I already did a similar questionnaire to this, but this is more of a personal inventory than it is about “stuff I like.”

1) Was 2010 a good year for you?

Can I break that down? First four months sucked, next four months consisted of recovering from the first four, and the last four have been pretty awesome. I am going to hope that is a progression, not a cycle, and give it good marks overall. Well done, 2010! You are “most improved”.

2) What was your favorite moment of the year?

In the context of a year, a weekend can be a ‘moment’ right? There was a stretch of days in April where I went to a con and watched anime with my friend Ginger on Friday, hung out with my sister and niece on Saturday, and spent all Sunday writing a story that I ended up being really happy with. Plus the weather was just beautiful. Friends, family, nerdy stuff, and creative accomplishment are all nice things to have happen at once.

3) What was your least favorite moment of the year?

Limping across the Cleveland airport on a sprained ankle carrying all my bags.

4) Where were you when 2010 began?

On my couch watching BBC Shakespeare productions. According to what I told the Internet, I didn’t actually notice midnight because I was waiting for Richard II to get murdered.

5) Who were you with?

The Internet?

6) Where will you be when 2010 ends?

Probably on the downtown mall in Charlottesville. (Attention stalkers!) Unless it’s really cold and we don’t want to go out, in which case I’ll be at my parents’ house and probably making them watch Community with me.

7) Who will you be with when 2010 ends?


8. Did you keep your New Year’s resolution of 2009?

As I recall those were (a) write more and (b) be a better citizen of the Internet. And I’d say yes, I am happy with my progress in both those directions. Though I had some false starts and wrong turns along the way.

9) Did you break up with anyone in 2010?

Nope. Not even metaphorically.

10) Did you make any new friends in 2010?

Many, it turns out. This is one of the best things about this year.

11) Who are your favorite new friends?

That’s a strange question to answer, so I’ll avoid it and say I have made new friends — and gotten to know existing friends better — thanks to Twitter. If it weren’t for that, I wouldn’t have had WonderAli making a fort in my living room, or Nancy_Clue trading music mixes with me, and the Deceptionists podcast wouldn’t be happening at all.

12) What was your favorite month of 2010?

I have to say September because of all the concerts.

13) Did you go abroad in 2010?


14) How many different states did you travel to in 2010?

Besides Virginia: North Carolina, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Wisconsin, Ohio. So that’s seven? I’m probably forgetting something.

15) Did you lose anybody close to you in 2010?

This seems like a jinx to answer before the end of the year! But generally, no, I’ve been lucky. Though my parents’ dog Mattie had to be put to sleep :(.

16) Did you miss anybody in the past year?

I did a lot of missing people either because of distance or time. But most of the people who were far away I got to see at some point. And the people who are in the past now. . .I think I came to terms with that more than I have before.

17) What was your favorite movie that you saw in 2010?

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

18) What was your favorite album from 2010?

Assuming this means new in 2010, American Slang by the Gaslight Anthem

19) How many concerts did you see in 2010?

I’ve counted 8 but I probably am leaving something out. If seeing “Million Dollar Quartet” on Broadway counts as a concert (and it was mostly about the songs) then 9.

20) Did you have a favorite concert in 2010?

I saw so many good shows this year — absolutely nothing was less than an A — but leaning against the stage for the Tim Barry/Lucero show in Charlottesville — being close enough to read the guitar players’ tattoos, having a random girl put me in charge of yelling “Ben!” so she could hand the lead singer a shot of whiskey, and just hearing great music and being with an awesome friend, that kind of wins.

21) Did you drink a lot of alcohol in 2010?

Ben Nichols probably drank more alcohol during that show than I did all year.

22) Did you do a lot of drugs in 2010?

I’m assuming this doesn’t mean “over the counter cold and allergy medications” so, no.

23) Did you do anything you are ashamed of this year?

I probably should be, but nothing comes to mind.

24) What was the biggest lie you told in 2010?

“Oh, yeah, I know what I’m doing.”

25) What was the worst lie someone told you in 2010?

If I started to answer this, it would devolve into an angry rant about a broken heat pump and my home warranty company.

26) Did you treat somebody badly in 2010?

I’m gonna be honest. I am kind of a loudmouth on the Internet, so, probably. Not on purpose, though, I hope, and not without apologizing. Unless they deserved it.

27) Did somebody treat you badly in 2010?

Hey, have I mentioned I did business with a home warranty company?

28) How much money did you spend in 2010?

Let’s just say the amount I spent on books, music, concerts, and eating out pales in comparison to the amount I spent on Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning in some form or other. At least, I’m sticking to that belief and not actually doing the math.

29) What was your most embarrassing moment of 2010?

I have an amazing ability to repress this stuff.

30.) What is one thing you did in 2010 that you’d never done before?

Went to a concert by myself (two, actually).

