Living Room

It’s 10:42 a.m. on Dec. 31, 2016. Yes, it might be premature by about a dozen hours to say “we made it,” but I think it’s already 2017 in other parts of the world, so I feel pretty confident to send off 2016 at this point. Also, “we” didn’t all make it, did we? Nope. In 2016, we lost a lot of beloved icons, loved ones, pets, and, oh yeah, most of our dignity and hope.

But 2016 wasn’t all bad, folks. And it definitely was a lot less bad for your humble(brag) blogger. Remember 2015? And 2014? Hoo-boy. It’s still slowly dawning on me every day just how much my foray into poorly planned entrepreneurism poorly impacted my life, mostly financially, but also creatively, spiritually and romantically. I mean, things are mostly recovered in those last three areas, but in the first one…well, let’s just say, I’m not paying off my student loans anytime soon.

However, despite all that, 2016 was, indeed, the year I got my ass back on track, for the most part. I’m running down the goals list from my 2015 end-of-year post, and I knocked out almost all of these things:

  • Get The Utopian Foundation restarted: I relaunched The Utopian webcomic with a sequel called “Foundation” in 2012, but then just as I was getting Creation Forge Studios off the ground in 2013, I put the serial drama on indefinite hiatus. A few years (!) later, I realized the entire 130+ strip archive had disappeared. So, beginning this past April, I started reposting the original batch of strips, while working on new ones behind the scenes. In theory, you should start to see those new strips this coming January or February. On that note…
  • Publish less comics/create more of them: After dumping (and not really ever making) a lot of money into Pop! Goes the Icon over the last seven years (but 2013-2015 in particular), I cut back on our publishing schedule going into 2016. But aside from doing so to put a plug in the financial drain, I also did so to free myself up to start working on my own comics again. In addition to The Utopian Foundation, I started creating new Sequential Madness strips again (but like “Foundation,” had to rebuild that archive, as well), and got back to the drawing board (well, writing pad) on new concepts I hope to see to fruition in one form or another in 2017.
  • Release the MOONBOOTS EP: Yep. We did that. With a successful EP release party. And a successful run up to being finalists in the Life is Beautiful Battle of the Bands. And then … we broke up. I’ll go into this more in a future blog post (remember the Magical (Musical) Mystery Tour?), but hey, we had a good run, people liked us, and we went out on top, so, not so bad.
  • Get more proactive with work: I don’t really know what I meant by this 12 months ago, but I sure as hell feel like I’ve done that. So, counting that as a win.
  • Do more traveling: Puerto Vallarta. Seattle. Detroit. Long Beach. Los Angeles. San Francisco. San Diego. Ojai. For concerts. For weddings. For work. And…
  • Get back on the comic convention circuit: … for comic book conventions. It wasn’t a heavy show load, but I did manage to wade back into the West Coast con circuit for one last big hurrah with Pop! Goes the Icon. And probably won’t do that again for the foreseeable future. At least, not as a publisher.
  • Get our pool fixed: Sure, it took a sizable personal loan to get done, but by god, we have a nice, new pool. And new landscaping. And a new fireplace (pictured above). We finally got past fixing the broken stuff around the house, and moved on to doing the improvements we actually want to do.
  • Make more time for friends and loved ones: Thanks in part to getting these home improvements complete, we were able to host several pool parties throughout the summer, which helped bring together a lot of people at once. A lot of that travel mentioned above involved trips with or to see friends, and my East Coast-living parents actually made the long drive across country to hang with us in Vegas. In 2017, I’ll return the favor.
  • Not have emergency surgery: It’s now 5:53 p.m. as I wind down this blog post, and so far, it looks like I’ll make it through 2016 without a visit to the hospital. As you may recall, I had an emergency appendectomy right before Christmas last year, which forced us to cancel our annual Christmas Eve cocktail gathering. Thankfully, we were able to host this year to perhaps the largest turnout of friends (new and old) in many years.

Of course, a few things planned for in 2016 didn’t quite happen. Filmmaking plans got pushed to the wayside, but I resolved to change that in 2017. Problem is, it looks like my HD camera is gone. Missing. Probably stolen by the same Handy maids who also stole about $90 in cash from me. I have no evidence, but it was here before that day, and not here now, so…yeah, looks like I’m gonna have to invest in new video recording equipment in 2017, which is probably just as well, because 4K is all the rage now. Gotta polish up those scripts…

Getting back in shape also didn’t happen, for a few reasons. First, there was the fallout from my appendectomy–it just made it really difficult to do anything that engaged my core or lower abdomen for about six months. Then, I got a fab new job, which was good, but it meant losing access to the free fitness center and personal trainers my previous gig provided. I managed to somewhat get back to running, tried to work in some new workout regimens that required no fancy equipment, but nothing really stuck … except for the extra pounds and cholesterol. So, yeah, gonna have to get that reined in for 2017. Maybe it’s time to train for another half-marathon? Either way, I’m at the age that bouncing back isn’t as easy, so 2017 cannot be another year of slacking off.

As for my musical future, well, I’m getting together with some fellas on Monday to see if we can make something rocking happen. I did start writing new music after MOONBOOTS fell apart, though much of it has been in the EDM/electro-R&B genres. I’d like to continue exploring that on my own while jamming out the heavier, rockier stuff in a new band. But we’ll see what happens.

Otherwise, folks, that’s about it for 2016 and my look ahead to 2017. Tonight, Sara and I will dress up nicely and venture out to ring in the new year relatively safely with friends at a fab mid-century house party. I hope you and yours have a happy and healthy new year, and I hope we all can find some way to be better people in 2017, even in the face of whatever personal and societal adversity we may face. Cheers to all of us.

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