This was a good year. There’s no other way to put it. Here’s a look back at some of the stellar moments from 2011. Several of the items are linked to the blog posts where I originally blogged about them.
Legally Married: After 16 years of being together, and 14 since we had our commitment ceremony, we became legally married on October 19. At the end of July, New York State began performing same-sex marriage and we took that plunge just a few months later. Even though we’ve been together for a long time now, it was still thrilling to get the legal certificate and to have an official say that we were legally wed. (Read more…)
Braking the Cycle Personal Success: In 2010 I did Braking the Cycle for the first time and had an amazing time. In 2011 I stepped up my game to raise more money and be more successful on the course. I accomplished both. For the cash, I raised more than $4,000. For the ride, I took on the course and conquered it. I skipped a handful of miles the first day because I was caboosing at the back of the ride, but except for that the training I did paid off. More than the physical accomplishment though, is meeting the people on the ride. I have an amazing group of friends in The Flying Goats and I’m looking forward to fundraising, training (and possibly riding) with them in 2012. (Read more…)
I Love a Parade: Since the Flying Goats were so successful at fundraising this year, we got to escort a balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It was an amazing experience launching the balloon up on 81st Street and then manning one of its lines down to 34th Street and walking in front of Macy’s and the NBC cameras. (Read more…)
Books: Five books stand out from this year’s reading: Apolo Ohno’s Zero Regrets was an inspirational look at how the speed skater got his life together and how he now approaches challenges. Brian Farrey (who I am proud to call a friend), published his first novel With or Without You and more than six months after I’ve read it it’s messages still bounce around my head. I read two books in Z.A. Maxfield’s St. Nacho’s series — Jacob’s Ladder and The Book of Daniel — and, as always, I loved visiting that idyllic place. David Levithan put a unique spin on the love story with The Lover’s Dictionary and that was a fun read.
Theater: Of the shows we saw this year, two were extraordinary: War Horse told a powerful story and took stagecraft to a new level with the amazing horse puppets. The Normal Heart is a chronicle of the early years of HIV/AIDS and featured some outstanding performances. It also reminded everyone that there is still so much to be done. And, while it was bashed by the critics and closed early, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown had stunning work from its trio of women — Patti LuPone, Sherie Rene Scott and Laura Benanti — as well as a fantastic score from David Yazbek. The score is still on heavy rotation on my iPod and Laura Benanti’s “Model Behavior” is one of the funniest things I saw all year.
At the Ballet: In 2010 we took the plunge and went to a single ballet during the American Ballet Theatre’s summer season at the Metropolitan Opera House. We loved it. Based on that rave, my mom gave us a subscription to ABT’s 2011 summer season and we got to see four wonderful shows: Don Quixote, Lady of the Camellias, Cinderella and The Sleeping Beauty. Each show exposed us to some different ballet styles and we love each of them. Mom renewed our subscription, and added a couple additional shows that we wanted to see, so another fantastic ballet summer is sure to happen in 2012.
Digital Life: I’ve used an iPad occasionally because Will has had one for a while, but this fall I got one of my own. It’s amazing to use it on a daily basis. I no longer need a laptop because I can write, organize, read, play, surf and be social all in one easy-to-carry device. I completely understand why people who have them love them so much. A smartphone is good, but a tablet rocks! Meanwhile, this month, we started a project to reduce the number of DVDs we’ve got in the house by storing them on a hard drive. We did this with our CDs a number of years ago and we’re working on the DVDs now. We’re using the Western Digital Live TV Hub to manage it all, and to be the first terabyte of storage space. We’ll see how this project plays out over 2012. So far so good, as we’ve been transferring the last few VHS tapes we had so we can get rid of the lone VCR in the house.
New York Weirdness: In the span of a week NYC seemed like a SyFy disaster movie. We had a small earthquake on August 23, which I felt on the 17th floor of the office building I worked at. Then on August 28 Hurricane Irene made landfall at Coney Island. We took a quick vacation with my mom for Irene since we live in an evacuation zone. The trip was fun, but what a weird week it was.
Movies: We didn’t go out to the movies as much this year because we weren’t in to spending movie prices for movies that we weren’t that into. Among the things I went to the theater for, however, there were a handful that stood out (in no particular order): We Bought a Zoo, The Help, Super 8, Beginners, Making the Boys.
Writing: I did publish this year with Bicycle Built for Two, which was written in 2010 but accepted for publication in 2011. The good thing with Bicycle is that it’s earned about $250 in royalties, which all go to Braking the Cycle. The writing this year has been bumpy. I’ve started a few things, but didn’t finish. I also did a lot of edits a hardcopy of Neutral Zone, but those aren’t committed to the electronic version of the manuscript. I did pick up a couple new writing gigs though, as I blog some events for the LGBT Center and covering the Detroit Red Wings for PuckBuddys.com (which has also connected me to a great group of guys who cover other NHL teams for the site).
Hockey: Lots of transitions here this year. Ronnie retired from the rink and that ended the era of Ronnie’s Ice, which was a very sad thing. On a more upbeat side, I joined up with a new NYCGHA team in the Boxers and enjoyed that team a lot. The Boxers got to the summer season playoffs, which is excellent for a team’s first season, and continue to play strong this fall. It was great getting back on a 7B team and to have such great teammates.
Work Change-up: By far not the least important thing I did this year was switch jobs. It’s a risky thing changing jobs in an economy like the one we live in, but an opportunity showed up that I couldn’t say no to. In late July a recruiter at Usablenet reached out to me via LinkedIn , which shows the importance of maintaining an up to date profile. We started talking about the opportunities and in early October I accepted a position. It wasn’t an easy decision to leave Promtions.com after four years–the people I worked with were great and I had some fantastic clients too. However, the chance to learn more about the mobile/tablet/Facebook space was too good to pass up. And now I know even more great people because the Usablenet team is full of awesome people too.