Wednesday, January 04, 2012

2011: the year in review

JANUARY: Went to Little Tokyo with G and C and was thrilled to find my beloved jyaga bata potato chips. During my eye doctor appointment, I started feeling really shitty, and by the time I got home I had a full-blown nasty cold. I called in sick the next day and alternated between dozing fitfully on the couch and laughing myself into hacking fits while watching Wildboyz. Read 2 novels, 3 nonfiction books, 9 volumes of manga, and 21 graphic novels; saw 15 movies.

FEBRUARY: On the first day of the month, it took me 30 minutes to drive 3 1/2 miles to work because somebody called 911 to report a fuming bucket on the freeway, and they shut the whole thing down. Fortunately, several other people were late to work too and management didn't dock us for it. Watched the Super Bowl. G and I went to California Pizza Kitchen for dinner and shared a piece of warm butter cake, which was just as good as it sounds and had us moaning like porn stars. Celebrated Valentine's Day with my sweetie. Finished Dead Space 2. California got whomped by rain. Finished Professor Layton and the Unwound Future, which G and I had been playing off and on for the past several months. Watched the Oscars, which were underwhelming this year. Read 3 novels, 3 nonfiction books, 8 graphic novels, and 6 volumes of manga; saw 10 movies.

MARCH: I received a respite from the incessant and inane chatter of Debbie the Temp when she was out for two days. Got food poisoning, though thankfully it was pretty short-lived. Reluctantly retired my favorite jeans because they were wearing too thin in the butt to risk wearing out in public anymore. Japan was hit by a devastating earthquake and tsunami. Looking at the news footage broke my heart; mostly because of the loss of life and property, of course, but also because my 2003 trip to Kyoto, Osaka, and Tokyo is the best trip I've ever taken in my life, and I hold a special place in my heart and soul for Japan. G, C, and I went to Little Tokyo the day after the earthquake; we almost postponed it, fearing the mood would be somber, but it was pretty much the same as always. We had a delicious curry lunch and I bought the usual treasure trove of magazines and snacks (though we couldn't find my beloved jyaga bata potato chips). I also bought a custard-filled obanyaki at a food stall. Celebrated M's birthday at a lovely tea room in Montrose. The heavy rain that whomped SoCal in February came back for a return visit, and was followed by gorgeous weather that started to inch towards the 80's by the end of the month. Finally got my hair cut after literally months of procrastinating. A massive pipe break at my apartment complex caused the water to be shut off for over 12 hours; I had to resort to heating bottled water in my microwave for my morning ablutions. Read 5 novels, 4 nonfiction books, 7 volumes of manga, and 7 graphic novels; saw 11 movies.

APRIL: Finished 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors. G went to Florida for Passover; thanks to my company's shitty vacation policy, I was unable to join him. I spent the vast majority of the weekend sprawled out on my couch, reading three books cover to cover, paring down my Netflix instant watch queue, and getting far more sleep than is reasonably or medically necessary. Needless to say, our reunion the next weekend was a joyous one. Pined for a gorgeous British shorthair that was up for adoption at the local Petsmart and seriously considered violating my lease so I could take her home. Finished the adventure mode of Plants Vs. Zombies. Administrative Assistant's Day was the usual fiasco, filled as it was with mediocre food, lack of presents, and spilled OJ courtesy of Boss #2's young daughter. Read 5 novels, 3 nonfiction books, 7 graphic novels, and 7 volumes of manga; saw 8 movies.

MAY: Finished Limbo. The US finally tracked down and killed Osama bin Laden. Got my eyebrows threaded for the first time, which felt (and sounded) really weird. Finished CSI: Unsolved. (So I guess it's, um, solved.) Accidentally lit my hair on fire. Got a jury duty summons for the week of my birthday, but managed to get it postponed. Ran into Phil Margera of Jackass fame at the grocery store; I introduced myself and said I was a fan, and he was really nice. Finished L.A. Noire. Went hiking in the Santa Monica mountains and spent the next day bemoaning my sore thighs and calves. Read 4 novels, 5 nonfiction books, 5 graphic novels, and 10 volumes of manga; saw 13 movies.

JUNE: Dropped my cell phone in the toilet at work. G's smoke detector went off at 4AM and scared the living piss out of us, but fortunately it was a glitch and not an actual emergency. A douchecanoe at Barnes & Noble spilled iced coffee on me and then, when I said "Hey, accidents happen", proceeded to tell me that I didn't have to be a bitch about it. Still not sure how I was being a bitch, but I've gotten over it. (Mostly.) G's nephews came for a weekend visit, and we took them to Little Tokyo and then corrupted them by showing them Kick-Ass. Being the cool aunt rules! On the 14th anniversary of my mom's death, I heard one of her favorite songs on the radio when driving home. Tech upgrades at work led to all sorts of system problems that had me banging my head against my cube wall. Read 4 novels, 1 nonfiction book, 9 volumes of manga, and 3 graphic novels; saw 7 movies.

