2017 in Review

2017 was the year in which we managed to see the first two shows of Jim Steinman’s Bat Out of Hell — The Musical, bought a house in the center of Amersfoort, went on a holiday to Florence and Rome (with trips to Venice and Pisa) in the middle of a heat wave so bad that the locals dubbed it Lucifer, and managed to squeeze a lot of painting and moving in the week directly following that holiday. It was also the year I made/ported a Firefox add-on for copying links, which is doing fairly well (1750+ downloads, 450+ daily users), and that somebody found so useful he send some real-world money my way.

It has also been the year in which I was recovering from a spontaneously dissecting aorta. Physically, I am doing more or less okay. Apart from my right leg not being 100% what it was, I am still functioning within parameters. Conditionally, I am not where I want to be. I gave up volleyball as I did not wish to repeat the very un-enjoyable experience I had after the previous round. I know I should find some alternative, but at the moment I have little energy left at the end of the week that I don’t think it would be wise to do that now. As for my mental and emotional state, well, if I had to put a finger on it, I would guess that I am having a very hard time accepting that it will not ever be like it was before. Especially the last couple of months are being a major buzz-kill.

But on to the fun stuff and my media-diet of 2017.

The List of Books I’ve Read This Year

  1. Joe Hill — 20th Century Ghosts (2017-11-21—2017-12-07)
  2. John Green — Turtles All the Way Down (2017-11-15—2017-11-20)
  3. f-stop Fitzgerald and Stephen King — Nightmares in the Sky: Gargoyles and Grotesques (2017-08-28—2017-09-03)
  4. Stephen King and Richard Chizmar — Gwendy’s Button Box (2017-08-21—2017-08-27)
  5. Stephen King’s The Dark Tower
    1. The Little Sisters of Eluria (2017-07-11—2017-07-12)
    2. The Gunslinger (revised edition) (2017-07-12—2017-07-19)
    3. The Drawing of the Three (2017-07-19—2017-07-28)
    4. The Waste Lands (2017-07-28—2017-08-30)
    5. Wizard and Glass (2017-08-30—2017-09-18)
    6. The Wind Through the Keyhole (2017-09-18—2017-09-21)
    7. Wolves of the Calla (2017-09-21—2017-10-06)
    8. Song of Susannah (2017-10-06—2017-10-26)
    9. The Dark Tower (2017-10-26—2017-11-14)
  6. J.K. Rowling — Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (The Original Screenplay) (2017-07-07)
  7. Ira Levin — The Boys From Brazil (2017-06-16—2017-06-20)
  8. Ben Elton — Time and Time Again (2017-06-11—2017-06-15)
  9. Unidentified Funny Objects 5 (edited by Alex Shvartsman) (2017-05-21—2017-06-09)
  10. Gary Paulsen — Hatchet (2017-05-17—2017-05-21)
  11. Herman Melville — Moby-Dick, or, The Whale (2017-03-14—2017-05-17)
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien — The Silmarillion (2017-03-10—2017-07-06)
  13. Guus Kuijer — The Book of All Things (2017-03-12)
  14. Neil Gaiman — Norse Mythology (2017-03-06—2017-03-10)
  15. Alex Shvartsman — Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma and Other Stories (2017-01-25—2017-02-26)
  16. Bruce Springsteen — Born to Run (2017-01-24—2017-03-06)
  17. Ransom Riggs — Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016-11-20—2017-01-24)
  18. Steward O’Nan & Stephen King — Faithful: Two Diehard Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle the Historic 2004 Season (2016-10-11—2017-01-29)

This year, I have finished 25 novels, a short story and the introduction of an coffee table art book. The start of the year was slow, but I picked up the pace later. The absolute highlight was re-reading The Dark Tower. The Boys from Brazil was a hoot, and Turtles All the Way Down also deserves a mention. Moby-Dick was a chore, but not as bad as A Samuel Beckett Reader, which I abandoned.

My night-time re-read is Neil Gaiman’s graphic novel epic The Sandman, and I am halfway through the seventh volume. I am also still reading his non-fiction collection The View from the Cheap Seats.

The List of Performances I’ve Seen This Year

  1. Arjen Lucassen presents Ayreon Universe, 013, Tilburg
  2. Hanson + Lewis Watson, Paradiso, Amsterdam
  3. Daniël Lohues, “Moi”, Deventer Schouwburg
  4. Chris de Burgh, “A Better World Live”, Carré, Amsterdam
  5. a balladeer (solo), Living Room, Rotterdam
  6. Ellen Foley, De Boerderij, Zoetermeer
  7. Ellen Foley, De Noot, Hoogland
  8. Jim Steinman’s Bat Out of Hell – The Musical, Opera House, Manchester, UK
  9. Jim Steinman’s Bat Out of Hell – The Musical (world premiere/first performance), Opera House, Manchester, UK

+3 over last year. Picking a favorite is hard, but seeing the very first public performance of Jim Steinman’s 40-year-in-the-making musical awesomefest just beats out Ayreon Universe. Getting to see Ellen Foley perform “Heaven Can Wait” was also a treat.

The List of Movies I’ve Seen in Cinemas

  1. — The Dark Tower (VUE Amersfoort)
  2. — Guardians of the Galaxy + Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (Pathé Amersfoort)
  3. — Beauty and the Beast (Pathé Rembrandt, Utrecht)

In that order, as well.

What I’ve Done from My List of 100 Things

  1. #16: “Later, when I’m all grown up, I want a Mini.
  2. #67: Read books from my list of 40 books to read before my 40th birthday before my 40th birthday:
    1. Herman Melville — Moby Dick
  3. #36: Just sit and watch the sunset.
  4. #64: Read all Dark Tower books back to back.

I will not mention revising the list this year. Either I do it, or I don’t. I might also need to start prioritizing those last six books a bit.

The List of Places Where I’ve Spent the Night This Year

And no hospital. Score.

The List of Museums and Other Attractions I’ve Visited This Year

  • — Hermitage Amsterdam (Dutch Masters from the Hermitage. Treasures of the Tsars)
  • Kunsthal Kade, Amersfoort (De Kleuren van De Stijl)
  • Florence: Orsanmichele, Battistero di San Giovanni, San Lorenzo, Medici Chapel, Uffizi, Palazzo Pitti, Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze, Museo Archeologico di Firenze, Palazzo Medici-Ricardi, Duomo, Santa Maria Novella, Bargello, Santa Croce
  • Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam
  • Manchester Museum, Manchester
  • The John Rylands Library, Manchester
  • Kunsthal Kade, Amersfoort (Goed Gemaakt. Ode aan het maakproces.)
  • Dierenpark Amersfoort

And a new list, on account of having Netflix and being home a lot for a few months:

The List of Series I’ve Bingewatched

  • Star Trek: Voyager (seasons 1-5)
  • Stranger Things 2
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation (seasons 1-7)
  • The Shannara Chronicles
  • Black Mirror (seasons 1-3)
  • Stranger Things
  • Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
  • Sherlock (seasons 1-3)
  • Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey
  • Trollhunters

We’re currently halfway through the 5th season of Voyager, and while I have seen swathes of that before, I cannot seem to recall much of it. Stranger Things is probably the best serialized thing I have seen in ages. That 1980s Stephen King vibe does it for me. Black Mirror had a bunch of really great episodes, and part 1 of Guillermo Del Toro’s Trollhunters was a lot of fun as well.

So, uhm, well, on the plus-side: we saw Italy and bought a house. On the downside, lets just say I cannot recommend not having a dissecting aorta enough. No fun.

Be safe, all the best, and hopefully I’ll talk to y’all a bit more next year.