2016: In Review

Settle in for a long one, ladies and gents.  It’s been a year.  I probably should have made this a series of smaller blogs so nobody loses interest, but it’s just best to let it rip all at once I think.

It’s been called “the worst.”  It’s become it’s own meme on the internet.  Between politics, war, and celebrity deaths, 2016 has dealt out more than its share of relentless hits.  But it’s also been subjected to the same social media echo chamber that hyper-magnifies everything to the Nth degree.  All you can do is let it burn itself out on its own terms.  So I thought I’d do some soul-searching and really think about what 2016 really brought into my world, or took from it… an honest assessment of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

 

News Events

2016 began with a record-setting blizzard that covered New York City.  From there we got Brexit, a notable rise in police shootings, a rise in police being shot (including right here in my hometown of Dallas), Team USA dominated at the Rio Olympics with 121 medals, Yahoo’s security got breached, Samsung phones were exploding, Apple went toe-to-toe with the FBI over phone security, the National Park Service celebrated 100 years.  And if all of that weren’t more than enough to comprehend, Election 2016 gave us an Alien vs. Predator scenario: no matter who would win, we all lost.  In the aftermath, the questions remaining now are: in what ways will we lose, how quickly will it happen, and how can we recover?  As the old Chinese curse says, “May you live in interesting times.”  Nowhere in that does it say anything about the national and political acumen of a raging tire fire.  This, my friends, is what happens when people get suckered into identity politics and pet causes that divide us and stop looking at the big picture.  Just saying.

I’m also just saying… thank the Force I’m not on Facebook or Twitter.  I don’t have to deal with any of that BS.  How people do this to themselves, I’ll never understand.  I’m enough of a basket case already without that nonsense.

 

Celebrity Deaths

Some I was familiar with.  Some I’d never heard of.  Some were a bit of a shock simply because of the effect they had on the world, regardless of what I felt about them as people.  Some hit me personally like a punch in the gut.  The following is an incomplete list in no particular order, which I’m sure you could probably add to, of those who stood out for me as lives who made ripples in the world.

Pat Harrington, Jr., 86
David Bowie, 69
Alan Rickman, 69
Dan Haggerty, 74
Glenn Frey, 67
Abe Vigoda, 94
Joe Alaskey, 63
Edgar Mitchell, 85
Antonin Scalia, 79
Harper Lee, 89
Umberto Eco, 84
George Kennedy, 91
Nancy Reagan, 94
George Martin, 90
Keith Emerson, 71
Frank Sinatra, Jr., 72
Garry Shandling, 66
Patty Duke, 69
Merle Haggard, 79
Doris Roberts, 90
Prince, 57
Morley Safer, 84
Alan Young, 96
Muhammad Ali, 74
Noel Neill, 95
Burt Kwouk, 85
Anton Yelchin, 27
Garry Marshall, 81
Pete Fountain, 86
Guy Hamilton, 93
Gene Wilder, 83
Greta Zimmer Friedman, 92
Arnold Palmer, 87
Steve Dillon, 54
Janet Reno, 78
Leonard Cohen, 82
Robert Vaughn, 83
Florence Henderson, 82
Fidel Castro, 90
Ron Glass, 71
Joseph Mascolo, 87
Alan Thicke, 69
Zsa Zsa Gabor, 99
George Michael, 53
John Glenn, 95
Kenny Baker, 81
Carrie Fisher, 60
Debbie Reynolds, 84

Kenny Baker and especially Carrie Fisher hit me hardest this year.  I consider myself fortunate to have met them both and to have been so touched by their work.  Alan Rickman, Glenn Frey, John Glenn, Noel Neill, Pete Fountain, and Debbie Reynolds are right behind them as people whose accomplishments I truly respect and whose work gives me inspiration.  And the list goes on from there.  As I say, there are a couple of names on this list that I acknowledge only because they did have an impact on the world.  But let’s face it, I’m never going to hold people like Janet Reno or Fidel Castro in high regard.  Their spheres of influence simply don’t cross into or even approach my circle of respect, whereas someone like Carrie Fisher is pretty much at the heart of that circle.

