What changed your life in 2004?
January 8, 2005 7:38 PM   Subscribe

Now that 2004 is over, what things did you discover during the year—books, movies, art, philosophies, spiritual discoveries, travel opportunities, software, gadgets, products—which improved your life?
posted by dhoyt to Society & Culture (37 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I've started using my iBook G4 almost every day, and found it to be a great portable equivalent to my desktop iMac G5 (while working in Houston M-F and living in Austin on the weekends, the iMac is packed up in its box until we close on the house in two weeks).

I'm looking into using GTD methods to improve my productivity.

Today, I bought a XM Roady2 satellite radio and am looking forward to having it for drives between Houston and Austin in the next few months.
posted by mrbill at 7:42 PM on January 8, 2005

Hardy's wine and Webster's tenth.
posted by interrobang at 7:43 PM on January 8, 2005

I read Two Worlds, One People. It's a conversation between an Orthodox rabbi and a Reform rabbi. I bought a top-notch wool blanket, which will help when global warming drops New England temperatures by ten degrees (via SciAm). And I'm beginning to transfer my chocolate addiction from ice cream to a healthier alternative. Et cetera.
posted by cribcage at 7:52 PM on January 8, 2005

1. Studying in Paris - Has given me a bit of perspective on home and the importance of my ties back there (not to mention the whole becoming a global citizen deal).
2. Jean-Paul Sartre - Existentialisme est un humanisme - I never realized how far off so many people (including me) were when it came to existentialism. A very clear, optimistic, atheistic philosophy.
3. The Arcade Fire - Funeral - What started out as a pretty standard indie pop album developed over a number of listens into one of the most emotionally affecting records in my collection.
4. BitTorrent - Coughahem well nevermind...
5. M83 - Dead Cities, Red Seas, Lost Ghosts - I guess I "discovered" this 2003 album at the beginning of the year. It's now one of my favorite of all-time.
6. Situationism - The brainchild of Guy Debord echoed my sentiments on modern consumer culture.
posted by themadjuggler at 8:08 PM on January 8, 2005

I ate my first salad.

You see, when I was a kid, my parents would eat these salads made of iceberg lettuce, raw onion, & olives drowned in oil & vinegar-which to a kid is pretty revolting.

A couple weeks ago, at a Cuban restaurant, we were eating grilled shrimp which had a side of some kind of greens with a creamy dressing. I tried it and it was pretty damned good. The waitress said it was romaine & spinach. So I guess I just don't like iceberg lettuce. So a whole new world of eats has opened up.
posted by jonmc at 8:31 PM on January 8, 2005

6. Situationism - The brainchild of Guy Debord echoed my sentiments on modern consumer culture.

Right on.

This past year, my life has been improved by Bartlett's Familiar Quotations (17th edition), Bartlett's Roget's Thesaurus, and the Martin 000c-15e (auditorium model mahogany cutaway w/electronics).
posted by The White Hat at 8:31 PM on January 8, 2005

Bloglines. Has altered my daily life more than anything else this year.
posted by Quartermass at 8:39 PM on January 8, 2005

- another vote for GTD (Dave Allen's "Getting Things Done", for the uninitiated)
- India Pale Ale. I never knew I liked it, but it's a beer style I watch out for now.
- AskMe!
- snap-in toeclips + shoes for my bicycle
- Martha Beck's book Finding Your North Star, which despite an over-wrought style has been invaluable in figuring out where to next
- accounting and financial analysis. No, really.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 8:54 PM on January 8, 2005

Using a moleskine notebook to keep track of my budget and my ideas, not to mention using it to replace my wallet.
posted by drezdn at 9:39 PM on January 8, 2005

posted by WolfDaddy at 10:02 PM on January 8, 2005

Saag paneer. Halloumi (salty pan-fried Cypriot cheese). Drinking Keo in Cyprus taught me drink beer in general, which is nice. The joy of working on an archaeological excavation. Cyprus in general is a great place. Eastern Orthodox art. Pimm's #1 Cup (with ginger ale). Explosions In The Sky. Adem. Pinot Noir. Turkey (staying at the Australia-New Zealand Guesthouse in Selçuk near Ephesus was the most exciting part of my and my SO's mediterranean summer). Wikipedia.
posted by rustcellar at 10:11 PM on January 8, 2005

