2011: The year of the doldrums

This quiz is my traditional sign-off to a calendar year. 2011 was not a bad year, nor was it a great one. I didn’t make any great strides, but nothing cataclysmic happened either. This isn’t a complaint; I get the feeling that 2011 was a giant bowl of suck for a whole lot of people, and I am grateful that I wasn’t one of them. I hope that this year was more of a “just keep stacking the bricks one by one” kind of year, and that when I’m finished with all that brick-stacking, hey look, I’ve built the Great Wall of China. (That metaphor worked a lot better in my head, it must be admitted.)

So anyway, here are the questions that run down the year!

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

As always, some yes, some no. I haven’t made any great professional strides, either writing or at The Store, but I’ve gotten better at each, and I have a project (Princesses in SPACE!!!, not the actual title) that’s humming along nicely. And I did get healthier. So yay, me!

As for next year, the usual: write more, read more, exercise more, watch more movies. On the reading front, I’ll be participating in a Classics Challenge in 2012. If anyone wants to join, info is there!

Did anyone close to you give birth?

My sister-in-law had Child Unit Number Two. Other than that…nope. Just a few online friends and acquaintances.

Did anyone close to you die?


What countries did you visit?

Never left the USA. We hope to go to Canada again next year sometime, but we haven’t left the USA in years. In my mind, though, I visited the Shire, Rohan, Gondor, and so on. As well as a whole bunch of planets. I spent a lot of time on a planet called Xonareth, but I can’t say more about that just yet.

What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?

A book with my name on it. I don’t know if that’ll be feasible, though…I’m still working on the first draft and am maybe two-thirds of the way through it. Then it’s time to edit it, generate the second draft, and proceed from there.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Moderate weight loss; getting started on Princesses In SPACE!!! (not the actual title).

What was your biggest failure?

I’m not sure if I’m ever going to return to The Promised King. The story still stays in my head, though, so…maybe.

What was the best thing you bought?

The Wife’s Kindle Fire; she is utterly entranced by the thing. Quite a few books. Two pairs of Carhartt overalls (a painter’s pair and a black “duck” pair).

Whose behavior merited celebration?

The Wife and Daughter, as always!

The “Occupy” folks. I question the efficacy of continued camping out in city squares, but I do not question the ideals of the movement, and I deeply hope that our country may finally, at long long long long last, be turning away from its decades-long unquestioned commitment to allowing money to flow straight to the top of society in the hopes that, when they finally fall down to our level, those table scraps are just awesome, man.

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

The Republican presidential candidates. Seriously, watching these people desperately try to outclaw each other in an effort to prove to the Tea Partiers which one is the stupidest is one of the most depressing things I’ve ever seen. Just watching all of these people deny evolution, global warming, and other things, all the while continuing to insist that if we just cut all the taxes on rich people prosperity will return and the streets will flow with milk and honey makes me sick to my stomach.

Where did most of your money go?

Food, bills, books.

What did you get really excited about?

We took a trip to Pittsburgh as a family in the spring, and a trip to the Jersey Shore in the summer. The Wife and I had our annual fall getaway. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2 and The Muppets came out. I resumed exercise and weight training (fallen off the wagon a little bit during the holidays). I turned 40 (less excited about that one, maybe…although the pies were nice).

What song will always remind you of 2011?

In honor of the Occupy movement, the song that I believe should be our National Anthem (all due respect to “The Star Spangled Banner”):

(The fact that George Lucas shows up in the middle of the crowd in this video is just gravy.)

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

Happier. But it’s touchy, so don’t piss me off, people!

(I kid, folks. I kid because I love.)

Thinner or fatter?

Thinner! Not by a whole lot, but thinner. A little bit at a time, folks. If you’re gonna build the Wall of China one brick at a time, you’re gonna take it apart one brick at a time, too.

Richer or poorer?

About the same…but on better grounding.

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?

Eating, I suppose. And I should probably stop throwing rocks at libertarians, Ayn Rand ideologues, and Ron Paul supporters. I just can’t help myself sometimes.

How did you spend Christmas?

Eating, opening gifts, going to church, driving around to look at lights, visiting Little Quinn at his grave, all the usual stuff.

Did you fall in love in 2010?

As always: I fall in love on a daily basis!

How many one-night stands?

Zero. I’m off the market, folks.

What was your favorite TV program?

Castle, The Big Bang Theory, Person of Interest (really liking this one so far), Pawn Stars (discovered on Netflix, post forthcoming), and all the old ones…Firefly, Star Trek, The X-Files. I want to watch Farscape and maybe Battlestar Galactica in the new year.

