20 Things to Look Forward to in 2012: Part 2

WE ARE SO READY TO PUT LAST YEAR BEHIND US (yes, we are talking about you 2011), and embrace the future with full force. With that in mind, we’ve gathered 20 things to look forward to in 2012. Here’s the second installment in our 2-part series. (Missed part 1? Read it here.)

11 New Major League Baseball Stadium

The new Miami Marlins (formerly Florida Marlins) ballpark answers the one question we’ve all had about Major League Baseball since its inception: “Why in the hell aren’t there any fish tanks behind home plate?”Well now there will be a couple of them. Flanking both sides of home plate, there will be two aquariums holding over a thousand gallons of seawater and house a variety of exotic sea creatures, just as Abner Doubleday intended.

As over-the-top as giant fish tanks on a ball field may sound, the pièce de résistance of the new park is its home run feature. Designed by famed pop artist Red Grooms, the 74-foot sculpture will be located behind the outfield wall.  Promising to “come alive” with each home team home run, the colorful pink, blue, aqua, and orange mechanical structure will rise from a pool of water and commence with an animated show of flapping birds, waving palm trees and back flipping marlins all accompanied by psychedelic laser lights.

12 Dude, We’re Getting the Band Back Together

Fans of on-again off-again band drama will have several reasons to rejoice in 2012. The Beach Boys, System of a Down, Van Halen, Black Sabbath and wildly influential English alternative rock group The Stone Roses are all set to reconvene and tour this year.  The reunions promise to make it a stellar year for vintage music or at the very least provide fodder for future VH1 Behind the Music episodes. Also, we’ve got 50 bucks that says the Van Halen tour self-destructs by the third show.

13 More Top Gun

Everyone’s favorite homoerotic military propaganda film, Top Gun, has been converted to 3D for theatrical release in 2012. To add to all the excitement, according to film star and Scientology mouthpiece Tom Cruise, a Top Gun sequel is also in the works. Cruise is in talks to reprise his role as ace fighter pilot, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell.  The major sticking point is finding a script everyone is happy with and, we imagine, one that manages to work in an oiled up volleyball game montage into the plot.

14 Quad-core Smartphones and Tablets

Your dual-core processor smartphone is about to feel downright pokey. Quad-cores will rule the mobile market in 2012. What does that mean to you? Quad-core processors improve performance during multitasking as well as the performance of multithreaded applications, so you can expect your phone’s performance to be comparable to that of a desktop computer. So yes, you can stream porn while playing Words with Friends without dropping that call from your grandma.

15 The Twilight Saga Ends

What’s that sound you’re hearing? It’s the collective sigh of relief emitted with the realization that the final installment of Stephanie Myer’s soft core porn series for tweens and soccer moms will hit movie theaters in November. Whether you’re a fan, foe or oblivious non-combatant to the great Twilight debate, there is happiness to be found with the knowledge that the most drawn out angsty teen courtship drama of our time will finally be laid to rest.

16 The Hunger Games Begin

Suzanne Collins’ post-apocalyptic young adult novel makes its way to the big screen in March 2012. Thanks to a rabid fan base, a strong female lead character (yes we know Katniss is much cooler than Bella) and celebrity muscle in the adult cast (Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz), the teen love triangle set against a backdrop of state sanctioned televised death matches is one of the most anticipated films of the year. Or, at the very least, it will hold us all over until an actual television show featuring state sanctioned death matches inevitably premiers on TruTV in a few years.

17 Take Me to Your Leader

In what promises to be a year full of mudslinging and dirty politics designed to win the hearts and minds of the downtrodden, US citizens will take to the polls in November, deciding who will lead the country for the next four years.  But the United States isn’t the only major country prepping for a possible transfer of power. The President of France, Nicolas Sarcozy, will run for re-election in 2012 while term limits mean successors for Mexico’s Felipe Calderon’s, Tarja Halonen-the first female president of Finland. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez successfully skirted those pesky term limit laws by having them overturned in 2009 so he could be on the ballot again in 2012, but don’t be surprised if the cancer he claims to be completely cured of steps in to throw a monkey wrench in that plan.

18 Nintendo Wii U

With new offerings from Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft in the works, gamer geeks will be burning up the chatrooms debating which next generation console game system rules supreme.  While the merits of each will be hotly debated, the new Nintendo Wii U wins the first to market prize with systems available sometime in the 2012 (hooray for specifics!).  The most talked about element of Wii U is the new-fangled controller that features its own 6.2-inch mini- screen, an accelerometer, gyroscope, cigar cutter, a rumble feature, a special attachment that allows the controller to be used by pets, an inward-facing camera, a microphone, a bayonet, speakers and two cup holders. And we’re only making like half of that stuff up!

19 Epstein Attempts the Impossible in Chicago

For a lot of years, it seemed like the Boston Red Sox were never going to win a World Series again. But then, Theo Epstein rolled into town as the Red Sox GM and, in 2004, the Sox finally broke the dreaded curse of the Bambino to win it all. For good measure, they also took home the title in 2007 before devolving into the clubhouse chicken eating and beer swilling choke artists that they came to be known as this season.

Now, after years of unprecedented success in Boston, Theo Epstein is taking his considerable team building talents to the most unpredictable stage of all—the friendly confines of Wrigley Field. Can Theo Epstein do the unthinkable and bring a World Series title to the Chicago Cubs? Baseball experts in the know certainly aren’t ruling it out. For their part, Cubs fans are hopefully optimistic that the team will at least make it to the Series before crushing the dreams of an entire city once again.

But make no mistake, if Theo Epstein can somehow bring a World Series title to the Red Sox and the Cubs, he’s a first ballot Hall of Famer when he finally decides to retire, which likely won’t be for a while considering he isn’t even 40 yet. But seriously, you’ve accomplished a lot of cool stuff too. Don’t get down on yourself.

20 The End of the World

We sincerely hope you enjoy all of the things we’ve highlighted here. We do it with the intention of doing all we can to make sure the coming year is an enjoyable one, because come December, it’s all over. That’s what the Mayans and their wacky calendars say. Or, they would say it if they were still around. Unfortunately, in a move they apparently did not see coming, their entire culture was wiped off the face of the planet before most people even knew that what they were standing on was even called a planet.

But hey, don’t let the fact that they couldn’t see their own demise coming from a distance of a few years deter you from believing that they could accurately nail down the exact date centuries into the future when  the rest of us will bite it. Internet hysteria hasn’t let us down yet (you liked Snakes On a Plane, right?). There’s no reason to believe it will now.

Diana Cook is a professional aesthete with a sense of humor and an optimist. If you want to be deluged by her cheery thoughts and pithy observations, you can find her on Twitter or circle her on Google+.

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