Things you really never asked me about.

I really don’t care much for memes, but I’ve decided to run this one down because it was good for me to ask myself these questions and attempt to answer them. I’m posting it because it’s a healthy exercise, and the results are enlightening. I’ve enjoyed the answers in other friends’ journals, so feel free to grab this and do what you will with it.

1. What did you do in 2003 that you’d never done before?
Was accepted into grad school. Moved to a foreign country. Got knocked down. Hopped on a mountain bike. Regularly ate blood pudding. Let go of parts of the past, with gritted teeth and clenched fists, and learned how to continue to do so. “Hold on tightly, let go lightly.”

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Absolutely. All of them, amazingly and thankfully. And I will surely lay down a few new ones in the coming weeks, and pursue them with ferocious abandon.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes, and they’re both healthy and happy and beautiful children, and it heartens me greatly.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No. Thank goodness.

5. What countries did you visit?
Scotland. Middle Earth.

6. What would you like to have in 2004 that you lacked in 2003?
Well, I feel like I had everything that I ever needed and more this past year. As most of 2004 will be spent as a parasitic student in a foreign country, I would genuinely like to have the staunchness of heart and deliberateness of action to be the same person I’ve always striven to be, and to remember what I’ve worked on, regardless of locational context.

7. What date from 2003 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Tough one. Probably August 24th, my departure date from San Francisco. My best friends in the world were all there, and I felt that I had the blessings of some of the most amazing and loving people ever to exist. I can’t wait to see them again, and continue our adventures.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Oh man. Pulling myself out of total comfort to take a shot at happiness through immersion in the totally unfamiliar. With good help from caring folk, I was able to do this well, but it’s been a ride.

9. What was your biggest failure?
The only thing that I’m critical of myself for this year is opening up emotionally when I clearly was not ready to do so; for not having the wisdom to resist the lure of promises and adulation in light of my own need to heal first. Other than that, I feel like I’ve failed in being able to release myself from the burden of other people’s opinions of me, and too-often putting their needs before my own. To an extent, goodwill is born of insecurity.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Other than a few premature vascular contractions, not yet. I’m lucky to have a really great constitution and usually am able to fight off illness when it shows signs. *sniffle*

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Hard to say. I obtained a 15” PowerBook, which is totally wonderful, but lately it’s been the small things that have been truly priceless – some packs of incense from home, a jar of eucalyptus honey, a rare and lovely dinner out with a good glass of wine…

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Ev, who is truly the perfect example of a best friend, a doubtless confidante, and a long-term adventuring companion – the Merry to my Pippin. He has been my uncompromising support network in so many ways. My Grandmother, for giving me an opportunity to experience hard work in a beautiful land of my dreams. ‘Sted for taking upon herself the responsibility for keeping me sane during my waning days in California. Carrie for taking on the furry burden of Torgi and selflessly endeavouring to keep me constantly connected with home. Seth and Lara for meting out absolute trust, accommodation, and huge amounts of tea. Helen for being like me on the inside. Finally, Damien for being my right-hand man throughout the year, for trusting and deferring to my judgment, and for taking on the burden of the store in a very busy and difficult time for himself.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Many. Some close to me inside, some far from me. Lots have in a greater sense of their actions that I come across every day. I see it out on the street and all over the media, all the time. Too much selfishness, too much uselessness.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Rent and music. Certainly not games! Oh, and those wonderful little Snyders honey & mustard pretzel pieces. Can someone *please* send me some of those, already?

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Well, of course getting in to University and looking forward to all the new experiences that moving to Scotland would bring. So far I have not been let down in any sense, and I am just as excited about the rest of my year here as about coming home and opening the new store.

16. What song will always remind you of 2003?
“Haligh, Haligh, a lie, Haligh” from Bright Eyes. For so many reasons, it still makes me die inside, in good and bad contexts.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? In so many ways, happier. Undoubtedly.
ii. thinner or fatter? Since I’m not fighting right now, I’d have to say a bit fatter. Drat.
iii. richer or poorer? Gobs poorer, thank you for reminding me. Go die.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Reading, for certain. Finishing more of my painting projects back home. Spending more time with certain people due to previous busy schedules or conflicting emotional ideologies.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Fretting and worrying over the future, which simply cannot be helped but in the now.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
As my usual X-mas lurkings are back home, I’m being treated to a lovely Christmas Day with S&L in front of a fire. Surely we will have snacks and tea, and dodge wayward cats as we rip into untold pleasures wrapped in sparkly paper. Games will ensue, and many DVDs will be played, of course. It will be a good day, and I’m extremely lucky to be able to enjoy this.

Clearly, #21 was not even worth the response, because the question itself was absent from this list.

22. Did you fall in love in 2003?
I have always been, and for years. I learned how to spread it out this year, and change its shape a bit.

23. How many one-night stands?
Well, none. That’s not my style. If that statement gets you into bed with me, it’s worked perfectly. 🙂

24. What was your favorite TV program?
I don’t watch much TV, but I must say it was either The Mind of a Married Man or all seven seasons of ST:TNG, which I crammed into the last six months or so before I left. Yup, you knew I was a geek.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I’ve only ever hated one person, and that was a very long time ago. So no, not this year. Maybe next.

26. What was the best book you read?
I rather liked “Bios” from Robert Charles Wilson and the collected “Triskell Tales” by Charles de Lint. The rest of it was all history texts and political treatises.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
By sheer necessity and proximity, Queen Adreena. And most certainly Tram, if we’re talking just 2003. Oh, and Calexico.

