2010: The Year That Did Not Suck

Well, we’re less than six hours away from a new year, as I write this. It’s tradition here at Byzantium’s Shores for me to end up a year’s posting with this quiz, so here we go…but all things considered, 2010 was not a bad year for me, at all. Some things could have been better, but that’s always the case, and on balance…I like where I am heading into 2011. (I’m gamely resisting the fact that in general, it’s been the odd years lately that have been offering up various arse-kickings…but I’m not the superstitious type.)

So, the annual quiz for the end of the year!

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

Some yes, some no. Which is pretty much the way it always is. I learned more about the technical aspects of my job, and I have hopes that this will position me for a “jump up the food chain” at work sometime in 2011. I read quite a bit, but I never feel like I read enough. And I fell off the wagon a bit in terms of the “fitness” thing. But that’s a wagon easily reboarded, I think.

The one area I’m disappointed in myself is writing. I did not write enough, not by a longshot. That needs to change. I do have a new project, though, which is nice.

Did anyone close to you give birth?

You know, try as I might, I can’t think of anyone who did! Weird, huh? No one really close, anyway. I do have online friends who had babies. But no major births in the immediate vicinity of the Family Unit.

Did anyone close to you die?

No. This is where I tend to get nervous about the upcoming odd year.

What countries did you visit?

In the real world, the USA and that’s it. In lands of imagination, I visited lands far and wide. Worlds far and wide, actually! And that’s the way I like it.

What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?

As noted above, I’d like to finally take the “next step” in both my career at The Store and with my writing “career”. I’d also like a router. (The woodworking kind, not the computer kind. Got one of those.)

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

This wasn’t a year for big achievements. It was, instead, a year for keeping the ball in motion, all the time. I think. I’m not actually sure where I’m going with that metaphor…hmmm….

What was your biggest failure?

Maybe one of these years I’ll just admit to myself that The Promised King is never going to be “finished”…but I don’t want to admit that, so I’ll keep pretending that it’s just on a hiatus and that I haven’t really moved on to stuff I’d like to do more than this story notion that I’ve nursed since college.

What was the best thing you bought?

I didn’t buy anything major at all this year! Just little stuff. Like the dragon incense burner that’s on my desk right now; that thing is crazy cool. (I’ll take pictures.) I bought quite a few books. Maybe the best thing I bought was a Christmas gift for The Daughter. She absolutely loved the movie The Phantom of the Opera, so I went to eBay and tracked down a replica of the actual music box from the movie/show. That was pretty cool.

Whose behavior merited celebration?

The Wife and the Daughter, obviously.

And the 2010 Buffalo Bills, whom I expected to be awful and who probably were (they’re 4-11 going into the final game), but they proved to be scrappy and tough and hardworking, all the things I was hoping they’d be. Except for winning.

And soon-to-depart-her-current-office House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She made a lot of great things happen. Yes, as a lifelong liberal Democrat I had hoped for more, but I have to admit that they did get a great deal of amazing things accomplished.

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Tea Partiers: that coalition of standard Republicans and…standard Republicans. They are a scary, scary bunch of people.

Where did most of your money go?

Food, bills, books.

What did you get really excited about?

Guy Gavriel Kay had a book come out! Carl Paladino did not become Governor! The Wife and I took our annual trip together to Ithaca! The Family and I took a trip to Pittsburgh!

What song will always remind you of 2009?

Well…OK then. Watching last season’s Celebrity Apprentice made me like Bret Michaels a whole lot, and then he had some major health problems. And then, he won Celebrity Apprentice. And then, two days after that, on the finale of American Idol, this happened:

This moment made me cheer…and I don’t even like “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”. But that song will be forever associated with the year that Bret Michaels came back in a big way.

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

Happier, I think.

Thinner or fatter?


Richer or poorer?

About the same.

What do you wish you’d done more of?

Writing! And reading. And listening to music. And watching movies.

What do you wish you’d done less of?

I probably should have eaten less. But it was all oh, so good….

How did you spend Christmas?

Opening gifts, going to church, eating a turkey dinner, watching Elf and episodes of The Big Bang Theory.

Did you fall in love in 2010?

I fall in love every day!

How many one-night stands?

As if I’d tell. I’m a gentlemen. (And it was zero, anyway. I’m married, don’t you know!)

What was your favorite TV program?

Castle, The Big Bang Theory, The Amazing Race, Survivor (damn show finally wore me down), and Arthur. Because Arthur is awesome, and I’ll have words with anyone says otherwise. (And still Firefly, Star Trek, and I’m rewatching The X-Files.)

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

I don’t hate. Hate is a bad emotion. But there are sure a lot of Teabagger-Republican types with whom I could have happily dealt never knowing about….

What was the best book you read?

GGK’s Under Heaven.

What was your greatest musical discovery?

This wasn’t really a year for musical discoveries. Maybe Alexandre Desplat, a film composer who has come on the scene the last bunch of years.

What did you want and get?

