Welcome back, everyone. I hope you all had a delicious winter break filled with fun and carelessness because I worked two jobs to afford living in this over-priced wasteland. But I’m not bitter. No my friends, I am enlightened.

After many New Year’s Eve drinks and my midnight kiss, my friends and I flagged down cab after cab only to find ourselves being pulled home by a bicyclist and his cart. As he pedaled us from the James Joyce past the freeway, he casually brought up that he recently graduated from UCSB and is having a hard time finding work. I thought to myself, “If I ever wind up pulling drunken idiots home on New Year’s Eve, I will jump off of the highest building I can find.” Then I realized I’ll never have to make that jump because the world is going to end no matter where I am in 11 months. Suddenly working retail during break didn’t seem so bad.

I should be concerned that the thought of the end of the world was comforting, but I like to think I’m a glass half-full kind of a gal. I finally understood what R.E.M. meant when they sang, “It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.” Instead of building bomb shelters or stocking up on survival kits, I made a vow to enjoy more art during 2012.

This is an exciting year. I graduate from this place, the presidential election is in November, the Party Down movie is projected to hit theaters and SNL will be performing countless “end-of-the-world” parodies.

I’m also excited for the Arts & Lectures ART | ARCHITECTURE ON FILM series, which starts this Sunday at Pollock Theater. The series will run through March, so be on the look-out for previews and reviews of these incredible films.

The Santa Barbara Independent Film Festival is also coming up, and you can view the announced line up online at www.sbiff.org.

Aside from film, Santa Barbara will be graced with musical performances ranging from Yo-Yo Ma to Radiohead. How could you not look forward to this year?

In honor of all that is to come, Artsweek writers chose their favorite “end-of-the-world” movies and books to share with you.