It's a chilly Sunday morning, and my wife and kids return from Houston, Tx. this evening. I've got a plateful of errands I need to do prior to their arrival, like getting a haircut, cleaning up the apartment and procuring a Christmas tree bag for the inevitable disposal of our aromatic tannenbaum, but I'm slow to get motivated this AM. To further procrastinate, I've exhumed this end-of-year survey from a couple of years back, being that today is the penultimate day of 2012. Let's dive in, shall we?
1. What did you do in 2012 that you'd never done before? - Hmm. This is a toughie, actually. I can't honestly think of something I did this year that I'd legitimately never done before ... apart from maybe catch a fluke whilst ocean-fishing off Hampton Bays. Lame, I know.
2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year? - I honestly don't remember if I made any last year, so no. This year, I'm vowing to go on a "cleanse" after the mass consumption of food and drink during the holiday season. We'll see how that manifests itself. I've also been toying with the resolution of sharply curtailing my Facebook activities. Haven't quite decided on that one as yet, though. I suppose I have another day to make my mind up about it.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? - This is a silly question, as people generally do follow the biological imperative to procreate. I can't imagine anyone not knowing someone who gave birth. No one in my immediate family gave birth this year, but a few friends of mine certainly acquired new additions to their respective broods in 2012. 2013 promises to be no different in that capacity.
4. Did anyone close to you die? - Sadly, yes. The venerable Al Patterson passed away this fall. As one of my step-father's dearest friends, Mr. Patterson has been like an uncle to me since I was a child, and I had the sincere pleasure of living under the man's roof for several happy summers (in a group house in Quogue when I was a petulant teen). He was a truly classy, wise, funny and inspirational gent, and he is deeply missed.
5. What countries did you visit? - Apart from this one? Zero. There was a fleeting moment when we were planning a visit to the Caribbean, but Superstorm Sandy took a giant, runny dump on that notion.
6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012? - Hmmm. I'm not wanting of a lot of specific material items. I mean, a larger apartment would be great. A faster, more up-to-date computer would be swell. More money with which to pay the various bills and tuitions. But we've been doing alright thus far, knock on wood.
7. What date from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory? - Monday, October 29, which was the evening our lights first went out due to Sandy.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? - I hate these questions. Nothing too major. I remained employed and tenuously sane. Those are both pretty substantial for me. I took greater pride in the accomplishments of my children, who've both continued to excel in school and are steadily turning into exemplary little critters, god bless'em.
9. What was your biggest failure? - Sheesh. Well, there was a patch during the earlier part of the year wherein I was being overwhelmed with my workload at the office, and I don't believe I executed all of my duties as well as I should've. I received a less-than-sterling review as a result. Said wrongs have largely since been righted, and I'm back on the good foot, but that indelible experience still haunts and stings. On a completely different front, I had to forego my guitar lessons, as I simply wasn't finding the time to practice. I feel bad about that and consider it a personal failure.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Nothing major that I can remember, although I had a couple of pre-cancerous moles zapped, as I'm now of the age where I have to worry about such things,
11. What was the best thing you bought? - I pretty much hate the fucking thing, but I bought my wife an iPad, and she and the kids get an awful lot of use out it.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? - As much as I'm prone to bitch about how annoying they can frequently be, when I see how poorly behaved most other children are compared to mine, I become grateful and awestruck at my own little offspring.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? - My fellow Americans of the right-leaning, gun-toting variety.
14. Where did most of your money go? - School tuition and apartment maintenance.
15. What did you get really, really excited about? - Being that I was never athletically-inclined as a kid, I was surprised to find myself really getting into my son's foray into soccer, and genuinely enjoyed cheering him on every Sunday from the sidelines. That, and the news SWANS album.
16. What song will always remind you of 2012? - I don't think the year is summed up by a single song, but probably one of these.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder? Both this year and last year were pretty tough for different reasons, but I think I was sadder last year.
18. Thinner or fatter? Oh, entirely fatter.
19. Richer or poorer? About the same, I'd wager.
20. What do you wish you'd done more of? Laughing with my children and family.
21. What do you wish you'd done less of? Wasting time online, getting riled-up and testy by ultimately insignificant shit.
22. How did you spend Christmas? With my in-laws down in Texas.
23. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with? No idea. This is a dumb question.
24. Did you fall in love in 2012? I've been solidly in love with my wonderful wife since I first met her in 1998. No change there. Every day that I spend with her is an absolute gift.
25. How many one night stands in this last year? Well, see the last response. No one night stands for me.
26. What was your favorite TV program? We watched a lot more TV this year, I have to say. We got really into "Homeland," "Girls," "Sherlock Holmes" (with Benedict Cumberbatch), "Downton Abbey," "The Hour," "The Newsroom" and, of course, "Mad Men" (although my wife is kinda cooling on that one). And I continue to enjoy "That Metal Show." I'm sure I'm forgetting something.
27. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? On a personal level? No, but several public figures earned my eternal scorn for their respective reactions to the Sandy Hook tragedy. Basically, anyone who still feverishly clings to the Second Amendment or blames that event on anything other than fucking guns.
28. What was the best book you read? I really, really enjoyed Dean Wareham's (Galaxie 500/Luna) memoir, "Black Postcards."
29. What was your greatest musical discovery? I can't say I discovered them, but my colleague Drew turned me onto this new band, Savages, who are fucking great.
30. What did you want and get? A really nice new leather jacket (yeah, I know -- Hello, Midlife Crisis!)
31. What did you want and not get? Like Sinead O'Connor used to say, I do not want what I have not got. I mean, there are always a couple of rare or out-of-print CD's and DVD's that I've, thus far, been unable to put my hand to -- stuff like Voice of Chunk by the Lounge Lizards -- but, frankly, it's kinda fun having those Holy Grail-like items to search for.
32. What were your favorite films of this year? I still don't get out to the movies that much, but I did see "West of Memphis," the updated documentary about the West Memphis Three, which was excellent and compelling.
33. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? We had some friends over and had a nice dinner, and I turned an appalling 45 years old.
34. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Swift and decisive gun-control legislation in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy.
35. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012? The valiant-if-futile struggle to sartorially fuse age, dignity and stubborn post-punk swagger into ensembles that are simultaneously flattering and slimming.
36. What kept you sane? Peggy, Charlotte and Oliver
37. What celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? She's invariably dumb as a bag of rocks, but Alec Baldwin's wife Hilaria is smokin' hot.
38. What political issue stirred you the most? Gun control. No private citizen needs an assault weapon, full stop.
39. Who did you miss? I don't get to see many of my friends as often as I'd like, so them.
40. Who was the best new person you met? Several cool, brilliant colleagues.
41. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012 - Gadgets won't help you when the waters rise and the power goes out.
42. Song lyric that sums up 2012:
It's not my favorite track on the album, but from Killing Joke's MMXII, this rang especially true...
Cities on blackout
Satellites are knocked out
iPhone and laptops, one big belly flop
Servers, TV, alarms and security -- everything's gone in seconds