Shit That Doesn’t Piss Me Off – 9/16
For regular readers of my Shit that Pissed me Off column, I did something a little different last year. For the first time since I began writing, my birthday fell on a Friday. I opted to reflect on the good things I saw in the world rather than the bad ones.
Obviously, my birthday isn’t on a Friday this year. It is on a Sunday. But I’m still going to focus on the good things. I turn 49 on Sunday. It is something of a personal year for me because my dad died when he was 49 years old and I can’t help but think that soon, every day I’m alive will be one more day than he ever had.
The challenge for me today, of course, is to write about 49 things that don’t piss me off and that are different from the 48 things I wrote about last year.
Never fear, I’m going to post Shit that Pissed me off on Monday! You still get a full helping of negativity. I’m just going to make my birthday about the good things.
So here, my friends, are 49 things that do not piss me off.
1) I don’t know if it’ll happen. I certainly hope it will. But whether it does or not, we have the opportunity to put a woman in the oval office. I’ve heard all the arguments about “not this woman” and everyone has a right to make their own decisions. For me, though, the simple fact a woman could win is a gigantic step.
2) Speaking of women, that Ghostbusters remake was pretty fucking awesome. I don’t feel like I have to make excuses for liking it. How amazing is that? If you want me to make excuses, you can shut up and stop harassing my squee.
3) As I write this column, I am looking at a shelf that holds a LEGO Millennium Falcon, a LEGO Ecto 1, and a LEGO Han Solo frozen in carbonite.
4) Cake by the Ocean by DNCE. I’d like to pretend that I can turn this song off but it simply isn’t true. Explicit lyrics, please. I’d rather go fucking crazy. Not even sure what crazy crazy is. Yes, I’m listening to it right now.
5) The National Park system is 100 years old this year. Anyone who doesn’t understand what an incredible gift Stephen Mather gave to the United States needs to spend a little time exploring the natural wonders they worked so hard to protect. Better still, go find a strip mine or a coal burning power plant or an industrial park to remind yourself why it is important that someone stopped them from putting a dam in the grand canyon. Humans make and do amazing things. Sometimes, though, the amazing thing we do is leaving something alone.
6) I fucking love science. I mean that is actually true but what I am specifically referring to is the Facebook group.
7) John Oliver’s epic takedown of Donald Trump’s wall. I admit it horrifies me that there is a possibility Donald Trump could become our President. If he does, the only comfort I can offer to the millions of Americans who will be fucked over by his narcissism is this: Oliver will document every messed up moment brilliantly.
8) For the first time since 1999, I’m not just looking forward to a new Star Wars film, I’m excited.
9) As an artist, I’ve been working outside of my comfort zone a lot this year. I’ve been writing short stories almost every week and I’d like to think that some of them are actually pretty good. I participated in a storytelling show at the Minnesota Fringe and got some very nice reviews for both my writing and presentation. I tried out for a show. I’ve written some plays that challenged me in new and different ways. I’m still not where I want to be as an artist and I know that most of the responsibility to get there is on my shoulders. I feel I’ve made some really important steps, though. And hey, I wrote this!
10) I am finally comfortable with calling myself an artist.
11) Mesa Verde National Park. I’ve wanted to visit Mesa Verde for as long as I can remember and this year, I finally got there. I’m not entirely sure what my expectations were but the experience of being there surpassed every one of them. Even better, my kids loved it too. When you consider we went on a vacation that included the Grand Canyon, Arches, Bryce, and Zion, I couldn’t be more pleased that Mesa Verde was their favorite.
12) Speaking of that trip where we saw Mesa Verde, I will always remember it as one of the greatest experiences of my life. I saw a sunrise at the Grand Canyon, Mercury traversing the sun, Monument Valley, the smallest snail in the world, and my kids climbing around this place:
12) Disney Magic Kingdoms. It is the most dopey game in the world because all you do is collect resources and build rides but you need to understand that I got to build Space Mountain! Yes, I’ve also built It’s a Small World but I GOT TO BUILD SPACE MOUNTAIN!
13) In what may be a controversial statement right now, I love the Minnesota Fringe. I love that it has provided a consistent opportunity for me to take chances and explore my own abilities. I love that for ten days, I see work by people that challenges me to do better. I love that I make new friends every year. I love that the Twin Cities theater community becomes a true community.
14) Fruit Flies Like a Banana by the Fourth Wall. One of the most amazing theatrical experiences I’ve ever had the pleasure to watch. Three very talented and creative individuals creating something that transcends what I have always thought of as theater. Also, it turns out they are interesting and funny and have some great stories if you ever sit down with them over beer and poutine.
15) I discovered I share a birthday with Matthew Kessen. We may ascribe too much importance to birthdays but I can’t deny I enjoy learning I share a birthday with someone whom I really like and respect.
16) Stranger Things. I mean everyone seems to love Stranger Things and that makes me something of a joiner. But when everyone is right, joining isn’t a bad thing.
17) He didn’t get the nomination, but Bernie Sanders accomplished something no politician has accomplished in a long time: He moved the Democratic Party further to the left.
18) In January, I get to go on an all adult trip to Disney World. I love going to Disney with the kids but I can’t deny that going with a bunch of adults who love Disney is pretty damned exciting. I don’t think anyone can appreciate The Haunted Mansion like a bunch of Disney obsessed adults.
