2012 was quite a year for me, to say the least. Near the end of 2011, I lost my job with the American Independent News Network. And while I very much miss the people I worked with every day, especially Todd, Eartha, Hanaa and Chelsi, that turned out to be a good thing overall. Here are some of the highlights for me:
1. Attending the Reason Rally, followed the next weekend by hosting Rock Beyond Belief, the first atheist event ever held on an American military base. These events back to back really felt like a huge moment for the entire atheist/ skeptic / humanist movement, a jumping off point to bigger and better things. In the process I got to meet some incredible people, including Nate Phelps, Dan Fincke, Hank Fox, Andrew Tripp, Richard Wade, Dave Silverman, Todd Steifel and Shelley Segal, and spend quality time with others that I’d met before, like Dan Barker and Margaret Downey, not to mention several of the FTB crew.
2. Going to Denver to kick JT’s ass in a poker tournament. Okay, that was just icing on the cake. The real fun was hanging out with him, Jesse Galef, Dave Silverman and a few others. And a good time was had by all.
3. Getting to open for Jamie Kilstein. That may have been the coolest, and most unexpected, thing of all. A huge thanks to Debbie Goddard for thinking of me and asking me to do it. That was way cooler to me than opening for Drew Carey, which I did several times before he got famous, because while Drew is funny, Jamie is funny and important.
4. Going to Skepticon, which was amazing for several reasons. First, because my oldest and best friend in the world made the roadtrip with me, something we hadn’t done together in a couple decades. Second, because I finally got to meet Gretchen in person after more than a decade of friendship online. I can’t express how happy that made me. Third, I got to watch JT propose to Michaelyn in front of everyone. And last but not least, just because I got to meet or spend more time with so many awesome people.
5. Starting my first book.
On the other side of the ledger, I ended the year with emergency open heart surgery. But even on that, there is a bright side. The diagnosis and prognosis could be far worse and I feel as if I dodged a very big bullet. There was a time there where I really feared I was going to die and that makes me appreciate living a bit more than I did while taking it for granted. So I feel like I’m sort of springboarding into 2013. May it be another year full of adventures, good friends and things to celebrate — and without getting my chest cut open, this time.