I better get this done before I blink and January is over!
The year 2008 was a really trying one for me on all levels for a variety of reasons. Though I normally don’t get too personal on this journal, I’ll be a bit more candid if only for my own benefit later on.
January was a somewhat slow month, except for the fact that it was my first month working at the new job I got over the winter break as Webmaster/Graphic Designer for Miami D&E Magazine, a job I considered pretty much a dream come true. The work was hard because we were trying to launch two magazines concurrently with just a handful of people, but it was enjoyable and satisfying; it was a practical application of all the lessons I had learned running Highmoon Media Productions over the last 3 years and that filled me with joy. On the personal gaming front, I started a play-by-email game of Witch Hunter: The Invisible World and a home game of Changeling: The Lost (this latter one died after only one session). I also got back to freelance writing, sending in submissions to three different companies (one of those ended up being Evil Hat’s Spirit of the Season, another is scheduled for sometime in 09 as part of larger book for Witch Hunter, and the third was rejected, which is fine).
February was a bit more of the same, until the job situation exploded. It turned out that the guy running the magazine got into some sort of problem (to this day we’re not sure what the real story was) and ended up owing us five paychecks, including one that bounced after clearing my account (my Highmoon Media account, by the way). When all was said and done, I was left about $5K in the hole and jobless. My only consolation? A copy of Adobe Creative Suite 3.
March and April were a bit of a blur. I did a lot of work on Highmoon Media at this time, and especially on The Digital Front Podcast. I also got to go to the GAMA Trade Show in Las Vegas, NV thanks to a very generous benefactor who funded my trip (and no, I still won’t say who it was). This trip to GTS was actually helpful in things that are now starting to fall into place.
In May I began to do freelance work in earnest, and since then I have experienced the feast-and-famine ways of the freelancing life. In June we went to Seattle for the first time and had the time of our lives up in the great Northwest. During that trip my wife and I made the decision to try to move to Seattle, and upon our return we began the process of looking for work up there, a must for this move to happen. I also got a Utilikilt, which to this day I have yet to wear out of the house in Miami (though I have worn it at Gen Con).
July was a bit of a blur as well, caught in my usual post-trip funk. In August I went to Indianapolis for Gen Con and had a fantastic time. A few connections were made there as well that I hope will yield results later this year, maybe even at Gen Con. In August my wife and I both also got our new bicycles and began to ride around Miami Beach, very much enjoying the Slow Bike pholisophy of style over speed. I also launched Slow Bike Miami Beach, a blog to talk bikes and cycling.
In September I had the biggest scare of my life when my wife fell from her bike while riding and hit her head on the cement curb, getting a huge bump on her head and a number of hematomas. Seeing her fall and hit the curb was the most horrible thing and I learned both what it means to feel helpless and that I can teleport when the need arises. Thankfully she recovered just fine and a few weeks later she was back on the bike again.
Late September brought the High Holy Days, and in October I welcomed the new year with open arms, ready to shed the crappiness of 5768 (fully aware I still had a few months of 2008 to deal with). I felt spiritually good during this period, and even built my first sukkah with the money I collected from all my birthday gifts (ah yes, I also turned 34 and had a kick-ass Star Wars-themed party that my wife threw for me).
November brought the elections and I wept when this country elected Barack Obama as the next president of the United States. To this day, thinking of that moment makes my eyes sting and my chest swell with pride. I also launched Destination: Earth Travel Journal as a place for me to practice my travel writing skills, and became a writer for Miami Metblogs, as a way to connect with my city, get more writing practice and get a bit more exposure. In late November we headed back to Seattle for the second time in the same year. We had hoped, when we bought the (really cheap) tickets, to have a couple of interviews lined up but that didn’t happen. We did use the time to explore the city as hopeful residents-to-be, having the amazing fortune to befriend and share Shabbat with a local family that took us in as if we were distant relatives (hello Clements!).
December was very tense for me because it’s a month where most of the world shuts down but, since we don’t celebrate Christmas, for us it’s just business as usual. Which means a lot of resumes were sent but no answer would be coming back until January. I did get a chance to go to Disney’s Magic Kingdom with our dear friend Lari; got to see my brother Michael, whom I had not seen in 8 years, since he went into the Army and for whom I had prayed lots during his two tours in Iraq and the repercussions; and got a chance to play parent for a week when my 3-year-old nephew came to stay with us.
I was so ready to shed 2008 once and for all, and could not wait for it to end. I bid farewell to the year with my wife and played Guitar Hero till the wee hours that night.
It is very weird because as an observant Jew, my life is quite affected by the Jewish calendar, but the secular year also has its effects on me in the sense that I live in the secular world, interact with it on a daily basis, swim in its waters for 6 days, emerging once a week for Shabbat. So in that sense the passing of the secular year has meaning. It also carries an energy of change, an energy I had been craving for.
Here’s to 2009 and all that it will bring.