Make the world a better place, or make myself a better person? I think this list of projects, plans and goals will tackle both of those objectives - particularly number ten. If I can combine health, happiness and lots of beer, I think 2015 will be a great year.
1. Become a standup comedian Back in 2012, I dipped a toe into the comedy ocean, hitting stages at places like the Lion's Lair and El Charrito. My comic debut was at a dive on South Broadway, where I followed a comic who'd jumped off the stage to fight a heckler in the audience. I began working nights again as a bartender and drifted away from the comic routine - but the power of the microphone is addictive. This year, I'm coming back. I think a good place to start will be a comedy class at Voodoo Comedy Playhouse.
2. Start a business I've always been full of ideas. I've got notebooks lined with inventions, projects, schemes. I believe that 2015 is the year when those seeds will get watered and blossom into something - hopefully something that makes money. My latest plot involves an app that allows restaurants to market themselves to people looking for cocktails, or a chef's daily special. In Denver, that starts with a little visit to the secretary of state's website to register your business, which costs $60.
3. Become a Kung Fu master Ultimately, this plan falls under the heading of "get in shape," but why not learn how to defend myself at the same time? Maybe a thousand push-ups a day will endow me with a Bruce Lee toughness that will enable me to punch a hole through a phone book. I want six-pack abs and some sexy, lethal kung-fu moves. Cut in front of me in line at the deli? You're gonna get elbowed. There's a place called Canto do Galo on Santa Fe Drive that teaches capoeira, a Brazilian martial art disguised as acrobatics and dance.
4. Brew beer I can't believe I haven't done this yet. I'd love to have a cellar full of dust-covered bottles of various styles of home brews - everything from lagers to pale ales to dark, roasty stouts. When I'm thirsty, I'd just pluck a bottle from the shelf and pop it open. While I'm at it, I think I'll grow my own hops to use in the beer-making process. I'll pick up supplies at The Brew Hut, a home brew store adjacent to Dry Dock Brewing Co. in Aurora.
5. Be a tech ninja Why is my Internet connection so slow? How the hell do I transfer a file? What, exactly, is this mystical thing called "the cloud"? This year I plan to find the answers to all of these questions and more by becoming a tech ninja. I want to acquaint myself with every drop-down menu so that I will never again spend a frustrating hour trying to find out how to add songs to my smartphone. This upgrade from stupid to savvy will include getting up to speed on all that social media the kids are using these days. There are great classes at Colorado Free University, in Lowry.
6. Bag a Fourteener I've been close to summits before, spending time on mountainsides throughout the Collegiate Peaks Range. But as a peaceful, nature-loving backpacker, summiting was never my goal. Next year I plan to change that: I'm going all the way to the top of one of those jagged, snow-covered giants. Mount Wilson, I'm coming for you! I'll be looking to spot mountain goats and eagles, but I'll also be looking to the sky when I'm up there: Colorado ties with Florida as the state with the most fatalities caused by lightning strikes. Trips can be planned on the brand-new Colorado-based Gociety, an app for outdoorsy types.
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7. Do a cleanse With all the toxins we imbibe, gobble up or inhale on a daily basis, I think it's a good idea to hit the reset button once in a while. The only thing I know about detoxification is that it most likely entails drinking a lot of cranberry juice. I'll find out for sure when I read Colorado Cleanse, a book (and a program) by Boulder-based author John Douillard. It's a two-week program that will have my lymph nodes humming with vitality. Perhaps my liver will forgive me for years of abuse.
8. Unleash rock-and-roll high school In 2010, I was a bartender at a new restaurant in an old neighborhood. To draw customers, I created the Rock and Roll Spelling Bee, a trivia-style event in which contestants were asked to spell words in order to win prizes. The event captured that classic 1955 American high-school aesthetic, with sharp No. 2 pencils, sheets of looseleaf paper, and rowdy rock songs from that era. In 2015, it will be called Rock and Roll High School, with a broader scope of high-school subjects that will always include spelling.
9. Host a blood drive My mother passed away a few years ago from leukemia. I subsequently became a bone-marrow donor, which ultimately saved a woman's life. I will host a blood drive in 2015 and offer the opportunity to get "matched" with someone - like I did - who may need what your body easily produces: stem cells. I've already spoken with the good folks at Bonfils Blood Center, who make it easy to host a blood drive by providing personnel and equipment.
10. Win the lottery My dad used to tease me by asking what the heck I could possibly spend $100 million dollars on if I ever won the lottery. My reply: I could win that much at 9 a.m. and have it all spent before lunch. I'd start by checking into the Brown Palace, ordering Champagne and sushi, then making a few calls to real-estate agents, stockbrokers and travel planners. Then I'd have a fancy lunch at the Elway's at DIA on my way out of town.