January 1st, 2010

The Zombie

2009; We Unfortunately Knew Ye

December 31, 2009 -  Finally, 2009 is done.  At last!  I don't know about you, but - with the noted exceptions of some of the positive events and trends in the larger world - 2009 was a sucky year for me.  And it wasn't so great for most of my friends and family (like you), for that matter.  I guess that's how it goes sometimes.  In past years, I've managed to sum up the previous twelve months, good or bad, with a "Top Ten" list here in the ol' WOMP-Blog, but, as I began to compile a similar list for 2009, I realized that it was virtually entirely negative...and who wants to read that?  Heck, I've barely posted two dozen entries for the entire year, so the last thing I need to do is end the decade with a list of gripes, pains, and sorrows.  Instead, let's try something unusual.  Here's a year-end list of...

The Top Ten 2009 WOMP-Blog Stories That I Forgot to Post (Because They Never Happened)

10) January 20, Inauguration Day - A wonderful recounting of my trip to Washington to attend the Presidential Inauguration as special guest of the Obamas.  Favorite memory; huddling with Al Gore as we attempted both to keep warm and from laughing out loud at Aretha's "giant green zipper tied in a knot" hat.

9)  February 14, Valentine's Day - I must admit that I outdid myself this year.  It was just barely over-the-top when I flew my wife, also known as the beautiful WOMP Staff, to Paris for a romantic dinner at the top of the Eiffel Tower, but I think I really jumped the shark when I hired the Sarkozys to serve and serenade us as we ate.  What can I say; I'm a hopeless romantic.

8)  April 3, Monkey's Birthday - Imagine my surprise when a choir of small children gathered outside my studio window to sing birthday greetings to my most famous cartoon character.  Unexpected, but, in light of the coinciding release of the Pixar film based on The Adventures of Monkey, not entirely unimaginable, I suppose.

7)  July 4, Independence Day - Almost lost in my reporting on the 100th Anniversary of Pete's Hamburgers was the commemoration of the 233rd Anniversary of The United States of America (not to mention the 955th Anniversary of the "Birth" of the Crab Nebula Being Observed on Earth).

Cool!  It doesn't look a darn thing like a crab!

6)  August 21, Hawaii Statehood Day - Celebrating the 50th anniversary of becoming the 50th U.S. State, Hawaii threw a crazy awesome feast.  I ate until I nearly passed out, and still I performed a hula kahiko like a lifelong islander.

5)  September 7, Labor Day - In spite of the economy (or because of it?), and in honor of Labor Day, I finally quit my dreaded "real" job, in  favor of my cartooning.  Now that I am no longer there, I can finally reveal that my "real" job had been working as Senior Manure Inspector for a fertilizer company.  And you thought your job stinks!

4)  October 31, Halloween - For the first time since I was a kid, we turned WOMP Headquarters into a massive haunted house!  "Mundt Manor" had hundreds of visitors, gave away about seventy pounds of candy, and officially became the most elaborate "haunted house" in city history.  In my role as "Phantom of The Manor," I had lots of fun scaring anyone who I heard say aloud "This isn't scary."

3)  November 11, Veterans' Day - We stood ten to twenty rows deep on both sides of the street as all local troops marched through town when they came home from Iraq and Afghanistan.  I certainly never expected everything overseas to end so quickly and so well, but I'm happy to have been wrong.

2)  December 8, My Birthday - Ugh.  One year away now from the big one-two-oh.  Turning 119 years old this year may seem impressive, but there is some sort of psychological threshold that turning 120 represents, so I am already dreading the countdown to my next birthday.  I mean, when I turn 120, I can no longer really claim to be "just out of my 100's" anymore.  Yep, no matter how I look at it, I have a year left to make my mark before I am officially "old."

1)  December 31, New Year's Eve - That brings us to here and now.  I don't know how 2010 can top 2009, especially in light of the kickass party that is going on in the next room as I write this, but I am optimistic.  With a little luck, everything will just keep getting better and better! 

Hrm.  That...that all still rang a teensy-bit negative, didn't it?  I really just wanted to be optimistic for a change, but it's not in my nature, I guess.  Still, I do have some reasons to think that the next year may be better than the last. I am healthier going into 2010 than I was for 2009, for example.  I have just recently been able to get back up to speed drawing stuff (although none of it has increased in quality yet).  Moreover, for the first time in years, I have a plan.  In fact, I have a redesigned "master plan," and several smaller sub-plans for 2010.  Even though my plans can (and usually do) collapse, just the fact that I have some is a big step up from this same time last year.  Sneak Preview; back to the "Art is My Job" mantra.  I hope that we all will have a better year in 2010.  See ya!

BONUS!  Here is an extra "Top Ten" list!  It's...

The Top Ten Years of The 2000's

10) 2001
9)  2000
8) 2009
7)  2004
                 6/5)  2006/2003 (tie)
4)  2007
3) 2002
2)  2005
1)  2008

The Zombie


Straight from someone else's mind comes this meme about 2009.  Just for the heck of it, I actually completed this one.  If you do the same "questionaire," let me know so we can compare notes.  OK, OK...here are my answers to...

The Great 2009 Forty Questions Meme Thingee

1. What did you do in 2009 that you'd never done before?  Live past the year 2008.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?  I made none, and I kept all of them.  Same thing for 2010.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?  No.  Or, do you mean physically?  I do only live a few blocks from a hospital.

4. Did anyone close to you die?  Yes, far too many.

5. What countries did you visit?  None but my own (The Mundtstralian Republic of Esquiredom).

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?  Good health.

7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?  I'll never forget December 16th...because it only comes once a year, naturally.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?  Surviving it. 

9. What was your biggest failure of the year?  Merely surviving it.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?  Well, "suffer" may be too strong a word.  "Experience," maybe?

11. What was the best thing you bought?  Hmm.  Nothing comes to mind.  Probably something for The WOMP Staff.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?  Kool & The Gang?

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?  Besides my own?  I'm going with The Birthers.

14. Where did most of your money go?  Out the window (in the form of bill payments).

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?  Uh, the next episode of Glee?

16. What song will always remind you of 2009?  That Taylor Swift "you belong to me-he-ee" song.  Ugh.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you...
    a) happier or sadder?
  Well, sadder, I suppose.
    b) thinner or fatter? Oh, much fatter, of course.
    c) richer or poorer? About the same; perpetually five bucks above flat broke.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?  Anything worth doing.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?  Spider Solitaire.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?  That's, like, nearly a full year away, man.  I have no idea what I'll be doing by then (but I'm going to guess "Christmas stuff").

21. Did you fall in love in 2009?  Everytime I saw my wife (corny, but still true!).

22. How many one-night stands?  Well, we have one-night stand on my side of the bed, and one-night stand on my wife's, so two, I guess.

23. What was your favorite TV program?  Four-way tie; Glee/Modern Family/Community/30 Rock.  Tie-breaker; Late Show with David Letterman.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?  I don't really hate anybody, if I can help it...but Glenn Beck has moved dangerously close to the edge of my tolerance level.

25. What was the best book you read?  The Kane's on Fire! by Mary Ann Stemper.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?  None for 2009, I guess (unless I can somehow mention Glee again).

27. What did you want and get?  Better.

28. What did you want and not get?  New eyeglasses...oh, and the sudden fulfilment of my wildest dreams.

29. What was your favorite film of this year?  I didn't see any "first-run" films in 2009. 

30. What did you do on your birthday?  Nothing other than remember that I'm aging.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?  Skipping it.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?  Sort of "Fat Slob" meets "Unkempt Dork"...with just a dash of "What The Hell Is He Wearing On His Head?" thrown in for fun.  You know; the usual.

33. What kept you sane?  It costs too much to go nuts.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?  Hmm.  None really made me run from another room to see them on TV, or prompted me to buy a magzine with her picture on the cover, but I did have a bit of a "thing" for Zooey Deschanel.  And I'm not sure that even rises to the level of "fancy" anyway.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?  The Health Care debate, I suppose.

36. Who did you miss?  Too many to list.

37. Who was the best new person you met?  The best people I met were years removed from being "new."  Most were at least past twenty.

38. What is a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009?  Without your health, you have nothing (or, if you do have something, you certainly can't enjoy it).

39. What song lyric sums up your year?  "Don't get around much anymore."

40. If your year were a movie, what title would it have?  The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, of course.