Well, yeah, here we are at the ass-end of 2017. That means it’s time to revisit that survey.
What did you do in 2017 that you'd never done before?
Travel to Ireland.
Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Honestly, I don’t believe I made any beyond that age-old intention to scale back on the beer-imbibing, which –- of course -– I didn’t do. With that in mind, that remains the resolution. I have a colleague, meanwhile, who has an interesting one. Instead of interpreting the concept of a resolution as some sort of disciplining penance, she is envisioning hers as a horizon-broadening exercise. Someone gave her a coffee-table book about iconic albums from an array of different genres, and her resolution is to sit down and listen/experience/digest one or two a month, thus enriching her knowledge and listening habits. I think that’s pretty cool.
Did anyone close to you give birth?
No one in my immediate circle, but I’ve certainly had a few friends who’ve had babies.
Did anyone close to you die?
Sadly, yes. We lost my dear Uncle Carly in March of this year. He was a tirelessly funny, big-hearted gent, and I will always miss him.
What countries did you visit?
As cited above, I visited Ireland for the first time back in November, which was genuinely life-changing.
What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017?
A different president.
What date from 2017 will remain etched upon your memory?
January 21, wherein a vast multitude of New Yorkers flooded the streets to voice their displeasure with the results of the election.
What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Around the middle of the summer, I’d been tasked with putting together a video presentation for a company-wide town hall meeting at my organization’s headquarters in Nashville. It proved to be an arduous slog rife with numerous, heated clashes between myself and the head of my department. The stress was almost overwhelming, but I managed to get it where it needed to be at the proverbial eleventh hour. When it was shown at the meeting, the attendees literally stood up and cheered. Mission accomplished. That was a feat I didn’t expect to pull off.
What was your biggest failure?
As my children continue to flourish towards young adulthood, my wife and I have yet to determine where we’ll be living next. As such, while it’s all they’ve ever known, they continue to reside together in the same small room. I’d hoped we’d have at least been on the road to remedying that by this point, but other priorities took precedence. I’m also disappointed by the book project that lost its foundation.
Did you suffer illness or injury?
::Knocks wood:: No, I had a fairly stable and relatively healthy twelve months. I have the same minor quirks and complaints, but never contracted any illnesses nor sustained any major injuries. Maybe a toothache or two. This all said, I haven’t seen my primary care physician since I don’t know when. Since I recently turned 50, I have an appointment with a brand new one in two weeks, and he’ll doubtlessly scold me about any number of irresponsible life choices and prescribe a frightening battery of invasive tests. So, yeah, …. really looking forward to that.
What was the best thing you bought?
I bought a sweater --- as one does -– in Ireland that I’m getting a robust amount of use out of.
Whose behavior merited celebration?
On a personal level, I’ll nominate my kids for their tireless good cheer and scrupulous hard work at school. On the grander scale, I raise a toast to those speaking truth to power.
Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Anyone who fails to recognize the embarrassing and horrific downward trajectory this country is taking under the Trump administration. That, and the disarming cavalcade of public figures from all strata of society and sensibility who evidently cannot keep it in their pants.
What did you get really, really excited about?
In a negative way? The politics of the day. In a positive way? Ummm…..
Where did most of your money go?
The ludicrously ill-advised endeavor of raising children in New York City.
What song will always remind you of 2017?
Not because I like it (although I’ve certainly heard worse), but “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi. Not only because of its maddening ubiquity, but because we used a bit of it in that video presentation I alluded to earlier. I’ll forever equate it with stressing out about that project.
Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?
While I’m horrified and depressed by things happening on the world stage on pretty much a daily -– if not hourly -– basis, I mentally remain in a good place. The wife and I are both employed at jobs we are enthusiastic about and engaged by, and our kids are both happy and healthy. We’re alright.
Thinner or fatter?
In the wake of the holiday season, I am certainly fatter.
Richer or poorer?
“Flush” would not be the best adjective to describe our situation, but we’ll be alright.
What do you wish you'd done more of?
Reading books (i.e. not screens).
What do you wish you'd done less of?
Engaging in pointless political arguments. It’s a waste of everyone’s time and energy.
How did you spend Christmas?
Bouncing around Long Island, Manhattan, Brooklyn and Pennsylvania visiting various pockets of family, all the while telling my kids to “stop coughing, dammit!” (both were nursing colds at the time). Fun.
Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?
Not a single clue. Probably the wife.
Did you fall in love in 2017?
How many one night stands in this last year?
None. Happily married for sixteen years.
What was your favorite TV program?
“Twin Peaks: The Return”
Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
The only person I believe I genuinely hate is Donald Trump. I hated him last year, too, but that’s only intensified in the last twelve months.
What was the best book you read?
As alluded above, I didn’t get the opportunity to read nearly as much as I’d have preferred, this year, but my favorite book was without a doubt “Vanishing New York: How a Great City Lost Its Soul” by my comrade Jeremiah Moss.
What was your greatest musical discovery?
It legitimately upsets me to say this, but I can’t say that I heard anything genuinely new this year that impressed me. I mean, I heard some new stuff that I liked, but nothing that really blew a new part in my hair, or anything. I mean, I liked the new Ride record, but I was a big fan of theirs back in the early 90’s. I also enjoyed Dead Cross, the new hardcore ensemble featuring Mike Patton and Dave Lombardo, but again – those are old dudes, too. I can’t point to any single new artist I really dug. I spent most of 2017 listening to the music I already know and love. Here’s hoping 2018 will have something more musically interesting in store (or for me, anyway).
ADDENDUM: Also quite enjoyed this one.
What did you want and get?
In terms of material possessions, I’m pretty much at a stage in my life where I don’t need any more stuff in my home. If anything, I should be getting rid of things. Beyond that, most of the stuff I actually like is in pretty short supply. I mean, I have my eye on a new pair of shoes and shit like that, but that’s ultimately just a question of maintenance. That all said, I did get the ludicrous 40th anniversary box set of Queen’s News of the World for Christmas. I asked for it, and I got it. Did I need it? No. Is it cool? Yes. So yeah, that.
What did you want and not get?
For the Trump Administration to be brought to its knees, for Donald to be impeached and for him and his acolytes to be frog-marched out of the White House in cuffs. We’ll see what transpires in 2018.
What were your favorite films of this year?
I quite enjoyed “Blade Runner 2049,” “Thor Ragnarok” and, sure, “The Last Jedi,” although my enthusiasm for all things “Star Wars” is taking another sharp dip.
What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
My wife threw a small dinner party for me, as I crossed the perilous rubicon of 50.
What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
See the answer above to “What do you want and not get?”
How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2017?
Basically, still “Am I Too Old to Get Away with This?”
What kept you sane?
My lovely wife and kids.
What celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I don’t do a lot of “fancying” at this point, but I thought deposed Attorney General Sally Yates was pretty badass.
What political issue stirred you the most?
Jesus …. pick one.
Who did you miss?
Beyond my Uncle Carly, I was greatly saddened by the premature losses of Chris Cornell, Grant Hart, Malcolm Young and Pat DiNizio. And I continue to really miss Lemmy and, especially, Bowie.
Who was the best new person you met?
A couple of great new colleagues at the job.
Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017
H.L. Mencken was right. No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.
Song lyric that sums up 2017
Not a new song, but from Gang of Four’s 1981 single, “To Hell with Poverty,” …
IN THIS LAND, RIGHT NOW, SOME ARE INSANE –- AND THEY’RE IN CHARGE!