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03 January 2014 @ 04:02 pm
2013: Year in Review  
Here’s my annual year in review. I put it behind a cut due to length.

2013 was a busy year, but I did much of that to myself so there is no point in complaining about it. The best things I did were the One Day Hike (50 kilometers, mostly along the C&O canal towpath) and the Story Surge fundraiser for the Island Park Public Library. I also made some effort to expand my social circles (largely via the Chavurah I joined). The worst thing I did was spend way too much time on airplanes.

Books: I read 105 books over the year, with a preponderance of mysteries and a lot of rereading. The best of the rereading was Jane Haddam’s Gregor Demarkian series. The worst of the rereading was Nicholas Blake’s Nigel Strangeways series, which are written well but plotted poorly. Some favorite books of the year were The Rime of the Modern Mariner by Nick Hayes, Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh, The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, Hereville: How Mirka Met a Meteorite by Barry Deutsch, Getting Stoned With Savages by J. Maarten Troost, In Big Trouble by Laura Lippman, The Barefoot Sisters: Southbound by Lucy and Susan Letcher, and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson.

I only got rid of 30 books, but I have another 111 ready to go out, should I manage to find time for a used bookstore run. That probably won’t be for a couple of weeks, alas.

Volksmarch: Too much time on airplanes and being a bit of a weather wimp left me at only 9 events during the year. My progress on special programs is: America’s Baseball Walks (12/18), America’s Murals (2/20), Strolling Somewhere Over the Rainbow (7/20), America’s Family Bakeries (7/20), Strutting Down Main Street (8/20), states (36/50) and state capitals (30/51). There are a bunch of new ones I am thinking about, too, but I really need to finish the current ones.

Travel: United had a challenge that led me to be obsessive enough to hit a whole lot of airports early in the year. I even did a couple of pure mileage runs (i.e. not even leaving the airport) and I definitely violated my usual rule of spending three times as long somewhere as it takes to get there and back. The new countries I went to in 2013 were Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Macau, Turkey and Andorra. Other international travel involved Australia (including the Indian Pacific Railroad from Perth to Adelaide) and Spain (Barcelona). Domestic travel, excluding mileage runs (pure and otherwise, i.e. counting only trips during which I actually did something) included Reno, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Miami, New York, Boston, Denver, Austin, Portland (Maine), Richmond, Charlotte, Wichita, Phoenix, Tampa, and a couple of business trips to Los Angeles. Whew!

Culture: There was storytelling, of course. The highlights of that included the Story Surge (as mentioned above) and performing in the Mid-Atlantic showcase at the National Storytelling Network conference in Richmond. My biggest storytelling news is that I am now the Virginia state liaison for the NSN. I am still trying to figure out exactly what that will entail. I hopew it does not involve being able to spell "liaison."

Theatre highlights were A Behanding in Spokane at Keegan Theatre, It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Superman at Encores (in New York), and Signature Theatre’s production of Company. I also want to note two fringe shows - Old Time British Music Hall and In Search of the Perfect G-String. The latter was the story of the personal journey of a cellist, so get your mind out of the gutter.

I also did a subscription to the Washington Ballet and particularly enjoyed their production of The Sun Also Rises. As for music events, my favorites of the year were both Jewish oriented – Frank London’s Klezmer Brass All-Stars Klezmer Bhangra Extravaganza and Zalman Mlotek’s program of Yiddish Theatre Music.

This was also notable for being a year of movie viewing. I saw 7 in theatres, 10 on my tablet, and 39 on airplanes, for a grand total of 56. Favorites included The Apartment, 127 Hours, The Sessions, Much Ado About Nothing, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, and A Late Quartet.

Goals: I accomplished 3 life list items. Those were: seeing every extant Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, drinking a Singapore sling at the Long Bar of the Raffles Hotel, and seeing Cappadocia in Turkey. I also made significant progress on a couple of others and I have solid plans for at least one in the next year.

As for the goals I set for the year, I only made it about 20% through reading the New Testament. I made even less progress (say 5%) on writing travelogues, but that was largely due to computer issues and I should have a new computer by the end of this month. I’ll give myself 40% on getting my finances organized and 60% on using up odds and ends of my yarn stash. As noted above, I get a 60% on the Volksmarch baseball program. I only made it to two minor league baseball games, but I will give myself 80% because I had had plans a few times that got rained out. But I completed two of my goals by doing the One Day Hike and by seeing more than 10 Oscar winning movies. Adjusting upwards for exceeding the last goal, I’ll give myself a 60% on the year. That’s not exceptional, but it’s a lot better than I did last year and I can live with it.

Which brings me to goals for 2014. The first 3 are leftovers, but so be it.


  • Write travelogues already, damn it!

  • Finish reading the New Testament.

  • Finish the Volksmarch baseball program. While I am at it, finish the other special programs I’ve been working on, except for the states and capitals.

  • Go to at least 3 more Minor League ballparks.

  • Do at least 2 crossword puzzles every day.

  • Go to at least 4 National Parks.

  • Memorize at least 10 poems.

  • Digitize at least 20 LPs or cassettes



I also decided to end this completely absurd project I’ve had for the past 9 years in which I kept track of all the snail mail I received. This will free up at least 10 minutes a day that I can use productively on things like travelogues. Or sleeping.
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( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
p_j_clearyp_j_cleary on January 3rd, 2014 09:25 pm (UTC)
You also came to see Peter's play, hooray!
Ron Newmanron_newman on January 3rd, 2014 10:10 pm (UTC)
Have you been to Pawtucket and Lowell yet? If not, we should do something about that...
fauxklorefauxklore on January 4th, 2014 02:07 am (UTC)
Yes, we should, especially Pawtucket.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )