my year in review

Happy holidays from the Ace Gang!

My family always celebrated New Year’s (rather than Christmas or Hanukkah or the Winter Solstice or Kwanzaa or…), and when I was a kid, making New Year’s Resolutions was part of the fun — a tradition I’ve kept up (and sometimes blogged about). What I didn’t really do was the Year in Review — looking back on what the heck happened. So here we go: in 2010…

On the TV Companion Guide front: I went on the Gossip Girl bus tour and stayed at Chuck Bass’s hotel; I wrote a book about The Vampire Diaries and signed a contract to write a follow-up to it; I became addicted to Twitter, because of all the amazing funny clever people on it who keep me company; this here blog got a little lonely when I started being a lazy blogger and moved my TVD posts over to V-D.net; and being a contributor to V-D.net has connected me with so many awesome TVD fans. I was a panelist at Fan Expo Canada (woop!) and got the chance to talk about my favorite TV shows with many a podcaster. (I love doing podcasts; such a great excuse to talk for hours with the similarly obsessed.)

Books I have known and loved: I decided to get back into reading all the time — something I had kind of dropped because (a) my job requires quite a bit of reading and sometimes I just do not want to read anymore, and (b) writing the companion guides to Gossip Girl and The Vampire Diaries kind of suck up my leisure time. But 2010 was the year when I became a proper reader once again. Highlights include:

  • Keith Richards’ Life;
  • Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver and Linger;
  • Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy (though truth be told I haven’t yet read Mockingjay!);
  • Vee and Red’s A Visitor’s Guide to Mystic Falls;
  • returning to classics like Jane Eyre (I read it 19 years ago and had mostly forgotten the plot — that means I am OLD now. But a failing memory means everything old is new again!) and Wuthering Heights;
  • Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series (thanks for the recommendation, Vee!); and
  • Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief (recommended by avid reader, excellent book blogger, and all-around BFF charm–worthy Jen Knoch of KIRBC).

Listening to…: Hands down, my artist of the year was Florence + the Machine. I listened to Lungs on repeat and witnessed her glory live in November when I saw her at the Sound Academy. She is a genius. Also on repeat this year: Lady Gaga’s The Fame Monster, the Eclipse soundtrack (don’t judge me: the Twilight Saga soundtracks are fantastic, and yesterday it occurred to me that with two Breaking Dawn movies, we’re likely to get TWO more TwiSaga soundtracks — happy days ahead), Sleigh Bells’ Treats, Gossip’s Music for Men, the entire Taylor Swift catalog — mostly when I was working intensely on Taylor Swift: Every Day Is a Fairytale, a book every Swiftie fan should own; and while I was writing Love You to Death, Explosions in the Sky was on repeat (The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place and some tracks from the Friday Night Lights movie soundtrack). Thanks to my friend who often scores free tickets to shows at the ACC, I saw Aerosmith (win) and Rush (zzzzzz); also saw the Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato, & Camp Rock Friends at Molson Amphitheatre (oh ya, I paid my own money for that extravaganza and bought a T-shirt to commemorate the occasion); witnessed Courtney Love perform with Hole in July (days after seeing Noel Fielding, who I adore); and I got classy at the symphony in February with Verdi’s Requiem.

If I could have any wardrobe item from any TV episode ever, it would be B's gown from this scene. J'adore.

I Heart TV: Believe it or not, I watch allll these programs (stars for my absolute faves): The Vampire Diaries*, Gossip Girl*, Being Erica, 90210, Friday Night Lights*, Parenthood*, The Gilmore Girls (season 1), Dexter (seasons 3 and 4), Being Human (season 1), Kyle XY (season 1), Community*, 30 Rock, Modern Family, Glee (but I gave up after the Britney episode), America’s Next Top Model (I think the High Fashion cycle was the best in a long time), Pretty Little Liars, a little bit of Skins and Party Down, and, of course, the last season of LOST.

I also saw a LOT of movies but my brain is blank when I try to remember any of them — except Black Swan. Holy jumping, that terrorized me and I loved it. Oh yes: I rented a bunch of Almódovar movies & I adore him (Volver tops the list). And movies that entertained me as much as advertised include Step Up: 3D and Burlesque.

And other than consuming/creating cultural products? 2010 gave my dear friends some charming babies — Roxy Alabama, Ava, and Violet — and there are more on their way in 2011. I went to Germany for the very first time — what up, Frankfurt! — and will likely get to go back to the buch fair next October. This summer, Toronto turned into a fascist state while the G20 was in town, and that got me off my ass and to a number of protests against the insanity that went down. I did not fall in love (with any actual-factual humans, just fictional characters) or go on one single solitary date. I kept the same gang of awesomely awesome friends, and was lucky enough to develop new friendships in the TVD fandom, people I look forward to meeting IRL at some upcoming convention — in ATL or at Comic-Con. I was reminded how important it is to see the ones you love when you can when a dear friend passed away this fall. His memorial was pretty much the most fitting, beautiful celebration of his particular sense of humor and insight possible. (This Q interview gives you a good idea of how effing funny and smart Maury was.) I paid Good Life Fitness an unspeakable amount of money for a gym membership I literally used once. My darling best gal Claire asked me to be her bridesmaid, which means in the spring I will be off to London to make sure her wedding is more of a success than the Royals’.

And maybe the bestest thing of all of 2010: my sister filmed a SyFy movie (yet to air) called Witchslayer. And it starred the one and only Shannen Doherty. (Brenda Frickin Walsh, people.) The backstory to what you’re about to hear — the best voicemail I’ll ever receive — is that twice in my lifetime people have mistaken a photo of me for a photo of Ms. Doherty. (The best was when I was married and a friend asked my husband why he had a picture of Shannen Doherty by his bed. Why, indeed.)

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