Did last year’s trend of consuming less media and consuming more wine & food continue in 2012? Yes. Did it maybe accelerate a little? Probably. Am I okay with this? Mostly.I mean, I am a little bummed that I missed some great movies this year, but I plan to spend the next week or so catching up. Still, I saw only 54 new films this year, down from 69 last year, and we rarely make a point of seeing films in theatres anymore. While it doesn’t feel like film is fading into a secondary pursuit the way that music has, it’s not quite at the top of my list anymore either. Actually — and somewhat surprisingly — music made a bit of a comeback this year: 14 new albums purchased versus 9 last year. It’s still nothing like it was a few years ago, though. I suspect this is the new normal. Also the new normal: I read far more tweets and news feeds than anything else, but still managed to consume a few books for fun, including Matterhorn, 11/22/63, The Psychopath Test, and Unbroken.
Caloric consumption continued unabated, though. We tried quite a few new (for us) places in Toronto, including Swirl, Goods & Provisions, Trevor, E11even, Midfield Wine Bar, Salt, Enoteca Sociale, The Oxley, The Beer Academy, Loire, Bestellen, Wvrst, Morgan’s On The Danforth, Bar Hop, AAA, and The Stockyards. Midfield, Enoteca, Bestellen, Wvrst, and AAA instantly became favourites. Some favourites hosted a few special occasions too, like Jacobs & Co. for both Nellie’s birthday and our anniversary; a 10-course dinner paired with Rogue beer at Beerbistro; and our second try at the world’s top-rated beer at Bar Hop.
Really, though, this year’s recurring theme was about being ambulatory. Nellie and I took off on five weekend trips around Ontario (Prince Edward County; our friends’ cottage on Bat Lake; an aborted camping stay in Bon Echo; two visits to Niagara’s wine country), four trips out of the country (New Orleans with friends to see the Final Four; Sedona and the Grand Canyon just before I spoke at a conference in Phoenix; New York; Amsterdam & Brussels), and Nova Scotia for Christmas. There was no monster trip in there like Australia last year, and only the Amsterdam half of our European trip was remarkable, but the atmosphere of New Orleans, the beauty of Arizona, and the blast of NYC more than met our travel experience quota. In addition to Phoenix I logged a handful of quick trips for work (San Francisco; Chicago; Washington DC; New York; London) but tight schedules kept me from exploring much beyond a few watering holes and restaurants.
Not that there wasn’t fun to be had right back here in Toronto, like Hot Docs, the Session 99 craft beer festival, TIFF (including a once-in-a-lifetime Jason Reitman table read), Nuit Blanche, a killer Jack White concert, and the 100th Grey Cup. We watched the Oscars with our friends T-Bone and The Sof, hosted a few little soirées at our place to kill our wine collection, tried to change our friend Lisa’s mind about beer, watched some March Madness with CBJ+M, introduced our friend Kaylea to Midfield, had a tiny 15-year Dalhousie reunion, sipped our way through a Zinfandel tasting, watched some stand-up comedy with MLK & CBGB, and made one of my favourite baristas happy by giving him a bayonet. Of course, getting to and from these things was a lot more enjoyable this year because of one of my favourite new things about the city: Uber.
Funnily enough, it was right here in Toronto that the most significant movement of all happened: after five and a half years in our first home we bought a new one. We remained in the same neighbourhood — the same building, in fact — but acquired more space for ourselves, the cats, and of course the wine. We’ve been in it less than a month, and it feels more and more like home each day. After three months working through the unpleasant mechanics of buying one home whilst selling the one you’re in, it feels good to actually enjoy the new home rather than just planning for it.
The thread of movement, whether it was across an ocean or down the stairs, which ran through this year is likely to continue into the next, as we’ve given ourselves the ambitious goal of seeing all seven continents before I turn 40. That gives us less than three years to see four more continents, but we have a plan. We begin that journey next year, and fully expect our movement from this point on to present more of an adventure than previous excursions; perhaps that’s an early prediction for next year’s theme.
However you fared in 2012, I wish for you a moving 2013. Happy new year, everyone.
Photo by enigmabadger, used under Creative Commons license