Well, everyone, I’ll admit I didn’t know what to write about. I haven’t done anything, haven’t seen anything (thanks, weather) lately. This was very close to just being pictures of and talking about my cat. But instead let’s talk about 2018 and what happened. Of course now I went from nothing to write about to lots to write about, but we’ll start here. So this is my year in review. Not really in any particular order, just the things that made an impact on me this past year.
I love Queen. Listened to them growing up. But I’ll admit I hadn’t been listening to as much of them as other bands lately. Then Bohemian Rhapsody happened. In anticipation I threw my Greatest Hits album in the car stereo and started to get back into them. To put it mildly, it exploded. The kids, both self-described metalheads, latched onto this music with a ferocity I didn’t expect, especially after we took Elder Spawn to the movie. But hey, I’m not going to complain about bringing great music to the next generation!
I’ve written about this already. Tired of how I was, I embarked on a rather bumpy and often winding road to eat better, exercise more, and all that fun, healthy stuff. Sure, there have been setbacks (like Christmas), but I’m in it for the marathon, not the sprint, so we just keep moving forward and doing better.
After being very much an outsider-looking-in and skirting around the idea, I began to take cosplay and costuming a lot more seriously. Which is something, given how big Halloween at our house already is. But, with the anticipation of an actual con to attend, we all stepped up our game. Obviously, the whole con thing fell through, but the feeling remains. I’m still hoping to actually debut a costume (or two) at a convention, and looking to 2019 to do that. The kids and I already have our slate picked out for this year, we just need the chance to show it off.
We lost our beloved, if rather neurotic dog, Wolfgang, this past year. He had retired to our house from my parents’ farm to have a chill life in town and we’d had him a number of years. It was hard on all of us. A few months went by and I really started to miss having a critter around and I started looking at adopting one. I had originally thought another dog but my sister sent me the profile for a cat at the same place she’d adopted hers. His name: Sir Isaac Mewton. Loving a good pun and a good science reference, and the idea of a chill cat, not a climb the cupboards at 3 am type, we put our names in and soon brought him home. He was super shy at first and it took a while, but now he’s a gaming buddy, a snuggle buddy, and an overall very spoiled boy. Okay, so I guess I did talk about my cat after all.
Assassin’s Creed Finally Ropes Me In
I wrote about this as well. I’m having a lot of fun with it and its super pretty.
Fandoms are the Both the Best and the Worst
I’d say it’s just the fandoms I’m in, but it’s not. Trust me, hubby and I had a conversation about Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom yesterday that was almost identical to ones we’ve had about The Last Jedi. But that’s really where we kick off, with the ongoing ‘conversation’ about The Last Jedi that bled through the end of 2017 and well into 2018. It was ugly and vitriolic and overall terrible. And I wish it ended there. As I said, I got to see the fan reaction for Fallen Kingdom, too. Though it was thankfully more from the sidelines as that’s the other half’s Big Thing more than it is mine. Then it began to creep into my gaming again. I’ve already weathered the Mass Effect storms (both the 3 ending and Andromeda) and am an unabashed lover of Dragon Age II, I’m not new to this. First was the Fallout 76 announcement and the subsequent release in November. I’ll admit I was skeptical too, but I’ve been playing it and it’s really not the dumpster fire it’s made out to be. It’s not perfect, but it’s not The Worst Thing Ever You’ve Destroyed My Life You Bastards. It really isn’t. Then the Diablo Immortal announcement. Again, I was disappointed because it won’t be my thing, but it’ll be someone’s thing. Blizzard has said there’ll be new Diablo news in 2019 so we’ll see where that goes. Maybe I’m just tired guys, tired of all the hate. I just wanna like my stuff without the nastiness.
Did 2018 seem really long to anyone else? It’s seems so long ago that Black Panther came out, but it really was February 2018. Perhaps because it became this massive cultural and financial juggernaut it seems longer ago. I remember watching Charting with Dan on Screen Junkies for weeks and months after and seeing the movie progress box-office-wise and it was staggering. And it’s a damn good movie, too. Younger Spawn loved it so much she had both a Black Panther themed birthday and her Pink Black Panther Halloween costume, both months after the movie’s release. Now it’s getting awards season buzz, and good for it.
