12 December 2012

"Mike check! 1-2-1-2-1-2!" [UPDATED]*

Twelve-twelve-twelve is as good a time as any to write a wrap-up of the "year that was". This year I chose to stop drinking. Without a doubt, that is the smartest thing I've done all year. That choice may have cramped my social life, but I have to say it wasn't much of a social life if it required alcohol to keep it lubricated.

Other than that milestone, for most of 2012 I just coasted along. Still there are some highlights:

I went to see the Chesapeake Bayhawks - twice! This was my lacrosse year, and I enjoyed it. I got to see two Bayhawks games in Annapolis. (The Bayhawks went on to win the 2012 Steinfeld Cup, the Major League Lacrosse league championship.) Also, I finally got out and tossed some lacrosse balls with a friend, and went to see Crooked Arrows in the theater (cheesy, but sweet).

In April I downloaded Stereo Typical by Rizzle Kicks, and for the next four weeks that was all I listened to. It's an amazing album! I know hip-hop is not everyone's thing, but this album has a lot to give. "Mama Do the Hump" is a fun little knees-up, "Traveller's Chant" is beautifully meditative, and "When I Was a Youngster" is an antidote for the blues.

I bought Pierce the Veil's Collide with the Sky this past fall. I don't exaggerate when I say this album helped me get through the fall. The music is fun, and expresses everything from rage to sadness to hope. I felt some of my life in the lyrics, and to this day I still tear up listening to some of the songs. I obtained a lot of music in 2012, but these two albums by far outshine the rest.

I've read 39 books so far this year. The best of these, IMHO, were:

1.Damien Echols, Life After Death: this is the memoir of one of the falsely accused and imprisoned "West Memphis Three". The memoir is fascinating and inspiring.

2. Augusten Burroughs, This is How: An "anti-self-help self-help book", Burroughs engagingly presents down-to-earth advice on negotiating life's trials, dealing with such issues as sadness, addiction, love and suicidal thinking.

3. John Fox, The Ball: Discovering the Object of the Game: A fun, fascinating and moving book about sports.

4. Ayad Akhtar, American Dervish: A surprisingly subtle novel about growing up Pakistani Muslim in the US. It's a beautiful, touching book.

5. Nick Harkaway, The Gone-Away World: A literary sci-fi novel involving ninjas, world war, and fallout from the ultimate weapon of mass destruction. The prose is fun, and the story is engaging.

6. Thomas Vennum, American Indian Lacrosse: Little Brother of War: Vennum has created a fascinating exploration of the origins and meaning of what became lacrosse. He peppers the book with imaginative re-creations of events in history. An excellent companion volume to Fisher.

*I forgot to mention Collide with the Sky. I cannot write about 2012 without mentioning Collide with the Sky.

11 December 2012

Wild Cards

In less than two months I'll turn 52. I will have spent 52 years on this planet. One year for each card in a deck of cards. I'm thinking of celebrating this coming birthday as the beginning of my "Wild Card Years", every year after 52 being supplemental to the full deck.

This winter is proving unusually tough. No longer deadening my mind with alcohol, I stare at reality every evening, eyes unshaded. Worse, I no longer have that disinhibition that allowed me to "get it all out" at least once a week. To laugh, bawl and allow myself to be stupid. Nowadays it's just mute horror at the realities of existence.

Add to that my cat is having some kind of urinary trouble, and will have to go to the vet as soon as I can pay for it. His behavior is otherwise normal: he's not sluggish. He just wants to pee frequently, and when he does, he just gets a few drips out at a time. I've made an appointment with the vet, after payday. But the wait is making me crazy.

In the meantime, I make sure his behavior doesn't otherwise change. He plays with his toys, gives me 'sugar' when I get home from work, and eats and drinks normally.

And I feel totally inadequate as a human companion for him.