Best of 2018 Assorted Lists

In which Shawn ranks things that happened through 2018 and counts all the things in his life
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From 2005 through 2012, I pretty consistently wrote my Sunday Morning Tuneage blog. It continued inconsistently through 2013 before being abandoned.  Each year was punctuated with a series of "Best of" lists.  While the blog still remains retired, I'm revived it last year for a Best of 2017.  The feedback was enough for me to compile it again this year.  Here's the Return of the Jedi of my "Best of" trilogy.

BEST OF THE REST 2018

BY THE NUMBERS

4,722,870 steps taken this year (2,290 miles)

365 Days walking over 5 miles in 2018

3 Days not walking over 5 miles since 1/1/15.

84 beers logged that were new to me this year.

0 times with the hiccups

26 books read (third year in a row of meeting 25-book goal)

0 concerts attended

75 movies related to Steven Spielberg watched

75 films released in 1988 watched

102 unique wines consumed in 2018.

20 movies seen in theaters (short of 25 goal)

3 States visited (lowest number in probably 20 years)

271 albums released in 1988 listened to in 2018

3 Bourbon steaks from Applebee's consumed.

4 Major League Ballparks visited.

300  levels of Candy Crushed.

1450 Consecutive Days logging my meals on MyFitnessPal

BEST BOOKS I READ IN 2018

1.  GAIMAN - THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE.  A story so beautifully imagined that I don't want to see it adapted in any other format for a long time.

2.  GAIMAN -  NORSE MYTHOLOGY

3.  STEIFVATER - LINGER.

4.  RIBON - MY BOYFRIEND IS A BEAR

5.  RUSSELL - GOD IS DISAPPOINTED IN YOU

FAVORITE WINES OF 2018

This year's alcohol project was to sample wines.  I have enjoyed a few wines over the years but my knowledge of wine was limited.  In fact, until I started to learn more about it this year, I didn't know how limited.  I've enjoyed learning some of the basic differences and more I've learned what I like and don't like.  I like a few red wines but mostly, I seem drawn to white wines.  I mostly sampled wines between $8 and $20 - so I can't talk to more expensive varieties.  Here's a list of the ones I'll seek out in future years.

1.  KUNG FU GIRL RIESLING.  Amazingly, what I would have considered my favorite wine when I started is still my favorite after a hundred more tries.  I don't know that my taste in wine expanded as much as I learned more about the market.

2.  POULLY-FUISSE LES GALOPIERES WHITE BURGUNDY.  A late entry with great taste.

3.  DELLATORI PINOT GRIGIO.  Having this later in the year convinced me that this cheaper grigio was well worth the cost.

4.  FRANCIS COPPOLA SAUVIGNON BLANC

5.  PACIFIC RIM RIESLING.  A little sweet but great with food.

6.  PROPHECY PINOT GRIGIO

7.  LOS PINOS RANCH PINKY TUSCANDERO WHITE ZINFANDEL.  Great label to boot.

8.  ODD LOT PETITE SIRAH.  A good single glass option.

9.  LOS PINOS RANCH COLIBRI SWEET BLUSH.  One of the few reds on the list.

10.  DOUBLE DECKER PINOT GRIGIO.  Loved the label and the wine.

BEST PIZZAS OF 2018

The eating project of 2018 was to get pizza and a beer at as many places as I could.  It's hard to get out of the rut of going to the same pizza joints around here.  So this project gave me the "excuse" to sample more places in the area and on vacation.  Having it with a beer because who doesn't have a beer with their pizza.  There are as many variations of pizza as there are beers.  The combination of crust, cheese, sauce, and toppings can make or break the pizza.  What I determined is that crust and sauce are what determines my enjoyment of a pizza.  These top 'zas have good crust and sauce in common.  Expensive doesn't always equal good in pizzaland. That's the good news.

1.  ROTOLO'S CRAFT & CRUST.  This new place was in danger of failure.  There was slow service, a wrong order, and generally chaotic environment.  But management admitted their error and gave me a free beer and covered our bread.  The pizza was our reward for waiting it out.  This deep dish was the best of the year and reminded me that a good Midwestern pizza is as good as they get.  I will be back here even when it isn't a pizza year.

2.  CANE ROSSO.  My note on this was that it's the best cheese I had this year.

3.  CAVALLI PIZZA.  Nice location and tasty pizza.

4.  J&J's PIZZA.  I miss working near this Denton joint.

5.  iFRATELLI PIZZA.  Some of the best sausage this year.