28. What did you want and get?
An extension of my lifelong dream. Respect for the severity of what I’m doing with my life. And affirmation of my stedfast behavior for the past ten years. Finally.

#29 was probably something silly like, “What is the thread count of your sheets?” or “How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?” So it’s not being repeated here, I guess.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
“The Return of the King.” Plain and simple. It is *extremely* gratifying.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 30 this year, and it’s been the best of my life thusfar. I was with a huge amount of friends at Laurel Gardens – eating, drinking, and bouncing from person to person. It was a party and more…it was a community in an area with very little community awareness. Tiki Bar, fire pit, endless bottles of whisky, and lots of disparate people joined by one simple theme: their beauty inside and out.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I got everything I could have ever wanted this year. I would be a fool to look for more.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2003?
Oh, man. This is silly. I have none, seriously. Geek-chic? I wear what I deem to be stylish and comfortable, and I like to present myself well, if I can.

34. What kept you sane?
Video-chat conversations with Evan; distracting gaming evenings and bike rides with Seth & Lara; many well-placed pints here and there at various watering holes over excellent conversation; hitting the heavy bags when I find the time; Charles de Lint, Tom Waits, Mark Lanegan, Devics, and without a doubt – Paul Anderson of Tram.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
HA! Okay…if I had to choose, probably Patrick Stewart. I’ve learned more from his genius as Picard than pretty much any other outside celebrity influence. It may sound silly, but his character is a perfect example of how to be a good man, and to lead by example, with compassion and strength…I’ve used his teachings from that performance in the contexts of work, management, and interpersonal relationships. Don’t worry – I won’t be shouting, “Engage!” at the top of my lungs anytime soon.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
The absolute idiocy of our non-elected administration’s policies and their effects on the rest of the world. We had a chance to be a good influence, and yet we continue to be the worst. Not only does it cause unthinkable suffering to our reputation and to masses of people outside the lens of our carefully-controlled popular media, but it means the rest of us get to be lumped into an embarrassing national prejudice that in no way reflects how the more intelligent and benevolent half of our country feels, deeply and genuinely in our hearts. I have never before been embarrassed to claim that I’m an American.

37. Who did you miss?
Too many beautiful people to count. Almost everyone in my life. In certain mention would be a few: Evan, Christine, ‘Sted, Jeffy, and, of course, Torgs. And the crew at the Mammal Center. Family, friends, and sea lions, all.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Impossible to list. There were so many, and so many that will be friends for life.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2003:
Despite the goodwill of others, people generally do what they want to do to make themselves happy, often at the most critical or inopportune times for yourself. This can be extremely disappointing and painful if you are unprepared for it. I have sworn to myself two things: One, to continue to strive for consistency in the treatment of others, regardless of what is happening in my own life. Because it shouldn’t matter to them. Two, to reserve a part of myself to ensure that I am protected against these vacillations in others. Just because I find it essential doesn’t mean everyone has to, but I’m going to be very careful about whom I call my closest friends and go by actions, not words. A person is composed of what they do, not what they promise to do.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
I have to give you two different ones, both equally as relevant.

This delay is what you gave me
but that was fine,
‘cause I would rather wait
than go down that road – 
the road I know so well.
Like mud or quicksand,
I was stuck, but now I’m in your hand.
Is it getting cold?
I could try to move them all…
Are we getting old?
I don’t notice anymore.
And what about the bones
hidden in a box?
If everything I owned
turned this into rocks…
Is this getting close?
I could try to move them all…
Are we going home?
I can’t stay here anymore.
And how long will this go
until it changes?
How long before you know
that I love you.
How long till it goes and turns to nothing?

(“The End and the Beginning” – Devics)

Forgive me for I did not know
‘cause I was just a boy –
you were so much more
than any God could ever plan,
more than a woman or a man.
And now I understand how much I took from you.
But when everything starts breaking down,
you take the pieces off the ground
and show this wicked town something beautiful and new…
You think that luck has left you there,
but maybe there’s nothing up in the sky but air.
And there’s no mystical design,
no cosmic lover preassigned –
there’s nothing you can find that cannot be found.
‘Cause with all the changes you’ve been through,
it seems the stranger’s always you
alone again in some new wicked little town…
And when you’ve got no other choice,
you know you can follow my voice
through the dark turns and noise of this wicked little town.
Goodbye, wicked little town.

(Mitchell and Trask from Hedwig)

4 Responses to “Things you really never asked me about.”

  1. blackthorne6 Says:
    December 20th, 2003 at 12:09 pm

    I found your answers intriguing..
    Picard,ST:TNG,Black Pudding,Tom Waits,

  2. nickys Says:
    December 20th, 2003 at 1:23 pm

    > I have never before been embarrassed to claim that I’m an American.
    We do know that ordinary Americans are not responsible for Dubya's idiocies.
    Here's hoping that you get to have an election next time…

  3. kratkrat Says:
    December 21st, 2003 at 9:06 pm

    I enjoyed reading your answers! It provided yet more insight into the thoughtful mind of Darren.
    However, your response to #23 will NOT get me into bed with you.
    No doubt, you are now incredibly relieved!! [GRIN]

  4. ubernacht Says:
    December 22nd, 2003 at 6:25 pm

    Hey cheif…
    it's Alex….I added you as a friend. Also let me know if there is anyone else on lj i may know…
    look forward to catching up on your daily life:)
    luv ya

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