 

Home Life

2016 claimed a few lives in my family as well.  My Dad’s cousin Murray, who had his original Model A sitting in his garage, passed away in 2015.  His wife Rita passed this year.  My late Grandpa’s sister Patt passed away this year, and her oldest daughter Patricia passed just a few weeks later.  And my Dad’s sister Frances passed away this year.  My understanding is there are some births added to the family to balance the scales, but the simple fact is I have minimal contact with anyone beyond my immediate family, so I hear about all of this second and third hand through Mom.  She keeps up with it on Facebook.  Poor her.

My parents most definitely have seen personal improvements in their health this year, so that’s a good offset.  For Mom, her debilitating pain is ever-slowly improving, and her diabetes is well under control.  She’s got an amazing medical team who keep constant tabs on her.  In addition to retiring this year, Dad remains cancer-free after his surgery a year ago.

Kid Sis moved into a neighborhood half a mile away from mine this past year, and that’s definitely had some positive effects.  Her psychotic little dog sometimes warms up to me on rare occasions, but even after 10 years, he still thinks I’m a threat to be barked at.  Constantly.  I really don’t get that.  Usually I get along very well with dogs, having grown up with large ones all my life.  It’s like there’s a switch in his head or something that trips when he sees me.

Probably the biggest change to my family this year is Helena.  I rescued her this year from PetSmart, and she rescues me on a daily basis.  She’s there when I’m getting ready for work in the morning, she greets me when I come home, and although she wants nothing to do with being picked up and/or loved on, she’s affectionate in her own way.  She’s constantly purring or making these little tribble noises, and she’s (mostly) learned to stop shredding my hands to ribbons when she plays.  She’s also incredibly clean and largely considerate of the house and all that’s in it, so on top of everything else, the cherry on top is that she’s an ideal roommate.  Certainly better than I am on that front.  She’s still quite skittish, which tells me she was probably abused before she was put up for adoption, but she overcomes the impulse to flee quickly in my presence now.  She might run off or duck or whatever, but I go out of my way to make myself as unthreatening as possible to her.  She’s able to let down her guard quicker all the time now, if you can ever truly say such thing about a cat.

Property taxes in Dallas have skyrocketed this year thanks to a bunch of asshats from California paying way too much for houses they aren’t even looking at and driving the market to unsustainable levels.  The public is furious.  While I was able to control some of that due to the repair and remodel work that just needs to happen to justify their assessment, I am waiting to see what this will ultimately do to my mortgage payment.  The repairs to the house this year have been costly in the extreme.  At my current rate of pay, I’ll be paying on this year’s repairs for years to come while I accrue more debt from whatever repairs will be forthcoming.  Homeownership is truly a double-edged sword.  It sounds great in theory.

Crime in our area has likewise skyrocketed, a direct result from the police shootings, racial tensions, and sheer lack of police presence (positive or negative).  On the plus side, obnoxious noise in my area is a 9-1-1 offense, and they react faster to that than they do to murders or domestic violence.  My neighbors have figured this out, and since most of them don’t trust the police, they’ve opted to be far more respectful and give me some much-needed and fought for peace and quiet rather than have officers descend upon them.  This sort of thing comes and goes with the seasons, of course, but for the most part they’ve figured out I’m done taking their bullshit.  No more music that you can hear for well over a mile in any direction (not an exaggeration).  So while I don’t necessarily feel safe outside my house, at least I can find some temporary peace inside it… when it’s not falling apart around me.  Baby steps.  Baby steps…

Related to that, I’ve joined another social media network, Nextdoor.  Mostly I just have it give me daily updates as to what’s going on.  It’s a good way for me to stalk my neighborhood and other surrounding vicinities without being stalked by it in return.

