2008: A year that was…a year.

And here we go with my traditional wrap-up quiz, applied to 2008. I’ll probably take a few days off now, but you never know! In any event, I’ll definitely have new stuff up on Sunday at the latest.

Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Of the ones that were easy to keep, I was successful. I resolved to not use shaving cream for anything at all, and I did not. I resolved to stop listening to Twisted Sister, and I did. (Never having started listening to Twisted Sister helped this one along, admittedly.) And my resolution to wear no fur products was kept with ease.

As for my other resolutions, I don’t know. Did I write more? Probably not. But I certainly did live healthier, with regular workouts at the Y and quite a bit of weight lost. For this year, 2009, I’m going to once again set as my goal to live a more literary and artistic life. I want to read more short fiction, more non-fiction, more drama. I want to also re-read everything Guy Gavriel Kay has written, since it’s been a few years since my last re-reads of The Fionavar Tapestry and The Lions of Al-Rassan; it’s been more than seven years since my last re-reads of Tigana and A Song for Arbonne; and I’ve never yet re-read The Sarantine Mosaic, The Last Light of the Sun, or Ysabel.

Oh yeah, and I resolve to start riding my bike to work once the weather warms. What’s the best way to carry a laptop around while biking, anyone?

Did anyone close to you give birth?

Two old friends from work (who are both now stay-at-home moms) had second children this year. Actually, the first may have been very late last year, but the second was just a couple of months ago. That’s about all, I think.

Did anyone close to you die?

No. Recently, the Reaper seems to strike us in odd-numbered years, so I’m not looking forward to 2009.

What countries did you visit?

The big new one was Terre D’Ange, of Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Dart. (I’ll post about that eventually.)

What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007?

Better perspective. I think I’m on the way.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Losing 35-40 pounds.

What was your biggest failure?

I didn’t write enough, not nearly enough. I’m wasting too much time and not spending enough on my literary pursuits. I know I can do it. So why don’t I?

And yeah, The Promised King still isn’t done. Ach!

What was the best thing you bought?

Huh. I’m not sure, really. I didn’t buy a whole lot, and that was mostly books. I got a 250-gig external hard drive for backups, so that was good. Aside from books, it wasn’t a year for buying things. I didn’t even buy any new pairs of overalls this year! First time that‘s happened in many moons. In fact, after selling a bunch of pairs on eBay, the size of my overalls collection actually went down significantly. So, best things I bought? Probably meals and movies with the family, and books I read. Simple and true. (And not much by way of economic stimulation, I know. Sue me.)

But I did get to finally start buying clothes in the regular sizes at Target, which means no more paying an extra two bucks to get XXL! Huzzah! (I’m using the word “Huzzah” a lot, all of a sudden. Why not! Huzzah!)

Whose behavior merited celebration?

The Daughter, as always. She is turning out really interestingly, a geek-in-waiting. I can’t even begin to comprehend all the stuff she tells me about Pokemon. And we read so many terrific books together!

And The Wife, who continues to endure her frequently buggerish husband.

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

John McCain’s. Sarah Palin? Really?! Come on. And all the free-market libertarians who continue to insist that if we just eliminate government and let the market do its magic, wonderful things will result. I keep looking at the current economy and thinking of George Carlin’s words: “Right now, that invisible hand of Adam Smith’s is offering an extended middle finger to an awful lot of people.”

And yeah, there were times when my own behavior left me scratching my head and thinking, “Why on Earth did I think that was a wise idea?”

Where did most of your money go?

Into my gas tank and into our stomachs; the rest went to creditors or onto my bookshelves.

What did you get really excited about?

Barack Obama, who will on January 20 descend from Mount Olympus to lay hands upon the nation and thus save us from the cruel grip of our own worse natures. (Or who, alternately, will take the oath of office as President of the United States and do his best to fix the errors of the last eight years, doing well on some stuff and falling short on other stuff. I’ll take either one.)

What song will always remind you of 2008?

“Last Dance”, by Donna Summer; “How Deep is Your Love”, by the Bee Gees; “Falling Slowly” by Glen Mansard and Markita Irglova. More on that one below, and later on in another post.

Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?

I am happier. I think.

Thinner or fatter?

Thinner! You bet your sweet arse I’m thinner. At my height I’d lost 40 pounds on the nose from what I tipped the scales in 2007, but I’ve put back between four and six pounds since that point, mainly owing to my decreased workout frequency the last two months. (It’s just been terribly hectic.) I’m shrinking out of clothes and into smaller clothes. It’s a great feeling. And I’m stronger, too.

Richer or poorer?

I don’t know. For some reason I think I should feel poorer, but I don’t. It’s odd.

What do you wish you’d done more of?

Writing, listening, reading, drinking rum, watching movies. Same stuff as always. Hanging with The Wife. We missed quite a few opportunities this year.

What do you wish you’d done less of?

