The Annual Journal Meme

Every year, I’ve posted the first line of each month on the blog. Here now are the first lines of 2013.

January

  • “I had a goal to read 100 books in 2012.”

February

  • “People are of two minds about Metallica.”

March

  • “Back in 1990, I remember metal heads getting excited about this new band from Seattle called Alice in Chains.”

April

  • “Today is April Fools Day, the day we make a sport of punking each other.”

May

  • “Federal Marshal Karen Sisco ends up in the trunk of a car with fugitive Jack Foley, who has just escaped prison in the Florida Everglades.”

June

  • “On Easter, I began my trek from Newport-on-the-Levee, across the river from Cincinnati in Northern Kentucky, to Yellow Springs, Ohio, an annual ritual I’ve been doing by bike since 2010, mostly along the Little Miami Trail.”

July

  • “The WJHC studios were not far from TTG Specialty Lines, where Elaine and I had our office.”

August

  • “Every few years, Stephen King puts out a collection of short stories, starting with Night Shift in 1978, followed by Skeleton Crew in 1985.”

September

  • “The SF novel is chugging along nicely.”

October

  • “The votes are in.”

November

  • “In the summer of 2006, someone suggested I try my hand at NaNoWriMo.”

December

  • “This is your only warning.”

2013 In Review

January

  • How many members of Congress does it take to balance a checkbook?
  • President Obama is sworn in for a second term, which marks the beginning of the 2016 campaign season.

February

  • Pope Benedict announces his retirement. And Anakin turns away from the Dark Side.
  • North Korea detonates a third nuclear “bomb.”

March

  • Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela, dies. Secretary of State John Kerry, when told of the rock star dictator’s death, said, “Who?”
  • The Vatican elects Pope Francis to succeed the outgoing Pope Benedict. The election marks a significant change in Catholic policy as they Cardinals chose to elect an actual Christian for the first time since 1978.
  • Pope Emeritus Benedict signs up for ChristianMingle.com.

April

  • North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un threatens South Korea and Japan with nuclear war. On an unrelated note, the Japanese government expresses it’s approval of the two demo units delivered by the US in 1945 and ask if they can get those mounted on cruise missiles that will reach, say, Pyongyang?
  • Two college students bomb the Boston Marathon. The marathoners’ response? Finish the race.

May

  • Minnesota, Delaware, and Rhode Island legalize gay marriage. Glenn Beck cries.

June

  • The Supreme Court says the Federal government cannot ban gay marriage. Glenn Beck cries.
  • Millions of Americans are shocked to learn that the NSA, a government agency tasked with spying on pretty much everyone, has been spying on pretty much everyone.
  • The Egyptian military takes President Mohammed Morsi’s red Swingline stapler away and has him move his desk to the basement next to Hosni Mubarak’s.

July

  • George Zimmerman is found not guilty of the murder of Trayvon Martin. However, he is found to be pretty much a douchebag.
  • Princess Kate gives birth to Prince George, now third in line to the British throne.

August

  • Edward Snowden, who blew the whistle on the NSA, gains asylum from the freest, most democratic and transparent country in the world: Russia.
  • Mobster Whitey Bulger is convicted of racketeering. No, he will not be allowed to share a cell with Paul Sorvino and Ray Liotta.

September

  • Breaking Bad ends. No, I’m not allowed to post spoilers.

October

  • Khhhhhhaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnn-gress!!!!!
  • New Jersey legalizes same-sex marriage, kicks Glenn Beck in the balls, makes him… You know.

November

  • Obamacare has encountered an error and needs to be restarted.
  • Phillipines is flattened by Katrina’s bigger, badder, bitchier sister.
  • Iran agrees not to build nukes, for now, at least. Isreali Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu still isn’t happy.
  • George Zimmerman is arrested for assault and attempted murder. 12 of his peers were heard saying “D’Oh!”

December

  • Nelson Mandela dies. The world got a little colder.
  • Many people want to kill their relatives during the holidays. Kim Jong Un actually does it. Legally.

The Year In Jim

It’s time to bid 2013 a fond farewell. Or maybe a not so fond farewell. I’ll look at the world’s year in review on Monday. For now, let’s talk about what’s truly important.

Me.

January

  • Nita and I kick off our effort to dump the excess weight once and for all. My plan involves running, followed by P90X, followed by more running. This is not a resolution. No, we don’t ever do resolutions. Never.

February

  • The fifth anniversary of the day Nita and I had our first date.

