01. What did you do in 2017 that you’d never done before?
Oh boy, this is a list:
Painted a mural in New York.
Went to another country.
Finalized a deal with Mattel that will make me the most visible artist on Earth.
Flew from one show to another, then on to another.
Exhibited INSIDE of WrestleMania Axxess instead of outside.
Painted live at San Diego Comic-Con.
Hanged out in the VIP with Snoop Dogg. For, like, a second. But it happened, seriously it did.
Got arrested by the Fashion Police. A long time coming on that one, depending on who you ask.
I didn’t do this, but someone dressed up as me for Halloween. That’s a first.
02. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more?
Yup! I wanted to blog more regularly, so I did. I have no idea what to do for next year. Stuff. I want to do stuff in 2018.
03. Did anyone close to you give birth?
I have a friend due to give birth towards the end of this month!
04. Did anyone close to you die?
My childhood best friend Brandon’s grandfather passed away. He was a kind man who loved his family and they loved him.
05. What countries did you visit?
Canada! I finally have a different country this year!
The US of A. Besides my native Missouri and Kansas I made it to Iowa, Illinois, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Nevada, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Virginia, D.C., California, New York, Colorado, Texas, and South Carolina.
06. What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017?
Less anxiety. More time with important people, and by that I mean those important to me who didn’t get to see much of me this year.
07. What date from 2017 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
July 22: The announcement at San Diego Comic Con that I was working with Mattel! It was tremendous, painting live at their massive exhibit, making the announcement through WWE’s social media channels. I seriously got thousands of new followers in hours.
08. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Landing the deal with Mattel, which will see my art included with their WWE Elite line.
09. What was your biggest failure?
Worrying too much about things I don’t have any control over. Empathy can often turn into anxiety and stress. A lot of times in life, when things get intense, it’s good to treat it like an air mask on an airplane: Take care of yourself so that you can then take care of others. If you do the reverse, no one ends up good.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
11. What was the best thing you bought?
My US Passport. I feel like an adult now.
Runner-up: Two robot vacuum cleaners for home and studio. We named them Rosie (Jetsons) and Maria (Metropolis).
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My cats Monkey and Korma. They amaze every day. Also my Mom who was outed as #DeeKC, the person that crochets hats and scarves and leaves them around town for those who need to stay warm. She’s neat.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
I went to Washington, DC for the first time this year and took a walk down the National Mall. I put my hand on the Washington Monument. We took our time in the World War II Memorial and Katy put her hand on the marker for Missouri soldiers and cried thinking of her grandfather and all of those who didn’t get to come home. Katy and I walked down the then-drained Reflecting Pool. We stood where Martin Luther King, Jr did when he gave his ‘I have a dream’ speech. We were held under the gravity of the Lincoln Memorial, of a President who would defend the rights of his people to the point that it caused a Civil War and his ultimate death. I found myself unable to catch my breath going through the Vietnam War Memorial, reading those names and thinking of those in my life who were irrevocably changed because of that conflict.
And then I looked at the Capitol Building and the White House, and I wondered how so many occupants of those buildings could see those same sights and not feel what I was feeling. How they could only take care of themselves, their donors, their lobbyists and their special interests over the people they were elected to represent. That really got to me.
14. Where did most of your money go?
Rent, taxes, food, travel, art supplies, books.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Showing my first Mattel toy to my brother and sisters and saying, “Look, that’s our last name.”
16. What song will always remind you of 2017?
“I Walk on Guilded Splinters” by Johnny Jenkins, featuring Duane Allman on guitar, covering the classic by Dr. John. I had this one pretty much on constant rotation for the latter half of the year. Once Allman starts going it’s as good as guitar gets.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder?
ii. thinner or fatter?
About the same. Ugh.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Taking care of myself, physically and mentally.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
20. How will you be spending Christmas?
Christmas Eve with my mom and step-father. Christmas day I’ll be in Chicago with the cast and crew of Monday Night Raw, then flying out Wednesday to spend time with Katy and family.
22. Did you fall in love in 2017?
Stayed in love.
23. How many one-night stands?
None. I’m married, yo.
24. What was your favorite TV program?
GLOW. Alison Brie and Betty Gilpin rocked it hard. Everyone talks about how great Marc Maron was in the show, and man he was, but these two and the rest of the ladies shined magnificently.
25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I don’t hate. That’s a sign of weakness. Boy do I feel like a minority in that opinion this year.
26. What was the best book you read?
Comic book/graphic novel? ‘The Flintstones’ by Mark Russell and Steve Pugh. Yes, the Flintstones. Really. The original cartoon made comment on the ‘atomic family’ by placing them in the caveman times. This does that, but with today’s consumerism, religion, war, politics, and gender equality: it’s all satirized wonderfully.
Book Book? ‘The Whites’ by Richard Price. No, it has nothing to do with race relations. The titular ‘whites’ are the white whales, the Moby Dicks, the perps that a group of cops knew were guilty but for various flaws in the legal system walked. Then those ‘whites’ start getting killed off and a string of dominoes is set toppling.
27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Gosh, I don’t know that I had any. I more did deep dives into artists and genres I was already into.
28. What did you want and get?
Kind of everything. Is that bad or awful? I don’t take that good fortune for granted at all, and have no expectations of it continuing without even harder work than I’m already putting in.
29. What was your favorite film of this year?
31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
37. Had an excellent lunch with my parents and wife on the Independence square, just a truly good time together. For dinner the wife and I went to our favorite Indian restaurant. Happy belly day! Then Katy and I went to see Baby Driver at the Alamo downtown. After taking the Streetcar home I stopped to give a homeless man sleeping on a bench a $20 bill.
32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A different President.
33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2017?
Stuff I pulled out of a suitcase.
34. What kept you sane?
Katy and the cats. Painting. Reading comic books. Beer.
35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Every woman who stood up and said, “Me too.” Every man who stood with them. Every man who also said it.
I’m glad to see so many predators and their protectors so uncomfortable now.
36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Roy Moore being outed as a child predator and that not being enough for everyone to abandon him. That one hit me to the core, but I’m not a citizen of Alabama so this wasn’t directly affecting me.
What had me calling my Senator every day for months was the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. As someone with a heart condition, my very ability to buy insurance was and still is on the line. WHEN, not IF, I have my third heart attack and should I survive, I’d be either unable to afford emergency aid or go bankrupt for doing so.
37. Who did you miss?
You. You mean a lot to me and I never feel like I do enough to let you know that.
38. Who was the best new person you met?
I’m not narrowing this one down. The whole Mattel crew treated Katy and I amazingly at San Diego Comic Con and have been wonderful to work with. We’re doing something cool together.
39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017.
We need water to live, but too much of it is fatal. We need to drink water, but we can also drown in it. There’s a certain quantity where it’s too much.
I was on the cusp of working too damn much this year. One more trip probably would have been too much for me to handle. I learned a lot about exactly how much I can do, and how I can do more or better if I focus a little more efficiently. 2018 is going to be a lot better personally and professionally because of those lessons. I’m going to drink a lot of water, but I’m not going to worry about drowning.