I’m Your Biggest Fan…

It was a weekend in Fall of 2008 and I was teaching Abby how to ride her bike without training wheels. We woke up early and found a deserted grocery store parking lot in Catonsville. I spent the majority of the morning getting more than my fair share of cardio, sucking air as I galloped behind her with a hand on the back of the seat, like some cheesy Nationwide Insurance commercial, reassuring her that I wasn’t going to let go.

We developed a sophisticated system where in the event I wasn’t able to keep up with her or she felt like she was going to lose control and the front wheel started to wobble, I’d yell, “BAIL!” and she would. Most of the time she would just bail preemptively, fearful of meeting the asphalt with her face. But she never did; she always landed on her feet.

After an hour or so she got to where she’d ride about 10 feet without bailing. Around this time I pulled out my LG Rumor 2 and started recording. I watched as she took off like a rocket, tearing up asphalt like a fearless daredevil. I still have that grainy video stored in a portable hard drive.

Yeah, 2008 was full of incredible events. The world felt like it was changing at blinding speeds. We had our first black president. I moved 1,500 miles from Texas to Maryland. I even finally set up a Facebook profile and started pulling away from MySpace (even though most of Earth had abandoned it in 2006).

Just like MySpace 10 years ago, I’m deleting my personal Facebook page in the coming weeks. I would have deleted it a year ago, but for Abby’s 15th birthday, I have compiled all of my Facebook posts about her over the last 10 years. Every morning for the past year, I’ve checked my “Memories” on Facebook that mention Abby in one way or another. I would take a screenshot with my phone and upload it into a file that now holds somewhere around 270 screenshots of updates/posts. Let it be a quote and/or conversation, it’s all there and currently being converted into a book.

Yes, a picture is worth 1,000 words…but sometimes 150 characters tell a pretty fucking good story too.

2018 has held some remarkable achievements. Strangely, they revolve around multiples of 5. I’m fond of multiples of 5. Katie and I recently celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary. It’s actually 10 years to the day when I made my last trip up to Maryland to see Abby for her 5th birthday, then decided to pack up my shit and make the permanent move to be close to her. But the biggest mark in 2018 is my daughter turning 15.

A few weeks ago, in a drunken stupor, I babbled on about how much I really do love this kid. I told her I was her biggest fan. No bullshit, I’m a fan of many things…film, music, comic books…but I follow this kid like a high school punk rock band groupie, handing out homemade flyers on neon colored paper to everyone at school. I’m always floored when I see her and pester her as much as I can before she runs into her room to escape me. Can’t blame her – I’m really annoying!

Without Abby, I most certainly wouldn’t be here today. The kid gave me a reason to live when I wasn’t looking for one. She also gave me reasons to worry, like any helicopter father would. But I find myself less and less worried about her as she turns 15. Still worried, mind you, but less so. I know that there will be some rough patches here and there where Dad won’t be there to save the day. I’m not completely fine with that, but I get it. It’s called life and that’s how it rolls.

But I know now, just like I did when she was 5, that she’ll land on her feet.

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Bad Barry…

We made our way westbound on 50 towards DC on a cloudy Saturday. Katie and I were heading to Vienna, Virginia to take Abby to a concert. You’d think, based on how Abby’s giddy, lit match to a full powder keg, behavior she was en route to see Eminem at Bonaroo, inevitably to be surrounded by tens of thousands of loud and obnoxious fans, water and beer splashing inbound from every direction. There would be body surfing and madness, the likes of which none in attendance could imagine… Nope, we were on our way to Barry Manilow.

I think it was some time in 2013 when Abby and I watched Hellboy 2. There’s a scene when Hellboy and his buddy Abe are both drowning their sorrows with a few beers and begin to sing along to Barry Manilow’s “Can’t Smile Without You” as it plays in the background. She fell in love with Barry right then and there. Later on, she started downloading other hits from Barry. Less than a year later, she made her own playlist of nothing but Barry.

Twenty minutes into what was going to be a 90 minute drive, Abby commandeered the Bluetooth and proceeded to play all of Barry Manilow’s hits. Through the rear view, I watched this 14 year old girl lip sync and dance to every song for the next hour. I considered myself fortunate that all I was supposed to do that day was drive. At $100 a ticket, Katie and I determined only one adult needed to accompany this little fan. Abby’s backseat antics were the closest I was going to get to seeing Barry Manilow, and I was more than okay with that.