6.  CADILLAC PIZZA & PUB.  Great pizza but I do wish the space was bigger.

7.  DEL PIETRO'S.  A local place that I might have missed if I wasn't on this quest.

8.  JOE'S PIZZA.  Our quirky local place doesn't go crazy with options.  But as far as a local places go - this is a solid entry.

9.  CRUISER'S PIZZA BAR & GRILL.  Sometimes the setting and company - Balboa Beach with your eldest son on a July day make it even better.

10.  MARCO'S PIZZA.  This makes the list because my main pizza partner, Caleb (15), loved this one the most.

MOST MISSED OF 2018

1.  STAN LEE.  Contributed to so many aspects of my life, I can't even sum it up.

2.  BURT REYNOLDS.  Smokey.

3.  PENNY MARSHALL.  Loved her as an actress and even more as a director.

4.  STEVEN BOCHCO. Responsible for so many hours of TV entertainment.

5.  KEITH JACKSON.  The "voice" of college football for so much of my life.  Hard to watch a game played in the "Big House" and not hear his voice.

6.  KEN BERRY.  More people need to find love for F Troop.

7.  ARETHA FRANKLIN

8.  NICOLAS ROEG.  I love his quirky films but Don't Look Now the most.

9.  STEPHEN HILLENBURG.  Love me some SpongeBob.

10.  RINGO LAM.  One of the best action directors to come out of Hong Kong.

THINGS FROM 2018 THAT DIDN'T MAKE ANY OTHER LISTS

1.  THE WINTER OLYMPICS.  With my niece in the Bronze position after the first night of Ice Dance competition and an eventual fourth-place finish, it made for the most exciting two days of the year.

2.  PETCO PARK.  My son, Christian, and I did three ballparks in three days in Southern California earlier this year.  We were both most impressed with the whole presentation of this park and witnessed a very exciting game.

3.  PET DEATHS.  It was a very hard, emotional year in regards to pets here.  We lost beloved Miles in February and that led to a rough time for Desmond who was lost to us just weeks ago.  Both held important places in my heart and the house is very quiet without them.

4.  MARS LANDING.  Hell yeah.

5.  WILDFIRES.  The worst of the disasters of the year.  Also fire just scares me.

6.  2018 FIFA WORLD CUP.

7.  MICHIGAN WOLVERINE BASKETBALL.  As amazing and fun a run in the NCAA Tournament as I ever could have imagined.  

8.  THAI BOYS SOCCER TEAM.  Trapped in a cave and it has a happy ending!

9.  SELF-DRIVING CARS.  They appear a step closer to happening in more of a mass rollout.

10. IHOB.  I never made it to a House of Burgers before it changed back.

I used to have lists on here about DVD's I purchased and music I bought.  Those days seem quaint now.  I still listen to music but in ways that are less easy to quantify.  I listen to XM and CDs in the car and working out; walking and at work I listen to Amazon and Spotify.  Thank you, Spotify, for keeping stats for me.  This proves my reliance on 1988 songs all year.

MOST PLAYED SONGS FROM SPOTIFY IN 2018

1. ROB BASE & DJ EZ ROCK - IT TAKES TWO.  No surprise at the top.  It's been towards the top of my playlists for 30 years.

2.  MEGADETH - INTO THE LUNGS OF HELL.  Another no surprise.  The best of late-'80s Heavy Metal.

3. a-ha - STAY ON THESE ROADS.

4.  JOY DIVISION - WARSAW.  Love this tune as much as some of the bigger hits.

5.  STEVE EARLE - COPPERHEAD ROAD.  Every jukebox I encountered in the year played me this song too.

6.  THOMPSON TWINS - IN THE NAME OF LOVE.  Funny that this one bubbled up to the top of the list.  Not my fave of theirs but I do like it.

7. THE SMITHEREENS - ONLY A MEMORY

8.  PET SHOP BOYS - LEFT TO MY OWN DEVICES.

9.  TOM WAITS - 16 SHELLS FROM A 30.6

10.  EPMD - STRICTLY BUSINESS

Thanks for all the time you've given me.  I appreciate your patience with me through the year with my silly little projects.  I hope to meet up with even more of you this year to accompany me with these shenanigans.

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