Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

2020 summary

So, 2020. We can all go on forever talking about the horrors of the year: the pandemic, the economy, the job market, politics, and everything else. I don’t want to get into it. I can’t get into it.

Let me try to scrape together an update like I did last year and stick to my facts. I know that’s narcissistic, given everything going on. But, write what you know.

Good stuff:

  • I published The Failure Cascade in December. It’s a little longer than the last few placeholder books, but it’s still not the Big Book I wanted to finish this year. Maybe next year.
  • That book was 37,565 words, plus I wrote another 122,494 in my morgue project, and a hair over 100,000 in the book I couldn’t finish. So a little more than last year, maybe.
  • 31 posts here for a hair over 30,000 words, which was better than last year.
  • I edited and revisited all 1600-some posts here, which took me… a while.
  • 2,010,005 steps, 2780 floors, 948.09 miles, which is lower than last year. Weight is 5.3 pounds more, but considering what I gained over the summer during lockdown, I’m about ten pounds lower than the peak, so I’ll take it. I also meditated every day of the year. Closed all three rings on the Apple Watch every day. Current move streak: 1791 days.
  • No interviews, no podcasts, no stories published. Whatever.
  • I wrote the intro and helped publish John’s book Latch Key Kids. Also helped Keith publish The Orphic Egg Caper.
  • Only about a thousand pictures taken, which is amazingly low.
  • Just took one trip to Vegas this year with Bill and Marc. Managed to go back to Area 51 again. Had vague “when this clears” up plans for travel, which obviously didn’t happen.
  • I didn’t die.
  • I didn’t catch COVID.
  • I didn’t lose my job.

The not-so-good:

  • My friend Joel died.
  • My Aunt Eva died.
  • Ray’s dad died.
  • Two people at work died.
  • Neil Peart died.
  • I don’t even know how many people I know who caught COVID. My sister-in-law, two of my uncles, a few friends, and I can’t keep track of the rest.
  • Because my job was locked down and my company is not doing stellar, everyone was working constantly. I started getting up early just to get caught up with a big project, and then that became a regular requirement. I started working weekends, started taking 6AM meetings, 9PM meetings, Saturday meetings.
  • At some point (probably after my aunt died) my director told me I absolutely had to take time off, because I’d worked every day for like three months straight. I said okay, I’ll take next week off. An hour later, HR emailed me and told me I had to lay off 60% of my employees the week I was taking off.
  • I actually ended up having to lay everyone off twice. They had a round of these “opt-in separations” and then none of the people took it (we’re in a pandemic) so I had to re-lay them off three months later.
  • I didn’t know if I was getting laid off. I kept getting invited to these layoff meetings and wasn’t sure until they started if I was there to terminate people or if I was getting terminated.
  • I’ve been working from home for ten years, so nothing new there. But it’s been a learning curve for having both of us here at home. And I usually go mall walking on weekends to break up the week, and that didn’t happen anymore.
  • I had various health-related stuff of the cardiac sort happening, which is mostly from stress, an unhealthy relationship with caffeine, and whatnot. Nothing drastic, but lots of dumb tests, and I think my days as a carnivore are numbered.
  • One of my crowns came off in May, when we were still in extreme lockdown, but my dentist was able to see me and fix it.
  • The fires and the air quality were brutal this year.
  • This was the first Christmas where me and Sarah were both home (i.e. our home) at the same time, ever. I’ll put this under the bad column because she was really bummed about not seeing her family. (It is the first time I didn’t catch the flu in December from air travel, though.)
  • My iPhone 8 blew up (for a second time).
  • My 2017 MacBook Pro blew up.
  • Taco Bell discontinued the Mexican Pizza.

OK, that’s enough bad stuff. I don’t even want to get into what a cesspool Facebook and Twitter have been all year, or how the whole post-truth era has made about half of my relationships impossible. Let’s put all of that behind us. I don’t know if we can, and the 2021 memes are about to start, but whatever.

The first big thing that’s going to happen in about 21 days is that I will hit a very big birthday. And I won’t be able to do much about it. Maybe I’ll go off into the hills and hike all day.

No resolutions, though. The usual. Try to finish this book, try to stay employed and inch toward retirement, try to write here more and spend less time on FB. Try to get healthy. Try to stay sane. You?


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