What did you do in 2015 that you'd never done before?
Visited South America and Asia for the first time ever.
Bought an investment property.
Vetted tenants for said investment property.
Made rental income.
Built a freestanding structure (shed).
Laid paving stones.
Maxed out my work's retirement savings plan.
Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Next year: Read 24 books. Watch 36 movies. Post 52 entries on my other blog. Several financial goals too dull to mention here.
Where did you go on vacation?
Naples for an extended weekend in January (extended due to cancelled flights).
Lima and the Sacred Valley in Peru in March.
We made a triumphant return to camping at Kring Point State Park in July after missing it in 2014 for the first time in ten years.
Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Nara in Japan in October.
Did you do your patriotic duty on the second Tuesday in November?
Yes, I even put up my first ever yard sign, for our green city council candidate. She didn't win, and neither did any of my local favorites. They all lost to the Democratic establishment picks. I know the Democrats win every race in this town unopposed, which isn't great to begin with, but having the Democratic committee's picks win everything is even more damaging to democracy. There is a real lack of imagination in the voters here.
Did anyone close to you give birth?
Do you know anybody who passed away?
Did you know anybody who got married?
John and Holland, and they had the best wedding ever. As part of the "circle of trust," we glamped out at the site of the wedding, a farmhouse in central NY. Then we helped build the wedding. Literally, everything was done by friends and family, and it was really, really nice. Great food catered by an Indian restaurant from Albany. And the groom's brother did yo-yo tricks on the dancefloor. It was my favorite wedding I've been to.
What countries did you visit?
Peru and Japan!
What sporting events did you go to?
What concerts/shows did you go to?
They Might Be Giants at Upstate Concert Hall
Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings at The Egg
And the Confederacy of Dunces live performance at Huntington Theatre in Boston.
What date from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why:
Probably the day we visited the Fushimi Inari shrine in Kyoto. We started the morning there hiking up the mountain before anyone else got there, and by the end of the day, we were petting deer in Nara.
What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I got a fat raise at work, something like 16%.
What was your biggest failure?
Working too hard.
Did you suffer illness or injury?
The weirdest thing, I came down with a cold for a few days in Peru, as I always do after traveling on a plane, and I felt congested on the flight from Cusco to Lima. My one of my ears didn't pop on the way down and it hurt like HELL. Like an ice pick in the ear for a few hours. I couldn't hear out of that ear for a few days. Apparently, if you're congested, you really need to use earplugs on the plane while ascending and descending. Something to do with the change in pressure makes it feel like your eardrum's about to burst.
What was the best thing you bought?
I would say our investment property, but time will tell on that one. Other than that, probably all of the food in Japan.
Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Whoever was the person who dumped an 8-foot pile of snow and garbage in our backyard. I'm not going to say the city was lying when they said it wasn't them, but I don't know who else would have been scooping up snow and garbage from the street to dump elsewhere.
Where did most of your money go?
Our rental property. A whole new down payment and mortgage, plus the maintenance, taxes and insurance we've had to pay. Yowza!
Other than that, here are my top fifteen expenses:
Home Mortgage - $10,835
Toyota Corolla Loan - $4,812
Travel - $4,317
Property taxes - $3,757
Student Loans - $3,018
Home Maintenance (DIY) - $2,773
Pet Food, Boarding, Medical - $2,671
Home Maintenance (Contractors) - $1,951
Car Insurance - $1,169
Entertainment - $1,292
Gas (Car) - $918
Dining - $914
Gas (Heating) - $875
Clothing - $853
What did you get really, really, really excited about?
There was a lot of buildup to Machu Picchu. That was pretty exciting. And this is corny, but seeing the Robot Restaurant in Japan.
What song will always remind you of 2015?
Probably one of the songs from Ariel Pink's pom pom, either "Lipstick" or "Black Ballerina." I have very vivid memories of walking around the weird Town Center in Fort Myers while listening to it.
What was your favorite TV program?
In no particular order, The Knick, Review, Nathan For You, Going Deep with David Rees, The Americans, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
What was the best book you read?
I only read eight books this year. No standout great books either. So either Turn Right at Machu Picchu, The Monster of Florence, or Traffic: Why We Drive The Way We Do
What was your greatest musical discovery?
I really liked the album by twitchy punk band Shopping.
Bu tmore than anything else, I listened to Boards of Canada this year, which I know everyone else discovered in the late 90s.
What was your favorite cultural moment of 2015?
When Donald Trump's daughter stiffly delivered a few lines on Saturday Night Live.
Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? This is such a dumb question. Year to year, I always answer Happier, but am I really so much happier than the first year I did this survey?
ii. thinner or fatter? Same as usual. 163-165.
iii. richer or poorer? Richer.
How will you be spending Christmas?
Spent in Fredonia with the in-laws.
What did you want and get?
I wanted cobblestones, and I got them. I spotted piles of them sitting just a block from my house, called the owner of the apartment complex they were next to, and arranged to pay $1 each for them. These are jumbo belgian blocks, and they are never that cheap!
What was your favorite film of this year?
What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
33. I took the day off from work as usual, and I had a craving for pulled pork. So I spent the day making that, coleslaw, and cornbread. Caitlin made me a cherry birthday cake.
Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Does David Rees count?
What political issue stirred you the most?
Once again, watching the Republican party self implode as it tries to stop its ignorant, racist base from taking over the establishment.
Who was the best new person you met?
Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
If a cool guy shits his shit's still gonna stink
If a cool guy's cool in the middle of the forest
Man, nobody fucking cares
So why don't you just be the you that you know you are
You know, when nobody else is there?
You'll be aware, it's easy, and it's so important
Being cool shouldn't cost a fortune
Baby got her jeans from Goodwill
But I bet that ass look good still
Okay let's remember that shopping at Payless
It just means that you pay less, it don't make you bae-less
If you don't get re-tweets, it don't mean you say less, okay?
Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment - "Wanna Be Cool"
Best quote from a Best Show Scharpling & Wurster bit:
Tribute band booker Adler Lansington called in May, 2015 and explained the bizarro tribute bands he represents...
J: "Bong Jovi, Ugly Robin Thicke, Mexican Kraftwerk, Pancake Little River Band, Cannibal Cops..."
T: "I'm sorry. Pancake Little River Band? I can only imagine, in fact I couldn't imagine what that is."
J: "It's more like, what are they called, dioramas like you made as a kid. So it's kinda like, it's not really a band. It's basically, you hear the music of Little River Band and each person in the band is kinda a pancake on a sheet... It's a very low cost show."
Meal/restaurant of the year
The ceviche plate at La Mar in Lima.
The chocolate and churros at Manolo, also in Lima.
Any of the sushi meals in Japan, or the food on the airplane. Yes, the food on the airplane!
And everything at the Farm On fundraiser I managed to snag a free ticket to.
The Best Show
Mike & Tom Eat Snacks
Best radio show/podcast
This Is That
Do or DIY with People Like Us
This American Life