Haven’t posted in a while. Let’s get the year kicked off with a summary of 2017.
What a mess. A regressive, venal, bullying, self-obsessed, lying, pandering, pathetic excuse for a person inagurated as President. A regressive, Machiavellian, libertarian/evangelical/corporate wing of the Republican party holding power in Congress. These two combined to create an endless parade of awfulness coming from the government, one that sparked daily explosions of outrage among everyone who didn’t hold to their view of the world (myself included). The only reason they didn’t do even worse things was they fought with themselves too much over how awful to be.
All this brought forth the nasty underbelly of America – racism, misogyny, gay-hating, xenophobic – that had always existed but that I had hoped was finally sunsetting after what had seemed like some truly progressive years under the first black American President and some big gains for people who have been historically oppressed.
How naive of me. I forgot that the hard-right wing of the Republican party had been tapping the nasty underbelly for 20-40 years as a source of political power, ramped it up President Obama, and finally there was enough resentment and anger, focused towards an abstract “them” by these Republicans, that it led to electing a truly terrible troll as president.
With that came the empowerment of asshole-ness that has happened in the last year which is just terrible, and frightening, and depressing. The parade of “bad acts” just continued and continued and continued. After a while it became so overwhelming and overpowering and I think a lot of people (myself included) had no idea what to do about it except for to continue trying to focus the outrage somewhere, anywhere.
That was a lot of focus in 2017, for a lot of people, was trying to understand how to exist in this new world, how to continue to be productive and forward-looking and even just positive. I think in the end the outrage started to be focused on certain things, especially exposing men who used their power to sexually harass and abuse women especially young women. I expect more exposing of “powerful men behaving badly” to happen in the future. Hopefully we can also put energy into working on protecting and building basic rights, try to handle major economic issues, and getting people out to vote so that we can flip the power structure that is currently in place.
I walk around with a backpack full of privilege all day. I’m white, male, 50, hetero, cis-gender. We make good money, we are probably in the upper middle class, and we have a comfortable life. All this stuff that the regressives put into place is likely going to affect my life very little.
But I’m a liberal, a progressive, an intellectual, and a nice guy. The President and most of the Republican administration doesn’t appear to have any of these characteristics, and in fact appears to actively be anti all these characteristics. I have friends and family and colleagues who are in the social and/or economic groups being targeted by the actions of the regressives. I need to make sure to give support in whatever way support needed, and to speak out whenever it can help.
So. How was 2017 for me, beyond this looming monster dark cloud? (“Other that that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?”)
Work was good. I worked on a couple smaller projects that went really well and were finished on time and to high quality. The big Gemini project proceeds apace, and I’m continually making contributions there. My simulation work has gone really well. I think it’s the space where I’m distinguishing myself and contributing and providing leadership not only to Schilling but to TechnipFMC. That will be especially true as the Gemini Simulator project moves throughout the year.
Fitness improved. I started out with sicknesses that lasted into March, but after that was able to start doing cross-fit workouts at the gym and getting into what I felt was better shape. I even played a little aussie rules (tag) during the summer. I can’t seem to lose the 10 pounds I’d really like to lose to get my weight under 200. But that issue is just an eating issue. I need to cut down my eating, especially my eating of tasty treats, and the weight loss will happen.
Writing was okay. I actually only produced one completely new story during the year, “Scales and Fire”. I did do revisions on other short-short stories to make them flash-length so I could send them out. I made sure to keep all stories in submission somewhere, getting up to 11 stories out at once and over 50 submissions for the year. There were some “good nos” with personal notes. At the very end of the year, I got an acceptance from Factor Four for “A Mind of its Own” which was really really nice. No contract yet, so it’s not “official”, but hopefully this pans out (it is a new magazine). Also,”Void and the Voice” is in a final “pool” of consideration at a magazine I really like (name withheld), which was a total surprise to me. Boy if that happened it would be amazing.
Writing-related travel I went to FOGCon and to OryCon and both were really great. First time at FOGCon, which is probably the most “woke” convention I’ve ever been to. I met some cool people with whom I’ve stayed in touch, and had a little time with my old VP buddies Julia and Heather at a one-day writing retreat before the convention which was really nice. OryCon was of course a nice time, people and panels and hanging out. Definitely my “home” con.
Personal travel the big trip was the tour to Cuba, which was pretty amazing. It was my first time to a “third-world” country and my first time to a Spanish-speaking country. Turns out my Spanish is a little better than I thought it was and I was able to get around and make myself understood (somewhat) when we were on our own. We were also with the tour people a large portion of the time, and they were fun. We had a great time, and learned a lot, and I would definitely go back.
Personal-wise the big focus is of of course the relationship. Things are improving, slowly, and don’t seem as dark as they did a year ago. The future is wide open, it’s just a matter of us putting in the effort to create it.
So that’s 2017. Despite the dark cloud that hangs over so much of the USA and even the world, there were some bright spots that hopefully bode well for a better 2018