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The year-end questionnaire

Forty questions. It may take me awhile to answer them all but since I have not been posting on DW/LJ much lately I think this would be a good way to get back into the habit because it is a good thing and even though some people have moved to facebook and beyond (beyond!!) I still think there is something valuable remaining here.

So, the questions:

1. What did you do in 2010 that you'd never done before?

Two things: published a book and applied for and started to receive disability payments for my bad case of head case. Both are positive but I am more excited about the book.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I never make resolutions although from time to time I do try to make adjustments. Fixing myself is sort of a full-time occupation; I can't just take myself in for an oil change once a year. Yeah I know you are supposed to change your oil more often than that but there are a lot of things you are supposed to do that I do not do.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes. To their second kid in two years. I don't know if she is planning on having any more, but these two were very well-planned.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Yes my Grandma Elsie died the day before she would have been exactly 99 and a half. I honestly did not think she was going to die, ever. I am still pretty bummed out.

5. What countries did you visit?

I managed to get out of the city into the forest a couple of times but beyond that it was not a great year for travel.

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?

Financial security of some kind would be nice but when you go on disability you cannot "supplement" your payments with part-time work. They subtract your earnings from your benefit. It is kind of a fucked up system. I see the logic, but then I don't, really. I have $300/mo left over after rent and bills. Why they think it is possible to live on this amount I am not sure.

7. What date(s) from 2010 will remain etched your memory, and why?

Grandma died on April 23, 2010. I started receiving disability in the middle of April but I do not remember the precise day. I do not hold onto dates very well but I remember things happening quite vividly. Occasionally I get ambitious and draw myself a time line so I can try to figure out what happened when. A 49-year-long time line holds an awful lot.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I'd say it was having the book published.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I try not to dwell on failure because the voices in my head do so to excess and so I have to compensate by not joining in. Perhaps the area in which I have the most chronic problems is still that of sociability. I cannot seem to get the hang of it and it still scares the shit out of me.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

My thirty-year psychiatric streak continued unbroken. Physically I do not recall even catching a cold but I probably should not say that out loud.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

I got a new camera with my disability back-pay. I wish I'd had the sense to get a new Mac instead cuz I don't know that I will ever have enough at my disposal to replace this one. This one has to last for a very very very very very very long time. Very.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

You know that sociability thing? It kind of keeps me out of the loop. I will say though that I thought Judith's declining of that German LGBT award (too tired to google for more specifics on what I am talking about but if you ask later I might be able to) extemporaneously was quite courageous. There were a lot of people there. She is not very big. Physically I mean. Small person. I dunno. I thought it took guts.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Much of the rest of the country, especially the downwardly-mobile dupes who keep voting against their own economic interests because they believe the lie that working hard is how you get rich and therefore they should vote as a bloc with the billionaires because for some bizarre reason they identify with them.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Food and therapy.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

My book! :)

16. What song(s) will always remind you of 2010?

Anything off Lady Gaga's Fame Monster, but especially "Bad Romance" even though it technically debuted in 2009. Didn't it? I told you I cannot keep these things straight.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

i. happier or sadder? A little bit sadder.
ii. thinner or fatter? Thinner in some places and fatter in others. Things keep shifting but whether it is age or the continuing dissipation of my second puberty I can no longer tell.
iii. richer or poorer? Poorer although less freaked out about where next month's rent is coming from. This time last year I had just received my last paycheck for my last ever teaching gig.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

Backpacking. I must try to find a way to do it more often.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Beating myself up for things I have little to no control over and which for the most part do not matter to anyone else anyway.

20. How will you be spending/did you spend Christmas?

I sat and read all day long. And all night. Soon I will pick up a book and try to read myself to sleep. I had a two-hour nap this morning, but otherwise I got out of bed at 18:00 last night. I am not feeling even the slightest bit manic but maybe I am moving on to 48-hour days now?

22. Did you fall in love in 2010?

I developed a new star crush but I wouldn't say I fell in love, no. I mean, every time I look at Santiago my heart goes all aflutter but that is nothing new.

23. How many one-night stands?


24. What was your favorite TV program?

I never once watched TV except maybe when I was visiting Seattle in the summertime. I did go on a Dennis Hopper movie binge but stopped before I got to Easy Rider. So I need to finish that up. I am really sorry that he is gone. Such vitally necessary insanity is rare.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

I still dislike most of the same nebulous cloud of arch-conservatives trying to take over the country but I did not get a real good hate on for anyone specific, no.

26. What was the best book you read?

I honestly cannot say which books I actually finished this year, although I started a few dozen and I know that I finished at least three of them. So far the most useful ones are about programming C but I think the best book I started was Derrida's The animal that therefore I am. I have not finished it yet but it is bound to be yet another sadly overlooked deconstruction of our cherished beliefs about the differences and similarities between humans and (other) animals.

27. What was/were your greatest musical discoveries?

The newest version of GuitarPro and how to get midi-controlled music out of a Linux box.

28. What did you want and get?

Awarded disability benefits.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?

The film that blew me away this year was Dennis Hopper's Out of the Blue. I rarely see films as they actually are released.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 48 and I assume I took about three days of guilt-free down time doing nothing I did not want to do. It was almost a year ago and my memory is a little hazy. This year I will (not) do the same.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Being able to travel more. I miss the train but it is too expensive. I will not fly until the TSA stops groping people and can I just say I cannot fucking believe that they are still doing this with almost no public outcry. We are stupid, easily frightened sheep and we deserve whatever happens to us.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?

Trying to stay one step ahead of the sweat machine that stands in for my body when I go outside. Trying to look counter-culture while wearing REI "technical" wicking fabrics. Like fleece. You have to get creative to make that look anything but astonishingly normal.

