1. What did you do in 2003 that you’d never done before?
Started a livejournal! (Twice, actually. I tried blogging in February and lost interest; this lj has now been running since May.)
2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Didn’t do any this year, but I made a mid-year resolution to do six-monthly resolutions; I kept most of my July ones apart (significantly) from those to do with work.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Since our daughter’s first birthday was yesterday we just missed the boat! Two work colleagues had children, and so did my cousin Fionnuala (only aged 18 herself), and a bunch of friends.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Nobody particularly close. People who I knew and liked who died in 2003 included my cousin Niall MacDermot, the Serbian prime minister Zoran Djindjic, my friend Padraig’s father Michael Hart, my friend Stuart’s wife Loren Butler Feffer.
5. What countries did you visit?
UK, Ireland, Italy, France, US, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Croatia, Switzerland, Hungary, Macedonia, Serbia-and-Montenegro-and Kosovo (all three but count as only one country), Greece and (for the first time) Georgia and Slovakia.
6. What would you like to have in 2004 that you lacked in 2003?
More time with my family.
7. What date from 2003 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Djindjic assassination on March 12, because it happened while I was out at lunch with someone who also knew him; the day I had my toe operation and James got expelled from Serbia, both on 3 July; the Georgia revolution on November 23; the Northern Ireland elections on November 26.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Getting the elections site together: full data on for all post-1973 local elections, and running a successful predictions contest in the midst of all else in November.
9. What was your biggest failure?
At work, I have still not managed to get the report on Pan-Albanianism out, and here I sit procrastinating again!
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Surgery on an ingrowing toenail, which seems to have fixed it.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
The Sandman vols 6-10 arrived this morning, but I’m going to save them for Christmas; they may be rivalled by Mary Gentle’s 1610.
12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Certainly my wife’s. Our au pairs and other childcare helpers. Many of my work colleagues.
13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
Several other colleagues. The voters of Northern Ireland. Kosovo politicians.
14. Where did most of your money go?
Books. Wine. Travel.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The Northern Ireland elections. P-Con. The Moldovan peace treaty (which turned out to be a damp squib).
16. What songs will always remind you of 2003?
The Buffy the musical – original soundtrack album which I bought a few weeks ago and have been listening to in the car.
17. Compared to this time last year,
i. are you happier or sadder?
No big change.
ii. thinner or fatter?
A little fatter, I think.
iii. richer or poorer?
Feel somewhat poorer – due to au pair and extra mouth to feed.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Book reviews for the other website. Creative writing.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Worrying about work.
20. How will you be spending Christmas?
I shall cook boar for the family (ie really Anne and the au pair, as the children won’t be likely to eat it).
22. Did you fall in love in 2003?
23. How many one night stands?
24. What was your favourite TV programme?
University Challenge. Practically the only one I watched regularly – I’ve lost touch with the seventh series of Buffy.
25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
26. What was the best book you read?
Hmm. Memorable books: Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson; I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith; Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë; The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck; Holes by Louis Sachar; Sandman vols 1-5 by Neil Gaiman; The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson; The Seven Daughters of Eve by Bryan Sykes. I have to say I think Sandman so far is the best, but haven’t finished it yet.
27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Nothing really, I’ve bought very little music this year.
28. What did you want and get?
29. What did you want and not get?
30. What was your favourite film of this year?
The only films I saw were Terminator 3, American Wedding and Tomorrow Never Dies. I marginally preferred Terminator 3.
31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Age 36; went shopping with Fergal.
32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Swimming in the sea. Missed a chance in Ireland in the summer and again in Montenegro in September.
33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2003?
As usual – smart at work, sloppy at home.
34. What kept you sane?
35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Halle Berry (see Tomorrow Never Dies)
36. What political issue stirred you the most?
37. Who did you miss?
As usual, my father (who died in 1990).
38. Who was the best new person you met?
39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2003
There are more important things than work.
40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year
“Objects in the rear view mirror may appear closer than they are” – not actually appropriate for my year, but a great lyric!