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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.

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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 »

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


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