At work, the seemingly never-ending hell that was the gym through the wall from my desk came to an abrupt end at the end of January.  I was told it would happen at the end of 2015, and I was counting down the days after years of this crap.  To have it extended for another month was… well, it was.  I’ll leave it at that.  All was right in the world again for a while when they finally did move out, and then construction began.  That persisted all over the building as we’re undergoing extensive remodeling on all floors and on the outside of the building, and it was especially obnoxious next door.  Months it lasted.  They’re still done, but for the most part it’s relatively quiet over there now.  An hour or two every week of softer noise is far, far better than the constant pounding of thumping bass, dropping weights, and tractor tires being thrown.  I think this might be the biggest victory of the year, getting rid of that.  It’s certainly done wonders for my attitude and my health.  It’s only a start on that front, but it’s a good start.  After all that back there, I’m a mess, but I’m still standing.

In the midst of all this, I tried my hand at something new: terrarium gardening.  My first attempt was moderately successful at first, but ended in disaster when I transplanted some flowers I picked up at Home Depot.  Turns out, there was a slug infestation there I was unaware of, and next thing I knew I was picking those things out of my terrarium every single week.  Once every plant had died, I killed the whole thing with fire and thunder and started over.  I started from seed this time, opting to choose patience.  And the seeds have started sprouting quite nicely.  The problem is I can also see white fuzzy mold taking over between the soil / dried moss / charcoal layer and the layer of rocks below that.  *shakes fist*  This war is not over, dammit.

After my initial success in late 2015 with Amazon’s Echo device, I sprung for another one this year so I wouldn’t have to keep relocating it room to room.  By the end of the year, I now have two more of the smaller Dot devices in the house, and one more that I keep in my backpack “just in case.”  It may not be the smartest device out there (how could it be, attached to the Bing engine?), but it does what I need it to do.  Music, audiobooks, nature soundscapes, meditations… I’ve uploaded quite the library to my already sizeable Amazon account, and while I truly despise their upload / download interface and have told them how to fix it a number of times, I’ve become quite adept at working around the limiting quirks of this little device.  It’s pretty cool.

 

Social Life

Let’s just be honest here.  I don’t have much of a social life, and that’s often by design.  I’m a recluse and all that implies.  Even so, I somehow maintain friendships and make new ones here and there in the least likely of ways.

As 2016 started, I was on Booklikes.  It represented my sole presence on the internet because I just despise social media for all manner of reasons.  But I loved Booklikes while it lasted.  I’ve blogged about this in the past because this website came about in direct response to the disintegration of BL’s functionality, caused by the incompetence of those running it while the owners scrambled to take care of their personal emergencies.  When I bailed, a number of others bailed at the same time and/or let their accounts go dormant.  Mostly the takeaway for me is that some really wonderful people followed me here and continue to keep up.  That’s pretty humbling to think that people actually care about my random musings and rants.  Or maybe you’re just in it for the reviews and put up with the other stuff in the interim.  Either way, I’m happy to have you here.  If you’re reading this… you are awesome.  I do not take you for granted.

Of course because Troy World means that technology can’t possibly work as advertised, I’m still having problems commenting on non-WordPress sites, and sometimes even on WP sites too.  I can’t seem to figure out a rhyme or reason to any of it, but I still continue to try.

I dropped a lot of mental baggage and unnecessary drama when I dropped BL.  More energy and resources to devote to necessary drama, which means I can put that to rest faster as it comes up.  Along those same lines, I’ve somehow cultivated some deeper friendships through email as a direct result of the BL exodus.  Have to admit, I didn’t see that coming.

And just to reiterate because it deserves a bit of a repeat, this year I built a new website!  Go me!  I’m rather proud of the work I’ve put into it, getting it organized, transferring all the reviews and such from Booklikes, some of which were originally transferred from Goodreads before that.  It’s just so good to have this little corner of the internet I can finally call my own.

