2013 in Review

Welcome to 2014! Those of you who are around my age, stop for a moment and think: Did you ever imagine you’d be cavalierly talking about living in the year 2014?

I welcome 2014 because in many ways 2013 was pretty bad and I’m glad to be rid of it. Fortunately, what made 2013 bad should be behind us now and we can proceed. But first, let me take a look at the year that was.

At the beginning of January I talked about how good I’d been about no longer biting my nails. Well, I fell off that wagon hard and I’m pretty much back to how I was before. I suppose I’ll try again, but honestly, I hated not biting them, because instead of just doing something and getting on with my life it was something I had to constantly be fiddling and anguishing over.

I saw zero movies in the theater last year, and there were very few I even thought I should Netflix, but at the beginning of the year we suffered through the Harry Potter series, so now I can say I’ve more or less seen them. The general realization was that these are just not intended for me, and that’s fine.

As for which movie I did see that I liked the best, that would be Beasts of the Southern Wild.

At the end of January was Unity Games, the all-day gaming event my pals and I look forward to each year. (It’s always nice to have this right at the beginning of the year, something to start anticipating right out of the gate.) It’s coming up at the end of this month and sure enough, all the pre-Unity activity is a-brewing.

Speaking of Unity, I tried to sell the Big Nerd Box there, and on Craigslist, and got no takers. (Well, Craigslist gave me a lot of people to waste my time.) I put it again in the Unity Auction, and this time I am pricing it to sell. That thing won’t see 2015, or even March 2014, is what I promise.

I didn’t read any book books in 2013, which is embarrassing, but the next best thing was reading through all of Achewood for the first time. It may be a webcomic about cats and bears and things but it sounded depths of the human condition more than any of the serious readers only stuff I’ve read in the past.

I didn’t talk about politics as much this past year because frankly, between drone strikes, continued economic nonsense, and NSA chicanery and racism and what not, with the ridiculousness of the sequester and government shutdown and the endless screaming and posturing, and seeing that it was largely fighting over three inches of ground on the right, I just felt like none of this applied to me anymore. This isn’t a country I feel any connection to, any shared commitment with. I am an American solely through happenstance and geography and don’t hold to any of that country’s values, the ones it actually for real values and defends and finances. Even at the local level I had to deal with stupid, shortsighted bullshit.

I still want this message to be spread far and wide:

On a similar note, we got a new Pope who everyone’s all agog over since he seems to actually be interested in some of Jesus’ teachings, but you know, talk, even inciting, inflammatory talk, is still pretty damn cheap, and if even Catholics didn’t pay attention to the previous Popes’ mandates against birth control, I’m not putting much stock in the current Pope’s railing against of Capitalism. Irrelevance is irrelevance, no matter what side of the argument you’re on.

I fell down and hit my head on the radiator and when I woke up I found myself designing a board game. Despite frequent updates, that project went nowhere, as I found myself doing something that was a lot of work, wasn’t much fun, and wasn’t needed. Maybe I’ll try again some time, but for now I’m okay with leaving board game design to board game designers.

One of the greats we lost in 2013 was Roger Ebert, a man who took time out from living a few more years to do a huge favor to a bunch of wiseass nobodies.

We also “lost” Margaret Thatcher.

More mournfully lost were Ray Harryhausen, Kim Thompson, and Lou Reed.

The musical hit of the year for me was Janelle Monae, whose album rocked my socks. But I was also happy to finally find a decent mp3 of “Somebody Tell Me” by Tirez Tirez, a song from 25 years ago that I liked okay, I guess.

If you told me that the best time I’d have all year was at a comic book convention, I’da laughed you into my fists, but HeroesCon was a blast. I had a great time and saw new friends, old friends, and Ken Lowery. Most of these new friends came from Twitter, where I continue to have the best time.

It was in July that the crime in Springfield ax-cellerated into our neighborhood. (Follow-up: we saw that guy outside shoveling snow not long ago, so I guess he’s out on bail or back on meds or something, even though it looks like no one’s currently living in the house.)

By this point Becky had been having trouble with her back for some time, and it was clear that it wasn’t getting any better. We had planned to celebrate our 20th anniversary with a trip to Paris, but there was no way she could do that (that trip will hopefully happen in 2014). We were fortunate that we had folks come to see us, such as Dave and Vicky and Jeff and Gabe, but by now the stress level was climbing severely to the point where we were both unable to function. I would eventually raise my antidepressant dosage, something I’d been meaning to do for some time but now had no choice but to do. By the end of August she was bedridden and I was completely drained. However, in mid-September Becky had surgery for the herniated disk and started recovering ground almost immediately.

As her health waxed, mine took a dive when I had some crazy-assed allergic reaction causing swelling and hives. I only just recently stopped taking what I was taking against the hives and we still have no idea what caused it.

In November I attended Trashfest, different board gaming event, where I met some new pals, played some great games, and locked my keys in my car like a damn moron. It was a hell of a time, and is making me consider some similar events in the upcoming year.

This year, after turning up my nose at Kickstarter for a while, I plunged into it, and enjoyed some rewards from it. There were comics (“Like a Virus”, “Runners: The Big Snow Job”, “Bingo Baby”), books, a project by Cory McAbee, an anti-Fox news documentary, and I even backed a couple of board games (including “Coin Age”, which I ate some crow over.) I’m still not crazy about this model in many respects, but I’m starting to appreciate the projects where it really seems to work as intended.

We finished out the year mostly taking it easy. Becky’s still recuperating from her back problems, though doing much better. My stress level has diminished a lot. I’m actually looking forward to a bunch of things in this new year, like some writing projects, working with Lego again, and a few other things. I’m also trying to eat a little better to have more physical and mental energy.

Some of us will just keep on doing as we do, though.

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