Friday, January 3, 2014

2013, We Hardly Knew Ye: My Year in Review

As the clock ticked to midnight on Tuesday, I won't lie to you all and tell you I was in the most sane of mindsets. After all, New Year's isn't exactly a sedate holiday, but I think I managed not to get too crazy -- a plus since I had work at 11 a.m. on New Year's Day, which is just as fun as you would imagine. Dems da breaks, right?

But among the garbage flying around in my head at that moment -- in addition to the alcohol -- was my mental check list of things I needed to take care of in the coming days. For example, I was going to need to start looking seriously at plane fares for places like Montana, Los Angeles and Spain. I also need to finally buy my sister a wedding present, which I'm shamefully behind on doing. I also needed to make sure I had purchased enough infant Giants and Metswear for my impending nephew and try to jump start writing in my personal life again.

And then there was this thing. I'm not sure if you noticed since none of you actually read this, but I've kind of been neglecting this here blog. And by "kind of been neglecting" I mean I've "completely been neglecting" this blog. But hey, at least I know I'm neglectful. I'm working on it, I swear. Somewhere on my mental checklist between "do the laundry" and "find out what that smell in the kitchen is," I realized I needed to update you all on my 2013 year in review.

I've done this year in review thing three times by now, and I rather enjoy them. It's always fun to take a look back on where your life took you and how it changed. I needed to make sure I remembered to do this before I became too inundated with other responsibilities and curiosities, and while 2014 looks like it may be a doozy (I've already trekked to Long Island in a blizzard for a hockey game) I can't move on completely without meticulously categorizing the last 12 months.

And so... here we go. This is 2013 in review:

-- I saw seven new professional sports teams (Los Angeles Kings, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Oakland Athletics, Philadelphia Eagles, San Diego Chargers and Anaheim Ducks. With the exception of a 90-minute drive to Philly, every team I saw, amazingly, was in California. Seeing the Eagles means I have no more teams to see in the Northeast U.S. corridor).
-- I saw professional teams in five new venues (Staples Center, where I saw three different teams in 27 hours, O.co Coliseum, Lincoln Financial Field, Qualcomm Stadium and Honda Center)
-- I saw sporting events, professional or college, in 11 different venues (Citi Field, MetLife Stadium, Madison Square Garden, Prudential Center, Barclays Center, Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, Staples Center, O.co Coliseum, Lincoln Financial Field, Qualcomm Stadium, Honda Center)
-- I taligated in a parking lot in San Diego despite not having a car
-- I got my picture taken with Wild Wing
-- I saw the Giants on the road twice, but only lose once. The team they beat ended up winning the division.
-- I saw Northwestern win a bowl game for the first time in more than six decades.
-- I had one -- one of my teams in the four major sports make it to the playoffs.
-- But I did see my secondary team win the Stanley Cup.
-- I attended the Major League Baseball All-Star Game and Home Run Derby.
-- I got my name put on the scoreboard at a Mets game for the first time in 23 years.
-- I visited 14 different cities (Los Angeles, San Francisco (twice!), Berkeley, Oakland, Anaheim, San Diego, Philadelphia, Charlotte, Schiphol, Nairobi, Mombasa, Lamu, Arusha, Moshi)
-- I stepped foot in three different countries other than the United States (the Netherlands, Kenya, Tanzania).
-- I (almost) climbed the tallest mountain in Africa.
-- I flew on a plane 20 times, including two domestic flights in Kenya which were an experience on their own.
-- I passed through 10 airports, including one in Malindi, Kenya that was about the size of my bedroom.
-- I stayed in five hotels and thee friends' apartments.
-- I spent an hour in Mombasa, Kenya riding a tuk-tuk looking for a hotel that did not exist.
-- I had a major international airport burn down right before I was about to fly through it, causing me to tkae an eight-hour international flight and go straight to the office for a full shift at work the next day.
-- I may or may not have been briefly kidnapped.
-- I attended six weddings and was unable to attend a seventh.
-- I was a groomsman in two of these weddings and delivered a toast at one of them.
-- I had one sister and one cousin get married.
-- For my sister's wedding, I somehow managed to lose 45 pounds, which I have promptly undone slightly, but plan to get back to normal.
-- I ate four mission district burritos and it was not enough.
-- I had lunch at Facebook headquarters.
-- I ate at In-N-Out Burger once.
-- I roasted two goats on a roof in Africa.
-- I visited a slum in Nairobi so I could go to a slaughterhouse, one of the more disturbing experiences I've had.
-- I attended my 10-year high school reunion, which was fairly similar.
-- I did not eat at Giordano's.
-- I did go on an awesome safari and saw more widlebeasts than I knew existed.
-- I got drunk with a celebrity.
-- I won one fantasy football league. The rest of my fantasy leagues were unmitigated disasters.
-- I wrote a scant 43 entries in this blog. This will increase in 2014. Though, maybe not that much since I'll be busy because I have a nephew now (LEDE BURRYING ALERT).

So yeah, that's the scoop kids. Also, you might have noticed there's this NFL playoffs thing happening this weekend so I guess I should put my picks up to mark such a superb year of predictions (125-125-6! And totally off with division winners!)

Let's go with this because, why not:

AFC Wild Card Playoffs
(4) Indianapolis over (5) Kansas City
(3) Cincinnati over (6) San Diego

NFC Wild Card Playoffs
(6) New Orleans over (3) Philadelphia
(4) Green Bay over (5) San Francisco

AFC Divisional Playoffs
(1) Denver over (4) Indianapolis
(3) Cincinnati over (2) New England

NFC Divisional Playoffs
(1) Seattle over (6) New Orleans
(2) Carolina over (4) Green Bay

AFC Championship Game
(1) Denver over (3) Cincinnati

NFC Championship Game
(1) Seattle over (2) Carolina

Super Bowl XLVIII
(1) Seattle over (1) Denver

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