The yearly tradition of writing about the year in the last 48 hours that remain of the year continues, with 2005 being yet another spectacular one for favorites. I once more reiterate the standard year end disclaimer that these are just my favorites, and that you very well may detest each and every single item that I so adore.

The first album that I have to mention is Phish’s “Live at Madison Square Garden.” This was recorded on December 31, 1995 at New York’s well loved Madison Square Garden. I was fortunate enough to be in attendance at this show, my first time seeing them on New Year’s Eve. From the opening notes of Punch You In The Eye to the wild and crazy Chalkdust Torture and everything in between, it very well could have been one of their best shows to date.

On related note, former Phish guitarist came out with a lovely album, “Shine”. I didn’t realize how amazing the album was until Trey made an appearance at the Paramount Theater. Listening to the album again I found myself loving the music even more. I suggest you pick up the DualDisc edition, which has the full album on both sides. One side is a traditional CD, and the other is a DVD, which has a better quality recording of the album as well as a documentary about its making.

There were two bands that I was introduced to this year that put out fantastic albums. I had heard a lot of great things about Coldplay but it wasn’t until it was right in my face (literally) at Starbucks, where I was working at the time, that I had the opportunity to pick up the album. Granted, I also saw it at Target and just about every other store I frequented, but having that little bit of a discount was a bit of an incentive. X+Y is brilliant and a delight to listen to, the musical equivalent of a good cuddle or relaxing conversation.

On the other end of the spectrum is Hot Fuss, by The Killers. To me, this hearkens back to really serious rock bands of the 1970’s. I could easily imagine The Killers alongside The Who and Bruce Springsteen on an arena tour in 1974. They played amazingly well on Saturday Night Live (which, if you look at my year end article from 2003 is a substantial improvement) and I hope to see them live one day.

It is worth mentioning that Ben Folds put out the delightful Songs for Silverman, although I do not feel prepared to write about it as I have not given it enough of a listen to write about it.

At the end of last year, the Gilmore Girls ended on a bittersweet note – daughter Rory was separated from her mother Lorelai by choice, as they were fighting. On the other hand, Lorelai at the very end of the last episode of the season proposed to Luke, whom she had been dating for the last season. This season has thusfar brought Lorelai and Rory back together, with Rory planning on returning to Yale – any mother would be relieved. My mother was certainly happy when I returned to Rutgers to finish my degree in Communication.

Everwood has had one of its strongest seasons yet, though I have had to learn not to rely on anything I have found online regarding the show. Earlier this year I read somewhere that the character of Ephram wouldn’t be present for the bulk of the new season. Thusfar this has been anything but true – Ephram has been in every episode and not in a minor way. I look forward to see how this season ends up.

There were two important discoveries I made this year in television: La Madrastra and Coronation Street. I found out about La Madrastra through The Soup, a weekly recap of reality television shows, talk shows, and celebrity life in general. Every week the host, Joel McHale, would find something funny to discuss. Whether it was the foaming death of one of the characters or the revelation that the real killer liked to dress in drag, it intrigued me enough to start watching every night. I’m sure if I was able to understand Spanish better I may have appreciated it on a different level. The level of actually understanding what most of the things people were saying, for example.

Coronation Street I found out about through a criticism of the English Wikipedia, which contended that the entry on Coronation Street was longer than that about Tony Blair. I was able to find the show on the Canadian Broadcast Channel, and though I didn’t have any clue what was going on, watching it since July has certainly given me a good idea. The show as it is on CBC is actually a few months behind of what is being shown in England, where the show comes from. Thusfar this year we have seen everything from the murder of a father to the attempted cover-up of said murder, and the suicide by means of soda and sugar (Would that really kill a diabetic?) that came as a result of the cover-up. What’s great about the show is that it’s on almost every day, has interesting characters and plotlines which make you want to find out what is going to happen next. Thanks to the wonders of Bit Torrent and a site that I can’t mention, I will soon be watching the very same Coronation Street being watched in England. (I have every episode from August to the end of December on DVD now.)

This year I didn’t see nearly as many films as in previous years, but I managed to see some excellent films nevertheless. The top three films for me had to be the new Star Wars film, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and Rent. I was so incredibly happy with the new Star Wars film – it seemed to make up for the joke that was Jar-Jar Binks. I would have taken him a bit more seriously if he hadn’t spoken in such a ridiculous manner. It would have been considerably better had Jar-Jar spoken in an alien tongue with subtitles to translate what he was saying.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire may have not had every single detail from the book but I wasn’t expecting it to – otherwise it would have been about twice as long. This could have been done as well, but I expect that the producers did not think as many people would have the patience to see such a lengthy film. I personally would have but then again I was one of the many people who loved Lagaan.

I need not write more about Rent as I already have, last month. I have to comment that I am disappointed how quickly it has come out of the theaters. It is already playing at the second run theater a couple of blocks away from my apartment. Again, I encourage you to see it if you haven’t done so yet.

I have to mention The Aristocrats because it features the world’s dirtiest joke being told by a wide variety of comedians. It’s not the very same joke – the joke, if you don’t know, features a basic outline which is always the same with the middle left to be written by the comedian. If you’re at all sensitive to foul language do not see it under any circumstances. However, if you don’t mind, it’s certainly worth a viewing.

Looking back at my conclusion from last year I am ashamed to say that I still have not finished “Kate”. However, I am significantly nearer to its finish. I work full time now from my apartment and don’t get a pound of coffee every week from Starbucks but I found a good health insurance plan that’s not too expensive. May this next year bring about the conclusion and publication of “Kate” and many more to come.