Bought a house. Might finally have dug my way out of depression. Discovered that there is some good television(!) Raised kids for a while. Learned lots. Discovered exciting new music. Didn't read enough books. Developed new skills. Ate more fruit.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:04 PM on January 8, 2005

Rose. Wong Kar Wai. Stephen Fry's books. The non-fiction of Anthony Burgess. Faye Wong. French cuisine (the finest and most expensive sort, though I could do without the expense). Rose. InDesign. CSS in-depth. Fine Buddhist cuisine. Quicksilver. Moving downtown. Echo. Deng something or other. Rose. Sleeping pills. MeFi membership. Various professional accomplishments. Dune books (revisited). Oh, and Rose.

And of course the AlexReynolds apology thread goes on the 2005 list.
posted by juiceCake at 11:22 PM on January 8, 2005

Ballet dancing.

I've tried many various forms of exercise throughout the years, and in the fall, I took a Beginning Ballet class on a lark. Turns out, I fell in love with it, and have been doing it for 4 months now. I'm definitely continuing on with it, and now look forward to class every week.
posted by spinifex23 at 11:31 PM on January 8, 2005

Oh, and how could I forget? del.icio.us. I created an account in December of 2003 but didn't start seriously using it until well into '04.
posted by mrbill at 2:24 AM on January 9, 2005

Mostly belated discoveries for me: the novels of Javier Marías; the music of the Elephant 6 collective; the TV show Trailer Park Boys; Adobe Creative Suite; and making my own stocks rather than just buying the powdered or concentrated stuff.
posted by misteraitch at 3:59 AM on January 9, 2005

Living by myself.
posted by ori at 4:07 AM on January 9, 2005

Trip to China. DR bass strings.
posted by Wolof at 4:31 AM on January 9, 2005

Frequent vigorous exercise and the understanding that not living like my hair's on fire can have its own rewards made it a good year.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:35 AM on January 9, 2005

Getting dumped and ending a very unhealthy relationship that spanned a decade. I still feel like I'm in a meatgrinder but I do see things improving in the future.
posted by pookzilla at 4:55 AM on January 9, 2005

Living by myself.

That's my goal for 2006.

I didn't discover a lot in 2004.
posted by kamylyon at 7:05 AM on January 9, 2005

posted by deshead at 7:37 AM on January 9, 2005

pavement (I'm a later bloomer).
posted by mcsweetie at 8:09 AM on January 9, 2005

My wife and I went to Puebla, Mexico for five days during Christmas.

Now we're throwing caution to the wind and moving there in June of 2006
posted by Hands of Manos at 8:42 AM on January 9, 2005

themadjuggler - Thanks for the pointers to The Arcade Fire and M83. I've downloaded both albums from iTunes. Great stuff!
posted by ericb at 9:41 AM on January 9, 2005

Bought a house. Moved to Chicago from NYC even though it seemed impossible. Learned to cook, and do so all the time. Went on the South Beach diet (it works folks). In general, started making decisions that seemed out there, unattainable, until I just put my mind to it. Great year. Damn it feels good saying that, nice question.
posted by xammerboy at 10:04 AM on January 9, 2005

I discovered that the reason that my innie had been an outie for the last year and a half was that I'd been living with an umbilical hernia. That would explain the huge pain I had when it happened, then. Being male, typically, I did nothing about it when it happened, ignoring the thing until last September when it decided to get bigger. Cue emergency admission to hospital followed by massive diet and new health regime; I've lost nearly 3 stone since 1 November.

That GTD book looks right up my street, hooray for MeFi!
posted by TheDonF at 10:24 AM on January 9, 2005

