I 💘 2016!

The year 2016 gets a lot of hate, but it was awfully good to me. Click the pic and check it out!

My oldest friend in the world got married, and I sat with her amazing bandmates at the best table in the house. Mandy, thank you for making me a part of this day. I don’t say it often enough, but I’ve had the privilege of being your friend for 36 years, and I want you to know that makes me the luckiest son of a bitch on this planet. I love ya, babe.

Me and Mandy’s band, the Crown City Bombers, at the reception.

There are two amazing young ladies in this world who call me Uncle Christopher, and this is the little one. I gave her this little tree and some lights, and my beautiful sister-in-law Missy gave me this picture, which is probably my favorite thing about all of Christmas 2016. My nieces absolutely have me wrapped around their fingers. And, really, can you blame me?

I swear, this is not my angry face. This is my “It’s 106° in the shade and I’m staring into the blazing California sun while the desert slowly cooks me alive, so please hurry up and take the damn picture before my retinas catch fire” face.

2016 gave me late night rounds of Slimer Yahtzee with Alisha Brisco. She whipped my ass repeatedly while laughing at me for not understanding the rules of the game.

But who got the last laugh, Alisha? I did! Because I won Mystery Date, not once, but TWICE!! HA!!

I flew 2500 miles just so that Larry and I could take this picture together. All other considerations were secondary. Finally, our feelings for each other were immortalized.

Despite the fact that I saw him every day I was there, my brother-in-law Sam somehow managed to appear in only two pictures. Sam and I share a love of classic rock and vintage vinyl, but here you see Sam in his natural habitat: Starbucks. The Brisco family is responsible for approximately 35% of Starbucks’ worldwide financial success, and Sam Brisco is the central cog in that amazing, drive-thru caffeine machine. When Sam drives, you are going to Starbucks. It is not a question nor a mere possibility; if you are sitting in a vehicle piloted by Sam Brisco, the shape of the universe is such that you will be visiting a Starbucks. It is a mathematical certainty. I didn’t keep track of how many cups of coffee and tea Sam bought me, but I have to estimate it was on the order of 700,000. Sam not only kept me entertained in California, he kept me hydrated. And wired. And very, widely, intensely AWAKE.

Behold, the glory, the majesty, the wonder that is the In-N-Out Double Double, Animal Style, with both kinds of onions. Anthony Nelson, it was even better than the last time. Sorry you missed it, buddy.

This is the other amazing young lady who calls me Uncle Christopher, my beautiful, brilliant, insanely awesome niece, Alisha Brisco. I would love to explain to you how lucky I am to have her in my life, but my meager mastery of the English language is, unfortunately, not equal to the task. So I will say only this: whenever I feel weary or soul sick, I think about the time I spent talking and laughing with my niece, and I almost instantly feel unburdened, and young, and unbroken. There is a purity and forthrightness about this kid that is absolutely irreplaceable. I love you, Alisha. You make me very, very proud.

So here’s our family photo with the goddamned Space Shuttle. If you’ve never been fortunate enough to be in a giant air conditioned room with the goddamned Space Shuttle, then you probably won’t understand why I refer to it as the goddamned Space Shuttle. Allow me to explain: when you walk in from the sun and your eyes adjust to the perfectly balanced museum light, you are greeted by this massive vehicle, this unbelievably enormous icon of science and wonder and human achievement, which dominates and commands your senses. It’s sheer presence is nearly indescribable. The only thing your brain can do is respond with a combination of awe and raw emotion which can only be verbalized as, “Jesus fucking Christ… that’s the goddamned Space Shuttle.”

This amazing lady right here is Kathy Brisco, the best sister a guy could ever have. If there is one single person I have to thank for making 2016 the best summer of my life, it’s Kathy. She fed me, gave me a place to stay, and, in all of the very best ways, made California feel like it was my home. “Thank you” is insufficient, Kathy. You made one of the best times of my life possible, not just by giving me a place to stay, but by making me a part of your life while I was there. You can’t possibly know how much it meant. I love you.

2016 gave me the opportunity to fuck with my coworker in a particularly legendary fashion.

