Best of ‘Twelve

Firsts in 2012
Saw a silent movie 1.2.12
Totaled a car…or rather had someone total it for me 1.4.12
IMG_1930Fixed a vacuum cleaner 1.15.12
Met someone I only knew over Twitter in person, the glorious Susan Isaacs 1.31
Saw the Oregon Symphony 2.3
Visited (and learned to spell) Albuquerque 2.8
Presented at an academic conference 2.8
Joined a book group 2.20
Paid off my school loans 2.27
Volunteered at an elementary homework club 3.5
Found a float on the beach 3.24
Hosted my mother for Easter 4.8
Presented in a college class as an alum 4.12
Got my first ticket from a nice police man very late at night 4.23
Joined a team to write a play about my dear little town 5.10
Co-hosted a retirement extravaganza/reunion 5.31
Went to Hogwarts (Wonderful Wizarding World of Harry Potter) and loved it 7.5
Rode Splash Mountain 7.6
Watched a thunderstorm over the ocean 7.8IMG_1998
Watched a probe land on Mars via the Internet8.5
Turned 25 8.8
Hosted an Olympics birthday party 8.12
Was terrified on the first day of class—as a professor this time 8.28
Applied for a Fulbright Grant 10.18
Was on Google Maps 10.22
Voted in a presidential election 11.6
Measured my scar 11.14
Moved into a new office with windows 11.29
Watched someone get a tattoo 12.1
Spoke in worship 12.2
Attended my first NBA game 12.10
Learned how to play a song on the ukelele, thanks to my brother 12.30

Best of Television:
Gosh, it’s hard to say what the best of television in my world was. I watch a lot of sitcoms and a lot of shows, so while the rest of the world is geeking out over The Walking Dead or Breaking Bad, I’m giddy over Doctor Who and Parks and Recreation. Speaking of which, I had to go through my first companion transition in Doctor Who, and I’m not handling it well, as in I loathe the new companion even though she’s completely delightful. Ben and Kate wins best new show in my book, because it’s delightful, just realistic enough, and snappily witty. But the winners of everything are: Sherlock (duh, have you seen this show? It’s the best thing I’ve ever seen) and Girl Meets World, the latter which isn’t actually a show yet but it will be and for that, universe, thank you (Kid Gets Acquainted with the Universe? Anyone?)
Runners-Up: White Collar, Spaced (a hidden gem), Smash (like a trainwreck you can’t look away from), Castle, The West Wing (Sorkinese wins the day), Merlin (man, this show is great), Community (Six Seasons and a Movie), 30 Rock, Once Upon a Time, Downton Abbey

Best of Movies
Well, if I’m not watching television while cooking dinner, I’m watching movies. I’ve also started going to movies by myself, because why the heck not. Great movies came out this year, and you can’t make me pick one. The Avengers was filled with just the right amount of wit and cleverness, plus attractive and special effects (Joss Whedon FTW). I watched a lot of Bond movies this year, but Skyfall was fabulous: both visually, action-y, and character-y (two of those aren’t actual words). Judi Dench is a goddess. The look of Moonrise Kingdom is what the inside of my brain looks like, and it was a fabulous story to boot. But the winners of the 2012 movie mania must be The Hobbit and Les Miserables. Yes, they both came out in December, and yes, you probably hated one or both because you’re a huge fan and it’s not like the original. Obviously, I have gripes too; I’m a nerd, and these are my favorites. But I love those two stories enough to be thrilled that they’re being told again and in such beautiful ways. I grinned through most of The Hobbit, and sobbed my way through Les Mis. Guys, to love another person is to see the face of God. What more can I say?
Runners-up: The Artist, The Muppets, Beauty and the Beast 3D, Moneyball, Midnight in Paris, War Horse, The Descendents, The Hunger Games (midnight showing, baby), Blue Like Jazz, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Gary Oldman, FTW), Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (I’d like to be Maggie Smith, please), The Amazing Spider-man, Brave, The Dark Knight Rises, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Pitch Perfect, The Bourne Legacy, Argo

