This year has been a great one for me. Family is good, work is good, my friends are good, and I'm doing well, too, thank you very much.
It didn't take much work, in fact, to compile my personal "best of" 2012 list. So here it goes:
Movie: I loved "Skyfall," the new James Bond film. I've been a huge 007 fan since high school, and I continue to appreciate the Daniel Craig "reboot" of the franchise. Everything in this movie was spot on, from an excellent theme song to the nods to the past, like Bond's personal Aston Martin. Exotic locations, super villains and larger-than-life fight scenes, this may go down as one of my all-time favorite James Bond movies.
Viral video: I found myself strangely moved by the auto-tuned Mr. Rogers video, "Garden of Your Mind" video that went viral this summer. In fact, I dare you to watch and not get choked up. Something about this video tapped into my a deep recess of my memory and grabbed hold. What a positive, wonderful influence Mr. Rogers' was; this video brings it all home.
Book: That video spawned a tweet from me, which was responded to by Tim Madigan, the author of "I'm Proud of You: My Friendship with Fred Rogers." Madigan told me that Mr. Rogers would've loved that video, and he sent me his book. The book chronicles an unlikely friendship between the journalist and the television star, and while it gets a little more religious than I like at times, it's sweet and genuine and uplifting, too. Mr. Rogers was really one-of-a-kind.
Concert: Even though I've seen the Brian Jonestown Massacre live two other times, this summer's visit to Turner Hall was my favorite. It's not that the band sounded better than it had in the previous concerts – I think this show was middle-of-the-road, but I had interviewed frontman Anton Newcombe the week before, and we had the opportunity to hang out with the band after the performance. It's a rare thrill to listen to one of your all-time favorite bands live, then talk to them backstage about what they just played at such an awesome concert venue. It's an experience I won't soon forget.
Road trip: In April, I grabbed my friend Jon Adler (the co-host of FM102.1's Kramp and Adler morning show) and dragged him to Des Moines, Iowa, for a 24-hour road trip. The purpose was to do a profile article on then Nashville Sounds pitcher, Seth McClung, who was trying to work his way back to the Brewers. It was an amazing, whirlwind trip, which took me behind the scenes into a day in the life of minor league baseball, and the struggles that come along with it. That McClung, Adler and I had a wacky, very off-the-record evening after the game was over made the trip even better.
Summerfest stage: I love how Summerfest finds a way to reinvent itself every year. This year, it was the new BMO Harris stage. It feels small and intimate, but it can accommodate some big acts. I expect big things to come.
Personal accomplishment: I ran my first half marathon, the Brewers Mini Marathon, in September, and it was one of the coolest things I've ever done in my life. I trained for it, of course, but the race occurred only a year after my back surgery, from which I'm not completely healed. I just loved the experience, and I'm pleased with my time, too (2:33:51). I hope that I get the opportunity to run another.
Work honor: I've blogged about it, but I can't say enough about how proud I am that OnMilwaukee.com has won the Editor & Publisher 2012 EPPY Award for best magazine Web site. Locally, we know that Milwaukee appreciates what we do every day, but it's wonderful to get this kind of international recognition. Everyone in our office earned this award.
Surprise: I'm still surprised about how quickly the 15-1 Packers melted down in last year's playoffs. I know their defense was a problem, but I was starting to make Super Bowl plans way too early. The defeat was pretty crushing.
TV show: Year after year, AMC's "Breaking Bad" keeps getting better and better. Heading into its final split season, I can't wait to see what happens to Walter White, et al. Not only is "Breaking Bad" the best show on TV, it might be the best show of all time.
Relief: I'm so happy that Wisconsin sent Tammy Baldwin to the U.S. Senate. Not because I'm a huge Baldwin fan; rather, I needed to see that Wisconsin hadn't completely lost its mind. This state has a wonderful progressive streak, but I feared it had been extinguished by electing Tea Party darlings like Ron Johnson and Scott Walker into office. I do find it amazing and fascinating that the same voters can support both Walker and Baldwin – but that's what makes Wisconsin's independent, poll-confounding attitude ever so interesting.
Andy is the president, publisher and founder of OnMilwaukee. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.
Before launching OnMilwaukee.com in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.
Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.