Well, this has been an interesting year. Then again, what years aren’t? I find if I’m getting bored with life, I try to do something different to spice things up. I think I’m only ever disappointed in a year when I don’t achieve the goals I set out to do. In any event, 2008 started out stressful when I was pulling down 12-hour workdays to do my part in cobbling together a three-day-long company meeting, which included a Price Is Right game show, scripted and directed by yours truly. I don’t know how much “show” experience any of you have, but let me tell you that putting on a 30-minute act in front of all of your bosses, including the company owner and the entire dealer network takes time and planning and preparation. I had two days. I used to be a restaurant server in the banquet hall of an Old Spaghetti Factory. I was routinely slammed with three tables of 20 tops at one time full of rambunctious families demanding to be served immediately. That level of stress was a distant second to what I felt running the game show. It was the kind of stress that bleeds from your eyes and seeps through your pores to soak into your clothes with that filthy metallic smell of a fever-sweat.

Anyway, I was cool under fire and it all turned out well in the end. It shouldn’t have, mind you. All the odds were stacked against me. The coworkers who were to run the show with me didn’t show up for what little rehearsal time we had. The emcee’s mike broke. Most prickly, my manager at the time decided to switch rooms on me at the last minute. So while I had scripted interaction with live products, thinking the show would be in the room with the products, I had to run the show in some dining room, using a projector with images of products. Fortunately, the magic of theater took over and everything inexplicably came together. “It’s a mystery.”

The rest of the year was hardly noteworthy. February flew by and since I don’t have television, I was even less affected by Valentine’s Day reminding me that I’m single. Even my birthday was surprisingly uneventful. At least I don’t remember anything exciting happening. I usually get into a fight with my father, but I’d remember that. Now that I think about it, 2008 was kind of dry until I got picked up by Richard Elfman and Buzzine. Since then, I’ve got to attend some movie screenings, press junkets and some video game launch parties. I personally find it interesting to be in the same room as a bunch of celebrities, but as my LA friend pointed out recently, “When you live in LA, you run into these people once a week.” She was probably exaggerating, but I think there’s a ring of truth there.

Anyway, that brings us to year’s end. I wanted to recap Christmas, but I got sick and just haven’t had the inclination. In fact, I still don’t. So let me truncate the recap and just focus on the coolest gift I got, courtesy of my very good friend Megan.

This is the Health E-Cigarette. Basically, it’s a battery that’s hooked up to a vaporizer. The vaporizer comes in contact with a nicotine packet. The whole apparatus looks and behaves like a real cigarette. I’m not sure exactly how, but apparently the battery turns on when you suck air through its housing. That turns the vaporizer on, allowing you to inhale vaporized nicotine. When you exhale, there’s even a stream of smoke, though it’s more like a mist that evaporates pretty fast. As a nice touch, the tip of the battery casing lights up when you suck and slowly fades just like a real cigarette.

I’d post a picture of me smoking, but when I checked out the shots I looked hideous. Just take my word that the thing works like a charm.

According to the instruction manual, each filter insert lasts “150 mouths.” Megan tells me that that equals roughly a pack and a half of smokes. I can’t wait to get better to try it out more. So far, my opinion is favorable. It’s a little hefty and I wish the box had a holder for the assembled e-cigarette. Unfortunately, you have to either disassemble it or just carry the e-cigarette in your pocket. Alas.

A Few Words about Working Author

Since the launch last year, I think the site has been largely successful. In 2008, I’ve had almost 30,000 unique visitors. Granted, that traffic is small potatoes and mostly driven through StumbleUpon and people who want to argue about The Notebook and underage drinking, but I’m still proud of it.

The site’s undergone several changes and each iteration has been a learning experience for me. While I’m mostly happy with the current layout, I’m thinking of doing yet another redesign, but nothing too drastic. I think it’s slipped back into gaudy and it needs some conservative fine-tuning. So look for changes in the coming weeks.

Also, when I upgraded to WordPress 2.7, FeedBurner would no longer read my feed. So I apologize to all my subscribers. The feed still exists, you’ll just have to grab it again through the RSS icon in the URL bar of your browser. The links on my site are busted.