Best of Music:
Concert—It’s a tie between Switchfoot (Seattle, November) and Pentatonix (Portland, December). Switchfoot gets the favorite-band-nostalgia-amazing-venue votes, whereas Pentatonix gets the pop-culture-television-acapella-nerdy votes. I saw Switchfoot for the first time in nearly three years in a tiny sweaty Seattle club with my younger sister and half of Seattle Pacific University. It IMG_0101was a magical experience, such a joyful camaraderie between the crowd and the band. Pentatonix was unreal—the thing those youngsters can do with their vocal cords is unbelievable. They are better in real life than they seem on television or YouTube because you can see that it’s just five young adults standing on a stage with microphones, making beautiful music with their mouths.
Runners-Up: Oregon Symphony, Ingrid Michaelson, Alfie Boe

Audio—Though I was excited for Mumford’s new album, The Lumineers take the cake on this one. They got me through so many hours of grading, it’s unreal. Yeah, they’re that folk-inspired rock/indie crap that everyone loves or loves to hate. Seeing as I’m in the former camp, I’m just happy to find new music I love and makes me happy. So there. Also, in the musical world, I became obsessed with both the Once musical soundtrack and the Godspell revival. The musical of Once took the songs I already loved and made them fuller. The Godspell revival, a show I already adore, updated the hippy-ish songs for a more modern audience, and “Beautiful City” makes me cry every time.
Runners-Up: Mumford and Sons, Paper Route, Sufjan Stevens (December=Sufjan’s Christmas, nonstop), Phillip Philips/the Olympic theme song, James Vincent McMorrow, The Civil Wars (please come back), One Direction (don’t hate)

Best of Theatre:
I got to see some excellent theatre this year, but the ones I’ll remember strongest are not because they were the best shows I saw all year, but they meant the most to me. One was at my old high school: Hello Dolly, the first show I ever worked on. That show changed my life in so many ways. I got to watch it in the same auditorium, directed by my old directors, sitting next to my best high school friend, the one who got me into theatre and was in Hello Dolly “with” me. It was all sorts of nostalgia, but it meant a lot. The second show that I’ll always remember is A Break in the Clouds, a show I helped write with some of my closest friends about a community that I love very much. The process taught me about collaboration, how difficult and life-giving it is. And on opening night, I saw the story of people we had come to love explode into being. Another moment that meant a lot.
Runners-Up: Love Never Dies (in the movie theatre), The Phantom of the Opera 25th Anniversary (on PBS with Ramin), The Sunset Limited, She Loves Me, Beauty and the Beast (magical, as expected), Harvey, The Broken, Next to Normal (devastating and glorious), I Never Saw Another Butterfly, The Servant of Two Masters, It’s a Wonderful Life

Best of Books:
Once again, I made my goal! Approximately four books a month all year. Granted, September and October got a bit dicey, but it all worked out, thanks to overdoing it during boring summer. I joined a book club this year, which helped my book reading quite a Boot_jkt-330lot, and had me read some books I wouldn’t have normally. Plus, the group is smart and sassy, so I adore going. I read a variety of books this year, so I’m going to choose a couple that stand out. Wild is probably my top pick of the year, because it combines so many things I love: nonfiction, beautiful writing, a journey, an independent female protagonist with psychological issues. I’m not a hiker, so I though she would lose me there, but it turned out, neither was the protagonist, which make me able to put myself in her (literal) shoes. I read lots of Sherlock Holmes, both canon and non, which was a joy. The best of the non-canon bunch is the short novel The Final Solution by Michael Chabon. Exquisite, simple, and gripping. For fiction, I have to choose The Alchemist, which is more of a myth about the pursuit of dreams and/or art. Required reading for anyone who wants to pursue their passions. Angle of Repose was long and heavy, but filled with some of the most beautiful prose. And I keep recommending Ender’s Game to people, especially fellas who liked The Hunger Games but wanted more strategy. It’s coming out in movie format next year, so read it now, so you can brag about how you read it before it was cool and how the book is way better than the movie.
Runners-Up: Listening is an Act of Love; Quitter; Love Does; Franny and Zooey; All is Grace; Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me; The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes; The Once and Future King


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