Same as last year: worrying about stuff I can’t control, and controlling the stuff I wasn’t worried about. Also, missing opportunities with The Wife.

How did you spend Christmas?

The same way we always do: opening gifts, eating food, reading and writing, visiting Little Quinn’s grave.

Did you fall in love in 2008?

My stock answer: I fall in love on a daily basis.

How many one-night stands?

I’d tell you all, but not one of you would believe me.

Oh fine. Zero. You happy now?

What was your favorite TV program?

The Office, Grey’s Anatomy, The Amazing Race, Once and Again, Firefly. (Nobody said I had to limit myself to shows currently running.)

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I don’t like hate. It’s such a worthless emotion. It serves no useful purpose, and it saps energy. I do feel it, from time to time, but I try not to sustain it.

What was the best book you read?

I haven’t posted about it yet, but I did mention it above: Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey. Also, a graphic novel called American Born Chinese hit me between the eyes, as did Will Eisner’s Life, with Pictures. And I just read Waiter Rant by, well, a waiter. Hmmmm. Lots of good books, actually; see the preceding post for links to where I’ve talked about stuff I’ve read.

What was your greatest musical discovery?

I didn’t make any real new musical discoveries this year, aside from the afore-mentioned duo of Hansard-and-Irglova. I did start exploring some areas I’d been familiar with previously, such as the symphonies of Anton Bruckner. Oh, and I came to the conclusion that the Beatles actually didn’t suck. Who knew?

What did you want and get?

A Democratic president-elect. A copy of the works of Kahlil Gibran. Shorter shoulder straps on the overalls, and even the ability to button all the side buttons on some of the bigger pairs. At work: a corded circular saw, a pair of pneumatic nailers, an angle grinder, and a finish sander. I figured out how to make DVDs on the main computer.

What did you want and not get?

La La Land Records has issued a two-disc set of Mark Snow’s music from the Millennium series that I haven’t ordered yet. I didn’t get a new teevee yet; nor did I get a new stereo to replace the one whose CD player is slowly dying. (It still has good sound and I play CDs on the DVD player, so I don’t need to replace this, yet.) Worst, I didn’t get nearly enough time alone with The Wife.

What were your favorite films of this year?

As always, I saw almost nothing that came out this year, so Quantum of Solace wins pretty much by definition. We watched Wall-E a couple of days ago and loved it; more on that in a later post. Ditto Prince Caspian, although apparently that film’s less-than-spectacular box office has made Disney skittish about the prospect of continuing the series. Their mistake here was rushing Caspian into the melee of summer box office; I suspect the film would have done much better as a winter release.

What did you do on your birthday?

I went to dinner with two friends, while The Wife was out of town on family business. Then I went home and started a three-day bender. (OK, not really. But I did go out to dinner.)

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007?

The same as ever: tie-dye, soft sweaters, thermal henley shirts, overalls, hiking boots, et cetera. I did buy a pair of regular blue jeans this year. Next year I’ll need to replace nearly all of my shorts, which are now too big. I decided that I like the color orange, for some reason.

What kept you sane?

My friends and my family.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Jenna Fischer, Sela Ward, Gillian Anderson.

What political issue stirred you the most?

No single issue, really. Just all the ones that Republicans are wrong about. (It’s a very long list.)

Who did you miss?

I missed Blogistan while I was elsewhere.

Who was the best new person you met?

As always, you. Over there. Behind the other guy.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008:

Keeping a few from last year: The Internet is made of people. Punting is for losers. Democracy works, eventually. Not all tears are an evil. Whipped cream is a miracle substance. So is ice cream. Use your library; limiting your reading to only those books you can afford to buy is madness. OpenOffice rules. Buy good tools, take care of them, don’t lend them out, and they’ll last forever. Savory or sweet, eaten or worn, from pizza to apple to coconut cream, pie is wonderful. Screw fashion; if it’s comfy, wear it. We’re not meant to be alone. No object fits in your hand so perfectly as your wife’s hand, and no object fits so perfectly on your shoulder as your child’s head. Let it be, and all you need is love.

And keep smiling, because you never know what life will throw in your face next!

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

The afore-mentioned “Falling Slowly” by Glen Hansard and Markita Irglova, used in the movie Once:

I don’t know you
But I want you
All the more for that
Words fall through me
And always fool me
And I can’t react
And games that never amount
To more than they’re meant
Will play themselves out

Take this sinking boat and point it home
We’ve still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you have a choice
You’ve made it now

Falling slowly, eyes that know me
And I can’t go back
Moods that take me and erase me
And I’m painted black
You have suffered enough
And warred with yourself
It’s time that you won

Take this sinking boat and point it home
We’ve still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you had a choice
You’ve made it now

Take this sinking boat and point it home
We’ve still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you had a choice
You’ve made it now
Falling slowly sing your melody
I’ll sing along….

May the Force be with you all in 2009!

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