12 December 2012

"Mike check! 1-2-1-2-1-2!" [UPDATED]*

Twelve-twelve-twelve is as good a time as any to write a wrap-up of the "year that was". This year I chose to stop drinking. Without a doubt, that is the smartest thing I've done all year. That choice may have cramped my social life, but I have to say it wasn't much of a social life if it required alcohol to keep it lubricated.

Other than that milestone, for most of 2012 I just coasted along. Still there are some highlights:

I went to see the Chesapeake Bayhawks - twice! This was my lacrosse year, and I enjoyed it. I got to see two Bayhawks games in Annapolis. (The Bayhawks went on to win the 2012 Steinfeld Cup, the Major League Lacrosse league championship.) Also, I finally got out and tossed some lacrosse balls with a friend, and went to see Crooked Arrows in the theater (cheesy, but sweet).

In April I downloaded Stereo Typical by Rizzle Kicks, and for the next four weeks that was all I listened to. It's an amazing album! I know hip-hop is not everyone's thing, but this album has a lot to give. "Mama Do the Hump" is a fun little knees-up, "Traveller's Chant" is beautifully meditative, and "When I Was a Youngster" is an antidote for the blues.

I bought Pierce the Veil's Collide with the Sky this past fall. I don't exaggerate when I say this album helped me get through the fall. The music is fun, and expresses everything from rage to sadness to hope. I felt some of my life in the lyrics, and to this day I still tear up listening to some of the songs. I obtained a lot of music in 2012, but these two albums by far outshine the rest.

I've read 39 books so far this year. The best of these, IMHO, were:

1.Damien Echols, Life After Death: this is the memoir of one of the falsely accused and imprisoned "West Memphis Three". The memoir is fascinating and inspiring.

2. Augusten Burroughs, This is How: An "anti-self-help self-help book", Burroughs engagingly presents down-to-earth advice on negotiating life's trials, dealing with such issues as sadness, addiction, love and suicidal thinking.

3. John Fox, The Ball: Discovering the Object of the Game: A fun, fascinating and moving book about sports.

4. Ayad Akhtar, American Dervish: A surprisingly subtle novel about growing up Pakistani Muslim in the US. It's a beautiful, touching book.

5. Nick Harkaway, The Gone-Away World: A literary sci-fi novel involving ninjas, world war, and fallout from the ultimate weapon of mass destruction. The prose is fun, and the story is engaging.

6. Thomas Vennum, American Indian Lacrosse: Little Brother of War: Vennum has created a fascinating exploration of the origins and meaning of what became lacrosse. He peppers the book with imaginative re-creations of events in history. An excellent companion volume to Fisher.

*I forgot to mention Collide with the Sky. I cannot write about 2012 without mentioning Collide with the Sky.

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