Friday, December 30, 2011

Has Another Year Gone By Already?

 New Year's is right around the corner and 2011 is coming to a close. The earth (and it's inhabitants) are another year older and what do we have to show for it? I reflected on the past year and tried to decide what was significant. Some of it was only important to me, but here is what I can remember.

12 - The year kicked off with the passing of one of our beloved pets. Kirsten's tarantula died (read about it here). She had lovingly named him Hitler when we got him and just as lovingly tossed him in the dumpster when he stopped breathing. This made me consider two things: First, what would she do with me if I died and second, do spiders breathe? I mean, they don't have noses and  I don't feel like looking it up right now. Someone explain it to me.

That same day, the youth minister at our new church asked me if I wanted to help with the jr. high kids. We had been in town for three months at that point, I hadn't assaulted anyone yet and my background check came back clean, so they figured I was safe around their kids. The journey to influence young minds in a new town begins.

14 - I started a new job at a factory in the neighboring town with three letters for its name. I never asked what the letters stood for, so I can only guess. I was hired on to work in Quality Assurance. I was one of the most hated people in the plant. Apparently, they hadn't really had much of a quality control program in place and suddenly I come on the scene with the job of catching peoples' mistakes. Some department supervisors would actually refuse to let me on their floor. Since I was only there to tell them what they were doing wrong, I can't say I blame them for not liking me, but since the management couldn't be bothered to make sure people cooperated so I could do my job, most of my time was spent arguing with people and trying to force my way into areas I was not welcome. To make matters worse, my paper work often got other people fired, demoted or sent off for training and they gave me an office high above the factory floor so I could observe the line workers. Guess how many friends I made there.

15 - Kirsten sensing my stress or trying to butter me up for something, does the dishes for the first time since we had moved. I believe that was also the last time. She is not very domestic.

1 - The first day of February we get hit with a snow and ice storm that was predicted to be the biggest since weather started being recorded (read about the Snowpocolypse here). Stores were cleared out of merchandise and we hunkered down expecting the worst. It was a bad storm, but not nearly the size they warned us about. Our power was out for a little over 4 hours, school and work were cancelled for a few days, but we survived.

These things never end well.
25-26 - At the end of the month, I took my first trip with the Moweaqua youth. We traveled to St. Charles, MO for a CIY/Believe conference. In my efforts to be a good leader, I managed to secure front row seats for my group. Unfortunately, this got us so close to the stage that one of my kids was pulled up and put into a guillotine by a magician. As the responsible (sic!) adult, I quickly had to decide if I would allow this to happen. He really had his head secured in a device made for cutting it off. Do I play it safe, make his parents happy, rush the stage and save this kid OR trust that despite how scary this looks, the people on stage are professionals who know what they are doing, but risk a decapitation of a pre-teen on my watch. After a quick but heated deliberation amongst some of the saner voices in my head, I decided to pull out my camera to document the event. Whether we took him home with or without his head, either way I could show his parents how it went down.

12 - After two months as a hated Quality Assurance specialist, I decided to quit my job before someone made good on the various death threats I had been receiving. This gave me a lot of extra time at home, which led to the discovery that I could link my XBOX to my computer through my wireless router. Suddenly, my TV in the living room had access to all the movies and music on my hard drive from the computer in my bedroom. Since we didn't have cable, it gave us another much appreciated option for TV viewing.

BAZINGA, loser!!!
While bragging to my neighbor across the hall about my technological prowess, she advised me that the cable jack in my apartment was active. I scoffed but tried it as soon as I got back into my apartment. She was right. I had never hooked the cable up because I had not ordered it, but the entire complex was wired with basic cable. After 5 months of watching the same DVDs again and again, we now had live television. Kirsten and I cried while we watched Big Bang Theory. It was a happy reunion.

19 - This month was also the occurrence of the Supermoon. While I expected to see a big cape on the moon for that evening, I was disappointed to learn that it only means the moon will be about 15% bigger than usual. I was even more disappointed when it was so cloudy that night we couldn't even see the moon, the stars or anything else that might be worth looking at. We live in a cruel galaxy.

