2022 Pop Culture Year in Review

Happy New Year! 2022 was a jam-packed year full of various trips, weddings, and surprises. As I reflect on all the memories made in 2022, I can safely say that 2022 was a great year.

Movies I Watched:

  • Shang Chi
  • Black Widow
  • Licorice Pizza
  • The Batman
  • Doctor Strange Multiverse of Madness
  • Top Gun Maverick
  • Black Adam
  • Morbius

If there was a film that would be “the movie” of 2022, it would easily be Top Gun Maverick. I went to see Top Gun twice in theaters. My mom saw Top Gun 6 times in theaters. Top Gun was pivotal as it made going to see a movie in theaters so fun especially after the lull of the pandemic. I wouldn’t be surprised if I rewatched Top Gun in 2023 as my husband hasn’t seen it yet.

Besides Top Gun, I loved The Batman. Robert Pattinson knocked it out of the park and I liked how this movie felt like a “Detective Batman” adaptation.

TV Shows I Watched:

  • Dopesick
  • Euphoria
  • Castle
  • Peacemaker
  • Moon Knight
  • Kenobi
  • The Kardashians
  • Bridgerton
  • Critical Role
  • She-Hulk
  • Ms. Marvel

I think if I had to choose my favorite TV show that I watched this year, I think it would be Moon Knight. Moon Knight was grittier and I loved Layla El-Faouly (played by May Calamawy) as Scarlet Scarab. I’d love to see her pop up in other Marvel adaptations. Besides Moon Knight, I liked Peacemaker a lot which is interesting because Peacemaker was one of my least favorite characters in The Suicide Squad movie. I think Vigilante (played by Freddie Stroma) stole the show with his dark humor and one-liners.

One surprise for me was how much I enjoyed Bridgerton. I’m not normally a big Victorian-era TV show person, but I found myself truly invested in the show. I’m looking forward to Penelope’s (played by Nicola Coughlan) season even though I’m not a fan of Penelope and Colin together because he seems toxic.

The last show I wanted to mention was Dopesick. Dopesick was a Hulu miniseries that focused on the Opioid epidemic. The acting in this is superb and finishing the show left me frustrated since the Purdue family will more than likely not face repercussions for what they started.

Video Games I Played:

  • Nancy Drew Secrets of the Old Clock
  • Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Donut Country
  • LEGO The Skywalker Saga
  • Backbone
  • Disney’s Dreamlight Valley
  • Hidden Through Time DLC
  • Overwatch 2
  • The Quarry
  • LEGO DC Supervillains
  • Nancy Drew: The Final Scene

My favorite game of 2022 was The Quarry. I like Supermassive’s games because they have just enough horror and jump scares where I can play them without having to cover my eyes too much. I played The Quarry Halloween weekend with the lights off and it was perfect.

I didn’t play as many Steam games this year as I did in previous years, but I want to get that going again. With the Steam sale, I plan on picking up a few games on my wishlist. I have a few Nancy Drew games still left to play.

I played a lot of Overwatch 2 which I have to admit, I was expecting more from the game. I’m trying to play new characters as I usually always play as either Zarya or D.Va. I recently discovered Brigitte and she might be my new go-to character.

Gaming in 2022:

  • Taught my mom how to play Exploding Kittens
  • Curse of Strahd campaign
  • Adventurer’s League with Zehiri
  • Doctor Who Fluxx
  • Star Wars Villainous
  • Hunt a Killer – Motel
  • Goodcritters

One highlight in 2022 was playing Curse of Strahd every other Thursday. Our campaign is still ongoing since we haven’t gone after Strahd yet. It’s been fun to meet new people and see my character shine. If this campaign wraps, I will be joining another new campaign. Besides Curse of Strahd, I am still playing in Adventurer’s League sessions. I usually play in a session every few months due to monthly obligations. I am planning on playing in a session later this month.

If I had to pick, I think Star Wars Villainous was my favorite new game I played in 2022. I love Star Wars board games to begin with and I liked how easy this was to learn.

