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2014 - Year in Review

So the new year started like the old one ended. Playing loads of Lego Marvel and getting really into figure skating in the lead up to the Sochi Olympics.

I managed to find a few dodgy livestreams of the skating and stayed up late to watch as much as possible. I was watching the livestream when Russian legend Evgeni Plushenko did a triple axel during warmup and came down wobbly and didn't stop holding his lower back after that. A few minutes later he'd withdrawn, to everyone's shock and surprise. No doubt that rattled all the other competitors because the men's skating was a bit of a farce. I came to adore Misha Ge, who went out with the intention of entertaining rather than medalling and succeeded with flying colours, and Michael Christian Martinez, a kid from the Philippines with fascinating moves and the first Olympic figure skater to hail from a tropical country.


Misha Ge during his rocking long program performance.

As my New Year's resolution was to learn how to make-up, I researched nail-polish again and discovered that formulas had generally changed and the nastiest chemicals are now omitted from many brands of polish. I bought a few bottles (8, because piCture pOlish has a deal when you buy 8 or more bottles), and my skin didn't protest at their use. So I bought more. And more. And discovered hundreds of nail art tutorials on YouTube, and that nail art supplies were cheap as chips on eBay, and let's just say I haven't had a week without nailpolish on since.


Nail art, inspired by Stephane Lambiel's "Magical Zebra" long program from the 2006 Olympics. See? More figure skating!

In the land of fandom, Game of Thrones started really veering off course from the books and annoyed many people, myself included.

But the really big event happened in April when I went to see Captain America : The Winter Soldier. It's now a new year and I still haven't stopped obsessing over these two super soldiers.



Suddenly my Tumblr dash was full of the terribly aesthetically pleasing Sebastian Stan and Chris Evans, so of course I had to investigate their catalogue of work.



Of Chris's other movies, the most affecting was the post-apocalyptic Snowpiercer and the most entertaining was the predictable but pretty What's Your Number?

The majority of Seb's movie career is rubbish, but I managed to watch the entire mini-series Political Animals in a day and be utterly heartbroken by TJ Hammond.

Then I turned to another of his old shows, called Kings.



Well. Like CATWS, I haven't stopped screaming about Kings since. This show aired in 2009 and got axed after one season when it desperately needed a 2nd to tie up its' loose ends. I've rewatched it all the way through about twice and keep rewatching random episodes and find new details every time. Religious overtones, political machinations, terrible people doing terrible things – it's an amazing show I recommend that everyone should watch it.

Other shows that I watched and enjoyed:
Hannibal – season 2 managed to have a few scenes that almost made me dry-retch. I am impressed.
Agents of SHIELD – This show just keeps getting better and better. It really found its feet during the CATWS crossover episodes, when everything went to hell with SHIELD. The mid-season cliffhanger has not left me screaming in anticipation as much as mourning some characters who deserved so much more.
Once Upon A Time – after watching episode 17 (the one where Sebastian Stan's character debuts) a few times I figured I should just watch it all. What a delightful little show. I still have to start on season 3 then catch up with season 4. I'll get around to it.
Arrow – I finally got around to watching all this. I went to Supanova when I was about 2 episodes away from finishing season 2 and got spoiled. But seeing as it was Manu Bennett (who plays Slade) doing the spoiling, I was okay with it. (I also got to see Ming Na-Wen from AoS at Supanova and discovered that she is a delightful bouncy fangirl like the rest of us).
Flash – Arrow's counterpart show. Less heavy and more predictable, but delightful. I just love all the little DC references in these shows.
Gotham – The other great DC universe show. Baby Bruce Wayne and rough-around-the-edges Alfred give me life. And finally an iteration of The Penguin that makes me interested in the character.

Guardians of the Galaxy was fantastic. Who imagined we'd all fall in love with a talking raccoon and a dancing tree (well okay, probably lots of people). But it was better than I even imagined it would be.

So my love of all things Steve and Bucky and my slowly growing collection of swing dresses had me starting to get into all things pre-WWII/1930s/1940s. Then a friend said I should come along to swing dance classes with them.



Since then 90% of the music I have been listening to dates from before 1945. I have become a huge fan of Glenn Miller and The Andrews Sisters. I have learned to Lindy Hop and Charleston and Shim-Sham and Balboa. I have met lots of cool people. I still haven't really made any friends – but that's always a challenge and a slow process for me. I intend to keep going to lessons and social dances. If nothing else it sneaks me a few hours of exercise without me realising too much.

I stopped getting my hair cut and growing my fringe out due to laziness, but that has evolved into a purposeful growing out so I can put pretty clips in it and do pompadours and victory rolls. My goal for 2015 is to learn how to do hair, because, like make-up, it's just one of those things I never really learned about previously.

Finally, the year has ended on a show from 2001 called Band of Brothers – which fits right into the whole 1940s/WWII thing I have going on. I finished it last week and have almost completed the re-watch already – it's definitely a show that requires a double watch through just to get all the people (I don't want to call them characters, because these were actual guys out there on the front-lines in Europe) straight. The show is visceral and immersive and amazing and harrowing. Don't watch it if you have a weak constitution (watch out for ep 9 especially, and a brief moment in ep 3 that I seriously cannot watch anymore), but DO watch it if you're interested in WWII stuff and want your heart shattered into tiny pieces.



At first, after the whole thing with Kings happened I figured we'd have another Year of the King like 2012.

But on further consideration I realised it was totally not a Year of the King. Three of the main characters in Kings were/are a General, a Major and a Private come Captain. Steve and Bucky are a Captain and a Sergeant with a unit of commandos. And Band of Brothers... well 'nuff said.

So I hereby dub 2014 – The Year of the Soldier.

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