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

12 December 2011

Summing Up 2011

1. What did you do in 2011 that you'd never done before?
I went to a Florida State Seminoles' football game. And it was awesome. And I swam in a lake. Unfiltered water is a little creepy, I have to admit. But it was fun. Also I drove to Chicago and, for the first time, presented some of my work on the discourse surrounding male/male rape.


2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
My New Year's resolution for 2011 was to have an approved dissertation prospectus. I crossed that hurdle in early November. 2012's resolution will be a degree in hand.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes. I have a new niece! Sofia Isabella was born on August 23rd. I built a lot of her baby furniture this summer, but I haven't met her yet. I will get to when I am in Los Angeles in December. She is so beautiful. I cannot wait.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Thankfully, no.

5. What countries did you visit?
I was in Montréal, QC this Fall for the American Society for Theatre Research's annual conference. It is a gorgeous city.

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
A new job.

7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
On July 3rd I got to officiate at the wedding of my two dearest friends Justin Abarca and Elizabeth Triplett (I have always covertly referred to them on this blog as R&J). It was an incredibly special day – actually an entire weekend of fantastic times. The wedding was beautiful, and they threw a great party in the evening. An experience like this is so humbling and precious. I cannot tell you how meaningful it was to me. It feels so great to have been such a large part of such a special day.

I also had an absolutely great time in New York this May 13th at the reception for my friends Catie and Graeme's wedding. So many people I love were there and I had a great time drinking and dancing and wishing the bride and groom well. Bonus points for the impromptu afterparty we had drinking bud light and generally being raucous in the lobby of the hotel in Hackensack New Jersey.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Hm. It's hard not to feel accomplished this year. I passed my comprehensive exams and I have an approved dissertation prospectus. I have to say, though, that I continue to be most proud of my role as a teacher. It remains the most satisfying career I can think of. Being a teacher also means continually feeling proud of the work of my students and their achievements as learners. I have some truly extraordinary students.

I should also mention that I was extremely proud of the LGBTQ preconference we held at the Association for Theatre in Higher Education's annual conference. We held it at the Leather Archives & Museum in Chicago. Our keynote speaker was the amazing Sharon Bridgforth, and for our keynote performance, my friend and mentor Brian Herrera performed his one-man show I Was the Voice of Democracy. It took a lot of planning, but my co-planner Jason Fitzgerald and I ended up really proud of the entire day.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Well, there are many many miniature failures of which I accuse myself every day, but I guess that if I have to pick a single big one, I would go with not publishing either of the two articles I wanted to publish this year. I will send them other places and maybe they will get published, but these kinds of things do make one feel like a failure.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nope.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My buddy Rick was talking up rice-cookers one day when we were on the phone, and I had a gift-card to Williams-Sonoma, so I got myself one. It is a magic miniature devil. I always used to burn rice. No more. This little guy makes perfect rice every time.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My friend and former workout buddy Sean, who moved out to Los Angeles not knowing anyone.
My friend Kalon, who covered an entire dining-room table with nachos.
My friend Elizabeth, who is living her dream of being a writer.
My friend David, who put up a reading of his first play, MMF.
My friend Linda, who deservedly made full professor this year.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
I was absolutely disgusted by anyone and everyone who made the so-called "Anthony Weiner Scandal" into a scandal this summer. The sex-negativity surrounding this brouhaha made me angry beyond belief. A legislator with great ideas is actually driven out of office because he tweets a few pictures of his clothed penis? Are you kidding me?

14. Where did most of your money go?
This is boring but true: my mortgage.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Geoff and Ashley's visits to Tallahassee. Elizabeth and Justin's awesome wedding. The fourteen hours I got to see spend with Julie and then Caleb and then Michael in Manhattan and Brooklyn in May.

16. What song will always remind you of 2011?
Irving Berlin's "You Can Have Him" sung by Nina Simone. I discovered this on Michael's laptop this summer and fell in love.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
Happier.
b) thinner or fatter? About the same.
c) richer or poorer? Poorer.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Drinking beers with George McConnell.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Grading papers. Worrying about things over which I have no control.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
Headed to Los Angeles to see my family in just a few days. I am very excited.

