This is a re-post from something I put up on Facebook. Here goes!
1. My friends called me Indiana Josh in elementary school because I was (and, yes, I still am) a huge Indiana Jones fan.
2. My first job out of college was as an intern/editorial assistant for Chris Claremont at Marvel Comics in New York City.
3. I met my wife at a high school gym show. She was annoyed because I kept talking to her and she really wanted to flirt with someone else. Good thing I’m persistent!
4. My top five favorite hiking trips of all time are: Scottish Highlands (2000), Icelandic Backcountry (2006), Tour du Mont Blanc – Italy, Switzlerland, and France (2003), England’s Pennine Way (2003), and Chile’s Atacama Desert (2005).
5. I only have one kidney.
6. I was raised in a very Republican family. Now I often, but not always, vote Democrat, because I agree with liberals on most social issues.
7. I went to a Catholic college, despite not being Catholic.
8. My top five favorite TV shows of all time are: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Alias, Chuck, Doctor Who, and The Amazing Race.
9. I have written more than 25 published travel articles that have appeared in the Boston Globe, USA Today, and SmarterTravel.com, among others. Lately I’ve become more interested in travel photography, however.
10. My top five movies of all time are: Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Princess Bride, The Empire Strikes Back, Ghostbusters, and Highlander. I could (and often do) watch each of them over and over again.
11. I fully acknowledge that most of my top five movies are kind of cheesy.
12. I entered college as a computer science major. I graduated with degrees in English Literature and Imperial Russian History. I’m sure my parents were thrilled.
13. I’ve been at my current job longer than high school and college *combined.* That blows my mind.
14. A lot of people think I’m outgoing, but inside I’m actually like borderline social anxiety disorder.
15. I still think Bryan Adams’ “Reckless” is one of the best CDs *ever.* What, you think your taste in music is so much better?
16. When I first published this list I accidentally skipped # 16.
17. My son is awesome.
18. My top five favorite cities I’ve visited: London, England; Edinburgh, Scotand; Santiago, Chile; Panama City, Panama; and Valetta, Malta.
19. Most surprisingly tasty thing I’ve ever eaten: Live termites directly from the nest. They taste like squirmy little carrots. (Yes, really.)
20. I’d like to get at least one of my novels published before I die (but I’ll settle for posthumous accolades, if I must).
21. I still get a chill whenever I think about the 2004 Red Sox.
22. I actually kind of like romantic comedies. (Just not any of the ones starring Meg Ryan.)
23. My least favorite city in the world is Las Vegas. So, naturally, I’ve been there three times.
24. Penny and I have been together for almost 16 years!
25. People think this is weird, but I don’t really like the summer. Too hot! Give me a nice, brisk fall day any time.
We packed up Ethan in about 100 layers of clothes and jackets and hats and mittens, inflated a giant inner tube thingy, piled into the car, and headed to our newly discovered sledding hill in Wenham.
It’s been a while since I’ve been sledding, let alone in this much powdery snow (about a foot deep), and one thing I’d forgotten is what a cardio workout it is climbing up the hill over and over and over again. Stick a 30-pound toddler on your back and it gets really strenuous.
I think we did about 10-12 runs down a very long hill. Penny and I had a great time. Ethan… wasn’t so sure about the whole thing. I guess when you’re not even two years old, rocketing down a steep hill at insane speeds while snow flies into your face at all angles might qualify as a form of child abuse. Who knew?
Later, when we asked Ethan if he had a good time, all he could come up with was “snow” and “cold” and “go home.” I’m sure he had a great time!
Every year around this time I like to make a list of the things—movies, TV shows, books, events, et cetera—that I’m most looking forward to in the year ahead. It’s then fun to look back a year later and see if those things were worthy of my anticipation.
In no particular order, this year’s list includes:
New TV shows: Or more specifically one new TV show from Joss “Buffy/Angel/Firefly” Whedon! Premiering February 13, Whedon’s Dollhouse stars Eliza Dushku (from Buffy), Amy Acker (from Angel), and that guy from BSG who plays Helo. Production squabbles with Fox aside, the concept is a cool one and I have the utmost faith in Joss. So this is something I’m cautiously optimistic about.
