Thanksgiving is the day to give thanks even though we should give thanks on a regular basis.  Of course, that can be a little exhausting so it’s good we have one day where we can just pencil in: Tell people what’s you’re thankful for.  And that’s what I’m going to do:

I am thankful for…

1) My family and friends.  Yeah, it’s super-sappy, but it’s true.  I’m so lucky to have a family where we’re actually not so dysfunctional.  It doesn’t make for humorous stories and other wacky cliches, but I wouldn’t trade my family for the world.  Seriously, if someone came to me and said “Save your family or the world,” I would reply, “Sorry, World.  It’s been fun.”  And as for my friends, I take friendship seriously.  I don’t care how many Facebook friends I have.  I care that the word “friend” actually means something and isn’t being mistaken for “acquaintance” or “person I met at a party one time and will never speak to again.”  If you’re on my “Friends” list on Facebook, I think you’re awesome.  End of story.

2) My job.  This year I was accepted into the Southeastern Film Critics Association and the Online Film Critics Society.  I also attended the Sundance Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival for the first time. All these major steps in 2011 reminded me that I’ve been a professional film critic for five years.  It’s a little funny when I remember that I was ostracized from the Oberlin Film Society because I had the audacity to point out that maybe showing movies with only one projector so that there were breaks in between reels was not the ideal viewing experience. (The response I got was, “I think people like having the little intermissions.”)  But it’s still bizarre that I get to roll out of bed, go to my computer, and start writing about movies every day, and that I’ll get to see movies early and for free.  To quote Cypress Hill, “It’s a fun job but it’s still a job,” and I won’t lie and say I like everything about my work.  But in this economy, I’m grateful to have a job and I’m even more grateful that it’s a job that allows me to have fun, write about my passion, and engender the hatred of people I’ve never met because we disagree about a movie.

3) My life.  When I take a step back, I can see that the good in my life far outweighs the bad.  Things could always be better and I strive to make them so, but it’s still an amazing time if we recognize the difference between a hassle and a tragedy.  It’s a hassle when my phone can’t get service, but my phone is magic.  It’s the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in the palm of my hand.  Any screenwriter will tell you that’s it’s a Deus ex Machina and it’s a pain to write around them (what will happen when all phones get great service from anywhere?)  At the current rate of technological development (i.e. Moore’s Law), think about where we’ll be in ten years (provided the machines don’t become sentient; assuming they do, let’s hope for an Iron Giant/Short Circuit co-existence).  I was very lucky to be born into this country and live during this time and while there’s plenty wrong with the world, today I’d like to appreciate what I have rather than look at everything I don’t.

4) Anyone who read all of this without groaning or rolling their eyes.

Thursday, November 24th, 2011 personal

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