Rule #32, Or: Enjoy The Little Things of 2016


I’m 32 and have a heart condition that already tried to kill me once. I’d prefer NOT to think about all of the negative things that happened in the previous year. I won’t forget them, but I don’t want to dwell on them. So I decided to think about the good things that happened in the past year and list 32 of the best moments. Some are major life events, some are personal choices, a few things may seem insignificant to others but are crucial to me. So here are 32 little (and big!) things I enjoyed in 2016.

  1. Got married. Wait, you mean I’m NOT leading off with the not-dying thing? Yep. Because I waited 12 years for this event. We had one wedding shut down due to our venue being seized by the state due to the owner’s finagling of back-taxes (shocker: the feds don’t like that). We had to struggle through an economic depression. Jaime had to push through battle that was her PhD program. I went from promising film student to struggling teacher to journeyman editor and crew member to wandering worker (bookseller, cashier, valet) to producer and back to teacher again. We survived Hurricane Sandy. Car accidents on mountain roads. Depression. Nearly five years living apart. And we made it to the finish line for a glorious (if cold) day.


    Don’t stop believing.

  2. Survived a major heart emergency. ‘Nuff said.


    Sorry, Grim Reaper, not this time.

  3. Flew in a helicopter (due to said emergency). Hey, I’m counting this as a good thing because a) always wanted to do it and b) didn’t die en route. Also c) my insurance covered it because DAMN. Priciest 12 minutes of my life.


    This is how I got my ride to UPenn and I’m STICKING WITH THAT STORY.

  4. Made the semi-finals in the NYC Midnight Short Screenplay competition on my first three scripts in nearly two years. I’m extremely proud of each of them and hope to film them someday. I’ve begun the 2016-2017 competition and already placed 2nd in the first heat, so we’ll see if this makes my top moments of 2017 next year.


    Definitely beat one deadline with less than 60 seconds left.

  5. Made the finals with Bart in the NYC Midnight Short Story competition. Totally different rules, fewer rounds and far more competition from around the world and we still made it to the top 40. Bart and I hope to get our three stories published at some point, though our second story has the potential to be a novella, so we’ll see how that goes.


    Note: we want Hemmingway’s career trajectory, NOT his life trajectory.

  6. Saw John Williams in concert. God…it was amazing to see an octogenarian create such magic with just a wave of his hand.


    My life, if made into a movie, would be scored by The Maestro.

  7. Visited the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island (for the first time for the latter) with one of my oldest friends.Powerful experience made all the more powerful by going on election day.


    Not going to let Lady Liberty down, no matter who is in office.

  8. Moved into my first multi-bedroom apartment. The move itself occurred during the hottest stretch of the summer which, combined with the lifting, may have contributed to my subsequent hospitalization…but hey, having an office to myself? FANTASTIC for my creativity.



  9. Lost more than 30 pounds in one year. At my lowest, I lost nearly 50, but nearly fifteen pounds of that was from fluid buildup being expunged at the hospital. That and not eating for a week.


    So. Many. Protein Shakes.

  10. Visited the Catskills in Massachusetts. Beautiful country. I can’t wait to return.


    Photoshop in some brachiosaurs in the background and I’d leave the comment “Welcome to Jurassic Park!”.

  11. Stayed in a Bed and Breakfast! The place even has pre-Revolutionary roots. Best sleep I had in months and I had one of the best breakfasts ever courtesy of the owners, who grew a lot of the food on the property.


    Window into the past. Almost literally.

  12. Beat an Escape Room in record time. Go ahead. Try and beat our team’s time. Try.han2
  13. Bought my first coffee maker. Yep. Finally get what everyone likes about the brew.


    Yep. I get it now.

  14. Saw Stephen King again and got to ask him a question. NBD.


    When Uncle Stevie tells you to wait for the right revision to come…you listen to him.

  15. Met Ken Burns and got him to sign my copy of Baseball, the doc that started my interest in documentaries.


    The guy has an editing technique named after him. You better listen to him too.

  16. Finally walked the Princeton Battlefield. One of my favorite places anywhere now.


    Not throwing away my shot.

  17. Watched my kids take home the top three categories in a film competition.


    Scorcese says ‘cinema’ is dead. I beg to differ. Just give them a few years. Cinema’s just taking a nap ’til these kids take over.

  18. Cheered as my gang took home Best Student Short at the Garden State Film Fest in Atlantic City, surrounded by industry pros.


    When the man you apprenticed under celebrates with your apprentices, the circle has become complete.

  19. Discovered the Room Where It Happens and got hooked on Hamilton. Big time.


    I’m aware.

  20. Completed countless movies on the AFI Top 100 lists (both), the 1001 Movies To See Before You Die List (almost ironic), and the Oscars Best Pictures List.


    Whenever my kids say they haven’t seen “x”…or when I realize I haven’t seen a movie they’ve mentioned.

  21. Saw advanced screenings of La La Land and Silence featuring Q&As with Damien Chazelle and Martin Scorcese. Brought along former students. Blown away by both films.


    LOVED. IT.

  22. Became hooked on tabletop/card games Splendor, SushiGo and Firefly.


    My approach to gaming.

  23. Walked the length of the Point Pleasant Boardwalk. Never did that before. Don’t know why.


    First long walk in my post-op world.

  24. Watched my film kids go off to amazing schools like NYU (three!), Montclair, Syracuse and more.


    But God forbid it doesn’t work, please don’t go all Anakin Skywalker on me.

  25. Started listening to podcasts like Lore and Flash Forward. Hooked immediately by both.
  26. Successfully completed Uncharted 1 and 2. Topped Rank 50 on Battlefront before the hospital took me out of the loop.


    Me trying to get anything else done while playing Uncharted.

  27. Books read: As You Wish, Bossypants, The Chimes, Dark Invasion, Dead Wake, Devil in the White City, End of Watch, Fragile Things, Furiously Happy, Good Omens, Just One Damned Thing After Another, Pirate Hunters, Rendezous With Rama, My Best Friend’s Exorcism, Smoke and Mirrors, A Symphony of Echoes, Tinseltown, Trigger Warning, Hamilton, The Wright Brothers, Ex-Isle
  28. NEW movies seen: Civil War, Deadpool, Zootopia, Rogue One, La La Land, Finding Dory, Hail,Caesar!, Suicide Squad, Batman v Superman, Arrival, Ghostbusters, Star Trek Beyond, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Moana, X-Men Apocalypse, Doctor Strange, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Silence, Zoolander 2, Jackie, Midnight Special, A Monster Calls, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Sully, The Magnificent 7, Inferno, Nocturnal Animals (with more screeners yet to be watched)
  29. New TV watched: Westworld, Man in the High Castle and Stranger Things. Yes. Bring them back now please. Loved The People vs OJ Simpson. Also looking forward to The Last Mogul going to series for Amazon. I tried Timeless but the formulaic approach bored me.
  30. Cheered for friends with new additions to their families on the way!
  31. Got drawn into a comic book.
  32. Helped prep a superhero show, a documentary and the full series arc of Trials (a scifi series my friend Bart and I have been working on for years) all for 2017 action.
    2016-05-20 15.19.14.jpg

    The Atomic Super-men save the day in 2017.


  33. Oh! And one more for the road…started this blog! A blessing I didn’t expect. Here’s to the things we did well in 2016, the things we want to accomplish in 2017 and to the drive we’ll need to do it!

Until next time!



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