It has to be better than 2016. 2016 was a disaster by anybody's standards. A lot of good people died and the bad guys won. Everybody's plans were screwed up, even the bad guys'. Now nobody knows how to plan for the future.
This year I've been plagued by a general lack of fitness and a bad knee, which resolved specifically into a torn meniscus during a race at the end of July. I went through surgery for that in early September - the torn meniscus was removed, because that kind of thing cannot heal due to a lack of blood supply to that particular chunk of tissue. Unfortunately during my recovery from the surgery, my glutton nature cropped up and I allowed myself to gain back a lot of old weight.
I can still run, just not quick. I can still finish a 5k race but not nearly in the time I could. I can still recover from this.
I also dropped into a pretty severe art depression, going whole months without really picking up my tablet pen. I failed to complete the annual month-long pony art challenge. I am not happy with myself.
Halfway through the year my employer announced we were buying one of our big rivals and were going to merge the two companies. So I spent the back half of the year expecting to be laid off by the end of it. That didn't happen; my original company is a very small organization for how much business we do, and the purchased rival was a very bloated org, so they are taking most of the layoffs. However our office has moved to the rival's building which is in downtown Fort Worth - my commute has doubled in length and tripled in time, which really sucks. And the reorganization, which was dropped on us suddenly right after Thanksgiving, has put me in a much different position with the company, having to figure out how to get several other people to do parts of my job in an environment with different business rules than I'm used to.
Considering the reorganization, the much longer commute, and the fact that I'm training other people to do my job as it is, I'm thinking it's time to start looking for something new. I'm not going to take any action there before March, because I already have a vacation planned for then, but I can start preparing my resume and researching potential new employers. Given my pessimistic nature, I am oddly optimistic about this.
Anyway. This year I submitted (by my count) 34 distinct pieces to DeviantArt, and a few other pieces I only posted to Tumblr or Derpibooru. Much much lower than past years. Like I said, art depression. Nevetheless here's the submissions I'm kinda proud of this year, the Least Worst of 2016...
What a Drip
Vent art. My house had a recurring roof leak early in the year. It's animated! Kinda!
BG and Derpy Midair Hugs
A bit of thank-you gift art for basketgardevoir for making a cute picture of Air Ponyville style Derpy for me.
Skitties are Jerks
More to do with basketgardevoir and ZoroFab, intruding on a private running joke between them where bg's skitty wrecks zoro's mug. My dumb skydiving obsession ruins everything.
Easter Egg Drop
An ambition for an Easter-related project that came to me way too late to do anything with it. Who knows, I may try to pick it up again. I just need to do more anything with Maya and Sadie and their more realistic world of college skydivers.
I put this together after the pony episode where penitent ex-villain Starlight Glimmer meets recovering egotist Trixie and the two become quick friends, not without struggling with their own flaws. I think the relationship was great. And Trixie's, erm, "call for help" when she thought Starlight had lied to her kinda speaks to me.
Equestria Daily did holidays for specific characters, and Princess Celestia's was the summer solstice. I threw this together a little too late to take part, but even then it was pretty well received. There's an alt version that gives her different colors and a different hairstyle. I did a lot of alt versions this year.
A NATG Alumni prompt I decided to jump on. I hadn't done much with my pony OCs Software Patch and Windcatcher, and ponies in general, so I put this together. Romantic fluff between the two.
Hoo boy, this one was ambitious. GunpowderGreenTea was asking people to draw his pony pair for the Fourth of July. I was messing around with animation and managed to put this together. It's a really bad joke. But GPGT enjoyed it, and that's the important thing.
Another ambitious piece. JonFawkes put together a new ask/RP/contest blog called Nightmare War and was taking submissions for the Chaos Butterfly story arc - how the chaos-tainted Fluttershy would add a little chaos to an OC's life. This was a bit of self-deprecating humor about why a pegasus "needs" a parachute. This comic fell utterly flat, nobody noticed it or gave a crap about it, but Jon liked it and again that's what's important.
A very silly meme on Derpibooru that I took too far, as usual. At least it doesn't involve skydiving!
The Amazing Flying Sisters (Close Up)
I tried to emulate Siansaar's art style based on a commission he did for me earlier this year. And I wanted to draw more best human sisters skydiving in formation, based on photos I found online and in Parachutist magazine.
Rebecca's Avalanche Escape
Another multiple-version thing starring HoshikoSoyokaze's character Rebecca, showing off various life-jacket-like inflatable systems designed for avalanche survival.
Next year I want to draw more. I put a bit of Christmas money into some new art tools that will hopefully encourage me in that direction. I also want to get back into shape - I have no excuse for the shape I'm in following surgery and recovery. And hopefully, find a new job that doesn't involve driving for at least an hour and a half a day.
So good riddance to 2016. Let this awful, awful year serve as a reminder that none of us are as stupid as all of us put together and to take nothing for granted.
Allow me to wish all of you who read this a happy end to 2016 and a happy beginning to 2017. Let's make tomorrow better for everybody.