Shit that Makes Me Happy 9/21/18
I turned 51 this week and while I usually fill my weekly blog with things that (I believe rightly) annoy me, for the last few years, I’ve devoted my Birthday week to things that make me happy. So if you will indulge me, to celebrate 51 years, here are 51 things that don’t piss me off.
#1: I just saw “Hamilton” yesterday. I mean, I knew I was going to love the show and I did but you know the moment that really sealed it for me? “Immigrants – we get the job done.” Fuck yes they do.
#2: After reading an article about Chevy Chase (in which he is shown to be kind of a pompous dick), I was reminded of this video and so I watched it. Chase is kind of a jackass. But I still love the video. As a bonus, the next video to load was Sledgehammer by Peter Gabriel.
#3: I’m closing in on 29 years married to my best friend. She’s the smartest person I know and she teaches me something important every day. There is not a day that goes by where I’m not keenly aware of how lucky I am.
#4: Somehow, I stumbled into being the director of Vilification Tennis about 25 years ago. At the time, the show drew about twenty five people and the person playing The Judge decided they were done. I ended up climbing up on the bench and look at where we are now. I have forged so many lasting friendships because of the show. Honestly, most of the other good things in my artistic career have started with connections make through Vilification Tennis.
#6: Related: I LOVE the new Star Wars movies. You can hate them if that’s your jam. I’m not going to tell you what you get to enjoy and not enjoy. But The Last Jedi and Rogue One changed the game for me. They shifted what I thought I knew about the Star Wars universe. And Solo was a lot of fun as well. I’m not going to apologize for loving this stuff.
#7: I won the mom lottery. I know it is easy to say such things but look – my mom is one of the strongest and most thoughtful people I know. Relationships between adult kids and parents can be complicated but it never feels that way with her.
#8: OK Go videos. All of them. But I just watched this one so enjoy.
#9: Social Media. I know it isn’t perfect for everyone but for people like me who are extroverted introverts, it is sometimes the best way to interact with people because you can be alone in a room but still with everyone! I don’t know – maybe it is ruining social interaction but I feel closer to more people than I’ve ever felt in my life.
#10: Did I mention that the Captain Marvel trailer dropped ON MY BIRTHDAY? Because it did. And it is glorious. Skrull punching is gonna happen, y’all!
#11: My almost nineteen year old son is in his first year of college. Because he is staying and home and his commute is a five minute walk, I get to talk to him about the experience. He’s not always full of details but I still feel like I’m helping him through the experience. He’s very bright but the first few months are quite the shift in life. I couldn’t be prouder of him.
#12: Did you all notice how good the internet was about spoilers for Infinity War? I mean, I can’t say much more because – you know – spoilers. But while Marvel Movie fans were losing their collective shit, they were doing it respectfully. Good work, everyone!
#13: John Oliver and Trevor Noah are ports in an increasingly frustrating political storm. I don’t know how long this particular storm will last but laughter can help. It can help a lot. Thank you to the comedians who can help make the bullshit a little more tolerable.
#14: In the past year, I’ve gotten to visit Mount Rainier, Glacier, Channel Islands and Theodore Roosevelt National Parks for the first time. I also got a personal tour of the Bear’s Paw National Historic Battlefield from a Ranger who was just so excited someone had shown up and wanted to learn about his park.
#15: Related: For the last two years, I’ve been honored to partner with the Mississippi River National River and Recreation Area to produce a murder mystery on a riverboat. It has been one of the most challenging and rewarding endeavors in my artistic life and I got to work for the National Park Service!!!!
#16: There is a Baskin Robbins ice cream back in the Twin Cities and I got to eat there! Today! Look – I know that gourmet ice cream is better and I should be ashamed of myself but my guiltiest of guilty pleasures is a double dip cone with Baskin Robbins Peppermint Bon Bon on the Bottom and Chocolate Chip on the top. I no longer have to go out of state for it. So that makes me super happy.
#17: My youngest is about to turn fourteen and he’s a really funny kid. He’s faced his challenges at school but he’s finding his own inner strength and that will help him in the challenges he faces in life. I’m super proud of him.
#18: The Great British Baking Show. I know that we were all concerned about the cast shake up but seriously, all that matters is the bakes and the pained expression on a Baker’s face when Paul says “what a shame.” The stark contrast from the Gordon Ramsay “this is f***ing awful” is a delight. PS: I like the Gordon Ramsay style as well but he doesn’t use the word “stodgy” nearly enough.
#19: Say Something by Justin Timberlake. Shut up. The song is actually god damned remarkable. Shut up. But if you want to blow your mind on the level of an OK Go video, watch this one which was performed live and only took one take.
#20: Somehow I have managed to keep producing Geeks Without God with Nick and Molly for over seven years. Every week. No breaks. And I still enjoy everything about doing it. The link above takes you to an episode we recorded with an ex-Scientologist. Even if you aren’t an atheist, it is a great episode.
#21: Sometime in 2019 (we hope because they keep pushing it back), Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will open at Disney World.
#22: Related: They keep saying Illuminations is going away but it hasn’t yet. And I will definitely be able to see it multiple times in January. That deserves some fireworks.
