January 6, 2007


Topic: More 'Best Of's for 2006

Note: 2006 was a great year in my life (it's hard to believe it's over). I made a big change and left the town I grew up in tand moved to Charlotte. I never could have imagined how great the change would turn out—there are so many great people here, I've had some great experiences. I am thankful for the opportunities I have been granted to make this move...

Best of Charlotte 2006

Best Restaurants in Charlotte

5th place - Thomas Street Tavern

4th place - Penguin

3rd place - Landmark Dinner

2nd place - The Dish

1st place - The Common Market Deli

Best Record Store in Charlotte in 2006

Manifest Records in Charlotte has one of the best selections of music and movies, new and used, that I've ever seen.

Best Movie Store in Charlotte in 2006

This category has a special place in my heart as I love movies so much

Visart Video – the truly the best video store I've ever been to. Here is an example of why Visart is so amazing. Their Christmas section contains all of my favorite Christmas movies:

Best of Everything Else 2006

The 'Best Of's pertain to several somewhat random categories. There will be a separate 'Best Of' posting for this years best movies of 2006, so be on the look out for that as well.

Best Newly Discovered Free Software of 2006:

OpenOffice is still my favorite freeware application. But this year I discovered a really amazing free graphic editing program named Paint.NET. Basically, some students at the University of Washington being mentored by some folks at Microsoft came up with this powerful application that is based on the old MS Paint application, but utilizing Microsoft's .NET framework it's extremely powerful and has advanced features like, layering images for really cool effects, and it features endless 'undo' capability, which is nice as you're learning how to use it. If you're on a budget and are looking for a nice graphics program to play around with then you should check it out.

Please take a look at my software links page for a listing of other great software I highly recommend.

Best Newly Discovered Podcasts of 2006:

Podcasting in general is all pretty new to me, and already I've latched onto some really great ones,

This American Life - http://www.thislife.org/

Ask A Ninja - http://askaninja.com/

Geekdrome, - (very sadly this has been disbanded. WHY! There was so much potential!)

TWiT (I was a really big fan of TechTV. Leo Laporte was one of the most talented people at TechTV before it unfortunately was dismantled by a corporate merger. Then I discovered TWiT and it's even better!) -

Best Newly Visited Cities of 2006:

This year was unusual for me because I had the opportunity to visit a lot of interesting cities in the US for the first time, some of which were more remarkable than others but all deserve special mention. There are certain cities and regions across the US that have their own charm and personality, almost like they have their own essence, which can create a haunting feeling.

Savannah, GA—I got a little taste of Savannah, GA this summer when I went to meet the members of a wedding party at a little beach community on Tybee island earlier this summer.

Asheville, NC – went to a film festival, was so beautiful, surrounded by mountains. Certainly the most alternatively-cool place in North Carolina

Dallas, TX—Went with my friends to Dallas, attended a Mass at the cathedral and then visited the spot where Kennedy was shot. It was very haunting to walk around the knoll, and see the X painted on the pavement where he was shot; it was kind of surreal, and I felt kind of like by just by being there I was somehow connected to that terrible event in the past. Maybe this was because it was my first time visiting the site of a real tragedy.

Fort Worth, TX—I didn't really see much of Fort Worth except to see a Rodeo which nicely summed up all my expectations of what Texas has to offer.

Athens GA—home town of The B52s and REM, I went to see Rogue Wave (unless I'm mistaken there was a flyer for RW on the way in Maggie's Bakery in the movie Stranger than Fiction)

Austin, TX—How is is that such a cool place can exist in Texas. The only way I can justify it is to think of Austin as to texas what the black dot is to the white half of a yen-yang symbol.

Charlotte, NC—Having met some amazing new friends, it's easy to call Charlotte my new home town, and my favorite new city of 2006

Best newly discovered beer of 2006:

Shinner Bock out of Texas,

Highlands Gaelic Ale Asheville, NC

Best Concert Experience of 2006:

I didn't really attend many concerts this year. But the two I did see were great. In the early summer I attended a Tom Petty concert. Trey Anistagio opened (he was the lead singer for Phish) and Stevie Nicks made a guest appearance for several songs. I drank a lot of expensive beer, and at the end of the evening as I was going to pee in the woods near where our car was I slipped and tumbled down a 30 foot slope in total darkness in the trees after the show; that in itself was kind a surreal experience.

The other concert I saw was in Athens, Georgia -- it was a band called Rogue Wave and their song 'Bird on a Wire' is really great. The venue was really cool. There were probably only about 40 people tops at the show; I'm pretty sure I saw a Rogue Wave flier stuck to the wall in Maggie Gylenhaal's bakery in the movie Stranger Than Fiction.

Best new song of 2006:

3rd place - Bird on a wire, by Rogue Wave

2nd place - Chasing Cars, by Snow Patrol

1st place - Crazy, by Gnarles Barkley

Check out my Best Movies of 2006 post. Movies get their own 'best of' entry for 2006.