Dusting off my trusty old blog meme for another year-end wrap-up. You can read about 2013 in a previous post.
The Year in Dave History, 2014
1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?
It’s hard to believe all that’s happened has happened within the space of a year. In March, my TV series Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street got the green light for a season order of 12 episodes. In April I moved to LA to begin writing on the series. In June we began shooting. By September, we wrapped principle photography. We had a red carpet premiere and the series went live on Amazon Prime in November. That’s one heck of a year.
This was my first TV series, and thus, there were many, many firsts for me this year. Among them:
- Being in a writer’s room
- Having an office on a studio lot
- Seeing sets built on a soundstage
- Collaborating on a script
- Doing an on-camera interview
- Walking a red carpet at the big screen premiere of a TV show I created – mind boggling
I’m sure I’m forgetting many, many things. It’s been a whirlwind.
2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I wouldn’t call it a resolution, but I completely and utterly failed to lose weight or improve my health. Quite the opposite.
Before I moved to LA this year, I knew I’d be facing a lot of challenges on that front, a lot of temptations. If I’m in a groove, if I have a routine down, I can stay on the straight and narrow. But moving to a new town and starting a completely new way of life — going from teaching preschool to writing and producing a TV show — well, there’s just no familiar ground to anchor myself to. In fact, food was the only constant comfort I could depend on.
I knew it would be tough going in, so I deliberately tried to establish a regimen of sorts before moving, and enrolled in a serious medically-surpervised weight-loss program a few months ahead of the move. I lost about 30 pounds in three months, which is impressive but typical of what I can accomplish when resolved. But the life changes were too big, and my new routine not well-established, and LA is full of food and stress. After the move, I crashed and burned.
I’m pretty ashamed of myself and for everyone who was rooting for me, I was doubly ashamed of letting them down.
Basically every challenge in my life I face right now is directly tied to my weight. I’m not done fighting yet, but sometimes the prospect of failure, of letting people down, of letting myself down, is more daunting than the idea of giving up a donut or a plate full of pasta. There’s a certain amount of safety and comfort in remaining a failure. If you lower people’s expectations enough, you can live a life relatively unbothered by anyone. And you can indulge your vices. And further shortcomings are just part and parcel of the whole package. And it’s easier to rationalize personal rejection, too. Giving up on most forms of social interaction is just a natural extension of giving up on yourself. What most people don’t understand about being overweight — really, really overweight — is that the weight part itself is almost the least of one’s problems.
Anyway, it’s a new year, and the stars are aligning and my routine seems to be firming up and I think I’m in as good a position as any to start again. So I’m going to start again. And I hope people forgive me for failing, and I hope I forgive myself, and I hope I can find a way out of this hell.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Yes. My 2nd Cousin Heather, who I never had a chance to meet in person, and who loved and supported the show but never got a chance to see any of the new episodes, died suddenly from a blood clot.
5. What countries did you visit?
None. I’m not fond of travel.
6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?
My sleep patterns are not really patterns as they are utter chaos. I would like a little more discipline to maintain a routine during hiatuses and what have you. That, and a little progress on the health and wellness front would be nice.
7. What date from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
So much happened this year, hard to pick one date.
Not to exclude any other incredible moments, but one day that stands out most for me is the first table read where I saw Sloane, Ashley and Drew again for the first time after far, far too long a time.
My birthday was a huge deal to me. It meant a lot.
The biggest day of all, the one that sort of encapsulates 2014, is November 17th, the day of the red carpet premiere of Gortimer at the Arclight in Hollywood.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
The series in general, but I’m particularly proud of my collaboration with Luke on the season finale script. The script turned out great, and the episode itself is amazing. Great way to end the whole season.
9. What was your biggest failure?
See above re: health.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
A slew of annoying maladies, again all traceable back to my weight. Back issues, sleep issues, fatigue issues. High blood pressure scare. An infection in my leg that almost sent me to the hospital. Crap like that.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
People are under the impression sometimes that I have a swimming pool full of cash that I regularly dive into. The good news is that I have money, I can live on my own in LA, I don’t worry too much if I can afford food or health care or fill up the tank with gas. It’s a huge mental relief, it really is — and a big change from most of my life. But I’m not exactly buying a house in the hills just yet, I still drive the same car, and I’m not taking any fancy trips. I have a small pile of money but I don’t know for how long I have to make it last — that’s the fun of being a writer, especially at the start.
I did splurge on a few items. I have a small splurge budget. Otherwise, what’s the point of having your own TV show?
I bought a Shun 7-Inch Sumo Santoku knife and it’s seriously badass. I’ve never handled anything this sharp. I’m surprised I haven’t lost a finger yet.
Something else I really enjoy – this Corningware Soup Mug. I like soup, and a mug is ideally a perfect soup containing device. Bowls are too broad and sloppy – they let the soup cool too fast, and they spill the second you even look at them funny. But most mugs are too small to hold a Dave-sized portion of soup. The Corningware mug is perfect – holds generous portion of soup, keeps it hot, has a nice large handle, and the vented lid is perfect for keeping the microwave clean when heating.