34. What kept you sane?

Music, mostly. Writing, from time to time. Being able to talk to my friends.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I think it is well-known that I have become a Lady Gaga fanboy. But I still want to give my book to Patti Smith.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

Keeping the country out of the hands of fascist theocrats.

37. Who did you miss?

Whom. My Grandma.

38. Who was the best new person you met?

I don't think I met anyone new this year, except online. My online life is such a jumble that I do not even know whom I met when so I cannot answer this question. Which is good, because I do not want to overlook anyone by mistake.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010:

Time is infinite (maybe) but human life is not. Best get moving.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

I'm going to place my bets on this one. It's better sung, but I cannot sing to you this way or rather I haven't the energy to go through what it would take:

"California" - Richard Butler

When the coast of California
Sinks into the ocean and the ice poles
Are water

And England
Green and pleasant land
Is all desert sand

When even the farthest stars
Start collapsing
Back to the beginning
And there's no room for heaven

When the world is an old man
With no time for the future

Will love mean a thing
Does love mean a thing

Make me a drink Caroline
Tall and icy
Who can sleep with all of this noise
Thank-you Caroline

This entry was composed @Dreamwidth.
Feel free to comment either here or there.

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( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 28th, 2010 09:39 am (UTC)
Nice summation of a year Erik and thank you for sharing.

This coming year, we should do our every three year get together. I may leave town this year, though I say that often, but for real - I might. But, probably not till it is nearly over. Even so, we should get together and I will buy your book!

Congrats again on all your successes, and -- so sorry about your grandmother. She was really a spectacular and good lady from what you've said and I think I may have met her at your celebration of graduation years ago.

Happy New Year when it comes!

This year was tough for me, very - I am glad it is almost over.
Dec. 28th, 2010 08:24 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Max. Yeah we should schedule something soon. Or later. I have all the time in the world now except that it goes by so unbelievably quickly that I have a hard time fitting in everything I want to do.

I know a great place for coffee. :)

That was actually my aunt you met, on my dad's side, so Elsie's daughter. Grandma was already too old to travel then but she was very excited for me.

May 2011 be better.
Dec. 28th, 2010 02:29 pm (UTC)
i'm too lazy to do this questionnaire, but i sure agree about the fascist theocrats. brrr.

it's embarrassing how often i get new celebrity crushes. this has been going on since i was barely able to write and spell. there's a scrapbook somewhere, unless it's been trashed, that i kept star photos pasted in, with babyish handwriting about how much i loved this or that one. i never change. :D

let's hope 2011 is a much better year for us all and for the world!
Dec. 28th, 2010 08:28 pm (UTC)
I've been getting crushes on musicians since I was in middle school, about. It really was only then that I began to perceive what musical stardom was and I fell hard for anyone that wrote a song that moved me.

I still get musical crushes. The one thing it is good for though is getting me to make music of my own. I get inspired by somebody new every year it seems. Maybe in 2011 I will write another song! :)

I hope that you have a peaceful and warm new year.
Dec. 28th, 2010 08:35 pm (UTC)
now that you mention musical crushes, i realize i get three main kinds: actor (or actress), musician, and writer. i can fall for someone's writing easy as pie, sometimes to my regret. heh.

thanks, erik. peaceful and warm sound wonderful. the same to you!
Dec. 28th, 2010 08:48 pm (UTC)
Thanks Vicki.

Yeah I have gotten a few writer and actor crushes as well, but the musical ones tend to be more long-lasting and intense. Something about music is so direct and immediate that I find it impossible not to fall in love with anyone writing music that touches me.

And the crush is always a mixture of identification and desire. I still want to be a rockstar. I don't know if it can be done at my age but I kind of want to try.
Dec. 28th, 2010 04:21 pm (UTC)
Your book arrived today (or rather yesterday, but I noticed today that someone had brought in the mail). I'm looking forward to it; I read "ode, continued," and "cryptorchid" (such a great word!) and "opium wars" right away, which are all beautiful. But I mean to settle in with it and read it in order, soon.

Re 39: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book 2, #4: "Remember how long you've been putting this off, how many extensions the gods gave you, and you didn't use them. ... there is a limit to the time assigned you, and if you don't use it to free yourself it will never return."

(though I suppose if you do use it to free yourself the time still won't return. The way I like to read this is, one has to keep re-learning this lesson. We're imperfect and we'll always have squandered the extensions we were granted.)
Dec. 28th, 2010 08:37 pm (UTC)
Time is a sort of double bind I think. No matter what you do it keeps running out and so many of our efforts--as a culture, I mean--seem to go towards trying to put off the inevitable just a few more years for everyone. And it never has saved a single life.

Actually I think we'd be a lot happier if we could accept death for what it is: unknown and unknowable. And always just around the corner.

I'm glad you are enjoying the book. :) The order that it is in is not necessarily the order in which one should read it but I did try to create a rhythm of sorts because I know people tend to read linearly. I don't actually remember my algorithm for choosing what to put where; it is not chronological either in subject matter or time of writing.

In fact I'd be interested to hear if the order itself seems to say anything. Writing is about 50% involuntary and/or unconscious, what comes out and how. That's part of why it is compelling.
Dec. 28th, 2010 06:38 pm (UTC)
This is cool. Like daisy, I probably won't do the questionnaire... or maybe I will, I don't know... but I like reading yours.
Dec. 28th, 2010 08:39 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you found it enjoyable! :) I just sat down with it thinking that it might take a few days to finish but I finished it in one sitting. I like answering questionnaires because they choose the subject matter--one less thing to have to figure out on one's own.
Jan. 1st, 2011 04:55 pm (UTC)
9. I hear you on that one!
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )


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