Wow, can you believe it’s been a year already? Time flies, whether you’re having fun or not. I’m a very reflective person, and of course I always get a little extra-reflective this time every year. How did 2012 stack up in terms of other years? Well, it certainly wasn’t 2010, that’s for damn sure. Not even 2011. For me personally, 2012 was a pretty shitty year, with the two dominant themes being heartbreak and working too much. Both of these themes were directly related to this blog—the first inspired it (i.e., something to do to get my mind off of the pain), the second killed it. I’m hoping that neither of these plays too much of a prominent role in my 2013. For the first, time is slowly but surely healing that wound. As for the second, my number one new year’s resolution for 2013 is to WORK LESS. In 2013, I surpassed my minimum required billables by nearly 500 hours…I sure as hell don’t need to do that again. Ever. There probably won’t be a repeat performance by virtue of my not being in Japan, but even so, I’m going to make a concerted effort to make sure that I end 2013 with somewhere between 1950 and 1957 hours, period. Don’t worry—for normal people, that still ends up being way too much work.
I have a few other New Year’s Resolutions:
- Attend at least one concert every month. I had some decent concert action in 2012: Morrissey in Tokyo, Jonathan Richman, Devo/Blondie, Barrington Levy, and a couple of nights ago, the Jamaicans. Other than a few other very small local gigs, I think that was about it. Every one of these shows was pretty darn good, and they reminded me why I love live music (as I noted in my last post). I realize that all of the concerts I attended in 2012 featured artists who have been around for at least 25 years. I guess that’s how I roll; I truly believe that they don’t make music like they used to. I have to point out one small note about the Morrissey show: At the time, the great Mozza’s band consisted of a large drag queen on guitar and 4 very young, very fit men who, at the show I attended, were wearing nothing but black briefs (which were very brief). Coupled with Morrissey’s general sexual androgyny, the entire show reeked of homoeroticism, all of which was completely lost on the Japanese audience. It was somewhat incredible.
I’m not sure that I need much more of that in 2013, but I certainly want more concert experiences. Okay, and maybe a bit more of that.
- Not complain as much. I have a friend from law school whom, for whatever reason, gets cited in this blog more than anybody else. A couple of weeks ago, I was having drinks with him, and I started bitching about, hell, I forget…something, and he slammed down his drink and in a genuinely pissed-off tone said that I complain too much, and that most people would do anything for a life as good as mine. I mean, other than heartbreak and working too much, my 2012 probably kicked ass. I got to live in the city I adore with a lot of people I love, working in a job that pays well and keeps me intellectually stimulated, and just yesterday I bought an awesome new pair of jeans. They cost a lot, but they’re really comfortable and stylish. I’m trying to finally grow up a little fashion-wise.
- Run a half-marathon. Yesterday I went to Sports Basement and bought running gear and new shoes. The shoe part was incredible. The guy had me walk and run back and forth a couple of times, then he told me that my arches roll and my feet point inwards at approximately 1.3 degrees, and so I can injure my first two metatarsals if I don’t have the proper footwear. He guessed my shoe size on the spot, pulled out two different pairs of shoes, had me put a different shoe on each foot and run around the store, then asked which one felt better and sold me the corresponding pair, with a 30-day guarantee, and they gave me the AAA bonus even though I forgot my AAA card. Sorry for the long run-on sentence, but the whole shebang took approximately 3 minutes and left my head spinning. Anyhow, after all that, I feel like I owe it to Sports Basement to make this run. For those of you who don’t know Sports Basement, it’s another reason that I love San Francisco, and I’m not even that sporty.
- Write down something every day. I bought this little “one line a day” 5-year diary, which I intend on filling. I’m pretty excited about showing it to my grandkids.
- Create a board game. I have this great idea for a game that sort of combines Scruples, Trivial Pursuit, Celebrity, Mafia and Mousetrap (the last one on a slightly more metaphorical level). By the end of the year, I need to have developed a prototype. I plan on taking this pretty seriously and devoting a lot of time to it, so if I don’t write many blog entries next year, you can assume it’s because I’m working hard on my game. Or stuck in the office because I’m failing at my #1 resolution. Or maybe on an online dating website. Sigh.
- Not be so afraid of technology. I’m a technology lawyer, for chrissake—I can start to actually use my smartphone and stop being such an old fart. First stop: Spotify.
Now that I’ve thrown out these resolutions into the internet, that means I’m bound to them, right? If not, everybody in the world has the right to chastise me as a failure. Crap, that’s way more pressure than I anticipated. Can I take them back? Unfortunately, no. As Confucius says, once something is written, it may not be erased for all of eternity. Of course, bear in mind that Confucius lived in an era before the advent of the eraser and “delete” button, but still, the man knows his shit.
I’m getting way ahead of myself here, already talking about 2013. 2012 isn’t over yet (at least that’s what I’m hoping—I really want to finish this post before the new year, but I just discovered Boardwalk Empire…you know how it is). [Update: I did not finish this post in 2012 because on December 31, I unexpectedly had to work all day. My #1 resolution did not apply yesterday so it’s all good.] Outside of my personal life, 2012 was pretty damned interesting, and I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the world events of 2012 that made me laugh, made me cry, or blew me away in general. And as I am wont to do, I’ll present such events in the form of a top 10 list.
