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Showing posts from December, 2013

Alive in 2013

Being alive in 2013 has meant embracing the worst case scenario. To be honest, on the grand scale, this year didn't have a lot to recommend it. Politically this country seems to have slipped a gear. Yeah, I know that this isn't the first time the government's been shut down or certainly the first time when our two ridiculous political parties couldn't agree on anything. But for a year beginning with such minimal hopes, seeing them crushed again and again and again was dispiriting. In the process of writing these few year-end posts I looked back over my posts this year, especially the ones post-Newtown. Boy did I get that wrong. I figured worst-case scenario there would be some token expansion of the back-ground checks and a renewal of the assault weapon ban. And then it was just the background checks and then it was the NRA dancing in the streets. What an absolute failure.
I get a weird twinge of jealousy whenever I see reports of the Chinese space program sending a p…

What I read in 2013

I had a kind of mission this year to read at least five books written in 2013. I nearly made it. I'm embarrassed to say I haven't had a chance to pick up the wonderful conclusion of Chris Holm's Collector series, "The Big Reap," which is why is not included below in my five favorites of this year. But, seriously, don't wait on my opinion, pick up the book if you haven't already and read it. Chris is a great story-teller with one hell of an awesome concept in the Big Reap.
Science fiction and fantasy. That's what occupied most of my reading time. And when I say science fiction what I really mean is Kim Stanley Robinson. Green and Blue Mars, 2312, and this year's Shaman, and I've barely scratched the surface on this guy's writing. I can't praise him enough for his ideas and character development and simple inspiring spirit. In a year I rewatched most of Star Trek, this was the fitting literary counter-part. Robinson portrays imperfect, …

What I saw in 2013

Few of the movies I saw this year, except for Gravity and Captain Philips are going to make the Oscar Best Film list. Most of what I saw were science fiction, horror, or comic book movies. I enjoyed them, but they were not what I'd even call 'great cinema.' They were pop artifacts from a year filled with explosions, fist fights, and space ship battles. Still, any year where I got to watch a rocket powered fist slam into an unsuspecting Cthulhu beast probably has something going for it.
In any normal year I would be able to get to just about all of the science fiction movies except for one or two. In recent years this has not been even remotely possible. We are definitely living through a kind of bubble economy for science fiction and comic books. When it crashes I'll be sad, but for the moment it seems like every hair-brain scheme gets some kind of financial backing: Ender's Game? Sure, here's some cash. Giant robots fight kaiju? Absolutely, here's your mo…

What I heard in 2013

This will be the first in a series of year-end posts about what I'll remember this year for. I'll start today with music, and work my way through books, movies (and television shows), and overall experiences. As far as music goes, I have to say this was an unusual year for me. For the past few years I've mainly just bought the latest album from my favorites, picked up whatever the new critical favorite was and left it at that. I still remember when I could count the number of albums I had on my fingers, and how I would listen to each of those CDs obsessively, pouring over the lyrics. I've more music now than I'll ever be able to listen to fully, every really appreciate. So the music that makes a year for me is the stuff that won't be denied, that cuts above the clutter and leaves a mark.

What I wanted this year was to hear a particular sound. I'm not sure where this sound came from. But early in the year I realized I didn't have any music that really ex…