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The Chocolate Mud Wyvern Presents
2011 in review 
1st-Jan-2012 11:03 am
Oliver & moths II
Happy New Year to all and sundry! I hope it will be a great year for you.
My back is giving me grief today, which is perhaps not the best start to a year, but we finally have some bright sunlight in Auckland after a week of miserable rain and wind washing out the end of 2011. I'm going to take that as a sign to look over the year as a whole :-). Highlights of 2011 for me include:

Reading in general
It's been a great year for reading; I've read a grand total of 157 books, which means I am now firmly back in the reading groove (especially of novels). My favourite books of the year:
  • Catherine Valente's The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making.
  • Terry Pratchett's Men At Arms, Moving Pictures, Monstrous Regiment and Night Watch.
  • Some really good short story collections by Robin Hobb/Megan Lindholm and Ray Bradbury and the young adult anthology Firebirds.
  • I've been making good headway through Orbit's Science Fiction Masterworks series, and it's been extremely rewarding.
  • I've just re-read the manga Basara in its entirety over Christmas. Sigh - so magnificent - but I've said tons about that before.
Plus I now have all my entire collection loaded onto LibraryThing, as well as everything I've read since 1991, and I'm using Goodreads to see what my friends are reading and share what I'm reading with them. This has actually been heaps of fun *cue spasms of geeker joy*.

Girl Genius
I mentioned a few months ago that I'd fallen hard for the webcomic/graphic novel series Girl Genius. Set in a steampunky alternate version of Europe ruled over by mad scientists (aka Sparks), it follows the adventures of Agatha Heterodyne, last scion of the heroic Heterodyne family. It's got an engrossing story, sly humour, fabulously witty dialogue, generous dollops of romance and great characters - it's chock full of talking cats, sentient castles, gentlemen adventurers and monster soldiers with a keen fashion sense, not to mention a never-ending parade of wonderful female characters (apart from ultra-Spark Agatha herself, we have pirate-queens-cum-airship-captains/homicidal-maniacs, monster hunters, warrior princesses, androids, scientists, actors, mechanics, secretaries, soldiers, spies and villains *happy sigh*).

Fullmetal Alchemist
I've loved Fullmetal Alchemist (manga and anime) for years, and during 2011 I have *totally* been in the mood for it. I've blogged a bit about catching up with the Brotherhood anime and re-watching the original anime series, but this is really just scratching the surface of how much time I have spent watching the anime and music videos, reading the manga and fanfiction (I have found some fairly astonishing stuff that's been written in the last few years) and just thinking about it in general. Equally importantly, I have managed to cunningly addict both of my younger sisters to the Brotherhood anime (guess my work here is done!), and now I can look forward to watching my FMAB blu-ray discs on our new, BIIIG digital TV :-).

Jersey Boys
We went to see this awesome musical about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons in November when we were in Sydney for xiaobellsa's 30th birthday, and dear god, it was amazing! It was sharp and funny and moving, and the most incredible energy just rolled off the stage through the entire crowd - even the little kids in front of us were going bananas, and there's no way that they'd been raised on those songs (speaking of which, I hadn't realised just how many of their songs I knew, and just how damn catchy they all are. We've been singing them for the last six weeks).

Lows of 2011:

Our cat Ben died from a nasty illness, less than a year after we had to put Phoebe down :-(. And it hasn't affected me personally, but this has been a *terrible* year for many of my countrymen and indeed, for many people around the world. So I sincerely hope that 2012 has far fewer natural disasters and man-made nastinesses in store.

New Year's Resolutions:
I don't usually make formal resolutions, but I thought I'd give it a go this year - let's see how well I manage to keep them:
  • Be healthier! I haven't been as good this year eating-wise and exercise-wise as I should have been, so I've put weight back on that I (laboriously) lost a few years ago. Plus, I've been sick quite a lot this year, picking up lots of bugs (including two horrendous bouts of flu that left me washed-out for weeks and weeks). It's time to get healthy! I prescribe careful eating, sustained exercise, and lots of sleep.
  • Write! I've had a fantasy epic gestating in my head for years, but it's always been "bubbling under" and not actually being written. Well, this is the year to get some proper work done on it! I want to do work on shaping and sharpening my writing in general, as well.

Things I'm looking forward to:
  • The second Girl Genius novel, Agatha H and the Clockwork Princess, is due out in April, as is the audiobook version (here's hoping Angela Dawe will be the narrator again, because she did an amazing job with the first novel). In addition to that, the eleventh graphic novel should be coming out in print, as is the shiny new omnibus of the first three graphic novels. A year stuffed full with Girl Genius-y goodness, in other words.
  • I intend to thoroughly kick my reading backlog in the butt! I've finished off all the books that I bought in the 1990s and still hadn't read, so next target is to tackle all of the books I bought from 2000 to 2005.
  • Now that I've re-read Basara, a re-read of one of my other favourite manga series is surely overdue. The only problem is, which one to choose? Please Save My Earth? Boys Over Flowers? Rurouni Kenshin? Samurai Deeper Kyo? Decisions, decisions!
  • The Rurouni Kenshin live action movie! I'm always a bit leery of live action versions of manga, because they're more likely to be ghastly than glorious - but the trailer looks so cool!

ETAs: Trying to get the weirdness with the Youtube embedding fixed, to no avail. So you only get one video after all :-(.

This entry was originally posted at salimbol @ dreamwidth. Feel free to comment on either site.
1st-Jan-2012 12:48 am (UTC)
We share the same vibe in Health and GoodReads/general reading groove! A Healthy New Year to you, too ^^.
1st-Jan-2012 07:21 am (UTC)
To a year of healthy living and generous reading! :-)
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