I rocketed onto the highway this morning to see this year’s final sunrise exploding behind downtown. A nice, natural fireworks display to close out the year. And wow, what a year. On a personal level, a bit smoother than ’07, primarily due to the distinct lack of divorce proceedings, but at a larger scale it’s been something else.

The election of course, took up a healthy amount of our national attention span. In the end that’s good thing because the right guy won, but we all breathed a collective sigh of relief when it was finally done and Sarah Palin was sent packing back to Alaska.

The price of gas is one thing that threw me for a loop. This summer, I thought I’d never take road trip again as he cost of topping off the Subaru in west texas broke $60 a tank – and now? I’m glad it’s cheaper now, but having such a basic building block of our economy fluctuate that much leads me to believe that the Lego-set that is our economy is missing some crucial bricks.

And on that note, we found out what many of us had long suspected – that our economy is built on smoke, mirrors and sub-prime mortgages. Losing a house has to be hard but i don’t have lot of sympathy for folks who don’t read the contracts they sign. Even less so when it starts taking down the whole system. The guys responsible for this mess shouldn’t be sent to jail – seize all their assets and drop them off at homeless shelter. Or better yet, make them work a minimum wage job with no health insurance for the rest of their lives.

Then there was our buddy Ike, reminding us why we don’t build close to the ocean. As much as it sucked, it was also  awesome to see Houston cope with the train wreck of the storm – while FEMA dithered, Houstonians got things done – restaurants cooked off their remaining food rather than let it spoil, giving it away to anyone who wanted it. People, by and large, behaved – no looting or gun battles. The Mayor himself even  got out and directed traffic much to the dismay of a couple of truck drivers and the Governor of Georgia. Most importantly for me – my parents house was ok , and 13 days after landfall they were reintroduced to that modern marvel that makes south texas livable: air conditioning.

On a lighter side, Jamaica was pretty awesome. My first real experience with a tropical island  vacation, and I found that yes, in fact, I excel in sitting on a beach and doing absolutely nothing while people make me fruity drinks.

Bikes were of course ridden this year. We averaged about four rides a week this year by my reckoning, as well as handful of races – not to shabby. This year also averaged I higher number of unauthorized airborne incidents, but that’s life i guess. At least we looked good doing it?

One of the big ticket times for me and my family this year was the loss of my godmother, Kris. She is missed and remembered fondly.

I expect, or I hope 2009 will be like the previous trip around the sun – some good with the bad – but here’s hoping we see more of the former this time around.

Happy new year.

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