2006: Dumb Survey Crap

Writing a journal entry on New Year’s Eve has been a tradition of mine since 93-94, and though the cold I’m dealing with and my occasionally uncooperative computer are conspiring against me at the moment, I’m loathe to end a thirteen year old tradition, something I started out doing when I was still journaling on paper.

To make things easier for myself, I’m just going to grab the meme that Beth grabbed from Andy and I’m going to fill that sucker out and call it a day.

1. Was 2006 a good year for you?
With one notable exception, this has been an absolutely amazing year. I got to spend most of it with this kid in my life, so how could I complain?

2. What was your favorite moment(s) of the year?
It’s hard to pick just one, but, if I have to pick just one, then I’ll pick the one I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

3. What was your least favorite moment(s) of the year?
Sitting upstairs at my mother-in-law’s house, printing out programs for my father-in-law’s funeral.

4. What did you do in 2006 that you’d never done before?
My wife and I had a baby. And I finished a novel (or at least I thought I did).

5. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I’m not sure if I made any for this year, but they usually involve something unrealistic like “Get published by the end of the year”. You know, something that’s totally out of my control. I don’t think I’ve ever made one that I’ve stuck to, so no, I won’t be making any more for next year.

6. Where were you when 2006 began?
Asleep on the couch at my house. I’m pretty sure that, after we determined it was too dangerous to drive down to see my parents last year, we ended up eating Chinese food and watching a movie. And I’m pretty sure I didn’t make it through the end of the movie, and that I woke up and suddenly realized, “Oh, it’s 2006.”

7. Who were you with?
Stephanie.

8. Where will you be when 2006 ends?
At home, unless I start feeling better really quick and suddenly have the energy to go outside.

9. Who will you be with when 2006 ends?
Stephanie and Kaylee, unless we somehow make it out of the house.

10. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Aside from my wife? Yeah, there was Mary Ann for sure, and Donna as well. And I think a couple of my wife’s friends gave birth. If I’m forgetting someone, let me know.

11. Did you lose anybody close to you in 2006?
My father-in-law.

12. Who did you miss?
A ton of people, including, but not limited to: both Beths, Rachael, Tori and Dan, Mr. Hicks (whose show I’d been hoping to see), Shera (who I’d been hoping to see at Sara’s wedding, and then I couldn’t go)... Kerry, who I spoke to by e-mail a bunch, but who I didn’t see all year… Jon… Jill… Scott… Sara… all of the rest of my Lesley peeps… Mort… Deb… Mary Ann and her family… uhm, and too many others to mention. Not nearly enough people got to meet the KayleeBear this year, and for that I am really sad (and sorry).

13. Who was the best new person you met in 2006?
My daughter, Kaylee. Cheesy, but true.

14. What was your favorite month of 2006?
October. I got to go to California for the first time, both my wife and I celebrated our birthdays, and life, generally, began to calm down as the year headed into its final stretch.

15. Did you travel outside of the US in 2006?
Nope.

16. How many different states did you travel to in 2006?
Uhm…. New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, North Carolina, and California for sure. And maybe Vermont and Rhode Island, but I’m not sure about them. So… 6-8.

17. What would you like to have in 2007 that you lacked in 2006?
Health insurance. A working oven. A digital video camera. An Apple MacBook (or MacBook Pro). Enough money in the bank to feel confident that we weren’t going to be homeless in the coming month.

18. What date from 2006 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
March 14.

19. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Becoming a father. Jeeze, I can answer that to about half of these questions. Boring, huh?

20. What was your biggest failure?
Stressing out about the wrong things (as always).

21. Did you suffer illness or injury?
A couple of really bad viruses, but nothing major.

22. What was the best thing you bought?
Copies of Conceiving of You: A Father’s Letters to His Unborn Daughter, my heretofore unreleased second book, given as Christmas gifts to my wife and my parents.