Graphic Novels / Comics I Read This Year:

  • Moon Knight Vol #1 – Jed Mackay
  • Star Wars Doctor Aphra Vol #1 – Alyssa Wong
  • The Weatherman Vol #1 – Jody LeHeup
  • Star Wars Doctor Aphra Vol #2 – Alyssa Wong
  • Star Wars Doctor Aphra Vol #3 – Alyssa Wong
  • Peacemaker – Garth Ennis
  • Teen Titans Beast Boy – Kami Garcia & Gabriel Picolo
  • Hawkeye Issues #1 – #3 – Marieke Nijkamp
  • Vampire Emmy & Garbage Girl – Pat Shand
  • The Last Session #1 – Jasmine Walls
  • The Death of Doctor Strange Blade – Danny Lore
  • Birds of Prey Manhunt – Chuck Dixon
  • Plume Vol #1 – K Lynn Smith
  • Batman Year One – Frank Miller
  • Daredevil Woman Without Fear Issues #1 & #2 – Chip Zdarsky
  • Batman Killing Time #1 & #2 Tom King
  • Critical Role Vox Machina III #1 – #5 – Jody Houser
  • Aquamen #1 – Chuck Brown
  • World of Darkness: Crimson Thaw #1 – #3 – Danny Lore
  • Ms. Marvel #1 – #5 – Samira Ahmed
  • She-Hulk #1 – #7 – Rainbow Rowell
  • Manhattan Projects Vol #3 – Jonathan Hickman
  • Star Wars Princess Leia Vol #1 – Mark Waid
  • Star Wars Obi-Wan #1 – Christopher Cantwell
  • Star Wars Poe Dameron Vol #2 – #4 – Charles Soule
  • Han Solo & Chewbacca #1 – #5 – Marc Guggenheim
  • I Am Not Starfire – Mariko Tamaki
  • Star Wars Crimson Reign #1 , #2 & #4 – Charles Soule
  • DC Pride 2022
  • March Book #1 – John Lewis
  • Miskatonic High #1 – Mike Shea
  • Ice Cream Man Vol #1 – W. Maxwell Prince
  • Bettie Page #1 – #4 – Ani-Mia
  • For Goodness Sake Vol #3 – K Lynn Smith
  • Preacher Vol #1 Garth Ennis
  • Star Wars The High Republic Vol #1 – Daniel Jose Older
  • Stake #1 – David Byrne
  • Captain Carter #2 – #4 – Jamie McKelvie
  • Constantine – Kami Garcia
  • Delicious in Dungeon Vol #1 – Ryoko Kui
  • The Ridler #1 Paul Dano
  • Deadpool #1 – Alyssa Wong
  • Blade Vampire Nation #1 – Mark Russell
  • Ms. Marvel & Venom #1 – Jody Houser
  • Batgirls #1 2022 Annual – Becky Cloonan
  • Teen Titans Beast Boy Loves Raven – Kami Garcia
  • Nightmare of the Living Cat – Hawkman

It took me a long time to fully type out this list. When I skim through the list, there are a few comics that stand out to me. I started reading Moon Knight in anticipation of the show. I’m seeing some repetitions such as Alyssa Wong as they wrote Doctor Aphra and Deadpool along with Kami Garcia’s YA DC graphic novels. My favorite new series that I read was The Last Session which is about college friends getting together to finish their DnD campaign. Other memorable series include Captain Carter, Plume, She-Hulk, and Nightmare of the Living Cat.

2022 Pop Culture Moments

  • Don’t Worry Darling Drama.
  • Lizzo playing James Madison’s old flute
  • James Gunn & Peter Safran reorganizing DC

Podcasts:

I split my time between working from home and working in the office. When I work in the office, I listen to podcasts. The two podcasts that I discovered this year have kept me entertained throughout the workday. Three Black Halflings is a podcast that focuses on diversity within role-playing games. Force Toast is a Star Wars podcast that I listen to. It’s one of the few podcasts that I have found that focuses on Star Wars books and comics.

Catchiest Song in 2022:

I was looking through my Top Songs in 2022 playlist on Spotify and I know for a fact that I listened to I Ain’t Worried by OneRepublic so many times throughout the year. It’s so catchy.

Conventions I Attended in 2022:

The only convention I attended this year was Twin Cities Con in November. I hope to attend more conventions in 2023.

Personal Memories

Top Three Memories of 2022:

Road Trips

Buying a House

Weddings!

Minnesota Vikings – The Comeback Kids

Football isn’t necessarily my favorite sport to watch. I’m personally more of a baseball fan with my devotion to the Minnesota Twins. To be fair, I have never been to an NFL Football game at any major stadium. One of my coworkers was selling her tickets to the Saturday, December 17th Vikings game versus The Colts. I jumped at the chance to see The Vikings live because I haven’t seen the new US Bank Stadium. Watching this game in person was incredible especially because The Minnesota Vikings broke an NFL record.

