A few of my favouite moments, things and people in 2022, saved for posterity. Thoughts and hopes for the year ahead.
Well amidst the third year of the pandemic, invasion of Ukraine, and the UK generally falling apart, this year has somehow been a little less messy for me personally.
Again this year, I've spent a lot of time in the comfort of my own home and continued to modernise and renovate. And I can safely say it's looking pretty good at this point!
I was lucky enough to do a little travelling this year, visiting both Copenhagen and London briefly for work. It was my first time in Denmark, but naturally, many baked goods were consumed. I'd love to spend more time there in future.
And now in no particular order, some of the media I enjoyed this year...
Having picked up the manga last year, it quickly became a personal favourite. So it was great to see a well produced anime series hit the screen this year.
MAPPA [JP] have done a great job adapting this series for TV, creating a well paced, action heavy thrill ride. Characters are balanced against one another, and even minor characters from the manga feel like they have more weight on screen.
The soundtrack too features some great pieces, and each episode ends with a new popular track which usually captures the tone of the story. It really adds to the sense that each episode has been crafted deliberately, with great attention.
The opening too, is a bop...
I'll eagerly await a second series, but until then the manga continues weekly in Shonen Jump.
This series wasn't on my radar until I spotted a gif via Hideo Kojima's Twitter feed. He had posted about it a few times and I thought it was worth checking out.
What I got was a John Wick-esque action series featuring an all loli anti-terrorism unit, coupled with slice-of-life humour and some great character driven storylines.
Generally, a fun, upbeat show.
Apple TV released this original series in February and I am hungry for season 2.
The premise features a corporation which “severs” employees memories between their work / personal lives. Naturally this dystopic technology permeates every facet of this fictional world, and raises important moral and ethical dilemma.
The video and audio techniques create an eerie mood, coupled with beautiful art direction, which make this surreal universe grounded and familiar.
I've heard it described as Lost meets /r/antiwork and that seems pretty fitting.
Another treat from Apple TV.
Season one dropped in April, and established the narrative with a high-stakes kidnapping by a white extremist group. A team of MI5 castoffs lead by sleazy super sleuth Jackson Lamb (Gary Oldman) unwittingly become wrapped up in a deeper conspiracy.
Despite the grim plot, the cast of characters provide lighthearted relief and I found myself laughing at tense moments.
Slow Horses makes me nostalgic for classic British spook and cop shows. Season two has just wrapped, and season 3 is coming soon.
From Amazon Prime, based on the William Gibson book and executive produced by the Westworld creators - this is another high production science fiction series.
Set a little in the future, technology has advanced. Particularly games, which are much more immersive. Flynne Fisher (Chloë Grace Moretz), a skilled player is gifted with a unique interface which transports her far into the future, at which point both timelines and the plot get a bit convoluted.
It's an enjoyable series, with fantastic casting and great world building.
I had to mention this one, if for no other reason than production value.
I'm not a huge LotR fan generally, but appreciate its impact on both fantasy writers and cinema. And The Rings of Power likewise features some incredible moments.
Telling various stories from the second age, as someone relatively unfamiliar with the books and greater lore, I could enjoy these in the context of the films alone.
I went in with low expectations, expecting a fun romp on the Shinkansen, but spent most of the film laughing my ass off.
Bright visuals and character archetypes, make this film feel more like a live-action anime than a Hollywood blockbuster. And that's a good thing.
Great casting, and particularly enjoyed Tangerine (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Lemon (Brian Tyree Henry) as British assassin duo, complete with passable cockney accents.
Michelle Yeoh has gone from strength to strength, but this film really shows the depth of her acting abilities.
I'm generally a fan of her acting and some older martial arts films, but she really shines here in her role as a mother.
Supported by Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan and James Hong, the Wang family faces relatable struggles, despite the supernatural aspects of this film.
And there are some really funny scenes too, with absurd situations giving way to beautiful heartfelt moments.
I dropped everything non-critical in February to enjoy this one.
Expecting a difficulty curve, I wanted to give myself time to adjust and really immerse myself in The Lands Between.
But the relative linearity of previous Souls-like titles gives way to a vast open world and player agency, meaning the brick-wall of a boss encounter can often be bypassed - even if temporarily, in order to explore or level in other areas.
I found myself exploring Elden Ring well into March, and eventually completing the main story feeling fully satisfied with the wealth of content and challenges leading to the credits.
I was delighted by the voice casting in this game too. There are a lot of Welsh accents and regional English dialects. It's great to hear, and really fitting in the environment.
Something a bit different. I was a fan of the first title, and the turn based strategic battles.
I was always interested in the XCOM game mechanics, but ultimately didn't get into the series because it felt quite generic otherwise.
With Mario + Rabbids, Nintendo offers the familiarity of its flagship protagonists (and the resources and polish that typically accompany them). The Rabbids join to make things suitably bizarre and allow Mario and co. to explore worlds or situations that might otherwise feel a bit “off-brand”.
I'm still working my way through this one, but it continues to entertain.
Probably one of the reasons I've enjoyed this album so much, is the familiar themes and motifs from the artists' work on the Disco Elysium soundtrack.
That aside, this is a great album from start to finish, and has been a good accompaniment to work with this year.
Listen to Everything Was Forever by Sea Power on Apple Music.
One of my side projects this year has been creating a series of branded products through print on demand services. This serves as a fun outlet for creating designs I wouldn't otherwise have an opportunity to work on.
I'll continue to produce new original and parody designs for the next year or so, and if it's successful - in terms of sales and reception (plus my own enjoyment), I might continue into 2024.
You can visit the store to see the full range of products.
I'm making a return to podcasting in 2023.
Close pal Sean (@LovableKazie) and I are in the planning stages of a conversational podcast, which harkens back to our digital collaborations in high school and college.
The whole premise is very relaxed, and we'll likely just chat about various things that interest us. As much as anything else, it'll be a fun distraction.
I didn't climb nearly as many mountains as I did in 2021 (not for lack of trying!), and there are a few routes on my list that I'd love to attempt - time permitting.
I'll try weaning myself off Twitter entirely. Not as a reaction to Thinky Boy's $44b acquisition of the company, but I do care who else is using the service - and I'm noticing the departure of more and more people who post the content I enjoy.
Whilst I could pursue them to different platforms (I already have a Mastodon account), I'll take this opportunity to just cut Twitter from my list of online haunts. I've spent more than 14 years on the micro-blogging site, but I'm increasingly of the opinion that I need to utilise my own platform, and get back into the habit of fully articulating my thoughts.
And somewhat related I'll be updating this blog more often! I might even fix some of the broken bits.
And please, as ever, be excellent to one another.