JULY: Finished Shadows of the Damned and Deadly Premonition over the 4th of July weekend. Daddy-O sent me a beautiful bouquet of roses at work as an early birthday present. G, C, and I went to Las Vegas for an awesome joint birthday celebration. We stayed at the Luxor, ate tons of food, had dinner with my friend Spock, watched Big Elvis perform, and saw a titty revue (Fantasy) and the Tournament of Kings. I also came home substantially ahead, which was a nice change of pace! Bought a Kindle, which I will never like as much as a "real" book, but I figured it would be handy for trips so I don't have to fill my suitcase with heavy books that need to be lugged back home again. Left for New Mexico. Read 3 novels, 1 nonfiction book, 15 volumes of manga, and three graphic novels; saw 8 movies.

AUGUST: Spent the first week of the month in New Mexico with G and his family. I saw three operas, went hiking, played endless rounds of Every Word on my Kindle, visited the holy dirt shrine (and took some as a souvenir, which is allowed) and several art galleries, gorged myself on Madre's sublime cooking, and slept a lot. Had a shitty evening in which I spilled chocolate coconut water all over my kitchen floor and managed to injure myself with a 12-pack of Coke Zero. Finished Catherine. My 3-year-old car's odometer finally hit 10,000 miles. G and I celebrated seven wonderful years together. Read 3 novels, 3 nonfiction books, and 7 volumes of manga; saw 8 movies.

SEPTEMBER: Went back to Minnesota to see my dad and brother and went to the state fair, Mall of America, and two zoos in addition to eating lots of delicious food, including my beloved old-fashioned sugar cream pie. Astoundingly enough, I actually lost weight while I was there. Got a haircut at a chi-chi salon, and despite the fact that it cost 3 times more than I usually pay, it didn't look any better. (Sure loved the scalp massage, though!) Tried Secretions Magnifiques, a perfume notorious for being one of the foulest on earth, thanks to its notes of blood, semen, adrenaline, and milk; I can confidently state that its reputation is well deserved. Finished Alice: Madness Returns. Read 5 novels, 2 nonfiction books, 1 graphic novel, and 12 volumes of manga; saw 6 movies.

OCTOBER: Much to our relief, the garage band that lived across from G packed up and moved. Went to Little Tokyo. They filmed another episode of The Office at my workplace, which meant having to get up earlier than usual because I had to park in Buttfuck, Egypt. I didn't see anybody I recognized, though one of my coworkers managed to snap a blurry cell phone picture of Rainn Wilson. Finished The Mysterious Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Dead Rising 2: Off the Record. Was absolutely astonished when a foulmouthed teenage boy not only held a door open for me, but sassed the friend who mocked him for doing so. Read 6 novels, 2 nonfiction books, 8 volumes of manga, and 4 graphic novels; saw 9 movies.

NOVEMBER: I "enjoyed" one of the most frustrating months at work ever, thanks to assorted annoying coworkers, greatly increased phone calls, and endless computer woes. I also had a headache that lasted for 3 days straight, and I'm sure that was no coincidence. G and I went disco bowling, and although I'm one of the worst bowlers ever, it was a lot of fun! Took a personal day off, and it wound up being the perfect combination of fun and productive. Spent a lovely Thanksgiving weekend with G eating, napping, watching lots of movies and TV, and playing Red Dead Redemption. Read 2 novels, 2 nonfiction books, 7 volumes of manga, and 5 graphic novels; saw 8 movies.

DECEMBER: My hopes that December would be a less frustrating month at work were promptly shattered. Went to Little Tokyo with G and C, where my sadness at not finding our beloved jyaga bata chips was tempered somewhat by scoring a Maru calendar. My workplace hired two gourmet food trucks to bring us lunch; I had a gloriously fat cheeseburger and a scoop of candied bacon and brown butter ice cream, which was just kind of weird. G's nephew I. got accepted to Yale. Read 3 novels, 2 nonfiction books, 6 volumes of manga, and 2 graphic novels; saw 9 movies. Went to England (details forthcoming) and returned to the US on New Year's Eve. G and I were wilting on the vine, but we managed to stay up long enough to finish Red Dead Redemption and watch the clock count down. At midnight, we toasted the new year with kisses and Nyquil, and then we staggered upstairs to bed.