The Year That Was: 2022
December 31, 2022•1,234 words
A 2022 recap in a similar fashion as my 2021 recap? Well, I can certainly try!
- I continued on my journey converting to Judaism (fast approaching) (and by that, I mean my date, not a day without eating)
- My wife and I went on a few getaways - some small, some grand - and all were great(!):
- A weekend in Saugatuck, MI
- Five days in Santa Fe, NM (stayed at Los Poblanos Ranch, highly recommended)
- A weekend "up north" (Crystal Lake, MI)
- A weekend in Chicago, IL, for a wedding
- Two weeks in France (started south, made our way up to Paris and Champaign)
- An impromptu weekend getaway to Mexico City, Mexico (did a couple quick tours, saw a Lucha Libre show)
- We also signed back up to enjoy a season of live performances through Broadway in Detroit (and we've renewed for next season as well)
- COVID finally caught me mid-year, but I've mostly been all right health-wise this year
...and I think that's about it. There were certainly less stressful things happening this year, and it was overall a year of good times and just kinda staying the course.
And with that, here are a few of my favorite things that I experienced this year:
I didn't read a ton of books this year (eight), and there was a pretty heavy Jewish slant to the lot (all of them), but there are two that stick out most: Ari Shavit's My Promised Land and Why the Jews? by Dennis Prager & Joseph Telushkin.
In my opinion, My Promised Land does a great job of explaining why there's a need for Israel to exist, but it does so pretty critically. A lot of "pros" and "cons", "fors" and "againsts", "that makes senses" and "why'd it have to be like thats", and Ari ultimately leaves it up to the reader to decide where they themselves land. Not a single person has asked, but I couldn't recommend this book enough to anyone with any interest on the topic.
Where Ari leaves room for the reader to decide, the authors of Why the Jews? take a pretty hard-line approach at explaining the origins of antisemitism at almost every point throughout human history, leaving zero wiggle room for the reader to consider if something was or was not antisemitic. I don't know that I'm as quick to recommend Why the Jews?, but I do think it was worth reading.
The coupling of these two books together gave me much to think about and I appreciate them for that.
This was a pretty good year for movies for me. My good friend Jesse and I continued watching movies together on a near-weekly basis (and he made me start a Letterboxd account), my wife and I enjoyed a few films together ourselves, and some movies were just so good to me that I couldn't help but buy physical copies of them.
I started writing about some favorites but then the list grew to be a bit too long, so I decided to make it its own post, but as for the ones deserving of owning a physical copy? No Time To Die (2021), Pearl (2022), Suspiria (2018), and X (2022).
If you were to look at everything I've listened to this year, you would see that the year started with a pretty heavy rotation of Avril Lavigne, but I think I can explain myself:
Avril's new album came out in February. When it was released, I was thinking "Huh! Haven't heard anything from her in a while, I wonder how it is." so I put it on with fairly low expectations, but was surprised when I ended up really enjoying much of it. This made me wonder what her last few albums were like, so I went on a bit of a listening spree and discovered that there's actually a lot to like in most of her albums. I was going to write about this journey - I have copious notes - I just haven't yet; perhaps something to look forward to(?).
Anyway, in what I think is chronological order by release date, here are 20 albums released in 2022 that I anywhere-from-liked-to-loved-a-lot this year; maybe you will too(?):
- Cloakroom - Dissolution Wave
- Pinegrove - 11:11
- Spoon - Lucifer on the Sofa
- Big Thief - Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You
- Avril Lavigne - Love Sux
- SASAMI - Squeeze
- Tears For Fears - The Tipping Point
- Wet Leg - Wet Leg
- The Smile - A Light For Attracting Attention
- Wilco - Cruel Country
- King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Omnium Gatherum
- The A's - Fruit
- Dawes - Misadventures of Doomscroller
- Porridge Radio - Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder To The Sky
- Two Door Cinema Club - Keep On Smiling
- Carly Rae Jepsen - The Loneliest Time
- Sloan - Steady
- Tegan and Sara - Crybaby
- Drugdealer - Hiding In Plain Sight
- Weyes Blood - And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow
One big release perhaps notably missing from my favorites: Taylor Swift's Midnights. It's fine.
My wife and I have watched quite a bit of TV, but just like last year, I'm running out of steam writing this thing, so here are the shows I enjoyed the most (that fact that it is 10 shows long is pure coincidence):
- Yellowjackets - Can't wait for season 2.
- Ghosts (US) - Tried the UK version, but I prefer the US version, and almost every episode is a delight.
- Severance - Holy shit!
- The Great - My wife got bored with it, but I still enjoyed it and I'm glad it's getting a third season.
- Apple & Onion - The best short-episode cartoon about an Apple with ADHD and a (possibly) neurodivergent Onion being bestest roommates.
- Only Murders in the Building - While I think I liked the first season a little more, I still really loved the hijinks of season 2.
- Rutherford Falls - They were really working up to what would probably have been a great third season, but sadly the show didn't take and was cancelled.
- The Bear - Neat!
- The Resort - This eight-episode season is really frickin' great for seven-episodes. Even though it didn't stick the landing, it still earns a mention here.
- Reboot - Terrific!
Yes, of course The Sopranos was amazing, and yes, of course Ken Burns' The U.S. and the Holocaust was wonderful and depressing, but the list above are shows that need to be given their props for making TV fun again.
Lastly, if you're going to only watch one stand-up special this year, make it Taylor Tomlinson's Look at You, but if you're only going to watch three, then add in Catherine Cohen's The Twist...? She's Gorgeous and Gary Gulman's The Great Depresh. And if you're only going to watch three and then something with
tricks illusions, then also watch Derek DelGaudio's In & of Itself.
I absolutely reserve the right to add more to this before the end of the year or just after the clock strikes midnight, but until then...
Happy Hannukah, happy birthday Christmas, and happy New Year to all y'all!