the great thing(s) about 2013

Oh, 2013. You were one crazy roller coaster.

Some time after OC Crime Catchers ended in 2011, I lost myself. I think it started happening towards the end of the college, but the end of the show propelled wandering into a spin that forced some serious introspection and evaluation. Moving into a new place at the beginning of 2012 halted the spin, but 2013 was when life started to really move forward again. I found my courage. Little by little, I loosed my caged creative soul free to fly.

I am alive.

It’s pretty lucky the personal awakening happened in what shall otherwise be known as 2013: The Year of the Car. The problems started in January and peaked in October. In an odd bit of symmetry, the first and last thing I had repaired on my old car was the alternator. I put my AAA membership to good use, becoming a too frequent visitor to the mechanic. A couple thousand dollars in repairs spread out over the year, culminated in a smoking engine death on the side of the 5 freeway. I’ll spare you the tears and anxiety. Suffice it to say I was convinced for a while I’d have to move back in with my parents.Happily, that hasn’t happened.

Road trip through the desert
Route 66 road trip, 2012

Ah, my old friend. You died a noble death, en route to PIFA with a full load of Cook Islands artifacts. We spent almost exactly 11 years together. Traveled more than 130,000 miles. North to Sonoma County. East to the London Bridge, Las Vegas. I’ll always remember you fondly.

Here are a few more reasons last year was memorable.

Discovering comics

Thanks to the help of some good friends, my dive into the world of comics and graphic novels turned out splendidly. Bone was my favorite read of the year. Plus, something about powering through a stack of graphic novels helped get me churning through the pages of regular books again. Rare and luxurious are the days that can be given over entirely to losing oneself in a book, be it a comic or otherwise.

The family comes to town

It’s hard to bond with half your family when an ocean typically lies between you. Words fail to adequately describe how lovely it was to show my NZ family around So Cal. A week was far too short a length of time!

Pleasant tow truck drivers

I had my poor car towed no less than five times. FIVE. Including twice in one day, for separate issues. You would think that the law of averages would mean that I would have run into at least one surly or grumpy tow guy. Instead, I’m grateful for each of the kind, cheerful souls who helped me get home when my stead failed. A friendly face when facing unknown, but likely expensive, repairs.

Honorable mention: finally finding a local mechanic who is trustworthy and not too budget busting.

Dancing feet

After somewhere around eighteen (!!) years since my last dance performance, I returned to the stage for two shows (or four, depending on how you’d like to count it). My stage fright was raging at the spring show, but the experience reawakened the joy and exhilaration of performing for a live audience. Apparently I can handle nonverbal public communication just fine. Imagine my surprise when the raging stage fright calmed to manageable nerves for the remainder of the shows.

Honorable mention: going line dancing for the first time. Surprisingly fun, especially for someone who doesn’t like country music! I think this means I’m just a dancer at heart.

Goodbye, long hair

I finally did the thing I’ve been longing to do since high school: cut my hair short. It was pretty short already, sitting just off my shoulders, but it has never been so short I couldn’t pull it back into a bun or ponytail. The ponytail is my comfort zone, the prospect of not having that as a fail safe was a little terrifying. 30 minutes and an impressive pile of clippings later, I had hair so short it didn’t even need bobby pins. My hair didn’t poof into something resembling a clown wig (haHA to all you people that impressionable teenager me that it would!). And I felt free.

Cook Islands cultural village at PIFA

The Cook Islands culture made a long overdue return to one of the largest pacific island festivals in America. It was an honor for my family to host the booth and walk in the opening ceremony. What a treat to converse with so many of the attendees about the place that stole a piece of my heart.

SDCC with my two best ladies

Snagging one of last Sunday badges to geek mecca was an accomplishment in itself. The fact that I was able to spend the day with my sister and my roommate as they both experienced their very first San Diego Comic Con was precious. Together we conquered the epic Hall H line to see the Matt Smith’s last SDCC appearance as The Doctor. A memory for the scrapbook, and a fun story to tell (ask me sometime).

The television

You knew it was coming. Three shows stand out for the year, here in alphabetical order:
Arrow — It’s rare to find a genre network show that sticks to a steady track of improvement. I didn’t expect much when it started, but it was grown into a neat little gem. This is the show that Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. wishes it could be. Fun, plenty of action, not too cheese ball, solid characters. Can’t wait to see what the fallout from the midseason finale will be!
Fringe — One of those that has been on the I-should-watch-that-someday list for several years. It’s solid sci-fi fun full of twisty plots, alternate universe doubles, and an excellent cast.
Sleepy Hollow — I read the synopsis during pilot season and figured this show would never make it to air. The premise was just too ridiculous. When I saw the episode order, I figured it would be another Fox fizzler. Certainly not something I was going to waste time watching. Then I started seeing gif sets on Tumblr showcasing the quippy writing (I’m a sucker). Boy am I glad I gave it a shot. Few things have been more fun than watching a show with an utterly ridiculous premise embrace its wackiness and turn it into a dramatic strength. It shouldn’t work, but it does.

Yep, it was altogether a pretty good year.

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