THE TOP 10 THINGS FROM 2012 THAT ELICITED FROM ME SOME SORT OF EMOTIONAL RESPONSE:
10. The Death of Adam Yauch. Okay, I admit, in order to remember ten items for this list, I had to go back and look at all of my Facebook posts from the past year. On May 4th, I posted “If this is gonna be that kind of a party, I’m gonna stick my dick in the mashed potatoes. RIP MCA.” When I heard the sad news, I dusted off my old Paul’s Boutique mp3s, and thought back to my younger, formative years. If you’re my age, your older sibling (or friend’s older sibling) probably introduced you to the Beasties when you were just a wee lad or lass, and you thought that Brass Monkey was the most amazing song in the world (and you envisioned an actual metallic primate when you heard it). Yes, the Beastie Boys were clearly older than you, but not that much older, right? MCA was way too young to die. I’m pretty sure we all miss him. The Beastie Boys were one of those few bands that everybody really enjoyed. Have you ever heard somebody say, “you know what, I don’t really like the Beastie Boys.” Of course you haven’t. And if you ever do, you give them a back-handed bitch slap. Right in the kisser.
9. Season 3 of The Walking Dead. I’m really into this show. I’ll admit that I did not like Season 1 so much–for many years, I’ve been a die-hard zombie fan, and I felt like the inaugural season didn’t contribute much that Romero hadn’t already played out years before. But then came Season 2, which got me excited, and Season 3 just kicked ass (or is in the process of kicking ass, as the case may be). Merle with a bayonet hand! Michonne! Prison zombies! I don’t think I’ve been this excited about a show since Battlestar Galactica.
8. Hurricane Sandy. I went to Columbia for undergrad, but during the big blackout of 2003 I was studying abroad in Australia, so I missed out on all of that fun. I remember hearing stories about people walking home from work, and having fun spontaneous parties and candle-lit acoustic concerts with strangers in their buildings. Although I was having the time of my life in Oz, I was kind of bummed that I missed it. When I first started reading about Sandy (mainly through reports from friends on Facebook), I had that same feeling–it sounded kind of fun, and I almost wished I was there. Then it started to sound awful. Weeks with no power or hot water. Apartments ruined, possessions destroyed. I have one friend who was friends with one of the people who died. Like the Japan earthquake of 2011, it was a painful reminder that Mother Nature simply doesn’t give a fuck about humans. It also served as a frightening warning that with climate change, these events are going to increase in frequency. I know that we’re strapped for cash in the U.S., but we need to start taking adaptive measures pronto.
7. National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius. A.k.a., “the Obamacare Supreme Court decision.” Unless it has to do with patent or copyright law, I don’t really ever read cases, but my mom wanted me to explain the decision to her so I took a full 3 or 4 hours to read it. I genuinely think Roberts is a smart guy (I would never say that about Thomas or Alito), and I’m very happy that he chose to not toe the party line on this one. Obamacare is hardly perfect, but I love the idea of as many Americans as possible having health insurance. Some may call this notion communism or socialism; I call it common sense for a civilized nation. I have no idea if this was a one-off for Roberts, or if he’s going to start taking the liberal approach on other issues as well. Could he be on the good side during the gay marriage cases next year? Oh man, once Obama replaces Kennedy and the SC is liberal for the next 15 years, the good times are gonna roll.
6. Call Me Maybe. At some point last year—it may have been June, or May, or even when I was back in Japan, I noticed that a lot of friends were posting videos related to this song on Facebook. There was the actual song, and remixes, and parodies (from SNL to Sesame Street), and all sorts of memes or whatever-the-hell you call them. You know, like that picture of David Bowie from Labyrinth that said, “I just met you, and this is crazy, but here’s my labyrinth, I stole your baby,” and so forth. I avoided listening to the song for as long as I could, because I knew I’d hate it. Then in July I went to NY for my birthday and 2 weddings. After my birthday party at Cherry Tavern, I took a cab back to Brooklyn with my friend, and this horrible abomination of noise (I hesitate to even call it a “song”) came on. Fortunately, I was so wasted that I didn’t really hear it. However, it came on again at the first wedding. And then the second. And then every single night out after that for the rest of the summer. People: this shit is G-d awful. It might be a new low for pop music, and that is really, really saying something. I lost a lot of faith in humanity knowing that this song was the #1 summer jam in the U.S. Thank G-d Gangam Style came out and rescued our nation (and the world) from the auditory abyss that was Call Me Maybe. Let’s put it this way: I was not at all surprised to learn that the singer is Canadian. This is their revenge for all of the jokes over the past however many years. They’re all up across the border eating poutines and laughing hysterically.