When I pulled up to the passenger drop off at the Wolf Trap, it looked like recess at a nearby senior living center. The smell of Icy Hot was strong as herds of geriatric Manilow fans formed a line anxiously waiting to get in. The order went Rose, Dorothy, Blanche, Sophia and repeat. Before you knew it, you didn’t know if you were at a Manilow concert or a Golden Girls cosplay contest. I couldn’t get over how many people came for this show!

I also noticed that the only men there had been clearly dragged reluctantly, with their arms crossed much like a toddler being denied a toy at Wal-Mart. It was abundantly clear their only function was to drive their significant other and applaud in between songs…though the latter was never agreed to. I assume the men had negotiated before they had arrived that there was a snowball’s chance in Hell they would be waving a lighter with the rest of the crowd. No, those tired hands were going to remain tucked tightly under those Brut-scented, pits.

I waved to Katie and Abby and told them to have fun. I drove to a nearby pub called Caboose Brewing Company, settled in and enjoyed a beer as I waited for the concert to finish. I began to think about what I was like going to concerts when I was her age. In the mid-90s, when I was Abby’s age, I would go out of my way to find the craziest concerts in my hometown of Denton, Texas. If it wasn’t overcrowded, with bodies pressed against strangers like canned sardines marinating in cheap Lone Star Beer, bouncing around left and right, I wouldn’t be there. I needed ear piercing noise that made my heart flutter! I needed the madness. I thrived best in melodic chaos. In my mind, life was nothing without a local concert at the (now closed) Good Bad Art Collective, where ONLY experimental music was hosted.

She walked out of that concert with a t-shirt, pictures and the biggest shit-eating grin. She had stories as well, one about how Barry got upset with the band as they started a song in the wrong key. He yelled, “We fucked the song up!” in frustration. THAT I might have paid to see. Later in the show, Barry performed his famous “Copacabana.” It was quite the spectacle as the 74 year old Manilow started “grinding on one of the dancers.” Abby was pretty descriptive about him rubbing his dusty nether regions on other dancers on stage, Abby called him “Bad Barry” for the rest of the night when addressing him. I laughed uncontrollably. Needless to say, she was on cloud 9 the rest of the night.

Parenting often feels like a wild car ride as you sit in the driver’s seat topping out at breakneck speeds with no steering wheel. It feels like chaos when all you’re trying to do is get a pulse on your kid’s life and find out how her day went. But I will look back at days like this last weekend and certainly appreciate them. Yes, it may be a while before I’ll be able to forget the story of “Bad Barry” gyrating his titanium hips on stage… but it will really be the memory of an extremely excited teenage kid emphatically singing “Can’t Smile Without You” as if she was performing tonight, in my backseat through my rear view that will remain in my mind for years to come.

I later posted on this Facebook:

If anyone was wondering who the youngest person (VOLUNTARILY) in attendance at Barry Manilow at the Wolf Trap in Virginia, it was my Abby.

The “HalitoSisters”…

There was once a 3 year-old little girl who would wake up at the fucking crack of dawn to run into her parents’ room to inform them that she was A) Awake and B) Hungry. Every morning her father was rudely awoken from a peaceful sleep by the pitter-patter of little feet sprinting across the 2nd floor apartment, followed by a tactical dropkick of the master bedroom door. This was her daily method and, I must say, it was incredibly effective.

Her father didn’t need an alarm for work, for it was a guarantee that the child would alert him of the new day. This was convenient during weekdays, as this would also assure his employer he’d never be late. But it was torture come the weekend.

I look back at those days and mostly smile now. But it wasn’t just the bull in a china shop approach the child used to get our attention, it was how up-close and personal the kid was once she was in the room. She would come right up the bridge of my nose and say “Good morning, Daddy. I’m hhhhhhhhungry!” When the morning breath made contact, it was equal to smelling salts waking a football player…hell, who am I kidding, it could pull patients out of comas. At the time, her breath was a little pungent, but very endearing. This little girl greeted her father FIRST every morning; no greater feeling in the world.

That was in 2006. Let’s fast forward to 2018.

Abby and I went to the IMAX the weekend the new Avengers movie came out. We ended up grabbing some breakfast and catching an 8:30 am showtime. There was some serious father/daughter bonding that day and it was delightful. As the kiddo gets a little older, days like this become fewer and far between. But that’s the way it goes.

