The Year That Was: 2021

Overall, 2021 turned out to be as interesting a year if ever there was one. In recap:

  • The year started with a bunch of shitheads storming the U.S. Capitol, all in the name of the biggest shithead of them all.
  • A week later, I started talking with a rabbi about converting to Judaism. (The two events are completely unrelated, just painting an accurate timeline.)
  • In May, three weeks after being fully vaccinated, my wife and I took a much needed vacation down to Mexico (Tulum).
  • In August, we went to our first concert since February 2020. We saw Japanese Breakfast, she opened with "Paprika", and I teared up. It was a good show.
  • I started experiencing abdominal pains in mid-July, so I went to the doc. A few weeks later, I had a 7 cm pre-cancerous polyp removed from my colon and was rushed to the ER due to a significant loss of blood during the procedure. I was discharged the next day and have been mostly fine since.
  • Having pushed it back for over a year, my wife and I were finally able to take my mom to Europe at the end of September. We spent a week in the U.K. (London, Windsor) and a week in France (Paris) -- all in all, a pretty great trip.
  • The final Daniel Craig James Bond film finally came out and exceeded my hopes and dreams for what it could be. I cried.

And with that, here are some of my favorite things that came out this year:

None of the few books I read this year came out in 2021, but Martha Wells' fifth book in the Murderbot series, Network Effect, came out last year and I read it this year and the series continues to be a fun read -- really, the books equivalent of popcorn films.

Only a few of the many movies I watched this year came out in 2021. In alphabetical order, here are my top three favorite films of the year:

  1. Wes Anderson's The French Dispatch was pure joy from beginning to end and I'm glad I got to see it in the theatre.
  2. Judas and the Black Messiah was so so good. I hope LaKeith Stanfield wins an Oscar; his performance riveting and real, nuanced and complex.
  3. I went alphabetically, but No Time To Die was my favorite movie I saw all year. What a way for a current Bond actor to go out!

There are two other movies out now that I'd love to see, but I'm back to not feeling comfortable going to the theatre, so I'll just mention here that I'd like to've seen Licorice Pizza and Nightmare Alley but have not.

I tried out a bunch of music streaming services, and I recently just started back up scrobbling to, but these 11 albums came out in 2021 and, in my opinion, are worth your time. Or, at the very least, listening to them will draw you a pretty accurate picture of the type of person I am (alphabetical by artist):

Courtney Barnett - Things Take Time, Take Time
Lucy Dacus - Home Video
girl in red - if i could make it go quiet
Japanese Breakfast - Jubilee
Pinegrove - Amperland, NY
Remember Sports - Like a Stone
Royal Blood - Typhoons
Shannon & the Clams - Year of the Spider
Sleater-Kinney - Path of Wellness
Sufjan Stevens & Angelo De Augustine - A Beginner's Mind
Wolf Alice - Blue Weekend

(I'd also like to mention Born Ruffian's PULP, which also came out in 2021, but it's kind of like the third in a trilogy that started in 2020, and I think it's best heard when listening to the trilogy as a whole -- JUICE, SQUEEZE, PULP -- so give it a listen if you'd like, but first please just know where I stand on this very important topic. Please. I beg of you.)

I'll cut to the chase: I'm kind of over writing this and linking to things, so I'll just say this: Between my thoughts on current streaming services and my list of shows watched this year, you can probably find something worth watching -- there are just too many good shows out there!

The Jewish new year came to us a few Gregorian-calendar months ago. A little while after the fact I'd tweeted:

I've made some decisions in my life that weren't great, and I've made some that were. So have you (general statement, not pointed). Let's both be better in 5782, okay.

And so I'll say the same right now and hope for all of us to do just a little bit better in 2022. Happy New Year, e'rybody!


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