I wanted books, and got ’em. I wanted pizza a whole bunch of times, and got it! I wanted time with The Wife, and got it (although not nearly enough). I wanted some new hand tools, and got ’em. I wanted to hear the Buffalo Philharmonic live, and I got to do that; I wanted to make more food from scratch or at least try new recipes, and I got to do that. I wanted to hold The Wife’s hand, have The Daughter teach me to play videogames, laugh a lot, wear overalls, learn more about carpentry and other maintenance jobs at work, read more space opera, and go sight-seeing around the very town in which I live; I got to do all those things. And I wanted pies in my face, and I got those, too.

What did you want and not get?

Well, we’re starting to feel as though it’s time to look beyond apartment living. That’s all I want to say about that. And my car, faithful and trusty steed that it’s been, is a 1992 granny-mobile. I’d love to be able to replace it soon.

What were your favorite films of this year?

Of films that came out this yearUnstoppable and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One. I rarely see movies the year they come out anymore.

What did you do on your birthday?

We celebrated my birthday with our annual trip to Ithaca for the Apple Harvest Festival. This wasn’t actually on my birthday, but a week later. Had we gone to Ithaca for the Apple Harvest Festival on my birthday, the Festival would have been disappointing, as it wasn’t held on my birthday. Hence the delayed celebration.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007?

Oh, come now. All overalls, all the time. Well OK, not all the time. But my manner of dress hasn’t changed much at all in years, and I see no reason to change it now. I have zero use for what is “fashionable”.

What kept you sane?

Laughing; reading; writing; discovering that even though we’ve been together in one way or another for almost twenty years, I still have ways of getting to know The Wife; singing loudly in the car when I’m by myself; torturing The Daughter with awful puns (something my father did to me, coincidentally enough!); geeking out to Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. And take it from me: if you ever feel that maybe you’re taking yourself too seriously, have your spouse or significant other hit you with a pie. It’s awfully hard to take yourself seriously when your face is dripping whipped cream and coconut custard.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Stana Katic. Melissa Rauch. Jenna Fischer (although her show is limping along). Tina Fey. Lisa Edelstein. Hugh Laurie. Crystal Bowersox. Jeff Probst. Nathan Fillion. Barack Obama. And that woman in the Geico commercial, the one with the little piggy that cried “WEEE WEEE WEEE” all the way home. Seriously — she’s on screen for something like eight seconds total in that ad, and she totally and convincingly conveys her enormous weariness with driving this annoying shouting pig around.

What political issue stirred you the most?

The health care bill, I suppose. Global warming, too.

Who did you miss?

I miss everybody who’s gone, even for a little while. I miss you folks when you don’t comment for a bit, or when my traffic’s down, or when I’m in a posting funk and not writing much. And I miss my characters when I’m not writing about them.

Who was the best new person you met?

I “met” some fantastic folks online this year. I won’t list them, but I wager they’ll know who they are. Some are part of the goofy community of “overalls wearers” that has sprung up online; others are hardware bloggers; some blog food, others geek culture. And I met some great people in person, too. Cool people rule — be a cool person!

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010:

I’m not sure it’s a “life lesson”, but I’ve become less afraid of screwing up this year. Sometimes you just have to plow ahead and deal with any negative consequences later. Besides, I’ve always loved learning and I’ve believed for years that we learn best by screwing up, so…bring on the screw-ups! Embrace your inner FAIL! It’ll make you better in the longrun.

And keeping the ones from years past: 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:

Here’s a song I like a lot. I like a lot of this guy’s songs a lot. It’s “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes” by Jimmy Buffett.

I took off for a weekend last month
Just to try and recall the whole year
All of the faces and all of the places
Wonderin where they all disappeared
I didn’t ponder the question too long
I was hungry and went out for a bite
Ran into a chum with a bottle of rum
And we wound up drinkin all night

Its these changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes
Nothing remains quite the same
With all of our running and all of our cunning
If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane

Reading departure signs in some big airport
Reminds me of the places Ive been
Visions of good times that brought so much pleasure
Makes me want to go back again
If it suddenly ended tomorrow
I could somehow adjust to the fall
Good times and riches and son of a bitches
Ive seen more than I can recall

These changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes
Nothing remains quite the same
Through all of the islands and all of the highlands
If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane

I think about paris when Im high on red wine
I wish I could jump on a plane
So many nights I just dream of the ocean
God I wish I was sailin again
Oh, yesterdays over my shoulder
So I can’t look back for too long
There’s just too much to see waiting in front of me
And I know that I just can’t go wrong

With these changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes
Nothing remains quite the same
With all of my running and all of my cunning
If I couldn’t laugh I just would go insane
If we couldn’t laugh we just would go insane
If we weren’t all crazy we would go insane

Excelsior, 2010! And bring on 2011.

(Oh, and if you’ve hung on this long, thanks for reading, whether you’ve read this blog for a long or a short while!)

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4 Responses to 2010: The Year That Did Not Suck

  1. Kevin Hayden says:

    Happy New Year, Kelly! I hope it treats you poifickly.

  2. Roger Owen Green says:

    well, screwing up just makes it more interesting!
    happy 2011, man of Buffalo.

  3. Jason says:

    FWIW, "Changes in Latitudes" is one of my all-time favorite songs. It didn't exactly apply this year, but it's provided comfort through some major topsy-turvy in previous ones.

    Happy New Year, Kelly…

  4. csmith2884 says:

    Great Post happy new year..

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