2021 is finally over, and I know there’s more than a few of you thrilled to see the back of 2020: Part II. 2020’s sequel. Not like we were ever going to escape from that dreaded year.
It’s been a year. COVID-19 continued its dreaded wave of destruction. I commemorated getting out of two lockdowns by getting tattooed each time. Anne Rice died and, as a not-so-secret lover of vampire media (my hot take: Dangerous Girls by R.L Stine is the best vampire novel), it was definitely not the news we needed to hear. I watched a really good Netflix TV series, Perfume, this week, and Dexter: New Blood‘s surpassed all my expectations so far. I was surprised that I enjoyed the Chris Rock Saw movie. I stopped consuming news for the most part, and my mental health has improved considerably. Probably a good thing, since Australian Prime Minister Scott “Scummo” Morrison’s trying his damndest to censor the internet under the guise of “protecting children” from “internet trolls”, which is code for “only allowing his pre-approved legacy media hacks to bleat his propaganda without any criticism whatsoever”. But enough of that.
The year that started off with such promise, except if you were in Australia, because there were some of the worst bushfires on record, or California in the U.S. where the same thing was happening, and by March, thanks to the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, every hope we had for Future 2020 seemed to be in tatters. Don’t cha wish we had 20/20 vision to predict what was about to happen? There was the incredibly divisive United States Election and its fallout; Julian Assange’s imprisonment threatening to destroy press freedom across the globe; thanks to Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma, breaking news across the board came out saying social media was brainwashing us into being Zombie Zuckerberg and Billionaire Bezos’s perfect little algorithm-created money-making automatons; there were a dime-a-dozen stories about How I Escaped The Alt-Right; Disney seemed to be hellbent on taking over the world through its zillion reboots; and a video game that criticised late-stage capitalism and megacorporations was smeared and decimated by late-stage capitalists and megacorporations. Whew. What a year.
This blog reached its eighth year of existence, and has kept up its steady pace of at least a post a month, so thank you to everyone for staying along for the ride. While I’ve still been writing—and editing, and daydreaming, and submitting to agents and publishers—this blog has focused more on books and reading, and criticising toxic elements of BookTube and Baby Boomer comics and how Capital-R reading purists who think only books can be a real hobby are making it harder for the rest of us to enjoy reading. I watched a lot of cheesy ’80s slasher movies, watching some standout movies—Joker, Halloween, Prom Night, Honest Man; The Life of R. Budd Dwyer, and Sleepaway Camp, and some complete trash—Truth or Dare, Random Acts of Violence, I Spit On Your Grave 3, 8 Days and Slumber Party Massacre 2. I became obsessed with the original Roswell and binge-watched all three seasons and rediscovered my love of Dido’s Here With Me (also known as the Work Safe ad song in Australia), and now there’s a limited release reboot of Dexter in the works to fix the Season 8 finale (I finally forced myself to watch the second-half of Season 8 in 2020) due for release in 2021; it is perhaps the most anticipated release!
So…that’s it. Another year done and dusted. Not just a year. A new decade. The 2010s are over. Can you believe it? It still feels like 2000 was only ten years ago. Bring on the roaring ’20s! I haven’t read any F. Scott Fitzgerald, but maybe it’s time to read The Great Gatsby or The Beautiful and Damned. But the year 2019 is over, and my main hope heading into 2020 is that people will finally say the much easier “twenty-twenty” over the long, drawn-out “two-thousand-and…” trend that should have died a whole decade ago. Wow. Can you believe 2010 was a whole decade ago? I expect great memes in 2020. Cue the jokes about 20/20 vision! Insert bottom text.
