And it is time at last for my annual quiz-retrospective on the year just ending. Let me be honest here, folks: 2022 was, for the most part, pretty much of a struggle. It felt like the kind of year where I started to feel things not so much ending, but starting to get chipped away, bit by little bit. I hope that’s not how most years are going to feel, moving forward.
Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
“Read a lot, write a lot, live healthier.” I did OK by those, to be honest. I try to keep my “resolutions” realistic and in keeping with the life I’m already trying to live, after all.
Did anyone close to you give birth?
Did anyone close to you die?
What countries did you visit?
Another year of never leaving the USA…but we are hoping to visit Toronto in 2023!
What would you like to have in 2023 that you lacked in 2022?
A whole lot less knowledge of Elon Musk.
What was your biggest achievement of the year?
This was one of those years where “getting through it” was an achievement in itself. But I did finally get the first draft of Forgotten Stars V done, which is a thing.
What was your biggest failure?
I’m not sure that anything this year was really a “failure”. Lately the whole success-failure dichotomy is seeming less and less like a real thing, and I’m starting to see the wisdom in the tale of the Zen master and the little boy that Philip Seymour Hoffman spends much of Charlie Wilson’s War trying to tell Tom Hanks.
What was the best thing you bought?
Probably my newest laptop (described here). And as always, I bought a lot of lovely jewelry for The Wife.
Whose behavior merited celebration?
American voters who stood up to say that maybe this “democracy” thing still has life in it yet.
Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
American right-wingers and Republicans. At some point these people have to return to Earth, don’t they?
Where did most of your money go?
Same as always: Books, booze, food, gifts, vintage overalls, some other nifty clothing items, gifts for family and a few friends, and a trip with The Wife to the Finger Lakes.
What did you get really excited about?
That trip to the Finger Lakes!
Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?
Well…yeah. Definitely sadder. Not by much, but 2022 was not a year that boasted happiness in great supply.
Thinner or fatter?
Very likely right about the same, maybe just a bit heavier. Higher hopes for a pivot back in the right direction soon, though!
Richer or poorer?
A little richer. Not much, but a little. Which isn’t bad these days, considering.
What do you wish you’d done more of?
Honestly, reading and writing. External factors contributed to a number of slumps in both areas this year. I’m determined in 2023 to push both of those back the other way.
What do you wish you’d done less of?
Worrying about things.
How did you spend Christmas?
Well…due to the Big Storm that hit The 716 from December 23 until December 27, it was a tough Christmas to get through. We never lost power and were safe and warm, but it’s hard to relax and focus when the wind outside sounds like a freight train for 48 hours straight. Someone asked me at work this week how my time off was (I took six days of time off for Christmas), and I replied: “The parts of it that were Christmas were absolutely lovely and a joy. The parts of it that weren’t Christmas were stressful as hell.” I stand by that.
Did you fall in love in 2022?
How could I not?
How many one-night stands?
What was your favorite TV program?
Abbott Elementary is a delight (even if I’m tiring a bit of the “mockumentary in a workplace” genre), as is Ghosts (which may supplant Newhart on my rankings of shows about quirky couples who buy an inn someplace and have to deal with the really weird locals). But the best teevee we watched this year are the Canadian comedies Letterkenny and its spinoff Shoresy. We are actually rewatching all of Letterkenny right now, less than a year after we started watching it the first time.
Oh, and a shout-out to a couple of wonderful Netflix competition shows: Blown Away, which is a competition about glass-blowing, and Drink Masters, which is a competition about mixology. These are interesting shows, beautifully made, in which you learn a lot of stuff. As Hell’s Kitchen more and more phones it in every year, I like these new shows a great deal.
Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
A year ago I didn’t know shit about Elon Musk. How I wish that was still the case.
What was the best book you read?
In no particular order:
Happenstance, Steven Frug
Ballad for Sophie, Felipe Melo
All the Seas of the World, Guy Gavriel Kay
What was your greatest musical discovery?
I spent some time exploring the sound-world of composer Alfred Schnittke, who wrote some fascinating music!
What did you want and get?
We got a new air-fryer/convection oven! Next: clearing out a space and setting it up. Cool! Oh, and the afore-mentioned new laptop, which continues to be a delight to use after the honestly-annoying performance of my last Dell laptop.
Oh, and how could I forget? A car! (Which may not qualify, as I didn’t exactly want a new car at the time, but I wasn’t unhappy with that purchase, either.)
Also, I started up a newsletter! But there are some more recent developments regarding Revue, my chosen newsletter platform…and I’ll write about that soon, once I’ve ironed out what’s going on. (Short version: Revue is owned by Twitter, and since Elon Musk sucks, Twitter is killing Revue.)
What did you want and not get?
Competence from many political figures. I’ll leave it at that.
