The Best (and Worst) of 2013!

This year is over, and like everyone says at the end of pretty much every year, good riddance. No, that’s not right. It wasn’t a bad year at all! Every year has good and bad things that happen. That’s just par for the course. So what all happened this year and what were the great new things and what were the not-so-great things? Let’s review!

Let’s get the not-great things out of the way first. We lost a lot of amazing and wonderful people from the entertainment world this year, including Joan Fontaine, Peter O’Toole, Paul Walker, Marcia Wallace, Dennis Farina, Karen Black, James Gandolfini, Lou Reed, Esther Williams, Jean Stapleton, Roger Ebert, Ray Harryhausen, Eileen Brennan, Hal Needham, Jim Kelly, Jonathan Winters, Richard Griffiths, Julie Harris, Richie Havens, William Moody (better known as Paul Bearer), among so many others. This list reads like a dream dinner party guest list. We will always fondly remember these people, and everyone else who passed in 2013. Their images and sounds will live forever.

On a personal front, 2013 also cost me a job, albeit one that I wasn’t exactly happy with anyhow, so it wasn’t a huge loss on that front. The financial impact was far greater and something I’m still recovering from, which has made things difficult in the in-between time and beyond. Getting a new job doesn’t automatically mean instant money and replenished savings accounts, so there’s been a lot of late payments and making up ground.

On the flip side, I got a new job that pays better than the old one, and is a whole lot of fun to boot. And after the new year, I’ll be moving from second to first shift, taking on a lot of new responsibilities. I’ve gotten a ton of positive feedback on performance so far, so here’s hoping that everything sticks and maintains this upward track. So far, so good.

I went to a couple of conventions this year: HorrorHound Weekend, and GenCon. You can read my write-ups about them here, here and here. I’ll at least be attending GenCon in 2014, but I’m not sure about any other cons or festivals yet. HorrorHound Weekend has exploded into a huge fest, which is good and bad both. I think it’s starting to move away from being a smaller event that featured and gave venue to lesser-known but beloved horror icons to something that can bring in more attendees by headlining bigger names. That’s all fine and good, but it’s trending toward becoming a convention that’s focusing on what’s popular as opposed to what’s time-honored, and for many horror fans, that’s off-putting. I’ll put it this way: when vendors hardly break even on their cost for travel and table fees because they aren’t selling anything related to “The Walking Dead,” that’s a huge shame.

This was also the year that I set a challenge to watch at least 365 different films, a mix of repeat and first time views. I easily beat that goal, thanks to a month-long stretch of unemployment mostly. I’ll write up a separate post on the best and worst of the first time views for this year, including a final total for everything I watched. I will say there were a lot of great movies I got to see this year, so I’d like to repeat this challenge next year, but maybe focus more on first time views.

Overall, it wasn’t too shabby a year, this 2013. The ups-and-downs are always the constants, and we’re always moving forward. It’s exciting to close out another year and move into a new one. From Northwest Ohio to wherever you are, I wish you the happiest of new years, and here’s to a totally rad 2014!

IMPORTANT UPDATE! How could I forget this?! 2013 was also the year that I wrote an essay on Phantom of the Paradise, to be published in a book called HIDDEN HORROR, which just recently became available on Amazon. Even though I don’t see a cut from the sales of this book, you should still get a copy if you’re into reading books about horror films, or just into reading whatsoever. Please check it out, and share this among friends. Maybe even grab a few copies to give out as belated holiday gifts!

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