On my side of the screen, I have this monthly sci-fi meetup that, more often not, starts off great and becomes something of a beating by the end of the night.  It has the effect of making me wonder why I bother sometimes.  A recent dinner with my four closest friends in the world, all of whom I’ve known about 20 years now, reminded me yet again of just how fortunate I really am in this regard.  Sometimes the little things make life more bearable.  To someone who fights depression, that’s invaluable.

 

Social Events

I don’t really know if you’d call these social events or not.  I don’t really interact with people when I go out, but at least I got out of the house.  Regardless, it’s been pretty awesome for me on the cultural front this year.

I got to see some wonderful exhibits at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth this year.  Masterworks from Gustave Caillebotte, Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, and Claude Monet highlighted my year in art.  I did miss a couple of opportunities to see more, but these I relished.  There will, of course, be new exhibits in 2017 for me to explore, including one spotlighting the life and work of Giacomo Casanova.   One of my goals for 2017 is to learn more about this guy in preparation for the exhibit in late August.  I read a biography on him last year, and it’s so over the top that it makes me want to read his personal memoirs, all 1000 + pages of it.  It’s on the list.  And, of course, we’ll get more Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, and Expressionism this year.  This sort of thing is a constant crowd-pleaser at the Kimbell, and their ability to acquire private collections to display never ceases to impress me.  And with each visit comes another viewing and further appreciation of their permanent collection.

I hope to make it out to the Dallas Museum of Art more in the upcoming year.  I love the venue, but the Kimbell is easier and more accessible.  The DMA’s permanent collection is extensive, and I’ve gone through it a couple of times.  As with the Kimbell, I always want more.

I finally visited the Perot Museum of Nature and Science this year, and I was largely underwhelmed.  Or perhaps I was merely whelmed.  Hard to say.  All I know is it didn’t really live up to the hype.  Good idea, but not the greatest of executions.  It’s more interactive and kid friendly, which I applaud for getting kids interested in such things.  I’m clearly not the target audience, and that’s fine.

What I didn’t expect to do this year was visit the George W. Bush Presidential Library.  We went there to see an exhibit of nature photography that was on display in one of the back galleries.  The exhibit wasn’t that great.  The library as a whole… rather insightful, to say the least.

I spent a considerable amount of concert time at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra this year, much of which is undocumented here because the website didn’t exist at the time, and I’ve got more performances lined up through the first half of 2017.  A side effect of this came from a concert performance of Disney’s Fantasia.  Something in my brain clicked, and I’ve found myself rediscovering the magic of Walt Disney that has more or less inspired me on a number of levels for my whole life.  If you’ve followed along here, you already know I’m going to

Outside of the orchestra, there have been other shows.  Back in March, I was fortunate enough to see Loreena McKennitt for the second time.  If you have the chance, just go.  There is not a single recording out there that will do her voice the justice it demands.  She has to be experienced live.  Speaking of experience, I got to see “Weird Al” Yankovic for a second time, which is a lot like being inside his music videos.  You have to see it to believe it.  And just a matter of weeks ago, which I blogged about at length, I witnessed the comedy magic of John Cleese and Eric Idle.

As a birthday present from Kid Sis, 2017 will put me in the audience for the last of the old school crooners, Tony Bennett.

Of course when it comes to live entertainment, the cornerstone of my year — every year — is a visit to Scarborough Renaissance Festival.  As bizarre as it sounds, I feel like this place is more of a home than my real home, even though I’m only there one day out of the year, though I did make it twice this year.  W00T!  Given that it’s impossible to see everything in a day or even a weekend, I hope to get to a point where I can take advantage of multiple weekends.  I’m working on it.  Tickets for2017 are already acquired.  This leads us to…

 

Music

I’ve already told you about the concerts this year.  I don’t even know where to begin with all of the music I’ve discovered and rediscovered otherwise.  I’ve been digging deeper into my beloved film scores, trying to appreciate more Opera (which is always a struggle since I speak but one language, but totally worth it), and marinating myself more and more into Medieval and Renaissance music, or Early Music as they like to call it.  The one arena that’s constantly expanding for me is Celtic and Renaissance festival music.

One of the things that makes me feel good is that I’ve continued to be a loyal patron of Marc Gunn.  It’s really about time I blogged about this properly, because Marc really is the hardest working man on the Indie showbiz circuit.  If you’ve not heard of him, he’s a Celtic geek musician.  His weapon of choice is the autoharp.  Read that again so it’ll sink in, because I know that’s just outside the realm of experience for most people.  That’s really the best way anyone can describe his music because he actually falls into a handful of niches.  He does traditional Celtic music and Renaissance festival type music, which is related to Celtic but not always one and the same.  He does geek filk based on Hobbits, Firefly, Doctor Who, and a great many other things.  And he has entire albums dedicated to Celtic music about cats.  It’s every bit as bonkers as it sounds, and it’s Fun.  Capital F.

Why is this guy worth my investment of time and money?  Exactly as I say.  Fun.  Let me tell a long-winded tale here.  I look forward to Scarborough every single year, as I’ve mentioned.  Two of my favorite acts there are Sarah Marie Mullen and Lady Prudence Piper, both of whom play harp, and both of whom are as adorably friendly as can be.  I only discovered Lady Prudence this year.  Sarah, on the other hand, has been inspiring me for years.  As high strung as I am, I’ve discovered the harp has a soothing effect on me.  Somewhere over the years, I decided I wanted more, and I went on the lookout for more harp music and for more Ren fest music.  The streams crossed at Marc Gunn, and his name kept coming up in the midst of my digging.  In addition to his own catalog of work, which is considerable, he also founded the Renaissance Festival Music Podcast (now largely in the hands of others but still going), and continues compiling the weekly Irish and Celtic Music Podcast, among others.  Through these podcasts especially, I’ve discovered SO many amazing bands.  Like the man says: contact the artists, purchase their CDs, and let them know you heard them on his podcast.  I do that.  But wait… there’s more.  Because hours of sanity-recovering podcasting isn’t enough, Marc also does these online concerts from time to time, broadcast from his house.  How cool is that?  So you see, I support Marc and his music because it’s the very least I can do for the ton of happiness he’s directly and indirectly brought into my world.

On the harp front, I found Anne Roos on Marc’s podcast a couple of months ago.  The night I saw Fantasia in concert with the DSO, I had a wonderful correspondence with her through email in the hours leading up to the concert when I reached out to tell her that I found her music… and bought all of it.  I’m prone to do that sort of thing.

I really should put a blog together so I can list off all of the bands I’ve found through these shows.  Talk about an embarrassment of riches.  Suffice it to say, Marc’s been something of an unsung hero when it comes to me holding it together through boredom or strife.  I try to pay that backwards and forwards however and whenever I can.

And because I could, I bought a 12-string Celtic baby harp back in February.  This one is totally Sarah’s fault.

 

Films / TV

The three biggest wins this year on the big screen for me were, unsurprisingly, The Legend of Tarzan,  Captain America: Civil War and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.  The more I dig into the lore and the music, the more this latter one continues to grow on me.  It really hit home at the deepest levels, far more than The Force Awakens did.  That seems weird to say, but there it is.

There was, of course, some heartbreak to balance this out.  Curiosity got the better of me, and I ended up watching Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.  It will surprise absolutely no one that the only reason I watched it is for Wonder Woman.  I think Gal Gadot did a more than respectable job with what she was given, but yet again with the DCU, the creative types in charge just do not get it.  According to the story they provided, she turned her back on humanity for 100 years after World War I and operated from the shadows.  This is certainly not the Wonder Woman I know.  That the movie around her was a complete abomination just magnified things.  But curiosity was satisfied.  Not the victory I’d hope she’d get in her first big screen appearance in her 75th anniversary year, but at least she’s considered “marketably viable” to the powers that be now.  I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard otherwise from WB and DC.

Thanks to the projects I’ve got going here, I’ve been spinning up more and more of the old classic monster movies, more 007, and all manner of other nostalgic favorites.  It seems I watch more than I blog about sometimes, but hey, sometimes you just want to unwind.