I finally got to go to a real tiki bar. Mandy pointed me in the right direction, and Alisha and I devoured all the booze. And burritos. And quesadillas. And then more booze. I don’t care what anybody says, 2016 was fucking awesome!

I had just assumed since the ’90s that I would never see Guns ‘N’ Roses live. But Carrie Russ Lewis came through with some particularly impressive tickets, and I’ll be damned if Axl and Slash didn’t play a whole concert together without murdering each other. Thank you so much, babe. Even as we sat waiting for the show to start, I didn’t really believe it would happen. But they put on one hell of a show.

Thank you, 2016!

The parental units and I at my cousin Heather’s wedding.

Heather’s wedding photographer perfectly captured the way Jess and I almost constantly stand in the sun, dressed to the nines, holding champagne flutes while we gaze deeply into each other’s eyes. It’s practically all we do. If it were a sport, we’d be the US Olympic team. This was the day this beautiful woman shared her sparkling grape juice with me as I slowly roasted in my wool suit, and it was MAGNIFICENT. She may have saved my life. Recently she gave me an even better gift, in that I am now quasi-pseudo-uncle to her gorgeous little ball of awesome, Scarlett Elizabeth. I love ya, Jess. You stepped into Heather’s life and, by doing so, accidentally ended up improving mine. You are one hell of a girl.

Scarlett Elizabeth and I playing giant Jenga. Jess helped, too. Scarlett’s got game. I think she might go pro.

This beautiful and talented living work of art is Rachel, and I challenge any man to get to know her and not fall at least a little bit in love with her. It can’t be done. Straight men do it. Gay men do it. Hell, even most women do it. This angel once invited me to her house and fed me absinthe, then serenaded me with a Rolling Stones song just because she knew it was my favorite band. Anyone who understands me understands that she carved herself a permanent spot in my heart that night. I don’t get to see her much since she moved to the Pacific northwest, but whenever she’s in town you can feel it, like extra stars in the sky. Rach, hanging out with you is like the best drug ever: there’s never a crash, it only leaves you feeling great, and it’s always just enough until the next time.

I got Power Puffed.

Literature advice from Uncle Christopher: Some books improve with successive readings. Little Miss Muffet and Olivia Goes To The Library are NOT among them.

Rachel seemed to enjoy my reaction when I ordered a cucumber salad and instead received a giant fucking bowl of tzatziki with a few lonely cucumber slices floating in it.

Ah, falafel…

After you take a stiff drink of warm tequila that has been made to taste and burn like bourbon, I assure you this is the only face it is possible to make.

This little bundle of perfection is Olivia, Heather’s daughter. Out of the many shining spots in 2016, she is one of the brightest. This is a magnificent little kid. Except for the projectile vomiting. That, I’m not super fond of.

No human being has ever farted on me more than Olivia. The sheer volume of gas this kid expels should not be possible for someone so tiny. It’s like she was getting paid to do it. It happens so often I get a little concerned when she stops.

I was professionally photographed more in 2016 than in any previous year of my life. It was interesting. Here’s me with my younger brother Jeremie during family portrait time.

I found the perfect pumpkin. Seriously, this was the best pumpkin ever.

I was accused several times this Halloween of sneaking candy to my little Doc McStuffins. Untrue. All the candy I was not supposed to feed her, I fed to her right out in the open. There was no sneaking involved.

A long time ago I had a cool thought: what would a Christmas tree look like if I made all the ornaments out of the wrappers from Halloween candy? 2016 was when I found out. Throughout Halloween, my team saved all the wrappers from the candy we ate in the office, and I folded them into paper stars. A little glue, some gold twine, and voila, we have a tree full of colorful Christmas ornaments. This was very popular around the office, and I’m thinking I’ll definitely be doing this again next year.

A few StarBursts and a whole lotta Tootsie Rolls make a merry Christmas tree. Along with four sticks of gum in shiny foil wrappers, that is.

Mark’s son Micah and I had to teach Mark and Jon how to properly decorate Easter eggs. It was pretty easy, mainly because it seemed like their preferred method of dying eggs is “don’t.”

Heather asked me to perform the ceremony at her wedding. It was an amazing day.

Super Bowl 2016. With my favorite cheerleader.

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