It feels like the world is getting back to normal in 2022, but with two important caveats.
First, it probably shouldn’t feel this way. More people are dying of COVID now than at many times in the past few years when we rightly freaked out. Yet we’ve stopped doing anything about it. The threat of a runaway exponential burst in cases seems to have subsided for now, but we won’t even wear masks to staunch the constant flow of hundreds of Canadian deaths every week. If a serial killer were murdering hundreds of people a week, we’d probably stay home a lot and carry protective gear more solid than a mask. On the other hand, heart disease kills even more people, and we don’t do much about that either. Maybe we’ve gotten to a place where society is fine with those human sacrifices, but it does highlight how inconsistent and temporary our priorities are.
The second caveat is that I’m not convinced normal is a good place for the world to get back to. The pandemic showed everyone that normal kinda sucked. Many of us realized that commuting to an office every day, unending social obligations, and not thinking twice about getting sneezed on were always a bit stupid. COVID may have changed normal for a lot of people. For now, I’m seeing small things—less pointless commuting, more people saying no to obligations that never made them happy, staying home when sick—but it could be the start of larger changes. It might be time to think about whether we really need or want this capitalism thing, for example.
On a personal level, I survived COVID—still without even getting it, though it seems like everyone else got their turn eventually this year. However, I’m getting past halfway through my likely lifespan, which makes me think about death a lot. Should I be doing more big important immortal things with my life in the time I have left? Or should I just lean in to my cozy stay-at-home life, savouring every moment with my partner and even shorter-lived dog? I think those are questions I’ll continue to struggle with in the next few years, all the while hoping that medical technology gets to a point where 42 years old is no longer middle-aged.
Ah shit, I got all contemplative about death and forgot to be funny in this year’s blog post. Maybe next year!
Anyway, here’s my summary of the media I consumed this year, which is a problematic but effective way of jogging memories of how 2022 felt for me.
As usual, this is just an uncurated list of the albums I listened to most, courtesy of Last.FM. It was a lighter year for listening to new albums, because I listened to a lot of old albums on vinyl, and a lot of playlists on streaming. Still, the winners are the winners, so here they are.
First, some honourable mentions for albums that came out late in the year or didn’t make it on the list for whatever reason.
- Let’s Eat Grandma – Two Ribbons
- Our Lady Peace – Spiritual Machines II – The first Spiritual Machines is what got me into Ray Kurzweil and deeper into technology, changing the course of my life. This sequel was a nice little 2022 surprise.
- Carly Rae Jepsen – The Loneliest Time
- Bartees Strange – Farm to Table
- Viagra Boys – Cave World
- Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Cool It Down
- Tegan and Sara – Cry Baby
- Foals – Life Is Yours – These guys have been appearing on this list a lot. I can never really remember a single song of theirs, but I always enjoy their albums when they’re on. Weird.
- Wet Leg – Wet Leg
- Muse – Will of the People
- Bad Omens – The Death of Peace of Mind
And here are my top 10 most listened-to albums:
10. Alt-J – The Dream
9. Bonobo – Fragments
8. Lights – Pep
7. Years & Years – Night Call
6. Charli XCX – Crash
5. Metric – Formentera
4. Highly Suspect – Midnight Demon Club – This one holds a special place, because Meg got a new car this year, and we spent a lot of time driving around, listening to the Octane station on the fancy new satellite radio. This band came up a lot on that station, so they’ll forever be associated with hard rock road trips.
3. Miley Cyrus – Attention: Miley Live – So good. She adds an edge to all these songs live that make them even better than the album versions.
2. The Weeknd – Dawn FM
1. Ghost – Impera
I feel like I didn’t love any TV this year. More than ever, shows feel like they’re created by soulless algorithms to get as many people streaming them as possible. That said, these ones were pretty good:
- Archive 81
- The Bear
- Doom Patrol
- House of the Dragon (and to a lesser extent, Lord of the Rings Rings of Power)
- The Mole
- Only Murders in the Building
- Our Flag Means Death
- The Pentaverate
- She Hulk
- Stranger Things
- Two Summers
- The Watcher
- What We Do in the Shadows
- The White Lotus
- The 9th Annual On Cinema Oscar Special
- The Banshees of Inisherin
- Everything Everywhere All at Once
- Jackass Forever / Jackass 4.5
- Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special
- Speak No Evil
- Christmas Bloody Christmas
- Crimes of the Future
- Deck of Cards
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
- The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special
- Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
- Scream (2022)
- Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022)
- Thor: Love and Thunder
- The Tinder Swindler
- Werewolf by Night
- Who Invited Them
Games / Apps
- Dungeons and Dragons – Got back into role-playing again, this time on Zoom with geographically scattered friends.
- Elden Ring (Xbox) – I thought I’d hate this because I’m old and suck at hard games, but I beat Malenia on my first try. Still got it.
- God of War (2018) (PS5) – I love how chunky and crunchy this game feels.
- Marvel Snap (iOS) – God damn, this is so addictive. I play it every time I shit.
- Peloton – Particularly Kendall and Cody.
- Spider-Man (PS5) – I’m compelled to get 100% of everything in this game because it’s so pleasant swinging around the city.
- Strava – Mostly for biking and hiking, trying to get a real-life high score.
That’s a lot of hours! I don’t think I actually played Elden Ring for 170 hours, but still, I could have written a novel or two in the time I did, and instead I pretty much quit writing altogether. Whoops.
Here’s my year in books, from Goodreads. I liked all of these!
Okay, we’ve made it two thousand and twenty-two years since year zero. Good job, everyone. See you next year.