Friday, December 31, 2010

My 2010 highlights

Ah, 2010. We hardly knew ye. Shortly, you'll be gone. Before I bid you adieu, here are some of the things I enjoyed about you ...

1. Isaiah Mustafa sent me a video message. Yeah, the Old Spice guy taped a spot just for me. I'd written something about the man, the ad folks must have seen it, and there you go. Nearly 300,000 people watched it. When someone with no shirt on and abs like that says your name, it's a wonderful thing.

2. I launched The War Project. This was the most important thing I did this year. I'd been wanting to do this project for five years, and I finally got it going. Finding the money and time to do it have proved harder than I expected, but this is what I want to focus on in 2011. It's been a game changer.

3. I got back to work on my novel. In a fit of pique, I gave up on my novel. Late this year, I returned to it. It's about a federal agent looking for a missing porn star. It's called PORN HAPPY. I hope to finish it in the not too distant future of 2011.

4. I'm a journalist. Sometimes I have to remind myself of that fact. I'm not sure what the stand-out moment is here. Probably this story for Salon about a male porn star who killed another male porn star with a samurai sword and then died in a police standoff. Frankly, in this area, I'm still in transition. I am shifting from one beat to another beat. This is a good thing. I don't know all the answers. But I am willing to seek out their possibilities.

5. I lost 20 pounds. I spent six weeks at the beginning of the year prone on a sofa because I got kidney stones. It wasn't fun. It also made me fat. Although, those doughnuts didn't help either. So, over a period of about five months, I lost around 20 pounds. I ate better and exercised more. Who'd've thunk it?

6. I moved halfway across the country. I was in a rut, so I gave away or threw away or recycled 80-percent of all my stuff and moved. I do that every once in a while. Now, I have a dishwasher. And radical sunsets. And the past is where it belongs. In another state.

7. I stirred up controversy. I have a tendency to not feel alive if I'm not doing something that is borderline trouble. This year, I became a blogger for True/Slant. It was really a great thing. I wrote about all kinds of issues. I was given free-reign. The most controversial post was about trigger warnings. If you're not making waves, you're not swimming.

8. I took photographs. And I need to take more. And I need to learn how to use my camera. And I want to get a point and shoot. And I keep either cutting off people's heads or focusing only on the heads, but I have a hard time taking a picture of a whole person. Every photo is a self-portrait.

9. I got an iPhone. I love this thing. If it was legal to marry this thing, I would. It's so pretty and takes nice pictures and makes videos. I can't stop checking my email on it, though, when I leave the house. I should work on that.

10. I got better. I think the biggest thing that helped me get better was bearing witness to the suffering of others. I guess that sounds like something Mother Theresa would say, but whatever. It's true. It's the fire that burns the fat from your steak.