Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
My resolutions never change much: “Read a lot, write a lot, eat healthier, walk more, listen to more music.”
As these go, not bad! The toughest one is “eat healthier,” which is a back-end kind of thing: I have no problem finding newer healthier foods to like. It’s staying away from the less-than-healthy ones that tends to trip me up! This is something I need to work on big-time.
As for the rest, it was a decent year. I wrote a fair amount (though a lot of my writing time this year was spent on editing existing manuscripts, so drafting was on the backseat for a chunk of the year). Reading was a constant, and I really have made effort to listen to more music!
Did anyone close to you give birth?
As the set of “people who are close to me” continues to age, I expect this answer to remain fairly constant: no one close, though some friendly coworkers and online acquaintances had babies, so yay!
Did anyone close to you die?
Two brothers whom I count among my best friends lost their mother this year in a frighteningly short battle with cancer–in fact, it was so short that it wasn’t even much of a battle. She didn’t even get to suit up to fight the damned thing. That was terrible. She was a terrific woman and her passing has left a big gap in the lives of a lot of people.
What countries did you visit?
Real ones? I never left the US. False ones? Plenty! I spent a lot of time in my own fictional realms of Emmenmore and Lazony, and hopefully you’ll get to read about them in 2021!
What would you like to have in 2020 that you lacked in 2019?
Well, I have to wait until November for this, but I really hope to have a President-Elect.
What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I continued to develop relationships online and off, especially with people at The Geekiverse, where I continue to write articles and attend events. I had two signing events, one being at Nickel City Con, the area’s biggest pop-culture convention. What fun that was!
What was your biggest failure?
I can talk about usual stuff like how I kept eating way too much sugar, but I’ll go with something very specific because it just keeps sticking in my brain. Back in March I was asked to work a shift at a different location of The Company, because that location’s person in my position was on vacation and they really needed some stuff done. One of the jobs was caulking the outer edges around a wall-mounted urinal, and…I completely screwed up the job. I didn’t test the caulk I used first (it was a brand I hadn’t used before), so I wasn’t prepared for the ghastly ease with which it exploded from the tube when I applied pressure to the gun handle. I did what I could to minimize it, but what I should have done was just putty-knife it away and redo it. Unfortunately by this time it was the lunch hour and I was in the way of customers, so I just cleaned it up as best I could and left it. At the end of the day I left a note of apology for my total bungling of the job for my counterpart. I remain embarrassed about it now, nine months later. It goes to show that sometimes it’s not the complicated jobs that screw you up: it’s the simple ones that you should be able to do in your sleep.
On a less serious note, given my personal branding I am likely the only person on Earth for whom this counts as a “major failure,” but…2019 was the first calendar year since 2010 where at no point did I receive a pie in the face.
I know. I’m as confused as you are.
What was the best thing you bought?
Two pairs of vintage overalls! Actually, I bought several pairs of vintage overalls in 2019 (I’m increasingly drawn to the vintage side of the clothing world), but these two pairs stood out strongly: a pair of raw-denim Lee hickory stripe overalls, and a pair of Gap overalls from a product line called “Oil Can,” which I knew nothing about.
Whose behavior merited celebration?
It was a rough year for public behavior, wasn’t it? In specific I’d say Greta Thunberg, the teenage activist from Sweden who has been working hard to focus humanity’s attention on the increasingly disastrous climate change problem.
And thanks to the Democrats in the House of Representatives for impeaching the worst President in American history.
Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Republicans don’t really have it in them anymore to appall or depress me. Their ongoing fealty to Donald Trump and their dedication to pursuing the most odious set of policies ever continues to disgust, though.
Where did most of your money go?
Books, booze, going to movies, food, gifts, and vintage overalls.
What did you get really excited about?
Seeing My Fair Lady on the big screen! And Stranger Things 3.
Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?
A bit happier. The Wife changed careers in late 2018, leaving a lucrative but deeply draining restaurant management career for banking work. The difference in her mental outlook, and therefore mine, is amazing.
Thinner or fatter?
About the same, give or take a pound or two. I need to make a concerted effort in this matter.
Richer or poorer?
Jury’s out on that. (Same as last year.)
What do you wish you’d done more of?
As always, reading, writing, and walking. (Same as last year.)
What do you wish you’d done less of?
Eating crap that doesn’t make me feel good. I need to adopt a more selective approach to the things I eat for flavor alone, and I’ve actually been making headway in that regard.
How did you spend Christmas?
Did you fall in love in 2019?
Of course! Love actually is all around.
How many one-night stands?
Ha! I’m not telling you that!
What was your favorite TV program?
We loved Stranger Things 3 and Dead To Me on Netflix, and we’re enjoying the new ABC detective series Stumptown, which is based on a series of graphic novels that I liked a great deal.
Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Me level of disgust for the Republican Party continues to bury my Anger needle in the red, so.
What was the best book you read?
Here are the books I rated with five stars on Goodreads in 2019:
A Brightness Long Ago, Guy Gavriel Kay
On a Sunbeam, Tillie Walden
The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern
STAR WARS Omnibus: A Long Time Ago…., various
A Gentle Madness, Nicholas Basbanes
Maestros and their Music, John Mauceri
These Truths, Jill Lepore
(That last one I only gave four stars, but it should have been five. It’s an amazing history of the United States, written just last year by an author I’ve only recently discovered.)
What was your greatest musical discovery?
A heavy-metal prog rock band called Ayreon. They’re fascinating.
What did you want and get?
What did you want and not get?
A new former President. And Les Miz tickets. (It played in Buffalo in mid-December, which is the last time I can afford theater tickets.)
What were your favorite films of this year?
Avengers: Endgame and Knives Out. (My long-form review of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will have to wait for 2020, but…I am more and more of the opinion that it was not good.)
What did you do on your birthday?
Same as every year: I likely worked, and then a few days later went on vacation for our yearly trip to Ithaca.
How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2019?
Heh! It’s just not changing, folks.
What kept you sane?
As an American, right now I’m just holding my breath before the final plunge.
Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
The afore-mentioned Greta Thunberg. Generations to come are not going to look with kindness upon my generation or the one before, and we’ve got it coming.
What political issue stirred you the most?
Of all the ones out there, climate change continues to be the big one, the changing of the game that we’re completely ignoring.
Who did you miss?
Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2019:
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!
If you take selfies, post your six favorite ones:
That last one is my favorite self-photo of this past year. I just really like the way that photo turned out. I took this one while off by myself at this place on the shores of Canandaigua Lake that breeds African violets, while The Wife was perusing the plants.
Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
Sometimes this is easy, sometimes less so. But with the decade ending along with the year, I’ll go with Freddie Mercury and friends, in their end credits song to Flash Gordon, “The Hero”:
So you feel that you ain’t nobody
Always needed to be somebody
Put your feet on the ground
Put your hand on your heart
Lift your head to the stars
And the world’s for your taking
All you gotta do is save the world!
So you feel it’s the end of the story
Find it all pretty satisfactory
Well I tell you my friend
This might seem like the end
But the continuation
Is yours for the making
Yes you’re a hero!
And with that, here comes 2020 and the 20s with it. Let’s do this!