Looking back at 2015
1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?
- Met the mayor and climbed up on top of City Hall
- Went to Norway and saw a Metallica concert
- Visited Crater Lake
- Saw a Russian fort
- Made a tie-dyed birthday cake
- Sent my son on a solo red-eye flight across country
- Shaved a cat
- Went through a real corn maze
- Experienced the Rocket Boat
- Slept overnight in an airport
- Fell through a ceiling
- Toured a raw sewage treatment plant1
- Drove through a blizzard.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Last year on this thing, I listed three semi-resolutions. Here’s how I did on them:
- Blog more: Mission accomplished!2
- Lose weight: Nope.
- Continue bugging Anderson Cooper until he agrees to get matching tattoos of Wolf Blitzer with me: Somehow I let this one fall by the wayside. If you’re reading this Anderson,3 it’s never too late.
I will not make any resolutions for 2016. Take that, resolution people!
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes! My brother and sister-in-law had a beautiful baby girl in late November. This makes her the third of four granddaughters on my side of the family, much to my son’s chagrin.
On The Wife’s side of the family, her sister and husband are expecting a child4 sometime in April. So babies everywhere this biennium!
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Yes, my wife’s grandmother passed away in May at the age of 94. Grandma Vern5 was one of the most loving people I’ve ever met. She adopted me immediately as one of her own back when The Wife and I were dating, and she loved her grandchildren and great-grandchildren without end. She was also my birthday buddy, having been born three days6 before me, loved anything purple, volunteered as an election official whenever she could, and was an active member of her church for decades. We all miss her greatly.
5. What countries did you visit?
The Wife and I visited Norway for a week in August and it was absolutely fantastic. I might even blog about it at some point eventually.
6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?
As always, infinite cash flow.
7. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
None. This year was full of terrible news and big events, but I can guarantee that I won’t remember the specific date they occurred when I look back five years from now.7
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I can’t really get into the details,8 but I finally became assertive about controlling my own career path and it’s had a majorly positive impact.
9. What was your biggest failure?
Letting Hot TV Weather Lady slip away.9
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
No, not really. We were all pretty lucky in the health department this year.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
So I was looking back through our Amazon purchases10 in 2015, and I was astounded to see that we made a total of 91 orders on Amazon this year. 91! Not 91 items, but 91 orders, many of them containing multiple items. I wish Amazon’s prices on everyday staples like groceries and household goods were halfway reasonable11 so I’d never have to leave the house for anything.
12. Where did most of your money go?
To my landlord, various airlines, and my pension plan.12
13. What did you get really excited about?
The new Star Wars movie is definitely at the top of this list. Our trips to Norway and Oregon were pretty nifty too.
14. What song will always remind you of 2015?
I am notoriously out of touch of pop culture in general, and with current music in particular. The only way I get exposed to new music is when I’m in the car with The Wife or The Girl, both of whom are higher in the radio control pecking order than me.13 I have a passing acquaintance with today’s top 40 stuff. Most of it is okay I guess, except for a few particular songs which I ban like “Uptown Funk.” Good lord, I hate that song.
If I had to pick one song that dominated this year, it would be probably be Ellie Goulding’s “Touch Me Like You Do.”
First off, the content and lyrics are grossly inappropriate for a 7yo to memorize, which of course The Girl did almost immediately. Second, it’s ripe for parody – one of my greatest joys in life is annoying my kids with alternate lyrics to pop songs. By mid-summer, I had them groaning when this song came on the radio because they knew yet another variation on the lyrics was forthcoming from their father.14 That’s really all I can ask for out of a song these days.
15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
- Happier or sadder? Happier.
- Thinner or fatter? About the same.
- Richer or poorer? Richer.
16. What do you wish you’d done more of?
- Working out
- Thanking people around me
- Playing Donkey Kong
17. What do you wish you’d done less of?
- Refined sugars
- Reading the comments below news articles
- LDS back in the 60’s15
- Worrying about things that were beyond my control
18. How did you spend Christmas?
I drove down to Texas with the kids and spent a week with my side of the family. The Wife flew in to join us a few days later 16 and we spent Christmas Day with my parents and my brother’s family. Then we packed it all up and went to my in-laws’ house. I made the drive back to California solo and the rest of my brood will return tomorrow night.
19. What was your favorite TV program?
Hot TV Weather Lady moved away early in the year17 and my viewership of the nightly news really plummeted afterwards. Honestly, the only things I look forward to watching these days is Jeopardy!18 and baseball. Oh, and Archer.
20. What were your favorite books of the year?
I’m in the middle of reading The Unknown Travels and Dubious Pursuits of William Clark by Jo An Trogdon. It’s been excellent so far, but I’m unlikely to finish it before midnight tonight.
2015 was a slow reading year for me for some reason.19 Of the little I did read, I really enjoyed Chris Clark’s The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914, and a pair of modern classics that I finally got around to: Michael Lewis’ Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game and James Swanson’s Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer.
21. What was your favorite music from this year?
I don’t know, but here’s the 2015 stuff I purchased this year on iTunes: the Star Wars: The Force Awakens soundtrack, Demi Lovato’s “Cool for the Summer”, Imagine Dragons’ “Roots”, Big Data’s “Dangerous”, and Ellie King’s “Ex’s and Oh’s”.20
22. What were your favorite films of the year?
I only watched three 2015 movies over the course of the year. Of those three, Star Wars: The Force Awakens was definitely at the top. I’ve seen three times already and might watch it a fourth time tonight.
To my surprise, Mad Max: Fury Road was also excellent and came in a close second. The other film I saw was Avengers: Age of Ultron which was okay, but it wasn’t particularly great. I think I’ve had my fill of the Marvel universe. I just can’t get excited about it any more.
Movies that I wanted to see but haven’t include Spectre, The Martian, Inside Out, The Good Dinosaur, Bridge of Spies, Ant-Man, The Man from UNCLE, Jurassic World, and The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.21
23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 37 and honestly don’t remember much of anything happening at all. When you’re an adult, birthdays are practically nonexistent when they fall during the workweek.
24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
An Astros-Giants World Series, which may be a thing that happens sooner than later.
25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?
Whatever was on top in the drawer and/or hanging closest on the rack.
26. What kept you sane?
My wife and kids, figuring out how to turn on the closed captioning on our cable box, and copious amounts of extra-strength Excedrin Migraine.22
27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.
Life becomes a lot easier when you live in the moment and not in the future or the past.