23. Whose behavior merited celebration?
I’m not really sure what to make of this question. I don’t know if I feel comfortable answering it. So, I won’t.

24. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
This question, however, I will answer: George W. Bush.

25. Where did most of your money go?
Diapers, formula, baby food, gas, and groceries.

26. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The arrival of my baby, new songs by my old friend Andy, and the impending release of books by two of my favorite faculty mentors from Lesley (Tolstoy Lied: A Love Story, by Rachel Kadish; and Charity Girl, by Michael Lowenthal. I also got really excited about going to California, and about finishing my novel, which I thought I did, but I didn’t.

27. Did you drink a lot of alcohol in 2006?
I thought about drinking alcohol a lot, but I hardly drank any at all.

28. Did you do a lot of drugs in 2006?
I’ve never done an illegal drug in my life, and I have no plans to start now.

29. Did you treat somebody badly in 2006?
I’m sure I’ve treated a bunch of people badly here and there throughout the year, but never for long periods of time.

30. Did somebody treat you badly in 2006?
Not that I can think of.

31. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Happier.
ii. thinner or fatter?  Fatter.
iii. richer or poorer?  Richer (if we’re talking about quality of life) or Poorer (if we’re talking about money in the bank).

32. What do you wish you’d done more of in 2006?
Writing.

33. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Worrying.

34. Did you fall in love in 2006?
Yes, with my beautiful baby girl. (Are your teeth rotting from all this sappiness yet?)

35. What was your favorite TV program(s)?
Smallville, Scrubs, Desperate Housewives, and The Real World/Road Rules Challenge.

36. What song(s) will always remind you of 2006?
The Dresden Dolls - “Sing”
Soul Asylum - “Misery” (because of the scene it plays over in Clerks II)
Jackson 5 - “ABC” (for the same reason as “Misery” above)
The Sounds - “Song With A Mission”, “Queen of Apology”, and “Painted by Numbers”
Cascada - “Everytime We Touch” (some of the most nonsensical lyrics of the year, in my opinion)
P!nk - “Cuz I Can”, “Leave Me Alone (I’m Lonely)”, and the theme song from Sunday Night Football, whatever that’s called
Ryan Star - “Back of Your Car”

37. How many concerts did you see in 2006?
None that I can remember.

38. Did you have a favorite concert in 2006?
See above.

39. What was your greatest musical discovery?
According to Last.fm, I’ve been listening to a lot of The Sounds this year.

40. What was the best book you read?
I finally sat down and read Wonder Boys, after having been obsessed with the novel for years. I also finally read Lucky, the memoir of rape-survivor and Lovely Bones-author Alice Sebold. That was amazing. Almost everything I read this year was great.

41. What was your favorite film of this year?
A tie between Clerks II and The Departed. I loved them both equally, I think.

42. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
29, and I can’t remember what I did. Dinner with the family, if I remember correctly, and a long day at work.

43. What did you want and get?
Can you guess my answer? She arrived in March, almost seven months before my birthday, but she was the only thing I wanted this year.

44. What did you want and not get?
Does this survey ever end?

45. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Finishing my novel for real.

46. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2006?
I used to care, but now I don’t.

47. What kept you sane?
My wife. My baby. My novel.

48. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Lindsay Lohan. (Am I being serious? I’ll leave that one up for debate.)

49. What political issue stirred you the most?
Politics don’t stir me. Well, they stir my stomach, making me feel like I’m going to throw up. But that’s about it.

50. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2006.
Let’s not, and say we didn’t. This survey has taken up too much of my day already.

51. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
I don’t know if these are right, because I’m too lazy to dig out the booklet right now, but here goes:

There is this thing that’s like touching except you don’t touch
Back in the day it just went without saying at all
All the world’s history gradually dying of shock
There is thing that’s like talking except you don’t talk
You sing
You sing

Sing for the bartender sing for the janitor sing
Sing for the cameras sing for the animals sing
Sing for the children shooting the children sing
Sing for the teachers who told you that you couldn’t sing
Just sing

There is thing keeping everyone’s lungs and lips locked
It is called fear and it’s seeing a great renaissance
After the show you can not sing wherever you want
But for now let’s just pretend we’re all gonna get bombed
So sing

Sing cause its obvious sing for the astronauts sing
Sing for the president sing for the terrorists sing
Sing for the soccer team sing for the janjaweed sing
Sing for the kid with the phone who refuses to sing
Just sing

Life is no cabaret
We don’t care what you say
We’re inviting you anyway
You motherf@#$ers you’ll sing someday…
You motherf@#$ers you’ll sing someday…
You motherf@#$ers you’ll sing someday…

Love and Monsters

Over on MySpace, Mr. Andy Hicks has posted the final tracklisting for The Pluto Tapes album Love and Monsters. Longtime readers of the Bastad will remember that Andy and I used to be in a band together, and that I have always been a huge fan of Mr. Hicks’s musical stylings. That he’s settled on a final tracklisting is quite good news, and perhaps its the first sign that we’ll be able to listen to the album in toto sometime in 2007.

For a taste of what’s to come, check out The Pluto Tapes on MySpace.

Year 01 | Week 41

Dear Kaylee,

You celebrated your first Christmas this week, and though we sang “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth” with you, they still hadn’t arrived by Christmas morning. So, that wish wasn’t fulfilled. But you did get just about one of everything else on the planet as a gift on Monday, and whenever I look at the frame your grandparents bought us, the one with a picture of your smiling face in it and a legend reading “I believe in Santa”, I can’t help but think, “I should hope so.”

The only thing your mother and I wished for last Christmas was a healthy and uncomplicated pregnancy, which we got, for the most part. And the only thing we wanted this year was a healthy and happy you. And we got that, too. Everything else was gravy.

But it was mighty tasty gravy, if you ask me.

When your Uncle John asked me earlier this autumn what you might like for a Christmas present, the only advice I could give him was to pick out something fun that was also educational. I felt like we didn’t have enough toys in the house, and that we particularly didn’t have enough toys that engaged you for extended periods of time. We had more than our fair share of dolls and stuffed animals. We had the ExerSaucer and the Jumperoo, of course. And we had several small toys that were probably better suited for a younger baby. But we didn’t have the kind of fun, educational equipment that you had access to at daycare.

Your Uncle John provided one of three spectacularly fun and educational items you received on Christmas morning with his purchase of a toy piano for you. It’s the only one of the three we’ve had time to set up so far, and you absolutely love it. No longer do you go after things you shouldn’t be going after. Instead, you go right for your piano. And when we get the other two big items set up, both gifts from your grandparents (a push/walker toy and a learning table), I’m sure you’re going to be going crazy deciding which to play with next. I can’t wait for that. To see you as happy and energized as I’ve seen you at daycare on the couple of occasions I’ve seen you there — that will be, and has been a real treat.

It was also a real treat to see you interact with the extended family. We don’t see them as much as I’d like, with our schedule as consistently crazy as it is, but you warm up to new people quite well. And once you’ve warmed up to them, you do your best to charm them to pieces. Everyone tells us how beautiful you are, how great a baby you appear to be, and everyone seems to really enjoy your company. It’s not that there haven’t been babies around in our family before; it’s just that it’s been a while since there was one so little. And everyone in the family seems to simply relish the opportunity to spend time with you.

This was the week you stood up on your own for the very first time; the week that your personal library doubled in size thanks to gifts of books, books, and more books; the week you conquered conjunctivitis and then ended up with again (mostly thanks to your parents stopping the administration of eye-drops too soon); the week we learned that the only person you’ll let strap you into your car seat without a fuss is your Grammie Sue; and the week that you slept through an entire car ride with your Uncle John without ever waking up. It was a great week, a busy week, and a week that was over way too soon.

Love, Dad