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Euro Fest 2013 Itinerary

 

Bastille Day Fireworks-2013

Bastille Day Fireworks-2013

It’s been several months now, so I no longer wake up in strange European hotels craving freshly squeezed orange juice or Nutella-flavored Gelato or pain au chocolat. That stuff has worked its way out of my system. I also no longer have blisters on my feet and now have air conditioning aplenty.

Last summer I got to spend a month in Europe. In 5 weeks I was able to visit 6 countries (took the train through Switzerland and stopped at the station in Geneva, so I’ll count it). It was one of the awesomest months of my life. Read the rest of this entry »

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Choose Your Own Adventure Year

 

Choose Your Own Adventure.  These were in my library. There should be more.

Choose Your Own Adventure books. These are in my library. There should be more.

When I was a bookworm of a kid I loved to read books from the Choose Your Own Adventure series.  The books were unique in that at the end of each chapter you were confronted with 2 choices.  The alternatives would be things like, “to attack the dragon turn to page 10” or “to challenge the dragon to a dance-off turn to page 15”.  You’d pick an option, then read the results of that selection before facing another pair of choices.  Depending on the writer, if you chose the dance-off, you and the dragon might end up as Solid Gold dancers, or you’d be a crispy noodle in Chinese dragon stir-fry.

 

When I’d reached the end of the book, or the end of the sequences I’d chosen, I would go back and read the book again, picking the other alternatives (fainting goats/epileptic sheep).  Sometimes I would peek ahead all along.  Often a different result was better.  Occasionally worse.  Sometimes the alternative was just different.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Bucket List Summer Challenge

 

bucket listHere it is May already and summer is knocking hard at the door like the determined home exteriors salesman I just had trouble shaking.  For many of us there’s summer vacation; time off of work and school.  In the meantime, there’s your stunningly crafted Bucket List that you want to complete.  Here’s the perfect opportunity to hammer at it.

Instead of catching up on multiple seasons of cancelled Joss Whedon TV shows while lounging in your neighbors’ pool, challenge yourself to to work on your Bucket List this summer.  Pick 3 or 4 or more items from your list and do them.  If you don’t already have a bucket list, make a list of your hopes and dreams, the things you’d like to do before you die (if you want ideas, here’s mine- My Bucket List: 100 Things To Do Before I Die).  Maybe you want to take a road trip across the US in a rusted Pinto or visit all the National Parks and take pictures while only leaving fingernail clippings.  Maybe synchronized swimming with the dolphins is your thing or walking the Great Wall of China in a dirndl as you grow your beard.   Read the rest of this entry »

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The Great Suburban Mushroom Hunt

 

morels mushrooms hunting“Hey Wookiee,” Randy hailed me from across the office, “I was thinking we might go mushroom hunting Friday after work. We’ll see if we can get Galen to come, too.”

“AWESOME! That would really boost my Mo-REL.”

Randy had just been mushroom hunting a few days before and bagged several tasty morels out at his old hunting grounds in the country. He’d been mushroom hunting since he was knee high to a grasshopper, as had a few other coworkers, but until about 3 years ago I didn’t know it was a thing.

Though I’d lived in Nebraska 20 years, I hadn’t really been tight with any old-school Nebraska natives or known the strange ways of the country folk until one day I overheard Randy and Dave whispering about the hunt in reverently excited tones (which would have sounded cooler with Irish/Amish accents). Read the rest of this entry »

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Snorkeling In Hawaii

fish school hawaii kona

I recently returned from Hawaii after spending 2 weeks being a camera-crazed tourist (I took 1800 photos).  One of my favorite parts of the trip was the snorkeling jaunt we made off the coast of the big island near Kona.  Both my Uncle John and my Aunt Marcia had snorkeled in exotic spots before, whereas I’d only snorkeled in my grandparents’ swimming pool when I was 12, so I was looking forward to trying it out. Read the rest of this entry »

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Touring The Coba Mayan Ruins In Mexico

In December I climbed a Mayan pyramid. It was awesome. I am not Spiderman. Before Christmas I took a Caribbean cruise with some of my former college classmates where we did some mission-y projects at the ports in between bouts of sea-sickness. The seas were so rough (Stuff broke. Gravity was defied.) that we could only stop at 2 of our 4 ports and only one of those was a project port. The other port, our last, was Cozumel, Mexico. Read the rest of this entry »

The Great Massage Adventure

by Jonathan Barndoor Perry

the masseuse and the massageYou hear great things about massages.  Then you hear the other stuff, which you assume is largely isolated and somewhat fictional.  I least I used to.  Last fall I flew to California to see my mom and took a short sidetrip to see my friend Cami who lives in the Bay Area.  Our visit together was brief, but we packed in a lot during that time.  We ate dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant, had a meal of Cameroonian food the next day at an outdoor market, caught a Regina Spektor concert, and even got massages.  I’d never had a proper massage before, so I was really looking forward to it.  Cami’s kind of an old hat at massages and had found a favorite place.

