See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made. (Ray Bradbury)
Well, it’s my birthday again. (Relax – I’m not here. I pre-wrote this two days ago and while you’re reading, I will be somewhere other than my keyboard. I promise.) I turn 29 today, which is interesting. I used to think I’d have my whole life sorted out by now. I’m not even close. But never mind that. It’s time to do the annual look back at everything I’ve done since my last birthday, and sit here dumbfounded by the whole thing.
Here’s what’s happened:
- On my last birthday, I caught my first baseball at a San Diego Padres game, courtesy of Will Venable.
- Wrote a fantastic feature article on Thomas Sadoski for his work in The Newsroom, which also meant I achieved my career goal of getting to do press for an Aaron Sorkin series, even if it wasn’t Sports Night. Debt slightly repaid.
- San Diego Comic-Con 2013 happened, which, I’ve already done the list of all the cool things that happened there.
- Was a last-minute drop in to NBC’s fall 2013 TCA session, which proved to be a great thing, because not only did Carson Daly point me out in a crowded room, not only did Adam Levine stop and wave at me even though he was headed somewhere else, but I got to have drinks with Mary McCormick and my old friend Betsy Brandt. Betsy, if you don’t know, has been one of my biggest supporters from near the beginning of my career, and that was the first time we’d gotten to meet in person.
- Courtesy of my friend Tanner Foust and his management team, I got to work at Ford Racing’s X Games Media Day. Which meant I got to ride in a Global Rallycross car with Patrik Sandell. (That’s where my Twitter cover photo comes from.) And which Rutledge Wood totally crashed. Then I actually got to go to my first X Games and cheer on Tanner. And write this cool article about him.
- I interviewed Wiliam Shatner. Not my favorite Star Trek captain (that’s always going to be Kate Mulgrew), but pretty cool nonetheless.
- Had one of the best, funniest interviews of my life when I jumped on a conference call with my friend Marsha Haneiph and my Top Gear guys Tanner, Rutledge and Adam Ferrara. Seriously, words can’t describe how fun it was to be chatting with four of my best friends about everything from the show to the fact my jerk of a neighbor had woken me up too early that morning. It’s one of those times when you realize who your real friends are, and how great they are.
- September 10 marked the beginning of my collaboration with another one of my best friends, Criss Angel, on his Spike TV series Criss Angel BeLIEve. I honestly cannot say enough good things about Criss, his assistant Tom, his manager Gayle, everyone on the magic team, everyone at the BeLIEve Showroom at the Luxor, and all of Criss’s Loyals. I saw things I can’t believe and did things I never thought I could do through my partnership with Criss, and I am blessed to have welcomed so many people into my life because of it. Truly something I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.
- Reconnected with my good friend Chris Mann, and he became the second person to point me out on stage during a concert, behind (of course) Adam Levine.
- Speaking of Adam Levine, got to see Maroon 5 in concert twice this year. Including from the front row in Las Vegas on New Year’s Eve. While Adam pointed me out again. And I tried not to punch a guy after he took the drumstick that Mickey Madden threw me. To quote Steve Byrne, “No one gets into a fight at a Maroon 5 concert.”
- And speaking of Team Adam, just a few weeks after I saw Chris, I saw another good friend, Tony Lucca.
- Helped to set a Guinness World Record for the largest online gift exchange.
- Fell out of my chair when Josh Charles complimented me on Twitter for this article, and then started following me. Since then, I’ve become Twitter friends with the actor who left the single biggest artistic fingerprint on my life. He even sent me well wishes after my last doctor visit. How cool is that?
- Can say I was hugged by People‘s Sexiest Man Alive. I can also say Blake Shelton has used my head as a handle. Twice.
- We brought the trophy back to Team Adam. Finally.
- Was supposed to get quoted on a Las Vegas billboard. This ended up not happening, but hey, just the idea of it was pretty freaking cool. I did get quoted on TV again, which is not too shabby either.
- Spring TCA 2014: In my longest TCA campaign ever, I got to do things like finally meet James Wolk in person, talk up Monday Mornings with the amazing Jennifer Finnigan, and tell the showrunners of The Good Wife that they’re geniuses. (I also then caught bronchitis that lasted three months, so you decide if it was worth it.)
- Finally interviewed Linus Roache. Which started with him giving about two minutes worth of compliments to a feature I had tossed out a few days earlier about his character on Law & Order. So that totally flabbergasted me. But mostly, holy crap I interviewed Linus Roache.
- Interviewed Tony Goldwyn. Twice. The first time he broke my Twitter account by retweeting the article. The second time was finally in person. Oh, and he autographed a poster for me to put up in my office. One of the classiest guys in the business (and he’s also represented by a great publicist, too).
- Got to work my second Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, which contained even more awesome memories than the first. Watching Brett Davern win the whole thing (and him saying I need to come back to support him next year). Hanging with him, and Rutledge, and Nick Wechsler, and Sam Witwer, and Tricia Helfer, and Cole Hauser. Riding in two race cars. Getting to do my first IndyCar Series press. It was one hell of a weekend.
- More Top Gear. I had to stalk Adam, Tanner and Rutledge separately this year, but I still got some face time with my favorite guys. And then discovered Tanner stunt drove for Aaron Paul and didn’t tell me.
- No, seriously, I developed a huge professional crush on Aaron Paul and now I’m determined to apologize to him for not knowing who he was.
- Finally went to a Barenaked Ladies concert after 20 years of listening to Barenaked Ladies. Got to meet the band. Got to sing along with “The Old Apartment” badly, just like I did in grade school.
- Submitted my first screenplay to my first film festival (assist to my friend Kevin Hamedani on that one).
- Had an awesome moment on The Voice red carpet where I owned everyone and Adam Levine complimented me. Which happened after Blake tried to get me to hate on Adam’s hair. Which happened after Adam noticed I was wearing one of his shirts. It was a weird night.
- Found out Tony Orlando and his whole family know who I am.
- Got to visit Willow Springs International Raceway, where everybody trains for the aforementioned Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Sadly, nobody would drive me around the track so I could pretend to be Michael Trucco.
- Went to my first E3.
- Costa Ronin told me that he wants me to recap The Americans next season, and that he’d call my boss and say so. Talk about a rousing endorsement.
- Finally met the fantastic Warren Christie. Then kicked myself when I realized we missed each other by five minutes at San Diego Comic-Con 2012. Still, I love this guy.
- And in a few hours, I’m interviewing LeVar Burton.
While it’s true some things have been really very hard this year (bronchitis, cancer scare, bronchitis, the loss of two jobs, my dad in the hospital, me going back to physical therapy – all that’s happened too), I look at the above list and I realize how much good has come with the bad. How I’ve been able to put out positive energy in the world and get a lot back. It’s not so much me doing great things as it’s us doing great things. And that’s what makes me so lucky. I’m not doing anything but working hard and with an open heart, and look what we’ve done.
As I’m off enjoying my cake (hopefully), once again thank you to all my friends, family and fans who have made all of the amazing things I get to do possible. Here’s an awesome song dedicated from me to you, courtesy of Halestorm (mind the explicit language).