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Happy Thanksgiving: What I’m Thankful For

Sunset in Porter Square
[Photo taken by me]

[I started writing this post early on the day on Thanksgiving. I never stopped writing it. By half past midnight, Thanksgiving was already over I knew I had to hit publish or else I’d be here forever. If you believe you have been an important part of my life and find yourself left off of this list, please assume that it’s because I’m a bad, negligent friend, and not that you haven’t meant anything to me or something dumb like that. Thank you.]

There’s been a whole lot more sadness than joy in my life during the past year or so, but I suppose that means that I just have to appreciate and hold closer to the remaining joys that I have. In no particular order, here is a list of things that I’m thankful for today:

For Peter Sciretta and slashfilm.com – As we’re becoming more aware of every single day, making a living by writing about movies is a pretty freaking difficult task. I can’t say that I make a living this way quite yet, but slashfilm.com has become an ever-growing part of my life, and has afforded me opportunities I could never have fathomed a few years ago. In the past few months alone, I’ve gotten to hear Rian Johnson read pornographic fan fiction about us on the air, chatted with the guy who wrote X2, and confronted director Richard Kelly with one interpretation of Donnie Darko. I also got to talk about 2012 with one of the people responsible for this. There’s even the possibility that in a few weeks, I’ll get to guest host for a great show on Chicago Public Radio. None of this would have ever been possible without slashfilm.com.

I am extremely grateful to Peter Sciretta for his partnership and for his patience with me. Most of you probably don’t/can’t know it, but Peter not only owns/runs one hell of a movie website, he’s also a pretty terrific guy too. Daily, I wonder how out of all the people on the internet I could have ended up working for, I get the opportunity to collaborate with someone that also happens to be a great human being. Truly, I have won the lottery of life, or at least, of online writing.

Gratitude also goes out to all the people on /Film’s staff; together, I hope we’ve created content that people have found interesting and valuable, and that we’ve had fun doing so. But I believe our best days are ahead…

The /Filmcast guys, together for the first time ever

For my /Filmcast Co-hosts, Devindra and Adam – No, we don’t always agree. Occasionally, we disagree violently. But given that our personalities are so strong, and given our wildly disparate backgrounds, I’m shocked that we get along WAY more often than we don’t. These guys have stood with me since the beginning and I’m so grateful for having gone through this crazy adventure with both them.

To all of the /Filmcast guests and listeners – The reason why I use audioboo, the reason why I podcast, is because on some level, I feel like when we are privy to the unadulterated conversations of others, it makes us feel a little bit less alone in the world. For everyone that has joined us on the show and everyone that has given us a chance and tuned in, you have helped us to create something that keeps thousand of people company on a weekly basis, whether they’re spending eight hours in a projectionist booth, or driving a truck all night, or falling asleep in an army barracks in Iraq (All of which are actual professions that listeners have written in about, btw). Thanks for tuning in and keeping us on the air.

For Stephen Tobolowsky – I still remember watching Groundhog Day in theaters when I was just a wee little one. Even back then, I remember wanting to punch Ned Ryerson in the throat, so effectively did Stephen Tobolowsky portray that immortal character. What a hilarious guy he was, and still is!

If you had told me back then that I’d one day be hosting a podcast with Stephen Tobolowsky, I’d probably say, “What the hell is a podcast?” And if podcasts had existed back then, I’d probably say “Get the hell outta here!”

The fortuitous circumstances of our partnership have been mind-boggling, but what’s important is that they’ve actually transpired. You see, I love a well-told story. Stories can be riveting, funny, profound, all at once. And to hear a well-told story is to inhabit a shared space with both the teller and the listener, and to partake in the creation in a special world that is particular to the oral tradition.

That’s why I loved a small movie called Stephen Tobolowsky’s Birthday Party, in which Stephen tells a group of his friends some stories about his interesting life. Deep in my heart, I knew that Stephen had a ton of more interesting, profound stories locked away in the recesses of his brain. But without some venue or some project to get him to write about them or perform them, how would they ever be shared with the world? So I pitched him the idea to do a storytelling podcast with me. To my shock and awe and eternal delight, he agreed to do it.

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