late discoveries for me too mostly. graduating from university and being scared out of my mind about the future, new friends (the first in a while i think?), upton tea (i know i know, it's been around for a long time and everyone who likes tea tells you about it, but i just didn't get my tea act together really 'til this year) and with it yixing tea pots and assam along with the whole "clotted cream" ceremony treat bit--hee, the arcade fire, i think (?) i was late to the game with explosions in the sky (they made another friend's "best of 2003" list last december and i thought hmmmm in january) as well as cass mccombs and saxon shore, fassbinder (the marriage of maria braun really is incredible and pitch perfect all the way through braun's transformations), ozu (late spring make me cry, and i almost never cry at movies), aj liebling (!), dawn powell, FINALLY read the handmaid's tale and oryx and crake, finally got around to reading aimee bender and lovelove her now, ditto elizabeth mccracken, read paul auster, read byatt, read life of pi way after the hype died down, rented almodovar's films to find out what the fuss was about and tend to agree now (amores perros is great), got more into graphic novels and comics (transmetropolitan, alias, did a weekend trip following the hudson river in the fall and visited once again the cia and hyde park (have done both before though), brian lee o'malley's stuff, adrian tomine's) thanks to some generous and persistent friends, milosz's essays, saw millennium actress, FINALLY read donna tartt only to find i really don't like her books (i feel slimy reading them somehow), ummm oh experienced the joy of using wusthof knives for the first time, made tagine for the first time, made my first choucroute proper, considered for the first time attending law school, lost at scrabble for the first time...what else...started reading paris review and utne reader with regularity...just a passing fancy on occasion before.
posted by ifjuly at 10:34 AM on January 9, 2005

oh, and 2004 was the year i finally "got" xiu xiu (before that, as my friend still says, xiu xiu was just "a guy screaming over gamelan") thanks to "fabulous muscles" and "i love the valley oh!"...also was exposed to the concretes, who are wonderful wonderful, and jens lekman.
posted by ifjuly at 10:38 AM on January 9, 2005

Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison. Scissor Sisters. Neil Gaiman (better late than never). Blue Lake Ranch. The Four Corners area of the US Southwest and its glorious National Parks. Monument Valley.
posted by initapplette at 10:54 AM on January 9, 2005

That work will work me to the bone if I let 'em.

That I've no problem getting girls.

Harold and Maude.

Gillian Welch.

How to be stupid (no, really).

Mil Millington isn't a one hit wonder.

And that lots of people want to see more movies.
posted by holloway at 11:38 AM on January 9, 2005

I didn't discover a lot in 2004.

Okay, I fibbed, I did discover a MetaFilter account!
posted by kamylyon at 12:46 PM on January 9, 2005

Things I found in 2004 I can not live without:

Del.icio.us - I was dreaming of something like this for years. It arrived.

iBook G4 - My productivity has doubled. At least.

NewsFire - The only RSS aggregator that works the way I do.

Ruby on Rails - Quickly becoming the only way to develop Web apps.

I think GTD and Tiger/Spotlight will be on my 2005 list.
posted by wackybrit at 12:47 PM on January 9, 2005

Oh, and in terms of movies.. the only one has been.. Man with a Movie Camera, which was shot in the '20s but is still totally mindblowing.
posted by wackybrit at 12:48 PM on January 9, 2005

- 511VT.com was the single most useful tool for me last year. Real-time-ish road conditions, statewide. Likewise weather.gov beats the hell out of any other weather site.
- Library of Congress's American Memory site continues to expand and amaze. Expanded on Jon Udell's library lookup bookmarklet with one called Lucky Cat that uses the Google/Worldcat relationship. See it in Amazon, look it up @ your library. Nice.
- I ditched all my social software network-type sites, started using Flickr and started sending spam-likely email to gmail instead of Yahoo. I still dabble with freecycle and my local business materials exchange
- Audioscrobbler has been fun for reminding me to listen to new music. Unalog is the delicious-y thing I've been enjoying
- I worked a whole year [part time] with no time off except for approved holidays and vacations and found that though I liked my job I hated the routine and vowed to never do it again, same for commuting to said job. I miss travelling as if it were an amputated limb, I pine for it daily. To answer the question, travel in general improved my life and going without it for 12 months was a mistake.
- I learned that working on a tricky relationship can actually be worth it if you're working on it with the right person. Stupidly pleased to discover I was with the right person.
posted by jessamyn at 7:39 PM on January 9, 2005

This is a great question which attracted great replies. It's what makes AskMe great. I'm so happy I got a membership in 2004 after waiting for so long.
posted by NorthCoastCafe at 4:56 AM on January 10, 2005

I discovered:

- that the DC universe is entertaining after you get used to it
- that writing about music sucks the fun out of both music and writing, and that it's better to enjoy the two without mixing them
- that having all of my music digitized and centralized really did change my listening habits, even though i didn't expect it to
- that road biking rules
- that Jim Carrey actually had one transcendently good movie in him
posted by COBRA! at 8:48 AM on January 10, 2005

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