geisha (not as good as the book but worth seeing anything about Japan again).

2. Best Athlete: Phoenix Suns' Steve Nash. He's number 1 in assists and voted as the season's MVP, need I say more? I mulled over San Antonio Spurs' Tim Duncan, boxer Manny Pacquiao and Yankees superstar Derek Jeter for this spot, too.

3. Best Song: Greenday's Boulevard Of Broken Dreams. Okay, not exactly a favorite but having to hear it blare incessantly in every nook and cranny of whichever place I was in, I gathered it was begging for attention. Plus, Billie Joe Armstrong and the rest of the band earned several MTV moonmen and a Grammy for the song. Not bad for these punk revivalists (and obviously, The Cure wannabes).

4. Best Band: Maroon 5. Not too heavy, not too pop, not too mainstream, not too preachy. The band is so good that I learned to like Kanye West when Adam Levine was featured in the song Heard 'Em Say. Incidentally, the band's She Will Be Loved track is also my choice for best music video of 2005 (wait, 'twas 2004 wasn't it?). Lucky Adam. She gets to date a cute girl and gets to screw (pardon the slang) her mom, too (images of Anne Bancroft and Dustin Hoffman of The Graduate fame in mind here; or Paul hooking up with Stifler's mom in American Pie; or Simple Plan's Stacy's Mom playing in my head…). Oh, and they got a Grammy, as well (not a good indicator of portent things to come but, hey, an award is an award!).

5. Best Book: This is a hard one, really. There's Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, which is keenly interesting and probing, not to mention controversial. There's Mark Weyner's Why Do Men Have Nipples? for answers to common and nagging questions. And, of course, Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince, which is less rivetting as its prequels and more of a bridge-of-a-book to JK Rowling's seventh and last installment. I choose Jonathan Safran Foer's Everything Is Illuminated. So it was published in 2002, okay, fine, shoot me! I just read it in its entirety this year and, if a segue is warranted, I intend to get his next one: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, which is published in 2005.

6. Best people on TV: I pick the weathermen. Their rise to popularity is largely attributed to the past hurricanes that hit the US and the South Asian tsunami in late 2004. From obscure, ridiculed, and largely ignored news fillers, weathermen were transformed to action stars overnight! Suddenly, they were plucked from the studio to battle winds, rains, floods, snow, and hurricanes reporting live in (sometimes literally) the eye of the storm.

7. Best new word: There are a few new words but the best ones come from the Washington Post's Style Invitational (bozone, innoculatte, osteopornosis, ignoranus, etc.). My choice would be from an article published in the December issue of GQ magazine: effyu. It's short for f*@# you! Goodbye 'Talk to the hand', hello 'effyu!'.

8. Best prank: Google Bombers/ Activists. Finding Dubya Bush and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (and a list of other prominent individuals) in cyberspace has never been this fun (and truthful).

9. Best Xbox game: Dead Or Alive 3. It's either Hayate or Kazumi for the win. Halo comes in close second.

10. Best gadgets: Ipod Nano and Motorola Razr V3. Both are slim, sleek, and highly functional (and I just got both), enough said.

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