2011 is coming to a close.  I’ve had a lot of mixed feelings on the year, even as I write this now.  The tail end of it turned out to be rather depressing, since I didn’t end up anywhere near where I had hoped.  I’m still not making a decent living with my art and I’m still living with my folks, things I had hoped to rectify but didn’t…but it’s funny.  When I would describe things I had done this year that seemed rote or tedious, people like my friend Carolina or my cousin Melissa would react with praise or amazement.  And maybe it was the grind of every day existence, but it finally forced me to step back and think “Y’know, that was kind of cool.”

So I decided to take a step back and list all the cool things that had happened to me this year:

I released my first self-published graphic novel, with a second on the way that is easily going to dwarf the first one in terms of content and scope (Donate now!).

I got a table at my favorite convention where I got to mingle with some of my favorite artists, see my favorite stand-up comedian, and take photos of cute girls in costume (always a plus).

I got to travel to New York City where I got to see my favorite band for free at one of the greatest live venues in the country, nay the world (Thanks again Hal!).

While doing this I got to spend time with friends and relatives I don’t get to see as much as I’d like, and during that time made a connection that I hadn’t always had with them in the past.

While I gripe about my job and being forced to live at home, I’m closer with my family and co-workers than ever before, and I know they’ve got my back as much as I’ve got theirs.

I got to travel to San Francisco, thereby hitting both coasts of America in the same year.  And while my bank account took a huge blow and I wasn’t received as well as I had hoped, I got to hang out with more cool people and sample some originals of one of my long-time favorites comics (while downing free drinks to boot).

I made a cool friend out in Portland who believes in and supports my work, and sent me a custom made pedal commemorating that.  I can barely describe how cool that is (that video demo is still forthcoming, FYI).

And tonight I’m gonna hit the piano and karaoke bars of Naperville with my co-workers in celebration of the end of the year.  After all the stuff we’ve been through the last year (during the holidays especially), I think we’ve earned it and frankly there’s no place I’d rather be.

2012 is going to be a tough year for me.  Hell I’m starting it off with the double whammy of both jury duty and a $450 medical bill for a prostate problem I had last month (long story).  It’s going to be a year where I’m going to have to ask some hard questions of myself and make some hard decisions as a result, both in terms of my life and my career.

…Well, for now, as they say, I’m gonna dance like I’m gonna die!  And hey, if Van Halen can put out a new record with David Lee Roth in 2012 without killing each other in the process, then anything is possible! So I’m gonna leave you with Dave and the boys singing us into the new year! See you soon!

P.S. One thing I am NOT looking forward to in 2012 is all the news reports about that Mayan End-of-the-World Prophecy. That shit is gonna be like the Y2K bug and it’s going to be insufferable. I’ll be damned if my new year ends up like a bad Roland Emmerich movie!