As the game started, The Vikings were having a rough time. At halftime, the score was 33-0 with The Vikings not being able to score anything. Fans were pissed! Our seats were in the season ticket holders section and there was a lot of swearing and frustration that could be heard. Being in this section was pretty entertaining. There was someone doing commentary in the back row of our section and his comments made us all laugh.

As the second half progressed, the same commentator would say “4 touchdowns to win” or “3 touchdowns to win”. Throughout the game, The Vikings kept scoring. The game started with “there’s no way The Vikings can come back from this” to “The Vikings have a chance.” The energy in the stadium increased as The Vikings kept scoring. Eventually, it got to the point where The Vikings scored a touchdown and the score was 36-34. The Vikings needed the two-point conversion to tie the game. There was silence in the stadium as we all watched what would happen. The Vikings did it and everyone cheered. It was time to move the game into overtime.

At this point, I’m sweaty and my heart is beating out of my chest. My Fit Bit recorded this as a workout for the day; that’s how energized I was. Overtime began and The Vikings won the coin toss. Winning the coin toss in overtime is crucial because if you score first, you win. However, The Vikings didn’t score when they had the ball. This meant The Colts had a chance to score. The Vikings stopped them and we got the ball back. At this point, fans are absolutely jumping up from their seats and standing to watch the game.

The Vikings kept moving the ball down the field which put them in field goal range. This was it. If The Vikings kicker made this field goal, we would win the game. If the kicker missed, The Colts would have another chance and that could cost us the game. It was maddening watching this play out, but then we saw the ball soar through the yellow goalposts. It was on the big screen at US Bank Stadium that we won! I was cheering and screaming in excitement. Fans in our row came over to high-five us. I couldn’t believe it! I couldn’t believe that I was at a game where The Vikings came back from 0 to win the game in overtime. I didn’t realize it was an NFL record until the announcers stated this in their commentary. On top of that, The Vikings won the NFC North Championship which meant that The Vikings were at the top of their division. This hasn’t happened since 2017.

As a side note, I wanted to know what record we surpassed. In 1993, The Houston Oilers came back to win the game in a 32-point comeback.

I’m in awe. I can’t believe I was at this game. This is something I will never forget.

My Best Friend is Married!!!! – 3rd Wedding of the Year

November was such a busy month for me! For me, that’s pretty unusual since I’m normally busy during the peak Fall season i.e. September – October. Last month, one of my best friends got married and I was so happy to be included in all of the festivities. I had this post in my draft for a while because I was waiting for the photos to come back and they are such beautiful pictures.

The photos were taken at a hotel in downtown Minneapolis, so we had the skyline in the background. When we took this photo, it was 32 degrees out, so we all were shivering next to each other. Photos always manage to tell a story and bring back lovely memories.

Throughout my blog posts, I tend to repeat myself every now and then. One of the things that I will continue to say is that I’m so fortunate to have my friends. My friendships have carried through my teenage years, through college, and now as we continue on into our adult lives. New friends have been added to the mix and some friends I have grown apart from. With all of that being said, I have a good group of friends and I couldn’t imagine my life without them.

Planning My 2023 Convention Schedule

With 2022 coming to a close, I’m already prepping my end-of-year blog posts. One thing I noticed right away was I was only able to attend one convention which is pretty low for me. I wanted to make conventions more of a priority this year, so I have started planning out 2023 and which conventions I could more than likely attend. I wanted to share a portion of my convention schedule along with conventions that I have on my radar, but I haven’t confirmed just yet.

The two conventions I know that I will for sure be attending are C2E2 and Plant Comic Con. C2E2 is a convention that I attend every year as one of my friends from college lives outside of Chicago. Luckily she lets me stay with her, so I don’t need to pay for a hotel. I end up taking transportation to downtown Chicago and it’s so slick! C2E2 has so much going on and there’s something for everyone with this convention. Planet Comic Con is more of an every-other-year convention. The last time I went to Planet Comic Con was last year as it was my first convention since the Covid-19 pandemic. I love Kansas City, it’s one of my favorite cities in the US to visit. My cousin still lives outside of the city and I’m able to stay with him. I’m fortunate to have family and friends outside of Minnesota to stay with which makes traveling for a convention much cheaper.

