12 January 2013

The Best of 2012

The year's continue to flash by and if you believe the believers, we survived the apocalypse in 2012 so we should count ourselves quite lucky! 2012 was a fun and interesting year and the ratings continued so let's see how things stacked up shall we? Some items/events that were rated in 2011 aren't applicable for 2012.

Best Holiday: Japan, November
Runner-up: Melbourne F1 Grand Prix, March

2012 was almost without a major holiday but after some quick investigation and cheap airfares with a full service airline, Japan was locked in for November and what an adventure it was. While I haven't yet blogged about it at this point, it was an amazing trip in a wonderful country where the people are so polite and welcoming. It was our first trip without being part of a tour group and we found our independence gave us a chance to really explore the place and see what we wanted to see, in our own time and pace. The only problem was that we had to come home again!

In March, we attended the Melbourne Formula 1 Grand Prix which coincided with my birthday weekend and that was a great experience as well. We got to spend some time in the city (which I hadn't done before) and enjoy what it had to offer and have our ears bleed to the sound of the F1 cars flying around the Albert Park circuit. I very nearly won a hotlap around the circuit as well but my 'dumbphone' and lack of social media access didn't help that. Still, the weekend was great fun!

Best Restaurant: Mamak, Sydney
Runners-up: Spice Temple, Sydney & Feddish, Melbourne

As with previous years, 2012 was filled with trying different culinary experiences. It's hard to count for all the Japanese restaurants we visited overseas (mainly due to a lack of proper translation of some of their shop names) so I'm discounting them from the running. I'm slightly surprised that Mamak is the restaurant to come out on top - not that it's not a worthy winner but the fact that nothing else we tried in 2012 came close. Mamak scored a 9/10 for speedy service and excellent food that was well priced.

Coming second is Spice Temple, also located in Sydney. This restaurant had a very different, intimate vibe about it with very professional service and excellent food. The other end of the price scale from Mamak but definitely worth a look if you like spicy Asian food.

Feddish was also a nice experience while we were in Melbourne and should be looked at if you are near Federation Square. Feddish was where we ate for my birthday and the restaurant had a nice ambience while the meal and service were great.

Honourable mentions go to The Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay and Black Angus in Parramatta, both scoring 8/10's for their food while the most average, lowest score of the year went to Open Korea in Camperdown with a 5/10 which provided very average service and not what we would have considered 'authentic' Korean dining.

Best Movie: The Avengers 4.5/5
Runner-up: The Dark Knight Rises 4/5
2012 promised some eagerly awaited action movies and others that tuned out to be quite interesting. For me, I had higher anticipation for The Avengers while my wife and many others couldn't wait for The Dark Knight Rises. So it's no surprise then that The Avengers managed to score the highest for the year, the only movie to get a 4.5/5 and The Dark Knight Rises came close in 2nd with a 4/5. Much of the remaining movies from the year scored 3.5's including 21 Jump Street, Ted, Skyfall and The Amazing Spider-Man. Perhaps the biggest disappointment of the year was John Carter scoring a 2/5.

The list is incomplete as neither Battleship or (more importantly) The Life of Pi have been seen by year's end - but that is difficult to do when the latter film is released on New Year's Day! 2013 will be an exciting year for me with the May release of the long anticipated sequel to J.J. Abrams Star Trek reboot. Eleonor and I were already treated to an exclusive screening of the first 9 minutes of the feature titled 'Into Darkness' and the agonising wait for May continues...

Best Concert: Alter Bridge - World Tour III
We were fortunate to have a few bands and performances come through our parts this year and all were quality acts making the choice of a 'best concert' quite difficult. In the end, I gave it to Alter Bridge for their high energy, entertaining performance at the Enmore Theatre in February. They followed the equally entertaining and questionnable Steel Panther (who we only caught the end songs from) and provided the concert in full mp3 format afterwards (something I think more bands should do to get more money out of us fans who'll pay the money for it!)

The other performances we got to see included Roger Waters 'The Wall', the 1979 album modernised for contemporary times and so fantastic, Evanescence toured for their self-titled album with Amy-Lee's voice as strong as ever and their new drummer providing a show of his own. We also saw the Flight of the Conchords perform at the Opera House, Nickelback light up Acer Arena (and invent a new word 'neglective') and ended the year's performances with the Doctor Who Symphony Spectacular, back at the Opera House. 

Roger Waters - The Wall



2013 promises to continue the trend (I hope), with Soundwave acts including Blink 182, The Offspring, Metallica, Linkin Park and many others...

Best Album: Linkin Park - Living Things
Linkin Park take the prize for the only new album I purchased in the year (not including various soundtracks!) so they win this award by default with a return to form (yet still too short) album for fans old and new. We will be fortunate enough to see them live on two occasions early in 2013.

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