As usual, it started how the previous year ended, with a mini-series called Band of Brothers. Sometime in January I read Stephen Ambrose's book which was the main basis for the series, then straight after read Don Malarkey's book. And then proceeded to devour many other Easy Company related books. I now have only a couple left to read.
The other big thing in January was the debut of Agent Carter. Seriously, can you get any more awesome than Peggy? The dancing! The music! The clothes! Peggy just being an immense, awesome badass. I am so so excited that it got a season 2.
After becoming firmly entrenched (heh heh "entrenched") in HBO War fandom, I watched The Pacific and found it was even more harrowing and brutal than Band of Brothers. Part of it was set in Australia (Melbourne specifically) and all of it was filmed here.
It must have been not long after that that I was convinced to watch Homeland which features Damian Lewis, again playing a serviceman, but GySgt Nicholas Brody is nowhere near as noble as Dick Winters.
Homeland was riveting and I devoured the first 3 seasons in short order. I figured now I knew a bit more about modern Marines I was ready to watch the third HBO War series - Generation Kill.
G-Kill certainly had its moments of utter shock and frustration, but overall it was kinda hilarious.
I read the book of Generation Kill and began reading Bob Leckie's book about his experiences in the Pacific theatre of WWII. By this time I had gone from being pretty much ignorant of how most of the military works to understanding ranks and structures and tactics and strategy and firearms like it was a breeze. Amazing what access to the internet and other nerds and reading some books can do.
Among the books I read was Larry Alexander and Forrest Guth's "In The Footsteps of the Band of Brothers". From this book I was able to map out (sometimes even pinpoint buildings) significant areas in Easy Company's European campaign. The fandom seemed quite impressed with my efforts. Hey, I
was mighty impressed. I had originally made the map so I could get my head around places and distances.
Swancon was in April and I discovered that the nearby Goodearth Hotel had rooms twice the size and half the price of those where the con was actually being held. I managed to sell a few of the decorated combs I started making in February and to show off my ever growing collection of swing/vintage dresses.
A couple months later was Supanova, where I got to briefly meet Elizabeth Henstridge, who complemented me on my costume even though I was not wearing a costume - admittedly it WAS a paratrooper/Steve Rogers/Peggy Carter mashup look so I can see where she got confused. :D
At the end of the financial year, as I was intending to maybe move out soon, the company I was working for went down the gurgler. It wasn't a big deal for me, I hated the job and had plenty of savings and was still living rent free at my parent's house. It was an inconvenience, not a disaster.
I gave up completely on Game of Thrones, season 5 skewed too far from the books and intention of the story for me to care anymore. Watching it only makes me sad and angry for what could have been.
I also abandoned the third season of Hannibal about a third of the way through, it was getting a bit pretentious for me, but really should finish that up because apparently the ending was fantastic.
I did however go to Queensland, which I had planned while I still had a job. Brisbane, Cairns, Julatten and the surrounding areas were fabulous. I got plenty of new birds, including Albert's Lyrebird and Southern Cassowary and over 300 species of fish photographed on the Great Barrier Reef.
My visit to Queensland was also an opportunity to visit areas where some of The Pacific was filmed. I also passed through Canungra, an old training site near Atherton, a bomb site near Mosman and the Artillery museum in Cairns. Stuff I never dreamed I'd be interested in. Now I have a photo of an 88 gun and it means something to me.
Oh gosh and how could I forget - I also visited Dreamworld while I was over there and went on all the roller coasters, of course, plus a bunch of other rides and it was fab.
Watching Generation Kill introduced me to the very handsome, talented and TALL Alexander Skarsgard so I watched some more of his work. Among it, all 7 seasons of True Blood in the span of 3 weeks (the last season all in one day). This series reminded me of a vampire story I had written in high school and was just like eating candy. In retrospect it's a ridculous show, but extremely entertaining and visually appealing.
Flash kept being loads of fun and at time Arrow was only still watchable due to Felicity and Neal McDonough hamming it up as the seasonal Big Bad.
Gotham continues to be awesome and is currently in a mid-season break.
(could this be The Joker??)
In the Marvel universe Age of Ultron was fun, but a little disappoinitng. Antman was surprisingly great. And Agents of SHIELD continued to set up future events in the Marvel universe. But of course the big thing was the release of a certain trailer and now everyone is taking sides.
(no prizes for guessing which side I'm
There was also Daredevil, which showed that when Marvel isn't teathered by mainstream channels it can really get dark and violent. I was impressed.
I was about halfway through Hanks and Spielberg's first colaboration - From The Earth To The Moon - when water was discovered on Mars. Watching FTETTM just blew my mind that it was actually a thing that occured. In the late 50s some people asked "Can we get a man on the moon?" and a decade later it was DONE. And now it's a very real possibility that a human being may set foot on Mars in my lifetime. It gives me chills just to think of it.
I finally got around to watching Unsere Mutter Unsere Vater, a mini-series about 5 friends on the eastern front in Germany and Russia during WWII. It was heartbreaking as expected, and a good opportunity to practice German, which I have been learning on Duolingo.
Then one day I was just toddling around Facebook when I saw an article for a series called The Man In The High Castle. A quick look at the opening sequence had me watching it immediately. This series will sure give you trust issues. And give you lots of food for thought. It also spawned one of the cleverest and at the same time, stupidest advertising campaigns I've ever seen.
In other parts of life, I am still swing dancing and loving it. My fitness is improving. I try to do at least 2 nights of lessons per week and social dancing on most weekends. I also went to my first weekend workshops - Shagabout - which focussed on Shag and Balboa, Stomp Off - which focussed on solo Jazz and Summer Swingfest which was all about Lindy Hop.
I've pretty much immersed myself in the 1940s. I listen to the music, I dress up in vintage style, I'm fascinated by the war, I'm even cooking ration food.
Mum and dad went to Canada for about a month just before I headed to Queensland and this heralded the beginning of my ration cooking journey. I learned that Duke Ellington and ration pancakes at breakfast is a beautiful thing (the pancake recipe discovered at 1940s Experiment). The colouring book craze infected me and I learned that it provided a perfect opportunity to listen to podcasts and it wasn't long before I discovered The Ration Project - which REALLY inspired me to try some interesting things and taught me a lot about WWII.
I am currently reading Masters of the Air about the Eighth Air Force during WWII - the book that Speilberg and Hanks next war series will be based on.
Which brings us to the end of the year 2015. On New Year's Eve I finished watching Marvel's Jessica Jones. Another Netflix series that didn't pull its punches and gave me an appaling villain to digest.
And possibly the biggest news. It's happening - in July next year Desiree and I will head to Europe and the U.S. to see many amazing places, among them a lot the sites from Easy Company's WWII campaigns. Some which I have mapped out in detail. I am still in a state of disbelief over the whole thing and we are already busy organising everything.
So... if 2015 was the year OF anything that thing would be WWII, that period in history between about 1935 and 1947. I seem to be half living then at the moment.