5. Trayvon Martin. This unpleasant incident led me to disrespect hardcore conservatives even more than I already did. I do not understand why guns are ever equated with “manliness”. To me they represent the opposite. Real men can fight (or resolve their conflicts through non-violent means, but that’s not the point here). Any coward or weakling can kill somebody with a gun. The fate of George Zimmerman has yet to be decided, but I wouldn’t be remotely surprised if he walks, due to Florida’s “stand your ground” rule. The phrase “stand your ground” is somewhat deceptive, because it implies that the person invoking it has big cajones. Real men stand their ground! The truth is that, it appears that the “stand your ground” rule means that if you pick a fight with somebody whom you outweigh by 90 pounds, and you legitimately get your ass kicked, you’re allowed to take out your gun (which you had hidden the whole time) and shoot and kill him. Bonus points if he’s black (because then you can more easily claim that he was a “thug”)! They really should call it the “complete and utter pussy” rule. I truly believe that hardcore conservatives in support of these laws get some sort of sexual arousal from firearms. As I told one conservative friend of mine (who sent me an email with a bunch of pictures of big guns), I prefer to jerk off looking at naked ladies.
4. The latest Israel-Palestine Kerfuffle. I do not mean to disrespect the victims of what actually happened by calling it a “kerfuffle,” I just really like that word. The affair already inspired me to write one entire blog post, so I need not say much more on it, except that the whole world needs love, and the Middle East needs it especially.
3. Romney Loses the Election. Some may argue that Obama winning the election was the real story of 2012, but not to me. I don’t love Obama. I like him. I think he’s doing an okay job after being dealt a crappy hand. But I really did not like Mr. Romney. Since around the time I was born (i.e., the Reagan years), the sole purpose of the Republican Party has been to help the rich get richer. Sure, they toss poor white trash a few bones by promising to do their best to eliminate rights for gays, blacks, Hispanics, and of course women, and occasionally throw in some rhetoric about protecting guns, but the bottom line is that the vast majority of actual Republican legislative and executive policies are centered around helping big finance, big pharma, big oil, and other big swinging dicks maintain their control of Washington, the U.S., and the world at large. Most Republicans, at the very least, try to pretend that they will somehow confer benefit on the non-rich. Romney didn’t even bother with that. He actually produced bumper stickers that said, “Romney: If you’re not rich, go fuck yourself,” and he had no qualms using this as his campaign song:
Even though Romney was clearly and explicitly only trying to help the top 1-5% of earners in America (his infamous “if you make less than $200K per year, you can suck my hairy Mormon balls” speech made that clear), he still received roughly 49% of the vote, removing any doubt that a huge swath of the American public are misguided, bumbling morons. But Romney lost, and then, when Obama tried to at least pretend to be nice, Romney, still not understanding the general concept of being a public figure, responded that Obama only won because he “gave gifts” to blacks, Hispanics, and young people. Note: although I may of exaggerated some of the other things Romney said and did during his campaign, that last sentence was true. I don’t often use the term “douchenozzle,” but I really can’t think of any other word to describe Mitt Romney.
2. The Sandy Hook Shooting. Every year has devastating tragedies, and 2012 was no different. The Colorado theater shooting, Delhi bus gang rape, Eid mosque bombing, and an unpleasantly high number of other such incidents all struck chords with me this year, but for whatever reason, I’ve taken great interest in the discussion Sandy Hook has inspired so far (and will hopefully continue to inspire). In the past, the gun debate has been ridiculously black-and-white: we either need to remove all guns, or give every American (legal American, that is) the right to carry any sort of weapon anywhere at all times. After Sandy Hook, the debate has widened: what kinds of weapons? What kinds of ammo? What about the causes of the shooting? What about mental health? Should we have armed guards in schools? What deters/prevents violence? I’ve been reading as much as I can on all sides of the conversation, and I am a bit surprised to find that Michael Moore has written, by far, the best piece on the subject to date. I’m most curious to see if this whole incident inspires politicians to grow some balls and stand up to the NRA. Imagine that—politicians caring more about their constituents than about special interests! In the end, I hope that something, anything, is done—more resources for the mentally ill, less access to the most advanced killing machines, more protection for schools. No matter if you’re a liberal or conservative, I think we can all agree that we cannot allow these children to have died in vain.
1. Giants win the World Series. I’ve already expressed my love for my boys in Orange and Black here, but I think it’s worth noting that in a year that was otherwise pretty difficult for me, the one memory that stands out more than any of the others is walking down Mission Street in my Buster Posey jersey, high fiving every single person I saw, screaming at the top of my lungs, and being filled with a euphoria that I hadn’t felt for the longest time (bear in mind that I was not in country when the Giants won in 2010, so I missed out on that fun the first time around). I’m not the manliest guy out there (as you can tell for my lack of love for guns), but I pity anybody who refuses to have any sort of emotional connection to his or her local sports teams. As a sports fan, you subject yourself to a lot of heartbreak, but in times of victory, the payoff is absolutely worth it.
So there you have it kiddies. I was texting with a buddy of mine yesterday trying to think of a good quote to kick off 2013, and I initially suggested “may 2013 suck slightly less than 2012,” but he had a much more optimistic outlook on the new year that I will leave you with:
2013: Let’s do this!