I’m not going to do the standard meme this year. For one thing, I’m kind of sick of it and for another thing, it tends to ask things I don’t find important and leaves out other things that I do. So I’m doing my own sort of wrap-up this year. Go me.
This year was not a good year. There were good things that happened, no doubt about that. But on the whole, the taste left in my mouth from this long, hard year is altogether unpleasant. But then, I think this is kind of a theme: last year I was also unhappy with the year on the whole. Maybe I’m just hard to please. I think the difference last year was that I was in SUCH a hole mentally and emotionally. I wasn’t healthy at all and it was taking it’s toll. But honestly? I would take another 2010 if it meant I would never have another 2011. That’s just how bad this year was.
We all pretty much know the reasons this year was a hard one. There was a lot of things that happened to a lot of people that were very, very unpleasant such as the Joplin tornado, the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the accident at the Reno Air Races, etc and so forth. So I’m not going to go into that. I’m also not going to rehash losing my brother-in-law which was such an agonizing experience as it unfolded over the last 14 months. I know how much that sucked. You can probably guess how much that sucked. So let’s just leave it at that.
No, I’d rather look at the levity in the last year. What music, movies, books, television and all that shaped this year. This is the stuff that helped distract from the bad this year. That’s amazingly valuable. This year would have been a complete black hole without it all.
Music of 2011
I think the song that will end up reminding me the most of this year was LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem”. That song is just plain infectious and everytime I hear it, I want to dance and pump my fists. I think this song in particular highlighted everyone’s desire to shed the problems of the world and let loose and enjoy life. Happy songs don’t always indicate a happy time. Sometimes they just show a desire to escape from the bad. This song was nothing but fun. Love it.
Also notable this year:
“Edge of Glory” by Lady Gaga. My favorite song off her new album and probably Evie’s favorite song in the world.
“Firework” by Katy Perry. This one might have come out at the end of 2010 but to me it reminds me of the early months of 2011 where the uplifting lyrics really made me want to be better.
“Forget You” by Cee Lo Green. The clean version. I love the mood of this song. It’s toe-tapping, nose-thumbing anthem.
“We Found Love” by Rihanna. I know this is a new one but omg, I cannot stop listening to it. Darn you, Rihanna.
“Cheers (Drink to that) by Rihanna. Again. That girl gets around. Cheers to the freakin’ weekend!
Television of 2011
This was a GREAT year for television! We still don’t watch a whole lot. Network tv (as in ABC, NBC, etc) is still pretty much dead to us. I know there’s a lot of network shows that a good number of people love and support but we just never have gotten into them. Besides, we had enough to keep us busy over on cable!
“Breaking Bad” on AMC is far and away the best TV of the year. I am so, so happy that we finally caught up with this show because it was a REVELATION to us this last summer. And season 4 was so amazingly awesome (that finale!!) that I honestly don’t see how season 5 could even come close. God Bless Walter White!
Also of note:
“Boardwalk Empire” on HBO. What was WITH that finale, huh? Geezum crow! Always fascinating, this show is. I always root for Nucky and I suppose I still will but I have to make my peace first.
“Game of Thrones” on HBO. What a crazy show this is! I guess if I had to say one thing about it it would be: Don’t get too attached to your favorite characters. I don’t think anyone is safe on this show. I can’t wait for it to start up again.
“Walking Dead” on AMC. This show has it’s moments. The second season hasn’t quite been what the first was but I’m holding out hope for when it picks back up in February.
“True Blood” on HBO. I’m including this mostly just because we still watch but season 4 was a disappointment. Season 5 will have to step it up a lot.
Movies of 2011
We got to see a few more movies in theaters this last year because a) the little kids are old enough to go to movies more often now and b) Harry is old enough to stay home with the little ones at night for Kile and I to see a movie here and there. Plus there’s redbox and Netflix and all the other marvelous ways to watch. Lord, but I love movies.
I give the edge this year to “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2″. It’s a tough choice because there were many really REALLY good movies this year. But this was the LAST installment of Harry Potter and it was a mind blower. I didn’t get to see it until several weeks after it’s release and even then it was at the drive-in which doesn’t always make for the most immersive experience. But. It still got me. It was THAT good. I have goosebumps just thinking about it now even. Of COURSE we got it on blu-ray the day it was released. No brainer. Fantastic movie.
Also of note:
“Bridesmaids” – I didn’t see this one until redbox unfortunately, but it was worth the wait. LOVED it. Most of all, believe it or not, I loved Chris O’Dowd the most. It was this role and this movie that made us look up “The I.T. Crowd” on Netflix and watch all the past episodes. I’m a fan for life, yo.
“Crazy, Stupid, Love” – The hype for this one was spot on. I can’t believe I waited to redbox this one too. Everyone was spot on in this one. The feeling, the comdedy, everything was pitch perfect. And I kinda get the whole Ryan Gosling thing now.
“Super 8″ – ANOTHER one I foolishly waited until redbox to see. And again, the hype was correct. The nostalgia was thick in this one and I ate it up with a spoon. I need this one on blu-ray. I have the above 3, but not this one. Yet.
Books of 2011
I really started reading again this year and can I just say? I’m SO glad I did. Reading is a fantastic outlet; it stimulates the mind and helps me calm down before going to sleep each night. And I read some GREAT books this last year. I really don’t know if I can say one book was better than any other because lord. So many good ones.
But I have to give the edge to “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand. It’s a non-fiction biography and if you haven’t heard of it or read it do yourself a favor and get your hands on a copy. It is an inspiring story to end all inspiring stories. And it’s all TRUE, which is the most incredible part. You gotta read this one. JUST TRUST ME. This book has been on the best seller list all year for a very, very good reason.
The rest of these books are a very close second.
“The Hunger Games Trilogy” by Suzanne Collins. Sure, wasn’t written in 2011. But I read it in 2011. And it totally blew my mind in 2011. Twilight who? Forget about it. It’s all about Katniss. I cannot WAIT for the movie.
“Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen. Also not written in 2011. But who cares. I loved it. I never knew I loved old-timey circuses and elephants until I read this book. That’s high praise.
“A Discovery of Witches” by Deborah Harkness. I read this one for the BlogHer Book Club and LOVED it. Again, it takes Twilight and kicks it out the window. THIS is what a vampire book should be. I am excited for the sequel.
“11/22/63″ by Stephen King. The first book I read on my Kindle! And a GREAT book. Long but so, so good. I wish there were more books like this one. I would read them all in quick succession.
“Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson. I’m reading this one right now, in fact, but I’m including it anyhow. I’m only about halfway through but already I feel like I have a much broader picture of who Steve Jobs really was. Nothing so far has been terribly surprising but I suppose I’m mostly surprised that it isn’t all black and white regarding his temperament. It’s a lot more shades of grey. Definitely he was a brat. But he was also amazingly SMART. I can’t wait to finish it and find myself reading it whenever I catch a moment.
So there you have it. That is truly the best this last year had to offer us. Let’s tip a glass to the entertainment that has sustained us through this crap-tastic year and move on to 2012. (And while we’re at it, let’s hope that the movies aren’t right and that the world isn’t going to end, mmkay?)