Oh, and if we’re keeping track, I did not get pied this year!
What were your favorite films of this year?
We watched a lot of movies that left zero impression on me, I have to say; in a lot of cases it’s a struggle just to remember what hell we actually watched. We enjoyed Crazy, Stupid, Love a bit, and also To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. Enola Holmes 2 was an absolute delight. Most recently we loved Stay the Night, which I chose on recommendation by Sheila O’Malley, so that one might be the winner…although technically, the year is not out, and tonight we’re planning to watch Glass Onion, the sequel to Knives Out, so…this answer may be subject to change!
What did you do on your birthday?
As usual, not much actually on my birthday, but a few days later we made our annual trip to Ithaca for the Apple Harvest Festival (our first one since 2019, actually). As this was just a few weeks after we lost Cane, there were a lot of bittersweet feelings along the way.
How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2022?
My approach now seems to be “What else can I wear with overalls?” This year, I found linen shirts to be a joy.
As for overalls specifically, I finally gave in and added Liberty brand overalls to the collection, and since then I’ve wondered why I waited so long. Currently I only have the Hickory-striped pair, so I may be looking to add a blue pair at some point.
What kept you sane?
Books and music and dogs and cats and overalls. Also, good food and, yes, rum.
Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
We haven’t seen Avatar 2 yet, but I really do admire James Cameron’s approach to this project: “I’m going to do what I want to do, in the way I want to do it, and if it takes me a dozen years, so be it.”
What political issue stirred you the most?
Keeping democracy, and more recently, restoring competence to local government.
Who did you miss?
Cane. That one’s going to be a “forever” one, I suspect.
Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2022:
Leaving last year’s answer intact:
Read a lot, write a lot. Listen to music. Go for walks and look at sunsets. Take all the pictures you want. Learn new things and try new stuff. If you have a dog, take him for walks. Buy books for your daughter, even when she complains that she likes to pick her own books (let her do that, too). Nothing fits your hand so well as your lover’s hand. Eating out is fine, but learn to cook things, too. Have a place to go where they know you and what you order. Don’t be afraid to revisit your childhood passions now and again; you weren’t always wrong back then. Overalls are awesome, it’s OK to wear double denim, and a pie in the face is a wonderful thing!
To this I’d add: The United States of America desperately needs to re-embrace rational and collective thinking, and ditch its mythologies about rugged individualism and the eternal wisdom of “the Founders”.
And, via Letterkenny: “More hands makes less work!”, and “Pitter-patter, let’s get at ‘er!”
If you take selfies, post your six favorite ones:
If you have a blog or other online writing forum, share some of your favorite work from this year:
Twenty Years a Blogger
Four Days in the Finger Lakes
When in Rome (the Buffalo market shootings)
Ryan Fitzpatrick for the Hall of Fame!
Thoughts on “Come On Eileen”
History is not a “Feel-good” story
Do you remember America?
Harrison Ford at 80
The 2nd Amendment as a piece of writing
A learned hatred in the service of a small God
The odd pathology of the politician’s mind
They don’t make Coliseums like they used to
Stayin’ Alive! (On the opening of Saturday Night Fever)
Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
This song doesn’t sum up my year at all! But I first heard it this year, courtesy the wonderful Letterkenny. It’s by a band called Toulouse, which seems like Canada’s answer to ABBA back in the late 70s and early 80s. I listen to this song a lot. The best songs really shape themselves to our lives, don’t they?
Oh, and it’s mostly in French. And I don’t think it matters one bit.
Comme un été, comme une imageJe sens que tout va recommencer Hier, l’hiver, je me suis ennuyée Je ne savais vraiment plus quoi faireBaby, oh my babyJe crois que j’ai trouvé l’amour Baby, oh my baby I think I’m falling in love
Comme un vautour qui tourne autourTu t’envoles avec mon amour Tu m’as laissé, tu m’as oublié C’est toujours à recommencerOh baby, oh my babyJe crois que je t’aimerais toujours Oh oh oh baby, oh my baby You know it always happens this wayOh oh oh oh baby, oh my babyJe crois que je t’aimerais toujours Baby, oh my baby Je crois que j’ai perdu l’amourBaby, oh my babyI think I’m falling in love Oh oh baby, oh my baby You know it always happens this wayOh baby, oh my babyJe crois que je t’aimerais toujours Oh oh baby, oh my baby Je crois que j’ai perdu l’amourOh oh baby, oh my baby
I thought about posting just the song above, but I went with the actual Letterkenny clip because I think–even if you haven’t seen the show at all–the choreography and character work in the clip stands out. This scene may well be when this show turned the corner for me from being a good and funny show to something much more than that.
And with that, I bring this to a close…and my blogging efforts for 2022. I hope 2023 is better, for everyone! Especially you. That’s right, you.