The massage was fantastic!  It was quite relaxing and thorough, but, um, a bit more thorough than I was expecting.  I was surprised when the masseuse climbed onto my back and used her knees and feet to loosen my knotted muscles.  I was also surprised when she massaged me like only that special someone might with near pinpoint encroachment of the nethers.  Actually, Cami had joked before we went in about the ‘happy ending‘ business and we had a good chuckle knowing we were seeing professionals, but wouldn’t that be funny?  Well, it happened.

At some point near the end of my session, the masseuse said something softly I couldn’t quite understand.  I had her repeat it and she whispered in my ear & pointed there (an area loosely covered by a towel), asking me if I wanted her to ‘do that’.  I nonchalantly said ‘no, thank you’ in a very polite way, as if one was casually turning down a great dessert at a fine restaurant because there are too many calories, though one has truly been craving the molten lava chocolate cake for months.  I’m a little repressed.

We left the massage parlor in a normal manner (I accidentally under-tipped) and as we reached the car I told Cami the previous hour’s highlights.  She was shocked!  Appalled.  She wasn’t sure she wanted to go back there again and I don’t believe she has since.  Gradually her shock turned to amusement.  Weird naked time became a recurring laugh.  Cami said her ex hadn’t been offered ‘that’ before (maybe he didn’t fess up), which made me feel just a bit special, though really, I already felt pretty special.

Anyway, the next time you’re in the Bay Area… db

 

The secret phrase is magic fingers.

Go San Francisco Giants!!

Similar Simian Reads:

No Mom, I’m Not Gay

The Great Suburban Mushroom Hunt

Google-Stalking the Ex

Dating Advice From the Family

Sound Of Music Death Match!!! Liesl v Maria

Bachelors In History

Esperanto Rhymes with Tonto

The Prophecy of the Tornado and the Trailer

Logan’s Run and Population Control

Kitten of Evil

Will Your Siblings Use Up the Good Names?

Which is Your Type? A Pseudo-Cosmo Quiz

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MY BUCKET LIST: 100 Things To Do Before I Die

not my hand

Do you have a bucket list?  What do you want to do before you die?
I usually have a small list of life goals banging around my head & bits written down, but I challenged myself to write it all out & was surprised.  Some of the list is comprised of half-crazed dreams that seem like a stretch, but would be swell to accomplish.  Sure, I’ve just created more identifiable ways to fail.  Good stuff.

I’ve divided my list into 5 groups:  Learning, Creative, Travel, Adventure, Domestic. If I’d made the list 10 years ago, it would’ve included things I’ve done since like seeing castle Neuschwanstein, lurking about Stonehenge, buying a house, visiting Asia (Taiwan), etc, & I’d have more of a sense of completion to this point & the existing list would be shorter.  Maybe in 5 years I’ll have knocked off a dozen more & will have replaced them (If I can survive a 5k race without dying from asthma, then maybe a 10k would be in order.  Junk like that.).

(Take the Bucket List Summer Challenge)

By the way, a few items I don’t think I’ll add are bungee jumping and skydiving, since I don’t want to die trying to check something off my death list.  Am I an incredible chicken?  Yes.  Yes, I am.  But accomplishing most of these things requires me to get off my lazy chicken butt and get with it.  So, the gauntlet has been dropped.

Learning Goals

1. Learn a new brass instrument

2. Learn a new stringed instrument

3. Learn to play the accordion so I can annoy friends and loved ones (in a different way)

4. Take the IQ test before the mind starts going.

5. Learn to play decently at cards/poker (I’ll have to work on my P-P-P-Poker face)

6. Learn to play golf properly/get my own left-handed clubs

7. Learn to play piano by ear/Be the Piano Man!

8. Learn conversational Spanish (my 8th grade Spanish didn’t stick well)

9. Study another language like German or French or Mandarin

10. Learn to surf

11. Learn to sail

12. Study a martial art (Karate, Tai Chi, etc)

13. Take an art class where I learn how to draw, paint, create visual junk

14. Learn to juggle

15. Do a thorough genealogy search (& find if we are really related to Ben Franklin, Napoleon, prez Andrew Johnson & an Indian chief) (I can only half cross this off)