2019, much like the years before it, had a lot of exciting stuff happen. For once, people were less focused on Donald Trump, except when they were, because…wait, is he gonna get impeached? Any second. Any millisecond. The entire dramatic shitshow that is U.S. politics never ceases to be exactly like reality TV. Scott Morrison was re-elected in Australia, and no-one cared, except when he did a Harold Holt and vanished during the horrific bushfires, simply because he’s in denial about the reality that is climate change. To him and his supporters, it’s totally normal to have raging bushfires in the middle of spring. On the other hand, a specific subset of the population, headed by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, seems to think the world will end in the next decade. Brings on a whole new meaning to the “roaring” ’20s. Any other Australians looking forward to 50 degree summers? If you want a thorough wrap-up of 2019, you can watch YouTube’s WatchMojo list. Or don’t. It’s pretty forgettable, according to that sentient collective known as the internet.
That’s it. 2018 is over. If you thought last year was fast, then this year passed in little over a blink.
2018 was yet another year where people online couldn’t stop talking about Donald Trump. For once, they spoke about someone else connected to Trump and forgot about him for a few brief moments. The bliss on the internet from lack of references to DJT was comparable to peace on earth. Politics became more divisive than ever.
Everyone was obsessed with Netflix originals. I discovered one I really enjoyed: The End of the F***ing World. Go watch it. It’s amazing. Rostered On, an Australian show, is also an underappreciated gem. YouTube kept trying to be TV and failing. Its 2018 incarnation of YouTube Rewind was the most embarrassing yet.
It was the year Meghan and Harry tied the knot. Social media, in particular Facebook and Google, became more creepy in their attempts to swindle all info they could from us for advertising bucks. Is Mark Zuckerberg even a human being? #AndroidsCanManipulatePeopleToo. Celebrities had careers destroyed over tweets and comments they made years ago. There were more shooting in the United States. Because of course. Musicians Aretha Franklin and Avicii, Spongebob creator Stephen Hillenburg, Stephen Hawking, Stan Lee and meme legend Stefan Karl Stefansson all passed on.
2017 was the year where people talked about Donald Trump, compared 2017 to 2016, and Hollywood was finally able to get itself back into the headlines, albeit for all the wrong reasons. We lost a whole slew of celebrities such as Roger Moore, Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington, Adam West, John Hurt, George Romero, and Dexter composer Daniel Licht. Prince Harry got engaged. There were far too many lives lost to both international and domestic terrorists. Donald Trump held glasses of water and it was reported as Breaking News around the world. People complained. People were happy. People were sad. It was yet another year.
As the current year finishes and we move into the New Year, I yet again question how quickly the year has passed. I’m now up to my fourth New Year, New Me blog post in the many years I’ve been irregularly updating you with tidbits of my life, writing tips and more.
2016 was the year for people to say “It’s the current year”! I heard it used everywhere, mainly in political, social justice and general infotainment circles. “We’re not neanderthals,” we said, despite neanderthals not being akin to cavemen like everyone thinks. “It’s 2016. We should be civilised!” Far too many celebrities and normal folk have passed on this year—the saddest for me being Alan Rickman and Carrie Fisher. But I digress. In a few hours—for Australians at least—we’re moving onto the new Current Year, 2017. So, thankfully for many people, 2016 is almost over!
Looking back on my 2016, I didn’t have any novels published, but I did spend much of my time honing query letters, sending out submissions to short story journals, publishing houses and agents alike. I kept up a steady stream of blog posts, with my most popular one being this one from February, in which I critiqued the mass media and its role in a certain anti-gamers movement. I also did succeed in my goal of reading more. In 2014, I read only four and a half books. In 2015, that went up to nine books. I know, for a writer, I don’t read an honest lot. I’m trying to improve that. Rereading the Harry Potter series yet again doesn’t count. However, this year I got up to a record 13 books, which I know isn’t a lot to most readers, but is a record for me to be proud of. I’m nowhere near reading as much as I did back when I was a kid and read most of the 50-something Animorphs books, plus all the prequels and sequels and choose-your-own-adventures, over the course of a few years. I didn’t review all of them across the year, so here’s a quick round-up of my Books of 2016: