2011 Year in Review

(Pictures at the bottom after the text if you want to just skip to that. I wouldn’t blame you.)

The Yuletide season is normally a quiet one for Romantic Antihero. I go crazy by the end of the semester and then start hibernation mode to shake it all off. Then the madness of holidays starts and then I recover from that. Well here I am in the second week of January, ready to actually start the new year for RA.

My time at KU is winding down. 2009 and 2010 were awesome years. In one I graduated from JCCC and moved to KU, and the other I went to England to study abroad at Cambridge for a summer. 2011 was… a “rebuilding year”, to borrow a term from collegiate sports. Everything after Cambridge has seemed so anticlimactic, very much like when I took that last summer class at JCCC after I had already done my graduation walk. It’s also been a year of ups and downs, struggling with my periodic chronic depression. Life is a roller coaster, and sometimes all you can do is hang on. So long as you don’t fall out, anyway. I’m a long way from falling out anymore, and life is good.

I have an appointment later today (I’m writing this near at about 0200) to talk with my CLAS advisor. If everything goes well I will be walking for my BA at the end of this semester. Being the paranoid kind of person I am I don’t want to make declarations. Speaking of which, I had made the announcement that I would be traveling to Japan last year. The tsunami and nuclear facility emergency put an end to that when a majority of the other accepted students backed out. Not that I’m bitter, but screw them all to hell. Seriously.

2011 saw RA become mostly a gaming blog, though I did finally get around to articulating some of my Asatru ideas here. That is a long project that I’m not feeling hurried about, and I’m not out to publish so who cares? One thing that really bothers me about 2011 is how much kendo I didn’t do. As I write this I’ve put back about half the weight that I managed to lose previously, mostly because of this lack of kendo. Kendo served to keep me motivated and helped move me away from my destructive lifestyle and toward these more positive pursuits, or at least the not negative ones like gaming. Kendo really started it all, so my pledge for 2012 is to reinforce it as a central theme in my life.

And of course as I write this I have a terrible pain in my back from a special practice of the KC Kendo club last Saturday. In 2011 I turned 36. It’s not 40, but it’s not <30. I was talking with a friend earlier who recently turned thirty and we were reminiscing about some of the times gone by. I had been told by my parents that the 30s were a really great time of life, and I have to say that it’s panned out that way for me so far. My 20s were full of arrogant youth and hot headed mistakes. The 30s are a lot more humble, but at least with a little wisdom and experience. But like I tell people, I’m young and vigorous enough to do all the same things, but old enough that I end up in so much more pain that takes at least twice as long to recover from.

Again, my mother inspired me greatly in 2011. She decided to take weight loss seriously and has gone through probably three wardrobe changes since, and she looks great. The rest of my family makes me very proud as well. My father maintains and we still hang out regularly, and my son, a freshman in high school who is turning 15 soon, started JROTC this year and looks very handsome in his uniform.

I didn’t do as much public Asatru stuff as I’ve done in past years this year. In 2011 I developed more of my own Heathen philosophy and continued to look at and explore life, but also became less interested in Heathenry as a “movement” and became more focused on the idea of living the same sort of individualistic life I’ve always led but from a Heathen center. I’ve got my kith and kin, and a group of Heathen friends and local acquaintances, so going to a Heathen event just because it’s a Heathen event is less appealing to me. In 2011 I focused much more on my innergarth as far as celebrations and ritual goes, mainly focusing on “Heathenizing” the time spent with my kin. My writings and thoughts on Heathenry likely won’t go far in the greater Heathen community, but I find myself not caring all that much. There are different roles to take, and I’m not a public figure. If I’m ever a pubic figure it will be because I’ve got famous for my personal weirdness, not out of any public efforts. That’s not me, so when I write it’s for myself and possibly any innergarth Heathens who care.

But enough about that. I’ll end this with some pictures!

Yule 2011:

Ma and Susan holding our family Yule Wreath prior to the New Year’s bonfire.

My son playing with my sister’s dog on Solstice Eve.

The New Year’s bonfire that marks the end of Yule (as far as I’m concerned).

A little less dramatic than the other, but it shows the Yule Goat and the Wreath we burn.

Ma and Pop got a new pair of critters for the house, Hansel and Gretel. This is Hansel taking a nap safe from the dog on the mantle.

On my birthday I met some good friends at Table Top and we had some games. My (still unpainted) Hare Army proved victorious, and here pose with the villa and walls I bought as a gift to myself.

I made this Dark Angels Devastator as a Yule gift for my friend Mike, presenting it to him on my birthday.

I made this Salamanders Devastator for my friend Jon for Yule, presenting it to him on my birthday. Life would be so much easier if all my friends played 40k and needed Devastators, because I am totally bad at picking presents for people.

Other stuff from 2011:

In 2011 I expanded my Chaos Space Marines army, including this Dread Claw conversion. The creation thread is somewhere else, but I’m painting it as part of the Bolter and Chainsword’s annual Librarium Painting Challenge.

And speaking of which, here is “phase one” of this year’s vow. More on that later in its own blog post…

Like I said, my son is in HS JROTC, and I took this picture at their Organization Day.

I continued my tradition of supporting Kansas City S.C. I’m very glad they did away with the name “Wizards”. This is the boyo and myself at Johnny’s Tavern with one of the support clubs watching a game on the box.

I continued my (unfortunate) tradition of only going to the home opener. This year’s was cool because Sporting K.C. opened their new dedicated stadium, which is about twenty minutes from my house by car.

I finally got around to planting apple trees in my back yard. It remains to be seen if they’ll survive the winter, but apple trees in the back yard was my graduation present for my AA from JCCC.

And I got me the porch swing I’ve always wanted!

This very tiny picture (saved the wrong thing…) is a rose from one of my White Rose bushes.

Another tradition: my three Jack-O-Lanterns and drinking beer and watching zombie flicks while handing out candy. My son helped me carve this year before running off with his friends.

AND I FOUND A PLACE WHERE I CAN BUY DANDELION & BURDOCK SODA BY THE CASE!

2012 will be a good year, I can already feel it. 2011 wasn’t the greatest, but as you can see from the pictures it wasn’t bad. Just more sedate, more filled with the routine of grinding through my senior year of college. 2012 will be a year of transition for me, and I’m sure it will be the start of a new period of adventure and excitement in my life.

For I am the Amazing Montismo, Gentleman Adventurer and Romantic Antihero™.

Reviresco!

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