2013 Year in Review

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Normally I like to do these things before the year has fully receded into the ashes of its own burnt-out corpse, but alas, the fates so conspired that I could not complete my work in the supernal glow of their dimming lights.

Which of course, would be a rather over-rhetoricized excuse had I not lacked the use of one of my arms due to a surgery a couple days before. But now that this particular crutch has been wrenched from my grasp (not literally, as I literally am not allowed to carry objects so heavy for the next few weeks), I felt it best to honor my traditions and present the much anticipated Year in Review, 2013 Edition.

3 Year Anniversary

It seems kind of odd to add this here, since our anniversary is closer to the time of writing these, but notwithstanding that Megan and I celebrated our 3 year wedding anniversary this past February. It has been a good year, and probably the first in which there has been some level of normality, whatever that might be called. I think we collectively both just needed a break after the last couple years and all we had to deal with, and so in many ways we have kind of taken it easy this year, just enjoying being together and not being in constant crisis mode. And if you have ever gone from 2 years of constant crisis mode to not, you probably know what I’m talking about.

Megan, as always, continues to be amazing, and I am very blessed to have her in my life. I couldn’t imagine it without her, nor would I want to. Thanks for a great year Megan!

7 Year Work Anniversary

Sometimes I simply cannot believe that I have been working at Church of the Resurrection for seven years; it just doesn’t seem possible. I know I probably said something markedly similar last year, but it still takes me by surprise every time I think about it.

After getting back to work full-time summer of 2012 I started keeping regular office hours again near the end of December 2012, which was good because for a couple of weeks I was about the only person in my department! But we were able to hire two great video producers, and it has been awesome getting to know them and work with them over this past year.

In my own work I have continued to develop my illustration skills and integrating them into my videos and animation, to the point where I feel like that is one of my go-to directions now, which marks a total change of style from 2012. I have noticed that tend to go through aesthetic phases every year or so, but I feel like I am finding something that I have always wanted to develop and utilize, and in some ways I kind of feel like I am coming into my own a little bit. Who knows, that could change in a year or so, but for now I am enjoying working on more fully developing the skills that I already have while continuing to learn new things. There are some techniques and such I am excited to give a whirl this coming year, so we’ll see what happens.

Anyway, let’s get to the good stuff! Here are some of my favorite projects from Church of the Resurrection this past year.

And of course, make sure you go full screen with all the videos!

Photography

More picture taking has happened this year than ever before, and I was finally able to get a 24-70 lens this summer which was well worth it! I am feeling far more confident with my photography skills- both behind the camera and in processing photos- so 2013 has been a good year. I’ve even developed some of my own looks and presets that I use all the time. Definitely saves some time! Here are some of my favorites from the past year.

Gant Family

Nicole + Jared Engagement

Megan

Writing

Writing continues to be a big part of my life, and although I haven’t had as much time for it as I would have liked this past year, I have still continued to blog and write articles for various outlets, including Creationswap.com and Sundaymag.tv. Here are a few of my favorites:

SundayMag.tv:
Putting Skin on Your Idea
Swapping Cartridges
Beyond Eye Candy
Art That Moves
No One Notices (Except Visitors)

CreationSwap.com:
How To Keep Your Creative
Keep Your Head Up
Barely Legible
How Not to Be Liked
Making Worship Self-Evident

And of course, some of my favorites from my writing here at deviantmonk.com:
Infinite Vision
The Problem With Scrooge
Rest Easy
Riches of Iniquity
A Kingdom of Eunuchs
An Apology for Hell
Careful Now
2nd Century Worship Evaluation
Learning Theology with Carmina Gadelica: The Trinity
When Towers Fall
Breaking Babel
Feel The Burn
Marketing Sex in the Church
When Marriage is Hell
Jesus in Hiding
Creating Christians Who Can’t Believe
The Conversion of Job

Looks like you’ve got a lot of reading to do. Better get to it!

Books

Of course, what year in review would be complete without listing the books I have read and enjoyed or not enjoyed? I was a little more judicious in my reading selection this year so as to avoid some of the errors I made last year, and while I enjoyed most of the books I read in 2013, there were still a few lemons, perhaps only in relation to the others, however. But first, the best books of 2013.

Best Books of 2013

The Arts of the Beautiful by Etinne Gilson

I mostly took a chance on this one, as I have been becoming more interested in aesthetics, especially as it relates to philosophy. Gilson argues that art belongs neither with aestheics as a form of knowing nor with philosophy as it relates to the artist himself, but rather its it own form of thing by virtue of the ‘making’ of art. Art is something that is for its own sake, rather than in the service of anything else; it is in this ‘making’ that it exists and has relation towards the beautiful. Excellent, thought provoking book.

