2014: The Year In Things That Didn’t Suck

The general consensus is that 2014 sucked for many reasons. My lame list includes everything from the Congressional election results, to money woes, to the Oakland Raiders’ Commitment to Excrement, to my recent bout of shingles.

But 2014 didn’t serve up only stinkburgers. There were some aspects of this year that I actually liked. I’ll list the ones that might have some meaning for you here.

Favorite Movie (blockbuster): I haven’t seen Guardians of the Galaxy, so I can’t join the chorus in support of that flick. Instead I’ll sing a note for Live, Die, RepeatEdge of Tomorrow. It’s still a rotten title for a very good, and refreshingly original, sci-fi action movie.

Favorite Movie (non-blockbuster): Among the movies I saw in the theater, I’d have to go with The Obvious Child. But of the movies 2014 introduced me to, I’d have to go with one I’d inexplicably left unseen for a couple of decades: Do the Right Thing. I’m sure Jenny Slate won’t mind losing out to Spike, just this once.

Favorite Book: Being Wrong by Kathryn Schulz. One of the best books I’ve read on the many ways we fail to recognize what’s in front of us. Highly, highly, highly recommended.

Favorite Public Policy Initiative: The Affordable Care Act. This was the year that my health insurance allowed me to see a doctor without sweating the bill, which came in handy because, for the first time in some time, several issues came up for me that required a medical mind. All of them have improved, and none of them hurt me financially. It’s not the greatest health care arrangement I can imagine–as Han Solo would say “I can imagine quite a bit”–but it’s way ahead of where we were a year ago. Thanks, Obama!

Favorite New (To Me) Comedian: Jenny Yang was winning this going away right up until November, when I saw someone else lurking in the Seattle comedy scene who I hope will eventually become too expensive for me to watch: Tyler Smith. This guy killed at the benefit for Mona Concepcion’s son. His set was tight, and his bit about consulting with an old woman on her first legal weed purchase made me laugh hard. If you get a chance, check him out.

Favorite New (To Me) Youtube Channel: Steve Shives. I’ve linked to some of his stuff over the last few months. His 5 Stupid Things series is incredibly addictive. And his Steve and Stuffy videos make me feel less odd about the voices I assign to my teddy bears. (Yes, you read that.)

Party I Actually Liked Attending: Kristen Young’s annual pig roast. Great food, great weather, social without being overwhelming or exhausting. Thanks, Kristen.

Favorite New Friends, Associates, Cronies, People on Social Media I Actually Hardly Know, or What You Will: Eileen Goudge, Scott Whitmore, Casey Raiha, Tiffany Wan, Nina Burleigh, Barry Crimmins, Kelly Carlin, Julia Sweeney, the Woman Known To Me As Penny Dreadful, and Mrs. B. Natural.

And of course the incomparable Venice Buhain, who kept me alive.

Oh, and I mustn’t forget Inklings bookstore in Yakima, WA. If I had a thousand people like their events manager, I’d be ruling the world right now.

If you got to know me this year and you’re not on this list, you should ponder all the ways you might have disappointed me.

Happy 2015, everybody!

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