Posted by: Rob | January 1, 2012

New Year’s Meme – 2012

The search engines lit up this otherwise dormant space yesterday as folks crawled across the interwebs looking for inspiration for a new year’s meme, possibly finding this old meme I did back when we turned into 2010.  After the last (couple of) year(s), I would hazard a guess that there are many people searching for a little something to look forward to in terms of improvement in their particular situation.

I mentioned the stat spike to Ann and she decided to riff off that old post herself.

So, here at the start of a brand new year (an arbitrary thing and an artificial construct – the date, that is) I’d thought I’d give in to this human need to evaluate what has occurred and take a look a outlining what is to come, especially if I’m going to have any influence over events in the year ahead.

And so, without further ado, here we go:

1.  What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?

I turned 50.

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

Resolution making has never been my forté, and I don’t recall making any resolutions last year.  Perhaps I should write any stray thoughts I have in regards to goals down so I can come back and check myself against them?  I’ve said before that  I don’t really believe in resolutions, but perhaps it wouldn’t be a bad thing to articulate some goals.  After all, as they say in the financial planning industry: “Most people don’t plan to fail; they fail to plan.”  So perhaps one resolution will be to blog a little more, starting with a follow up post to list some of the things I would like to accomplish this year.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

No.  There were a couple of new arrivals in the extended family in 2010, both of whom turned one in 2011.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

My late wife’s auntie died this past autumn.  This auntie was one of the last surviving members of my first mother-in-law’s generation, with the last one being the widow of my mother-in-law’s eldest brother.

5. What countries did you visit?

In 2011, the only other country I travelled to was the United States.  The first occasion was our summer vacation trip by road with our truck and holiday trailer.  We headed south in late June, travelling through Montana to Yellowstone National Park, where we spent a couple of days before heading on east towards Iowa, with a stop in Cody, WY (Old Trail Town), skirting around the Big Horn mountains, a stop at Devil’s Tower and visits to Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse.  We weren’t able to stop at Scottsbluff or Chimney Rock.  It’s been said before, I’m sure, but there are miles and miles of “emptiness” to see when travelling across the American Great Plains.

Late in the year, I had a work related command performance to give which compelled me to take a four day trip to the Texas Gulf Coast.  This was, of course, by air and having to involuntarily run the TSA gauntlet was not completely horrible, and yet not without some level of personal invasiveness.  I will continue to stand by my preference to not fly commercially into or within the USA as long as the TSA continues to exist in present form.  This avoidance may have to extend to road travel as well, given that the TSA has been given increased license to do vehicle stops and searches without cause through enhancement of the VIPR program.

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?

The past year, indeed the past two or three years, have been quite unsettled from a global perspective.  Globally, it seems there is a significant quantity of geo-political change underway: Arab spring in Tunisia and Egypt, the NATO backed overthrow of Qadhafi’s rule in Libya, and ongoing unrest in places like Yemen, Syria and Bahrain.  The “Occupy Wall Street” movement that spread across the United States and Canada seems to have largely fizzled out after effecting about zero change.  Economic turbulence continues to overlay the geo-political scene, with the American economy still in the doldrums, the Eurozone’s sovereign debt crisis and now rumblings that all may not be sunshine and roses with China’s economy.

So, how does all the above relate to what I would like to have in 2012 that was lacking in 2011?  The answer would be some semblance of a return to normalcy.  I’m not naive enough to think that things will go back to “the way they were.”  Those times are over and they are not coming back.  Still, since I’ve essentially entered the final decade count down to a retirement of sorts, I would like to be able to have more confidence that the fiat currency I continue to save and “invest” will actually remain as (or turn into) something that will provide some manner of material support when I finally elect to stop being a wage slave working.   That is, of course, assuming that I will be able to stop working.

7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

No specific dates, really.  I’m not one to remember dates all that well, unless something really big happens, like a birth, death or marriage.  And even then, the date in question has to relate to someone very close to me.  Nothing like that in 2011.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Biggest achievement of the year?  I was given a special recognition award at work for my performance on a project during the first half of the year, which included a cash component.  Which I have yet to spend.

I also finished laying the porcelain tile floor in the new kitchen.  The kitchen itself remains to be completed, but it is fully functional.  Mostly.

9. What was your biggest failure?

From end of year 2009 : I did not get the manufactured stone onto the house again this past summer.  Hmmm.  2010 saw some of the stone get put up, but it is still not finished.  Zero stone work was completed during 2011.  Perhaps my biggest failure is my continuing inability to accurately estimate the size and scope of most renovation projects and, more importantly, how long it will take to get them done.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nothing of note in 2011, following on the heels of the little cardiac event in 2010.  Well, I guess there is the ongoing neck and back issue that like as not stems from the having to use “progressive” lenses.  What a pain in the ass!  (neck, actually).  I need to arrange an eye exam early this year and look at options or alternatives to “progressive” lenses, because these just aren’t working out.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

I don’t buy that much.  If I need something, I generally just go and pick it up.  I will see things that I want, but knowing that I will never have the free time to indulge in said wants, I usually pass up the wants.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Dee continues to grow up and be a very well behaved child.  So much so, that we regularly receive comments from other adults.  She is also progressing well with her soccer skill development and play.