Launching thousands of ‘I don’t feel so good’, disappearing, and Daddy Thanos memes, there was really only one way to follow up Black Panther and that was with Infinity War. Of course they crushed it (and my poor heart! How dare you do that literally moments after the end of Ragnarok!) right out the gate and the wild speculation on how things will proceed as we move into Endgame hasn’t stopped. How will they fix this? Who’s not walking away from the final showdown? What did Doctor Strange see? I guess we’ll find out this year.
So 2018 also brought us some pretty significant deaths in the world of pop culture. I’d like to call attention to three in particular.
Stan Lee- this was the big one for us this year. I hardly need to explain why. Seeing those last couple of cameos and most likely some tributes at the end of the next film or two will be rough.
Vinnie Paul- an unexpected one that hit home with my Pantera-loving other half.
Aretha Franklin- again, this one needs no explanation.
Slayer Farewell Tour
One of the Big Four of thrash decided in 2018 to do one more tour and then call it a day. We were lucky enough to hit up the Winnipeg show, and get five bands in one night. It was a damn good show, and getting to see Anthrax, Testament, and Slayer in the same night was awesome. I’m not the biggest Slayer fan, but it was a really good show.
Two big things out the Priest camp in 2018. First, guitarist Glenn Tipton announced he had Parkinson’s disease and as a result was now stepping down from touring, but not the band entirely. They follow this up with the already anticipated Firepower album that many called the best since 1991’s Painkiller. Already a staple in our musical library, it’s an album worth all it’s praise.
New Disturbed Album
We also got a new album from Disturbed, another household favorite. I only just got it for Christmas, so I haven’t had as much time with it yet, but I am loving what I have so far. And the live version of ‘The Sound of Silence’ with Myles Kennedy is just as amazing at it sounds.
Disney’s Making New Shows for Disney+
In anticipation of the Disney streaming service, they announced a bunch of shows from both the Marvel and Star Wars universes. You know, nothing much, just Loki, Cassian Andor, and Scarlet Witch among them, all starring the original actors in their roles. Oh, and the more mysterious sounding The Mandalorian. So where do I send my money, because I want all of that. And… uh….can we get the Netflix shows back? You know, the ones that got unceremoniously cancelled this year? Daredevil, Luke Cage? Those ring a bell?
Other Gaming News
Jurassic World: Evolution
The Jurassic Park franchise got a new park builder game this year. It’s been installed on our Xbox, played, angrily deleted, reinstalled, and is now being played again. It’s been quite the journey, but now that Elder Spawn is playing his own save file, it might stick around a bit longer. There’s been some DLC as well, with new dinosaurs that’ve been pretty cool.
Telltale Games Abruptly Closes Shop
In a very sudden move, Telltale games closed down this fall. Lots of people lost their jobs overnight and as a result Twitter was afire trying to help these folks out and get them back on their feet in a show of surprising solidarity. The final season of their Walking Dead game will at least be finished, after creator Robert Kirkman stepped in and got the rights and the people to make it happen (he wanted to make sure Clementine’s story got a proper end), but hopes have been dashed for more of The Wolf Among Us. Which is sad because that was a really cool game.
Awesome Games Were Made
There were some awesome games this year, or so I’m told. I admired God of War and Spider-Man from afar, but as PS4 exclusives, that’s all I could do. They looked so good. And Red Dead Redemption 2 came out and made records and tons of money. It’s also pretty good, or so I hear. I can play that one, I just haven’t been really interested in doing so. I didn’t play the first one, either, to be honest.
Well, there it is, a rather long retrospective of the rather long year that was 2018. Well, at least as far a popular culture goes. Hope you enjoyed and there will be a new list soon enough!
Why is it that none of the sane and sensible reviewers like yourself get paid / syndicated? What is it about professionalism that causes reviewers to be so . . . OFF?