Monday, December 31, 2007

Top Ten 2007

My Top Ten Moments of 2007.

My GGR, my culture plays a game called "top ten lists". It is a very common game at the end of a year. First, an explanation. By "my culture" I am referring to my little world of experience and the parts of which I assume that the people I know also experience. So, mass media, which reaches everyone I speak with, is part of my culture whereas my sore ankle is not (although, if everyone I knew had a sore ankle from a similar basketball injury then I would consider this shared experience to be culture).

I call "top ten" a game but that's not really the language we would use. There's no popularized word for the specific filters that mainstream culture encourages us to use to experience the world. Top ten lists have been around as long as I can remember. I call it a game because it is puzzling, challenging, and creative task to prioritize things into an order which can be debated. The mass media often organizes entertainment into top ten (or even top 100) lists. Everyone in my culture has a general sense of the top ten television shows, movies, and people (yes we are even given lists that rank people). At the end of the year the "top ten" game is commonly used to reflect upon the past 365 days. We are bombarded with top ten lists. Even top ten moments within the top ten television shows. So I'm going to play the game of top ten with my personal recollections of 2007. I present them in the order that I remember them. There's no regular criteria for a top ten list (allowing them to be endlessly debatable). I suspect the underlying criteria for most entertainment lists is ability to generate advertising revenue.

1. Performing on stage and announcing that I would like to take the next step to being an artist worthy of watching: and that step is total honesty and full disclosure. I asked the audience if they had any questions to challenge me. The whole day I was worried they were going to ask me what images I find sexually arousing and in the end they only asked me what I am most afraid of (death) and if I had ever hurt someone (of course, I told a story about the only completely malicious prank I pulled).

2. Finishing the writing of my feature length script. It was late, I was delusional, and one of the last scenes was so heartfelt that I started to cry. I hope everyone watches the movie on little sleep.

3. My final MEI trip was a masterpiece. I was very aware that I had hit my stride teaching philosophy and helping to lead the trip through Spain and France. I still feel I have a lot of history to learn. I know little about India, and reading Rebellion in the Backlands reminds me I know next to nothing about Brazil. But I am proud of my knowledge. Nothing surprises me in European history anymore. I feel like I have the whole picture and I know exactly where new puzzle pieces will fit.

4. Communication. Writing a script put a lot of thing into perspective for me and I feel like I have emerged as a greater conversationalist -speaker, and listener. I am honored that people trust me more and consider me unnervingly insightful. It's definitely related to becoming a better lover. I guess this is more of a theme than a moment.

5. Haunting of Matt Lemche. Technically, this was last December, but it carried through 2007. Making a short film with Matt was a great experience. It was quite rushed and I'm still proud of the quality.

6. Stand up. I don't relate to comedians who feel they have to test material in front of audiences before they can craft a longer show. I've always felt that I could write a show in my head and an audience would enjoy it. I proved that to myself in February and I just did another show in December. I know that I always perform to people who already know and like me but I also feel that my best work is on its way. Those shows were still a personal triumph. Each show of support is a reason for me to keep to creating comedy.

7. MEI Spring 2007. An all-star staff. A fine crew of students. I'm glad Matt was there because it was nice to go to the same places with someone who was new and appreciative. I felt like this was my victory lap around Europe. Late one night Lauren, Matt, and I snuck down to the beach. The air was cool and we were draped in hotel blankets. Lauren memorably claimed we were three wizards. That memory is a gateway to a thousand fond memories from that trip. Matt playing guitar. Playing frisbee in the rain. Playing ping pong during an ISU (each student does two "ISU"s. They are essentially extensive interviews with a teacher).

8. Building a steadicam. Classic engineer Dad and brother to the rescue. A quality homemade product with respects to the DIY strand of the internet.

9. I'm not sure if my memories are from this year or somewhere within the last three years. I'm thinking of things like stenciling t-shirts, the Vipassana retreat, celebrating car-theft day, first book club meeting, having Luis and Liz construct a movie set for me from stuff around the house, and I'm just trying to settle on some memory that is older than December but still in 2007... Well, this one was quite recent but I have fond memories of my brother, Andrew (who has now started a blog), deciding that we should roll the largest snowball. It had just snowed and the texture was what we call quality packing snow. So we rolled a ball that we could barely push. Then in one tremendous heave it split in two. I fell over the first chunk and was uppercutted by the second. Fantastic.

10. Today my brother is having a birthday party. I'm reminded of his last party back when I was testing a board game I invented. Only to find out that someone else had invented it before me. They had a better scoring system whereas I had better questions. I should get back on the making a game train.

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