The movie was great. It didn’t fall short of clever one-liners that had the audience laughing, myself and Abby included. But, as we sat in the theater, I was convinced someone was ripping serious ass the entire time. It must have been so gut-bustingly hilarious to someone else in that auditorium that it loosened their sphincter as a result.

The movie finished and we made our way back to the car. We went back and forth about how much we both thoroughly enjoyed the film. It was then, it hit me. It was HER breath that had been distracting me the whole movie! The smell was unimaginable… It was like a Christmas Carol and I was Ebenezer Scrooge being visited by 3 ghosts…that actually smelled of death! It hit me harder than it did back in 2006 and the green stink lines coming out of her mouth weren’t anywhere in the vicinity of “endearing.”

I confronted her about her breath. I asked her if she had brushed her teeth. Keep in mind, this has been an ongoing question/battle for years. When she was around 8, she used to lie about brushing. I never met anyone so against brushing their teeth like Abby. Katie and I became sleuths. We noticed her toothbrush used to be bone dry. SHE got savvy to that and then just started wetting the toothbrush. THE NEXT STEP IS BRUSHING, and she STILL wouldn’t do it!

After I told Abby her breath was foul, I was certain she’d be insulted. She wasn’t. She actually started laughing when I addressed her pungent breath! That’s this generation for ya. They’ve heard and seen it all and there’s very little that will get under their skin. Which makes sense since they usually deal with a national travesty before they’ve even had their morning Juul or belittled 50 people via social media that morning! #LordoftheFlies

The irony in all of this, and most certainly not lost on me, was that my father used to rag on me about my breath when I was a kid. “Apestas!” he used to scream all the time, which translates to “You reek!” My father used to ask me if I had brushed my teeth…with shit. Truth was, I hated nothing more than brushing my fucking teeth.

On top of that, as I was writing this article, Katie told me HER mother used to rag on her about her breath! Low and behold, the smelly circle of life. We sat at the kitchen table and had a good laugh about Abby’s constant lying back when about brushing her teeth and how frequently our parents complained about our breath as kids.

The day we got back home from the movie, we gave Katie a brief recap of the movie and how awesome the father/daughter time was. I noticed Katie’s breath was a little ripe as well. To her defense, her back went out a couple weeks ago, making it difficult to get around and doing anything that was once routine. Regardless, I dubbed Katie and Abby the “HalitoSisters” which, as always, way funnier to me than to them. Although, based on Katie’s breath hitting a 7 out of 10 on the breath scale, I did understand Katie’s mother a little better that day.

Rooby-Rooby-Roo…

Scooby

When I first arrived in Maryland, I fell on some hard times. From the small things like an apartment that didn’t have cable or internet, to larger issues like keeping a steady job, to even getting my goddamn car repossessed and having to learn Baltimore’s bus transit system. But the one thing that kept me sane (or close to it) was having Abby come over every other weekend. Come Hell AND high water, in my case, that kid made the flame-retardant/arm floatie-equipped suit bearable on the East coast. But trying to keep a 5 year old entertained was a different challenge altogether.

Back then I had to get resourceful when a 5 year old stimuli-hungry and literally hungry child came over. We would play pretend. We would draw and color. We’re talking endless rounds of Kids Monopoly…which is still the Chinese Water Torture of board games. But after it dawned on me that all the previously mentioned activities had taken place and only 4 minutes had passed, I knew it was time to move on to a more sustainable (and my favorite) source of fun…movies.

Bus #77 would take Abby and me to the Goodwill on Route 40 in Catonsville every weekend when she was over. At this age she never complained. Unlike now, where trying to get her to a Goodwill is like trying to bathe a feral cat…it’s not pretty. We would go to Goodwill because it was one of the last places on earth to find VHS tapes. Here you could find everything from The Goonies to old Disney films in white clamshell cases that had become discolored and yellowed with age. We would walk out of there with 5 to 8 tapes per visit.

The movies we watched were hit or miss. It was easy to forget she was 5 and didn’t want to watch everything I recommended. But by far, the most successful purchases were always anything with good old Scooby-Doo. She would want to watch the most ridiculous episodes repeatedly. Have you ever watched Scooby-Doo Meets the Harlem Globetrotters with your kiddo? Do it! I think it’s just awful but you should definitely show it to your kid! They will (assuming they are under 5) LOVE it!

