2013 Year in Review

essay

{Featured photo by Dafne Cholet, via Flickr, and used under a Creative Commons Attribution license}

This is actually a shorter year in review, only really covering the first half of the year, as I wrote up my Semester Summary that covered what I’ve done since the end of July.

My temp job at H&R Block ended on New Year’s Eve 2012, and so for a few months it was temping from place to place (including a data entry job at a place that looked like it was a reject form a late ’70s work-related sitcom). I started back up in late March.

I technically beat Oblivion (or at least closed all the Oblivion Gates), but was still finishing up on side quests when my PS3 died in mid-January. Still waiting for the money to fix it, as it’s one of the rare backwards compatible ones and I play PS2 games still.

My friend marsha had to be moved (twice) into a more controlled assisted living facility, as her Alzheimer’s is just getting worse. Met up with friends Terry & Lillias Freeman-Hogan for Proof at City Theatre of Independence, and had a good time catching up after. In July, we took a mini-vacation down to Sullivan to see my family, which was fun. Family is what you make of it.

The whole year was little projects that were steps on the whole ‘getting ready to move to LA’ project: scanning in some stuff to clear out the paper, going through some of our boxed items and either re-boxing them more securely or getting rid of the items, and so on. I also finally left volunteering with KC Stage, and have not missed the stress with that at all.

USC campus. Photo by Rich Sutton.

In early February, I started wanting to write fiction again: something that hasn’t happened for over ten years. I’m still not as prolific as I was back in 2001, but it is enjoyable again and I’ve been getting story ideas and hearing characters in my head again, which is definitely something to celebrate. I also delved into Tumblr full stop (had technically started in October of 2012, but 2013 was the year I started focusing what I wanted to do with it), as well as fell head-over-heels in love with Sherlock. I had liked the first series enough, but it wasn’t until the beginning of this year that I got around to watching series 2, postponing it due to being afraid “Reichenbach” would trigger suicide guilt – which it kind of did, but it also was what jump started the love of writing as well.

In late March, Rich and I took our first plane trip together: flying to LA for a preview weekend for USC. The trip was good. And when it snowed in May, it made me doubly glad that this winter was spent in LA.

April was Planet ComiCon in Kansas City, where not only did I get to meet Wil Wheaton (still waiting on him following up on my request to interview him: he had said he was open to it, and then never responded to any future follow up), but webcomic artist Randall Milholland (where I also bought a Choo Choo Bear).

Over the year, went to a book signing for Robin Wayne Bailey, Peter S. Beagle (with a screening of The Last Unicorn at the Alamo Drafthouse), and – as mentioned in my semester summary – the Thrilling Adventure Hour people and Col. Chris Hadfield.

My partner and I, trying not to fangirl over Col. Chris Hadfield

One of the things I didn’t mention in my semester summary was being able to interview Travis Richey, the guy behind the web series Untitled Web Series About A Space Traveler Who Can Also Travel Through Time, and it was great.

For the year in media review, I’m not going to cover EVERYTHING I read/watched, but I do want to talk about some of the high and low points.

Low point: I only read about six books (there were a couple of my textbooks I only read part of, hence the vagueness). I read a lot more online (mostly news stuff), so I’m not TOO upset, but I still feel a little sad knowing I read less than I have. Among the books read include Sherlock: The Casebook, by Guy Adams; Memo from David O. Selznick (a great book to see how movie producers used to do it, and Selznick – producer of Gone With the Wind – did it right); and The Late Shift, by Bill Carter (which is a fascinating piece of journalism).

High point: while I had to give up some of the podcasts I listen to (sorry, Stuff You Should Know and Stuff Mom Never Told You), this was the year I was introduced (and fell in love) with Welcome to Night Vale. The Thrilling Adventure Hour had a very successful Kickstarter campaign for a graphic novel and a DVD of their live show. The audio play version of what is right now my favorite Neil Gaiman novel, Neverwhere (unless you count Good Omens, but since it’s co-written by Terry Pratchett, I don’t) broadcast with a dream cast, and did a fabulous job. And I can’t remember if it was this year or last that my friend introduced me to Cabin Pressure, but a special shout out to that as well.

