Annual Report 2013

Well it seems I’ve been keeping a record of various activities for five years straight now. Each year I add another bit of data and I’ve ideas on how to add more for 2014. This year I recorded all the cinema movies I went to, all the tv shows and movies I watched at home, bread that I made, books that I read, fitness that I took part in and cultural places that I visited.

Goals achieved
Looking back, I unusually didn’t seem to set myself any formal goals for this year. At the time, however, I was still writing a daily blog and had started on an exercise kick. I stopped writing the daily blog in the summer but I’ve stuck with the exercise and I’m feeling that this has been a real success (more on this later).

Report:

Movies (at the cinema)
This has been an exceptionally slim year for my cinema going with an all time low of 15 movies. It has not been the sparsity of good films but my increased fitness regime that has been to blame and I think I’ve missed some real corkers this year too.¬†Of this (short) list, my top three are:

  1. Gravity 3D
  2. Searching for Sugarman
  3. Stoker

Despite being the favourite and despite even Mark Kermode saying it was alright, I think I still would have preferred Gravity in 2D. I feel confident that it would have amazed me as much. Gravity is notable as my only 5 star film (at the cinema) this year.

Movies at home
This year I have watched 63 movies at home, mostly via Netflix, 38 of which were films that I’d never seen before. I clearly like to re-watch stuff! Of these my top picks would be:

  1. Cave of Forgotten Dreams
  2. The Descent
  3. Do the Right Thing

It is interesting to note that two of my top three involve caves but for utterly different reasons!

TV series
For the second year running I can say that I have barely watched any scheduled television and stuck for the greater part to Netflix, DVD box-sets and to a lesser extent iPlayer. On top of that it has been a stellar year for quality too with a bumper crop of top-class entertainment. So much so, in fact, that it is painful only picking out a top three. The top shows that I watched were:

  1. Breaking Bad – series 1-5
  2. House of Cards (2013) – series 1
  3. West Wing – series 2-4
  4. Twin Peaks – series 1 and 2
  5. Ripper Street – series 1 and 2

As I am still quite far behind on watching many established shows I can usually wait these days until they have completely finished their run before watching. I was therefore able to see all of the superb ‘Breaking Bad’ without having to wait a year between seasons/series. It is up there with ‘The Wire’ as a very nearly perfect show and had a terrifically satisfying ending too.

In numbers, I watched 22,129 minutes of TV, which is approximately 368 hours. It sounds a lot but that is only an hour a day on average which I am not too ashamed of.

Books
At the same time that my TV watching has gone up, my book reading has gone down and I have only completed 15 books this year. I started two others but didn’t finish them. This is despite loving both my kindle and the local library! Worse than that, there were not even any truly wonderful books that I can report back on and nothing had five stars. My top three were:

  1. Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West by Stephen E. Ambrose
  2. Summer of Blood – the Peasants revolt 1381 by Dan Jones
  3. Battle of the Atlantic by Andrew Williams

It is notable that more or less all the decent books that I read this year were histories and i’m really longing for a wonderful novel to come along.

Bread
I’ve been regularly baking bread for several years now but this year I thought that I would record what I baked and when. I only thought to do this in February but is still pretty interesting. I have recorded making bread 40 times since February and i’d guess there would be at least a couple more in January. This would mostly be a batch of two large loaves each time. Eleven of these batches were sourdough.

Fitness
This category is new this year and I’m quite pleased with the way i’ve broken it down. In total I did110 separate sessions of formal exercise (something that I got dressed up sporty for) adding up to 5113 minutes (85 hours). Broken down, I did:

  • British Military Fitness (BMF) – 3870 minutes
  • Running – 1041 minutes
  • Cycling – 112 minutes
  • Swimming – 90 minutes

This all averages out as two 45 minute sessions a week which I don’t think is too bad.

Cultural visits
I made 16 ‘cultural’ visits in 2013. This could be a museum, art gallery or historical place such as a castle. This a big improvement on past years and I hope to continue this next year.

Coffee shops
My vague idea here was to record all of the independent coffee shops that i’ve been to, however, I didn’t really think how best to do this and this kind of fell by the wayside. I’ll pick this one up in 2014 and add the coffee beans that I use in my own coffee.