December 14, 2007
Looking forward to 2008: Jeff Balke

(Note: I have asked a variety of people to submit an essay to me to be posted during the month of December, to be called "Looking Forward to 2008". This entry was written by Jeff Balke.)

I'm not greedy. Really, I'm not. Like anyone, I'd love to have enough money to never have to worry about bills again, be adored by millions and have all the good things in life fall gently at my feet. Is that so much to ask? Seriously.

But, since those wishes will end up on the "what I didn't get for Christmas" list I've been keeping since I was 10 along with the entire Star Wars action figure collection and a real arcade version of Galaga (I'm still waiting on that one, St. Nick!), I'll try to keep it simple.

No requests for an end to the war in Iraq or peace on earth from me. I know that those things are harder to come by than naked photos of Jessica Alba and, perhaps, less desirable. Instead, I'd like to list the things that would not necessarily give me fulfillment or bring meaning to life or open the doors to enlightenment, but rather just bring a little joy and a touch of convenience to my life in 2008.

Houston Rockets Win a Playoff Series
I'm a big Rockets fan and 10 years of playoff futility is, quite frankly, enough. I don't care if they have to bring Tom Nissalke back to coach or pull Moses Malone out of the Fonde Rec Center (I bet he'd grab more rebounds than Yao). Maybe they can blind the opponents with one of Calvin Murphy's suits. If nothing else, make a trade and get Robert Horry back. That guy doesn't play for a team unless they win a title.

Fewer Social Networking Sites
Ever since I earned Nerd First Class when I bought a Commodore 64 back in my youth and dialed up bulletin boards with a modem straight out of War Games, I wanted to be connected. At this point, I'm ready to disconnect. With MySpace and Facebook and Twitter and 43 Things and Flickr and all the blogs I read, never mind write (here and here), I spend more time goofing around than I ever have, yet I rarely leave my desk. That can't be good. If the powers that be (I'm looking at you Al Gore, creator of the interweb) won't stop pushing sites through the series of tubes we know as the internet, maybe they'll make a neural interface like that ship that hooked into Tom Paris on that episode of Star Trek Voyager. What? Stop looking at me like that. You know Seven of Nine was hot.

More Music, Less Business
As a musician, I love playing and writing music. Few things in life give me greater pleasure. And, as much as I love the new found independence we have as the record industry slowly falls apart, I'm exhausted from all the extra crap I have to do. Personal social networking is hard enough. Try doing the same stuff plus even more for your band. I don't want to be an accountant, promoter, booking agent, manager, designer, etc. Can't I just be a bass player?

People Not Thinking I'm A Pervert Just Because I Have a Camera
A very close second to music when it comes to joy in my life is taking photos. I'm very fortunate to have a father who shares the affliction and it gives us a chance to compare notes and talk shop regularly. But, hey, Houstonians, I'm not some weirdo who wants to take upskirt pictures of you and your children. When I'm at the park or downtown or in the women's dressing rooms at the Galleria (ok, bad example), I'm just trying to get innocent, family-friendly images. I can promise you that I have no interest in stealing your identity or your children. Now, if you fear that having your picture taken will steal your soul, I can't help you with that one.

A Little Houston Snow
Not a lot. Not the kind that freezes the streets and makes everyone in town go looney bin crazy because they think the best way to avoid skidding on ice is to slam on the brakes and whip the wheel violently from side to side. Just enough to remind us of how lovely winter can be and how glad we are we don't have to shovel it every day in the winter.

Better Historic Preservation and More Parks for My City
Who are we kidding? Houston is bought and paid for by developers. If I have to deal with a stucco monstrosity on Heights Boulevard, the least the city can do is keep the River Oaks Theater from being torn down in favor of condos and build a few more parks so we can enjoy all the clean air. Oh, did I mention stiffer air pollution restrictions?

Flying Cars
Before you start with the, "Wait, didn't you just say..." nonsense, hear me out. How long have we been talking about "the car of the future?" They were making cartoons about flying cars back in the 1940's. You'd think by now Ford or Toyota or freaking Yugo could come up with a practical bubble car that flies through they air like they had on the Jetsons. Am I wrong?

But, mostly what I'd like this year is health, happiness and peace for all my friends on and off the internet and inside and outside of the blogosphere. As silly as I may get, I'm a big sap who cries at every Christmas special and still believes miracles can happen (hey, if Bill Murray's Francis Cross character in Scrooged gets it...). Happy Holidays, everyone! All the best in 2008.

Jeff Balke is a musician, photographer, and two-fisted blogger.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 14, 2007 to Looking Forward to 2008

"Two-fisted blogger" may be my favorite description of me ever. I feel like Chuck Norris! :)

Thanks again for asking me to participate, Charles. You rock.

Posted by: Jeff on December 14, 2007 11:58 AM

What a wonderful list of things to look forward to/wish for! Love it!

Posted by: Christine on December 14, 2007 12:17 PM

Dude. I am SO with you on the flying cars. If I could also get a working rocket pack that as a six year old I was promised to have by the year 2000 I would be one happy, happy girl.

Posted by: Cid on December 14, 2007 12:35 PM

What?!?!? You're not a pervert!?!?!? Dag nab it...all my best buddies are per...oh never mind...KIDDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That's a good idea on the social networking thing - I don't even have time for the care and feeding of myspace anymore, much less to figure out the facebook...

I liked the two fisted blogger description too!! And happy holidays and all...or at least survivable holidays or something... :-) :-) :-)

Posted by: Jill on December 14, 2007 2:49 PM

Two-fisted blogger. SWEET! And Jeff's right - I want my flying car, damn it! And it sure would be nice if they brought Robert Horry back...

Posted by: Christine on December 15, 2007 1:45 PM