Another Year Gone By

As the year winds down it’s that time once again for reflection on the year past. Time to mentally catalog the past year and look forward to the upcoming year.

Travel-wise it was a mixed year. This was a year of small weekend getaways instead of big trips. This is the first year in the last six or seven that I did not make it to Tennessee. I miss my friends there. I did make a couple of quick trips to Atlanta, where I have two friends now. I went on a mini-adventure of camping in the Everglades, which was a lot of fun, and I spent a fantastic Thanksgiving weekend in St. Augustine. I think this was the first time I ever did St. Augustine “right” by staying downtown in the old city. We parked the car and didn’t need it again until we left a few days later. Not bad considering I started off the weekend by dropping my car keys down a storm drain just as we arrived at the hotel.

Speaking of which, if you’re ever looking for a place in St. Augustine I definitely recommend The Inn on Charlotte. I looked at a lot of places online before settling on this one, but after walking around and actually seeing some of the places I considered, I think we got the best of the bunch by far.

On and off through the year I continued reading Neil Gaiman and loved both Neverwhere and Anansi Boys. The man definitely knows how to tell a story.

Besides Mr. Gaiman, two titles stick out for me that I picked up on someone’s recommendation. The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi is a fantastic story set in a near future that is very reminiscent of Blade Runner. It makes a couple of overt nods to Blade Runner and asks some of the same questions about what it means to be human, but the story stands on its own and is one of the best SF stories I’ve read in a long time.

The other title is The City & The City by China Miéville. It’s unlike anything I’ve read before; A murder mystery in a very soft SF setting that illustrates the way we percieve our world, or more importantly, the ways in which we don’t percieve the bits we don’t want to.

In movies, Touching Home and A Single Man were good. Inception was enjoyable. I found it funny to hear people say it was confusing since following deeply recursive computer code is what I do for a living. For me the best movie of the year was easily Winter’s Bone. It’s a dark movie that’s not meant to be happy or uplifting at all, but it was fantastic. Of course, Tron Legacy comes out in just a couple of days. Princess Bride and Casablanca at the Tampa Theatre were high points as well.

Musically, there were some real gems in 2010. Not many shows, but most of the ones I did see were fantastic. I FINALLY made it to the WMNF Tropical Heatwave. Despite the heat, the insane crowds, and the fact that it’s impossible to catch more than a few songs from any one band, it was an awesome show.

I finally got to see Assemblage 23 in Orlando, which was a real treat. Tom Shear writes songs that I wish I could have written. Vampire Weekend put on a good show at Jannus Landing Live but it was overshadowed by the fact that I saw my first Flaming Lips show there the very next day. I never paid much attention to the Lips, but a few people told me they put on a great show so I figured I’d go check it out. After seeing literally hundreds of shows it’s hard to impress me. I was impressed. There was more confetti than I’ve seen (including at Blue Man Group shows), dozens of huge balloons, streamers, and the singer rolling around the crowd in a huge hamster ball. That was just the first song!

The other big highlight was seeing Roger Waters play The Wall. I’ll probably never get to see that show again. I had chills through most of it. Of course the year wouldn’t be complete without another trip to Atlanta to see Metric.

So that was 2010. As always, the thing I’m most grateful for is YOU who take the time to read this and keep in touch. Let’s all make 2011 a better year!

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