One time we found the live action version of Scooby-Doo that was released back in 2004. It was fucking terrible. But to a 5 year old without much experience watching quality film, it was life changing. She instantly loved it. We watch Scooby-Doo more times than I care to remember. Unrelated, they made a sequel which I was convinced couldn’t be worse than the first, but I was very wrong!

The years come and go quickly as do a lot of the memories. You may remember something you thought was huge at the time when your kid was X. Then 10 years later you ask them if they remember and get a blank look from them. But bring up some crappy tapes from Goodwill when they were 5 and they’ll tell you what day it was, what they were wearing and everything they watched.

Last week Katie told me that Abby rented Scooby-Doo through iTunes and watched it again. This kid remembers way more than I give her credit for.

Combustible Pancakes…

When I look back at March to July of 2008, I can’t recall much. The Skype phone calls between Abby and myself, to the best of my knowledge, were regularly scheduled. I went to work Monday through Friday. And I gradually came to grips with this new life without the kiddo around. This wasn’t an optimal way of life, but that’s the human condition, isn’t it? Being able to adapt and move forward is what makes us, well, US.

They weren’t easy months by any means. But, at one point in those dark months, I started to envision what life would look like long term without having Abby around. Keep in mind, I didn’t commit to moving to Maryland until July of 2008. Before that time, I just assumed this was how it was going to be for the foreseeable future. Those 4 months really were a blur. It almost feels like I was in suspended animation during that short window of time.

So, we’re changing the narrative for the next few months leading up to July. I’m sure you all got your fill about articles regarding divorce and, I most definitely, got my fill writing about it. The next few articles will be much less confusing regarding flashbacks and will focus on more recent events. The articles will be broken into parts of a larger story arc I’ve titled “If I Hadn’t Moved”. Enjoy.

If I Hadn’t Moved – Part I

It was just another weekend in January 2018. Katie and I were on our way to pick Abby up from her mother’s house. We had asked Abby where she wanted to grab some grub. This almost always mutates into your typical “I don’t care where we eat” conversations that I’m not going to bother to go into. You’re welcome.

I was under the impression it was one of those weekends where we would eat somewhere close by in Annapolis. A drive to Baltimore, DC (or farther) was just out of the question. Tantrums would be thrown, people in the car would be punched! No one in this car was safe if I had to drive to Baltimore or DC!

We went to the Sip & Bite in Baltimore. I was not happy. Katie and Abby had breakfast for dinner. Not me. Can’t stand breakfast for dinner. Certain foods are assigned to a time of day; in my book, eggs showing up at 6pm is unacceptable. I do not participate in breakfast for dinner and condemn all that do! Abby ordered chocolate chip pancakes. Meal heresy, I say! I had the chicken sandwich. It’s versatile. It can be lunch…but a dinner appearance is also welcomed.

The next day, Abby went to reheat the chocolate chip pancakes in the toaster oven. I was in the living room watching Chelsea destroy Newcastle when I smelled something burning. I walked into the kitchen with a sense of curiosity. I really didn’t think much of it. But what I saw next will haunt me for a while to say the least.

Some of the chocolate chips from the pancakes melted and fell into the heating element of the toaster oven. The heating element didn’t take too kindly to the melting chocolate shower and reacted as it would with anything that touches it…it caught fire. Fires occasionally happen. I’m guilty of being a little careless in the past and inadvertently provoking a little flame here and there in that toaster, but this wasn’t the shocking part.

As I panned my eyes over to my daughter, I witnessed the unbelievable. It was a 14-year-old girl without her eyes glued to her cell phone for once. It was the fire that had her undivided attention. She was calm and collected. She watched as if it was a campfire by the beach on casual Friday evening. Maybe roasting some marshmallows and talking about how lovely a night it was…not a care in the world. She had forgotten the world for a moment and took in the warmth of the flame behind the glass door of that Black & Decker Toast R Oven…until I interrupted her meditation session with my concerned parental verbiage that sounded like, “WHAT THE FUCK?! FIRE!”

I opened the toaster and tried my damnedest to blow out that flame. It took a few fairy tale big bad wolf huff and puffs but I was able to successfully put it out. I then turned to Abby with a look I’m almost certain she was unfamiliar with. A look that said “I love you…but…why?” Then I said, “I love you…but…Why? Why didn’t you do anything to put out the fire? Fire in a toaster is bad.”

