"And so the year draws to a close, yet again," Dave said with a sigh, adjusting the microphone on the desk in front of him. "It was, for me at least, a crazy year, filled with extreme highs and lows - more so than any year of my adult life, I think. Well, unless you consider 18 years old to be an adult. My 18th year was quite eventful as well."
Dave paused and leaned back in his desk chair, sliding his headphones down around his neck, running his fingers through his hair. True, his 18th year was pivotal, but there wasn't enough time in this half-hour episode to cover that in any detail. He needed to use the air time to run down 2011.
Not wanting there to be any more dead air, he re-positioned his headphones, leaned in toward the mike again, and spoke. "I'm not going to go into the world-wide events of 2011, though by all rights, the year was a crazy one in that regard as well. I mean, the tsunami in Japan, the tornadoes in the midwest, the killing of bin Laden, the economic turmoil in Europe, the Occupy movement, and, most importantly, the release of Skyrim... that and more, of course. But for the interest of this show, I want to bring things down to a purely narcissistic, self-absorbed level, and talk about me."
Dave smiled. As usual, he had no idea who, if anyone, was even listening to today's show. He figured he might as well talk about something of interest to himself... namely, himself...
"So, after deciding to kill my blog off in August of 2010, I revived it again at the very beginning of 2011. Apparently, the reports of its death were exaggerated. Starting at the first of the year, I blogged again, though nowhere near the daily posts of 2009. Just an occasional blast of hot air, that's all. Seemed right. I tinkered with the design, tried new banners and color schemes, etc. But as for content, I stuck with the usual: funny pics and videos, and barely-interesting personal anecdotes."
Dave decided he should re-post a clip or two, both as a trip down memory lane and also as a bit of fun filler for today's show... he decided on a cool stop-motion clip and Reading a Book by Julian Smith...
Dave drank the dregs of his caramel macchiato, his straw making that annoying rattling noise that drives parents crazy worldwide. But he was holding the "cough" button down, so his listeners wouldn't hear it. He chucked the now-empty cup into the rubbish bin, cleared his throat and continued.
"So, the first quarter of the year was extremely difficult for me. Having come off an abysmal December, and the extreme disappointment that was my 20th anniversary, I bottomed out. I did read some good books during that time, but basically it was a time of soul-searching. I spent many weeks writing a sort-of autobiographical "book" as a gift for my Eldest Daughter's 21st birthday, which focused a bit on my childhood, but primarily on the time around which I met her mother, and how she (my daughter) came into the world. It was a difficult, often-sobering and painful journey. Revisiting that time (when I was 18 to 20 years old), and looking my decisions in the face, with new eyes refined by distance, did nothing to boost my spirits. Yet I felt it needed to be done."
Dave decided not to mention the fact that, though he gave the book to his daughter on her 21st birthday in April, as planned, he still has no idea whether she ever read it or not, not having ever received any feedback from her.
"On the plus side, I wrote a review of GRRM's A Game of Thrones which has ended up being my most-viewed post ever in my blog's history. In fact, at one point I could Google "A Game of Thrones Book Review" and my blog would come up on the first page. Not sure how that happened, but no doubt that's where all the traffic came from. It doesn't do it anymore, but for a while it did. Not sure how Google crunched the numbers on things like that. And now, a quick break..."
Dave grabbed a couple new Funny Pictures to give his listeners a quick diversion while he regrouped...
Ahh, so warm! And delicious!
"Writing the book for my daughter led directly into another important event that happened in 2011. I was able to reconnect with an old friend from the high-school days and take care of some unfinished business (aka repent) that has been left hanging these many years. I was rather shocked at the impact it had on me, actually. It brought peace to a part of me that has been in a quiet, near-constant state of uproar for two decades. I can't go into detail here, but I will say, I wished I'd done it years earlier."
"Still, as Spring took hold in earnest, my overall mood was at what had to be an all-time low. My most important personal relationship had bottomed out, and the reading on my Hope Meter was in negative numbers. Then, thankfully, the changes began... first, I got a pleasant surprise - an email from the director of a documentary on competitive eating, and he wanted to film me for it, in reference to the 'scandal' I was involved in the previous year. Of course, I said yes - hey, it's a chance to be in a movie! A dream of mine! I ended up going up in early June to film my part. The film will be out soon. Here's the first teaser trailer for it."
Leaning back in his chair, Dave played the film trailer. The director had told him in an email that when the premiere was scheduled, Dave would be invited, which might be fun, Dave supposed. But the thought of sitting in a full theater waiting anxiously for his part to come up, petrified, really, wondering how he would come across (inside knowing that it didn't matter), made Dave want to forget the whole thing and just wait until it came out on video, to watch it at home, alone. But how often does a person get to go to a movie premiere? Or even be in a movie in the first place? True, a small-budget relatively-obscure documentary, but that counts, right? Dave leaned into the mike again.
"So right after filming, I went off to church camp, as I do every summer. That was the first real life-shaker. It would end up being the last-ever camp we will have with Dr. Diane McIntosh, who passed away this year as well (another huge event), but the things she taught on - and more specifically, the things she said to me personally, really shook me to the foundation. Then shortly thereafter, I attended another church-related seminar (if you will) that further rocked me. That was the transition time; from that point forward, things took a dramatic upswing. Hope was, shall we say, violently reinstated in my life. Plus, I started seeing a personal trainer twice a week, revamped my diet, and began to get in really good shape for the first time in my life. Big changes, within and without."
"And now, a word from our sponsors. This segment of the show is sponsored by The Law Firm of Vale and Bassmaster."
"Summer was unprecedented. Wifey and I took a birthday trip to Vegas which was beyond wonderful. My relationship with my wife had literally swung pendulum-opposite in extremes from earlier in the year. From 'never been worse' to 'never been better'. I cannot stress enough how unexpected that was. And how needed it was. But, alas, it could not last. Things mellowed out as school started up again in September. Then more mixed news arrived. I received word that one of my plays had been optioned, and I had a nice, beefy royalty check coming in the mail. And then we got word that Dr. Diane had died. The year of extremes was continuing."
Dave suddenly grew weary of his "Year In Review" show. It was surprisingly taxing to go over it all again. Really, the year was unique in it's extremes. But Dave felt that the dead horse had been beaten enough. He decided to wrap it up.
"So the final big positive of the year was the Christmas play, which was more work and more fun than any other year to date. I really enjoyed the ride this year. Christmas itself was mellow, and different in that we had a houseful of relatives staying here, which we've never had happen before. All things considered, a great Christmas season, and the end of a remarkable year."
Dave glanced at the clock. It neared midnight. New Year's Eve. He signed off the air, and went to spend the remaining minutes of 2011 with his wife. She was asleep in bed, Dave sitting beside her, watching her sleep. He quietly monitored the time on his iPad, waiting for midnight to strike. A kiss upon her sleeping forehead to ring in the new year. What fresh challenges and obstacles lay ahead for 2012? One way to find out. Take it a day at a time.
Thank you to everyone that has read this blog during the year, and left comments and encouraged me. It means more to me than I can say. Not sure what I would have done if I didn't have this creative outlet, and you wonderful people checking in on me. I hope the new year is a terrific one for you all.
Dave the Thankful
Dave the Long-Winded
Dave the Game Player
Dave the Goof