Goodness me, 2019 is here, and it feels like it came swiftly, hence the delay in getting some final thoughts together for the end of last year. The holidays went off mostly without a hitch, although my threshold for human interaction did hit me right in between Christmas and New Year’s, and there was a mild attempt on my part to disappear for a little while. I also learned why I shouldn’t consume too many Trenta, quad shot iced coffees in my life, as they can lead to my brain literally going haywire in the middle of a shopping trip to IKEA and causing a little bit of a nervous breakdown in the middle of the furniture bins. All in all, however, I’d say that I more than survived the holiday season of 2018 and smoothly transitioned into 2019, planting myself more or less unscathed back at work and ready to take on a new semester.
As I’ve mentioned here several times before, that move back into “normalcy” is a strange one in my house. Everyone just about starts to get used to not have to go anywhere everyday and that’s about the time the break is over and it’s time to go back to work. Add to that the fact that there are no breaks on the horizon for neither E nor myself (we both pretty much have school from here until Spring Break, which falls in between Palm Sunday and Easter this year, a cool 13 or so weeks away), and you’ve got a potential recipe for disaster. But I’m proud to say we’ve gotten back into the swing of things rather well, a bit of a first for us, and I’d like to think that feeling settled into the new house and it really beginning to feel familiar and like home is helping, or at least it is for me. There’s still work to be done, and I get this constant feeling that we always have something we could be doing, but overall, things are feeling content for the first time in a while.
I will say, however, that all the happenings of this year–and really of our life–don’t allow as much time for media consumption as I’d like, especially in terms of time to take in as many movies as I have in recent years. We watch the Golden Globes on Sunday, and I really didn’t have much to say about much of the field due to my not having seen as many of the nominees as I usually do. There just isn’t enough time in the day. I should figure out a way to get the studios to send me Academy screeners. That would help a bunch.
All that said, I’ve done a fair amount of listening to things (169 albums this year with at least one listen all the way through, and countless podcast episodes), as a good amount of time in the car coupled with lots of hours in my office has granted me the opportunity to take in a lot of good stuff. One thing I’ve not done nearly as much of this year is reading books, however–partially because I spend a lot of my work time reading student papers and other writing–so I think I want to make that a bigger priority this year, even if it means doing more of that over the summer. Anyway, as a means of recapping 2018, I’ll leave you with my top albums, movies, podcasts and some good things I read, and wrap it up with some things I hope to accomplish in 2019. Happy new year!
TOP 5 ALBUMS of 2018
- mewithoutYou – [Untitled]
- Dearest – Sonder
- Household – Everything A River Should Be
- Emery – Eve
- Foxing – Nearer My God
The rest, in no particular order:
Mae – Multisensory Aesthetic Experience
Thrice – Palms
Death Cab for Cutie – Thank You For Today
Wild Pink – Yolk in the Fur
Crowder – I Know A Ghost
Justin Hurwitz – First Man OST
Basement – Beside Myself
Author – lifoiic
Underoath – Erase Me
Cory Asbury – Reckless Love
Pianos Become the Teeth – Wait for Love
Weathered – Stranger Here
It Looks Sad. – Sky Lake
Biggest disappointments in music: Dashboard Confessional – Crooked Shadows; Arctic Monkeys – Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino; Saves the Day – 9
TOP 10 FILMS of 2018
Like I said, seeing new movies was harder this year than it has been. My total this year was less than 25, so narrowing this down wasn’t as difficult as it has been in recent years. I’ve also included my “need to see” list so you can see just how much this list could have changed.
- First Man
- A Quiet Place
- Mission: Impossible – Fallout
- Avengers: Infinity War
- A Star is Born
- Incredibles 2
- Isle of Dogs
- Black Panther
Definitely not the best picture of 2018 (drama, musical, comedy or otherwise): Bohemian Rhapsody
Other things I liked: Ocean’s 8, Ready Player One, Ant-Man and the Wasp and Venom
Disappointing or just plain no good: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Deadpool 2, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewald (Middle movie goes nowhere syndrome), and the aforementioned Bohemian Rhapsody
Everything else (or movies I saw because I live with a 4-year old): Peter Rabbit, The Grinch and Solo: A Star Wars Story (which I’m still unsure about, but think I like more than most)
Finally, a long list of movies I didn’t see but wanted to (and may still yet): Won’t You Be My Neighbor, Death of Stalin, You Were Never Really Here, Tully, Leave No Trace, Eighth Grade, Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot, Christopher Robin, BlacKkKlansman, First Reformed, Wildlife, Widows, Roma, The Favourite, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, The Mule, If Beale Street Could Talk, Mary Poppins Returns, Welcome to Marwen
TOP 5 PODCASTS of 2018
- Happy Rant Podcast
- Labeled: The Stories, Rumors and Legends of Tooth & Nail Records
- Niners Nation Better Rivals Podcast
- The Ringer NFL Show
- School of Science Radio
TOP THINGS I READ IN 2018
(Note: Obviously little of this was new in 2018, but it’s simply what I read this year)
- Feverland – Alex Lemon
- The Cubs Way: The Zen of Building the Best Team in Baseball and Breaking the Curse – Tom Verducci
- Basketball (And Other Things) – Shea Serrano
- Authority – Jeff Vandermeer
- Horrorstör – Grady Hendrix
- Acceptance – Jeff Vandermeer
- The Dark Tower series, books 1-4 – Stephen King
TOP THINGS I WANT TO ACCOMPLISH/DO MORE OF IN 2019
(Just don’t call them resolutions)
- Finish this pesky manuscript I’ve been working on for well over a year and a half now.
- Stick to my read the Bible in 365 days plan (I’m already 7 days behind because I thought of it too late!).
- Commit to a 3-day-a-week exercise plan and make better overall health choices.
- Having said that, ironically I want to brew at least one beer per quarter/season.
- Golf with some frequency (quarterly, at least, I’d say).
- Record some music, possible an entire new album.
- Write more on the blog, but also produce more material like more poems and maybe even some stories and essays.
- Remember it’s okay to make time to do things I love to do, and that doing those things doesn’t always mean I’m selfish or not giving my family what they need. So I can see more movies, go to shows and take time to accomplish these goals; in the end, this time can mean I’m taking care of myself, which can be better for everyone.