What I’ll Take From 2008…



In no particular order, 10 things that will stick out in my mind from the past 12 months…

10. Getting Netflix

So I’ve had Netflix for a little less than a month and I’ve watched…28 movies.  Seriously, who was holding out on turning me onto this?!?  (I like movies by the way.)

9. Tiger Woods doing it again at Torrey Pines

Yes, I finally get around to talking about sports!  I’m one of those who takes a greater interest in the tournaments when I know Tiger is in contention going into the weekend.  So when he charged up the leaderboard heading into the weekend, I took notice.  When it was clear he was playing through pain, I really started keeping my eye on each hole.  And when he started hitting those birdies that we can all agree only Tiger Woods can make, I started getting excited.  When Rocco refused to back down and kept the pressure on Tiger all the way through Monday, I was one of the many men (in my office and around the country), who was logged on to ESPN.com or USOpen.com and watching the playoff from my work computer.  And after it was over and Tiger had to cancel the rest of his season because his leg was jacked up so bad, I wondered what else this cat could do to impress me as a sports fan.  I’ve really got to get serious about picking up the clubs in 09…

8. Facebook

Malik Aziz never has to attend another high school or college reunion for the rest of his life.

Malik Aziz can promote whatever he’s working on without ever having to pick up a phone.

Malik Aziz likes the digital revolution but hopes people remember a Facebook ‘hug/kiss/relationship’ is nothing compared to the real thing.

7. University of Kansas, 2008 National Champions

I’m (in)famously not as emotionally attached to KU as most of the people I went to school with, but unless you’re a complete Jayhawk hater (I do know a few), you had to love the Final Four this past year, where KU saved their best two games for last.  The giant comeback against North Carolina (exorcising the ghost of Roy Williams in the process), and Mario Chalmers’ miracle three to key the Jayhawks pulling away from Memphis in the final game.  One of my Jayhawk friends out here had to work and missed the title game; he asked me if the game was as good as he heard it was, and I had to take pity and tell him, “Honestly, it was.”

6. The last season of ‘the Wire’

My friend Nae-Mon is finally working his way through season 1, so I won’t go into who lives and dies in the last season.  I didn’t have HBO, but I must have made my way to friend’s houses at least five different times this year so I wouldn’t be left out of the loop Monday mornings.  David Simon came down to USC as a guest speaker during the season, and there I was sitting in the front row (literally) listening to him take questions about one of the best TV series of all time (yeah add me to the chorus, and I wasn’t even the biggest fanboy on the front row, but I’m not going to put my friend on blast like that).  The fifth season wasn’t the best season, the series finale wasn’t the best series finale ever, but you know what?  It had closure to every major storyline and character that the audience had invested their Sunday nights into.  After watching this (and a couple weeks later the series finale to the British version of the Office and Extras), I have even more contempt as a fan and as a storyteller when we get to the end of an otherwise great series and

(cut to black)

5. Family

As fate would have it, I saw my family twice this year.  Once during my annual trip to Kansas, and once over Christmas.  And I hear from my cousins every once in a while (again the magic of the internet).  Family is what it is; you only get one.

4. President-Elect Barack Obama

I wasn’t as passionate as most about this past election, but Lord knows I was aware of the historical significance of it.  Nothing to repeat here; the next four years are going to be a pain for all of us I think.  Really, if Obama can get us out of that ‘most hated country in the world’ image (and don’t be fooled, we are), then I’ll consider the next four years a success.

3. Health

I had to make five visits to the doctor this year, which is five more than I remember making the past ten years.  And I still feel terrible!  But I can still walk, run, go to the gym, everything I’ve always done, just a little bit slower. 

2. The Dark Knight

 Because some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.

Sometimes, truth isn’t good enough, sometimes people deserve more. Sometimes people deserve to have their faith rewarded.

You have nothing, nothing to threaten me with. Nothing to do with all your strength.

You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.

Don’t talk like one of them. You’re not! Even if you’d like to be. To them, you’re just a freak, like me! They need you right now, but when they don’t, they’ll cast you out, like a leper! You see, their morals, their code, it’s a bad joke. Dropped at the first sign of trouble. They’re only as good as the world allows them to be. I’ll show you. When the chips are down, these… these civilized people, they’ll eat each other. See, I’m not a monster. I’m just ahead of the curve.

Endure, Master Wayne. Take it. They’ll hate you for it, but that’s the point of Batman, he can be the outcast. He can make the choice that no one else can make, the right choice.

Because he’s the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we’ll hunt him because he can take it. Because he’s not our hero. He’s a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A dark knight.

(nodding to myself as I wipe the tears out of my cowl and the cops chase me up Sunset Boulevard…)

1. Friends

This year I definitely hit a lot more rough patches than smooth ones.  Without fail though, whenever I got real down on myself, I’d get a text message or a phone call or an email, and within five minutes I’d be laughing so hard I forgot what I was down about in the first place.  I’ve been in the game long enough now to appreciate how life constantly throws out curveballs and changes the best-laid plans, so it’s ironic for someone as ‘Hollywood’ as myself that my most valued possession is my friends.  I definitely haven’t always valued people first, and some of those friends delight in reminding me of that (there’s one cat in particular whose laughing through his nose right now).  Hopefully I’m not ruining anything for anyone, but I mentioned Extras earlier.  In the finale, there’s a fantastic monologue about the main character, who’s the star of his own sitcom and eats at the nicest restaurants, etc., and he’s insanely jealous of one of his peers who’s become a movie star (a bigger star than him).  And his friend tries to tell him, if he’s still jealous now, then he’ll always be that way.  There’s always going to be some job, or some award, or something that he’ll want that he doesn’t have.  And he’ll have spent his life being jealous of someone else’s life instead of taking pride in his own work and being happy inside his own.  And of course he blows her off, but eventually he understands the lesson.  Another good friend of mine (the smuggest person I know) has gotten on me for years about not forgetting where I came from.  There’s truth in that too, and I don’t think I have forgotten where I came from.  I’m starting to ramble so here’s my point: years from now, when they found my dead body sitting in my favorite office chair, surrounded by mounds of coke a la Tony Montana, overdosed after my wife, Natalie Portman-Aziz, finds out I have a love child with Minka Kelly, then, I won’t have forgotten who my friends were.  Does that make sense?  No?  Well, I don’t care, I’m selling out in 2009, deal with it!

Have a Happy New Year!


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