11 - An event occurs outside of my own life that gets my attention. A massive earthquake hits Japan causing tsunamis and widespread destruction. We soon learned that a Navy friend of ours was on a ship just off the coast. He spent the next few months on site at the nuclear power plant that was in danger of meltdown. He assisted with containment and cleanup.

8 - This month brought to an end the several months long wait to see if Congress would be able to come up with a financial plan to keep the government from shutting down. Everyone was waiting to see if income tax checks would come, social security pay out and government offices stay open. With less than an hour to spare, they came up with a new plan. Now our trusted elected officials have a little more time in office to vote for higher congressional salaries.

14 - A few days later ABC announces the cancellation of the long-running soap operas All My Children and One Life to Live. Housewives everywhere cried out to Oprah to save the shows. Oprah made a tearful statement of her own. She loved these shows, but being in show biz, understands that networks have to make these decisions and she would not intervene with ABC. Her and Eckhart Tolle then prayed to themselves and began mentally broadcasting the soaps directly into the minds of the Oprah Book Club subscribers.

17 - Quickly approaching completion of my bachelor's degree, I turn in my proposal for my final research paper. It  was 10 (TEN) PAGES long. Notice this was not the paper, but the proposal introducing the paper that was to come later. This forced me to consider how much I really wanted this degree. The actual paper was long enough, I should get it published so people everywhere could use it as a paperweight.

1 - President Obama holds press conference announcing that Osama bin Laden has been killed by U.S. special forces. Osama, shot in the face while holding one of his wives in front of him as a shield and surrounded by dozens of cases of Pepsi, still went out with a little more dignity than Saddam when he was dragged, un-bathed, out of a hole in the ground.

7 - My daughter leaves me that evening to attend her first Prom (click here). I spent most of the evening looking around town for good places to hide a body if her boyfriend did not heed my warnings for the evening.

11 - Turn in the last assignment for my degree (click here). I suddenly have a lot of free time.

18 - I receive my degree in the mail. I took my first college class in August of 1989 and received my degree in May 2011. At just a few months short of 22 years to complete my degree, I decide it must be time to figure out what I want to do with my life.

Dogs don't have souls
21 - This marked the day of Jesus' Second Coming according to preacher Harold Camping. Many of his immediate followers gave away all their belongings while others used their life savings to take incredible vacations to spend time with their families before rising into the sky for the Rapture. As for the rest of the world, the Armageddon hoopla prompted hundreds of clever Facebook updates. My daughter and I spend the day inflating 38 blow-up dolls with helium and released them in a mall parking lot that evening. The subsequent crowds and traffic accidents were not amusing to local law enforcement.

25 - Bigger than news of the potential end of the world was the actual end of the Oprah Winfrey Show. After 25 years, Oprah brings her show to an end.  Whether a fan of Oprah or not, this event could not be missed since it was reported on every station. Oprah celebrated her departure by giving a new car to every person who has ever watched the show.

3 - The famed euthanasia enthusiast Jack "Dr. Death" Kevorkian dies from thrombosis of the liver caused by his Hepatitis C infection. The elderly now have to return to dying the old fashioned way...watching Matlock and Murder, She Wrote reruns.

16 - New York's 9th District  representative Anthony Weiner resigns. Insert your own joke here.

5 - After months of capturing the attention of every media outlet, Casey Anthony is found not guilty of the murder of her daughter. The country is outraged and the jurors start clamoring for book deals. Due to the country's brain-dead interest in the crazy lives of dysfunctional families, the Anthony family will probably be the stars of their own reality show before the end of 2012.

6 - In retaliation to the police shooting of Mark Duggan, local youth started massive looting, burning down local businesses and inciting violence. This crime spree lasted four days. Sixteen people who had nothing to do with the shooting died in the violence. While this incident did create chaos for local law enforcement, the worst was suffered by local people and families that were unlucky enough to get caught by the thug mob.

