Sunday, December 8, 2013

That Thankfulness Thing - 2013


When last we (I) spoke (posted), there was a novel that needed my attention.  That one is now a finished first draft, and I had so much fun completing it, I cranked out another one in November, for National Novel Writing Month.  As a result, I once again failed to post something for which I'm thankful each day of November.  Yes, I hear you.  YOU'RE WELCOME!  Sounds as ghastly boring for the writer as I'm sure it does for the reader.

That's why I do *THIS*, instead.  Needless to say, I'm grateful for all the requisite things:  job, home, health, family, and above all, [Maris].  But there's so much more...

1.  The Trans-Siberian Orchestra.  It's like the Fourth of July and Christmas had a baby, and added two extremely gifted guitarists.

Photo by Joe - 2012

2.  Loren Bouchard, creator of "Bob's Burgers."  I'm a sucker for witty dialogue and wild-but-believable child characters.  He is also responsible for the ingenious "Home Movies" and "Lucy, Daughter of the Devil."  Do yourself a favor and find these old, short-lived shows on the Huluverse or whatever.  They're very clever.

3.  A yankees-free baseball postseason.  Even without my Nats and/or O's, it was pure joy to watch, this year.  Bonus points for getting rid of the braves in short order, too!

4.  Humidifiers.  Machines that emit beautifully-moist air and mesmerizing white noise, and dare us to attempt to clean them.

5.  Hoboes.  ALL THESE PEOPLE, and those who succeeded them.  They complete me.  Not really.  But they keep walking, and trying, and surviving.  I like that.

6.  The sand cat at the National Zoo.  He's incredibly shy, but he said hi to [Maris] and me before vanishing for the night at the grown-up version of "Boo At The Zoo."

7.  While we're at the zoo, I can't begin to express my gratitude for the people and giant pandas responsible for little baby Princess Bao Bao, whose name ("precious treasure") totally suits her.  After last year's heartbreak, the joy is just that much greater.
Photo by Abby Wood, Smithsonian National Zoo - 2013

8.  Lint.  It's not just a currency, anymore.

9.  Leo the parakeet.  When no one else could teach me how to say "Pretty pretty pretty stupid weird bird," Leo was up to the task.

10.  30 pounds.  Not sure where they went, and despite the fact that about 7 of them came back, I'm thankful for their disappearance.

11.  The prospect of an outfield patrolled by Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper, and Nate McClouth.  Start working on your beard, Nate.

12.  The Patron Spirits Company.  Obviously, their tequilas are top-shelf, but they also quietly produce Pyrat XO, one of the finest blended rums in the known universe.  That's something I think we can all enjoy!

13.  The Intracoastal Waterway.  I've never seen anything larger than a 19-footer on it, but I still think it's neat.

14.  Sharknado!  If the people who breathed life into this blissfully abominable work of crap did so with "awesomely bad movie" in mind, then they succeeded brilliantly.  If, however, they were serious about making a real sci-fi thriller, then having it turn out the way it did (you can smell it from space) is its own special brand of genius.

15.  Steroid-free living.  I fully expect it to be short-lived, but for now, it's the best thing ever.

16.  Simple Minds.  They, like so many aging bands, are as good now as they were 25 years ago.  Were it not for Simple Minds, I'm not sure how I would have survived my freshman year of college.  They serenaded a packed house at DC's 9:30 Club a few weeks ago, and it was totally worth leaving the beach for.  Jim, Charlie, Mel, Ged, and Andy - here's to you.
Photo by Joe - 2013

17.  Dogs.  'Nuff said.

18.  H. Jon Benjamin - The coolest voice actor since Patrick Warburton.  Anyone who can be Jason AND Coach McGuirk, AND Bob Belcher, AND Sterling Archer, and make every one of them seem real and unique and interesting, is okay in my book.  All right, so he's not in my book - or any of my other books - but still.  He's got a gift.

19.  The fact that I know what the fox says.  Trust me when I tell you that you do NOT want to know.

20.  Jolt Mints and Kickstart.  Caffeine, delivered.  I canNOT imagine life without these marvelous inventions.  Well, I can, but it's an ugly, post-apocalyptic imagined life, so I try not to imagine it.

21.  Two novels.  Two.  In the span of five months.  And one of them might even have potential.  Actually, they both have potential, but one has a lot farther to go than the other.  Stay tuned.  And no, there are no (real) zombies.  Might be a hobo or two, though.

22.  Legs.  Still.  Legs.

23.  The National Gateway Project.  On-time and on-budget - so far.  It's neat!

24.  Allie Brosh.  If you haven't experienced her book, or her blog Hyperbole and a Half, go now and do so.  We'll wait.  Go!

25.  Did you go?  I wasn't kidding.  GO!  She's brilliant and flawed, hilarious and heartbreaking, just like life.  Anyway, so... number 25... Um... BREAD.  I love bread.

26.  Sleep.  Can you remember when you were a child, and you resisted sleep, for fear of missing something or whatever?  I can't.  I gobble up sleep like it's made of Doritos.  I'm typing these thankfulness things faster and faster, just so I can hurry up and go to sleep. 

27.  Candles.  They make [Maris] happy, and as I've said before, Fellow Males:  WHO DOESN'T WANT A HAPPY PARTNER???

28.  Snow.  Ha ha ha just kidding - I'm an adult now.  Snow is the WORST. 

29.  That vintage arcade machine at Playland in Rehoboth Beach - the one with the miniature fire truck that shot real live water at the little "fire" targets.  When I'm a zillionaire, I will find myself one of these machines and buy it and love it and feed quarters to it all day long.

30.  1983.  It was pretty much all downhill from there.

And with that, I am BACK.  Stick with me - more to come.  Hopefully, something for everyone!