I really should have expected her response since I’ve heard it so many times. She looked me dead in my eyes and said, “I don’t know.” The most troubling part of all was that I believed her. She really didn’t know. This would have been an acceptable answer for a toddler taking a crayon to the living room wall and sketching a masterpiece and immediately being confronted. A toddler would just shrug, and you can’t really hold anything against them for doing so.

But this was a 14-year-old kid. A kid that can bathe herself, feed herself…hell, put on her own makeup. THIS KID is capable of calculated complex algebraic equations. A kid that (currently) does not believe in religion because science makes more sense. Yet apparently she doesn’t understand the science behind melted chocolate dripping on the heating element of a toaster catching fire and burning a house down. I was dumbfounded. WE were dumbfounded! Each of us dumbfounded for different reasons but dumbfounded nonetheless.

Too many thoughts to count rattled around in my mind. I wanted to reprimand her. I wanted to ask her at the very least 20 more questions. But then I smiled. Then I started laughing. I remembered MY father was a short tempered man most of the time. I think all he needed was a minute to take a deep breath and reevaluate the situation to realize that whatever he was going to get worked up about, let it be a broken jar of mayonnaise or some crumbs left on the floor of the living room, was not that big of a deal. So, some burnt pancakes, in my book, were going to fall under that column as well.

I try not to dwell too much on the idea of what may have been if I hadn’t moved to Maryland. If I hadn’t moved to Maryland I would have missed this moment. It wouldn’t’ve happened…well, it may have happened, but not with me at this house in Annapolis, Maryland. It would eat up an entire week and drive me insane imagining my hands as they type these very words beginning to fade like the members in McFly family photo in Back to the Future!

So, I will dedicate this kind of chaos theory/critical thinking strictly for the purpose of the next few articles.

Chapter II

map

A couple weeks after the divorce in January 2008, the ex-wife packed up and moved from Texas to Maryland with Abby. Within that short period of time, it felt like my world had folded in on itself, crushing the very life out of me. For weeks I couldn’t sleep, eat or function. I grew bitter. It seemed like things were never going to be the same. During the separation the previous year, I would see Abby every other weekend and every Tuesday. I looked forward to those days like one in solitary confinement seeks sunshine. The schedule wasn’t ideal, as I would have liked to see her more, but at that time, it was enough. But now I was going to have to make it work, being 1,500 miles away from each other and communicating through Skype? This abrupt life adjustment turned to poison quickly and without warning. It felt like something in me had become unhinged.

I vaguely recall one day I had a bought a bottle of Jim Beam and started on it early in the day. My old man had noticed my off-putting behavior post-divorce and decided he’d visit me just to see how I was doing. He could clearly see I was a mess. Not like the mess you see in movies where the quirky yet comedic actor sways as he stands, slurring his speech as he speaks of nothing important. No, my father walked in on what looked like the day after a hedonism festival of rhinos pumped with meth and unleashed in a room no bigger than a New York City studio apartment. Empty beer cans and bottles collected next to the sink. Cartons upon cartons worth of cigarette butts scattered around the yard. He could see the distressed look on his son’s face and decided to spend the day (and night) on the couch with me. He didn’t say much, as he didn’t really need to, and occasionally passed me a barf bag as I slipped further down the rabbit hole of incoherence and Charlie Chaplin-like motor skills. My father went home the next day but not before telling me that things were going to be okay. I gave him a hungover nod and he left.

I think about that now and wonder how hard it must have been on him to watch his son’s resolve deteriorate so quickly. After what was clearly a costly divorce, both financially and mentally, he could see it had broken me. Or perhaps he doesn’t remember. I’m catching up with him in May and I’m going to ask him if he remembers. I kind of hope he doesn’t…I would actually find that uncontrollably and uncomfortably hilarious!

Nearing the end of February 2008, I booked my first flight to Maryland to see Abby. I booked my stay at the Double Tree Hotel in Annapolis, just a few miles away from her. I was so excited to see her. Up until that point, it was the longest period of time we’d ever been apart. We spent one day in Baltimore and the following day together at the Annapolis mall. It was just the 2 of us. And even though it rained the whole time, it felt like sunshine to me.