Summa Philosophica by Peter Kreeft

A work structured according to the style of medieval argumentation as epitomized in the Summa Theologiae, Kreeft tackles ethics, metaphysics, epistemology and other questions common to philosophy over the centuries. This book, however, is written for moderns, and thus generally employs modern arguments in the Objections portion of each question. I think the medieval form of argumentation still has merit, and Kreeft shows that it can bu utilized regardless of the argument in question. Additionally, he is fairly entertaining and generally makes sure to pick objections and such that are intentionally antagonistic to most popular modern modes of thought, which of course is a checkmark in the plus category.

Alexander: The Ambiguity of Greatness by Guy Maclean Rogers

I read realtively few historical works this year, but this was one of the stand-outs. Both fast-paced and well-researched, Roberts brings life to a man shrouded in legend. I appreciated that Roberts allowed Alexander to be Alexander and t be a man of his time, without the mind-numbingly boring tut-tutting that historians often succumb to when assessing the life and policies of the ancients. Great book.

The Christian Philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas by Etienne Gilson

This was the second of about 4 books by Gilson that I read this year, and I really enjoyed it, but that is probably because I enjoy reading about St. Thomas Aquinas and his thought. Bottom line- if you like this sort of thing, you will enjoy this book. If you don’t, you will find it tedious and dull. I thought it was a great and profound insight into Aquinas, and I would have to say it is fairly impressive that he was able to capture the spirit of the angelic doctor in the space he did while do sufficient justice to his life and thought. Another good book.

The Golden Age Trilogy
by John C. Wright

I haven’t read much sci-fi in recent years, but I have been following Mr Wright’s blog for awhile, and so I decided to see what his sci-fi writing was like. The Golden Age trilogy is one of his earlier works (as far as I am aware), but it is really really good. It can be a bit pressing to keep track of all that is going on, but if you’re used to reading this type of sci-fi then you already know what you’re getting into! I found the whole trilogy pretty gripping and would even call it a page-turner; I decided to buy the whole trilogy at once so I wouldn’t have to wait for each subsequent volume to arrive. I’d suggest you do the same!

Worst Book of 2013

Vincent of Lérins and the Development of Christian Doctrine by Thomas G. Guarino

I kind of hesitate to give this book such a designation as it wasn’t actually that bad of a book; rather, it’s mostly that most of the other books I read were very good, or at least far more memorable, and so by comparison this book suffered. That is not to say it didn’t have its flaws; I constantly got the sense that the author didn’t have enough material to reach a certain word or page limit, as he seemed to repeat the same point over and over and over again. But that could just be me. In truth, I am probably being overly harsh, as I am comparing this to first book in the series on Athanasius by Peter J. Leithart, which was simply wonderful. Leithart is a really good writer, and so my expectations may have been raised to high.

My Book

LoveisOverflowingMainImage1
I had hoped to finish the book I was writing by the end of 2013, but it just didn’t happen. I’ve continued to make revisions here and there, but it hasn’t quite come together. I’m hoping to be able to carve out a little bit of time this spring to crank it out and see what happens, but who knows? However, I did create some illustrations for it, and a synopsis of the book and each chapter can be found here.

Health

2013 was probably my most uneventful year as far as health is concerned. I ended up in the hospital once, but that’s only because the clinic was closed and it’s where they send me if that happens. Nothing terribly interesting came of it, so it was a lot more dramatic than it sounds. Which never hurts when you’re telling the story, especially if you like to infuse drama into your stories!

It’s been two years since my transplant, and I am finally feeling back to normal, to the point where mentally I don’t really even think about it any more. However, things could be changing here pretty soon. Some of the lymph nodes lit up on my most recent PET scan, and so I had to go in for another biopsy. Unfortunately, since the nodes are so small right now, they had to actually do more than the usual needle aspiration; rather, I went under and they sliced into my armpit to get one of them out. Fortunately, the surgery went about as well as slicing into someone’s body and digging around for very small objects can go, with the latent bonus that I get to be sore for quite awhile and can’t lift anything much heavier than a cat. (Unless that cat happens to be the Gregory’s cat Zooey, in which case he’s out of luck. Frannie or Sherlock would probably be ok.)

At any rate, I get the results on the 16th, which may or may not mean anything, in the same way that the PET scan may or may not mean anything. Diagnoses for lymphoma can be really tricky; PET scans give out false positives all the time (which should be expected for a test that is looking for above average metabolic activity- things like too much sugar, having a cold, etc. can give the same results) and even a negative result from the biopsy doesn’t necessarily mean anything, since they can really only test one of them.

Most likely I’ll be taking another trip to get some more PET scans in the near future and probably getting stabbed in the hip by a very long needle; needless to say I am not particularly looking forward to that. At the very least there will be watching and waiting, to see if there is something there or if it is all a false alarm. Gotta ring in the new year somehow!

So it will be interesting to see what 2014 brings, but I am excited to look back on 2013 and remember what a good year it was, with hope that 2014 is even better, no matter what life brings.

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Jason Watson

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