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16-Dec-2004 - My Year of Living Dangerously

25-Nov-2004 - Corporate Support for Republicans

24-Nov-2004 - Seventy!

12-Nov-2004 - Quick Update

1-Nov-2004 - Election Eve News

1-Nov-2004 - Endorsement

1-Nov-2004 - Latest Polls

31-Oct-2004 - Words of Encouragement

31-Oct-2004 - Vote for Kerry Even in Safe States

31-Oct-2004 - Halloween Election News

30-Oct-2004 - Today's Political News

29-Oct-2004 - Political News of the Day

28-Oct-2004 - John Kerry's Historic Endorsements

28-Oct-2004 - 25 Years Combating LGBT Violence

28-Oct-2004 - Daily Political Updates

28-Oct-2004 - How You Can Protect Your Right to Vote

27-Oct-2004 - The Last Straw

27-Oct-2004 - Conservative Quotes for Kerry

27-Oct-2004 - Breaking Political News

27-Oct-2004 - Notable Quotes, Volume 5

26-Oct-2004 - Another Look at Taking Back the Senate

26-Oct-2004 - Breaking News of the Day

25-Oct-2005 - Breaking Political News of the Day

24-Oct-2004 - Can the Democrats Regain the House?

23-Oct-2004 - Early Voting Trends

23-Oct-2004 - Bits and Pieces, Volume 4

22-Oct-2004 - Bush OKs New Corporate Tax Cut

22-Oct-2004 - Beware Fox News and MSNBC

21-Oct-2004 - Gymnast Paul Hamm Gets to Keep Gold

20-Oct-2004 - Notable Quotes, Volume 4

20-Oct-2004 - Bits and Pieces, Volume 3

19-Oct-2004 - Movies Released in 2004

18-Oct-2004 - Bits and Pieces, Volume 2

18-Oct-2004 - The Crystal Prison

17-Oct-2004 - What If There's a Tie?

16-Oct-2004 - Notable Quotes, Volume 3

15-Oct-2004 - Endorsements for John Kerry

13-Oct-2004 - Notable Quotes, Volume 2

13-Oct-2004 - Bits and Pieces, Volume 1

12-Oct-2004 - Ranked Choice Voting Hits San Francisco

7-Oct-2004 - Notable Quotes, Volume 1

7-Oct-2004 - Prince Adares Shows Signs of Royal Affinity

7-Oct-2004 - Controlling the U.S. Senate

7-Oct-2004 - Key Battleground States

6-Oct-2004 - Democratic Hopes for the 2004 Elections

6-Oct-2004 - Welcome to The Imperial Gazette

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December 16, 2004

 

My Year of Living Dangerously

Yesterday was my one year anniversary of freedom.

The finale of the greatest year of my life.

Although I was technically laid off on January 30, 2004, the project I was working on was finished on December 15th and we were told that we didn't have to come back after that. Other than six hours spread across six weeks to do some final revenue accounting calculations, December 15th was my last day of work, and December 16th was the start of my year of living dangerously.

Oh, sure, I looked for jobs, but my heart wasn't in it. I applied for jobs, but not that many in the grand scheme of things.

How many people do you know who say that they wouldn't quit their jobs if they won the lottery. That they would get bored if they didn't work. How many people do you know who say after two weeks of unemployment they were going stir crazy?

Those people are pathetic.

One of the first things I did was buy Time Off: The Unemployed Guide to San Francisco. What a great find! The book not only provides great tips for fun and inexpensive (or free!) things to do in the City, but also helps address the psychology of unemployment. Treat it like an opportunity! Seize the moment and do things you couldn't before - stay out late, travel, go to morning matinees, shop without the crowds....

So what did I do in my year off?

TRAVEL - Okay, I have done some traveling in my time, but nothing like this year. I've logged well over 25,000 miles in airline travel this year, and that doesn't include roadtrips. Christmas in Kansas. The usual week in Sea Ranch for New Year's. Three days in Las Vegas for my birthday. A week in Seattle. Eleven days in New York City. Five days in Kauai. And to cap it off, a trip to Europe - five nights in Rome and six in Paris. Travel can be expensive, but there are ways to cut corners and take advantage of last-minute opportunities - and when you're unemployed, it's so much easier to take advantage of those last-minute opportunities.

THEATER - I always see a lot of live theater anyway, both musicals and straight plays. Both big Broadway touring companies and small, local theater groups. But this year took the cake - and traveling to New York sure helped. This year when I saw the Tony's, I had already seen three of the four Best Musical nominees, and some of the straight plays and revivals as well. Lots of folks don't like to stay out late on a Wednesday or Thursday night, and that makes those nights a lot cheaper.

MOVIES - Those who know me already know how obsessive I am about movies. Hell, I have my own awards, the Cosmique Movie Awards. I always see a lot of new movies in preparation for the awards. But this year was my record: to date, I have seen 75 films released in U.S. theaters for the first time in 2004. That includes a few seen on video or on airplanes, but the vast majority were in theaters. This figure, by the way, doesn't include the 2003 films that I saw earlier in January and February preparing for last year's Cosmos. It beats my previous record of 69 films set two years ago. Oh, and there's still two weeks left in the year, plus January and February to get caught up on the ones I missed.

GAY MOVIES - Every year, I say that I want to see films at the Frameline film festival - and every year I don't see any. Make a point of going.

THE GYM - I've come to the conclusion that short of major invasive surgery, I will never have the rock hard body I dream about. But even so, I have managed to get into a lot better shape. I've lost weight, controlled my blood pressure, and look and feel better than ever. If only I had discovered the gym 10 years ago.

BRUNCH - I love going out to brunch. Quick, early breakfasts have never done it for me. But a lovely, late-morning leisurely brunch is truly the best meal of the day. And guess what? When you're unemployed, brunch isn't just for weekends anymore. And when you've just spent an hour and a half at the gym, going to brunch afterwards can be a real treat.

THE BARS - I was never much for the bar scene. Too shy. Too out of shape. Too tired after work, or worried about having to get up early. But you know, when you're not working, you don't have to worry about getting up early, and you can go to the gym to get into better shape (and, more importantly, build self-confidence). And taking advantage of those mid-week theme nights can be fun.

EXPERIENCES - Life is way too short to leave it with regrets. Got a list of those things you want to do sometime in life? (If you don't have one, start making one.) This year, I've had a chance to experience a lot of the things on my list - from minor things like a tourist attraction or historical landmark I've never seen to bigger, wild-and-crazy things. Make your list and dive in!

 

My year of living dangerously is probably coming to a close soon. Money will run out eventually (though if I win the lottery, I'm not going back to work). The trick is to take the attitude I've adopted this year and retain it when I ease back into the workforce....

 

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