17 - I receive my substitute teaching certificate (click here) so my circle of influence on the youth of my community grows a little bigger.

22 - I start my first class for my Master's degree. I quickly learn that Master's level work is not more difficult than work at the Bachelor's level, but there is much more of it.

22 - My daughter comes home from school with her driver's permit. This is followed by months of white-knuckled car rides. I soon bit through my lip while pretending to calmly observe and instruct. I decide I will never be a drivers' education instructor.

23 - A 5.9 magnitude earthquake centered 40 miles north of Richmond, VA rocked residents from South Carolina to Maine. Office workers in New York flooded the streets to get out of their trembling buildings and parts of the Pentagon and White House were evacuated. Residents of Los Angeles laughed at all the commotion over a little shudder.

Look, Ma!  That's my name.
23 - I receive a Certificate of Commendation from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department proving that I don't screw up everything.

24 - The UARS satellite falls out of the sky (click here) after years of wandering aimlessly around the cosmos. NASA had no idea where it would come down and warned that some of the pieces would be the size of a small bus, but reassured the public that they were in no danger. What more could we expect, they're only rocket scientists?

29 - I host a guest spot on THE VINE radio station (click here). I am invited back despite calling Christian radio "spiritual junk food" on the air.

5 - Steve Jobs, one of the greatest contributors to the technological age, dies. The world mourned because we had grown accustomed to looking at pictures of ourselves on devices he invented. iPads and iPhones all simultaneously powered down that day to observe a moment of silence.

22 - The St. Louis suburb of University City is overtaken by zombies (click here). About 500 of the undead terrorized the area's citizens and created untold chaos from six to nine.

31 - The population of the earth reaches 7 billion people, prompting renewed discussions about overcrowding. After driving through South Dakota and Wyoming last year, I think I have a solution. There is no one out there.

Nothing happened in November. It's not my fault, but nothing happened.

15 - Obama officially declares an end to the war in Iraq. American families are looking forward to having their family members home to share the burden of unemployment, climbing taxes, wide-spread foreclosures and rampant crime rates.

I love movies...and me!
17 - Crazed South Korean dictator and star of Team America, Kim Jong-Il dies. A few years ago, when he was warned by several countries and the United Nations to cease the development of his country's nuclear program, Kim Jong-Il responded by sending them invitations to watch his first nuclear missile test. Long the fodder of late night jokes and SNL skits, comedians everywhere pray that his son will be just as crazy just without the pursuit of nuclear weaponry.

2012 - While we do not know what to expect from the new year, hopefully you are looking forward to it and are willing to take control and make it your best year ever. Just keep in mind that the Mayan calendar stops and the world is supposed to end on December 21, so you have a little less than a year left to do everything you have ever wanted to do. Don't blame me if you drag you feet.



  1. I laughed out loud several times. Thanks, Brett. Hope to see more posts in 2012.

  2. Thank you. I don't know if I will recap next year. This took forever to write.

  3. That is one hell of a recap!

    For a brief period of time I worked in educational research, in the program evaluation and research department of a mammoth school district. It was awful. My job was to interview ombudsmen in the sub-districts, and all of them were convinced I was trying to get them fired. Why? I have no idea, but getting yelled at at least once a day sucked, so I feel you!

    Happy New Year!!

  4. Vesta, it was not a pleasant working experience. Unfortunately, it is far, far from the worst job I have ever had. I was definitely the most hated at this one. Glad you understand. The job gets old very fast under those circumstances.

  5. Did you and your daughter really fill those dolls with helium and release them? Oh, I wish I could have seen it! That is beyond hilarious!!

    I enjoyed your perspective on 2011. Keep the quirky humor coming!

    Happy New Year!

  6. Brandi, we have a sick sense of humor, not everyone around us appreciates it. Thank you. I hope you have a great year.

  7. I LOVE Big Bang Theory!

    Also, November in USA = food and football. That's why we can never remember any important stuff that may have also happened: food coma.


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