My theatre viewing actually went significantly down this year, partly due to burn out and partly due to lack of time. I only saw three productions in Kansas City, and 11 in Los Angeles, including the fabulous Flowers for Algernon from Deaf West Theatre and the Troubadour’s Walkin’ in a One-Hit Wonderland.

As for entertainment, I saw a wide range of movies, television series, and web series, although it all took a bit of a nose dive once school started.

For web series, I discovered Space Janitors on the Geek & Sundry channel (great parody/homage to the Star Wars universe), the very warped (but in a good way) Neil’s Puppet Dreams, and The Guild wrapped up it’s sixth (and apparently final) season.

Leverage ended it’s series, as well as The Sarah Jane Adventures and The IT Crowd. However, I started Smash (and lasted until about halfway through it’s second season), The Newsroom (for a class, to boot!), inadvertently fell in like with MasterChef Jr. (Jack deserved to win, dang it!), and am still trying to decide what I think of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I continued my love affair with My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic with season 3 (and need to catch up on season 4), waited patiently for the last season of Warehouse 13, and gave up on Community (they started learning LESSONS – LEGITIMATELY!).

David Bradley in ‘An Adventure in Space and Time’. Photo courtesy BBC.

Doctor Who had it’s 50th, which included the very lovely An Adventure in Space and Time and the hilariously cameo’d The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot. My consumption of British media included catching up on Downton Abbey, finally getting a chance to watch Blackpool (still trying to decide what to think about it), and watching Skyfall.

My newfound love for Sherlock made me fall in love with the actors as well, and therefore caught a lot of stuff with the actors. Starring Martin Freeman: Swinging with the Finkels, Nativity (both of which will be my ‘proof’ that I’m a fan if I ever get to meet the man), Wild Target (wherein Martin Freeman proves that he is able to reach the uncanny valley without the use of CGI), Confetti (which is a great mockumentary), and technically the Cornetto Trilogy, although I would’ve watched it without Martin as I’m a Simon Pegg fan as well. Starring Bendict Cumberbatch: Third Star (dear God, one of the best depressing movies ever), The Fifth Estate, August: Osage County, technically Star Trek into Darkness (although like with the Cornetto Trilogy, I would’ve watched it without Ben anyway), and sorry, Ben, but I’m waiting to see Twelve Years a Slave when it’s out on DVD. Got to see A History of Horror with Mark Gatiss (a wonderful documentary on horror), and even caught a couple of things for Rupert Graves (re-watched V for Vendetta and Death at a Funeral, and trying out Room With a View).

I attended a live cinecast of Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, as well as the one forĀ Rifftrax Live: Starship Troopers, and watched live (at home) the National Theatre 50th anniversary special. I also got to go to the re-release of Jurassic Park (in 3D) for it’s 20th anniversary. I also watched some good independent films such as Sleepwalk with Me and Philomena, Safety Not Guaranteed (time travel, people – TIME TRAVEL!), as well as Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing.

Missing The Hobbit, I re-watched and liveblogged the Lord of the Rings trilogy. And then later that year, I not only got to go to the red carpet premiere of The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, but got to attend the taping of Ben’s appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

I was pleasantly surprised by The Hunger Games movie (haven’t seen Catching Fire yet), Iron Man 3 (Ben Kingsley stole every scene he was in), and Ted. Was whelmed by Thor: The Dark World, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, and was disappointed in Jack the Giant Killer. And finally, fell massively in love with Frozen and Gravity.

And that’s my 2013 in review. May 2014 just continue this awesome streak that I’m on. I can only imagine what next year’s year in review will hold, with a spring internship at The Hollywood Reporter, my spring semester including going to a live show of Welcome to Night Vale and The Thrilling Adventure Hour, and my hopeful summer internship in London.

Happy New Year!