31.) Did someone close to you give birth?

A lot of people I know online had kids, this year, oddly, but nobody geographically close, so there were no babies to hold or play with.

32.) What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?

A proper vacation, though that is likely to be put off until 2012, while I save up leave and pay off debt.

33.) What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

March 17, because it was St. Patrick’s Day and Ali was visiting, an\d in the interest of not doing anything Irish-themed, we went to a Vietnamese beer garden. October 30 for the eventful trip to DC for the Stewart/Colbert Rally (none of which I actually got to hear) and the Drive-By Truckers’ show that night. November 3 & 4 because I saw Henry IV Part II on one day and Lucero the next. I may the single person alive to get the most excited for that combination of experiences, though I note my friend Spuffyduds was excellent company at both of them.

34.) What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Writing more than 30,000 words in a month. Paying all my bills.

35.) What was your biggest failure?

I’d rather say that I tried several things that didn’t work rather than that any of them were failures. I got experience out of all of them.

36.) Did you suffer illness or injury?

Sprained my ankle in a hotel room in Cleveland. Have had some kind of chronic sinus thing all year. Probably need to go to an allergist.

37.) What was the best thing you bought?

A heat pump! Ha ha ha. It cost the most, anyway. That or the Darkness on the Edge of Town box set. Oh, who am I kidding? I love that box of gratuitous Springsteen schwag.

38.) Whose behavior merited celebration?

Several of my friends made exciting strides in their writing careers. My brother graduated from college and got engaged. My cousin got married on the beach in North Carolina, my Dad turned sixty, and while I guess those last two aren’t technically behavior, parties were held, and they were very nice.

39.) Whose behavior made you appalled?

The home warranty company, basically everyone in Congress, the couple who sat behind me at the Nils Lofgren show at the Birchmere and talked loudly the entire time. This included his explaining to her who all the people were in the anecdotes was telling, by saying things such as, “Lou Reed used to be in the Velvet Underground.” I am the furthest thing from a rock and roll snob, folks, I want the things I love to be loved by everyone but there’s such thing as just being an idiot.

40.) Where did most of your money go?

Heating ventilation and air conditioning.

41.) What did you get really, really, really excited about?

The Darkness on the Edge of Town box set? I feel like I’m repeating myself at some point.

42.) Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or hardened?

Much happier.

b) thinner or fatter?

I want to complain about the assumptions inherent in this question, but instead I’ll take it to mean “Did you spend more time sitting on your couch/eating refined sugar than you did getting exercise of any kind/cooking healthy foods?” and in that case. . .gonna work on this in 2011.

c) richer or poorer?

Poorer although, in theory, I have equity now.

43.) What do you wish you’d done more of?

Going out to see new things and places, having conversations with substance, laughing, writing.

44.) What do you wish you’d done less of?

Stressing over why I wasn’t doing any of the things in 43.

45.) How did you spend Christmas?

At my parents’, sleeping in, having a lazy breakfast, driving home before it started snowing, reading.

46.) Did you fall in love in 2010?

Does Brian Fallon count?

47.) Any one-night stands?

A lady doesn’t tell!

48.) What was your favorite TV program?


49.) Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Oh, probably, but if I can’t think of who they are at the moment, it can’t matter that much.

50.) What was the best book you read?

A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore

51.) What was your greatest musical discovery?

Newish band: The Gaslight Anthem. Artist I should have been listening to all my life and haven’t been: Gram Parsons. Artists I listened to with more attention to than in the past: Neko Case, the Rolling Stones, The Who.

52.) What did you want and get?

Support, company, amusement, and good advice from my wonderful friends. The Darkness on the Edge of Town box set.

53.) What did you want and not get?

A singular brilliant idea that will transform who I am as a creative writer and give me a new sense of purpose. Or the knowledge that it actually works like that (because I’m pretty sure it doesn’t.)

54.) What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 35. I truthfully have no recollection of my actual birthday. As far as I can tell, it was extremely hot and I wanted a Slurpee though I am not sure I actually gt one.

55.) What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

A singular brilliant idea that will transform who I am as a creative writer and give me a new sense of purpose. Also, if at the same time as the Darkness on the Edge of Town box set, they had released the full-band version of Nebraska

56.) How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?

Why can’t every day be casual Friday?

57.) What kept you sane?

Friends, music, books, sunshine.

58.) Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Does James Purefoy count as a “celebrity”?

59.) What song will always remind you of 2010?

Birthday Boy by the Drive-By Truckers. Unfortunately? (It’s a great song but maybe not a great mindset).

60.) Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.

To stop waiting for the time when I will no longer be learning life lessons. That growing up doesn’t come with merit badges. That everything is harder than you think it will be, but eventually you get past it and then it’s over.

61.) Quote a song lyric that sums up the year.
“It don’t take smarts to learn to tune out what hurts more than helps”