19) Losing my Religion. I’ve been a fan of R.E.M. since college (thanks 80’s) but this song will always be my favorite song of theirs and quite possibly just my favorite song. Maybe it’s the mandolin.
20) When I go to the Minnesota State Fair, I can get these:
21) The Marvel Cinematic Universe. I know DC is trying and that’s great. Marvel is succeeding.
22) The DC Television Universe. Except for “Gotham.” I just can’t get into that show. But then there’s “Flash, Arrow,” and “Supergirl.” All is forgiven.
23) MasterChef and MasterChef Junior. They make me want to learn how to cook. And to teach my kids how to make something other than macaroni and cheese.
24) Fearless Comedy Productions. So much going on with this company. Not all of it perfect. Not all of it easy. But I’m surrounded by talented people who want to try things. Watching them explore what they want to do is exciting and energizing and makes me want to do better. And hey – if you want to know about the cool stuff we are doing and maybe help by volunteering or just participating in things like open improv jams, you can like our Enthusiast page on Facebook. It’d be a nice birthday gift.
25) Colin Kaepernick. I don’t even care if you agree with what he is trying to say. The fact that he’s not afraid to make a public statement about something in the face of deafening backlash is worthy of respect. Ask yourself if you would have the guts to speak out for something important to you in front of as many people as he is going to be doing it for the next several weeks. If the answer is “no,” then you should keep your judgements about his actions to your damn self.
26) Cats. Specifically I love that one of my cats likes to sleep on my feet and night. Not next to them. On them. There is something comforting about it to me. We lost two of our cats in the last year and that was very painful. One was expected and the other was surprising and devastating. I wouldn’t trade their companionship for anything, though.
27) The Ark Encounter in Kentucky would appear to be a complete disaster. I shouldn’t wish failure on anyone but when you have people trying to pretend a fable is a reality and using really horrible science to “prove” it, I want to watch it burn. You can pretend evolution doesn’t exist all you want. When you pretend there is science to back that belief up and you build a theme park to support it, I get cranky.
28) Brown rice. I really like brown rice. The fact it is better for me than white rice is just a bonus.
29) If you really want to give me something for my Birthday, you could support Geeks Without God on Patreon. I really enjoy making the podcast but we could use some better equipment and Patreon is a great platform when it comes to helping support creatives make things.
30) I love Ruth Bader Ginsburg. We need to make her immortal. That should be on our global agenda.
31) I love that we live in an age where this can be a T-shirt:
32) I love that for seven weekends a year, I get to sit by a fire and listen to people tell stories about their day at the Renaissance Festival. I have to thank Mark Lazarchic for that.
33) Speaking of Mark, I love Blue Sun Soda shop. I can’t drink much soda any more being as I’m a diabetic and all, but I’d really like to just drink soda from his shop from now on. There is so much passion for the product in what he does and that is why he has created something successful. Good on him.
34) I love the fact we are getting a Doctor Strange movie and I know the guy who wrote it.
35) I think Matt Damon is one of the best, most likable actors out there and The Martian was one of my favorite movies of the last year in no small part because he was the lead. I can understand how Sarah Silverman feels about him.
36) I love how, as a Vikings fan, we all start out every season thinking this one will end differently than every one that preceded it.
37) I love that I just got to re-watch The Shawshank Redemption and it is just as good as the first time I watched it.
38) There are all these reasons to hate social media but I know about the lives of people I haven’t spoken with for decades. When a friend moves away, it sucks. But I no longer feel like they are completely out of my life.
39) Vilification Tennis is something I’ve done for a long time and it is easy think that we might start running on auto pilot. The people involved, though, will never let that happen. They are always thinking about what makes our show work and ways to make it work better.
40) It sucks that they are gone but for a moment, I’d just like to remember all of the good things Prince, David Bowie, Glen Frey, Gene Wilder, and so many more gave all of us while they were alive.
41) I love knowing how hard it is to create something because it helps me appreciate the work of others. Knowing that it hurts to play an instrument helps me to respect the discipline of others who play instruments. Knowing that writing is not always easy and not always fun helps me respect those who spend their lives writing.
42) Illuminations at EPCOT center. Doesn’t matter how many times I go back, I could watch that show every night.
43) Disney Crossy Road. It’s like frogger but instead of a frog, you are playing with Disney Characters. Only problem, there is not a muppet version yet. Because if there was a muppet version, you could play crossy road as Kermit the Frog!!!
44) I wrote about my family last year individually and I said I wasn’t going to repeat myself. So I’m going to cheat and mention them all together! I have two wonderful, smart kids. My mom is a great traveling companion and has always been very supportive of her children. My brother and sister-in-law are filled with so much energy and such an intense desire to experience as much of life as possible. My wife is thoughtful and pretty much always finds a phrase things better than I ever could. Everyone loves their family. I love spending time with mine.
45) This selfie:
46) Tater tots. Seriously, I don’t think human beings really understood what they were doing with potatoes until they came up with the Tater Tot.
47) This summer, I spent two days in The Badlands with my wife. It has been a while since we went somewhere with just the two of us and it was one of the true highlights in a year filled with them.
48) As of May, I have visited more than half of the National Parks in the United States.
49) I was born in a century and a country where electric lights, automobiles, indoor plumbing, vaccines, computers, and moving pictures are all commonplace. Statistically speaking, I am very fortunate to live where I do and when I do. I hope I never forget that.