The big win on the home video front this year was finally seeing the restored version of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.

On the small screen, Star Wars: Rebels season 2 came to a dramatic conclusion, giving us the showdown we’ve been wanting and fearing to see: Darth Vader vs. Ahsoka Tano.  To truly walked into this excited to see Vader operating at peak awesomeness, much as I was rewarded with in Rogue One, but I was equally fearing the worst for Ahsoka.  Never in all my years have I been so inexorably glued to my TV screen.  It’s a testament to her character, and to Ashley Eckstein’s portrayal of her, that Ahsoka stands toe to toe with the Dark Lord now as my all-time favorite.  That’s how much respect I have for Skywalker’s former padawan.  Thankfully we now know that there are potentially more possibilities for her down the road, even if her journey on Rebels is at an end.

And of course, 2016 marked the 50th anniversary of Star Trek.  Even though I couldn’t even sit through the last film (I made it 22 minutes!), it’s still the franchise that keeps on giving and reinventing itself.  2017 will see the premiere of a new series set in the original timeline (YAY!), Star Trek: Discovery.  Those on the project have inspired my confidence, so I have high hopes.

 

Books

I’ve read a lot of books this year, but the last couple of months have been somewhat slower due to more podcasts, which in turn have led me to more music and more books.  It’s a cycle.  Respect the cycle.

The big book news this year is the Silmarillion Blues project I’m working on.  The year started with a wrap-up of The Hobbit and the beginning of The Lord of the Rings… on Tolkien’s birthday.  Tell me that’s not awesome timing!  LOTR is my all-time favorite book, and the chance to dig deep into each chapter has been ever-so-rewarding in ways I can’t even express.  Life got in the way right at the end, so there’s no chapter post this week, as I announced already, but things will pick back up again in 2017.  We’ve made it into The Return of the King, and based on what I’m seeing, the rest of the tale and the Appendices will carry us through almost half of 2017.

Related, after multiple attempts and far too much money, I’ve finally got my hands this year on an undamaged three volume hardcover set of Tolkien’s History of Middle-Earth.  You’d think anyone would learn to ship these things with protective packaging on all six sides.  Anyone at all.

My love of Star Wars has been fueled by a lot of books this year.  Ahsoka got her own title.  Leia got to take center stage in another novel.  The Art of Rogue One is proving to be a beautiful tome.  The Rogue One novel and its prequel novel Catalyst were astounding.  How can I call this year anything but a success on this front?  Likewise, Star Trek rewarded me big this year in books.  They really went all out for their 50th.

My 007 project has been helped along by a buddy read of the original Fleming books, still in progress.  We’ll start again early in 2017, I’m sure, with Thunderball.

This year has been one of transition for me when it comes to the idea of poetry.  I’ve been wading deeper into Shakespearean waters.  I’ve been introduced to Rainier Maria Rilke, to my never-ending delight.  His work is mind-blowing.  I’ve rediscovered the likes of Shel Silverstein, Tennyson, Donne, and the Romantic poets in that circle of Byron, Shelley, and Keats.

My explorations of the great crossover that is the Wold Newton Universe continue, due in no small part to books by Kim Newman and Alan Moore.  I’m rather impressed that I wrestled down the massive tome that is Moore’s Jerusalem.  I feel like I can take on any book now that I’ve done that one.  I’m still processing it.  It had the side effect of making me revisit the world of graphic novels and comic books as well.  That felt a lot like coming home as I revisited George Perez’s Wonder Woman, Neal Adams’ Batman, Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Promethea, and Warren Ellis’ Transmetropolitan.

I’ve discovered an insane adoration for the charming little novel Trilby.

I’ve explored more into the realm of things that potentially help me wrestle down depression or anxiety, be it scientific or meditative.  Books have been especially great for further delving into music and the great composers, which always helps to normalize me.

