5 Happy Things

There's a lot going on in the world right now. It bowls me over sometimes. Why not, then, share a few truly awesome things? Because Upworthy and Buzzfeed are cluttering our life with lists, and I want to share a few things I've become obsessed with because they're fucking awesome.

  1. Put Your Hands Together
    PYHT is a weekly comedy show at the UCB Theater in Los Angeles hosted by Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher (who, incidentally, are two of the smartest, wittiest, most politically engaging comics I've ever heard). I've never been to the live shows but I subscribe to their free podcast feed, which features up-and-coming and established comedians, many of whom are likewise fucking awesome (read: Maria Bamford, Kyle Kinane, Jordan Morris, Beth Stelling, Ron Funches, etc.).
  2. Jungle
    I stumbled across this British musical duo and have been listening to their debut album nonstop. Not only are their tunes groovy and great to write to, but their music videos are so stripped-down, featuring some casual yet complicated choreography, occasionally on roller skates. "Busy Earnin" starts with a group of dancers in an empty auditorium--so still they seem unreal before bursting into life. "The Heat" is a beautifully shot illusion, the camera zoomed in close on two dancers who appear to be floating before you realize that they are on skates. My current favorite is "Time," which stars two middle-aged male dancers dancing in their living rooms before challenging each other to a slow artistic duel. I sent a link of this video to my dad and father-in-law, with the hopes of inspiring them to dance:

3. Boyhood
While Ryan was at Burning Man, I decided to do something I'd never done before, and had always wanted to do: I went to the movies--alone. I chose Richard Linklater's new film because I was intrigued by his cinematic process, and had read that the actors had not seen any of the footage filmed over 12 years until the movie's release. I went on a Friday night and the theater was crowded--I was lucky to find a seat. More than anything I was impressed by how very real it felt. Authentic. Watching the relationships unfold and the actors age, I was flooded with a sense of nostalgia--nostalgia for a life I'd never lived, yet one that felt honest and possible, and in some ways, inevitable.

4. Castle Rock State Park
About a year ago, my friend Michelle introduced me to this great park off Skyline Boulevard in the Santa Cruz mountains. One of my favorite things about living in Northern California is that you never have to go too far to go far enough. Castle Rock is about 45 minutes uphill from where we live--a popular place for rockclimbers and backpackers alike. There's also a leisurely loop that Michelle and I have done that sports great panoramas with four or five different shades of green. I've since gone back with Ryan and at times by myself, enjoying the quiet, the smell of the trees, even Skyline's windy back roads, which turn auburn come October.

5. Snap Judgment
...is a badass NPR show and podcast created by Glynn Washington, based out of Oakland. Think This American Life meets RadioLab meets the Moth meets hip hop--and then turn up the volume. I've been a loyal listener since its inception in 2009, and I've gotta say, it's amazing how consistently Glynn and his team churn out fascinating, unusual, personal and compelling content. Most recently, their live San Francisco show featured a heartbreaking story about a man who lived next door to Xiana Fairchild, a young girl who was kidnapped in the late 1990s--followed by a hysterical how-to piece entitled "How to Set Up Your Mother's Profile on JDate," by Josh Healey. For someone who spends most of her day obsessed with stories, Snap Judgement always keeps me guessing--keeps me learning.

There are other fucking awesome things in life these days, many of them specific (my husband, my Amah, that completely quiet hour before bed when you can hear the sprinklers on outside and you just made low-fat sugar-free cookies and everything smells good), some of them in-progress (Play On Words is coming to SF! Fuck yeah!), even more of them still waiting to be discovered (No matter what you say, I plan to read Lena Dunham's book someday; I still need to read the latest Lydia Davis collection; Bread Loaf has an audio archive of all its conference lectures; wherever you go, there is art). I think it's important to end the week with a reflection of all the truly fantabulous people in the world, out there existing, doing cool stuff. What a relief.