Saturday, December 31, 2016

Looking Back Over the Past Twelve Months

One of the recurring themes of 2016 was how bad the year sucked. Politically, culturally, the year was terrible, marked by the deaths of beloved celebrities, the ascendance of naked racism, homophobia, transphobia, and misogyny, and the rise to power of a stupid, venal creature who appeals to the worst elements of our society. Yeah, 2016 has been terrible on a 'macro' level.

Personally, I can't say the year was bad for me. On the workfront, I received a decent raise at the beginning of the year, and the organization hired a guy who I really get along with well for my department. The organization itself had a really successful year, and our fundraisers hit unprecedented attendance levels. On one discordant note, they outsourced a lot of the nuts-and-bolts work to hired hands from a temp agency... the part-timers who make up the bulk of our staff are a bit worried that they might not be able to depend on extended fall hours before going on furlough for the winter. I'm not worried about myself, I have the sort of job which can't be easily outsourced- I have the keys to everything, alarm codes, and safe combinations... not the sort of things revealed to a 'hired gun'.

Generally speaking, my life is pretty stable- I've worked for the same organization for ten years, and volunteered for the same organization for twenty-five. While I value novelty in small things, in large matters I prefer things to go on in placid fashion. This year, though, there were two big changes- I bought a newish car and I moved out of the place I'd been living for ten years. Although the new car is small, it's really roomy inside, with no wasted space, and I was able to fit even my largest pieces of furniture, two bookcases (naturally), into the back of the car, secured with a bungee cord and some rope. The car is a lot of fun to drive, being a five-speed stick-shift, and the new apartment is very similar to the old one, albeit on a quieter street that's even closer to the local bars, so I am pleased with these changes.

As far as writing goes, I have to say that the high point of the blogging year has been Dr Frans De Waal's linkage on his Facebook page to my recap of his lecture... as I joked back in April, this is like a sportball fan getting a link from Peyton Manning or LeBron James.

Soooooo... 2016 was a mixed bag- my personal situation has been more than okay, but I am concerned that friends of mine will be adversely affected by the upcoming political and social developments. I'm a straight white man, college-educated and employed full-time... the lowest difficulty setting in the game of life (I'm not rich, but I consider a lot of the paths to wealth as cheat codes), but (besides having a desire for social justice and fair play)I recognize that minorities function as the canaries in the coal mine, and that if bad policies are inflicted on minorities without public outcry, then there's a good chance that they will eventually be inflicted on non-wealthy white persons.

I wish I could say that I was optimistic about 2017, but I really don't see much cause for optimism. As bad as 2016 seemed to be, and as much as I'm not sad to see it recede into history, I don't think it will be any worse than the coming year. I am looking forward, though, to another year of your readership and support.

4 comments:

mikey said...

Well, on the upside LHC delivered over 40fb⁻¹ at 13TeV. Might find anything at all in all that data.

Lots of advances in 2016 in Machine Intelligence. It's amazing how fast self-driving cars and unmanned factories are coming. Sure, there's going to be a LOT of economic dislocation, but it's the only way to get from our greedy, nasty, tribal society to something better...

Sue Z Boo said...

Hey, B4, and Hi, Mikey.
Just popping in to say Happy New Year and, trust me, us privileged can manage under an ignorant, kleptocratic President. Ask me how I know.
I am always wary of commenting on Alicublog because the commenters there are so smart; Balloon Juice is full of in jokes and personal feuds and Sadly No is moribund. So, when I see you, my little old heart sings and I am encouraged once more.Hope 2017 treats you kind.Mwah.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Happy New Year, B^4!
~

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Well, on the upside LHC delivered over 40fb⁻¹ at 13TeV. Might find anything at all in all that data.

It's undeniable that it has been a banner year for science, I just hope that the dumbass-elect doesn't decided that funding the various NASA and CERN projects isn't a 'bad deal'. Damn, why are the brilliant people scrounging for funding while the dumbest of the dumb are handed the keys?

I am always wary of commenting on Alicublog because the commenters there are so smart; Balloon Juice is full of in jokes and personal feuds and Sadly No is moribund. So, when I see you, my little old heart sings and I am encouraged once more.Hope 2017 treats you kind.Mwah.

Sue Z. Boo, you are always welcome here, I will always think of you as my 'lark', because our online back-and-forths usually came around dawn, when I knew that I would soon be able to go home from work. Many of the Alicurati are the old Sadly, No bunch, so don't be intimidated. Much love, Sue Z. Boo. I hope there are plenty of strawberries this summer.

Happy New Year, B^4!

Thanks, old chum, the same to you.