March

  • I take up running for realz. Actually, I’d been working up to it for weeks, but by the end of April, I’m up to three miles three times a week. G’wan. Ask me how that worked out.

April

  • I actually knock my blood sugar numbers back down to the normal range. This is where I usually get cocky about fitness, and this time, I do not disappoint. Well, not if you were betting on me to backslide.

May

  • The rewrite of Holland Bay is completed only three months after I originally planned.

June

  • Nita and I celebrate five years of marriage. Do the math. Yes, we really did go from first date to walking down the aisle in four months. Both of us are happier on this fifth anniversary than we were in our previous marriages’ fifth anniversaries, so we must have done something right.

July

  • I start writing a science fiction novel under a different name.

August

  • Nita and I start our final year of college. Which will take both of us two years to complete.

September

  • I vacation at the lovely Christ Hospital Resort & Spa in scenic Mt. Auburn, Cincinnati, Ohio, for a week, thanks to a bout of cellulitis. However, for $3000, I expect better food, a pool, and no IV sticking in my hand. My first order of business upon getting home is to grab a beer and a bacon cheeseburger.

October

  • With three exceptions, I decide not to submit to anymore non-paying markets. For science fiction, this isn’t much of a problem. For crime…  Well…  The exceptions are all crime fiction markets.

November

  • Too cheap (broke) to buy a copy of Photoshop, I proceed to learn the free, open-source alternative: GIMP. You’ve been warned.

December

  • The doctor tells me I’m still fat. I smell new year’s resolutions coming.

Annual Tradition: A Very Tom Waits Christmas

I pulled on Santa’s sleigh
Christmas Eve was dark, and the snow fell like cocaine off some politician’s coffee table
Rudolph looked to the sky. He had a shiny nose, but it was from too much vodka
He said, “Boys, it’s gonna be a rough one this year.”

I pulled on Santa’s sleigh
The elves scrambled to pack up the last of the lumps of coal for deserving suburban brats
And a bottle of Jamie for some forgotten soul whose wife just left him
Santa’s like that. He’s been there.
Oh, he still loves Mrs. Claus, a spent piece of used sleigh trash who
Makes good vodka martnis, knows when to keep her mouth shut
But it’s the lonlieness, the lonliness only Santa knows

I pulled on Santa’s sleigh
And the workshop reeks of too much peppermint
The candy canes all have the names of prostitutes
And Santa stands there, breathing in the lonliness
The lonliness that creeps out of the main house
And out through the stables
Sometimes it follows the big guy down the chimneys
Wraps itself around your tannenbaum and sleeps in your hat

I pulled on Santa’s sleigh
We all line up for the annual ride
I’m behind Vixen, who’s showin’ her age these days
She has a certain tiredness that comes with being the only girl on the team
Ah, there’s nothing wrong with her a hundred dollars wouldn’t fix
She’s got a tear drop tattooed under her eye now, one for every year Dancer’s away

I pulled on Santa’s sleigh and
I asked myself, “That elf. What’s he building in there?”
He has no elf friends, no elf children
What’s he building in there?
He doesn’t make toys like the other elves
I heard he used to work for Halliburton,
And he’s got an ex-wife in someplace called Santa Claus, Pennsylvania
But what’s he building in there?
We got a right to know.

I pulled on Santa’s sleigh
And we’re off Off into the night
Watching the world burn below
All chimney red and Halloween orange

I’ve seen it all
I’ve seen it all
Every Christmas Eve, I’ve seen it all

There’s nothing sadder than landing on a roof in a town with no cheer.

Holiday Tradition: ‘Twas The Night Before Festivus

jerrystiller‘Twas the night before Festivus
And all through my pad
We were scrounging every scrap
Of mystery meat to be had

We looked to the west
We looked to the east
For the perfect loaf to serve
For the Festivus feast!

Mystery MeatTomorrow we dine
On questionable fair
And then the grievances
We shall each air

My girlfriend, she’ll recall
Something I said
Two years ago
And smack me in the head

And I, in return,
Will turn up the heat
Reminding her she leaves
Down the toilet seat

The feats of strength
Astound us a lot
For I once carried her mother
As though she weighed naught

My girlfriend moved,
Not to be outdone,
Took off her clothes
For some Feat of Strength fun.

santa-stripperFor her Feat of Strength,
A Festivus Miracle,
Was to do her stripper dance
On the Festivus pole!

Hanakkuh is somber,
Christmas too crass.
But a Festivus for the rest of us
Is always a blast