16. Record oral histories of my family  (I’ve done 3 now. Need more details, though.)

17. Travel the country/world to see gravestones of ancestors/relatives

18. Attend family reunions for @ least 2 branches of my family (eg Hinkles & Gottschalls)

19. Learn super debating techniques

20. Give a speech to a large group (while awake and wearing more than underwear)-> Sort of Done.

21. Be able to identify more constellations (beyond Orion & the Dippers)

22. Learn good storytelling techniques

23. Read all the books on a snobby list of classics

24. Be able to identify 10+ birdcalls

25. Learn the main arguments for creationism

Creative Goals

26. Publish at least one song
27. Write at least once for a national/int’l magazine
28. Make a scripted home movie with a story line
29. Finish writing my Christmas Cantata (for a choir) & have it performed & recorded
30. Finish Writing my rock musical:  music, lyrics, story
31. Write a screenplay for a movie (possibly for that rock musical)
32. Publish at least one book
33. Design and landscape my backyard (possibly with help)
34. Start a magazine
35. Build a proper treehouse (not like that awesome bit of childhood @my grandparents’)
36. Record a semi-pro album
37. Perform a full set of my own music (+some covers)
38. Write a stand-up comedy act, even if I don’t perform publicly
39. Write several comedy sketches, enough to match an episode of SNL (or In Living Color or Kids in the Hall or Monty Python or Mad TV)
40. Perform the aforementioned sketches with friends in an improvised version of SNL.  Videotape it.  My band could be the featured music(could be just the sort of thing to organize over an extended Christmas holiday)coat of arms family crest rausch design standard herald heraldry
41. Write a script for a tv show
42. Design a family crest/coat of arms
43. Invent something & take out a patent
44. Become handy with some new dangerous tools (probably something that ends in -saw)
45. Build some fairly simple furniture without help from former felons or summer camp dudes
46. Build an instrument from a kit
47. Write a Christmas story
48. Write a non-Christmas hymn (another one, but one that doesn’t suck so much)
49. Design a Lord of the Rings amusement park for fun
50. Design a Christmas-themed amusement park for fun

Travel Goals

51. Visit all 7 continents.  Yes, this includes Antarctica.

52. Visit all US national parks
53. Visit every US state
54. See the pyramids & the Sphynx (Egypt, not Vegas)
55. Walk the Great Wall
56. Visit the Terra Cotta Warriors in Xian and buy tacky souvenirs
57. Visit Beijing, China
58. See New England in full leaf-peeper season
59. Visit Machu Picchu, Peru
60. Visit the Taj Mahal, India
61. Visit Angkor Wat in Cambodia (carefully stepping around the landmines)
62. See the 7 Wonders of the world
63. Visit France- -> DONE!
64. Visit Switzerland -> Officially done! Do longer.
65. Go back to Austria, but for longer than 2 hrs this time. DONE!
66. Sleep in a castle
67. Take a Euro-trip just to visit castles & cathedrals (the 2 previous trips nearly qualify)
68. See Italy -> DONE!
69. Visit the Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera
70. Visit Japan (see more than just the airport next time)
71. See the Acropolis in Greece
72. Visit Russia
73. See the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (not Constantinople), Turkey (yeah, I called you a turkey)
74. Big heads on Easter Island, Baby!
75. Visit the Holy Land between bombings

Adventure Goals

76. Run in a 5k race without stopping partway through to get a rock out my shoe
77. Ride in a Hot Air balloon and/or a Zeppelin (possibly while singing “Stairway to Heaven” or “Immigrant Song” or saying stuff like “Oh, the humanity!”)
78. Walk longish segments of the Appalachian Trail
79. Take a cruise (I’m probably going to sign up for one in the next week)-> DONE! 
80. Travel the Trans-Canada Hwy from coast to coast
81. Canoe the boundary waters or a waterway (but book woods with showers & toilets)
82. Travel by train across the US
83. Take a US roadtrip from coast to coast
84. Get SCUBA certified (if asthma allows)
85. Take flight Lessons
86. See the northern lights
87. Take a helicopter ride
88. Go whitewater rafting
89. Live in or travel around another country for a few months at a time
90. Take a proper cabin/lodge/ski vacation

Domestic Bliss Goals

91. Marry someone swell
92. Procreate
93. Become self-employed (make a living off my creative work for at least 1 year, but preferably always)
94. Get back under 200 pounds (and stay there)
95. Build my own house (by which I mean have someone else build it to my specs)
96. Regain my 6-pack
97. Develop a unique recipe that’s pretty darn good
98. Grow a decent backyard garden by myself that survives
99. Learn to make at least 5 dishes from memory
100. Help plant an orchard (preferably mine on a large acreage)

What’s on your bucket list?

The Secret word is Falafel

Linkerrific!

Bucket List Summer Challenge

The Great Suburban Mushroom Hunt

Your Retirement Savings… in the Couch

No, Mom, I’m NOT Gay

Sound Of Music Death Match!!! Liesl v Maria

The Great Massage Adventure 

Fear of Middle Age

Google-Stalking the Ex

Children, Braid Your Nosehairs

11 Steps to Becoming a Domesticated Bachelor

Famous Historical Bachelors-A List

17 Types of Bachelor Pads

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