Out of the Vale of Years (only one, actually)
This includes the fact that Troy Goodfellow is starting a series examining how science and technology are presented in strategy video games. If you didn't see his series on national character, you don't know what you're missing (I'm looking at you, walrusjester — ).
Unrelatedly, I left my series on the music of 2010 unfinished. There was a lot more to talk about... or, rather, lecture about--the distinction indicating maybe why I didn't find it worth continuing. Still, I feel a little bad not dropping some words about Sleigh Bells, Frazey Ford, S.Carey, the Walkmen, the disappointment of Ra Ra Riot's sophomore turn, or the simple delight of Superchunk's return. No one missed it, but my pick for best album of the year was far and away Tallest Man on Earth's Wild Hunt.
2011 couldn't quite compete with 2010 for amazing music. But, looking back, it wasn't as bad as I thought. There was Bon Iver's much-lauded second album, which I hope will, like Arcade Fire, beat out the hip hop contenders for Grammies galore. Iron & Wine, Fleet Foxes, and Okkervil River all added solid albums to their oeuvres. The Dodo's delivered on all their promise with No Color. Beirut's Rip Tide brought them to a new, more accessible place to round out the year. (They Might Be Giants took a step up on the adult music front, but they're probably not out of the hole they've been digging for a decade.)
Well, whatever. 2012 will bring a new Sleigh Bells. The Walkmen will be recording with Phil Ek (he of Built to Spill, et al.). The Beach Boys will be recording again, for criminey's sake! Let's see what happens.