Where to begin. My grandmother died (as did my Uncle Wayne) and among other talents we lost Gene Wilder, John Glenn, Prince and the guy who played Preacher in Firefly*. Also: Mythbusters went off the air and The Nightly Show was cancelled when we needed them the most.
And I didn't even get to the election.
But before we join the voices of Amy Schumer, John Oliver and others who are rightfully extending the middle finger to the calendar year let's realize that not only were there some good things about 2016 (Visiting Japan, biking in the UK and Cranksgiving San Jose to name a few) there are better things to do than find a baker willing to put a swear word on a New Year's Eve cake.
As it happens, I have four ideas to #Make2016GreatAgain for the Bay Area - and these things can be done starting tonight:
1) Yoga and Cello at Be The Change Yoga & Wellness
One of the cool things that happens when you move to a new city is you meet new people. An even cooler thing is when you meet new people and find out they also know other people you've already met.
Like Cellista, the cellist who the founder of Cowgirl Bike Courier once carried on a cargo bike while she was performing. I met her through him - but also know her through Be The Change Yoga in San Jose (And regular yoga is a good thing - I'd be in a Nerf Hilton if not for Be The Change).
Tonight, from 6 - 7pm there is a Flow class and Cellista is performing live. Hear the music. Move your body. Sign up here.
2) The Ugly Sweater Ride by San Jose Bike Party
After listening to the talented Cellista, take off your yoga clothes and put on the ugliest Christmas sweater you can find so you can join San Jose Bike Party's Ugly Sweater Ride at 7:30. It starts at the Children's Discovery Museum parking lot at 180 Woz Way so you'll easily be able to bike that distance from Be The Change in time to catch the start. It'll be a great chance to see bikes (and people's homes) decorated in Christmas lights.
In the event you do not have an Ugly Christmas Sweater I highly recommend MoonZooom on 1630 West San Carlos Street. There is a bike rack right out in front and a generous selection of so-bad-they're-good Christmas sweaters inside (that's where I got the picture).
3) Donate a Toy - and see Santa - at Hub's Coffee
Since my 'No Words' Sandy Hook ride I did in Connecticut a week after that horrible day in 2012, I try to donate at least one toy at a toy drive every Sandy Hook anniversary. That's what I did on Wednesday.
In general, it feels good to shop for a toy (I always buy one I'd be excited to play with as a kid) and realize a child you never met is going to have a happier Christmas because of you.
I bought my toy - I opted for a Knex kit since I was raised on Capsella and Robotix as a youth - at Target. As always a cargo bike is a perfect way to not only avoid fighting for parking spots but also carry your stuff home.
At home, I switched to faster equipment - my city bike - and took off to Hub's Coffee on Blossom Hill Road.
When I got inside I was pleased to see the bucket they were using to collect donated toys was overflowing, and I hope visitors to Hub's between today and Saturday make it overflow even more and catch Santa's visit (he'll be at Hub's on Saturday, December 17th from 1 - 3; follow Hub's on Facebook for more details).
4) Good Karma Bikes' Bike Build at Sacred Heart
This is taking place on Thursday, December 22nd between 8am and 6pm at Sacred Heart Community Service at 1381 S. 1st St.
I've seen pictures of bike builds done at Elves & More in Texas and always thought they looked fun. This is a great chance to take part in one and help kids get one of the most important gifts in their lives. Volunteer to help Good Karma Bikes' mechanics and unload bikes with any one (or more) of three shifts: 8am - noon, 11am - 3pm and 2pm - 6pm. You can sign up for a shift on the Good Karma Bikes' web page and email Collin@goodkarmabikes.org if you have any questions.
We can spend the last two weeks of the year being miserable about the previous fifty or we can stand up, listen to music, wear ugly Christmas sweaters, have fun and #Make2016GreatAgain by helping people who are having a much worse year than any of us. Thanks for reading and thanks for riding.
* His name was Ron Glass - some of my older readers know him from Barney Miller.