Fables of The Reconstruction: The 2011 Review

There’s no mistake, I smell that smell, it’s that time of year again…    -Stereophonics, Local Boy in the Photograph

Well that just flew by, didn’t it? It seems like yesterday I was with friends outside the Rutland watching the Hogmanay fireworks- but it’s time once again to look back on the year that was.

Summary:  This was a year all about starting again, in so many ways. After having finally waved goodbye to student life (eight and a half years of discounts and council tax holiday were most welcome), I needed to find a job. While most of my energy was devoted to that, there were a few other things I needed to take care of as well, such as not being unhappy and unhealthy. A metaphorical slap in the face in February (I like to think) contributed greatly towards these goals, and ultimately this has been a pretty good year for me. I also met Craig Brown (of former Scotland manager and current Aberdeen manager fame)

What, for you, was the high point of 2011? Were there any other highlights?

I would say.. probably getting a job. It was only my second interview (and the first was a disaster), so I didn’t really have that high expectations for it- but I found a lot of things came in my favour and I couldn’t hide my delight when it finally came. I actually got the phone call after going to another interview (which job I didn’t get), which had a certain niceness about it. Due to a screening process that seemed interminable, I wasn’t actually able to start for another two months after the offer, but when I did, I was a bit daunted at first, but hopefully I’ve found my groove now. My colleagues are great too, which is a bonus.

Other highlights include that I lost 3 stone in weight (the moment I stood on the scales and found I wasn’t obese any more and the moment I tried on and fitted into a small jumper in Next will live with me forever). Oh, and I got interviewed about my research in New Scientist magazine after it got discovered by the general public a year late. Oops.

At church, I was pleased to help out with the drama, the praise singers, the ladies’ event, being part of the small group and do the video every so often, but I won’t make the mistake of doing a reading in welly boots again! Craig and Rona’s baptism was probably the highlight of the church year- I think everyone who was there that night was affected in some way.

What, for you, was the low point of 2011?

I am thankful to God that this year hasn’t been especially bad to me. There were a few hiccups. The event which led me to realise I needed to lose weight was utterly soul-destroying. I can’t really discuss it here, but at least some good came out of it. Some of the comments people were writing about me after “thesisgate” were a little upsetting.

Tell me some things you learned this year.

I am allergic to Spain.

It’s easier to lose weight than you think.

The internet is unremittingly cruel.

Relationships are hard.

You can have Moves Like Jagger, but not Swagger Jagger. My understanding is that if you have to ask what Swagger Jagger is, you don’t have it.

Some people need to be told that they are liked.

Who would be your “person of 2011″? It could be someone you know or a famous person who’s inspired you.

JJ, for telling me what I needed to know.

What was the best film you saw this year?

Thanks to having lots of free time and a Cineworld card I was able to take in a great many films this year- I think the best was probably The King’s Speech. See it if you haven’t already! Honourable mentions to X-Men First Class, Captain America, and Thor (though I’ll happily admit I’m a bit of a sucker for comic book movies!)

And what was the worst?

Sanctum (it should have been called 101 ways to die in a cave). I can’t believe the guy who directed my favourite film of all time (Terminator 2, since you asked) was involved in producing this dreary wreck.

What was the best book you read?

After years of wanting to, I finally read Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time, though I didn’t understand a lot of it. If you’re in any way interested in reading how the universe works, give it a go. I also read Harry Reid’s Reformation, which is a good, accessible history of that time period (though probably best avoided if you’re a fan of Henry VIII).

What was the best thing you saw on TV? 

After my unemployment ended (it won’t be missed), my TV watching was largely confined to sport, Doctor Who (which was a bit “meh” this year) and E4’s “relationship comedy Thursdays”, so I won’t be much of an authority on this, but I did really get into Torchwood: Miracle Day. It was a ten-week insight on what would happen if no one on earth died. I was horrified and gripped in equal measure. I also  watched The Wire in its entirety. I felt at the time that it was overhyped, and I still stick to that (but make no mistake, it was actually quite good).

What, for you, was the sporting highlight of 2011?

Mark Webber passing Fernando Alonso at Eau Rouge in this year’s Belgian Grand Prix. Seriously, you won’t see a ballsier moment than that in any sporting event this year.

On the football front, Spurs didn’t get much this year (though I did get to see them beat Hearts 5-0), but Arsenal’s hilarious drop in form from the Carling Cup final onwards, culminating in losing 8-2 to Man U (and Wenger’s attempts to explain it away and insult the fans in the process) was just amazing. Ross County go from strength to strength in Division 1, and I was pleased to finally visit Dingwall to see them beat Ayr 4-0.

What was the best album or song you heard in 2011? What song did you play most?

Tourist History by Two Door Cinema Club. One of the things you need if you want to lose weight is a great playlist, and I think this album helped a lot in that regard (makes the time on the treadmill just fly by!). As for the most played song, I can’t say definitively due to having switched computers in mid-year, but it was most likely this (I am aware these are both from last year, but I’m slow):

What are you looking forward to in 2012?

Hopefully getting more confident in my job. Euro 2012. Maybe learning Gaelic or New Testament Greek (haven’t decided which yet). Being Happy.

If you’ve read this far, I applaud you! It remains for me to wish you a happy and prosperous 2012.


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