Friday, January 02, 2009

2008: The Year in Review

It seems like, from looking around online, most people had either an apocalyptically bad 2008 or one that was extremely up and down. By contrast, 2008 was a pretty good year to me, with some extremely nerve-wracking developments in the last couple months. Most of which sorted themselves out before 2009 actually arrived, so hopefully that's not an indication of the year to come.

It was a pretty shitty year for deaths. We lost Gary Gygax, Rory Root and George Carlin, among others. There were also a couple deaths in the family, folks who I had met only once or twice and didn't know well, but I liked them, and they had kids, so that was a bit of sadness. On the upside, we also lost Jesse Helms. Next year, I would like a better shitheel to decent person death ratio, but experience has shown that such a thing never really works out.

Much of my year was given over to following the political race, first Obama/Clinton and then Obama/McCain. It was a frustrating series of months, but the end result was that we got the President I wanted for the first time in 8 years.

I also fell completely in love with XBox 360 in general and Rock Band in particular in 2008. I got both as Christmas presents in late 2007, and now I just can't imagine not having them. Rock Band 2 came out and improved on Rock Band, which I already thought was a pretty perfect game, and with several of my friends picking up Rock Band 2 and XBox 360s, suddenly I'm able to do a lot of gaming with friends without a lot of arranging of schedules and such. I'm also loving the ability to play electronic versions of some boardgames, like Carcassonne, Catan and Ticket to Ride, and I'm looking forward to diving into Left 4 Dead, which I got for Christmas this year. Oh, and the XBox Experience update that allows you to view Netflix on-demand is way cool as well.

I was pretty happy with summer movies this year. Back in April, I was anticipating 13 summer movies, and of those, four were great, two were decent, two were disappointing and five I avoided seeing, and that generally seems to have been the right decision. Speed Racer was great (I have no idea what movie the critics saw), The Dark Knight was fantastic (and I was a doubter on Batman Begins), Iron Man was the best comic book movie there has ever been and Wall*E was as great as Pixar always is. I found Hulk to be pretty watchable, if not great, and I even liked the first half of Wanted, when I finally saw it on DVD. Sure, Hellboy II was underwhelming, and Indiana Jones blew chunks, but I mostly expected that. I haven't seen Pineapple Express, Tropic Thunder, Get Smart, X-Files or The Happening, but except for the first two, I don't have any plans to see them, as I've heard generally awful things from friends who have.

Year two of Rogues Gallery went pretty well. We had our anniversary party in January, and that was a lot of fun. Around Christmas, we had a new image designed by Chad Thomas of Santa and our mascot, Maximillian Larch, which we loved, and it was a huge hit with our customers as well. We gave out about 500 magnets with the image over the course of the holiday shopping season, as well as buttons, and used it on our holiday gift certificates. We had several other big events this year as well. Free Comic Book Day was a lot of fun, with Scott Kolins in to do some signing and sketching. We had Matt Sturges in to sign on the release day of House of Mystery #1. And we ran two Comic Book Trivia events this year, one in April and one in October. Plans are to do the same thing next year, if interest merits it, as they're always a lot of fun.

We participated in Free RPG Day for the first time this year, and that was a little more low-key than Free Comic Book Day, but still a pretty good day and a good chance to show our gaming customers a little love. We also had a midnight release party for Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, which was a huge success in our store, and became a favorite of many of us at the store as well. I started running a new 4th Edition D&D game, and I'm loving it so far.

Went to the San Diego Con this year, as always, and got to meet cartoonists Jason Horn and Dean Trippe, who crashed with me at the hotel for a couple nights. I was already a fan of Dean's work, and I became a fan of Jason's. I had a lot of fun at San Diego, but given the expense and hassle of arranging the whole thing, I'm giving serious thoughts to skipping it this year. Although if Don MacPherson does finally manage to make plans and go, I have to go, as that's a "solar eclipse" type thing that I'd hate to miss. So Don, keep me informed on travel plans.

Looking back over what I've blog-posted this year, it seems to me like I had a better 2008 than most, despite the economy tanking in the tail end of it. There were illnesses for me, Suzanne and the kids, there were definitely worrisome days and nights, but overall, everybody was healthy and happy, and remains so going into 2009.


Jamie said...

Yeah, but thanks to "Wanted" Timur Bekmambetov isn't going to finish up the "Night Watch" trilogy, claiming that "Wanted" was the culmination of his ideas for that series. For that alone, wanted makes it into my ranks of hated movies for the year. But, I'm a hater ;)

Randy said...

Aw man! I didn't know that!

Now I hate it too.