#23: Related: Happily Ever After is one of the greatest fireworks shows ever conceived and even after Illuminations goes away, it will still be happening every night. That deserves some more fireworks.
#24: Colin Kaepernick. He took a knee during the national anthem and he’s been vilified for it ever since. He lost his job. He’s also making millions from Nike so I’m not going to shed too many tears for him. But what he’s saying matters and I respect that he took a knee no matter what it cost him.
#25: The Minnesota State Fair is the best State Fair in the country. You can say I don’t know because I haven’t been to all of them. Doesn’t matter. We all know the truth.
#26: Look at this cat. Isn’t she adorable???
#26: Science. I mean, I could pick parts of it but all of it is pretty damn cool. I mean, I’m disappointed about the impossibility of faster than light travel but you gotta take the good with the bad.
#27: I have a LEGO Saturn V Rocket in my dining room.
#28: Would you be my Neighbor? A documentary about a man who was, of course, not perfect (he was a lifelong Republican – dang it) but who was as good a person as most of us could ever hope to be.
#29: AMC A-List. I mean, yeah, I love that we have an Alamo Drafthouse in the Twin Cities now but A-List means I just go through the trouble of making time to see movies. And I spent a lot less on doing so. I’ve gotten to see several movies that I would not have otherwise seen. Including the aforementioned Would you be my Neighbor?
#30: Did I mention I’m in an awesome band? The Dregs are this strange hybrid of music and comedy and what ends up on stage some days is equal mixtures of bizarre and wonderful. I literally can’t wait to be on stage with them. A bonus has been the way Molly, Trevor, Paul, and I have managed to gel as a unit given health issues that Rachael and Suze have faced. Our band is great when it is the six of us but when the four of us find ourselves on our own, I’m no less confident in the product.
#31: It can be a challenge to find Stretchy & Tangy Grape Laffy Taffy but when I do, it is a really good day.
#32: Related: Because I don’t find them that often, my A1C has been down below 7.0 for over six months.
#33: Also related: Salads are amazing! Well, mostly salad dressing is amazing. But as a transportation device designed to get salad dressing into my mouth, you can’t beat a good salad.
#34: I get to participate in the Minnesota Fringe Festival every year. And yeah, it has some challenges it needs to iron out. But I also get to write crazy weird stuff like “A Family Friendly Pulp Fiction,” I get to see friends and colleagues stretch their wings as artists, and I get to watch truly transcendent theater like “Blood Nocturne.” What could be better?
#35: Doctor Christine Blasey Ford. She is one of the bravest people on this planet, people. Never forget that what she is doing takes more courage than Brett Kavanaugh or Donald Trump have ever possessed. And she has to know that the end result is her attempted rapist will probably be a Supreme Court Justice anyway. Just like Clarence Thomas.
#36: Related: Anita Hill.
#37: Four Humors Theater is stepping up and creating the new Minnesota Theater Awards. They saw a void and had no idea how to fill it. But they are going to try to figure it out and I think that is fantastic.
#38: New Doctor Who on October 7th. And you might have heard, The Doctor is being played by a woman. It’s about time.
#39: Black Lives Matter still exists. And black lives still matter.
#40: The #metoo movement, if it can be properly called a “movement”. I mean it is really just women (and yes – some men) speaking up and saying “this happened to me and let’s stop pretending that it didn’t.” There is an implicit trust that society might learn how to do good things with the knowledge. I hope that trust pays off.
#41: My dad died when he was 49. That sounds like a sad thing and it is but I’m 51. I’ve outlived him by two years. Every day I have is one more than he had. And that knowledge is important to me because it reminds me that I need to be grateful for my time because you never know when it is up.
#42: A lot of the news coming out of CONvergence this year was problematic but you know what? It is still an amazing convention and I helped make that.
#43: This blog helps me process a lot of horrible stuff every week. I’m glad other people read it and that, maybe, it helps them process things as well. At the same time, it really makes a huge difference to me.
#44 I took this picture this year (not saying it is the greatest picture but I was there):
#45: At some point, I will not dislike this number quite so much as I dislike it right now.
#46: The red curry at Pad Thai on Grand Avenue in St. Paul is one of those things my atoms will remember as they travel through space after I’m gone.
#47: I know so many amazingly talented, bright, and funny people and couldn’t be more fortunate to have them all in my life.
#48: I got to write an adaptation of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow with my good friend Duck Washington. I’ll be going up at the Twin Cities Horror Fest. I hope you go.
#49: I make A Reel Education with my amazing co-host Melissa Kaercher and it means that a couple times a month, I just get to sit down and watch a movie and then talk about it.
#50: The rest of the country will never understand how tragic it is that they don’t have Old Dutch Potato Chips in their life.
#51: I get to be the Artistic Director of Fearless Comedy Productions. Watching these people create new things every year is one of the greatest pleasures in my life. Theater is one of the most supportive environments there is. Like everything else, it isn’t perfect. But it strives for great things and when it falls short, it tries again.
And my final thought is just to say I have a fundraiser going for my Birthday. If you enjoy this blog, toss $10 to Fearless Comedy Productions. My initial goal was $250 and I made it there. I upped it to $350 but I’d love it if I could raise $500 for our work.