end of year [edit]

I found this over on Tim’s blog, but a quick google shows that it’s everywhere at the moment, though the questions vary a little.

1. What did you do in 2004 that you’d never done before?
I live a quiet, ordinary life for the most part. Largely I spent my time doing a lot of the same kinds of things – showing up for the day job, looking after house and home etc – so most of the things that fit this description are work-ish. This year I sold an original anthology. I also saw a book published that only had my name on it. I went to the Loose Box Restaurant with Marianne, which was lovely, and I’m pretty sure I bought a portable cd player for the first time (all the others were gifts).

2. Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
No. I said I wanted to get organised and get healthy. I’m still disorganised and suspect I managed to put on more weight (sigh). So, next year’s resolutions will probably be those two, plus find ways to relax and unwind.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes. My sister-in-law, Amy, gave birth to my nephew Jacob, which is extremely cool. I hope to meet him soon. Tracey G. and Anna M. also both gave birth this year. I’ve not seen Anna’s baby because of distance, but Tracey’s is a little sweetie.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Yes. Peter McNamara died and Alwyn Hyman did too. They weren’t family, but I liked and respected them both. Peter was the kind of guy who you always wanted to meet: kind, generous, and suitably patrician as the years went by. We seldom met, but I’d call him semi-regularly and talk about SF, football and such. Alwyn was a guy who, in my opinion, got something of a bum rap. Always generous, funny and wry, he was a good person. Losing someone always sucks, and I miss them both.

5. What countries did you visit?
The USA. It was my eighth visit since 1993, and easily the most exhausting. I went to Oakland to catch up with Charles and to Boston for World Con. Hopefully this year’s trip – assuming the answer to question 2 happens – will be better.

6. What would you like to have in 2005 that you lacked in 2004?
Sleep. Actually, that’s glib. The overall meme from 2004, for me, was weariness. I need to get fit and get a little more sleep, and then 2005 should be a much more enjoyable year. I would also like to have more time to see friends and such – my social life has disintegrated appallingly these past five years. I also think I’d like to get an iPod, but who knows.

7. What dates from 2004 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
I could put political stuff here, but the truth is that those things are not that personal to me. I’d need to look back at the whole year, but I’d mention two dates off the top of my head: Sunday, 5 September, when I had lunch with Sharyn and signed contracts for The Starry Rift, and Saturday, 18 September, when Marianne and I went to the Loose Box for her birthday and our first night alone since June 2000. Oh, and Sophie’s third birthday party was pretty neat too.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Probably publishing three books and selling four more. Also, just surviving it.

9. What was your biggest failure?
There are two ‘biggest failures’. The first is time management. I didn’t do well by my day job, spent too little time with the family, and didn’t get my own review columns done. The other is attitude management. I’ve been too quick to let myself be negative – something I need to watch.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Just the flu and such.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Probably Bob, the B2 Stealth Walkman. I really like it, though all of the accompanying wires and cabling have driven me a bit nuts.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My mum. She selflessly helps me and my little family every day. There are others – Marianne, Stephen, Charles, and others – but Mum’s pretty significant.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Ach! No comment.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Food and lodging, followed by books and cds.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Oh, books and traveling and all of that.

16. What song will always remind you of 2004?
“Dear Catastrophe Waitress”, Belle and Sebastian.

17. Compared to this time last year, you are:
I originally wrote sadder, fatter and poorer. I don’t know that that’s try. Sadly, I am fatter, I suspect. I’m probably cash-poorer, but wealthier overall. And sadness, comes and go. When I add things up, I have a lot to be happy about.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Making more of an effort to make occasions special. I think it’s very important that you go to the trouble of making special occasions ‘special’. Too often, of late, I’ve made them rote and unexciting. So, a vote for champagne and specialness.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Eating and stressing.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
With family and friends here at home. Everyone will show up for lunch, and we’ll spend a happy, family kinda day.

22. Did you fall in love in 2004?
No. Once is enough.

23. How many one-night stands?
No. See #22.

24. What was your favorite TV program?
Don’t know. I kinda liked Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, and Joan of Arcadia seems ok. I note in Jeff V’s version of this he refers to The Daily Show. I enjoyed it and downloaded clips from the net, but it was taken off the air this year so it ain’t available.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
It sounds namby pamby, but I just can’t be bothered investing the energy in hating people like that. But, there are people I don’t trust anymore.

26. What was the best book you read?
Perfect Circle by Sean Stewart.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
The Magnetic Fields and The Jon Butler Trio.

28. What did you want and get?
A new cd walkman.

29. What did you want and not get?
Peace, quiet, and maybe an iPod.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
Lost in Translation, which I saw for the first time on video.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 40. I had a small celebration at home.

32.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Being able to give up the day job, or at least feeling in control of my time.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2004?
Sad, middle-aged git; T-shirts and jeans at home, long-sleeve shirts and pants at work – all mostly black.

34. What kept you sane?
What makes you think I’m still sane?

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Truthfully, I didn’t bother.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
The twin elections – John and George. What a mess.

37. Who did you miss?
My dad.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
This was a year for old friends, but the best new person I met was Rick Berry, who is one of the most fascinating people I’ve met.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2004:
A hug and kiss from your three-year-old daughter can cure just about any woe.