When the weekend ended and it was time to return her to her mother’s, it felt like I got a piece of my sanity back. I wanted to see myself acclimating again successfully and accept this as the new norm. This was going to be an adjustment period…for both of us. But it was going to be okay. It would be another 5 incredibly difficult months before I’d see Abby again in person, on her 5th birthday. Which is a story for another time.

Last Saturday night, we sat on the couch and watched Fargo. As Abby rested her head on my shoulder, constantly complaining about the Minnesota accent through the whole fucking movie, I had one of those “We’ve come a long way” moments. Things aren’t by any means perfect when it comes to my daughter coming over to spend time with her old man. But this situation is certainly much better than it was a decade ago.

Sometimes her complaining gets to me. But she still manages to make me smile, which is an impressive feat. She finds the most insignificant things irritating, and in turn I find THAT to be incredibly irritating. But when I can slow the moment down and compare it to the volume of bullshit I had to go through years prior, the sounds of her complaints become music and I squeeze her a little tighter…just enough to shut her up.

 

 

X…

It’s 2018 and the 10th anniversary of The Moron Editorial, which officially started in October 2008. So it’s only fitting that there will be 9 articles leading up to the 10th anniversary. The next several months will be the previously untold stories, a VH1-Behind the Music style of how it all came to be. But before we commence with reminiscing about a decade of nonsense, let’s rewind the clock 10 years and see where it all started…

Chapter 1:

It was January of 2008, just a few days after an unmemorable New Year’s Eve party. I received a text from my lawyer asking me to meet with him to finalize my divorce documents. It was a cold and dreary morning…or it’s possible that’s just my memory of it. The excruciating divorce that had gone on for over 15 months required a couple of my signatures, then the most horrible time in my life would be behind me.

Civility had diminished within the marriage way before any talk of divorce and the actual process didn’t make things easier. By the time the divorce proceedings had initiated, it was like throwing 2 blood thirsty wolverines into a potato sack and letting them have it out. Having a child caught in the middle of this tsunami of shit didn’t help matters and was the main reason a 2-month divorce got extended to 15. Property and money can easily be divided, but when a kid and terms like “custody” and “visitation” enter the equation, you can bet that both parties will be ready, fists clenched.

Within the courtroom, secrets confided in one another were blurted out without hesitation or remorse. Bridges were burned and lawyers were a necessary evil, working as a steel wool buffers on open wounds. It was pistols at dawn…if dawn was all day, every day and the pistols were on retainer.

Long story short, it was a disaster. In the end, I thought I had been bamboozled and broken by not only my ex-wife but also my lawyer. He wasn’t a good person nor did he really have any “best intentions” in mind. That fucker’s moral compass had been broken for decades before I even met him. It was at a diner near Dallas where I met my lawyer and signed where he pointed. He then shook my hand and I never saw him again. I wonder if he’s dead. Hope he is. Seriously, the world will not miss him.

I look back at that time at how I squandered a year’s salary on courts, lawyers, and booze, and wonder if I could have done some things differently. Perhaps with more patience, I could have handled it better. Perhaps not. I could also sit here pointing fingers and spill details that really don’t matter anymore, but that’s not what today’s introduction is about.

All I know is that I’ve been carrying these documents for 10 long fucking years. They are a constant reminder of the young man who was and the man who now writes these words. It’s not as much “night and day” as it is closer to “dusk and midnight”. It’s so strange that as I write this, it almost feels like I’m reliving it. Even stranger is that this story sounds like a depressing end but it’s only the eye-opening beginning. So stay with me this year and I promise to leave a smile on that face.

Now let’s return to 2018…

Unless you’re Green Day putting out the Dookie album circa 1994, not every song a musician puts on an album is gonna be a hit. The same could be said about my monthly memoirs. Writing these articles, to me, is like producing an LP. Not everything will be a hit and I know that. There will be some great articles. There will be some bad articles. There will articles I thought were pretty good but ended up not being terrible (I’m being honest here). There will even be articles that I wrote that I will look back on and say, “Damn, that was actually a really good story!” (I have yet to experience this.)

I will still post on a monthly basis from now until December with the highest level of mediocrity you all have grown accustomed to! I’ve even spent some time revamping the page, as you can see, with new templates and pictures. Basically, it’s the most hated part of upkeep on this page, which is why I only change it once every 10 years…like the oil in my car.

I could write and publish a book about just the last decade…oh wait, I did and I’m going to. More details on that later this year.