Top Fives, or… No, Just Top Fives

Top 5 Reasons I Suck

  1. Of late, I have had the mood swings of a pregnant adolescent teenager on hormone replacement therapy.
  2. While I’m not putting on weight, my eating habits have slowly trended back to ‘The Fat Kid’ eating habits. Example: almost everyday, I go into the free ice-cream bunker at work and pull out a Tollhouse Ice Cream Sandwich, remove the ice cream, and just eat the cookies.
  3. I just spilled pineapple salsa on my jeans.
  4. I use Movie Quote of the Week emails as blog posts.
  5. I use ‘Top Five’ lists as blog posts.

Top 5 Reasons I’m Okay as a Human But I’m No Oprah Winfrey

  1. I drive a Prius… correction: I let my wife drive a Prius on days when she drives the carpool, and I usually take public transportation.
  2. I have somewhat-interesting yet not world-changing hobbies, like Improv and volunteering at 826 Valencia.
  3. Sometimes, but not always, I actually manage to do the right thing.
  4. I empathize and/or sympathize with the best of ‘em, but sometimes to a fault. Example: if I think I’m about to say something that will hurt your feelings but would ultimately make you a better human, I’m most likely not going to say it because I don’t like having my own feelings hurt… and I’m a p**sy.
  5. On the all-telling scale of ‘Take-a-penny Leave-a-penny’, I ‘Leave-a-penny’ more than I ‘Take-a-penny’.

Top 5 Reasons I’m Awesome

  1. God loves me enough to give me the chance to have an awesome wife, and I didn’t blow it.
  2. I instantly calculate tips to the nearest $0.50. Every time.
  3. Growing up in rural Pennsylvania did not manage to close my mind, and instead I used it as a catalyst to get the eff out of Dodge and try to see the world.
  4. [ablated due to sexual content]
  5. I use words like ‘ablated’ in faux-blog posts that are simply three separate lists of five things you may or may not have known about me but probably didn’t care about but at least I made you laugh.

Top 5 Reasons To Vote Republican

Events Like These

Last night our friend Mary Schaefer brought us along to a benefit dinner for 826 Valencia:

From their website:

Simply put, 826 Valencia is dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their writing skills, and to helping teachers get their students excited about the writing. Our work is based on the understanding that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success and that great leaps in learning can be made when skilled tutors work one-on-one with students.

So, last night we had three hours of sushi, wine, and an unexpected “field trip” experience in which all 70 of us collectively composed a short story. The short story was typed up on-screen as we went, as well as illustrated on the fly courtesy of Lisa Brown, author of Baby Mix Me a Drink and wife of Lemony Snicket (Dan Handler). We all left with a bound book, a decent wine buzz, and feeling like we had contributed to an important, nay.. VITAL .. community organization.

I, however, left with a serious jones to be a Volunteer Leader within this organization, joining the ranks of Jory John (website, which is funny but not about him) as a Field Trip leader. Jory & his leaders basically do the highly-improvisational work of leading a classroom full of kids through the highly-improvisational process of highly-improvisational story creation. The work is improv because he can’t possibly plan how things will end up, the process is improv because each class will go about it differently, and the story is improv because, well, they’re making it up. You can tell that he really loves what he does and that it’s highly rewarding for him. I’d love to take some of the burden off his shoulders. 826 has like 1,600 volunteers on its rosters in the Bay Area, but only six.. SIX… of them share the Field Trip leader responsibilities with Jory. I’m hoping to be lucky number seven.

Now, most of you don’t live where 826 Valencia makes a difference… but you probably do live damn close to one of the other 826s.


If you’re at ALL intrigued by the concept of empowering our future through the thoughtful donation of time & resources to help children/students write sentences better than this one, I urge you to investigate this organization. It was founded by Deggers, one of my favorite authors, and has been helping students around the country based solely on support of donors (of both money AND time). It’s an AWESOME endeavor, and I really can’t wait to play a bigger role in it.

Now it’s just the issue of figuring out how to sell the boss (& her boss) on me taking 3 hours every other week to lead a Field Trip. If anyone is an expert at getting a small-to-medium corporation to release you from business needs for volunteering opportunities that aren’t organized by same corporation, please let me know. Jory has offered to write a very nice letter to those who need to approve my departure, but I’m still nervous – any tips/tricks would be helpful. (I would’ve been happy just participating in the company’s Junior Achievement program, but they totally dissed me – I signed up to volunteer and haven’t heard diddly-squat back – so now I’ve got 826 as my avenue to give something back.)

Anyway, back to work. The pressure’s eased a bit, hence the blogging over an actual lunch period, but I still have crap to do.