Besides C2E2 and Planet Comic Con, I want to get back to attending Convergence. Convergence will always have a special place in my heart because it’s the first convention I have ever attended. The last time I went was in 2019 before the pandemic. If I were to attend Convergence this year, it will probably look a little different. Some of my convention friends who I would meet up with have moved away or are planning to attend another convention on the same weekend. It probably won’t make a difference to me whatsoever because I always manage to have fun at Convergence.

Finally, I wanted to share a few conventions that are on my radar to attend, but they may not happen in 2023 due to other travel plans. The first convention is Gen Con. My first Gen Con was in 2019 and I was completely mesmerized. There were so many booths in the vendor area and there was so much going on in downtown Indianapolis. Attending Gen Con was easily one of my favorite memories of 2019. I hope to get back to Gen Con soon! Besides Gen Con, I have Siouxpercon as a potential convention to attend. Sioux Falls, South Dakota isn’t too far of a drive, so I don’t suspect this to be an expensive trip. I know a few people who tabled at Siouxpercon and they said it was a good convention.

Attending conventions will always be a blast. I love sharing my interests with other people, cosplaying, and going to panels. Let me know in the comments section if you are going to any conventions in 2023!

Jessica Jones at Twin Cities Con

I finally made it to my first convention of the year! I try to make it to a few conventions every year, but I quickly realized that my schedule was packed. I had Twin Cities Con on my radar for this year and I was happy to have been able to attend on Friday. I tabled at the Twin Cities Geek booth which is the online magazine I occasionally write for. Twin Cities Con was one of the most organized conventions I have ever been to especially since this is only the second year for the convention.

Prior to Twin Cities Con, there were several bigger conventions that tried to move into the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. However, these conventions were focused on profit and driving away the local community. Each convention never stayed longer than two years. With Twin Cities Con, there was more partnership with the community. One of the runners of Twin Cities Con talked to the local cosplay community to get a gauge for what weekends Twin Cities Con would work for everyone. With Twin Cities Con happening every November, it doesn’t run into some of the local conventions in the summer. It’s neat that there was a lot of thought put into this convention.

As far as cosplay, I always wait till the last minute. I went through all of my previous Halloween costumes and ended up settling on a Jessica Jones cosplay. I already had the leather jacket, the light jeans, and the combat boots. All I needed was the black gloves and the white t-shirt which I found at Target the night before. It was such a quick cosplay and I did get recognized which is always fun. I do wish I would have thought more about what I wanted to cosplay as. I have an orange wig sitting in my closet that I haven’t been able to wear yet.

Twin Cities Con was a blast to attend. I’m excited to see this convention grow. Minneapolis and Saint Paul need a bigger convention that’s similar to a C2E2 in Chicago and I think Twin Cities Con can get there.

My Aunt Got Married – 2nd Wedding in 2022

I love weddings. With all the despair going on in the world, weddings are positive and light. My aunt got married last weekend and I couldn’t be happier. This ceremony was smaller which honestly, I think smaller weddings are more enjoyable. I felt that I could actually congratulate the bride and talk to people on a smaller scale. After the wedding, we went out to an intimate dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. It was so fun to be able to celebrate their marriage.

New House – New Memories

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but me and my husband bought a house! We spent all last weekend moving our stuff with the help of friends and family willing to take the time to assist. It’s been a process of unpacking and deciding where everything is going in our new space. While living in an apartment worked for a while, it always felt temporary. This is the house that me and my husband plan on living in for many years to come.

Our house hunt started shortly after our trip to Austin. Me and my husband talked about what’s next for us this year and my husband brought up the idea of starting the process of buying a house. He was looking forward to the idea of making our house a home and putting our money into something that’s a long-term investment. Shortly after this conversation, we proceeded with the next steps including partnering with a realtor.

Our house search in a lot of ways was pretty organized. We knew exactly which area of the Twin Cities we wanted to live which helped narrow down our search. We devoted a full day to walk through six homes back to back. From there, we found a house that we loved which led to us putting in our offer. Our offer was accepted the next day. I remember my heart felt like it was going to explode out of my chest when our realtor told us that our offer was accepted.

From there, it was a lot of paperwork to fill out and different things that needed to be aligned. The process itself moved fairly quickly. I’m grateful to my husband who took on a lot of the work and made this process a lot easier to handle.

2022 has been a jam-packed year and I’m thrilled to add geek elements to our home.