13. Whose behavior appalled you?

The CPR has a rail siding in our little hamlet.  Historically, it served four grain elevators and was a key transportation link for the farm to market crowd.  The grain elevators were all decommissioned and demolished several years, so the CPR now uses this siding to store rail cars containing various materials, some of which are hazardous.

Just before the first cold snap of winter 2011-2012, several hopper bottom cars were spotted on the siding and a reloading company was engaged in transferring the rail car contents to dump trucks.  The material appeared to be granular and was transferred using portable conveyors.  I was to learn that the material (Ferrous granules) tended to freeze and clump and stop flowing.  A crew was working feverishly into the late night hours one week day and as it got colder, the noises emanating from their operations became louder and much more intrusive (the low frequency noises were rattling fixtures inside our house).  I went out to complain and ask them to shut down and was greeted with abusive profanity.  In response I returned home and lodged a complaint with our county by-law officer.

14. Where did most of your money go?

From 2009 : Food, fuel, renovation supplies and materials, clothing.  Oh, and vacations.  For 2011?  Nothing has changed.

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

From 2009 : I’m a Virgo.  I don’t get “really, really, really excited” about anything. Still true today.

16. What song will always remind you of 2011?

Thanks to a parody by the Key of Awesome, I stumbled upon Foster the People’s Pumped Up Kicks.

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

a) happier or sadder?  About the same.
b) thinner or fatter?  Fatter.
c) richer or poorer? Another  year, a few more things learned.  In that sense, richer.

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

Camping and hiking in the mountains.  Also, more aerobic exercise and weight training.

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

Sitting on my ass in front of a computer, both at work and at home.  At home, hours are wasted mindlessly surfing.  If I’m going to sit here, I should blog or something, right?

20. How did you spend Christmas?

Quiet Christmas at home with the family.

21. Did you fall in love in 2011?

New love?  No.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

Not necessarily a favourite, but I watched the entire production run of “Space: Above and Beyond” on DVD.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I don’t really hate anyone.  There are many people who disappoint me, though.

24. What was the best book you read?

There wasn’t really a lot of time allocated to reading in the past year.  I guess nothing that I did read was noteworthy enough for me to remember and rave about it here.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

No major new discoveries this past year.  The ipod with all the old favourites plus much more was often playing in the background while I worked on reno’s.  “Greatest Fits” by the Headstones is always a good listen, as are specific albums by Frank Black (Black Letter Days), The Offspring (Splinter) and A Perfect Circle (Thirteenth Step).

26. What did you want and get?

See No. 11 above for my perspectives on “wanting” and “getting” in the material world.  Otherwise, I don’t have an answer to this right now.

27. What did you want and not get?

Younger?  Less drama?

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

Most films I see anymore are via DVD and are watched at home.  New titles are found via the previews that come pre-packaged with DVD releases.  The art of the trailer has grown to incredibly deceptive dimensions and so trailers can no longer be trusted to accurately outline any given film.  That resulted in some disappointments, like “Love and other drugs,” and “Wall Street : Money Never Sleeps.”  On the other hand, a film called  “The Company Men” was not too bad.

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

A quiet family dinner at home to celebrate my 50th.

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

There is no one thing.  I think this question is more intended for a respondent much younger than I am.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?

I think personal fashion is a superficial concept and a colossal waste of time and precious, finite resources.

32. What kept you sane?

I’m sane?

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


34. What political issue stirred you the most?

The Conservative Party of Canada, led by Stephen Harper, won an electoral majority in the last election.  While I hope that now some (certain) things can get done, I also hope that the Harper conservatives don’t use their majority to transform this country into something that more closely resembles the growing cesspool on our southern border.  Or to give away any more of our sovereignty to appease American paranoia.

35. Who did you miss?

From 1999’s The World is not Enough:

Elektra: You won’t shoot me. You’ll miss me.
(Bond shoots once, killing her)
Bond: I never miss.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

Just random strangers.  No one remarkable.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.

A valuable life lesson?  Hmmm.  How about when the road sign says, “Highway closed 30 miles ahead” it’s best to simply believe it and find another route.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Runnin’ Down A Dream lyrics
Songwriters: Petty, Tom; Campbell, Michael W.; Lynne, Jeff;

It was a beautiful day, the sun beat down
I had the radio on, I was drivin’
Trees went by, me and Del were singin’
Little runaway, I was flyin’

Yeah, runnin’ down a dream
That never would come to me
Workin’ on a mystery, goin’ wherever it leads
Runnin’ down a dream

I felt so good, like anything was possible
Hit cruise control and rubbed my eyes
The last three days and the rain was unstoppable
It was always cold, no sun shine

Yeah, runnin’ down a dream
That never would come to me
Workin’ on a mystery, goin’ wherever it leads
Runnin’ down a dream

I rolled on, the sky grew dark
I put the pedal down to make some time
There’s something good, waitin’ down this road
I’m picking up whatever is mine

Yeah, runnin’ down a dream
That never would come to me
Workin’ on a mystery, goin’ wherever it leads
Runnin’ down a dream

Wishing you all the best for 2012 and may all your hopes and dreams be realized!



  1. I like that Petty tune.

    • I’ve found that there are very few bad Tom Petty tunes. This one, though, is great for cruising in the country on a sunny summer day, windows down and road pop in hand.

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