05 January 2008

Happy New Year!

Yeah I'm a few days late, it's been a busy week. :)
So here we are, it's 2008, 2007 is now in the rearview mirror, which is good because it allows a little bit of reflection.
2007 was a very interesting year, a real roller-coaster actually. They say that life has its ups and downs, and I can definitely attest to that when I think of last year.
My job situation for the first four months of the year was truly a down. I like Dalhousie as an institution, its faculty (Michael Goodyear notwithstanding) is top-notch, and I'm very proud to have a degree from there. That said, the registrar's office is a place of work that I wouldn't wish on anybody. They treat their students and temps very poorly, paying them a bare minimum and getting them to do all sorts of menial labour that the more established people are simply too lazy to do. If you're looking for a humbling experience, go there. I'm much happier out of there, especially given how well looked-after I am now at VON Canada. The job is still very much out of my element and academic background, but I'm a fast learner and I'm enjoying myself, particularly now that I'm doing work related to Veterans Affairs Canada. It sure beats trying to not bash my head against a desk after having to deal with yet another horribly inaccurate report of service.
My ever-pervasive longing to be back in British Columbia (or, really, anywhere but here) grew a lot this year. This city does a lot of things that are not relevant to my interests and few things that are. It's such a different vibe from what I got accustomed to in my first 24+ years: people always complaining about having to work, the Sunday shopping stuff, no Boxing Day, the utter lack of respect for pedestrians, and other niggling little things like that. When we got back from our trip to the Okanagan in mid-May, we were greeted at our building by someone's graffiti urging people to shoot cops. A couple months later there was a horrific and misogynist tag on Barrington St. about blowing a woman's head off. We have only a few friends out here (damn good ones, I might add, who I'm very glad to have met), and I miss my family a lot. A real lot. I'm really happy for my youngest sister getting to see H.I.M. back in November, but I'm also really jealous--and mostly because I didn't get to go with her because that would have been awesome. I still haven't even got to meet my nephew, and my little niece is growing up fast. The odd phone call helps alleviate the feeling for a while, but it always comes back, especially when my thoughts turn to my grandmother and if I'll ever see her again.
There were several unqualified awesome things this year. If I had to pick one, I'd have to break the rules and pick two. I am crazy about my cats. Sure they pulled down the Christmas tree--thrice--and I don't always want to play fetch with Orion at 5am, but I love the little kugelsachs. I've got a big collection of pictures of Nebula and Orion on Facebook, and so if you're not on it, you can see them here and here And while you're at it, friend me. :)
Things with Anna Lou were amazing this year. Our relationship deepened even further, we always have stuff to talk about, I still get excited when I see her after we've been apart for a few hours, and I just all-around love her. She's made me a much better person, and I hope that I make her as happy as she makes me.
I got to see the Habs for the first time in 4 years. The team sure has changed a lot since then, but they've got a lot of promise and upside for the future. I got my jersey signed by 8 players plus Kirk Muller, which is really cool. I'm also becoming a Carey Price merch collector. The kid's got talent and I hope he gets to be a major part of bringing the Cup back to Montreal. Oh yeah, and we're going to see the last game of the regular season against the Leafs.
Nine Inch Nails and H.I.M. have moved to the forefront of my musical interests. It's amazing what putting out new material on a regular basis will do for the overall rankings, especially when it's damn good music. Year Zero is hands-down my favourite CD of 2007, and I'm torn between Capital G and Sleepwalking Past Hope for song of the year. Maybe when I get to the Top [X] listings below, I'll have resolved that. Meanwhile, there's still no new Metallica album in sight and when my membership in the MetClub expires tonight at midnight it will not be renewed. The past two years in the Club have been pretty much a waste, and I by and large don't like a lot of Metallica fans. People say that metal fans can be pretty misogynistic, and I agree with that, which only made my experiences in the community all the more negative. C'est la vie.
Politically speaking, 2007 was not a banner year for much of anybody. I don't think that any of Canada's major political parties would score the year a lot higher than a B, maybe a B+ at best if you're Stephen Harper and you've been ruminating on just how poorly the opposition parties fared. It was the year of bluster and buffoonery, lots of talk but little action, and when there was action it was ill-gotten. Shane Doan controversy, anyone? How many times did the Liberals threaten to bring down the government, only to not even show up for major confidence votes? Meanwhile, Harper has done a good job as Prime Minister of solidifying himself and his position, almost by default (seriously, Stephane Dion just doesn't have it), but also through some wise tactical maneuvers that will ultimately pay dividends. The press may love to bombard him and the Canadian public with daily polls that show that, oooh, he's just not gonna hit majority territory, but I think that the only poll that matters--the one cast by 14 million Canadians on Election Day (likely not to be in 2008 either; sorry, mainstream media!)--will have him making some significant gains over the 2006 vote.
States-side, umm where was George W. Bush this year? And did he have Condi Rice with him? I remain an adherent of the Bush Doctrine and the promise that it offers to so many people around the world who do not currently enjoy basic human rights and freedoms, democracy, the rule of law, and legitimate government, but this year did not see much from Washington to move forward in advancing these concepts around the world. Administration fatigue seems to have set in early, largely due to Iraq I suspect, and we're at the brink of seeing opportunity go unfulfilled and wasted. The gains made in the Middle East in 2003 seem so long ago, and the ever-present risk of backsliding seems to be growing. The race for the White House in 2008 has thus far failed to be very interesting, if only due to its seeming permanence. It's still far too early to make any sort of predictions as to who will be contesting the presidential election, and I remain unimpressed by much of the field.
And now, the fun part: lists!

Top 5 Albums of 2007
1. Nine Inch Nails - Year Zero
2. H.I.M. - Venus Doom
3. Ozzy Osbourne - Black Rain
4. Metric - Grow Up and Blow Away (really, though, I'm looking forward to the new one!)
5. Velvet Revolver - Libertad

Top 5 Songs of 2007
1. Nine Inch Nails - Capital G (answers that question, eh?)
2. H.I.M. - Sleepwalking Past Hope
3. Metric - Stadium Love (they play it live, so it counts. We saw them in September and it was a really great closer--I could have picked Freddy too)
4. Nine Inch Nails - In This Twilight
5. Rihanna - Umbrella (yes, that song. It grew on me, it's great, let's move on)

Top 5 Pics of Orion and Nebula

And finally,
Top Moment of 2007
The love-meter reading on Christmas morning

Happy 2008, everybody!


bananadoodle said...

I love you too, Bucko <3

Maggie said...

Oh, such cute kitties!!! They're beautiful! I didn't know you liked cats, Richard. Are they yours?

Oh, so cuuuuuute! Meow!

Maggie Hays (againstpornography.org)

RGM said...

Yep those are my babies. I think it's pretty safe to say that I'm a cat lover, either that or I'm totally in the wrong Facebook group.