Probably my favorite purchase this year — which was partly a housewarming gift from Mom — is my turntable set-up. In moving to LA, I rediscovered a treasure-trove of 30-year old vinyl records but of course had nothing to play them on. Enter the Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB Direct-Drive Professional Turntable. Even back when vinyl was the primary way to listen to music, I never owned anything close to this quality of turntable. It is rock solid and well-engineered. I added a pair of Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Andrew Jones Designed Bookshelf Loudspeakers — they are a bit bigger than I expected but the sound is big, rich and clear. Of course, you don’t plug speakers directly into the turntable, you need an amp. The biggest surprise in the setup was the smallest and cheapest component of all — the Lepai LP-2020A Amplifier, small but mighty and just right for my little bookshelf setup.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Every judge who finally said enough with the thinly veiled homophobia, it’s time for marriage equality.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
The Supreme Court. Worst court since Dred Scott, and that’s really saying something.
Anti-vaxxers, you have blood on your hands. If you don’t vaccinate because blah blah blah chemicals you are an idiot.
14. Where did most of your money go?
Taxes. Food. Commissions. Food. Rent. Food. Moving expenses and furniture. And Food.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
- Season 1 Launch of Gortimer.
16. What song will always remind you of 2014?
No one song really captures it, but I listened to “A Rainy Night in Soho” a lot while writing, it has a sort of wistful, nostalgic, yearning for time and friends gone by quality that fit with the show.
“A Rainy Night in Soho”
Lyrics in part:
I’m not singing for the future
I’m not dreaming of the past
I’m not talking of the first time
I never think about the last
Now, the song is nearly over
We may never find out what it means
Still there’s a light I hold before me
You’re the measure of my dreams
The measure of my dreams
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
- i. happier or sadder? – How is it possible to be happier? But I am.
- ii. thinner or fatter? – Fatter. sigh
- iii. richer or poorer? – Richer. For once. Wow.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
I wish I had been in better shape just so I could enjoy being with friends more. I wish I had done more unpacking and settled into the apartment sooner so I could enjoy relaxing at home when I had some downtime. I wish I had made better use of my downtime.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Less worry and anxiety. Less fretting. Less stuffing my face. Less sitting on my ass.
20. How will you be spending New Year’s?
Quietly relaxing in my apartment with a crystal goblet full of apple cider and a good book.
22. Did you fall in love in 2014?
That’s the last thing I need.
23. How many one-night stands?
What kind of meme is this?
24. What was your favorite TV program?
Game of Thrones.
25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Hate is too strong a word and I don’t really waste my energy hating people besides.
26. What was the best book you read?
I’m not so sure I even read one single book last year. That’s terrible.
27. What was your greatest musical (re)discovery?
80s hits on vinyl! Ultravox, Duran Duran, Oingo Boingo, Thompson Twins, Adam Ant and so many others.
28. What did you want and get?
29. What did you want and not get?
30. What was your favorite film of this year?
I still haven’t seen a lot of 2014’s movies. Of the movies I’ve seen — nothing stands out.
30a. What was your favorite podcast of this year?
I’m really enjoying WITS and NPR’s Ask Me Another. I often turn in a bit early and listen in bed.
31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 46 this year and had the best birthday I’ve ever had.
32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Getting everything unpacked and really having my apartment set up. I’m still living half out of boxes, and it’s kind of annoying me.
33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?
At my size, you just don’t think about fashion. Gortimer’s awesome costume designer Alison Freer picked me out a couple of nice shirts and had them altered for me. That was nice.
34. What kept you sane?
35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Oh boy. Mostly, I’m tired of seeing selfishness held up as a virtue.
37. Who did you miss?
We had a great wrap party for Gortimer but I didn’t really enjoy it — I was in a lot of pain, because it was an ending and I knew I might not see anyone again, and even if I did, well, there’s only ever one Season One, and the kids grow fast and they are different people every year. I wanted to stop time.
Only I could be so stupidly lonely and sad in the middle of a huge party like that.
38. Who was the best new person you met?
Gah! I met so many new people this year. So many. And they’re all great.
39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014
Don’t wait to unpack. Settle in. I think this applies to all of life. Settle in with new relationships, new jobs, new circumstances. Get comfortable and own it. Don’t wait for a magic moment, an alignment of stars, and forget baby steps. Life is way too short and moves too fast for that. Whatever you do, do it all the way. Don’t wade in. Dive.
40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year
It’s about holding on even when you aren’t sure you can. This year was the payoff to a lot of holding on through the dark.
“I Can Make It If You Can”
Can I hold on that long
Is it worth the same old stringalong
There’s been a few rights but there’s plenty wrongs
I can make it if you can.