This was a spectacular year for me, all things considered. While I didn’t particularly watch a lot of television, or see too many films, it was definitely one of the best years of my life if not the best year thusfar. Let’s see why — starting with my favorite things of the year and then moving onto why I really loved the year.
Movies and Television
I didn’t go out to the movie theater too many times this year. It wasn’t a matter of not having any interest in the films being played, but rather of having my time being taken up by actual living, so to speak. When I did get to the theater, it was only for a couple of films that I really wanted to see. A bit of a contrast with, say, the summer of 2004 when Elizabeth and I somehow managed to see practically every movie playing in the theaters.
The two films that I distinctly remember seeing in theaters were the Woody Allen film You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger and Toy Story 3. I particularly liked You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger though, predictably, it was panned by many critics. Was it a film of tremendous substance? It certainly was not — even the film admits it in a roundabout way as it opens, referencing Macbeth who said that life was “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing…” Nevertheless, this tale was a fun one to watch.
I greatly preferred this to the new Toy Story film. Without spoiling the film too much, I will say that the film brought my spirits down. While there were quite a few people who cried during the movie, I am pretty sure that I am the only one who cried for the reason that I did and that felt a sense of betrayal from the protagonist. The protagonist in question abandons friends of many years and the audience is meant to think that this is a good thing somehow.
To celebrate Elizabeth’s 29th birthday, we went to a midnight screening of the new Harry Potter film. At this screening, I learned something very important about myself — I am no longer the same youthful person who has no problem working all day and then going to a midnight screening without feeling completely exhausted. I think we probably would have enjoyed it even more on Sunday, well rested, rather than being up until four in the morning and then going into work the next day.
On television, most of the shows I watched were the same as the ones I watched in 2009 with not much variation. The only really new television show for me was the hit HBO show Boardwalk Empire, a brilliant depiction courtesy of brilliant film director Martin Scorsese. Though I found the show to be occasionally more graphic than I was expecting (such as when it depicted a World War I sniper whose face was partially shot off and was therefore reduced to wearing a mask to not frighten people. It also served as a good reminder that even though things do progress in society, some things seem to always stay the same — the corruptibility of government and how prohibiting a substance sometimes just makes that substance all the more desirable — shades of our current situation with marijuana, perhaps?
The year started off strongly in the music world for me, going to see the musician Owen Pallett on his winter tour. Mr. Pallett was touring in support of the new record called Heartland that he had just released courtesy of Domino Records. It turned out to be one of my favorite records of the year. A combination of a good pop feel without ridiculous lyrics to accompany it. When I listen to it I cannot help but think of the fantastic live production of his music through creative usage of a looping pedal to make a couple of people sound as though they are a full orchestra.
I spent a lot of the year finding out about bands that I had never heard before — they were not actually new but they were certainly new to me. For example, I found out about the band Destroyer which, contrary to the feel of the name, is not some sort of black metal or angry rock and roll band — rather, it is a more gentle and enjoyable sound — some folk, some rock, but all around enjoyable to the ear and not at all harsh. Another band that I have come to rediscover is Belle & Sebastian. I remember that my brother really liked them in the last 1990s and I was not too impressed. At my office I started playing their music because people were saying that I only played a few bands last year — and it was true.
This year felt pretty intense as far as book reading went. Almost every single book I read was written by Charlaine Harris. It started in the summer when I read the Sookie Stackhouse book series, about a telepathic waitress who falls in love with a vampire. I found out about the series because we had been watching the television show True Blood, based closely on the books. When I finished the series (until the next book is published in May) I went on to read another series by Ms. Harris, about a woman who could tell what killed a person and locate the dead after being struck by lightning as a teenager. When that series came to an end, I read books about a woman named Lily Bard who doubled as a cleaning woman and occasional mystery solver. I just started another series by the same author. Taking a 45 minute train ride twice a day helps one read quite well.
On the 14th of December I left work early as my then 35 week pregnant wife was not feeling well and had been throwing up. A nurse at some point told us that they might have to induce labor but she would probably be monitored all night. I called to let my office manager know I would not be coming in as a result and he said that family came first and it was understandable. An hour or two later a different nurse told us that we should be ready for the emergency c-section — about which nobody had told us prior to this sudden warning. At a little after ten o’clock at night, our son Chaim Yosi Davidescu was born — five weeks early and (as of this writing) now home after more than two weeks in the NICU. That event was certainly the most significant one of the year.
This was, in fact, a fantastic year. At the beginning of the year I was unmarried and wasn’t sure when I would be married. By the end of the year, I had gotten married and had a beautiful baby boy that I am holding while I write this. Don’t worry, I am supporting his neck and full body with my left arm while writing with my right hand. For me, these events were significantly more important than any television, film, or even the most special of all special vinyl releases.