New movies: My three most anticipated movies of 2009 are Terminator: Salvation, Harry Potter 6, and the new JJ Abrams’ re-imagining of Star Trek. Normally I couldn’t care less about Trek (I’m more of Galaxy Quest kind of guy), but JJ is just a notch behind Joss Whedon on my must-see list, and that trailer looks incredible.
New Fiction: Three of my favorite genre authors have new work coming out in 2009: David Anthony Durham’s The Other Lands (a follow-up to his beautiful fantasy debut, Acacia); George R.R. Martin’s A Dance With Dragons (book five in the Song of Ice and Fire series); and Tad Williams’s Shadowrise (the final volume in the Shadowmarch trilogy). I’m also somewhat guiltily anticipating the arrival of Indiana Jones and the Army of the Dead, the first new Indy novel in a decade.
New Arrivals: Have I mentioned we’re having another baby? We’re currently calling him/her “Sprout” and he/she is due in August. Our little family is growing!
Family Milestones: Ethan’s 2nd birthday rolls around in March, and my 10-year wedding anniversary comes this September. Monumental events, all.
Year of the Rattlesnake: I make no promises, but things are looking good toward getting a playable demo—and maybe even the entire first chapter—for my always-in-progress adventure game Rise of the Hidden Sun: A ‘Rattlesnake’ Jake Dawson Adventure out the door before the end of the year.
And last but not least…
The Second Annual Outdoor Movie Night: Last summer’s first annual Outdoor Movie Night featured Raiders of the Lost Ark on a 20-foot screen in our back yard, and it was awesome. This year I’m aiming to make it bigger and better! More people, more food, and more cheesy ’80s movie goodness. I’m thinking either The Princess Bride, Back to the Future, or Ghostbusters on the big screen on a warm July night.
44,586 – words written in my young adult novel, The Witches of Coven Hill
300 – hours wasted watching/listening to the Red Sox (estimated)
218 – blog posts
128 – frames of animation finalized in my adventure game, Rise of the Hidden Sun: A ‘Rattlesnake’ Jake Dawson Adventure
112 – people friended on Facebook
18 – novels read
14 – novels read that do not feature Indiana Jones
4 – various types of physical therapy
3 – vacations
2 – continents visited
1 – new computer
A year ago at this time I posted a list of 10 things I was looking forward to in 2008. Before I look ahead to 2009, I thought it would be fun to see how each of those things from 2008 turned out.
1. Ethan’s first birthday. This was as amazing and magical as I’d imagined. I’m looking forward to his second birthday with even more enthusiasm!
2. The New England Patriots Invitational Tournament. Also known as the NFL Playoffs, this one didn’t turn out exactly as I’d hoped or expected. But ah well, 18-1 is almost as good as 19-0. Right? Nah, not really. Alas.
3. Getting healthy. Sadly, this one’s still a work in progress.
4. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. In a word: Awesome.
5. Easter Island. I did indeed make it to Easter Island last March, and it was a great experience. Lingering health issues were kind of a drag on the trip, though, and I would much rather have traveled there with Penny and Ethan than go solo like I did.
6. Spider-Man: Brand New Day. The Spidey comics went from monthly to three times a month and featured an all-new, all-not-married status quo for Peter Parker. And, by and large, it was a great year for the character. I’m still jazzed about the series as we head into year two of the new era.
7. Creating… something. Last year was to be the one where I finally made some headway on either Rise of the Hidden Sun or my young adult novel. I chose the novel and managed to get about 45,000 words into it before losing steam around Thanksgiving. So, not a success but not an out-and-out failure, either. A work in progress.
8. New TV shows. I was really looking forward to Jericho (returning from the dead) and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Jericho only lasted seven episodes but tied up most of the loose ends nicely, and Terminator started well, then got a bit spotty before coming on very strong here in season two. Here’s hoping for a season three pickup in 2009.
9. The Red Sox in Japan. Wow, I completely forgot this even happened. It was a neat little sideshow at the time but, ultimately, not all that big a deal. I’m more likely to remember the Sox losing game 7 of the ALCS than anything about their time in Japan.
10. Climbing a mountain. This finally happened in October during our vacation to Acadia National Park. It was a wimpy little mountain, but the views were spectacular and it felt grea to be back outdoors. Maybe 2009 will be the year where I finally get back into hiking the way I’d like to, though.