Saturday, December 22, 2012

2012 in review: the 10 most

Another cheap trick of lazy media hucksters is the top 10 lists for a year: 10 Most Influential Bunnies of the Year, 10 Most Underreported News Stories of the Year, 10 Most Exciting Youtube Videos of People Flossing, 10 Best Looking Pasta Dishes, 10 Indispensable Teabag Tag Wise Sayings, whateverthehell. A main problem with such lists (aside from the minor ethical problem that, instead of doing their jobs, said media hucksters are yanking our chains), is that they get tedious, because each list is so exclusive and limited.

The great advantage of my 10 Most of 2012 is, thus, that it does not specify of what it is a list of the 10 Most. My list will also direct our attention to the capriciousness of similar lists. Like the media whores, I will begin with #10 (that's number 10, not hashtag 10, whippersnappers).

10. Most Drug Interactions. I got back on Wellbutrin in January, and as a result I've just about given up The Demon Bean. Caffeine and Wellbutrin do weird things to my brain chemistry. Caffeine, alcohol, and Wellbutrin do even weirder things to my brain chemistry. We're pretty sure brain chemistry contributed to the series of panic attacks I've had this year, but things are settling. Could been way, way worse.

9. Most Rain. It has been about the rainiest early winter I've seen out here, which bodes well for our having water next summer. The rain washes all the chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides that major agribiz dumps all over the Central Valley, into the aquifers that are tapped for our increasingly allegedly potable water. The Turlock Irrigation District's annual water quality report detailed high, but legal, quantities of arsenic and various pathogens. Coulda been way, way worse.

8. Most The Tour de Turlock. I've never been so popular on Facebook. I have kept up a log of all the streets I've ridden my bicycle the length of. It's over 800, and I still have about 20% of the city to go, including some very unpleasant industrial tracts and some very undesirable residential tracts. Fully half of Turlock's streets are barely passable on bike. And the last time I was out on tour I thought I might get mugged. Coulda been way, way worse.

7. Most Flying Kittois Brothers and Valentine. Alexander the Great and Arthur, King of the Kittons, might be adjusting to Valentine's presence. I think they're suspicious of him because he hasn't a last name. Arthur continues to freak out and hiss at everything in the world from time to time--which he never did before Valentino's arrival. Then they all lie on top of us on the sofa at night in a pile. Coulda been way, way worse.

6. Most New Collective Bargaining Agreement. After a massive organizing effort, an overwhelming strike authorization vote, the usual failed negotiations, the CSU administration and the CFA agreed to a new contract. This contract is a win for faculty, even though it provides no raises for faculty for yet another two years (by my count, that'll make six years, the last four of which also included no cost-of-living adjustments, because alone among California state agencies, the CSU charges these as a real cost, despite repeated failures to pass the laugh test on this point with fact-finders). Coulda been way, way worse.

5. Most Not Going to Canada, After All. Packing the day before flying out to Detroit for the annual Canadian Smarties Confab, I realized my passport was expired. We decided that the risk of my not being able to return to the US was worth not going to Canada. We visited our pals Sharon and Dave, then my parents, and I was able to present a commentary on a paper about intrusive technology via Skype. Coulda been way, way worse.

4. Most Alleged Election. I don't do electoral politics stuff as a rule, and I never do the door-to-door stuff. Partly that's a social anxiety thing, but I also don't know how convincing a long-haired bearded atheist intellectual would be. We did our part calling folks to get them to vote for Proposition 30, against Prop. 32. We won on both counts. Coulda been way, way worse.

3. Most Strange Publication. I had put together a long, bizarre essay on phenomenology, fetishism, and embodiment, in a fit of pique against somewhat eminent French philosopher Michel Henry, in August of 2011. I found a random opportunity to submit that, in expurgated form, as an article for a peer-reviewed academic journal, something I hadn't done in about 10 years, for reasons many people should know. They accepted it, to my great surprise, since the article is an absolute scandal.  Coulda been way, way worse.

2. Most Gigs. We actually played actual music in front of actual people in actual public, twice. We're incredibly stage-frightful. I lost it completely on a song I know at the start of the second gig, abandoned the song, but basically recovered--although we haven't been invited back. Coulda been way, way worse.

1. Most Classes. It's all a blur. I've never taught ten classes in a calendar year before. It made me feel like I couldn't and didn't give any class the amount of energy I wanted to. Somehow, I made it. I still haven't been fired. I never said "fuck" in class, excessively. Only a scant few of my students are receiving treatment. Coulda been way, way worse.

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