Memoirs by Tim Burton and Carrie Fisher were big hits with me this year.  Acquiring the complete works and correspondence of Katherine Parr was nothing short of surreal.  I’ve read more Medieval works and histories this year, mostly accounts of politics or war, manuals of chivalry, and sword treatises.  To read an in-depth biography of Walt Disney was eye-opening.  This led me to discovering “Walt’s List,” the collection of books he brought from Europe that inspired and continue to inspire the animated feature films.  As I go forward with my explorations of Disney animation, I will most certainly be incorporating this list.

 

Other Things

2016 has made me more than aware of a great many things in regards to my health and general well-being.  Mentally and emotionally, I’m largely in a much better place this year as a result in the drop in noise at work and at home.  Combined with music, meditations, various dips into nostalgia, and the support of friends and family, I’m slowly beginning to undo the damage of 20+ years.  I’ve become aware that, for all intents and purposes, I’ve missed my 20s and 30s, and my return on my sacrifice has been minimal in regards to schooling and career opportunities.  Financially, this year has really hit me hard on repairs, and most of the social activities and events that have kept me afloat were gifts.  Attempts at finding better (and better paying) work have likewise been unsuccessful.  I’ve thought more than once about dropping everything and becoming a Rennie, but I have no skills on that front to offer, and I’m no good in front of crowds.  Knowing that is what keeps me chipping away at what I’ve got to work with until something better comes along.

Physically, I’ve lost a little weight this year on average, which is always good.  I’m of the mind that it took years to put on, and though it’s harder to take off as more years go by, I’m still making progress a little at a time, without upending my life in some transition that won’t last.  My way is slower, but it’s healthier in the long run.  The effects are longer lasting too.

I’m still fighting against the realization that my body has other issues, such as back problems and poor eyesight.  The day may come soon when I’m forced to put down my sword, which sucks because it’s the only form of exercise I have that’s actually enjoyable.  I’m likely going to need bifocals as well.  I’m toying with the idea of just having a spare set of reading glasses to save some money on that front.

This year I also made peace with the idea that I’m not just not the dating type.  Everywhere I go, people try to make me feel guilty or sorry for myself that I’m still single, that I don’t have kids, etc.  I’ve known most of my life that children are not for me, and to the world at large: you’re welcome.  As far as relationships go, based on past experience, I can honestly say I do far better on my own.  The idea of having a partner in life sounds wonderful, and I’m sure it is for those who find theirs, but… *shrug*  No regrets.  If it’s destined to happen, it’ll do so when I least expect it.  That’s usually how I meet people at any level.  The more I pursue such things, the more such things run away.  I consider myself a lot wiser for figuring that out.  It’s proven itself on both sides of the computer screen.

While I end 2016 with the knowledge that there are some massive holes in my world (not least of which is in my garage and under my house), at least I know I start the new year with the reassurance that these will be filled.  As Mick Jagger reminds me, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need.”  I’m not living on the street, and in the event I should meet with some kind of financial disaster that would otherwise put me there, there is a backup plan in place.  But now that peace and quiet afford me the opportunity to focus, 2017 is going to be focused on general improvement on all fronts.  Maybe the world will catch fire as a result of Trump or Putin, maybe there will continue to be murders around the corner, and maybe Tolkien’s concept of a “eucatastrophe” will miraculously reverse all negative things in one fell swoop someday.  Whatever comes, I can only deal with what I can do or with how I adapt to what’s beyond my control.  I haven’t let myself dream in a long time.  It’s time to change that.

No matter how it stands, 2017 marks the 40th anniversary of Star Wars, and there’s another Star Wars movie waiting at the end of it that nobody in my generation ever expected would ever happen in the first place.  It’s my intention to be there to see it.  May the Force be with us all.

Happy new year, everyone.

10 thoughts on “2016: In Review

  1. Wow. Now THAT is a year-end post. It’s lovely to read about all your adventures over the last year again, even tho some of them sound really tough. I take inspiration from your outlook.

    Happy New Year to you, too, Troy.

    Liked by 1 person

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