Celebrating Spooky SZN – Door County

I took a little bit of a writing break which was quite refreshing. During this time, I went with my husband’s family on a short trip to Door County, Wisconsin. Door County is a county in Wisconsin that consists of several towns that are right along the water. Green Bay is on the left side of Door County and Lake Michigan is on the right. If you look at a Wisconsin state map, there’s a portion of Wisconsin that sticks out and that’s where Door County is. I have never been to Door County before and I was stunned by how beautiful this portion of Wisconsin is.

Everyone who has been to Door County would easily say it’s the most beautiful portion of the state. We would walk through all of these bay towns and it felt like I was on the East Coast. There were all these restaurants, coffee shops, and small businesses that bordered the water. I found myself enjoying walking and taking in all the scenery. Walking and hiking in general are one of my favorite forms of exercise and Door County has plenty to offer.

Door County is one of the best places to visit in the Fall. As my husband and I drove up to Door County, we saw several billboards for a winery that made Halloween wines. Door County Peninsula Winery has three specialty wines that they make every Halloween. When we went to their indoor space, they had it all decked out in Halloween decorations. It made the experience more fun. Everywhere we went in Door County seemed to have some sort of Halloween decoration hung up. Besides visiting various distilleries and wineries, there are also plenty of apple orchards and barns to visit that sold local homemade goods. No matter where we went, each place was so lively.

Visiting Door County was a perfect, local trip and I’m glad I could take a mini break to unwind and come back feeling recharged. As far as vacations, this is my last big trip of the year. I have a friend getting married next month and with the holidays coming up quickly, I probably won’t have the time to commit to traveling anywhere else. Door County was exactly what I needed and now I’m even more excited for Halloween.

Pirate Spotted at the Minnesota Ren Fest

I last went to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival in 2019 or pre-pandemic. I was planning to attend in 2021, but wedding plans quickly booked my weekends. I wanted to make it a priority to attend this year. I’m so glad I was able to go.

Normally, we always drive to Ren Fest, but this year we decided to take the bus. There’s a bus that will do drop-offs at the entrance. It’s well known that Ren Fest has extremely long wait times to get into the fairgrounds. By long, I mean you could easily be waiting 2+ hours in order to park a car. Once I found out the bus was an option, I kick myself as to why I didn’t do this years ago. It was so slick. There were times that the bus had to wait, but once we got closer, there was a bus line that was created, so we could bypass a lot of the car lines. I think it took 20-30 minutes to get there versus hours waiting in a car.

In previous years, we try to go towards the middle of September as it’s supposed to be cooler. However, the weekend we went, it was 80 degrees! It was nice to not be cold, but it messed with the tradition. I used to always order soup in a bread bowl, but it was too hot. I opted for potato skins, chicken fajita, and a chicken wrap for dinner. I did stick with the apple cider float which I still love. It’s the perfect Fall beverage.

This year, I decided to wear a full costume! I decided to go with a pirate look. I rented my costume from Royal Fashions Costume Emporium which I have been doing since 2018 except I would always rent for a convention and not for Ren Fest. Renting a costume is great because it’s cheap and I don’t have to store it anywhere. It was a little bit hot, so I ended up not wearing my red pirate jacket as I really didn’t want to overheat. Wearing a costume for Ren Fest is so fun and I plan on doing this every year going forward.

We spent six full hours at Ren Fest which included seeing two live shows, shopping, and walking around. I missed going to Ren Fest, so I’m happy that I was able to go this year.

Bucket Hats & Booze – Bachelorette Party

My best friend is getting married in November! She’s one of my closest friends. I have called her in moments of crisis throughout my life and she has always made herself available at any time. I consider her “the glue” of our friend group as she’s always the one to organize group events for us all to get together. I was tasked to help plan her bachelorette party along with her maid of honor. I’m not an event planner by any means, but the whole weekend really came together.

We stayed in an Airbnb in Saint Paul, Minnesota’s capital city. The Airbnb was neat because it actually used to be an old church. There was room for all seven of us to stay. We were supposed to have a group of eight, but one of our friends had Covid. This weekend was jam-packed with a group walk, a fancy dinner, and a comedy show on Saturday night. As per a Bachelorette party, there were plenty of drinks consumed. I felt I had to take a day or two to fully recover.

As I reflect on the weekend, I am truly fortunate to have my best friend in my life. She is caring, and honest, and has always had my back. I’m so happy to celebrate her wedding in a month or two. I love her to pieces and I know she will be in my life forever.