Saturday, January 1, 2011

Loss, Time, Hope, And Other Nouns, Continued...

Hello, readers.

2010 was a different sort of year for me and the world, in that it found me moving to a different country and the world moving closer to being swallowed by a man-made black hole.

Last year, I wrote this concerning the end of the year and the decade. It included many hopes and resolutions which were stolen and made-up and combined into a giant paragraph of resolute awesomeness.

Of these resolutions, I managed to accomplish several in 2010, including: failing spectacularly at something, pretending to be something I'm not, and making several things that didn't exist before I made them. I maintained a decent awareness of the fact that everyone is falling.

I also accomplished in 2010 several things which I had resolved, and failed, to do in 2009. These included: celebrate New Year's in a foreign country (Hello, Korea). Get paid for a review and/or interview (See Strange Horizons). And have an adventure or two (See this).

My time in Korea has been sometimes painful and sometimes ridiculous (there were many incidents of being lost and/or confused about geography and life which I managed not to post about), and I thought, at many different points, that I would leave after one year. Teaching hundreds of students a week gives one the sense that you are more a performer, at times, than a teacher. It's tiring.

Also, Seoul is a big city and people can be indifferent to your existence.

But, after a while, you begin to know many of the hundreds of students and, more importantly, they begin to know you. They talk to you on their way home from school. They write letters. They say "Happy New Year" and "Don't forget my name," and, "Last night I looked up Doctor Who and found out there were many Doctors but David Tennant is the most handsome."

As for the city itself, if you're lucky, you find people. Or they find you. And then you, and the city, don't seem so indifferent any more.

There are many wonderful people in this country. It's good the world went unswallowed long enough to have met them.

I will be here next year. And then, after that, probably, somewhere else. Korea has given me new friends and better clothes and a somewhat more immediate understanding of what it means to try and meld a deep-rooted despair with a mad rush for the future.

We'll see what happens in 2011.

For now, click the clicky thing for the things which, in no particular order, made me happy in 2010. Note: many of these things will be in list format as lists continued in 2010 to be a thing which made me happy.

Favorite Albums of 2010:

High Violet, The National
Go, Jonsi
The Suburbs, Arcade Fire
Teen Dream, Beach House
Halycon Digest, Deerhunter
The Wild Hunt, The Tallest Man On Earth
Heart of My Own, Basia Bulat
Age of Adz, Sufjan Stevens (Sort of. Sometimes. It depends.)
So Runs the World Away, Josh Ritter

Special Mention: L.A. Burnout 2 (Still Burnt) a compilation from Sean Howe and Aquarium Drunkard.

Favorite Songs of 2010:

"Bloodbuzz, Ohio" and "Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks," The National
"Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)," Arcade Fire
"Let Go," jj
"Heart of My Own," Basia Bulat
"Go Do," Jonsi
"Tighten Up," The Black Keys
"Futile Devices" and "Now That I'm Older," by Sufjan Stevens
"Excuses," The Morning Benders
"Memory Boy," Deerhunter
"Rattling Locks," Josh Ritter
"Take Care," Beach House
"Colors," April Smith and The Great Picture Show

Note: Best part of "Sprawl II..." is near the end, when the keyboards begin to sound eerily like Mannequin's (and Starship's) "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now."

Album Listened To The Most While Traveling On A Bus Across Korea in 2010:

The Suburbs, Arcade Fire. 

Favorite T-Shirts of 2010:

Only one choice, really.

This shirt is an equalizer. It bounces along to music or vigorous clapping. It also reminds me of care bears. The person wearing the shirt is good, too.

Favorite Blogs of 2010:

Aquarium Drunkard, for introducing me to things otherwise I would have missed.

Aliens Day Out: A Vegan in Seoul, South Korea, for much the same reason, and also for being a vegan in Seoul and inspiring one to continue to veg and make magic in the kitchen. Korea would have been much less good without her pictures and words.

Favorite Cafes of 2010:

Copyright All rights reserved by ★EffenLoader

Cafe Sukkara
Hoho Myoll
Cafe aA
Terra Rosa
Coffee Lab
Post-It Note Cafe (See pictures)

Special Mention: Seoul itself, for being insanely in love with coffee. Here are pictures.

Favorite Restaurants of 2010:

Cafe Sukkara
Buddha's Belly
Le Saigon
Friends' Houses

Favorite New Yorker Short Story by George Saunders of 2010:

"Escape from Spiderhead," George Saunders

Favorite Ending of 2010:

 Lost, the final shot.

Favorite Movie Seen in 4D of 2010:

How to Train Your Dragon

Best Description Of An Old Serial Found in 2010:

 "The Technicolor Time Machine," aka "The Time Machined Saga" by Harry Harrison:

The narrative revolves around the efforts of a mediocre film director to save his job, his livelihood and just incidentally the studio he works for. To do this, he enlists a mad scientist, the crooked studio owner, a jazz tuba player, a cowboy, two fabulously stupid movie stars, and a real live ocean-crossing Viking. He ends up making history, but in a way he never dreamed of. 

Favorite Books and Graphic Novels Read, But Not Necessarily Published in 2010, of 2010

Timequake, Kurt Vonnegut
The Devil in the White City, Erik Larson
Scott Pilgrim, Bryan Lee O'Malley
The Scar, China Mieville
Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami
The Typist, Michael Knight
The Salmon of Doubt, Douglas Adams

And, erm, I'm sure there were other things.

2011 will be my thirtieth fall around the sun. I plan to continue to fail spectacularly and often, to publish and sell stories, to make things that didn't exist before, to cook, and to travel, and to be awesome. You should do those things, too, readers. At least the ones that apply to you. Everyone can fail better if they try.

In a few days a round-up of sorts of my sci-fi/fantasy/magical/British watching habits will show up on Strange Horizons, at which time I will post here a longer round-up that had many too many words for their purposes.

See you then.

Happy falling, readers.



  1. i like seeing places that you've been that i've been to as well. it makes me feel like we're sharing something. and i like seeing the places i didn't go. it makes me feel like i'm seeing more things i could have seen. and i liked finding out about the new album from the tallest man on earth. somehow that one slipped by me in the most recently ended year, and i'm glad to be listening to it in the new one.

  2. I like this comment because it reminds me why writing these sorts of listy things is good. Thank you for introducing me to Ritter.

    Happy new year and travels.