Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

07 December 2010

Summing Up 2010

1. What did you do in 2010 that you'd never done before?
I officiated at a wedding. My dear friends Danny Lampson and Ashley Opstad got married on May 31st of this year and I was honored to be asked to preside as the minister.
Drank an entire gallon of milk in under an hour. For (graphic and unappetizing) evidence, click here.
Worked as a contributing scholar on a show remotely. Two in Chicago, one in New York, one in Virginia.
Went to the ASTR annual meeting.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I did. I worked out almost every day, literally. My New Year's resolution for 2011 is to have an approved dissertation prospectus. Or perhaps to actually publish the things I write...

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes. It was a year for boys. My friends Jill and Mike have a little son (after what seems like years of trying) named Henry Michael. My dear friend Ayana and her husband Derek have a little boy named Quincy Harris. And my sister LaTonya and her husband Darrell welcomed a little guy named Darriann Paul LeMar.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
The beloved chair of my undergraduate university's theatre department, professor William Morse II. He was a great man, exceedingly generous, very wise, and appropriately stern. I learned a great deal from him, and I am so grateful he was my teacher for so long. You can read the tribute to him on the Cal Poly Pomona website here; the much smaller Los Angeles Times obit is here.

5. What countries did you visit?
Um, none.

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
A sensible source of income.

7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
May 31st, see question 1. That might be it.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I don't feel very achievement-heavy this year. It has however been a fulfilling year for me as a teacher, and, I would say, a year where I have felt very full emotionally.
I was honored to be asked to speak at the FSU School of Theatre's convocation ceremony by the graduating class of 2009. It was very kind of them and I felt proud to do it. Slightly blurry photo below.
I have one more achievement that I want to share, and it is a moment of real pride for me. A couple of days ago at the Fall all-school meeting, a young man and student of mine who is graduating was thanking all of the faculty and staff who had impacted him in some way. He saved me, of all people, for last, and this is what he said: Most of all, thank you Aaron Thomas for teaching me how to think in new ways, challenging me to interpret the absurd, and for showing me that sometimes the most poignant thing you can do is pantomime smoking a cigarette.
I was so moved by this and so proud that I have been able to be a meaningful influence on this young man's life. This kind of thing is what it's all about for me.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Gosh, lots of them. Our lives are filled with mistakes, aren't they? For 2010, the obvious answer to this question is my inability to make my relationship with Kevin work. It's sobering to remember that very frequently love is not enough.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nope.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I bought a used Honda Accord after my old clunker was totaled on 4 January. It is very nice.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Nancy Pelosi (most of the time). President Obama (most of the time). My awesome students who graduated in 2010.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Glenn Beck. Anyone and everyone opposed to equality in this country and elsewhere.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Books for my comprehensive exams.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Tron: Legacy. My friends Ashley & Danny's wedding. My friend Joe's musical. My trip to Virginia to work for Endstation Theatre Company. My friends Sarah & Chris's wedding.

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?
In the realm of the totally ridiculous: Cee Lo Green's "Fuck You."

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
Happier.
b) thinner or fatter? Thinner. So much thinner, actually.
c) richer or poorer? So much poorer, actually.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Watched more movies. Read more on the Dada list. Spent more time in Virginia. Spent more time with my family and my second family in California. Spent more time with my loved ones in New York City.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Wishing I was somewhere other than Tallahassee. And, to be honest, I wish I'd done less reading. It feels really strange to type that, but when one reads 100-150 pages a day and has to do that every day for nine months, it gets a little old.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
With my family in California. Can't wait!

21. Did you fall in love in 2010?
No, thank you.

22. How many one-night stands?
One. Sadly.

23. What was your favorite TV program?
I am still catching up on The Wire, which is, essentially, the only television I watched, aside from my the paper I wrote on South Park in the Spring.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Oh yes. There is a new crop of students every year. It is inevitable that I hate one or two. I will not be sharing names, of course, because I am polite to these assholes to their faces. To my mind, no matter how rude someone else is, returning that rudeness in public is simply not done.

25. What was the best book you read?
Oh my lord. So many books!
Michel Sanouillet's Dada in Paris, finally in English translation.
Raymond Roussel's Impressions of Africa
Joris-Karl Huysmans's À Rebours (Against Nature)
and the awesome collection I Am a Beautiful Monster by Francis Picabia
I was also really moved by Cherríe Moraga's Loving in the War Years and Gloria Anzaldúa's Borderlands/La Frontera.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I came back to Michael Nyman this year. And I am becoming more in love with both Arvo Pärt and John Adams.

27. What was the best piece of theatre you saw?
Pina Bausch's final piece Voll Mond at BAM. You can see some (low-quality) clips on YouTube, but it is breathtaking even through a bad home video camera.

28. What did you want and get?
A new car. I needed one after my old, sad, Honda Civic was totaled on January 4.

29. What did you want and not get?
I tried to get my friend Andrés to move into the room upstairs, but he refused. We are both sad about this now.
The truth is, I have nothing to complain about this year. Or, at any rate, nothing really worth complaining about. I am very blessed.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
So far it is Jacques Audiard's Un Prophète. But there are lots still to see!
Also, I don't rank documentary films, normally, but Catfish is extraordinary and the must-see film of the year as far as I am concerned

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I went out with a bunch of my friends, and then a week and a half later my roommates Mark and Meghan took me out to dinner and then threw me an enormous surprise party. It was very very cool.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A raise. That's awful to say, I suppose, but it is true. Graduate students get paid nothing. It is very frustrating.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?
You can't afford that. But, hey, you have a 30-inch waist now. That's cool, at least.

34. What kept you sane?
Talking to Michael Stablein on the phone.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Tom Ford.
I mean, my goodness.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
There is a lot to be pissed off about these days. Let's see, I was depressed by the mid-term election, astounded by the willful ignorance of many of the U.S. citizenry, angry at Arizona's ridiculously racist laws, shocked by the Senate's lack of effort to act on repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell (and surprised by the resistance to its repeal - who is that helping?), alternately amused and horrified by the rise of politicians like Christine O'Donnell and Sharron Angle, (people like Rand Paul make a kind of sense to me, but O'Donnell?) and completely mystified by the continued popularity (I guess) of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin.

37. Who did you miss?
Too many people to name. So many friends in Seattle, New York, Chicago, Washington D.C., Sarasota, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Pembroke Pines (!), and Austin. And the freeways / They go coast to coast / They've taken away all my good friends...
Also, Kevin. Way more than I would ever tell him.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Caleb Custer. Does he count? I'm going to count him, anyway.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010:
This is from something I wrote a little earlier in the year. I'm going to re-use it here because it feels to me like it sums up my 2010 fairly well:
How funny it is that the whole world turns back on itself! The past comes back to meet us in beautiful ways; people we think we don't know any longer turn out to be closer than ever; a heart we think is broken beats in the chest with brand new life.