21. Did you fall in love in 2011?
I didn't fall, but I spent a lot of time falling for a very handsome guy this summer. He's such a good man, and I am grateful to know him.

22. How many one-night stands?
The big zero this year. I'm getting old, I guess. Ha.

23. What was your favorite TV program?
I finished The Wire finally this summer. And I've been watching Oz regularly – I am done with the first four seasons – for my dissertation. But I have to say that I think the show is awful, so calling it my favorite television program is decidedly less than accurate.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
You know, I don't think I do. I must be getting more generous. I will hope that's true.

25. What was the best book you read?
At the beginning of the year I finished Nicole Krauss's amazing Great House, the praises of which I have been singing since. You really must read it. It's wonderful.
Another of my favorite things I read this year is Howard Jacobson's The Finkler Question. And I really liked Michael Cunningham's By Nightfall.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
My friend Bryce Page introduced me to James Blake this summer. And then Blake released a second (6-track) CD for 2011 called Enough Thunder, which includes a track with my other 2011 obsession, Justin Vernon.

27. What was the best piece of theatre you saw?
I mostly saw student theatre here at FSU this year. Probably a production of Doug Wright's I Am My Own Wife done by two of my students this Spring. I was really excited to finally be able to see a production directed by my friend Michael Stablein in Brooklyn, though, so seeing Stand: an Autumn Play was a highlight for me in 2011.

28. What did you want and get?
A Blu-Ray player. Finally broke down and bought one recently. It's so pretty.

29. What did you want and not get?
An iPad. But who can afford that? I ain't complaining about it either. I do not need one; I just wanted one.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
So far it's Terrence Malick's mindblowing The Tree of Life. I can't imagine anything being better than this picture this year.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned thirty. I celebrated by going to my friends Ashley and Geoff's wedding here in Tallahassee. It was so much fun and I love them a whole lot, and it was kind of a delight to be celebrating something other than my own birthday as I turned thirty. Also, a whole bunch of my friends made me an amazing (and hilarious) DVD wishing me happy birthday. It was coordinated by my friend Mark, and it made my birthday really special.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I cannot think of anything that would have made my year immeasurably more satisfying. The year has been very satisfying. I would have liked the year a lot better if I had been living somewhere other than Tallahassee, but the work gets done, and the world spins forward. It is no good to regret things beyond my control.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
I am starting a new policy of dressing up much more frequently. But this is not a 2011 fashion concept. It is only a lesson I learned this year, which will be implemented in the future.

34. What kept you sane?
Talking to Michael, Ryan, Mark, Catie, and Jaime on the phone (the people in my life who just understand). Hanging out with Drew and George and Ashley and Geoff and Walter and Jeanne and Matt and Jenny in Tallahassee.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Armie Hammer. (Even if I did trash his new movie.)

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
I think I got the angriest about the so-called Anthony Weiner scandal. I was also completely delighted by the performance art of Herman Cain and his phony bid for the Republican presidential nomination. I remain fascinated by the 99% Movement.

37. Who did you miss?
I missed my friend Jaime in Seattle. I missed my friend Michael in Brooklyn. I missed my best friends in Los Angeles. I missed my boys Dayne and Dexter in London. I missed my friends David and Catie in Astoria. I missed my friend Wahima in Sunnyside. I missed a lot of people.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Chad Larabee, obviously.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011:
I am learning, this year – and this is a process, of course – to worry less about things over which I have no control, and to spend more time working on the things I can affect on my own. Again and again I am finding that if I buckle down and do my work, if I work hard at producing things of quality and remain a perfectionist with my own tasks, the things I want to happen will follow of their own volition. Other valuable life lessons I learned: about living in the present, and about balance.

40. Share an important quote from 2011:
My friend Geoff Kershner said something to me this year that I am never going to forget. I was telling him how one of my life goals is to make myself smaller.
That's so interesting, he said to me, I see my goal as making other people bigger.