Wednesday, January 01, 2014

New Year’s Eve After-Action Report

I fell into bed before 2 a.m. and didn’t rise until 10. I would have stayed up later had it not been for the unholy vengeance my wife’s bacon-wrapped, cream cheese-stuffed jalapeno poppers wreaked upon my gut. To think I could have awoken later, and with a hangover—at risk of sounding like that idiot Pangloss in Voltaire’s Candide, intestinal cramps brought me the best of all possible worlds.
Last night’s stoneware snack spread, courtesy my vegan wife. Note the jalapeno poppers in the lower left. Yes, that bit of pink wrapped about them is bacon. Beyond the poppers are the stuffed mushrooms; beside them is a giant slab of garlic cheesy bread. It was just the two of us last night, and my wife whipped this all up in no time flat. This is why I can never marry again. My wife has ruined me for other women.

Two things of note from last night’s revels: I reluctantly turned on Old Dead Man’s New Year’s Suckin’ Eve with the New-ish Guy and His Has-Been Sidekicks at a quarter ‘til midnight so I could hear the countdown for the ball drop in Times Square as I stood outside. I’d feared a barrage of bad pop from the usual gang of cardboard celebs. As it happened the network ran commercial after commercial throughout those last 15 minutes, with maybe 30 seconds of “We’re still here waiting for the ball to drop in Times Square!” before cutting to another block of commercials. So that worked out.

The second item of note is how the people throughout my neighborhood in the unfashionable south end of Briargate in Colorado Springs went absolutely ballistic with the fireworks this year. Never mind the fire restrictions, there was some extreme pent-up emotion to be released here. Judging by the whoops and hollers I heard throughout the neighborhood, the mood was as joyful as it was joyfully defiant. 

It was a blessing to behold. Not only did all the more local pops and cracks and booms distract from the big show on Pikes Peak—bigger than ever this year, it turned out—I declined to sing “Auld Lang Syne” aloud as I did last year. It seemed much too solemn for the mood. 

Fireworks from the summit of Pikes Peak, as they more-or-less appeared from my back patio. There are better photos from where I found this one at Credit: David Warner. All other photos in this post are mine.

I wasn’t big on solemnity last night. Nor was I feeling frivolous; I was grateful for the exhaustion that drove me to bed just before 2 a.m. 

I awoke and went over my blog stats for the year. I went month by month, added the total for each quarter, then added up the quarter totals. The fourth quarter alone was astonishing, but consider the larger picture: at the beginning of 2013 I had 1,478 all time total views on this site. I ended the year with an all-time total of 15,762. The current numbers are still laughable by Web standards, but as I’ve said before, near-total obscurity beats total obscurity. If I could find a way to apply this same percentage of increase to this year’s starting number.....

So much to do, so little time. Ain’t it always the way? Tomorrow I go back into work for the rushed finale to my temp gig, where I’ll spend the entire weekend, Sunday included, hustling overpriced textbooks to returning college students. I’ll have to celebrate Twelfth Night and the end of the season late. Meanwhile, there are chores to attend to today. I’ve taken way too much time on this post as it is.

And I know, I know...I need to bring you guys some zombies. No argument there. We’re way overdue for an incursion.

My desk this late a.m., with coffee and mimosa. The rest of my office looks even worse—but better than it did a week ago. Making this space more inviting and productive is another work in progress, among many.

I promised my wife I’d take the boxes out to the shed today. She took down all the ornaments yesterday and the day before, leaving only the lights and tinsel up in honor of last night. She’s taking down the tree this evening. Note the scythe at right, left over from Halloween.

The box for my wife’s star present for Christmas 2013. Hard to believe that was a week ago today. As it happens, I can throw out the box. My wife really likes her present. The banana chips she’s made with this thing are a revelation.

Farewell to this festive seasonal doormat for another 11 months. After I run it through the wash with my beer-soaked chair mat from my office, that is. Happy 2014!