This year will go down in the history books as one of the stinkiest. We lost so many incredible influential artists; people that had shaped so many of our childhoods. There was a lot of bad crap that 2016 dumped on us. But there was also a lot of good.
Stuff that I consumed:
Top 5 Movies of 2016
3. Rogue one
4. Captain America: Civil War
5. The Jungle Book
It was generally a great year for movies. There are a bunch that didn't make my tiny list. And the ones that did make it are varied in style and execution. And I loved them all.
Top 5 Television Shows that I discovered this year
2. Game of Thrones
4. Stranger Things
5. The Leftovers
Television continually surprises me. Amazon and Netflix are helping to raise the bar of quality. I didn't even have room to list Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. I had known that I would love Game of Thrones for a while, but I kept putting it off. Finally, I got HBO in order to watch Westworld, and found myself fitting six seasons of Game of Thrones in between.
Top 5 Albums that I discovered this year
1. Elements by Kina Grannis
2. The Clearing by Bowerbirds
3. A Moon Shaped Pool by Radiohead
4. Blackstar by David Bowie
5. Blue by Morgan James (Joni Mitchell cover album)
Again, not all of these albums came out this year, but these are the ones that I happened to discover this year. Truly beautiful music. I love that new artists and music continually come out, but there's always an amazing rabbit hole of past music to be unearthed.
2. Fallout Shelter
3. Batman Arkham VR
4. Eagle Flight VR
While not technically a 2016 game, Skyrim got remastered this year. As one of my favorite games of all time, it was an easy decision to pre-order and ultimately devote another 200+ hours to it. I love last year's Fallout 4 as well and I recently found an iOS version called Fallout Shelter. It's become my go-to game while waiting in line at the post office.
I'm super excited for what VR games continue to come out for the PS4. The ones I've played this year feel like tech demos. But Batman and Eagle Flight stood out as unique and enjoyable full experiences. While Codenames isn't a videogame, I listed it here because it's one of my new favorite boardgames.
Gadgets and toys
1. Hover camera
2. Celestron microscope
3. GoPro hero 5
4. iPhone 7 plus
This has been a great year for gadgets. The dual camera made the iPhone 7 plus a tremendous tool for creating content. I've had a lot of fun exploring the hidden microscopic world around my apartment with my new Celestron microscope. The GoPro Hero 5 is the best GoPro by far. It's voice activated, 4k, and waterproof without a case. It has single button operation which makes catching moments effortless.
Two things that almost made the list for this year were the GoPro Karma drone, and the DJI Mavik drone. The Karma got recalled, and the Mavik isn't available to order until late January. So I suspect that those two will make next year's list.
Stuff that I made
I think of all the stuff I made this year, I'm proudest of my debut solo album, Diamondhead. It was a project I started last year on a trip to Hawaii. While on the island, I wrote and demoed five songs from my hotel room. Later when I got back home to Vegas, I enlisted my friend Bill Zappia to produce the tracks properly. Along the way, we wrote a sixth track together. It took many months longer than either of us expected, but by September, my first solo album was released.
During the early months of the year I also finished writing and demoing my next two albums, Forest and Budapest, both of which I'm hoping to record and release in 2017. I've got a lot of music planned for the next few years, and I'm really quite excited about all of it. But Diamondhead is special to me for being the first project in this new phase of my life.
I made a ton of artwork related to the album, Diamondhead. In fact most of the art I made this year is tied to Diamondhead in some way. But I did manage to make a bunch of new zombie pieces. I also explored some new styles that I hope to continue exploring in the new year.
I started off the year making a few vlogs that I hoped would become an ongoing series. But in my classic sprint-then-abandon style, I slowed way down. I have a bunch that I filmed, that I still have to edit. And I've been filming bits of new ones. I made a lyric video for the first track on Diamondhead, Back To You. I also made a ton of experimental pieces in Blender and After Effects, a lot of which I've yet to post. I learned a lot by messing around with both of those programs.
I finally relaunched my own website, daspetey.com, to be a better hub for all the things I make. There's a bunch of art and music up there now, and I hope to continually add to it. I'm also excited about blogging and vlogging more frequently.
2017: The shape of things to come
I have a tendency to get down on myself whenever I drop the ball on something. I get sad at my inability to be consistent. But I've realized recently that nothing good comes from that kind of negativity. I'd still drop the ball, but now I'd be hindered by the negative energy. That's no way to make progress. So I've decided to not do that anymore.
2017 will be a year of creating new habits. Small ones. Sustainable ones. Habits that encourage positivity and celebration. There's a lot I want to do next year, and I don't want to get in my own way.