Now that the turkey is gone, the tree is down, the presents are unwrapped, and the sun is shining (!) it's time to look back on the year that was, or at least as I saw it. I always get a kick out of these things, and I'm finding it a little bit funny that this is the second time this year that I'm doing my year-in-review postings. Did I fall asleep for the last week of '07 or something?
It was a year of mixed emotions, this 2008. Lots of really great moments, a couple more accomplishments, a few frustrations, a big letdown or two, and a lot of fun along the way.
I'd say that my biggest personal achievement this year had to be the publication of my first book, American Leadership and the Future of the Bush Doctrine, which you can purchase through Amazon by clicking the link on the right there. I was surprised and totally taken out of the blue when a publishing house in Germany got in touch with me expressing interest in my M.A. thesis and making a book out of it. The process was very quick and smooth, and there really is a surreal feeling when you open up a package in the mail and see a beautiful new book that has your name on the cover and all the stuff inside is your words (and those of others with due citation) and ideas. A real high, and I hope that those who have made the expense (and believe me, folks, if I could have set the price it would have been much cheaper to entice more buyers!) have found it worth their while. Regardless of whether it has sales of 10 or 10,000 that's my baby and I'm very proud and fortunate to have it.
That high is matched in equal sense of feeling by the low of the year: losing out on my application with a job with the federal government and the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. After spending 6 months going through the process, to have it all come to an end with a 4-sentence letter in April really hurt. It was a real confidence-shaker and maybe to some extent I'm still feeling the after-effects of it. Anybody who knows me knows that a career in the public service, particularly one in that field, has been an ambition of mine for many years, and to have gotten as close as I did and have it just disintegrate just left me feeling quite down on myself for some time afterwards. What can you do? It's one of those things where the song rings true: what don't kill ya makes ya more strong.
Politics wise, 2008 was a complete gong show for this country. I've had a sense of detachment from any of the political parties for a while and this year had the effect of simultaneously (at least in December) of further disenchanting me while also pulling me back in a direction that I thought I would not address again for some time. The antics of the coalition, Harper's partisan governance, Dion's ineptitude, and so on all really made me wonder just what this country's leaders were doing and thinking (in that order)--and yet, at the twilight of 2008, I find myself strongly contemplating jumping back into the ring on a much deeper level than I have been since the end of 2005. The Liberals now have the leader that they should have had in 2006, and while I'm sure it wasn't awarded to him in the manner he would have preferred, I do believe that Michael Ignatieff may be just what this country needs in order to break away from the strange and unpleasant ongoings of the past few years.
South of the border, much of 2008 was all about the election, so much so that it pretty much overshadowed everything, including and especially the current President. George W. Bush was almost a non-factor for the entire year, consigned to irrelevancy by the media and its pundits long before the end of his second term in office. There was so much hope (the catch word of the year) offered by Bush and his grand strategy to have America assist in the remaking of the Middle East, and it all just seems for naught at this point. It's disheartening and sad, for him but more importantly for all the voices in the world that are still being silenced, the dreams being suppressed, and the goals locked up and the key thrown away. As I type this, conflict rages anew between Israel and the terrorists of Hamas, India and Pakistan are mobilizing at their shared border due to the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, and the torch of freedom seems flickering and fleeting in places where it was hoped its light would spread and blaze a new path. It all presents a daunting challenge to an incoming President who has done much to inspire and renew confidence in the promise of America. I sincerely wish Barack Obama well because the weight of expectation on him is tremendous. Hopefully he can bear it.
Much closer to home, another wonderful year with Anna Lou and our little family. A couple hiccups along the way, but wow, what a bunch of great memories we've created again this year. Our amazing love and hope and trust and confidence in each other carries me through my days. Thank you for everything you do and everything that you are. I love you so much. All of them.
What else did I love this year? The Habs, big time. My passion for my favourite hockey team has carried over into a new/old hobby: card collecting! It's definitely a lot different now than when I was younger collecting cards; the products have come a long way...but I still collect the same team! I've amassed a ridiculous collection of Habs memorabilia in the past year, lots of autographs, jersey cards, rookies, you name it, most of it centred around my two favourite players: Carey Price and Josh Gorges. Not surprisingly, both BC boys. It was great that we got to see them twice this calendar year, including the last game of the season against the Leafs in Montreal! Just awesome, and hopefully in 2009 we can do it again, preferably in June!
Other than that, there was a bit of a sense of disengagement from a lot of my other long-standing "loves" in life. I didn't renew my membership in the Metallica Fan Club last January, ending a wonderful 5 year run. With the band taking forever and a day to release Death Magnetic (for a while, I thought "The Day That Never Comes" would be the release date and that they'd be beaten out by Axl and Chinese Democracy) and pretty much touring exclusively in Europe for the past few years, plus my frequent headbutting with other Clubbers, it just didn't seem worth the $60 this year (and do you know how many sweet Carey Price cards I can get for that much?) to renew. That said, the album is awesome (see below to see if they make #1!) and you know that if by some miracle Halifax ends up on their tour itinerary in '09 I will be there front row rocking like it's 2004 all over again!
I also had a drop-off in Star Wars stuff. Still grabbed a handful of new toys but even with the new animated series there's a bit of a sense of fatigue or burnout or I don't know what all. Still, it's Star Wars, and the Force runs strong with this one so you know it will be with me, always.
Wow I've talked a lot eh? Enough of that, time for the joyful Top 5 Lists!
Top 5 Movies of 2008
2. The Dark Knight
3. Star Wars: The Clone Wars
4. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Top 5 Albums of 2008
1. Nine Inch Nails - Ghosts I-IV
2. Metallica - Death Magnetic
3. Nine Inch Nails - The Slip
4. HIM - Digital Versatile Doom
5. Wall*E Soundtrack
I did not buy a lot of music this year; I've still yet to hear in full the AC/DC and GnR albums--does that make me a bad person?
Top 5 Songs of 2008 (according to my 'Pod's most played list)
1. Metallica - All Nightmare Long
2. Nine Inch Nails - 33 Ghosts IV
3. HIM - The Funeral of Hearts (Live) - blew me away and gave a new appreciation to the song!
4. Metallica - Broken, Beat & Scarred
5. Nine Inch Nails - Discipline
Top 5 Habs-Related Things of 2008
1. Going to Montreal wish Tasha to see them beat the Leafs at the Bell Centre
2. Meeting Josh Gorges outside the Metro Centre in September
2a. Getting a Kelowna Rockets jersey signed by Josh Gorges
3. Getting this in a trade, the highlight of my Carey Price collection:
4. Game 7 against the Boston Bruins
5. Christmas morning when Tasha got her very first Habs jersey!
Top Moment of 2008
As usual, the love-meter on Christmas morning
Honourable Mention: pretty much the entire 12 days spent back in BC this year.