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

I don’t do hate. And Osama Bin Laden is dead as old Marley, which I think is a Good Thing.

What was the best book you read?

A Tale of Two Cities. That book just made me a-quiver.

What was your greatest musical discovery?

Not a major year for musical discoveries, I’m sorry to say. Maybe I should try and discover some more music one of these years.

What did you want and get?

Books, movies, pizza, trying the new Japanese steakhouse, larger pans for Chicago deep-dish pizza, tickets to Wicked, tickets to Les Miz (it plays here in March 2012, but I’ve got the tickets already), new hand tools, a laminate trimmer, a new (to me) car, time with The Wife, new overalls, and pies in my face.

What did you want and not get?

A Dewalt compact router; an oscillating tool; an impact driver. A new laptop (although the old one’s not dead yet, and I’m loath to replace things like laptops before they die completely or become virtually unusable).

What were your favorite films of this year?

This is always tough, since I rarely see movies in the year they come out anymore. Harry Potter and The Muppets are probably tops. I haven’t blogged them yet, but I loved Space Battleship Yamato and Inglourious Basterds.

What did you do on your birthday?

Our annual trip to Ithaca, NY for the Apple Harvest Festival, which is always a wonderful time. More on the birthday celebration here.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?

Huh…I haven’t changed my personal fashion concept in years. Maybe I should…but nah. It’s workwear-chic for the long haul!

What kept you sane?

Same reply as last year: Laughing; reading; writing; discovering that even though we’ve been together in one way or another for almost twenty twenty-one 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. Lisa Edelstein. Hugh Laurie. Jeff Probst. Nathan Fillion. Barack Obama. Jon Stewart. And my newest love…Kat Dennings! Welcome aboard, Kat! (Hmmm…that sounded creepier than intended….)

What political issue stirred you the most?

The arrival on the scene of the Occupy movement thrilled me deeply. I hope now that it can move beyond protests and find a way to actually start to influence policy. This country needs to move to the left.

Who did you miss?

Most of the people who used to read this blog! Where’d you all go?

Who was the best new person you met?

The “Saturday Centus” folks are a wonderful bunch of eccentrics, weirdos, and scoundrels. I love ’em all, every one!

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010:

In a way it’s deeply liberating to realize just how little people actually think of you. And not “how little they think” as in, they think poorly of you, but rather how little they think, as in, “Oh, I forgot all about that guy!”

And keeping the ones from years past: We learn by screwing up, so embrace your inner FAIL! 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. Pie is wonderful stuff, whether on your plate or in your face. 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:

In a year which saw the pop-cultural return of the Muppets, and for a person like me who tries to spend as much time as possible in a dream state because the dreams are so much better than the reality, this song is the perfect summation of this year.

Why are there so many songs about rainbows
And what’s on the other side?
Rainbows are visions, but only illusions,
And rainbows have nothing to hide.
So we’ve been told and some choose to believe it
I know they’re wrong, wait and see.
Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection,
The Lovers, the Dreamers, and Me.

Who said that every wish would be heard and answered
when wished on the morning star?
Somebody thought of that and someone believed it,
and look what it’s done so far.
What’s so amazing that keeps us stargazing?
And what do we think we might see?
Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection,
the Lovers, the Dreamers, and Me.

All of us under its spell,
we know that it’s probably magic….

Have you been half asleep, and have you heard voices?
I’ve heard them calling my name.
Is this the sweet sound that calls the young sailors?
The voice might be one and the same.
I’ve heard it too many times to ignore it.
It’s something that I’m supposed to be.
Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection,
the Lovers, the Dreamers, and Me!

To all the Lover and Dreamers out there, may 2012 be well and truly blessed!

(Regular blogging will resume on Monday, January 2.)

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3 Responses to 2011: The year of the doldrums

  1. Belladonna says:

    Oh hey, I'm still here. I lurk now more than comment and rarely even post on my own blog. Somehow life has shifted for me from the days when I was more active in blog land. From a cultural perspective, I'm thinking Facebook has absconded with some readership? I suppose it depends why people read online. If they read for a sense of community/ connection they may transition away to FB. If they read for quality content, they will stay. I continue with both. You make me think, make me smile. I wish you much happiness and many pies for the new year.

  2. popeyemoon says:

    My health is better,gained some weight, smoke less,drink a whole lot less,I do enjoy The Decemberist,The Black Keys,and why i can not explain Foster The People,I am 56 go figure. The temp down here is 75 as i write this.May you and your family have a new year that's happy, healthy and more tools.

  3. Roger Owen Green says:

    Hey, I'm still here too!
    Happy New Year!

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